Running With the Devil Chapter 4

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“You work for me, Almir!” Reyes thundered. “Goddamn it, get that through your thick head!”

Kate looked at him with a bland expression that fooled no one. Frankly she could care less what the Old Man thought about her. If he didn’t find it within himself to tell her the full situation op, then the fault was on him. How in the hell could he expect her to carry out a mission when she didn’t have all the information needed to return safely?

For someone who didn’t value my safety enough to tell me the truth, she thought sardonically, he sure wants to get pissed off about my reaction.

“Are you going to say something?” he asked. “Or just sit there looking like a dumb ass?”

“I don’t know what you want me to say, sir,” Kate said. “You chose not to give me the information necessary to make the proper decisions. How was I to accomplish my mission when you had an Intelligence Agent working with the Security Detail? It wouldn’t have been hard for her to give them the frequencies to defeat my stealth suit.”

“That was the purpose,” Reyes said. “You were to be the assassin and we were wanting to see how far you could penetrate their perimeter.”

“I would’ve gone all the way, sir,” Kate said. “Had I not run into the Black Cobra.”

“I’m glad you mentioned that,” he said, sitting down behind his desk. “We have troubling news.”

If something is troubling the Old Man, Kate thought, then it can’t be good at all.

“It appears that there is a concerted effort to assassinate President Carver,” Reyes said.

Now that was big news and Kate could almost feel her stomach wanting to tighten into a ball. With so much of her body cybernetic, the old physical reactions were gone, but her emotional ones remained. Someone was paying money to assassinate the President and she was still sitting here on her ass? Shouldn’t she be out there trying to stop the person who was behind it?

“And why am I sitting here, sir?” She asked. “Shouldn’t I be out there trying to find who’s behind it?”

“Because it’s more complicated then you think,” Reyes said. “If you haven’t noticed, Rachel Adams has been gone for a bit?”

“Yes, she’s on a assignment,”

“Was,”

“Was?”

“She was killed two days ago by an unknown assailant,” Reyes said.

Kate felt like she had been punched in the gut. Her roommate was dead? Who could have been skilled enough to kill the one person who was equal to her in almost every way? People like Rachel and her didn’t come along very often: naturally gifted at being able to kill someone whether they enjoyed it or not.

So who the hell could be better then us? Kate wondered.

“Damn,” Kate whispered.

“I know,” Reyes said. “You’re my top agent, she was my second best.”

“Any clues as to who did it?” Kate asked.

“All I know is that she called herself Mabus,” he said. “And that you’re on her hit list.”

“**** me,”

“Eloquently put as usual,” Reyes said dryly. “However I have a job for you to do.”

“Are you going to tell me the full story?”

“Yes,”

“Then what is it?”

“The President is going to his retreat on Ireland,” Reyes said. “You are to accompany Him there. I want you to keep him safe.”

“You want me to circumvent the security detail, sir?” She asked. “Isn’t that going to cause some issues with them?”

“You’re job is to be with him personally the entire time he’s there, Almir,” he said. “The detail will do their job, as will the marines and the Fleet Security detail there. You, however, are a one person body guard detail.”

“So you want me to baby-sit the President?”

“Essentially,” he said. “Plus hopefully it will draw Mabus out into the open and allow us to either capture or kill her.”

“With the President and I as bait,”

“Yes,”

“This just gets better and better,” Kate sighed. “Is there anyway I can transfer out of this chicken **** outfit?”

“Stow it, Almir,” Reyes said. “You’re assigned the job and the President’s ship arrives on Ireland in twelve hours. I suggest you pack your things and be on your way.”

“Yes, sir,”

“And Almir,” he said. “Good luck,”

“Whenever you wish that,” she said. “Something bad happens.”

“Don’t I know it,”

###

“Reyes is going to assign his best agent to this mission,”

Colonel Henry Rollins, commander of the Marine Special Forces assigned to the Presidential Retreat, looked at the strawberry blonde woman sitting across from him. Ireland was a planet much like it’s homeland with pubs littering the colony and each of them were busy. With the pub full of people, no one would pay attention to the conversation that was occurring in the darkened corner.

