Blackjack slapped his knee merrily. “Respect! I can live without yer respect, army man. Now, let me tell ya something funny. The thing about leading a gang of real tough characters with weak moral directives? Not as easy as it would seem.”
Cocky closed his eyes. “What, you mean you can’t trust them to watch over your million without fear of being betrayed for it?”
Blackjack cocked his head and smiled. “Ya killed five or six of my men today. All our friends or at least part of our team. As one would expect, the remaining members of the Bunny Brigade are extrem’ly PISSED at you right now, army man.” The black rabbit chittered. “That includes me, but biz is first. Can’t count on the others thinkin’ the same, and so I have to make sure they don’t sneak in here to just try an’ kick the livin’ snot outta you.”
Cocky looked up then, from the depths of his battered face. “Oh well. We wouldn’t like THAT to happen, would we,” he said, sarcastically.
“OR! Mebbe I should let them,” Blackjack said, sinisterly. “After all, I still have some healing guns. And it would be good for morale. Let ‘em blow some steam, at least.”
The small lagomorph sighed. “Maybe you should. Send in the clowns. For some real sport, you could lose this chain.”
“As much as I’d like you happily helping me in the matter of getting fewer but fatter slices outta da cake, that’s a no-go. Too many variables in a fight. Healing gun or not, there’s still the matter of instant death. No, I was thinking of just having a little piñata party. That’s fun and harmless, although not for everybody involved.”
Cocky seemed to ponder this.
“Considering what awaits me on the other side of this trip, you and your clown car posse are the least of my worries.”
“Aaah, yeh. The Khail.” Blackjack tapped his big front teeth. “Well, cheer up, army man. Mebbe they’ll just kill ya.”
“With a little luck,” Cocky mumbled. Then he grew quiet.
Blackjack started rubbing the bloody bits off his helmet.
“Outta curiosity, are their methods as refined as they say? Not that it matters. Refined or brutal, doesn’t matter if it does the job.”
Cocky looked at Blackjack with a pitch-black expression.
“Are you just going to sit there and try to terrorize me for the rest of the trip?”
“Just askin’.” Blackjack shrugged. “It’s an interesting topic, purely from a professional point-a-view of course. Eh, I guess I’m just bored.”
“Get in here,” Cocky said, almost sweetly. “Get in here and I’ll do my best to entertain you. You don’t even have to take this chain off. Just… get in my RANGE.”
“Yeah, like I’m gonna do that,” Blackjack said, smiling slightly.
“Of course not. But that’s in line with your usual cowardice, merc. After all, you didn’t fight me. And you never will, not even if I’m safely restrained.”
Blackjack raised a tattered ear.
“Hah! Good luck trying to bait me. We were Thirteen, Cockwell. We both seen each other fight. If we had a go at it, could I lose? Well, yeah. But… so could you.”
“Yeah, keep believing that, mate. I’m sure it’ll help you sleep better at night. Fact is, you sent your goons after me. Ten. Of. Them. And your dainty little feet never even touched the arena. Now, imagine me applauding sarcastically. Because that’s not something I can actually do while wearing these.” And he rattled the chains.
“Aw hell, that hurts.” Blackjack stood and cracked his spine. “Oh, meant my back. Rocket did a little number on me, see? I guess that means he’s a better fighter ‘n me. Oh no, whatever shall I do.”
“Hide in shame? Lose your name? Become a farmer only to get out of retirement for a last job that will no doubt be lame?”
Blackjack chortled. “You suck at rhymin’. Also: yer right, army man. I’m not a good fighter. Just like you.” The black rabbit got closer to Cocky’s cage. “Silence upon th’ fallen.”
“The Hell’s that supposed to mean,” Cocky said in an irritated tone.
“We are not good fighters, Cockatiel. What we are, in a nutshell is… really really good at KILLING. Go ahead and tell me how fightin’ you is not a lose-lose sitch. If I kill you, I lose a million. If you kill me, I lose my life. A bad bet.”
Cocky looked at Blackjack intently. “So, you’re saying you let Rocket win because you didn’t want to kill him.”
“I’d laugh if it didn’t hurt so bad, Blackjack.”
“Aw, you don’t believe me?”
“What, that you suddenly have scruples about killing someone?”
Blackjack grinned. “But Rocket’s not just ANYONE.”
Blackjack exhaled some breath on the glass of the cage and drew a little heart with a gloved finger on the foggy surface.
“I could never kill Rocket. I have a huge crush on his abs. You even SEEN those?”
Silence. Cocky rolled his eyes. Blackjack gave up.
“Oh, you’re no fun. Ok, yeah, I hate that moggerflarkin’ lil’ furry bastard. But no, I can’t kill him. I don’t want every superhero-type in the galaxy wanting to break my ass for that. Gotta choose your battles, army man.”
“Funny thing is, I had a fight with Rocket just before you entered the scene. I still won.”
“Mayhaps yer better than me at the merciful game,” Blackjack took several steps back and sat down again. “Still, it doesn’t matter. Lost a fight with Rocky, but he and I, we go way back. So it doesn’t matter. Wanna know why?”
“You’re gonna tell me anyway, I’m guessing, no matter what I want.”
Blackjack ignored this and grinned sinisterly.
“Because I still know where to hit him where it hurts the most.”