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  Sid held the burner, the number punched in, hesitation bristled through his mind. He had the coin for the Murder Party, and with Hyugin having a bone to pick, well it wasn’t the worst idea. No, he told himself, there was no one better, and even if he’d left them there was no one except maybe Cavalier who he trusted at his back. Pressing call, he waited.

 

  The phone rang for what felt like entirely too long, seven or eight rings he thought he counted. ‘Sid?’ the voice came from the other side. The Runny Babbits kept a small roster of their own burners, usually having some one on watch, in another building if they rang, not a lot of people would know the numbers.

 

  ‘Yeah.’ Sid forced out. The line stayed quiet, the weight of moments hung heavy and dreadful, ‘Expecting me?’

 

  ‘Correct.’ it was Spooner, he must really have been expecting.

 

  ‘I’m not sure if you’re still bent over my departure. Not here to apologize for it either.’ A simple vocalization was his sole reply. ‘But, we got a big job, and I got something I want you to look at, and you’re probably the one guy I trust, maybe Bullwinkle.’ the same nasal tone, all the confirmation it seems he’d get. ‘I’d like to meet to discuss it. I’d say point three, would be easiest for me.’

 

  ‘Hyugins?

 

  ‘Right.’

 

  ‘Pay?’

 

  ‘I’ve got seventy five left, though its probably still hot. They just blew up the building I spent it in no questions asked.’

 

  ‘You really are fucked.’ Spooner clicked his tongue.

 

  ‘You don’t know just how deep, not by half.’

 

  ‘I’ll hear more. Point three. Two hours.’ the click of a hung up phone and a dial tone was the last of it. Sid held the phone, his hands shaking a bit. Relief refusing to settle in, the tension making it hard to breathe. It was done, he figured they could get a change and head over. Needed a purple jacket, Sid forced his mind to point to the next thing and felt his stiffness slowly work itself out.

 

  Cavalier didn’t say anything, her expression probably as serious as he’d ever seen it, she cupped his chin with her hands forcing eye contact. Something in her intensity, in her insistence let a cool relaxation flow into him, shock, as she pulled him into a tender embrace. After a blessed but too brief a time. ‘Whats next.’

 

  ‘Need a purple jacket, and we have to walk a couple blocks.’

 

  ‘Think he’ll take the work.’

 

  ‘Well if Leo wasn’t just showboating that binary might be nasty and we can trade that. We are also going after the consortium. They’re the ones who cracked on the team last time. We tried to punch a little too far above our weight class.’ Sid broke the phone in half, hurling the pieces onto two other rooftops.

 

  Stepping into the elevator ‘We’ll see if she’s got one, otherwise we may need to see if we can get her to loan us some credits.’

 

  ‘Oh, you’re going to be pedestrian now.’ Cavalier teased

 

  ‘Yeah, might have to trade a couple of my bus tokens, if they don’t want to loan me some.’

 

  ‘I feel like you don’t like buses.’ Sid smirked, shaking his head. ‘I got you locked in Mr. V.’ Cavalier nodded with excessive vigor ‘Locked, right, in.’ The rest of the long ride down was quiet, interspersed with Sid giving Cavalier a push, or the reverse. Stepping out into the safe house floor, they started digging through containers.

 

  Clothes were found, none fitting the exact description, Sid was insistent it needed to be solid purple, calling up to one of Hyugin’s staff he prodded ‘Got any purple hoodies or anything down here? Needs to be completely plain’

 

  ‘No, but we can get one for you across the street, there’s a Penguin Palace.’

 

  ‘Put it on my tab. I guess’ That negotiated he sat down on one of the assorted boxes, not paying a bit of attention when a food bar impacted his face.

 

  ‘They got pouches too if you want.’ she said before sticking her tongue out at him.

 

  ‘I like my food solid thanks.’ her response was a thumbs up, mouth too full to talk. It wasn’t a long wait before some one dressed as hotel staff emerged from the elevator, and handed them a bag emblazoned with a waving blue penguin. Sid tossed Cavalier the hoodie. ‘I’ve got stuff in my pockets and last I checked you don’t have stuff.’ Scowling she complied, Sid pocketing another burner phone, then the two stepped back into the elevator for the ground floor.

 

  It was a short walk, but the streets thronged with people, people that were in no hurry, the hotel was located adjacent to one of the night life districts. The flickering animated signs washed them in a glow of bright colors. The smells of street food assailed them. From all sides people bumped into them, a thousand voices chattering in a smattering of dialects rendered indistinct, slowly progressing toward their destination, an old bar, the pinnacle of new a decade ago now vintage.

 

  Stepping into the bar, a single patron and the bartender were chatting in low voices, thin plastic chairs lined the bar, assorted grey booths lined the opposite wall, the lights a rainbow cascade painting everything in a bevy of polka dots. The pair made their way to the back, sliding into one half of a booth facing the door.

 

  The remaining half hour passed, and a tall figure, dressed in thin everything, clean collared shirt with a tie that contrasted bearing a simple design, faded chinos covering the top of combat boots. The figure approached, taking a seat across from them, setting a small ancient cellphone on the table. Sid nudged Cavalier with an elbow, and she produced the small case, withdrawing the drive from the deal gone south.

 

  Cavalier eyed the two of them, turning her head back and forth, but her partner and the stranger were yet to say a word, or even make eye contact. The newcomer took the drive, and plugged it to the phone, thumbing open an application, and holding the device up to read. His expression soured, the longer he held it.

 

  ‘I see why you’re in trouble.’

 

  ‘I don’t even know what it is, if I’m honest.’

 

  ‘So you’ve done zero analysis?’

 

  ‘Didn’t have one of those.’ A hand waved toward the device. ‘Just picked it up off the big bearded showboat, who was summarily sublimated.’

 

  ‘Linked?’

 

  ‘Uncertain, but my bet.’ Pointing a thumb toward Cavalier ‘More likely this situation.’

 

  Spooner seemed to mull this information over for a bit. Silently he re-read the information on the display. ‘Well, this is good enough for me. I’d like to have the boys take a look at it, if that will be fine.’

 

  ‘You’ll have to bring us along.’

 

  ‘To-zen.’ Spooner replied, rising to leave, placing a some credit tokens into the tip jar, he stepped outside. The pair followed. They stepped back out into the streets, and down hidden pathways to the warren.

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Highlord_of_Iron

Bio: Highpriest of the new word.

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