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The Final Dawn by T W M Ashford

The Final Dawn by T W M Ashford

Author:T W M Ashford
Language: eng
Format: azw3
Published: 2020-06-30T04:00:00+00:00


13

Showdown on Haldeir-B

Jack nursed his third complimentary cup of water, having downed the second immediately upon returning to the Drygg bar. Each tasted even better than the last.

The longer he sat there by the counter, the less severe his headache became. He hoped it wasn't heatstroke. He doubted there was a decent hospital for lightyears.

His skin felt all sticky. His hair clung to his forehead. And he was pretty sure his sweat had formed into pools inside the legs of his spacesuit.

He hadn't spoken to anyone since he got back from the mine – not the bartender (aside from to ask for more water), nor the Drygg couple still sitting and drinking together. After what he'd seen going on down there, he didn't particularly feel like making conversation.

Neither had any more automata come to say goodbye. A quick glance over in the direction of the Adeona told Jack they were no closer to leaving the moon than he was. On the contrary – if her wild gesticulations were anything to go by, Rogan was more frustrated than ever.

He felt like he should go help… but what on earth did he know about disrupter mines and skip drives? Besides, they'd made it perfectly clear they didn't want him getting in the way.

Thirty-seven different bottles of brightly coloured liquid stood in a line on the shelf behind the bar. He knew because he'd counted them all. Twice.

He tapped his fingers against the counter and started to count them again. The bar could have done with some music. Once this headache cleared, he was going to get really bored.

Something hard and blunt jabbed into his side.

Jack looked down. The blood ran out of his face.

A gun was digging into the soft, elasticated material that sealed the two plastic halves of his spacesuit together. A very fancy gun, for that matter. It resembled an old revolver, complete with rotating chamber and hammer. Although its colour was a dark sort of silver, it was carved with blue alien runes and made from a material Jack had never seen before.

A gloved hand held the gun. It looked… normal.

Jack raised his head to look his potential assailant in the eye. Much to his surprise, the man had two of them. They were the usual size and shape, with striking blue irises. His jaw was chiseled and lined with tired stubble. He had ears. Normal ears.

He was so familiar and ordinary, Jack almost had a heart attack.

"Are you a human?" he whispered, for a moment forgetting about the gun pointed under his ribs. "From, you know, Earth?"

"Never heard of it," said Ode, speaking out the corner of a sneer. His breath smelled of old tobacco. "Don't speak unless I tell you. And don't lie either, unless dripping from the walls is your idea of a good time."

Jack tried to swallow but his throat was too dry. He turned to face the bar and nodded quickly.

"Good," said Ode.

The Drygg bartender wandered over, paying neither of them much attention.

"Hey there," he said, polishing another metal cup.



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