Just Enough Power - 10

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"When am I going to get my stuff back?" Lonnigan's arm snapped forward; the tip-heavy knife rotated twice before thudding into the target.

Wig leaned his chair back. "What stuff?"

She picked up another knife from the table at her side. "My cell phone, my Glocks, my money, my hairbrush - all the stuff you guys took from me when the three of you grabbed me in Chicago." Her arm snapped, and the knife joined the first five, stuck in the heavy block of maple bolted to the wall.

"Don't hold your breath. Woczinski kept your guns. He kind of felt entitled, since you shot him in the face."

"That only entitles him to the one I shot him with, not the one in the bag." She picked up another knife.

Wig shrugged. "Take it up with Woczinski. The phone went into the back office, to get scanned and scrubbed. It's being monitored; so far as I know, you haven't gotten any calls."

Thud. The paint of the smiley face target was badly scarred, with the area between the eyes taking the brunt of the damage. The tips of the blades were penetrating more deeply now that the wood was getting chewed up.

"And the rest?"

"We split the money, but Adams took everything else. I wanted the knife and the mints, but he insisted on taking everything. He even went in and cleaned out the rest of that storage locker. Took the clothes, food, everything."

"What did he do with it all?"

"He piled it up and burned it."

Lonnigan's arm paused, faltering the throw.

"All of it?"

"All of it."

She thought of the gray cashmere coat, the chocolate-colored Italian leather boots with the bone buttons, the FN 30-.06 with the burled walnut stock and 12-9X light gathering scope.

"Why would he do that?"

"Because he hates you."

"Why?" In one flowing motion, she scooped up the last knife and whipped it out. Her accuracy suffered for the speed of the attack, but the last blade still caught the target in the lower part of the face.

Wig watched Lonnigan cross the training room to collect the knives. As always, he kept his right hand on the butt of the HK on his hip, and his left on the shock-paralysis remote control for her psi-suppressor collar. Lonnigan had been cooperative, but he might still have to kill her if she tried anything stupid. Her face cleared as she moved, the flush of anger smoothing into a nearly expressionless look of abstract thought, an angry killer's blankness. He tightened his grip on his piece, but she worked the knives free and carried them back to the table before repeating her question.

"Why does he hate me, Wig? I could understand Woczinski holding a grudge, but he knows it was just business. None of you have any particular reason to trust me, but I've never done anything in particular to Adams."

"He's a Talent," Wig said.

"So? So am I, or I would be if Kim would take this fucking dog collar off me." she replied. "What's the matter, is he jealous?"


Lonnigan twisted her face to snort, saw that Wig wasn't joking.

"Hold it." she said. "Seriously? Why the hell would he be jealous of me? His Talent is worlds more powerful than mine. Mental influence is uncommon anyway, and the kind of precision thought implantation he does is practically unheard of. My little kinetic stuff is nothing compared to that."

"Are you hungry, Lonnigan?"

"Huh? What are you talking about?"

"I said, are you hungry? You had lunch about three hours ago, right? So, right now - are you hungry?"

"Well, I guess so. Some. Why?"

"When we were closing in on you, Adams wouldn't shut up about you and your calorie balance. He estimated that your Talent level imposes about an eight hundred calorie per day bioburden on you. Just enough to let you eat whatever you want and stay all curvy and chesty like you are, even with the dog collar on. Don't do it," he added, seeing her hand move to one of the knives.

Lonnigan twisted her scowl into a lingering sneer, then picked up the knife and threw it across the room. Thud.

Wig eased his grip from the remote control.

"Go on." Lonnigan said.

"Adams burns about seven thousand calories a day, whether he's using his Talent or not. If it weren't for those olive oil and and whey protein shakes he's always drinking, he'd be even skinnier than his is now. Fact is, Lonnigan, his Talent is eating him up. He's keeping ahead of it for now, but one of these days it's gonna kill him. Until then," Wig said, "he looks like a freak and he doesn't have any friends because he's a pain in the ass."

Snap. Thud. "And this is my fault how?"

"It doesn't have to be your fault. Using your, if you'll pardon the expression, piss-ant little Talent, mixed with smarts and a pair of balls as big as any tough guy's, you've moved up in the world. Gotten respect, a certain reputation. Mr. Kim wouldn't have wasted time on you if you weren't worth the effort. Adams is just a tool to be used as long as he lasts. He pretty much knows the score, too, and it frosts him. Hence his serious dislike for you."

"If Adams hasn't managed to take control of his own career by now, that's his problem."

"How old would you say he is?"

She shrugged. "I dunno, forty-five, fifty maybe."

"He's twenty six years old," Wig said. "And he'll be dead before he's thirty."

Lonnigan stood quietly for a moment, holding the knife up. When she threw, it clattered broadside to the wall and fell to the floor. "You made me miss," she said.

"Just stay out of his way, Lonnigan. Mr. Kim told him to lay off, but you pretty much represent everything he wishes his Talent had given him, instead of the shit sandwich he got. He really doesn't like you, and he's not the most stable of guys."

"Gee, Wig, thanks for the warning." Snap. Thud. "I'll be careful, really I will."

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  1. Yes, still loving it. Gets better every time. Well done, Tony.

  2. Wow, that was so cool. I love the calorie burden concept vs psi-talent twist. I'll be back for some more of this bad boy you mark my words.


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