Dax sat across from Nolann on the large circular couch that filled up the small commons area of Mara’s apartment. Fiddling with the metal holoprojector, flipping it from side to side on a round stone table, Nolann’s blank expression betrayed his concentration on Schlick’s recent communiqué. Startled by the rattling of the manual door release behind him, Nolann looked to Dax as both reached for their holstered blasters. Dax stood up nervously facing the door while his companion rose and walked to open the door. Fern waited in the small kitchen area looking on with anticipation. But before Nolann could reach the door, it slammed wide on its hinges as a huge hulking beast ducked its long neck to bow its head below the frame of the door. Seeing Nolann the creature shrieked in rage with a deafening roar while simultaneously flipping a nearby chair with its right hand into the far wall. The chair flew as if it were made of nothing more than paper. Balling his fists the creature raised his arms above his head as Nolann fumbled for his blaster. From behind the dinosaur-like creature a feminine voice pleaded for peace.
“Stop Rodgren! Stop!” Mara yelled as she squeezed past the Mantillian Savrip filling the doorway, “This is Nolann. Remember? I told you about him back at the club.” Mara now held her hands on her hips, facing the green and bluish colored alien, with her head cocked in a gesture of admonishment. In response Rodgren dropped his arms almost pouting.
The small red headed lady seemed to hold a gentle power over this hulking brute. Sensing the swift change in Rodgren’s mood the small Duros holstered his blaster but stood ready with his arms hung low at his sides. Now docile, the large alien pushed both Mara and Nolann out of the way with its shoulders while Dax wheeled on his heels admiring the creature from behind the couch. Fern, equally astonished, quickly vacated the small kitchen area when she saw Rodgren’s charge for the kitchen’s cooling unit.
Trailing quickly behind Mara yelled “Rodgren! Stop!” though this time the beast just ignored her “there isn’t anything in there to eat. I’m sorry about this guys,” Mara called to Nolann, Dax, and Fern “he really is a sweetie.”
Fumbling through the cooling unit for food, Mara stood behind Rodgren with exasperation for a short time before retreating down the hallway to her private quarters. Calling from down the hall Mara yelled “Just watch him for a second while I change would ya guys?”
Not certain about what to do, both Nolann and Dax returned to their places on the circular couch. Rodgren, seemingly pleased with his plate of small sweetcakes returned to the commons area and plopped down on the couch beside Dax. Setting his plate on the small white stone table Rodgren pulled a small holo-disk from the folds of his ragged clothing before inserting it into the small entertainment viewer in the corner.
Nolann and Dax watched with curiosity as a small moving image of Rodgren now stood on the viewers holographic plate. Across from the miniature Mantillian Savrip stood a short and block-shaped Kirtan Strider, it’s gaping mouth almost completely bisecting its face horizontally from its stomach. Almost as short as it was wide, the Strider stood with its stubby arms hanging at its sides, its face held no discernable expression.
At the call of an unseen whistler both creatures stooped into a fighting stance and began to circle one another. A multitude of alien faces could now be seen in the distance behind steel bars, cheering and jeering the two fighters. In a quick move both moved forward, Rodgren swept his lanky arms in a circular attempting to grab the stout mass of his opponent, but the Kirtan Strider was too fast as he ducked then threw a powerful right jab into the Savrip’s mid-section. Rodgren howled a frustrated roar, throwing his hands into the air, while swiveling to the right to reface his foe.
Through mouthfuls of food, the real Rodgren sitting next to Dax, began to rumble an unintelligible language from deep within his long neck. Staring at the fight he continued to speak though none of his new companions understood the garbled tongue.
“He’s saying he’s a fighter.” Mara translated from down the hall.
“Well that much is obvious.” Nolann quipped while throwing a sideways glance at Dax.
“He says that he is looking for a sponsor for his next fight.” Mara continued, ignoring the shortness of the Duro’s comment. “Rod is a good enough guy. I met him at the club tonight. He was sweet enough to escort me home.” Dax let out a short cynical snort while shifting his weight from one leg to the other.
“Well how good is he…?” Nolann barely finished his sentence before watching the animated, but seemingly bored Rodgren on the holoprojector make one last charge, grab the Strider on the shoulder with his right hand, iliac crest in the other then rip the unfortunate creature in two bloody halves. Nolann made the closest approximation of a nervous human swallowing. “That good huh.”
Rodgren pointed in interest with his right hand as he devoured another sweetcake with his left. Through chewing he rumbled a baritone sentence.
“He says 500 credits is the buy in for the fight. The next fight will be at the end of the week. His last sponsor got “dispatched” for some unrelated reason.”
Making a contorted face of disgust and uneasiness Nolann queried nervously “How much are the winnings?”
“He says he doesn’t know because it changes from week to week. But from what I’ve heard he’s a really good fighter and should win you a considerable sum.”
“Tell him I’m interested in buying in, but I have somewhere to go right now. I’ll have to get back to you some time later in the week” Nolann finished as he stood up turning towards Rodgren. “Err…nice meeting you,” the tiny Duros managed towards the hulking mass.
Absent-mindedly Rodgren replied the same, while making a dismissive wave as Nolann, Fern, and Dax exited the tiny apartment.
“I don’t know about you, but I don’t exactly like the idea of leaving that brute in the company of Mara, she might just get split in half herself.” Nolann spoke to the others over his shoulder as he walked down the smelly hall.
“We can’t help that right now, Schlick’s new mission awaits us,” Dax answered with a slight turn of his head and the coldness typical of chiss, “we’ll see her again. She’s a tough girl.”
“I can only hope,” the Duros replied with much doubt. The stone-faced Dr. Andromeda only looked at the dirty carpet as she trailed behind into the turbolift.