Fiction: Hunter’s Justice

A government agent pursues a terrorist through the technological jungle of the future Earth – but her mission has become personal.

/ / /

—Armored boots thudded onto the roof of the sleek aircar, the vehicle hardly shuddering at the blow. A split second later, white armored gloves landed on either side of the white boots, adhering to the sleek metal skin of the car. The car’s pilot veered into a traffic lane, hurtling past a slower airvan and scraping the underside of a hovering platform with a piercing squeal. The figure clamped to the top of the aircar swayed during these wild maneuvers. It then resumed its hunt, crawling towards the cockpit of the vehicle. Litter from a higher traffic lane whipped past its silver helmet in a high-speed blur.

The aircar jerked back and forth as it dodged other vehicles. As it approached a bridge between two skyscrapers, the pilot abruptly cut his vertical jets and pitched the vehicle downward. The hunter lost its footing and was pushed back by the rushing air. Gloves held tightly to a vent in the aircar roof as the hunter’s feet were blown upwards, and both prey and predator plummeted. With a shriek of overworked maneuvering jets, the car leveled off and its uninvited rider slammed down onto the roof. The ivory figure paused for a second to collect itself, gleaming in the afternoon sunlight against the matte gray of the car. Then it resumed its crawl towards the cockpit.

The speeding car banked and swung around a shining oval tower, headed downtown. Using the momentum of the turn, the white figure pivoted onto the right side of the vehicle. Hands and feet thudded in a slow rhythm as the hunter clambered toward the hatch. Suddenly, the hatch opened outward—the hunter glimpsed both the pilot and a stocky man with a plasma pistol before the car swerved again, banging the hatch shut. The hatch bounced open and shut several times as the aircar performed a series of blatantly illegal acrobatic maneuvers. Finally, a lock mechanism secured the door in a half-open position. The man in the cabin fired two bursts at the armored figure clinging to the side of the vehicle—one shot glanced off the plated helmet; the other shattered a passing office window.

The aircar rolled ninety degrees, dangling the hunter on all fours from the bottom. The man in the cabin crouched on the car’s side wall and aimed another shot at the silver visor, but the figure detached its feet from the aircar hull and swung down and around like a gymnast on a bar. The boots connected again and the figure swung by its feet, landing inches from the hatch. Instantly a hard white glove reached into the cabin and grabbed the man’s hand, crushing the pistol in his grip.

The pilot launched the car into a barrel roll. Fixed to the side of the vehicle, the hunter ended up on top as the pilot banked sharply. Inside, the shooter dangled from the hunter’s crushing grasp, a sharp crack sounding as his wrist broke. The pilot pivoted the aircar upright again, and the hunter released the man’s wrist. Shifting position, the hunter started to pry open the half-closed hatch. Glancing at the open door, the pilot activated a control and the hatch swung inwards with a groan of servomotors. The hunter gripped the hatch and strained against it, fingers wrapped around the lip. The whine of powerful motors sounded from joints in the white armor. After wavering a moment, the hatch thudded closed.

For a few seconds the hunter huddled against the side of the car, watching the shining blues, silvers, and grays of the city flash past. Streaks of bright color were added to the display as glowing advertisements and cars painted in primary colors whooshed past. This respite was cut short when the aircar shot upwards into another traffic lane, weaving among automated transports.

The hunter heaved, swung from one hand, and landed directly above the cockpit windscreen. It moved forward a few more centimeters, into view of the vehicle occupants. A cutting tool slid out from the hunter’s wrist armor. A stream of sparks erupted from the transparent shield and air whistled over the cut. The pilot of the aircar bounced the vehicle up and down to dislodge the assailant, but the hunter paused only a moment each time to steady itself before resuming its work.

The hunter had almost finished a half-meter circular cut when the gunner fired a high-powered plasma burst into the loose disc of material. The cut section exploded out into the hunter’s chest, dislodging its hands. The figure flailed as it tried to regain a hold on the surface of the aircar, but the pilot fired his reverse jets and the car rammed to a halt, tumbling the figure forwards. Shot after shot streamed through the hole in the screen and crashed against the hunter’s chest. The plasma bolts caused no damage to the armor, but the force of the blows ripped the hunter’s feet off the car’s narrow nose, tumbling the figure into the air.

