Third chapter of this story with Jax Denek! We get a glimpse of the black market of the city!
Thunder echoed in the distance the storm having long passed. A light drizzle of rain fell, the dismantled sky cover littering puddles across the street. Beads of water slid down Jax’s long trench coat dripping off his bushy, reddish-brown tail. A light breeze swept through the street, the few other animals sharing the path with Jax quickly moving along, huddled in worn, dirty clothing.
Keeping a steady pace, he glanced around for any danger his paws deep in his pockets to appear relaxed, but ready in a moment to reveal his claws. Taking several turns through the maze-like city he came out onto a street that appeared to be abandoned, trash littering the floor. Looking around for the marker, Jax spotted the black paw print plastered over the road sign with the name ‘Darg’. He crossed the road heading for the subway access. A broken gate crossed the entrance, sections torn off long ago with visible muddied tracks heading below. Ducking low he pushed through the tight entrance taking care to not get his coat snagged on any of the protruding metal.
Waiting for his eyes to adjust to the dark tunnel his ears perked at the echoes of voices coming below. He started his descent down the stairway the voices growing louder. A group of possums came into view only glancing in his direction before they resumed their bickering to one another.
Reaching the bottom Jax was greeted to an assortment of tents and boxes propped up as storefronts lining the large abandoned terminal. Long strips ran across the ceiling connecting to pillars creating a zigzag of cover to block water dripping from tiny cracks in the high ceiling. The place was humid, made hot by the various metal containers filled with burning trash. Several animals sat around the containers talking with one another, a couple playing instruments for idle entertainment.
A whiff of discarded trash and smoke filled his nose. Exhaling with a snort he moved in studying his surroundings intensely for any sign of danger. The first of the tents proving as innocent as they could be in such a dark place, selling an assortment of miscellaneous items some of which could be described as simply trash. The dirty, ragged owners of various tents tried to grab his attention, quickly giving up to attack the next passerby. Curses and yelps echoed behind Jax, a disgruntled shop owner growling furiously at another animal who had tried to steal, quickly finding themselves in a scuffle.
Ignoring it Jax continued on, heading deeper into the makeshift place. A twang of a guitar string caught his attention, briefly turning to a fireplace surrounded by several animals smoking and drinking heavily all listening to the tune played by a bull, an incoherent mess of notes stopped abruptly by the bull taking another swing of his drink and passing out promptly. A cacophony of laughter erupted from the huddled animals who took more drinks before passing around a dirtied jug, cursing at any spilled liquor.
Shaking his head he moved on, tents around him becoming more lavish and rich in material, clear their owners have lived in this place for a long time and gained power in some way. Several animals walked around with a certain glare, acting as guards for the owners who now sold more then simple trinkets and trash. Drugs of various kinds lined tables, mixed with illegal guns, tools, chained animals, and jars filled with chemicals of various kinds. Glancing between tent flaps and make shift doors Jax caught glimpses of more expensive tools and weapons. A nearby muffled cry cause his ears to perk, peeking between a gap of a door he grimaced at the sight of a reindeer, her horns being sawed off by a lion and an iron brand close by being heated in a furnace.
Moving away, his ears perked at a low buzz of a power cutter nearby, turning the corner Jax spotted the large mole with a long tail and thick brown fur. His webbed fingers held the tool, chipping away at a chunk of metal before turning it off to inspect the piece closely, sniffing it curiously.
Approaching the mole, Jax saw more of the metal scattered around and a case laid out filled with plasma bullets, a common sight in this place.
The mole sniffed the air and turned his head in Jax’s direction, sniffing the air again. “What do you want?” He snapped, his voice thick with a heavy accent as if it was mixed with soot.
“Your attention, Viktor,” replied Jax in a stern tone, looking down at the mole, only standing at a quarter the height of Jax.
Viktor’s snout quickly pointed upwards sniffing at Jax, his gaze looking behind a pair of goggles. Twisting the lenses, the mole’s eyes appeared to become bigger behind the lenses. He grimaced as his vision cleared to see Jax standing there, “damn, come along then.” Viktor said before turning without any other words, moving through the doorway of his shop.
Reaching the doorway, Jax saw in the corner of his eye a slim leopard approaching, wearing a black armored vest and leggings, a sleek helmet with a dark red visor covered the face. The only identification that it was a leopard at all was the pattern of fur on the paws and the long tail that followed behind her.
The room was plain with a few containers closed by combination lock. A small hole in the corner went underground with more personal belongings of the mole. Walking into the center of the room Jax glanced back at the leopard who leaned casually against the wall beside the doorway. Turning back he kept his paws in his pockets, waiting for the mole who now sniffed the air a few times.
“How goes it, Denek?” Viktor asked, adjusting the lenses of his goggles in the dim light.
“Whats with the bodyguard, Viktor?”
“Always straight to the point…” Viktor replied with a sigh, “shes a guard I hired since my recent dealings.” He replied.
Glancing back Jax saw the leopard shrug and cross her arms. “Your recent ‘dealings’ wouldn’t have anything to do with plasma swords, would they?” He asked, crossing his arms.
Viktor sighed and turned to a case, turning its combination and opening it to reveal foam inside with empty spacing for thin rectangular shapes. “Yea, I had some until ‘they’ showed up.”
“You know the agreement with the agency calls for you to not deal in illegal weapons!” Jax snapped.
Viktor hissed in return, his small webbed hands balling up into fists, “don’t remind me the agreement Denek!” His nose exhaling a buff of air, “I’m to keep observation of the area and in return I’m protected from the law and can sell weapons to whomever as long as its not illegal weapons.” Viktor ran a finger along one of the open spaces in the foam, “I was performing what was required of me, I observed plasma swords coming through the area and decided I’d retrieve them, I was going to report them but they were stolen from me by a third party. No reason to report anything now, not like I’m gonna get protection or anything, so I return to doing my job as an observer!”
“If you really are an observer your doing a bad job! You planned on selling those swords!” Accused Jax.
Viktor chuckled, “if or if I wasn’t it doesn’t matter now. Your here to find out who took them, am I correct?”
“Yes,” he replied.
The mole smiled, “well it so happens in my task as an observer I’ve seen one of the thugs before. A bear that goes by the name of Raxid, though who that lizard friend of his was, I have no idea.” Viktor walked over to his hole, pressing a few buttons on an armband he had on. A moment later a small cube floated out of the hole and attached itself to the armband, new information scrolling past the small screen Viktor studied. “I knew there was a small chance those damn swords would cause me more issues so I had the forethought to leave a tracker on one of the swords. It’s in the warehouse district north of here, sector six. There is no guarantee it is still there, they might’ve already found the tracker and ripped it out or even have an ambush ready, its the best I can do for ya, Denek. So can you look past my mistake and we stay on good terms?”
“Yes, I’ll look over your ‘mistake’.” Jax sighed and offered his hand towards the mole, “as long as this information is what you say it is.”
“Come now Denek, my information never lies!” The mole exclaimed, “I always enjoy doing business with you, any other tanner would’ve had my hide.” Viktor chuckled, pulling the small orb out of the armband and placed it into Jax’s paw.
Holding the small orb carefully, Jax slid it into a pocket in his coat. “Continue observing, the agency approves of it. I’ll be going now, we’ll see each other again.” He said turning for the doorway, glancing to the emotionless visor of the leopard before heading out into the market again.
“See ya around Denek!” Viktor said, his nose sniffing again.