Wallace looked short and muscular. His hair was grey and wiry. His grey and full beard mapped out his very dark face, which was dominated by a wide and full nose. And his eyes were also dark, but warm and knowing. They stared at Dukk now. Dukk felt oddly scared but safe at the same time.
“I am going to be brief, we don’t have long, and you need to follow what I say as your life depends on it,” Wallace continued before Dukk could think of a reply.
“In a moment, you are to leave via the door you came in. Cross to the drink stand, hand over your credit and take the drink offered. Pretend to drink some, then dump it down the street. Just make sure you complete the purchase so the Observers don’t draw any conclusions.
“Then, make your way to JL’s Sanctuary. Go across to the bar and ask for me. The bar staff will point you towards a table, which I will be sitting at. Come over and act as if we’d never met. We’ll have a normal contract conversation. We’ll exchange details and agree to chat again within the hour.
“Go back to the bar. Ask the publican for advice on picking up crew. He will tell you were to sit and what to do. Follow his instructions. Five potential crew members will find you. Interview them as you would under normal circumstances. Exchange details and promise to get back to them later with a decision. You will pick candidates two, three and five. Not the first or forth. They will be decoys. Then finish your drink, come back to me and we’ll close the deal. The rest will proceed as it normally does.
“Make no mention to anyone of this conversation here or the conversation yesterday. What else do you need to know?” concluded Wallace.
Dukk collected his thoughts.
“What was the most important thing to know right now?” he asked himself.
“Who are you and why is my life in danger?” Dukk blurted out.
“To answer your first question, I am but a very typical business man. A middle man. I connect people. I do business and I take my cut. I look after myself and those that don’t cross me. Cutting deals is what I do and have always done. That is all.”
“This doesn’t feel like a typical deal to me?” Dukk asked more calmly having regained his composure.
“That might be true, but the principle is still the same.”
“Alright then, who are you connecting on this deal?” Dukk asked as his mind cleared.
“The official answer is, Galactic Core Foods, the real answer is not for me to disclose for now. I’ve been in this game long enough to know, somethings are best left unsaid and allowed to unfold. The real answer is one of those things,” Wallace responded kindly.
“Okay, so how about my second question? Can you answer why my life is in danger?” Dukk retorted dismissively.
“Yes, I can. Thumpol is making a play for a bigger share of the market. He plans to take control of as many rigs as he can get his hands on. You have proven difficult to corrupt so he aims to take you out. Should you take his deal and his crew, an unfortunate accident awaits you on your first haul.”
Dukk paused. He wasn’t surprised. It would be the kind of thing Thumpol was capable of.
“Who says I can trust you any more than I can trust him, or the three new crew members you are making me take?” Dukk responded.
“Nobody, neither should they. I and Thumpol are of the same breed. However, I think I am right in saying you are a good judge of character, so I’ll leave it up to you to decide.”
“Okay, and what if I like the deal, but not the crew members?” Dukk retorted.
“It is a package deal, take it or leave it,” Wallace responded firmly.
Dukk paused. He was getting frustrated and angry. That hadn’t served him in the past, so he took in a couple of breaths.
“We are out of time, anything else pressing?” Wallace interrupted Dukk’s pause.
“Yes,” Dukk replied as a nagging question surfaced again.
“What is the story with these?” Dukk asked pointing to his bracelet.
“Ah, that is something I can answer directly. The bracelet is coded to your implants. It lays down interference. It basically takes recent background noise and inserts it into your implant feed in place of what you are actually saying or hearing. So as long as you cover your mouth to prevent lip reading, Observers won’t have access to your conversations when it is active. You simply hold your hand over it like this. That action will turn it on or off,” Wallace shared.
“Oh!” replied Dukk.
“That sounds like the type of thing that Observers wouldn’t like to have happening,” he added.
”Quite the opposite actually. They built them. The EO and their immediate subordinates use them themselves as do their spies, operatives and partners. They know some activities are best not overhead or put on record. The likes of us, can use them to swing things in our favour, so long as we do it carefully and not in a manner that gets in their way or alerts normal people to the reality of the constant monitoring,” Wallace added cheerfully.
With that Wallace turned off the lamp, and stood up.
“Did you cut the street lights?” Dukk added as he stood too.
“Yes of course, now we must leave before the power outage draws any further attention. Besides, we are about to be late for our own meeting. Where by the way, we must leave the bracelets off as the contract conversation needs to be on record,” Wallace answered.
The two men were at Dukk’s side again. They deactivated his bracelet and ushered him towards the door.
Dukk looked back at the table. Wallace was gone.
(to be continued...)
[Uplift, Double Take, Chapter 5 - The first meeting (Passage 3 of 5)]
All Rights Reserved. Copyright © 2021 BJ Allen
Chapter 1 - A routine descent
Chapter 2 - Perspective
Chapter 3 - Grounding
Chapter 4 - Cause and effect
Chapter 5 - The first meeting
Chapter 6 - Staying goodbye
Chapter 7- Instability
Chapter 8 - Orientation
(Stay tuned for further chapters)
"Let's go Mentor, we've only got an hour to get everything we need ready for the next 3 weeks. The supplies are in the clearance hold with the load, but we’ve got to get them secure. The passengers will be here shortly and they’ll need briefing. Let's start with your travel lockers. We'll bring them through the nose door and to make light work of it, we'll use the vertical conveyor in the forward ladder shaft," Annee shared as she got up from the table.
"Show the way, and I am not afraid of hard work," replied Mentor as he followed her to the airlock door that lead back to the passenger accommodation.
"Don't worry, I have plenty of hard work in mind to satisfy that need."
"By the look of you, I am pretty sure you can satisfy my needs, bring it on, Annee," Mentor replied in a provocative tone.
Annee laughed briefly saying, “you’d be so lucky, old timer”, and smiled cheekily back at him and the others as she disappeared through the door.
Mentor laughed loudly as he headed into the corridor....
"Right, let me welcome you all and I hope this is the start of something real,” Dukk said as he sat down.
“We have a big challenge ahead of us and on top of that we don't know each other. And, some of you are new to this game. So, let me start with a few non negotiables. Number one, no heroes. Your own safety comes first. As they say, attend to your own air supply first before helping others with theirs. Second, everyone has the obligation to challenge things that you don't understand or that don’t look right. If I, or anyone else, overlooks something or makes a poor decision out there, we all may die. So we all must be prepared to be challenged. And we must all challenge. And, finally, we leave no one behind, no matter the designation, privilege or whatever. Clear?"
Nods and smiles all round.
“Great. So, on this rig we operate in pairs, or buddies. You’ll cover the same areas of responsibility. You’ll be on watch together. You’ll eat at the same time. You’ll sleep at ...
The convergence of two key events gave rise to this space. The first being frustration over the madness of the world and the cliff we are all charging towards. The second being the realisation that time was getting on and I’d better get the stuff out of my head before it was too late. So, I created this community on Locals.com. My plan is to experiment with this format as an alternative to the traditional book publishing path. My plan is to publish stories as they evolve, probably a chapter at a time. The first piece of writing that will unfold here is a story that I am calling Uplift, Double Take. This piece explores life 200 odd years from now, based on the trajectory of the current madness.
Your financial support would be greatly appreciated, but not needed to read the book.
This is because, I am publishing the book one passage at a time via normal posts within my Locals community.
You simply need to join the community and you’ll get book passages delivered directly to you as ...