Killing Time OST – 16c – Deal

<< 16b – Deal

I paused for a couple of seconds to let my statement sink into Gabriel and his team’s mind. Once they got a bit used to the idea, I took a few steps forward. Gabriel didn’t back up.
Good.
“I’m currently tracking the problem to its source and I’m uniquely qualified to handle it.” Most of that was true: a good team of FBI agents could do the job but if my father was indeed behind this, I had a big advantage. But that was just one of the reasons.
“Really?” Gabriel was growing more and more reluctant. I couldn’t lose his support.
“You know how these investigations go. The minute you file for a warrant, the baddy cleans house. You find circumstantial evidence. At best. The baddy walks and restarts somewhere else.” Gabriel grunted. No one liked to see their hard work presented as a string of failures. “Let’s say you do find proofs. The trail starts with me. There’s no way a court will listen. I’ll have to go to trial first to earn any credibility but the tangled mess will drown both my chances to be exonerated and your investigation.”
“You wouldn’t even try that way, would you?” Gabriel’s arms dropped by his side. I was right and he hated it.
“My life’s enough of a wreck as is.”
Silence swallowed the echo of my pain. Gabriel locked his gaze to mine.
Yes, Agent Walker, I bleed too.
“Alright. Why are you coming to me, then? You never did before. And we can’t endorse criminal activity.”
“I know you. We’re both fighting a losing battle. Get the NSA Black Ops to endorse me then. I don’t care.” I motioned toward the ledge, inviting him to sit with me. He didn’t move. I sat anyway. “I might be the only one who can take down the people who did this to me and bury the problem forever.”
“But you don’t have the means to ensure it stays buried.” I nodded. His sharpness was very refreshing. Not that Vexx was a dummy but he knew me too well.
“And capturing me is but a Band-Aid. Quid pro quo.”
“I’ll see what I can do.” Gabriel sat by my side. “What do you have?”
“Conjectures.”
“We don’t need you for that,” Gabriel frowned. He moved to stand but I grabbed his arm, forcing him to remain seated.
“I know.” The growl was a tad more aggressive than I intended. I cleared my throat before I spoke again. “You read your scientists’ report, I presume. When were the nanobots implanted in me?”
Gabriel turned his eyes. “In the womb. Birth at the latest,” he murmured.
“What conjecture do you draw from that?” I hammered. It hurt to think about it but I refused to let it show. I didn’t want to encourage his pity or his doubt. I would see this through.
“Your parents have something to do with it.” He turned back to me, strength and distance steadying his tone. I nodded. “If that’s your leverage, I’ll need to know who your parents are. You can’t have everything.”
“I know,” I sighed. “Has a team surrounded us while we talked?”
“No.” Again, the truth. I appreciated this man. “Just me and my back-ups.”
I slipped my fingers under the edge of my Nightshade face. “This is very sensitive information and I will not have it shared.”
“I can’t promise that,” Gabriel said.
“Oh, you will.”
My face sufficiently loosened to come off in one pull, I liberated the hood rolled in the front part of my suit’s collar. It was designed to wrap around my face and zip up in the back of my head, efficiently hiding my traits. It would be faster than putting my face back on.
“Ready?” I asked, wrapping my fingers around my portable EMP device. “You’ll only get one look.”
Gabriel nodded. I triggered the EMP waves to kill the tech in us: the recording implant on his optic nerve and auditory canal, and his communication device were my main concerns.
I pulled my prosthesis off.
Gabriel paled and his eyes widened in surprise. “You walked right past me at the Merrilyn Ball. You’re Lorelei Beyer. Your father…”
“… is a very influent, ‘upstanding’ citizen.” I offered the side of my head to Gabriel’s inspection. He pressed his fingers along my hairline to check this face wasn’t a glued-on too. Once he pulled away, I placed the hood on. No need to cut it close to my deadline. “And now you know why you can’t tell.”
“My boss will pull it from my eye implant,” Gabriel sounded sorry. I couldn’t stop my sigh of relief. This would put him through hell but he was on board. If he could convince his organization to help me had yet to be seen but he was on my side.
“He can’t.” I shook my wrist. “EMP wave. Unless you willingly describe me to a sketch artist, I’m safe.” My watch beeped. “And we’re back online. Agent Walker now knows my true identity and the importance of keeping it secret.” I said for the back-ups and the superiors who would surely go over the recording of our conversation. “Just to be abundantly clear, if I spot one law enforcement officer from any agency tailing my real identity, I disappear. Don’t even think about sneaking one past me.”
Gabriel chuckled. “They’ll be furious.”
“If you scold Agent Walker or replace him as my handler, I’m gone with the wind. You couldn’t catch me when I was active. The tech I sent scares the hell out of you. If I go off grid, you’re stuck with your migraine.”
“I think that’s quite enough.”
“Wouldn’t want any fine print to get in the way of our collaboration. Last piece of business,” I said, pulling a cellphone out of my breast pocket and handing it to Gabriel, “I’m speed dial one. Don’t bother trying to trace it.”
“The FBI doesn’t like to manhandled, you know.” But he was still smiling. My guess was that he made a bet with someone and won.
“Neither do I.” I pointed the cellphone. “You can check on me any time you want and I’ll call you when I have facts, provided that indemnity thing has been taken care of.”
“I’ll see what can be done.” Gabriel extended his hand and I shook it. “It’ll be a fight.”
“Or not. It depends how much they want to see this whole thing buried.” I released his hand and stood. “Take care, my friend.”
Gabriel wouldn’t have me followed. It had no use.

17a – Gadgets >>

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About Aheïla

Somewhere in Quebec City, Aheïla works as a Game Design Director by day and writes by night. Known for her blue hair, unyielding dynamism and tasty cooking (quails, anyone?), she’s convinced “prose is the new crack”. She satisfies her addiction daily on The Writeaholic’s Blog and weekly on Games' Bustles View all posts by Aheïla

5 responses to “Killing Time OST – 16c – Deal

  • Jenn

    Wow. You thought of everything in this one. The EMP, the way she described what was & was not to happen. All nicely done.
    You know, I think I’m enjoying this one more than I did last years & that’s saying A LOT!

  • mish

    Well , well , well *whistles* ~~ the girl is back in top form ~ she’s SMOKING HOT !!!!! Well played on Lorelei’s part ~ I think she covered everything …
    Well done Aheila , I really enjoyed this instalment !

  • ralfast

    For some reason it reminds me of “The Most Dangerous Game” with Lor as the predator and the prey. 😉

  • Um the Muse

    Um, she didn’t cover the possibility of someone with a scope. I obviously don’t know how powerful her EMP disruptor thingamabob is, but there’s a decent chance that someone actually did capture her face here. It’ll be a good test to see if Gabriel is on the up-and-up: will he be able to convince his back-up?

  • Um the Muse

    Oh, forgot to mention, the table of contents hasn’t been updated yet. No pressure; I just hadn’t realized this story had updated until now.

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