I was wrapping the brick in my room. Yeah, I had it. And yeah, I was going to hand it over to the client. You get a reputation for delivering on your contracts, and you need to uphold it. I was only worried about how I would get it back into the museum without being caught.
In this part of the world, and in the circles I had to travel in, Siberian tea bricks were once again the preferred form of currency. It sounds crazy, but after the fall of the G8 and the corporate moguls, there was no trust in government specie anymore and traders reverted to the old forms. And no tea bricks were more valuable than the old pre-fall, Communist ones. Pressed and dried by long-dead Commissars back when both China and Russia laid their jealous eyes on Tibet. They were things of beauty, well-constructed and, in a pinch, functionally useful. If you liked tea, I suppose.
As a gifted Traveller, and a bit of a off-license thief, I was able to slip between times and worlds without all the usual paperwork. This was a great advantage for jobs like this, but it carried all manner of attendant risks. The largest of which was Banning. If I were caught swiping the artifact from some museum in a time and place other than my homeline, they’d go into my head and do some “ad-justing” and “re-educating” and I’d be relegated to singletravelling like every other poor sod on this foolish and fallen rock.
And, above all, I didn’t want that to happen.
But right now, I had to get the brick to the man. And that in itself was far from a sure thing. You have no idea how inconvenient crosstown traffic had become since the most recent takeover.