SD242008.06 - Fvaiduk & Sails - "How Not To Sneak"
The Sincerest Form of Flattery
=/= Begin Log =/=
Stepping out of the club, the man in the dapper attire stopped, sensing something, not the everyday people walking or passing by, but someone else. This wasn’t first time he had felt something like this, so he did what he normally did, went on with what he was going to do, if someone felt the need to follow him, well he was doing his job well.
Leaning against a wall nearby, one of the dock workers sniffed and scratched his butt, glaring at a clock nearby as it chipped seconds off his break time.
A passle of street urchins ran past the dock worker, giggling and laughing (the urchins, not the dock worker) as they played. Carefree and footloose, these adorable little scamps were almost certainly a hardened gang of cut-throat pickpockets, and a flurry of law-abiding (ish) hands immediately covered their wallets.
Some of those hands belonged to a cluster of accountants "slumming it" down here with the riff-raff. Having earned generous bonuses by staying at their desks while others fled the wrath of the black hole, they were now pretending to have suddenly noticed the club in front of them, as if it had not been their destination all along.
On their way, they stepped over a homeless begger. Asleep on the floor amidst a pile of raggedy blankets and coats, he snored quietly away, dead to the worlds. A cup containing a few meagre scraps of latinum mysteriously vanished amidst the pitter-patter of childrens' footsteps, though it would be a while before the vagrant would wake and discover the theft.
Amidst all this cacauphony, it would be easy to say that the entity observing the man in dapper attire was simply part of the background noise.
However, nothing could be further from the truth.
For one, nobody used paper anymore, so the replicated broadsheet was a dead giveaway. Sunglass were pointless on a station where all the light was artificial, so the black lenses drew a lot of strange looks. The cigarette was obviously fake, as otherwise the station's fire alarms would have gone off. The trilby hat was several centuries out of date.
But that wasn't the worst of it.
No, it was the longcoat. The sweeping-the-floor-like-a-beige-batman longcoat. Flipping the paper closed and tucking it under one arm, while simultaneously stepping on the cigarette, the suspicious-looking man turned towards his quarry and pursued with his hands casually tucked into his pockets; a nonchalant act that was somewhat undermined by the beige coat flaring out behind him.
Passing shops, the dapper dressed man would stop every once and while and look, but really using the reflection, if there was any to see who the eyes belonged too. Though the pin-stripped suit man didn’t see the eyes he was looking for, what he did see, was someone oddly out of place while not out of place. Within the reflection you could see his lips curl up slightly as he smirked.
As the dapper man continued down the promenade, he stopped at a café and took a seat in one of the tables outside, one where his back was facing the shop. After ordering a drink, the man just watched the people go by, looking for the odd out of place but not really out of place person.
Striding through the crowd, the fellow in the beige coat pulled up short and peered into the mess of people in front of him, realising that he'd lost track of his quarry. It took a few moments for him to realise that the chap he was after had taken a seat at the cafe scant feet to his right.
The man in beige looked, he saw, and his eyes continued to roam around after a brief pause, as if he were simply checking out the cafe.
Nodding to himself, he took a seat at the table next to the man in the dapper attire. The broadsheet was unfolded and raised to just under his eyeline, as if his repeated glances over the top were just him skimming the headlines. When the waitress came round to take his order, it took a few tries, as the man insisted on whispering his request for a black coffee.
The dapper man just continued to watch the people, even though his attention was on the odd man in beige, this wasn’t unusual someone following him, he has had made many enemies, and being a dealmaker well that came with the territory, “would you care to join me?” The dapper man asked, of the beige man.
"Hmm. Huh." grunted the man in beige, lowering the paper and making eye contact with the man directly. He paused, sucking idly on his teeth, as if thinking about something.
The waitress with the coffee arrived, and as the china touched the table with a clink, the man came to a decision.
First, he reached into the left side of his coat and paid the waitress with three slips of latinum. Surprised, the diminutive girl took the money, bobbed a little curtsy, and shuffled off back inside the shop.
