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Friday, July 27, 2018

F³ Preceded by Reputation

            Flynn came to his feet, more slowly than he would have liked, with muscles and joints protesting, and pulled up his rail gun. It was an efficient weapon with cheap ammunition and a high rate of fire, both very good things when it came to urban combat.

            Flynn approached the doors cautiously, and tried one. It swung open. He hit a button on his commband, then went in, checking left and right. The building was an old theater, from the look of it, a good place to catch a holovid or stage performance. He checked around the foyer, and found no one. He moved deeper, to the theater doors.
            He put his hand on the handle, and heard a loud, female voice order, “Don’t flaring move or I’ll blast you through the door.”
            Flynn froze.
            The door swung in, revealing the speaker. She was a little over medium height with a slim, athletic build. Dark eyes were hard and menacing behind the plasma pistol she pointed at him.
            “What are you, a merc? Which side are you with?” She had a musical lilt in her accent, which sounded familiar.
            Alliance. She’s got an Alliance accent.
            Slowly, Flynn removed his hands from his rifle, letting it dangle by its lanyard.
            “I’m not a merc. We’re responding to your distress call.”
            “Oh, really? . . . You look familiar. Goggles off.”
            Uh oh.
            He removed his goggles with his left, ready to dart for his pistol if need be when he saw movement behind her: people with more guns.
            “My name is—”
            “Peter flaring Flynn! Coward!”
            She shoved the plasma pistol in his nose. He could smell the remnants of the last firing, the electric smell of ionized gas.
            Flynn’s commband sounded with Eltie’s voice. “He’s not a coward, and if you hope to keep your brains inside your skull, you’ll stop pointing that thing at my captain.”
            The woman was too skilled to be taken aback or to begin searching around, not when there was no confirmation that she was anywhere within range. Instead, she tapped Flynn’s comband, turning it off.
            “Okay, that was not the best move. In ten seconds, she’s going to shoot. Third floor, your ten o’clock. Oh, and her railgun fires hypersonic rounds.”
            “Flare me, is that a mark three eliminator? Call her off.”
            Flynn reactivated his commband. “Eltie, shrugged shoulders,” Flynn gave the all clear code. The code was a reference to his old ship Atlas, nicknamed Broad Shoulders.
            Stars only know what that nickname has become after what I did, though.
            “Copy that.”

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