Out of Space

by

neo Koh

167 - The Things We Do for the Greater Good...

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Far Harbor, Dockside Pier

Specialist Sergeant Tyrier with the rest of the Claymore One on tow looked at the two lines of colorful stalls, lining alongside the dockside, all filled with goods and different types of food. He adjusted his stiff uniform collar, feeling slightly uncomfortable in uniform as he hasn't worn it in months.

"Look!" Hitsu exclaimed while excitedly pointing at one of the stalls, "I heard that stall serves good 'bu-girls'! I'm hungry!"

"Yea, let's grab something to eat," Tavel agreed as he wiped the sweat off his cap, "Don't know why they sent us here for."

Tyrier looked around, seeing large groups of Islanders gawking at the wares displayed and sampling food offered from the stalls and nodded, "Alright," He looked at the large clock tower on the roof of the Civic Center and said, "Buy what you want to eat and drink and meet up here again in half an hour's time."

"Yes!" Hitsu grinned and looped his arm around Young's shoulder, dragging him along, "Come on! Let's go! FOOD!"

The stalls lining around the streets where specially set up for the Islander's visit, like a special bazaar with all manner of products and food currently being produced by the city. In a way, this allows the Islanders to see what goods are tradable and also allows the sailors from the Isles to unwind and spend some of their money.

Glassware, metalware, even what appeared to be toilet rolls were on display from various stalls. So far the most crowded stalls were those selling weapons, as large groups of Islander sailors, hanging around the stalls were the weapon and armor samples while anxious looking police officers hovered at the side, trying to act normal but were clearly worried that some fights might break out.

Hitsu ordered a few sticks of barbecued meat, and a couple of hot dogs from one of the barbecue food stands, adding a generous amount of ketchup and mustard sauce. He briefly wondered why buns with sausages were called hot dogs, does that means the hoomans use dog meat for the sausages? He gestured with his elbow to Young who had a cheeseburger and they went to join in the commotion at the weapon stalls.

The group of sailors was interested with a repeating crossbow, that uses a crank mechanism to load and reload, allowing a user to rapidly fire off dozens of crossbow bolts in a minute. They gathered around a fenced off area, where a straw dummy was the target, wearing a battered Empire chest plate and helmet. The sailor testing the crossbow looked slightly uncertain at the seller who gestured how to fire and load the crossbow before he pointed the crossbow at the straw target and worked the crank as instructed.

The first shot went wild, hitting the boarded up wall and the rest of the sailors jeered. The red faced sailor appeared to want to give up, but the seller encouraged him to try again and to hold on to the crossbow more firmly. The sailor gave a shrug and gripped the crossbow tightly, pointing at the dummy set at fifty meters away.

The second shot fared better and hit the 'leg' portion of the dummy, making the others laugh and cheer. Soon there was a bet ongoing on whether if the next shot would hit the chest plate. The embarrassed sailor looked like he was about to walk away, and suddenly someone pushed through the crowd, and everyone hushed up.

Hitsu swallowed a large mouthful of hot dog and saw a female sailor clad in tight leathers and silks. She yanked the repeating crossbow off from the other sailor and tilted the weapon left and right, admiring its workmanship and design. She suddenly snapped the crossbow against her shoulder and cranked it repeatedly, sending bolt after bolt towards the straw target till the bulky box magazine on the top of the crossbow ran dry.

She tossed the crossbow back to the seller who looked at her with awe on his face, and the crowd went wild. "ANNA! ANNA! ANNA!" They chanted as she swept her tri-cone hat off and a thick mop of luscious golden red locks spilled out over her shoulders and she gave a bow to the men who laughed and whooped before she walked up to the straw target and examined the results of her work.

Hitsu mouth remained wide open as he stared at the golden red hair sailor strut her way down the range. He suddenly choked when Young slapped his back, as he saw Hitsu glazing at the female and piece of a hot dog stuck in his throat making his cough.

"Hahaha," Young laughed as he watched Hitsu's antics. "Hey, I thought you have two girls already? Why are you ogling at another one here?"

"AAH.. wh-what?" Hitsu thumped his chest, forcing the piece of hot dog down his throat, "What girls?"

"Heh, that Billy and that crazy mage girl?" Young winked at Hitu.

"WHAT?" Hitsu nearly dropped all his food as he started to deny any involvement with those two girls. "Serious?"

"Hahaha," Young laughed as he finished his burger. "Everyone knows you like little girls.."

"..." Hitsu wiped the ketchup and mustard sauce from his mouth. "You got to be kidding me..."

"Hahahahhaa," Young laughed, "Anyway, that chick, she looks way out of your league."

Hitsu sighed and finished up his food but as they were about to leave, a clear and boisterous voice called out to them. Turning around, they saw the earlier female sailor standing there with her arms on her hips and walking towards them with a few other sailors in tow.

"You two!" The female sailor gestured to them both with a jerk of her head. "Your uniforms look different from the rest. Who are you?"

"M-me?" Hitsu stammered as he stared at the heart-shaped face covered by a golden red crown of hair. "Ah-hh.. I-I am H-Hitsu!"

Young on the other hand, nearly face palmed himself at the sad display Hitsu was giving. "We are part of the Hundred and First.

