This is a continuation of Day 19.
The dealer’s shop is located off an alley, dirt and grime coating the street. It began to rain halfway through my trek, leaving me in a particular sort of mood as I unlock the door. The click of the lock echoes in the dark, and I step inside.
It’s a dirty place, unkempt, with oozing jars of tinctures haphazardly placed on sagging shelves. I plug my spare console, the one liberated from a criminal a few years back that I “forgot” to log into evidence, into the shop’s computer. Never leave a trail to you. That’s rule #1.
The log scrolls through my screen, encrypted letters jibberish to my eyes. I run it through my special program, the one that gets me information I shouldn’t be able to get, and the data begins to normalize. There are hundreds of entries from the past couple days, sales and purchases from a host of different names. I run a couple, looking for proof that this shop is some sort of front, that the decaying shelves are for show.
I get a hit on one purchase two days ago. A guy we have in lockup made a large purchase of flammables. Bingo.
I’m logging the name and creating an “anonymous tip” when the click of a blaster commands my full attention. The shopkeeper is standing fifteen feet back, holding an old ARK19 level with my chest. I raise my hands slowly.
“Take it easy,” I say. “I’m not here to rob you. I’m just looking for a friend.”
His eyes shift over me, looking for proof of a lie. I twist my neck in the winding pattern of an addict, unconsciously scratching at the side.
“He said he’d meet me here, that you had Pure.”
He’s quiet for a moment, eyes hard, before sighing and lowering the gun.
“Damn junkies,” he mutters, pulling a key out of his pocket.
He motions me to the corner with the business end of the ARK19. I move slowly, mimicking the jerky walk of withdrawal, letting my eyes unfocus and dart. He leans down behind the counter, unlocking a safe with a series of locks, and that’s when I strike.
I immobilize him quickly, an efficient lock of his arms at an angle he’ll be feeling for the next couple weeks, the ARK19 clattering uselessly to the floor. Gun wasn’t even loaded.
“Two days ago you sold flamers to a guy that was in jail. Who really bought them? You have one opportunity to answer.”
I ease up on his throat, keeping the monitor pressed tight to his skin but leaving him enough room to breathe. He gasps, renewing his struggling. I tighten my grip, letting him hear the vibration of the knife I’m holding next to his throat. He freezes, going slack in my arms.
“That’s a good boy,” I tell him. “Now answer the question.”
“He’ll kill me,” he gasps.
I move the knife an inch closer, the vibration close enough to cause the hair on his neck to rise and tremble.
“Okay, okay. He’s a Regular Joe, okay? Works for some of the big guys in Armitech, doing their dirty work.”
“I want a name.”
“I don’t know his real name. He calls himself Krex. That’s all I know.”
I check the monitor. Telling the truth. Smart boy.
“Thank you,” I say, knocking him out.
I log the report, teasing it through the station’s security system til it’s on Johns’ desk. I leave the shopkeeper gagged and immobilized. They’ll pick him up in the morning.
Time to go meet Krex.
This story is continued on Day 27.