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The U.M.I. Corp Connection By Mark Anthony Tierno Characters: 24092

Updated: 2018-04-10 12:02


First Date

Slowly, she dropped her negligee, revealing a complete lack of underwear. He took off his shirt and then brought her to him, as she undid his pants. She then led him down seductively onto the bed and brought out a small bottle of oil. Caressingly, she rubbed it on his back, followed by him rubbing it onto her own breasts, slowly. They rubbed and rubbed and rubbed. Then he pulled her down to him, slowly kissed and suckled her breasts, and then -

SLAM! TOSS! CLANG! RATTLE!

I think I'll go back to bad detective novels; at least they have a plot. When it comes to the stuff in this book I think that I prefer the real thing.

I'm beginning to regret that recent promotion to Inspector First Class; I didn't know that it'd involve so much bloody paper-work! And boring? I'm the one now that hands out all the good assignments. Except for an occasional inspection of the scene of the crime to see who to assign to it, I never get out into the field. I miss my field work!

At least, though, I have tried to put my free time to good use. I gave ICy that memory upgrade I promised him; as well as a speed boost, a few extra systems upgrades, some extra peripherals, and a bunch of other hardware. Of course, I also spent some extra time delving into a few extra cybernets- courtesy of my new security rating since my promotion- and did up some new software for ICy.

It was about that time that I discovered that my new position didn't give that large a pay raise. So, lets just say that besides all my new hardware, I'm also thinking of buying a book called "1001 Microwaveable Recipes For Artificial Imitation Irradiated Spam"… well, maybe not that bad.

Now, some people asked me why I didn't also go in for one of those mind-computer link set-ups, and send my own mind roving around the local cyberspace. Well, I used to do that, but then I bumped into a large block of ice; the software security kind. I almost got my mind fried! Not wanting to get flat-lined, but also not wanting to give up the advantages of an intelligent mind in cyberspace, I did the next best thing. ICy. I programed ICy, my AI, with everything that I could find and then some. He's better than a net-runner since he's an expanded intelligence, and if he ever gets maimed by someone's system, I can always re-load his continually updating backup.

The door slides opens, revealing a five-foot-nine bipedal calico cat, wearing the latest in neon-paint miniskirts.

"Chief, " she walks over to the desk, flicking her tail, "here's the latest from uptown." She tosses a few envelopes on the desk and smiles.

I'm still not used to being called chief.

"Thank-you Miss Calico." I picked up the papers from my desk. Must be important stuff for them to have it dropped off instead of just pipe it over the com-net, unless of course their terminal broke down again.

She's wearing some of that pheromone perfume too.

Jee, I wish I was part cat- not that that ever makes any difference at times.

She wafts out of my office as I pick up the papers.

Sigh; no one can "waft" better than she can.

Let's see; standard bulletins about species discrimination; usual notes on gun running to Africa; and a memorandum on that new drug on the streets, Euphorium they call it. They want-

"Why're they giving use the case?! ICy!"

The top of the desk flips over as ICy's new terminal comes up and ICy's 3-D image materializes on command.

"Yeah boss."

For once he has a normal haircut on; he must be slipping, or maybe it's just his new hardware he's trying to impress.

"Get me the inside on why they're dumping this Euphorium job on me."

"You want the dope on the dope. Right oh!"

I wish he'd hadn't put it quite that way.

ICy hummed for a second. I never worry about his lines being tapped into, they're more secure than some government agencies' are; did it up myself.

"Got it. All the usual drug agencies are baffled by it, and some of the pushers are of multi-species varieties, as well as a good number of the users, which puts it under the jurisdiction of InterSpec."

"In other words, they're stumped by this hot potato, and since my record is so good..."

"They stuck you with it, you got it boss."

Ah well, "Okay, get me all you can on the stuff."

The screen shifted to a documentation view.

"Not too much on it. This all you got ICy?"

"I got that much out of a certain government cyber-system that I'm not supposed to be able to get into."

"Is this the one that you keep playing poker with over the comm-lines?"

I didn't think he'd respond.

