Tricks and Traps – Part 8

silk sheets

How better to wake up then nestled in silk sheets with that morning after glow. There was a steaming cup of coffee on the nightstand along with an omelette and a note, which was nice to see, Sark normally didn’t bother leaving a note before he left.  It was normally just coffee and him waking me up to say.

“The shower’s free V, I’ve got to leave in twenty.” This could only mean our relationship was moving to a new level.  Everything was going to get better from this point onwards.   Taking a sip of the coffee I took my time to enjoy breakfast in bed and just savoir the simple happiness.   The omelette tasted delicious, one of these days I’d have to get Sark to tell me how he became such a fantastic chef.  You wouldn’t think some who does seventy hour weeks would have the time or inclination to cook.

“I should have expected something like this you bastard.” I cursed as I read the note Sark left.  He was having artwork delivered and wanted me to stay in and make myself at home until it arrived. Still an improvement is an improvement.

I spent the morning lounging in Sark’s living room.  It was simple and elegant the kind of place he’d take credit for decorating but that he’d probably had professionally done.  The few pieces of art he had all looked the same to me and I personally couldn’t see what the fuss was about. I certainly didn’t turn into some kind of domestic goddess or rifle through his things I can tell you that. A woman has to draw the line somewhere after all.  Although it turned out he did have an interesting photo album from his youth buried away in a closet.

The painting was delivered more or less on time, only about an hour after they were supposed to be there.  From there I made my out into the rainy city streets and along the well tread and progressively less busy thoroughfares.   I should have been more tired and or put off by the rain but I was in too good a mood to care.  It felt like nothing could get me down as I made my way to the Sanctuary.

The Sanctuary was in one of the older parts of town. The area had completely rejected any form of gentrification and was progressively become more and more run down.   The Sanctuary comprised the bottom two floors and two underground levels in a dilapidated tenement flanked by a few shops and warehouses.  Inside was a former night club that had been reinforced with an array of heavy metal doors and security measures.  There were rooms to rent by the hour where you could rest or get cleaned up, a small surgical clinic if you needed to get patched up without leaving an official record, and plenty of weapons and alcohol.

Lem the owner, bartender, and world weary veteran was working behind the counter trying to get a small hand held device to work. I couldn’t see what it was but it looked like finicky work and from the chorus of curses it wasn’t going well.

“Hey ugly, what’s a girl got to do to get a little attention?” I asked playfully.

“I don’t think I’ve ever seen you so early in the day, I always thought you were allergic to sunlight.” Lem replied barely glancing up from his work.

“What’s that you’re working on?”

“This it’s a stone melter.  One of these can reduce a tank to molten slag or a small home to charcoal and ash.  The detonator isn’t working right though, it’s far more sensitive than it should be.  I don’t want it to go off accidently and burn the place down.”

“If it’s so dangerous maybe you shouldn’t be playing with it.”

“I’m not the same kind of idiot as most of my cliental, present company included. “ Lem rattled off as I tried not to look offended. “I removed he detonator from the device before I started working on it.”

“Smart.” I replied sarcastically.

“Whatever.  So what do you need?”

“My EL Blade is on the fritz. It shorted out when I tried to switch to laser scalpel.”

“You’re still using that antique?”

“Always.”

“I have some nice gel pistols in stock customized with a thermal package just the thing for the versatile hunter.”

“No, just fix the El Blade”

“Fine let’s see it” I passed the slim metal cylinder over to Lem and he began to take it apart with care and precision.  Each screw placed to the side in a pattern that would allow him to return it to its original position.  Taking apart the casing he removed a series of lens, transistors, and capacitors, and finally a small blackened heating coil.  I wandered around the room glancing through a few vid screens showing various news bytes and otherwise killing time while I waited for Lem to finish his work.

Eventually after what felt like hours I got the bad news.

“Well V. This thing is shot.  It’s seen some hard times and precious little maintenance. Some of the parts I can replace without problem but the heating coil and the booster I can’t help with.” Lem said slowly.

“That’s not what I wanted to hear.” I replied.

“That’s life, if you get the parts I can fix it. But until then you’ll only get the electric whip work and even that will be less effective the usual.”

“Any suggestions?”

“I’ve heard some of the private armies out in the African Union use some equipment that I could refurbish.” Africa had become an important global player after Europe was scorched off the planet.  Most of the country had been controlled by China but then with the influx of weapons and tech it had splintered and was now a feudal state were competing warlords fought to hold as much territory as possible and borders could shift daily.  It wasn’t a place most people in my circles did business.

If I needed something from their then my best was to ask the Duke.  I felt filthy just thinking of having to do business with him.  But I couldn’t be without a weapon and as long as there was a chance to fix the EL Blade I would take it.

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