He is in two places now. Trembling beneath the grime crusted lights of a gutted out basement h e has found an uneasy peace here with the tiny roaches that inch along his clothing and the rats that gnaw anxiously at his steel toed shoes. He is wet with anger. He is wide eyes and teeth grinding through enamel. Guilt opens and closes his red fists, the black nails cutting smiles into scar-flesh palms. Here is what remains: Black and green duffle bags are torn open, some with spent bandages or clothes. Some are ripped beyond repair. Static leaps from dead headsets singing white noise. It is the hum of a computer far away or the grating and screeching sound of wind after dusk. It is garbled, indistinct in sound or purpose. He listens nonetheless for some type of pattern. Maybe there is an answer in that pattern, or a way out. The firearms they salvaged are spattered with thick blood. It could be his, but not all of it. No matter. The guns will be cleaned and sold, or they will be kept and tucked away for another job and other people. The people once attached to them have retreated past the point of caring. He is there himself, almost. Ragged shallow breaths push hot clouds into the still air. It would hurt far too much to cough. Underneath bullet-bent Kevlar, magic bubbles and spurts, knitting bone and shredded skin. It has saved him now, as it saved him…
…at the beginning
In high school the kids always said he was gullible. Ol Willie, the easiest chum in the „plex. They said that he would fall for anything, do anything that people told him to do. By 11th grade a rage had swelled inside of him, hard and jagged like the volcanic rocks that litter the streets of Redmond. One day he reached inside of that rage and pulled out a piece of it. Just a scoop. Four of the bigger boys decided to give Ol‟ Willie a hard time. Not because he was different than the other kids, or because he was shy around the girls. No, because he would take it. They would play a game. They would tell Ol‟ Willie that he was going to be part of their gang. All he had to do was let them beat him in; prove that he was tough enough to walk on the same side of the street as them. So, Willie agreed. Anything was better than watching life from his tire and sand luxury box at the edge of the schoolyard. The biggest of the boys was already showing tusks. That one started in on Ol‟ Willie with a roar and a meaty backhand that turned Ol‟ Willie‟s tiny face bright red. Once the boy was down, the others started in with kicks and jeers and wild fists. Seven minutes, and the moments between the seconds seemed to hang until they grew bored of beating on poor Ol‟ Willie. When they were done, his arm had been shattered, his leg broken in two places. His face…
“ Come back to me Wedge.”
It takes William a moment to sort out the images. To realize that the leather voiced man is talking to him. The images of the four boys are shadows now and they drift to the corners of his subconscious. The lonely image of a woman, face shattered and bloody… That remains. That can never leave. “Where you been, Wedge? I‟ve been talking for damn near five minutes.” The voice is old western movies. Clint Eastwood and rusty spurs. “Sorry Trotter, my mind‟s just in other places right now.” And he wishes he were lying. Standing up, Trotter comes to Wedges shoulder. He is brown skinned with coarse black hair hidden by a cowboy hat and a braided goatee that hangs to his barrel chest. Trotter doesn‟t know how to smile and when he does it is more fang than friendship. He is smiling today, and his eyes hide something even darker. “You need to deal your shit on your own time boy. I don‟t fancy dyin‟ for ya.” “I understand what you‟re saying Trotter, but I can‟t switch off like that. We lost a lot out there tonight.” He watches the dwarf‟s electronic blue eyes, but it is Brightstar and her natural almond orbs that plague his mind. Trotter folds his arms and shakes his head from right to left. He doesn‟t have the cuts and holes that have grounded Wedge. His black sweatshirt is free of dust and grime. “Guess you better quick-learn some kind of way to switch off, or else nineteen is the last birthday you‟re gonna take a look at. This is some serious shit we are sittin in the middle of.”
Willie Wedge can feel the fractured bones fusing back together and the feeling is adrenaline over cocaine. He comes to his feet angry, “You think I don‟t know what went down?! Where were you when it was happening?!” “You need to calm down boy, and start remembering who pulled your busted hoop out of there when security started gettin‟ personal. You and me, we are it. „Less I missed the revolution, there aren‟t too many people in 2067 who‟d deal straight with someone my size. That puts getting us out of this shit on you, Wedge.” And he knows Trotter‟s words make sense. Twist was inside with him and Brightstar. He never saw what happened to Twist, but Brightstar… They had taken a score to hit a Kelmar Technologies research lab and pull some tests results off the main frame. It‟s the kind of work that people like him do. Maybe not legal, but noble, and always necessary. Brightstar got him started, just after high school. She said she loved him. He said he‟d never let her down. The Dwarf drones on, talking about the need to put together some sort of plan. The words repeat themselves over and again. But Wedge has already separated. He‟s in between spaces where all he can see is Brightstar‟s face.
