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Authors: William Shatner

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BOOK: Tek Kill
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Marney was sitting next to him, the fingers of her left hand drumming on the control dash. With her right hand she was fiddling with the security screen scanners. “What's that, Gomez darlin'?”

“I've been outlining my brilliant plan for transporting Moyech—who slumbers back in Pantry 2 on this crate—from Texas to SoCal by way of Mexico. What's preoccupying you?”

“Well, sir, I'm sort of jumpy.” She nodded at the screen. “I been checkin' up on whether anybody's tailin' us.”


Sí
, and?”

“No sign of anybody doggin' us.”

He glanced at the small screen. “It appears we are as free as a
pajaro
.”

“Sam Cimarron and those lunkheads he works for aren't goin' to be very happy with my conduct in this business.”

“Once I get Moyech safely delivered,” he reminded her, “I'll arrange for you to be installed in a safe spot.”

“We haven't delivered him yet.”

“We're moving closer to our goal. It won't—”

“Darn sakes!”


¿Que?

She touched the screen. “Two big black skyvans are comin' up on our tail.”

34

AS Jake's skycar began to descend toward the landing area behind the large domed house he sought on the outskirts of Yazoo, Mississippi, the dash voxbox spoke. “Switch to a circling pattern. Do not attempt to land yet or you'll be fired upon.”

“I've got an appointment with Attorney Krishovnik,” said Jake.

“Continue to circle and identify yourself.”

“Jake Cardigan, Cosmos Detective Agency. Walt Bascom arranged for—”

“Set down in Landing Section 2. Do not attempt to leave your craft until instructed to do so.”

Jake brought his skycar down and waited.

After a moment the voxbox instructed him, “Step clear of your car. Walk to the gate designated X3 and wait there.”

“Do all of Krishovnik's clients have to go through this sort of stuff?”

“Attorney Krishovnik has a rare talent for rubbing people the wrong way. Hence he's found it necessary to live a secluded and secure life most of the time. Now move to X3.”

Jake did that, stopping on a small yellow rectangle labeled
STAND HERE
—
OR RISK BEING SHOT!

Finally he said, “I'm here to see Krishovnik.”

“Lean closer to the gate,” said the voxbox in the high neostone wall. “You'll now have your ret patterns scanned.”

After his eyes were checked, he was required to press his palm against an ID plate.

“Everything checks out.”

Clicking once, the gate swung open inward.

Jake entered a large circular patio paved with simulated flagstones. Across it was another neostone wall and a door labeled
GUEST CLEARANCE.

The door slid slowly open and a metallic voice invited, “Step in here, Mr. Cardigan, if you please.”

The room beyond the door was furnished like a parlor. There were two white enameled medibots seated in it, each in a striped armchair.

One of the bots said, “Do you object to a blood test? To further confirm your identity, sir.”

“Matter of fact, I do,” replied Jake. “Tell Krishovnik I'll find a lawyer on my own and—”

“Hotheaded, as advertised.” A large frizzy-haired man of about fifty had entered through a side door. He wore a polka dot sinsilk robe and the part of his broad chest that showed was thick with fuzzy grayish hair. “You should've learned by now,
tovarich
, that your fiery temper doesn't gain you anything. Except extended stays in prisons like the Freezer.”

Jake eyed him. “Walt Bascom recommended you,” he said. “I sure as hell can't see why.”

“It's because I happen to be the best—as well as the sneakiest—lawyer in all of the South,” said the big man. “Now, sit yourself in one of these chairs and we'll have a discussion of your problem.”

“It could be that I don't want to talk to you.”

“Don't be a ninny,
kapusta
. Nobody else is going to be able to help you spring your wayward son from that work camp.”

“And you can do it legally?”

Krishovnik laughed. “There is no legal way to do it, Cardigan,” he informed him. “But there are several really terrific illegal ones. Sit down.”

Jake sat down.

WHILE ONE of the pursuing black skyvans remained above and behind the craft Gomez was piloting, the other dropped altitude and sped up.

“How tricky a flier are you, Gomez darlin'?” asked Marney as she unhooked her safety gear.

