She glanced around the garage in hopes of a fast exit. The semi circle of men stood behind Mr. Reuben with their hands clasped. Each man standing within arm’s reach of the next. Inside she could feeling the boiling cauldron of emotions starting to overheat. However, her face remained composed. This man sure had balls. By putting her through that test he showed his disregard for human life unless there was some benefit for him.
“You have not yet heard what the job is.” He stated with a calm and reserved tone.
“I don’t give a fuck what the job is.” she responded emphatically. The throbbing in her shoulder a constant reminder of what had just occurred.
Mr. Reuben looked her slowly up and down. “Ok, fair enough. I want you to find someone.”
“Like I said, not interested! If you want to hire me for my normal services then go through the proper channels.” She was starting to lose patience and was now only considering the best way to extricate herself from this situation. In the back of her mind she made a note that if he did happen to submit an official request she would deny it on principle alone.
“Very well. Might I suggest that you at least inquire about what I am offering for compensation.” His mouth curved into another smile as he flourished his hand and gave the smallest bow. “It has been a pleasure to meet you Ysolt.”
He even pronounced it correctly, EE-solt. Her mother had been a huge fan of classical literature and mythology. Isolde was character from Arthurian legends that her mother had been particularly fond of. Although she resonated with the meaning of the name which meant, fighting the ice battle. What was so rare is everyone, even her own mother, called her Y.T. The difference of pronunciation of the initials and the name always had everyone calling her why-solt.
The men behind Mr. Reuben parted as though they had been explicitly told Y.T. could leave. On the far side of the empty garage she could see the brightly labeled exit sign. Glancing over her shoulder she saw the elevator out of the corner of her eye. There was no way she was getting on that thing again. Meeting Mr. Reuben’s eyes one last time she decided against saying everything that was really going on in her head in favor of just getting out of there.
Half way across the expanse of the garage she heard his voice. “100 billion credits” Mr. Reuben didn’t raise his voice to compensate for the distance. In fact the next thing sounded more like a whisper. “And a Bauble.” Y.T. stopped dead in her tracks. Her brain went into instant overload. She must have misheard him. Bauble. That was some serious tech. She had followed the military project since the information had gone public. Currently there were only five in the world. Research had told her that four out of the five were already assigned.
The Bauble was a short baton much like police batons from about 200 years ago except much shorter. A quick tap of the baton would transform it instantaneously into a full nano shield. 360 degrees of protection. Not just any kind of protection either, full nano protection. This shield could create a barrier invisible to the naked eye but capable of stopping a .50 caliber bullet. It also has modes for ultra privacy which will not allow your image to be captured. It can regulate the difference between ambient temperatures. Basically you can become invisible and invincible with it. The unbelievable part of the whole equation was that he was offering the last one to her. The Bauble is paired with both your DNA and cranial neuro map thus making it impossible to reassign or be used by any other individual.
Quickly she used her Contac to verify that there was really one remaining. The records had not been updated. She turned and looked at Mr. Reuben. “You want me to find someone, right?”
He nodded an affirmative to her. “Seems like you might be overpaying but who am I to judge.” she fired back sarcastically.
There was still a huge element of disbelief lingering. Yes, he was definitely rich and well connected but to get that tech is a whole new level of being connected.
Y.T. was still contemplating and assessing the risk factors of the job. The test in the elevator had been the first indication of danger. The offer of a Bauble showed how serious Mr. Reuben was. Now it was her turn to look him up and down. He still had that cool arrogant air about him. A man completely in control of his own universe. Yet there was something niggling her in the back of her brain. Why, out of all the people he could choose, did he choose her? There had to be something else going on. Her warning lights went on again. Time to GTFO.
He must have read the look on her face because before she could turn to leave again he had pulled a black object from his pocket and was holding it up for her to see. It was a Bauble. The Bauble. The only one left unassigned. It was that moment of desire that pushed away all logical thoughts of danger and consequences in favor of having this tech.
“So let’s just be clear. I find the person and I get the Bauble and 100 billion credits? Just for locating the person?” she asked.
“Yes, but you will have to keep line of sight on him until my people can get to you. In exchange I will give you the Bauble now and upon completion of the job I will transfer the credits.”
“Deal!” said Y.T.
As soon as the word came out of her mouth she realized she probably should have asked who she was searching for. Before she had time to think about it too much he was shaking her hand. Then he unceremoniously dropped the Bauble into her possession. “His name is Johan. I believe you already have a reference to him in your Contac.” With that he turned and entered the very same elevator she had just had just exited moments before. His men all followed. Just before the doors shut he said, “Oh and I do have a kill switch for the Bauble.” This totally took her off guard. None of the research had said anything about a kill switch. She made a note in her Contac to research it further.
“You can do it.” He said as the doors closed. She stood there alone in the garage staring down at the object in her hand. Should she go after him and try to return it? She already knew the answer and it didn’t bode well for her.
Flipping over the small black baton in her hand she place her thumb on the top and immediately felt a sharp prick followed by what felt like an electrical surge. She could feel the current rush up her arm and straight to her brain. The electrical buzz got stronger and stronger until she was literally seeing stars in front of her eyes. Her head felt like it might explode. Just when she thought it might cripple her it ended and everything went back to normal. She had read about this but the actual experience made the docs pale in comparison.
The Bauble was now bio-linked to her and her alone. Now for a quick test to see if she had the real thing. The nano tech had already assessed her brain and neurolgical patterns and bonded. All she had to do was think about what she needed and activate the baton. Invisibility, she thought and tapped the baton on the concrete barrier next to her. Everything felt just the same as before. She had to get out on the street and double check.
By the time she exited the garage she had already jacked into the city cam feed and geo-located all cameras that might catch her. She chose the four closest feeds. Finding one that pointed right at the garage exit she rewound the feed 10 seconds and watched. Sure enough she saw the door of the garage open but nobody came out. She smiled. Looking at a few other feeds she was satisfied that the cloaking aspect worked.
She couldn’t believe she actually had her own Bauble. She wanted to go show it off to some of her tech friends but decided to head back to her place and dig further into who this Johan person was. There was no time limit for this job just one goal, find Johan. She instructed her Contac to dig deeper into the extraneous research she had provided her client earlier. Y.T. also instructed it to do a full extensive history on Mr. Reuben. By the time she got home all the information should be on her server and sorted into something semi manageable.
Either she was the luckiest or most unlucky person, time would tell.