I went through what there was. For the most part, Euphorium seemed like a drug-pusher's dream. Apparently it'll addict anyone on a first try with it. Permanently. No way to bring you off the stuff. Not that they haven't tried, but those who did, didn't live through the experience. And, when some gov. boys got hold of the stuff, an analysis couldn't tell it apart from water! It puts one onto a six hour high with just the minuscule of doses. Nasty stuff.

I spent about fifteen minutes assigning field agents to the case via their comm-links and then began shuffling papers away when I saw one of the envelopes that I hadn't opened. So I did.

In it was a business card to a high-class restaurant called The Velvet Moons, the time twelve noon written on it, and a single orange hair.

I sat back and smiled. Tiffany Grace Leewurt! Her calling card. Just what I needed to perk up my day. I haven't really had a chance to get to know her. It's 11:30 right now. I clicked on the intercom button.

"Yes sir?"

"Miss Calico, I'll being going out for lunch now so-"

"Is that what that unmarked envelope was about."

"-hold down the fort for a while."

"Okay chief."

I sometimes wonder how much more she actually observes than she lets onto.

"ICy-"

"The reservations were already made in your name about an hour ago."

Figures.

"-get my own private car revved up; I won't be going in any official capacity."

"Of course not, she's got a record. Well... she would have if she'd ever actually gotten caught at anything. But then-"

"Just do it."

I shut down his terminal and left the office.

The Velvet Moons is definitely a high class place. I mean, it's top-side and you can see the sun and everything (well, most of it... the air clarity was actually above 60% today; a good day). Its holo-sign glows its presence, not too ostentatiously though. I hope I wasn't underdressed. What's wrong with sneakers anyway?

Apparently the Doberman doorman thought there was. "I am sorry sir, but you must have a tie and proper shoes to be admitted."

Hmm. Well, how's about this one. I pulled out my ID, "Chief Inspector Flaatphut on official business. But don't spread it around as I'm not supposed to be here... if you know what I mean?"

"Yess ssir!"

That's one way.

I walked in and up to the reception desk to the stares of passing customers. I tucked my tee-shirt into my pants and approached.

"I have a reservation under Flaatphut"

"Hmm. Ah, here it is. Hacky Flaatphut?"

I won't even ask how she found out.

"Yes, that's me."

He brought out a tie, handed it to me and said, "Follow me."

I strapped on the tie (I'm not sure if it goes with the Ungrateful Living shirt that I have on) and followed him along.

The table was a nice private booth, probably the best one in the place. No wonder this guy was grimacing. I sat down and thanked him.

A thought just occurred... how was I paying for this? And the fact that that guy was tolerating my shirt seemed a bit weird. Hmm.

He came back again. Uh oh. He'd wised up and was going to lead me out, maybe into the kitchen where they'd take a big sharp knife and...

"The lady has arrived, sir."

Up behind him then comes the manx, Tiffany Grace. And she's dressed in a... well, she looks... WOW!!! That's got to be one of the lowest cuts I've ever seen on anything short of a belt (well, maybe not that low). But more so was the figure that wore it. This was the first time I'd seen her in a real dress, or in such an amiable setting for that matter either.

I shut my mouth (drool can be so uncouth) and stood up (I just wish that certain other parts of me hadn't stood up as well). I fidgeted a bit as she had a seat and then sat down myself as menus were put before us.

"I'll be back for your order, " he snooted.

Her orange fur was perfectly combed and the roundness of her figure showed through everywhere. What little fur-paint she wore as make-up was tastefully done around her face. Her dress hung as a loose symbiot of pastels. She had on a lovely pheromone fragrance. She had blue eyes.

She smiled, "It's nice to meet you in a less unfriendly setting."

Her eyes held desire and oceans of loveliness.

Oh, I've got it BAD!

"I... I didn't .. I mean, I've never seen you so much like a -"

"A lady?" she finished. "Well, among other things my parents taught me, they always said that you've got to have class in everything you do. So, they took me around to all the high class culture centers on Europe, Asia, and America."

That's one well-traveled lady!

The waiter came for our order. Before I could ask what language the menu was in, and if they had an interpreter, she began ordering in French (perfect dialect from the sounds of it too). After the waiter left, I decided I'd better ask.

