Book 2, Chapter 86

“Aw, hell,” Hitomi said with feeling. From her position in the sound booth she had a very clear view of the armed men storming her theatre. and screwing up her show’s opening night.

“I take it this is not the way this performance is meant to be done?” Al asked, even though it very much wasn’t. I had to assume that she wanted that confirmed — and that she also probably wanted some kind of context. Basically, the thugs who’d broken in were acting in defiance of civil codes of law and order.

“It isn’t,” Hitomi fumed. “The question is: What are we going to do about it?”

“We fight, we flee, we hide or we surrender and cooperate,” Hit Yon said in his order of preference. “But whichever course of action we take, we dedicate to it fully.”

Hitomi glanced at Al. She didn’t want to ask the alien lady to get involved in a fight, though she wasn’t sure how practical any of the other options were. She also hadn’t realized she’d already called for help with an inadvertent pocket dial. Instead, she got on the radio to her JSSDA contacts. “Has Bones looped back to the theatre? We have a developing situation here.”

“Negative,” the answer came back. “He appears to be heading for his estate.”

Hitomi sighed. “Dammit,” she said. “Well, it looks like this might be unrelated to our investigation. So JSSDA command is going to be pissed if we reveal assets doing something about it. And I don’t know if those guys left anyone watching the front — so if we flee we might end up fighting, and if we fight we’re probably going to give away that we’re more than we’ve been portraying ourselves locally. Or at least, more than I have been. And we don’t want the USASSDA to get wind of us. Those guys are assholes.”

USASSDA? Al thought at me.

The USASSDA, I explained, was the United States of America’s equivalent of the JSSDA. Only the USASSDA was a lot more concerned with keeping the public ignorant of the supernatural and high science threats, rather than keeping them protected. They also tended to get really touchy about perceived foreign agents and tended to think that only they were allowed to act unilaterally in response to things. Kind of like the United States in general, actually.

“Then we hide,” Hito Yon said. “And if we’re discovered, we surrender and cooperate.”

Of course, no sooner had he said that then the sound booth’s door burst open. A gun wielding Mister Three burst in. He waved his pistol around, making a point of pointing it at everyone at least once while shouting: “Freeze!” Then his eyes sparkled with excitement, and he shouted over his shoulder: “Hey, Mister Five! I found her!”

“Sweet!” came an answering shout from the lobby. A second later a second gunman entered the crowded booth. Mister Five looked at Al. Then he looked at Hitomi. Then he said: “Uh… so which one is she?”

Et Alia, Book 2: Black Magic, Secret Agents, Shakespearean Tragedies and Interoffice Dating

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