“How can you be so sure?” he asked.

“Because,” Mabus said, “With the death of Rachel Adams, Reyes will use the very best agent he has-even if she is a loose cannon.”

“And that would be?”

“Katherine Almir,”

“Where have I heard that name before?” Rollins scratched his chin in thought.

“She used to be a Master Champion on Necko,” she said. “And escaped.”

“That’s where I’ve heard the name before,” Rollins said. “And she’s a Special Ops Agent now? Jesus Christ! Between her skills with a blade and the training Reyes gave her, she’ll be a killing machine!”

“You let me worry about her,” Mabus said. “You just take care of your part of the operation. Mister Albright is paying you and your troops a handsome amount to accomplish this task.”

“It will be more difficult with Almir being around the President,” Rollins said.

“No it won’t,” Mabus smiled wolfishly. “I can handle her, so it won’t be a problem.”

“Speaking of problems,” Rollins said. “Those damn skin suits we got from Albright Industries are on the fritz again. We can’t keep them operational.”

“How many are in working order?”

“Two out of the six,” he answered.

“Damn,” Mabus swore, the confidence she exuded crimped. “That will cut down our firepower to repel Fleet Security and their Special Forces.”

“We do have the missile launcher prepared,” Rollins said. “Why don’t we just shoot down the President’s ship and be done with it?”

“That’s not how Arch Angel wants it handled,” Mabus said. “And you know it.”

“I know,” Rollins sighed. “It would’ve been easier to do that.”

“But it won’t support the terrorist story we want to use,”

“Yes, you’ve told me that before,”

“Then why do you insist on asking questions you already know?”

“Maybe,” Rollins said, “I just would like to reduce my risk.”

“You’re reward is more then worth it,” Mabus said. “Now, is there anything else you need?”

“No,” Rollins said while he stood up. “I need to get back to base anyway.”

“One more day,” Mabus said. “And you’ll be a rich and powerful man.”

“If I’m able to spend it,” Rollins said sourly before leaving.

Mabus watched the colonel leave and her face-hardened. Rollins was going to be the loose cog in their design and would have to be watched. If it appeared that he was going to keep their mission from succeeding, then he would have to be eliminated. It wasn’t going to be personal on her part, but Mabus didn’t believe in loose ends.

They only get you killed in the bitter end, she thought.

She opened up a com unit and connected with a familiar face. If the news networks saw whom she was talking to, they would all recognize his face. The largest arms dealer in the known galaxy was funding this operation and being the front man for Arch Angel. With his important position, there was no way the Arch Angel could allow himself to linked to the events that were to unfold.

“You have news for me?” Christopher Albright said.

“Rollins has been briefed on the agent who is coming to Ireland,” she said. “But he will need to be watched.”

“I agree,” Albright said. “He’s a weak joint and might have to be amputated to keep the rest of us healthy.”

“Which I will do personally if it comes to that,” she said. “But we have bigger issues.”

“What’s that?”

“The skin suits won’t stay operating, sir.”

“Goddamn cheap labor,” Albright swore. “I’m going to kill some plant supervisors for not making them to specs.”

Mabus chose that time to keep her mouth shut and she had good reason to. There was no doubting that Albright would have the supervisors quietly killed in an‘accident’ because he had done that more then once during the years she had known him. Ruthless to a fault, Albright wasn’t afraid to kill someone if it furthered his cause and ambitions.

“You just make sure the job gets completed,” Albright said. “Otherwise we’re going to be on our own to deal with the consequences.”

“I understand, sir,” she said.

“Albright out,”

Mabus tucked the com unit into her belt and down the rest of her beer. If everything went according to plan, then the President would be dead by this time tomorrow. Otherwise, she and Albright would have no help to survive the manhunt that would be unleashed. However, to their own credit, the links to them were so tenuous that no one would ever put them together with the operation.

Either way, she thought, both the President and Almir will be dead.

She stood up and left the pub. Mabus never noticed the tall woman with a severely pulled back brown ponytail watching her from the far corner. The woman entered information into a portable computer and waited for a safe period of time to pass. When the coast was clear, the woman paid her tab and left.
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