Chapter 2: The Meeting
Three silhouettes stood in the doorway to the bar, observing the room. The tattooed man finished his drink before he turned to them. The trio stepped in farther, allowing their appearances to be viewed. A man dressed all in black, carrying a metal briefcase, stood a few paces ahead of the other two. Like obedient puppies the two larger men followed when he stepped forward. The man known as Diablo guessed they were bodyguards to the man in front. The three stopped a few paces from the bar. They had asked for the man named Poe.
"I'm sorry," The bartender stated, "But we have never heard of a man named. . ."
The tall man put his hand on the bartender's then smiled.
"I'll take care of this," He said as he turned toward the three intruders. "I believe I told you I never wanted to see you again."
"I thought that was you Poe," The man in black said, "but I wasn't sure with that design upon your face."
Poe motioned to the two guards.
"Are they supposed to intimidate me?"
"No," he replied with a politician grin, "Just merely here for my protection."
"Cut the crap Williams," the gunman said, "we both know you are more than capable of handling yourself. You have two minutes to tell me why you've graced me with your presence before I make you leave this town. And I WILL make you leave."
Williams nodded and smiled trying to seem unshaken by the threat. As his dark brown eyes studied the tattoo, he shivered as a chill ran up his spine.
"Before we start counting those two minutes, could we have a drink?"
"John, would you please bring over a bottle of whiskey and three glasses? Oh and if it wouldn't be too much, would you please refill my drink as well?"
"Of course," The bartender said. He felt concern for Diablo. It was an understanding around town that their protector was hiding from another life and now the other life was seeking him down.
The trio sat down at the round table, across from Poe. The group sat in silence, sizing each other up. The gunman was comfortable, lounging on his chair while the man in black sat erect. His two guards sat with their arms crossed, obviously wanting their hands to be close to the guns holstered on their shoulders. Their drinks arrived a few moments later.
As if by cue, Williams jumped into it.
"Well, to start, we'd like to thank you again for all your help with destroying the 'Christ's Blood'."
"Mention that again and you'll loose an eye," Poe stated calmly.
"Understood," Williams answered. "Anyway, we have a bit of a situation we need your help with. One of out scientists defected and he has a disk we need."
"Go get it."
"It's not that simple," the man in black said. Then in a lower voice, "Our best regiment of soldiers defected with him."
Poe started to laugh.
"Great government you have there. You can't even keep your own soldiers in line."
Williams glared at him.
"Yes well, he seems to have persuaded them that he would be a better leader."
At that moment, two men, locked in combat, fell through the bar doors and onto the ground. Poe was turned around and half standing in less than a second, hand on gun, ready to break up the situation.
"I thought I told you two not to quarrel," Williams spoke from behind the gunman. The two men abruptly stopped and stared. Seconds later, they quickly apologized and stepped back outside.
"Sorry about that," The man in black chuckled, "brothers never learn."
"Anyway," Poe said than took a sip of his drink, "Where do I fit in, in all this?"
"Well, we need that disk back. It contains the coding for a biological weapon we've engineered."
"What is it with you guys and lost diseases?"
"It's sort of the same disease," The man said a little ashamed. "Instead of just finding a cure, we were also experimenting with different uses and mutations."
"Jesus," Poe put his head in his hand, "what's next?"
"Every government needs its weapons. We just happened to decide upon bio-weapons. We find them more," He paused for a few seconds, finding the right word, "effective."
"Insane is more like it."
Williams gave the gunman a long stare.
"We'd prefer genius. While you're going in guns blazing, risking your life, we simply poison our enemies, causing them to kill themselves."
"Whatever," Poe replied disgusted, "I don't want to hear anymore. Get someone else to do your dirty work. I'm through helping you."
Williams laughed a low menacing cackle.
"You actually thought it was a request? I'm sorry Gunman, it wasn't. By the way, does your drink taste a little . . . funny?"
The gunman realized that the two men fighting was merely a set up to get him to turn his back. The man's collar was in Poe's hands a split second before the two guards were on their feet. Williams held out his hands to quell the two men.
"He won't hurt me," He said looking the gunman straight in the eyes, "If he does, he'll never find out how to cure himself."
A smug smile grew across his face from the fact he knew he won. The fire in Poe's eyes turned into infernos as he let the man in black go. When back in his original place, Williams opened his briefcase and produced a manilla folder, which he tossed in front of the angry gunman.
"All the information you need is in there. Thankfully for you, the disease has about a two-week incubation period. Once it hits fully though, it's incurable. Get the disk and kill the man who has it before those two weeks are up and you'll be fine."
He slid a communicator across the table.
"When you get it, call me," He said dryly.
Without another word Williams stood and walked out, followed closely by his guards. Poe's eyes tried to melt them as they departed. Every fiber of his being wanted to jump up and tear them apart but that would only lead to more trouble.
He sat in silence for a few moments contemplating how stupid he had been. Being forced into doing a job by poison was so painstakingly unoriginal he should have seen it coming, but he didn't. He smacked his glass off the table.
John looked on, worried. He hadn't caught the conversation but the actions were clear. Their protector was in trouble.
The man known as Diablo strolled up to the bar, trying to look as comfortable as possible, in hopes not to alarm his friend.
"Sorry about the glass John. I was a bit upset. Anywya, I have to go away for a little while."
"I figured," the bartender said sadly.
"Don't worry, I shall return shortly. Could you inform everyone for me?"
"I'll take care of everything."
Poe put his hand John's shoulder and gave him a smile. With a nod from each, he departed. The bartender had a feeling they would never meet again.
The gunman walked out into the blinding sun.
Hey everyone. This story is quite a bit of a change of pace from its predecessor. I know it's a bit of a slow start but the action will come. I promise. Just a couple more chapters of story and information and than I'll get in some good action. I hope you're enjoying the dramatic part though. Thanks.