Drick walked out to the reception bay for parked vehicles and passed the robot attendant a prepaid ticket. Krennar would have secured a vehicle, at Drick’s expense, and Drick hoped that it was something nondescript and reliable.
The robot attendant set the bays automatic parking systems to retrieve the vehicle, Drick noticed a queue of maybe thirty people in front of them so there was a wait of at least twenty to thirty minutes. Busy time of the day it seemed.
Drick stepped into the shade of the building, the suns were high overhead in the hottest part of the day. This season had been unseasonably warm with little cloud. As usual it was an advantage to those who could afford electronic countermeasures to protect them from the harsh glare. Drick pulled on some glasses and dropped a cap over their head.
Using the small respite from the harsh sunlight Drick opened a secure comms link to another contact, this one an old friend. Knowing their preference Drick used an internal retina screen to connect and was mildly surprised that they sent a visual to the link.
This was a first. Drick pulled an artificial construct of themselves on a neutral background in response. Constructs were controlled by a neural interface, if Drick had had a good unit would be as lifelike as Drick themselves. Drick did not have such a unit fitted.
Drick was not at a safe enough location to risk a live video feed so this construct would have to suffice. Drick nodded, “Boomer.” they said.
“Drick, it has been a very long time since we talked. I imagine that your location is insecure, as always.”
Drick smiled and instructed the construct to follow their vague facial expressions. “I am not. It took me by surprise that you are using a live feed.”
“Ha,” Drick was looking into tired eyes in a face that had far more lines to it than the last time they spoke. “Product of my decaying years. There is less for me to hide from these days, less that is hunting me, and less that cares what I say or do. I am crawling nightly towards some final resting place.”
“Did you start reading classics again?”
“I surely did and that is why this addled brain random quotes and mashes it all up into something with a semblance of speech. I didn’t expect your call and we don’t have a social relationship so what is it that you want from me?”
“Age hasn’t addled all of your wits then?”
“I’m still smart enough to deal with whatever bullshit you’re about to bring to my door.”
“Heh. I need to call in a little specialist help. I need some help of the call-to-god variety.”
“All out of your own better angels?”
“Nope, but I don’t need lesser seraphim. This one is starting to stink up real quick and real nasty, already racking up a count of people who I have annoyed. It is likely some mega-corp screw up and probably something minor for the person of the right talents, such as me, to expedite. However they are being touchy about things, so either a high executive is being an idiot or it is a bigger pile of a hornets nest than I imagined. Either way I need someone who knows how to provide the type of umbrella services I had use of back in the day. That’s you.”
“And I owe you so you can pull in that favour I owe you, that right?”
“Come on old timer,” Drick said with more affection than they wanted, “I doubt this is going to be big enough for that score to be settled. I doubt you have enough capital to truly pay that off.”
“Ha. You’re probably right. You must have people younger than me who can help you. Maybe a few who are as old as you who don’t hate your stinking guts who might help you. There’s got to be some not so close to crawling.”
“There’s plenty of people like that. But all of them have a price whereas you have a very big debt. I trust that more.”
“It could be the chance I need to let you get smeared, that’d clear my debt.”
“We both know that’s not going to happen.”
“Sure. I guess that’s true. Do I get any time to prepare?”
“Yeah, you have about thirty minutes until I collect my vehicle at the spaceport I am going to wire you an access code to an account as you are going to need supplies and extra bodies. You still got anything approaching a team.”
“In that space of time I will have something but I will not grace it by calling it a team. I will work something out.”
“You always do. Anyway i need to know what’s out and about around me pretty much twenty-four seven from as soon as possible until I say to clear out and leave me alone.”
“Must be bad if you contacted me so quickly.”
“So quickly from what?”
“Well I just turned on the news feeds and found out there are two bodies and three serious injuries from a scuffle in the executive corridors of the spaceport and then out of the blue you have called and need some better angels. Shit Drick. You don’t change.”
“I do. It’s just a glacial shift.”