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Invasion of the Body Stabbers

I guess I've grown comfortable with the relatively small number of interstellar travelers I've seen at the stations lately. For one thing, it's nice not feeling as if I have to walk around with my neck permanently craned to look over my shoulder. (Thanks again, Ovid!) It's easy to get around; hotels are never sold out; and there's never a wait for a shuttle.

Until yesterday.

Suddenly it seems as if Tau Station is crawling with newcomers, eager to prove themselves however they can. A lot of them have been polite, even respectful, occasionally soliciting advice from those with more experience. Others prefer to stumble around on their own, making their own mistakes and learning from them, just as I did. A few went straight to a hotel room, holed up, and haven't been seen since.

And then there are the ones who seem to believe the free application of violence is the best way to carve out a reputation. Oh, joy.

I encountered one of these while I was trying to enjoy a quiet unit in the Lounge. A Baseline lad who looked barely old enough to shave strode right up to me, slammed his hand theatrically on the table, and demanded to know whether I was "the infamous Shadow." I admitted to the appellation, though not the infamy.

"Excellent!" he boomed. "My name is Ogier! You and I have business."

"Do we, now?" I inquired mildly, eyebrow raised.

"Indeed!" he responded. "My business is with your skin, and yours is with my blade!"

Ah. "I don't actually know you, do I?" I mused aloud. "I mean, I didn't accidentally murder your mother ten cycles ago or anything like that?"

Ogier stared at me for a unit. Then: "No, Shadow. I have no quarrel with you. I merely seek to prove my own worth by besting a notable veteran."

I sighed. "Very well. You wish to duel me. I accept."

"Excellent!" Ogier boomed again. "When shall we cross swords?"

I shot him.

Maybe when he gets out of Sick Bay he'll be a little wiser.