A couple of Timonae on Tomin Kora encounter the famously unintelligible Tito Aldente.

Last Call Tavern

A place like this makes a person wish every chair sat with its back to a wall.

The tavern is a dark and shadowy place, the outside glow of the nebula filtering in weakly while pale blue plasma lanterns gleam in the center of most tables (some seem to have run out of juice, but the complaints department doesn’t care and the maintenance crew doesn’t get paid enough to intrude on conversations better left in the darkness).

The room stinks of sweat, cigarette smoke, and spilled alcohol and blood.

Fifteen tables and six booths are arrayed around a central C-shaped bar counter, which has eight stools in front of it.

Tito minces into the tavern, datapad in hand, mouth twitching as he peers through the shadows.

Niesa throws back her head with a low, rich laugh. “If anybody’s Neidermeyer’s bitch, it’s Falkenberg. You would be surprised, I think.”

Tito forms an ‘O’ with his mouth as he hears the familiar voice of the bodyguard. He begins to weave through the tavern, chin up, glancing dartily back and forth as he calls out. “Meez Naawwweesssawww?”

“Yeah, but I don’t even have the /option/ to be someone’s bitch.” Askeboz replies with a frown, sitting on an unplugged minifridge behind the bar. He opens his mind to add something more, then simply closes it as Tito speaks.

Niesa says, “meJai einu.” Niesa doesn’t turn around.

Tito steps over a Grimlahdi who has apparently decided to sleep – and bleed quietly – on the floor near one of the tables, and then gets to the counter, stopping near the Timonae female. He taps her on the arm. “Thaw yew awr.”

Clenching her glass a bit tighter, Niesa turns from the bartender. “Tito, how’s tricks?”

Tito smiles broadly. “Treeks joss fen! Aw goot noose fawr Joon Fahkwanbargle.”

A little smirk forms on Askeboz’s face as he watches Niesa and Tito. “Can I get you a drink, guy?” The Timonae asks the less intelligible of the two.

Tito nods to Askeboz. “Scooch awn zee rawks whiff aw tweez.”

Face stoic, Niesa nods to Tito. “Oh, yeah?”

Tito looks up at Niesa, smiling greasily. “Heez shawp ees awl dowen.”

Askeboz’s lips for a little frown as he answers. “That ain’t a choice, my friend. Straight scotch, vodka, whiskey, brown stuff, clear stuff, egg soakings, or the sinktrap. Pick again. No “tweez”es in this joint. Not anymore.”

Niesa gives Askeboz a crooked smile, then turns back to Tito. “Yeah?”

Tito sighs, drumming his fingers on the counter. “Street scooch.”

Tito nods to Niesa, and his eyes begin to roam the shadows. “War ees Joon Fahkwanblaffle?”

Askeboz reaches behind him, grabs a bottle off the shelf, pours a smudge-covered glass, then slides it over to Tito. “Happy drinking.” He mutters as he sets the bottle on the ground beside him, rather than leaning over to put it back.

Niesa’s bewildered eyes widen a little, then, gauging Tito’s intonation of a question, she simply shrugs. “You got me.”

Tito shrugs, then takes a sip of the drink from the glass. He coughs, winces, sets the glass on the counter and begins to turn red as his hands go to his throat and he cries, “Oh, damn, that burns!”

The Timonae quickly grabs the bottle from the floor and looks at it. “What the hell is wrong with you? This isn’t the one I put the acid in… And what the fuck happened to your accent?” He says, looking a little confused.

Niesa’s head jerks toward Tito as he suddenly sounds like a person.

Tito blinks, and then his eyes get wide. He tilts his head, staring curiously at Askeboz. “Aw heff naw eedaw woot yawr tookan aboat.”

Askeboz’s eyes narrow a little, though he doesn’t seem terribly worked up. “No no no… You do that on purpose, you little dick. What is that, like a show business thing?”

Niesa stares at Tito, eyes narrowed and lip slightly curled.

Tito clears his throat, then takes his drink and wanders off toward a table.

Niesa watches the ship producer sit, then slowly turns back to Askeboz. “I’ve been pretending to understand that prick for a year now,” she says shaking her head. “Son of a bitch.”

“I’m on to you.” The Timonae mutters as Tito walks off. His attention shifts over to Niesa once more. “What a mind-job. Next time, he is getting the one with the acid.” Askeboz comments softly, then tops off his glass.

By Brody

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