“Bang,” Aaron said, bringing the gun down. “You’re dead. That was easy. Too easy. Surely a man this loaded would have at least a cursory amount of protection.”
With that, the man stowed his bike and his rifle nearby and began to sit back and watch. So Aaron watched as Porten, the scarred, smiling alien, exited his car, a beautiful woman on his arm. Aaron also watched as hundreds of people streamed through the gates over the next few hours. People from all walks of life. Rich, poor, elderly, young, all made their way to Porten’s villa, as though he were handing out money. The streams of Aurorusians and other aliens continued long into the night and showed no sign of stopping.
None were turned away, not one. When people did exit, they wore smiles, but carried nothing more than they entered with. Tired of waiting, Aaron clambered down the stairs of the building. The gates were still open, a guard standing with a smile.
“I am here to see Porten,” Aaron said, a little timidly. The guard’s smile did not waver.
“You are just in time, sir,” the imposing statue of a man replied. “I was very nearly going to close the gate.”
“Well, thank you,” Aaron replied as he entered. “Where do I go?”
“Just follow the raucous laughter, you’ll find him.”
Bewildered, Aaron walked forward, hearing the sounds of a hundred partiers having a grand time. Soon the smells of roasted zumtai, a beast with an elongated nose that preyed on small birds, and steamed vorrary, a vegetable that resembled blue corn but tasted like yams, reached his nose. Soon, he was standing in a brightly lit room, lavishly decorated from floor to ceiling with gold and silk draperies and stained glass. Tables upon tables laden with food were surrounded by men and women and children, all hungrily devouring whatever delicacy they could see. Porten was sitting at a table slightly raised from the rest laughing heartily.
“…and you see,” the scarred man was saying, “that is why this world is in so much trouble. Everything could be solved in a night if only we could just laugh at ourselves!”
“Porten,” Aaron said, placing himself in the circle surrounding the alien, “how did you get where you are today?”
“Oh, you don’t want to hear that story.”
Groans went up throughout the hall, to which Porten raised his hands.
“But, it seems, the masses have spoken.” Porten cleared his throat and the entire room fell almost as silent. The light clink of glasses and forks on plates would occasionally resound, but otherwise the crowd stayed silent. This was obvious a story they had heard before, but wanted to hear again.
“As many of you know,” the alien began, “I used to be something of a bad guy. I used to deal in all manner of less than legal activities. Drugs. Prostitution. Thievery of the worst sort. Extortion from businesses. Stealing from friends. But I cleaned up. Took a good long while. Several years, in fact. Kept relapsing back into all the stuff I was trying to run away from. Then I met Meryana, the love of my life. Dear thing kept popping up when I would go through rehab or through the jails. All that time, I could only think about how her love changed me for the better.
“That’s when I got the idea. Teach this blasted world to love again, one person at a time. That’ll get rid of all the hate and crime. So I started a business, true with money I had gotten before I sobered up, all filthy drug money that I had killed for. I started a foundation that would help people. Get them out of the gutter. It’s taken five years, but look where we are now!”
A great cheer went up throughout the entire room.
“In my own house, I give people what they desire. All this blasted money, put to good use. Fight back against the drug lords and the pimps. Give he children a hope for the future.”
Aaron found his hand reaching for his holster. Yes, the gun was there. The crowd was in an uproar. No one would hear the single shot it would take to kill this man, as Thenar had asked him. But how much had he been offered? Less than 300. Barely enough to run the ship for a month much less feed him.
What should Aaron do next? Weigh in below or in the Facebook group.