Another One Bites The Dust
It was a dark and cool night by the time Galilao and Scaramouch returned with the rest of the Bohemians and the old bartender to Pop's bar, following the Killer Queen's flight, and the seizure of Global Soft earlier that evening, to find an unexpected face sitting at one of the tall stalls, and propped up against the bar. Commander Kashoggi looked a broken and beaten man, a shell of his self-assured, almost cocky and malicious temperament of old, when he'd initially sentenced the Bohemians to the Seven Seas of Rhye only a few days before, and at first the small group thought that their game was up… that was until Kashoggi turned to face them all, and they'd observed his bruised and battered profile, features set in a grim and self sorry expression. He'd calmly ordered himself a drink, and sat silently, leant heavily up against the table top as though he had the weight of the world upon his shoulders, sipping at the whiskey Pop had reluctantly placed in front of him without any attempt at explanation nor reconciliation with the group of Bohemians he'd wronged, now sitting in various poses of curiosity, anger, suspicion, and in some cases pitty around him.
Finally however, Meat had spurred him on to start talking, her gentle, although firery manner encouraging him to reveal all which had transpired deep in the bowels of the Global Soft Corporation Headquarters, only hours before, and bringing him now to the place they'd all once feared, a land of misfits and rebels, a place where the Commander would never really belong, and in the midst of the group of people he'd himself once feared and hated.
"She processed you to?"
"She tried… but as I had never wanted to hear real music anyway there was nothing there to process… just to cause me pain. But she was wrong," he remarked bitterly, "because I do now, even if it's just for a moment, just to hurt her!"
"Are you in pain now?"
"Nothing anybody can do anything about."
"The brain drain can leave you with a terrible headache for a while." Meat remarked passively, bringing her palm to rest tentatively against her forehead in a single, slow, sub-conscious movement, in remembrance. None of the Bohemians had been quite the same after Galileo and Scaramouch had discovered them in Pop's bar at the Seven Seas of Rhye, drowning their sorrows in whiskey, and the spirit of Rock which lingered there, and Meat had been no different. Her memories of Brit remained, as did those of real music, and what they had once stood for, but their spirits had fled them, their fight had gone.
"It doesn't matter." Khashoggi shook his head. "It's… it's nothing. It's bearable."
"Brain drains not nothing." Robbie Williams remarked begrudgingly at this, "If you think that then you're even more cold hearted and callous than I first thought… either that or you must like feeling pain as much as you enjoy inflicting it!"
Only Meat appeared to grasp the real meaning behind the Commander's statement with this however, the only thing which had come close to numbing the pain of the headache for her in the days proceeding the Bohemians capture and incarceration at the Seven Seas of Rye was the pain of losing Brit, the knowledge that she would never see him again… and as she saw that same pain now in Commander Khashoggi's eyes she realised that he'd loved the Killer Queen.
"Pop, get him something for the pain could you?" She asked.
"What, Rye whiskey?" The wise, old bar tender frowned.
"No, the physical pain… for his headache!" She sighed.
"Oh right." He faltered, "Of course, yeah, yeah, sure… I'll be back in a moment." He assured them, and with that disappeared through a door at the back of the bar.
Commander Khashoggi still had the remnants of a black eye, the tell tale grey and purple hew where he'd clearly been beaten, he held one hand to his left hip in an uncomfortable position as though it caused him pain and in doing so relieved at least some of his discomfort… and as Meat attempted to place a reassuring hand to his shoulder to comfort him, he flinched away… she felt sure that if he were also to lift the corner of his suit jacket there would be bruising there also, deep grey and blue, set against the paler grey of his immaculately tailored suit, now significantly more dishevelled than in better times.
"Geeee," Robbie Williams now hissed, finally understanding what Meat had long since realised. "Is nothing or nobody sacred to that woman?" He asked.
"She'll see though it all eventually." Khashoggi sighed, downing the last dregs of what was left in his glass, before replacing the sunglasses which he'd left discarded on the side of the counter top. "She'll understand the mistake she's made… she can't run Global Soft without me. The corporation will crumble."
"Commander, the Killer Queen's gone. There's nothing of the world you knew to go back to!" Galilao explained.
"I don't belong here! She'll realise that sooner or later!" And with that Khashoggi left the bar, just as Pop returned with the medicine.
"He's really hurting…" Meat sighed, as she observed him walk silently from the bar and out into the darkening street beyond.
"He's in pain…" Robbie remarked.
"You know, I used to hate him…" Scaramouch frowned, her eyes closely following the dejected figure of Commander Kashoggi as he went. She watched him stumble a couple of times, although whether through the drink, the still lingering effects of the brain drain, or through the heart wrenching effect of something else entirely neither of the Bohemians could be entirely sure. "But now I sort of pitty him…" She sighed, wrapping one delicate arm around Galilao's waist, as he returned the gesture.
"Love is a funny thing…" The dreamer remarked. "It has no dictations, no rules… not even when your likely to get your hear broken, or your world turned upside down. I can see that we're going to have to keep a very close eye on him."
"Excuse me for asking," Robbie Williams cut in at this, to ask, "but why do you care?"
"I don't know…" Galilao simply shrugged with this. "I just do. Commander Kashoggi is one of us now, and we owe it to him to make sure that he comes through this, at the other end, alright!"