I didn't trust the other two yet. Time would tell whether they were serious about working together. For now I watched my back. I was confident I could take either one in a fight, and I could hold my own against the two of them combined.

I stopped by my office quick to check for any new assignments. I opened the door and went inside my plain dark office. There was an envelope on my desk stamped Classified. I reached for it and started to undo the seal when I noticed several things at once.

1: Although Assignment envelopes were often a bit thick, this one was quite bulky.
2: My chair was a bit askew. I didn't visit my office all that often but when I did I made sure everything was in the same place.

And probably the most revealing thing:

3: There was a wire poking out of the envelope.

Not good.

I moved as fast I could. I had faced situations like this before and had picked up a few things that would allow me to-


I managed to contain the explosion underneath my bomb proof waste basket.

"Jack!" I shouted. Jack was my robotic assistant. He was connected to my watch so I could communicate with him while I was away. He was equipped to deal with most intruders and always met me when I entered my office. I knew before it even happened, that something was wrong.

One figure darted out from the left, another swooped in from the right.

One of them I recognized as my robot, the other was a stranger.

My mind started to panic, but I immediately and reflexively calmed it down. Once I did an obvious solution presented itself to me.

The robot was mine. I built it. As such I knew several simple ways to shut it down. One of which was connected to the switch on its back. Now it of course it wasn't as simple as flicking a switch and shutting it down. I ducked under Jack's first swing, swept his robotic legs out from under him. I flipped him over as he fell, sat on his back and flicked the switch up. Jack stopped moving, but would only remain unmoving for 30 seconds. Unless I flicked the switch back down, pushed it in, and gave it a twist.

Which I did. Just in time to get a kick to the head.

This guy had shown skill in sneaking in and re-programming my robot. He had shown lack thereof in not making sure everything was perfect. In fact, the thought running through my head as I rolled over and extended my wrist blades was:


He went for another kick, and his reward was losing his foot. He screamed and went down, while I brought my knife around for the finishing move.

The man was dead, but something still felt... wrong. I ripped open his shirt and let out a sigh of relief. No suicide bomb. Then there was the tinkling of glass as two tubes strapped to his belt popped open with small explosions releasing their swarming contents. 

Poisonous Insects. Wonderful. I backed away and fiddled with my watch, setting it to fully reset Jack and wipe any recent changes. Jack sprung up a few seconds later and started to give me his customary greeting.

"No time Jack! Flame please!!!"

Jack sprinted over and lifted his hand which had retracted and was now cannon-like. Flame spurted out at the tiny intruders and one by one they disappeared. Some of them had gotten kinda close to me and I had been singed by Jack's saving flame.

I tapped my watch again and entered ina voice command, "Open channel to Rylnod Taonn and Revel Kindun."

My watch beeped and replied "Taonn, Rylnod and Kindun, Revel are not available for communication at this time."

"Fine. Track their signals and load them to the on-board computer. I'll send a message once I'm off-world."

Our plan hadn't been alive for more than 45 minutes and I was already under attack. I'd have to get in contact with the others to discuss our next move. I could bet that they had faced episodes similar to the one that I just experienced.

It meant one thing: We were on the right trail.

The End

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