Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Coruscant Noir

I hate Coruscant when it rains. Say what you want about a planet-wide city, I still stay it rains harder here than on the dankest backwater jungle planet in the galaxy. No leaves to slow things down, not to mention artificially generated air mixed with natural humidity is a terrible combination. Can’t even light a death stick, and boy do I need a death stick just now.
I put my back to the wall of the alley and look down at the blaster in my hand. BlasTech DL-44, slightly modified to have a hair-trigger, but also a safety to make it a little more street-legal. The latter mod was really to keep me from doing something stupid with it, for all the good it did me now.
I breathe out and realize how cold it’s gotten. I can see my breath and in the equatorial region I where I lurk—can’t really call what I do living—that is almost unheard of. I glance skyward and let the rain patter away the sweat and grime on my face. The drops a frigid, almost painfully so, but it is a welcome respite from… everything.
Abject fear followed by abject terror followed by abject adrenaline leads to sweaty armpits, forehead, and a near pulmonary episode if you are prone to such things. Thus far, I am not, and more is the pity. All that Academy physical conditional means exactly nothing fifteen years later with a black-spotted lung and a mid-level paunch running to fat. I am still sucking in breath like oxygen is at a premium and I am fresh out of credits.
I glance down for the first time at the corpse. It’s a dug, armed with a specially modified automatic blaster that might once have been from the BlasTech series but now more closely resembled an over/under blaster rifle/detonator launcher. Not that it did him any good in the end, though it sure as hell went a long way to scaring the exercise out of me. The dug had squeezed off a trio of shots from reflex alone as he toppled over at the mouth of the alley, but they had hit the filthy permacrete walls of the adjacent building leaving barely noticeable scorch marks.
In the not-so-distant distance I can hear the whining klaxon of an approaching Republic Pacifier Cruiser. Already, I could see the swaggering arrogance, the casual indifference of the Coruscant Peace Officers as they stepped out of their modified speeder. The barely registered disgust as one or the other of them either recognized me on sight or my name from the biometrics scan that would soon follow.
“Daxon Rill,” one of them will say, drawing my name out slowly and with the subtle tone of someone naming something sticky and loathsome. I will respond with something ill-advised and sarcastic. The safety of my training also did not keep my mouth from saying anything stupid. Then they will ask the inevitable question. The question I would ask were our places reversed.
I could play dumb, but that would be tantamount with lying and if that were the case, I might as well just hand them a fiction for all the good it would do me. I snort aloud as the Pacified Cruiser blocked the alley. I drop the blaster to the ground and drop to my knees, placing my hands on my head. They would ask me to do that anyway, though the fact that I preempted them might earn me a quick takedown face first onto the permacrete with my hands restrained behind my back.
As they step out of the cruiser with half again the imagined swagger I had put upon them, I smile grimly to myself. No, honesty would be the best policy here, as the evidence would quickly show through any lie I might concoct. I was never very good at lying in any case.
No, there was no way around it. I had indeed shot first.

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