"Sour" by Trey Onadan Special Guest Writer: Jennifer Black as Taella Chendral They had sat in silence for what seemed like an eternity. He had watched her watching the walls and the heavy breathing coming from his mouth showed his boredom. Shane had said that he was the fastest out of all of them; then why the hell had it taken him almost an hour to get back. The clock was still ticking. "So," he started half-innocently, "what do you do for a living?" Yeah, small-talk... that'll kill some time. Her voice devoid of expression, she crossed her arms. Eyes narrowed like a cat's at Trey. "I work. What about you?" "Crime." He nodded absently. "You're too nice to be in crime," she smirked. "What do you really do?" Smiling, he shrugged, "I tag along with Shane and the gang. I go where I'm needed and help where I can. I pilot the 'Dancer on the night shift when everyone else is sleeping. You know, the bitch work. Sucks some times. But, I get paid and I have a place to stay. And the protection of having friends." He had never realized the desperate nature of his situation until then. It was true: he was living amongst people who claimed to be his friends, but he was nothing like them. "So you aren't Starfleet?" That was reassuring. Maybe their standards hadn't slipped as much as she'd originally determined. "Starfleet?" He scoffed. "Not a chance. If I were anything like Damien I'd kill myself." "Damien?" "The engineer that Shane went to get. He's a whiz with circuitry and fixing things, but he's wound so tight every time you look at him wrong you should be afraid he'll explode." He scratched at his back and then looked at her again. "We go where the money is. We do the jobs that pay the best and sometimes 'Fleet helps us out, sometimes we work with the bad guys. We have a mighty need to eat sometimes, and you do what you have to to survive." She nodded. "I understand what you mean. You're freelancers, then." "Freelancers. Yeah, I guess." "Job-hopping isn't easy. But... if this situation clears out, you could probably use No Hope as a jumping off point for some regular work." "We're already here for a job. Nate, Dan, and Colton are the ones who are taking care of it now. We're just running the interference. Shane was adament about not being here during this time, but his words always seem to go unheeded. They don't take his information and wealth of knowledge seriously. He's underused." Trey poked at the ground with a piece of wood and exhaled heavily. "I don't think they'll do anything 'regular'." "Why the hell not? Do you like flying by the seats of your pants?" Trey shrugged, "I don't know. Maybe this time they'll surprise us all and get something normal. I could use the money, I could use the satisfaction of being used, and I know that I could use the time to not have to worry about getting attacked by a drug cartel, mercenaries, or Starfleet." He laughed, throwing the stick across the room. "That's how we roll." "Attacked by Starfleet? Isn't 'Dancer technically Starfleet?" "That's the kicker, ain't it?" He laughed, "We work for them when they need us, but we're not above doing jobs that go against their interest. Like I said... whoever has the money has a crew to work for them. Right now Starfleet isn't so happy with us; we didn't report in during a previous job and they got their panties in a twist." Taella nodded. "So now you're on their blacklists as well. How many people want you or your teammates dead right now, would you say?" "Fair amount. I don't have the stats to back up an official number. It's kind of cool to have people tracking you, trying to kill you." He sighed, "Sometimes it's nice to feel... wanted." "That must be a rare feeling," she remarked, drily. "Whatever." "Still sour from Shane turning you down for me?" the Orion asked, archly. "Don't flatter yourself." "Definitely sour." He rolled his eyes, suddenly defensive. He checked her out again, up and down, and shook his head. "Now that I really look at you... I've seen better." Taella frowned, but still chuckled. "I am sure." "You're a bitch, you know that?" "But of course. That's how I survive." The cold, hardened grin of a businesswoman spread her face. "You're going to live forever." --------------------------------- Expecting? Get great news right away with email Auto-Check. Try the Yahoo! Mail Beta.