Aurion Reflex

When Gaorik’s rented shuttle transport banked into view long before it should have been capable of if he had not been watching from nearby Aurion was not surprised. She has long suspected her ‘broker’ likes to keep tabs on her during jobs by being in closer proximity than he would ever be willing to admit and yet this time he has proven it beyond a shadow of a doubt. At least that is her thought as the shuttle concludes its landing procedures. Soon the ramp will drop and doors will part to allow Gaorik and whomever else he has with him inside to disembark onto the platform where she and the restrained Cinlo fought.

Yet, it was not until after the conclusion of their fight and her placing the call to Gaorik that she noted the damage to her helmet’s visor. Under other circumstances she would leave it sat in place but with Gaorik being the issuer of this contract she feels compelled to remove it in his presence. If she doesn’t he’ll only query the damage. Whether out of genuine interest or as to keep filed away in his back pocket encase the day ever comes that they no longer deal with one another she can’t be sure. Regardless, Aurion doesn’t feel inclined to provide him with anything that isn’t absolutely necessary and so as the doors of the shuttle slide open she unlocks and then pulls the dome shaped mass from over her head revealing her face, the smears of black around her grey eyes which stare patiently as her short blonde hair bristles.

“Aurion, as ever you have proven as to why you are my favourite, dear girl.” The gesticulating from Gaorik as he approaches is extreme even by his standards but is perfectly married and suited to the enormous grin etched across his cheerful round face.

“I knew that if anyone could secure this then it would be you and in the face of competition to boot. You are remarkable indeed.” The ‘broker’ with his thin fronds of long brown hair continues with a waving of his left hand for reasons unknown.

“You know about that, do you?” The bounty hunter queries feigning surprise half heartedly.

“I do my dear and I was quite enthralled to hear of your success. Those Wenon Clan lot have not a patch on you, lacking honour too, not my sort. Not my sort at all.” The statements sound rehearsed, not quite forced but definitely pre-planned.

“Not your doing then?” The bounty hunter queries bluntly while Cinlo, restrained, continues to writhe in hopes of breaking free from restraints wound too tight. They won’t give. He won’t escape. Though, the electrical discharges did end not long ago, much to his relief. Since then he’s been staring at the rear of the bounty hunters head. At first it had been that dome shaped helmet. Now it is short blonde hair which from this angle would never have suggested belonged to a woman. And he can scarcely believe that is what this bounty hunter is, a woman.

“Good gracious no.” Is the overly forced reply that the short man issues in response. He plays his hand well by making sure to accompany the outraged exclamation with an expression to match.

The forced rapid exhalations of air however are what threaten to give him away his lie, Cinlo thinks as he watches all this unfold before him. As yet Gaorik has not taken even the shortest of looks in the cyber armed man’s direction. He is more than a little thankful for that as he knows the short largely bald man’s reputation as a ‘fixer.’ It would be almost impossible not too for he is renowned across Nemeiris, for better or for worst.

“In fact you’ve done me a favour. Removed a thorn from my…”

“They’re not dead Gaorik.”

“…ah, pity. Would’ve been a bonus in it for you had they been eliminated. Regardless, the matter is concluded. My mark is secured, you will be paid. Now, may I examine the prize?”

Without a word Aurion gestures that Gaorik is free to do whatever he wishes. Swiftly he shuffles over to the restrained Cinlo.

The cyber armed man recoils disgusted by the ‘fixer’ who grins gleefully and giggles in the face of the once target who has cost Gaorik more money than he thinks anyone has ever previously.

“I do like to see traitors get their just desserts.” Is the hate filled statement the balding man utters only for Cinlo to growl back in reply, “Screw you Gaorik!”

“No, but I’ll certainly be screwing with you Cinlo.” The grin vanishes in an instant, replaced by an intense stare and a blank expression. “Of that much you can be sure.”

 It is then that Aurion turns giving Cinlo his first look at the face of his capturer. His jaw drops.

“I know you.” Are the only words he can manage to sputter from between his dried lips.

Gaorik erupts with laughter as if this is some kind of jest. However, from the look of disbelief on Cinlo’s face Aurion is sure he is serious and demands, “How? How do you know me?”

She descends upon the restrained man in a flash, grabs a hold of him, hauls him off the deck and staring into his eyes says, “Tell me what you know.” in a demanding voice.

“Aurion, he’s lying. He’s a criminal. It’s what he does. Don’t listen to him. You’re no fool. He doesn’t know you.” Are but a few of the fragmented statements which the bounty hunter hears leak from between Gaorik’s thick lips.

They go ignored and so the short man quickly inserts himself between the two, parting them. Begrudgingly the blonde turns and widens the gap further considering that her ‘broker’ might be right.

“No… I know you… You have to listen to me…”

“Silence him and take him away.” Are the orders soon delivered and carried out to derail Cinlo’s claims. And they work with effortless effectiveness.

“Gaorik, if he knows something I have to know.” Aurion assures watching as the halo silenced Cinlo is dragged toward the waiting shuttle.

“He doesn’t. I can assure you of that.”

“How can you be so sure?”

“Because I know the man, who he is, how he operates, this is all part of his game to lull people into trusting him. He knows nothing because none of us know anything about whoever you might have been before you were found. All he wants is to save his own skin. He’s a thug, a…”

“I want to know his crimes. I don’t ask usually but this time I need to, please.”

Gaorik is taken aback by the utterance of please made by the bounty hunter. Never has he heard one speak it and this being the first time it leaves him baffled.

Once he overcomes his surprise he assures, “He has a litany of crimes against his name. In fact, so many that it would be far too greater task for me to have any hope of accurately recounting all of them while stood here, my dear.”

“I’ll forego my pay if you give me the list. It’s all I want, all I…” Aurion stops short of saying: it’s all she needs. Yet, that is precisely how she feels. She needs to know Cinlo’s crimes. With that she might be capable of piecing something together. She doesn’t know what, cannot comprehend. Likely Gaorik will turn out to be right, Cinlo will be lying and she will have learned nothing. But if there’s a chance, she has to take it. Until this moment the bounty hunter wasn’t aware there remained a need within her to uncover who she had been but denying it now would be futile, it’s there and she hungers to satiate it.

Staring the much taller Aurion in the face, Gaorik can see he is unlikely to get through to her. He feels pity, not for her situation but the state she has put her in and how easily she has done it. It’s why he pretends to consider the idea for a long while. A small spark within him hopes she will renege and decide better of her wish at any moment. Unsurprisingly she does no such thing and so he relents, “Fine. You can have the list. I’ll send it over alongside your pay.”

He turns and waddles off back toward the waiting shuttle, disappointed. Along his way he calls back, “I’m including that bonus by the way, you’ve earned it.”

“But I didn’t eliminate the competition, that’s what you wanted.”

“I know that’s what I said, but I already knew their status before I arrived.” He flashes a quick smile, having reached the waiting shuttle and grabbed a hold of the exterior handrail.

The shuttle rises from the platform leaving Aurion stood alone unable to hear the screaming terror from Cinlo, especially when Gaorik disappears from sight and the door slides shut and seals.

A ping ringing in her ear to advise of a message having hit her inbox is the first thing that greets the bounty hunter when she returns the damaged dome shaped helmet to her head. Accessing it she finds the payment plus ten percent extra from Gaorik and an attached file.

“That was a bit too easy, which means you know something Gaorik and I’m going to find out what, mark my words.”

With that she takes one last look at where the hired shuttle had been, turns and departs.

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