Hook, line and sinker

- by deckerM & Flex

Chapter 2 The Board Is Set

Wulf tried to shake the feeling that they were being watched, but the closer they got to their meeting, the stronger the feeling became.

"Jade," he called as he pulled the car into the parking lot. "Change in plans. I want you to stay out here with the car."

Jade looked at him trying not to feel offended by his sudden change of plans.

"We're being watched," he explained softly. "I need you to do some watching of your own..."

She nodded slowly. One thing she had learned over the years was to trust Wulf's instincts when it came to unseen threats.

"How do you want to play this boss?"

Wulf looked at Ni and smiled. "Benny's there and he knows you've got more than a few brain cells kicking around, so be yourself. We'll lock down the car, leave Jade in back where she can do her thing. I want a handle on whoever we're dealing with and there's no point in exposing more of us until we know what's going on."

Ni nodded.

Wulf took a deep breath. "Lets do it then."


"We have three targets, two coming in, one remaining in the car."

'Smith' smiled to himself. "Keep tabs on the one in the car, we'll deal with the ones inside when the time comes."


'Smith' waited for Wulf and his friend to arrive. He allowed himself a brief smile. There was very little chance of failure now, the runner in question was far too predictable.

'Soon,' he told himself as images of his intended target came to mind. 'Very soon.'


Kai didn't know what to think of his new companion. It had been a few hours since they met at the McHugh's and already Party Animal had shown himself to be more of a real person than most of the slime that crawled around the shadows of the megaplex. Party Animal had been congenial, confident, and while a little bit condescending as he told Kai the beginnings of the ins and outs of running the shadows in Seattle, he genuinely tried not to be.

They had made their way to a small coffee shop where PA had already began to make more bad jokes than Kai ever thought existed. The only thing that Kai had a problem with was that PA occasionally muttered under his breath to an invisible third party. Kai didn't know if the elf was talking to himself or what, but it was unnerving.

Kai sat back and observed PA; his habit of speech, whenever he gestured when he tried to emphasize a point, the fact that he tried to spin everything into a joke to keep Kai's interest. He sipped softly on a Kona; real coffee was much better than anything soy, and he'd missed Hawai'ian coffee as soon as he stepped off the plane.

PA noticed Kai's quietness finally and tilted his head a bit. "Something up?" he asked. "I'm not boring you with all this drek, am I? I know Vinnie asked me to give you some pointers," he chuckled softly and sipped on the chai in his hand, "and maybe I should have given ya some time to know me before I unloaded."

Kai blinked in mid-sip. He stopped to swallow then replied with a sputter, "Oh, no, PA.. Sorry, bruddah. I'm just-"

PA held a hand to cut Kai off and sat back and smirked, crossing his arms as he gave the Hawai'ian a once-over. "Wait, let me guess. Even you as a genial Islander have been in the dojos so much you're just being respectful and listening to my drek until I ask you for an opinion."

Kai smirked and chuckled. This guy was good. "Yeah, hoa," he softly sighed. "It's been a while."

Chuckling again softly, PA shook his head.

You know, a soft voice scratched in the back of the shaman's mind, You could learn from this cub. Maybe you wouldn't end up a red streak on the Pyramid if you'd listen to me...

"Yeah, and maybe if you'd give me some actual decent privacy," PA muttered, trying to keep his bickering with Coyote to himself, "I'd actually give ya a shred of respect back, neh?"

Kai finally had enough. "Who are you talking to?" he asked after nearly slamming his coffee cup on the table.

PA blinked and looked at Kai. The suddenness of the question even made Coyote yip in PA's head. "What, you haven't figured it out?" PA asked, an eyebrow quirked.

"Figured out what?" Kai shook his head.

"I'm a shaman, dude." PA stopped a bit, wondering if using an archac term like that dated him. It seemed to pass over Kai. "Anyway. I'm a Coyote shaman, Coyote is my totem and he dosen't shut up, so I have to talk to him sometimes. What, don't the..," PA searched for the term Hawai'ians used for their magic users.

Kai looked up. "They're called kahunas. And honestly, I haven't been around a lot of them. But they usually went somewhere like Halekala to talk to their totems."

PA smirks and shrugs. "Yeah, and most shamans have their lodges to talk to the totems. I got cursed with a totem that's obviously got infinite free time on his paws and likes to fill my brain with whines."

"Sounds like fun."

