Seat Backs and Tray Tables...

” Passengers, it’s been a pleasure, crew - we’ll square up after all cargo has been delivered and collected upon. Welcome again, to New Kasmir, and thank you for flying the Lunar Veil.”

Kate greeted the announcement with a weary sense of relief. Soon, the charade would be done. She’d be on New Kasmir, either tasked with a fresh assignment or squirreled away in a safe house. The new cyphers and use of the hospital net were an exciting development that she needed to share with her next handler. It would feel good to be back in the craft, chasing intel instead of hiding out on a boat in the middle of nowhere.

“Mizz Schnabel?” Dorian called with a gentle knock at the door. “We’re ‘bout to hit atmo…Ah need tah see yah buckled in.”

“Yes, Doktor,” she replied as the widow. “Please come in.” She’d already strapped herself into the chair. As Dorian made of show of inspecting the connections, she whispered, “are you clear on what comes next?”

“Mah part’s simple,” he nodded. “A’ll meet yah at tha undertaker’s.”

“Under no circumstances will you let that coffin leave this boat without you. Right?”

“Yes,” the medic nodded his understanding.

“Jacy made it to New Kasmir,” Kate whispered. “One of ours witnessed her climbing into a coach in front of the hotel.”

Adler’s eyebrows raised. “That’ll make fah an intriguing reception.”

“Exactly,” Kate said. “She’s gone quiet since. I’m taking point on this. I’ll go into town, check the mortuary. If all is clear, I’ll signal. If not…”

“Ah’ll guard tha coffin,” he interjected. “Could use Marisol if they send triggers.”

She offered a decisive shake of her head. “We can’t afford a sudden change in plans. I’ve arrived on New Kasmir in one piece. Her mission is concluded. And her mind was made up two weeks ago.”

“Yah right, of course,” Dorian agreed. “Perhaps wishful thinkin’ on mah part.”

“Leo’s got his orders. I can’t be certain he’ll follow them, but he may provide a valuable distraction.”

“…if Ah don’t shoot him mahself…”

“Once the coffin is safe,” she whispered, “you may dispatch that pig as you see fit. But not before.”

The doc nodded as he threw the door open once more. “Very well, Mrs. Schnabel. Ah’ll see yah shortly. Can Ah make yah more comfortable?”

“Oh, no, thank you,” Yeva’s thick accent escaped into the corridor. “You’ve been so kind, Doktor.” In the solitude of her room, Katerina Russokova checked her weapon. The next two hours would likely pass uneventfully, but with a wild card like Jacy still in the game, she had her doubts.

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