Keys in hand, clothes picked up and, shoes, well, shoes acquired, though Sid had tabled thinking through that process till they had a place to go to ground. The car was loud, having none of the usual sound dampeners toward the interior, the seats only half installed, a driver and single rear passenger, paneling all stripped out, only the most necessary gauges kept in place, the manual driving enabled, all the AI and sensors long ago stripped out. Thankfully this wasn’t an issue as only eccentrics drove on the ground in this part of the city. Ritzy and eclectic, exotic couture, cuisine bordering on mad science, and living spaces that catered to any whim. The worst part? You could see the stars. He’d never been able to get a straight answer on if it was a projection, a light curtain or what, but he knew he didn’t like it.
He’d avoided this part of town enough that it always took him a few loops to figure out where exactly he’d needed to stop. Eventually he stumbled into the odd wooden and stone exterior, marking the building that Hyugin had acquired some time ago. The black was full of strange folk though, and she’d been in the game for long enough that you’d even catch whispers white side about her
Pulling up to a curb, Cavalier rolled down her window, and calling out to the doorman ‘I’ve seen a strange omen, a raven on the horizon.’
‘That’s a strange thought.’
‘Yet, lingers in my memory’ she replied, just as she’d been instructed Sid drove off toward the back of the building, to the parking entrance. Driving into the elevator, there was a horrible screech of machinery, as a wall to the drivers side sank into the ground, and the elevator turned into a hidden parking area, there was already a small assembly of armed thugs, most with weapons lowered, but fingers splayed across their trigger guards.
The passenger rolled down the window as the best dressed one approached the care, head thug he guessed. ‘Business with the raven?’
‘Two hops and a stop. Low key.’ Good, just like he’d said.
‘where, when?’ Sid felt the first pangs of panic, the guys on this level weren’t usually this nosy.
‘Waiting on the go.’ Good, the stall he’d left but thankfully he’d always had to have a plan b.
‘Fine. We wanna check your numbers, make sure you’re good for it.’ Now, while Sid had thought through this as a possibility, it wasn’t a thing he’d expected them to actually ask. They’d had to have secured a nice relationship with the Chinese in the last couple months for them to be this casual.
‘You always treat your customers with this level of disrespect?’ Cavalier said, with a convincing amount of huff. Nice, he thought to himself.
‘We don’t know you. So yeah. Suck it up buttercup. So give me the number.’ Sid could tell this wasn’t going to get them anywhere, and he’d been hoping to avoid using his own name, as he was hoping to avoid Hyugin’s attention as best he could, like so many other things lately he felt his hand being forced. Rolling down his own window, he told the guy.
‘The Sinister Sid is asking.’ He said to their handler.
‘That schlub? he-’ and the guards comment died on his tongue upon making eye contact.
‘Back, for the moment. So you letting us in or what?’ He’d been thinking he could avoid leaving any ripples when he landed back, but looks like that was a hope now dead on arrival, especially considering how Hyugin was a talker, not to mention at least one in fifteen gigs you’d pull off the net would bring you into contact with her.
‘Yeah, sure, just follow Kiv there.’ and they were led to a parking space, down an elevator and into a lavish interior, waist high stonework with wood paneling above, metal studded wood columns marking every ten feet on both sides of the five meter wide hallway, between the columns weapons ranging from ancient to modern mounted on placards between them, with the odd old style tapestry hung at random intervals. Eventually turning off the main corridor they were led to a bedroom, it was of a more modern design aesthetic, leaving a kind of jarring sensation upon entry. Kiv left them there, but the sound of a lock being bolted elucidated expectations pretty cleanly
Looking around the room, there was a small box, with a decent selection of meal bars, there was a mini-fridge stocked with a couple of popular choices of drinks, even a bottle of something claiming to be proper spring water. Sid thought they probably sprung it from a rooftop probably, but was welcome besides. This section of the building was probably a Faraday cage, or something close enough. A bed, table, couple of chairs, made up all the furniture, on the center of the table was a suspicious item, something that looked like it was a well made rendition of an apple.
‘Not a lot to do here huh?’ Cavalier spoke as if to no one.
‘You could probably put your phone back together.’ Sid returned with a shrug. ‘Signals blocked so it should be safe. As much as it ever can be.’
‘If only I’d had anything worth doing on local storage.’
‘Fair.’ He narrowing his eyes and pointing at the suspected art piece on the table ‘Pretty good mock up huh? Probably some kind of fruit paste you think? Printed it maybe?’
‘That was my guess yeah.’ nodding her agreement, and picking it up giving it a casual toss. ‘Weighted about right, has decent feel too.’
‘You don’t think.’ he gave her a sidelong glance.
‘Your guess is better than mine.’ her eyes said one thing, her smile though, gave away a more hopeful vibe
‘Got to be a knife around here some where.’ he murmured while digging through all of the drawers around the place, eventually finding what he sought.
‘Seek, and ye shall find.’ taking the knife from him, she quartered their art piece, and each admitted in turn, taking a bite into the crisp juicy flesh that it was really, quite convincing.
‘There’s no way.’
‘No way.’ She agreed mouth still full.
Having finished their small snack, being able to sit down in a place that was as safe as anywhere, Sid’s tiredness finally ambushed him. It had been, nearly ten hours, but it was a brutal set of them by his estimation, aches and pains pushed aside now reminding him of their existence.
‘I’m go hunt some Zs.’ he said, throwing off most if his outerwear and draping it on a chair, and throwing himself on the bed.
‘You totally expect to share huh?’
‘Plenty of empty floor if you don’t like it.’
‘I get why your name is Sinister.’
‘Yup. Real villain for sure. We’ll have to hit the ground running tomorrow, you said a couple of days yeah?’ his eyes already closed, face buried into a pillow.
‘Right.’ Pulling one of the extra pillows he’d moved aside, and placing it between them, she laid out on her back. ‘That and, I’ve got like a thousand questions.’
A yawn forcing his reply to be half mumbled ‘Bet you do.’
And so they drifted into dream, and hours ticked past until there was a pounding at the door stirred them once more to wakefulness, as a voice demanded ‘Hyugin would like to speak with you.’ Sid groaned, half from sleep, half from the annoyance of being right about something unpleasant.