The Ace is a big place. Loud music, laughter, smell of whiskey and sawdust. The patrons were a mixed bag, for sure. Working joes rubbin elbows with gamblers and the like. I hadn’t changed out of my coveralls, since we were working a job, I wanted to be ready and the coveralls have some handy pockets for wrenches, grenades and such.
We got us a table in the corner and before the whiskey came a feller walked up to Roark and called him “Kane.” He was sure that Roark was this Kane feller and started jabbering away about Prudence and the plan.
Even half deaf, I heard “Prudence” and knew this was a good start. Roark couldn’t bluff a paper bag and so the stranger wandered off. We sipped our whiskey and waited.
Not long after, a pretty thing slid by me and called Roark “Kane” again. She grabbed his arm and pulled him up. As she started to speak, she stopped and cocked her head. “Who are you?” Miss V smiled real big. “Prudence, we can help you. Let’s find a quiet spot outside to talk.” Right then, the stranger came back and started talking with Prudence. He held out a disc and she handed him a bag of coin. “Those codes are only good for 72 hours. Good luck.”
“Wait! 72 hours? But that’s not enough time! If Kane were here he’d….” Prudence tossed the disc onto the table. “Where is he? He’s never late.” Miss V saw her chance. “Swei here is a genius with tech. Let her take a look at that disc and we can talk. Your friend Jacob asked us to check on you.”
“He’s worried about you. You quit your job. You won’t return his waves.”
“He can’t be caught up in this. It’s too dangerous.”
While they talked I skimmed the disc on my databook. It was an indulgence but I look having my own. As the files zoomed by I realized it was plans and security codes for the penal planet Perdition.
“Perdition?” I spoke aloud.
Prudence stopped in mid-sentence. “Yes. I have, we have to get there. Kane and I have friends who were wrongly transported.”
I whistled. “Perdition is one place I don’t want to see. That’s a one way trip, sister. And no mistake. That’s a mine with no way out. You go to Perdition, you die.”
Suddenly sirens pierced the noise of the club. Prudence stood up so quickly it toppled her chair. “Police! I can’t be caught here. Not with the disc!” I had just handed it back to Prudence. “Well, I’m done with it. Just toss it yonder. I got it all here.” I patted my databook. “And here.” I tapped my helmet.
About then the bullets started to fly. The patrons inside were gonna give as good as they got. Roark shoved the table over and grabbed Miss V. In the scuffle Maggie fell over. She can not hold her liquor. I was squatting down by Prudence and I couldn’t help but notice how nice she smelled.
“I got a couple smoke grenades, ma’am.” I whispered across the table.
“Keep your voice down, Swei! We are innocent and the authorities will understand that.”
The firing stopped and we heard a magnified voice say “Surrender. Surrender now and there will be no more killing.” Many of the bar folk laid down their guns and shuffled outside. Soon we were just about the only people in the bar.
Miss V stood up. “I have had quite enough. My new culottes are dirty. I believe I broke a nail and Von Schindlers do not cower from the police!” She strode to the main entrance. “Who is in charge?” She called out. “I demand to see him at once.”
A man in an Alliance uniform walked in. He was joined by a man in a black leather jacket. They stood talking with Miss V. The doc said “Uh oh” about the same time that Black leather jacket pointed at us. They all walked over to us. “Yes, that’s her. Prudence here paid top dollar for those codes.”
The Alliance officer smiled. “Interested in Perdition, eh? Well, you can see it first hand in about (he looked at his multiband) 60 hours. Cuff ’em.”
“No!” Miss V grabbed his arm. “This is a terrible misunderstanding. You see my good friend Jacob Wi–” The Alliance officer raised his hand is if to strike her. Roark roared. “You keep your hands off her! She’s delicate-like! Got her own doc and everything. No call to hit her. None at all.”
“Chivalry. It is not dead after all.” The officer smiled. “Perdition will have use of you, too. Of all of you.”
And that was that. We were Perdition bound.
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