1.54 - Black Market Stalking

1.54 - Black Market Stalking


 

I spoke with six drug dealers, bought from three, followed two, and it all brought me to Invictus. I’m not surprised that the drugs are flowing in from a larger city. Tonight, I’m staking out a group of people in a night market. It’s hard keeping track of them, hundreds of people flowing through tight alleyways filled with makeshift merchant stalls. All while the bright lights from the main roads shine down on the market and merchants try anything to draw more attention to their stalls. Merchants who do magic, merchants who sing, or dance. The whole thing is made to overwhelm the senses. Street food next to stolen clothing, people shouting in five different languages trying to drown out the others; it’s hard for my translator to keep up with all the commotion. Live animals like chickens and snakes are being sold as well as a few I don’t recognize. Beyond legitimate and semi-legitimate businesses, the place functions like a black market. Deep in the far corners you can pick up unregistered weapons and nobody ever looks there unless they’re looking to purchase something illegal.

Watching from the ground was too much for me, almost nauseating. I’ve chosen to take the walkways up above. Less people, and I don’t look odd just hanging out for a few minutes again. It’s easy to spot the leader. He comes around every now and then, pretends to buy some food from the stall. Sits his bag down and they slide it behind the stall. They hand him a container for the food, inside is the money they’ve made. They slide his bag back after removing the canisters of charge. They’re hardly the only dealers in the market, but they’re the ones I’m after. A blatant disrespect for their customer base and who they sell to. I’ve seen a few teenagers buy from them without so much as a hassle. I’m going to follow the leader tonight. See where he goes with the money. I’m sure I’ll find the stash of drugs along with the cash.

As he makes another pick up, I lose focus on him. It’s Edan with a large bag over his shoulder. He’s a walking with a species I don’t recognize. A tall thin man in some kind of long dress like clothing, dreadlocks with gold beads orange, skin almost rocklike and strange orange tattoos. It’s all topped off by several lip and ear piercings. I can’t make out what they’re saying but Edan seems to be making jokes, being his usual self. The other man seems to be annoyed, also not out of the ordinary. A few times the man with Edan pauses to look around, as if he can tell he’s being followed. If he actually looked up, he might have spotted me. I follow them to the edges of the market. This is one of Edan’s deals for sure. I could back off now, but I want to see what he has in the bag. I’m hoping he isn’t part of any drug trade or arms deals, nothing too illegal. I know he’s a smuggler, I know what that entails, but I don’t want my little brother doing anything too dangerous.

The two approach three men guarding a single stall. After a few words Edan reaches into the bag and pulls out a shiny blue cube that barely fits in his hand. He pokes at and twists a little. Soon some kind of projection is being displayed. The men poke at the projection, move it around. It isn’t hard to tell that they’re pleased. The man with Edan prompts him to put the cube back into his bag. He speaks with the three men who seem annoyed, almost irate. I don’t know if Edan can fight, we never had much reason to fight as kids and I’ve never seen him get into a fight. After a brief silence the three men laugh and produce a bag of their own. The man with Edan looks into the bag, moves his hand around and nods to Edan. Edan hands his bag to one of the men before taking their bag. I don’t know what he sold, but the deal went well. I could follow them back, but I don’t need to see more. My little brother is alright, and I don’t need to come to his rescue tonight.

I make my way back to the dealers, they’re still at it. A few obvious sales, not really telling people what they’re buying. Selling drugs isn’t illegal here, but they’ve got a dangerous product. Another pickup, this time I follow the money. A short man, with shoulder length dirty blonde hair that looks like he hasn’t bathed in a week leaves the market. He doesn’t head for any parking or transit; their hideout has to be near here. He enters an apartment building, and I follow. Just close enough that I can make a dash towards the elevator right before the door closes. He seems frustrated that I got on, but doesn’t pick up that I’m following him. He’s selected the fifth floor already, so I select seventeen, a random number just so I can see where he goes when he gets off. I hold the button to leave the door open and watch silently as he makes his way down the hall into an apartment. Got him.

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