Ch. X, p.2

Civic duty? What? Dom thought.

For the first time, Berin spoke. “Give him something in return, Detroit. At least hear him out.”

Detroit’s eyes met his, cold as steel. “Fine. What is it?”

Still trying to come to grips with what had just happened, Dom answered, “I have this data from a friend of mine… She disappeared yesterday and I can’t access it without her. I need the security hacked.”

“What kind of data is it?”

Inquisitive sonofabitch… “She accessed a mainframe and it did an automatic backup of her memory bank. I want to see if this information can lead me to her.”

“I’ve never heard of anything like that…”

“This chick was from Genesys. All sorts of weird shit going on with those folk.”

“I see…” He seemed to buy it. Probably because it was close enough to the truth that Dom himself nearly believed it. “Go see my associate. Kairi Celine lives in the 18th district, sector seven, building alpha.”

“What room?”

“Building alpha,” he repeated.

An entire building? That was rare. Even Berin Grates shared the back half of the Dragon’s Breath with a variety of domiciles. Dominic turned to leave and said, “I’m sending you the coordinates. I trust you because I trust Berin. Keep that in mind.”

“He is the thread that ties us together, isn’t he? Now, if you’ll excuse us, he and I have a conversation to finish.”

Dominic was glad to be done with him. Raising a hand in acknowledgement to Berin he turned and left the room, heading back the way he came, the sound of low talk fading behind him.

Sliding doors opened into empty streets. What did he mean he had a civic duty to perform? he wondered. Apparently, Detroit had some grudge with Apex. But it wasn’t any of his concern; by some incredible stroke of luck, perhaps, he had gotten all that he came for.

But it’s not over til it’s over, he knew. Not until the data was decrypted; not until Sherrad was well again. And… he felt a heaviness—the dark has not yet arrived.

Oblivious to the pounding of his feet against the pavement, he pulled up a menu and thought ‘Call Edwards.’ He imagined the doctor as clearly as he could, guiding the software in his gear to contact the appropriate party.

Moments later, a voice resounded in his brain, saying, “Yes? What is it?”

“Doc, what did you find out?”

“It’s not good. I didn’t see it at first, but the infection has somehow spread into his chest. Operating is going to require more sophisticated equipment than I have access to.”

Shit.
He needed to keep a level head. “It’s taken care of, I’ve found someone who can help. But I have to know—how valuable is that… ‘product’ I showed you?”

“I’nt worth anything to me, but it’ll fetch a high price around town. Shouldn’t be difficult to find a buyer.”

“I already did… It isn’t dangerous, is it?”

“Crisis of conscience, huh? Well, no need to worry,”
he said, “They’re harmless, mostly… I’ll run down the details when I see you.”

“I have a stop to make first… shouldn’t take more than a few hours. Will you be okay taking care of Sherrad?”

Edwards hesitated. “Yeah. He’ll be here when you get back.”

“Thanks.”


Dominic closed the call and breathed fully. He could handle this, he told himself. All it would take was a little luck.

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