That first backhand pushed his nose across his cheek. The rest of their work went towards crushing his jaw and prying loose most of his teeth. His mangled hands stood firm to protect his apricot eyes. But when it was over, even the four boys couldn‟t look at what they had done.
One whispered, “Is he dead?” You could almost feel the desire in his voice. But Ol‟ Willie wasn‟t dead. Nope. He turned his eyes skyward; his body was trembling and leaking vital fluids. The four of them fell silent. Finally the big one croaked out, “What should we do?” Then Ol‟ Willie answered for them. “Am I in?” Silence. “Am I in your gang?” His voice was desperate and confused, the croaking of a wounded frog. Then the big one cleared his throat and then said, “No. We weren‟t gonna let you in our gang. You‟re too little and dumb. We just wanted to beat on you for a while, that‟s all.” Then another casually, “Sorry.” And that‟s when it happened.
“What the fuck do you keep thinking about?!” Wedge isn‟t in that alley. He is in a Seattle basement, quivering hands glowing peach from a pair of 30-watt light bulbs siphoning power from local lines. There is no furniture beyond the duck-taped plasti-leather chair that has become his living tomb. Trotter calls this place a safe house. Wedge doesn‟t feel very safe. “The question was what now, Wedge?” It is an answer that‟s far from simple. Trotter has been out on the streets a few times since it all happened. Long enough to catch wind of the bounty on their heads, and the warrants for their arrest. Long enough to figure out that there weren‟t too many „friends‟ left to help them.
“There‟s a guy I know, if you can get me a safe line.” Trotter nods and is in motion it doesn‟t take long to route the cell call through enough buffers to give them time. It‟s enough time for Wedge to work his way out of the chair and to the base of the stairs where he waits for the phone. Two rings. “I need your help.” Wedge scrunches up his face as whispers into the phone. “I know I „m not supposed to call you but there isn‟t any other way.” Watching, Trotter spits a sour glob from between his teeth. It lands near Wedge and the boy shoots back a slow glare. “We have cash stored away.” The glare is a frown and Trotter pulls off his cowboy hat. The brown edges are frayed, and it smells of old cigarettes. “What will it take to make this happen for us?” Wedge nods, but the voice on the other end can‟t see him. “I understand.” He hangs up the phone and relaxes visibly. He can feel the pain flowing away from his body. Magic has done its part, and he knows how to call it when he needs it again. “I don‟t plan on standin‟ here all day waitin‟ for ya ta speak boy.” Wedge nods. Then, slowly, he stands up. “He can make us disappear. Only, if he‟s going to help us, we have to do him a favor first.” “What a job? Cack somebody? What?
“Yeah.” “What yeah? Yeah a job? Or yeah a killin?” Trotter barks. “Both. He wants us to cack Terrence Chin and get the stuff out of the safe above his bed.” Trotter throws up his hands in disgust. He waddles to the far end of the room where steps retreat into the ceiling. “Fuck that. You better find somebody else to get us out of this.” “Trotter, it isn‟t as bad as it sounds. With you handling the tech and this guy‟s information, we can do this and be out of Seattle no problem.” The toothy smirk revisits Trotters face and his southern drawl is more distinct now. “You know, Wedge, I guess yer right. Afterwards, we‟ll just cruise down to Denver and put down Ghostwalker.” Trotter is nodding vigorously. He is also looking at his bags. I‟m shootin‟ straight with you Trotter. This guy, Mr. Kyle, he‟s been giving me advice for a while now. He used to be one of us when he was younger. “I know about yer Mr. Kyle, you never shut up about „em.” Trotter spits again. It‟s closer to Wedge this time. “Yeah, well he gave me a place to pick up maps and pass codes. He said, we do this for him and we‟re taken care of. A favor for a favor.” “Yer talkin shit boy. Even if you don‟t know ye are, ye are. Do you even know who Terrence Chin is?”
