Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Day Six-Hundred-Twelve: Dat lust

See, woman? See? Playing the flirtation card does help on occasion. 

As I said yesterday, a black market such as the one beneath Trademore does not have a single entrance through which all traffic flows. It is not a water jug. That would be too suspicious. It's a gardening can, with dozens of small holes and hide-aways that lead to a single, central location. Traffic comes through in trickles. Trickles are easier to hide than large streams. Bribed officials can more easily ignore trickles.

We managed to track down another of those trickles today. Thanks to me.

Libby's brilliant. Okay? I admit it. Putting together something like the Dauphine with minimal outside engineering help is a hell of a feat. I admire the bitch for her technical prowess, as well as her innate toughness. But - and I say this with the utmost sincerity and goodwill! - Libby's about as subtle as a rampaging bull on hallucinogenic drugs. She doesn't do subtle.

I do. I do subtle.

Libby's plan was to recuperate, return to the Dauphine to fetch her Hypermole boring machine, and smash her way into the main entrance of the black market. As you may be able to tell, that ain't one bit fuckin' subtle.

I somehow convinced her not to follow through. It was some combination of ailing limbs and the Imperium army on Trademore's doorstep that ultimately held Libby back. She detested me for it, though, and when I went looking in my own way, she insisted on coming. As if to punish me for daring to make sense.

Grylock and Edmund tracked down the black market in the first place, and from what I'd overheard they got the location from a shady fella in a bar called the Sidewinder. You can imagine the clientele in such a place, though, fortunately, the dude we were looking for was not a snake person. Thank god, 'cause what I used on him probably wouldn't have worked otherwise.  

We entered the Sidewinder wearing very specific outfits. Libby was completely enshrouded in a cloak meant to show off the size of her muscles and naught else; I bought myself a skimpy little number that I'll leave mostly to the imagination. I looked pretty hot, though, and every guy in the Sidewinder knew it.

Or, er, the non snake people did, anyway. Snakes are notorious for not giving a damn about humans in that way. We don't fit into their sexual niche, I guess.

We scanned the bar as the bar scanned me in return. It was a dingey hole, as predicted, and most of the booths were shrouded in darkness. Fortunately, the guys I'd hoped to attract leaned out of their nooks to get a better look, and I quickly pinpointed the guy I wanted: short, stubby, ugly-looking, and leering like a mofo. Heart on his sleeve.

"That one," I said, pointing as I waved to everyone else. The catcalls came fast and furious as I passed through the Sidewinder. Pretty gross ones, you can imagine, but Libby's presence kept wandering hands at bay. 

"Why him?" she whispered as gruffly as she could. We wanted everyone to think she was a man. 

"He's the desperate type," I repled. "If he gave up info to them, he'll give up even more t'me."

"How do you know it's him, though? Could be any of these idiots."

"Trust me, it's him."

"But how in the hell do you -"

"Trust me."

"As if I'll ever do that." Libby shook her head. 

Ignoring her, I slid into the booth beside the man, smiling brightly at him. His eyes flicked from me - hungry, happy, gullible - to Libby. He seemed quite wary of her hulking presence as she leaned moodily against his booth. "Hellooooo beautiful. What, ah, what can 'ol Dodger do for ya, eh?"

I moved in a little closer, sliding my arm against his. He shivered. What a chump. "Just some info, ah, Dodger. I hear you're good for that."

"Maybe." He coughed a little. "Info's always got a price, tho. A... negotiable... price."

"I'm sure." I turned towards him. instant effect. His eyes wandered. "You were talkin' to a pair of guys last week. Human and goblin. Remember them?"

"Oh, uh, yeah, I think so." Dodger's fingers twitched on the tabletop. "Think so. One of 'em kept rhymin' like an idiot. They, uh, paid me some solid... gold... for some info..."

"Yep. That's them." I leaned in a little closer. Slight, small motions to keep him entranced. I wanted his eyes on a very specific spot, and he didn't disappoint me. "We want the same thing you told them. Only, ah, we want to know of a different point of... entry. One a little more private. Get my meaning?"

He did. The literal meaning and the blatant innuendo. "Gotcha... well... see, the thing 'bout them guys..."

I looped a hand around his shoulder, rubbing his neck. You wouldn't believe the shivers that sparked. "Yeeeees...?"

"See, I'm guessin'..." He swallowed, looking at Libby for the barest second. "I'm guessin' you're hunters. Like the guys I was workin' with. They were lookin' for those guys too. Them 'n onea their associates. And, uh, well..."

"And you sold them out?" I leaned so close that I was whispering into Dodger's ear. His flesh goosepimpled. "How else would those hunters've known where to be, eh? How else?"

"Y... yeah..." Dodger's smile grew huge and dopey. "Yeah. Pretty smart, eh?"

"Yes." I let the world travel hot and heavy against his neck. "Very smart. So smart that now you have to deal with us. So smart that now you're gonna tell us what we wanna know for free, or the blood in your body's gonna be rushing somewhere different than where it is now. Real fast."

Dodger frowned. The lust of the moment faded enough that I think he realized the heat of my presence was somewhat offset... by the cold edge of a knife against his throat. A knife I'd been holding there for at least a minute as I rubbed his neck. His shivers turned from excitement to fright.

"You're a worm," I explained. "And worms know secret places. They know how to wriggle in the dark. You're gonna teach my friend 'n I how to wriggle, Dodger. For free. Hell, you're going to give back the money our chums gave you last week. In exchange, I'll let you keep your life."

His jaw quivered.

I flashed him my brightest, happiest smile. "Whaddya say?"

Five minutes later, we had all the info (and gold) we needed. Dodger revealed that there's a route through the Sidewinder itself - specifically, by the garbage cans out back - that will take interested parties to a similar pub in the black market. One appropriately named the Bushmaster.

Once we were done with him, we quietly led Dodger back to the inn, knocked him out, and tied him up in a closet. The innkeeper has instructions to 'discover' Dodger sometime on Thursday, and to set him free. He also has a nice heap of gold to see the job through without alerting the authorities.

Once we'd disposed of Dodger, Libby removed her cloak and shook her head. "I thought you were gonna sleep with the guy. Figured for certain."

I laughed. "You kiddin'? He smelled like rotten cheese. I don't sleep with cheese. Too messy. Hard to dig it outta your bits. We sluts have some standards."

I think I earned myself the tiniest bit of respect with that line. Just a tiny bit.


Bora the Bartender

1 comment:

  1. Bora you crazy crazy awesome chick! Love it.