The Twins, Bonnie and Clyde--my pair of Colt-Springfield M2001 .45-caliber high-capacity pistols--sat in a double-holster shoulder rig under the jacket. I adjusted the tie-downs on either side of my gun belt until they felt snug.
Mouse was pulling down the back scabbard rig for her twin wakizashis--Japanese short swords--from the wall peg near her bed.
"You sure about those?" I said.
She turned slitted eyes on me. "Why not? We're gonna be dealing with Triad mooks, right?"
"Yeah," I said, "but there's no hiding those. And something tells me we'll be out in public looking. Some burbee or corpgeek sees those, they're liable to call the blues. And I'm not really in the mood to tangle with MaxTac today. Not after last night."
Mouse snorted. "You're getting old."
"Go with your Bowies. At least they'll be under your coat."
She held up the back scabbard rig. "I'll bring these along, just in case. I can leave them in the trunk with the big guns."
Mouse pulled back both sides of her coat. Her Bowie knives were sheathed on either hip. "Is that better, Mom?"
"Bite me," I said.
She flipped me the finger, then said: "Okay. How're we gonna play this?"
"We need info."
I shook my head. "The other kind."
"Not that little shit--"
I held up a hand. "No," I said, feeling my gut tighten a little. I shook off the sensation. "Valkyrie."
"Oh. That's better."
I pulled out my phone and dialed. Valkyrie answered on the second ring.
"It's Kat," I said.
"Oh, holy crap--have you guys heard from Eddie?"
"I don't want to talk about Eddie right now, Val. We need your help."
"But I thought Eddie--"
"Val, are you helping or not?"
"Kat, you don't understand. Eddie--"
"Double your fee if you help," I said.
Mouse slapped me across the arm. "What's up?"
I motioned for her to be quiet.
"If you don't want to help," I said to Val, "I'll find someone else. What's it gonna be?"
There was a long pause. Then: "Okay. What do you need?"
"I need to know the names of businesses in the city that have ties to The 108," I said.
"Oh, man," said Val. "You guys are tangling with them? Jake was right. You two have balls."
At the mention of Jake I felt a heat flare up in my belly. I fought back the sensation and refocused on the phone call. "Names of businesses, Val."
"Yeah, yeah. Give me like ten, fifteen minutes. I'll call you back."
I hung up.
"What was all that?" Mouse said.
"Nothing to worry about," I said.
"Damn," said Mouse.
My phone chirped. I put it on speaker.
"Did you get it?" said Val.
"Yeah," I said.
"That many?" said Mouse.
"Yep," said Val. "All legit, too. At least, according to city records. But I'll bet you at least half of them are shell companies. Some are probably rented office spaces with some staff to make it look real. But they're still doing the usual Triad-y things.
I scanned the list.
"Scattered all over the city," I said.
"A few right in the middle of or near Chinatown," said Val. "Of course."
Re-checked the list.
Addresses on Xavier, Ross, Turk, Waterman, and Rollins.
In and around Chinatown.
"This is good," I said. "Thanks, Val. We'll send the fee."
"Double the usual."
"Right. Thanks again."
I hung up.
"Shit," said Mouse, frowning at the list.
"We won't have enough time to check out all of them."
"So we start with the obvious," I said and pointed to the first company name on the list.
Tony Wei Global Mercantile Exchange. 9th Street and Waterman.
"Kick over the hornet's nest?" said Mouse.
"Yup," I said.
"Hot damn," said Mouse.
(to be continued...)