Wedge shrugs slightly, keeping his eyes to the ground. “He‟s just another figurehead, another piece on the board like you or me. He‟s not special.” But Wedge knows otherwise. Terrence chin is a separate league of man; Pinstripe suits and Mortimer of London ties. Terrence Chin is Chiba born bodyguards laced with top line cybernetic parts. “Ain‟t our league boy. We tried that shit before and lost my gal Delany. That‟s why we went small time remember? We try that again and the same thing that happened to D and happened to Brightstar… That kinda shit is gon‟ happen to us.” Trotter sits on those broke plasticrete steps, his brown body hunched over, knees to elbows, palms to chin. “Trotter, I don‟t like this any more than you do. But we don‟t have a lot of choices right now. You asked me to set something up. I did. “ Trotter‟s hat is off again and he is playing with the black band. He is very small now, a child afraid to walk out of doors. His leather voice he asks, “Can we trust your man?” “I trust him.” Wedge says too quickly, remembering Brightstar, remembering before, and the memories flood his mind like air bubbles.
Just a scoop.
He dipped in the well of emotions and the feel of them was like mercury in his veins. With the one good arm, Ol‟ Willie lifted himself off the ground and propped himself up against the
alley wall. The four boys were dumbstruck. How could he get up? After that beating he should have been dead. Unconscious at least. Neither. That hot anger pushed through his body, deadening his nerve endings and dialing into senses Ol‟ Willie never knew he had. At once he could smell the wretched stench of his own blood. He could feel something deep inside of him rising to the surface. It propelled him forward, off the wall and towards those four boys. “Jesus!” One kid started, and it was the last thing he ever did say. Ol‟ Willie reached out and twisted that boys neck until he heard the pop. The others ran. They didn‟t know what to say or even think about what had just happened. Ol‟ Willie did. He knew that they had awakened something inside of him. He had only used a small part of what he could do.
Just a scoop. It‟s like simsense, the memories of that day looping through his head as strong as they were when it happened. He can hear the dull whack of their blows, and the feeling of absolute terror the rich pain brought him. It is all he thought about now that Brightstar was gone. Watching her fall gave him that same fear; that same rush of adrenaline that says the magic is working or at least ready to. Thinking about it keeps the magic pumping through his veins. And then his thoughts swim towards regret. Not for what he‟d done to the boys in that alley, but for what it did to him. Three years ago William Wedgemore was a B average student in high school. Yesterday he became a fugitive.
“Everything is set on my end, Wedge.” Trotter‟s voice is hollow over the Cencast headset. They have to go tonight. Between the bounty on their heads and the warrants, they couldn‟t afford to plan this out for days. So Trotter would be on the roof across the street from the target‟s Renton high rise. Wedge would go inside. “I‟m having second thoughts already.” He meant it to sound like a joke, but his voice cracked. Trotter replied with a nervous laugh of his own. “I can‟t see your position Wedge. You shakin yet?” “Little bit.” It wasn‟t the cold. “Good.” He is dressed in black fatigues and an oversized longcoat, waiting in an alley just beyond the high rise. There the shadows are winter cloth clinging to his body. Trotter gives the go ahead and he climbs atop the dumpster and towards one of the buildings air vents. Mr. Kyle‟s diagrams said that the vents would get him into the maintenance area. “You should be there now Wedge. I wouldn‟t risk communication much longer, their security may pick it up and home in on you.” “I‟m good. You just make sure I have a way out. I‟m trusting you.” “No kid I‟m trustin‟ you. Mr. Kyle ain‟t shit to me, only word I got to know that he won‟t fuck us when this is over is yer word. It doesn‟t happen just the way you say and we‟re gon‟ have a lot of talking to do you and me.” “I‟ll never forget what Brightstar said when she found me in that alley Trotter. She said „you got a lot to learn about trust kid‟. I think I have Trotter. Trust, honor, a lot
of things. That‟s what being a shadowrunner is about. That‟s how I know that Mr. Kyle ain‟t gonna fuck us over.” “That girl filled your head with a lot of shit.” Wedge doesn‟t respond. He kills the Cencast‟s power switch and trains his eyes on the basement elevator doors. From there, Trotters maglock passkeys and alarm busters put him into the service elevator and cruising towards Chins floor. Afterwards it is a matter of using the pass codes his contact gave him to get past the door, and of course killing the man he had come for. He tries not to think about her as the service elevator quietly rises into the night, but his hands start to shake and his mind drifts.
