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Friday, March 15, 2024

F³ Investigative Security 56

             While we finished up lunch, Nikki sketched out what she had seen.

            “It was only for a few moments, you understand, and a considerable time ago. At the time, I believed it to be a simple foreign currency transaction between members.”

            “They do that in the club?” I sipped on my iced tea.

            “Nearly every kind of transaction you can and cannot imagine takes place at that club, Matthew.”

            “One of the reasons I’m not a member,” I muttered. I knew she could hear me, but I wanted my disgust for the place on the record.

            “Except that you are, dumpling.”

            “What are you talking about? Max Auron bought me a membership for a year, but I let it lapse.”

            “I’m aware.”

            “You’re paying for my membership?”

            “It’s not an full membership, merely one associated with me, but yes.”

            “Why?”

            She looked up from her drawing, and gave me a wry smile, then returned to the drawing.

            “Right,” I said. “I shouldn’t have to ask. Just for occasions like this or that proxy vote you had me give. You’ve been wanting to investigate this club for a long time, haven’t you?”

            “Of course. Although I confess, I never expected to employ you with your special investigative focus. I had suspected more typical political and financial corruption.”

            “Lucky me.”

            “Would it surprise you to learn that a number of the Club’s upper echelon also employs investigators.”

            Oh no.

            “You playing straight with me? You’re not playing around?”

            She flicked eyes at me, checking my expression. “This is no jest. What’s the matter?”

            “They could have people on us, right now.”

            “It is a possibility, I suppose, but you are the only supernatural investigator in town, these days.”

            “That doesn’t mean we’re not being tailed.”

            “I have upgraded my own personal security a great deal since initially hiring you. My vehicles are frequently inspected and have countermeasures. My club security is an invisible fortress, and even places where I enjoy recreation are fortified. Perhaps you noticed the curtain at this fine establishment?”

            I looked at it. It had colorful depictions of Indian artwork, featuring elephants, mythological figures, and people against a backdrop of a coppery geometric pattern.

            “What—wait.” I reached out and touched the fabric, thumbing the pattern. It wasn’t ink or paint. Instead, it was metal, either a wide wire or metal tape.

            I had done enough regular detective work to know some of the toys like wireless bugs, laser microphones, and just regular shotgun mics. I pulled out my phone. No bars. “Is this a faraday cage?” I asked.

            Nikki smiled. “I have invested a significant amount of money safeguarding my activities since that stalking case.”

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