"Yeah, well, you-" suddenly PA's cell phone rang. With a grumble PA grabbed for it in his duster, and flipped it open. "Yeah?" he answered. "Vinnie? What, now?" He sigh-groaned as Vinnie's voice jabbered away in his ear. "Look, fine, whatever! We'll be there in a couple minutes." Slapping the cell phone closed, PA rubbed his head and looked to Kai. "Vinnie says he found a job for us."

"A job? Did he say what it was?"

PA shook his head. "No, just that we gotta get over to his place, he'll tell us then."

Kai shrugged. "Better than sipping coffee, bruddah."


Lady Jade watched as Wulf and Ni entered "La buena vida." It was one of Memphis' premier Italian Restaurants. It was also one of the best places to go when you needed a job, provided you were friends with it's owner, Benny 'The mouth' Johansen.

As she waited she could almost see the carved hardwood wainscoting along the back hallway. Two minutes to get from the door to the Mouth's office. One minute for his guards to pat them down, twenty seconds of them glaring at Ni and then they'd be in the office.

Jade looked at the clock and then sighed to herself. It was time to try and find out what had set Wulf off. She rested her head against the window, allowing the cool glass to comfort her before she slipped into the astral.

She knew better than to even try and enter 'The Mouth's' private domain-- that was too well protected. No, if you wanted to see the man, you had to see him up close and personal. So she concentrated on the area around the restaurant. It all seemed normal enough.

After a moment's pause, she began back tracking- trying to find out whatever it was that Wulf had sensed. She wasn't sure if it was just the fact that Wulf had felt something or her own senses taking over, but something definitely did not feel right.

It took a moment for her to realize that there were no background signatures- nothing. It was like they were sitting in the event horizon of a magical black hole-- where nothing escaped. Somewhere in that hole- something was watching them. Jade was sure of it.


Wulf led the way into the restaurant, trusting Ni to watch his back. The closer they got to the door, the worse the feeling got. Wulf didn't know why, he only knew that he didn't want to be here. Still, he owed it to the man to find out what this was all about.

Ni seemed to pick up on his unease and moved closer. It wasn't enough to be uncomfortable-- just enough to remind Wulf that he wasn't alone. Wulf took a deep breath and forced himself forward. Whatever it was-- it wasn't in the office.

Somewhere in the back of his mind a haunting thought lingered. "Yet."

Ni stood there calmly as Benny's guards patted him down. He'd already turned over his pistol, but they were never satisfied with that. With all the times Ni had been here- they always seemed to feel the need to 'put him in his place.'

Not that it ever worked. Even without his gun, Ni could easily have dealt with the two of them, but it was always easier just to play along. They had something to prove- Ni didn't.

Once Wulf had been searched the two guards opened the door and led them in. Ni ignored the racist orc comment one of them made. But when the other piped in with one of his own Ni just gave them a raised eyebrow.

"Don't you two have a little old lady to harass?"

The first guard reached for his gun, only to be stopped by Benny. "Gentlemen, gentlemen- must we go through this every time Mr. Wulf and his friends come to visit?"

With a sigh he sat down at his desk and signaled Ni and Wulf to take a seat.

"I'm sorry about them," he said as his guards left the room. "They eat way too much red meat..."

Ni chuckled. "I eat too much red meat," he corrected. "They have way too many issues and not enough outlets."

Benny chuckled. "Ni, if you ever want to stop working for this waste of space," he said nodding towards Wulf, "I could use at least one guard who had some sense."

Wulf shifted in his seat- memories of being watched were still to fresh for him to relax. "So- Benny... why'd you call us?"

Benny sighed. "Always to the point I see- good to see you too Wulf. I have some gentlemen coming who wished to talk to you."

"Me specifically or your recommendation?"

"You and your team- they weren't too specific on the job, just that they wanted you and your people for it."

Before Ni or Wulf got to comment, Benny already had his hand raised. "And before you start- they came highly recommended. I may not know them- but I know the people who hooked them up with me. "

Wulf nodded, but Ni knew him well enough to know that he wasn't happy about any of it. Thinking about it neither was Ni. Usually when the boss was this on end, either Jade and Gris were getting into it or something very bad was about to happen.

The something very bad turned out to be an elf in a three piece suit and his entourage of guards. Ni was about to greet him in proper Sperethiel, but thought the better of it. Most elves were not comfortable with the thought of someone of his... bulk... being able to speak their language.

Instead he stood and made a slight bow. From the looks of the elf, the man wouldn't really like to shake hands with an orc. Wulf on the other hand had his full attention, so Ni merely moved behind Wulf- standing between him and the man's guards.

