Blitt rolled himself out of the hotel unit and slid his DynaCred card through the payment slot. The sun was a rapidly unrolling place mat on fire, spilling out over Starloft’s skyline and illuminating it against the Eastern horizon. Another benefit of small towns, thought Blitt, you can see the sky. He looked at his watch, yet another reminder that he didn’t have time to waste sky gazing. He had less than two days now to get every task that had weighed upon his mind last night completed.
Briggan was smart enough to know that Blitt wanted to come after both the candy shipment as well as Priscilla, so he definitely wouldn’t let them both be in the same location at the same time. Blitt needed to verify the candy shipment’s location first. He didn’t need to take it just yet, but having the details about its location firmly in mind was crucial to being able to execute both plans.
The first part of Blitt’s plan was to scout the location and determine how safe it would be to infiltrate. Knowing Briggan, it was bound to be as secure as possible, perhaps even impenetrable. As he headed in the direction of the tracking signal, Blitt called up the coordinates onto his contact lenses. A holographic representation of the location floated in front of him, almost lifelike. Hovering just inside the upper right corner of his vision however, were words, written in red:
“ERROR: Representation Data out of date. Most recent imaging data is from June 17th, 2035. Details may not accurately represent location’s current state.”
“Not surprising,” Blitt said to himself.
There was no doubt that Briggan had requested a holographic imaging data stop on the warehouse’s location. The image on file was nearly three years out of date. The warehouse was listed as Melbrook Importers. Fitting, Blitt reasoned, for an organized crime operation. “Importers” could mean just about anything, and probably did, so Blitt had to be very careful as he approached the location in a government-sanctioned sled.
He wondered if Dan had put any government-sanction toys on his sled. He pulled up the computer console again and requested a full system feature scan. There was a pause, three dots blinking on the screen as the scan completed, and then a full read-out of the vehicle’s internal systems.
“Power-train, No,” Blitt read aloud. “Stability and Suspension systems, no.” He kept going, reading line after line out loud and finding nothing of any offensive relevance.
“Dan’s got to have some firepower packed away somewhere on-board.” It wasn’t like the spy-master to go anywhere unprepared. Also, Blitt wanted to believe that there was a reason Dan had loaned him the vehicle.
He checked the glove compartment. It was refrigerated, he noted, and besides the government-issued documentation and licensing papers stacked neatly on the warm side, two cigars in humidity-controlled slots and a bottle of champagne chilling on the cold side, there was a military issue plasma pistol snugly holstered in the compartment door.
Blitt didn’t need it, though. He had his own pistol. He placed the heavy weapon back into the holster slot and noticed something that had been previously hidden underneath the weapon: the hair thin outline of a button, almost imperceptible to anyone less cautions than a highly trained field agent like Blitt.
Blitt pressed it with his thumb, immediately feeling stupid for activating what could easily have been a trap, panic button or any other such danger. But he was quickly relieved to hear some sort of mechanical activation occur within the glove box. The compartment door detached from its hinges, rose slightly and flipped over to reveal a terminal panel, its L.E.D. screen scrolling “- – WELCOME!! – -” across it as the sled’s computer began to speak.
“Defense mode activation request acknowledged. Please place your right thumb on the scanner and state your activation code.”
Blitt touched the scanner pad with the same thumb he used to activate the “Defense Mode,” but he didn’t have an activation code. He didn’t want to trigger a fail-safe shut-down procedure, so he remained silent, expecting the computer to just cancel Defense Mode and go back to normal after he removed his thumb from the scanner, but it began to speak again.
“Facial recognition, retinal, and thumb print patterns match one authorized field agent, Alpha-IP zero nine three, codename ‘Blitt.’ Please state activation code in order to continue in Defense Mode.
“Of course,” Blitt said.
“Code not reconi…” the computer responded. Blitt ignored it, continuing to think in his head this time. Of course Dan would make sure that I had everything I needed.
Should have seen it earlier, he realized.
Blitt activated Defense Mode with his standard passcode and was given a brief rundown of all the defense features of Danathan’s mag-sled as he approached his destination.
They were all completely adequate to infiltrating the warehouse of Melbrook Importers.
Blitt automatically figured that finding Priscilla Reid was going to be a much more eventful task than scouting Briggan’s fake warehouse. It was a much more dangerous task, both for the reasons that it was obviously a trap that Briggan had set for him, and that Priscilla still wanted to kill him regardless.
Still, he needed to get to Priscilla before he made an attempt to get the candy shipment. If he managed to get it before talking to Priscilla he’d lose her for good, possibly even putting her life in danger. Regardless of how Priscilla might feel about him, letting her be killed wasn’t an option for Blitt.
He had to figure out a way to find her within 24 hours and somehow convince her to come with him. He needed to speak with her, but he was certain that she was under constant surveillance by Briggan, which meant that trying to do so could jeopardize his efforts to steal back the shipment. Both tasks conflicted with each other, so his only hope of doing them both was to get a message to her that only she would understand and then hope that he could act quicker than Priscilla could ruin his plans, or in the best case, actually side with him and help to execute them.
Blitt had to think of ways to get through to her. He knew Priscilla well, perhaps better than anyone else, but nothing he thought of out of all his memories of her of resulted in giving him an idea that could currently be useful to him. So he put the past aside and thought about her as she currently was. Or at least how she seemed when he saw her at the sled-shop. She was the same old Priscilla, dressed sharply, made up, and stunning. She was the type that never left home for any reason without looking her best. Blitt figured she probably didn’t even get kidnapped without first checking herself out in a mirror.
And she was still a horrible shot, Blitt reflected.
She was just a woman caught up in things that she shouldn’t have to deal with, he reasoned. Her father’s world of crazy had finally blurred into her own and put her in danger’s way, so she learned to adapt in order to survive. In a way, she was very much like Blitt.
Adapting, apparently, hadn’t meant giving up the finer things in life, which meant that Priscilla was still being taken care of in the way she preferred, probably pampered and spoiled by most measures and most definitely by kidnapping standards, which made sense to Blitt, given the circumstances regarding that kidnapping. Briggan would want to one-up her father, make himself seem better than him in every way possible. It only made sense that he would give her a good measure of freedom in order to keep her strong-willed spirit in check, all the while actually holding it captive. That, coupled with Briggan’s own vanity and constant need to always appear in charge, gave Blitt the beginnings of a plan.
He needed to check all the fashionable places in town in order to find Priscilla, so he began searching The Holonet on the sleds computer, looking for exclusive upscale pampering locations that would appeal to a woman like her.