Blitt’s Journey, Part 11

Blitt made it out of the dress shop in under an hour, more time than he intended to spend pseudo shopping. He had to make a convincing show, however, so that Stacy wouldn’t kick him out of her shop and tip-off Priscilla that she had a creepy stalker asking about her.

Blitt thought about how much of a shame it was that Priscilla would never get to wear the dress he bought for her on some fancy night out around Melbrook. She would be leaving the town that night, with either him or Briggan, possibly never to return. Something told him that the relatively easy life she had been living for the past two years was about to change drastically. And, of course, his also. He thought of the recent past in which they had both enjoying periods of relative peace, sandwiched between bitter-sweet slices of life in a chaotic world. Blitt, running himself ragged on missions for Danathan, and she committing crimes beneath the watchful eye of Dade Briggan.

The ocean wind stirred against him gently as he walked towards the mag-sled. He became aware of something, cold and weighty, separate and distant from the warm ocean breeze, washing over him. It seemed to be focused almost squarely at the center of his forehead, an intangible thought nagging him, pestering to get at the inside his head instead of coming out of it.

Despite its persistence, the experience was not unpleasant. It was momentary, lasting less than a second, just enough time for Blitt to notice it. But for something so brief and barely noticeable, it carried an immensely powerful feeling which Blitt realized, as the thought penetrated his skull and transmuted its way through fibrous brain material and into his consciousness, was a confirmation being sent to him by Priscilla.

His mind relaxed, and immediately referenced the shoot-out at the chop shop and how Priscilla had stood completely still, eyes glazed over and palms outstretched, as she broke his nanotech with an arcane rupture of sonic waves by merely thinking about it.

The wondered if the strange thought he was ‘feeling’ was a result of something similar that Priscilla had done? He knew little about the ways of The Keepers, other than that you never wanted to encounter one in combat unprepared. Priscilla’s use of the power had taken Blitt by surprise, while he was unprepared both for reuniting with her and for scrapping with a mind-bending witch dead set on killing him. There were methods to defend against the Keeper’s art, but most of them were as arcane and unpredictable as the powers themselves. Also, most were rather devious in nature, not anything that he could bring himself to employ upon someone that he cared for.

Blitt didn’t feel malice in what he had just experienced, though. Much like how he had noted a glimmer of regret shining back at him through her vengeful eyes while she fired slugger rounds at him, he felt as though there was still hope that perhaps Priscilla didn’t hate him as thoroughly as he originally imagined.

Now he had to put that theory to a dangerous test.

First though, was Blitt’s primary crisis, the candy shipment. Unfortunately, it was incapable of telepathically informing him of how his attempt to acquire it might turn out. So Blitt planned on utilizing the sort of powers that were familiar to him – quick thinking, quick hands and feet, and the clever use of some really fun weapons.

* * *

It was nearing mid-day, and Blitt couldn’t just make a cold approach through the warehouse’s front entrance and have a look around. From a distance, the building seemed little different than the online layouts suggested. Beyond a chicken wire gate there was a large parking lot and the humongous rectangular building, looming in the distance like a giant beast tauntingly hoarding treasure.

The meager security was a warning to Blitt. By itself, it was the sign of an amateur design, but taken in contexts that Blitt knew to be true, namely that the place was owned by one of the most rich and dangerous men in the world and happened to have something of value hidden within, lax security was a glaring red “no trespassing” sign.

Blitt wondered what hidden security measures were present as he guided the mag-lev sled around the corner once more, onto the street facing the building’s main entrance. He did not want to risk another loop around the facility, for fear of triggering some sort of behavioral algorithm lurking within the programming of whatever hidden security systems might have been in place there. Twice around was risky enough, but three times was sure to seem suspicious to any monitoring systems scanning the area for out of the ordinary activity. He was sure that Briggan had put the entire place on high alert, so this was his final chance to put things into place for his attempt at taking the shipment later that night.

