The Captains of the Silver-Moon
The Captains of the Silver-Moon
By Greg Barozzi
A Mare Inebrium Story
Mare Inebrium Universe created by Dan Hollifield
It was a fairly busy afternoon for the Mare Inebrium, most likely due to the MagRhaCon gamer’s convention that was taking place in a few days. All the hotels in the city had been booked solid for a month. The booze was flowing heavily and the tips were large, and for the last few weeks the employees of the Mare Inebrium had been going home tired and sore. The only consolation being that they were walking with close to three times their normal tips.
The extra credits were able to get the overworked barstaff through the first two weeks without complaint, but the added grind of the extra customers was wearing everyone’s nerves thin. Larrye the assistant bartender had already been committed to a two-week stint in the City of Lights Sanitarium. So no one was pleased when Caledon and Reno’ walked into the main bar.
Caledon and Reno’ are Co-Captains of the starcraft SilverMoon that operates in a merchant capacity in and around the Reiliss system. That‘s the official line. In reality these two rogues are pirates and smugglers who are wanted in over half the known universe. Unfortunately, they hadn’t yet worn out their welcome in the City of Lights.
The two pirates sauntered into the Mare Inebrium talking loudly, smiling wide, and generally making a spectacle of themselves. Women with a clear line of sight swooned openly at their approach; except for the more pious ladies, who simply upped their doses of libido suppressants. Men throughout the bar all felt a little less attractive, and you could almost hear the hiss of their egos deflating as the dashing duo made their entrance. The Captains of the SilverMoon are young, cocky, and too damn good at everything that they do. Caledon, the blond gentleman, is generally humanoid looking, though his form is often subject to surgical alteration depending on current fashions trends. The dark haired Reno’ is an Antillian, having the bluish tinge to his complexion characteristic of that race. Both are dressed in a manner consistent with their station as a pair of young, overly arrogant, space pirates.
“Gallon of beer, Max!” bellowed Caledon as he and his partner in crime stepped towards the bar. Max, only now noticing the arrival of the two raffish scoundrels, winced at their approach. The last time these two men darkened the door of the Mare Inebrium, a large-scale brawl broke out. The ruckus stemmed from Reno’s “inadvertent” flirting with the concubine of a Braldachian Monarch. Normally something this simple would never get out of hand, but trouble seems to follow these two like stink does.….well you get the picture. Anyway the Braldachian angrily uttered a couple of syllables in his native tongue that fate would have it got picked up by the universal translators of a group of Kricklachian emissaries and somehow got translated to a foul slur against their heritage. Not willing to just sit quietly and be insulted, the Kricklachians quickly rose to defend their honor, braking the Braldachian Monarch’s facial protuberance commonly known as a nose. Luckily Max got involved before things escalated to full scale interstellar war, and delivered complements of the house, two bottles of the finest Corillian brandy. This gesture no doubt prevented the deaths of countless Kricklachians and Braldachians.
“How ‘bout a gallon of beer, there Maxie,” bellowed Reno’ through his winning smile.
“Why don’t I start you two off with a pitcher?” Max offered as he grudgingly produced two frosty glasses. Max had been the head bartender and caretaker of the Mare Inebrium for as long as anyone could remember. He takes a great deal of pride in his work, keeping all of the multi-cultural forms of libations clearly categorized and orderly. Under normal circumstances, Max faithfully gives high quality courteous service to all his customers. These however were not normal circumstances, and the last thing he wanted right now was to be in the presence of a pair of happy, loud, and obnoxious starship Captains.
“The place is hopping today Max, what’s with all the new faces?” asked Caledon as he filled his glass with the amber brew.
“Some gamers convention is being held over in the Admiral Shanda S. Waystar convention center next Thursday, every hotel in the city has been booked solid for the past month,” grumbled the overworked bartender as he dried his hands on his apron.
At this bit of news Caledon winked at his comrade and shouted, “Triphexim IV!” and the two erupted into a cacophony of boisterous laughter. Much to Max’s annoyance, Caledon and Reno’ had a habit of referencing inside jokes and then laughing loudly at them. I could go into an explanation of the significance of “Triphexim IV, “ but in the interest of keeping the narrative moving swiftly I will simply state that this should be considered annoying behavior.
Max hurried off to the other end of the bar to take an order from a pair of blue-skinned, multi-mamoried, buxom Antillians. At that same moment, Shagnart entered the bar wearing a bewildered look on his purple, furry features. Bewildered looks are not uncommon to the species to which Shagnart belongs, although no one can recall exactly what species that is. Besides being a short, squat, nasally voiced little creature, Shagnart is also the engineer of the SilverMoon and constant source of Caledon and Reno’s amusement.
Most beings familiar with him treat Shagnart with a great deal of caution. This most likely has nothing to do with his physical appearance, which is entirely unthreatening, and everything to do with his hobby of building small, prism-charge implosion devices. Aside from making a cheap and highly unstable power source, the prism-charge implosion device is capable of instantly atomizing an entire quadrant and then putting it back together in exactly the same order. Aside from leaving all beings caught within the implosion radius in a state that’s comparable to a nasty hangover, this effect is mostly harmless. Since only beings of Shagnart’s race can build these devices and no one can recall which race Shagnart belongs to, not much else is currently known about the prism-charge implosion device.
“Oh hi guys, what’s going on?” squeaked Shagnart to his Co-Captains.
“What news Shagnart?”
“Computer says to tell you that ‘the Eagle has Landed’? Does that make any sense to you guys?”
The two rogues smiled at this bit of news and brought their glasses together in a toast.
“To gullible beings,” Reno’ smiled.
“To getting out of debt,” returned Caledon draining the last of his beer. As he moved to pour himself another glass, he noticed the furry form of his engineer still standing dutifully beside him. “Is there something else Shagnart?”
