Chapter Ten

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Back at the house, Sam and Lisa unloaded the shopping from the car. Meanwhile, Martin slipped back into his room to see if the computer had come up with anything new. Nothing happened with the computer at all. Some sort of screen-saver was throwing random blocks of colour around the screen. Martin tapped the mouse, the shopping list and the mysterious email reappeared.

Martin was re-reading the email from the Annabelle person that had caused Mandy to start acting strangely, when the door opened and Sam walked in.

'Sam, did you get a chance to speak to Mandy yet, find out what the fuck she was on about?'

'Yes captain. Chief Security Officer Lovelace did apprise us all of the ongoing nature of the mission as she put it. In fact, that is why I just knocked on your door, sir.' Sam held up a thick electrical cable with a strange plug on its end resembling some prehistoric crustacean.

'Sam? Come on.... The joke - whatever it is - is over. I'm not in the mood for being pissed about any more this morning.'

'Sir?'

'Stop all this Captain and sir bollocks now! The joke's over. Do you understand?'

'Do you mean that the mission has been aborted Captain?'

'Mission? What mission?' Martin pulled the chair out from in front of the computer. 'Sit down Sam. Please.'

Sam carefully placed the end of the cable on the desk and sat down. He looked up at Martin.

'Now is this thing some sort of joke or game?'

'No, sir.'

'Well, just what the fuck is going on then?'

'We are about to begin our mission, Captain.'

'Now, when I woke up this morning, as far as I knew, I was just an ordinary office worker - a sales invoice clerk - who happened to share a house with two other men and two women students. One of those men - you Sam - was the owner of that house.' Martin was suddenly excited. 'In fact! In fact, wasn't it you this very morning who reminded me that I owed you some rent?'

'Yes. Yes, I did, sir. But that was all part of the cover story.'

'A-ha, so you admi.... What cover story?'

Sam twisted uncomfortably in his seat and glanced at his watch. 'The cover story for the mission,' he said in a tone of voice he usually reserved for explaining the obvious plot of a television drama to John for the fifth time.

'What missi...?'

'Sorry, sir, I just haven't got time to go into that now, if we want to launch on schedule.' He jumped to his feet and nosed around the back of Martin's new computer for a few moments.

Martin finally managed to get his voice connected back to his mouth. 'Launch? What bloody launch?'

'Sorry, sir. I'm just the Chief Engineer. If you want to discuss the mission, I would suggest you take it up with Lieutenant Hardy. Meanwhile, I need a screwdriver.'

*

The door almost closed in his face and Martin was alone again. He realised the door would not shut properly because of the cable Sam had snaked through it. He turned to investigate the end of the cable Sam had left on the desk. 'Lieutenant Hardy? Lisa Hardy? Lieutenant Lisa Hardy?'

'Yes sir. Reporting for duty, sir!'

'Oh shit. Not you too, Lisa,' Martin said as he turned around.

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