A few seconds later his pursuer skidded into view, coming around the corner from the main street into the deserted alley at a full run. The figure was small, about a foot shorter than Pel, and covered head to toe in dark clothing. His pursuer's face was completely obscured by a tightly wrapped scarf.
The figure stopped and stared down the length of the alley, head turning from side to side looking for some sign of where Pel might have disappeared to. His follower pulled out a pistol, adjusted the setting, then began to move forward cautiously, weapon ready.
Pel could have drawn a weapon of his own; he had several to choose from: the trusty Hahne-Keder pistol strapped to his hip, the knife in his belt, or the small emergency zip-gun in the heel of his boot. The figure didn't appear to be wearing any kind of combat suit that might be equipped with kinetic shields, so a single well-placed shot would be lethal. But killing his pursuer wouldn't tell him who was following him, or why. Instead, he simply waited silently for his adversary to approach.
The figure continued to advance, staying in the middle of the alley, obviously trying not to get too close to the doorways or refuse containers where an enemy might be waiting to leap out. But his pursuer's head was still turning side to side, hesitating to stare at each potential hiding spot a fraction of a second too long.
His target was close now, maybe ten feet away. Peering in the mirror, he waited until the figure's head turned away from him and then charged out, coming in hard and focusing his attack on the weapon hand of his too slow to react opponent.
Grabbing the forearm with his left hand, he used his right to bend the wrist holding the pistol inward, redirecting the weapon so it was pointed back at the owner. The whole time he kept his legs churning, using his momentum and size to drive his smaller adversary backward and off-balance.
They crashed to the street, the pistol jarring loose, and Pel heard a distinctly male grunt from his opponent. They wrestled briefly, but Pel was bigger, stronger, and had the advantage of being on top when they hit the ground. He twisted the other man so he was lying facedown, then Pel looped his forearm under his chin, applying pressure in a choke hold. His free hand still clutched his enemy's wrist, and Pel bent the arm up behind his prone opponent's back.
The man beneath him struggled and squirmed. There was a wiry strength to his limbs, but he couldn't overcome the advantages of Pel's size and leverage.
"Who are you?" Pel hissed in his ear, using the common trade language.
"Who sent you?"
"Golo," came the strained reply.
Pel loosened his choke hold slightly. "Golo sent you?"
"I am Golo." Pel's translator relayed the words in English, but he recognized the speaker's native tongue, and the unmistakable sound of words being spoken from behind a sealed enviro-mask.
With a grunt of disgust, Pel rolled off the quarian and stood up.
"You were supposed to meet me in the bar," he said, not bothering to help his contact up from the ground.
Golo got to his feet gingerly, checking to see if anything was broken. He looked pretty much the same as every other quarian Pel had meet. Slightly shorter and smaller than a human, he was wrapped in several layers of mismatched clothing. The dark scarf that had covered his face had been torn away during their scuffle, revealing the smooth, reflective visor of a helmet that obscured his features.
"My pardon," the quarian answered, switching to English. "I set up the meeting so I could watch you from a safe distance, to make sure you were alone. I've had too many meetings in the past where the person I was supposed to meet was only a lure to draw me out into an ambush."