Taros inserted a coms device into his right ear, then held out the box to Ivan.
Ivan shook his head, frowning. “No thanks, Taros. One jackass in my ear is more than enough.”
Taros eyes narrow, then snorted. “Gods damn it, Ivan! Quit behaving like a spoiled child and take the damned earpiece!”
Andrade and Prio stood across the compartment, talking. Andrade looked over at Ivan questioningly.
Ivan lowered his head as he blushed slightly. “Ok, Taros. I didn’t want the ship yammering in my ear the whole time I’m away from it.”
Taros slowly shook his head, his big horns barely missing the overhead. “And I thought I was the stubborn one.”
A soft tone emanated from the overhead. “Ivan, I will only contact you if needed. So the only yammering in your ear will be Taros, I afraid.”
Taros grinned. “Thanks Ave. I’ll make sure I yammer enough for both of us.”
Ivan rolled his eyes.
Andrade looked at Prio, then Ivan and Taros. “Are you two done yammering? We’ve got places to be.”
Taros snorted and banged his horns against the bulkhead. “I’d say so, Andrade.”
Ivan rubbed his forehead, then looked at Andrade. “Where’s the meet?”
Andrade flipped her long dark hear back over her shoulder. “A bar, where else. Follow me.”
A soft tone emanated from the lock. “Stay safe out there, and Ivan, make sure you look twice when crossing the street.”
Ivan shook his head. “Everyone’s a comedian.”
The bar was dark, filthy, and full of smoke.
Ivan coughed, then looked at Andrade. “Did they just put out a fire in here?”
Andrade pointed at a lit sign above the bar. “It’s called the smoke bar for a reason.”
Ivan shook his head, then pulled out a cigarette. Lighting it, he watched the smoke lazily rise to the ceiling and stay. “It should be called the no air filtration bar.”
Taros stood at the bar, looking around. The barkeep was at the other end of the bar, consciously ignoring him. Taros reached over the bar, grabbing a bottle of whiskey and four shot glasses. As he started walking away, the bartender finally noticed him. A large burly man stepped out of the shadows, coming near Taros. “We don’t like your kind in here. Why don’t you find someplace else to drink?”
Then started laughing.
He laughed so long and loud that the denizens of the bar started to look at him.
The large burly man placed his hand on Taros.
Taros’ eyes instantly went red.
“That was a mistake friend,” was the last thing the burly man heard before he found himself flying across the room, then smashing into a wall headfirst.
Taros snorted, stomping his iron shod hooves into the floor, damaging the wooden surface.
Everything was silent. No one moved or made a sound.
Taros looked around the room. His head and horns whipping around, looking for the next target.
Gradually, people began to speak again, business as usual.
Taros stood there a moment more, the red slowly leaving his eyes. Moving to an unoccupied table, he set down the bottle of whiskey and the four glasses. Andrade, Prio, and Ivan came over to join him.
Taros sat down on an oversized stool that creaked under his weight. Grabbing the bottle of whiskey, he poured the four shot glasses to the brim.
Ivan’s smiled reached all the way up to his eyes.
Taros cocked his head.
Ivan looked at Taros. “See? You didn’t have to kill everyone. “
Prio looked across the room. “Just that one guy there. He looks pretty dead to me.”
Taros made a lopsided grin. “Yah, sorry about that, Prio.”
A sunny smile crossed her face. “No worries, Taros.”
Taros looked across the room at the body, then looked back at her. “Sometimes Prio, you’ve got to take out the trash.”
The bartender and a bouncer moved towards the dead body of the big man. Grabbing him by his feet, they dragged him out the back door.
Ivan watched, taking a drag from his cigarette. “I don’t think that’s the first time this has happened in here, and probably won’t be the last.”
Andrade chuckled. “Especially if Taros keeps coming back.”
They all began to laugh.
Taros lifted his glass. “Time to take out the trash!”
Ivan, Andrade, and Prio lifted their glasses and clinked them against his. “Time to take out the trash!” they said in unison, then threw back their drinks.
A tall man in dark glasses and an overcoat approached the table. “That man belonged to me.”
Removing his glasses, he looked at Andrade. “I’m Milo Becker, your contact. That dead guy over there,” they all looked over where the dead guy was being dragged out, “was Johan Werner, a local district fixer. Let’s get out of here while we can.”
Taros looked at the whiskey bottle, then Milo. “We haven’t finished out drinks yet, Milo. Leaving right now would be rude. You would want us to be rude, would you?”
Milo looked at Taros for several seconds, then looked away. “No, of course not, where are my manners. Please, continue.”
Andrade held out her hand across the table to Milo. “A pleasure to meet you in person, Milo. These are my associates, Prio Vega, Ivan Volkov, and Taros Crosse.”
Milo nodded. “A pleasure meeting all of you.”
Taros grabbed the whiskey bottle and filled the shot glasses to the brim. Sliding his over to Milo, he nodded. “You can use mine, Milo. I’ll drink from the bottle.”
Then Taros tilted the bottle back and chugged down half the bottle. Wiping his mouth off, he set down the bottle with exaggerated care and winked at Milo.
Milo picked up his glass. “To your health.”
Everyone else did the same, then threw back the drink. Taros drank the rest of the bottle, this time setting it down hard enough, that it smashed into pieces. Then he turned away from the table and belched a colossal burp. The table next to them started gagging and trying to wave it away.
Looking back at Prio, he winked. “Got to be polite.”
She grinned back at him.
Milo’s eyes were wide as he carefully looked around the room. “Now that our drinks are done, would you care to adjourn to the warehouse?”
Andrade nodded. “Let’s go.”
Ivan crushed out his cigarette and got up to go.