Behind? Catch up now!
Sennett felt rage, welling up in her. She smelled something medicinal and sensed that someone was standing over her. She opened her eyes, and the face in front of her wasn’t human. She didn’t even think of her weapon, she just lunged.
The medic jumped back, gasping. Sennett stopped herself. There was no monster in front of her. Just a young man, holding a medical scanner.
“It’s alright, Ma’am. Please try to stay still,” he said. “You’ve been hit by a low-level electric shot. I need to see if you’re bleeding internally.”
“Wish I could say I’ve never heard that before,” Sennett said. She tried to stay still while the medic scanned her, while still looking around. Godfrey was having his hand bandaged, sitting on the edge of a booth. Mason’s shirt was off, revealing a bandage across his ribs.
Liam seemed to be the only one uninjured. He was holding April in his arms, her face buried in his shoulder.
“Baby,” Sennett said, drawing April’s attention. Liam sat her down, and the little girl came running to Sennett. Bailey was just behind her.
“Looks like you should be fine,” the medic looked at his scanner. “There’s a police officer waiting to talk to you about this. Do you think you can manage it?”
“Sure, for the second time today,” Sennett muttered.
Sennett was more thankful then she could express when they reached their hotel room. She sent April off to get a bath, while she changed clothes. “Some fucking vacation,” she muttered, pulling a clean shirt from her drawer.
“What could that have been about?” Mason asked, sitting down on the bed. “Do you think he’s connected with that Whitehall guy?”
“No idea,” Sennett said, digging a pain pill out of her bag. “I don’t know why these people are attacking me. I don’t know why I can’t just go on vacation like a normal person.”
“I might know,” said Liam, leaning in the doorway between the two rooms.
“Can you knock?” Sennett asked, pulling her shirt on quickly. “Damn it, Liam!”
“Seen it before, Sen,” Liam said. “I’ve been sleeping on your couch and you like midnight snacks.”
He sat down on Sennett’s bed, as Godfrey came to stand in the doorway between the two rooms. “Sen, you remember I said a buddy of mine was getting pressure to provide weapons for the Core?”
“Isn’t that the buddy they killed?” Godfrey asked.
Liam nodded. “And they started contacting me. They even sent a couple of people around to meet me. They started out real friendly, but then they put the pressure on. That guy was one of them. I think his name’s Russell.”
“You didn’t tell me that you’d actually meant Core members,” Sennett said, crossing her arms.
“Didn’t seem to matter,” Liam said. “I was just kinda hoping they’d go away and leave me alone. If I started shooting my mouth off they’d come after me. But this guy, he’s scary. The other people in the group all deferred to him. And he’s crazy strong. I saw him snap a lead pipe in half with his bare hands.”
“He must have had some sort of augmentation,” Mason said.
“I didn’t see any insertion marks or any cuffs that might have been helping him out,” Liam said. “I mean, I ain’t ruling it out, but-.”
“The Core. The Core knows about April,” Sennett whispered.
Godfrey and Liam both looked towards her. “We knew that they’d find out eventually,” Godfrey said softly. “Everyone on S86 knew, we couldn’t expect them to stay quiet forever.”
“We could hope,” Sennett said.
“They’re here now. So we gotta figure out what we’re gonna do about it.” Liam said.
Sennett nodded slightly. “Not like she wasn’t in danger before.”
April finished her bath. Liam jumped in the shower as Sennett got April and Bailey settled into bed.
“Mommy, do the people who tried to hurt us know where we are right now?” April asked, pulling Bailey close.
“Maybe,” Sennett said, tucking the blanket around the child. “But I wouldn’t be too worried. Bailey won’t let anything happen to you, and neither will I.”
“I know,” April said, yawning widely. She and Bailey both closed their eyes.
Sennett stood up, trying not to scream. Despite the pain pill, her arm and ribs were a nightmare.
