Hexpanse, the short story Chapter two phyton

The thing the Librarian liked the most in this quiet pub was that the second counter clock in his head was ticking slower there. His cybernetic heart didn’t need any sleep for fifteen years by then, but his human brain did. It felt relieving to have a drink after the daily 16-20 working hours. No matter how hard he tried to become an alcoholic, he couldn’t, because his rustproof stomach degraded alcohol before it could affect him. The glass turned into a placebo in his hands, the placebo of oblivion. But it hardly worked.

 

Cool, fresh air disturbed the soothingly swaying tobacco smoke. A stranger in a hood entered the pub. He was closing to the bar with determined, but calm steps.

 

“May I?”

 

“Be my guest!”

 

“Bartender! Refill the old man’s glass! And give me a double of it. I hope you are drinking something strong, old man.”

 

The bartender moved bored. He knew the heckler guy. He knew that he is a war struck soldier, currently the leader of one of the best mercenary squads. His will is strong, his tongue is lashing, but his aggression was overthrown by his respect towards the old man. He filled and let the Librariananswer.

 

“Aknila. I like its color.”

 

“You can’t even see any colors!” laughed the other one so hard that his hood slipped back on his nape. One of his eyes was lost in the war. His face was decorated with cuts, bullet holes and scars of the battles.

 

“The leader of Snake squad didn’t just want a simple drink in a smoky pub, I suppose. Anytime we meet, you, dear Python, ask questions. Tell me!”

 

“You ain’t change much, Librarian,” Python smiled. He raised his cybernetic arm and grabbed his glass gently. His left was still flesh, his right one was already metal, but even he didn’t which one he spares less.  He loved combat, and loved to use his arms with force. Actually, he only grabbed two things with care: glasses and women. “Tell me about the formation!”

 

Even the little remaining time stopped in the pub. Hearing the word “formation” even the smoke fled, not to mention the bartender.

 

“Gentlemen! I don’t want any trouble! You should probably discuss it elsewhere.”

 

“No problem, John. If Mr. Python wants to hear about the formation, then I’ll tell him about it. You’ve already heard much rockier stuff here.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

John’s pub was an asylum for not only the Librarian, but for much information that made the bartender feel safe and being in mortal danger at the same time. Clan chiefs, leaders of religious groups, commanders of special forces, but even ministers, ambassadors visited his bar: strictly in hood, strictly sitting next to the Librarian.  Some of them were patrons already. This was the place of secret information being exchanged unfathomably.

 

And the Librarian? He was independent. He informed those he felt that they will make use of it, and gave pieces of such information he hoped that will help making peace. His wisdom was obscured by his naivety. The old man knew much, but not everything.

 

“The formation is an ancient religious thesis that if the warriors stand in the proper pattern compared to the constellation of the stars, they vanquish their enemies with the help of divine powers.”

 

“Spiritual garbage? Don’t fool with me, old man!”

 

“The truth is that the ancient texts don’t tell gibberish. If the battalions really march in the certain formation, they practically grow indestructible: protected from all directions, mobile to all directions, ready to attack in any direction.”

 

“A formation that can decide the outcome of the many years lasting war? Well, old man, if I didn’t know you, I would think that you are drunk.” Python slammed his double drink so quickly that he didn’t even break his loud laugh. He covered his uncertainty with his long laughter, because he didn’t whether if he could believe the old man or not. His thoughts were rampaging, pros and cons clashed between his rational and power hungry sides. Everything was so simple, yet so incredible and complex. He was just a steadfast soldier, not a genius who sees through the controversially looking chaos of religion and science. He knew that the old man spent not hours, but years or even decades with researching a formation that can end all wars and leads a nation to victory. He also knew that the old man is close to the truth: the truth that forces thousands of human bodies in the wide galaxy to revolve in orbit lifelessly.

 

“Don’t horse around with me, old man! If that is so simple, then why haven’t all four warlords come to you for the secret?”

 

The bartender pretended to be very busy while he was listening to the conversation. He knew the answer, and he knew what the Librarian will reply... again... from time to time...

 

“Phyton! If you would know it... You are neither the first who came to me nor the last. Many people asked me that question. Some of them asked with violence, some of them approached me with money. It doesn’t matter if I show you the formation. What is it good for you? Everyone knows it. They won’t allow your people to complete it before others would.  You can ask better questions than that!”

 

“How can I take out an Astralmech before it would be able to attack?”

 

“See? That’s the question of your type! It’s just properly petty! Everyone has their role in this war. The great leaders deal with the ancient scripts and the perfect victory formation, I deal information, and John fills our glasses, don’t you, John? And you, Python, should deal with the battles. The Astralmech’s defensive system has a weak spot, exactly the...”

 

John the bartender shut his ears like the otter underwater. He began to become similar to the Librarian: he started to know more that he should. The difference was that he was just a bartender, not a scientist, not a toy of the leaders. The two men, the strong and the smart kept talking for long. The old man was explaining, the soldier was trying to understand and memorize what he heard. It wasn’t noticed in the windowless pub, but the first rays of sunlight began to appear.

 

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Hexpanse, the short story Chapter two phyton
previous chapter: the librarian
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