When the Iron Hide II skipped back into real space, Liishi expelled a breath she hadn’t realized she’d been holding. Nothing seemed to have followed them through. Either Harcon had given up or planned to track Tariq and his crew down sometime later. Hopefully sometime well after she and W.B. had met their contact, gotten what they came for, and left.
“They know,” Liishi replied to some question asked by Tariq, her attention focused on the monitors.
A vast white ship hove into view on the screen. Larger than she’d expected. But then, she hadn’t really know what exactly to expect. Gibbs, her cani handler had been rather evasive on information for this assignment . . . .
“My favorite asset,” he’d called her when she encountered him in a bar outside Kelos IX. His all-female hit squad/bodyguard groupies were arranged in a loose formation about him.
Anyone not in the know would think they were simply pleasure girls plying their trade, but anyone even remotely paying attention would notice minor details: the file one kitten used was really a double-edged knife; the hair pins keeping the bangs from the eyes of the long-haired cani lounging to Gibbs’ left were a tad longer and thicker than hair pins typically came—and were pointier, too. They gave Liishi the once over as she approached, noted her various weapons, nodded her through.
“Can it, Gibbs,” she said as she dropped into a cushioned chair opposite him. She leaned back and crossed her booted feet on the table, moving a couple of glasses of some greenish liquid as she did. “Not interested in the flirty business today. What’ve you got for me?”
Gibbs smiled, flashing gold-capped canines. “Girlie don’t want to play, huh? That’s fine with me.” He tossed a package across the table to her which she caught one-handed and opened. Cred chits, a handheld communications device, and two tickets on an outbound transport to Tantus IV were all it contained.
“What’s this for?”
“You and W.B. are to meet a ship at the coordinates you’ll receive on that communicator. They won’t reach you until you debark at Tantus,” Gibbs said, lifting the glass of greenish liquid and taking a sip. “You hire a ship to get you to those coordinates and pick up a package.”
Liishi slipped the chits into a pocket of her jacket. The communicator she turned over in her hands. It had a grill on the faceplate and two lights. Nothing else. “And the package would be?”
Gibbs shrugged. “Whatever they happen to give you when you meet them. Portable was all I was told.”
“Portable? Size? Weight?” She shook her head, weighing the com unit. “And who are they?”
“They did not say,” he replied. “But the fee extended is thrice our going rate for a pick-up and transfer job.”
Three times? Warning bells went off in Liishi’s brain. “Transfer where?” Liishi held up one hand and forced a grin. “They’ll let me know, right?”
Gibbs spread is hands wide. “Feyeed Alliance, that I do know. And that’s all.”
A faint vibration in her jacket pulled Liishi back to the present. She retrieved the com device Gibbs had given her. One of the lights flashed. She muttered some response to an order given by Tariq, wondering why she knew the single flash indicated the ship outside wanted them to dock.
It was almost like something was buzzing around in her head. Something poking. Prodding. Rooting around inside her brain. She eyed the com device nervously and shoved it back in her pocket. W.B. dropped into stride behind her in the corridor. She caught a glimpse of the weasels poking their heads out of their room. She heard Tariq giving orders faintly in the background before following her to the airlock.
What had she gotten into?
She shuffled feet before the lock. A hum and steady green light indicated the space between the two ships held breathable air. Then the door irised open.