Rhys had almost been having an enjoyable day. Almost. He remembered back in his childhood when "enjoyable" was popcorn with a movie after a long day of working in the fields. Now? Enjoyable was a day with a warm meal. And preferably not having to shank someone. Today's count was up to three. Idiots, the three of them. Better off feeding whatever passed for decomposers these days than contributing to the accelerated death of Earth. Didn't even bother to question Rhys as he approached them. Though, it did make Rhys happy to know that there were still outfits besides Novus Ordo, even if they were a dying breed.
Rhys pulled his cloak around him closer. Bazaars like this one had always filled him with suspicion and dread. Too easy for someone to knife him. And while the cloak did a good job of rendering him incognito, his armor still made him a target. People would kill a man over anything that looked the least bit valuable these days. And Pretty Fly sure didn't help with that. Rhys rolled his neck, clutching his pack with his other hand. He didn't know exactly what it was he was delivering, but it was important enough to have no less than three people guard it, and it ensured him a week's worth of warm meals. Rhys suspected his contractor was somehow affiliated with Novus Ordo to be able to pay such a price, but frankly that was the least of his concerns. When the Devil offers food, the desperate man accepts it first, and finds a way out second.
Rhys veered off the main road, and wove into a series of alleys, where a similarly cloaked man was waiting. "You followed?"
Rhys shook his head. "Walk like you own the place, people tend to leave you alone. Everyone else is easy to shake."
The hood nodded, and extended a hand as Rhys reached into his backpack. "Any resistance getting the package?"
"It was guarded."
Rhys shook his head again, plopping a metal box into the other man's hand. The box was whisked out of sight. In its place, the man held out a small cloth wrapping. "One week's rations, as agreed."
Rhys took the package and stuffed it down in his backpack. "You're a good man, Rhys. Too good for the work you do."
Rhys paid him little mind. His backpack had already been slung over his shoulder, and he was making his way back to the main road. Job was done. No questions, no eyebrows raised. He liked it better that way. Couldn't always do good and get by. So he'd rather not think about the long term repercussions. Rhys was about to reach up to remove his helmet, but immediately decided against it. Gunshots. Close. Rhys reached up into his cloak and Removed Fly from her harness. Bandits? Maybe. Though it sounded like they were inside the city. Gunshots were too close, and coming from the wrong direction, to be outside the city. He unslung the metal pipe he used as both a walking stick and quarterstaff, and began moving towards the sounds of the gunshots. With his off hand, he tossed his drone into the air.
Rhys reached up and flicked a switch near his ear. He gave his ear a pair of taps, listening for an echoing tapping from Fly. He had to use his radio sparingly, it was running low on power, but it had always proven an effective strategy for creating confusion. Pretty Fly followed Rhys close to his shoulder, humming quietly as the hover-tubes held it aloft. Rhys had almost reached the main marketplace when an explosion sounded in the distance. Rhys instinctively dropped prone, before looking up to survey the area. A plume of smoke had appeared over the wall. Rhys got back to his feet, and moved forward at a crouch, rounding the corner to see a squad of militants rushing off to investigate. Leaving one armed man and...presumably his captive. And unless Rhys was mistaken, there was a sizable chunk of change sitting at the man's feet. He'd never been a druggie, but he couldn't deny it made you friends in the wastes. Must have been the girl's. Rhys decided to go for it. Maybe if he rescued the girl, he could convince her to split it with him. 90/10 in her favor might work. Well, he'd cross that dust dune when he got there.
He moved across the ground slowly, hunched over, but with fluid, almost animalistic movements. He summoned up his best wide-eyed explorer look, and scuttled closer to the man. He made plenty of noise, intending to get the man to turn around. Uttering an inquisitive purr of sorts, he skulked ever closer, praying that the guy would be the kind to warn him off before firing. Meh, he'd made it this far. Further than he thought he'd ever make it. What was the harm in pushing his luck a little further?