With a motion of the covering pistol, she was able to reach down into her inside coat pocket. Grabbing the leather case inside, she pulled it out. Opening it up to show her ID card, she handed it over to the officers before placing her hands back in the air. If they didn’t believe that, she told herself, then she would have no other choice but to take them out.
“Captain Kate Almir,” he read before he looked over at his partner. “You armed, Captain?”
“What are you carrying?”
“A .45 caliber Kimber,” she said. “Ballistics should match it to the dead man in the kitchen only.”
“That much is true,” he said handing back her ID. “But did you have to decide to have the gunfight at the OK corral in the center of town?”
She sighed as she shrugged at the officer’s comment. Like they would have done anything differently in her shoes, she fumed. When someone is chasing you, and shooting at you, if you can fire back you do. Anyone in her shoes would have done the same thing, and the officers knew it too.
“Would you propose that I allow someone to shoot at me,” she said sourly. “And not fire back?”
“I definitely would not,” he said. “I just wish it had been handled differently is all.”
“If it could have been handled without a firefight I would have done that,” she said. “However, the other people didn’t give me much choice.”
“Who were they?”
“A Intelligence death squad sent to kill my contact,” she said.
“He must not be popular,”
That’s an understatement, she thought with a concealed sigh.
“I can’t say much on that,” she said. “It’s classified. Am I free to leave now?”
“You don’t have anymore bodies lying around here,” he said in warning. “Do you, Captain?”
“Then go clean up,” he said.
With that, she turned and left, the relief showing on her face. God how she had to lie to them, she mused as she walked along the sidewalk. There wasn’t anything about her story; other then who she shot that was the truth. She suspected the officer knew that too, which was why he let her go. He knew how dangerous she was, and there wasn’t a chance of him, nor his partner, being able to handle her if she didn’t want to be.
Approaching the spaceport, she wondered what had become of Kosloski? Had he slipped away before the police arrived, or was he still in their custody? For his sake, he might be better off being in their custody, since Intelligence would have all their efforts on killing her-once they got the news she had escaped again. There was one thing, she reflected with a laugh, she was glad she wasn’t Johansson when he had to explain failing again!
Stopping outside the massive building, she looked around for anyone who seemed out of place. Just because Benton had said they were the only team here didn’t mean that he wasn’t lying when he claimed it. No, she was going to be careful with every step she took from here on out.
With me knowing too much, she thought. I’m a marked woman no matter where I go now.
Satisfied that no one was waiting for her, she stepped back into the building. Assailed by the smell of machinery and electronics again, she found it relaxing this time. Compared to the smell of gunpowder and explosives, she would take it any day of the week. Besides, she told herself, it meant she could relax for a moment because someone wasn’t trying to kill her at that time!
Worming her way through the equipment, she approached her fighter. A tired smile crossed her face as she appreciated what it meant to her now. With no future in the Fleet anymore, and no way to ever go home to Earth; this fighter was all she had left to her. It was her prized possession, the one item she owned that she would never trade or give away no matter who much money was offered.
With a tired sigh, she punched her security code into the keypad. All she wanted to do right then was to get into a clean jumpsuit and use some of the onboard water to wash the tissue and blood from her hair. It was hard to believe, she told herself, that it had been four hours since that happened!
And it will feel wonderful to get it out of my hair too, she told herself as she climbed up into the cockpit.
Hitting the controls to lower the canopy and darken it, she busied herself with cleaning her hair. As everything washed out of her hair, she sighed in satisfaction. While she had no idea where Kosloski was, she would go look for him after she had changed; there was no way she could do otherwise. However, after all the stress, and tragedy, she had experienced, couldn’t she spend some time on herself for a change?
She heard the com system in the fighter chime for her attention as she finished dressing herself. With a distracted eye, she looked up and noted that the message was from within the spaceport. Who would be calling her from there, she wondered. Could it be Kosloski letting her know where he was?
She reached for the button to activate the com unit, and felt her torso muscles go into spasms. Fatigue was starting to really effect how her body was reacting to her commands. If she didn’t get some sleep soon, she admonished herself, then she was going to find herself collapsing, and most likely, at the worst possible time too!
“Captain Almir,” Kosloski said. “You there?”
“Yes,” she said with a tired groan.
“I’m outside your fighter,” he said. “Can you come out?”
“I’ll be right there,” she said as she hit the canopy controls. Grabbing her sword, she hit the button for it to seal after she stepped out, and for the security system to activate in three minutes.
When she stepped off the ladder on the ground, Kate found herself nearly falling over. She had no idea how much farther she could go, but it wasn’t going to be much longer. The best thing she could do was to send Kosloski away to another world while she got lost herself.
And if someone jumped me right now, she thought with a moan. I couldn’t do anything about it if I wanted to!
She reached out to the fighter and used it to steady herself until she felt her balance return. It was time to send Kosloski on his way, she thought, and let him find his own place to hide. Both of them were wanted now, and they were going to have to live the life of a criminal for the rest of their lives, and that broke her heart. Wiping away a single tear with her gloved hand, she looked him in the eyes.
If I knew that things were going to be like this, she thought bitterly. Then I would have stayed on Necko!
“I was worried about you, Captain,” Kosloski said as his thumb ran over the keypad of his pocket computer.
“Why was that?” she asked, feeling a twinge of suspicion grow in her stomach. The man certainly wasn’t acting like the same man she knew before the gunfight!
“Well, because,” he said as he pressed a button. “I would have been out my retirement money?”
“What are you talking about-“ Kate said as she went to take a step towards him, and all hell broke loose.
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