Views of Stroud Revised & Expanded 5

Expanding Fade’s role and backstory. Original here.

Quiet in the Middle…

A few hours of quiet before Crescendo opened, the four-story club the center of social life for much of Stroud was also cold when the lights were off and empty. Fade enjoyed the quiet and cold. Walking through the kitchen, shining metal everywhere, Fade found his personal stash of coffee in the drawer under the coffee maker. His favorite mug filled with coffee, Fade continued his tour of the club; everything ready for another night.

Fade leaned back into his booth, rubbing his hands over his face, his table holo displaying Crescendo’s financial information on one side and the latest information from his informants. Pinching his fingers together and a wave, the financial information closed. A few sips of coffee and swipes with a finger later Fade found something interesting; splaying his fingers over the entry enlarged the file. Fade finished his coffee shortly before finishing the file, the entire time putting together a list of people who might come asking or would pay for the information.

Top of his list, John. John usually caught cases like this. Time to get ready, Fade pulled his trademark sunglasses, Lennon’s, out a pocket. The tiny round lenses reflecting the world back at the viewer.

Through the glasses…

All four stories thumping, neon and holo-light displays flashing, packed to capacity with lines around the building Crescendo the hottest spot in Stroud. Fade sat in his booth at the back of the first floor, artificially shrouded in darkness, waiting for visitors. On cue, John slid into the booth.

Fade tried to imagine John in fashionable clothing; he could not. Wearing functional clothing, John looked the part of bounty hunter, everything dull colors, pockets to hold whatever things John valued; Fade mused bullets and restraint devices. Suppressing his mirth, Fade waited for John to speak, that was their thing, Fade waited until John got impatient. Hulking over his end of the table, John glowered at Fade while doing his best to keep an eye on the scene.

“You know why I’m here,” visibly irritated John blurted out.

“I do,” Fade whispered. Voice enhancement modifications ensured that Fade never had to try to talk above the noise of the club, an impossibility.

“Do you have anything for me?”

“Why don’t you have a drink?”

“Here for business and I don’t like being here,” John shot back, “Why can’t we ever met at a quieter place?”

“This is my home,” Fade gestured to the booth and club, “You know this.”

The same banter every time, John never failed to…Fade mental searched for the word…deliver. Fade settled on deliver. Deliver fit John perfectly, functional, like his clothing. On the inside of his Lennon’s Fade had the information John sought ready for delivery, eventually.

John shook his head in irritation. He started to push away from the table. Then stopped. Warring with his desire to leave the club and his need for information John leaned back in the chair and took a breath. Inside Fade smiled, always a good sign when John took the longer route. Sitting forward again, John eyeballed Fade’s lens.

“I know you know something,” John stated.

Fade steepled his hands under his chin, leaning forward just enough to convey interest, whispering to John, “You need to hear what I know.”

“You have my attention,” John replied, eyes locked on Fade.

“Word on the street is you are heading for trouble,” Fade began, “And trouble knows you are coming.”

“And.”

“You need to do something you don’t do.”

“What is that,” John replied with menace.

Fade leaned back into the artificial shadow, only his Lennon’s showing, “Patience. You need patience.”

“What does that mean? Fade! Don’t you…Damnit!” John slammed his hands on the table.

Fade stepped into his office and smiled. His trademark fading out of the booth sent the message; at least he hoped John listened to the message. Sitting down at his desk, Fade watched John exit Crescendo on one of the monitors. Pulling his holo-screen up, Fade entered a few commands sending information to those in need.

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