Several minutes later, a white, armored figure stood on the ground, watching the aircar recede into the thousands of the city traffic pattern. One hand reached up and pulled off the silver helmet, revealing sharp gray eyes, a small nose, thin mouth, and brown, neck-length hair. The woman’s face split in a feral grin, teeth bared. Her quarry had eluded her for now, but she knew that it was only a matter of time before the kill.

* * *

That morning, Kel had investigated her target’s home in the suburbs. She was an experienced Hunter: she had undergone three years of training before the Presentation of the Emblems of Justice. Since then, four hunts in the service of the world’s government had honed her abilities. Now, her armored form clung spider-like to the outside wall of Brin Fess’s house, pressed against the plastic siding, the suction pads in her lightweight gloves and boots supporting her against gravity. She silently extended a needlelike tool mounted on her wrist armor towards a large bay window and used it to disarm the security mechanism. She entered the house, moving lithely and quietly in the lightweight, flexible armor.

Her long-range bioscans had shown the house to be unoccupied. Now that Kel was inside, she saw it had been vacated in a hurry—half-packed suitcases lay in the bedroom, the bedsheets were ruffled, uneaten breakfast sat on the kitchen table. The vid screen was still tuned to a popular newsband, a calm female voice filling the disheveled house.

“…the North American Apollos were defeated nine to four by the Tycho Navigators in the Navigators’ home arena, ruining the Apollos’ chance at the Lunar Cup…”

The household computer was a wreck. Fess had smashed it and scattered crunched disks and shattered storage crystals everywhere. Unfortunately, this quantum computer couldn’t be recovered.

“…we resume our coverage of the hunt for the Warpgate Project saboteurs: Brin Fess was this morning stripped of Citizenship and placed at the top of the Wanted List, all rights and privileges revoked…”

She searched through Fess’s small home office, scanning anything that might be useful with her helmet camera: credit records, travel vouchers, food redemption chits, invoices.

“—it is only a matter of time before a Hunter is assigned to Brin Fess to dispatch the terrorist threat. Any information as to Fess’ whereabouts—”

She entered the garage and found a one-man aircar parked inside, the garage roof hatches secured. Kel glanced at the registration markings and subvocalized a request into the microphone mounted at her throat, a sound no one could hear but her base operative Hack, at Global Security Headquarters.

“No, it isn’t his,” Hack responded, the clicking of his keyboard audible in her earpiece. “It belongs to Vas Rokin, a guy in the city with suspected terrorist connections.”

Kel surveyed the garage: there was room for only one car. She noticed that the fuel ports in the wall were standing open, though the vehicle had no extended connectors. Fess must have left in his own aircar, and in a hurry. Stupid, she thought, that a man on the run from the law take his own car. But then again, stripped Citizens were often caught when they acted in desperation.

“Hack,” she transmitted, striding out of the garage and towards the open window, “get a fix on Fess’s aircar transponder. I want immediate updates of its position uploaded to my visor screen. If any of those records turns something up, get it to me.” She would have these terrorists brought to justice.

“Sure thing, boss. Happy hunting.”

* * *

“Kel! So wonderful you could get home for the break!” cried her mother, embracing her taller daughter. They were standing in her parents’ kitchen, a small, wood-paneled room filled with pots and utensils. A spicy aroma wafted from a pan on the stove. “How are your studies going? Did you get that internship?”

Kel’s father came into the room, leaned on the doorjamb, and grinned. “I hope you’re not causing too much of a stir with the university boys!”

Kel beamed. “Oh, you know me, Dad…”

A shout from the hall stopped her. Kel’s brother Jad came bounding around a wall and into the room, narrowly missing their father. Her older brother leaped headlong at Kel, who caught him in a bear hug, and the two of them, off balance, fell to the floor laughing. Kel always enjoyed coming home to see her parents, but she held a special place in her heart for Jad.

Straightening up, Jad suddenly exclaimed, “Hey, tiny, you got bigger!”

Kel laughed. Over her second year at the university she had passed the six-foot mark. Several university sports teams were trying to recruit her.

“Kel,” her father spoke up, “did you get a chance to see the news on the flight here?”

“I was asleep. Why, I hope I didn’t miss anything too important…?”

“Oh, you did! You did! Jad, you should tell her yourself!” Kel’s mother jumped, a spoon in her hand dribbling sauce on the floor.

Kel stared at Jad, daring him to withhold this mysterious piece of information. “You’re not going to believe this,” Jad began, unperturbed, “but my proposal was accepted on the first try. The Space Department will fund my project!”

