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   Chapter 72 No.72

Bypass Gemini By Joseph R. Lallo Characters: 5132

Updated: 2018-01-19 19:02

"That was before I knew you were a dick."

"And, now, after a giant corporation declares war on you and almost destroys your whole place, not to mention you, for reasons that kind of, sort of, halfway could be considered my fault, I get 'Meh. It happens.'"

"You want me to go get the crowbar?"

"No! No, I'm just, you know, confused by the rationale."

"I showed you the nuthouse certificate, right? That's my 'Get Out of Rational Thought Free' card. Besides, this takes me back. Remember, Ma? When the crew was together?"

"Yes. Disruptions of this sort were considerably more frequent, " she said.

"The crew?" Lex asked.

"Classified, " Karter replied.

The pair finished eating while Karter was restored to relative health, then sought out a room a few levels down that Ma had indicated was prepared for their "research session." The room looked like something out of a corporation. In the center was a long conference table. Its entire surface was a display, as were three of the walls. The final wall had the door and a long work counter covered with various old-fashioned drafting tools, pencils, and pads of paper.

"Is. . . is that a protractor?" Lex asked.

"No, that's a compass. That's a protractor."

"And what's this?"

"That's a French curve. Quit touching my stuff, " he said, taking the odd-shaped piece of plastic out of his hand and poking him in the chest. "What do we have, Ma?"

"The analysis of the information has turned up data of two distinct varieties: stellar surveys and cargo manifes

ght I was spying on it. And they were on a really tight schedule, " Lex said.

"Okay, " Karter said, "just two problems. There aren't enough components in any one of these locations to do anything worthwhile. And assuming Operlo is one side of the equation, there's no indication which, if any, of these other planets is the other endpoint."

Now it was Lex's turn to stare for a few minutes.

"Hold on. . . this location is bogus. . . and so is that one, " he said.

"What makes you say that?"

"See this part of the location code? That's the type of facility. This place they're shipping to is temporary holding only. No long term, no pickup, and no local distribution. But they have it listed as the final destination. Unless the people at the processing facility are the ones planning to make use of twelve thousand kilometers of fiber optic cable, something fishy is going on. Freelancers call that a drop-forward. They are trying to cut the paper trail. Someone picked that up and sent it somewhere after."

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