“Extremely tricky,” he assured her. “Why do you ask?”

She tapped the screen. “This here van's aimin' to come in underneath us and the other one's probably goin' to attack from above.”

He consulted the screen. “Appears very likely,
sí
.”

“So if you can do a wide backward loop—I think I can take care of both of 'em.”

“Alas,
chiquita
, this delivery van we're using in our daredevil escape doesn't come equipped with built-in guns.”

“Darn sakes, that's not a problem.” She hurried across the cabin to yank open the door of one of the storerooms. “You're forgettin' that I brought most of my collection of guns along with me. I got a couple of powerful lazrifles that'll do the job.”


¡Chihuahua!
” The low skyvan was firing at them with its lazcannon, and the upward loop Gomez went into took them out of range only a few seconds before the crackling orange beam went sizzling by.

Marney dived into the storeroom, rushing out a moment later hefting two lazrifles. She carried them to a small round window and opened it a few inches. “Do a wider loop now, darlin', and shift us a mite to the left.”


Bueno
.” He started the maneuver.

Their skyvan went climbing up through the darkening sky. At the top of the loop they were flying upside down.

Marney thrust a rifle barrel through the opening, aimed, and fired.

The crimson beam knifed downward and hit the plastiglass window of the black van beneath them.

The window was sliced in half and came popping out.

Marney fired again, this time into the control cabin.

Considerable sooty smoke came swirling out after a moment. The van commenced wobbling and shimmying. It dropped, rapidly, down toward the ground below.

She laughed. “Got 'em good and proper.”

Their skyvan continued its loop and she tried two more shots with the lazrifle.

This time she hit the other pursuing black van, once in its side, slicing a door up, and the second time cutting a large rut in the underside of the engine compartment.

The lazcannon the van had aimed at them went astray. The craft went into a spiraling plummet.

“Bingo,” said Marney with satisfaction.

She withdrew the rifle, shut the window, and returned the weapons to the storeroom.

“Should you ever need a testimonial to your abilities as a shooting whiz,” offered Gomez, “call upon me, Marney. And now—on to Mexico.”

35

FROM the wide curving viewindow of the living room in Rowland Burdon's villa you could see a good part of the island. Night was closing in, sweeping across the beaches and filling the jungles. Lights were blossoming in the houses, hotels, and condos. All the lights in the NewTown facility just downhill came on at once and the complex seemed to come bursting out of the darkness.

Reaching into the pocket of his jacket, Burdon slid out a model of NewTown Pharmaceuticals' newest Mood Mist Dispenser. “Very depressing night,” he observed as he inserted the plaz barrel between his teeth.

A touch of the trigger squirted a cold-feeling swirl of spray. For a few ensuing seconds his mouth and tongue felt fuzzy.

He swallowed a few times. “We'll have to improve this damned delivery system.” Burdon crossed to the Entertainment Sector of the large room. “And the spray sure hasn't pepped up my spirits one hell of a lot.”

After settling in one of the low armchairs that ringed the holostage, he picked up the voxselector. “Shakespeare,” he said into it.

“Very well, sir.”

The wide circular stage began to glow faintly.

A princely figure, life size, materialized. “0! that this too too solid flesh would melt,” he said, “thaw, and resolve itself into a dew. Or that the Everlasting had not fixed his—”


Hamlet
,” realized Burdon. “Too gloomy. Let's try something else.”

The stage emptied.

Then a bearded old man in regal dress showed up. “I am a very foolish, fond old man,” he intoned in a quavery voice. “Fourscore and upward, not an hour more or—”

“What's this,
King Lear?
That's your idea of cheerful?”

The king faded away.

A trio of gnarled witches replaced him. One cackled, “When shall we three meet again, in thunder, lightning, or in rain?”

“Get them out of here,” ordered Burdon.

He turned out also not to be in the mood for
The Merchant of Venice, Twelfth Night
, or
Othello
.

Then a tall blond android in a spotless pale yellow suit appeared onstage.

Burdon scowled. “Which Shakespearean play is this supposed to be?”

“Beg pardon, sir. This is a projection of the visitor waiting downstairs in the foyer.”

