This is another sci-fi short story that I wrote a couple years ago. It’s not connected to the “Lone Wolf” universe, this one is in the cyberpunk-ish world of “Fiddlestix” and “Among the Shine Clan”, stories I’ve already shared.
Storm Westlake works for the Shine Clan as their corporate fixer. She negotiates deals, draws up contracts and makes a lot of money for the Clan. Recently promoted, she now resides on the Crystal Palace space station where she and her cousin Sophie now represent the Clan.
Storm Westlake strutted down the corridor, her dark blue evening dress glittering in the artificial lights like a lighting storm at twilight. She felt naked without her weapons, but the men at the banquet room doors would divest her of armament anyway, might as well not start out with it. Stumbling as she hit a spot of low gravity, she cursed softly, wishing the technicians could find the problems in the gravity generator in this part of the wheel. She was tired of losing her footing at inopportune times. She’d had a similar incident in her quarters while she was dressing, which was why she wasn’t on time.
At the door, the solo in charge seemed disinclined to let her in. “You’re late,” he growled.
“I had technical difficulties. Do I need to call my employer? It’s going to make him extremely unhappy to be bothered at dinner.” She whipped out her cellphone, glad that her boss was footing the bill for the space station to Earth call.
“Look, lady, I don’t make the rules. And your name isn’t on the list.”
“It says ‘Representative of the Shine Clan’, doesn’t it?” She tossed her long, platinum hair over her well tanned shoulder.
He looked the list over once more, mumbling into his sub-dermal microphone. “She isn’t on the list, boss. She said something about the Shine Clan? All it says here is ‘representative’.” He paused, looking her over carefully. “I got no verification that you’re who you say.”
“Boone himself can give me a reference. As can Jade, Tradewind and….”
“Okay, okay. You’ve made your point. I’ll contact Mr. Boone. If he’s willing to vouch for you, you’re in.”
“Thank you.” She looked at her watch, tapping her foot impatiently.
She heard voices on the other side of the door. “She’s expected, you idiot. Let her in!”
The door opened and Boone stood in the doorway. “Storm! What kept you?”
“Little gravity accident in my quarters. Not serious, just inconvenient. I couldn’t get down for nearly half an hour.”
“Come in! Come in! We’ve been waiting for you. Sophie is already here.”
She followed the short, stocky Mexican man into the banquet hall, amused to see that he still sported his duster. Though this one was tailored to fit and had a velvet collar, it still dragged on the floor behind him, attracting every mote of dust in the place.
At the head table, she sat next to Boone’s wife, Jade. On her left was her cousin, Sophie. Storm felt all eyes on her as she walked to her place. Boone had indeed held the banquet for her.
“What kept you?” Sophie asked as the steward helped her sit.
“Gravity malfunction. I was hanging in my room, upside down, nearly thirty minutes without panties and my dress over my head.”
As the first course was served, Storm spotted the heads of each major, international corporation. Unfortunately, some of the lesser ones, she didn’t recognize. Deciding she should know the players, she leaned toward Jade, covering her mouth with her napkin. Pretending to blot her lips, she asked the older woman for information on those she didn’t know.
Jade dropped her head slightly to hide her words. She went on to identify each person, giving a short rundown of each.
Storing the information for later use, Storm thanked her hostess. Considering her newly elevated position, she needed to know who the competition was. She let her mind and eyes wander over the crowd of lesser business people clustered around the buffet table on the far side of the room. These folk would never rate an invitation to the head table, but they had managed to pay the exorbitant fees associated with attendance. Word was that a place in this room for someone of their status, started a hundred thousand Euro.
Sophie leaned over, whispering excitedly. “Is it true?”
“The main event?”
“Depends on what you’ve heard.”
“Come on, Storm. You can tell me!”
“Soph, if I tell you anything before time, Ralph will skin me.”
“You’re so no fun!”