‘There you are,’ a voice called with a ring of familiarity. Rhys turned, his body a coiled spring. A short well dressed Asian man walked towards him and was not ten strides away, waving as he closed the gap. He stopped one pace short. ‘Well, you owe me that drink, come on.’ They began walking down the alley side by side. Rhys checked the two men out of the corner of his eye. Both had seemingly relaxed and were only watching him with boredom, one lit a cigarette.
‘Ok, what are you doing here?’ Rhys hissed once they were beyond earshot.
‘Saving your arse,’ Yun said, his Taiwanese accent barely reaching Rhys’s ears. They rounded the corner. Leaving the alley behind a fresh breeze hit them. They began to talk more freely but with typical caution. Yun’s dark hair had a hint of grey, which betrayed his otherwise youthful appearance. He looked years younger than Rhys, his olive skin giving his hard face a touch of youth. Yun was in fact almost ten years his senior.
‘Your timing was impeccable.’
“Naturally. I don’t like to sit behind a desk tinkering with tech all the time, you know.’
‘Could have fooled me. What are you doing here?’ Rhys repeated impatiently.
‘I found something, wasn’t sure what exactly, thought I’d check it out. Evidently, you found the same thing if we ended up in the same place.’
‘The place we raided three days ago? I finished cracking their files. It all leads to one place, it’s confirmation. They’re not a dozen different businesses all working with each other; they’re all one company. The paper trail, once you’re smart enough to join all the dots, brings us to that one building.’
‘Why didn’t you message me?’
‘Come on, this isn’t the first time I stretched my legs,’ Yun said with a growing cockiness that Rhys didn’t like. It would get his friend and only companion killed. ‘Just because they have one legal residence doesn’t mean anything. I figured it was just a front. Maybe I could check it out and get back to you. But then I saw you there, realised those two guys were about to make your life difficult. Evidently, they’re on edge, probably with all the raids you’ve been doing on their other places, ah?’
‘Hmm,’ Rhys offered in reply. So the evidence pointed to an elaborate collection of businesses. Manufacturing, small scale, courier service, liaising, accommodation. All linked and seemingly legitimate human businesses merely a part of a network. Since when did a bunch of things-that-go-boo-in-the-night become so sophisticated. ‘This is bad news.’
‘Maybe, but then again, one residence means there’s only one place takedown. Simplifies things.’
‘True. I need to scope that place out today and tonight. I’m going in first thing tomorrow.’
‘Alright,’ Yun stretched. ‘I’m going to get a coffee. I guess I’ll take the day shift.’
To be continued…