Chapter 1 Chapter 2 Chapter 3 Chapter 4 Chapter 5 Chapter 6 Chapter 7
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"What?" I asked incredulously.
"Well," replied Korannon, "I think we should have asked for half up front while we still had possession of the ATVs. I mean, what if he..."
I waved dismissively. "No, no, no, Rusack won't fuck us over. I mean, he's a friend of Jamil." Jamil was an acquaintance back home.
"How well does Jamil know Rusack?" my brother asked, playing the devil's advocate all of a sudden. I was tired and my head was starting to ache and his sudden doubt made my blood pressure rise. "Look," I said a little harsher than I intended, "its too late now to act like a Gallente. Its done. For better or worse." I sat back in my chair again. "Let it go."
He was tired and aggravated too but rather than fight with me again he got up in a huff, mutter something about going to our apartment to shower, and left. I was left stewing and the doubts raised by Korannon brought back the memories from last week of when we met the man, and Barak Vorn's warning: "he's got a rep for being... slippery."
My good feeling from earlier was totally gone and I took out my comm unit and pulled up Rusack's name. It buzzed and buzzed but no answer. I tried again with no success. I didn't have Blodel's address so I went to the terminal and brought up the station directory but didn't know the exact name of Rusack's shell company or Blodel's corporation. I fretted over whether or not I was worrying for nothing (Rusack's probably just really busy), I checked our account (still empty), and then called my brother.
"OK, I got a bad feeling now too," I admitted. "I tried to call Rusack but he's not answering. I want to call Blodel to see what's happening but I don't know his corp name."
Korannon swore. "Look it up on the transfer forms we signed, the intra-station shipping manifest will have the destination warehouse contact info on it." Damn, I thought, I knew that. "I'm coming back," he said as he disconnected.
I brought up the forms on the terminal and sure enough there was Blodel's corp name and contact info. "Starlight Adventures," it read, "3322-7738." I punched in the number into the terminal hoping for some visual contact. The screen beeped and Derranna, Blodel's 'assistant', appeared on the screen.
"Hello Kirith," she said with a mild look of surprise on her face. "How are you?"
I didn't have time for smalltalk. "Hi Derranna, is Rusack there?" Behind me I heard Korannon enter and walk over to stand behind me.
"No, he left an hour ago after we paid him." Her face became concerned as she started to sense the tension on this side of the connection. "Why, is there a problem?"
"You paid him already?" my brother asked over my shoulder.
"Yes, 12.6 million ISK."
We heard a male voice ask Derranna a question from off screen. She turned and spoke to the questioner, "Its the brothers, they want to know where Rusack is." Blodel walked on screen and waved Derranna out of the console chair so he could sit down and see us. He didn't waste time with preamble.
"Boys, if you're looking for Rusack now, you're already screwed."
"What do you mean?" I asked through clenched teeth. I heard Korannon groan behind me.
"I mean, you idiots didn't secure collateral with a known criminal. Have you never done business before?" he asked mockingly.
Korannon spoke up behind me, "This office and the transfer fees cost all the money we had! We're broke now!"
"Not my problem boys. My advice is take this as a life lesson and go home." Behind him I could see Derranna's face was sad for us but she nodded in agreement with her boss. Blodel terminated the connection and when I angrily attempted to reconnect the terminal spit out a "blocked" message. I slammed my hand on the keyboard and the terminal let out a forlorn beep.
I turned my chair back to Korannon and his face was ashen. "What are we going to do, Kir? We don't even have enough cash to get home? What are we going to tell Father?" The thought of facing our father in disgrace filled both of us with dread.
"I'll tell you what we're going to do. We're going to find that motherfucker and get our money."