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  Niko was beside himself. He looked at his balance, and still didn’t believe it. It is true. But your work is much more important than that. He looked at the screen. The voice on the other end had said that a couple of hours ago. He’d decided not to respond, at least not yet. He had enough credits that he could take a day off. He hadn’t actually taken a whole day off in, well he couldn’t remember the last time.

 

  The clerical looking lady in the back of the motorcade had said she’d been authorized to provide a tip at her lady’s discretion. A tip, she’d called it. Ten thousand credits she’d settled into his account. Then again, that tomb he’d visited with the old crone was probably worth more money than he’d scratch together and spend in his entire life so, he guessed she wasn’t going to miss it.

 

   Finally he thought he’d respond to the the stranger, who had been so helpful What do you mean my work? Was what he shot back.

 

   The Lady Veyber, will call again tomorrow. See the suit is cleaned. Go to a thrift store in Toyajuku to buy a different shirt.

 

   At this point, the voice might as well have been speaking gospel, so he set to work. He did take his sweet time though getting ready that morning. He took a long shower. Nine sweet steamy minutes. He stopped at a local convenience store and splurged, getting a coffee, breakfast, and a snack bar for later. He was feeling good, and if the voice was correct, then it was going to keep coming.

 

  He’d wandered down to the nearest dry cleaners his phone could find. It was some chain, fully automated, and he didn’t blink at the forty credit price tag. He bought some bus tokens, plotted out a course to Toyajuku, and settled into a long bus trip. It was nearly on the other side of the city, but today, He really didn’t have anything better to do.

 

   With all the time though, he thought he’d prod at his mysterious benefactor. I’ve not properly thanked you. He padded out before blasting it off.

 

  Your gratitude is noted. It pleases me that your celebrating has not reached excess.

 

  That was a rather odd thing, though Niko recalled it had seemed to respond to his thoughts before. So knowing what he got for breakfast shouldn’t have been shocking. Even if it was still weird. Time not worrying about the next credit, is nicer than a strong beer. It was an old phrase his father had said when he was a child one Niko tried to live up to, whenever he had a small buffer of credits, the rare times that had happened.

 

  Quality wisdom.

 

  Look, if we’re going to be working together, which I’m open to, can I get a name at least? And this time, unlike all the others there wasn’t an instant reply. Niko had just turned is attention elsewhere when the reply came.

 

  Deus. Came the single word reply. He’d never heard a name like that, but I figured if he learned the name of everyone in the world that would happen more than not.

 

  So, Deus, what is it you need me to do?

 

  Stay close to the lady Veyber. Your moment will arrive.

 

  That doesn’t really answer my question. Based on the delay again, it seemed this Deus person wasn’t eager to provide. Oh well Niko thought to himself. Adding it all up, got a couple of weeks worth of credits if he paced himself, maybe a month if he kept trucking on his old habits. Not to mention he maybe helped a couple girls with their social media clout, and an old lady morn her husband. Not all that bad for a week of living really.

 

  He arrived in the upscale shopping of Toyajuku, and searching on the maps found a thift store fairly close. He ignored the occasional disgusted stare from passers by, dressed as he was it hardly surprised him. Today though nothing was going to bring his mood down. Life was just too sweet to worry. He found himself unable to let the hesitation from Deus go however.

 

  Niko climbed the nine floors, and found the door to the shop easily enough. Upon trying to open the door however it didn’t budge. A screen next to the door lit up with a face of a young woman. ‘I don’t need you stinking up one of my booths. Go home’

 

  ‘My credits not as good as anyone elses?’ Niko responded jovially. ‘I even showered for almost ten minutes today.’

 

  ‘Don’t act like you can afford anything here. We always get a crazy from the lower end like you once a week. It’s happened before.’

 

  Pulling up his current account, with his current credit pool and flashed it to the camera he guessed was in the panel. ‘If a shirt in your store costs more than that you’re mad.’

 

  The young lady looked at first with disbelief, cycling down to something like outrage. ‘Fine.’ there was a click, from the door mechanism being unlocked. ‘But you try it you buy it you hear?’

 

  ‘That’s acceptable if scanner is calibrated properly.’ While he’d thought about throwing an insult her way, even her sourness couldn’t bring down his mood. Stepping into the store, it was frighteningly small. It only had a meter wide walkway, leading down to four different doors. Two of which had a sign that glowed as occupied. Niko stepped into the third, and found a console embedded on the side wall. It was a small changing room, not even a full square meter in floor space.

 

  He opened the console, stripped down, hanging his ratty clothes on the available hanger, and struck the pose the small figure on the screen indicated. A thin beam of light trailed down measuring his form. That complete, it presented a number of options to select from. He scrolled for a while, but still couldn’t shake the growing feeling from his conversation with Deus. Just as his thoughts turned to forcing the argument the chime came through.

 

  I have other agents like yourself. You will be putting yourself in a position to save them from harm most dire circumstances. I know you were going to attempt coercion. I would recommend rethinking that course of action. I humbly request, you trust me.

 

  So you’re not going to have me kill people?

 

  I would not ask that you do something I know you cannot. It is your heart that is necessary for what comes next.

 

  Niko couldn’t help but think Deus had the weirdest way of talking, but he had trusted him, and so far, only good things had come of it. He found his hesitation fading the longer he browsed the shops catalog. It wasn’t long before he found a few items, replacements for his own tatty clothes and a new shirt to go with the suit as Deus had suggested. The price made him frown, but being able to move more freely might mean better work? Telling himself it was an investment in his future, he spent the fifteen hundred credits and went on, with what continued to be a pleasant day.

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Highlord_of_Iron

Bio: Highpriest of the new word.

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