Written in 365 Parts: 126: Unknown Occupant

“…was to be expected. Look, I really don’t care for too much small talk, this game you want to play is annoying. We don’t have that relationship anymore. I wish you’d move on.” Susa sighed and took a drink. “Look, Minch, I get it that you still have feelings. But you and I both know that those feelings originate and end in your pants. So let’s keep this as a purely business thing and quit with the hopeful small talk and crude innuendo. It won’t get us anywhere and it is a little embarrassing. I could have used anyone for this job, you are not the only Ganger with the right skill set, you just have the advantage of my trust.”

“Right,” Minch growled, “you know I don’t always have motives. I thought we worked okay together. I’ll try to back off you were the one being friendly and I got the wrong message. Don’t lose your cool. Doesn’t change that I am interested in what’s going on. I have nothing more than what you have said and I’ve been asked to do some pretty dirty work. It’s my neck on the short leash. I think I deserve more.”

“You were well paid. There are further payments once the job is complete and potentially future work. What’s the problem? You got enough to do what you needed to do. You are getting more than I would normally give.”

“I just want to make sure I have a better chance of survival. Knowledge is power and all that. Look what i just had to do.”

“A little knowledge will free you, too much will get you buried. It is better that you know as little as possible. You know what they asked you to do. You knew enough to get it done. The only thing you have to do now is tell me how it went?”

“They were right. Your mysterious friend.”

“So there was a switch?” A pause and the sound of a drink being consumed, “I assume they still passed you the authentic materials?”

“Seems to be legit. I ran the analysis that you said I should on the mini kit you gave me, and it came up green. There was a bunch of other numbers but that was stuff I couldn’t make out, and that’s knowledge that you are not paying me to learn.”

“So what happened? I’d like the whole story but it can be edited for minor details.”

“Well they were in the correct place. I watched them go from the mag-train station and head out into the plains. I followed them on a scope and they weren’t followed as far as I can tell. So I waited as instructed. When I went to the tent I knew that something was wrong. You were wise to get that material that reacts to body chemistry and set it to our friend as there was a visible line of an unknown occupant on the outside seam. I went in and they were all masked up. I obviously kept my mask on. The person was close in build and look, from the outside in heavy clothing and a mask, to our contact. They were using voice modulation to sound like them. We exchanged packets. I left and got to a safe distance and made sure they didn’t leave the tent. Then, kablooey. Razed the area to the ground with the targeted strike as instructed. There was nothing but a smouldering crater. I waited but there was nothing moving except fragments of dust. The heat scans showed nothing except a rapidly cooling impact zone. Whoever they were, they are dead.”

“They were likely to be a justice operative named Hooper. A clever guy but clearly not as smart as our mutual employer.”

“Who is still a mystery to me.”

“Which is the best thing for you. You don’t want to owe them any more than you currently do. You also don’t want their attention. They won’t appreciate your loyalty like I do. They are likely to just see you as a liability. They tend to eradicate those. They don’t like threats or loose ends.”

“Must be someone high up to have access to that kind of smart technology, the tent and the missile?”

“Nope, just someone with impressive connections. The tent and missile were not government, they were from a private organisation. So don’t go sniffing around as you don’t want two organisations considering you a liability.”

“What do you want me to do? Am I a liability to you?”

“You’re a friend. I still like you and you confuse that. But it doesn’t stop me knowing that I can trust you. Lay low. Take a long holiday in the lower levels or a marginal city, maybe take a spa holiday in the sky cities. I don’t care, just keep a low profile and don’t break any laws and I will contact you in forty days at the agreed location. I will not need your services until then and you need to hide while the situation cools off. “

“Right. And if I have a problem?”

“Deal with it. Don’t become a problem as you are aware of how those we serve solve their issues.”

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