The man sat in shadow before a plain table illuminated by a slanted ray of mute, dawn-borne light from a thick pane to the right of the sprawling, vacated warehouse. Hands upon his knees. Head bowed as one in prayer. Rain rhythmically resounded upon the polymer roof. He listened. Waited. Footsteps reverberated. Polymer on pavement. A feminine gait. A middle aged woman approached, cautiously and confidently making way between the high cargo containers, hands in jacket pockets, visage blanched with boredom. She stopped some twenty feet from the man, voice echoing through the mote splayed monument to industry.
“You were asking about me.”
“You are Sia Kandor.”
The woman tilted her head. “Why are you sitting in the dark?”
“You are also Vanessa Clare West.”
“And you would be?”
The man removed a thick blade from his dark overcoat and set it upon the table in the rain muted beam of light. The woman observed the weapon coolly before speaking.
“A prospective buyer. You sold this to a man. Later, a woman.”
“An expensive item. Too expensive for a man wearing a threadbare coat.”
The man slowly removed a package from his jacket and set it upon the table beside the weapon. The woman moved to stand directly before the table and observed the packet.
The woman nodded. “Your offer is… acceptable. But before we proceed, you should know I didn’t come here alone.”
“Neither did I.”
A Consortium klaxon roared in the near distance. The woman flinched as an amplified voice blared from beyond the rusted warehouse walls.
“Acelin Syzr, this is L-S Division Officer Brakes. I have a warrant for your arrest. You are surrounded. Your lookout has been detained. Running is useless. Come out, slowly, with your hands above your head. You have five minutes to comply. After this time, my men and I will be forced to extract you from the premises. Please do not make this more difficult for either of us.”
The woman’s eyes narrowed upon the man in shadow.
“A ‘prospective buyer.'”
The man returned the token packets on the table to his jacket. “Yes. But not of a weapon. Rather, information concerning it, more specifically, information concerning the two individuals you sold this model to. Your lookout was taken into custody, meaning the Sec Com officers outside don’t know who you are; tell me what I wish to know, and it will stay that way.”
The woman regarded the palled man severely for a moment, then tilted her head up disdainfully.
“Your offer is… unacceptable.”
The man didn’t respond as the sound of heavy boots echoed beyond the warehouse walls.