Mareth made his way through the terminal to the Barber shop. He sat his duffel down inside of the door as he passed by the Red and white striped pole. This was the only place that heâ€™s ever seen a Barber Shop that had one. It gave it a very old-time feel.
â€œWhatâ€™ll it be, buddy?â€ The Barber looked at him and said.
â€œI need a High and Tight with a clean shave. Itâ€™s been way too long since Iâ€™ve had either.â€ Mareth replied.
â€œHave a seat in the chair,â€ the barber replied. â€œThereâ€™s no wait.â€
Mareth sat down in the seat and the barber grabbed a set of clippers and went to work. Mareth hadnâ€™t had a haircut in months, so the mounds of hair fell like puddles of oil in the shipyards. His hair, a deep, dark black with hints of silver and gray, fall with every passing swipe of the barbersâ€™ shears. It was peaceful. The barber finally cut every long whisker from his face and began fading up the sides and back.
â€œYou want it blocked or rounded?â€ He asked Mareth.
â€œBlocked is fine.â€ Mareth replied. â€œDo you do straight razor shaves?â€
â€œThe only way to get a good shave, in my opinion. Thereâ€™s only so much you can do with a power shaver, ya know? You canâ€™t get as close as you need, and the stubble comes back within the day. For you military types, thatâ€™s no good.â€
Mareth kind of raised an eyebrow. â€œWho said I was military?â€
The barber chuckled. â€œYou kiddinâ€™? I saw how you walked in here, all sure of yourself with a duffle bag like that. I know a lot of people like the high and tight look, but how you carry yourself is a dead giveaway. I know a Veteran when I see one. You ainâ€™t the only head of hair Iâ€™ve cut from someone coming off of leave.â€
Mareth smiled and gave a slight nod. He leaned back into the chair as the barber started to lather his face up for the shave. He had forgotten what it was like to have a clean-shaven face. He had kept a beard for so long, but he normally kept it trimmed and neat. The Barber took the straight razor and began to strop the blade on a piece of leather. He went over to Mareth and began to shave down the side of his face and wiping the lather onto a towel. He took great care into getting every space that once had facial hare. After he finished, he wiped Marethâ€™s face off with a wet towel, then with a dry towel, and the barber handed him a hand mirror. â€œHowâ€™s that look to ya?â€
â€œLike an old friend.â€ Mareth replied. â€œHow much do I owe ya?â€
â€œA cut and shaveâ€™s 50 creds, pal.â€ The barber replied. â€œItâ€™s what happens when you donâ€™t be come a citizen, you gotta keep the lights on, ya know?â€
Mareth nods and starts to punch in some numbers to his wrist comm.â€Iâ€™ll throw in an extra 25 creds, since you did such a good job.â€
â€œHey, thanks pal!â€ The barber elated. â€œI havenâ€™t had a tip in years. Most citizens just pay the fee and go about their way.â€
â€œIâ€™ll be sure to tell my friends about you, and to tip well.â€ Mareth finished up. He grabbed his duffle bag and headed out the door. â€œThanks again.â€
The barber waved and Mareth walked out the door towards the private terminals. When he approached his ship, he found two legionaries standing at the bay door, dressed the same as one before.
â€œHalt!â€ one of the Legionaries exclaimed. â€œIdentify yourself.â€
â€œYouâ€™re in my way.â€ Mareth responded. â€œThatâ€™s my ship.â€
â€œThis ship is property of the 47th Legion, sir.â€ The Legionary replied.
â€œExcuse me?â€ Mareth snapped back.
He went to his wrist comm and punched in a few commands. The Aurora LN fired up and began cycling lights for maintenance checks.
Mareth looked at the Legionary with a wide, steely-eyed look. â€œIf it belonged to you, then I wouldnâ€™t have been able to do that. Now, I suggest you move.â€
The Legionary didnâ€™t move. Mareth took a look around on his uniform, and found an insignia with only one stripe on a sword. â€œSent the low man on the pole to do the dirty work, huh? Listen Privateâ€¦â€
â€œMiles. Itâ€™s Miles, Sir.â€
â€œPrivate Miles,â€ Mareth continued.
â€œNo, Sir.. my RANK is Miles.â€
â€œLook. YOU.â€ Mareth stating putting a knifehand to the Legionaryâ€™s face. â€œThatâ€™s my ship. Youâ€™re in my way. If I wasnâ€™t on my way to see Centurion Cavadus, Iâ€™d stomp a mudhole in your behind and be done with it.â€
"Wait, you're going to see Centurion Cavadus? Are you Mareth Lightfoot?"
"Yeah, I am. At any rate, it's none of your fucking business who I am, Miles. The only business you have is getting out of the way between me and my ship. You copy? Now, you take your happy ass back to post, and you tell your CENTURION that I'll be there soon."
Mareth pushed through the Legionaries and made his way to his ship. One of the Legionaries looked to the other. "I can't wait until he puts some Tiro rank on. I'm going to run him into the ground."
Mareth heard him, and replied "You better pack a lunch, son. You're gonna need it."
Mareth opened the cockpit and climbed in, commencing his pre-flight checks. Just as he was about to initiate takeoff, he received a call on his MobiGlas. "This is Optio Campbell of the 47th Legion. How are you today, Mareth?"
"I'd be a lot better if your lackeys didn't block the walkway to my ship. I about sent one of your Miles' back with a new mudhole in his ass."
"He was just following his orders. We told them to make sure your ship was safe." Campbell replied.
"Under the guise that it belonged to you all? Tweedle-dee and Tweedle-dumber seemed to be under the impression that the ship wasn't mine."
"Well, I don't know who told him that. It didn't come from me." Campbell quipped.
"Well, I'm heading that way." Mareth said. "I'll be there soon."
"You'll be reporting to me. Centurion Cavadus won't be ready to speak to you once you get here. We have to get you through supply and get your issue handled first."
"Fine. I'm on my way." Mareth said, after he closed the channel. He began to lift off, and took off into the Terran sky.