He watched as the man greeted Wulf and told him to be seated. Yeah- only Wulf exists here... you need Benny, I'm a necessary evil. But you want the boss for something- and he knows it.

Ni settled back, knowing this was Wulf's game and that he was far better at playing it than most people knew. It helped that he had a good B.S. detector and knew when people were trying to run a game down on him. Judging by the way Wulf watched Mr. Smith, the elf was definitely a player.

"Mr. Wulf- you came to us highly recommended."

Wulf nodded. "By whom- so I can thank them properly..."

Mr. Smith poured himself a drink, then looked at Benny. When Benny nodded he poured him one, then offered another to Wulf.

Ni knew Wulf well enough to know that he'd refuse. Nothing personal- he just never drank on the job.

Smith smiled as if Wulf had passed some sort of test. Then he offered Ni the drink- probably thinking the big dumb trog would drink anything. Ni smiled and accepted. Might as well play the game... it looked like good bourbon.

Ni took a sip and smiled. Smooth. If playing the part of a dumb trog were always this pleasant, he could almost get used to it. Ni paused as he saw a very predatory smile cross Smith's lips.

"So- what is this all about?" Wulf asked again.

Smith shook his head. "Just a moment more- we have one more person who should be here... "

There was something in his tone of voice that made Wulf sit up. Ni tensed- something was about to happen.

Mr. Smith said something to his men in Sperethiel, even as they moved- Ni's mind kicked into gear. Ni understood enough of the elven tongue to know it was a setup.

"Wulf, game on!" Ni yelled as he stiff armed one of the guards and followed him down to the floor. As he tried to stand, Ni felt something hard connect with his skull.

Before Ni had even managed to yell, Wulf was on his feet and swinging, only to be darted from three different directions.

As Wulf fell to the floor, Benny rose to his feet- screaming for his guards but it was too late. His 'guest' had the upper hand and seemed quite pleased with himself.

"What is the meaning of this!?"

The elf smiled. "All will all become clear, very shortly.."


The night air seemed a bit tense as the pair of runners made their way across the parking lot to the small warehouse where Vinnie held shop. Unlike a lot of fixers, Vinnie didn't really seem to have a cover buisness to keep away suspicious authorities; proof that the family he was affiliated with had deep pockets. PA nodded to Kai after making a quick look of the area in both planes.

PA took point as Kai followed; Kai didn't have a lot of dealings with the shady fixer so he let the more experienced shaman do the dealings. They approached the iron door quietly; a small security camera winked to life and focused in on them as PA knocked on the door. Where usually there would be a gruff thug answering the door through a smaller panel in the door, PA was surpirsed to see the door open by itself with Vinny standing there.

Vinny was a greasy-looking man who stood about a head shorter than Kai. He had big brown eyes that were framed in light crow's feet and slicked-back short black hair that was so obviously a comb-over that the sheen from his scalp added to the greasy look. Dressed in a pair of slacks with a Hawai'ian-print shirt on top, Vinny looked like he had a great future as a used car salesman if he ever quit being a fixer. Either that, or a ferret.

"PA! Kai!" Vinnie exclaimed, arms wide with a grin that made both runners think about filling out their life insurance policies. "Glad you could make it on short notice. Please, come in."

PA sighed and nodded toVinnie as he and Kai were led through the door straight into the fixer's office. As Vinnie closed and double-locked the door behind them, Kai took a look around, muttering under his breath.

Vinnie was a lover of Hawai'ian culture and decor. However, tacky didn't even begin to describe it; it was more on the verge of being an affront to the people of Polynesia as a whole. The desk had a coconut pen holder. Don Ho was softly playing on the speakers. And there was an entire wall that held numerous artifacts that screamed "I blew nuyen at a tourist trap": a couple snow-globes, some holographic cards with palm drees or hula dancers, a bevy of fake tikis, and even a minature model of the kingdom encased in plastic.

"Vinnie," PA announced, apparently having the same problems Kai had, "If Martha Stewart were still alive, she'd take a weed wacker to your office, you realize this?"

Vinnie gave PA a blank look as he walked to a small cabinet near the rear door that led to the warehouse proper. "Martha Who?"

PA rolled his eyes and sunk into one of the soft chairs in front of the desk, leaned over, and flicked at a hula dancer doll next to the coconut, making the doll bobble. "Never mind." He then stretched out as Kai silently took the other chair, trying not to say anything as he just developed a cross look.

