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No Friendship In Business

"And that is everything I know, my mistress."

Mysty was kneeling in front of the Black Stallion crew.

"Good servant." Zera patted her head.

The A-grade hunter had become her slave and lost all her free will. Her irises were devoid of life, she was like a mindless zombie.

"That was easy," Ryker stated.

"Hmm..." Jackal rubbed his chin. "Did you get all that, Ming?" He turned to the android.

After Zera warped the hunter's mind. She commanded her to tell them all the information she had about the BSA.

Mysty rambled for nearly an hour and thus, it proved difficult for them to recall everything she said.

"Good thing Ming has an inbuilt recorder." Said Ryker.

He crept closer to the mindless Mysty and squatted to her level.

"How does it feel to be the pawn now, witch?" He said with a satisfied smug on his face.

"Ehem." Zera stretched her hand out to Jackal. "I've done my role. Now, pay up."

"Of course, the payment." Jackal glanced over at Ming and nods his head.

"Ming brought over a big sack and tossed it over to the Vampire."

Zera opened the sack and gasped. "These are."

Jackal smirked as he rubbed his nose. "From over a dozen Astro techs."

The contents of the sack were white Astro rocks. They were from the Astro tech of the defeated B-Grade bounty hunters who accompanied Mysty.

'They gathered these many?' Ryker thought to himself.

Zera went through the rocks while Jackal laughed uncontrollably. "I know, I know. I'm ama-"

A rock flew across the room hitting the captain in the face causing him to fall backwards.

"Ouu!" Ryker and Ming exclaimed in unison.

"That's gonna leave a mark."

"Jackie you cheapskate! White Astro rocks are worth almost nothing!"

Zera pounced on the flattened Jackal and starts to repeatedly pound at his chest.

Ryker looked on with horror as Jackal got pounded. He desperately tried to save himself...

"Easy there, Zee."

"Not the face!"

"Let's work this out."

"Ming, help!"

Ming folded her arms and averted her gaze. "I told you that avaricious woman won't be bought so easily."

"Hold up," Ryker spoke up making Zera pause.

"What!?" She snapped at him. Ryker couldn't help but flinch at the ferocity of the woman who was beating up his captain.

Ryker clenched his heart. 'A mere look from her is making my heart beat so fast?'

He took a deep breath. 'Choose your words wisely Ryker. Or they might be your last.' He cautioned himself and looked back at the Vampire.

He scanned her from top to bottom as she walked towards him.

"I know you're Jackie's new catch. But what makes you think you can interrupt me, polar bear?"

Gulp.

'How can someone as beautiful as her be so intimidating? It's like I'm staring into the abyss. A sexy, curvy abyss.'

Ryker hardened his gaze. Her chaotic pressure was enough to make him forget about what he wanted to say. But he gathered his words and spoke up.

"Why are you making such a fuss when there's an Astro tech with a red rock?"

"Eh?"

Jackal jolted from the floor as Zera tilted her head.

The answer was right in front of them.

Ryker pointed at Mysty who was on her knees.

"The witch's sword is an Astro tech. I thought you'd know that? All A-Grade Hunters are given Astro tech that matches their skins. I get that sometimes they don't give off the vibe of an Astro tech because of their design."

"I'll admit I didn't bother to scan her sword. It didn't appear to have a compartment."

"The BSA started making Astro tech that could transform completely into the item and shape its owner deems. They're the 3rd generation Astro tech. It was so the hunters could maneuver through enemy territories without drawing attention to themselves."

Ryker turned to Zera.

"Will a red Astro rock suffice as payment?"

The woman nodded.

Jackal blinked. He then bursts into a stream of uncomfortable laughter.

Face-palming, the captain of the Black Stallion walked over to Ryker.

"Of course, I knew that!" He declared puffing out his chest.

"..."

They all glared at him not believing his words.

"Yeah? Then why did you let Zera beat you up like that?"

Jackal felt an invisible arrow pierce through his chest.

"Jackie, you're as careless as ever."

"Captain... You're pathetic."

He felt more arrows penetrating as he plopped to the floor.

Zera walked over to Mysty with a malefic smile.

"My Mistress?" Mysty raised her head revealing a pair of lifeless eyes.

Zera pats the head of the A-Grade hunter. Caressing her long red hair she said, "Give me your Astro gear."

"I don't have it, Mistress."

