“For lack of a plan, I suppose we’ll just have to penetrate the security perimeter around The Meadows and then follow the signs of mayhem,” Dick said. “The outer layer of security should be no problem… they’re concerned with turning away disappointed tourists. After that, the best we can hope for is that the security forces’ attention are being split in too many directions for them to provide an effective resistance. Improvisational tactics will be the order of the day. Fortunately…”
“Wait, who put you in charge of tactics?” Cicada asked.
“I took charge,” Dick said. “I do have some experience coordinating a team under fire…”
“Well, I work alone, big man,” the hulking woman said.
“That would be why I’m in charge of tactics,” Dick said. “As I was saying, fortunately, as a group, we’re all relatively well-disposed for a guerilla assault. Yes, Handy?” he said, seeing that the woman had raised one of the arms that took the place of her legs. “Did you have something to say?”
“Yes, sir, thank you,” Handy said. “Of course, you’re absolutely right about that assault thing, but I’m sure also you haven’t forgotten that I can’t injure living beings.”
“Of course,” Dick said. “You’ll be carrying our crewmates’ gear to them. Lilliana’s kit, some of Bard’s bombs and her sword, if you can manage it.”
“Oh, no, sir, I couldn’t do that,” Handy said. “Only a crown prince of Hibernia can lift the Boss’s sword.”
“Look, I know she’s protective of it, but I’m sure she’ll be happy to see it all the same,” Dick said.
“I’m sorry, I must not have said it correctly, sir,” Handy said. “Nobody who is not a crown prince of Hibernia is physically capable of lifting the sword. Anyone else who even tries will be subjected to all manner of horrible… often mutually contradictory… fates.”
“Yeah, well, you’re mining equipment,” Cicada said. “I’m sure you don’t count.”
“Of course you’re right about that, ma’am,” Handy said. “Certainly the dire prophecies and predictions the Boss recited to me all applied only to actual people.”
“Hey!” Nick Bradley said. “That’s…”
“You can explain to her that she’s a person after Bard has her sword in hand, Crewman Bradley,” Dick said.
“I’ll do that,” Nick said curtly.
“You’re certainly welcome to try again, sir,” Handy said. “I’m afraid I’ve never had much luck understanding it any of the other times.”
“Right, then,” Dick said. “Run… scamper… and get everything you can carry that you think will be useful. Since you’re going to be carrying the explosives, think about creative uses for them… you can do an awful lot of damage without injuring anybody.”
“Yes, sir,” Handy said, and she crabwalked away quickly.
“Nick, get Handy’s knapsack,” Dick said. “I’m beginning to have something resembling a plan. And get in contact with the rest of yourself. You may be able to help us divide the attention even further.”
“Ach, I suppose you’re going to try giving me an order next,” Cicada said.
“I would if I needed you,” Dick said. He activated his communicator. “Crewmember Adams? Do you think it would be possible for you to penetrate the Finger’s computer sys…”
“I swear to space I was just looking for ancillary evidence to help vacate my order of prohibition!” Galatea’s voice said in his ear. “If their so-called ‘ultra restricted premium adult entertainment packages’ are allowed to depict graphic…”
“Can you get into the security subsystems?”
There was a moment of relative silence on the line… relative in that Galatea had stopped talking, but now that there was no conversation a rhythmic wet sliding sound became faintly audible.
“Crewmember Adams?” Dick prompted.
“That… that hardly seems ethical, Captain Unger.”
“We’re not dealing with ethical people.”
“I suppose that’s true,” Galatea said. “There was nothing ethical about the way I was treated. I was the victim. I…”
“Crewmember Adams, I need you to stop what you’re doing and get me access to the security system.”
“Oh, I can do both. Whoever patched this thing together did not receive a Galactic education.”
“I need to believe you’ve stopped what you’re doing while you get me access to the security system,” Dick said. “Don’t do anything else yet… we don’t want to tip our hand too early.”
“Oh, yes, I can do nothing else,” Galatea said. “I can do nothing else so…”
“I’ll be in touch with you when we’re ready to move,” Dick said, killing the line.”
“Hold on,” Cicada said. “Hold the fuck on. I am not going to be superfluous to a plan that depends on that spoiled GC baby.”
“Fine, then,” Dick said. “You’re now an integral part of it. Here’s what I need you to do…”
79: Commissioning Crimes 81: Mass Defect » »
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