Parker's Gamble (1)
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                                               Parker's Gamble


I looked up at the grey overcast sky and frowned. It was always grey and overcast in the city, but today something felt different, off. I shrugged my shoulders and tried to shake it. It wouldn’t go. 

  My names Parker, I work for the Outer Rim Detective Agency out of their Myrec 5 office. I’m a ninth member, meaning I have just enough seniority to take the cases I want, not enough to avoid the trouble when the shit hits the fan as it usually does. Myrec 5, in case you were wondering is a commercial hub planet that had been discovered by the First Settlers, those beings that had risked everything when their planets star Sol had decided to go supernova and set out to find a new planet to live on. The quadrant of space called the Outer Rim didn’t even exist when they’d found the planet spinning alone in space with a pretty advanced civilization of self-replicating androids running the show. It hadn’t taken long for the First Settlers to bend the Myrecian’s to their will. Now the few that remain functional are nothing more than figure pieces for the FS Corporation, the entity that the settlers had grown to become and which controls most of known space. Like the Outer Rim. Technically the boundaries for the Rim as those of us who live on any of the thirty-thousand or so planets that make it up call it, extends all the way across the known galaxy. The reality is that it is constantly growing as the Corporation expands and discovers new worlds which have little in the way of choice when it comes to joining the League of Planets, the supposed organization which oversees all interplanetary commerce and interaction. I say supposed because they are really just an arm of the Corporation, like everything else in the galaxy. That’s a story for another time.

  As I said I looked up at the sky, my Cryrillian skin going from its normal light blue to a dark green as I took in the bleakness I saw above me. Something in my gut told me it was going to be one of those days that made me wish I’d never come out of my cocoon.  I flipped the collar of my overcoat up to keep out the breeze and turned away from the grayness of it all. I kept walking, ignoring the people around me and doing my best to keep the slime from the city’s streets from my shoes. They were the best that I could afford at the moment, which wasn’t saying much and I didn’t feel like watching the sludge burn a hole though them like it had with my last pair.

  I heard the cry of distress as I stepped from the curb and walked around a waiting auto-cab, It was high-pitched and terrified. A woman’s. I looked around and saw that as usual the population could care less about what was going on with others. Just my luck, I thought. A city of thirteen million and I’m the only one who gives a damn. That’s my problem, I’m too nice a guy. My mother always says so. The scream came again, from the right. Somehow it sounded more panicked than before.

  Shit, I grumbled turning down the grimy road. I weaved my way through the sitting traffic as fast as I could. Whoever she was, her cries for help were becoming more desperate the closer I got. Sap that I am I put on an extra burst of speed, which for a Cryrillian means I hauled ass faster then a Galactic Olympian in the hundred mile dash. That’s why they won’t let us play in their games, we’re too fast. Anyway, I leapt up onto the hood of an auto-cab and kicked off, clearing a line of three C.O.P. cruisers and landed on the sidewalk. Her screams were coming from an alley near the end of the block. I pulled my pulser pistol from the holster on my hip and went in.

  The light was even grayer in the alley, but I could make out refuse bins lined up along the dripping walls. At the far end I could see three shapes, hulking things in ill-fitting suits that had their backs to me. The screams were coming from in front of them. I crept forward, not sure of what I was getting myself into. If I’d known then what I know now I would have turned around and left. But, hey foresights not my strong suit. That’s why I’m a detective and not a dream-scanner.

  “Where is the Omojdari?” I heard one of the thugs demand as I got into position behind a refuse canister. The smell of Chamian Gorka from inside it reminded me that I hand’t eaten yet.

  I pushed the thought aside, hoping my stomach would follow and not decide to start talking.

  The thugs shifted and I caught a flash of purple skin as a voice, the one that I’d heard screaming for help started talking.

  “Please, you’ve got to believe me, the Omojdari isn’t here.”

  “Don’t give us none a your slag. We know yous got it, and our boss wants it.”

  I glanced at the speaker and felt both my hearts sink. He, as well as his two companions were Nafarinian’s, large toad like offworlders known more for their ties to organized crime and the black market than they were for their manners. That could only mean one thing: Nasha Defoni, the city’s crime boss had sent these goons. My day went down hill from there.

  Again I saw a flash of purple skin as the Nafarian’s shifted. “But I don’t have it. It won’t be on planet until just before the auction. He can bid on it then just like everyone else,” the woman’s voice pleaded with them to understand. 

  The goons chuckled, a sick, wet sound and moved in. “But he ain’t everybody else toots.”

 I saw the very large hands begin to move toward the fronts of jackets and decided to act. Stupid me. I shot the one closest to me fist, burning a fist sized hole in his back. He screamed, stumbling into his partners as he went down. By that point I was already taking aim at the one in the middle. He moved fast for a walking tub of mucous, I gotta give him that. He even got off a shot at me which seared into the wall behind my head, but I was faster. I took him high up in the chest. He dropped like a stone. His buddy leapt behind a container and started returning fire while that high-pitched wail went up from the dame again.

  I took careful aim and let loose. The blast caught the Nafarrinian in his fat hand. I watched as his gun clattered to the slimed alley floor as the wounded appendage pulled back out of view. I looked over at the dame and nearly forgot myself she was that beautiful. Deep purple skin draped a rail thin body with boobs that wouldn’t stop. Large doe eyes looked over at me, pleading for help. What can I say, I’m a sucker for a girl in distress. The fact that she was a Vargian didn’t hurt matters any either. Every fool in the solar system knew about Vargian women. They were said to be the...Continue Reading

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