Thanks to everyone who contributed — looks like I missed some edits and will have to go back and redo some things, but this may work well.
I will post again when the next chapter is up for perusal, and try to wait until I’m completely done this time. I will also leave it up for two days before taking it down and making final changes from there.
A link to the draft (when it’s in progress) is now on the left-side menu bar.
As a bonus….since everyone like the Odd Couple…
Kai Leng stared at the redolent form of his partner, Theo Pellam, currently passed out drunk in the worst bar on Therum. The bar itself was a typical hole in the wall — flimsy walls of plascrete held together with straps of scrap metal, a scavenged holovid in one corner and a long bar of any number of materials pressed into service to deal purported drinks from.
The air was thick with cigar smoke and the sticky-sweet fragrance of red sand, the tang of cheap cleaners and a faintly disgusting whiff of something like fish that Kai was trying very hard not to identify.
Damn the Illusive Man for not providing him with some kind of nose filters.
The condition of the bar — at least six miners in various states of severe injury, two more thrown through the armaglass windows, and several tired, pleased looking women of dubious vocation let Kai know what had happened. As usual, Theo had gotten carried away. At least there was little blood — although on reflection, several dark splotches here and there would fit that bill as well, although they looked too old to be of recent vintage.
The Illusive Man had tasking for them, and Kai had been forced to hunt down Theo in order to get the ship’s engines going. Wasting half his morning in every filthy dive on Therum wasn’t how he wanted to spend his day, not to mention being propositioned by any number of sex workers that he would have not touched even in a full environmental suit.
With a sigh, he entered, keeping one hand on his sword. One of the prostitutes, a statuesque blond with a level of chest augmentation that must have required cybernetic spinal implants to support, gave him a salacious smile. “Oh, here for your friend?”
Leng sighed. He’d need hand sanitizer after this, he was sure. With a moue of distaste, he grabbed Theo by the feet, dragging the half-clothed form, still reeking of cheap booze, along the filthy metal decking. “You could say that. I presume no law enforcement showed up for this fracas?”
A second whore next to the first laughed, her voice gritty — no doubt from Therum’s filthy air. “Police? Here? Sweets, ain’t no cops on Therum, just the mine security types, and unless someone is stealing ore they couldn’t care less if you knifed someone in the street.”
What an appealing idea, he thought to himself, as he continued to drag Theo. “Tempting, but too sloppy. If he has any outstanding bills, his TTL is 659S-G, Feel free to bill him for whatever you like.”
Dragging the fool down the steps and making sure his head smashed on each one, he was pleased to have Theo finally wake up and jerk himself free. “I dunno nothin’ about no damned cats…”
Kai arched an eyebrow, before noticing a nearby chemical suppression station. With a hard shove, he deposited Theo into the shallow metal depression and triggered the shower system used by mine workers to rinse off caustic materials in case of an accident.
The water was, of course, icy cold, and Kai’s grin as Theo howled and spluttered to full consciousness was vicious.