When Lucatz and his gang were gone, clattering and banging out of the house as subtly as a herd of elephants, I sat down against the wall and sighed. Kris was going to want an explanation of everything - and there was an awful lot of "everything" to explain. What was worse, was that some of it didn't bear thinking about, let alone bringing back into the open again.
"Gavin." she said. "What is going on here? What file? What did you have to do with the Dusk Rats?"
"It's a really long story." I said. "And not a very pleasant one either. Besides, it all happened years ago now, none of it-"
"Tell me." Kris snapped, cutting me off mid-sentence. "Tell me everything. Now."
I groaned, I knew this was going to happen from the start. But, grudgingly, I told her about my involvement with the gang, how Lucatz and I had grown up on the streets and joined up as soon as we could to try and make some money. I told her about my involvement in the Kamarov raid, about killing Lucas Wayne and my time on the run after the authorities tracked the gang. I glossed over the worst of the details involving the trial and the recovery of the false File - even I could barely bring myself to recall Jeremy Wayne's fury when he brought the accusations against me. When I was finished, Kris' eyes were wide as dinner plates.
"So that's why he hates you so much." she breathed. "You killed his brother on the raid ... it all makes sense now."
"I told you it wasn't pleasant." I replied grimly. Kris rolled her eyes.
"You wouldn't say that if you'd seen half the things I have in my time. So, where is this Kamarov File now? You said you still had it on you."
"Remember in the pipes when I told you to cut off my hand and bring it back to the surface if I died?" I said. Kris nodded. I held up my hand, revealing the tiny scar at the base of my palm, scarcely more than a few centimetres across. "I had to hide it somewhere, so I implanted it under my skin to hide it. No-one would ever have thought of looking there, not even Jeremy Wayne. No-one else knows I still have it - and no-one was ever supposed to either."
Kris bit her lip. "Right. I see. And what are you going to do with it? It's no use to us, and if anyone else finds out we'll be dead by morning. There's already patrols going round the city, they know we're out here. What use is that File to us?"
I smiled slightly, but it was not a happy smile. "I don't know. It's valuable, but we can't sell it. It contains secret information of some kind, but we have no way of accessing it. It's of great value to those who can use it, but it's no good to us in this situation. If we could just .... wait a second."
"What?" asked Kris, raising an eyebrow sceptically.
I scrambled to my feet and began pacing the floor, mind working furiously. Although the File itself was useless, people would want it for what it contained. What a bargaining tool that would be. We could bargain for anything we wanted with this little chip. Anything at all.
"We might not be able to use the File." I said slowly, "But someone else could. And just imagine what we could demand for it."
"I don't ... ah, I see." Kris grinned, catching onto my train of thought. "But how are we going to arrange a deal when every man, woman and child in Alarbor is baying for our blood?"
"I haven't worked that part out yet." I admitted, "But at least it's a start, right?"
Yes, I thought, it was a start. But who can tell where it's going to finish?