Blazing red neon lights glow upon oily puddles along the streets of the harbor. The shouts of longshoremen can be heard upon the chill wet air, soft tones among the high pitched whines of machinery and the rattling crash of metal upon metal. All this seen from the barred windows of Desiderium’s newest holding, Ad Libitum. A promise, I hope, of all we offer to those in this changing time.
I spare a last glance beyond the bars, before turning to my guests. Two middle aged Chinese men from Harbortown, seeking a better life – granted, I have advertized. “Nǐ hǎo Mr. Zhang, Mr. Liao.” We exchange proper respects to one another, “Mr. Candy, we are much pleased that you make time in busy schedule so soon.” They are eager, they know I’ve moved quickly, but then this quarantine can’t last forever, “Call me Pater, and it was a trifle, with the plague in Harbortown – it is important we get the wheels of trade moving before our clients find other markets.” They seem to swallow that well enough, the last month has been extremely trying on the dealers and fixers. Few have vast reserves of wealth to lean on in such crisis and it seems the Triad’s have charged a premium for even the necessities – people are scared. Short term cash flow is worth nothing if it undermines the loyalty of your people, fear, fear is a fatal sickness in our trade.
It is not long before we’ve laid out a plan. Desiderium will provide protection and muscle to unload and store their product. Everything looks like it will flow like silk, my people are well taken care of and content, it will only be weeks before that presence seeps into these men’s bones and steels their nerves. That makes nine so far, a modest number, but I doubt the Triads will notice overmuch with business so slow on their end. ‘The Bey’, it’s like I’m part of something grander than myself again. We’ve come a long way since Canada – and I’ve still a long way to go.
Most of the wheels are still in motion now, the nine so far, they were careful and proud. I respect that, meeting with their new ‘Dragon’ themselves, others only see the money. The size of the hoard is of little matter if the beast that guards it is too small and weak to keep others away. These men, they know this. Dangerous days are ahead, I’ve made enemies now that are a true threat to my life. I will need the Edgerunners close in the days to come, Desiderium will need them. It’s a tall order, but every tool is not suited for every job. Francheska may well perform better than I would with the next few targets, certainly she is more physically powerful and imposing, a language lesser men understand better than spoken tongue. A fearsome, magnificent woman, I leave it to her while I undergo this coming metamorphosis. I must become harder, colder, if I am to accomplish all I proposed to ‘The Bey’. In a months time, I will no longer need to rely solely on my ‘Aequitas’, for these lost eggs of the Triad shall have a new dragon.