Kel’s brother was a rapidly rising physicist. His project involved a hypothetical device that could fold space itself. This “Warpgate” could transport anything that passed through it to any point in the known universe. All of Jad’s research had been concentrated on this effort since his undergraduate years. He was now the driving force behind warp physics.

Kel’s eyes widened. “When will you start building?” she asked urgently.

“Oh, the designs won’t be done for another few years. And then it’ll be a while yet before we finish construction, it’s all gotta be built in space, you know. But with the government behind it, things will really move! Only—” Jad broke off suddenly, then shook his head. “But imagine the possibilities! Fly a capsule through a ring floating in space, and you’re anywhere!”

“Jad can talk about it more at the table,” their father interjected. “Dinner’s just about ready. Come on into the dining room.”

Kel’s mother looked up from the steaming pot to brandish a blunt utensil playfully. “And don’t let me catch you and Jad fighting at the table!”

Jad winked. “You won’t catch us.”

Kel’s family spent hours at the table, talking and laughing. Kel shared stories from school, Jad discussed his Warpgate Project, and their parents talked about their respective jobs. The entire evening, Kel watched Jad closely. He seemed to be on edge about something, avoiding certain subjects. After dinner, Kel cornered him in the living room.

“Jad, is there something wrong with the Project?”

He looked at her, a bit sheepishly. “Well,” he began, “I’ve had some offers from private companies.” He looked up at the ceiling. “A lot of offers, actually. Some… Well, I’ve been thinking about it. Why shouldn’t the Warpgate knowledge be open to everyone?”

Kel shrugged. “I thought all the plans and concepts were available. I mean, your thesis is in the university library.”

“Well, there’s some technical stuff… You know, that you only figure out from trial and error… Details…” He trailed off. “Well, it’s not a big deal yet, and the Warpgate is going to be built. We have coordinates picked and everything. If the government has any advantages, it’s that they can really get big projects moving!” Jad’s smile came back. Kel grinned in return, and they sat down to play a game at the family’s small holographic projection table.

* * *

A passenger spaceglider, silvery skin shining in the golden light of sunset, touched down at the North American Hub Airport. Hack had tracked Brin Fess and Vas Rokin from Fess’s home to the European Hub. Cross-checking Fess’s expense records and travel vouchers with major and local airliners, Hack found two low-budget tickets purchased by a dummy corporation. Kel’s quarry was traveling on one of the cheap subsonic flights to North America, booked under IDs that did not match the public database. Hack secured Kel priority accommodations on the fastest transport available. Fess’s attempt to lie low had failed, and now Kel had arrived at the destination a full half hour before her target.

While in flight, Kel had called ahead to the North American Airport control center on a secure government channel. She informed the airport controllers of Brin’s arrival flight, and requested that the local police force send several plainclothes officers to catch Brin at the arrival gate. Kel could not afford to risk civilian casualties in an airport firefight, so she hoped to rely on surprise and numbers to catch the terrorist quickly.

She moved quickly through the bustling airport terminal, not distracted by the multitude of frantic passengers and vendors, flashy advertisements, brightly lit signs, and booming announcements of arriving and departing flights. Kel nodded to a policeman she passed—in order to minimize the impact on civilians, Hack had arranged for officers to nab Fess as soon as he debarked. Kel marched up to a door marked “EMPLOYEES ONLY.” A man coming out of the door started to ask for her identification, but before he had uttered a word, she flicked her wrist and her civilian shirtsleeve fell down from her raised arm, revealing the gleaming silver-white armor and a holographic panel displaying high-level government identification. The man’s eyes widened and he stepped aside. As Kel passed through the door and began to climb an access stairway, pulling on her helmet and shucking the civilian dress, she heard the man whisper to someone— “Did you see that? It’s a Hunter…!”

Kel emerged onto the roof of the airport, a flat gray expanse punctured by vents, antennae, receiving and transmitting dishes, domed skylights, and the looming control tower. She chose a position overlooking the landing field, and unfolded an innocuous cloth square from a pouch. Crouching, she threw the passive sensory cloak over herself. As the cloak activated, Kel’s white-armored form faded to blend in with the drab gray of the building, until only a faint shimmer in the warm air marked her position.

