2010.01.18 "We don't welcome your kind here."

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"We don't welcome your kind here."

This seems somewhat odd to me, as the being uttering it to me is an Insectizoid - an ilk of creature that historically has suffered from a lot of prejudice due to their similarity to Xoids. Irony aside, I breathe a long sigh out my muzzle causing the foam on my freshly-poured Anurian ale to quiver, and turn to address the welcome wagon. "I'm not quite sure what you mean by my 'kind'." Skulking behind the tall exoskeleton of the spokesbeing is a hairy Trop of some sort and a burly Zygroten. "Are you referring to my species, my profession, or my religion?"

"Assassin! We won't tolerate your preying upon us."

That gives me a start, as I have conspicuously gone out of my way not to assassinate anyone. For the simple reason that I don't want to be associated with my past actions, as that might lead to me having to fend off all sorts of complications. But a quick assay of the welcome wagon reassures me that they really don't know what they're talking about - because if they did, they would never have approached me. I compose my denial.

But before I can utter it, I see a problem. That problem slinks in the door of the saloon clutching a filament rifle in its talons. Other than some details that are hard to notice if you're not familiar with Massetins, it looks an awful lot like me.

I think I say something eloquent. Like, "Huh."

Oblivious, the overgrown cicada chirrups at me. "If you don't leave this station, we're going to take up a collection to post a bounty that will have every blaster-slinging combatant looking to-" something something. I sort of stop paying attention when I see that my doppelganger is drawn to the click-squeak version of Common and starts flashing a predatory grin. A grin that I think I recognize.

"You probably want to duck now." And I gesture towards the other Massetin, who has raised his filament rifle and is acquiring for an assassination attempt on the Trop.

The Insectizoid refuses to be distracted by such a poor deceit, but the Trop and the Zygroten steal a glance. They panic, which is amusing in how it affects the chitinous expression of the Insectizoid, but is insufficient to save the Trop. A glint of deadly-keen metal appears suddenly in the Trop's upper throat, and it sprawls in a manner that leaves a bloody smear by the bar.

Left off balance by the previous moment of panic, the Zygroten growls its unhappiness. The Trop lies still, continuing to bleed out. The Insectizoid looks about, unconsciously emitting some amusing high-pitched squeaks - I assume that it is appealing etherically to other patrons in the saloon for assistance.

Enough. Not waiting to see who the other Massetin kills next, I grab both the Trop and the Zygroten and heave them over the bar behind cover. This attracts the attention of the assassin. It hisses, "Killjoy!" And aims and acquires on me, and snaps off a filament in the direction of my head. Almost.

Luckily, my head is small.

Shaddup. I'm not that easy to hit.

I hiss back, "You're name is 'Joy'?". Drawing out my own filament rifle, I aim and snap of a shot in return - with similar lack of results. My filament embeds in a portrait of someone named "Glabbot" and adds to the novelty of it.

Now the assassin is trying harder. A more aggressive aim and acquire, and succeeds in sending a filament into my chest. Ouch.

The assassin is slightly vulnerable now, so I aim back and send a filament into its gut. Ha!

Grrr. I get a return filament in my shoulder as I scamper to the side. I manage to turn in a pretty good aim and land a filament in its chest that looks particularly uncomfortable. Then I leap the other way, but not fast enough to avoid a filament embedded in my leg. But it gives me an opportunity to send a filament into the assassins arm.

A few more moments, and the assassin has still not managed to land the signature crippling shot to my vitals, but we're both wearing a lot of extra metal ribbons embedded in us. However, it is obvious to both of us that I'm handing the damage much more easily. Through bared fangs, the assassin tries to negotiate a truce. "OK! Stop!"

Without lowering my rifle, I stop my dancing and tug a filament out with my teeth. And wait to see what the assassin does next.

Its little pink eyes glitter with hate. "Zark me. Where did you come from?"

My little red eyes sparkle with malice. "Hell."

I can see that it hates itself as it forces its rifle into a shoulder holster. "Can I buy you a drink?"

It must be some sort of ancient custom that only has vestigial and ceremonial meaning between frenemies, because drinks are free most places. I gesture towards my now-less-frothy ale. "Already got one." And I holster my own rifle.

The assassin stalks to the bar and perches on a stool next to mine. The welcome wagon, having retreated to the doorway, decide that its time for them to leave. They do not go unnoticed, and the assassin cannot repress a malevolent grin.

"So, you pick on losers, do you?"

The assassin painfully draws a crumpled filament out of its abdomen. "Yeah. Too much, apparently." It regards the blood-stained filament for a moment, then drops it on the floor. "Not quite as tough as I thought I was."

I shrug - which is a mistake, since it makes some of the embedded filaments twist and slice painfully inside me. "Tough enough that you're probably not really worried about some minor bounty."

It manages a wry grin. "Thanks for that."

Another drink is ordered, and we both pluck out our collected filaments. I don't think either of us is fooled into thinking that our similarities are sufficient basis for us to be friends. It is, however, easier to keep an eye on each other in this situation.

And if it tries to sneak after me and assassinate me stealthily later, it's in for a hell of a surprise.