An unlikely pairing

As the sun dipped low on the horizon, casting long shadows across the desolate landscape, the unmistakable rumble of an approaching vehicle echoed through the stillness. Amidst a cloud of dust, a rusty Corvega emerged, bouncing over uneven terrain as it approached the outskirts of Renne.

Behind the wheel, obscured by a swirling cloud of cigar smoke, sat a well-traveled wanderer with a fancy mustache and a wide brimmed hat. His laser pistol, "Canary," rested snugly in its holster at his hip, a silent guardian against the dangers of the wasteland.

He glanced over at his companion, Penelope as he thumbed a new cassette into the player and cranked the tunes up. Her presence was both alluring and disquieting. In contrast to his raucous countenance, she sat silently, her unnaturally black eyes peering out from beneath a tousled hood, betraying nothing of the troubling thoughts that lay behind them.

"What I tell ya, Penelope? Here we are," he said, tossing the smoldering butt of his cigar out the window.

It wasn't their final destination. But after four-hundred miles with little more than a pee break, the allure of a warm bed and a hot meal was too much to pass on.

"Indeed, Master," she affirmed.

Drakk raised an inquisitive eyebrow. His little sidekick wasn't exactly the talkative type, but over the last day or so she'd been particularly withdrawn.

"Now, you don't think the Pleasure Cult's made it all the way out here, do you?" he asked, placing a gloved hand on her slender shoulder.

She regarded him with those black eyes of hers, not reflecting one stray sliver of light back into the world.

"I don't know, Master," she said after a thoughtful moment.

"And what would you even do if you did find them? Kill them?" he asked, patting Canary.

The question hung in the air until her genetic programming compelled her to answer, "No. I just wonder what became of them."

As they stepped out of the Corvega and made their way into Renne proper, she said, "If anything, Master. You should hate them for what they made of me. I know that the things I ask of you are... unsettling."

In that moment, the aura of disquiet that he'd become accustomed to seemed to intensify. He clenched his teeth as his heart rate began to skyrocket. Then he leaned his head to one side, then the other, eliciting an audible pop from his neck. There, that was better.

"Not all of them," he said, patting her on the head and pulling her momentarily close. "Not all of them..."

...most of them. But not all.

"Now, let's go find some grub," he said, lighting a fresh cigar as they passed under a 'Prometheus Coal' sign.

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