PRICE OF A BOUNTY by S.L. Wallace
Genre: sci fi, dystopian, political thriller
I paused. “Guy...”
“Would you like to be my backup tonight?”
“I thought you didn't use backup.”
I looked away. “You can thank Eberhardt. He got me thinking about it.”
“All right, I accept. You're the lead, so tell me what to do.”
I thought a moment. Guy would need to look the part. He kept a couple of suits here, for when he stayed overnight. I walked over to the closet and pulled one out. “To start, you should wear this and bring this.” I held up his black briefcase.
We arrived early. I went in first and chose a small table off to the side of the room as far away from the dance floor and piano as possible. Guy sat at the bar, ordered a drink and turned his gaze toward the dancers. He looked like a businessman who had just concluded a long day at the office.
I saw Brody Delaney before he saw me, so I stood to get his attention. He walked over and joined me.
“Hello, Brody.” I smiled. “It's nice to see you again.”
“How do we do this?” He started to hand me his briefcase, but I stopped him.
“Put that down. After a job well done, it's traditional to sit and have a drink first. We'll talk, and then make the exchange. There's really nothing to it.”
He sat and placed the briefcase on the floor beside him.
“How do I know you're not really working for Cybonautics? I wouldn't put it past them, and this could get me into a lot of trouble.”
“You're being paranoid. Why would anyone at Cybonautics hire me to do something that will only advance your career?”
He signaled to the waitress and ordered two martinis, one for each of us. As she was leaving, Guy walked by, stumbled into her, apologized and continued on to the restroom.
I put my hand on top of Brody's and commanded his attention with my eyes. “Brody, I think you've got what it takes. You saw an opportunity and took it. I think you'll make an excellent CEO at CalTech.”
“I can only do that if you've done what I hired you to do.” He spoke as if this had been his idea. That was a good sign.
“I have, and I hope you'll remember that Kendra James gets the job done.”
“Kendra, now I have a name to go with your face.”
The waitress arrived with our drinks. As she turned to leave, Guy stumbled into her yet again, on his way back from the restroom. I covered my mouth and giggled. Brody looked at me rather than Guy. He smiled too.
I reached out my glass. “I'd like to propose a toast...to new friendships.”
Our glasses clinked, and we each took a sip.
“Do you like what you do, Brody?”
“I guess. It pays well. I didn't realize I'd have to be watching my back so much though. Everybody wants the top position, but everyone can't have it.”
“I know what you mean. Those access codes you wanted? They'll help both you and your company get to the top, won't they?”
“Yes, they should.”
The waitress returned then with an appetizer. “Oh, I didn't order...” Brody began.
“I did, before you arrived. Thank you.” I smiled at the waitress who set down two small plates and a platter with artichoke dip and cubes of bread.
There was also small tracking device on the plate she set in front of me. I picked it up. “I hope you'll remember who helped you get to the top and that we'll be able to trust each other from now on.” I dropped it into what was left of Brody's drink.
He looked down at his briefcase in alarm, then back at me. “Did I blow it?”
“Not yet. I can't fault you for being cautious, but I wouldn't try anything like that again. I am good at what I do. I hope you believe that now.”
He glanced around the room. I was glad to see that Guy had already left.
“I also hope we'll be able to work together again sometime soon.” I stood and held out my hand.
“What do you mean?”
I dropped my hands to the table and leaned toward him. Did I really have to spell it out? “There may come a time when I'll want to call in a favor from a friend at CalTech.”
Brody looked at me in alarm.
“Don’t worry. You could always say no. Until then, let's get together for drinks every now and again.” I removed the list of access codes from my purse and handed it to him.
“That's it, and to show you that I really am a nice person, I gave you a discount. I wouldn't leave your briefcase unattended until you've emptied it. Enjoy the dip.” I picked up a small piece of bread, scooped up some artichoke dip, popped it into my mouth and swallowed. “Delicious!” I held out my hand again. “It's been a pleasure working with you, Brody Delaney.”
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Tell us 5 random things about you the person, not the author
1) I am an ancestor of William Wallace, think Braveheart.
2) My favorite movie is Stardust, based on the novel by Neil Gaiman.
3) Even though I'm not very good at it, I love to play volleyball.
4) My husband is also an author.
5) I like to play quirky characters when I play D&D and Serenity RPGs.
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