Author : Steve Smith, Staff Writer

Janko was living the high life, running guns along the fringe and reaping the rewards just outside regulated space. People brought their goods to him, and he delivered them to those in need, those who could afford them at least. That was until the Clef brothers started hijacking his freighters and stealing his product. The worst of it was he knew exactly where to find them, but they were holed up inside regulated space, and he wasn’t about to risk his own neck going in after them.

One of his suppliers, a small arms vendor with the dubious moniker ‘Gunner’ offered to hook him up with ‘A platoon of freelance Guerillas’ that would ‘get the job done’ for a fee. Money wasn’t an issue, neither had been the idea of hiring Guerillas, until now.

The troop ship blotted out the afternoon sun as it landed alarmingly close to his hanger doors. The dust barely had time to settle before he was being overrun by the biggest, blackest creatures he’d ever seen. They clambered down from the ship and set about helping themselves to his fuel lines and food stores, and began picking through his maintenance equipment. One hoisted an entire welding cart over his shoulder before climbing up the side of the ship to begin plasma torching a nasty looking tear below a gun turret.

Janko stood spellbound, unsure of whether to confront them, or run and hide. Instead he stood unable to move and just watched. One particularly massive of the unwelcome guests lumbered past and began popping open gun crates the way one might flip the tops of beer cans. Massive thumbs flicked, effortlessly sending metal crate tops high into the air, defying both their locks and hinges, to land noisily in crumpled heaps on the floor. The interloper grunted his displeasure at the contents of several crates before hoisting a two meter long anti tank weapon out of is packing, snapped off the bulk of it’s tripod, and stood waving it around with one hand, seemingly admiring its heft.

Janko was only peripherally aware of the warm fluid running down his leg to pool in his boot as the giant swung the mammoth weapon towards him and slowly advanced.

‘Right then. You’d be Janko, yes?’ Heavy eyebrows raised over jet black eyes. ‘Gunner did mention we’d be coming?’ The giant tossed the weapon easily from his right hand to his left and still advancing angled it carefully so that it slid past Janko, barely a hands width from his right ear.

‘You… you’re… you…’ he struggled for words, any words with which to gain some modicum of control, but none came.

‘Gunner promised you Gorillas, yes?’ The giant simian paused a moment, then stretched upwards releasing a sound that Janko prayed was a laugh as it boomed and echoed off the hanger walls. He didn’t dare look, but he was sure all activity behind him had stopped, and imagined an entire platoon of apes now nudging each other and pointing at him.

‘I…, yes… yes I suppose he did tell me that, I just didn’t… expect…’ Janko’s voice faltered and then failed outright. He would have to have Gunner killed next, of this he was certain.

‘S’alright mate!’ The big ape grinned down at him, nostril’s flaring and black eyes shining. ‘I’m guessing these are the only real guns you’ve got then?’ He rattled the cannon beside Janko’s ear. ‘You’ll have to cut these trigger guards off, the boys hands aren’t quite as little and pretty as yours. We’ll need two score of these, and a half dozen crates of shells for each. You’ve no beef with us taking your guns, eh? I thought not.’ The simian stepped past Janko and ambled back towards his ship, still speaking over his shoulder. ‘We’ll stay here for a couple of days and rest up. The boys haven’t had shore leave in months, so they’ll be wanting to head into town and avail themselves of the facilities, be a good lad and make suitable arrangements.’ Janko’s mind boggled at the prospect.

The giant ape had almost reached the bay doors before he turned and yelled back into the hanger. ‘Consider this, you’re scared near to death of us, yes? And we’re working for you. I think your problem’s as good as solved, don’t you?’

Janko had to admit, he had a point.

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