Excerpt – Gabriel’s Redemption

Quentin Santander sat at the hotel lobby bar, his hand on a lowball glass of an amber liquid, a solitary cube of ice floating in it. He swirled the liquid, the cube bumping against the glass edges slowly in the Mars gravity. The bar was beginning to fill up, miners and office workers getting off shift throughout the dome, looking to spend what little Marscrip they had. Of the many bars in seedy New Cairo, the Bremen Hotel offered the most amount of alcohol for the least amount of money, and the patrons reflected that. Not for the first time, he wondered why he took this assignment on the ass end of humanity. Oh yeah, he remembered. The money.
“Another tequila, Q?” came a sultry voice from beside him.
Oh yeah. The women too. He looked to his left, and there was Zeila, as always. She must have just come down from the suite, he thought. He looked into her eyes. No sign of a dew hangover, that’s a relief. She’s a complete mess after one of those trips.
“Not now,” he replied, looking back at his glass. “I’ve gotta get to work.” He picked the glass up and downed the remaining tequila in one gulp, spitting the ice cube back into the glass and setting it down forcefully on the natural stone bar. Hard enough to break normal glass, he thought. Another reason he hated Mars. Nothing was breakable. And he needed to break things from time to time. Hell, even his shrink said so.
“But Q, I just got here,” Zeila pouted.
“Here,” Santander said, throwing a wad of faded red Marscrip notes on the bar. “Enjoy.” He rose from the bar and made his way through the Friday night crowd out of the hotel, leaving Zeila to her evening.

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