He is in two places again. “Trotter we need pick up now!” Brightstar‟s voice cut above the raucous gunfire. She had red hair done into a bun atop her head and held there by black rubber bands and sweat. Wedge trailed behind her, his body leaking life from half a dozen bullet holes. She slowed to a jog, turning tight corners in the small gray hallways. “This whole place is coming down on us Brightstar.” Her response was a curt nod, and a burst of gunfire down a hall he couldn‟t see. “Twist?” She called out over her Cencast headset. Wedge could feel the pain creeping through his body. It was water and he was drowning in it. All that kept him going was Brightstar‟s grim face, and the need to see that face bright with laughter yet again. The way it was before tonight.
Alarm sirens painted red and blue lights on the bloodstained walls. He followed her without even knowing where, or even caring. Ragged bodies joined gun shells on the floor below them and Wedge had to struggle just to hear himself think. His own headset had been lost ages ago, right when it all hit the fan. The ork-sized guard that grabbed him ripped it off his head, and then tried to take his head with it. But he was still going. Slower, tired, but alive. “Twist, this is Brightstar. I‟ve lost visual with you, can you here me? We‟re headed for the back stairs, plan B. Get you subderm back on line you oversized son of a bitch! I don‟t have time for you to be dead…”In any other situation Wedge would have started laughing. Brightstar had a way with people. It wasn‟t always polite, but they listened. “Twist?!” The stairwell echoes amplified her voice a hundred fold and the sound of it was painful. Wedge didn‟t want to keep firing for fear of what the gunshots would do to his hearing. He slammed the stairwell door behind him, listening to the waterfall crescendo of troops from above and below. “How do we get out?!” He screamed. She fixed him with a cold stare, and leaned in close. “Keep it together boyo, trust me when I say we‟ll make it out. All of us.” “I trust you…” He held her gaze for another moment before his eyes went white with fear. She spun back around just as a guard was rounding the corner. “No!” He wasn‟t fast enough to stop him or to push her down. Thunder deafened his hearing. Her head shot backwards.
The elevator doors open. He stands there for a minute, watching the stillness around him. The hallway is a pasty white color definitely not what Wedge would have expected from a high rise. The elevator doors are painted gold on the outside and the carpet is blue with a gold colored pattern. He presses the button to summon the elevator and it came almost immediately. The dwarf has specific instructions on what to do once they go com-silent. He follows them to a tee. “Take that box I gave you and put it over the elevators control box. That‟s going to be your exit. When you get on, I‟ll send it up. Be quick about that shit too. Once you break into Chin‟s place security is gonna know you‟re there. The elevator will zip you right up to the roof and I‟ll be waiting there with our exit.” He walks to Chin‟s door and without pause, punches the pass code into the lock. “Thank you, Mr. Kyle.” The door unlocks with a soft click. Wedge pulls out his weapon, a silenced pistol that belonged to Brightstar once. The chrome has been stripped away and redone in chalky black like his clothes. The living room too is pitch black, save for the watery glow of an aquarium along the east wall. It‟s an ordinary apartment for what it is. Ordinary Cerwin-Vega 25” woofers flanking an Aiwa-Hitachi MRC 9000 Home A/V Studio. Ordinary Leather couch with matching recliners. Ordinary suit of handcrafted Japanese Samurai armor lurking in the farthest corner from the backlit door. Light streams in behind him and his silhouette paints itself on the polished hardwood floor. He takes a few quick steps towards the bedroom and suddenly the lights come on.
A man is kneeling on the ground in the center of the room. Wedge can‟t figure out how he didn‟t see him before. The man is bare-chested and coated in tattoos from shoulder to forearms. His chest is the canvas of ink dragons red and gold, but a stripe of flesh had been left untouched where a shirt would open. In his hands a katana rests anxiously. His eyes betray the look of surprise. It isn‟t how Wedge imagined and his mind…
…back pedals. He‟s staring at a gray cinderblock and the blood dripping patiently from his cut fist. “I can‟t do this Brightstar. I don‟t have the gift.” “You do. I can see it.” She unballs his fist and carefully wipes the blood from each knuckle. “Then where is it now? You‟ve punched through four of these things at once. I nearly broke my hand taking a swing at one.” “The magic comes when you need it. I can‟t tell you how, or what it takes to keep it going. It was anger that brought it out when I found you. For me it‟s the wrath of the righteous I guess.” “Wrath of the righteous? Who are you, Joan of Arc?” He‟s giggling and feeling her soft hands with his good one. “I don‟t know, unless I truly believe in what I‟m doing the magic won‟t come for me. Power is fickle that way. You just have to find your mantra.” Wedge smiles and leans in closer. “I think it‟s you.”
