Chapter 38 Pt. 4
Five steps into the corridor, Ray’s spine went cold.
Fear, he thought, and not his.
Jessyn was near, and trouble with her.
Immediately he paused and tapped his implant, activating his comms, hoping Mo and Jessyn had left their mics live.
Bader, at his side, brought herself up short, while Otto barely managed to stop before slamming into his partner.
“What?” she whispered, but Ray held up a “wait a minute” finger and pointed his ear, hoping she understood.
/That will be quite enough,/ he heard someone—possibly Claude—speaking, and behind that he heard the same tinny munchkins singing as he heard over the speakers.
/I would say more than enough,/ Jessyn’s voice came through loud and clear and while Ray sensed her tension, none of it came through her voice.
/You see what I’ve been dealing with?/ Claude’s voice, again.
/Aww,/ Mo’s voice rang close, /is it being a bad day for the sapient trading business?/
/It’ll be a worse day for you, my dear,/ Rikert responded.
Ray heard a growl, and only belatedly realized it was coming from himself.
He blinked, looked up, and found both Bader and Otto staring at him.
“I have ears on Rikert,” he said, tapping the ear piece, then focused on Otto. “Give me your baton.”
“Why?” Otto asked though, to his credit, he also kept his voice down.
“Because I’m not armed, and I need to be.”
“You could take her baton,” he pointed out, nodding to Bader.
Ray and Bader said nothing, but both cocked their heads as they stared at Otto, whose nose was still swollen from Ray’s head butt.
Otto visibly deflated, drew his baton, and handed it to Ray, who took it, flipped it once. “Now I’m not armed,” he said mournfully while Ray flipped the baton and checked its charge.
“You don’t need to be armed,” Ray said, “because you're not going to engage the enemy. Your job will be getting two female non-combatants—one Human and one Rasalkan—away from the fight. Think you can handle that?”
“Does a Cherrii turn orange in a brothel?” Otto asked in his turn.
“Speciesist much?” Bader hissed, but Ray accepted the man at his word and, with one last glance, the three moved out, this time not stopping for anything, not even when the speakers cut from the munchkin chorus to a man’s voice exhorting them to pay no attention to the man behind the curtain.