"I don't mean to put a damper on things but, how -"

"A pre-paid account has been set up in your name. It's good enough for about a month of meals."

No wonder they were so polite.

"I won't ask any further because, if you tell me, then I'm afraid that I'll have to go back on duty."

She smiled, and then leaned over to adjust my tie (why did I feel like Kaver wearing this thing?), "Let's just say that I came into a slight windfall. But we're here to enjoy ourselves."

We talked through the shrimp cocktail, and gazed at each other coyly through the salad. The sherbet found our hands on each other's legs, and the main course found our hearts in each other's throats.

I think I was going to be a bit late from lunch.

Dessert came and I leaned over to her, as she leaned over to me. I reached and-

"Henry Jeffery! Well, I never expected to find you here! Here I come visiting, step in for lunch, and find just the one I'm looking for."

Only one person called me Henry Jeffery and only one person could reach that loud a decibel without trying.

"Hi mom."

But couldn't she have waited just a few minutes though?

"Have a seat mom. This is-"

"Tiffany. Yes, your mother told me all about you Tiffy."

This time she grimaced (well, slightly).

"How is your mother anyway?"

"She's doing... fine. Same stuff as usual. And I don't go by Tiffy anymore, just Tiffany."

"Oh, then she did pull off that project she had going. And Henry, I heard about your promotion and the commission to write that software defense against your Program Twelve. Oh, but that's supposed to be a big secret. So, how are you two getting along?"

Imagine being a kid trying to hide things from her. It was like trying to hide something from J. Edgar Hoover- not easy.

My mother, by the way, has on a long blue dress and some jewelry I don't ever remember her owning before. She still holds her age quite well. When her and Tiffany's mother used to team up, mom here would do all the distractions and patter. Can you guess why they were so successful?

"Oh, I think you two make such a cute couple. As I was telling your mother Tiffy-"

"Mom, I thought you were in Tampa Plex."

"Oh, well I thought as long as I needed a vacation anyhow, that I'd come up and visit you."

She's on a scam.

"And here I just finish up my business-"

She's already gotten the mark.

"-and was about to do some banking -"

On her way to the pick-up and hide the goods.

"-and I bump into you. How convenient!"

And I figure into her plans as a distraction just in case the mar

k gets a bit wise.

Tiff's paw squeezed my leg under the table as it began its way towards more private areas, "Mrs. Flaatphut, tell me, what was Henry like as a kid?"

As Tiffany was discretely finding out the best way to seduce me by asking about my past, I was noticing a couple of business suits trying to get in past reception. They were looking this way. Mother seemed to notice them slightly.

"Well, I've got to be going now; I've got an appointment. I'll be seeing you Henry Jeffery."

My mom got up and left out a back door.

A bit of a quick visit.

"I think it's about time we left also, " Tiffany smiled innocently, "especially with the uncouth gentlemen at the door, " she nodded.

The suits were now looking at me. I motioned the waiter and had him put the bill on my account (ah, what a feeling to be able to do that). We got up and approached the exit.

As we got near the suits they came towards us. They looked like they were going to try and detain me for some "questioning". I began to wonder how we were going to get past them without too much undue violence It was then that Tiff went into a swoon, almost falling onto one of the business suits.

"Oh John, I think that I'm not feeling too good; I think it's my condition again. You'd better take me home now."

I lifted her up a bit, "It's okay Charlotte, the car's nearby. Oh, gentlemen, " nodding towards the suits, "could you get the doors?"

They looked a bit confused and then one of them got the door.

"Thank-you"

"Oh, such kind gentlemen, " she said, almost clinging on to the door frame on the way out, as I tried to pull her away, "your mothers would be proud of you."

I finally managed to yank her free, the door closing behind us, and we'd gone no more than a few feet when she got up on her own and we began walking more rapidly.

"They friends of yours?" she asked.

"I don't think so. But they'll be following us."

"I bought us some time."

"Is that what the door frame bit was all about."

"I palmed some instant-stick epoxy capsules. It'll take them a few minutes to find the back door."

