Alright, getting right to it, and five minutes are up.
The lander exhibit was one of the old Apollo landers, he was never sure which one. It could even have been one of the old NASA mockups designed to train astronauts and test them for claustrophobia. The plaque explaining the history of the lander was bolted to a pedestal on the side, but for some reason or another he never bothered to check. He wouldn’t this time, either; there were too many suited people in the way.
The hair on the back of his neck raised. He was pretty sure that meant sniper, somewhere.
And in the middle like a living centerpiece, was the ex-client, Mr. Smith. In person, which seemed pretty arrogant, but not totally unexpected. If anything, it made it easier to manipulate the situation. The man didn’t waste any time.
“Where is the stone.”
“It’s close, but not on me, of course.”
Modulating his voice took a little more effort than he was used to; apparently ingesting weird rocks was bad for the throat.
“Tell me where it is.”
“Are you really that stupid? Of course I’m not going to do that. I do, and your sniper shoots me in the back of the head.”
The flinch told him he was right, not that it was a big stretch.
“Here is how it works. You pay me the rest of what you owe me, and then your goon squad walks. Then and only then will I tell you where the stone is.”
The secret to a successful negotiation was to assume and bargain from a position of strength, even if you had none.
And time! Five minutes exactly again, and I’ll see you all next week.