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Tales from the Aces' Bar
A tale of pilots and perils in the Crimson Skies
 
A Swan descends to earth...

        While the inhabitants of the bar were mopping the floor with the  pirates, the whistle had been heard.   By ONE man.....
        He muttered an expletive, and headed for the bar.
        When he got there, the sounds of the fight were dying down.
        Grinning, he walked in.
        And found himself staring into many, many gun barrels.
        "Why, gentlemen....Iím dangerous....but this is hardly a polite method of greeting newcomers."
        Evilmike smirked, and lit up a Pall Mall.  He was an average, nondescript-looking man.  His black evening suit was a distinct contrast to the leather and canvas of the other aces.  A Black Swan pin glittered from his collar.
        He stepped over the bodies, and made his way to the bar, ignoring all the weapons pointing in his direction.
        "Vodka and tonic, with a rum chaser," he ordered.
        Turning around, he grinned again.
        "Could I trouble you gents to please quit pummeling my minions?  Doctors charge outrageous fees, you know."
        He took a draw from the cigarette, and blew the smoke back out into the bar.  And he never stopped smiling.

        As the fight progressed, the Swan pilot at the bar decided to go help his fellow pilots. He turned took a couple steps, and fell flat on his face thanks to the leg Soaring-Eagle calmly tripped him with. As the pilot tried to get up, Soaring-Eagle pulled back the hammer on his Smith & Wesson .44 and pointed it at the back of the pirates head.
        "Now, I donít believe I heard anyone invite you to join that little foray, so I suggest you stay put."
        Hearing the possibility of reinforcements coming in, Soaring-Eagle looked away for a second. The pirate tried to take advantage of this, springing to his feet. Soaring-Eagle smashed him upside the head with his .44 caliber cannon, sending the pirate to the land of dreams.

        There were one too many Black Swans in the bar. Most of them were already out cold. But still, Swans should not have been in Ace's Bar.  All scavengers have territories, and this pack of hyenas had no business here. Since the fiasco started, this fact had been gnawing inside Ellingtonís head, and now the grinning idiot that walked in probably had all the answers.
        Ellington maneuvered around the unconscious lump which laid before him. Walking over to Teach he placed his hand on the bearded militiamanís shoulder.

        Blood chuckled quietly to himself as the fight got into motion.
        Grinning ,he picked up an empty bottle by the neck chucked it across the room. The bottle sailed end-over-end like Blood was born with a natural talent for handling things until it finally reached the other side of the room. It almost casually cold cocked an unsuspecting pirate in the back of the head, dropping him to the floor.
        He grinned again and was just about to wade into the fist fight himself when the door opened and the finely dressed stranger walked in. Frowning, Blood relaxed slightly and snapped his pistol holster shut.
         "Geez, and I was just hankeriní to knock some bloody pirates about," he mumbled under his breath. Shrugging he walked over to the bar and stood just inside the strangerís peripheral vision and just a tad too close, but relaxed like he was just in a crowded bar and not trying to make the man uncomfortable.

        Teachís finger tightened on his Mauserís trigger as he glared over the sights. The newcomerís image was twinned in the Corsairís black shades.
        There was a hand on his shoulder. Teach could see cross out of the corner of his eye.
        "So many ugly ducks in one place can only mean trouble," Cross leaned closer to the Dixie militiaman. "Letís leave him alive for now."
        Teach hesitated, torn between logic and instinct, then nodded and lowered his gun. He winced as he pulled an embedded tooth from his left fist. Taking careful aim, he flicked it into the mouth of the pirate at his feet.

        Draco could see that the rest of the goons were being mopped up so he was about to put his pistol away when the newcomer walked in. He quickly relieved it, but as the newcomer started to talk with easy he lowered his gun an reholstered it. It seemed to be a high up Swan man.
        This caused the Air Marshal some conflicting instincts. On one hand he was just itching to blow off this pirates head and finish off all his goons. But on they other he was an Empire States man and the Swans were now a privateer for his beloved country. Draco decided it would be better for him to just stay out of it, fighting a bunch of low down Swans was one thing taking on one of there higher ups was another.
        Draco walked back to where his chair was, flipped back up right and sat down. He would leave the slick Swan to the other pilots.

        The Corsair said to Cross, "This square canít be all that dangerous." Teach eyed the newcomer critically. "Had to bring in a new-model goon squad as backup." Plumes of smoke issued from his evil smirk as Teach surveyed the wounded Swans.
        Ellington stared at the small man at the bar. To Cross he looked like a weasel in a suit, the most dangerous kind of all.
        "I agree with yah Teach. But what the worm lacks in cojones he makes up in connections. Green or not these are still 10 Swan boys..."
        Ellington glanced back at the two angels by the jukebox.
        "..and girls. That makes ten pilots, ten planes. That can mean one of two things: A, they are protecting something important to the Swan, or B, they are looking for something important for the Swan."
        Ellington glanced to the weaselís side.  Blood loomed over the small man.
        "And I bet he wonít be too forthcoming with answers... Blood, why donít you help the man to a chair."
        The expression on Crossí face meant only one thing:  violence. The poor Swan was gonna get his feathers ruffled.
        Teach looked at Cross. He dropped his cigarette and ground it out with his heel on the chest of a wounded Swan.
        "I like your style, Cross," drawled the Corsair.
        Teach walked over to the bar. At his approach, Ace dropped his hand to knee height and there was a soft click. Sally exhaled a breathy sigh of relief. The last time heíd had to use his "wooden" leg she was repainting the walls for days.
        The Dixie militiaman glanced back over at the newcomer then returned his dead gaze on Ace. "Something fancy for the new," he said.

        Captain Shepard watched the pilot called Teach walk towards the bar and order something fancy for the head swan.  Turning towards Cross, Gyr remarked, "Well, whichever of A or B it is, Iíd say either is trouble. Though at the moment, trouble for them."

        Seeing that the fight was pretty much over, Soaring-Eagle slowly released the hammer on his .44 and reholstered the gun. He then sat back down at the bar and went back to his cider.

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