Jasper tapped his pen on the desk. The echo off the tunnel walls reminded him that the lack of sound dampening was always a little annoying. He let out a sigh, clenched his fist and slowly set his hands on the desk… “That’s just an excuse to delay the upload.” He’d gotten as far with the calculations as he could without sending it outside his system. The data was parsed and packeted. All it needed was to be uploaded. About a dozen separate packets should do the trick. Unless you know what you’re looking for, no way to figure out what those numbers mean. It’s just… never comfortable. He checks his watch… 7:37. He reaches for the remains of his sandwich and begins to upload the first data packet. He sets his head on the desk and waits for his breathing to return to normal. “Well… there’s the next 12-13 hours of processing on it’s way, let’s see what can be done to pass the time until the store needs to open.”
The pacing only lasts for a few seconds, but in his head, it feels like minutes have passed. “Whattodo...whattodo… might as well go through some of the clutter here… see if I can get anything up-and-running.” He grabs one of the many boxes off the metal racks in the tunnel and sets it on a workbench and starts pulling items out. “Hmmm… a remnant from the Terrorodontist, that should go in the parts bin, nothing to really fix.” and sets the metallic claw aside, reaches back in the box and pulls out a stylized pistol with a retro-futuristic look to it. “Bolero’s pistol… I’ll… I’ll fix that later” and sets it down very delicately. “Hey… here’s one I haven’t thought about in a bit… A genuine Champions Auxiliary alert device.” turning it over a few times and then opening it up. “Yea… this shouldn’t take too long.”
Jasper sets the device down, grabs his tools and goes to work. He repairs the circuitry, adds a new battery in place and closes it back up and sets it down, face down. “Well… just about time to open, better head back up.” He climbs the ladder up to the surface and locks the hatch behind him. Once the monitors go to sleep, the tunnel is shrouded in darkness… until a pulse from the signal device rings the device in a soft green light.
That evening, the hatch reopens, the lights turn on in the tunnel and Jasper climbs down. He turns towards the desk and stops, staring at the light pulsing from the signal device. He slowly, tentatively, reaches for it, turns it over, presses his thumb into the scanner and sees the following on the small screen…
<14,000 2007 meet 2100>
“What the… ah… not 14,000, but 14th & Grand. Makes sense. That was where I met with Arc-imedes and he gave me this little thing after the latest V'han Invasion... back in 2007
. Well, looks like I have plans tonight. He grabs his gear and heads out.
It’s not far away from his shop, so he takes a pretty circuitous route, hoping to hide the direction he came from in case anyone is watching once he arrives. He ducks into an alley across from Rope a’ Doppio about an hour early, and waits. He enters a few minutes before 9, notices that he’s the only patron here, which makes sense, considering the time. Not more than a few seconds to get an Americano and he’s seated in a booth at the far edge, away from the door. Scanning the walls of the shop shows the history of boxing in the memorabilia, the security cameras aren’t hidden. “Guess it’s the times we’re in” as he checks his watch, it’s 9pm.
the pay phone near his booth, he had assumed was just ornamental. He looked around… no other customers and the staff must’ve gone into the back.
He clenches his fists… and releases. He tries to scan the street outside, but the light in the coffee shop makes that difficult at best.
He scratches nervously under the wristband, waits a second and backs out of the booth towards the wall…
Once there, he reaches across his body, eyes never leaving the door and slowly lifts the receiver and brings it to his ear…
On the other end of the line, there is a pleasing voice with little inflection, “Doctor Oddity”.
He lets out a sigh and his shoulders sag a little; “Hello Socrates… how’ve you been?”