Making Friends Is Easy

Sal looked around the table. Chris was engaged in conversation with Redera. That wouldn’t be interrupted by a freighter passing through the room. Then there was this man with the mechanical arm. He wasn’t saying anything, just clasping a glass of water and staring off into space. Sal tried to catch his eye but the man just wouldn’t turn. This wasn’t going to be easy. ‘What did Harry always say?’, he thought, ‘When confronted with the quiet type?’ Sal couldn’t remember so he just attempted to start a dialogue,
“Hey. Shane, right? I’m Sal, Sal Rosetto. You look like a man who’d be up for a challenge. I saw a dart board on the other side of the bar. You up for a game?”

The cyborg’s cold grey eyes moved from the large room over to the well dressed man across the table from him, his face hard and expressionless. He looked down at the big metal contraption on his shoulder, unsuited for anything small and delicate, then back at Sal again. Was this guy serious? Shane turned his gaze to the room once more without saying a word.

“Not your game, huh? Hmmm… What else have I seen in this place?”
Sal pulled the mug of Rom Ale to his lips waiting for a response that he was apparently not going to get. He finished his brew in one quick swallow and then spoke again in Shane’s general direction,

“Not the real stuff, but a close proximity. Whatcha drinkin? I’m going to get a refill.”
He raised his glass to the man who just refused to look.
“May be the last freebie we see in quite a while. Common pleasantries seem to be at a premium in these parts.”

Sal paused and looked at the man again hoping that he wasn’t being impolite,
“You can speak, right?”
Then chuckled to him self almost embarrassed, “Of course you can! I heard you speaking earlier.”

Shane inwardly sighed in growing annoyance as Sal kept talking. He hated these kinds of guys, friendly and outgoing; there was a reason they didn’t last long around here. All he wanted was to get the job, get onboard a ship and get off of this rock.

After several more minutes of jabbering, Shane couldn’t take it any longer. He slammed his glass down on the table, shattering it to pieces and causing Sal to jump. Standing up, he leaned over the table, staring straight at the other man and speaking in a low, menacing voice,
“Look, what’s your name? Rosey. I don’t want to ‘chat’. Not at all, get the hint.”
With that he turned and started off for the bar where he wouldn’t be bothered. He also wanted to get another drink. This water wasn’t cutting it anymore.

Sal was quite shocked at Shane’s response and was starting to get discouraged again but that wasn’t why he was here. All he wanted was to get a job and get off this forsaken rock. If he was going to join this crew then he would have to work with them. As the quarters were tight on most of these jobs, one would have to learn to eat, sleep and breathe their crewmates. With this in mind, he grabbed his now empty mug and followed Shane to the bar.

He approached the bar, handed Pete his mug with a confirming request for refill and moved over to where Shane was standing. Sal poised himself and then stated with confidence,
“Look. I don’t want to chit-chat either. I want to go to work. That’s why I’m out here. Unfortunately with the port closed, even if we get these jobs we are not leaving anytime soon. I will be serving as a Scientific Engineer but my forte’ is Navigation. I suspect that you applied for the Weapons or Engineering positions. I know a little bit about engineering.
The point I’m trying to make is that if we are going to be on the same vessel then we need to try to find some common ground. The only way we’re going to be able to do that is through an open dialogue.”

Sal waited patiently for a response from his quiet crewmate. He didn’t know what kind of response he’d get but he hoped that it would be at least within a range of cooperation.

The muscles in Shane’s real arm flexed as he debated punching this guy’s teeth out. For the sake of his possible job, he forced himself to be settled with a response.
“What are you, a dadgum counselor?” he looked at Sal next to him with an expressionless leer leaning on the bar with his huge mechanical arm,
“Here’s your dialogue: you speak to me only when absolutely necessary and I won’t toss you out the airlock. Sound good?”

“As you wish, and therefore since I would classify this as necessary, I guess I should tell you that you just picked up the wrong drink.”
Sal nodded to the glass in Shane’s hand as he spoke. The gentleman and that was a loosely used term, looked up from his dom-jot table, handed his stick to his partner and started walking their way. Here came that freighter through the room…

Glancing down at the mug in his hand, Shane closed his eyes in an angry wince and mumbled something about city slickers and beatings with blunt objects. He spun slowly to meet the approaching patron and his friend to be suddenly greeted with a hard right to the face.

“Think you can just steal drinks cause you’re half-made of metal?” the obviously drunk man slurred out, “I’ll teach you to…”

He was muffled by Shane huge metal claws clamping around his face and lifting his feet off the ground. With his eyes burning in anger, Shane brought the struggling man to eye level with his scarred face and growled,

“That was a mistake.” With a powerful overhand swing, he chunked the drunk head first into his partner, sending both flying back into a table. The wood collapsed under the force of the men hitting it and left them moaning or unconscious on the floor.

Wiping the blood from his nose, Shane dug some credits out of his pocket and set them on the bar,
“Sorry about the table, Pete.” He grabbed his drink, the right one this time and with one final glare in Sal’s direction, stalked to find his table again.

Sal picked his jaw up off the bar, smiled meekly at Pete while grabbing his own mug.
“Uh, I guess I need to…” Sal motioned and pointed to Shane. Pete just shook his head with a painful look on his face. He had just replaced that table.


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July 2010
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