Chapter 54 (new writing)

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The door behind her opened up. Looking up unexpectedly, she saw Ferini leading two guards. Accompanying him were Brooks, Paul and the nondescript man she had seen earlier.

And the plot thickens, she told herself.

“Katie,” Ferini said, smiling broadly. “I would like you to meet Thomas James.”

Keeping her face neutral, she looked at him. Yes, she told herself, he looked familiar. She had seen him somewhere before and she couldn’t place it. It was somewhere before she got to Necko, possibly Haven?

“Mister James,” she said flatly.

“Katie is a unique person,” Ferini said. “In more ways then I explained earlier.”

That’s nice, she told herself, wanting to shake her head. He was going to make her show her bionics to the man. Pursing her lips, she kept her mouth shut, waiting for the other shoe to drop.

“I what way?” the man said.

“She has had her limbs replaced with cybernetic bionics,” Ferini said. “Show him your arm, Katie.”

Looking at the guards and then Ferini, she sighed. In her powered-down state, there was no use in fighting him. Grabbing the zipper on her jumpsuit, she pulled it down.


Even knowing what to expect, he raised his eyebrows in surprise. A latticework of subcutaneous computerized connections branched from her shoulder. Looking like a spider web, he admired the surgeon’s work.

The work that had been done to her was extensive, he told himself. Fighting to keep his face a mask, he ran the options through his
head. She was going to be a very dangerous subject, one that he wondered if his superiors could truly handle.

That’s not for me to worry about, he told himself.


Kate closed her jumpsuit back up, staring at the man. He hadn’t shown an expression at her cybernetics, she thought, which meant he had to know about them. No one who didn’t would have been able to look at them so impassively.

Just who is he? She asked herself. And why is he so interested in me?

Watching them intently, she stood waiting. Something was going to go down, her gut screamed. Just what it was, she hadn’t a clue. However, she wasn’t going to be unprepared with it happened.

“How do you keep such a superior person under your control?” the man asked.

“I’m glad you asked that,” Ferini said.

Reaching into his coat, he pulled out a pocket computer. He showed it to the man, who nodded. Whoever he was, Kate mused, he wasn’t surprised by any of this!

“Inside this pocket computer,” Ferini said, pointing at a small black box near the ceiling. “And through these repeaters, I can broadcast a ‘shut down’ code. This allows me to keep Katie at a normal human’s strength. Or, if I so choose, can leave her limbs paralyzed. Either way, Mr. James, it gives me quite a bit of control over her.”

“I see,” the man said, reaching into his coat.

What happened next surprised even Kate. Moving with a speed she hadn’t seen before, he pulled a pistol out of his coat. He shot the first guard square in the chest. Spinning to his right, he took down the second before he could draw.

“I’ll take that,” he said, taking the computer from Ferini.

Punching buttons, eyes never leaving Ferini, he reactivated her bionics. Clenching her fists, Kate could feel the power return to her. A wolfish grin crossed her face.

“Captain Almir,” the man said, dropping the computer to the floor. He stomped on it, destroying Ferini’s capability to control her. “There is a vessel waiting for you in Berth twenty-five. I recommend you and your friends make your way there.”

“Who are you?” she asked.

“That is not important,” he said. “Other then this is a one time deal; there are no more ‘get out of jail free cards’ coming your way.”

Brooks and Paul grabbed the downed guard’s rifles as they were talking. Once they were armed, the man disappeared. Spinning to face Ferini, her eyes burned.

“You bastard,” she said, drawing her sword.

“You’re still my property, Katie,” he said. “Even if you kill me now…it’s not over.”

“Remember this,” she growled, holding her sword over her head. “Each time you come for me, I’ll kill you.”

“It’ll never end, Katie,” he said.

“It does now,”

With a quick slice, she separated his head from his body. Turning to face her companions, she heard the two items hit the floor. Wiping it off on her pants leg, she sheathed it again.

“Are you on my side?” she asked them.

“Of course,” Brooks said.

“You claimed it before,” she muttered, picking up a pistol from one of the guards. “And you worked for Reyes.”

“After seeing what you can do,” Brooks said, eyebrows raised. “I would rather be with you then against you.”

“And you?” she asked, looking at Paul.

“Same here,”

“Good answer,” she said. “Otherwise I would have killed you where you stood, understand?”

Neither one of them said a word. Sometimes discretion was the better part of valor, their facial expressions said. Storming past them, Kate approached the door.

“The hanger bay is that way,” she said, pointing to her right. “About a kilometer. Who knows how many guards we will see.”

“Is there an easier way to get there?” Brooks asked.

“If we go up to the second level,” she said. “There are mainly offices up there. Then we could enter the space port from the balcony.”

“Sounds like a plan to me,”

Without a word, Kate led them into the hall.
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