“No!” And she starts to turn, but she can‟t. The stairway is too narrow or her reflexes too fatigue-slowed. Every other movement in the research lab stops One hundred times looping through his brain she can never turn. Wide eyes and a piercing scream greet the hail of gunfire. Even the sound of it remains: Sirens. Lightening thrice struck. The bullets sound like watermelons smashing the uneven ground. He‟s watching the life drain from her shattered face and his anger becomes a living thing that snakes through his system pushing away the watery pain. It‟s more than just a scoop and the security guard doesn‟t have time to react. “Jesus!” and it‟s the last thing he ever does say…
…He is getting up. “You don‟t want to move, Mr. Chin. I don‟t want to kill you.” Wedge isn‟t lying. There is nothing noble in gunning down a half-naked man. Wedge can feel his heart beating faster now, beads of sweat piling anxiously atop the peak of his forehead. He can see the shadows of those four boys reaching out from the corners of his subconscious. Brightstar is one of them now, and no matter how many times he blinks, she won‟t go away.
“In Hokkaido we throw the little ones back. Leave now and I will tell my security people not to destroy you.” Chin is bluffing. Wedge can see it in the sweat trickling down his temples. “I told you. I‟m not here for you, or them.” There‟s a quiver in his voice that doesn‟t belong. ” I‟m here for what‟s in the safe above your bed. You open it up, for me and I go quietly.” “You enter my home, Gaijin, and ask me to give you what belongs to my family? No.” “I wasn‟t asking you.” Wedge pulls back the hammer on Brightstar‟s Predator II. The uncertainty is gone from Terrence Chin‟s eyes, but there is no fear to replace it. This is the Terrence Chin he expected. The noble pride behind those eyes eggs Wedge on. At once, he is no less than this figurehead, this man. At once, he is neither small nor dumb. Chin‟s thin mouth spreads into an angered smirk. “I hold a blade and you stare me down with a gun? You Gaijin are all alike. You know nothing of honor.” “Some of us do.” Casually, Wedge tosses his gun to the floor. Chin rises slowly, and moves to place his blade on the ground. “Keep your blade.” Brightstar‟s face is waiting behind his eyelids. Lightning gunshots hover between his every thought. It isn‟t Chin who killed her, but it is. Wedge coolly peels off his longcoat and the magic is lava pooling at the surface of his skin. “Give me what‟s in the safe, Mr. Chin.”
The painted man lunges forward, sword first. Wedge sidesteps, magic meshing with flesh and pushing him faster than he‟s ever moved before. He makes a full spin and comes around behind Chin. He reaches out with a bare fist and connects solidly with the back of Chins skull. The report is bone crunching against metal. It‟s enough to knock a normal man to his knees, but Chin‟s half-dazed smirk reminds Wedge that the oriental man is more than just normal. “Steel in my bones, Gaijin. Steel between your ribs in a moment.” Chin dances the blade forward, and Wedge is back stepping; twisting and turning to avoid being cut in half. He feints left and tries to close but vat grown muscle drives Chin‟s katana through Wedges chest. It hangs there a moment before the Japanese man yanks it out again. He starts to laugh, walking away as Wedge falls to the ground. “Noble, Gaijin, but slow.” Then Wedge is laughing. The blade has ripped into his lung but the magic and adrenaline seal the wound almost as quickly as the wound is made. He scampers to his feet and Chin is spinning around trying to bring is weapon to bear. Chin is screaming curses when raises the blade for a finishing blow but he can‟t finish the job. Wedge is upon him, scarred hands wrapped around the painted man neck, lips curled into an angry snarl. Terrence Chin is gasping and flailing. It ends much faster than it began.
