I left Hanna’s before Andy showed up; I did wave on my way out. We knew where we were going to be this day.
First stop for me was where our pit was going to be to find that Walt had beaten me there. “Sorry to put a Tech like you doing grunt work Walt!”
“Be sorry when I demand my share of the hooch,” He grinned at me. “What with Joe’s help your reference books and Andy’s energy knife; building these casks was easy. Charring them was a whole ‘nother thing. I think I earned my cut on that alone!”
“That you did Walt that you did, but we are not going to cask up the whole run today. We are going to cap off some shine out of each run to keep Hanna’s place running, as well as have some bargaining chips.”
“No problem Ash, I rather like the idea of taking my cut off the back end. Besides this stuff is so damn potent a quart jars gonna last me a month at least.”
“Walt what I want to see is when Travis takes a sniff from that two quart jar Andy has for him. Wonder if I can sneak a camera shot of that without making Travis mad?”
Walt came up spitting coffee out of his nose, “Damn you Ash, you better hope Travis don’t have a smoke in his hand when he opens that jar. I can just see it; the whole Command Element of Alchibah goes up in one ball of flame!”
It was my turn to come up spitting coffee and snot. “Damn Walt, I give Andy credit for more brains than that. No way he’s gonna let someone He likes open a jar of the pure with a flame in his hand. Buchanan or Jack on the other hand, well maybe!” I waved off further comment with a grin and left for the Lab.
When I got to the Lab, it was to the shock of my life. I was just launching into my explanation when my brain fried in place. I was expecting anything in the world than the Redhead standing there in combat boots, fatigue pants, and a bra. I know I sounded like a total idiot but all could think was, “Don’t step on your tongue idiot.”
Then thankfully, Kurt grabbed me and started me towards the back room talking about implants and harmonics when my brain went ice. I mumbled something back into the main room as Kurt closed the door.
“What was that,” asked Kurt, “I have never seen you like that.”
“I don’t know.” I replied in all honesty. “That was something new for me, by the way did I just promise a miracle and WHAT IS HER NAME?”
Kurt had the biggest SEG I had ever seen. “When you get your tongue back in your mouth, her name is JoAnn McKenzie and yes you just promised her a miracle. So do whatever LTC Andrews came here to do, then I need the undivided attention of Dr. Andrews, OK?”
I just moved to the Lab control unit and using Andy’s master unit transferred the firewall software to it. I gave it the start command sequence and waited. In two minutes, it flashed the all-secure sequence and the all complete sequence.
Checking my watch, I keyed my wrist comp for comms through the control unit. “Monroe, Andrews on the order wire, security check?”
“Ah, you are the reason Dr. Andrews that I have a ‘SNAKETRAP OPERATIONAL’ message on my console. I take it that I will vouch for my trusted units and you will vouch for yours, and may I add this appears to be unbeatable!”
“This means Capt Monroe, that we can control access to both major data centers and cold trace anyone who tries to access them. I am afraid that any threats are going to come from my side not yours but that you may see them first. Please keep any security discussions on the order wire not Wrist Comp traffic.”
“Rest assured Dr. Andrews we will not blow it from this end. Capt. Travis was rather adamant about that.”
“That Capt. Monroe I would not want to cross, Andrews out!
“Now Kurt what’s this about a new model implant?”
Kurt’s long face told me I really did not want to hear this, “Ash if this spectrum sweep is right, we are looking at a dual processor rig that I never expected. I am at a loss I don’t know if Andy’s rig can beat this.”
“Kurt, you have never been around a rig Andy designed and as I am learning, Walt built. Who did the sweep?”
“Sally and according to Andy and Walt, she is the best we have.”
“OK, then let’s figure out how to kill this bastard!
“It’s gonna be a bear, it’s not a dual; it’s a triple, let me think!” Sitting in front of the big display of Primary, I started banging keys and let myself drift into that other place.
I keyed the intercom, “Mariana can you come in here please?”
Mariana entered the room and stopped cold. We both watched as Ash was lost in a world where his hands seemed to be waiting on the display in front of him, unlike normal humans. “Yep,” she said, “It’s scary the first time you see it isn’t it?”
“What is that?” I asked.
“What you have been seeing in the DNA,” Mariana replied. “That’s what it looks like when Clan Stuart males go to that place we females can’t understand; freaky scary isn’t it?”
We both watched as Ash’s fingers blurred over the keyboard, knowing that he was waiting on the keys. Suddenly he stopped and spun around as the printer started whirring.
“It’s not a double or a triple,” He said, “It’s a damn quad. It’s going to take five shots in 7.1 seconds or less. The kicker is that I cannot predict what the last two have to be. It’s up to you Big Sis, I can’t help her.”
I walked out to the Redhead I meant JoAnn and told her, “My Lady I have done everything science can do, what you need is a little magic now!”
“Kurt, you remember that pistol drill I taught you?”
“You mean where when you grunt I shoot. Yea, but what has got to do with this?”
“Because I am going to do what the Kearns Women do that the Stuart Men never seem to comprehend.”
The cute guy who’s name I had never gotten, had just left when the COL and the CPT came out from the back. She said, “Get her ready Kurt, I am going to get Treatment ready.”
As she walked by I saw the name tag again and it dawned on me, “Cor Blimey, that’s Magic.”
I walked into Hanna’s place to see Ash slumped over the bar with a coffee pot in front of him. I grabbed the stool next to him. “Unless She has less brains than I give her credit for, your ass is off the market right about now!”
Ash stared at me like a lost soul. “Five point six seconds Little Bro and Sally says there’s nothing left but a ‘Black Hole’.”
Ash was out the door like a guided missile. I turned towards a grinning Hanna, “Can I have about three fingers of something Old and Smokey?”