Written in 365 Parts: 58: Sending A Message

Drick stared at the entrance to the Peyote Club that rested on the junction below the transcontinental flyover. The TC, as it was affectionately called, was the major route, other than direct flight, between the two largest cities on the planet and the only magnetically charged transport route available. It was used primarily for the shipping of goods between the large industrial agricultural complexes on other continents and the spaceport.

The highway was older than most of the city. Purposefully constructed above the old city to be used as a maglev cargo route, a traditional roadway, a high speed vacuum tube system and hover vehicle surface. It was now almost a kilometre below the tallest buildings and several kilometres below the tethered orbital platforms that made up the upper parts of the main city. 

The highway was broader than one hundred metres, over fifteen thousand kilometres in length, mostly because it now had branches to other cities, and over fifty metres high at its thickest sections. Greater than a million vehicles travelled on, under, or within, the highway each day. They transported hundreds of thousands of kilogrammes in goods and millions of people between destinations.

Because of the importance of this route, any stop on its length, any intersection, flyover, or junction of the highway was a collection point for commerce, community, government, service industries and crime. The Peyote Club almost exclusively catered to the last two in Drick’s limited experience of the venue. 

Drick tried to recall the last time they had been in this particular dive. It had to have been a couple of decades. The ownership had likely changed since then, well the ownership would have moved from shell corporation to shell corporation with the actual organisations in charge never shifting. But the management and personnel would have changed, at least Drick hoped so or the shooting would start the moment they stepped in the door. 

The last time that Drick had been in the Peyote Club they had been tracing down the last refugees from a gang that was boosting high quality body alterations using live surgery and then selling them on to the highest bidder. They had used the Peyote Club as a main meeting point and paid the then owners a generous amount for protection, anonymity and heavy muscle. Drick had made a bold statement about their need to cease activities and it involved killing or maiming just about everyone in the club at the time. Oh well, it was some time ago, they would have surely forgotten not a single detail and Drick would be a smear if they saw them coming from a distance and could get big weaponry to bear.

Drick had been of two minds about the immediate next course of action following the calls to Rodero and Krennar. Drick had wanted to contact Hooper but had decided to hold off. The report from Krennar that Drick skimmed through had indicated that they were still waiting for reports. Hooper would have contacted Drick if there was anything urgent or exceptional. The silence meant that either nothing had come to light or that there would be an issue in a comms. So the situation would not be eased by Drick making contact. There was a slight chance that this could make whomever was tracking the calls cautious, but it was a stretch for anyone to think that Drick needed to keep in close communication with Hooper, so the chances of this occurring were slight.

After a little thought Drick realised that they needed to continue the actions of sending a message that would get passed up the food chain and spook the right people into making a bad decision in Drick’s favour. The investigative route was one way to get information and another was to force your quarry into revealing something. It was why Drick had drawn out the security forces and it was a tactic they thought best to continue. The original idea to focus purely on the Volstron officials was on a temporary hiatus while other elements were brought into play. Drick’s plans had been complicated by the desires and requirements of the Engineer’s Union.

That left the group that had been hired to teach Drick a lesson in the spaceport. Originally Drick had just wanted to know who they were to understand if they would be a future issue. The information from Rodero had been interesting and problematical. They were likely connected to one of the older crime families on the planet, and likely meant that they were possibly under protection. They were independent operators but they were run by someone with both professional and social connections. That organic was the lifeform that did all the work of arrangement. It was them who Drick would have to target. So that was an issue, and so familiar to the last time Drick was here.

This course of action would get at least noticed, if not a response. It would also come at the cost of another payoff or confrontation with one of the cities undercity gangs. If this case continued like this Drick would have to get a scratchcard and start playing gangland bingo. Drick idly wondered what would be the prize if they got a line or a full house. It would probably be a quick trip to an unmarked grave.

Drick took a deep breath and checked the equipment and clothing making sure to loosen all the appropriate straps and put a thick leather coat with gangland colours sprayed over the back over the top of the jumpsuit and armour.

Drick activated the most psychedelic patterns that the skin tags and tattoos on limbs and their head could manage and gave a shot of drugs into a vein. After a few moments Drick felt the confidence and euphoria associated with the particular narcotic, undercut slightly by the antitoxins that their own body produced. Drick lowered all receptors to the more lucid side effects to maintain greater control, but allowed a little to affect features such as pupil dilation. If the bouncers were competent they would take Drick to be just another drugged up reveller. That should buy at least two seconds. All Drick actually needed was for the armoured door to open, that just meant confounding the jugheads on the gate.

Drick took another deep breath to calm nerves and then got out of the vehicle and walked with a slight sway towards the club entrance.

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