Part of that plan was to cover his approach by utilizing holographic decoys that would draw attention away from himself as he infiltrated the facility. Already Blitt had deployed a half-dozen tiny devices about the location, surreptitiously dropped from a compartment on the bottom of the mag-sled as he circled the area. Low-power using projectors, they would likely go unnoticed by any possible scanner sweeps throughout the day, and they were almost imperceptible to the human eye. Together they would work in tandem with other devices that Blitt planned on bringing along with him to create confusion and mayhem while he slipped inside unnoticed.

He hoped that his preparations were enough. Blitt would have liked time to prepare more thoroughly, to wear down Brigan’s patience but he figures that by now the old man had to be aware that Blitt was able to track the package. Blitt needed to act fast. Briggan wouldn’t let it stay around if he was capable of moving it. Tonight was his only chance, possibly even sooner if Priscilla decided to resist him.

Shit, he realized, she’s a liability no matter how things turn out. the words became pictures in Blitt’s mind as he pondered the dangers posed by his emotional connections to her. There were things, though, that Blitt always considered essential, and Priscilla, his past with her, and her well-being was one of those things. That thought immediately connected him to Danathan. While not essential in the same sense that Priscilla was, Blitt would be a fool not to consider his employer’s motivations and intentions. And in this case, absolutely nothing that Danathan Dowells was doing made sense. Yet, trust was a factor almost as compelling as love, and Blitt was not yet ready to try to make any sense of the strangeness that he had encountered during the past two days.

He checked status of the tiny modules that he had just deployed about the warehouse, and seeing they were ‘OKAY,’ uploaded his custom script to their memories as he drove off to meet with Priscilla at the dress shop on Bridge Street.

Blitt’s Journey, part 10

The entirety of Bridge Street was devoted to fancy clothing shops and cafes. Blitt wore a randomized face on the mask Danathan had given him, chose one of the countless shops and entered. A sales clerk turned, looking surprised to see him.

“Hello, how can I help you,” she asked with a smile.

“My wife shops here, I think.” The softness in his new digitized voice startled him as he spoke.

“You think?”

“I mean that it’s one of these places. There are so many along this street I can’t remember. And your shop has the sort of look she wears. Here, let me show you.” Blitt pressed a series of buttons on his watch and a holographic representation of Priscilla sprang to life in front of them.

“That holopic must be pretty old. The Anton Carmical ensemble she’s wearing is 3 summers ago. But, she’s got good taste, and I should know because I sold it to her. Nice to meet you, Mr. Reid. I’m Stacy.” She extended her hand and a warm smile.

“It’s Littman,” explained Blitt as he shook her slender hand. “She kept her maiden name.”

“I never knew she was married,” she replied, beckoning him to a dress display.

“We’re separated. Things are just starting back up again and I want to get her something nice for this weekend.” He smiled back at the woman.

“Congratulations. Rekindled romance can be just as hot as finding new love, and I’m going to make sure I find the perfect gift for her to remember this special time.”

“Thank you,” Blitt said as he begin perusing dress styles. Might as well make something out of this and get her something nice, he thought.

Danathan’s paying for it.

* * *

At noon, Priscilla received a card informing her that a gift was waiting for her at Carriage. “please make an appointment for fitting,” it read, signed ‘B. Littman.’

She sighed, wanting to crumple up the neat, gold-trimmed card, but finding it too elegant to do so. She set it down next to the dinner plates she had been stacking and tried to get back to work, to forget about the note and forget about Blitt and to let things stay the way the were for a just a bit longer. She wanted Blitt to remain a warm memory,for Danathan Dowells and her father to disappear, and for her odd relationship with Briggan to continue and remain as it had been. But she knew that she couldn’t do that. Her father wasn’t going away, and Blitt wouldn’t wait. Given the circumstances, she knew that he couldn’t wait. And Briggan had been too good to be true from the start.

She couldn’t drop everything and go see Blitt, because that meant literally dropping everything; the cafe, her life with Briggan, Melbrook. Everything. And in return, she thought, she’d have to go on the run, probably protected by Blitt, and most definitely still subject to her father’s abusive scheming.

