Valiant Shorts: The Hunt Part 1 The Paladin

Vibrant lights, soft music, and a carefree atmosphere filled the dim dining room of Lee Harvey’s lounge. The gentle voice of an unknown yet gifted singer serenaded the ears of each money clad patron, conversing and laughing with subtle smiles as expensive wine unlocked lips and unleashed secrets. It was the place to be in the Boston security zone; decent food, proper alcohol, and real blue blood luxury. Corporate fat cats and bureaucrats knew it well.

Tapping a fingernail upon the sandalwood table, the woman precariously sipped at her glass of expensive burgundy wine. She savoured every flavour of the naturally processed beverage. The years following the “event” had not been kind to cuisine in the least and now in 2029 to taste “real” food and drink were a limited luxury. There wasn’t exactly a shortage of chefs and brewers, more a complete stagnation of agriculture around the entire world replaced with synthetic supplements and meals.

Reaching down into her purse, she removed a holo-pad which held the details of the target. The paladin sitting across from her mulled over her features. How long had it been since he was with a woman? Eight years, ten?  The exact time and place eluded him.

“It’s a simple hunt,” she mumbles through a slight sigh. The paladin speaks calmly, sounding devoid of any feeling, besides boredom. “Listen, this is far from simple, that’s why you asked specifically for me. You know how long I’ve been doing this and you know I’m good, otherwise, you wouldn’t have set up this meet.” She laughs and for the first time, the paladin notices how attractive she is. “Well with the increases in attacks, we need the best, even oath breaking paladins.” The paladin begins to show emotion, one emotion specifically…. anger.

“Look I honour the oath of my order, I live by it and I’ll most likely die by it. But the city is tearing itself apart, with more districts than not under martial law or damn near close, it’s my job to decommission their kind if they go off the rails.” She smiles, speaking with a hint of judgement which resonates in her voice. “Even if you superiors don’t give the order hmm?”

The paladin relaxes, regretting the show of emotion. “Sometimes ma’am, sometimes” She begins to speak again but catches herself as she seems to get lost in thought, a look of anxiousness spreading across her fine face. The sound of a patron at a far table munching on plasto-beans, the only sound attacking the silence. She suddenly snaps back to reality, her eyes settling upon the adjacent window, whatever was on her mind is gone now. “Well, do you want the job or not Paladin? ” He nods “Yes, for two grand more.” Resentment flickers in her eyes, but she remains collected. “Deal, but you best deliver.” A precarious smile starts to forms on the paladin’s face “Don’t worry, I’ll get it done.”  To be continued…. 


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