The day had been a long one, and Sennett realized that it had something in common with being at home. Long hard days, the days that ended with sore ribs and blood loss, usually also ended in paperwork. There’d been several incidents today that Patty needed to know about. Sighing, Sennett drug herself to the little desk in the corner, tapped it to turn on the screen and started writing it all up.
She was just sending her message when she heard knocking from the boy’s room. She slipped through the doorway, just as Godfrey was looking at the visitor screen. “It’s Gene,” he mouthed.
“What does he want now?” Sennett whispered.
He pulled open the door. “What can we do for you, Gene?”
“Oh,” Gene said, taking a step back. “Sennett, I’m sorry. I didn’t realize that you two were, um-.”
“We’re not,” Sennett said, “our rooms connect.”
“That makes sense,” Gene said. “And it saves me time. I just wanted to check in with you both and make sure you’re okay.”
Sennett and Godfrey moved to the side so that Gene could come in. “Your security needs work,” Sennett muttered.
“I’m really sorry that this happened to you. Mom would have come herself, but she’s tied up right now,” he replied.
“No problem. Honestly, your police force already took my statement. I’m sure they’re looking into it,” she said, closing the door.
“Sure,” he said, taking a seat at the desk. “But still, you’ve had a hell of a day. And I know that sometimes you can think of something hours later that you might have forgotten to tell the cops. This other guy that attacked you, did you know anything about him?”
Godfrey gave her a quick glance over Gene’s shoulder. Ever so carefully he shook his head.
“Gene, I’m a detective,” Sennett snapped. “My mind doesn’t work like other people. If I had relevant information, I’d have shared it with the officer who interviewed me.”
“What’s so important about this Whitehall guy?” Godfrey asked. “He wasn’t nearly as threatening as the man who shot up that restaurant.”
Gene snorted. “Whitehall’s a traitor. He’s stolen vital information from the station. And he’s just looking for a buyer.”
“What kind of information?” Sennett asked.
“I don’t know. But he used me to get it.”
Gene sat down in one of the padded chairs next to the tiny table. “Jason was my friend, my best friend. We grew up here on the station together. His parents were both council members before they died. I was even, well, I was engaged to his brother, Sean.”
He sighed, looking down at the ground. “Jason stole something from my mom’s office at the house. He and Sean were both over, and I had to step into my office to take a work call. A few minutes later, I heard shooting, and came out.”
Gene stood up and took a deep, rattling breath. “Jason was gone, the door to Mom’s office was open, and Sean, Sean was laying on the hallway floor. He, he’d been shot with, with one of those acid guns? I don’t know what they’re called.”
“I’m sorry,” Sennett said. “I lost my husband, too.”
Gene nodded. “I know. Anyway, sorry about all of this. I just, well I didn’t want you hearing garbled stories from anywhere else about all this without knowing the truth of things.”
He stood, and headed for the door. “Sorry for the downer story. Please let me or Mom know if you need anything at all, okay?”
“We will, yeah,” Godfrey said, nodding. “Thanks for stopping over, Gene.”
“Sure, sure,” Gene said.
When she was sure he was far enough down the hall, Sennett, “Wonder what it is Whitehall stole.”
“It was something big enough to make Whitehall kill his own brother,” Mason said.
“The problem is, that’s a relative measure,” Sennett replied. “What worries me is, who’s going to buy it. And what the hell have I got to do with any of this?”
Copyright © 2019 by Nicole C. Luttrell
All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, distributed, or transmitted in any form or by any means, including photocopying, recording, or other electronic or mechanical methods, without the prior written permission of the publisher, except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical reviews and certain other noncommercial uses permitted by copyright law.
Sennett, Godfrey and the rest of Station 86 are trying to put their society back in order after the Core attack. Then a mysterious ship from a dying station arrives, bringing artificially intelligent robotic, murderous dogs.
Godfrey, Mason and April must get to the hospital safely, while Sennett is trying to protect Marshal’s Joy and Howard. But the AI dogs are nothing compared to the terrors they left behind on their own station.