The spaceport was empty as he crossed it. Looking around furtively, Johansson smiled at his timing. There was no way that Abernathy would think of him leaving. No, he told himself, she would suspect it this quickly.
The puts the ball in my court, he told himself, spotting his shuttle.
As he approached, he kept looking for trouble. All he had to do was to make it to orbit and everything would be okay. From there he could disappear into the Outlaw worlds, where he could work on finding something on her.
I never thought this would be how I left, he snorted as he climbed in.
He hadn’t alerted anyone to his leaving except for the crew in orbit. Thus, he had to pilot himself; however, he was a trained pilot. Smiling, he closed the hatch and started the turbines.
The familiar rumble filled the cockpit as he took off. Leaving the spaceport behind, he angles upwards for orbit. Ten minutes, he mused, and he would be beyond her reach in the grasp of people whom he trusted implicitly.
As his ship climbed, he started to feel more relaxed. Hitting the autopilot, he settled back into his seat. She would pay for what she did, he mused, even if it took him his entire life to do it!
The ship shuddered for a moment. Looking up at the controls, he noticed that he was losing altitude. That wasn’t right, he told himself, cutting the autopilot off.
His eyes went wide as he saw the ship angling for the ground. The autopilot was pre programmed! The damn bitch, he raged. She had outsmarted him one, final time!
His shuttle struck the Atlantic Ocean at the speed of sound. Shattering into a thousand pieces, it quickly sank to the bottom. The only signal of his demise was on air control’s boards…
The wind whipped at her long coat. Flapping it out behind her like a cape, she watched the shuttle’s final moments. There was no explosion as it struck the sea. After several seconds, the sound of the crash reached her ears.
Standing beside her, George Carver was smiling. Johansson had been a failure, he told himself, along with being an ass. No one who was truly committed to the cause would have gone through Abernathy’s files! No one!
“This places you in charge of all Intelligence functions,” he said.
“I know,” she told him.
“Don’t fail me,”
“I won’t, sir,”
“Is your operative in place to deal with Almir?” he said.
“She’s been in place for three days,” Abernathy said. “All I have to go is give the word.”
“With the Syndicate being involved too,” Carver said. “We need to tread on thin ice; I don’t think either one of us want to stir that hornet’s nest up.”
“I couldn’t agree more,” she said. “I will make the arrangements myself.”
“With the money invested in her,” Carver said. “It wouldn’t be good if she failed.”
“Barring a bullet to the head,” she said. “There is no way for Almir to kill her.”
“I’ve heard those reassurances before,” he said. “Mostly from our former Intelligence Chief.”
“I have other non-combat agents on Necko too,” she said. “If, by chance, she was the kill the operative…they’ll recover the frame. All we have to do then is replace the brain and try again.”
“Why Major,” he said, smiling with a psychotic warmth. “If I didn’t know better, I would say you were becoming like me!”
“I should,” she said, stepping closer. “I’ve been learning from you…”
He took her in his arms, kissing her. Johansson would’ve stumbled on his secret, he mused, kissing her. No one was to know that he and Alex Abernathy were lovers. Just for threatening that fact, Johansson had to die.
It was all his failures in killing Almir that gave me the excuse, he thought, smelling her hair.
“Don’t worry,” she told him. “I will kill Almir if it takes me an eternity to do it! I will do it for you, my love…”
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