Sunday, May 10, 2015

Interlude 11: Making Friends

“Earth is our home, our birthright! Any man or woman that stands between us and the reconquest is a traitor to our species – and we all know the payment for treason!” The crowd roared approval. There weren't more then a few dozen of them, but they made up for their lack of numbers in enthusiasm. “How long will our so-called masters stand in our way? How long will they deny the will of the people? Only you-” and now Dee's voice dropped from her haranguing shout to a soft, gentle tone - “only you can decide. Thank you.”

Mara handed out the data sticks as the meeting broke up, loaded with the latest edition of their pirate newsfile, while Dee talked to those who wanted to talk. The crowds were still minuscule in the grand scheme of things, but they were getting bigger, and some of the audience were taking two or three sticks to share – she almost ran out before the room emptied. They'd need to talk to Han about upping their order again...

Speaking of whom, Han himself walked in then, pushing against the tide of workers filtering out. He walked over to their table and helped himself to a stick. “How's the organizing?” he asked.

“Well enough that we're running low on sticks again,” Mara replied. “What brings you here?”

“Just wanted to let you know,” he said. “That you have competition. A couple of the Zealots are speaking tomorrow night, down at the rust bowl.”

Mara nodded. She wasn't surprised; they'd been expecting that to happen eventually. “Thanks for the tip.”

“About your sticks.” Han looked away, as though embarrassed. “I'll throw in another fifty next time. Don't worry about the money.”

That did surprise her. “Thanks.”

“You're good customers,” Han said, almost defensively. “Besides” - and now he did look her in the eye - “sometimes a man starts to think that maybe you're right.”

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