Much later, Talon sat with Micro in his quiet, if messy, home. Taking another chug of his leftover beer, Talon asked, “So the X decided to just let you go.”
Smiling wider than he had ever seen, Micro said, “yeah, I guess they thought I was some sort of badass, since I snuck past an army of Rips. Even they seemed to be frightened. I think at that point, they didn’t want to have another enemy, so they paid up what they owed.”
“Wow, that’s great!”
“Speaking of which, I think there is some more paying in order. I have transferred your share into your bank account.”
“Wait, I don’t have an account.”
“I know and I could hardly believe it. You really are poor, huh? I had to make one for you.”
Turning the Personal so Talon could see, the punker saw glowing numbers shining on the small screen. 5,000 universals. It was more money than he made in six months. His throat tightened up. “Nothing like this….” he struggled to fight back the very unmanly tears welling in his eyes. “I…are you sure?”
“What, come on,” Micro said standing up and turning away. With his back to Talon he said, “Besides you took all the risk.” Micro stopped, staring at the floor. “You helped me the other night too and, well, you shouldn’t have to live so…you know. And I was thinking, you know, you could still drop by once in a while. You are the only one who knows about me. It gets kinda lonely.”
“I ah…” things were coming to fast for him. His mouth was dry. It was so much money. How could this be possible?
“I might have some other work,” Micro added quickly. “I mean-“
”No this is great! Shoot, I could probably quit my job, but I don’t think I will, but this. This is great!” Getting up, he shook Micro’s hand vigorously. “Shoot man, buy a few extra beers and I’ll be over all the time. Hell, I can buy my own beers now.”
“Good,” Micro said, suddenly more subdued. “There is another thing I have coming up. This one involves a group of Jumpers and I am supposed to be writing…”
Taking his seat again, Talon smiled as his newest friend droned on about the dangers of working with Skinjumpers. Talon did not really care. Visions of his new life made everything else seem surreal. Maybe he did not have to live like an unemployed dreg. Running his fingers through his hair, he smiled again. Yeah, he might get respected but not so respectable that he would have to shave off his hawk.