Worple? What’s up?’
‘Bloody director’s shutting us down unless we find the funds independently.’
Norotkin sighed; they’d cracked time travel, they both knew it yet the bloody man wanted more proof. ‘How many more trips?’
‘One, then we’re history.’ Worple absorbed the coffee absently, then looked at his colleague. ‘Plan B?’
‘I suppose,’ the Russian said reluctantly.
While Norotkin headed for his uncle’s auction house, Worple opened the fancy dress box and suited and booted himself, before powering up the Teleport 97. ‘Hope this works,’ he muttered.
‘Ivan? What now?’
‘My colleague, Worple. He has inherited some paintings. He’d like you to sell them.’
‘Really? Are they any good?’
Worple pushed the Teleport behind the hawthorn and exited the Bois de Boulonge in a hurry. By his calculation, he had two hours before the Artists Salon met. First though the Banque de la Republic.
‘Ten. I think. Never been seen before.’
‘How did his godfather get them?’
Norotkin shuffled slightly. ‘A little bit uncertain, uncle.’
The older man smiled. ‘That is why you come to me! Of course, I may have one or two interested people but this will be a private sale, yes?’
Worple hadn’t robbed a bank before and, but for 22nd Century tazers he wouldn’t have done it now. Still he had more than enough money and just enough time. Pushing open the Salon door, he steadied himself and smiled. Let’s hope, he thought, that his French didn’t sound too weird.
‘I’ve called Grobolmann and Stendest. Good men. Good prices. How long…?’
Norotkin checked his internal clock. ‘Twenty UTs, uncle.’
Worple thought open the door; faces turned and waited while he laid out his prizes. The cooing and ohhing lasted a minute before Grobolmann touched the Lautrec. ‘It’s still wet.’