Darrant hated these busy city bars, so many people crammed in to one place to be together and drink until they either couldn’t walk or couldn’t stand each other any more. This is what these people called fun or social, to him it was hell. But then he wasn’t here to socialise, concealed in a dark corner of the bar his isolation and quiet would stand out if anyone cared to think about it.
Two men who had been shouting for a last few minutes got up and squared up to each other. Darrant didn’t know or care what it was about, he looked on as he took a sip of ale. The cool fermented liquid filled his mouth, tasting light and slightly fizzy. Looking through the glass at the two men as they started throwing punches while their so called friends cheered them on. The noise filled his ears, feeling like poison as much as the smoke from the cigar lit a few tables away by a young girl. No more than 20, she was dressed if one could call it that for what looked like a girls party in pink and black with a top and skirt that didn’t leave much to the imagination. Her blonde hair tied into two ponytails, she looked over to him as he placed his glass on the table blowing smoke in his direction she gave him a wink and puckered her lips into a kiss.
Knowing better than to react Darrant looked back at the two men, now being pulled apart by the security droids to be thrown out onto the street, much to the protest of their friends. It was their choice to mess, these droids did their job without any emotion. The three laws prevented them from harming a human… too much.
He glanced back at the girl, she looked back at him and smiled, turning to face him she crossed her legs. “You after something mister?”
“Not that.” He answered.
The girl got up and confidently walked over to Darrants table, pulling the chair out and sitting on it she leaned forward sucking deeply on the huge cigar “Who says that’s what I’m offering? Just becasue I’m lil me dressed as I am everyone assumes they know what I’m about.” The girl winked.
“What are you about?”
The smile crept across her face “Dark moon rising.”
Darrant’s eyes widened briefly before returning to his normal composure. “You’re the contact?”
“I don’t know what you mean.” The girl muttered as she turned to leave.
“Moon rises after sunrise” Darrant whispered.
The girl turned and smiled again and tilted her head “I knew it was you. You make such a big job of trying to blend in you make it obvious.” She sucked on the cigar again and blew smoke in his face.
Darrant smiled “Whereas you show up like a sore thumb so much that no one suspects you.”
“Where’s the item? I’ve got the Tirellian Diamonds.” Darrant mutteed quietly.
“Are you sure?” She raised her hand, swinging a small velvet bag on the end of her finger.
“What the? How did you get those?”
“I’ve been taking care of myself for a long time now, you learn a few things.”
Darrant took the girl’s arm “I need the information your people promised. Now!”
“Easy mister.” She pulled her arm away firmly. “I’m not going to let you down, I can tell you’re a nice guy.” Blowing the smoke away from Durrant she put the cigar out pushing the glowing end onto the table. She then took it and slid it into his top pocket, patting it as she smiled at him “There you go!”
Darrant nodded, pulling the cigar from his pocket and looking at the unburned end the silver of a datapod was clearly visible. “Thanks for the cigar.”
“Something important in there?”
“They didn’t tell you?”
“No, why would they?”
“Let’s just say it should help us save lives.” Darrant answered.
“In your noble cause?” The girl teased. A shout came from the bar directed at the girl.
“Hey! You putting out your cigar on my table again Jess?” The barman shouted.
“Just leave it will ya?” Jess shouted back.
“Is there something wrong with my noble cause? Enigma don’t care about anyone and we’re trying to stop them. I’ve seen what they do to ordinary people, all in the name of keeping everyone living in fear of them.” Jess noticed that Darrant’s tone changed suddenly, his face screwed up as he pointed at her. “So don’t go getting all funny about that I do alright?”
“It’s not what you do that scares me sugar.” Jess replied, totally unfased and smiling “It’s who you do it for and the guys they send to clean up after them!”
“What’s that supposed to mean?”
“If I told you, you wouldn’t believe me.”
“Oh no, no way. I’m already in enough trouble for seeing you and for having these. Tirellian Diamonds are coded right? Each owner is registered nearly immediately from their bio implants right?”
“That’s right and those ones are no different, they’re new, fresh – never been owned before!”
Jess smiled and pulled a small perfect diamond from the bag and slipped it into his hand as she kissed him. “Why don’t you find out for yourself? I think you’ll find I’m not the first person that held this beauty.” She whispered.
“Don’t be ridiculous!” Darrant shot back.
“Then there’s no harm in looking and you’ve had a special pay day on me.” Jess purred as she turned and winked. “See ya ’round!”
Sleep was never something that came to Darrant easily and the thought that Jess had planted in his mind couldn’t be shaken. The early hours was always his best time for thinking and for doing things he knew she shouldn’t. Pushing the door to the small shop open he was greeted by the sight of a man wearing round glasses and had one too many of the donuts she spied in the bag next to him.
“Darry good to see you! Couldn’t sleep?”
“Something like that.” Darrant rested on the counter top and pulled out the diamond. “What can you tell me about who’s owned this before?”
“Is that a Tirellian Diamond?”
“Yes it is Charlie! What can you tell me about it?”
“Listen man I don’t want to be the one to not help you, but please – get that thing outta here and quick!” Charlie replied.
“Why? what’s the problem?”
“The problem?” Charlie shot back at him. “Ok I’ll you you the problem – how about anyone that come into contact with those things happens to wind up dead?”
“Really? I had no id-“
“Well of course you don’t, you’re busy fighting!” Charlie got out from behind his counter, pulling the door open the wet splashing on his glasses. “Come back anytime, but don’t bring that thing back man! Please!”
Darrant left without a word, lost in thoughts as the rain ran down over his head. The one thought that kept creeping back was did he know who he was fighting for anymore?
© Simon Farnell 2013 – 2021
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