"It's in the treasury, I'll go get it," Jackal stated as he makes his way to the hallways.

A few moments later...

"Here you go, Zee. I believe this will cover the payment."

Zera's eyes glitter at the sight of the red bladed sword. She snatched it away from Jackal's hands and laughs maniacally.

"A red Astro rock! With this, I won't have to live on that accursed dirt planet anymore."

"Good for you," Ryker said as he shrugged after recalling the terrible stench of planet Darth.

"Android," Zera tosses the sword to Ming. "Get the rock out."

Ming glares at her. She wanted to give her a piece of her mind for her abruptness but glances over at Jackal who nods at her.

"Grr..." She scans the sword and finds a switch on the hilt of the handle. Pressing it, the sword transforms into a compartment similar to Ryker's astro tech in its base form.

She flipped it over and pulls out a glowing crimson gemstone.

Zera's eyes glitter.

"Hurry, give it back!"

Ming smirks and flings the Astro rock with force aiming at the head of the Vampire.

"Ouch!" Zera rubbed her forehead and picks up the rock. After spouting a fee curses at Ming she drools all over the rock holding it like an egg.

"It was nice doing business with you." She said to Jackal.

"What do we do with her?" Zera pointed at Mysty who was still under the influence of her hex.

Ryker smirked. "I've got just the thing." He moved closer to Zera and whispered into her ears. The vampire couldn't help but chuckle.

"You're diabolical, I like you."

"Thank you."

Ming holds her stomach and acts as if she was going to vomit.

Her actions earned her death glares from the two.

She nonchalantly looked away and folded her arms.

"Anyways, let's get this over with," Ryker said.

"Ming."

"Yes, my Mistress?"

Zera punches a button on the side of the door leading to the outside. The door opened revealing the vastness of space.

She grins and turns back to the red-haired hunter.

"Jump outside."

"Yes, my Mistress!"

Without wasting any more time, Mysty jumped leapt outside then Zera shuts the door.

"Cancel your Hex." Said Ryker.

Zera does as he said.

They rushed to the windows to see Mysty struggling to maintain her balance in space.

Ryker wore a smug as he locks eyes with the Mysty.

"You!" She exclaimed.

"Without an Astro tech, your astral skin won't last for long. And once it caves out. You'll die. An end that best suits garbage like you."

"You know she can't hear you from there right?" Ming asked.

"Yup," Ryker smiled. "But she can see this."

He holds out his middle finger as the red-haired hunter drifter further away from them.

'This is just the beginning, you're only the beginning. The BSA, I will bring it to its knees.' Ryker's resolve hardened with every passing day.

"And that takes care of that." Jackal said."

"Well then, I'll be on my way." Zera puts the red Astro rock with the white rocks and picks up the sack. "People to scam, rocks to sell, a planet to migrate to. Gosh, I'm going to have a busy day, but it'll be worth all this trouble."

"That's it then?" Jackal said softly.

"Yeah, I'm afraid my time with the Black Stallion ended years ago. I came aboard because of you. And I wanted to see the Stallion once again."

"Good riddance, I'll ready your miny cruiser." Ming intervened.

"Pfft. Take care of the captain, bitchy robot."

Zera waves at them. "And," She turns to Ryker. "You pretty boy, being with a man like Jackal will take its toll on you. I know from experience."

"Believe me, it already has. But, this bastard is my best shot in getting what I want."

"Hehe." Jackal rubbed his nose.

"That wasn't a compliment!" Ryker snapped. "Anyways," He turned to Zera. "Thank you for helping us. Be well."

"Right back at you, polar bear."

Zera boarded her cruiser and descended to Darth leaving the Black Stallion crew to themselves.

"Finally!" Ming exclaims manning the controls. "The pest is gone."

"Don't act like you weren't glad you saw her again, Ming."

The android responded with silence.

"Thought so." Jackal smiled.

"I miss the others." Ming decided to break her silence.

"So do I, Ming." Jackal's words carried a sorrowful tone with them as a prolonged and general silence followed.

Ryker could only listen to their conversation in silence.

'I've never heard this bastard sound so pitiful and sad... What do I do? What do I say?' He picked his brain bu t couldn't come up with an answer.

"Uh..." Finally, Ryker decided to break the silence.

"Since I'm part of the crew now, I've been meaning to ask, and meeting Zera only raised my curiosity." He paused taking a deep breath. "Where are the other members?"

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