It was a very late dinner. The sun was just becoming visible – being this high in the tower and this near the bay, the rising sun could find it’s way in the gracefully curved panoramic windows of the restaurant at the top of the Port Authority’s central office building. The sky was just beginning to tint pale orange, almost matching the sweet sauce Mei’s fish was drowned in.
“Lakhanat,” Mei spoke to the woman across from her in Malaysian, “these round-eyes never prepare seafood well.”
The other woman, who appeared of Indonesian decent, was quite thin. This, along with her short hair, gave the appearance that she was much younger than the early 30’s that she actually was. She smiled, and replied in the same language- “I promise this is not the best in the city. I just happen to know that this is a relatively safe place to talk.” She waives her hands around. “No spying cameras.”
After taking a sip from her wine, Mei continued their previous conversation. “So in other words, my money is secure and you’ve established a means for my investments to reach me?”
“Yes. Although I won’t be able to get to it immediately if you need it. Make sure to keep smaller ammounts on hand for any supplies you may need. "
“This is excellent news. You’ve really pulled through for me Asyah, I won’t forget this. I should warn you, I believe Wei came for me himself.”
“I’m not worried. What would he bring, 30, 50 men? I have my whole security team watching my back.”
“I know, but I don’t want you to underestimate him. I’d rather you avoid conflict with him altogether, if possible. By the way, have you made any headway into my introductions in town?”
For once, Asyah’s smile turned to a frown. “No, unfortunately it seems none of my contacts are looking for help ri-”
Her speech is interupted by the sudden boom of two AVs flying dangerously close to the window. Gunfire is erupting from both of them, and its not long before the pursuers have downed their prey, taken their mark, and gone.
A smile crosses Mei’s face, “Perhaps we can lure them to us, then?”
Asyah’s eyes were already closed, checking her tracking software – “There’s a container ship already heading this direction. My team can recover it.” She was referring to the pursued AV limo, which crash landed on a bridge across the bay.
“Looks like someone’s paid them to stay away”, Mei points out after noticing there are no cops nearby. “Seems like this will lead to an introduction afterall.”
Later that night, Mei was relaxing with a warm glass of shaojiu, watching a drama overlayed onto her vision so as to appear it was a large vidscreen on the wall.
“Western culture will take some time to get used to.”, she thought to herself. Her program was paused when she received a call…and it wasn’t from Asyah.
She opened the line, and waited for a greeting. “Ah, hello. I understand I am speaking Ms. Wang? Or do you prefer your alias, Mentadak?”
“That depend on whether we end up enemy or friend, sir. Sorry, one minute.” Mei closed her eyes for a moment and found the software she would use to pass as a native English speaker. “Thank you for waiting. For now, Mei is fine. And who am I speaking with?” She was a bit taken back by how quickly this man was able to find her, but she needed to appear as to not be in as weak a position as she was.
“My name is Jacob. I work for a man named Friedlander Bey, whom you appear to have aggrivated. You see, a friend of his had asked a favor of him. This friend was one of the ones who took that AV down earlier today, you see, and he had asked Mr. Bey to assist with recovering the vehicle. Unfortunately, it seems you managed to beat us to it. Our men saw it being loaded into that boat. When we questioned them as to why, they just gave us your contact information. Curious, no?”
“Not for you or I. I must apologize, when I saw the team evacuate the scene I assumed they intended to abandon the vehicle. I would be willing to return it to you, but I would like to make a trade for it.”
“You intend to extort money from us? I guess you must be new in town, ma’am. Pleasant Heights is secure, but not enough to keep us out.”
“No, you misunderstand, it’s not money I’m after. I was actually hoping you could arrange a meeting for me…”