Episode one, Part twoMature

Episode One: Liberty for All, Part two.

Zacharia Magnota

The Manhattan district port was one of the crummiest dock of Liberty. It was old, dirty and poorly maintained and no self-respecting captain ever wanted to dock there. So it was the cheapest and security was more of an after thought than anything else.

Junk box came and went, landing for a while, most of them simply unloading their goods before leaving, others staying for a while. So far from City-Complex-One, there wasn't much to see or do; some ghettos and small time industry that couldn't afford the rates of the capital. So, it was the perfect place to palm some goods. 

"Hey, Yue!" I yelled out, and the small almond eyes boy looked at me from a few dozen paces away or so. He was older than me, but not as tall, very much slimly built and a little twitchy.

"Did you find a mark?" He asked, coming closer.

"Not exactly, look at that?" I said pointing at the long black colored bird that had just landed, with a small group of folks coming down, three of them holding metal crates and a duo of men holding hands, one of them tattooed with designations and the other having one of those plug implant on the side of the head. The man that looked like the captain, wearing a bandido coat from a cheap cowboy vid held that same brownish skin that was so common around liberty, which clashed with his blond hair, the woman next to him was fairer but also tanned. 

"That's one hell of a shit box." He commented on the ship. "What's so special about it?"

"They're criminals, they've got to be. Who else walks around in that kind of duster flanked by a gorilla shaped aug?"

"You want us to hit them?"

"No, you crazy?" I said.

"Well, then search for another mark, we really need to bag some scrip today. Wouldn't be so if you hadn't bought those 'nades." He declared accusingly and pointing with his chin at my belt where a pair of smoke grenade hung down. 

"Those might keep us out of Sec'Star jail, you know."

"Whatever..." He sighed. "Just do it."

I looked again at the Ship where a large black crow had been painted on a blood colored background. Underneath, it bore a few letters I couldn't read written in white. The other side probably held the designation. A woman with the typical markings of a bioroid stepped out, dragging a glass display panel. With an electronic pen, she wrote something on it.

"A roid?" I exclaimed to myself. 

"What is it?"

"That ship's got a lot of freaks, half of the peps were roids or augs, man."

"Will you shut up, about them? Look, what about that guy?" He pointed at a man, that was only half-looking in front of him. He walked slowly and looked distracted.

"That guy's packing, probably something big, his left step's tiny compared to his right. And he's in AR, if you snatch his link, he'll notice." I looked around for a moment. "There, see the guy at the bench? Dropped his link, and he's too busy looking at his laptop."

Yue nodded and we took places. Me, by the entrance, my open bag down on the ground and him going for the catch. He walked past the guy first and then back again, quickly snatching the thumb-sized link from the ground before going my way.  As he moved, I asked a few people for change, most of them ignoring me, he then arrived and stealthly dropped the link the the bag as he moved pass and leaving the dock.

I stood there for a moment and when I saw that nobody had noticed I picked my stuff and headed inside the terminal. I looked around and not too far from Yue I saw the group of criminals from earlier. The clerk was passing them through customs. I handed my bag to Yue. 

"Wait here, I need to check those guys out."

"Seriously, Zach?"

"Anything to declare?" The custom agent asked. As the group loaded the crates onto the inspection area.

"Nothing comes to mind." The duster-clad man said, handing him his papers, as he took it, I saw a bunch of bills peek through the document. The guard looked up and smiled a bit, nodding. 

"Everything seems in order." He said, slipping the money through the inside of his ballistic vest. "Have a nice stay in Liberty sir."

They grabbed the crates and the woman tipped her hat at the agent. "You too sir." She said with a charming smile.

Following them seemed like a stupid idea, but I was hooked I needed to know who those guys were...

The End

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