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Friday, March 29, 2019

F³ Force of Habit

Connor Reese, as he currently thought of himself, considered the patrons at the table at the far end of the concourse. They looked quite engaged in their conversation, but, frequently, the man with the slightly forked beard would check over his shoulders for potential eavesdroppers.
No chance of casually overhearing them. They may have even set up a short-range privacy field. It would be prudent, and what I would do if I were them. The concourse, is, after all, a public place, and even moderate audio filters are sufficient to isolate their conversation from the rest of the din.
Connor rose from his seat and made his way in the direction of the table, taking a more oblique route by sticking to the tables instead of entering the main thoroughfare. He bumped into more than one patron, offering apologies given the close quarters, and offered the same as he jostled a young man carry a tray of soiled plates. But this time he also took the opportunity to undo the man’s waist apron. A quick motion, and Connor had the apron about himself. It was perfect as the young man had gotten streaks of stray food matter on the apron, a sure signal that he was working-class and not at all an impostor.
Connor snagged a free tray from near the counter where the hostess was paying attention to a comm call instead of her surroundings. So accoutered, Connor made his way to the target table, and began take plates and drinks from the three gentlemen and load them onto the tray.
“What are you doing?” The clipped accent of the Consortium accent was hard to miss.
“Please excuse,” Connor said, using broken speech with a thick, Hierarchy accent. It was well known that the Hierarchy kept its slaves oppressed partly by their language. If they couldn’t communicate, they wouldn’t be able to flee to other stellar nations and find work.
“You’re excused, but we’re not done, yet.”
“No done?”
“No done.”
“Sorry. Sorry.” Connor began replacing the dishes and drinks onto the table, then retreated away, taking bows, as was the Hierarchy custom.
The men shook their heads but waved him away.
Connor ditched the tray and apron, then left the tables for the opposite side of the Concourse, thumbing on the receiver in his earlobe. The listening device he had planted under one of the drink umbrellas was getting excellent reception.
The three men talked about fork-beard’s divorce, which could be personally expensive in the Consortium given the myriad nuptial contracts involved.
It was nothing of consequence, which was no more than Connor had expected. He hoped to be able to retrieve the transmitter, but even if he was unable to, it was good to stay in practice with one’s trade. A habit, one might say.

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