There’s no ho-ho-ho here

War is coming. An all out, smack down of genetically created monsters and the brave men, women, and aliens of the Imperium. Having done my share of fighting in a few wars, I can honestly say I’m glad I’m not with these folks as they get ready to throw down.

But before that happens, we need to slip back and find out what’s going on with our favorite green friend, Leggis Fint. If you have enjoyed this story, I invite you to swing by my website and see what else interests you. https://www.amazon.com/-/e/B005HP3EOW

Enjoy, friends.

THIRTY-FOUR

Vengeance

Dehydrated and exhausted from moving under Helscape’s suns, Leggis Fint and Kreegin Faul stumbled into Minion. Their journey lasted the better part of two days, and the sole focus for their survival relied on revenge. Passersby avoided the pair, afraid of disease and rot. Fint smiled at how disgusting they must seem. Their clothes were torn from the firefight, and their skin had been baked and dried beyond the point of cracking.

Fint knew his lips were scorched, and his fair skin was peeling terribly under the constant exposure. They’d done their best to move in the late hours just before twilight and dawn, but the dangers in the night forced them into hiding. The first night, they had been ambushed by a desert spider with legs five meters long and a huge plump body covered in spiked hair. The spider had managed to wound Kreegin in the upper thigh before they were able to shoot enough of its eyes out to make it retreat into its den. A grenade had seen to the rest.

Once inside the rooms they’d been staying in, the mercenaries fished out first-aid kits and began a painful healing process. Fint’s immediate concerns were simple enough. Once they mended Kreegin’s leg wound and killed off infections, they were going to find out what happened to the third man of their party. Imperium security was going to be tight, if for no other reason than that they couldn’t find either mercenary’s body in the rubble of Reeves.

Fint had a feeling that the little worm Menzel was keeping his other man alive as collateral until a permanent solution presented itself. Three mercenaries known for their viciousness weren’t exactly the men you wanted against you. Now all they had to do was figure out how to break onto an Imperium base and steal a prisoner away from the jailers. Fint didn’t like the prospects of it all, but it sure made for an interesting life.

He’d just sat down and propped his feet up on the table to sort things out when sleep hit him hard. Kreegin finished his fruit and let the man sleep. It wasn’t until dawn they finally woke up.

“Are you sure this is going to work?” Kreegin asked as he sidestepped around a pile of something he’d rather not identify.

Fint shrugged. “Got a better idea?”

“We could always go in shooting everything that moves.”

“That’s what I like about you, my friend. The two of us against a few hundred combat-hardened Imperium infantry should do quite nicely,” Fint agreed. “So, the odds are slightly in their favor.”

“Point,” the mercenary conceded. “If we are to have a shot at getting Kelg out alive, we need to blend in. Camouflage, my man. That’s it.”

“And just where are we supposed to get uniforms from? Call me crazy, but I’m not seeing a lot of prosperity here.”

Fint laughed. “These people are no different from any other backwater world. I’m sure there’ll be peddlers and two-bit hustlers aplenty once we reach the market district. You know, this kind of reminds me of that forest planet, what was its name?”

“Kolth.”

“I don’t know how you can remember all the places we’ve been like that.” Kreegin spit. “I should. That’s where I lost three toes.”

The sounds of merriment and trade washed over them as they entered the market district. Recent lack of fear had led to a somewhat booming economy. Fint wondered how they would react if the Imperium lost. Beings of all different sizes, shapes and colors mingled in thick crowds, ignoring and acknowledging merchants and petty hustlers at their own discretion. This part of Minion was usually run by the lower class; in fact, most of the wealthier citizens warned others to stay away. Leggis Fint didn’t see anything wrong with being here, especially if it led them where they needed to go.

Pickpockets and thieves lifted wallets at random, and a host of woman stood on balconies or in doorways trying to sway unsuspecting men into their beds. He couldn’t blame them for trying. Everybody had to make a living. One woman in particular caught Fint’s eye, and he guided his friend over to her. She was a pretty woman if you enjoyed a normal human. Her features were plain but striking in the sun. She had a slender form with just the right sized breasts. Fint absorbed her long, golden-tanned legs posed from under her slit skirt and found himself wishing for more time to take care of personal business.

“Now, what would a pair of rough, handsome men like yourselves be doing standing here and talking to me?” She smiled as they stopped a few paces away.

“We’re just looking for a little bit of fun before a business matter,” Fint replied with a gleaming smile.

“Honey,” she cooed, “I’m all about fun and business.”

“Lucky for us, then. Got somewhere where we can make this private?”

She curled a finger and whispered, “Follow me.”

The mercenaries followed at a safe distance as she turned down a shadow-filled alley. She stopped far enough away that no one would see them and leaned against the wall in a way that displayed her body to her advantage.

“Now, what kind of fun are you thinking about?”

Fint cleared his throat and said, “We need information.”

She was confused but played it off. “I think you have the wrong girl, baby.”

“Judging from the size of that blaster on your hip, I don’t think so,” Fint said. His was already in his hand. The hum of Kreegin’s rifle charging echoed off the walls. “Care to be serious now?”

“What do you want?” she asked with a snarl.

“We need Imperium uniforms and ID badges to get on post.”

“What makes you think I have anything to do with that?”

Fint smiled. “Why else would you have a gun? We know about the underground here, and I’m betting on you working for them. Am I right?”

Her eyes leveled in a menacing glare. “You’re good.”

“So I’ve been told. Now if you would hurry up. We don’t have much time.”

“Follow me, but nothing funny. You have no idea who’s watching you.”

 

“Just knock once and go inside,” she told them, “and he doesn’t take kindly to weapons being flashed in his face.”

Kreegin shouldered his rifle but kept his hand hooked on the strap. It would only take a second for him to bring the rifle down and fire it like this. Fint knocked on the door. He turned to ask the woman another question, but she was already gone. This didn’t smell like an ambush, but a good mercenary didn’t live long by foregoing caution. The door swung quietly inward, allowing the pair entrance.

3 Comments on “There’s no ho-ho-ho here

  1. Who is behind the door? friend? foe? Or someone who wants a favor in return for the uniforms and ids? hmmm. Can’t wait to find out! deb

  2. It isn’t Santa for sure. Gee. don’t stop now, it’s like eating one potato chip. This is going to be good, I can feel it in my bones.

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