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Chapter 07

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      Mitch Alonzo was a happy man, he thought as he entered the old office building, he had money, a successful business and all the women he could want, nothing in the universe could be going better he thought. It didn't bother him that his business was setting up mercs with jobs, most of which were of a dubious nature, at best. Or that the women he saw were all hookers. No, Mitch wasn't the kind of man to let small things like that bother him.

      He waved to the priest as he walked by the man's office, whistling and climbing the stairs up two flights to his own office.

      No, all Mitch cared about was that he'd beaten the system. He'd won.

      Mitch unlocked the door, making sure that none of the other devices he's setup to show if someone had tempered with it were disturbed. They were simple and rather low tech, like he was, but still effective. His whistling stopped as soon as he opened the door and saw who was sitting in the chair behind his desk.

      He quickly closed the door as his blood ran cold, trying to figure out how he'd gotten in. "Tr . . . Tristan, what are you doing here?" He did a quick look around of his office trying to see if anything had been disturbed. Everything in the office looked old, but that was because he liked old things, and it all seemed to be where it should be.

      The alien gave him a wide, friendly smile, which didn't make Mitch feel any better, "I'd heard you'd gone legit, and I was in the area so I figured I'd drop by my old cell mate and see how he's doing."

      Mitch swallowed hard. He'd met Tristan when they'd shared a cell, over twenty years ago, maybe thirty. He always had a tough time keeping track of time because of having to be in Cryo to travel off planet. They had only been in the same cell for six month, but during that time he'd learn to fear and hate the alien, who could be so nice and friendly, until you had something he wanted.

      "I didn't know arranging work for Merc was such a lucrative business," Tristan said tapping the monitor on the desk.

      Mitch wasn't surprised he'd been able to get in his system, even with all the security blocks he had on it. Tristan prided himself on knowing technology and being able to make it do what ever he wanted. He knew why he was here, Tristan wasn't the kind of person who simply 'dropped by', but he wasn't worried, not about that at least, there was nothing in this system that would betray his involvement, but Tristan had to at least suspect, otherwise he wouldn't be here.

      "Well," he said nervously, he'd never been good at keeping his nerves from showing, "seemed like the natural thing to do. I know people who know people, you know how it goes." Tristan nodded. "So, you said you'd been in the area, what brought you around here?"

      "Work, actually," Tristan answered as he picked up an old data pad. Mitch cringed, it was an original, the first Tolera made, it was over four hundred years old. He had paid a fortune to have it made functional again, with original pieces. Tristan turned it around, shrugged and put it down, "looking for stolen things, you know how it goes."

      "Well, you might want to try Ilomare square, lots of stolen goods make their way there." Mitch said, trying to figure out if he'd imagined the knowing look Tristan had given him or not.

      "Is that so?" Tristan said standing, "thanks for the info, I'll take a look there."

      Mitch shied away from the alien as he passed by, expecting to be hit. Instead Tristan walked out of his office, closing the door behind him. He ran to his desk as soon as he was alone and checked his computer. He didn't find any signs that Tristan had tempered with anything, or inserted any kind of malicious program, but he couldn't be certain, not with him.

      He sat there for a moment trying to decide what to do. He had no idea why he wasn't dead. He'd seen Tristan kill other inmates without second thought simply because they'd stood in his way. Now he was here, after him. Fuck this, Mitch thought, this shouldn't be his problem, he'd only been the middle man. He took out a card from a small box he kept in his locked desk. He didn't keep any of his important client's information in his system.

      He dialed the number on it and a moment later his old vid screen showed a logo saying simply 'Luminex'.

      "Welcome to Luminex Corporation," said a melodious woman's voice, "Illuminating the universe's way to a brighter future. How may I direct you call?"

      "Sander Harkson"

      "One moment please," the voice was replaced by a piece of music Mitch sisn't recognize. "We are sorry, there is no one matching the name you provided in the Luminex directory."

      Mitch cursed silently, "Just let me talk to whoever's in change of security."

      "One moment please," the music started again.

      "Thomas Silt speaking." The man said as he appeared on the screen.

      "He's free," Mitch said immediately after.

      Thomas looked at him, surprised, "who's free."

      "Tristan, who else?"

      The man frowned at him. "Who's Tristan, Who are you, and what does this have to do with Luminex?"

      Mitch sighed in exasperation, "Look through your fucking system. My name's Mitch Alonzo. You guys hired me to set Tristan up. Well, he escaped."

      The man typed on his console while Mitch talked. His frown deepened as he read what came up. "How do you know he escaped?" he asked once he was done.

      "He fucking showed up in my office, that's how!"

      Thomas looked at him in disbelief, "and the only thing you could think to do was call us?"

      "Hey, you guys hired me, there's no way I'm dealing with him alone!" Mitch screamed at the screen, but it had gone blank half way through. He slammed his fist on the desk. He tried to call back, but the signal wouldn't connect; how could they just drop him like that. If it hadn't been for him they wouldn't have known Tristan would be coming for them next.

      His mind went blank for a moment and then he sat down s he realized what he'd done. This was why Tristan hadn't killed him; he had wanted him to call who ever had hired him. And he'd done just that, which meant he didn't' have a use for him anymore.

      Mitch ran for the does in fear, but stopped himself before his hand was on the handle. No, not the door; Tristan would have rigged that. He looked around quickly for another way out. He couldn't use the window; it was too obvious and would also be rigged. He tried to think, there had to be a way out of his office, something no one would think about.

      He spied the access to the ventilation shaft. It wasn't very large, but then again Mitch wasn't a large man, something he'd had to pay for often in prison. It would still be a tight fit, but at least it would be safe. Someone of Tristan's size would never think of something this small.

      * * * * *

      "and the only thing you could think to do was call us?" "Hey, you guys hired me, there's. . ." His pad stopped playing the conversation as soon as the connection was cut.

      Tristan crossed the street and sat on one of the bench lining it, never taking his eyes off his pad. While the conversation had been going on he'd done a trace on the number and was pleasantly surprised to find that it was a company located right here on Jolani Six. He would be able to set about getting the information from them immediately instead of dealing with another flight.

      He didn't even look up when the explosion occurred; instead glancing at the timer on his pad, still fifty three seconds left. Mitch had tried to get out of the office instead of remaining frozen with fear. The human had become more courageous then he remembered him.

      Tristan wasn't worried about the explosives being traced back to him. He'd stolen them from an arsonist the previous day, as well as the detonators and timers. With that human now conveniently dead in the fire that consumed his laboratory, the law enforcement won't be able to progress further than there.

      Tristan stood and walked off as people started to mass around the building. He did a search on Luminex, trying to determine why they might have com after him. They were involved in a variety of field, communication, travel, even alternative research to mention a few, but he saw nothing there he might have dealt in at any time in his career. He decided he'd have to get in the building and access their security files to find out why they had stolen three years of his life.

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