Jack took a seat at the bar and ordered two glasses of wine.
"Are you sure this is okay?" Tanner asked as he slid into the barstool beside Jack.
"Of course, my friend," Jack said and patted the other man on the shoulder.
The inside of Tanner's mind spun. Jack Holston, the infamous space goods smuggler, was sitting right there next to him. Jack had even called him a friend! He took a sip of wine to calm his nerves and took a deep breath.
"Now, what was it you wanted to discuss? There is something you need, no?" Jack asked.
Tanner nodded frantically and gestured with his hands as he spoke. "Yeah, I need an Aztec processor."
Jack raised a brow. "That's quite the need. Aztec processors are premium goods."
"I know, I know. But, I need it. I'm working on a new OS, and only Aztec has enough power to run it."
Jack took a sip of his wine. "You're starting a new tech company, was it?"
Jack narrowed his eyes and looked directly into Tanner's, pink alien eyes glaring coldly into brown human ones. "And what kind of startup dives right into expensive, rare goods right away? Very few people on Earth have Aztec processors. Who exactly are you going to sell your OS to?"
"Well..." Tanner began and gulped. "I was thinking... It's more of something for the future. Futureproofing."
"Don't make me laugh." Jack pinched the bridge of his nose. "You're a nobody! Can you even pay me?"
The change in Jack's demeanor caused Tanner to falter. "I-I can," he stammered. "I'll pay you!"
"And how will you do that?" Jack's grin was thin and malicious. It intimidated the human.
Tanner paused for a moment before continuing. "I'll borrow money. From my daughter."
Jack sipped his wine. "Generous daughter," he said and watched the red liquid swirl around the glass. "What does she do?"
"She's a police officer." Tanner reached into his back pocket, pulled out his wallet, and showed Jack the small photo of his daughter. "Her name is Corelle Lockwood. She's in charge of the Lockwood estate; have you heard of it?"
Jack set down his glass at the mention of the Lockwood estate, his attention now fully captured. "Your daughter's head of the Lockwood estate, is she?"
Corelle Lockwood. Lockwood. How long had he searched for them, yet they were right here all along? At last, the Lockwood secret was within Jack's grasp. He downed the rest of his wine, much to Tanner's surprise, and stood. He gave Tanner his card and said, "Call me again tomorrow morning. We can make arrangements for that Aztec processor then."
"So soon? What about your payment?"
"Don't worry about it," Jack said and waved his hand casually. "I'll cover it."
Tanner quickly stood and shook Jack's hand. "Thank you so much, Mr Holston! You have no idea how much this means to me!"
"I think I have an idea of that," Jack said, a grin returning to his lips.