Getting the tour, she cross-indexed Irelle’s timetable with the appearances, and found one two days out in Fürth, next to Nüremburg. Cannibal Lighthouse would be playing at the Stadthalle. She quickly got two tickets for the show, then went to public records, which included the building permits, and files showing the layout of the constructed building and any legal modifications. Illegal could be inferred by things like power routing, but until you were in the building, you had guesses, not facts. The building had been erected in 1982, and used as concert hall, and any activity requiring a lot of floor space such as electronic’s shows or once, two years ago, the world championships for a first-person shooter game. The winner had walked away with a million and a half in prize money, and three million in sponsorships.
After downloading the floor plans, she hunted for the contractors, then the list of other companies, continuing through them, gathering any and all data on the building she could. Then it was to the local city hall, to get a list of licenses applied for including security. She felt herself fall into the hunt. The familiar excitement of pulling the puzzle togehter had her working long past when TJ returned. She took breaks long enough to find food, use the restroom, and brew more coffee. The next forty hours were pieces of the puzzle being pulled together and downloaded. Satisfied, and wired from twenty three cups of espresso grind coffee, she lay down on the hard floor, taking deep breaths. She reached up and slid the helmet off, shutting down the link.
The disorientation from cyber-holo to full reality always made her naseous. She lay very still concentrating on breathing and focusing her eyes to see in the real world rather than VR. It took a few minutes before she felt comfortable enough to sit up, then grab the last half cup of coffee, and move to the one window in the apartment and gaze down at the narrow alley between the apartment and the neighboring building. Looking Northeast, she could see ‘Max’s Pizza’ across the street.
The area was in an older section of the city, but not completely run down. The area they’d holed up in was a maze of old buildings, aswere the blocks surrounding. Anyone with a knowledge of the area could find a half dozen easy, unnoticable routes in and out. Any warning at all and a person could lose themselves in the maze and foil any pursuit. In short, it was a perfect place for them to stay, until the next job moved them to another town. Blade winced mentally. Crap, I got so into the hunt, I forgot to get us a place to stay.
Blade pulled out her cellphone, and looked for apartmenst for rent in Nürnberg and Furst. She found that she liked near a rail yard. She smiled as she saw there was a pizza place across the street from it. Talk about deja vu. Hmm, ‘Pizza for you’. Perhaps that’s a good sign about the mission. She rented the small two bedroom via her cell, and put down a month’s rent plus a second month’s rent as a deposit to cover any damage. She sighed and looked back over at Max’s. I haven’t had pizza for two weeks, I think that’s long enough. „TJ, I’m off to Max’s for a pizza, I’m taking the room key. I’ll be back in a half hour.“ „Get some coffee Blade, you drank what we had left.“ Oops, forgot that too. Adding that to her mental list, the grabbed the key off the wall hook by the door and walked out.
TJ heard the door shut and let out a weary sigh. He couldn’t really blame Blade for being angry. Hell, he was angry. However, he had also been right to press the elf’s buttons, despite the very real possibility of it all blowing up in their faces. Of course, realizing that, meant admitting that Blade was right as well. He drew in a deep breath only to sigh again. Circular logic wouldn’t solve any problems. Least of all the one at hand. He lit up a cigarette and, while he would’ve really loved some coffee with it, that would have to wait until Blade got back, so he just grabbed a beer instead and flopped onto his recliner to smoke and think.
There’s just too much that doesn’t add up; he thought to himself. From the fiasco at Dayner, which had to have been a set up; to the unexpected but surprisingly timely appearance of the vampire; the visit by Irelle and her wand waving cronies and this new, curious job. Fuck! But Darkos Edge? Seriously? He wasn’t a fan of that band he was in but, the man was like a genespliced lovechild of Ritchie Blackmore and Joe Satriani! The ghost of a grin played across his lips as he pondered several non-violent approaches. Perhaps the threat of broken fingers would make the guy tag along willing, as opposed to being dragged. I guess we’ll find out soon enough…; he mused, before crushing out his smoke.
As he sat staring up at the ceiling, his thoughts kept going back to what Irelle had said about the Phylactery. Something was decidedly wrong about the whole thing. It had nagged at the back of his mind since leaving Dayner but, at the time, he’d had more pressing concerns. Like getting the hell out of that place before getting shot again. Still, he had stolen it from the vault, had held it in his hands until they were caught, and when they escaped and it just lay there for the taking along with their weapons, it had seemed too…convenient. Now he knew why. Someone substituded the fake and, if his guess was correct, it was that fucking bloodsucker. But why? And Irelle? She’d mentioned a connection between that damned cube and the job she’d hired them for. But the dicussion she planned to have with them never happened. Another loose end, as it were.
All in all, he couldn’t shake the feeling someone was playing a game with them. A game he didn’t plan to lose. The more he pondered, the more confusing things seemed to get, the more his stubborness took over and he tried to look at every little detail from as many angles as possible. As he did so, the white ceiling slowly started to look like grid of 64 squares to his tired eyes and his lips peeled back in an eager, almost vicious grin. Challenge accepted; he muttered under his breath, and even as sleep began crawling up on him, he formulated his response. Nf6. His eyes were already closed when he saw a black clad knight leap over a row of pawns on his destrier to take up a defensive albeit challenging position. He never even heard Blade’s return to the flat.