“You have thirty-two new messages,” Redon’s digital assistant complains when it registers the motion of the apartment door. “You have thirty-two new messages.”
A short, late-twenties Chinese man holding a smartphone disconnects a cable from the door’s electronic lock. A not-as-short, balding and scruffy-faced thug pushes his way into the apartment.
You have thirt-two new-”
“Ignore,” the thug said in a vaguely British accent.
The alert falls silent.
“Come on, then, Donny,” he tells his accomplice. “Let’s get on with it.” He looks a thumb. “Close the door.”
Donny enters with a concerned expression. He slips his device into his pocket and shuts the door.
The thug walks toward the kitchen. He passes Redon’s desk and points at it.
“The computer,” he commands.
Donny walks over to take a look. The desk is a jumble of hardware, but the power button on a toppled over PC tower glows green.
Where’s the monitor?
“This guy has seven different flavors of soft drink!” the thug calls from the kitchen. “It’s a bloody convenience store in here!”
Donny notices a headset on the floor. They look like overlarge swimming goggles.
He stoops to pick them up.
“Really, mate, you should grab something if you’re peckish.”
The thug walks back into the main living space. He points a finger Donny.
“We don’t have time for games, kid.”
Donny glares at him and slips the goggles over his eyes.