Indigo Black watched Eavesdown Docks emerge below him like a bleak brown cancer as the chartered ship broke through the cloud cover on its approach. He’d never particularly liked The Docks, and had someone not paid him a considerable retainer several weeks ago, he wouldn’t be going there now. The late afternoon sky seemed dreary and foreboding from the comfort of his seat, and the pilot had informed the three passengers that it was a windy and rainy that afternoon. He shivered slightly, glad that he’d brought the heavy lined coat on the seat next to him.
Now the crowded, ugly port was drawing closer as the ship made its final approach to the small landing pad. The VTOL-capable Vanguard set down smoothly, and Indigo rose from his seat and collected his belongings. He knew that the two suits accompanying him would follow his lead, so he pulled the black leather coat on over the gray turtleneck he was wearing, gathered his small duffel bag, and descended the short flight of stairs. He was greeted by a stunning Asian woman about his age, with dark brown, close-cropped hair.
“Good afternoon, Indigo.” she said as the three men approached. He nodded. The other two said nothing. “My name is Asante. I’m glad you were able to come so quickly.” She motioned to the stairway that led off of the pad. “Usually the heat is overwhelming by this time of the month; you got lucky.”
“Yeah,” he replied, his voice a soft, thick drawl. “Lucky. That’s just what I was goin’ to say.”
Once they were on the lower deck of the docks, she bypassed the small customs station, led him to an elevator, and pressed a button.
“So if I’m, not mistaken, this will be number nine for you, won’t it?”
“Yes.” A brief exchange about the weather, then right to the business of death. He was fine with that. “Has the target been located yet?”
She shook her head slightly, the polite smile disappearing from her face. “No. Corporate was adamant about that not being done until you’d examined the situation and signed off .”
All four stepped into the elevator. It slowly started to descend. The panel in front of Indigo glowed with a single red digit: 9.
“And you don’t like that.” It was clearly not a question. “At all.”
“I do not,” she said as the elevator stopped and opened its doors.
She stepped out quickly and turned left , not looking to see if the others were following. “The entire incident calls back to a disturbance at dock 56 .” She stopped in front of a large double door labeled Private. “That’s when they appeared on the radar, you might say.”
He gave her a long, appraising look. She was a thin woman, but not overly so, and her weight was distributed well. She was nearly the same height as he was. While she was short, she was still imposing. Standing there, arms crossed across her chest, she reminded him of a wall in a business suit.
“I understand that, Asante,” he said finally. “And so do your superiors at Blue Sun, or they wouldn’t have paid me the ridiculous consulting fee I charged them to bring me here. Or to the scene on Rim’s Dream. And the government officials feel the same way.” He took a deep breath and ran his hand through his dark hair before continuing. “Look, I’m not trying to stir shit up with this. I don’t want a panic any more than you do, but we need to put an end to this situation.”
Asante nodded. “My superiors have made it clear that I am to be at your complete disposal.” She uncrossed her arms, and took a deep breath. “So where do we begin?”
“We find Benjamin Clemson,” Indigo said softly. “And we kill him.”