Kerr began to protest, but didn’t want to be that guy and remained silent.
The van door opened, and a pair of legs swung out. The driver was short with black hair and dark complexion. He raised both hands. His blue coveralls were too big for him, bunched up on his wrists and ankles. His unshaved face looked haggard. His tired and shot eyes shifted between them.
Kerr frowned. At first glance, this man didn’t look like a proper candidate for the Gift. Kerr wondered if the man had been sleeping in his truck. Kerr’s ideal candidate for the Gift was a white-bearded scientist or crisp politician — maybe a man dressed in an expensive suit. This man looked like a delivery person from the slums.
Murphy and Johansson lowered their guns. Murphy dropped back to the nearest column. His eyes continued to scan the forest of concrete around them.
Major Blanc called to the man in a cheerful voice, “Ramzi, good to see you again, my friend!”
Ramzi gave a tired smile, nodding, “And you, my friend.” He lowered his raised hands. Kerr noticed beads of sweat on the man’s forehead. What was wrong?
Braun’s voice echoed in the empty space, “How’s your uncle?”
Ramzi played with the clasp of his coveralls, “He is good. We’re looking forward to the operation today.”
Colonel Braun gave a satisfied nod. “Don’t keep the man waiting, Major.”
Ramzi twitched as Blanc approached. Major Blanc presenting her briefcase to the man with a quick flourish.
Kerr cocked his head to one side. He turned to Braun, “Shouldn’t I be the one to give the Gift?”
Colonel Braun’s hard eyes silenced him. He chewed the wad in his mouth and considered Kerr for a moment. He glanced first to Johansson and then to Murphy. Johansson nodded. Murphy shrugged. He looked back at Kerr, seeming to make a decision.
“Here’s the deal, egghead. We aren’t giving him the Gift.”
Kerr’s mouth opened and closed his mouth. His mind drew a sudden blank. He sputtered, “W-what do you mean?”
Braun watched Major Blanc as she pressed her fingers against both latches on the silver case. The latch sprung open with a click. She displayed the contents of the briefcase to Ramzi. Kerr couldn’t see what was inside. Ramzi raised his eyebrows. His lips puckered in a silent whistle.
He turned to retrieve something from the van. Murphy and Johannson raised their weapons again. Ramzi held up both hands and slowed. He kept one hand up as he reached in the cab.
He took a brown briefcase off the driver’s seat. He showed it to the pair of privates. Both soldiers lowered their guns.
Ramzi presented and opened the briefcase. Kerr saw stacks of green and the glitter of metal and gems before the case was closed again and handed to Major Blanc.
As the case switched hands, Ramzi added, “The USB drive also contains coordinates to the other things you have ordered.”
From the Top…
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