Just like him. Asking an open-ended question so I can choose the subject. „No.“ She turned over in the seat to gaze out the passenger window. „I’m going to go take a look at the site. We need ideas for ingress and egress. Especially the latter, since we’ll be three leaving instead of two.“ She heard TJ sigh heavily behind her. Her right hand came up to rub her metal left shoulder as she considered things. That priestess played us. Not that we could do anything about it, it’s still being played. So, let him stew.
„Blade, we’re going to talk, or you’re going to walk. If you want to act like a spoiled Clucker, then you shouldn’t have wasted your money on your ears. This is a job. We’re in, or we’re dead. Our, Patron,“ TJ growled sourly, „wants a bell. We have to get said bell. We can’t do it without teamwork. I team with you because you have my back, and I got yours.“ She heard a chuckle come from him as she contiued to lie on her side and stare out the window.
„I’m going to wait here for the landlord, and get our room key. You’re idea’s a good one. We’ll want to know everything we can. There’s bound to be one or two other exits that aren’t on the floor plans. They might be our best way out after we grab Edge.“ There was a pause, and then TJ said, „We better find someone clued into the Black Market. I don’t want the locals feeling like we didn’t pay our respects first. This could bring big heat down on some very important folks, and cluing them in would be a smart move.“
„What if they don’t approve, TJ? Then all we did was tell them what they need to know to szett us over. We ought to be fast in and out, and a fast trip to the ‘bahn and back to Oranienburg. Staying put in here would be a spud move.“ TJ was quiet for a half-minute. Blade could see him in her mind mulling the idea over. „I was thinking the same way. But home is where the Clucker’s waiting. We should either hide out in a small town, or some place like Münich or Fankfurt. It’s off our beaten path, so if anyone who does know us and links us to the job, they could look all they wanted in the wrong places.“
Blade watched a small flock of pigeons fly between the buildings. They dipped and lifted with the wind as they flew out of sight over a building. „We get paid more the faster that sorceress gets her precious bell. Hiding out doesn’t get us the bonus.“ She turned over to lie on her left side and face TJ. „Hiding out does keep us from being played, however. No bonus and a last minute delivery makes certain there’s little enough time to screw us over.“ „If we’re early,“ TJ countered, „there’s less chance of a cooordinated ambush.“ „True,“ Blade replied. „But again, if she’s offering the bonus, who’s to say that the sorceress hasn’t already got a plan.“
TJ again mulled things over quietly. „I’d say you’re probably right that if that Clucker’s got a plan, it’d be one that she set up ahead of time. That means there’s a set of circumstances she’s factoring in. Which means we can play her by changing the drop location, if she gives us one.“ „Of course“, TJ continued, „If she gives us the choice, we ought to be in place from the call, so we can make certain there’s no spud trying to jump us by setting up early.“ Blade stared at TJ as he started to launch into another ‘what might happen’. TJ noticed the steady gaze, and whatever he had planned on saying, lapsed into silence. Blade stared at him a moment longer, then said in a deadpan voice, „Parnoid much?“ TJ lost it. The rumble launched from his chest to his lips in a roar of laughter that caught Blade up and had her grinning with him. Got around that one.
After a half-minute of hard laughter, TJ wiped his eyes and his voice dropped back to a rolling chuckle. „Blade, don’t think we’re done. We need to cover that ground eventually.“ Blade felt herself tense, and it must have showed in her face as TJ sighed. „It can wait until you’re ready, after the job’s done.“ She nodded slowly, as she thought about Irelle again, and the job in front of them. „The place over there has great pizza, according to the local papers. It got number five out of the top twelve in Nürnberg“ TJ rolled his eyes. „Don’t you ever get tired of that stuff? It’s like you’re addicted to it.“ „It’s the one human contribution to grand cuisine“, Blade sighed. „Why shouldn’t I like it?“
TJ had dropped her off downtown, then had driven away after giving instructions on where to meet. She had most of the day to take care of her few small purchases, and do some sightseeing. Working into contact with the local gangs would be better handled together after sundown. The streets were busy as locals walked briskly to or from jobs. Cars drove by in a constant stream, many o the new self drivers were garishly colored to proclaim their status, and to warn human drivers that the vehicle next to them was computer controlled. Blade disliked the driverless vehicles immensely.
She’d been asked to hack one, and found that each was acting like a black box, only recording all information on their passenger. The system was set to hack a person’s cellphone, tablet, and any other electronic device. The one she had worked on also collected credit card and license information for transmission to a central processing room. All in all, she’d decided never to ride in one.