Collecting the interlude and post-collection bits ending with a transition to Talia watching the meet from Eth’s tale. Looking at separating the transition with some lead up and possibly an encounter with someone from Puddles and Whiskers. We shall see.
From there to noodles
Arriving on the dock, “What’s the hurry?” Puddles hissed at Whiskers.
“We…” Whiskers began.
“I know we got played,” Puddles interrupted, “I don’t see why we have to leave in such a hurry.”
“What if what? I don’t think anyone at Titan cares about us, our investigation, or anything else we do.”
“Did you see Doctor Marlowe’s face when I mentioned the cleanroom?”
“Behind all that plastic and via holo, I couldn’t tell if he was smiling, scowling, or passing gas and neither could you.”
“Fine. Tell me this,” Whiskers began while keying the car doors open, “why would anyone hire us to find people who do not exist?”
“No clue, but someone did hire us to clean out that gang and room.”
Their car exiting the landing pad and merging with traffic Puddles said, “Agreed,”
Watching traffic fly around their car, Whiskers sat silently, feeling Puddles fuming in the driver’s seat.
Puddles shattered the silence first, “We need to do something.”
“Find Doctor Dan and shake answers out of him,” Puddles said angrily, “that is my first inclination.”
“Mine as well. However, we do not have any real information on Doctor Dan. We need information.”
“I’ll call Chuck,” Puddles said with a sarcastic tone and smirk.
“Chuck? Really?” Whiskers replied with a groan.
Without warning, the front office door crashed in, slamming against the wall. Swaggering through the doorway before the door returned, black and white cat Chuck looked around briefly before approaching Puddles at the desk.
Glancing up, Puddles continued writing with one paw while shoving a small stack of papers onto the floor in front of Chuck.
“I’m not here to clean,” Chuck responded.
Walking into the room, Whiskers stood behind Chuck, looking over his shoulder at the mess, “What are you doing?” he asked Puddles.
“Hey Whisk,” Chuck said, “What can I do for you two today?”
“Pull up a chair,” Whiskers said.
Chuck, the top half of his left ear folded over, sat down in front of Whiskers half of the desk; only Chuck’s head visible.
“No short jokes,” Chuck stated.
Whiskers shook his head in amusement, “Fine. Who do you know who might have corporate contacts?”
“Titan Industries in particular,” Puddles added.
Putting a paw to his chin, Chuck thought for a moment, “Eth, might know someone.”
“Anyone else?” Puddles asked.
“I may know another contact or two, but I’m hungry. How about some noodles?”
“Have Eth meet us there,” Whiskers said.
A conversation over noodles…
Around a dingy neon green and yellow round table, four neon red and pink seats everything covered in the NiHo Noodle chain logo, a chubby faced non-descript yet vaguely asian looking human smiling, a bowl of steaming noodles under his chin, sat Puddles, Whiskers, Chuck, and Eth.
“We got screwed?” Puddles asked rhetorically.
Whiskers slurped another chopstick full of noodles while shrugging.
Across the table, Eth looked annoyed, “Where is my bowl? Don’t they know who I am?”
Another slurp. Another shrug.
Pointing at Eth “How is it nobody knows nothing?” Puddles asked.
“I know a lot of people, but I don’t know everyone,” Eth responded. “You need corporate contacts.”
“You have corporate contacts,” Whiskers responded around another slurp of noodles.
“I thought you knew everyone?”
Setting the bowl in front of Eth the waitress wearing a clashing neon colored kimono announced, “Hot and spicy bowl.”
“About time,” he said. Picking up a chopstick full of noodles, returning his attention to Puddles and Whiskers, “I do,” emphasizing do, “know a lot of people. The people you two are interested in are beyond me.”
A conversation in an office…
Wringing her hands, glancing around the office, and generally behaving twitchy, the human woman sitting on the opposite side of their desk irritated Puddles. Her irritation could be traced to the cloying amount of perfume the woman wore or her annoying whining or well just about anything, this potential client did. Ever since the “resolution” of their last case, irritation was her standard mood.
“Gathering evidence of your husband’s infidelities, should take us a week,” Whisker said while consulting his data-pad. Sliding the data-pad across his immaculately clean side of the desk, “Sign at the bottom and once the issta transfer is confirmed we will take the job.”
Puddles stifled an irritated grunt, catching cheating spouses-so low rent.
“Thank you so much,” the woman replied, “I hope I am wrong. I love him so much…”
“But you have a hunch,” Puddles interrupted as she snatching the data-pad back.
