The young gangster looked auspiciously around and tightly squeezed the grip of his new pistol. It was a particle-beam gun he’d nicked off the corpse of a not-so-lucky chum, and it was still sticky with said chum’s hot orange blood. That was the nature of this place; one star-minute you were alive and mashing your victim’s face in the floor-plating, the next you yourself was lying there instead, and very much un-alived. The ex-mining asteroid base MGZ-34, or how it was better known among the local criminal contingent ‘The Cold Pocket’, was home to many a gang. And sadly, the more the galactic years dragged on, the more “fresh” bodies had accumulated in its damp tunnels, full of the now useless, scrapped mining equipment. He was gang-less as of today; ditched by his oh-so-tough and soon-to-be great and on top of all things buddies, the young man decided to hide in one of the side tunnels and jump the first fool that passed by. How hard could this even be? You just wave your gun menacingly and demand all the stuff that they had, like decats, spare weapons, clothes, and then profit!
Soon his patient wait was rewarded by the unnerving presence of two tall, gray cloaked men, who, despite their surroundings moved towards him at a leisurely, casual pace. At first glance, none of them seem to pack any heat. At second glance too. The young would-be robber was perplexed but that was just for a little bit. Perhaps, he thought, they were some peace-loving idiots, tourists even, who despite all the warnings decided to visit the ‘Pocket’.
“Even better,” – he said to himself – “I won’t share their stuff with nobody else!”
The two moved even closer when suddenly a gang, in which he instantly recognized his old buddies, jumped them! He was about to move in too when something, perhaps his long forgotten, deeply asleep sense of self-preservation made the young man stay concealed in the shadows. His old gang consisted of ten vicious criminals who (that was what they claimed at least), were on death roll in six different star systems. They waved their guns menacingly (just as he intended to do so himself, by the way) and quickly surrounded the two men.
“Alright you fruitloops, give it up, all of it! I want to see decats, guns and all other valuables on the ground, NOW!”
His boss, of course, had the biggest gun and repeatedly stuffed its nozzle in each of their faces, trying to look as scary and intimidating as he possibly could, while the rest of his gang started laughing and cussing, mocking their soon-to-be victims. He heard a loud sigh coming from the shorter man, as he looked around visibly with increasing annoyance, and then complained to the other:
“We gotta be inconspicuous you said. No weapons you said. We won’t even need any you said. This is the first, and the last time I ever listen to you!”
“For the forty-ninth fucking time, I consider this place to be another club’s territory! We must show proper respect, and therefore will negotiate our way in and out, not enter kick-in-the-door style, all guns blazing. I can’t even believe that it is me who says this, but we must walk softly ere’, you bloodthirsty, government hit-man!”
“Obviously, I am not going to destroy the entire station, you fool! Certainly, you are not implying that anyone would even notice these idiots’ absence!? Sides’, disruptors leave barely any traces whatsoever.”
It was a scene that the young bandit would never have imagined being witness of. Both men completely ignored the gang who surrounded them and had multiple weapons trained at their heads, still they did it almost naturally, in a fashion most insouciant. So much so that his ex-boss’s face had changed colors a couple of times already, all the while his supposed victims exchanged pleasantries.
“Hey... you don’t get it, don’t you? You are all surrounded like, and we gots all the guns. If ya don’t do what we say, you gets killed, see? Gib me da...”
The boss wasn’t able to finish his last word because he suddenly felt shortness of breath. No, he, and everyone else in his ex-gang were literally suffocating! The young bandit watched flabbergasted while one of the two men, the one that the other called a “government hit man”, closed his fingers forming a fist. For a few short, terrible seconds he could only hear the agonizing wrestles of his old gang, their arms and legs flapping against the floor, mouths helplessly gasping for air. Air that the telepath had denied them. The young man was looking at Death – he was but a dozen feet away from his would be killer. Though the end, strangely enough, never came, instead the second man turned around, and with eyes covered by a pair of strange goggles, waved him to come closer. It was an order that suffered no refusal and he stumbled, legs all shaky, out of the now useless shadows.
“Look at im’, just look! How dare you whine and moan about your precious disruptor, when the wimpy fucks can’t even stand straight!” – The taller man poked his chest with a meaty finger and he heard a loud snapping sound. He tripped over his own legs and fell immediately on the ground, his head smacking hard at the floor-plating. The young gangster’s chest felt like it was stabbed by a piece of megasteel rebar, and he most definitely had some broken ribs. Coughing blood, the unfortunate fellow barely managed to pick himself from the floor and again stood up, now facing the steely-eyed gaze of the second man. He pissed his pants. That telepath had no eyes but pits of molten fire and reflected within them he saw the plains of Hell itself.
“See? Stand up straight when I talk to you tosser! Yes, straighten up your back, legs apart so that you have a more stable stance. And what is it with that gun?! Switch off the safety lever you dumb fuck! How could you rob someone, anyone like that? What if you need to shoot em’ dead, eh?”
The burly man corrected his stance, personality switched off the safety of his pistol, and then shoved it back in his, sweaty, trembling hands. The second man knelt, and after curiously looking at, reached for one of his now dead gangster friends handguns.
“Oh no, you didn’t! Keep your grimy, government claws away from these guns.”
Both of them walked away still loudly arguing, leaving him alone at the corridor intersection, warm piss forming a small puddle beside his leg. Some minutes later he was still holding his gun when a couple of new faces emerged from one of the other corridors. They saw him and their eyes sparkled; suddenly he realized that all around him on the floor rolled the corpses of ten gangsters! Despite the sticky dampness that he felt and uneasy from looking deep into the telepath’s eyes, the young criminal was still that, a criminal. Seizing the moment, he quickly turned around and screamed at the approaching new-bloods:
“Who wants to join my gang?”
This is a short promo excerpt from my third book "Treads Of Vengeance".
Did you like this alternative history universe? You can read more in my self-published books on Amazon:
Twin Suns Of Carrola - Starshatter book 2
Treads Of Vengeance - Starshatter book 3
Von Braun's Gambit - Starshatter book 4
Secrets Of Lothoria - Starshatter book 5