Author's note: It's highly recommended that you read Jemine Caesar's logbook before this one!
Marty Aston. Failed bodyguard. Kicked out of the Kumo Crew. Too old to enlist in a respectable outfit, too out-of-shape to enlist in a non-respectable one. Aptitude not high enough for Pilot’s Fed or University. Wheels and deals moderately well. Been trying to get in with Black Omega for years, with no success.
I swiped my holo-tablet, taking another sip of Old Sol in one of the many seedy bars on board Clair Dock. The data disk that Marra had tucked into my jacket had been a dossier on my new contact. So far, I hadn’t exactly been impressed- why would Marra bother with him?
Dockhand, station trader, booky- this guy’s done a little of everything. But overall, he wants to break into the big time, and he’s running out of professions that he hasn’t screwed up.
I flipped off the display, slipping the tablet back into my jacket pocket. Like it or not, this scrub was working for Marra, and he was the boss man for the next bit. He was expecting me some time today, and seemed to prefer face-to-face deals.
At least he’s got that in common with her
, I thought. What they didn’t have in common was their living situation. Whereas Marra’s spot on the Black Omega high counsel netted her an expansive penthouse on one of Clair Dock’s outer structures, Marty was cooped up in the bowels of the station, only a few levels away from the sanitation vats.
Clear Springs Suites, unit seventy-three. Why do the all the shitholes always have the sweetest-sounding names?
The lift that took me further into Clair Dock made a disconcerting whine, like its motor was straining and no one had ever quite gotten around to servicing it. It slowed and came to a shuddering halt with a slight metal-on-metal grind. I exhaled and stepped out, wondering if I had just been in more or less danger than when the Betrayal
had gotten torn up by Tomas Santoro’s mercs.
The habitation complex was more or less what I’d expected. Drab, graffiti'ed walls, harsh fluorescent lighting with half the bulbs burned out, not even flickering holo-windows- this wasn’t a place where people lived because they were winning at life. I straightened my jacket and started down the battered hallway.
Seventy, seventy-one, seventy-two-
I rounded a corner, looking at the machine-pressed number on the door ahead of me. The paint was flaking on the numbers, but I was clearly at the right place. My hand was just raising to knock when I hear voices from inside the room. They were muffled, but the door wasn’t that thick. I heard a man’s timbre, a Lower Imperial accent from the sounds of it. He sounded upset about something. The woman’s voice, though-
My face screwed up as I looked up and down the hall, checking for foot traffic before pressing my ear against the door. I knew that voice. My heart started to be beat harder as I strained to hear what she was saying.
Jemine Caesar. It’s got to be.
I held my breath as I focused on the woman. Sure enough, it was her- but she sounded upset. Worried. Fearful.
Jem darlin’- what have you gotten yourself into?
For the rest of the story, click here! And as always, huge thanks to Marra Morgan and Jemine Caesar for their partnership, input, and continued awesomeness!