Chapter 13

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Joshua's was one of those themed bars that had sprung up in the twentieth century but now only existed in mega cities. It was modelled on a nineteen fifties diner; black and white chequered floor, red upholstered chairs and bar topped with a light that lettering could be applied to. At present it had the latest drinks deals plastered across. In the day Joshua's was a family eatery but by night it became a bar, the lights turned down low and the music raised. During daylight hours waiters and waitresses roller skated around at high speed, now Joshua's became self service, the few patrons at this early hour standing around the bar chatting loudly.

The heavy glass door swung open with the meerest of pushes. No space aged sliding doors here, they were in keeping with the intended time period of the bar, although power assistance has been added. Martha strolled in, dressed like a detective from the nineteen twenties, her knowledge of historic fashion not her strongest attribute. He hair had been pinned up beneath a suede tan trilby, she wore a dark dress suit and high heels underneath a long coat the same colour as her hat. Her jet black handbag grasped in one hand, dangling low by her side. If they had not been band in a mega city, a thin black cigarette holder would have protruded from her mouth.

Despite looking like she was trying to be inconspicuous, none of the few figures at the bar turned. As she scanned the rest of the room, she noted that only one table was occupied. It was that twilight hour; the families had long since vacated whilst the late night revellers had yet to arrive. Matha lowered her head, hoping her hat would hide her identity whilst making sure not to make eye contact with any of the other patrons, the ones that were not looking her way. When she reached the table, she looked both ways before sitting opposite Ukrit and removing her hat.

Ukrit's laughter surprised Marth, "this is not a gangster movie."

"I just wanted to make sure no-one knew we were meeting," she replied, defensively.

"Why?"

"If they get wind of what you are about to tell me then it's all over for the slums."

"They know we are meeting."

"What?" Martha uttered in surprise, slightly louder than she expected, still no heads turned towards her. "But, but..."

"Don't worry, I told Kendra I would talk to you, she knows we are meeting for a drink but not where."

"So all this is just a ruse, a way to get me to comply," Martha stood, wanting to be anywhere but there.

"No, sit." Something in Ukrit's words, some calm quiet power, made her comply, "I am not here to make you see her way, only to make her think that."

"But..."

"What is that old phrase, keep your friends close but your enemies closer. To her I am a spy, but I am really playing the double agent."

Martha smiled, allowing herself to relax, this was the Ukrit she knew, the man who had mentored her, enabled her to get to the position she was now in at Princips. A realisation popped into her head and the panic returned. "But I've already talked to her," she said quickly.

"I know, you weren't that convincing."

"Sorry."

"It's fine, as I said she just thinks you are sucking up to her to keep your job. Gives us a cover story when we meet, let's me get closer to Kendra without her seeing our real motives."

"To stop the slums being destroyed."

"And get rid of her."

"Rid how? Something about that sentence makes me think of violence."

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