The Hunted Chapter 18 snippet (new writing)

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A feeling of disorientation passed over Kate when her link cracked the team’s com net. They weren’t even using a highly secure encrypted network either! It should have been nearly impossible for her link to hack the system! Instead, it had taken it just a matter of five minutes to work its way into their traffic! How pathetic!

“I haven’t seen her yet,” a man’s voice said. “The fighter is in the space port but no sign of her.”

“There’s no way she could just slip past us,” the woman was trying to keep her cover but it was obvious to Kate that the stress was getting to her. “Keep searching!”

My, my, Kate thought with a chuckle. It appears that I threw a wrench in their works. That’s just too bad for them, because if they thought I was going to walk into their trap, then the whole bunch of ‘em aren’t too smart!

The cold metal of a gun barrel touched the back of Kate’s neck and she went stiff. How in the hell could they have found her? With the number of people moving at the time, the chances of being spotted were so remote that they were nearly impossible!

“Don’t move,” the sound of a safety being removed was almost as loud as the woman who spoke.

“Wouldn’t dream of it,” Lowering her head was the only response Kate could make. This whole damned affair was getting ridiculous!

How in the hell had a group as disorganized as this one get the drop on her? Ever since the meeting with Adams on Alpha Centauri, she had been playing catch up. The people who wanted her dead always seemed to be a step ahead no matter what Kate thought of, and it was getting to be pretty damned old.

“I have her,” the sound of triumph filled the other woman’s voice. “She went into the coffee shop like I expected.”

“Keep your hands where I can see them,” the sound of the hammer being cocked on the pistol made Kate think twice about making a move.

Check and mate, Kate thought with a frown.

“It looks like we’re going to collect that money after all,” The woman ground the pistol into Kate’s head. “Which makes me very happy.”

The sound of another hammer being cocked made Kate cock an eyebrow. Who the hell was in the room now? Jesus, these criminals had even less sense of honor then she had when on Necko!

“I don’t think you will be in a few minutes,” a man’s voice said.

“There’s a team waiting for her,” the woman said. “They’ll kill you both.”

“No one will even see me,” the man said. “Especially you. Get out of here, Almir.”

Who the hell was this man, Kate wondered. Why was he letting her go? Was this the guardian angel that Reyes had sent behind her? Could she possibly know who he was?

She slipped out of the chair and got a look at the woman who had been behind her. No wonder the bitch had been able to get behind her! It was the damn waitress from the coffee shop! Was then anyone who could be trusted anymore?

“You won’t get far, Almir,” she spat, her face contorted in rage.

“Hurry up,” the man said. “I’ve got a motorcycle waiting for you out back-a Ducati like you like.”

Kate felt her jaw drop when she saw the man for the first time. Thaddeus Brindle! Damn, it should have been obvious that was who it had been. Brindle had been a fellow recruit during basic training and they had been lovers and still occasionally slept together.

Who else would have been a better choice to watching over me? Kate wondered while she looked at Brindle with a smile. There wouldn’t have been anyone that she trusted more then him, and Reyes would have known that. The sly fox!

“Take this,” Brindle said, holding out a small computer for Kate to take. “You will need this.”

“What is it?”

“It’s the software to upgrade your stealth suit to second gen,” he said. “It will keep Adams from seeing you-and it’s set for your fighter too.”

“It was you who destroyed that frigate, wasn’t it?”

“No choice in the matter,” Brindle moved to keep himself out of the view of the woman he had the gun on. “It had to be done.”

That much was true, Kate mused. There was no way that the frigate’s crew was going to quit chasing her. That play had been decided for them when they had decided to go rogue to try to collect the bounty. However, it only managed to ease the sting of watching the ship explode-no remove it.

“Thanks,” The computer was small and light in Kate’s hand. “You say the bike is outside?”

“Get your ass moving, Kate,” Brindle growled. “You’ve got only a couple minutes before they’ll be after you-and you need to be somewhere quiet to download the software.”

“You need a favor anytime,” Kate crossed the room, calling back to Brindle. “You’ve got it, ok?”

“Just stay alive,” Brindle said. “That’s enough for me!”

“You know you’ll never get out of here alive,” the woman said.

“I doubt you will be able to find me,” Brindle hit the button on his camouflage suit and stepped back. By the time the woman turned around, there was no sign of him in the room.

“God damn it!” the woman snarled. “Get to the back of the building! Almir’s escaped!”
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