Gilgamesh was sweating. This isn’t good, because his costume was getting ruined, and he needed to steal that sword in the display case. He reassessed the layout of the shop one more time: the open showroom, the heavy insense, the wide variety of species browsing.
The moulding polymor lost its adhesiveness for every second that Gilgamesh waited to pull off the theft, so he needed to ack. But the hagglar of the goods was talking to that badgerman, and this one was a talker. For sure.
And it wasn’t like Gilgamesh could go up to the hagglar and make him show the sword: the disguise wouldn’t allow it. Gilgamesh chose to disguise himself as a Babelonian because they have no language. Gilgamesh was never much for voice acting.
Petty, and not so petty, theft was more along the line of work he was into.
Gilgamesh had to think for a moment– what was it that Babelonians did? Wiggle their fingers for impatience? No, no. Babelonians professed a concept of time that ran more slowly than Galax Standard. So they wait. They only get impatient when it’s about closing time.
They would be more impatient if their faces were melting off; or if they were trying to pull off a heist of a deadly weapon.
The badgerman finally said the fifth goodbye to the hagglar, and Gilgamesh readied himself for the moment. The moment that he was going to be able to get off this planet.
The hagglar himself was a species known as the Bhittites, known for their wide, smiling faces and tendril hands.
THE FUTURE OF GILGAMESH
[being a space opera adaptation of The Epic of Gilgamesh. I have used names from that era.]
In the falling of the twin suns of the planet Sumer, the skytowers of Ur cast their long shadow upon Enkidu as he tracked his prey from the rooftops above the market street. His target was a lumbering Torisoid thug named Benny the Backstabber, and at the exact moment when dusk passed into night, the lowlife will die, and Enkidu, the masterful Human assassin, will vanish from the marketplace.
The Torisoid species is a large, brutal, aquatic one. Enkidu read that they evolved from a predatorial turtleshark creature on the planet Crete, and had only developed a primitive civilization when first contact with the space-faring Human Empire was made during the first Galactic Expansion. Their brutality never disappeared; Enkidu watched as Benny plowed through the smaller pedestrians in the busy street, lumbering on all fours, his giant chitinous knuckles grinding on the plasti-pavement. The spines on the side of his shell threatened to knock down anyone not paying attention.
Even though Tortisoids were formidible warriors, Enkidu was a Human, and as such, a veritable cybernetic deity. If any Sentient, he would have been attacked by mobs, but he disguised himself as a hirsute ogre, his opal eyes the only feature betraying his true identity.
Enkidu, through his hyperoptic vision, zoomed and enhanced onto Benny with his left eye, while scanning a neural display with his right. He kept pace with his mark, seemingly drifting from one rooftop to another. He didn’t fear being seen – his sound-absorbing, photodampening Shadowsuit projected an ethereal cloak of silent darkness.
Benny gaped around him, paranoid. He glanced toward Enkidu, even making eye contact…but it was unnoticed. This going to be easy as pie, whatever that means.
Enkidu gazed up at the Sumerian horizon. When the twin suns Sin and Shamash fall below the curved rim of the urban skyline, their light fades enough that the Aurora nightfires ignite the upper heavens. This was the moment that Enkidu chose. It was going to be a spectacular assassination.