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   Chapter 5 No.5

Project Looking Glass By Mark Anthony Tierno Characters: 5086

Updated: 2018-04-10 12:02


I still had a few street contacts from my mother. Before she married my, now dead, former policeman father, she was a regular scam artist and later turned honest (well, mostly) for my father. She's retired now and living in Tampa 'Plex in Florida, but I still have a few contacts with some of her former, ah, associates. I intended to look up and try and use a few of them.

I turned off ICy's terminal and then left for home for a badly needed refresher.

***

About twenty minutes later I'd made it home; I was so dog-tired that I had to have Tango on auto-pilot most of the way there. I had pulled into my parking spot, locked up Tango, and then went up to my apartment.

I definitely remembered locking the front door to my apartment last I was there, but it wasn't now. I got out my tranq-gun and carefully entered.

The living room seemed normal enough, kitchen the same, although I really need to wash (sand blast?) those dishes. I checked my bedroom.

My bed was still as I'd left it; unmade. My dresser, okay. I flipped out the local terminal of my desk and logged on to check my files.

Seemed okay, so I checked the entry log. No one had logged on since I had last used it. I then checked my standby log.

Now, just about no one keeps an extra log. I mean, it's superfluous and it's rather hard to crack and alter a log. No one keeps an extra one at all.

Except me, that is.

And there it was. According to my backup, someone had logged on yesterday, read and copied my files, and then altered the log.

This person was good.

I shut off the terminal and began shedding clothes. Shit! Lucky I only kept my important files in ICy, and he's personality-keyed to me only.

I tossed my shirt on my bed and then I noticed it. A couple of hairs on my pillow. I picked them up; they weren't mine, since I have brown hair and they were orange.

The Manx.

I was getting extremely curious about the one who had posed as Dave Kaver's wife. She had to be a professional. She was too neat and thorough for anything else.

Nothing for it now, I had things to do. I showered and got dressed and then began packing a few things I'd need for where I was going. With this Manx on my trail, I didn't think that I had enough time for sleep (visions of being stabbed in my sleep danced around in my head).

I went for the hidden panel in back of my closet. You see, some of my things are in various areas of legality and, well, you know.

Let's see; a cavity resonator was still in the car; tranq-gun reloads, a cou

ple of blastcaps, a dagger for the side of my leg and one for the back of my neck, a fully charged electro-knife, a handful of tap-pads, and a hand-held electronic tracker-receptor and analyzer.

I believe in traveling light.

I locked up, got in the car, and sped off in the direction of Bloody Alley Enclave, a subsector down around the last five levels downside. It's an area that one doesn't go into unprepared; it's rather- unhealthy- to do so.

Why am I going down there? Well, while my late father taught me how to survive a bureaucracy, my mother showed me a few more practical things from her former days. I even used to go down there as a teen. So, as I said, I still have a few contacts from my mom, and I aim to use a couple.

I took a round-about way in case of followers, so it took me longer to get there, but after about forty-five minutes, the area began to have that familiar run-down look and greasy rank of the Alley. Downsiders stood around in groups, alternatingly playing fatal daring games with knives, gambling with each other, and other such things as the bored poor tend to do to occupy an otherwise depressing life.

Strangers get eaten alive in this place (sometimes literally).

I passed by the rent-a-sex stores, porn houses, drug dens, blackmarket outlets, weapons shops, and a few bars. I flew by a couple of muggings, a murder, and a live dissection of a female vulpanoid. Finally, I came upon the place I wanted, settled down my car, turned on the security field, and walked on into the bar. The place was still the same; a grimy sub-street level hole that smelled of alcohol and fermented urine. It's called Aunt Betty's Place and is a hangout for all types. I walked in, knife handy.

A tie-dyed cat with a punk cut on his head blocked the entrance, grinning toothily. I sighed and began reaching for my pocket with my right hand, the cat's eyes following my move as his claws protruded. His claws came up towards me, ready for use, his eyes on my hand in my pocket. He growled a bit at me, fangs showing.

While he was watching my other hand in my pocket, my left hand swiftly came around, electro-knife ejecting from its wrist emplacements and into my hand, and made a hole in his left eye that went most of the way to the back of his head. He screamed, stumbled along a few feet, and toppled down into an open section of sewer trench.

Flathead.

I walked on in and was greeted by a rather foxy five-foot-five waitress (if you'll pardon the pun, seeing as how that was her race).

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