Thursday, April 19, 2012

Koreshi Chronicles - Chapter V : Quinn Vs Smith

It was raining, unusual for the season in the Marathon basin but Bernie didn’t wonder about weather, he just complained about it. It wasn’t the only thing he was whining about.

“Are you sure you wannna go through with this? I mean can’t bygones be bygones and stuff?”

Bernie’s plea rolled off Lukas like the rain.

The Mainz Trading Floor was in the old part town in the center ring. It dated back to the days when the Western Frontier Protectorate still called the city Fort Charles. Over a thousand cycles the open space where ranchers and business folk made deals had turned into a venerated atrium of commerce. Animals no longer exchanged hands on the Trading Floor beneath gilded columns, but it was still a place to make a deal. Lukas particularly approved of the full-body scans one went through on the way in and the reassuring presence of Mainz’s deputies patrolling the hall.

“There he is” Bernie said nodding towards a seated figure at a cawfee stand lining the covered plaza. He shook the rain off his coat. “Listen, he took a serious hit. He’s been out of it for half a cycle. Whatever he and the Kolson’s were working on before you remodeled his face they’ve dropped so the guy ain’t got much going for him.” Bernie said nervously shifting from one foot to the other.

“Sounds like he was too vulnerable to continue a protracted fight with my people,” Lukas said, trying to ignore his fidgety fixer and concentrating on the features of the man he no longer recognized.

“Shit man, read whatever you want to into the situation, I’m just saying that he ain’t got much more to lose so don’t antagonize him.” Bernie rushed to get his advice out as Lukas walked off nodding.

“Mr Smith,” Lukas said as he pulled up a cast iron chair, making a fair deal of noise in the process.

“Mr Quinn, it's been too long,” Smith said from behind glasses and under a hat. His head tilted up and quickly scanned the darkened alcoves on the second level overlooking them.

The dark grey sky above provided little light through the Trading Floor skylights. But Lukas could still see Smith’s skin stretched a little too tightly over his cheekbones and chin. The general bones structure was similar, the voice had changed a bit and he did look like the unfortunate victim of a clumsy plastic surgeon, but considering the state Ennick had left him in, Smith could have looked a lot worse--a bit more like Lukas, perhaps.

Lukas waved away a waiter who refilled Smith’s cup. “I’m not staying long, I just came to clear the air. Apparently, we hadn’t left things to our mutual satisfaction after our last meeting, and, although I appreciate that you no longer have a price on the head of me and my people, I can’t ignore that it was there until very recently.”

“Mr Quinn, I do apologize, I recognized my mistake. Maybe I’ve chosen a wiser face, maybe I just don’t want to go through this again.” Smith said waving a hand at his head. “The point is, I shouldn’t have crossed you, not just because it cost me, but because it was unprofessional. I see that you’re a man best kept as an asset and not an enemy. I put the contract out on you in a fit of vengeance, it was short sighted.” Smith said in a pleasant but guarded tone, sipping his cawfee.

“Good. I’m glad we cleared that up, before someone got hurt. It’s not good for business to let these sorts of things get in the way.” Lukas started to get up, but Smith motioned him back into his seat.

“You once asked me not to hold a grudge against you for letting your dawg tear my face off. It took me awhile to come around, but I’m not holding a grudge any more. I hope you won’t make the same mistake I did? I would very much like for us to work together in the future.”

Lukas had been expecting this--for Smith to withdraw any overt attempt at retribution as a means to lull him into walking into a trap. “We’re currently overbooked for jobs, but I’ll keep that in mind,” Lukas said flatly. He held Smith’s gaze for a moment, stood, and left.

“I hope you will, Lukas,” Smith said smiling as Quinn blended quickly into the crowd moving about the plaza.

Heavy Gear Roleplaying Game


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