Sid was stepped out of their truck into the old warehouse district. Why was it always warehouses at night? Bright circles of streetlights, unevenly dispersed across the sidewalk, bent road signs, shattered windows on every building, and an eerie quiet completed the picture of disrepair and abandonment. Even the squatters were wise enough to not be found in this small block near a small man made canal. Cavalier at his back, along with a couple of guys from the Murder Party, the armaments of Hyugin’s men had Sid on edge. A series of knocks, passing for a code, and a set of loading doors toward the street screeched in protest, metal rubbing metal, echoed down the empty streets.


  Sharply dressed, his burly hands steepled, drumming on themselves, a well groomed beard seemed to meld into his long golden hair forming a kind of mane, his suit while well cut, did nothing to obscure the bulging muscles beneath, a classic case of enforcer working his way up to boss, Leo himself greeted them with his deep baritone. ‘Right on time, I appreciate-’ he halted as the shutter lifted enough for faces to come into view ‘your timely manner.’ his face flickered disappointment momentarily, before resuming a more forced gregarious look, the tension still visible. ‘The Raven herself did not see fit to come?’


  ‘Sorry Leo, you got me. I’m not sure she-’


  ‘Oh, She did, but you, Sid my friend, she has her talons in you now?’


  ‘One time gig.’


  A full body laugh echoed through Leo’s chest. ‘Yes, that always was your style. Glad to see the glaring lights didn’t burn that away.’


  ‘Hardened it if anything.’ Sid couldn’t articulate why, but with Leo the false notes of friendship irked him more than it did from others, Sid himself sharing in the strain of holding attention to prevent the emotion from being visible. He just hoped he was better than Leo. Taking stock of what he was dealing with, there were no less than ten guys, which, for their four made it bad odds if it did go south. Luckily jammers might be too obvious, so the drone pilot might even the odds a bit. His eyes did fall on Yaegger, and his look must have darkened enough for Leo to note, as he shot is own scathing glance at toward him.


  ‘Some of my people have been taking liberties.’ Leo tilted his head, with a shrug. ‘Accountability is rather difficult.’ Sid remained silent, staring into Leo’s eyes, waiting to see if anything else came of it. Returning his coin? A forced grumbled apology from Yaegger? No, the onus seemed to be left to Sid, in Leo’s mind at least, and what little hesitation he had for bringing hellfire down on these fuckers evaporated.


  ‘Why you think I prefer working alone?’ he grinned, as widely as he thought would be believable, he wanted Leo to think he was backing down, Leo forced out a chuckle, but the smug grin wasn’t false. Sid’s anger stirred. ‘So, I take it we’re here to buy something? Hyugin was scarce with the details.’


  ‘Yes, to business. I appreciate that part of you Sid, you’ve always got your focus on the business.’ He snapped, and a single goon brought out a thumb drive, in a small metal case. ‘That will be twenty five, solid, if you please.’ Another goon with came forward to make the currency exchange.


  ‘What is it? If I can be curious.’ one of the Murder party goons behind him grabbed his shoulder.


  ‘Above your trust level apparently’ Leo uttered ‘Guess you think its too much?’


  ‘Its no small pouch of coin. Don’t spend it all in one place’ he transferred the money along, but hadn’t heard the small band of thugs emerge blocking his path out, and his stomach turned, his memory snapped to, digging through his conversation with Hyugin, but nothing checked out as her knowing it was going to be a setup. Then again, she hadn’t delivered the orders herself, traitors in the Murder Party?


  ‘I really am sad to say this say this, but I can’t let you have this. It has to be handed over to the raven herself.’


  ‘Lets just cut the shit, you were planning to kill her and as many of her murder party goons as showed up.’ Out of the corner of his eye, he saw Cavalier close her eyes, she stood as still as the lake in his mind, her face steely.


  Leo sighed shaking his head ‘Yes, yes. Not that it changes that I’m not actually selling this. Its bait of course. Leaves me in quite the conundrum.’


  ‘And the League? You’re fucked Leo.’ this comment bought him a wicked, toothy, smile.


  ‘Oh? Lot can changed under the right pressures. I wouldn’t be counting on that if I were you Sinister Sid.’ he closed the distance, and loomed over Sid. ‘But that’s all above you, you who think you’re so fucking smart but you didn’t see this coming.’


  ‘It was one of the three plays.’ Sid commented, his tone caustic. A jab crashed into his face like a thunderclap, and it knocked him off his feet. If Leo was anything, he was strong. The world swam, his vision struggled to focus, as Sid attempted to get to his feet. Leo was also thankfully above what he saw as unjust punishment.


  ‘So who’s bitch is this? Cause I haven’t foggy clue.’ Leo barked to one of his thugs. ‘The question Sid, now that you’re in a more, retentive sort of mood, is what exactly am I to do with you. And-’


  ‘We’ve got nothing on her boss.’


  ‘She’s my partner. She’s with me.’


  ‘Ah.’ A hunger that Sid found most unpleasant came to rest on Leo’s face ‘Is that the situation. Now that is an interesting development.’


  ‘Hey hey. We were talking here’ the numbness in his face didn’t seem to prevent him from talking.


  ‘So we were.’ Turning his attention back to Sid, giving him time to get to his feet. ‘What do you propose then? I’d take her off your hands of course, if that’s what you had in mind.’ Cavalier unresponsive, still as a statue, eyes remaining closed.


  Sid was waiting for something, either a boom from the Murder Party’s drone, or from one of Leos own techies announcing detection of corp on the way, either way. ‘Yeah, she’s a real pretty one. Exceptionally limber. Hell of a workout for you I can say.’ Leo chuckled. Sid now standing, drew real close. ‘She’s kind a crazy though. I half thought she was going to stab me in my sleep.’ taking on a disgusted expression.


  Returning a quiet retort ‘I don’t let them keep the energy for that sort of chicanery.’


  ‘Or ropes. You seem like guy who probably favors ropes.’


  ‘I might indulge from time to time.’


  ‘I’ve got you one better.’


  ‘Let’s say I’m intrigued.’


  ‘That’s some kind of breaker isn’t it?’




  ‘So lets plug it to the raven then?’ Leo’s face narrowed in suspicion. ‘I’ve got run of her little fortress, and I’ll give her a fake if you’ve got a blank one.’


  ‘How terribly turncoat of you.’ Leo seemed to not budge on his guard.


  ‘I’m not past a little duplicity’


  ‘Your reputation would indicate otherwise.’


  ‘A lot can change, given the right pressure.’ Sid laid the last bit in place. That should buy him a minute or two. ‘Fact, I might have a spare myself.’ taking the initiative to close the distance to the storage device, but making no move to take it. ‘Ah, this models close. Its a bit too small though. That’s has got to be some serious binary.’


  ‘Indeed.’ Leo stalking him through the room said from just behind him.


  ‘I wouldn’t tempt it with the raven, she always knows too much.’ Turns out he didn’t need the minute, as the boom of a drone rocket in the open doorway sent Leo’s goons flying, in pieces or whole.


  ‘Catch’ Sid yelled, taking the lapse in attention to grab the case and throw it to Cavalier, eyes closed, her hand moved otherwise and caught the case, followed by the sound of weapons being charged. Sid bolted, and Leo seemed focused on the prize, as he lunged for Sid’s partner. As before, her movements fluid, with a poise Sid had never seen, she effortlessly moved, then there was the clap of a weapon discharging. A scream of pain reverberated through the open space. To Sid’s shock, She had taken a hold of the gangbosses arm, and moved it to intercede in the bullets path. The scream had been Leo’s.

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