“You have exceeded the amount of time allocated for reasonable decision-making,” the short woman in black said quietly. The thin, intricate chrome inlays below her eyes shifted delicately, a silent warning reflected in constantly-evolving metal shapes. She drummed her long fingers on her console and glared at Zinke. “Your dawdling does not amuse us. The wine, the men, or the chicken?”
Zinke adjusted her armguards. “I’m guaranteed two minutes, and I won’t be rushed,” she spat, examining her options again. The flask was sizable, yet light, and would provide untold hours of courage and self-assessed wit. The trio of mercenaries, shoddily dressed and standing with somewhat petulant sneers, would be useless for any intellectual undertaking, but their strength could be applied towards any menial tasks she preferred to avoid. And the chicken was versatile: sentry, jester, and lunch.
“How can I choose a sidekick if you refuse to reveal mission details?”, Zinke asked, her eyes meeting the operative’s. “I haven’t been briefed yet on where I’m headed, what I’m doing, or who my contacts will be.”
“A metaphor for life,” the operative replied without sympathy. “Choose.”
Zinke’s pushed an errant curl out of her face and tried to recall why she hadn’t pursued a career in superluminal research instead of risking her health–or worse, her comfort–so that someone else could lounge about in a more spacious cosmic abode. “The wine,” she muttered, deftly rearranging her weapons to accommodate the flask on her belt.
The woman in black smiled. “I was assured you wouldn’t disappoint me. Consider your first test a success.”
@macaronique requested a story inspired by the words “The wine, the men, and the chicken.”