Harder than usual the rain fell, catching the runnels in his hat, cascading off the back as he stared at the glaring neon sign advertising escape in sordid ways, uncaring of the deluge. Stepping of the curb into the street after a skidek sluiced by, he strode with a purpose towards the doors, determined that this night would give answers.
It was a dim and unhappening place. A worn-out dancer moved naked on the small stage, out of rhythm with the pounding beat as two Krynor workers- still in uniform- openly touched themselves as they gazed on in a Torpor-huff infused stupor. Legal as it was, Torpor-huff sticks were bad business, so he was careful to avoid inhaling the mist as he made his way across the floor to the bar.
The Synthoid offered him prompt service as there was no one else, but Gaelyn was not there for cheap-brewed booze and other artificents. Off-world he had come, following the stardust trail that had led him to this place.
“A drink, sir?” it inquired in a neutral, warm seductive tone. Its soft, almond-colored eyes set in a pleasing face framed by auburn hair, tried to engage his blue eyes, but he kept them averted as he knew the gaze sent a subliminal message to drink and spend. The synthoid ended at her cleavage, below the bar top was just mechanics. This place was a front and an affront, and he knew that coming in.
“No,” Gaelyn said, “but I have a truth to tell.”
As simple as that statement was, it had taken him years and many credits to uncover the pass-phrase. It had cost him his job and his wife to find this final location thirteen parsecs from his own world and the nightmare that had been thrust upon him and his family. And he had killed, many times over and without regret, to arrive at that particular place in time.
The effect was immediate. “Stand for scan,” the synthoid ordered, so he stood back with nothing to fear. Its eyes turned violet as it scanned him for weapons, of which it could find none. “Hand,” it intoned, so he laid his hand palm down on the the bar top and then felt a tingling as something was electronically imprinted on it. Nothing else was said as it flicked its eyes sideways to indicate a darkened hallway at the back of the club.
A mirror faced him at the end, showing him the haggard man he had become, not in his clothes as they were still dapper and clean, but in the lines of his face and the gray of his hair. Ten years of constant search and sorrow had made a map upon his features that any blind person could comprehend. Gaelyn pressed his imprinted hand against the surface and it dissolved away, then he stepped through.
There, in the office, was a man of middling height, his legs up on his desk with monitors surrounding him- some of the club; some of the galactic feeds; and some, Gaelyn noticed as it used to be his job, tracking galactic shipments, which he could only assume to his own reason for being there.
“Which one is yours?” the balded man of ebony skin asked Gaelyn while indicating the shipping monitors with a casual wave of his hand- cargo ships he knew to be carrying young girls and boys.
Gaelyn cleared his throat. “The fact is, none of them are mine, Jubte.”
Confusion etched his face as he regarded the man before him. “Then how are you here?”
“Because I have money and I am determined, and I am vengeful. And most importantly, I have nothing left to lose.”
Jubte laughed. “I don’t know how you got here, but ‘the fact is’ you will not leave here alive. You are a very foolish man.”
Gaelyn smiled. “You are right on both accounts. The fact is, my daughter is dead because of you, as well as many other daughters and sons. The fact is, I know your operation extends five floors below this level. The fact is, we are all going to die.”
Jubte reached for the blaster hidden under his desk at the precise moment Gaelyn grabbed his right index finger and twisted, sending the signal for the elements that he had injected into his body to coalesce. And as Jubte raised the blaster to center on Gaelyn’s chest, the vengeful father gave the final command.
“Judgement day,” he whispered, and his body exploded with the force of a one megaton atomic bomb.