Dangerous in Transit

By: Sidney Bristol

1.




Wednesday. Aegis Group Headquarters, Seattle, WA.

Felix Larson stared at the gleaming surface of the conference table as though it would show him how to fix the past and all his mistakes. This time of year, regret hit hard. He was grateful they had a job to do, something that would take his mind off the anniversary of his cousin’s death. Yet another thing he was missing because he couldn’t handle listening to everyone share stories about Björn’s last days.

“Come on, guys, client’s almost on site. Stop jacking around.” Kyle’s voice drifted down the hall.

Client here, huh?

That didn’t happen very often. Usually Lepta Team had more face-to-face interaction with clients, but there was always a special case in the mix.

The team leader, Kyle, followed by the other four members of the unit filed into the room.

“You come straight from the bar?” Isaac plopped into the seat next to Felix.

“Fuck you,” Felix muttered.

He had, in fact, just come from his cousin’s pub, but not for the usual reasons.

Every year on the anniversary of Björn’s passing they all met at the pub. Björn had lived in the apartment over Trinity Hall, along with his brother Erik, back before the place was a success and Erik moved into his own place, giving Björn some privacy. Somewhere to bring his girlfriend after work. Later, it’d been his wish to die in the place he’d loved, and all they could do was sit back and watch Björn’s body fail him, this time for good.

Well, the others had.

Felix had made up a reason to not be there. He wouldn’t sit through the vigil no matter how much he loved his family. So he’d found something to throw himself into. Back then, he’d had to prep for deployment. Today, he had a job to get to.

“Okay, guys, chill. Sit.” Kyle stood at the head of the table, a clipboard in hand. “Zain is coming in here any minute with our clients, Mr. Jim Davies and his son, Jeffery. Let’s try to act professional, okay?”

“Hey, he started it.” Isaac thrust his finger toward Shane sitting across from him.

Shane merely flipped the other man off.

At least the two had made up. For the first six months Felix had been part of the team it was like walking on eggshells whenever those two were near each other. Whatever they’d done to clear the air, Felix was glad for it. They spent far too much time together on the road, in planes, and cooped up in hotels for that sort of thing to last.

“What’s the job?” he asked. Please let it be something that took them out of the country...

“Client’s daughter—”

“Morning, everyone.” Zain Lloyd, former tech guru turned supervisor of the new Aegis Group Seattle office, stepped into the room, his right hand smoothing the front of his sport coat. His prosthetic hand was less flashy today and held onto a tablet.

Felix frowned, unaccustomed to seeing Zain remotely dressed up.

Two men in suits entered behind Zain. The way they held their heads, noses up, staring down at them, set Felix’s teeth on edge.

Great.

One of those jobs.

These guys practically breathed money. They could probably afford whatever the ransom was, but didn’t want to pay it on principal. Felix had seen enough of their type while doing this job.

What had the rich girl gotten herself into?

“This is Mr. Jim Davis, and his son, Jeffery.”

“Please, call me Jeff.” The younger man smiled, but it was a plastic expression that did nothing to loosen the stick shoved up his ass. If the sister was anything like him, her captors might pay them to take her away.

“Have a seat, please?” Zain gestured at the two chairs left vacant at the end of the table. It was strange not seeing random bursts of light from his prosthetic. Zain usually sported some serious upgrades when it came to his arm.

Felix sat up a little straighter. Between clients on site, their attitudes, and Zain’s altered appearance, Felix had a funny feeling about this gig.

What the hell were they getting into?

“Thanks for coming in so quickly, everyone.” Zain turned toward the projector, and using his tablet as a controller, displayed the image of a black-haired, brown-eyed young woman on the wall. “Meet our asset, Jacqueline Davis—”

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