Read Legacy Of Korr Online

Authors: Barlow,M

Legacy Of Korr (3 page)

BOOK: Legacy Of Korr
13.1Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

“I’m done with the Agency.”

“Well, I thought you might say that,” Matt said and reached into a leather bag next to him and grabbed a file. “You’ll do more good in this assignment than you’ve done in your fifteen-year career.”

Noah glanced at the file in Matt’s hand, stood up, and picked up his umbrella. “I wish you’d called. I would’ve saved you a trip and a nice suit.”

Mathew pushed the thin file across the table. “Just take a look, will you?”

Noah picked up the file. He hesitated for a while before he opened it and went through it. Alien landing twelve hours ago in Perth. Noah sat down.

The waitress brought his cappuccino with a marshmallow on the side. “Here you go.”

Noah smiled and thanked her. He poured a sugar packet into the cup and mixed it with the small spoon and took a sip. Then he turned his full attention to the file for a minute or two.

“Is this real?” Noah asked

“Yes.”

“You have active agents. Why me?”

“Your experience may be our best—”

Noah smiled. “The PM wanted someone with contacts and can play nice with Jackie?”

Matt nodded.

Taking large quick sips from his cup, Noah considered his options. “Is Alex busy?”

“It doesn’t matter,” Matt said and finished his coffee. “If you need him, I’ll make sure he is. Your old office is taken, but I set up another one for you to use for the duration of the assignment.”

Noah glanced at the seal on the file. “You know when you called, I almost didn’t pick up. I knew you’d try to drag me to Canberra.”

“Thank you for taking on the assignment,” Matt said, his voice colder than Noah remembered. “I’m heading back tonight.”

He picked up his umbrella and handed it to Matt. “You’ll need this.”

Matt took the umbrella, thanked him, and left in a hurry.

Noah finished his coffee and ate the marshmallow. Then he placed the file in a briefcase he carried on his shoulder and exited the coffee shop to the CBD.

Whenever he struggled with a decision, Noah roamed the streets of the city to clear his head. Something about the streets of Melbourne comforted him. It could be the cheerful tourists that crowded the streets, the packed shops and restaurants, or that he grew up here. Although he traveled around the world for fifteen years with the Agency, Melbourne had always been home.

Did he make the right call? Was he ready to get back in the field and on a high-profile assignment?

Old memories of his last operation came flooding back. He’d chased an international criminal around Asia. Memories of a massive explosion that took out three of his agents in Kuala Lumpur. Memories of their bodies arriving in Canberra in coffins wrapped in the Australian flag and his resignation from the Agency. Memories he would like to forget.

The silver lining was returning to Melbourne, to his wife and his son, well, to his wife. His son married and moved to Adelaide.

“Excuse me,” someone said.

Occupied with his thoughts, Noah bumped into somebody in the street. “Sorry!”

He stepped into the nearest alley to avoid foot traffic and noise. He leaned against a wall covered in graffiti like half the businesses in Melbourne. Some of the artwork was creative, artistic, and elegant. The majority however were initials of teenagers in crude handwriting. This one was of a lady diver in full scuba gear.

The PM may have forced Matt to enlist Noah’s help, but it didn’t mean Noah would have his old boss’s support. He never did. Navigating the hallways in Canberra wasn’t an easy job.

Was he ready?

He needed to redeem himself, write the wrongs of the past, and end his long service on a good note. And this assignment, it was history in the making. He would be crazy to refuse. Noah picked up his phone and dialed a number.

“Hey Alex, it’s Noah.”

“How are you? It’s been a while.” Alex’s voice came through.

“I’m coming back for an assignment.”

“Far out,” Alex said. “It must be something to make you change your mind.”

“I’ll be in Canberra later. Do yourself a favor and pack. You’re going to Perth.”

“Perth?”

“Yes, I will fill you in when I get to Canberra,” Noah said. “I wanted to make sure you’re on board first.”

“Of course. Why would you even ask?”

“I almost got you killed in our last assignment, and I’d understand if you—”

“C’mon, mate. That’s not on you. We knew the risks when we signed up for the Agency.”

“Try telling that to the widows.”

