The Libra Gambit: Chapter 47

 The Libra Gambit was a little late today—had to make up writing time after a week working a holiday job. Hope you enjoy!

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Chapter 47

Harry dutifully performed the chest compressions, counting them out under his breath as he tried not to worry over the way Jessyn and Mo had both gone so still.

After all, his time with Siane, both in his youth and in the past hour, had educated him in the ways of Rasalkan empaths.

That said, they had gone so still…

He stared at his hands on Ray’s inert chest, and kept pushing.

Twenty-one, twenty-two, twenty-three, twenty-four…

“Time’s waisting,” Otto warned from his post on the other side of the bar.

…twenty-six, twenty-seven, twenty-eight…

“I know,” Harry said through gritted teeth.

… thirty, thirty-one, thirty-two…

“Maybe you should follow the others…” he added, glancing up at the GIES agent.

… thirty-four, thirty-five…

“… and least get the ADs…”

… thirty-six…

“… out of…whoaaa!” Harry’s suggestion came to a sudden stop as Ray’s body jerked violently, practically knocking Harry on his ass.

At his side, Mo and Jessyn both started to life, and both reached for Ray, who let out a rasping cough, then his eyes opened, and he unerringly turned them to Jessyn. “Sálufá,” he said, his voice little more than a croak.

“My heart,” she replied, dropping kiss after kiss over his eyes, his forehead, his cheeks, and, finally, his lips.

“Christ,” Mo said, easing back on her heels, tears streaming down her face.

“Holy Mother,” Otto breathed.

“Which one?” Harry murmured, knowing what he did of Rasalkan faith.

Since there was no possibility of an answer, the moment Jessyn straightened, Harry grasped Ray’s arm. “Hey,” he said, waiting for Ray’s eyes to fix on him. “Can you walk?”

Ray tore his eyes from Jessyn to meet Harry’s, and Harry was pleased to see how quickly the fog of confusion had dissipated.

“To get out of this shit hole?” Ray rasped, “I bet I can outrun you, old man.”

“And he’s back,” Harry said, but he was grinning as he, along with Mo and Jessyn, hauled Ray to his feet. Immediately the younger man swayed, so Harry slid under one arm and started to ease him out from behind the bar.

Behind them, he heard a soft sigh, and a softer thump, and looked back to see Rikert, long unconscious from the loss of blood, had finally released his last breath.

At his side, he felt Ray turning to view the end of Rikert’s long goodbye.

“So, what did you use to do that to him?” Harry asked, as if they were watching the end of a mildly interesting football game.

“I don’t know,” Ray said, still staring at the other man's remains. “I just grabbed something that was poking me in the back.”

“I know,” Mo said, glancing at Jessyn. “I may have taken a peek around while you two were playing kissy-face.”

“We were not—“ Ray began, but Mo ignored him.

“It was a piece of glass from a frame.” She paused, “The frame of a very ugly painting.”

Jessyn started. “You don’t mean… the one I threw at the security guard? The truly hideous painting?”

“Just goes to show, one woman’s trash is another man’s deadly weapon,” Mo said with a shrug.

That brought a hint of a smile to Ray’s lips, then he turned to meet Harry’s gaze.

Harry couldn’t read everything in that quiet stare, but there was, at the least, a sense of peace Harry had never seen before.

Then, as one, they turned and followed Jessyn and Mo from behind the bar.


Despite Raymond’s assurances, his steps weren’t entirely steady at first, so once the men were clear of the bar, Jessyn slid under Ray’s right arm.

“Lean on both of us,” she said, sensing several injuries that would require tending once they reached the Moth. “We will see you safe.”

“I thought that was my job,” her bond mate rasped, but there was humor behind the words. Then he turned his dark gaze on hers, allowing her to see awe she already sensed. “But since you are seeing me safe, any chance you could knit this busted rib?”

“I am not a healer,” Jessyn replied. “That skill is beyond me.”

Mo let out a pained laugh. “You brought my brother back from the literal brink of death. I don’t think anything is beyond you.”

Jessyn’s eyes dipped to her shoes, sticky with gore, and recalled how she had instinctively given Rikert pain—and then thought of how much worse she could have done.

Would have done, she understood, had she known how close Rikert would come to ending Ray. “Some things are,” she said, before adding, almost to herself, “Some things should be.”

She could easily sense the curiosity that statement roused in most of the others, but thankfully Otto had his mind on more prosaic matters.

“Hurrying, now,” the GIES agent prompted as he waved them out of the decimated auction room.

“You got it,” Mo agreed and, hefting the stun baton she’d carried in with her, made a shooing gesture so that Jessyn, with Harry, helped Ray move more quickly.



Ray might have been hurting in every possible place, but with every step away from the scene of Rikert’s well-deserved demise his steps became stronger.

Strong enough that even Otto, who was practically vibrating with nerves, didn’t complain as they made their way through the concourse.

They passed a few confused techs, but nothing in the way of actual muscle.

“Where’s all the security?” Ray finally asked.

“Harry took care of ones outside the auditorium,” Mo said, referring to the barely stirring guards they’d passed at the entrance to the auction room.

“I had some help,” Harry inserted. “And, on that note, there’s a Judon Kaiza joining us on the Moth.”

“A Judon—what?” Ray asked.

“We sort of made a deal,” Harry said. “In exchange for getting her off-station, she’d help me clear the road. And she wouldn’t rat me out to Rikert’s security.”

“Talk about a deal with the devil,” Ray muttered.

“There’s also pod of Neocols who took care of a lot of the other guards,” Mo added. “They’ll be aboard the Moth as well.”

“Plus me and Bader,” Otto threw in.

“And fifteen ADs,” Mo continued.

Ray grimaced as he thought of how much more cozy his cozy vessel was about to get. “We’re gonna need a bigger ship,” he said. And a whole lot of Wallace Blue, he thought.

It was only then, as they rounded the final curve to find Bader herself—along with an armed Mollin and two of the tougher-looking ADs at the docking tube—all looking more than more than ready to repel all boarders, that Jessyn’s steps came to a stumbling halt.

“Babe?” Ray asked, as something trembled across their bond.

But she was looking at Harry. “Father?” she asked as he, too, faltered. “What about Siane? Why has no one mentioned my mother?”

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