Junebugs stomach lurched the way it always did right before things really dropped in the pot. A number of possible scenarios ran through her mind at once, none of them good. She quickly finished pulling on the outfit that she found in the chambers she had been assigned. A gauzy band of gossamer silk, that wrapped around her chest, and a knee length skirt of similar material that was girdled by a belt of woven gold thread clenched with a ruby. The garments didn’t provide much in the way of modesty but they at least provided the psychological comfort that clothing of any kind affords.
“Taya can you reach Sven on any net you have set up?” she asked.
“Break. Neil better gear me up.” Across the street Neil unlimbered an awkward looking plastic tube. He hefted it to his shoulder and pushed the rude trigger switch that he had installed earlier. There was an audible chuff of compressed air as it launched its payload across the street, arcing only a little faster than a man could through to land in the courtyard where it bounced end over end before coming to rest against a decorative wall. Junebug scooped it up and tore the packing tape that secured it, inside was a towel in which had been wrapped a small pistol, a datapad and some rudimentary intrusion kit. She tucked the small pistol into the girdle bought the datapad live, adding its visual capacity.
“No… ummm I mean negative, I can’t reach him,” Taya responded a moment later.
“I cant find him anywhere,” she said a moment later.
“Oh we know where he is,” Junebug responded.
“Break. Neil, unless I’m very much mistaken Sven is about to launch a coup…” It was also possible that it was a robbery, though very much of the smash first grab later variety, that didn’t really seem like Sven’s style. It hardly mattered at the moment. An automatic weapon opened up as one of the guards Sven hadn’t managed to bribe opened fire. A moment later the gauss cannons on the air cars ripped the night with a sleet of iridium pellets, blowing apart men in the watchtowers and tearing guards of the parapet in showers of bloody gristle.
Screaming harem girls rushed from the courtyard in various states of undress. Junebug had a moment to contemplate that most of them were younger and softer than she was before a grenade bounced into the courtyard. Junebug kicked the small golf ball sized bomb into one of the empty rooms and shoved the nearest girl to the floor a second before the glass fiber shrapnel blasted from the room, though robbed of its lethal force several women screamed. A moment later a door burst open and a pair of armored mercenaries with assault rifles rushed into the mass of women. Sayeeda’s little pistol cracked twice snapping the lead gunman’s head back in a spray of blood and brains. The second man, lucky but good also, dived behind one of the carven wooden panels. Junebug spat a sulfurous oath and fired into the heavy teak but succeeded only in spraying splinters with the small calibre gun. The wood cratered inward and the man behind it flopped bonelessly to the ground as Neil took him out from his elevated position, the report of the heavy weapon lost in the din. Sayeeda blew a lock of hair out of her face.
“Taya, seal the ship,” she commanded, pressing the release stud to drop the half empty clip to the mosaic floor and replacing it with her one and only reload.
“You got it,” came back along with the sound of the Highlanders emergency hatches slamming shut. Hopefully that wasn’t necessary but taking unnecessary chances was a good way to get your people killed. She belated wondered if Saxon were on the ship and what role, if any, he was playing in all this. It was too late to worry about it and probably beyond Taya’s power to eject the Hex from the ship if it became an issue
She was alone in the courtyard now, the rest of the harem having scattered back to the dubious safety of their quarters. Blood ran down an incline not apparent to the naked eye from the merc Neil’s shot had all but decapitated. Sven’s men, if that was what was going on, weren’t necessarily their enemies, but experience taught Junebug that you shot first and asked questions only if you absolutely had to when you were writing the after action report. The fact that Sven had not tried to hire them was suggestive, as was the fact he had obviously gone to some length to be incommunicado but that could just be a determination not to let Neil fuck up his latest venture. What was important now was that she get to the library and get the data the needed before the whole place went up in proverbial, and perhaps literal, flames.
“This is going to get really messy Junebug,” Neil said, his transmission stepping on something Taya had been about to say by virtue of his seniority. Sayeeda scooped up the fallen mercenaries weapon and thrust the pistol into the girdle before taking a bandolier of reload and looping it over her shoulder.
“You are telling me,” she agreed, imagining how she appeared in the silks with the brutal looking rifle and the bandolier.
“I already look completely ridiculous.”