Part 5: Dust - Chapter 3

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There were a lot of police around the apartment complex and it took some time before the road block would let them through. Dorac stared out of the windscreen of Agnes's car and sighed.

'Looks busy.'

Agnes pulled over and they climbed out, slipping into bullet-proof cuirasses as they did so. Somewhere nearby a huge air filter was huffing and puffing as it purified the dome's air. To Dorac it sounded like a giant who'd run a marathon.

Colonel deSalva looked up from his fone as they approached.

'Oh, it's you.'

I'm pleased to see you too, thought Dorac. 'Is she in there, then?'

'How did you...? Never mind. We can handle it.'

'Yeah, but we can watch, can't we?' asked Agnes. 'Vested interest and all that.'

DeSalva smirked. 'I guess you amateur detectives need to file reports just as much as we do. All right, you can watch. But it's our operation.'

They stepped off a few paces and observed the police at work. The apartment block was three stories high—most buildings on the Moon were low—and had apparently been empty for some time. Despite the massive influx of refugees to the Moon, there were still some places so old they were hardly suitable for human habitation anymore. This building looked at least a century old; other facilities, like the air purification system, had been developed around it. A good place for someone like Nancy to hide.

Police vehicles now surrounded the building on all sides; at least fifty officers were there, and a host of paranoids and AI's of all kinds. No one seemed to have made any approaches yet. Dorac spied an AI hovering in the air around the upper levels.

'Bomb tracker,' he said to Agnes. 'Sniffing out if Nancy's got any nasty surprises rigged up.'

Agnes turned on her fone and started recording the scene. She panned and tracked the surrounding area. 'Nothing,' she said, but it was obvious her little fone could hardly compete with the police technology. 'Although I get the feeling Nancy wouldn't make it that easy to find her.'

They watched for a few minutes longer. Nothing happened. DeSalva seemed to be doing the right things, but Dorac yawned.

'You know what I think?' he asked.

'What?'

'She's not in there.'

He crossed his arms and glanced around. The street was crowded with police, but the avenues leading off it were deserted: no doubt the surrounding area had been evacuated in case a bomb did go off. All the street lights were on, but no one paid much attention.

'So what do those razor-like Sirian senses tell you?'

'Not much. But my brain's screaming at me.' Before Agnes could make the obvious joke, he went on. 'Think like Nancy. Your hide-out is discovered. But you know the city—the whole galaxy—is looking for you. That's why you haven't been able to move to another planet. And Earth sure isn't the place to be right now. So, you're stuck on the Moon. Your cover is blown. What do you do next?'

'Slip quietly away.'

'Right. Long before deSalva and his trusty boys and girls can get here. You'd have an escape plan all worked out beforehand.'

'Just like you in Cairo.'

'Just like me in Cairo.' Dorac remembered crossing the narrow board between two buildings to evade Agnes's raid on the Shamah cell's headquarters a year ago. He still woke up from bad dreams about how high it was.

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