Warning: This work has been rated 18+ for language and violence.
December 21, 4140
Glenn looked across his cup of tea to where Harry was sitting. The silence fell between them for a few minutes as they studied each other, and Glenn put his thoughts back to the last time he saw her. And thinking of that last time made him think about how it might have been a mistake to seek her out.
But what other choice did I have?
Glenn cut his thoughts off quickly as he started to remember things about Harry.
“I woke up three weeks ago in somebody’s basement and I was surrounded by a bunch of guys in super tacky lab coats. You know the type I’m talking about, the bleached white kind that barely have name tags, not even trying to look like a government research facility. Like these fuckers would never have passed back home on Earth.”
As Glenn started to explain the scene he woke up to, Harry walked around the office and looked in on her colleagues were tucked away into one of the private offices. He laughed again to himself about the way she referred to them as “colleagues”. From the way that he read the situation, they seemed more like family members than anything else, especially the one introduced as Will.
Harry did her loop around the room until she came to the cabinet in the corner, opened the bottom doors and put a record on the machine.
“So, you’re still holding on to that piece of shit?”
“You’re the one who gave me that record.”
“Yeah, that’s how I know.”
Glenn quietly sang out the opening lyrics to the song it was set on, matching pace with the record.
Just got home from Illinois, lock the front door, oh boy
Got to sit down, take a rest on the porch
Imagination sets in, soon I'm singing
“Do you remember where we met, Harry?”
“Yes but don’t you think we should be talking about why a death squad wants you, well…dead.”
“But you remember. You remember how Galveston was and how funny it was that I was from the original Galveston, Texas. No matter how many thousands of years ago that was.”
“It was only two thousand.”
He laughed as she said “only” and Harry could hear the comments popping up inside of his mind. It was weird to be able hear her trying to listen to his thoughts, one telepath in a five-hundred-year coma, wasn’t enough to block her. There were some quite narrations as their pathways crossed.
He didn’t always notice when she was reading through his thoughts, and she could tell he thought he was strong enough to block any intrusion.
Far from the case.
“Now the lab. You’ve given me plenty of commentary on their shitty taste in fashion but I’m assuming you did something while you were there.”
Glenn took out a cigarette, fumbled to find his lighter and then created a spark in his hand.
“So, I woke up and I was completely naked. Like not a single fucking towel in sight and this gray dude was standing over me with a needle, so I kicked him in the head. I stole the tacky coat off his body and really hoped he was alone in that lab. But – “
“Let me guess, he wasn’t, and you killed the rest of them.”
“Yes but the Horridus assassins weren’t guards there. They were imprisoned there, and I saw them being tested in this federal site, meaning our lovely government has stopped giving a shit about peace contracts.”
“Did they ever?”
He looked down at the scars peeking out under his sleeve for a moment and his mind started clicking again. Glenn was filtering and censoring information, deciding how much Harry really needed to know, thinking about what she would want to know after all these years.
“Probably not. So, you know how that species is like super genderless and telepathic?” He didn’t wait for answer and continued, “They’re exploiting their society design and abilities for application to modern warfare. It’s like trying to adapt a goldfish as a way of poisoning wine.”
Harry took a glance over towards the office and Glenn assumed she was trying to quickly read the minds of the inhabitants. He could hear them too, but his mind crept along a lower pathway than Harry or Cati. Glenn heard the buzz that silently happened when their pathways clashed together, meaning everyone was aware that everyone was listening now.
“Glenn, please choose a different metaphor.”
“You saw what the tactics were like when that one out in the street attacked us. They must work in a group or else they go down with one hit. I read some of the research while I was waiting for a guard of my size to come along and the plan is trying to make it, so they can act alone. The Feds are convinced that enough genetic manipulation will make sole missions a reality.”
“And what do you think?”
“I don’t know but they’ve been testing this since before Lariat. Meaning that wherever they put us on ice, was not originally on Galveston and that complicates it a lot more for your case.”
Glenn had hung around in that underground office for a while, looking for some hint in the files about Harry. The pain that struck his heart when he first woke up was a sort of worry for her and he had hoped she would still be alive, after all this time. He took the bag off his shoulder and took out a small file that expanded when making contact with the table.
“See the big fat one? That’s your Federation file from last year. I assume you know that they’ve been keeping track of some of your, uh, interactions.”
“Considering they were the ones who hired me to work for the Fiacre family, yes, I know that they keep watching me. They can never nail me down for anything though.”
“Why? From the evidence here, I don’t see why you’re not in prison.”
“I’m still working on my old contract. Immunity from anything as long as I give them enough stats each year. And also, that they know if they tried to stop me, I would kill every agent in this sector and beyond.”
He looked back down to rummage through his bag. The necessary file was sitting towards the top, but Glenn needed a minute to keep his head down and think about what she had said. And to think about how much she had changed since Galveston.
She was cynical then. She was a killer then.
But now she was worse. Maybe it was working for the Feds or maybe it was working for the crime families, but there was something about Harry that set him off. Glenn felt his hand come to the knife at the bottom of the pouch and he considered pulling it up in defense. Looking across the couch, his mind was changed by seeing how one of Harry’s pistols was still hanging from her thigh.
“Here we go. Now, this is my file about what I did at Lariat and it isn’t pretty.”
“Like I’m going to judge you after what you must have read in mine. I’m sure you’re worried about me Glenn. Not as much worrying about my wellbeing as you probably are about your own safety.”
She lifted a cigarette back to her mouth, took a drag and another drink of tea, and then set back to the conversation.
“If I had wanted to kill you, you’d be lying on the slab in the basement next to that so-called assassin right now. Instead, you’re sitting here in my office drinking tea and smoking with me, so let’s just say I’m only going to kill you if you screw with me. And you wouldn’t do that, would you?”
Glenn tried to keep his thoughts blocked as he answered her with a quiet, “No.”
He didn’t have a plan and he was sure that she did have some sort of way to reach a certain outcome. If it came down to the worst, all he could do was light the curtains on fire and hope she couldn’t draw the water out of the tap line before he got away.
“You know our relationship was a bit of a cliché, Harry.”
“The fire and water part.”
“Oh, I thought your mind would have jumped the to purple skinned alien girl getting it on with the human boy. Not that little conflicting elements issue.”
“You know, I honestly can’t tell if you’re being sarcastic or not.”