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A Valuable Trade

Posted on Fri Jul 31st, 2015 @ 9:38pm by Dahleya

Mission: By Dawn's Early Light
Location: Gharrana III

It was just the type of bar that Winston Avery loved. It was small enough not to attract too much attention, and let at the same time large enough that someone could easily slip through the cracks. For most people that wouldn’t be a concern. Then again, most people wouldn’t even come to a place like this unless they were wanting to hide. The booze was cheap, the women easy, and the walls hadn’t been washed in who knows how long. The patrons tended towards the unsavory end of the spectrum, and bar brawls were not out of the ordinary either.

It was establishments like this one that earned Avery his paycheck. It didn’t matter what planet he visited, there was always a bar somewhere that could provide him with new customers. Winston wasn’t a peddler of wares. He didn’t have a shop or a catalog. Drugs were for losers and addicts, and weapons for the uncivilized. No, Avery specialized in something far more dangerous, and far more valuable: information.

Information could move mountains, topple governments. With the right resources and in the hands of the right people, there was nothing that information couldn’t do. At least that was the sales pitch. Winston Avery wanted to be able to move mountains. He wanted to be able to topple governments. The truth was, his data reserves just weren’t that deep. Instead, he focused on smaller goals. If you needed to buy something, Winston knew a guy. If you wanted to make it rich, he knew of a bank to rob. It didn’t make him rich by any means, but it was a living. The undesirables that frequented these types of bars were never looking for the high priced goods anyway. The big named information brokers never bothered with the small fry. That was where he stepped in.

Winston swirled the glass of bourbon and downed that last drink. Business had been slow that evening. There were apparently no junkies that night looking for a fix. He was just considering closing up shop when he caught movement out of the corner of his eye. His waitress, a half-dressed Ktarian with a lazy eye sat another glass in front of him. This one was full of a thick green liquid.

Winston looked up at her, though he wasn’t quite sure if she was looking back. “What’s this?” he asked.

The Ktarian shrugged. “It is green. That’s all I know.”

“Yes, yes. I can see that. I didn’t order another drink. Why did you bring me one?”

The woman had a look of recognition wash over her face. “Oh. Someone bought that for you and had me deliver it.” She had a matter-of-factual tone, as if there was nothing odd about the exchange.

Winston of course was starting to get annoyed. He learned, unfortunately from experience, to never accept drinks from strangers. “Who bought it.”

The Ktarian pointed towards the bar. “Some Denobulan woman. She said she’s an old friend of yours.”

Avery’s mind was racing to think of what Denobulan woman would have been interested in buying him a drink. He had always heard that their libido was strong, but Avery certainly wasn’t much to look at. Just as the Ktarian waitress walked away from the table, a sudden realization set in and he started to gather his things to leave. But movement across the table put a quick end to that dream.

“Hello, Winston,” the voice across the table calmly stated. “Leaving so soon? I was hoping we could catch up. How long has it been?”

Avery set his notes back down on the table. There was no reason to run. His eyes slowly rising to see the newcomer. “Hello, Dahleya. Let’s see. I think it’s been something like three to five since the last time we got to have a chat.”

The Denobulan smiled as she pulled out the chair across from him. “Has it really been that long? Wow, time flies, doesn’t it? How’s business?”

Winston glared at the bounty hunter sitting across from him. He still hadn’t forgiven her for the last time they ran into each other. That encounter left him incarcerated. If he had ever met her again, it would have been too soon. He had tried laying low ever since he got out, but yet here she was. “What do you want, Dahleya. I’ve been keeping clean. Well clean enough. I’m not bothering the Federation out here.”

“No, you’re not bothering anyone out here. But you did have that little incident back a Denab IV. It was all over the news wire. I guess you upset someone with that stunt.”

Winston hung his head in defeat. He remembered that incident well. He even still had the scars. “How much did they put on me.”

“Ten thousand,” Dahleya replied bluntly.

“Ten thousand?” Winston asked in disbelief. “You tracked me down here for just ten thousand credits. Surely you have more important things to do.”

“Of course I do,” Dahleya answered with a laugh. “But I was in the neighborhood, so I figured it wouldn’t hurt to stop by.”

“I’m not worth the effort it will take you to get me back to the marshals.”

“You’re right, you’re not. But a job is a job. Of course, this doesn’t have to end with you in chains.”

Avery sighed. He had a feeling that she had some angle to play. “How much are we talking?”

“Normally for a courtesy like this, I would charge an extra thirty percent. But I like you, so I’m willing to make you a deal. For eight and some information, you can walk out of here a free man.”

“Ah, now we’re starting to get somewhere. I have something you want. That’s why you came out here looking for me.” Winston was all smiles. He started to feel like he could get the upper hand.

“You’re a small fry in a big pond, Winston. Of course you have something that can help me. And if I don’t get what I want, then I detain you and call in the marshals.” She returned the smile.

“So you’re blackmailing me?”

“No, no. Not at all. All I’m doing is demanding something from you in exchange for not taking you in.”

Winston stared at the bounty hunter in disbelief. “That would be blackmail.”

“Oh, I suppose it would be.” The Denobulan grinned and leaned in closer to the information broker. “What do you say, old friend. Do we have a deal?”

“How do I know you won’t report me once you have what you want?”

“Please, Winston. I’ve never reneged on a deal in my life. I’m not about to start now. You have my word that I will leave you in peace. Well, unless you do something stupid and get a bigger bounty on your head. Then all bets are off. But this bounty, this one I promise to stay away from.”

Avery didn’t really like the deal, but he knew he didn’t have much choice. He was short, stocky, overweight, and had no way of outrunning an athletic woman like Dahleya. Besides, he knew she had to be armed. She would make short work of him, leaving him little choice but to accept the deal. “I don’t have the credits, but I could give it to you in latinum.”

“Latinum will work. So do we have a deal?”

“We have a deal.” Winston reached out to shake her hand, nodding slowly as he did so. “So, what kind of information are you looking for?”

“I’m looking for someone, a Bajoran named Vendenje Kamdram. Any idea where he might be?”

Winston Avery
Information Broker

Bounty Hunter


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