Garlo Baint sneered. His stubby tusks caught the light of the low-hanging lamp above their booth. Across the table, Boruba Meinfarb maintained a poker-face.
“It’s a good offer,” she repeated.
Baint grunted. “So you keep telling me. I do not like to be rushed. Another round of drinks.”
He signalled and a waiter materialised, bearing a tray. Baint tossed him a few coins without looking and the waiter withdrew.
“I’m thinking I could get more…” Baint stroked the wiry hairs on his chin. “More than what you’re offering – if…”
His eyes flickered. In an instant, two henchmen appeared and seized Boruba’s wrists.
“…If I sell you on the open market.”
“You duplicitous hog,” Boruba spat. “The deal was to free my sister.”
“And so I shall. Then we shall see if she will stump up the cash to broker a similar deal for your release.”
Boruba sighed. How could I be so dense, she scolded herself? I should have guessed Baint would double-cross me. I should have listened to Zed.
The waiter returned. “Is there a problem here?” he intoned.
Baint waved him away. “Keep your nose out or lose it.”
“Very well,” the waiter nodded. Boruba rolled her eyes.
“No, it’s not very well!” she cried. “These men are trying to abduct me for the slave trade.”
“Against your will, madam?”
“Of course, it’s against my bloody will! Do you think anyone willingly becomes a slave?”
“Should I alert the manager?”
“That would be lovely. Thank you.”
“Hey!” Baint got to his trotter-like feet. “This ain’t no ladies’ tea party.”
He reached for his weapon but the waiter was quicker on the draw. He pulled out his own plasma-blaster and bashed the tray off Baint’s brow into the bargain.
“At last!” said Boruba. The waiter peeled off his face to reveal her partner-in-crime-busting, Zed Bronco.
A couple of Hongoolian martial arts moves later and Baint and his henchmen were trussed up and under arrest.
“My hero,” said Boruba. She pecked Zed’s cheek.
“One question,” Baint snorted. “Do you even have a sister?”
The slavering slaver went ignored. Linking her arm through his, Boruba steered Zed toward the exit.
“I just might have to post a review praising the service in this place,” she cooed into his ear.
“Permit me to give madam a tip.”
“Oh, Zed!” she slapped his arm. Laughing, they went to their hotel.