The Maltese Fiction
The Maltese Fiction
By McCamy Taylor
A Mare Inebrium Story
Mare Inebrium Universe created by Dan Hollifield
The redheaded woman owned the bar. To be more precise, she owned the
undivided attention of every red, green and blue blooded male between
six and six hundred who had chosen to park himself in the main room of
the Mare Inebrium that evening. Jaws dropped. Eye stalks stood erect.
Thirty sets of visual sensors soaked in a woman whose curves could
catapult a particle into the next dimension. An assassin was so struck
by her beauty, that he forgot that he had just laced his companion’s
drink with lamda-aconite, and he downed the deadly brew himself.
The only man in the room who was not staring at her was Max, the
bartender. He was staring at the mirror behind her. The woman in the
glass was good looking, too. Almost as attractive as the one who was
crossing the bar room floor.
“I’m looking for someone.” She laid a glossy photo on the counter.
It was a blow up, too grainy to give much information except for a
vague hint of size--massive and gender--male. “Have you see him?”
Max peered at the photo, then he searched the mirrors which lined the
walls. “No,” he lied. “I haven’t seen him.” In fact, the big man she
was looking for was twenty feet away, on the far side of a piece of
silvered glass. When the redhead moved, he moved. When her lips curved
into a smile to make a man’s pulse race, the big guy flashed a snarl
that was pure murder.
She retrieved the photo and slipped it into the front pocket of her
black trench coat. “If he shows up, tell him Sydney’s looking for him.
“Does he have a name?”
“He goes by the name of Fat. Big Fat.” Nervously, she surveyed the
room, her eyes flitting from mirror to mirror. As her gaze lighted on
each glass, the reflected image quickly changed to a reverse of her own
face. When she moved on, the mirrors changed back.
Abruptly, she pivoted on four inch stiletto heels and caught a glimpse
of a short, buxom blonde in a beige cashmere coat standing beside the
bar across from the bartender. A blink of the eye later, the blonde in
the mirror was replaced by the redhead.
Her frown made three of her admirers seriously contemplate suicide. “Is
there a room without so much---glass?”
“Try the Crypt.” Max gave directions to the Goth room, a seldom used
area of the Mare Inebrium, where vampires went when they needed a drink
and vampire wanna be’s went when they wanted a bite.
“She’s a real looker,” a drunken patron confided loudly, after the
“A looker,” Max agreed. “But not real. That is a Fiction.”
The customer managed to bring two of his three eyes into focus. “Take it
back!” He took a swing.
Deftly, Max stepped aside. “She’s a Fiction. A bioelectric shape
shifter. Top of the line. Probably a Maltese F-12. I wonder what
she’s doing here.”
“Why’nt you go ask her?”
“I don’t like the company she keeps.”
Leaning on the slab of marble that served as a bar, with one shapely
ankle crossed in front of the other, Sydney RueVerte downed a full
liter of replicated beaujolais while waiting for Mr. Fat to arrive.
She opened her black coat to reveal a slinky, form fitting holo-dress
that shimmered in the simulated candle light.
Word of the red head’s beauty spread throughout the Mare Inebrium. Men
began to arrive and before long the Crypt was jumping. The wraithelike
creature who usually sat behind the bar doing nothing was kept busy
pouring red wine-- the only beverage stocked in this room---and telling
customers that no, this section did not have a toilet.
Several of the more ambitious gawkers had devised a plan to waylay
Sydney on her way to the Ladies Room. However, her bladder capacity
was as astounding as her looks. “I’ll have another bottle,” she told
the waitress. The second bottle went the way of the first. Still, she
showed no sign of moving from her spot beside the bar.
“Have we met somewhere before?” a desperate admirer asked.
“I hope not,” she replied without looking up from her glass. Her voice
was as rich as sugared whiskey.
A bipedal lizard elbowed the first speaker aside. “If you’ll let me buy
you a drink, I’ll give you my chinchilla ranch on Epsilon 5.”
She tossed her long red tresses over her shoulder. “I don’t wear fur.”
Men began to crowd around her, shouting offers.
