You’ll not see nothing like the mighty Quinn
Come all without, come all within
You’ll not see nothing like the mighty Quinn. – Bob Dylan
“We’re breakin’ atmo, Captain.”
Benjamin nodded at Quinn. “I got eyes in my head. Just bring ‘er in smooth. Nice an’ easy.”
Quinn’s voice suddenly became very formal as she flicked on the comm-link. “Firefly Transport LIBERATION to Eavesdown Dock Tower One. Requesting docking and platform.”
Seconds later, an almost robotic voice responded on the comm. “You are cleared, LIBERATION. Standard fees. Dock at zone 49.”
“Copy that.” Quinn flicked off the comm, and focused on the ship. LIBERATION became an extension of her body at her fingertips. She could almost feel the ship’s aches and pains as it descended towards the docks.”
Benjamin sat down at the other operator’s panel, and drummed his fingers lightly. He scoffed and shook his head. “Ship’s shakin’ like a Class One, Quinn. Anything going to fall off?” His eyes glittered with mirth but his face seemed serious.
Quinn’s lips twisted into a smirk. “Be easier if the you’d pay for some upkeep on the engines, sir.” The last word was meant to annoy him, not out of respect. It was a game they played. Cat and mouse. She glanced at him for a second, then back to the controls. It was obvious that she was struggling with the landing.
Benjamin assisted Quinn to stabilize the thrusters and get the landing gears down into the proper configuration for the docks. The landing was rough, but the boat settled in without a hitch. Almost immediately, workers were looking over the ship for any obvious signs of disrepair that might jeopardize the landing site, and double checking LIBERATION’s credentials with those on file. It was all routine. The Alliance didn’t keep records on Eavesdown Docks. They were paid handsomely to look the other way.
With the fees and tariffs paid, Benjamin started to look over LIBERATION for repairs that needed to be made, referencing the detailed (and somewhat painful) notes made by the ship’s mechanics. After a full Systems scan, Benjamin was satisfied that he would have to spend the coin to complete some repairs before heading off on another job. He didn’t want to risk ending up dead in the water and at the mercy of whatever ship happened to find them out in the Black. He couldn’t take the chance.
Shortly after, Quinn and the Captain departed the ship and headed for Percival Chao’s fine dining establishment. The man claimed that he was connected to the Tong, and tried to pass himself off as a Big Damn Villian in the black market. In reality, he ended up making himself look like a cheesy version of Ming the Merciless from those old Earth-That-Was space operas. Chao paid well, but he was a terrible business person. However, he was smart enough to use a restaurant to launder his money, and usually paid well with Hard Coin.
Both of them noticed the Bounty Hunter vessels docked along with the civilian ships. If Hard Burn, Aces & Eights, and Serendipity were all in town during the Festival, something must be up. They would need to keep a very low profile this time around.
Quinn and the Captain entered the aptly named “Chinese Restaurant” and nodded to the greeter as they headed back through the dining area and into the kitchen. Opening a door in the back marked “Employees Only” they walked down a short hallway towards a large man standing watch near a reinforced door. The obese Asian gentleman grunted at the two as they approached, and simply said, “Is Chao expecting you?”
Benjamin glanced at Quinn, and smirked. He looked back at the guard, simply saying, “Yes.”
After glancing at the camera on the wall, there was a buzzing noise and the door opened. Walking inside, both of them were faced with a large office, kept dark in a feeble attempt to make the place foreboding. It might have worked it it were not for the fact that the room was decorated with gaudy and garish brick-a-brack that made it look like a really awful Kung Fu Anime had thrown up all over the room. Plastic dragons, poorly crafted martial arts weapons, and obviously fake jade sculptures littered the walls and floor. Worst of all, a large granite Buddha with green plastic eyes sat in the back of the room, looking completely out of place. Two guards flanked the statue, and Chao was sitting at his desk set exactly within the center of the space, supposedly to balance and use the Chi within the room.
The negotiation with Chaos went very well. Knowing that the Asian crime boss was a poor bookkeeper, Quinn and Benjamin managed to swindle the man out of an extra 500 credits. With several orders of take-out in hand to cloak the large bag of Platinum coins gained for smuggling the racing dogs, they headed back for LIBERATION.
TO BE CONTINUED IN PART TWO
… but first …
NEXT: MACK’S STORY
- Things Don’t Go Smooth (outintheblack.wordpress.com)
- Livin’ Lean on Liberation (outintheblack.wordpress.com)
- Abel and the Doctor (outintheblack.wordpress.com)
- Randa’s Story (outintheblack.wordpress.com)