Vincenzo Pirelli was a very good-looking man. A three-piece suit. Slicked back hair. A strong jaw. A winning smile. He owned the luxury cruiser, The Blue Dragon, and had paid for it in cash. No middle man or contract necessary. No paper trail to link him to the iconic purchase. He also had a team of servants waiting at his beck and call, which proved convenient in his line business, as it was often necessary have someone to blame when something went awry.
This flamboyant lifestyle was made possible by the Maestro Clan, for whom he worked as a “debt collector” (a fancy name for a man who breaks your ankles and steals all your milk money).
The Blue Dragon came into orbit around Ziljain 7 at the precisely the same time that Jerry was proclaiming his love to Q. Chances are, if Jerry were wishing on a shooting star that night, that “star” would have actually been the Dragon, which is ironic in a way, seeing as Vincenzo was bent on destroying him, along with every other member of the band (though Vincenzo would be the first to tell you that it’s not personal, only business.)
With an aura of disdaining confidence, Vincenzo looked down upon the fetid dust-bowel of a planet and straightened his cuffs for battle. Bartleby, his head lackey, approached.
“We’ve reached Ziljain 7, sir. Shall we begin docking procedure?”
“No. I’ll take one of the scout cruisers from here,” said Vincenzo, slipping on his favorite white leather gloves. (Most hit men preferred darker colors, but Vincenzo liked the additional challenge of keeping his gloves clean despite the dirtiness of his work.
“Going out to finesse the clientele?”
“Safe travels, sir. When shall we be expecting you back?”
“Shouldn’t be too long, I don’t expect much resistance from these circus rats.”
“Very good, sir. Is there anything you would want me to have ready upon your return?”
“A warm towel, a plate of Nirangan truffles, and a brandy would be lovely. Thank you, Bartleby.”
“It shall be as you wish.”
As Vincenzo made his exit, but a stray thought crossed his mind. He spun around to face his loyal servant once more.
“Oh, and Bartleby?”
“If any suspicious characters on the planet should attempt to make a sudden departure therefrom, feel free to blast them out of the sky.”
“I shall have the plasma cannons ready, sir.”
With that, Vincenzo departed, gleefully anticipating a most pleasant trip. His area of expertise did have it’s stigmas, after all, it was an incredibly messy business. Still, Vincenzo found breaking bones to be quite cathartic, so whether or not the subject actually coughed up the money owed him was irrelevant. Vincenzo got his kicks, either way. The thought of a solidly snapped femur brought a grin to his face as he boarded his scout ship and headed planet-side.
Izzit was in his cramped and cluttered office, counting his money, when Vincenzo arrived. Izzit did not hear him approaching; he simply appeared at the door. The dingy light pouring in through the dusty blinds gave Vincenzo an almost ghostly aura as he stood before the squat stage manager.
“Hello? Can I help you?”
“You should hope so. I am looking for a group of individuals called ‘Ezekiel’s Flight.’ I have been informed that they have been hired on to play at the Stardust Theater, which is under your ownership, is it not?”
“I own the Stardust, that is correct; but who is and is not under my employ is of no concern of yours.”
“Oh, but I beg to differ. You see, the individuals in question have done wrong by a group of investors that I represent. I have been sent to make sure that the wrongdoing is promptly…righted.”
“That sounds like a threat, Mr…”
“Pirelli, and your powers of observation are impeccable.”
“This planet has seen enough violence. I’ll have none of it. Good day.”
Not to be deterred, Vincenzo planted a switchblade (point-first) in the dead center of Izzit’s desk. On the hilt were the letters MC.
“Do you recognize the engraving on this blade? It belongs to the Maestro Clan. I trust you’ve heard of them, even on this backwash planet.”
Cold sweat began to form on Izzit’s brow.
“We are not ignorant of such things, no.”
“Then you understand the gravity of this situation, do you not?”
“I understand, yes.”
“Good, because I have need of your assistance in it. You see, in order to catch a mouse, you must have a mousetrap; and you have supplied a most exemplary one already. All I need is your cooperation in order for it to run smoothly. After all, you and I are business people at heart, and we know that efficiency is so essential. The less mess, the less stress for everyone. There may even be a reward in it for you, if all goes better than planned.”
Izzit glared at the floor.
“Keep your money. Just get out of my office.”
Vincenzo smiled and strode toward the door.
“Very well, so long as your cooperation is assured…”
“Your blade, sir?”
“I’ll have someone fetch it when our business is over. In the meantime, keep it as a reminder of our arrangement.
The door swung open and shut again. Izzit felt a burden lift from his shoulders, only to have a unnerving sense of uncleanness sweep into its place.