There was a knock at the door. Everyone stopped and looked. No one ever knocked at the door. The team didn’t get mail. They didn’t order packages. They always picked up their pizza.
Wink skip-danced — tiny body jerking one way, then the other — to the garage doors. She unhooked the padlock in the center and swung the door up with a clatter.
A heavy balding man in dark sunglasses and a black leather jacket looked down at her without expression. The goons on either side of him did the same. A black car idled in the street behind them.
“Babochka!” The man raised his arms and smiled.
The man bent and put his arms around the girl, who pursed her lips and moved her face from side to side so he could kiss each cheek. Then he snapped his fingers and his men lifted a heavy case and carried it into the garage in shuffling steps.
John, Xana, and Ian stood at the back of the open room, staring, as the skinny eleven-year-old with the pink princess sunglasses slapped a shrink-wrapped, three-inch stack of hundred-dollar bills into the man’s outstretched hand.
He moved it up and down in the air like he was judging the weight. “Seems a little light.” He had a Russian accent.
The girl walked to the heavy, gray trunk. “I deducted fifteen percent because the last load was off spec.”
“Off spec!” the man boomed. He seemed genuinely furious.
The henchmen stood stiff, fingers on their weapons. Xana stepped forward without thinking. Her hands made giant fists.
Wink spun. She took off her sunglasses and marched over to the round Russian and stood under him without fear. “Yeah, off spec. Four percent impurities, Evgeny. I said no more than two
.” She held up fingers. “Did you think I wouldn’t find out?”
The man smiled and raised his arms again, money still in hand. “Since Putin, supply is not easy like before.”
Wink put her hands on her hips. “That’s not our problem. You know how much I hate refining plutonium, Evgeny. Hate
. It takes so long. And it’s sooooo boring.”
The man handed the money to one of his henchmen. “You are my favorite, Babochka. Good business. No funny stuff. For you, I take off fifteen percent.” He glanced to the back of the garage, then motioned to the others as if asking who they were.
“Eh.” Wink didn’t turn. “Just my minions.”
Ian turned to John and mouthed Minions?
“Plus,” the man added, “I give you five percent off next order.” He turned and spoke as he walked to the car. One of the men opened the rear passenger door. “Take care of yourself, Babochka. Always you are my special friend. Say hello to Prophet.” Then he got into the car and drove away.
Wink lowered the rickety door with the crank at the side, replaced the padlock, and skipped in the air as she walked to the trunk. “Yippee!” She clapped her hands and immediately opened the clasps.
After a moment she turned and saw everyone staring.
“What? I used my old core in the Mast. And the Russians have the best
Xana wiped her sweaty face and walked back to her weights in the yard.
Ian turned to John. “If I end up sterile from sleeping next to inadequately shielded plutonium, I’m gonna sue you and Prophet and everyone.” #getready #episodefouriscoming