“Oh, yeah. The andy who works with Dr. Stolzer,” he realized. “Send him up. And turn off the plays.”

The stage went dark and a moment later the blond android entered the living room. “Good evening, Mr. Burdon,” he said. “Dr. Stolzer is delayed, but he sent me in his place. My name is Deryk. That's D-e-r-y-k.”

“Take a seat, Deryk,” he invited. “I want to discuss the modifications to my dear sister's brain. There are a great many things the poor woman is going to have to forget.”

“HOW DOES THIS LOOK, DARLIN'?” Marney emerged from a storeroom wearing a fluffy brunette wig. “Would you know it was me under this rug?”

“It's not exactly a foolproof disguise,
chiquita
, but it does alter your appearance some.” He was in the process of stowing the still unconscious Avram Moyech in a large neowood crate labeled RED
HOT PEPPERS.

Their skyvan, with a landing pattern already punched out, was dropping down toward the town of Balazo, Mexico.

Marney said, “Maybe you ought to get rid of that cute little mustache of yours.”

“Nope, I'll keep it.” He fitted the lid on the crate and secured it.

Bright multicolored lights were showing below in the night. Brassy music came flying up at them.

Returning to the pilot seat, Gomez said, “We've just about arrived. There's the Cantina Mall right over there.”

There were several dozen cantinas and saloons in the five-acre, three-level mall. Their litesigns flashed colored names—
El Bufon, Café Tero, Ritmo Club, Trabajador, Mama Grande, Club Revancha, Café Granja
.

Gomez took over the controls just before their skyvan set down. He guided it to a landing on the far side of the landing area. They were only a few feet from the loading door of the El Bufon cantina.

Dropping free of the van, Gomez trotted over to the door. He whistled with his tongue against his teeth as he tapped three times.


¡Por Dios!
” exclaimed the slim, dark man who appeared in the doorway after the door slid open. “It's none other than Gomez!”

“I already phoned to alert you that I was coming, Raoul.”

“I know,
sí
,” said Raoul Martinez. “But it's been a long time since I've seen you. I'm pleased and excited—and, after all, you're my second cousin.”

“Third.” Gomez held up three fingers.

“I feel closer than that. Ah … who's the
mujer?

Marney was walking toward them. “Is this the cousin who's goin' to help us?”

“Marney, meet Raoul.”

Martinez shook her hand enthusiastically. “You have beautiful hair,
señorita
.”

“Why, thank you, Raoul. I owe it all to healthy livin' and a sensible diet.”

Gomez coughed and pointed at the skyvan with his thumb. “The material I want shipped to Greater LA,
primo
, is in the van.”

“I'll get a couple bots to unload it.” Raoul grinned and headed back inside the cantina.

Clowns cavorted on the walls of the small office. The animated mural surrounded Gomez as he sat at the desk using the vidphone.

Marney was sitting demurely, knees together, on a rattan chair across the room.

From the phonescreen, frowning some, Bascom asked, “What kind of low bistro are you holed up in?”

“It's a cantina,
jefe
. Don't let the clown motif distract you,” Gomez told him. “Simply attend to what I am telling you.”

“Go ahead. But why the hell are clowns crawling all over the damned wall?”

“My esteemed cousin's cantina is named El Bufon. So he feels obliged to use buffoons and clowns in the decor,” explained Gomez. “I'm shipping Avram Moyech to you by way of a very reliable, capable, and sneaky smuggling service my cousin happens to be affiliated with.”

“Moyech is alive?”


Ciertamente
,” he answered. “I just re-stunned the
pendejo
and he'll slumber in a babelike condition until he arrives at your doorstep. Where do you want him delivered?”

Bascom said, “At the agency in Greater LA. I'll pop down from Frisco to welcome him.”

“He'll be there in approximately six or seven hours,
patrón
,” Gomez told him. “I only questioned the guy briefly, but he is definitely the one who rigged the tapes that make you look like a murderer.”

Bascom smiled. “I'll see that Moyech gets turned over to Lieutenant Drexler in pristine shape—and in a talkative mood.”

BOOK: Tek Kill
2.86Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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