I walked towards one with a functioning screen and typed in some commands. I was far from being a genius with these things, but Knife had taught me some tricks in my career as a courier. I had no idea how to hack into a server from a distance, nor how to build programs, but I did know how to get in without the need of knowing the log in name and password. And within a few minutes I had full access to all the documents I wanted. By the looks of it, the building and all of its equipment had belonged to a rival group of couriers. As with us, they had met the same kind of fate as we did. Only they did not have the pleasure of being warned about it. They had paid that cost with their lives.
I looked around me and was surprised by the amount of information I could get to, considering the state of most servers were left at. I scrolled through the files and found most corrupted or wiped clean. References to files that had once occupied the now broken hard drives. But I mostly found documents with detailed job descriptions and layouts from several buildings in the city. However, nothing related to the murdering nor the police. So I searched some more and eventually found a job report featuring odd police behavior. The date of the document was set on yesterday.
It described in full detail what happened and I recognized the same extreme hostility towards couriers as I had that same day. But another thing the document described was the idea that this particular job and some before had been compromised. As if someone within the group had relayed information to the police. As in a mole. Although the information was not confirmed nor was it further investigated within the team.
Probably this mole was also the cause of what had happened within the building. At least, that was what I figured. And I began to feel scared. What if we had encountered the same problem? What if we had also been infiltrated? I quickly switched my focus on finding the name of the mole and dug up some members list on the sever. I opened the file and searched for names I recognized. One name in particular drew my attention. It was the very last one under the heading “new recruits”. The name spelled:
Well wasn’t that surprising. My very own friend who had just joined our clan. Somehow that ‘surprising turn of events’ was not so coincidental at all. I did not want to draw any conclusions just yet. But we definitely had to talk.
After I closed the file with my findings I continued to search for other relevant information, but it seemed most of it was not accessible anymore. I tried to retrieve some pictures of the members, but mostly run dry. Hoping to find a picture of Jill and find out it was someone with the same name. But I had no such luck. I shut off the computer and wiped all information which could lead back to me. As if no one had ever broken in the system at all.
I left my train of thought about Jill with the computer and cleared my mind. Back to survival instincts. I looked around the room and searched for alternate exits but found myself stuck with windows and doors. And at ground level, these were not the most delicate ways of leaving the building. But I had no liking in climbing back up the stairs I had just traversed. So I just took the hard decision and went through the front door.
I ended up in a back alley and made my way towards the main streets. On the whey there I looked around for a disguise and eventually found some in a dumpster. A bag full of old, but still decent clothing. Probably from a few years back. Thrown away to make room for the newer collection. Grabbed a pair of jeans and a hoody, I even got to choose which color I preferred. So I went with a yellow jumper and a pair of ordinary blue jeans. Did my hair differently in the reflection of a water puddle and walked right into the crowd. It had been a long time.
I had not been on the streets at daytime for about a year. Would it not have been more? We always bought our food from a guy who we had connections with. Afraid we would get recognized by the public, or worse, the police themselves while on patrol. Many of our faces were well known with the popo’s. From jobs that just didn’t turn out the way they were planned. I had been seen by the cops several times, some had seen me twice and were so polite to express that in a very subtle way. “Hey, that is that girl we run in a few months back! I won’t let you slip away this time!” but they never learned. I was never captured. Always have an escape plan, which is the key to not being arrested and held.
My heart was pounding as I roamed the streets for food, clothing, a haircut and mostly information. Which was hard to come by, but after I spent some money on a baguette and a new look, I made my way to an informant. I had never met him before but Blade always referred to him simply as ‘Mister Green’. Which was funny by itself, because he ran a grocery store. He was the guy to go to if things went sour. That’s what Blade told everyone. This was one of those times I guess.
The grocery was located a few kilometers away from the central area and was placed near a construction site. It was getting early and opening hours started to kick in. I had to be there before. The building was old and the wood started to show its age. But it gave the front character. The front of the building was colored a bright green and the door was embedded deeper into the store. A sunshade with somewhat the same color hung just above the walkway and had the words ‘Gabe’s grocery store’ written on top of it. Jup, this was definitely the one I was looking for. It seemed like the store was still closed as the lights were off and there was no chalkboard to be seen. However, I could see a figure walking about and putting boxes full of fresh greens around. Someone was home. I waked closer to the window on the left and knocked on the glass to get his attention. He put away some crate and walked towards the door and pointed his finger to the closed sign which hung from the doors top. He moved his finger towards the sticker on the bottom which stated the opening times.
I had no clue how to tell this guy what I was here for so I just showed him the clan mark on my arm. So I slid up my sleeve and showed him I came for something else than groceries. He looked shocked and quickly turned the lock and let me in. As soon as the door opened he greeted me and looked at me with his worried old face. His age seemed way off to me and I had no idea how Blade knew this old geezer. The man’s age was on the wrong side of fifty. And to me, he should have gone on pension a few years back.
He wore a shirt with the same color as the building and a blue apron on top. Old jeans and black shoes. His hair was all twisted around and he looked like a scattered professor. When I looked more closely I even found some broccoli in his hair. But at least he was nice and looked like a welcome kind of guy. So I greeted back.
“The fact that you are standing here, means something’s wrong, does it not?” The man asked me, with his face all worried.
“Yes, in fact it does. Things got bad, real bad.” I replied. I did not want to put a damper on this guy’s day at all, but he was the only one I could turn to now.
“Don’t tell me that it was your group this time. Please.” And I saw his face going from worried to deep sad. I sympathized with him. Somehow I got the feeling this old frog was more than just an informant of Blade’s. Somewhat along the lines of a relative, or a close friend. As if things couldn’t get any worse.