Author : Steve Smith, Staff Writer

The police bulletins all called him ‘Pretty Boy’, but those that preferred their atoms in the form they were currently coalesced called him ‘Mr. Floyd’, or simply ‘Sir’.

His reputation had followed him from planet to planet, system to system, but out here, out on the rim, the frontier, only the greedy interested themselves with his capture. Perhaps he couldn’t report a crime, but he could order breakfast, have a suit tailored and share a drink without fear.

On this evening he was hidden in the shadows across the street from the gated mansion of Marco Fitzsimmons, the owner of the only bank on this backwater rock. Floyd was looking to make a withdrawal.

At ten thirty, right on schedule, a police cruiser glided past on a skirted cushion of air. Floyd waited until the whine receded into the distance before crossing the street and striding up to the gatehouse.

Two men stood on the far side of the gate, weapons holstered, and one more perched on a high chair in the guardhouse itself, scattergun laid across his lap. None of them spoke, and none spared Floyd a second glance as the gate opened and he walked past them towards the main house.

This scenario repeated several times as guards at the house entrance, in the foyer and again in the hall outside the bank manager’s study stared ahead with disinterest as the criminal passed by them all on his way into the heart of the banker’s inner sanctum.

Fitzsimmons on the other hand had quite a different reaction.

“Pretty Boy, how did you…?” He started, spilling a drink as he stood up quickly behind the deep polished expanse of his desk. “Guards!” He bellowed, regaining some composure.

Floyd pulled an ugly looking blaster from inside his jacket, the barrel short and fat. “Stow it fella, nobody’s coming.” He pushed the study door closed behind him with a heavy clunk.

“What the hell do you want you thug? When the police get here you’ll…”

Floyd cut him off. “The police aren’t coming. They don’t know because nobody called, and if they do happen by your security team will tell them everything’s just fine.”

Fitzsimmons’ mouth opened and closed several times.

“You call me a thug, you who’ve corrupted the lawmakers, the peacekeepers. You who hold the purse strings and use them to bully people from their homes. Do you know how I got in here?” He lowered the gun only slightly, keeping a bead on the banker from his hip.

The banker swallowed hard. “You must have promised them more money than you could possibly have. When you don’t deliver they’ll cut you up and feed you to the livestock.”

Floyd laughed. “No, actually I walked in here without offering anyone a single credit. Last week you foreclosed a number of mortgages to make way for new construction. Those homes belonged to the aunts and uncles of the men you underpay to keep you safe.”

The banker paled. “I’ll move them, give them new homes.”

“It’s a little late for that. They’ve got no use for you. I on the other hand,” he paused, “I think you may be partially useful.”

Fitzsimmons straightened, sensing an opportunity to save himself. “What can I do?”

Floyd sang a quiet verse, “Through all the worlds you travel, through all the worlds you roam, you’ll never see an outlaw drive a family from their home.”

With that he raised his weapon. The banker managed to get one hand in front of his face before the beam tore through his midsection, atomizing him from the neck to the waist and sending his head and raised arm flying to the wall behind him, before they came to rest in a smoking pile of cauterized flesh on the floor.

Floyd recovered them both, laying the hand on the palm scanner and holding the head, eyes wide and staring up to the retinal scanner.

“These are the parts I’ll find useful,” he chuckled as the system unlocked the accounts management console and he began to make amends.

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