Next, the man in beige tucked a hand into the right side of his coat, extracting a small, silvery device. Tapping it against his palm, he placed it slowly in front of the dapper fellow, careful not to show any threat.
Finally, he tucked the paper under one arm, and left without saying a word.
Without missing a beat, the silvery device sprang to life, projecting a small, faint circle into the air, and drawing a horizontal line across the middle. Sensitive ears heard a brief whine as noise-cancelling technology blocked the drone of the crowd, and prevented anyone at the table from being overheard.
"Hello." growled a voice, the line in the circle wobbling up and down. "You're a difficult man to find." it added, the tone changing from a deep growl to the soft lilt of a young woman, and then to the squeak of a small boy.
Now this would be weird, but well truth to be told it was weird for him, he felt like he should know the voice, but nothing was coming to mind, “hello,” was all the dapper man said, truly unsure what was going on, and this was the first time in a very very very long time.
"I asked one of the more reliable odd-job men on the station to tail you." the voice explained, continuing to shift between different tones and accents. "I wanted to know what you'd do if you knew you were being followed. A test, of sorts."
The dapper-man's eyes darted around, but his face remained on the device, “am I being hired for a job? Or are you just bored and feel the need to test people?” The dapper man asked.
"Both." clipped the voice. Though currently in the twee lisp of a young girl, there was no humour to be found here. "Identifying talent on the eve of a big job is the mark of fools and desperate men. Thus, we start small. Small tests, small jobs. For example."
At this, a slot opened in the device, and out popped the end of a green memory chip.
"This chip is encoded. You will decrypt it. The contents will lead to to a cache labelled 'DX-211-A', which is located somewhere on this station. You will retrieve it. You will not open the package. Bring it to this cafe within 48 hours. After that, this job will expire. Do you understand?"
What was not to understand, though this wasn’t why he was put here or what he usually did, hell he dealt with the aftermath of a job like this, he was a fixer and sometimes a assassin, “yes I do,” the dapper man said, sounding a little annoyed with all the cloak and dagger knowing that this is what brought more attention.
"Good." growled the unmistakable baritone of a Klingon. "Now, your payment. Latinum is the coin of the station, though some prefer...other currencies." said the voice, dipping into near incoherence with its dark insinuation. "Antimatter. Weaponised bionics. Deeds to indentured servants. Your preferred option?"
“I work in favors,” the dapper man said simply, GPL did help grease the cogs, but favors, favors were the real and true currency of the universe.
A grunt from the other end of the channel indicated this statement had not gone down well.
"Those are in short supply, and are far more valuable than a mere cache. Select a more tangible method of remuneration or decline. Those are your options." declared the voice, which now echoed with chrome; the sound of a 20th century television robot.
“Then looks like I am gonna need to decline,” Fvaiduk said simply, truth be cared he actually had the upper hand, seeing as he needed this done, and well if he wanted it done right he would agree with his terms.
"This is...regrettable." replied the voice. "I had hoped...but no matter." it declared, the memory chip retracting into the base of the device. "Since you have made your decision not to complete the test, I will wish you good fortune, and goodbye."
At this, the ever-present tingle of the sound-suppression field vanished. The glowing circle in the air dissipated in a cloud of coloured particles, and the silvery device itself emitted a tiny wisp of smoke as the interior circuits were fried.
Fvaiduk just sat there for a few more minutes, his drink untouched, picking up the device and leaving a couple of GPL strips on the table, before leaving the area.
...Across the station...
Circuits protruded from the back of a jerry-rigged terminal, with one wire soldered to an arial that extended upwards. Pinpricks of light glowed here and there, providing a starry glitter in the darkness.
Sitting in front of the terminal, a person shifted in the gloom, leaning away from the display. He reached to one side and picked up a padd, reviewing the list of names.
Carefully, the General's Yeoman drew a horizontal line through one of them, and sighed.
=^= End of Log =^=