Shrugging, Vinnie took out a crystal bottle that contained an amber liquid and some tumblers. "Either of you want a drink before we get to biz?" PA nodded, but Kai polotely declined. After measuring out equal portions into two tumblers, Vinnie handed the first glass to the lazing PA and then took a seat behind his desk, sipping on the drink as he reached into a drawer.

"Ok, come on, spill it," PA impaitently said to Vinnie after downing the glass in one gulp. Kai started to wonder about his new compainion; the shaman must either be very good or very lucky to continue his informal attitude even when it came down to buisness.

Vinnie chuckled and nodded. "Ok, guys," he began. "To begin with, I'm sure you're going to like this job. It pays well, it's quick, and it's perfectly suited for you."

Which means it's terribly annoying, it's going to screw up majorly, and you guys were either pegged specificly or you fit the profile. PA nodded at Coyote's gruff words that matched his thoughts exactly.

We're beginning to think alike too often, Father, PA replied mentally to his totem.

It's about time, we've only dealt with eachother for thirty-five years.

"Point," PA muttered under his breath as Vinnie droned on and on with his spiel, not giving away any details but selling the job like it was a car "owned by a little old lady".

"Look, Vinnie, bruddah, get to the point." Kai said finally with a gesture to enforce his exasperation, surprising PA a bit. It looked like the islander hadn't had his entire Hawai'ian personality scrubbed away from living in dojos.

Vinnie turned beet red a bit, and stammered softly as he tried to regain composure. "S-sorry about that. Force of habit."

"It dosen't cover that you're not getting to the point," PA muttered with an eyebrow raised in annoyance.

Vinnie gulped the rest of the brandy and nodded with a sputter, opening a small folder. "Ok, it's an easy job. The party needs someone to pull recon on a Telestrian warehouse in Tacoma tomorrow night." He took out a couple documents that showed a satellite image of the warehouse and had a few sketchy details like address and purpose of the warehouse.

PA skimmed the papers for a couple seconds then let Kai have the papers. Kai slowly and methodically worked on gleaning any important information. "Ok, then why send us?" he asked. "If it's just a recon why send a shaman and an adept?"

Vinnie nodded softly. "I know it sounds a bit wierd, but it's Telestrian we're dealing with. They need to know what's in the warehouse as well, and since Telestrian has a good mojo security department, so they needed a spell-slinger at least to be on the recon team. It's small 'cause all you're doing is just looking around the area and seeing what's in the warehouse so whatever the job it's setting up for gets info."

PA shaked his head. "This sounds like a steaming pile of drek to me, but what's the pay?"

Vinnie flicked a last paper out of the folder, and looked at it. "Looks like they're offering ten k for the job after my cut. Looks like that's five for each of you."

Kai looked up eagerly, but tried to hide his look. Exchanging glances with Kai, PA shook his head, tapping a finger on the desk. "You're full of drek, Vinnie. I know for a fact that instead of the usual quarter cut you try for half. It's gonna be eight kay each, Vinnie, or we walk. And besides, with our little talk, that I happen to have recorded, you'll owe me half of your cut from any run you set up for Kai. So out of your pocket that's gonna be two grand, half of which I'm giving to Kai here. That's nine each. Take your two and be happy I don't cook your lying corpse like a pot roast."

As Vinnie inwardly grimaced, Kai turned to PA with wide eyes. Not only did the shaman completely score one against the slimeball fixer, but he was offering to split money that he was making on the side with a man he'd met just that night. Kai shook his head and wondered why there weren't more runners like PA out there.

Vinnie grumbled and nodded. "Ok, PA," he whined, "You got me on the ropes. Are you gonna take the job or was this just another sick game?"

PA chuckled darkly and reached over, putting his hand in Vinnie's and shaking it. "Vincent D'Amato, you got yourself a runner. The run smells like total drek but at least this time I'm gonna get PAID for smearing my body down the Pyramid."

Kai quirked an eyebrow at PA's comment as he shook Vinnie's hand, then looked at the fixer before releasing his hand. "Uh, we're getting half up front, right?"

Vinnie winced and nodded, as PA laughed again, turning to Kai. "Damn, Kai, you learn quickly. You're gonna be elite by next week at this rate."

After a couple more drinks, Vinnie painfully slid two credsticks with fourty-five hundred nuyen to the gentlemen. PA snatched his, slipping the stick into one of his pockets, and looked to Kai. "We'll meet tomorrow at Dante's," he said with a nod. "We can discuss stuff, since we got the day to burn."

Kai took his own stick and nodded to PA. "Sounds like a plan, hoa. I'll see you tomorrow then."

