"We have... a problem."
The Baroness rolled her eyes. "You may have a problem, but you've been paid handsomely. I expect delivery, or there will be..." the faintest trace of a wicked smirk slithered onto her face "...penalties."
"There is the matter of safety, madam. The... item is more difficult to handle than anticipated. If we could discuss—“
“There will be no discussion. Off with you.”
He withdrew to the anteroom, where Yon waited.
“Fine. We can get the beast here, the chains should last a few more hours. After that...” Yon shrugged.
He looked up at the warehouse wall for a long time, taking it in. Eventually, he rested the shotgun on his shoulder, We might just make it though this.
"This isn't fucking science fiction, Marjorie."
She gestured to the giant insect embedded into the wall. "Looks pretty much like fucking science fiction to me, Brett."
“Would you like to play?” The Yourian pointed to an open seat.
He looked at the table: L-shaped cards, three types of tokens, small figurines for each player, and several small wooden boxes. “I’m afraid I don’t know how to play…”
The Yourian threw back its enormous head and laughed. “I will teach you. We will play for drink chits. You have drink chits?”
“I think so… but mine say ‘human’, I would want you to poison yourself by—”
“Don’t be silly, the bartender system will exchange them; there are fail-safes. This is a Polixaci ship, no one ever dies.”
She got up, carefully made her way to the window in the dark, looked out, sighed.
“Any lights anywhere?” Six hours. Phones dead, no internet anyway, can’t read, can’t watch tv. Already had sex twice. No air-con. He was bored and uncomfortable.
“There’s, like, a glow over past the river. But no lights. At least there’s a full moon.”
“I can’t believe it’s taking this long.” He rolled over onto his back, starfished to see if it would cool him off more.
“There’s people on the street.”
“What? In the dark? Doing what?”
“Just… standing. Or walking really slowly.”
“Shake it off.”
His eyes were closed, and he tasted blood and dust. There was cheering, and booing, and various shouts of encouragement and support, mostly for his opponent. But her voice was still in his head, so the spell was still working.
“Shake it off. You still have the knife.”
He sat up, spat. He could hear the Jogor’s meaty growl off to the left, and then behind, circling, stalking. It could leap at any time, from any direction. “I think it’s over.”
“When I say, roll to your left, and hold up the knife where your head was.”