Previous Next

Looking for Work

Posted on Sat Sep 3rd, 2022 @ 3:28pm by Teague Harrington

Mission: The Xiao Jin Chronicles
Location: Eavesdown Dock, Persephone
Timeline: Mission Day 39 at 2200

The job was to stand by the door and look menacing while the whores draped themselves over one baichi after another. The house was known as Mama Jax's or Mama J's and the proprietress, an older woman who was nearly as wide as she was tall, held court each night at a corner table. With a head for business and a sharp mind, they had become acquaintances and later, friends which was why Teague came and did guard duty whenever he was on Persephone. While it wasn't a rule exactly, he believed in earning what he needed for room and board rather than touch his savings.

Dressed in black, Mama sat at her usual table with a drink in front of her that was never any stronger than dark tea; her clientele knew to see her first. Only when the money had changed hands and Mama was satisfied as to their character, would she gesture for one of the girls to come over. They were all named for flowers, her girls, and respectful. Mama was seldom wrong in her assessments, both of the girls and of the customers, though now and again, she'd look over at Teague for to see what he thought.

Mama had rules when it came to running her business and she had told Teague early on in their friendship how she wanted things done. 'Err on the side of caution' and 'Take the fight outside.' Now, looking menacing for eight hours is dull work even if it was paying for his room and Mama wasn't above getting a little extra for free because she was at heart a very practical woman and 'business was business'.

A man approached. Lean, wearing worn clothing with just the faint whiff of 'ain't-been-washed-in-a-week', and a scruffy beard, with a bit of a shuffle to his step. Typical client but ... wrong somehow. Not that it made sense or anything but Teague was one to trust his instincts and something about him didn't ring true. Mr. Not Right spoke the way he should, in a mix of English and Chinese, all idioms and colorful curse words, and had that hungry look they all had when they came in. He should have been fine and yet, he wasn't so when he caught Mama's eye, he shook his head. She nodded her agreement and sent the man on his way. Teague made sure that he actually went on his way and didn't hover around with the intention of causing trouble.

And that, sad to say, was the highlight of the evening. Still, Teague came away with enough coin to pay for lodging after turning down a discount on Lily and a bigger one on Daisy. Teague wasn't interested and to be fair, neither one looked disappointed; they were professionals, and the nights were long. He kissed Mama on the cheek and headed out into the night.

Persephone had cities that were as pristine and cold as any core world, but Eavesdown was a curious mix of sleeze and Alliance sensibilities which presented challenges. Between jobs as he was, he needed Elam and the only place to find the old Browncoat was here.

If you were on the right side of the war and Elam knew you from back when he served with the Independents', he would make his services available for a bit of food or a bottle when you had the coin. Untraceable communications and to Teague's mind that was worth more than a bit of food or a decent bottle, but Elam was Elam. He needed very little and hinted, now and again, of other clients whom he used to pay his rent and all. He'd put out feelers when he arrived and thought it was worth checking before he turned in. Then too, Elam always had something cooking on the stove and a free meal was a free meal.

The building looked ready to be torn down but if you looked close enough, you could see that it was more disguise than reality. Teague walked around back and rapped three times on the back down, counted to three, and rapped twice more. He heard the bolt slide back as Elam opened the door, shotgun pointing down and away. "You got messages waiting," he said in a voice that was somewhere between a growl and a whisper.

Teague handed over a good bottle of whiskey and entered with an appreciative sniff. "Whatever you're cooking tonight smells a bit like heaven, old man."

"Hmph," Elam said. He took the bottle, grunted his satisfaction, and began setting the table. "Best hurry or the food's going to get cold."

He sat down to listen and was surprised to see Poe's face come on screen. "Teague, got a proposition for you if you have the time ..."

 

Previous Next

labels_subscribe