White looked around his improvised kitchen as he waiting for his tea to steep. He then pinched the bridge of his nose and closed his eyes.
I need to renegotiate the deal with the broker. This is getting be to more expensive than I had originally expected.
He added milk and honey to his tea and went back to his office. The spatter from the incident the day before had not been cleaned but no other trace of Grim could be found. Slotting an info chip into the pocket secretary, White went over the details of the initial commission. The more times he went over it, the more the rims of his ears turned red until his teacup shattered in his left hand. He dialed his employer.
“I told you I would call you. What is it?”
“This is outdated information. I cannot hire anyone to do this without proper info. Are you trying to get people killed?”
“That’s rich coming from someone who is called “the meat grinder” in fixer circles. No. I gave what intel I had. Let me guess. You did no follow-up.”
“I had assumed you would supply me with accurate general knowledge, and I would do the rest.”
“Your assumptions are not my problem. When can you have to job done?”
“I am going to need more capital. It seems I need to hire a rigger and one other. I miscalculated the risk due to lack of intel.”
There was a heavy sigh on the other end of the line, “That is not my problem. You assured me you knew what you were doing and that you were experienced. You sound like greenie to me.”
Mr. White had to restrain himself from punching the desk. His entire face was crimson, “If you want this done right, I need more capital.”
“Again, I gave you 1.5 mil. If that is not enough to hire a team and keep your cut, that’s not my problem. That is all I will give you.”
There was silence and then the ending of the call.
White threw his earpiece against the wall where it exploded into more pieces than one could count. He tossed his desk and kicked over his chair which landed in parts all around the room.
Laura winced with every noise from White’s office. She didn’t have to ask to know it didn’t go well, and there was no more money coming.
She shrugged. It’s not like brokers will happily fork over more dough after they set a price or even change the contract. He should know that.
She looked at her four walls again looking for any kink in the room she could exploit and found none. She had tried to project through the walls again but the mesh stopped her cold. Teleporting only gave her a headache.
She froze when she heard and stomping of the troll’s feet and relaxed when they faded up the hall. She could have sworn he was muttering something in a different language.
White walked out of the building toward his car and stopped. There was someone there he had not seen before on the docks. He faded into the shadow behind him and watched to see what the man would do. The elf looked around and nearly tripped over himself trying to give a rat all the space it needed to walk past.
White chuckled and whispered to himself, “I never thought I would see an elf afraid of a rat.” He shook his head and got into his car, “I need a stiff drink and to figure some drek out before I get back.”
Dash hopped over the rat and looked in front of him to see the lightest-skinned troll he had ever seen. The red eyes looked in Dash’s direction before the troll backed up into a shadow and started watching him.
Looking down, he spotted Heathen’s rat who was headed toward the building and decided to start jumping to and fro nearly tripping over himself as he uttered curses. He knew it was working when the troll’s lips moved and then he shook his head before leaving.
Thank God Heathen’s rat likes to screw with me. Wait, what did I just say? Frick.”
He watched as Blaze ran toward the building where he saw the troll and casually made his way to the same building. He waved to a couple of dock workers and sauntered over, “Hey any you guys see when the snow troll got here?”
The two men scratched their heads as Dash got closer. They both stopped when he took out his wallet, “Now, I ain’t yapping to the two of you without compensation. All I need to scope is if any of you seen him before today and if any of you could give a ballpark on how long he been squattin’ in there.”
The orc smiled, “If you is payin’, we’ll tell ya whatev you wanna scope. Hell, we’ll even tell ya what he eats.”
Dash tilted his head to one side and started to put the credits in his pocket, “I’m gettin’ the impresh that you’re yankin’ chains and one is mine. So, Imma blow this boat lot and scope someone who can help me.”
The silent human held out his arms, “Hey, hey, Nort didn’t mean notin’. It’s just that… Well, you know what creds are like around here.”
“I heard dey was sub, chum.”
“That ain’t the top of it, mate,” the human took off his hat, smoothed his hair out, and placed the hat back on his head as he leaned closer to Dash, “He slid an orc off the last slip last night. I’m thinkin’ drek’s sinking faster than that fancy ship on that old movie.”
Dash nodded, “Anything else you can slide my way, chum? You have an idea how long he’s been squattin’”
The man shook his head, “Naw, but I can tell ya he’s been vegetatin’ there for a least a week, and about days ago, the sunked orc brought an unconscious girl to dat warehouse.”
Dash’s eyes turned to slits for a brief moment, “Did you get a peep?”
The man shook his head, “Nope, alls I saw was her kicks and jeans out one end and her hair out the other. Looked like she’d been mickeyed.”
Dash handed the man a hundred credits, “You did me a solid, man, here, knock a couple back on me.”
The man smiled and he took the money and walked back to his friend.
Longbow was sipping his noon tea and eating lunch when the message came across his com.
“Mr. White confirmed. Squatting at least a week. Possible confirmation of Laura. Have warehouse location.”
“Is White there?”
“Negative. There are guards outside the warehouse. Two per entrance. Two doors and one bay entrance.”
“Have you spotted mages or shamans?”
“Not as of yet.”
“Lay low. Message me if anything else happens.”
Mims looked in Longbow’s direction, “You’re smirking. Good news?”
“Possible eyes on Laura. Dash confirmed White’s location.”
“Have you heard from Heathen?”
Longbow shook his head, “No, but where one is, the other should not be too far behind.”