Click Here for Era of Darkness Volume 2: Chapter 1
The air is thick with the smell of alcohol as the men walk through the tavern's door.
The patrons look up quickly as Able Squad enters the establishment-
-Curious to know who has entered their domain.
An older man grunts to himself as he turns to see the men, squinting as he stares at the group.
Just as fast, the occupants go back to their drinks, as well as their own business.
"Do you see the bounty hunter?" asks Meade quietly.
Kane continues scanning the mostly vacant tavern. "No."
He sighs to himself as he approaches the bar. Haas and Meade follow him, as if acknowledging silent orders.
"Hey there fellas," says a waitress from behind the bar. "Why don't you take those helmet off and stay a while? What can I get you?"
Kane tilts his head to catch a glimpse of the waitress as he speaks. "We're waiting for a friend."
"Not a lot of friends in Ethna," she says over her shoulder. "Let me know when your pal gets here," she smirks, moving on to one of her more regular customers.
"How long do we wait?" asks Haas, his impatience getting the best of him.
"We'd better not stay around too long," replies Meade. "You never know who might show up."
Then men strike up a conversation, prepared to pass their time as they wait for the bounty hunter to arrive.
"Well," says Kane, staring at an empty cup on the counter. "Nice of you to show up."
"I followed you from your little alleyway," says a bold voice.
"You don't blend in well. How you carry yourself is too...Imperial."
"How I carry myself is my own business," replies Kane coolly.
"And how I get paid is mine," states the man.
Kane stares at the cloaked figure for some time before finally breaking the silence between them.
"You said 40 credits for her whereabouts?"
"75 get's you the 'no name' deal; we'll keep this all anonymous."
Kane furrows his brow under the old helmet. "45, and you walk out of here," he says gruffly.
"50," replies the man, "and you'll know exactly where the girl is."
"For 50 credits you'd better tell me where she is right now."
Kane motions to his men. The other ex-soldiers quietly slide Kane the amount of credits which he has agreed to.
"There you go," smiles the shadowy figure under his cloak, as he reaches for the money. "Easy, wasn't it?"
"Cut the antics," demands Kane. "Now."
"So," chuckles the man, his voice becoming more conversational as he pockets the money. "You tell me 'hunt down a Dreya'. You tell me she's somewhere here in Ethna, and she's probably armed. That sounds about right."
"I take a guess, and think she probably flew in through the spaceport, under an assumed name," the man motions with his hands. "So I start looking there. I try to turn up some leads, and see what I can see. Two days in, I find out about this one-eyed Cerean, a big headed fellow. I heard he could lead me to your girl."
The man nods his head, reassuring himself. "Followed that guy up real good, and sure enough I caught sight of a girl that matched the discrip you gave me."
"A couple days after that I find her alone in the market, so I followed her for a while - not that I could complain."
"So she's here," says Haas to himself.
"Well, now that's where it went all weird", he says, pointing at the men. "You told me she was armed, sure enough, but-"
"-What you don't say to me is that, 'hey, she's with the Rebel Alliance'".
Haas and Meade look at one another, aware that many bounty hunters refrain from taking on any Rebel or Imperial contracts.
"Now you could imagine my surprise at that little fact, right?" he says sarcastically. "I mean, come on!"
"I told you all that you needed to know," replies Kane. "You found her, and that's what I needed."
"And that's surely worth your 50 credits, right?" the man takes a step back. "Confirmation she's around here?"
"For that many credits we need a precise location," says Kane firmly.
The man chuckles to himself. "For that many credits, I don't really blame you!"
Angered, Kane's old armor creaks as he takes a step closer. "You're not leaving until I know where she is."
Meade grips the former lieutenant's shoulder firmly.
"Hold on now, no need to get physical," the man takes another step back. "Not yet anyway! Because I tell you what, I would really like to see how all this plays out," he smiles. "I really would, honestly."
"But I think I'm gonna have to be leaving now," he says in a whisper. "Before things have the potential to get," the man winks, "messy." He turns to depart as the group of ex-Imperials watch him closely. Kane grips his hand to his blaster firmly.
"Not here, not right now," cautions Meade. "You shoot him, and Imperials will be here in seconds."
"I would appreciate that you refrain from doing that," says an elegant voice, which fills the room.
"Using a blaster tends to draw attention to one's self," says the being.
"I'm Anorial," he announces, in what seems like a hushed grandeur that echos throughout the small bar. "-The one-eyed Cerean."
"And general of the Rebel Alliance," he says with regale.
"I'd like to talk to you about what happened on the Aberrant Dawn."
~ Jodo - Check out my latest photonovel as of Oct. 27/17: Era of Darkness Halloween Special - "Lurkers"
: Part 1!