“Even tiny drops of water in the end will fill a huge vessel.” – Sogyal Rinpoche
Three figures walked in a slow, relaxed manner, without hurry or effort down the dusty alleyway. For once it wasn’t raining but the heat was terrible. The Market was full due to the Harvest Festival. The Festival was one of the largest and yet another reason for celebration. Merchants converge on the Marketplace outside of the Docks, their hovercraft filled with homemade brew, fruits, vegetables, and other wares. In this time of negotiating, barking, and reveling there were big crowds and lots of noise. The three figures didn’t seem to mind it a bit.
However, all the lively and noisy carnival came with a deal of trouble. Although Eavesdown is usually a spaceport full of scum and villainy, but Harvest brings all likes of spacers, pirates, smugglers, and vendors into town. The pubs and hostels fill up. The streets get choked. The City Watch starts to patrol a little more often, and the Tong starts to charge a little more for protection.
Keeping all this in mind, the three made their way out of the Market and into the Maze. The Maze was densely populated and exclusively protected by the Tong. It resembles the Kowloon Walled City from Earth-That-Was with buildings mainly constructed of re-purposed shipping containers stacked from ten to fourteen storeys high. Here, prostitutes installed themselves on one side of the street, while a Shepard preached and handed out powdered milk to the poor on the other; social workers gave guidance, while drug addicts squatted under the stairs getting high; what were children’s games centers by day became strip show venues by night. It was a very complex place, difficult to generalize about, a place that seemed frightening but where most people continued to lead normal lives on their own terms.
The three approach a large storage facility. It’s a hangar intended for stowage of ships. They walk directly to their bay and within moments they are standing outside with the bay door wide open. Inside is a mid-class luxury yacht. It’s a ship intended for pleasure and not battle or work. Although the markings on its side is not visible from the street, the craft was called “The Ice Pony.” Of course, this wasn’t always its name. When it belonged to its rightful owner, Baron Fairchild, it operated under an entirely different name. But that was before it was stolen from the Rim’s Dream.
“Come on,” chided Mack. “The Doc won’t be back for hours. We have plenty of time. We can wham-bam a whore and down a few drinks before Eddy even misses us!” He smiled like the Cheshire cat.
Abel shook his head. “No time for your nonsense this time, Mack.” Without further discussion, Abel turned away and looked towards the young man named Zan. “Zan, everything ok?”
Zan was standing a few feet away, staring up at the top of a nearby building. He had the look of a toddler who had seen something new for the first time. He appeared awestruck.
Abel and Mack looked at Zan. Both seemed suddenly concerned. Abel spoke again. “Hey, Zan. Everything alright buddy?” He took a few steps towards the teenager.
Zan continued to stare up, but did speak. His tone was distracted and flat. “Everything is fine. She’s coming to see us.”
Before either men could say anything in response, a small cowled figure emerged from the top of the adjacent building and descended by way of a repelling device. She glided to the ground about ten feet from the three men. Both Abel and Mack put their hands on his guns. Zan simply shifted his gaze from the top of the building to the woman’s new place.
She tossed back her hood, revealing her identity. She was an attractive young woman with dark skin and a shaved head. Scars crisscrossed the surface of head, obvious signs of multiple surgeries. They were the same kinds of markings Zan carried with him. They recognized her immediately.
Mack and Abel shouted in unison. “Asante!” They pulled their weapons, and pointed them in the woman’s direction menacingly. Zan took two steps backwards, beginning to show signs of fear on his face.
“Easy now boys,” cooed Asante with a smile. “You wouldn’t want to make our friends angry.”
Abel didn’t react but Mack looked around. He noticed two snipers on the rooftop opposite where Asante had come from. Someone cleared their throat behind them, and Abel finally glanced back towards the Hangar. They saw two men dressed in identical black suits, wearing blue gloves. All around them stood Alliance Shocktroopers. They were horribly outnumbered.
Asante smiled. “We’re taking your ship. You can either come along peacefully or we’ll carry you on in bodybags. Your choice.”
Abel grimaced. He wasn’t going down without a fight. He glanced at Mack, but Mack wasn’t there. Instead he saw Zan. The boy was moving at impossible speed. He had already taken out Mack. Before Able could move, Zan chopped him twice in the neck and sent him reeling on to the dirt. That was the last thing Abel remembered before the darkness took him.
Zan turned, and faced Asante. “Wasn’t safe.”
Asante stepped forward and put her arms around the teenager. She kissed him on the cheek softly as she escorted him towards the ship. “It’s alright, dìdì. You’re back with the family now.”
As he walked with the woman, he glanced back at the unconscious forms of Mack and Abel. They were being collected by Alliance soldiers. He mumbled softly. “Wasn’t safe. Had to help.”