“Hey, baby, what’s up?” Zed Bronco rubbed his eyes and sat up in the cryo-bed. His partner in work and in life, Boruba Meingarb was pointing the business end of a plasmo-blaster at his nose. She tossed her blonde-green hair and curled her upper lip in a sneer.
“It’s over, Zed,” she frowned. “We’re through.”
Zed laughed. “Oh, baby, not this again!” He put up his hands in surrender although the smirk on his chops suggested he was anything but sincere. “Put that thing down before you hurt yourself and let’s talk. Is the coffee on?”
Boruba glanced over her shoulder pad at the kitchenette – it was the momentary distraction Zed needed. He kicked the gun from her hand and caught it, bounding to his feet in a fluid movement. Boruba seemed more bored than surprised.
“I’ll make the coffee,” she sighed.
Zed sat at the table, his boots on the top while Boruba busied herself with beans and a grinder. He watched the tense set of her shoulders.
“Listen, Boru baby. If it’s about that barmaid on Reeglox V, that was all part of my cover. It didn’t mean nothing. And it got us access to the convention centre, didn’t it? How else were we to pin down our target?”
Boruba didn’t answer, letting the whirr of the mechanism be her response.
“And I wasn’t trying to swindle you out of your share, baby; honest I wasn’t. It was a clerical error. I miscounted.”
Boruba shook her head as though clearing his words from her ears. She watched the rich dark liquid filter into the pot.
Zed checked a few monitors. “Where are we, anyway? Why have you woken us up in the tail end of this godforsaken sector? I should have known better than to let you set the coordinates! Honestly, I’m a fool to myself.”
“Because I am female,” Boruba’s words were flat, her face expressionless. She brought him a steaming mug. Chuckling, he took his feet off the table.
She sat and watched him drink. As his smug expression turned to confusion, anger and fear, her smile grew, stretching to a grin.
“What – have – you – done?” Zed clutched his throat, dropping his coffee.
“Oops!” Boruba caught the mug before it could spill a drop. He had always admired her superfast reflexes. “I didn’t mean to put paralysing drugs in your coffee,” she purred. She reached out to smooth a stray lock of hair from his forehead. “I’m taking the shuttle,” she breathed against his cheek. Zed’s eyes darted – the only part of him he could move. “Don’t worry, baby, I’ve transmitted your location to all of your enemies. I’m sure they’ll all be racing to be the first to get to you.”
“Hmmm!” Zed groaned, cried, and wailed all in one sound.
Boruba kissed her own fingertips and patted him on the nose. “Toodles, baby. I’d say it has been fun but one thing I ain’t is a liar.”
She slunk toward the airlock, affording him one last look at the curves he had so admired.
Powerless, Zed could do nothing but watch her go.
Typical woman, he thought.