=-= In that same fraying line of possibility, in a Veybertech Lab…

  ‘So you’ve caught the girl? The one the Consortium is after?’ An older man , still broad of shoulder, but his trunk was begging to sag with his age.


  ‘We’re not sure on that point Chief.’ a younger drone tech, wirey of frame and a full head shorter than his boss. They walked together through a thoroughfare, cubicles with other staff sat in front of screen arrays, or wearing dive gear, the only light the blink of monitors or various computer equipment.




  ‘So, she is the one you asked us to locate, who ran a different direction than the pair, out from the dry-cleaners.’ His boss merely continued to walk, overseeing his staff about their tasks. ‘We thought, she was some kind of accomplice. The timing would be too coincidental otherwise. We thought maybe a hand off or the like, that turns out to not be true.’


  ‘So, you’re saying it was strictly coincidental?


  ‘That’s the strange thing. Upon capture, she was cooperative, almost, chipper.’




  ‘Almost certainly. She said god was texting her.’ The chief turned with utter incredulity.


  ‘And god told her to run from a dry cleaners at that exact moment?’ the disbelief carved into his jaw.


  ‘So she claims. Reading through her text logs, that is what it appears to be. She was contacted some time ago, and offered some assistance before...the requests got strange.’


  ‘Like sneaking into and back out of dry cleaners during the day.’


  ‘Or any number of other things that aren’t illegal and at a glance seem innocuous.’


  ‘I’m sensing a but here, and I think I can guess’


  ‘But, its clearly coordinated by some one. We just need to figure out who.’


  ‘Right. Copy her chat logs, and kick her out, and we’ll monitor her to see if we can get anything.’ The young man nodded and departed. This case with the Consortium just kept getting stranger.


  Elsewhere, in that same fraying strand of reality possibility


  Cavalier stared at Sid, a mixture of invitation and challenge. Sid returned a steely gaze, eyes narrowed in suspicion. As Cavalier rose to close the distance, a cough, their heads jerking toward the source. It was a younger merc, armed to the gills, a Murder Party swatch on his arm. ‘Hyugin sent us to collect you. She figured after word didn’t come back Mr. V would come here.’


  ‘Have her restock the Higuchi.’ Sid said, strutting to their escort. ‘And some pants.’


  ‘Looks like you won’t get to find out.’ Cavalier’s tone taunting.


  ‘Pretty sure you’re the one who put built our dee-em-zee.’ Sid finished, stepping out into the subway.


  Cavalier following closely behind they stepped into a group of similarly armed mercs, and were escorted along some subway tunnels, to a hidden station with a small single car that whistled along the tracks by old stations, long abandoned and filled with trash or debris. Far enough from the sight of the deal, they took to the streets, a few blocks from one of Hyugin’s safe houses, some distance from her headquarters.


  The entered an old hotel. A fine hotel, if one were to be on a budget, the floors were clean if simple tile, the walls papered in a simple easy to ignore design, the staff studiously ignoring the group, as the team walked into a side door labeled staff only, to a freight elevator. They went down a ways, Sid couldn’t fully keep count due to their ride’s old jerky movements.


  After a while they spilled out into a clearly converted warehouse. Simple cots, old containers of plastic or metal reused as furniture, a kitchen made of such boxes with a couple of electric appliances completed the set. ‘Hyugin will be by within the hour.’ one of the goons instructed.


  Cavalier caught Sids attention after observing the remaining Murder Party that had stayed in the hold had turned their backs. She pointed to her pocket where she had the case, and gave him a raised eyebrow. Telling her would depend on what information he got. He signaled to her, tapping his own finger into his chest, then opening and closing both hands like talking. She nodded and he hoped she’d just let him take the lead on this.


   Eventually Hyugen did arrive, in restrained finery, faux innocence written on her face, she held strong even after seeing Sid wasn’t buying it for a moment. ‘The fuck was that!? All seeing raven my ass.’ Sid roared to open the topic.


