A note from jaxonreed

Book I will be finishing up at Ch. 43.

Pak made a motion with his hand and his personal holoscreen popped up over the table, showing a schematic of the building.

He said, “Kirkland has tripped our sensor. She’s in the basement. Now she’s on the ground floor. Level Two. Level Three. She’s checking out everything. Level Seven. Level Eight. Get ready, guys, she going to be here in a minute.”

Everyone stood up, their food forgotten. Pak and Kim pulled out the small rectangular radiation absorbers. So did Roddy.

Kim said, “Everybody got a trap? Dang it, I told you guys to keep these things handy!”

The others scattered, leaving the three with handheld traps around the table. Jillian watched them run to the kitchen. She decided to tough it out with the guys who had weapons.

Everyone turned to the schematic floating above the table. A tiny light darted around each floor of the hologram model before going up.

Pak said, “Ninety-nine, one hundred . . . What’s she looking for?”

Kim said, “Probably wants to take out the Captain. Good thing he’s not here right now.”

“Oh really?” Jillian said. She could not help but ask, “Where is he?”

“Meeting with the Governor about all those indents. Or, fake indents, whatever.”

Aha, that would make sense, she thought. She would have to meet this Governor Zhang at some point. Chris remained unsure whether he was willing to have her presence in his company be broadcast back over to the League. He told her they likely already knew about it anyway, since Port Ryan was riddled with spies from both sides. So far, he had been unwilling to present her public. That did not bother her so long as she could continue meeting with Chris in private every night . . .

Pak said, “One-nineteen, one-twenty . . . Everybody get ready!”

A sprinkle of silver pixels came out of the elevator’s palm panel, turning quickly into a stream that formed the shape of a woman.

Raquel appeared in her sliver unitard, carrying a dirty old satchel over her shoulder.

She smiled at them and said, “Well, hello boys. And bitch. Did you all bring the proverbial knife to a gunfight?”

She reached into the satchel and pulled out a blaster.

Pak’s eyes grew wide. He said, “Oh . . . shoot . . .”

Raquel smiled and said, “Gladly!”

Thoop! Thoopah!

Everyone hit the floor and scrambled for cover. The bolts missed, although the shoulder of Pak’s t-shirt was scorched. He quickly slapped out the embers before the cotton caught on fire.

The klaxon sounded again. An electronic voice said, “Shots fired, Level 121. Shots fired, Level 121.”

Raquel shot up at the ceiling in irritation, but the lights continued flashing red. The door to the kitchen opened and the waiter bot stepped out. It stopped mid-step, uncertainly, and stared at her. Its irises widened.


The bolt hit its middle and threw the bot crashing into the door of the kitchen. It fell over on its back, ruined.

Raquel scanned the mostly empty dining room, ignoring its wide bay windows and the excellent view of Port Ryan’s skyline and the ocean.

She held the gun out and moved closer to the scattered chairs where everyone had been seated.

“Come out, come out wherever you are!”

She turned and saw a boot sticking out from behind one of the chairs.



The boot, now scorched, pulled back.

“Is that you, Rodrigo? It sounded like your scream. You know, I was distracted when I tried to take you out the first time. I won’t be making that mistake again. Wouldn’t want to do an unsatisfactory job for my owner, now would I?”

She moved closer to his chair.

She said, “Come on. It’s hide and go seek. And I’m it!”

A flicker of white to her right surprised her. Skylar appeared and pointed a blaster at her.

She said, “You want to play, bitch? How about picking on somebody armed?”

Thoop! Thoop! Thoop!

Raquel turned and ducked, but two of the bolts went through her side and leg. Both areas pixilated as the blasts sailed through harmlessly.

She laughed gently, and stood back up straight.

“You surprised me! I forgot for a moment that blaster rays can’t hurt me. I think they can hurt you, though.”

She raised her gun and fired back at Skylar


Skylar flickered away just in time.

Raquel turned, holding the gun out.

She said, “What’s the matter? You scared, little girl?”

Skylar flickered into existence behind her and shoved her in the small of the back. Raquel fell down on her stomach. Skylar jumped on top of her and balled her fist. It flickered quickly as she swung it down at Raquel’s face.

Raquel struggled to get the gun out from under her, but Skylar’s weight on her back prevented that. Skylar struck her again, and again and again.

Jillian ran over and grabbed a plate off the table. She handed it to Skylar. The plate flickered quickly, like her fist, and Skylar struck the side of Raquel’s head, breaking it.

Raquel slumped, knocked out. Skylar got off her, turned her over and retrieved the pistol.

Kim and Pak stood up from their hiding places.

Skylar looked around and said, “Everybody okay?”

Roddy groaned and came to his feet, painfully. He limped forward, dragging the foot that had been shot.

He said, “Nothing a few more days in sickbay won’t take care of.”


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