Charon was on edge. The metal-plated figure that'd arrived in Underworld minutes ago was already creating a stir, and as a result it seemed the entire population of the small settlement was filtering into the bar to try and catch a glimpse of the… thing. Charon had seen power armour before – they all had, of course, what with the Brotherhood assholes outside firing indiscriminately towards super mutant and ghoul alike – and yet, this didn't seem like a Brotherhood asshole. It didn't seem like a bigot, for one thing.
"I'm only here to trade," it had said to his cocked shotgun minutes ago, and so far it had held true to its word. Nevertheless, Charon felt antsy. People normally didn't tend to carry that much ordinance on their person unless they were planning on using it eventually.
The armoured figure at the bar hovered over a stool, before seeming to change their mind, probably realising the centuries-old wood would not stand up to their weight. They settled for instead leaning on the bar, which, after letting out a single pitiful creak, did an impressive job of propping the visitor up without much complaint.
"I'm looking to sell, if you're interested," the visitor croaked through the static-y filter of their helmet.
"That depends entirely on what you're selling," the bartender wheezed in reply, eyes narrowed in suspicion. It seemed that Old Uncle Ahzrukhal would not make an appearance today.
"Just a few things I'm not interested in," the visitor replied. "I need to clear up some space." It awkwardly shrugged a dusty fabric sack off of its back – power armour joints weren't really made to move like that, Charon was sure – and rooted around in it. The bag thumped against the floor with a muffled clattering as the visitor bent and rifled through it, showing off glowing blue… things protruding from its back. Electricity sparked from them and he nearly jumped, trigger finger itching. Ahzrukhal levelled a stare at him; keep an eye on this one. The figure straightened.
"I've got some things you may be interested in," it said, placing bottle after bottle upon the counter. "Whiskey, scotch, vodka. Name a price." Unrepentant greed flushed across Ahzrukhal's face at the offer. He looked, Charon thought, like most men do when confronted with a big, juicy steak. The visitor settled for a measly 5 caps a bottle and Ahzrukhal looked unbearably smug. The armoured person looked maybe taller now, certainly less slouching with forty pounds less weight on them. Servos whir as it makes its way out of the door and the bar is as boring as ever. The first round is, apparently, on Ahzrukhal, which Charon knows by experience will not be the crowd's last. It's a great way to sucker people out of their money, and especially cheap today.
Charon never expects to see the man in power armour again. He settles against the wall, in his corner, and waits for the next boring sixty years to pass by, so when that same person bursts through the door the very next day he is, to say the least, surprised.
They seem breathless, maybe. It's hard to tell behind the mask, of course, but they've stopped abruptly in front of the bar, quiet but in a foreboding way. Maybe it's the necklace of assault rifles they're wearing that clatter and clink in a way that makes him want to shiver or shoot something. It could be the frag grenades laced around their pelvic area with a wanton disregard for their own safety. Either way, they've made him uneasy – and he's not the only one judging by the unusual stillness pervading the bar. The usual sad acts that tend to hang around come hell or high water are now eyeing the exits while simultaneously leaning in closer, eager to leave, but loathe to miss any of the action that Underworld so badly craves. The person in the armour is clearly gearing up to speak now, though, so Charon stops his thoughts wandering and focuses his attention instead on the conversation at hand.
"The man in the corner," they rasp, metallic. "Charon?" Ahzrukhal nods. "I've heard he's your slave." Charon stiffens infinitesimally, hands twitching towards his shotgun, but barely.
"I prefer the word employee," Ahzrukhal replies, slimy and self-satisfied as always. If possible, the armoured individual's posture somehow manages to become even more visibly unimpressed.
"How much?" it asks, and Ahzrukhal positively beams.
"Such a valuable asset to not only me, but Underworld in general – how could I put a price on that?" When the visitor fails to answer him, he quickly backtracks, eager to make a sale. "Well, I shall have to try, I suppose," he laughs wetly. The figure in the suit of armour moves as if alarmed by the hacking sound of someone possibly coughing up his own lungs, but otherwise fails to offer a price for his contract. "Two thousand caps. Take it or leave it."
Once again, Charon gets to watch as the figure shrugs off their cumbersome pack, made even more cumbersome by the addition of the truly staggering amount of armament near spilling out of it. After some small amount of fumbling, the figure produces another sack, and after opening it places one cap after another on the counter.
A good fifteen minutes must've passed as the stranger counted out the caps, and Ahzrukhal double-counted them, unwilling to lose even one to less than fastidious checking. He wouldn't be cheated out of anything that was rightfully his. The stranger was just as precise as he, however, and counted out two thousand without incident.
"Satisfied?" the tinny voice asked, acerbic.
"Quite," Ahzrukhal groans back. It surprises Charon that he can even force any words to form through the unnatural grin on his face. "Charon's contract is yours. I'll give you the pleasure of informing him yourself."
The metal man makes his lumbering way over to Charon.
"You purchased my contract from Ahzrukhal," the ghoul states. The man opposite nods. "So, I am no longer in his service. That is good to know. Please, wait here. I must take care of something."
The man nods again.
"By all means, do anything you need to."
Charon shoots Ahzrukhal without ceremony. Rancid, irradiated blood spatters the caps he'd been counting and oozes over the floor. It's seeping into Charon's old boots, and they squelch as he shifts in them. He's somewhat aware that he's probably kneeling in some of his former employee's brain matter when he goes about retrieving the caps strewn about the floor, but can't find it within him to care. He stands up, futilely brushing at his clothing with his spare hand, and shoves the sack of caps back to his new employer.
His employer nods, and gently pushes the bag of caps into his chest.
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