But she could be with Blitt.

She weighed the decision. Thinking about Blitt brought up memories of her time with him before her kidnapping. They had been with each other during the eight months following the Garden Wars. Priscilla was a dancer at Starluft’s Academy of Performing Arts and Blitt was a soldier come back from war front, missing his family and still shaken from the horrors of combat.

When they met, both of them had apprehensions about becoming too involved in a relationship with each other, but the attraction was obvious. Blitt, with his good looks and war-forged persona, and her with graceful poise and a delicate upbringing that hungered for the thrill of a hardened edge like his.

Blitt provided that hard-edged thrill and more. She had also discovered within him a softness that, coupled with the ice-cold steel that had been forged within him, made him an exciting presence to be immersed in. So she did. She wrapped herself up in Blitt’s hard exterior and used him as her shell. She fancied herself protected from all sorts of threats, physical and otherwise. No one could harm her. Not even her father.

Blitt’s protection and love had come into her life, sweeping away her pains and insecurities and then was swept way itself by her father, Danathan Dowells and Blitt’s dangerous excursions for them both. From the time he started up with them, she feared that he might not return from one of them. Tragically, that time came when she needed him most. She hated him for that, but she hated herself even more for still loving him.

She sat at the cafe table, stacked high with clean dishes of fine porcelain, thinking solemnly about the events currently at hand, intermixed with those of the past. They were confused thoughts. Some of them were horrible ordeals when she went through them, yet she found herself harboring a strange sort of fondness for them in hindsight. Others that felt wonderful at the time hurt immensely while she reflected upon them. Dating Blitt. Getting on with Briggan and his gang. Actually belonging, even though she knew that she was still being controlled, but in a different way.

She was going to betray one of them. And they both knew that it had to happen, only they didn’t have a clue about how she would decide, or any way to aid her in the decision. That, most of all, weighed upon her. The future. Immediate and terrible, she saw it right in front of her like an unavoidable storm raging against the horizon.

She decided that she wasn’t going to make up her mind just yet. At least not without first seeing what sort of gift Blitt had gotten for her. As she settled upon that choice, an unconscious wave of emotion stirred within her, only noticeable for the briefest of moments. She thought it odd, reminiscent of the mind techniques that Briggan’s Keeper had taught her, but quickly dismissed it as she returned to polishing the gleaming surfaces of dinner ware.

Blitt’s Journey, part 8

The Mourningbird Cafe was the only place Priscilla felt comfortable anymore. She had been given full run of the place just 3 months after her kidnapping. Briggan had turned her defiant spirit into a tool for his organization by providing her with proof of her father’s involvement in her capture. He then further built upon the odd relationship by gradually instilling confidence in her, eventually handing over a bit of power within the organization to her, to further fuel the rebellious spirit she already possessed. Briggan put that spirit to good use, running a small part of his elaborate money laundering operation through the restaurant, and making small dents in Reid’s heavily concealed criminal activities.

Priscilla eventually proved to be as loyal to Briggan as any of his men. As soon as she learned the sordid details of how her father had actually arranged for her to be taken as a part of some scam he was involved in, she was compliant with Briggan’s offer to flip the script on him and aid her in revenge. Somehow revenge translated into taking over the small upscale restaurant, which was nice for her, but it left her with no imaginable explanation of how it could result in returning her father’s cruelty.

She began to silently question her loyalty two years after being softly conscripted into the gang. Her need for revenge was wearing off, and she began to long for parts of the life she had left behind, even though she knew that she could no longer return to them. The previous few months had been particularly difficult for her, as hopeless depression finally began to settle upon her.

Then Blitt showed up again. Priscilla discovered that he had been working with Danathan Dowells, and wanted to kick herself for not guessing it sooner. All of a sudden, she began to feel her criminal excitement returning to her. The fact that Blitt was still alive, and openly working alongside Danathan meant that he had probably bargained for his life somehow, she imagined, leaving her behind at the behest of her father, when he actually could have saved her. Priscilla’s plan for revenge came to include Blitt as well.