“Don’t do this to yourself. A bad guy took out half our team, and we tracked him down and put him away for good two years after you left.”

“I heard,” Noah said.

“So, what is it this time?”

“You’ll have to wait. This is very confidential.”

Noah ended the call.

For five years, he picked up consulting work in Melbourne that kept him busy and paid the bills. He slept in his bed every night. Today, he signed up for a job that will take him from his family for days on end. One that will take his sleep away, but might offer him redemption.

He’d have to analyze every piece of information and find the best way to bring the aliens to Canberra. He’d done this before, but his targets had always been humans—some were criminals, and others were rival intelligence agents. Now, he had to study and understand the behavior of an alien race. But first, he had to break the news to his wife and pack.

*****

Nick

 

December 20, 2030 - Reno, Nevada

The small ship slid down the light tunnel for a while before Mara saw the end of the traversing hole. Her destination lay ahead. One last jump.

Days passed, but her core burned with anger. Hate exploded with every pulse of energy. The passing of time didn’t help, nothing would. How could it? She had lost her world. Everything she had known had been destroyed before her eyes. How could she recover from that? She wouldn’t.

But that was fine. She wanted nothing to do with recovery, and she had no interest in moving on. She wanted to freeze this moment. To hold onto her anger, to her agony, and when she got her revenge, she would let it all out.

Her ship exited the hole into a large, dark space filled with white traversing holes. Mara navigated to a specific portal on the other end. The ship blasted through another tunnel, then into the dark sky of the small, blue planet. Mara disabled the deep-space drive and activated the ship’s engine. She maneuvered the ship to a small, isolated city.

In the center of the city, a handful of tall buildings bathed in colorful lights, and small homes spread out around the center. The arrangement was odd—inefficient, disorganized, and confusing. The design was nothing like Korr, but it was intriguing in its own way.

Mara jumped out of the ship. Her body dropped in the cold air until she landed with a loud sound, leaving two deep imprints of her feet in the hard ground. She had underestimated the height. With a quick click on her belt, she activated the ship’s cloaking device and spun around to make sure she was alone. The area was quiet except for insects chirping noises.

No one was watching her. Mara stood still and sharpened her senses. Her eyes glowed with a bright, green light as she scanned her surroundings. There were several vacant, brown buildings, and one of the brown buildings had more energy flowing in and out than the rest. Humans were no longer a primitive race.

A meter above the ground, she hovered to the building. The entrance was a glass door. Mara pushed it, but it didn’t open. She raised her right arm and aimed it at the door. Her core ignited. Mara channeled the energy pulse and pushed it as a power wave toward the door. With a loud bang, the pressure shattered it.

Mara ignored the glass on the floor and walked into the building. Rows of wooden desks spread around the large hall, each with a wooden chair next to it and a small box under it. Mara sat down in a chair behind the nearest desk and examined the machine under it. The box had a big, white button. Mara pushed it. With a short beep, a hologram occupied the space above the desk. Mara stared at the strange language. When she couldn’t understand the icons, she ignored the hologram and turned her attention to the source—the small box under the desk.

She placed her palm on the box. It used energy and employed a simple security measure to prevent unauthorized access. Her eyes glowed, and an icon expanded to fill the hologram and give her access to the planet’s knowledge network.

First, she deciphered the language which took longer than she expected. Once she learned the language, things became easier. The hologram responded to the motion of her hand. Mara swiped to change web pages as soon as she had absorbed the information in them. She learned about the city where she landed, the country, and the world. About geography, military, culture, and history. Impressive how humans packed so much information into their network for anyone with a computer to access.

Smoke came out of the box under the desk—she must have overused it. Oh, well. Mara lowered her palm, facing the box, and clenched her fingers into a fist. A small power wave turned the computer into a small ball of plastic and scrap metal.

As she hovered out of the building, Mara noticed something odd was happening. Drops of fluffy, frozen water fell down from the sky. On the buildings. On the parked vehicles. Everything it touched turned white. The small flakes covered her armor, her hair, her face. It was cold and soft—as soft as the feathers of baby Korks after they’d hatched. She shivered.

