A sigh of relief escaped Brook’s lips. Watching from a distance, she watched the authorities loading up a woman’s body. Judging from the hair color, and height, she thought, it wasn’t Kate! Thank God for small miracles!
“This is a complete disaster,” Paul whispered.
He wasn’t whistling Dixie, she thought, turning from the scene. Counting the dead around the club, Kate had killed three Intelligence Agents. Johansson had wanted her dead; that much was for certain. The only problem with that wish: Kate Almir herself.
“We know she’s still alive at least,” She said.
“With all the police activity in town,” Paul grumbled. “We can’t do much to help her now.”
“If we even knew where she was,” Brooks said.
“We need to split up and see if we can find her.”
“What do you propose we do then?”
“Help protect her,” she said. “That’s the entire reason we’re here.”
She walked off from Paul, a hand going for her throat mike. Reyes would need to be updated on this, she mused, especially with all the gendarmes being involved. If they were caught with their weaponry, it would take a while to explain why they were there.
Mostly I need to find out what to do, she thought, passing the club.
Looking to her left, she could see the bodies under tarps. Shivering, it hammered home what was happening. Kate Almir was a marked woman, she reflected, and Johansson would always be after her. As long as he could find her, she would always have to look over her shoulder.
Which was why Reyes had controlled who was on her command staff, she mused. Everything he had done from the minute she returned from Selvior, had been made to keep her alive. However, she found herself wishing she knew why Kate’s life was so important. Why was it that Paul and her were risking their lives like this?
But he’s never going to tell me why, she snorted, pausing.
The sound of a faint gunshot reached her ears. Straining, she hear two, three more. There was a pause before she heard a burst of gunfire. She spun around to face the giant refinery. Kate had to be up there, she realized.
“Paul,” she said over their Tac Net.
“The refinery,” she said, moving towards it. “That’s where the Captain is at!”
“I’m on my way!” he said. “Don’t do anything stupid.”
“Heaven forbid,” she said. “Do I look like I have ‘stupid’ written on my forehead?”
He fought the urge to shrink. The damned news media was everywhere, he cursed. Earlier, they had pictured a crowd of people, including himself, for their broadcast. While it wouldn’t help Almir spot him, he was known by others; this broadcast would unfortunately let his superiors’ interest be known.
If I could have killed them without being spotted, he thought, snorting. Then I would have done that to keep the organization safe!
Pushing the thought out of his mind, he watched her through his binoculars. The move she made to kill the last woman, he mused, was more like they expected out of her. Taken completely be surprise, she had crippled the other woman before she knew it.
However, it was her escape from Benton that was the most interesting. They hadn’t expected her to be quite so athletic, he noted. It was one thing to be bionic; to be athletic, and know how to use them, was something else. Making sure the information flowed back to their headquarters, he smiled.
She will be everything we thought she would be, he chuckled.
Johansson watched the early news broadcasts from Haven. Gritting his teeth, it was obvious things were backfiring-again! That damned woman was impossible to kill, he raged, no matter what he tried! Just what was it going to take to kill her?
She has to have sold her soul to the devil, he thought, scanning the images.
Something caught his eye, and he replayed the image. He stopped the image, looking at one person. A non-descript man moved through the crowd, in its periphery. His eyes grew wide as he recognized the man.
“The Syndicate!” he breathed. “They’re interested in Almir now…”
He set his head in his hands at the news. This just couldn’t be happening, could it? Now the Syndicate wanted in on his action! Was there going to be an end to his headaches caused by her?
Leaning back in his chair, he thought about his run-ins with them. The Syndicate, he mused, the galaxy’s largest-and most secretive-order of mercenaries and hunters. Rumor had it that they have been in existence since Earth’s Middle Ages. None of that mattered to him now that they were after his prize!
Over the years both Reyes and him had tried to penetrate their organization. Each attempt had been a utter failure; the agents discovered and killed. They group was so organized, he mused, and old that they knew everyone in it. It was nearly impossible to join; those who had went through such a grueling test that agents were discovered right away.
But what do they want with Almir? He wondered. Did they want her to join their organization, or did they want to hunt her?
“We have problems,” he said, opening a com channel to Beatty’s office.
“What is it now?” Beatty said. “Other then Almir’s surviving still?”
“Jesus Christ,” Beatty breathed. “They’re getting into this too?”
“I don’t know what they’re wanting with Almir,” he said. “But they have one of their agents shadowing her.”
“This could be a disaster for us if she were to join them,” Beatty groaned.
“I’m aware of that,” he said. “But there is another alternative: that they are scouting her out to hunt.”
“Now that would work out well for us,” Beatty said, chuckling. “They would succeed where we’ve failed.”
“I am contemplating letting them have free reign,” he said. “But I wanted to clear it with you.”
“If they want to hunt her,” Beatty said. “Then let them have their fun. However, if they’re trying to recruit her; then you know what to do.”
Killing the channel, he stared at the ceiling. While it wouldn’t be as fulfilling to have the Syndicate kill Almir, he could live with it. Either way it would remove her from their hair. How could that be a bad thing?
You have my sympathies, he chuckling, thinking of Kate. Because if they choose to hunt you: you won’t survive the ordeal!
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