Whiskers grabbed the data-pad out of Puddles paw before the data-pad got lost in the mess of her side of the desk, “Thank you Camile. We will be in touch.”
As soon as the door closed, “What nickname did you give this client?”
Another conversation in an office…
“That’s funny,” Tanx’s laughter rumbled around his office, “Haven’t heard that one before.” Another rumbling laugh, “Spacious office, indeed. Detective Orte sent you to me because I might know something, did I get that right?”
Until sitting in Officer Tanx’s office, Whiskers thought he was tall, staring up at Tanx’s face brought home lots of uncomfortable memories of sitting at the children’s table for holidays. “He thought you might know someone who could answer some questions of ours.”
“And what questions are those?”
Sitting straighter, Whiskers consulted his data-pad, “Recently, an investigation took us into Tumbledown where we found a well-equipped gang defending a clean room.”
“And you want to know who is providing the equipment and the clean room?” Tanx interrupted while manipulating his holo-desk display. “Is this your investigation?” Tanx sarcastically asked, enlarging the holo-display; images of several dead gang members and a demolished clean room.
Clearing his throat, thankful Puddles was not there, “Yes. That looks like our investigation.”
“The gangers were members of Black Myst. Nothing special about them, another Tumbledown gang. The personal shield is an Oakenshield model. Again, nothing special. The clean room, by the time investigations arrived, was no longer clean.”
“Let me guess,” Whiskers began, “Nothing special.”
A conversation over…
“Nothing at all?”
“Nothing,” Whiskers replied lazily stirring his bowl of noodles with a single chopstick.
“Some investigators we are,” Puddles said.
“You don’t have the right connections.”
“Shut up Chuck,” Puddles snapped at a black and white cat sitting third.
Setting his chopstick down, “Unfortunately, Chuck is right. We do not have the right connections,” Whiskers interjected.
“Whatever,” Puddles mumbled around a mouthful of noodles.
Ignoring Puddles, Whiskers continued, “We have a few cases to work. I suggest we move on from this and get back to work.”
“I like that idea,” Chuck said.
“Shut up Chuck.”
One more conversation in an office…
Silence from the black clad, heavily pierced korogin male sitting across the messy side of the desk and from his similarly black clad bodyguard glowering behind him. Whiskers looked at Puddles. Puddles shrugged before turning her attention back to the korogin.
“I’m trying to understand what you want from our agency,” she said. Paws on her side of the desk, one drumming a staccato beat, “We don’t do body guard work and you have…” gesturing with the non-staccato paw at the bodyguard.
The korogin in front of her looked over his shoulder, looked back and smiled or at least what Puddles took as a smile; the bone plates on korogin faces made reading any expression a gamble at best. A low rumble from both korogin, turned into belly clutching laughter. Whiskers ears wide apart and tail swishing, shrugged his confusion to Puddles. Puddles ears went flat, tail slashing her irritation with these two rising quickly.
“What am I missing?” she hissed at them.
“You don’t recognize us?” bodyguard asked around the last of his laughter.
“Should we,” Whiskers asked hesitantly.
The korogin sitting abruptly stopped laughing, “You don’t know who we are, for real?” Looking over his shoulder, he barked in korogin, “Tak-ga shinnat ur gagganoth.”
Bodyguard shook his head before speaking, “Does Acid Chamber sound familiar?”
“The quadstomp duo?” Whiskers replied ignoring the stunned look on Puddles face.
“That’s us,” the bodyguard said.
“We will take the job,” Whiskers said in a rush.
Establishing shot, panoramic view of Middle Stroud; make sure to get a shot of “The Cloud” and convergence of the elevated highways and flight lanes passing above and below “The Cloud.” On her retina screen, Talia watched her pet take the requested footage; directing her attention down to an alley behind a noodle shop, neon lights from the shop’s sign causing difficulty with the shot. Her pet, a baseball sized grey ball with the channel 18 logo on the side, hovering a few feet to her right, floated further away from her at her mental command. Looking around the ledge, Talia spotted a better location to continue her investigation. Checking her retina screen, between her vantage point and the pet’s completely covering the meeting. Two weeks of investigative working finally paying off; an opportunity to record a Red Hand’s exchange.
Adjusting her position to relieve the strain from being in one position for so long, Talia’s retina screen flashed; her pet recording four hover bikes entering from the back of the alley. Finally, she thought, watching the bikers park and spread out along the back of the alley, she wondered who they were waiting for.