Thursday, August 14, 2014

Blood on the Stars - Part 1: Secrets & Lies - CH. 8 (4)

“It goes both ways Chimmey. Anyone asks, you don’t know me or Duke. If they show you a picture just say we gave you fake names and wanted to trade in some luxury goods from Earth. Just stay quiet or you might never do business with anyone again.” Hans said.

“Is that a threat?” Chimmey pursed his lips and tried to take a better measure of the man standing in front of him.
“It’s not a threat. It is just the reality of things. I actually like doing business with you as well because you can get things done and I appreciate that. I’m just telling you that the kind of people who will be asking these questions are not the kind of people that you’ll want to be talking to.” Hans glanced over at Duke who unlocked and opened the door to the hangar.

“You are an odd one Hans, but you can be assured that I have a code by which I live and no matter what you are in to, I won’t be talking.” Chimmey grabbed the box and headed out. Duke closed the door behind him and locked it again before walking over to Hans.
“Do you really think you should have told him what you did?” Duke asked.

“He’s been fair with us and I think we ought to let him know that there is a danger for him if he says anything to anyone.” Hans shrugged. “He got the message I think. I’ll put more faith in fear than I do in some nebulous thief’s code.”
“Have it your way, don’t forget to turn Alice back on this time.” Duke headed out. Hans waited for him to leave before addressing the computer.

“Alice, can I be assured that there were no recordings at all of that meeting and you’ll replace it was the proper footage?” Hans walked towards the door as he spoke.
“There were no recordings made. I will replace the missing footage, sir.”

Hans stopped for a second and shook his head. He almost thought that he had heard emotion in Alice’s voice, but that was impossible. No AI was that advanced yet. “Thank you Alice. Your work is much appreciated.”
There was no response to his statement and he stepped outside, locking the door behind him. Hans half considered de-personalizing the work computer, but that was silly. He was just anthropomorphizing and there were more important things that he needed to focus on.

After he got home that evening Hans sent a quick message to Alfonzo that he had gotten the package and was thrilled with everything and was planning on even using some of the products tomorrow. It was a very straightforward message and he knew Alfie would get what he meant.
Hans went over his plans for tomorrow trying to plan for every eventuality. He glanced back over the information that Alfonzo had sent to him again and sighed. No matter how he cut it, this was going to be risky. Armed Forces Special Forces were not known for their lax security or inattention to detail. Hans know that he’d be able to pull it off alone, but with Duke and Honora in tow it became far riskier than he liked.

He was interrupted from his thoughts by a buzz from his door. Hans glanced at the time, surprised that anyone would be calling at this late hour. There were only two possible people he would expect at his door and he didn’t think either of them would stop by without calling first. Hans brought up the camera for the front door, but didn’t recognize the caller.
Hans turned the intercom on and kept his voice light and cheery. “Hi there, how can I help you?”

“Hans Reginald Beaulieu?” The stranger glanced around for the video pickup and found it easily.
“Depends on who’s asking.” Hans was immediately on guard. There was no reason for anyone who didn’t already know him to be out here looking for him.

“I’m Lt. Courtney Williams. A friend of ours requested that I drop by and pay you a visit to discuss a business arrangement that you have for tomorrow afternoon. There is some vital information that was too sensitive to be disseminated via traditional methods.” She didn’t smile, she just stared into the camera and waited patiently.
Hans hesitated for a moment before speaking. “What’s the code word, Lieutenant?”

Lt. William looked at the camera confused. “Code word? Look, I’m just doing a favour and, frankly, I’m taking a risk just being here. I’m only going to ask one more time because I owe it to A-, our mutual acquaintance.”
Hans thought studied her in the camera and decided that it might just be worth the risk to let her in. “Okay, give just one moment.”

He put his glove back on and grabbed his gun, just to be safe, before telling the computer to let the guest in. Lt. Williams glanced over her shoulder as she stepped through the door. The way her eyes took a survey of the outside and inside before the door closed told him that she wasn’t looking for backup, but just being careful to be sure that she wasn’t being watched.
Hans stood across the room from her and held out his hand. “You can stop right there.”

She stopped just a few steps inside the door her face all business again. “I can understand your caution, but I assure you that I’m really here for the reason I’ve stated. I wasn’t informed of the exact situation, but I’m guess you have some pretty powerful enemies out there.”
“What sort of information do you have?” Hans ignored her comment about his enemies and just focussed on what was important to him. He needed to know if she was legit or not.

Lt. Williams glanced around the flat as if searching for something before glancing back to Hans. “Are you sure your place is safe?”
“I was trained to be AFSF. I check the place myself every day. It’s clean.” Hans tried not to be impatient with her, but he did appreciate her caution. It was a very smart question to ask in this situation.

Her eyebrow rose for a quick moment at his comment, but she just nodded her understanding to him. Looking him the eye the entire time she reached slowly into her jacket and pulled out a notepad. She held it out to him.
“What is it?” Hans wasn’t quite willing to approach her yet. He was beginning to believe that she was telling the truth, but he wasn’t one hundred percent sure yet and he was going to wait until the moment when he had no doubts left to trust her.

“It was an encoded message I received in a regular batch of transmissions from Earth. It looked pretty standard, which I think was the point, but when I decoded it, it was red sealed and addressed to myself from Commodore Alfonza Ansanza. Knowing that, I was able to decode the message and it gave me instructions to find you and bring you this information.”
Hans could feel the light bulb in his head turn on as soon as he processed what she was saying. He suddenly know that this was someone that he would be able to trust. One more question would make all the difference in the world. “You’re one of his people aren’t you?”

She gave a half smile. “If you know about that than you know I can’t tell you that.”
“Of course you can’t or you’d be a blockhead.” Hans grinned and wondered if she’d get the joke or not. He noticed the corner of her lip twitch upwards, but that was all the emotion she showed. Still, it was enough for Hans to know that she knew the joke.

“Can’t say I’ve ever been accused of that, then again, if I had I wouldn’t be here right now.” She proffered the notepad again and this time Hans approached her to take it. He glanced over the contents, looking up at Lt. Williams on occasion to keep an eye on her.
“This is going to be really useful.” Hans placed the notepad on the table and felt a small weight roll off his shoulders. “Lt. Williams, you are a godsend. I’ve been stressing over this plan all night and this takes care of a few things I’ve been troubled over.”

“I’m not sure what your plans are, but when you do implement your plan make sure that notepad is destroyed completely. Neither I, nor anyone else, would like to be implicated in what is going on and if that finds its way into the wrong hands… Well I don’t need to explain what’ll happen if you know why our mutual acquaintance trusted me with this information.” Lt. Williams held out her hand and Hans reached out grasped it in his own.
“Good luck.” She said and pumped his hand once before releasing it. “I have a feeling you’re going to need it.”

“More than you probably know.” Hans replied. “Thank you and I’m sorry about earlier, but I can’t be too careful.”
Lt. Williams nodded and let herself out of Hans’ flat. He watched her leave on the monitor before picking up the notepad again. He couldn’t believe that Alfie had done all this just because Hans had asked for help. Hans smiled at the notepad as he read through it in more detail.

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