Just Enough Power -12

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"The boss has a job for you."

Seven words, Lonnigan thought. They weren't much, but they'd marked the turning point. They were probably still planning on killing her once all of this was done. However, if this preliminary round worked out, revenge was that much closer and her chances of survival were marginally improved.

She adjusted the collar. Once a week, they took it off her to replace the hypoallergenic lining. It didn't itch, didn't smell and wasn't too tight. It might almost be called comfortable if it weren't for the fact that the psionic control collar meant she was chained up like a fucking animal, 24/7. After the first two weeks with Kim, she'd started putting out feelers about having it removed.

Kim had been blunt: he didn't trust her, so the collar was going to stay on until he did. Lonnigan wasn't happy about it, but she had plenty of practice at swallowing frustration and getting on with the job. Finally, though, she had a chance to prove herself and maybe get this damned thing off her neck. She missed being able to exercise her Talent. Her big fear was that it was too weak from disuse; if she ever managed to get the restraining collar off, she wouldn't be able to rely on it, maybe not even use it at all without a lot of exercise to build it back up. Since it seemed likely that any circumstance that involved her getting the collar off surreptitiously would probably coincide with the shit hitting the fan, it would be much better to have Kim take it off under more controlled circumstances. For that, she needed him to trust her.

Which is why the people in this building had to die.

She ran her finger and thumb over the garrotting wire and resisted the urge to check the knives and datachips in her vest. They were fine, as was the Sig under her left shoulder. This whole thing was supposed to be done quietly, so the gun was a last resort. If she'd been able to use her Talent, this would be a piece of cake. Getting in and taking out three guys would have been simple, even with the need for silence. As it was, she was nervous.

Nervous? Really? What was the matter with her? Lonnigan had always regarded her psionic abilities as peripheral to her primary skills, just something that gave her an edge. Now, seven minutes away from a job, she was coming to realize that they served a much more subtle purpose in her life: they bolstered her confidence. Without them, wasn't she was no better than a normal human operative?

Even as the thought formed in her mind, it was as though she heard Simon's voice in reply, uttering a single word: bullshit.

Lonnigan's expression cleared and she smiled. No, not normal. She was a hell of a lot better than normal, better than excellent. Talent or no Talent, she could go toe to toe with any unaugmented human on the planet and come out on top.

Target Number One got out of his car and walked to the door. He already had his keycard out. Lonnigan waited for him to begin the swipe against the card reader, then leapt from behind the guard shack. As the doors slid open, she pulled the wire tight around his neck and twisted him into the alcove. The man tried to pull his own gun, but she stomped his hand; he made no more noise than a child slurping up the last of a soda-pop. He kicked and flailed for more than two minutes before slumping to the floor. Lonnigan held the wire in place for another minute before using his card to open the next set of doors. She dragged his body into the building and made sure he was dead before she stuffed him in a bathroom stall. His car keys were on a belt clip; she removed them before she left.

The security cameras in the alcove and in the hallway caught everything. For the benefit of whoever would review the tapes later, Lonnigan paused for a moment and stroked the mustache and beard that showed on the exposed lower half of her face. With the vest binding her breasts, she had the face and body of a slightly built man. In the guard shack, the dead guard's face was lit with the images, feet on the desk and hands interlaced across his belly - exactly where Lonnigan had propped him.

She moved down the hall to the basement computer room.

Less than thirty minutes later, Lonnigan grunted and swore silently as she made her way to the supervisor's car. The secretary had pulled an Uzi from under the desk, but one of Lonnigan's knives caught her in the throat before she even had it leveled up. The computer tech couldn't be terrorized into revealing the passwords, even after killing the secretary. Either that or he had been telling the truth when he said that he didn't know them. Regardless, her time had run out, so she'd had to get the data the hard way. She pressed her thumbs in hard on the man's carotids until he fell atop the secretary on the floor. Lonnigan had simply unbolted the hard disk arrays from the racks. Unfortunately, the room had no wheeled cart.

The rope from her pack cut into her hands as she carried her makeshift bundles across the parking lot. The bundling made them easier to carry, but at more than sixty pounds each, they banged painfully against her knees as she walked. Her arms were trembling when she loaded them into the car's trunk. She slid behind the wheel and drove away, leaving behind a hell of a mess. This data backup company was a wholly owned subsidiary of the Tong organization, but they handled a number of other, more legitimate clients. Tong wouldn't necessarily see this as an attack on him directly. Even if he did, Lonnigan was sure he wouldn't understand what Kim was doing before it was too late. Aside from taking down Tong, once Kim's techs cracked into these computers, he'd be able to undertake entirely new lines of business with the other companies' data - blackmail, insider trading, industrial espionage. All of this data had a relatively short shelf-life, but it was still a gold mine.

With luck, it would put Kim in a good enough mood with her that he'd remove the collar.

Lonnigan made a turn and accelerated toward the highway.

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  1. If that's the kind of damage she's capable of doing when "restrained" it's a mercy they've got that doggy on a short leash.

  2. Mr. Noland, I've really missed this series. Have mercy on your fans (me), please, and don't make us wait so long for the next one. :)

    And you've still got it. Excellent episode, and Lonnigan still just shakes the house. Well done, sir.

  3. Now that was action packed! Now I wonder how much more she can do without the collar, and whether Kim's fear is warranted.

  4. Yay! I'm glad the series is back. Great instalment.

  5. I'm glad you all liked this latest installment. I will do what I can to either keep them coming as a serial.

    I'll also let you know when I've sold it as a novel. How's that for a bit of bravado?

  6. I hope you do finish this and sell it and put it out there. This is cutting edge stuff, crackling with action. Perfect Tony.

  7. I can't clearly describe the thrill that ran through me when I saw those 4 buttons at the top of my Reader panel.

    She's a force to be reckoned with, but I'm not sure Kim fully realises ....

    Thoroughly enjoyed and agree that I hope we don't wait quite as long for the next one. :o)


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