The Adventures of Nat & Joey–Episode 2
Just as I’d expected, the Krake didn’t have any more to say than we already knew. These types tend to mind their own business—which is to say, they totally ignore humans if you let them. While Nat and I were still contemplating our next move it swooshed up a shipload of air, dunked back into the tank and was gone.
Note to self: Have them security bots run an unscheduled inspection of this darned tunnel system underneath our feet. ASAP.
»There is a night club over the street. Shall I go and investigate?«
It was pure courtesy of Nat to let me know what she was up to. She didn’t have to, nor ever did ask for my approval. Usually I was better up for it.
»Okay, let’s split then. I’ll check out this diner by the corner. See if someone’s willing to share their insights.«
Apart from one customer who clearly came from out of town, probably a miner from one of our satellite rocks, the place was deserted. I checked his papers and couldn’t find anything wrong with it. Duh, what’d I expected? Whatever it was we were chasing after, had driven everyone out of town except a few hapless tourists.
I was just about to buy me a giant order of Pitch Black Cupped Adrenaline, when I noticed a parcel, sitting right there next to my elbow. Bound with a pretty blue ribbon it flashed a message: my full name. Jordania Cabbot. No rank.
Nobody ever—EVER—called me Jordania. In fact, Nat was the only person I had ever confided in after she’d drank me under the table one night. So what the…?
Well, Nat and I had sworn an oath, and she’d saved my hide more often than I care to think about. I drowned my cup and set off to repay the due. Obviously we had gotten ourselves into more than a simple job for a Giant-Bug exterminator. Somebody was stepping on my partner’s toes, and I was not about to let that happen.
The lovely place Nat so euphemistically had called a nightclub was more of a dump. While the sound system was hammering and the johnny house still showed occupied, the place was deserted. No show tonight.
There was only one room, with a single door leading in and out. Nobody here, my partner in some sort of trouble, yet there was no sign of fight at all. I felt a cold touch on my neck and in my guts. None of this made any sense.
I returned to the now empty tank where our friend the Krake had ditched us with no clues at hand. Start over.
Nat had walked into that club. Someone followed her or had already waited inside. They took her someplace else. Where was the likeliest place? I raised my head and blinked into the pulsing lights of the roof level.
Nat had walked into that club. Someone followed her or had already waited inside. They took her someplace else. Where was the likeliest place? I raised my head and blinked into the pulsing lights of the roof level. Up here all the smoke of The City seemed to cumulate. You could hardly see any further than I could spit. The open trap door almost found me before I found it.
A droning generator was pumping something through a valve. By the looks of it, somewhere deep inside the complex. Without any other trace to follow I had no choice but to climb into this darned hoist way.
Down, down, down. The air grew stuffy with an overwhelming stench of something organic rotting away. For the first time tonight I drew my weapon.
The shaft ended into a tunnel leading in two directions. Judging from my starting point way above it lead from the Wastelands straight into The Hull. Blasted!
Careful, not to make any noise, I slipped into the tunnel and followed it down, always ready to shoot at anything or anyone. A change of sounds made me stop hard in my tracks. On my left a passage opened to a dimly lit cavern. Upright by the wall a couple of booths were lined up, ready to work. But what made me immediately double back were the cyborg drones farther down the hall. The place was drumming with ready set energy. This way was no option.
Instead, I cautiously resumed my initial path. Down a tube, round a corner, only to come to a dead end. Or a live one for that matter. Pulsating, throbbing. What ever was cooking up here—we were in for serious trouble.
~ to be continued ~