This section saw a lot of removal and some revision. Overall I’m happy with the conversation and the directions it spins off into.
A conversation over noodles…
“Giant bowl of drunken ham noodles is on special today,” Puddles read aloud.
“I know what I’m having,” Chuck said tail swishing happily.
Looking across the crowded restaurant, he saw Eth at a table near the back.
“Eth is already here,” Whiskers said to Puddles and Chuck.
“Let’s eat,” Chuck said walking between Whiskers and Puddles while rubbing his belly.
Eth looked up from the holo-menu, nodding a greeting to each of them, his baldhead and lineage spots cast in the green glow from the table neon.
“What are you having Eth?” Chuck asked while claw inputting his order of drunken ham noodles.
“Hot and spicy bowl,” Eth responded.
“Double bowl of soba.”
“Seafood special,” Puddles said.
“Seafood special?” Chuck asked wrinkling his nose.
“What?” Puddles challenged.
“Nothing.” Chuck mumbled.
“Thank you for your orders,” the holo-waiter said before dematerializing.
During the few moments of silence, Puddles opened her chopsticks. Whiskers used the paper wrapper of his chopsticks to make a holder for his chopsticks. While Chuck fumbled unsuccessfully to separate his chopsticks. Eth furiously worked on his phone. Setting his phone down, Eth looked at Puddles and Whiskers, “You wanted to see me?”
“I thought cymeans were heavy on etiquette,” Puddles said with a smile.
“Not this cymean,” Eth retorted, while gesturing towards his phone “I have business.”
“What can I do for you?”
“I haven’t told him a thing,” Chuck offered.
Whiskers pulled his tablet out of a side pocket and slid the tablet to Eth, “Take a look at the vid and then we will give you the details.”
While Eth watched the vid, Whiskers arranged meetings with the SCPD and two clients. Puddles and Chuck engaged in a brief fencing match with their chopsticks.
“Looks like a clean room,” Eth said, “Is this in Tumbledown?”
“Yeah,” Puddles mumbled setting her chopsticks down.
Eth set the tablet in the center of the table, “These piles of whatever indicate a flash job. Drug gangs have everything sensitive wired to incinerate evidence.”
“Tables or overhead system does the work, I don’t have the specifics, but hot enough to melt plastic and turn drugs into ash. You really found this in Tumbledown?”
“After a lengthy search and fight through the Black Myst gang,” Whiskers stated.
“I haven’t heard of them,” Eth interjected, “No surprise there, Tumbledown has more gangs than I have lukei on my back.”
“Would a corporation have a reason to put a clean room in Tumbledown?” Chuck asked.
“I’ve heard corporations using gangs as test beds for experimental augmentations and drugs. So it’s possible,” Eth answered.
A holo-notice appeared in front of Eth, informing him of a slight delay.
Scowling at the notice, “Why me?”
“Wonder what happened,” Chuck said dipping his chopsticks into his bowl.
“Is that kind of information something you can get?” Puddles asked.
“I’ll see if anyone knows which corps are working in Tumbledown,” Eth responded irritatedly. “Who hired you to go into Tumbledown?”
Whiskers slurped a chopstick full of noodles while shrugging. Across the table, Eth looked annoyed, “Where is my bowl? Don’t they know who I am?”
“What my partner means, is we were hired by a Doctor Marlowe, but not the real Doctor Marlowe. The faux Doctor Marlowe, wanted us to locate his daughters. The real Doctor Marlowe has no daughters.”
“Two Doctor Marlowes?”
Shaking her head, “We didn’t go over his data in detail before looking into the case.”
“No particular reason. We made a mistake,” Whiskers replied. Another slurp. Another shrug.
“You have pulled his data since then?” Eth asked.
“I did,” Chuck said.
“I will keep an ear open for information on a second Doctor Marlowe,” Eth said looking around for his food.
“Much appreciated,” Puddles said.
“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 a bowl of noodles 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 person you two are interested in are beyond me. I will see what I can find, will that work?”