Previously is an irregular feature here on the Weird Luck website, consisting of brief prose fiction pieces that provide glimpses of events that took place in the Weird Luck multiverse sometime before the main storylines published on this site.
Some of the Previously pieces are written by me, and some by Andrew. This week’s piece is one of mine. The picture of Dr. Baratsu at the top of the post is also one of my own digital art pieces.
See you next Wednesday,
Dr. Baratsu Applies for a Job
Weird luck isn’t always bad luck and it isn’t always good luck. In her long and dogged pursuit of the Corvus Drive, Dr. Baratsu’s luck so far had remained weirdly bad enough that she’d never managed to end up in possession of the accursed thing — or at least never for long — but weirdly good enough that she’d never entirely lost the trail.
She’d almost managed to retrieve it when she’d broken into the SwiftCorp facility in New Rathaus, in Reality S9, but Muurgan swooped in and grabbed it just moments ahead of her. She’d tracked Muurgan here to the lawless spaceport city known only as The Boom, the only major population center on the tiny planet of Mizar Five, in Reality S13. He was spending his time at a nightclub owned by Khez Kortho, one of the local gang bosses who these days were the city’s highest authorities. Was he meeting with prospective buyers?
If she was going to keep tabs on Muurgan and his dealings, and thus on the Corvus Drive, she would need to infiltrate the club. Just mingling with the club’s unsavory clientele wouldn’t work; Muurgan was the type who’d notice if a fellow customer was shadowing him, and he was notorious for both his paranoia and his habit of murdering people solely on the basis of suspicion. If she could get a job working in the place, on the other hand, there’d be nothing suspicious about her constantly being there.
The Order of Eight Directions had a contact in The Boom, a guy called Pepe who was known and reasonably trusted by everyone in the local underworld. Pepe called Kortho and vouched for her, which got her an instant job interview — not with Kortho himself, but with a formidable woman named Iron Yagmur whom Kortho employed to manage the club.
Iron Yagmur informed Dr. Baratsu that there were no open positions for waitresses or bartenders, but that they had an opening for an exotic dancer — a job which involved spicing up the nightly performances of the club’s house band by joining them onstage and slowly moving her body to the music while wearing very little clothing.
Dr. Baratsu considered this offer. It would certainly enable her to keep tabs on Muurgan; the stage commanded a view of the whole room. It was by far her best chance at successfully infiltrating this place and continuing to monitor the Corvus Drive until another opportunity arose to get her hands on it. And on some level, she had to admit that going undercover as an exotic dancer appealed to her perhaps over-active sense of adventure. On the other hand, it didn’t especially appeal to her sense of dignity, her sense of fuck-the-patriarchy, or her sense of not wanting to be leered at by a roomful of drunken gangsters.
In light of the numerous other indignities she’d already suffered in her pursuit of the Corvus Drive, though, what was one more? And the fact she would be putting one over on these gangsters, and (she hoped) eventually snagging the Corvus Drive out from under their noses, would render any temporary embarrassment far more tolerable. Depending, that is, on just how scantily-clad they expected her to be.
“I’m not doing full nudity,” she told Iron Yagmur. “I keep my underwear on. Bottom and top.”
“Of course,” said Iron Yagmur, grinning a grin full of rhinestone-encrusted metal teeth. “This is a classy establishment.”
“Well then,” Dr. Baratsu said, “when do I start?”