Right on schedule, Fess’s subsonic plane entered the hub’s traffic pattern. Landing gear dropped from its belly and touched down. The ponderous vehicle coasted towards the airport terminal. Through her radio earpiece, Kel heard the police inside preparing to intercept Fess. She zoomed her visual display in on the boarding gantry, and caught sight of Fess and Rokin walking towards the terminal. Vas Rokin was glancing about him as if to check for an ambush—Kel silently thanked Global Security for issuing sensory cloaks as standard equipment. When the pair entered the building, she packed her cloak into a belt pouch and started toward the other end of the roof, where she could see passengers heading to and from lines of aircars.

The first hint of trouble was a flash in the corner of her eye—one of the domed skylights flared as a plasma burst struck the transparent surface and dissipated. Through her earpiece, she heard the police shouting at each other—static from the plasma burst obscured the words. More bursts detonated against the dome as Kel sprinted over and looked in. Through the haze under the skylight, Kel could see several figures running from the boarding ramp. Adjusting her radio controls, she caught the phrases “disembarked with hostage,” “main exit,” and “returning fire” over the static. Cursing silently to herself, Kel ran to the wide awning above the airport exit, drawing the sensory cloak over herself again.

Moments later, Vas Rokin left the airport, glancing warily about him. Marching in front of him was a terrified woman, Vas’s pistol pressed into the small of her back. Brin Fess followed, along with three muscular men brandishing plasma rifles. The fugitives headed towards two beige aircars parked at the far end of the lot. Kel decided to head them off.

A running start and mechanically augmented leap carried her thirty meters from the airport hub. She turned in mid-flight and landed in a crouch a meter in front of Vas Rokin. Moving faster than the man could react, she took a step forward, spun fully around and smashed her hands into his side in quick succession. He doubled over and collapsed to the side, wheezing. She pushed the hostage behind a nearby taxi aircar and hurled herself in the opposite direction. One of the thugs had acted quickly: he charged Kel, rifle rising to fire. She dropped to one knee and fired a bolt from the plasma gun mounted in her forearm plate. In a flash of ions, the man jerked and collapsed onto the ground.

Fess and his two remaining accomplices, deprived of their civilian shield, were sprinting for the aircars. The aircar drivers started up the vehicles and began to glide them towards the fugitives. Kel dove after them, running at top speed, aiming for another shot.

Suddenly, the rear aircar’s passenger window retracted, and a heavy plasma gun swung awkwardly into position. Kel was so intent on Brin Fess that she failed to see the first blast coming. The ball of energy flashed against her shoulder plate, and she was roughly spun around by the force of the blow. She dropped, one hand on the ground, and recovered her breath. As Kel started forward again, the gunner opened fire. Now that he was exposed, Kel easily dodged the incoming plasma bolts.

Hack’s voice sounded in her helmet. “Kel, I’m showing that your suit transponder’s been—”

Ignoring Hack, Kel began to return fire. Her shots sent one of Fess’s men tumbling to the ground before he rounded the nose of the lead aircar. Seeing the passenger door slide open, she popped an electromagnetic disruptor from a thigh holster, hoping to disable the aircar before it began moving.

As she took aim, the gunner in the rear car fired several shots at the airport terminal, where the police officers had started to appear. Kel’s head swiveled, and she saw the citizens in front of the terminal scurry for cover as chunks of the awning fell. The columns supporting the roof held together, but showers of dust and pieces of building material plunged onto the civilians, the occasional plasma burst detonating among them. The explosions cast innocent bodies into the air. Kel swore. Hack, witnessing the scene through her cameras, began calling for medical assistance.

She turned towards the aircars again, gritting her teeth. She straightened, held her left arm out in front of her, and slapped a control on her wrist. A thin ring popped out of her forearm plate, secured to her arm by several spokes. A hiss sounded as an energy field took form inside the circle: a shield.

The gunner fired several more bursts at the civilians. Kel dashed in front of each plasma ball and braced herself, absorbing the burst of each missile with the energy shield. With her full attention concentrated on intercepting the deadly projectiles before they could cause any more deaths, the lead aircar moved up to transit altitude and streaked off into the city. The gunner’s car followed.

Kel stood on the lot, the shield automatically folding neatly back into its compartment.

“Hack?” she asked, watching the receding aircars.

“Got a registration match already. Some company that also owns an old office just outside the city. Corner of Elm and Cook, number forty-six.”

“Great. This time…” Kel took off at a run, leapt lightly onto the roof of a moving airbus, and resumed the hunt.