As she sat in the cafe, dimly lit by only the flickering flames of tea lights worn down to nubs, she thought about the events at the warehouse earlier that day. She had known that she would encounter Blitt again, but she hadn’t actually prepared herself for it. It wasn’t supposed to have gone the way that it did.

But she had shot at him. And she wished that she hadn’t missed. But now, alone and afraid for the first time since she’d settled into her new role, she also wanted him to be there with him. Knowing that he was still alive was not quite the same as actually having him there, and shooting at him was a feeling unlike anything she had ever felt before. She had really wanted to kill him, and she realized at that moment, hours later, that she didn’t understand where that feeling had come from, and that for some reason pulling the trigger of her old slugger and firing at Blitt seemed to take it away.

Suddenly, the restaurant felt like a strange place to be, absent the vitriol that drove her to tend to it every day for an ambiguous purpose. The candle lights cast strange shapes upon the walls as they eerily died one by one, releasing thin trails of smoke upwards towards the swirling fans fixed to the ceiling. In the mist-strewn darkness, Priscilla resumed hope that Blitt had come to rescue her. And if he hadn’t, then she was going to shoot at him again and do her best not to miss this time.

 

 

Adrenaline wash-out can be a bitch.

Blitt needed to rest, only for a few hours, to metabolize the adrenaline that his phys-packs had pumped into him earlier during the warehouse shootout. In such a way-side town, full of the rich and privileged, it was easy to book a hotel unit anonymously. He did so, checked thoroughly for any signs of intrusion or followers, and laid down to sleep.

When he interfaced the quantum scanner with the mag-sled’s computer, Blitt had also interfaced to it with his internal personal computer, so that he could always quickly track exactly where the package was with a moment’s thought. From there, he was able it to link to an alarm that would mentally notify him should the parcel’s location ever change, or be broken down into the individual items contained within it. Blitt was able to sleep without fear of losing track of it.

As he drifted off he became aware of the effects of the day’s events upon his body and mind. Perhaps, he thought, these new-found feelings were the result of the adrenaline, overworking his brain’s emotional response after suppressing it for the duration of the fight. Blitt had felt adrenal release before, but never while also experiencing so many other strange events. There where undoubtedly still traces of the chemical still pulsing through his system, so put his mind to work, thinking through his problems as he calmed himself to fully purge it.

Blitt focused his thoughts first on the Priscilla, shoveling all else away into an empty space he reserved in his mind for special things that were too important to push completely aside, but too ponderous to focus on for the moment. The moment, he estimated, was two days. He needed to be well on his way off the mainland, across water and into Mercaster by the next couple of days. Being able to locate Priscilla, convince her to actually come with him before she killed him, and get the both of them away from a group of professional killers, all while taking back a crucially important box of candy that they were determined hold on to, was a pretty tall task, but not impossible. Not for Blitt. He had done more impossible tasks before, and he refused to doubt himself now just because things had gotten a bit weird.

He needed to focus on one thing at a time, however, and the first thing was Priscilla. Fuck the candy for now, he thought, tired of thinking about how stupid it sounded. He would worry about that after he’d gotten his mind around what could have possibly gotten into Priscilla.

Danathan wouldn’t mind his putting the candy mission aside long enough to sort out the kidnapping. After all, the package was accounted for and was being tracked. Not to mention the involvement of Amsteel Reid, practically Dan’s arch-enemy. Blitt was sure that his scheme figured into the stolen candy shipment somehow, even if Dan wasn’t yet able or willing to reveal to him what it all meant. He had that sort of trust in him, as both an employer and now as a…  friend? Blitt wasn’t sure, but their recent interaction had led him to believe that perhaps in some distant way Danathan could be that to him.

As far as Priscilla went, however, Blitt didn’t need to even think about it. She hated him. As Dan had pointed out, she had tried to kill him, an act that was very much promised the last time he had spoken to her, but had not believed to be sincere.

You never know what a woman like her could be thinking about, he thought to himself as he drifted off to sleep in an unfamiliar bed.