Chapter 1 Chapter 2 Chapter 3 Chapter 4 Chapter 5 Chapter 6 Chapter 7 Chapter 8 Chapter 9
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The elevator doors opened and we stepped into the lobby area of deck 81. Like most Caldari stations it had little in the way of creature comforts or decorations, just a few padded benches and some tables with chairs. It wasn't dirty or neglected but it lacked the "spit and polish" feel of the lower levels; you knew someone did a job to keep it clean but didn't take pride in the work.
Most of the lobby area was empty except for a couple old men playing a board game at a table off to one side, and a couple groups of kids lounging on some benches and talking.
"If he is home, how are we going to get him to open the door?" my brother asked me.
"I have an idea. Come on," I answered.
I led the way over to where the teenagers were sitting and they eyed us askance as I approached. "Who'd like to make ten creds?" I asked with a fake smile.
The offer of money loosened them up a little, and since my brother and I were still young ourselves we didn't give off the vibe of authority that might have made them disregard us completely in youthful rebellion. One of the younger boys looked particularly interested. "Doin' what?"
"I just need someone to go buzz a door for me. I want to surprise him." I knew the story was weak but I was hoping the smell of cash would obscure it for the boy.
"Just down there," I pointed down one of the corridors leading from the lobby. "Unit 23." I pulled out the cred card, adjusted it to ten, and showed the kid. Apparently the job seemed close enough and safe to take, so he stood up and accompanied us down the hall. I gave the credits to Korannon and told him I would lead the way in so make sure the lad got his payment.
We got near the door and I said, "Just tell him Blodel sent you up with a new manifest," as I handed him a pad my brother carried. Korannon and I stood up against the wall beside the door out of view of the camera lens above the opening. Fortunately for us I could see it wasn't a fish-eye lens so it was easy to stay close but out of view. The kid buzzed the apartment and we waited with held breath, hoping this was Rusack's place and that he was home.
A voice came from the intercom. "Yeah? Whadda want?" I looked at Korannon and we nodded at each other, recognizing Rusack's timbre and accent.
The kid held up the impromptu pad. "Blodel sent me up with a new manifest."
"I'm not expecting any manifest. What's it for?"
The kid thought well on his feet and got into his role. "How should I know?! I'm just the messenger!" A couple of seconds passed by and I worried Rusack was inside contacting Blodel directly to see what this was about, an action that could torpedo our plan. Then the intercom come to life again. "Fuck, alright. Just a sec."
My brother and I tensed, waiting for the door to open.