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Washington DC

Anna Fraser watched the black Rolls Royce drive off with Malcolm Locklear inside. The sky was darkening, the room was filled with dark golds and reds from the sunset. Her face was locked in a frozen, dissatisfied expression as she tapped the table with her finger. She had been so sure it was him, the mystery account who has been constantly getting through their security settings, hacking into their data bases and leaving bits and pieces behind as if he was doing them a favour. It smelled like something Locklear would do, show them their weakness and boast of his accomplishments, yet he seemed surprised when he saw their details on the ship.

It wasn’t him. Then, who was? Anna bit the lower half of her lip, thinking hard. The hacker called himself Valentine, and had given a rather critical and detailed report on their latest failure on the ship. Not only should nobody now about it, but to know more than them, it was boarding on harassment. What made things worse, was the missing equipment. This Valentine was taunting her, yet at the same time helping. It frustrated her to no end.

Either way, Locklear’s demonstration had raised enough eyebrows to warrant a closer watch on him, his company and his tech. Her superiors wanted him on the project to not only speed it up and deal with the lagging issues they continue have, but to watch him closer, inside his tower and while working on the project. If Anna didn’t know better she would say they were looking for him to screw up, to give them a chance to throw the book at him for the damage he had caused sixteen years ago. Revenge can be a nasty bitch.

Her cell vibrated in her pocket. Without a care she grabbed and looked at the text message.

Any luck with your energy crisis? Check this out. – Valentine

What the fuck! Anna screamed in her head, he had her cell number now? Procedure told her to report this, to track the signal but she had dealt with this hacker too many times to know they wouldn’t find his location. He was a pro at bouncing the transmission from towers all over the world. Their last attempt landed them in India, with the one before that in South Africa. He was more of a ghost than a human being.

An idea popped into Anna’s head. A reckless one that could completely backfire on her but if they were going to watch Locklear while under their contract, why not extend the invite one step further. Quickly, the Lieutenant Colonel typed back a reply, and waited for the answer.

***

New York

“You should stop teasing her.” Wyess said from his chair. The room was dark and damp, except for the light from the twenty some computer screens that lined the three out of four walls. There was a soft hum of the multiple human computer towers that they used mixed in with the number of alien tech they had managed to get their hands on over the time. It wasn’t easy, but deep underground in an abandoned subway tunnel Rhel Valentine had managed to create an electronic net of the entire planet that even expanded off into the nearby solar system.

“Come off it. She knows I’m helping.” Rhel said as he pocketed his cell away.

“You’re going to piss her off one too many times and eventually come looking for us… if they haven’t already.”

“Wyess, you worry too much. If they could find us, they already would have. Besides you managed to create a complex system that prevents them from ever tracking us down. Pretty impressive.” Rhel said, giving the scaled alien a pat on the back. “I couldn’t have done it without you.” He smirked, then his cell vibrated and rang out with an odd human music lyric.

“Hey, what’cha know… she wants to have dinner!” Rhel said with a smile, sliding his hand through his thick brown hair.

“She’s on to us! It’s a trap Valentine!” Wyess panicked.

“Relax. Look, she says she wants to see me to thank me for all of my helpful advice…. And offer me a job.”

“How can you be taking this so calmly!” Wyess shouted. “You’ve been stealing off of her, hacking her system, researching her project. Damn it, these humans aren’t all as stupid as you make them out to be.”

“Hey, you know that the only reason I’m even risking myself by doing all of that is to push their space project forward. These apes have barely scratched the surface of space and interstellar travel, if we leave it to them it would take them another couple of hundred years before they can build something decent enough. I don’t know about you, but I’m not going to sit on my ass and wait to see if I live that long. I’m doing this for all of our sakes.”

Wyess settled down into his char, his yellow eyes moving from screen to screen. Rhel Valentine took the silence to mean acceptance, and changed the subject to something far more hopeful. “What’s the news on the ship behind the moon?”

As he spoke, Wyess brought up an image shot of the moon on the main centre screen of the room. With a few more clicks of the alien software they had obtained illegally, the shape of an unknown cruiser was blown up for their vision. Rhel didn’t recognize the markings, which wasn’t unusual. It most likely belong to some pirate, or smuggler who wanted to remain off the records at port stops.

“They haven’t replied to any of our signals or messages.” Wyess said with a disheartened sigh. Every since they had managed to build this computer, Rhel had Wyess send a message to any passing vessel in the nearby system. You would think a simple help would bring about some rescue mission. But so far, nobody had responded to their pleas to get off of the rock. This ship was different, it didn’t pass through as the others have, but had taken anchor on the dark side of the moon, away from earth and the human’s own range for communication. Rhel wasn’t sure why they had stopped, but knew it had to be related to the shuttle touchdown just over a week ago.

“Send them the flyer, invite them for the fight.” Rhel decided. If they were like any of the pirates he had come across, a chance at a good fight was never passed up easily. If he could open communication lines with them, perhaps he wouldn’t need Fraser and her pet space ship anymore.

“Are you… alright fine.” Wyess said, he was worn out to fight against Rhel any further today. “Be careful with that date of yours.”

“I will, I’ll make sure to bring you home a doggie bag too.” Rhel said as he left.

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