Amar walked briskly into the "Crewman's Lounge," stopping briefly to tug on his jacket collar. It was as if he had set foot into a cold autumn day. Odd he thought to himself, clearly someone was playing with the atmospherics in this small part of the station. After checking his sidearm at the small security checkpoint he walked briskly toward a small electronic kiosk. His face was lit with a soft orange glow, which accented his facial features including the stubble that he had let grow since his most recent venture into the black.
"Anything in particular you're looking for sir?" a soft voice asked behind him.
"Hmmph," he shrugged, glancing over his shoulder. The owner of the voice was a young woman, standing about ten centimeters shorter than himself. Her hair was tinted a light pink, with traces of red mixed in at the roots. Her tan skin seemed out of place in the faux light of the station, brown eyes searching the grim features of the commander standing opposite herself. Amar turned back around and closed out the kiosk before turning his full attention to her. "I'm looking for a competent pilot, someone who can hold their own not only in a fighter, but on foot as well."
"Name's Short, Miyah Short, and if I may be so bold, I am pretty sure I can fit that order."
"You're a pilot for hire?" Amar asked feigning surprise, he mostly wanted to see how she would react.
"Of course, why else would I be here." She said ignoring his quip.
"Hmm, I suppose I have room for someone extra on-board. Pass me your contract."
With a flourish, she passed him a datapad, Amar read over her short Bio. "Consider yourself hired, Miss Short. Report to the FSS Spera Aeternam in thirty. Wouldn't want to leave without you."
"Yes Sir. She said before turning to collect her things."
Amar headed toward the exit, stopping only to grab his sidearm. 'Time to go hunting,' he remarked to himself, before heading to the Bounty Hunter's Kiosk.
It took him no less than five minutes to wind his way to the Hunter's Kiosk. An older gentleman stood proudly erect behind the terminal, "Ah Mr. Epsilon, good to see you."
"Likewise Harrison, how has business been?"
"Busy as always, It seems people never run out of reasons to tag someone."
Amar retrieved as small black pouch from his belt.
"Ah, so to business then."
"Yes, to the matter at hand," Amar said as he rested on his heels. Quickly he upended the contents of the bag on the counter, about twenty holographic ident chips scattered across the steel surface.
"So I'm guessing none were wanted alive." the old man remarked as he went to work counting out each chip, then comparing it with the data on the bounty. "Well I see you put Mendrik Bolton into the dirt, good riddance, he was a pain in my side and a disgrace to the profession."
"He didn't go down easy. Out of courtesy I tried to bring him back alive, but he chose to detonate his reactor. Almost took me out too. Got my fighter pilot though."
"Pity, that young man looked like he had a lot of potential."
"He did, but he insisted on flying the fighter himself..."
"Ah foolhardy to the last I see. Well here is your total."
"Thanks," Amar held up his data pad to check his bank account. "Can you do me a favor?"
"Can you send his portion to his widow, I have Jansen heading there to break the news."
Harrison looked toward the ground, and crossed his chest. an ancient gesture of mourning. "Of course I will."
"Thanks again, also throw in a bit extra, I don't want her to end up like Jess did."
"Of course, I understand."
And with that, Amar headed back to the docks.
He was standing beside the loading ramp when Miyah approached the dock, only a small green duffel bag in hand. Calmly he took another draw of his cigar before putting it out on the cargo crate he was leaning against. "Well, I see your time outside the service hasn't influenced your timeliness." He remarked indicating her duffel.
"Well you know how it is, easiest way to space was to serve."
"True, welcome to the Aeternam," he said indicating the Corvette sitting behind him. Its White, Orange, and Black scheme created a vibrant backdrop for the two.
"Wow," She exclaimed looking upward, "I've never been on one of these."
"She's not bad, just needs a little more work." Amar took the lead and led her to the ramp. They walked along one of the corridors to a long hallway lined with doors. "Crew quarters, find a bunk that's not taken and drop when you're tired. Down the hallway is the galley, someone will typically make something around 07, 12, and 17. Talk to the first mate when he gets back, He will set you up with a rem-lock. The floor below you will find the gym and the sim. Up on the CIC, you will find the telepresence terminal. Just make sure you're on stand-by when we are underway. That's about it."
"Thanks, can I head down to the figher bay?"
"Sure, I'll head with you, need to check up on something."
The two headed down to the fighter bay, and Miyah stopped in her tracks at the door, It wasn't the guardian fighter that shocked her, it was the wreckage that two crew-members were gutting. The shattered glass was awash with splatters of blood and on a gurney beside it, a body back could be seen. She fought the urge to throw up and followed Amar.
"Davis, sorry you had to get tasked with this."
"No problem, did you get the payout?"
"Sure did, want me to cash you out?"
"After I get done here. Poor kid deserves to have most of himself for a proper funeral."
"Aye," the other crew man spoke up, "Good lad that Wolf kid was. I expect the missus will be wanting whats left of 'im."
"Is this our newest member?"
"Yup, Miyah, I'd like you to meet the McKellon brothers, Davis and Darryl."
"Pleasure," she said, her face turning green.
"Don't lie, we all wish this was under different circumstances." Darryl said.
"Excuse me, I'm going to go wait for the first mate." She said leaving briskly.
"Think she'll hang around cap?"
"Most likely, she doesn't strike me as the one to quit over the sight of some blood."
"Alright, We'll get back to it."
"Darryl, hand me the laser cleaner would ya?"
Amar turned and left for his quarters, not before looking into the bag, thankfully the remlock had kept most of Wolf intact, He placed his hand on the boy's sternum, and uttered a silent prayer. Maybe one day his fate would be the same...