Neither Fiddlestix, nor Deacon Scott, are happy with one another. They’ve decidedly gotten off on the wrong foot. Of course, the curses she hurled at him, in order to get his attention, might have something to do with it. Both realize they have to work together to capture the rogue cyber warriors, but it doesn’t mean they have to like it—or each other.
“I didn’t ask to be sent here, General Scott,” she turned back to Deacon. “But if I’d had my way, I’d have asked before I barged in. I would have brought no more than twenty people and we would have taken care of this nice and quiet. Unfortunately, I had no way to contact you.”
“Why do you think McLain sent you in like this then?” Deacon couldn’t keep the curiosity out of his voice.
“Slap in the face to you and a burning desire to see me cut down. He hates me. He’s a dumb ass and I’ve told him that more than once. I used to be Captain Hannah Braun. About six months ago, he busted me to Master Sergeant. Only because he couldn’t really take me any lower without raising a few eyebrows. There’s not a man or woman on my team who hasn’t had some sort of confrontation with him.”
“Except Lieutenant Frieze,” Harmony added quietly.
“Yeah, well, look where that sorry sack of shit’s hiding out,” Kaz added vehemently. “Doped up in the hospital. Coward.”
Fiddlestix grinned, her eyes twinkling. “Oh, Kaz, is that any way to talk about our superior officer?” She snorted derisively.
Harmony and Kaz joined her in a short, hearty laugh at Frieze’s expense.
“Superior, my ass….” Harmony chuckled.
One look at Deacon and the laughter stopped. His eyes were hard, like crystals. His face bland, dangerous.
“So, you’re telling me,” he said quietly. “You think this whole thing was McLain’s way of getting even with us and taking you and your people down? Is that it? That’s your brilliant theory as to why all this transpired? My father is dead because of this! My men are dying, my people terrified. I’ve got a society that’s falling apart around my ears and you think it’s for revenge?” He leaned over the table once more, banging both fists on it forcefully.
“Deacon,” Frank Lord spoke so softly, Fiddlestix barely heard him. “Sit down, son.”
Deacon’s glare turned to his uncle. He pointed angrily at the older man. “I’m not your son. Don’t be thinking because we’re kin that it gives you any kind of advantage here. I will see hell burn before I believe this is simply revenge.”
He headed for the door, his men in his wake. All but Frank Lord and Jasper followed him. Deacon hesitated at the door. Shrugging his shoulders, he tossed his long, blond hair aside. Jerking the door open, he nearly took it off its hinges. Without another word, he was gone. The silence settled in the room somewhat uncomfortably.
“Well, that was fun,” Jasper smirked.
“Not really.” Fiddlestix didn’t smile. “Jasper, I know I’m right about this. McLain isn’t a devious man, he’s not smart enough. To him, this makes sense. To me, it’s stupid as hell, but he would see it as the perfect way to get rid of a number of pesky problems.”
“I don’t disbelieve you, Hannah. Deacon believes you too, he just won’t admit it. He took our father’s death hard. It has registered with him that he’s the man in charge now and our daddy was a hard act to follow. He’s got big boots to fill. He can do it, if he’ll let himself. Can’t grieve and lead.” His eyes grew sorrowful and he stopped talking abruptly.
“What do you need from us?” Frank Lord asked her politely. “I want this over and done.”
“I have to get close. I’m serious when I say I have to have line of sight. I can’t do my job without help.”
“What if you gave us the codes, let us handle it?” Jasper asked.
It was more than just a question. It could be interpreted as a veiled threat. Fiddlestix chose to take it at face value.
“It’s voice coded as well as imprinted. The codes will work for me or Kaz. No one else has been coded to them. So if we both go down, you’re stuck with those guys until hell freezes.”
“F**k me,” Jasper whispered. His dark eyes sparkled and he smiled disarmingly. “You could, you know.” He left it at that.
Fiddlestix’ laugh popped out loudly. She’d heard some come-ons in her time, but that one was certainly unique. Were the circumstances different, she’d have gladly taken Jasper up on his invitation, but they had a job to do.
© 2017 Dellani Oakes