Book4 59:1/Text

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"I suspect you don't got a lotta money right now, Kingpin," the wiseguy had told him. "Fortunately for you, ya got somethin' I want real bad. I'll cop to that. So it's a good time ta make some demands. Money, guns, it's all on the table. Whaddya want? Surprise me."

Don had stared at the little blue face, at the smiling projection of what might well be a Titan. Charlie had certainly just admitted (or at least claimed) a Titanic power; he could advance thirty turns of production? That was unheard of. And all Don would have to do was release Vanna, and hire her on for one turn.

He'd waited a long time before giving his answer. "Arright," he said, in careful measure, "as a precondition to any further negotiations, I demand to know why you want Lord Gotti to bad."

The little head between Bunny's fingers had stared back at him, the fake-smile mask remaining uncracked. "Demand somethin' else," said Charlie.

Don only stared some more, letting the silence do battle for him.

"Information like that, it's real expensive." The Overlord finally had the good grace to drop the smile, and to look a bit uncomfortable. "Y'know?"

"Yeah, I know. So's my time," said Don, "Bunny, break the call."

She did. The image vanished. It happened a little quicker than he'd expected, given that he hadn't said it as an actual command. Properly speaking, she should have looked at him first for a confirmation. But that was okay. A surprise break in this negotiation served his purposes fine.

Bunny's shoulders sagged. Turning to the chair that Ben had been occupying, she plopped her butt down, and stared at the carpet.

"He's gonna call us right back," he'd told her, gently.

She closed her eyes and nodded "He already is, Your Majesty."

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