"Till then, chummer." PA grinned at Vinnie and patted the flummoxed fixer's cheek. "Boubula, don't sweat it. I'm sure you'll fleece the next team. We'll be back in two days for the other fourty-five." With a chuckle he waved to Kai and walked out, whistling a tune.

Kai chuckled as he mockingly bowed to Vinnie and left without a word. Vinnie just groaned and plopped his face down on his desk. The only thing that salvaged this disaster was that he'd actually went for 75% this time and was getting eleven thousand instead of fifteen.


Wulf head swum as he tried to get up and failed. The conversation kept playing in his head, even as his stomach rolled again.

The screaming - the thing he remembered the most was the screaming...

"Easy boss," a voice whispered in his hear. "We'll get this taken care of..."

... Meri?...

"Yeah boss- its me. Come on- we gotta get you out of here."


Wulf rolled away from the warmth of Meri's grip, fighting to keep from heaving. It was a nightmare- only part of his mind knew that it was very real, and that they had to move- now.


"I know boss... I know...."

There was something in her voice that told her that she did indeed know, and at this point- she probably knew a lot better than he did.

"Ni... Jade?"

"They're doing better than you are right now...." she answered. There was something in her tone that Wulf couldn't place. In his jumbled mind it was hard to separate the nausea from the memories... the horror. He rolled to his knees and grabbed the garbage can.

Meri gently placed a hand on his back, a simple reminder that he wasn't alone. "Everything's going to be fine," she told him- much as a mother would.

Even in his current state, Wulf knew she didn't believe what she was saying. Things were as far from fine as they possibly could be.

"Lets get out of here," she urged.

Wulf nodded, forcing himself to his feet. It was strange to be leaning on Meri for support at a time like this. Strange, but very, very right.


"Daff," Meri fought to keep her voice even as she finally managed to reach the team's rigger. "We need you."

"Meri, what's wrong?" She could see the concern in the dwarf's eyes.

"Just get here as soon as you and Gri can- we've got trouble..."

She could tell that Daff wanted to ask more, but he just nodded and held his hand out to the camera. "I'll be there," he promised.

She reached towards the screen, matching his gesture. "Thanks."

She said nothing else- there was nothing else to say.

The call made she went and checked on the others. Jade was still sleeping off the effects of whatever had knocked her out in the first place. Ni was concussed, but there was nothing to do but watch and wait.

Wulf seemed the worst off, the combination of the narcojet rounds and the aftermath seemed to have been too much for him. Meri was no medic, but from the looks of things- he'd retreated into his own mind... not that she blamed him. He had memories to deal with- she had video tape.


Once she was sure the others were as well off as they could be, Meri sat down and rewound the security feeds she'd recorded. She wanted to be ready when the others woke up.

She fast forwarded through the initial attack, and the rough treatment of Ni and Jade. Ni had been dragged in front of Wulf, Jade they at least carried. She slowed the tape as they finished tying Wulf to his chair and waited for him to wake up.

All the time, 'The Mouth' sat there trying to regain control. She froze the tape as the leader's face appeared on screen. She could tell by his smug grin, he'd planned this all out to the smallest detail.

"Didn't count on me..." she told the image. "Bastard."

She sat there, trying to keep from shaking as she memorized the man's face. She knew she'd seen him somewhere before- she just wasn't sure where. Plugging herself into the system, she sent the image to the printer- then forced herself to watch what happened next frame by frame.

Frame one - a man handed The Bastard a needle, loaded with something tinged with pink. She tried to focus in on the bottle- but the bottle was never in site of the camera.

"This is for the woman," the man said.

Meri forced herself to memorize the voice, passed the information on to the computer, filing it away. She would find each of the participants and she would make them pay.

The man smiled as he handed The Bastard the second needle. "This is for the Trog."

"Elitist Prick," Meri growled as the man looked down at Ni and spat.

Meri froze the frame following the trail of spittle down to Ni's shoulder. 'Trace evidence,' she thought to herself and made a note to try and get a sample.

Even through the connection, she could feel her hand tremble. 'Ni... I'm so sorry...' She forced herself to continue.

"And this," Elitist Prick said. "Is for the guinea pig..."

Meri once again tried to focus on the needle, to find any sign of what had been put into the syringes. 'Prick probably had them pre-loaded.'.

She let the tape play out- running at normal speed as the Bastard and his men waited for Wulf to wake up. Behind his desk Benny shook. He didn't know what was to come- but he knew it wasn't good.

'If he'd known,' Meri told herself. 'He would have fought harder....'

