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   Chapter 3 No.3

High Steaks By Christina Engela Characters: 5220

Updated: 2018-06-30 12:02

"Uhm…" He said.

"Lemme guess…" Said Peg. "Later?"

"That's the one!" He nodded.

Just then, another loud thump on the front doors, carrying a faint note like a big bell ringing, echoed in the lobby. Some of the people in the room flinched nervously. Gary seemed unsurprised. He swallowed the contents of the mug, put it down on the map table, and just smiled at Peg again in that maddening way she knew too well.

"Excuse me!" A voice called. It was Landry again. "What's going on? Are we being rescued?"

"Governor!" Peg replied, smiling. "I'd say our chances of making it out of here alive just went up – by a lot!"

Peg only just noticed Mei standing at the other end of the room, her medium length blonde hair tied back in a short pony, a blaster in one hand. Somehow, for some reason even she couldn't explain, she'd arrived there dressed in what looked like the same black simulated leather outfit she'd worn on her first night on Deanna – right after the Ruminarii hammerhead bombed Atro City!

"How?" Mei asked, looking at Gary, puzzled. Gary was just examining her, and craning his neck to look past Peg.

"Don't ask!" He grinned back. "Same answer!"

Gary thought she looked amazing! He supposed Scrooby thought that outfit was a little more appropriate under the circumstances than the summer dress and heels she'd had on the previous day – er… no, on Mars right now! Good thinking on Scrooby's part!

"Mei." Peg greeted tersely, looking her over.

"Peg." Mei returned, with a curt nod, as they launched into a brief exchange. "Good to see you."

Peg: "You too."

Mei: "Everything okay?"

Peg: "No. You?"

Mei: "I've been better."

Peg: "Same old, same old, huh?"

"Yup. 'fraid so." Mei smiled. This was after all, not their first adventure together. Luckily for her, she thought, at least she knew it probably wouldn't be their last.

"So what do we do now?" Peg asked, turning back to Gary. "What's the plan?"

"Mei?" He asked Cindy-Mei, who nodded to him meaningfully that she was ready for action. "If you please!"

"Okay, listen up!" Said Mei, channeling the voice of former Agent Winter, formerly of the Colonial Intelligence Agency. "We've got approximately five minutes before they break through, so we're getting out of here now! We need to travel light, so we're taking no baggage along! Please – make no attempts to salvage little Jemma's school photo on your desk upstairs on the way out! We go, and we go now – green?"

There was a general round of nodding and murmurs of agreement. Everyone was antsy and very eager to get out of there – and

with good reason! The fascist conquerors of Atro City hadn't to their knowledge, actually killed people yet – except for the unfortunate Prince, but they didn't want to push their luck.

"Yo, Phil!" Gary called. The head of building security of the Governor's Palace looked startled.

"Beck the Badfeller knows my name!" He said, shocked. "Yes, sir?"

"We need to get to the basement, pronto – you lead the way!"

"But…" Phil protested, reluctantly finding himself being pushed toward the doorway of the lobby by his eager followers – the Governor and the two Mayors jockeying for first place. "There's no exit in the basement – we'll be trapped!"

"There's no way out up here either, Phil – but don't worry, leave that to us!" Gary smiled, stepping aside and coaxing Phil to pass and lead the others ahead of him. Mei brushed past him at the tail end of the group, and paused to give Gary a kiss.

"Hm-m-m!" Gary smiled at her sexy little swagger as she moved on after them, heading down a dimly lit corridor. "Agent Winter sure is starting to grow on me!"

Then Gary turned his attention to the task at hand. He could hear a commotion outside the large windows on either side of the door. While at the TSA, Scrooby had used a device called a Projector, which seemed really like an overcomplicated video player that used holograms (among other things) to show them the time-stream – what had happened, what was happening – and what was going to happen.

Scrooby, being the thorough and precise Time Agent that he was, also showed them what should happen – and what would happen if what should happen didn't happen – which, believe me, wasn't pretty. But, neither was what should happen… but there was no way round that. And, as if that wasn't confusing enough, he'd also showed them what was happening outside the Palace right at that very moment.

People had come to Lupini Square that morning to watch the parade and the motorcade – hoping to see Prince Justin make his speech – but instead, they'd witnessed a horrible assassination first-hand. Now they were trapped inside a cordon of fascist troops who had encircled the Square – troops from an army that now controlled Deanna. Right at that very moment, not too far from where he was standing, people were being separated and sorted through a form of crowd-control funnel, into two groups – those the fascists approved of, and those they didn't. There would be dire consequences for those they didn't. He felt a wave of anger rising within him, and tightening his grip on his determination to see this thing through, surfed it out.

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