Strings of Retaliation – 1b – iGo Crazy

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The secret of identity of Merrilyn Technologies’ President had been revealed after Nightshade murdered him and his board of directors. Since then, the media circus had been awaiting today with almost as much impatience as me.
Lorelei wore a black suit, elegant, simple and exactly what the crowd expected from a grieving daughter standing in front of the empire she inherited. Tears wet her lower lash line without trickling down.
“My retreat has come to an end.” She confidently addressed the journalists, letting her voice waver to make her sound brave for calling this press conference while she still suffered from the loss. “Merrilyn Technologies needs direction and I need to follow in my father’s footsteps.”
“She’s good,” Gabriel commented. Right. Not everyone could kill their father — and a whole lot of other people —, take over his evil company and get the world to believe they’re a fragile and innocent little girl.
“She’s also telling the world she’s back before telling us.”
She called the press before she called me. She hated the press and she loved me.
Liked me?
Or does she hate me now?
Frogster poked me with its tongue.
“In the coming days, I will take my father’s place and help Merrilyn Technologies pull through this hard time and reach new heights.” Even the shareholders’ worries came before my peace of mind. “It’ll be a gradual process, which I hope you can all understand.”
Gabriel’s smooth face cringed for a beat which meant a lot coming from him. In the quick lip pinch and eyebrow crease, I saw the tension Lorelei’s absence caused him and his apprehension of what was to come.
Slow and gradual doesn’t work for the FBI, huh? I made a mental note; this was the first information I managed to gather regarding the bureau’s plan for Lorelei and I. The broad strokes existed since we first got in bed together — our help in taking down and reshaping Merrilyn Tech for the absolution of our crimes and a new name — but the small characters eluded me.
And there were some for sure.
“Will you move in the Beyer Manor or make it a historical monument?” a journalist asked, striking right at the heart of painfully personal questions celebrities should never be forced to answer.
I understood the interest; the manor was one of the few colonial houses still standing. Its historical value alone justified making a museum out of it. That it had been the home of generations of tech industry leaders — the new pop stars — added to its appeal.
“I’m still undecided,” Lorelei replied. Given that her house was half blown up but that she’d rather burn her father’s to the ground than live in it, ‘undecided’ sounded about right.
The question round went on for a few minutes before Lorelei declared the press conference over. The buzzards snapped a few additional shots before she stepped out of their camera’s range. I rolled my chair to my computer, switched the holographic display back on and typed away on its virtual keyboard.
“What are you doing?” Gabriel asked, perched over my shoulder.
“Hacking Lorelei’s music chip.”
The chuckle behind my back doubled the speed of my fingers. “You tried that before. And she hates it.”
“She used a signal jammer while she went AWOL. It may be different.” I half-believed in the possibility, but I had to talk to her. I drummed my fingers on the desk while the computer tried to connect to the chip . I had done it several times in the past and it never took so long.
No wonder the FBI never caught me back in my evil hacker days; their connection sucked.
“You know I hate this.” Lorelei’s voice growled through the speakers on my computer, sending a shiver down my spine.
“You’re back!” I mumbled. I pinched myself to make sure I wasn’t hallucinating.
“You’re hacking my brain.”
“Because you let me!”
“Turning off the signal jammer wasn’t an open invitation to violate my privacy.” She didn’t sound as angry as she normally would. The Lorelei I had lived with for the better part of a year would be infuriated at this point. Most likely expressing her violence with threats to my physical integrity. The thought didn’t even crossed her mind consciously enough for the chip to relay it to me.
Actually, I sounded more pissed than her.
“You should have let me know you were coming back.” I levelled my harshness with hers.
Gabriel switched off my microphone. “This really isn’t the time.”
“You’ve meddled enough.” I pushed his hands off my equipment and switched it back on. “You should have told me you wanted to leave.”
Obviously, her brain didn’t take a deep breath, but I knew that was exactly what happened during the silence: short breath in, long expiration. Gabriel had taken a step back and crossed his arms. His crooked smile waited for Lorelei’s outburst.
“You wouldn’t have let me go.” The softness of her tone surprised me — and Gabriel too if his dropped jaw was any indication. What the hell happened while she was out and about? “And I wanted to take care of all the bad stuff before coming home.”
Her reply warmed my heart, but my mind stiffened with apprehension. Gabriel and I exchanged a dubious glance.
Something was incredibly wrong.

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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

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