Meri filed away the image of each member of the raiding team as they crossed in front of the camera, naming each one of them and filing that away as well. Ignorant Thug, Arrogant Thug, Pretty-boy Thug, Haughty Mage... They all knew what was coming. There was no doubt in her mind- and there was no doubt that she would make each one of them pay.

"He's coming 'round," Haughty told Bastard- and then the nightmare began.

Watching the images, Meri could see the smile play across Bastard's face. He was playing a game- toying with his prey. Meri had special plans for him.

What happened next, even having seen it before was almost too much for Meri. She forced herself to watch- hoping to find something she'd missed- but there was nothing only the nightmare she and Wulf had entered. The others- still didn't know... and they were in the center of it.

She watched as Bastard injected first Jade, then Ni... Wulf was awake enough to be aware of what they were doing- but why wasn't clear... yet.

Once Wulf was coherent enough, Bastard held his head up, directed his gaze to Jade and Ni, and then back to 'the Mouth.'

"I think you'll find this very interesting..." Bastard told Wulf. Meri could hear the pleasure and anticipation in the man's voice and squirmed.

"You're going to pay, you're going to pay... I swear by my name and by my blood you will pay... for what you've done... for what you plan to do... you will pay..." It became her mantra as she watched everything unfold. "You are going to pay..."

Bastard smiled.

On his signal, Arrogant cast a spell on Benny holding him to his chair. "As you've no doubt guessed, we need you and your team to do something for us. Something I know you will find- distasteful..."

Meri could see the rage in Wulf's eyes. If the Bastard knew Wulf so well- he'd know that he'd just guaranteed a very slow and painful death of his own.

Bastard only smiled and nodded to Prick.

Prick held the hypodermic up so Wulf could see it and moved in behind 'The Mouth.'

Meri drove her fist into the arm of the chair, crying as she watched Prick deliver the fatal shot to 'The Mouth.' She bit her lip, knowing what was coming- remembering the horror that ensued. It wasn't easier the second time... or the third... only every time she saw it now... it was Ni writhing in pain... trying to bite off his own hands... trying anything to end the agony as his body destroyed itself from the inside.

The screams had turned to a low, inhuman whine as Bastard leaned over and spoke to Wulf again.

"A good negotiator once told me that, in order to make a deal, you have to get the other person's attention... Do I have your attention Mr. "Wulf"? I hope so- because if I don't, I'm going to have to get rough..."

Wulf glared at the man, not bothering to hide his contempt.

"I am truly sorry that we have to do things this way- but everything I've found about you and your team indicate that you wouldn't take the job otherwise, and I do so need you..."

"Why us?" Wulf's voice was more of a growl than anything else. This man had hurt his team- his people... Jade....

The man continued nonplused; he held all the cards and he knew it. "Your team is a known quantity. Known by my constituents, but not by the opposition- you are the ones who can bring this to an equitable end. That's all- just business..."

'Business this you bastard," Meri growled as she began cross referencing his image with her database.

Then Bastard leaned over and began explaining things to Wulf. The injections Prick had given Ni and Jade had been varying forms of the same poison that was killing Benny'. The only difference was the fact that they had time, a day-- maybe two before it would start to work its way into their system. The deal was simple- agree to the job, deliver the goods and get the antidote-- or watch them die... First Ni... then Jade.

Meri couldn't hear the rest of what the man said, it didn't matter- the only thing that mattered was making them pay.

She watched as Bastard patted Wulf's shoulder like they were old friends. She could see Wulf fight to shake it off, but the drugs and his bonds were too much.

"We'll be in touch with the details," Bastard assured Wulf as he stood and nodded towards his men.

Tears were streaming down Meri's face as she watched the men step over Jade and Ni like they were something distasteful- the sound of 'The Mouth's' whimpers fading into the background.

Pretty-boy Thug turned towards the others, said something about the impure, and then fired another two narcojet rounds into Wulf's back.

"Someone should call the police," Bastard said as he checked the room. And then the screen went blank.

Meri stared at the blank screen, rocking back and forth in her seat. "You took the tapes... set us up... but I've got mine... and you will pay.... "I will learn who you are... and then- you will pay..."

She rewound the tape again, all the while tapping her fist into the armrest. She watched as Wulf and Ni entered the room and froze the image when Ni was in full focus.

She stared at the image, trying to block out what was to follow... focusing only on Ni, healthy, vital... witty. She reached out, gently touching the screen.

Maybe they lied about the poison. Maybe...

Copyright 2002 - Flexidisk and M.T. Decker

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