10

Pat’s in a good mood all things considered, sitting across from me in the bar at the corner of fortieth and Dei. The beers only any good if you’ve got a credit rating above 227L, or an SCL card above 4, which, conveniently, Pat does.

“Yes, I had to do a brief stint with an operative squad, part of the job training, you know that” I do, it’s part of standard SLA training, if you’re going to be part of the scene, you have to understand it. It’s not bad at the lower levels, for example, Eve can get away with it because she’s only a baseline operative. If she wants to be anything more than that, she’ll have to do ‘the tour’.

Bringing myself back to the present, I nod over at Pat, who smiles, he’s obviously seen the operative squad I got posted to. I plaster the rogue grin back on to an almost imperceptible nod from Pat, he’s been here as long as I have, we know the game.

“Alright” I start. “Where does this leave us then, there’s four names on that list, each one of them could be one of the kills.”

He shakes his head softly “No, there’s two names on that list, Soyn got killed in a thresher incursion nine years ago, artillery shell to the head. Dwayne bought it in a drop-ship accident over a prison world five years back.”

“What about Serena?”

“Haven’t seen her for a good five years, last I heard, she’s got a bit of an alternative career at the moment.”

“Yeah? What’s she doing now?”

He grins and leans back for a second, he’s obviously savouring the moment. The chair creaks ominously under his bulk, which brings him back to reality fairly quickly and leans forwards again.

“Honeydew Homegirl.”

“Porn star, very famous, very toned, but what’s she got to………..ah.”

He grins that rogue grin again “Yes indeed.”

“Ah, well, guess it won’t hurt to pay a visit to see what they’re up to?”

“Up…….to?” I can hear the edge of laughter as he flips his hand backwards and forwards. I glance over, caught briefly by the sudden motion, one of the good and bad things about a hunter species, you tend to notice anything that flashes at you. I recognise the motion and shake my head.

“If they’re up to that, you can ask the questions……….”

We get up to leave and Pat’s beeper goes, he glances down at it and shrugs.

“You go ahead, I’ll meet you there, got to take care of something over at S1, she lives over at thirtyseventh, it’s the place with the indoor pool.”

S1.

Stigmartyr.

You don’t keep those boys waiting, I nod and send for Eve, giving her the address.