The two exited the bar, leaving the comfort of the soft subtle lights and stepping into the quiet street. The metallic floors tapped softly underfoot, light from the sun lamps illuminating the way. Several blocks ahead was a public tram station that the two headed for. Eventually street gave way to one of the many large roads full of station residents going about their daily lives. Some headed for work, simply milled about peering into the many shops and curiosity stores the station had to offer. Overhead, hanging from each street lamp were large holoscreens, each broadcasting the station’s news feed.
“War in the Anoat System, Thousands flee in turmoil. We’ll be taking you live to Gal Ustrill our reporter in the field momentarily. But first, here are your daily headlines,” The smooth synthetic voice of the broadcast droned. Images of the conflict flashed on the screen. Amar looked upward and suddenly noticed the changes that were happening all around him, a group of refugees huddled in an alley, begging passerbys for any credits or even uneaten food. Over the crowd he could hear anti-war rhetoric being chanted by a group of pacifists somewhere in the crowd. Each person he passed wore a look of uncertainty. All of this had sporadically materialized around the station.
The two of them muscled there way through the pedestrians, making as direct a route as possible for the Tramway. After what seemed like an hour they finally entered the maw that was the station entrance. The platform, like the street above, was crowded, filled with common people in an uncommon time. Most gave the two men wide berth, despite neither of them being in any sort of uniform or drapery to associate them with the station’s security forces. Amar wondered what made it so obvious, Was it their mannerisms, how they carried themselves, or the side arms conspicuously mounted to their hips and thighs?
Subconsciously, he glanced at the timetable, the next tram was ten minutes away. Amar leaned against a pillar and reached into his inner coat pocket. His fingers wrapped around the forgotten half of an old cigar. He held the tightly rolled leaves between his fingers, rolling them back and forth before retrieving it from the void. Placing the cigar between his lips, he next retrieved a lighter and took his time igniting the leaves. Making a little show of it he flicked the end of the lighter closed and returned it to his pocket.
Jansen eyed the cigar with feigned concern, “Those used to kill people, you know.” He stated rather matter of factly.
“You sound just like the doc,” Amar responded, “but hey if that happens, I’m leaving you the ship.”
Jansen rolled his eyes, “You and I both know that ship will either be your grave or your tomb.”
Amar smiled at Jansens jab, it was true, his attachment to his ship was almost one of his personal vices, almost. Jansen walked past Amar and found a space on the pillar a little to Amar’s left. It took a minute for him to center himself on the rounded edge with comfort. No sooner had he done so, he spoke again, “Can you send me the Job Orders?”
“Hmm? Sorry, I thought I had sent them to you. Guess I forgot.” Amar said casually. He gave his datapad a few quick taps, and the files were transfered to Jansen’s own wrist mounted datapad. Jansen soon delved into the more minute details of confirming the job, and sending the consequential orders to the crew. Amar decided to have another look at the forms himself. This time, going over them with a fine toothed comb.
“Please stand clear of the platform edge,” the PA system announced in multiple languages, heralding the arrival of their tram. Amar put his cigar out against the sole of his brown military style boots and threw the remains into a nearby garbage bin. He nudged Jansen with his elbow lightly and pointed to the edge of the platform. Already the crowd was lining up waiting to board. The two slowly started towards the mass of people seemingly not in any rush, stopping at the edges and waiting with everyone else. A high pitched whistle sounded as the the magnetic rail system of the cars slowed to a stop. Slowly, the cars descended to platform level as the magnets disengaged. There was a hiss as the doors opened, “Please stand clear of the doors,” the PA said as passengers disembarked, pushing through the waiting crowd. Slowly, the two men pressed into the crowded car with everyone else.