* * *

Kel sat in her parents’ home, stunned. She had said barely a word over the last four days, with the exception of an occasional toneless “yes,” “no,” or strangled, guttural squeak. Her parents lay awake each night, worrying about her.

“Shouldn’t she be eating more than that? And look at her, she needs sleep; not just rest, real sleep, she’s going to wither away. And her studies…”

“They were awfully close. It was a shock to all of us.”

“It’s hard for everyone, but he would want us to keep on living.”

“Grief has its stages. It was too much for her to deal with at school. Life goes on eventually. We will all find our peace.” Silence fell in the bedroom.

Kel slouched on the living room couch, next to the spot where Jad had always sat to play a game with her, watch a new vid, or just talk. Tears ran down her cheeks. Every time she gave in to the grief or fatigue, her head fell to her chest and she caught sight of the table, Jad’s thesis lying atop the chessboard, and Kel would jerk upright again, her face contorting in silence. For most of the night she stared blankly at the wall, expressionless but for the watery streaks on the sides of her face.

The vid screen was on but muted, the only source of light. It cast colored light and shadow across the subdued browns, greens, and blues of the living room, painting the white couch with a faint, forlorn rainbow.

In the corner of her eye, she could see bulleted headlines next to the silent newswoman’s head. WARPGATE PROJECT HEAD KILLED. PRELIMINARY TRACE OF MURDER WEAPON IMPLICATES TERRORIST GROUP. From time to time the woman’s head was replaced with animations of the Warpgate station under construction in space or a government official speaking on the necessity to continue the project. Kel saw all of it, though she did not try to look. She did not have the energy or the will to reach for the vid controls.

The vid finally caught her attention when the latest view of the Warpgate was replaced by a figure in gleaming white armor. The headlines on the screen described this mysterious new figure as a government agent from the Hunter corps, recently established, an elite enforcer charged with bringing justice to such abhorrent criminals. Like those who killed her brother. The world government was starting a new effort to destroy criminals and protect the citizens.

Justice.

Kel’s eyes narrowed. She wiped her face on her sleeve and stood up.

* * *

The Hunter crouched on the roof of the small office building Hack had described, watching the rooms within through her bioscanner. Kel waited silently for the last of the thugs to leave the room after Brin Fess demanded solitude. She watched them through the scanner until they were several rooms away before training her gun on a weak roof panel. Kel exploded down into the office in a shower of debris. Fess sat in a chair behind a rickety desk, facing the wall. The chair spun at the sudden crash, and Kel pounced as Fess swiveled into view. He frantically reached for a communications panel, but Kel grabbed his collar and dragged him bodily over the desk. She hurled him into the opposite wall, and he fell gasping to the ground. She fired her electromagnetic disruptor at the door controls, sealing the room.

The man crawled across the floor into a corner. Futile, Kel thought; then he pulled a small pistol from a hidden alcove in the wall and fired it at the Hunter. The weapon was completely ineffective against Kel’s armor. She marched forward, her steady stride scarcely faltering from the force of the bolts slamming into her chest plate. She towered over Brin, kicked the pistol out of his hand, and grasped him by the shoulders. He gurgled as she hauled him upright and pressed him against the wall, his feet dangling several centimeters above the floor.

“Brin Fess,” Kel stated in a flat voice, “you have been declared a Null Citizen. No legal right will protect you from the course of justice. You are convicted of terrorist activity, murder of citizens, and destructive interference in government projects.” Fess made an attempt to speak—a violent shake by the powerful hands holding him convinced him otherwise. “Your life has been deemed forfeit. You may serve a life term in the asteroid mines. If you choose to resist,” Kel cocked her head to the side, “you will be killed.”

“Government pigs,” Fess hissed in a small voice, “you give and take rights as you please! Did I ask for your justice? I seek to give some of your people the hope that a better life could exist!” As he gathered strength, he spoke louder and faster, throwing himself into a tirade. “I’m taxed and commercialized and oppressed by bureaucratic nothings, my life is tallied up and counted and determined to be nothing! I don’t deserve this, this government—I will force my way out! We will have—”

“Through the deaths of innocents!” Kel thundered, and she threw Fess down onto the floor. He crawled around to face her, but she took hold of his shoulder and spun him face-down, leveling her plasma gun at his head. “Don’t toy with me. You will face justice for the deaths you have caused! You are resisting the course of the law! You will therefore meet justice here and now!”