"Hundred and First?" The female sailor frowned and looked at the rest of her sailors with a confused expression. "You carry yourselves different from the rest of those black shirts and those grey shirts!"

Young looked down at his grey dress uniform, similar to the Marines, except their pants were trimmed in gold instead of red. He gave a shrug, "We are just simple soldiers."

"Soldiers, eh?" The female raised one of her eyebrows up, "Than care to explain how that 'repeating crossbow' works to this poor sailor?" The rest of the sailors laughed and giggle among themselves.

"Eh, you are?" Hitsu shyly asked.

"My name is Anna, Anna Boony. First mate of the Man 'o' war, Talon." She proudly raised her chin up, "So tell me, how does those crossbow work, soldier boy?"

"Erm," Young looked at Hitsu and scratched his head, "Well, you work the crank, it drops a bolt down from the box and at the same time, it pulls the string back and locks the arms into place. When you pull all the way to the back, the string is released and the bolt is thrown out and you crank it again to repeat."

"Hmmm, such an ingenious way of firing rapidly. It that how you defeated the Empire?" Anna asked, her eyes boring deep into Young who coughed uncomfortably.

"Yes, 20 men armed with a repeating crossbow is as powerful as a regiment of crossbowmen!" Young explained, "But of course, compared to a regular crossbow, it has a weaker penetrating strength and range."

"Interesting, soldier boy," Anna gave a wink and walked off, "Be seeing you again."

"Wow, did she wink at me?" Hitsu sighed, "My poor heart can't handle it!"

"You and your damn nonsense," Young shook his head, "Come on, we need to head back to find the rest."

"Damn, she is hot!" Hitsu sighed again, looking at the disappearing back of the first mate of the Talon.

-----

"Tyrier!" Lt Joseph quickened his steps as he spotted Tyrier near a food stall. "Just nice, I was looking for you!"

"Hey Lt, what's up?" Tyrier swallowed the sweet bread roll, that the stall owner called it a 'donut' and he finished it off with a gulp of 'Root beer', some drink made out from the essence of some root or bark of a tree.

"We need to talk, I need your help," Lt Joseph said, will pulling Tyrier to a quiet corner. "We might have a small security problem."

"Why me? Can't the police or the security guys handle it?" Tyrier frowned, "We are supposed to be on R and R now." (Rest and Recuperation)

"Well, it's those ex slaves," Lt Joseph said in a low voice, "Some of them wants to run and take over one of the Isles ships."

"What?" Tyrier cursed, "Are they stupid?"

"Well, since you guys actually had fought together and they trust you more," Joseph continued, "I like you to talk them down."

"Talk them down?" Tyrier asked, "I wanna beat them up! Who is coming up with such a silly idea?"

"So the guy's called, Cesar." Lt Joseph took out a note from his breast pocket. He hands it over to Tyrier to glanced at its content.

"Oh, this guy?" Tyrier frowned, "I remember him, quite the whiner."

"Think you can do something about this guy without hurting our relationship with the Islanders?" Lt Joseph asked as he watched a group of Islander sailors trying some hot dogs from the food stall.

"Well, depends on how you want me to fix it?" Tyrier asked, "Quietly or verbally."

"I'm guessing this guy will be trouble in the future," Lt Joseph said, seeing the sailors buying another round of food, this time cheeseburgers as they enjoyed the hot dog. "Quietly and out of sight."

Tyrier nodded, "Do you have his position?"

"He was last reported at the back of the hostels," Lt Joseph gestured towards the right, where rows of bungalow like houses were constructed for the Islander's stay. "I got a tail on them."

"It is official or...?" Tyrier narrowed his eyes as he asked his question.

"What do you think?" Lt Joseph turned and looked back at Tyrier in the eye.

Tyrier nodded, "Got it, I will send word once it is done."

"He should have one or two accomplices, deal with them and this problem goes away," Lt Joseph added as Tyrier walked off, waving.

Lt Joseph watched Tyrier disappear into the crowd and sighed, "The things we do for the greater good..."

-----

Far Harbor, Back alley of Bungalow Row

Four men were crouched behind some large empty wooden crates, one of them spoke while placing some items on the ground. "I managed to grab some of these while the stalls were busy and distracted."

The one speaking held up a couple of short straight tipped steel daggers. "There are too many guards around and I don't dare to steal more!"

"Good work, that's a start at least," A thin yellow faced elf grinned in the shadows, "Asther, What did you find out about our future ride?"

"Looks like we will be going on board the Ocean Dreamer," the man called Asther replied, as he played with one of the daggers. "Its a transport and there was word that the Islanders might stay at least for a week before leaving."

"A week?" Cesar looked surprised, "I thought they will only be here for three days?"

"Well, I overheard the sailors saying they will be staying about a week before leaving," Asther shrugged. "Everyone in the docks heard them."

"See my friends? These so-called rebels are tricking us, telling us to trust them but yet something as simple as departing from this lands, they can't even give us the truth!" Cesar shook his head in sadness.

"When we return, spread the word," Cesar smiled, "Let the rest the truth, this way we can gain more supporters!"

"My, my, what a gathering you guys have here!" A voice suddenly spoke over them, making them jump up in shock.

"Now, that I have your attention, I believe, its time for you all to... disappear..."

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A note from neo Koh

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All the plot twists ~ =D


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neo Koh

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