Pirate Chronicles. Shady business. Part 2



— Well, hello, Anne. Come on in, sit down. — said the man calmly and without turning around.
— Something happened, Belle? — said Ben.
— Not really. I came to visit, to see you. Do you mind?
— Usually, you get in touch with us on our channel, something urgent?
— You know what. My father once had his own small dining facility in imperial lands. Small, but it provided some honest credits for a comfortable living. Feeding lost mercenaries and officers on patrols. One day he decided to hire himself an assistant. He found a pretty hard-working girl. Dad liked her, he even paid her more. But one day he noticed her putting a check in her pocket with a number to transfer credits for a lunch. That’s how empire officers pay. Checks used in such establishments usually come from faction treasury. These checks were almost the basis of business life. Father didn’t believe his eyes, he literally raised this girl, taught her everything he knew. “Why doesn’t she just ask me for money?” — he asked himself. He would never say no to her, he would help her. So that’s what you do with this girl? Ben?
— I’m… I don’t know what you’re… But, um… But based on your story… I’d forgive her, she probably needed it. It’s embarrassing to ask… I guess… — said Ben in a trembling voice.


Trix rose and calmly addressed the boss in the same lovely voice:


Gentlemen, I respect your conversation, but if you’ll excuse me, I’m an old lady and I have to go to the bathroom, would you excuse me?
— Certainly — said Belle having conceded the path and having turned to his partners.

The bathroom was at the end of the office. Small, but it had everything necessary. The old wooden door closed as soon as Trix walked in.


— Let’s keep going. — Belle continued in the same calm tone — And you, Anne, what can you say?
— I think that’s what she thinks too — Ben butted into the conversation. 

Anne looked around the room. She was thinking. Her hardly restrained fear enveloped her whole body, each cell filled with adrenaline. 
Belle turned to Ben slowly. When he got closer to Anne, he said


— Come on, what would you do with my father’s assistant?..
— I’d fire her. She took money from her breadwinner. She probably did it more than once and would have done it more if she hadn’t been noticed.


The pirate leader again retreated to the panorama.
— I think you’re right, Anne. And now the big question. Where’s my money?
— What? What kind of money? We’re working honestly, you know — Ben said. 
— Belle, we really have no idea what you’re talking about. — Anne said more calmly.


Belle turned around, walked a little back to the bathroom and said:
— Oh, really?


The next moment, he took his portable EM emitter off his belt and shot down the thin bathroom door. 


— What the hell? What are you doing, Belle? — the partners started shouting.
— We have a rat. You work with my accounts. Only you know how to make my money clean for trading in the faction market. And there’s no money. Where are they?
— Listen, Belle. — Anne started talking nervously. — We always show you the numbers. Everything according to the old scheme, we load transports and transfer your credits through offshores, using 20% of the required amount for all expenses. The documents are sent to you, all the money and goods you loot become clean and you can dispose of them in any market without intermediaries. We’ve been working like this for four years, what’s the matter? 
— I heard you. — the pirate leader said still calmly, looking away at the two guards standing behind the partners. They picked them up and threw them on their knees. Belle slowly approached them, bent over Ben, leaning his emitter against his temple.
— Anne… You… You don’t know everything. — said Ben timidly.
— I don’t know everything either. — said Belle. — But you’re gonna tell us, right?
— I’m… I added extra numbers in the paper. An extra 800 credits for fuel for each transport. That’s pennies, they were invisible.
— How much, Ben? How much did you take from me?
— 20 million. In four years. Please don’t hurt Annie, she really didn’t know it was me.
Belle shot Ben without looking, then slowly walked towards Anne.


— I trusted you with everything. I trusted you like my friends — with a gun to Anne’s head said the pirate leader. — I was counting on your honest cooperation. Big deals. I got a knife in the back.


— Look, wait, Belle, wait, don’t shoot, I have an idea, an offer, we can make money. I… I remember you talking about the occupied buildings, the power complex… something. I can help you launder there, there are thousands of pilots flying there every day. We’ll build a place for entertainment. Everyone can do what they want with their money.
— That’s enough. — Belle said while loading his weapon.
— Fifty million in three months. Bar, casino. A hotel. I’ll get you that money. I’ll make them clean! There are thousands of pilots flying there every day.
— You already said that. 


Belle raised his emitter while Anne, with her eyes closed, thought of her life, waiting for her sentence.


— Fifty in three months? Look… I took note of that. If you can’t do it, you know the outcome. You’ll be picked up in the morning. You’ll get the money on arrival. Welcome to the team. One more time.


A month later. In the entertainment complex “Skeleton Island”.


— Who’s banging on my door like that? Too many drinks at the bar and then they ask for more on the house, come on! 
— Why are you saying this, Annie? — opening the door, Belle came out slowly and out of the darkness of the corridor. — Are you okay?
— B-belle. You know, I… It’s okay, I’m just… I’m working, working Trying to get more people in here.
— More? Annie… If you were okay, I’d have got a third of the money you promised. You don’t write. You don’t call. So you’re not doing so well, are you, darling?
— No, no, everything’s fine. I try to be as honest as possible with you, I even do accounting, you can say legal business for illegal money in illegal territory.
— I… I can give you ten million by tomorrow. — Anne said stretching toward the voice transmitter. — Jonah, come see me right now, yeah, right away.
— Ten? This is not enough. It’s been a month, Annie. The deal was fifty for three.
— But three didn’t pass. We’re just getting started, and we’ll make up for it!


At this moment, a young man came into the office short of breath, he was Anne’s right hand in business matters.


— What happened? I’m really busy in there right now!
— Jonah, come on! We have guests, meet Belle. Our boss and your boss too.
— I would say the owner, — the pirate leader corrected. — I’m expecting my money in my account tomorrow.
— Absolutely. — Jonah, see him out!


The young man went to the exit first, as if guarding the passage. Belle followed him slowly. Already standing in the aisle to Anne’s office, Belle turned to her, but could not say a word. The last thing he saw was the girl pointing her blaster at him and quickly shooting. 

— Jesus, Anne! You killed the Baron in your office. Do you have any idea what this means? — her assistant said in a frightened and panicky tone. 
— Yes, Jonah. This means freedom. Now we don’t owe anyone, you know?


Anne leaned toward Belle lying on the floor and began digging into his pockets. He had a gilded blaster on his belt with strange but insanely attractive engravings. She took it in her hands and proudly said:
— Here we go, the first trophy of this new life.