Knox Pashaa: Chapter 7

“You can’t seriously wanna give Knox another chance, Shaina,” said the Human.

The black Mirrani’s ear twitched and she gazed to the middle distance.

“I would stress the importance of due diligence. We need to know if this lead is even possible to follow up at all...if it aired on F-SPAN today, there might not be too many heads on this already.”

Sky was furiously tapping on her data tablet with her white, glove-like fingers. She had been since Knox first mentioned where he had seen the headline. She took this moment to interject.

“I can confirm the story aired on F-SPAN, seven minutes ago, I’ve got keywords already plugged in on a broad sweep and the story hasn’t hit the full media yet. I Imagine by the end of the day they should be posting something that will convert if more sites don’t get a handle on it.”

“See what you can do to snub it, Sky,” said Shaina. She turned to the Human, “Gadin, I need you to do what you can to get our funds together, it's reasonable that some bribe money might be necessary to find this supposed ‘Heir.’ I’ll see what I can do about a ship.”

Gadin crossed his arms and his goatee stretched by proximity to his frown. “I’m not just gonna let funds go into this just so Knox can gallivant across the stars with our money and a ship.”

Knox had remained quiet until this point, but the albino Mirrani laughed when the tide had seemed to turn in his favor.

“Ha! Shaina, baby, you’re the best being on this news can. How about when this is all sorted we grab that dri-”

Knox was rising from his chair, but Shaina put out a hand that settled him back down.

“You’re not going.”

“But-”

“You aren’t going to see any of this stuff. You’re name isn’t even gonna be on the order forms. In fact, I’m not sure if you’ll even get a lick of credit ‘til all’s said and done...”

Knox’s brow was furrowed, his large ears bent back.

“But it’s my lead!”

“You should have thought of that before you went over our heads with our trade scandal story.”

Knox gripped the armrests of his chair.

“I have rights! You can’t keep me out of this!”

Shaina turned and locked eyes with Knox training them with growing intensity.

“I’m the team manager, you’re on the team, and as far as I see it, you owe all of us, bigtime. Like it or not, the only thing you did just now was hand us a very intriguing, albeit dubious, assignment and try to slither your way back into our good graces so you could use us again. The fact is, we DON’T need you. Ambition is best served out in bites, and you’ve gone to the buffet a little too much lately. So while Gad, Sky and I cross the stars into the old kingdom and find the potential heir to the mythic brandy makers of the gods, you will be sitting right here in this office lending our tale thorough preliminary research. If you object, just remember that I still outrank you.” Shaina leaned in close to Knox, their noses were almost touching, “and, let’s face it, I’m better at this than you.”

There was the barest of smiles from Shaina, the tip of her pointed white tooth appearing. The moment clung to the air. Knox’s trappings were gone. His self-inflicted confidence stripped, he was bare before her emerald eyes. Shaina returned to her full height and looked to Gadin. The smile on the Human’s face was palpable.

“Put your teeth away Gad, we have business.”

With that Shaina moved past allowing Gad a final chiding chuckle in Knox’s direction before following. Sky clutched her Data Tablet against her chest and lingered in her seat as Knox slumped forward and put his face in his hands.

Knox’s Data Tablet was buzzing away in his pocket, but he didn’t notice. The thrum of the bass, the clashing voices and sounds, the flashing strobes and flailing pink and blue lights across the neon and multi colored walls, it all clouded is perception as much as the synthetic beverage cupped between his hands on the bartop. His white fur took on the colors of pink and blue and neon of the club lights as they passed across him, but he ultimately did not embody the vibrant and young atmosphere of the patrons. The influences of people and motion were all on the peripheral. His red eyes were uneasily focused on the various racks of glowing glasses behind the bar.

Stupid. He should have just kept his mouth shut. Now he’d be stuck on this station for the foreseeable future, while the others stood a good chance of getting rich one way or another with their venture. He’d be stuck in the same place, with the same walls, the same atmosphere, the same bug of doubt that crippled him.

He downed the remaining synth-gin, the happy confident sensations from his morning routine now obscured by the effects and his own blundering. Depression opened by the floodgates of drink. He slammed his fist against the bartop and ordered another when someone bumped into him. He grumbled some intelligible words at her, but then seeing that the she was an attractive being began the first of many unproductive encounters with strange people and more drinks that blurred together until the early hours of the next cycle.

All the while he neglected to open the tablet in his pocket.

By Jason Pratley

Jason Pratley joined the team sometime in 2013 when he created the concepts for the gods of ODR. He has since become the Writing Director and de facto loremaster for DDG. Check out some other stories and content at jvfpp.wordpress.com and goodevilcomic.com