As the flakes melted, her anger dissipated. She felt peaceful. Mara stretched her arms—her palms facing the sky—to catch the falling snow. That’s what humans called it. Water dripped from her hair and her armor. Time to seek shelter.

The main road was nearby, and it had well-lit buildings where Mara could meet humans and explore the city. Under the falling snow, she hovered to the main road. When she approached it, she landed on the ground and walked on her feet the same way humans did. She walked to a small, brown, crowded building across the road.

*****

Nick arrived at the little pub on Virginia Street near the university around nine in the evening to meet with his friends. The place was a popular spot for students after cheap drinks in a laid-back atmosphere.

Light snow fell. Nick zipped his jacket and pulled the hood to cover his head. This time in December, Reno should be covered in snow, but this year was dry. The chances of a good skiing season were slim. Lake Tahoe had only received a foot of snow. Frigging global warming.

Although some years, heavy snow kicked in as late as January. The tide could turn in the next two weeks or several months. He was shivering too much now, so he spun around to enter the pub. Nick wasn’t the only one who thought cold weather and beer went well together. A line of people queued outside. The bouncer mentioned something about fire emergency rules and maximum occupancy. At least the waiting area was covered.

When Nick saw the woman, and in the blink of an eye, his frustrations melted. He forgot about scarce snow, fire rules, his friends, and global warming. Tiny as she was, she was gorgeous. Tan with long, green hair, covered in snow. She had big, bright, green eyes, and a slim body.

The girl had to be dressed for a fantasy costume party. She’d painted her face with a light shade of green. She wore a tight, black armor suit that hugged her frame and a black cape. Whoever she was meant to be, she nailed it.

Nick recalled those sexual harassment seminars he had attended when he joined the university. He tried not to stare. But every man had a breaking point, and Nick reached his when she walked past him and the queue. She ignored the bouncer who must have made a mental exception to let her in. Her fire-emergency-defying-butt was as round as two bowling balls. Nick’s body tightened as her smoking figure overwhelmed the usual cold weather response. Before things escalated, she disappeared into the crowd. He waited outside both relieved and disappointed.

Once he got in, Nick walked around the place until he found her. She leaned against the bar. Without wasting time, he walked up to her. Nick had never walked up to a girl in a bar to ask her out before—except that semester abroad in Brazil. The green-eyed girl was gorgeous, but that wasn’t what drew him to her. Something was different about her. Something he couldn’t shake.

He tapped her shoulder and resisted the urge to walk away before she turned around. His roommate—a self-proclaimed philosopher—used to say, ‘beautiful from far, far from beautiful’ when a girl looked good from a distance, but not up close. This one was mesmerizing even up close.

Nick cleared his throat and zoned out for a moment. When he came to his senses, he was staring at the wooden floor. He looked up. Her bright, focused eyes met his, and he froze. Then all the times he saw someone he liked and said nothing manifested in a moment of bravery.

“Hey, I’m Nick.”

“I’m Mara,” she said. Her voice was feminine, yet strong.

She was foreign. Her English was good, but she spoke with a mild accent. Just when he thought she couldn’t get hotter.

“Can I buy you a drink?”

She examined him for a moment then nodded.

The bar was packed. Nick pushed the kid next to him to squeeze in. Then he did everything he could—short of dancing naked—to grab the bartender’s attention. A minute later, he spun around with a full pitcher of beer in one hand, two glasses in the other, and a wide smile on his face.

He looked for a table, but every student at the university was inside the small pub. He led her to a covered area attached to the place. He sat on one of the wooden benches across from her. She looked at him as if he was the first boy she’d ever seen.

Mara pointed to the pitcher. “What is it?”

“PBR,” Nick said.

Her eyes narrowed. She was confused.

Ok, she was foreign. Americans knew what PBR was. “Pabst Blue Ribbon, the official beer of the poor,” he said.

Mara smiled for the first time.

Nick filled their glasses, and they drank the ice-cold beer. She downed hers in one go. Being Irish and German, Nick tried to keep up, but he struggled. Mara drank beer like it was water. In minutes, the pitcher vanished. He bought another, which they finished as fast.

After the third pitcher, his vision became blurry, and the room spun around him. The noise faded, but people were still talking around him. He had enough. What the third pitcher took away in motor function, it gave back in courage. “You wanna hang out at my place? I live nearby.”