I smiled. Can you ask for more in a woman? Well, aside from bigger-

Well, anyway, we approached my car Tango Two and I began walking a bit more slowly, "Tiff, you go in first, I've got to get something from the trunk, " I handed her the keys as she nodded.

I went around to the back of the car as she unlocked the passenger's side and started to get in.

She was stopped by a pistol. "Be very quiet miss and tell your boyfriend to get over here, " a deep voice rumbled from the back seat.

"Henry, we have an unexpected passenger aboard. Henry?"

The sound of a pistol cocking was heard coming from the direction of the voice.

"If he isn't over here quick you'll - AUUWWK!"

How many people do you know who keep an emergency door hidden in the back of their car's trunk? Actually, I'd watched too many old flat-screen movies about people hiding in the backs of car seats.

Tiffany pulled the body outside; I'd shot a hole through his neck with my laser-pistol (not much of a weapon except at close range... like just now).

"He was probably only a flunky anyway, " she said as she heaved him aside, "but he probably has friends."

I closed the trunk and got into my side, "I'll write up the report for it later, " I started up Tango, "right now, the hair on the back of my neck is trying to tell me something."

The car floated up and I put her in gear and took off.

"Charlotte?! Couldn't you have picked something better?"

"If you can pick John, I can pick Charlotte."

I turned in to the thorough-fare tunnel, always busy just after lunch.

"We're being followed, " she looked at the rear-view screen.

"I thought as much. When was the last time you were on a rollercoaster?"

"It looks like a Jupiter-90 model-K; outfitted with some extras."

I flipped out a panel from under the dashboard. This time I was prepared, as I'd also fixed up Tango a bit.

"I got a few tricks for them. How're they making out?"

"Still holding back a bit. There's a bit too much traffic for anything fancy."

I turned onto a lower level exit-ramp.

"You have your specialties and I have mine."

I hit one of the switches and aimed the car up over the level of the other cars.

It hit like a rocket! We soared out over and past everybody. If you knew what the switch had put into the engine, then you might say that we were laughing all the way (or at least the car was).

"Took 'em by surprise, " she looked at the screen, "but they're waking up now."

The car in back of us began to take off after us, except that it was still down in the traffic, playing dodge-em cars.

I looked ahead- and nearly dodged a grav-truck. I went under it. Now, it takes a bit of doing driving under a grav-field like that; I've done it before.

The car followed under.

Apparently he'd hadn't had as much experience at it. His car did a corkscrew spiral, still following along.

"He's still following in back."

"They must be at least a little dizzy by now." I turned off onto a side street and took a drop shaft a few levels down, then took out about five levels down.

The car spiraled down the shaft after us, seeming like a rocket looking for a place to crash. After I came out, it slowly came out of its dive, almost crashed, bounced off the ground and then came bouncing along after me, hopping like a rabbit.

"I think the fight's about out of him, " I smiled.

"Yeah, but what about him?"

In front of us a rather large truck aiming directly for us.

I swerved over it and aside when out of the shadows came three more of the cloud-jumpers, each just like the one limping along in back of us.

I love a good chase but, I feel like Custer at Little-Big Horn.

I gunned it down a side street and into an area with a bunch of open-air shops and push-carts strewn along the plasteel street. I deftly turned, just barely missing a fruit stand- scaring its owner to no end- and soared out over a carpet salesman. Amazingly the carpets stayed put.

Each of the other four cars came soaring after me; the first car swerved by, causing the owner to leap into his fruit stand; the second car did an almost 45 degree turn-and-screech to avoid it, and still the stand held; and then the fourth car came whizzing by low enough to give the owner a haircut, but still, the fruit stand was narrowly missed in each case, the owner now cowering down into a ball. The carpets were being held down by three people trying not to become kites as the cars each soared by.

The owners were happy that they were still in business.

At least until the truck plowed straight through all of them like a rhinoceros. Fruit jam anyone?.

I screeched on down another street and into an alley and stopped to hide there. The light on this level was pretty average- none too bright.

"It'll never work, " Tiffany said, "they won't fall for it."

One car whizzed by.

Then two.

We waited a few seconds.

