Ruby Red 7

“Pressure alarms are the latest thing on the market.  D, are you even paying attention?  You need to learn this.”

Dido had in fact been letting her mind wander, but she took the few words that had made their way into her brain and spun them into a lie that would’ve fooled most anyone but her brother—he knew her too well.

“Of course I’m paying attention.  Pressure alarms are serious stuff.  Now let’s refocus so we can figure a way around them.”

“How mature of you to try to help me get back on track,” Hannibal said as he rolled his eyes.  “And you don’t have to do any figuring.  You can skip right to practicing.”

“Practice?  How?  Three-Thumb Pete said they cost two hundred gold crowns a piece.”

“That includes installation I think.  Besides, I built one for you to practice with.”

“You built one?  We’re in the wrong line of work I think.  Or the wrong side of the right work.”

“Anyone who can afford one of these would never hire anyone without a Mechanist’s license.”

Dido could hear the bitterness in her brother’s voice.  A part of her wished he’d just suck it up and come to grips with the reality of their lives, and another part was glad he never did.

“Well if you can build one with parts you’ve scrounged up, you probably don’t need to charge two hundred gold right?  Sell them to smaller businesses closer to the Harbor.”

“They’ll never believe it’s the same quality, since I don’t have a license.”

Dido stuck a hand under her brother’s chin and forced it up.

“You’re hitting all the selling points Bull.  Let them believe its lower quality.  They know they can’t afford an original, but you know they’ll be looking for knockoffs.”

“My design isn’t a knockoff.  I reverse engineered it and then made some improvements.”

Hannibal sounded upset.  Dido hadn’t chosen her words carefully enough.

“I know that, and they’ll know it soon enough too.  But until then you lie to them.  It’s more believable than the truth.”

“That’s dishonest.”

“You realize we’re thieves right?  It’s called creative marketing.”

“You know I’m no good at lying.”

“That’s true, stammering at customers isn’t the best was to make a sale.  You leave the advertising to me.”

“I don’t know…”

“At least promise me you’ll think about it.  Now why don’t you show me how to get past these things?”

*          *          *

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