As Kel’s hand tightened around the triggering mechanism, Brin croaked out a few words. “—I didn’t kill your brother!”

Kel raised her weapon. She spun Fess around by the shoulder again and held him down against the floor. She knelt by the terrorist’s head. “What?”

“I didn’t kill your brother!”

Behind the visor, Kel’s eyes narrowed as she recalled Hack’s call about her ID transponder at the airport.

“What do you know of him?” she hissed contemptuously.

“You became a Hunter because of his death! You want revenge! I didn’t kill him!”

“I want justice, not revenge. Jad deserves justice.” Fess should be dead now. She should have shot him and been out of the building by now. She shouldn’t be letting him talk. “Justice for everyone. Justice is what you are going to get. If you didn’t kill him, one of your goons did. You will answer for this crime.”

“I didn’t give any orders to kill him, either—it was a conspiracy, it was the world government! They did it! They killed him!”

Why did he would think Kel would listen to this? He was lying to buy time. She would give him none. The hand of justice is cold and sure and swift.

She lifted him upright and shoved him across the room again. He hit the wall and collapsed against a cabinet. “You disappoint me.” She aimed her gun again.

Brin suddenly pulled a small card out of the cabinet and threw it down on the floor. “Look at that! I knew! I knew!”

The card was a government ID. Kel bent down to retrieve it, keeping her weapon aimed. Holding it in one gloved hand, she examined the card with one eye: Brin Fess, yes, issued by a government division she had never heard of. That could mean he was part of some conspiracy, as he claimed, or it could simply mean he was still lying. She noticed that the rank on the card was low—a lackey would never be privy to any conspiracy! Kel threw down the card and looked toward her quarry once more—

Fess had taken advantage of her moment of distraction to reach across the desk and slap the communications panel. Kel fired at the panel, scorching the electronics, and pulled Fess away from the desk.

“Your brother—” he stammered as he was dragged across the room, “he was going to resign from the Warpgate Project! He was going to turn in the government grants and stop working for them!”

Kel again paused for a second. Yes, she knew that. She had been one of the few people Jad had told about that. How did this man know? But Jad had only said that he wanted to work independently, that he wanted the Warpgate available to all humanity, and he certainly did nothing to stop the government construction…

Brin Fess looked at her, a desperate look of a madman trying to escape the executioner. “He was going to sell out to a private corporation, you know that! He didn’t want the Warpgate regulated by the world government, he didn’t want them controlling it! They killed him to keep his knowledge in their hands. They couldn’t tolerate such unchecked freedom!”

Kel stared at him. There was the key to the twisted mind working behind those madly darting eyes. He believed that humans living under a government were slaves, not worthy of life, and he would kill them because they were inconsequential. This could not be allowed.

He would meet justice. Justice for Jad, who was killed by these terrorists. “You didn’t know Jad. You are only using him. Using the dead.”

“Please,” he yelled.

Justice.

Kel took hold of him and threw him to the floor, face-down. She leveled the plasma gun.

Justice.

A pounding began on the door to the office. Terrorists, thought Kel, deserving of this justice. She fired.

Kel’s hunt was over. She leapt up through the hole in the ceiling and did not look back.

* * *

A white armored figure strode down the city street, past shops and offices and factories and apartments. Aircars streaked by overhead, pedestrians moved in an endless bustle on the ground, people on scooters jetted above the heads of the crowd. All of them went about their business, content with their lives, working for the greater good of humanity, living in safety and security.

“…terrorist group was finally shut down after years of illicit operation. The successful test was hailed by the Project’s director as a new stepping-stone for humanity. Now that the gate has been used to bring spacecraft to and from Jupiter, the engineers feel that the capability to aim at more distant targets is assured. The first automated probe, Jad, will be sent to Alpha Centauri late next month…”

“Kel?” Hack’s voice interrupted the news broadcast Kel was receiving.

Without breaking stride, she answered. “What’ve you got for me?”

“The Minister of the West African Province is worried about a possible assassination plot at the upcoming African Continental Summit. They want you to scope things out and make sure he’s in the clear.”

“Check. Got me flights yet?”

“Sure thing, boss. Fourteen-thirty at the North American Hub.”

“All right, I’ll be there.” Kel ended the transmission and strode off into the city, helmet tucked under her arm.

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