Shagnart smiled his fuzzy smile, happy to be acknowledged. “Well yes sir actually there is,” as he spoke, he produced a small metal object with many connecting aluminum tubes, a large mesh screen, and a heavy looking pistol grip fused to it. As he brought this object into view, a silence fell over the bar as everyone held their breath to brace themselves for the painful jolt of the prism-charge implosion device. A good thing too because at the same instant, a Sauroidian merchant that had been sitting next to the large scorpion-like D’rrsh at the bar, let lose a fart that would have cleared the room.
Sauroidians are a lovely species. They most closely resemble a cross between a tic, a cockroach, and a slime-exuding alien biped, with only the most unfortunate aspects of each. Sauroidians, when found in bars, generally drink only Sauroidian swamp-slime. In fact there are many inter-galactic laws stipulating that they be allowed to drink only that. On this exceptionally busy day however, Max inadvertently left a beverage on the bar, which closely resembled Sauroidian swamp-slime but was actually something entirely different. Feeling perhaps that his charismatic appeal had somehow merited a free drink, the Sauroidian promptly downed the spirit. And this stimulated his Sauroidian anatomy to produce the massive buildup of flatulence that I mentioned earlier.
“What have you got there Shagnart?” asked Caledon as he edged back nervously in his seat.
“This is that espresso machine you asked me build,” the furry engineer proudly proclaimed. A collective sigh of relief sounded through the main bar of the Mare Inebrium, followed by the sounds of some poor creature wretching who must have gotten caught in the Sauroidian’s intestinal vapor trail.
“Go back to the SilverMoon Shagnart, and warm up the flux converters. We will be leaving this system in three hours,” ordered Reno’ in an orderly voice.
“Gallon of beer, Max!” bellowed Caledon as he drained the last drop from his glass.
Knowing that any delay in producing more beer for the two Captains would only result in having them bellow their order again at the top of their lungs, Max hurried over to their end of the bar. “Did I hear that you two would be leaving soon?” asked Max as he produced two fresh frosty glasses and another large pitcher of amber brew.
“Yes Max, just as soon as we conclude a little business.”
“What kind of business,” Max asked suspiciously. “You guys know that I can’t allow any contraband in here.”
“Max!” said Reno’ pretending to be deeply shocked. “We wouldn’t think of compromising our relations with this establishment by doing anything illegal.”
“So when is this business meeting going to be taking place gentlemen?”
“Right about……now,” smiled Caledon. Max followed his gaze to the entrance of the bar where a tall glowing-eyed fellow in a dark brown cloak had just entered. Reno’, catching the being’s attention, waved him over.
“I hope you didn’t have any trouble finding the place,” Reno’ said as he pulled a barstool out for the oddly attired fellow.
“Grishmond my friend, this is Max, the finest mixologist in the galaxy,” purred Caledon with the intonations of an encyclopedia salesman.
“A pleasure,” Max said, nodding his head at the being called Grishmond. “What can I get for you?”
“My friend will have one of your special dry gin martinis, up, with two olives,” said Reno’ ordering for his new business associate. “Have it added to my bill if you please.”
As Max ducked dutifully behind the bar to prepare the drink, Caledon continued speaking, and periodically pointing to different areas of the bar. The being called Grishmond seemed quite impressed in a silent, mute sort of way.
Having prepared the martini to perfection, Max delivered the cocktail with the confidence of a bartender who knows how to make a good martini. The two pirates watched intently as the being called Grishmond eyed the presentation with his glowing optics. Max watched curiously, as he had never seen a creature like this in all his many years of service at the spaceport bar. Finally, the being grasped the heavy martini glass reverently with both hands. Reno’ and Caledon held their breath in anticipation. Max stood transfixed as the events unfolded before him. And then…..Grishmond drank it.
“Well Grishmond?” asked Caledon. “Will this be satisfactory?”
In response the being called Grishmond slowly nodded its glowing-eyed head, and produced a credit chip from beneath his robes which quickly vanished into Reno’s pocket as the being called Grishmond rose to leave.
“A pleasure doing business with you,” said Reno’ as he waved off the silent figure.
“Please give my regards to your family,” called out Caledon as he watched the being exit the Mare Inebrium.
Max looked quizzically at the two rogues, shaking his head. “Ok, what just happened?”
“We have just sold the Mare Inebrium to Grishmond for seventeen million credits,” Caledon announced triumphantly.
“Don’t you think that guy is going get a little upset when he learns that this bar isn’t yours to sell?”
At this, Reno’ and Caledon erupted into loud and obnoxious laughter. “That’s the beauty of the whole arrangement,” Caledon replied. “His species doesn’t view ownership the way we do. He paid us seventeen million credits just so that he and his family can come in here and buy your martinis!”
“He isn’t going to expect free drinks or anything?” Max asked incredulously.
“No Max, he just paid the galaxy's largest cover charge.”
“But the Mare doesn’t charge a cover.”
“Well, we really must be going now,” Reno’ said as he tossed down a ten thousand credit chip onto the bar. “That’s for you Max; for making the best martini in the galaxy.” The two men drained the last of their beer and headed smugly towards the door.
“Hey,” Max called. “Just one more thing. You said He and his family?”
“That’s right Max, all seventeen million of them.”
Caledon and Reno’ laughed as they exited the bar to head back to the SilverMoon. Back in the bar, Trixie walked up to the waitress station to return a full tray of empty drink containers and noticed Max standing in wide eyed shock as he realized what had just happened.
“What’s the matter Max, you look like you have just seen a ghost or something.” Trixie asked.
“You know Trixie, I am really beginning to not like those two guys.
Copyright 2000 By Greg Barozzi
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