“I’m the King of the Fedrekkshi Federation. I’ll make you my queen.”
“I’m a god. I can make you immortal!”
“xrrrrks-flawghhrooooooo!” This from a Ffllor13 diplomat who sweated so
profusely when excited, that he had shorted out his translator circuit.
“Are these cattle bothering you?”
“Mortals can be so annoying.”
The last two speakers were sex change twins, identical in appearance
and garb, except that the brother wore a ruby on his left nostril, and
the sister wore an emerald. Their excessive pallor, elongated
incisors and red pupiled eyes could have been cosmetically acquired,
but the superhuman strength which the woman demonstrated when she picked
up two of Sydney’s admirers and tossed them out the door indicated
that these were the real things.
Those patrons sober enough to remember what the word “mortal” meant
recalled why they seldom visited the Crypt. There was a mass exodus
of males from the room.
“Thanks,” Sydney purred.
“Don’t mention it.”
The vampire twins retired to their booth, a pair of ancient church
pews flanking a table made from a wooden coffin, currently unoccupied.
The waitress went back to doing what she did best, nothing. If not for
the steady throb of the pulse at the base of her throat, it would have
been easy to mistake her for dead. Sydney refilled her glass and waited
for Big Fat to arrive.
A half hour passed, before the door to the Crypt opened again, admitting
an unwelcome stream of artificial light and three hulking humanoids.
The latter were dressed in identical gray suits and wore wrap around
visors which obscured their eyes. Sydney looked from face to face.
Each visor reflected a different image. However, it was not this which
made her choke on her beaujolais.
“Someone’s been a naughty girl,” the centermost of the Maltese
mercenaries said with a sneer.
His two companions, who had not been outfitted with artificial larynxes,
nodded their heads in agreement. The three took one step forward, their
arms and legs moving synchronously.
One of the vampire twins, the male made a sour face and started to rise.
His sister laid a bone thin, snow white hand on his wrist and indicated
the Fiction. A hazy red-gold light surrounded the lovely woman,
obscuring everything except her feet. These were slowly elongating and
widening. Her footwear went from fetishistic to sensible, a pair of
men’s black patent leather dress shoes, carefully polished.
The golden glow receded, revealing a man. A big man. He was tall,
taller than the Maltese mercenaries by half a head, and the Maltese
Manufacturing Company was not known to skimp when it came to
security. He was also immensely fat. Rolls of flesh separated his
chin from his massive chest. A normal size man could have stood
comfortably in one leg of the fat man’s pants. His fists were the size
of the mercenaries’ heads. His dark eyes blazed with fury. “Do you
know who I am?” His voice rumbled like thunder in his vast chest
“Sure,” the vocal mercenary said with programmed bravado. “You’re a
defective piece of merchandise that has a hot date with Maltese
Manufacturing’s quality control chief.”
“Wrong. I’m the man who’s going to rip off your head and shit down your
fusion reactor core.”
After he reduced the three mercenaries to their constituent hardware,
he turned back to the bar. He picked up the beaujolais bottle and
drained it in a single gulp. From the breast pocket of his jacket, he
removed a monogrammed handkerchief which he used to dab at his lips, the
gesture incongruously dainty for such a big man. Observing a red stain
on the white linen, he grimaced and laid the still folded cloth on the
counter. The letters B and F caught the light.
Slowly, he raised his head. His eyes focused on the vampire twins.
“Thanks for looking after Sydney.” His voice was the same as hers,
though several octaves lower and much louder. “If you see her again,
please don’t mention meeting me here. She’s a soft hearted girl. She
hates the sight of blood and exposed circuitry.” He pushed the bits and
pieces of the Maltese mercenaries aside with his foot as he hefted his
huge bulk towards the door. One his way out of the Crypt, he tossed the
waitress a palladium coin which landed in her lap.
That was the first reported sighting of Big Fat at the Mare Inebrium.
It was not to be the last.
Copyright © 2001 by McCamy Taylor
McCamy is a long time contributor to Aphelion and you can find out all about her and her
work by following the link below to her website.
(Post) Millenium Fiction
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