Epilogue

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Trent decided to let Drake do the talking.

They both stood in the center of Hawkins's office aboard the Atonement after successfully recovering the doctor, the artifact, and some of the data from Rogue Ops' databanks. The mission was a success and now it was time to talk business. Trent looked around the office. It was largely barren. Just a huge metal and oak-paneled desk in the center of it, with a terminal built into the desktop. Two chairs placed precisely in front of the desk, though neither man sat. There was no other furniture and the only things on the walls were framed medals.

There were two dozen of them.

Hawkins sat behind his desk, fixing them both with his intense gaze.

"We want a hundred thousand credits per mission, each," Drake began. "We don't want to pay taxes on them, we want an absolute, clear-cut, no-bullshit one hundred k each. We don't want to pay for or provide our own supplies, weapons, gear, armor, transport, room and board...you get the idea. If it can be helped, we want at least three days downtime between each mission. Obviously, we'll want to go places. We want an all-expenses paid kind of deal each time. We also want any outstanding warrants, any legal records at all, wiped out, anywhere in the galaxy."

A moment of silence passed.

"That's a quite a tall order," Hawkins replied. "But, considering how well you did your mission, I'll say that, provided you continue to deliver similar results, we have a deal." Hawkins turned his gaze to Trent. "Is there anything you'd like to add, Mister Stone?"

"Nope, what he said," Trent replied.

Hawkins nodded. "I thought not. Very well gentlemen, if there'll be nothing else..."

"Nope. Pleasure doing business with you," Drake replied.

He and Trent left the office, passing Gray and Enzo along the way. They walked through the corridors until they'd come to the living quarters.

"Well...I'm off for a smoke, a drink, and a sleep," Drake said. "You?"

"Pretty much the same. If they've got nothing for us, I was thinking we could head out to Mezzanine again, finish our vacation," Trent replied.

Drake laughed. "You won't get all melancholy on me again, will you? You were kind of killing the atmosphere last time."

"I'm feeling a lot better now, thank you very much," Trent replied.

"Good. Come find me when you get up." Drake disappeared into his quarters.

Trent found his own and opened the door. He flipped on the light and shut the door, then stopped. Genevieve was sitting on the edge of his bed, wearing nothing but a pair of black panties. She stood up, marched across the room and pointed a finger into Trent's face.

"If we're going to do this, I get to be on top the whole time and you don't say a single, goddamn word, do you understand me?" she asked.

Trent smiled and nodded.

* * *

Allan still didn't feel like taking off his armor.

He sat in the sturdy metal chair in Hawkins's office and watched the man looking up the data Allan had requested on his terminal. Hawkins had called him in and asked him whether or not he wanted the job. When Allan had said yes, he'd asked him what his terms were. All Allan wanted was to do some good, but he realized that he had a real opportunity here to do something he'd been meaning to do for a long time now.

"Yes, here they are. It says that Mister and Missus Gray still live at 394 Benning Ave., Capital City, planet Frontier. Your father still works for SI, though he's a Captain now, and your mother now works for a real estate agency," Hawkins said. "Now, what would you like to do with this information, Sergeant Gray?"

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