Izok’s crib was magnificent. Trophies and treasures crafted from the finest rare metals adorned his walls. His floor was pure sacamora, a black marble like substance. He sat on a jewel encrusted throne he’d made himself, surrounded by females of all various species, each more alluring than the next. They fanned him and fed him berries.
A coarse furred banji beast rested its head at Izok’s feet. It was majestic. Quite a site indeed. The pink eyes, the massive fangs protruding out of its mouth, I’m surprised Izok was able to find one. They’re virtually extinct.
“Roman!” Izok shouted across the enormous room, his echo reverberating in my ears.
“Hello Izok,” as I said when I reached him. “Your stock certainly has risen.”
“Do you like it?” Izok asked as he outstretched his hands and looked around his digs.
“It’s a step up from the chaizo,” I replied.
Izok laughed, then clapped his hands twice.
“Leave us, bitches!”
The ladies took their leave. Izok stood and embraced me, pulling me close with his tree trunk arms.
“Ahh, it’s been too long, brother,” my host said.
“It has,” I added.
Izok pulled back, then looked over his shoulder. He made a big deal about it.
“What are you doing?” I asked.
“Looking for the knife,” Izok answered, flashing a wry grin.
It isn’t easy dealing with a shai. Since their eyes reveal nothing, your only hope for figuring out what’s on their mind comes from what their mouths are doing.
“I could say the same thing,” I said. “You know how I feel about the Cabal.”
“I knew joining them would end our friendship,” Izok said. “But let’s face it, Roman. The Cabal’s done more for me lately than you ever have.”
“They’ve done more to me too..”
“Oh, are you still on that?” Izok asked. “Families come and go, brother. Money’s all that matters in this life.”
Ninety-five popped out his lazer cannons.
“Stand down,” I said.
“Step aside, human,” Ninety-five said.
“Sourcemind, are you in there?” I asked.
Ninety-five powered down.
“I have to say I’m surprised you’ve partnered up with the machines,” Izok said as he looked Ninety-five over. “They’re going to kill everyone before the Cabal ever will.”
“It was a forced arrangement,” I said. “The head clank caught me with my dick in my hand. Literally.”
The banji beast, six feet long and roughly a deuce and a half, rubbed its cat like head against my knees. Izok yanked back on a chain attached to its neck.
Ninety-five turned back on and Sourcemind was in control.
“Will you two stop measuring your appendages and kill each other already?” Sourcemind asked. “Get out of the way, Roman so I can blow Tau’s head off.”
“It’s not our way,” I said.
“What?” Sourcemind asked.
“Roman and I are just a couple of hood rats from the same shai chaizo,” Izok explained. “Our mutual master, Ashakti, trained us well in shai martial arts. He’d look down on us quite disapprovingly from the great beyond if one of us were to kill the other in anything short of a duel.”
Sourcemind retracted Ninety-five’s cannons.
“Oh for the love of…fine. Do your human bullshit but I’m not leaving without your latest acquisition, Tau.”
“We’ll see about that,” Izok said.