"Running With the Devil" Chapter 4 snippet

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You killed us, the voices said.

Shut up, she snapped.

Blood for blood, they continued. That is the only way to pay your debt.

I’ve paid more then enough for my guilt, she thought. My body is not even human anymore…it’s not my fault they wouldn’t let me die!!

One day we will get our revenge, they said.

Yeah, yeah, Kate thought. That and a couple credits will get you a coffee…until then you’re just going to have to wait!

Kate frowned when she realized that she was standing outside Reyes’ office. The conversation with her conscience had taken her attention off wondering why Reyes had called a meeting. It was unusual for him to do so, especially at this time of night too.

Something must be up, she thought. Otherwise I’d still be asleep.

The door slid aside and she stepped through. Reyes was sitting behind his desk, smoking a cigar, and Adams was sitting in a chair. The two of them looked at her as the door shut behind Kate.

“Take a seat, Almir,” he growled. “We don’t have much time.”

“What’s going on, sir?” She asked, sitting down.

“A massive cluster ****,” Reyes said. “What do you know of Ireland?”

“Other then knowing the Presidential Retreat is there,” she said. “Absolutely nothing.”

“This evening,” Reyes said. “Terrorists captured the President and his cabinet while they were working on a trade agreement.”

Kate felt her blood go cold at the announcement. It was a good thing she was cybernetic because a shiver would’ve run up her back. How was it possible that someone could capture the President with all the security he had?

Something is rotten in Denmark, she thought.

“They haven’t made any demands yet,” he said. “But you can guarantee that will come. However, the bigger concern is the fact that they have some heavy firepower.”

A holovid was activated on his desk and Kate frowned. She could see three big obstacles from the satellite images. First off, the terrorists had planned will and installed a missile launcher on the grounds. If they were half as smart as she thought they were, then the launcher would be loaded with anti-craft weapons. However, it was the second problem that concerned her the most.

The bastards had skin suits, she thought with a frown. That’ll make it almost impossible to try to infiltrate the facility with them around!

“They’ve covered their asses well,” she grumbled.

“Too well,” Reyes said. “I don’t like it.”

“What’s the plan?” Adams asked.

“I hope the two of you are up for a little infiltration mission,” Reyes said. “Because you are the only ones being sent in.”

He’s got to be kidding, Kate thought. Against skin suits? Adams and I will be chopped to bits!

“Excuse me, sir,” Kate said. “But we know they have two skin suits on scene. Don’t you think that sending Rachel and I in is suicide?

“If I send in more then the two of you,” Reyes said. “It will alert the terrorists and they will kill the president.”

So we get to be proverbial sacrificial lamb, she thought. Those skin suits will eat us alive!

“Firepower will be the issue,” Adams said. “The two of us can only carry but so much.”

“What I need you to do,” Reyes said. “Is to neutralize the missile launcher and the skin suits. Once that is done, we can send in special forces to finish the job.”

That is if we’re even alive for them to rendezvous with, she thought.

“I’ve prepared a download for you over the skin suits and missile launcher,” Reyes said. “While they’re both brand new models, the spec files are available. I don’t have to say that it’s disturbing the terrorists have this kind of firepower.”

“You’re not the only one, sir,” Kate said. “Do you want either of us to try to gather intel on how, or where, they got the weaponry from?”

“Good idea, Almir,” Reyes said. “I want you to take the point on that. Adams, you’re the one I want handling the skin suits.”

Kate felt a shiver run up her spine when she realized he was assigning the tough work to Rachel. While it wouldn’t have made any difference which one of them handled the suits, she had been expecting that to fall to her. However, the odds of surviving that part of the mission were slim and she was happy it hadn’t been given to her.

“You need to be ready to leave in two hours,” Reyes said. “Almir, you’re flying. Adams, you’re dismissed.”

“Yes, sir,”

Adams’ leaving left Reyes and Kate looking at each other. The two of them had earned a reputation for having poker faces and they were earning their money right then. Neither one wanted the other to know what they were thinking, so they waited for the other to make the first move.

“Alright, Almir,” Reyes said, making the first move. “I need you to do something special on this mission.”

“Special, sir?”

“There are no Special Forces being deployed, Almir,” Reyes said. “The two of you are it.”

“I see,”

“We can’t afford the negative publicity,” Reyes explained. “Thus we need a quiet mission, and that I’m counting on you for.”

“What about Adams?”

“She’s there to assist you,” Reyes said, lighting a cigar. “Rachel just doesn’t know that-and you’re not to tell her either.”

“Yes, sir,”

“I want to know who these people are and how they got their weaponry,” he said. “I want to son of a bitch who’s behind this.”

“Yes, sir,”

“And, Almir,” he said.

“Yes, sir?”

“Don’t take any stupid chances, understand? I know you did what you had to earlier, but don’t do anything stupid here. Save the President and come back in one piece, capeche?”

“Yes, sir,”

“I have your weaponry being sent to the hanger deck,” he said. “Along with your sword.”

My sword, Kate thought, the weapon that distinguishes me from everyone else. What I wouldn’t give to not know how to wield it.

“Get going,” Reyes said softly. “You have your orders…”

“Sir,” Kate said. “I’ll do everything in my power to save the President and make it back.”

“I know you will,”

“But I want something if I can pull this off,” she said.

“You can’t leave Intelligence,” Reyes said. “We were specifically prevented by the Fleet Charter from rebuilding civilians with cybernetics, Kate. I violated that rule.”

“If I may ask,” she said. “Why?”

“You were just a child,” Reyes said. “And the same age as my daughter would’ve been-if the ship she and her mother were on hadn’t been destroyed by Pirates.”

A daughter? Kate wondered. He saved my life because I remind him of his daughter? Jesus…

“Sir,” she said, suddenly feeling uncomfortable. “I didn’t know…I’m sorry.”

“It’s okay, Kate,” Reyes said. “I know why you hate this job and it’s completely understandable. However, I need you to take care of something that is coming.”

“What’s coming?”

“A storm is brewing,” he said. “And when it strikes, the entire galaxy will be caught up in it. I’m just an old man, a shell of who I used to be. You, Kate, are young and vital. It’s in you that I place my hopes and faith in mankind.”

Me? She wondered. I’m to be hope of everyone? How in the hell is that going to happen?

“Get going,” Reyes said, ending his train of thought. “Save the President.”

“Yes, sir,”

Kate was never happier to leave his office.
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