Another car went by and then finally the limping rabbit went by, now flying a bit straighter.

"See? Told you." I pulled out to head back up the way we came.

And nearly crashed into the slower moving truck.

"See, told you, " she mimicked.

I flew over the truck and on past it as it began to turn around.

"Time for another trick, " I said as I got another one of the switches ready.

All four cars came out of an alley in front of us and headed straight for us.

The truck was in back of us.

The four cars were coming straight for us.

I smiled.

She smiled, "You aren't going to do what I think you're going to do?"

I smiled, flicked the switch and then took off straight up.

"I guess you are, " she said as the sudden force slammed us back into our seats.

The switch released a sudden explosion of smoke, as down below us I heard the sound of grav-engines being thrust suddenly into reverse.

I straightened out and looked down.

Darn! No one crashed.

The cars had made a nice clover-leaf design around the truck, each no more than about an inch from any of the others.

I gunned it as the clover-leaf began to pull itself apart.

"I think they've seen the same movies that you did, " she offered, "you got any other tricks?"

I opened up the glove compartment and took out a funny looking gun and handed it to her.

She looked it over.

"It looks like a small magnetic gun of some sort."

"A hand-held version of what I used up in MUT HQ. Good for one shot only, so make it good."

She leaned out the window as I pulled out onto a main air-way again, not so crowded now. The cars were now a mile behind us but closing. My extra-booster fuel was used up. I waited until they were a few yards away- at which point laser bolts began spoiling Tango's new finish- and then went into the opposite lane, straight for a car headed my way. Another laser bolt sent Tango's rear bumper hanging off at an angle. The approaching car screeched as I pulled up last minute. The cars that had followed me each in turn barely made the upward turn, as the poor befuddled first approaching car stopped as the driver hid under the seat, hoping that all this was just a nightmare.

I then headed for an off-ramp tunnel, out and down, came out the other end and went immediately up the on-ramp tunnel.

"They're still behind us, "

"We'll see about that."

I screeched out another tunnel and went up the wrong way in an off-ramp tunnel, narrowly avoiding the same car as before (by the time that all four cars had passed him, I think that the driver just got out and walked). I then crossed over the lane divider (the cars don't have to honk that loud when I pass), went up a down-shaft ramp, out an on-ramp and up an off-ramp. I was getting a bit dizzy by this time.

They were still behind us, their guns giving Tango even more dents.

"They sure didn't take a correspondence class in driving; they know their stuff. Where to now?"

"Over there, " she pointed.

It was a power plant. I soared over there, cars on my heals, and went into the restricted area, pedestrians in hard hats waving at me. The cars were a few feet in back of me.

Tango jolted.

"They hit one of your engines, " she motioned.

"Great! Get ready with that gun."

I was mad now! Tango was flying at a lopsided angle. I headed straight by one of the electrical towers, cars on my heals.

Just as we passed it, "Now!"

She was ahead of me and was already firing out the window at the tower. It started a rather large spark on the tower; didn't harm the tower much, but the wild electric field arced over the second car, causing it to spin wildly. The third car went crashing into the second one as the fourth car sped into both of them. The whole mess then plowed into the electrical tower, incinerating as it did so. Splat! Messy. One left.

"The rabbit's still with us, " she observed, "now what?"

"Now we pray for a bit of luck, "

We soared out onto a road again.

And I forgot about that truck! The one coming straight at us with a big gun now mounted on its front. I felt like a clay pigeon facing an elephant gun.

I pulled straight up just as it fired. It missed us and hit, guess what? The gun fired some sort of electrical effect (probably meant to paralyze the engine) but the other car was already in bad shape and well...

The fireball that the car became went straight into the truck and became an even larger fireball. I veered away out onto the main street tunnel, leaving the wreckage for the local metros to clean up.

I straightened out what was left of Tango Two and set the autopilot for my place.

Tiff let out a sigh, "Now what was that all about?"

Yeah, and did mother have anything to do with it?

I wondered, as Tiffany lay her head on my shoulder, on the trip back home.

She muttered under her breath, 'ere we drove out of sight, "You sure know how to show a girl a good time on a first date."

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