In the bay off New Portland surfers shot up and down waves to the cheers of spectators as Jack walked down the long boardwalk running along the beach.  Surrounded by shops selling anything they could get away with, and a few things they technically couldn’t hidden in the backs of the shops, tourists loved the shops and the boardwalk almost as much as the locals.  From what he’d seen in the past, Friday nights were particularly busy with parties from one end to the other and the local cops only checking to make sure minors had guardians with them.  Andrea seemed to particularly like the parties, and he’d grown to like them, more out of self-defense than anything else.  It was impossible to make an empath think you were having fun if you really weren’t, and the last thing he wanted to do was hurt her feelings after all.

His lankly frame loosely shifted from one foot to the other, avoiding onrushing tourists as he sipped from a cup filled with soda.  The first time he’d drunk it he’d seen Andrea again on this very boardwalk, and he still liked to buy it, even if he didn’t like the taste very much.  It was the memory that mattered.

"Well, hi there," a voice noted from his side and he turned to look at long green hair and pointed ears.  His gaze went down to the gills on her neck, and then down to the green full-body suit that fit like a size five glove on a size eight hand.

"Hi," he responded appreciatively and Andrea simply smiled back, tapping the board she was carrying.

"So, finally ready to take that ride I offered?" she asked, smiling innocently.

"Sorry," he responded regretfully, "but I'm here on business again."

"Another bounty?"

"Ben’s got a few targets for me again," he noted and she shrugged casually.

"Want me to cover you again?"

"I always love your cover," he winked back and she slapped him playfully before putting an arm through his.

"So where we going and what are you going to buy me this time?"

"You know me and thinking that far ahead," he returned slyly and then stepped forward to direct her into a nearby bar.  The bouncer looked meaningfully at Jack's cup and he sipped out the last of it before tossing it in the trash.  The larger man nodded in approval at Jack's action and then again at his companion.  She blew a kiss back at the bouncer as they walked in, Jack looking at her intensely before walking over to a booth against the far wall and sitting down loosely where he could see the entire bar.

"Would you like to order your drink now?" a waitress asked as she dropped menus down in front of them and Andrea smiled wickedly at Jack.

"How about some of that New California vintage ‘24?" she asked and the waitress smiled back as Jack sighed in surrender.

"I’ll have it out in a moment," the waitress noted quickly and left to pick it up.

"That stuff’s getting expensive," Jack growled and Andrea just smiled back innocently.

"You know me and how I love to help cover you," she flirted and Jack sighed helplessly.  He was never going to get her out of this habit.

"At least it tastes good," he muttered and finally pulled a computer out of his pocket.  Normal glasses were a thing of the past now on most civilized worlds in the nearby sectors as Peloran genetic engineering could easily handle something as simple as bad eyesight.  But computers in the form of that ancient eyewear were very common, a fashion statement as much as they were useful.  Designed to be able to take commands via optical control while showing feedback only to the person wearing them, they were the modern portable computer system.

He slipped his own set on, resting them on his nose, and started looking throughout the bar, trying to find his target.  These glasses had an integral passive sensor system that could run facial recognition programs and compare them to law enforcement databases, making them an invaluable tool for bounty hunters.  Finally the sensors in the glasses locked onto a questionable face and started comparing it to its database that had some faces not found on the official databases.  It scanned facial lines and points that genetic surgery could not easily change and the glasses ruled out the subject.  Jack sighed and kept on looking, then heard a bottle thunk on the table and the cork coming out.

He propped the computer up on his forehead to see the waitress filling Andrea’s glass, reached forward to hold his glass as she filled it and put the bottle down before walking away, and then took a slow sip of the tenderly aged wine.  He smiled appreciatively and pulled the glasses back down over his eyes to look around.  Andrea sure knew how to pick good stuff.  The computer locked onto another face and did the comparison again, this time coming up positive.  Ninety-eight percent positive match.  He smiled and put the glass of wine back down.

“Time to make some money,” he whispered and slid out of the booth loosely.  Coming to his feet in a smooth motion, he turned to walk towards his target with a smile on his face and his right hand dipping inside his rumpled black jacket to rest on his pistol.

“Mister Roger Johnson, I hereby place you under citizen’s arrest for fleeing prosecution resulting from the accusation of committing a felony,” he projected clearly as he pulled the pistol out to aim it at his target.  “Come with me peacefully and I won’t have to get rough with you.”

“He’s not going anywhere, bounty hunter,” a voice whispered from behind and he heard the sound of a bullet chambering behind his ear.  He shook his head slowly, wondering why they always thought they could beat him, and then spun to the left as his arm shot up to brush the gun away from him.  He grabbed the arm with his left hand and brought the other up hard, shattering the gunman’s elbow with the top of his pistol, then brought his knee up into the man’s groin before turning back to his target as his left hand snapped the falling gunman’s pistol out of the air.

“I repeat.  Come peacefully and I won’t have to get rough with you,” he noted again as the gunman fell to the ground, keening in pain, and his target swallowed nervously.  Then he nodded shakily and Jack smiled.  “See how easy it can be?” he finished with a beatific smile.  He loved the easy pickups.