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Chapter 46 - Important People[]

Tharkad City
Tharkad System
Lyran Commonwealth
November, 3097

[Cohl's Biergarten and Kosher Sandwiches, Katrinastrasse, Tharkad City, 13:00 hours.]

The place was a tourist trap of sorts, the fake Germanic theme costumes for the staff (leather shorts for men, ankle-length dresses for the women) was a dead giveaway to anyone familiar with the actual culture in Tharkad's capital city.

Any local could tell you that.  Any local could also tell you that Frau Cohl's beer was about 5% stronger than it said on the cask labels. In violation of Lyran Commonwealth regulations on the difference between what you get at a bar and what you get at a 'family' restaurant.

Then again, this place isn't really for families so much as family men far from home and family.

The strippers don't usually start work until 17:00... but the place opened at 11:00 most days. Today, despite everything that happened just a few kilometers away, the place was open and a couple of the dancers were working out.

Irena Van Oosten sat in a corner booth, watching the dancers work on their routines. With a pitcher and a glass, she was feeling like hell.  On surface time here, she'd liked to come down to Cohl's on her lunch breaks or just after being released from her regular duties. To sit in semidarkness and sometimes flirt with the pretty ones.

Today, she wasn't. She found all that she was not keen to flirt with the ladies.

She was also not formally released from duties and certainly not supposed to be here.  Instead, she was supposed to be on her way to the HQ 1st Royal Guards barracks 10 kilometers further east.  To the BOQ to go through her sister Koren's things and start the process of boxing up those personal items for shipment back to Praetoria.

"Y'know, Irena, there's no regulations against drinking but, I'm damned if there isn't a reg against being unfit for duty."

This made her look up.

Amanda was silhouetted in the light from the glazed doorway. Her helmet ring sticking out of a set of khaki Coast Guard duty overgarments.

"Right y'ar," Irena slurred.  "Whatchu don' here?"

"Looking for you."  Her friend pulled a chair out and sat down, "So, what're we drinking to?"

"They got my sister." Irena said.

Amanda nodded, and signaled the bartender.  A barmaid with the kind of bust Irena liked normally, brought a second glass.

"Well, as your superior officer?  I signed your pass chit." Amanda said, and Irena's blurry mind took in the shift from a single silver bar to a pair.  Part of her mind pieced it together, Lt. Senior Grade.  "So, we're going to have some more hootch."

"Hootchie? Not in the mood sorry, Makker."

"I don't know half of what you just said, but I meant we're going to drink together, until you can make yourself walk out of here."

"That seems... wrong." Irena said.
"No, it's right." Amanda told her, then looked up. She said something in a language Irena didn't know.

The man at the bar looked surprised answered her. Then brought a bottle himself, while the barmaid took the pitcher away.

"Whot's thes?" Irena asked.

"Something stronger than that tourist-piss you were drinking," Amanda told her.  "We're going to drink until you're numb, and I'm not."

"Whot wazzat you were jawin'?" Irena asked.

"Hebrew." Amanda said.  "Thus, you know this is the real stuff.  Yisroel brew the hard stuff.  Cures what ails you... and what's ailing you. Is your sister being killed."

"Yah den't iven lahk huh!" Irena's accent thickened.

"Yeah, but you're my friend. We need to be there for our friends." Amanda said.  "To mourn the lost... I'm not of the faith and neither are you, but the Yisroel have some pre.



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