Mara finished her beer. “Sure.”

They exited the pub into the cold and the snow. He stopped a cab, and before he opened the door for her, she let herself into the backseat. He opened the other door and got in, thinking how good tonight had been.

First, he’d talked to a girl without running away or calling himself stupid. Then he held his own in drinking and in conversation. Then he sealed the deal and asked her to go home with him. He’d show her around the house, get her comfortable. He hoped his roommate left the house clean this time.

*****

A short, stocky man in the front drove the vehicle on the main road toward the city. Although the ride was slow, it was comfortable and entertaining. Mara waited for takeoff, but the wheels never left the paved ground. When she gave up on the car flying, she looked out the window.

Through the open window, the cool wind and small snowflakes blasted her cheeks. She struggled to keep her eyes open. On her side, there were many buildings. Some were university buildings and others were student accommodations. After a few blocks, they entered the casino area before the car turned into a smaller street. Little buildings that housed a few people lined up on both sides of the road. Different colors, different sizes, different designs. Maybe that’s how they could tell them apart. Humans didn’t have the sensory drive Korrans had.

When the car stopped, she exited, and so did Nick. He led her into the building—a small, old home with yellow walls and a red roof.

“This is my house,” Nick said. “I live with a roommate. Sometimes, my friend Keith stays with us. Don’t worry, he’s visiting his girlfriend in San Francisco.”

Mara nodded.

“The living area is upstairs.”

She followed him into the house when a closed, brown door on her right caught her attention. Mara pointed at the closed door. “What’s in there?”

“Oh, it’s the garage,” Nick said. “It’s small, so we park the cars in the street and use it for the bike and the guns.”

If he owned a car, why did he pay for one to drive them back? And what sort of bike? And what sort of guns? Mara flashed a beaming smile that would get her whatever she wanted, according to four web pages she’d just looked at. “Can you show me?”

Nick rushed down and opened the door. The garage was dark, but at least it was warm. Her skin stopped shaking. He switched on the light and pointed toward his ‘gun collection’. Mara couldn’t believe she wasted a cute smile on this bunch of primitive weapons that wouldn’t leave a scratch on her armor.

“Can you kill anything with these?”

Nick planted his feet apart in the ground and put his hands on either side of his waist, a challenging pose. “You can kill anything if you have the right ammo.”

Mara shrugged and spun around to see the bike in the middle of the garage. Before she reached it, Nick darted ahead and removed the cloth cover.

She smiled at the sight of the shiny, elegant, blue bike. “I love it.”

“Yeah, that baby can go fast. Last weekend, I rode it to Carson City in twenty minutes.”

Mara looked at the bike and her eyes narrowed. Carson City was fifty kilometers away. “It’s faster to walk.”

Nick scowled for a moment, then he exploded, laughing. “You’re wasted, aren’t you? C’mon, let’s head upstairs.”

The living area had two seats and two couches that crowded the small space. One couch faced a window, and another faced a box on a small, wooden table with black cubes on either side. Shara would’ve dissected the boxes to discover what they did.

Mara took off her cape, sat down on the couch across the window, and grabbed one of the soft, cloth-covered cushions. In the dim light, she could see a part of the next building.

“Are you hungry?” Nick asked.

Mara nodded and picked up a small tablet that looked like it had seen better days, or at least, Mara hoped it did. “You mind if I use this?” She asked.

“Not at all,” Nick said, but didn’t stop. “It’s my roommate’s crappy tablet, a two-year-old slate with a ten-inch hologram.”

Mara put the tablet on the cushion, and in less than a minute, she figured out how to use it. This time, she would give the poor thing short breaks, or it would burst into flames faster than the university computer.

BOOK: Legacy Of Korr
13.1Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

Other books

The Ties That Bind by Andi Marquette
Rascal's Festive Fun by Holly Webb
Lady of Mercy (The Sundered, Book 3) by Michelle Sagara West
the Mountain Valley War (1978) by L'amour, Louis - Kilkenny 03
The March Hare Murders by Elizabeth Ferrars
Brigid of Kildare by Heather Terrell
One-Man Band by Barbara Park