1-6. Entendre

“You have got to be kidding me,” Laurie said. Her pistol cleared its holster, discharging into the hooded figure’s escorts. “Let’s go, boys.” She charged straight ahead, leaping over the body of Voss to plant her shoulder in the chest of the hooded figure. He fell to the ground, and she ran down the hall, Chip and Scorch close behind her.

They descended the front stairs, plunging into the crowd, making their way to the front door.

“Hey!” The bartender yelled at them. “Hey!”

“Sorry, can’t stay to chat,” Laurie tossed over her shoulder. She pushed the door open, stopping to hold it open for Chip and Scorch, looking back to the bar. “The guy who killed your boss is about to come down behind us.”

The bartender yelled something in reply, but Laurie was out the door without hearing.

“What now, Cap?” asked Chip.

“Back to the Venturess. Let’s get off this rock and regroup.”

“You know,” Chip said as they reached the landing platform. “I’m sensing a pattern with this job.”

“How’s that?” Laurie panted.

“Everywhere we go, everyone is dead.”

“Or someone is waiting for us.” She stood erect as the tall, stick-like figure of Knoff’s assassin emerged from behind one of the light poles. “I thought I might be seeing you again.”

His voice carried across the platform, low and even and clear, the kind of voice that sounded like stone and made blood run cold. “You have failed your mission.” He strode slowly, with purpose towards them.

“Did I? Wasn’t the whole point to get Yoss killed? Well, he’s dead, or hadn’t you heard?” The assassin stopped for a moment. “Or did you kill him? And you just needed someone to pin it on?” Her voice was strong, unwilling to be bullied or played by the crime lord.

“You forget your place, little girl,” he said, advancing again.

“Do I? And what place is that? Dead?”

He stepped forward, now just several feet away from her, when another voice stopped him. “Hold it.”

Laurie turned her head to see the bartender at the edge of the platform. He edged his way onto the platform, keeping his pistol trained on the assassin. “You didn’t give me a chance to talk to you, Captain. That person you were after is a government agent. You might think of Yoss as a gangster, but that was only to gather offworld funds so we could fight the Fuesillian government.”

“So what’s in the case?”

The assassin drew a pistol, gleaming silver, with a long, thin barrel. “Shut up, you,” he said to the bartender. “Or she dies.”

“You are all going to die if you don’t surrender this instant,” said a new voice. Laurie swore under her breath as the hooded figure stepped onto the platform. He trained his weapon the bartender. “You are a traitor, so you might as well die anyway.”

“Hey!” Laurie shouted, and everyone looked at her. “This is all about this case, right?” She held it up. “Well, go get it!” With a heave, she threw it as hard and as far as she could, off the platform, sending it plummeting down into the abyss of streets and buildings. She drew her pistols, aiming for the assassin, while Chip trained his rifle of the hooded Fuesillian.

“We are leaving,” she continued. “You can sort this out however you want, but do it without us.”

“That’s not possible,” the Fuesillian said. “You’ve participated in a scheme to over throw this government and must be brought to justice.”

Laurie shook her head. “No. We’re leaving. Now.”

[Voting is closed! Check back on 01.09.15 for the next chapter!]

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