Syndicate Files: The Doctor - Part 7

((Co-written by Ciarente. Part 6 Here))

Cariot wasn't hard to find. She hadn't been thinking clearly enough to hide her trail - or even to try and find a dealer who wasn't connected with the Serps. Which meant they were probably speeding toward us - like a full battery of cruise missiles, but deadlier.

I grabbed her arm and she turned around and gave me a big, lopsided grin. "Tarva! Honey!"

I cursed. I'd found her but not before she'd found what she was looking for. "Come on, honey. We have to get out of here."

She came along without arguing, paying less attention to me than to whatever piece of peace she'd bought herself.

Auvy called with the results of the analysis while we were on our way back. We were still a couple blocks from the safe house when I nearly ran into One-eye. His goons surrounded us. He gave me a nasty smile, "The Stripper wants to see you, Tarva."

They didn't call Navanier 'The Stripper' because she'd danced in the dockside clubs. What Myla Navanier could do with a belt sander would make a blooder swear off red meat. You really don't want to know.

We met her in the back room of a dinky bar, not far from Cariot's office. No-one seemed to be real clear on how old Navanier really was, and that much money could buy a lot of youth. Pale, almost frail looking, with void-black hair. Pretty. Sitting stiffly in her chair, a legacy of whatever Cariot had patched up for her, maybe. She still looked like she should be selling Quafe on a billboard, not running a criminal empire. At least, until she was looking at you - studying you. I've heard stories about out on the other side of the cluster, where explorers have found entire regions occupied by rogue drones. How the drones will break into the ships, infest them. Take the parts they want and discard what's of no use to them.

As Myla studied me and Cariot, I understood what the crews of those ships must have felt in their final moments, in front of glittering, inhuman eyes. She spoke, "You could have saved yourself a lot of trouble and just called me, Tarva."

"You aren't paying me. Doubt you could afford me. We might be able to make a deal though."

She laughed, "A deal? What do imagine you have that I might want, Tarva? Making an example of you sounds tempting. Enough people in the know know you that it could be instructional."

"We should discuss it more privately, just me and you. Your people missed something, when they hit the doc's place. I had it analysed." I jerked my head toward Cariot, "She had no idea, and she still doesn't."

Something got through to Cariot, or maybe her dealer had shortchanged her and the high was wearing off. "No idea about wha - " she started to say.

The Stripper cut her off. "Everyone out. Take the medguri." Myla regarded me with narrowed eyes, "If you misbehave Tarva, she won't have any skin the next time you see her."

I waited while everyone filed out. One-eye looked like he wanted to protest, but I think the look on The Stripper's face stopped him. It woulda stopped an Erebus mid-warp.

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