Hunting the Hunter Part 4

"Well, that will be a relief, won't it?" Ciarente asked. "To wrap it up?"

"I don't like people messing with me and my crew." Amieta said with a nod, "Don't like it at all."

Amieta sent another message to Sarakai, "Is the assault team ready?"

"It must have been awful," Ciarente said, "Not knowing ... I mean, having someone on your crew, not knowing who it was, betraying you."

"They're ready, and we've identified several potential places to execute the op. It's mostly a matter of waiting for the opportunity. We need to get just a little more intelligence."

"We found out who it was. Not much slips through our net, and no one does it more than once."

"Make sure you're very clear that we want a live capture if at all possible." Amieta's voice was grim, even to her own mind, "I have some questions I want answered."

"I can imagine" Ciarente nodded.

"Of course Commander. When the opportunity arrives, we will be ready."

"All that's left is deciding what sort of example will be the most..." Amieta finished her drink, "Educational."

"Thank you Sarakai. Invelen out."

"Oh." Ciarente said with an uneasy look


Interbus records really are too easy to get into.

The day they work that out, we're going to lose one of the biggest intelligence resources we have.

Jorion scanned the ticket records:

Amieta Invelen:

FROM: Ennur IX - M7 - Impro Research Center, TO: Goinard IV - M5 - Impro Factory Station AT: 111.06.02 08:00 (RET 11:00), 111.06.03 05:00 (RET 7:30), 111.06.05 05:30 (RET 6:45), 111.06.07 05:00 (RET Ticket Open)

Ennur IX - M7 - Impro Research Center, TO: Rens VI - M8 - Brutor Tribe Treasury AT: 111.06.01 01:00 (RET 06:00), 111.06.04 02:00 (RET 11:00)

FROM Ennur IX - M7 - Impro Research Center, TO: Torrinos V - M5 - Lai Dai Corporation Factory AT: 111.06.05 23:30 (RET 111.06.06 04:00)

Odd for a Sansha to be so fond of a bar run by Veto and frequented by Ghost Festival, Jorion thought.

Odd, but convenient.

Ethan Verone's security was far too tight to make the club itself a possibility.

But there's all that time on the Interbus shuttle.

And all those corridors between the shuttle terminal and the Last Gate's front door.

He studied the records one last time, and then took a datachip from his pocket. Slotted into the terminal reader, the chip's program began to run, deleting every trace of the searches run over the past weeks. Deleting, scrambling, over-writing: Jorion was confident that even the FIO's best forensic programmers would find not a single bit or byte that looked suspicious.

As the program ran, he reached down and opened the bottom drawer of his desk, and typed a long combination of numbers on the keypad inside. The false bottom of the drawer folded back, and Jorion reached past it to take out the mag-pistols beneath.

He checked the loads carefully, and then, as the terminal flashed to signal the conclusion of the program, he put both guns and the datachip in his breifcase.

On the way out he stopped at Tomas Proleque's door. "Taking the rest of the day, Tom," he said. "Spend a bit of time with the kids."

"Of course," Tomas said. "That's good, Jory. You need to - "

"Take a break, I know," Jorion said. "Good advice. I might take tomorrow, too."

He left the office at just the right speed, a man glad to leave work behind, looking forward to an afternoon in the sunshine with family, a spring in his step, a slight smile on his face.

It was three blocks before he let that smile die, and changed his course.

At the shuttleport, he showed an ID that said he was Artaurd Quintel.

"First time to Goinard, Mr Quintel?" the deskclerk asked.

"Yes," Jorion said. "But I'm looking forward to it."

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