Chapter 10: A Different Kind of War

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"This is where they fled to?" Drake asked.

"It's where I'd flee to," Trent replied.

Drake snorted. "Well yeah, but you don't belong a massive ex-government organization...just a current government organization. Nevermind. Where are they, exactly?"

"Hold on, I'm trying to figure that out," one of the pilots replied. Trent thought his name might have been Pomroy or something like that.

He waited impatiently, staring out the front windows at the space station they were currently orbiting. It wasn't a place he knew personally, but already he could size it up by looking at it. It had the old, cobbled-together, micrometeorite-chewed look of a cargo-stop where the beer was cheap and the hookers were cheaper. There were dozens of ships hooked up to the station via airlocks, and dozens more in orbit, either doing their own thing in close proximity to some approximation of civilization or waiting for an airlock to free up. Trent imagined there would be a lot of night clubs, strip joints, bars, casinos, and cheap hotels.

"Okay, I've got it," Pomroy said.

Trent and Drake crowded in around the pilot, staring at the screen in front of him. He had called up a three dimensional, holographic map of the space station. A red dot was beeping somewhere deep inside, and the holographic image was growing, the sides of it falling away, as it zoomed in on the dot. A name appeared in bold red text against the glowing green gridwork of lines that represented the station's interior.

"Pulse Drive?" Trent muttered.

"It must be a club or something," Drake said.

Pomroy typed something up and the holographic map was replaced with a profile on the name that had popped up.

"Yep," he said. "It's a night club. A very high-class one by the look of it. Fancy...and hardcore, king hell digital protection wrapped all around it. I can't seem to get in and figure out who really owns the place," he muttered.

"So we kick our way in, easy," Trent replied.

"Hmm...no, you can't do it like that," Drake said.

"What? Why? We've done it before."

"Christ, you're already losing your edge. Come on, Trent, what happens when a couple of mercs show up trying to toss things upside down in a shady space station on the edge of the Far Reach? You get a united front of all the other locals worried you've shown up looking to clean house. Paranoia is strong out here. No...we need to make this look like something no one will give a shit about. Give me a little bit, I'll come up with something," Drake explained.

Trent considered it for a moment, then shrugged. "Well, you always were the brains between the two of us."

"Damn straight."

"While you're figuring that out, I've got somewhere you can start with," Pomroy said. Now his screen had changed again, bringing up a profile on an individual this time. Trent leaned in and studied the picture of the individual in question. He looked to be a skinny, pale kid with a slanted nose and a bald head.

"Who's this?" he asked.

"His name is Kinner. He's a data thief who operates largely in cyberspace. He's technically a contact for us on the station. I've already sent a message through the proper channels. He's expecting you two. You'll make contact at The Motel."

"Which motel?" Drake asked.

"The Motel. That's the name of it. It's a really cheap, crap joint that charges by the hour. He should be able to get the information on the club and maybe help you come up with a plan to get in there and get that artifact," Pomroy explained.

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