I think I’m getting the hang of this counting thing! Last week was eleven, so this week is twelve! Yeah! Got it!
Something I appreciate about how Adam writes these chapters is he skips away from the really personal stuff. Not the emotional things; those are fine. But I’m really not interested in telling everyone the details of my wedding night, and I know Cass feels even more strongly. I do have a background in sensies, after all, and she doesn’t.
But he does nicely in switching away from the chapter when all the shareable parts are done without making you feel cheated by it.
In any case, when Adam wrote this up, he slipped some lovely Easter Eggs into it for you sci-fi fans; while I try to remember the conversations we had, until we had the implants there weren’t recordings so it all had to come from the old gray matter. To say he took liberties with the actual words said would be an understatement.
I can count a bunch: Sherlock Holmes, MASH, Hitchhiker’s Guide, Buck Rogers, and Buffy. I’ll put little GIF hints at the bottom.
So there’s a contest still going on where you can win all four books, AUTOGRAPHED. You want that. Really really. There aren’t a bunch of his autographs around in my time, which makes them more valuable. That button is right below here.
And if you haven’t gotten the book, you really should pick up this volume of our biography. It’s only 99 cents and you can’t go wrong! Click on the button below OR you can click on any image.
Chapter 12: Hope You Guessed My Name
‘Didn’t get much sleep, did ya?’
Cass whirled at Dick’s voice from the shelter of a booth behind them.
‘Where’d you come from?’ she demanded.
‘Been here an hour, waiting for you two to wander in. Starting to wonder if you‘d forgot about me.’
Kendra laughed. ‘Spotted him as soon as we got off the elevator,’ she admitted. ‘It’s an old trick, and Dick knows ‘em all, don’t you?’
‘Made some of ‘em up,’ he boasted. The women settled in across the booth. ‘Hair of the dog?’ he asked, calling up a menu.
‘No,’ said Kendra. ‘It wasn’t any dog that kept us up,’ she said.
‘The curious incident of the dog in the nighttime,’ said Dick with a twinkle.
‘Now, Dick!’ she admonished. Cass looked between the two in confusion. ‘I’ll explain someday,’ Kendra promised her.
‘Enough monkey crap, Dick. Everything ready?’
‘All set. Hold up to any scrutiny you want – casual, federal, even bankers.’
Kendra whistled. ‘Nice. How’d you get them so quickly?’
‘Always have a few working. These are just a couple of the better ones. Been making regular moves with them for, oh, four-five years now.’
‘That long?’ asked Cass.
‘Shit, girl, I have one, been keepin’ it regular for forty-two years! Finest kind. Guaranteed not to shit the bed when you need it most.’
‘What’s that one for?’
He looked at Cass as if she were stupid. ‘For me, of course! Sooner or later, some bright boy’ll figure me out. That’s when I’ll know it’s time to close up and retire!’
‘Okay. Your money’s in Fibonacci Fifteen.’
He nodded and slid a hard copy of the news across to them. He rose.
‘Kendra, it’s been a pleasure doing business with you again. Aiyana, you be good to this girl, hear me?’
‘I will,’ she agreed. ‘She’s good for me.’
‘That she is,’ said Dick. ‘That she is.’ He turned and walked away.
‘What a strange person,’ remarked Cass as Kendra unfolded the sheets of newsprint. A large, flat envelope dropped out into her lap. Cass reached for it, but was stopped by Kendra.
‘Whoa! You ever open an Impervalope?’
‘Take your fingers off if you don’t do it just right, and destroy anything inside as well. Considering this holds our immediate futures, I think I should open it, don’t you?’
Cass nodded her agreement, abashed. Kendra noticed.
‘There’s a lot to learn about this whole secret agent shit,’ she said quietly. ‘I’ll do my best to teach you.’
‘Okay. So how do you open that whatchamacallit?’
‘Impervalope. Lots of people use them for sensitive documents. The trick is there’s a nanoscanner woven into the threads of the surface. Nothing fancy. Just enough memory in there to store a single DNA code. If you don’t have the code, and try to force it open, poof! Superheats, vaporizes the contents and itself, and, if you don’t drop it fast enough, your hand. Nasty. Seen it happen a couple times.’
‘So how do you open it?’
‘Like this.’ And she licked the seam, which promptly fell open to reveal two smaller envelopes.
‘Here’s yours,’ said Kendra, handing her one marked ‘A’.
Nervously, Cass licked her envelope’s seal. She jumped back and dropped it when the envelope spoke with Dick’s voice.
‘Betcha Kendra showed you how to open an Impervalope, and you assumed this was another! Ha! Wish it was me you were licking instead of a piece of folded paper!’ It trailed off into laughter.
Kendra had the good grace to look abashed at the joke. ‘You can’t put an Impervalope inside another. Sorry. Forgot. Never learned why, just that it was a Very Bad Thing.’
Her heart still racing, Cass simply said, ‘Bitch.’ But she smiled.
They opened the envelopes and dumped the contents on the table. All sorts of official documents were there, worn and aged in all the right places.
‘So what’s your name?’ asked Cass, searching for her own. Kendra was quicker.
Her howl drew stares from passers-by. ‘Son-of-a-bitch miserable rotten sense of humor jackass prick!’
‘What?’ asked Cass.
It took a few moments for Kendra to calm down, but by then she was almost smiling. ‘Bastard knows me too well!’
‘You know about my interest in ‘television shows’ from the Twentieth and early Twenty-First, right?’
‘Yeah, never understood it, but it seemed harmless enough.’
‘Not anymore.’ She dropped a military-looking ID in front of Cass. ‘Read.’
Bemused, Cass read. ‘’Colonel Wilma Deering, Earth Defense Force‘. So?’
‘She’s a character from a show!’
‘And that’s bad?’ Cass was genuinely puzzled. ‘Was there something wrong with her?’
‘No, she was beautiful, intelligent, loyal, a fierce defender of anyone she cared about -’
‘Sounds like he got it right,’ commented Cass. ‘Wonder who he chose for me?’ She searched for her own ID, found it, and stared at the name blankly for a moment before speaking again.
‘Who is Willow Rosenbergin?’
Kendra’s hoots of laughter drew more stares than her earlier outburst.