“Trotter can you hear me?” Wedge is fumbling with the Cencast, trying to get it turned back on. “What the fuck are ye doin boy? Don‟t use your com on the inside!” “No choice. It got complicated. I‟m getting to the safe now.” “Complicated? You sound like shit. All gurgling or somethin‟. What‟s gon‟ on in there?” The safe contains a pocket secretary, some optical disks and three credsticks, which Wedge shoves in his pants. “Got stabbed. Chin may have made a little more noise then we counted on. I need you to guide me out of here fast.” “Shit boy, I told you to shoot him. What was he doin‟, standin behind the door and jumped out at you?” Wedge is only half listening. He can hear the sound of apartment doors springing open. “Something like that.” “Boy, this honor shit of yers is gon‟ get us both killed.” He heads for the front door, hastily pulling on his longcoat and fishing his gun out from where it landed under the couch. He stops at the doorway where he hears men speaking in Japanese. He closes the door and locks it. “Umm, Trotter, I‟m stuck.” “Can‟t get to the roof?” “I can‟t get out of the fuckin room.” They‟re knocking at the door now and he backs away slowly, pistol raised and ready to fire. Killing Chin was one thing, but Chiba‟s best is beyond what he can handle.
“I‟m not gonna die in this room, Trotter. Get me the hell out.” “Hold on!” The knocking becomes pounding and then they‟re trying to break through. “Trotter…!” “Ok, go to the window, master bedroom.” He‟s moving before the dwarf gets all the words out. And behind him he can hear the door break free of its hinges. “When you get there, bust that sucker open.” “It‟s 15 stories straight down!” He‟s kicking out the glass, and he hears Chin‟s bodyguards only yards away. They‟ve found the body. “Who said anything about down?” A line of black nylon rope dangles playfully outside of the window, with an oversized D-ring for a handle. Wedge grabs it and tugs once. It yanks back, dragging him up the side of the building. A bodyguard pokes his head out of the busted window. He is screaming at Wedge in Japanese. A silent chorus of Predator II rounds chase the cyber-eyed oriental back into the room. Wedge flies up the side of the building twisting, turning and bouncing off glass and concrete. Chin‟s bodyguard pokes his head out again but Wedge is already at the top, climbing over. “Trotter?” He sees the line that carried him to the roof. It‟s wired to a wench that whirs and clicks off automatically when the D-ring is wound back into the spool. Trotter isn‟t there; isn‟t anywhere so far as Wedge can see. He‟s on a flat rooftop, the stairwell bunker and elevator housings sitting across from him.
“Trotter…?” And the Cencast spits back white noise. No pattern, no hidden message. Winter wind kicks dust and debris off the rooftops around him. The guards will be here soon. “…Trotter?” And his mind is separating, the magic ebbing away, replaced by hot fear. And for a moment he is…
…At the beginning Voice desperate and confused, the croaking of a wounded frog “Trotter, please.”
“Back.” Trotter. “Where the hell did you go?” Wedge is looking around, one hand pressed against the Cencast to help him hear better. “You‟re on the south side. Go around the bunkers, and move yer ass. I got the getaway all rigged up.” Wedge is moving and he hears the bodyguards in the stairwell, just like Kelmar. But it isn‟t like Kelmar. This time everybody goes home. There is a grapple line latched to the backside of the bunker, and at the other end is Trotter waiting atop the roof of the building next door. Wedge doesn‟t even slow down, he leaps of the side of the building, grabbing hold of the lines D-ring handle and slides across.
“Glad you made it.” Trotter smiles and touches a catalyst stick to the line. In a matter of moments the zip line is just more particles spiraling earthward powered by winter wind. “Thought I left ye, heh?” Trotter smiles as they slip inside of this new building and out of the area. “No, well not really. I trust you.” “Yeah, you trust a lot of people.” They stop at a bar on the way back to the safe house. Not to drink, but to make the call to Wedge‟s contact. “He better not be fuckin‟ us, boy. We did the job, now he owes us.” “A favor for a favor. He‟ll keep his word, he‟s one of us remember?.” Wedge chimes. He punches in the numbers. By now, everyone in the know would have found out about Chin, including Mr. Kyle. They‟ve kept up their end of the bargain, and Wedge has no doubts that Mr. Kyle will keep up his. “Yeah well, whatever you scored off of Chin‟s room better be as good as a ticket out of here if he don‟t.” Wedge only nods. The dwarf waits a minute and then climbs up on to a chair and leans in over Wedges shoulder as Wedge makes the call. He is very tall then. “What‟s gon‟ on?” Wedge doesn‟t answer. Instead he stares at the prompt screen. He stands there for seven minutes listening to the vidphone rattle of its dull cadence. He stands there until the anger began to boil up inside of him once again.
When he leaves it is still ringing.