Time: About a month prior to Hell for the Company
Disappointing, that’s what it was. Shax sighed and turned away from the new shop, full of boring mechanics tools. This had been his favorite shoe store in the Elistran station ring, one that had been stuffed full of shiny, flashy footwear, a full-spectrum explosion of boots and pumps and oxfords. And now? Wrenches and ratchets.
Shax pulled up the station map on his com, hoping the store had just moved, but Zephyr’s was no longer listed in the directory. “Pity, that. Should have picked up the faux ostrich last time I was here.”
At any other time, he would have lectured any younger demon about situational awareness on a human space station, but the sudden and depressing crumbling of his plans for the day distracted him more than it should have. Shax was formulating a new route through the corridors, perhaps past the chocolatiers, when he slammed into a wall that yelled at him.
“What the hell do you think you’re doing? Up against the wall, demon!”
Oh, lovely. The enormous mound of human blocking Shax’s way was station security, not even proper law enforcement, of the sort Shax referred to mentally as TWB (Thug With Badge.) These sorts called for careful handling.
“My apologies, officer.” Shax straightened the officer’s lapel. Hideous uniform. Dreadful shade of brown. “I wasn’t paying attention. My fault entirely.”
“I said up against the damn wall! Now!”
Shax managed to suppress both a sigh and an eye roll as he assumed the position, which would have been a lot more fun if the security thug had been one of those dashing, dangerous types, or had better breath.
“Anything sharp in your pockets I should know about?” the thug snarled as he pawed rather clumsily at Shax for the obligatory pat down.
“No, but if you reach in my left pocket far enough, you could shove my cock a bit to the—ow!” Fine, not the smartest thing to say, but ear boxing probably isn’t in the security training manual. “No need for that, officer.”
Shax found himself spun around and pinned with his back to the wall, a meaty and apparently not-terribly-clean arm across his throat.
“Listen up, you little demon smartass. I don’t like your kind in my section. You got any brains, you’ll get back to your ship and stay there.”
The merchant association is going to hear about this. Scaring away good customers. Shax kept his thoughts behind his teeth and instead dredged up a meek and trembling voice. “Yes, sir. Of course, sir. I’m so terribly sorry.”
“Good. Get your filthy ass out of my sight.”
Shax took the shove down the corridor with good grace and hurried away like a good cowed demon. As soon as the security goon was out of sight, he straightened and began pulling things from his jacket. The officer’s badge and pistol went in the nearest waste bin, since those most likely had trackers. Shax kept the rings he’d stripped from the goon’s fingers. Probably cheap, not worth a single credit.
He stuck them in his pocket, whistling. It was the principle of the thing.