The outpost was teeming with bodies. It was difficult to find a clear path through most of the corridors. The sprawling main levels extended into a labyrinth of offices, establishments, quarters, docks and public areas that was nearly impossible to navigate. The traffic was so heavy you had no choice but to crush yourself against the surging masses in order to make any kind of headway towards your destination. On the lower levels, the walkways were still mostly full, but at least you didn’t have to worry if that strange hand on your thigh was trying to catch a feel or rob you blind… as much.
Outposts are colossal space stations built in null security space by sovereignty holding alliances. They can house thousands of pilots, hundreds of corporations and an unfathomable amount of ships and other assorted accouterments necessary for a comfortable existence out in the wilds of conquerable space. Even as grand as this structure off plant V is… the amount of people contained made it seem like a tiny village encased in glass and gleaming metals at times. Especially since The Mongrels made it their business to know exactly who was on their home turf at all times.
Signs of the strange society built upon the grief and suffering of outsiders were ubiquitous. Off in one of the alcoves three men grinned as they looked towards a Neo Com screen. A holo of a titan spun slowly at the table with the three crooks as a naïve highsec dweller watched what was supposedly his new titan class ship while he was in the process of being robbed blind. In the corridors, holo-screens and posters boasted propaganda of all sorts. A particular one caught Ary’s eye. It was a large mural of sorts set against a red background with smoke rising from planet side as a hordes of rifters and other frigates filled the sky while off to the right Chariman Mao watched with a murderous glee; superimposed fire burning in his eyes.
“Stirring.” The word was a low mummer from her lips. There was a tinge of humor filled her tone and a smirk pulled the corner of her lips.
She did her best to blend into the mix of thugs, hustlers and killers that made up the population of VFK-IV. An easy gait carried her down the greenish hued hall. The faint thud of her heavy industrial boots echoed slightly. Dark eyes stayed forward, her gaze laced with a hardened edge that gave her a stronger air of purpose. The odd set of eyes would still follow her as she moved towards her destination. It was hard to tell if they actually caught her “New Kid” scent or if her own paranoia was playing tricks on her. Whatever the truth was, it was soon wiped away and replaced with a moment of self annoyance.
In a split second the room spun. Ary found herself grabbed by her hips and pulled backwards in a single quick motion. Instinctively her knees bent and her center of gravity shifted forcing her assilant to loosen his grasp. Free from the grip, she crouched with heels raised and the balls of her feet pressed to the floor. Hair dyed the color of fire and brimstone splayed in the air as she spun. Her body spun 180 degrees to face the aggressor. Simultaneously her right hand reached across her torso. The palm of hand landed on her pistol and her fingers to wrap around its grip. The weapon drawn from its hiding place between her forearm and breast and pointed to the source of her new found distraction. Safety off.
As the two stood in the middle of the corridor, face to face and staring down each other's barrels, they failed to notice that everything around them stopped. There were no footsteps, no sounds of conversations. Simply silence as the on lookers waited to see which one would pull the trigger first.
They were locked in a “Matari Stand-off.” Two combatants and two pistols. Both of which were aimed squarely at center of their opponent's forehead. A killshot was guaranteed, but only by which one of them had the quickest reflex. The mix of adrenaline and anxiety surged through their veins as they stood in the center of the slowly forming circle. Their senses were hyper aware taking in the feel indentations and grooves of the pistol grips to the faint mummer of voices making impromptu bets. Fellow Mongrels circled them like vultures waiting the sweet release of sudo-death, blood and brain matter.
“Someone shoot or move it along.” A slim built security officer with ratting brown hair broadcasted his directive as he pushed to the front of the crowd. His expression was unsurprised if not on the borderline of annoyed. He paused to take a bite of a haphazardly created sandwich clutched in to his left hand. A piece of lettuce clung to the corner of his mouth as another piece fell to the floor. “You’re causing a safety issue by blocking the thoroughfare.” The spitting of chewed food as he talked only added to his authority.
“The lady and I are trying to have a moment here.” The masculine voice attached to the hand holding the pistol aimed at Ary’s head was smoothing, evening charming. A faint laugh slipped past his current targets lips. “It isn’t often we find ourselves able to connect so abruptly.”
“Really I don’t give a fuck what you two do. What I do give a fuck about...” Another bite taken and the guard’s speech became muffled as his words struggled to bypass the wad of meat, cheese and bread that blocked their path. “Is my boss, who’s going to come ride my ass about a traffic block in sector 34H. Now if you two need a private moment, I hear the Gallente Suite on the top desk is nice. Decent rental fee, heart shaped bed and the cleaning service is included since you two are in to the kinky shit…. That said. Shoot it or move it.”
“Some just have no idea how to properly woo a lady. It is nice to see you again Ob.”
Both guns were de-charged and placed back inside their respective holsters. A smile as bright as VFK-IV’s yellow star cast a brilliant glow over the woman’s features as her arms wrapped around her once assailant's neck. The affection was returned as Ob’s arms wrapped around her waist and took her up in a brief spin.
The almost gun battle was nothing more than two old friends reuniting. The security officer was satisfied as the onlookers started to break up and move away. A small scuffle broke out between a heavily tattooed Matari and a weasely little bookie who was currently pinned against a wall shouting ‘No refunds on bets’ as his legs kicked searching for solid ground. Two slightly less disgruntled Mongrels growled and purposely bumped into the two in an effort to relieve some of their frustration.
“Is it just me or have the Mongrels gotten a little more hostile since the last time I’ve been here? I guess a lot has changed since the last great war?”
“Eh… don’t mind them Sunshine.” Ob’s easy going and relaxed demeanor never failed. “The Chairman’s been cracking down on blue on blue so the locals get a little excited at the hint of action.”
A distant crack and thud caught their attention before Ary could get out whatever smart ass remark about the Chairman she had was spoken. The distraction was probably for the best considering the amount ears in the hall. The Brutor had gotten his ISK back. The bookie sat on the floor slumped unconscious against the wall. A trail of blood leaked from his freshly broken nose and drool from his lip.
“I see the rules of Mongrel-Fucking are still clearly in effect.”
“Clearly.” Ob’s arm moved up to wrap around her shoulder. “Come on. I’ll give you the grand tour and then I want to spend a some time catching up with my BFF.”
“Best Femme Fatal?” A cheeky smile cast in her direction along with a wink to truly add emphasis.
“I’m aware, but I’ll take it as a compliment.”