Strings of Retaliation – 10a – Intervention

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Since Saskia’s transfer from Merri Tech to the FBI had been completed, the undesirable witnesses were out of the picture. And the FBI’s unmarked van headed straight for me.
I got out of the bath and wrapped myself in a towel.
“What are you doing?” Vexx’s worry rang through my synapses.
Taking charge.
“Your cover —”
— Matters to the FBI. I won’t play ball if they don’t. Gabriel should have made that clear.
“Gabriel will figure out how you got the info sooner or later. Shouldn’t we milk this bug for all its worth?”
I could hear the crooked smile beyond the arguments: if Vexx didn’t want me to act, he would yell so, not phrase questions to make sure I was at peace with the repercussions.
This is worth it.
One of the bathroom’s door led straight into the master bedroom and its walking closet. Thanks to my designated colour palette, I had plenty of black clothes to choose from. Including some leggings.
Right, there’s a gym somewhere in here. Each safe house was designed for long term residency. Much like the FBI’s secret base with at least twice the budget per location.
“They entered the robotics district.”
After tying up a nice pair of flat boots, I exited to the bunker’s living room. The three guards stood up and the maid beeped out of idle. I made a beeline for the door.
“I need some fresh air.” If possible, I would make an exit that preserved my cover. That would give a scare to the FBI without rendering me useless.
As expected, Gail-Male stepped in my way. “Miss Beyer —”
“— The threat is under control. I’m in the middle of nowhere. I am going. Alone.”
Gail-Male silently towered over me, his brow furrowed and not intimidating. Protocol said to keep me hidden, but, in this particular case, this was a formality; Saskia had been apprehended.
Plus, I could fire them.
“An escort is far easier to spot than a lone runner. I’m a good shot. This is safer.”
After a few more seconds of staring contest, Gail-Male caved in.
“Right choice.” Whether he agreed with me or decided breaching protocol would be easier to recover from than getting on my bad side.
“A few precautions first,” he said while the two others left the living room. If memory served, it led to the armoury. I had been counting on that.
“Make sure they hurry or you’ll miss your window,” Vexx said.
I crossed my arms and tapped my foot. Gail-Male frowned.
Rig the cameras while we wait.
“Already on it.”
The missing guards came back a bit short of breath. One of them started tying a holster around my waist. The other closed a watch around my wrist.
“Tracker,” Gail-Male explained. “And this here is a panic button.” Cold and unwavering, his voice left no room for complaint.
“No worries!” Vexx said in my head. “I can piggyback your music chip to spot the tracker’s radio signal and hack it.”
The guards had two models of plasma pistol for me to choose from. I holstered the bigger calibre. Gail-Male held a light Kevlar jacket for me. I slipped into it with a sigh so I sounded like they were winning this part of the discussion.
The minimal equipment would have to do to ambush the FBI’s van.
As I finished putting on the jacket, Gail-Male grabbed my arm to force my attention on him. “Stay within the plant.”
I pulled my arm loose. “Grip me like this again and I’ll have your head.” The words tasted like a treat, sweet and too rarely gracing my tongue these days.
“Sorry ma’am.”
I waved a hand to dismiss him and headed out.
“They’re going West on MechLeon,” Vexx said.
Toward me and then North, most likely.
“ Deep in the district and away from Merrilyn’s sector.”
I exited the bunker’s elevator onto the ground floor of a plant. The revolving door read “Merrilyn Technology: Organ Division.” The phrasing grossed me out.
Get hackin’, darlin’. I broke into a sprint.
“Way ahead of you.”
The robotics district got its name from the robot-operated plants dividing it in squares as big as university campuses. The limited number of public streets made it easy to plan the FBI’s route. Unfortunately, the size of each plant also meant I had a huge distance to cover.
“There are supervisor transport pods in the next building. I’ll cut one off the network.”
“Gotta better plan?”
I rounded a corner to find the pod parking. One of them lit up and backed out of its spot. I jumped on it.
“Your watch is on a loop around the plant. Rigged the cameras too.”
“It’s not clean though.”
Tomorrow’s problem.
I grabbed the handle of the pod and launched it full speed ahead. It hovered a few inches above the ground, ensuring fast and smooth sailing. The wind pushed my hair right off my face. I breathed the temporary freedom deep into my lungs. It rolled my shoulders back and straightened my spine. As I exhaled, my breath brought up something I had not felt in a long time.
I need a song.
“I’m sure we can find plenty with a ‘traitor’ theme,” Vexx said as I crossed a street.
MechLeon was the next one over. We were pretty deep into the district so they may turn North one street before my position.
“They didn’t. Not sure you’ll get to them before they drive past you though.”
Watch me.

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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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