  ‘I had my-’


  ‘You knew. Look me in the eye and tell me you didn’t, you lying bitch!’ Keeping up the momentum of his barely contained rage he advanced on her. Cavalier waved off the guards, who were hesitant but let decided to let it play out.


  ‘Fine.’ the raven chirped tersely. I knew he was going to try something, I didn’t expect him to blow the building.’


  ‘He didn’t. He didn’t make it out.’ Cavalier added, her tone rock steady.


  ‘The coin was that hot? Sid I can’t-’


  ‘Don’t you fucking try to sidestep on me bitch. I know how this works you overgrown pigeon.’


  ‘I will not be spoken to in my own house in such a fashion Sid. Not here.’ the veil of innocence replaced by her own heating anger.


  ‘Now that we’re being honest!’ Sid shouted her down. He let the scene settle, before he moved on. ‘He’d meant to kill you. He laughed when I invoked the league. I’m not sure how deep this goes and I don’t think he made it out.’


  ‘Nor did the rest of the team that went with you. Its just you two. You always did find your way Sid. I was counting on that.’ The Raven wouldn’t meet his eyes. ‘Tib had worked for me for ten years. Poof.’ her tone growing more sullen. ‘And I can’t even wreak my vengeance on the fuckers who did it.’


  Sid grasped her shoulder, giving it a gentle squeeze. ‘Well, we had Leo’s guys on the back foot any way, especially after that drone dropped its payload. Possible it was the corp boys.’


  ‘Would be convenient for you if it was.’


  ‘True. But we’re being honest here.’ Sid stepped back, moving to lean on one of the boxes that had a cloth over it like a table ‘It would be, but between Her’ he jerked his head toward Cavalier ‘Your drone team’ pulling his hands together flat like praying, pushing them forward to point at the Raven ‘And that flashbang, we really did have a decent shot. I mean I just got out with a leg wound’


  ‘So not invincible.’ Hyugin joked. He simply shook his head.


  ‘We’ll, we did what was asked, that should cover us for what we want? Yeah?’ asking no one specifically.


  ‘Well I’d-’ Hyugin started to speak but Sid cut her off.


  ‘A deathtrap warrants a debt. A lie another about it. Endangering some one not in the deal is three.’ Sid’s tone dropped, a deadly undercurrent haunted the dark turn.


  ‘She’s includ-


  ‘I didn’t ask that she be armed’


  ‘That’s a technicality.’


  ‘Rules a rule. We also killed a rival, who was trying to kill you, and, information that might save you if he’s not the only one. I think three is generous on my part.’ Sid finished. Hyugin glared defiantly.


  ‘This is another shady criminal thing I’m just missing is it? That’s all hush hush and everyone gets it?’ Cavalier inserted herself, clearly tired of always letting Sid do most of the talking.


   ‘Something like that. Everyone who is sane any way.’ Sid continued to press without further. ‘Three? Or you wanna risk taking this to the council? You do have the right to contest it.’ Sid knew he had her cornered, considering the information he did provided. Deciding he’d leaver her no escape. ‘Tell you what, if they rule on your side I’ll give you one, and one of yours back.’


  She gave him the kind of boring stare like she wanted his head to explode. ‘Fine. You win.’


  ‘You lot are witnesses’ he pointed to the Murder Party guards, and Cavalier.


  ‘With that resolved, back to the matter, where’s the drive? He was all hush hush about it, he wouldn’t give me any kind of serious details.’ Hyugin asked. Sid already knew he won, and he was vaguely obliged to be honest. At the same time though, if it was half the shit Leo had implied, he’d rather it not fall into her hands. He could use one, since he has three to spare. Then again, maybe it was a digital WMD that Leo had used to cajole the League? There were too many possibilities for him to sort. He had no idea what he was going to tell her.


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Bio: Highpriest of the new word.

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