In Charge of My Own Demise Part IV

“There’s a woman on line two Dak. She says it’s urgent and will only speak with you. Her voice sounds familiar.”

Dak hurried to answer the phone thinking it was probably Erin. Instead it was the reporter Law talking in a quick self satisfied tone. “Hello Captain Dak. I’m calling to let you know that I’m doing you a favor, something that will help start your new position off with a punch.”

“And what would that be?” He fumbled for his smokes. He had a feeling whatever it was; he wasn’t going to like it.

Shadowed Dak

“We caught our first one or should I say I caught him. It was easier than I thought. I have him all safe and snug here and I saved you the trouble of a blood check. My personal doctor has already checked a sample of his blood and he came up positive for Jumping. I intend to give you full credit in return for an exclusive interview. When can you get over here?”

 

                                               *        *        *

 

As he went up the flight of stairs leading to the hotel room Law had indicated, he questioned his choice of heading over alone. He wouldn’t put it past her to make up the whole story as a ruse just to get him alone in a hotel room, but doubted it would be that easy.

Law met him at the door smoking a short cigarette and wearing only a thin silk shift. Pointing the way with her smoke, she lead him into the main room. Her long perfect legs proved impossible to ignore. Looking over her shoulder, she caught him staring and smiled. Her teeth were flawless and bone white. Besides Erin he had never met a woman whose body was so perfect, so close to the feminine ideal.

Lucy Law

Lucy Law

Placing her back against the doorway, she wordlessly gestured him into the suite’s bedroom. Passing within inches of where her erect nipples pressed against her loose slip, he entered the room and didn’t like what he saw.

In the center of the luxurious bed, was a bound, and most likely drugged, man. Since he was completely naked, Dak noticed his tattoos before he even took in the shadowed face. The battered man’s eyes slowly rose to meet his own.

Rooftop

It was Mace, the Skinjumper agent who had worked along side of him as Fosters before Bly had his turn steering the dead man’s clone. Mace was more importantly one of Maxwell’s chief agents and also a friend of Erin’s. Hell, the man had just personally helped save Erin’s life when the assassin had almost blown her leg off. Since all three of them worked for Maxwell the leader of New Cluster’s Jumpers, this situation could quickly become a major problem, a problem with no apparent solution.

Mace was no fool. He played it up like they had never met. A string of obscenities flew from his mouth mostly aimed at Lacy’s and his mother’s virtues. Part of Dak wondered if Mace might be enjoying a chance to be able to insult him so furiously. Dak had certainly decked him for less.

Mace finished with, “And what has this whore talked you into now Enni?”

“Nothing yet punk and if you don’t keep that mouth of yours closed, I’ll stun you ass just so I can find the space to think.” Mace shut up, but eyed him with the intensity the situation warranted.

“What’s there to think about?” Law said, as her bare feet moved silently across the lush emerald carpeting. “I told you. My physician already checked out his blood. He’s a Jumper. Let’s take him in as soon as my camera crew gets here.”

She turned towards Dak tilting her head to the side. “Too bad you didn’t take me up on my offer for dinner. It left me feeling bored. I’m sure you appreciate that as much as I would like to lay claim for catching this freak myself…ah certain questions would be asked that I don’t care to answer.”

“Like how you slutted yourself out just to bag one of us,” Mace blurted out.

Dak silenced him with a wave of his hand. “Can I ask why you did this then?”

“Just doing my civic duty,” she smiled.

ll

He just stared. “Okay, I just wanted to see how hard it would be. Besides I’ve learned more than a bit about Jumping from my new friend.” She ran her finger over Mace’s bound arm as she spoke, and he looked like he wanted to bite it off. “I’m thinking about doing a new special. The Jumper threat.”

Moving closer to Dak, it was his turned to be touched. Her hands felt cold, like the rest of her was as frigid as her heart. “I figure that you owe me an interview now.”

“Because of this loser?”

She turned away looking cross, but he was just happy her fingers were away from him. “Not because of him as much as for keeping my mouth shut about this bust and giving you all the credit.”

“What’s to keep me from just letting him loose and pretending the whole thing never happened.”

Either she really was aghast or she was a better actress than he would have given her credit for. “But he’s a Jumper. It’s your job to take them in.”

He shared a look with Mace who was making a foolish face behind her back. “Alright lady, why don’t you start getting yourself ready for your camera man. I’ll wait to call in the boys until you say your crew is in place.”

Approaching him once more, she ran his fingers down his neck. They were just as cold as before. “There is a bed in the front room. There’s no real hurry if you would like to…” Her scarlet lips were only inches from his.

“Ms. Law I know you think that rounding up this dreg is a major accomplishment, but I have a real agenda… so if you wouldn’t mind.”

Her eyes shot icy daggers at him, but with a flourish she retreated into the suite’s main bathroom.

Dak wasted no time, making his way to Mace’s side. They spoke in subdued tones. “Hurry up and untie me. Get me the hell out of here.”

“Not so fast. I can’t just let you go.” He paused. “Is there anyone you can call? Who would you call for help, if I wasn’t here?”

“There are some people I know, but I’m not sure we have enough time.”

Looking towards the bathroom door for a moment, Dak turned back to his bound associate. “If there is one thing I learned about pretty women, they take forever to get ready.”

Mace exhaled deeply. “Just call Erin. Tell her to dial in a code 10 and give her this address.”

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Detective Dak

Detective Dak

In Charge of My Demise Part III

He was surprised how easily the BS flowed from his mouth. Dak knew what the people wanted to hear and he figured if he promised them things along those lines, they would be kept as happy as he could expect.

Maybe being a politician wasn’t so hard, he laughed to himself. 

Dak

He finished with a quick retelling of his recent encounter with the series of cloned assassins. The press ate it up. Action and blood sent their fingers rapidly typing over their glowing Personals.

Things hadn’t stay that easy for long. As he expected, he couldn’t escape without a question session. The first dozen or so he fought off with comments about learning more about the perpetrator and other such vague garbage, then a reporter whose face was vaguely known to him broke in.

She was tall enough to be seen over most of her fellows and about a hundred miles from unattractive. Long auburn hair rolled past her narrow, perfectly painted face. Her eyes would have ruined it for him. Where Erin’s were trusting and full of hope, this woman’s were made of gray ice, holding only contempt.

Lucy Law

“Hello captain, Lacy Law here,” her terse voice chirped. “What you have said is all very well and good, but what about real changes. Others have spoken out on such ideas as stricter ID enforcement and even setting up checkpoints. We know those Bodyjumpers prefer to possess younger better looking bodies. It has been suggested that such body types receive extra scrutiny.”

“You yourself fit that profile. Would you be pleased to have this additional limits on your freedoms?”

She couldn’t quite keep the red out of her cheeks at the backhanded complement, but quickly recovered. “In order to help keep this dangerous underground behind bars, certainly.”

“It still makes me wonder who you’d be after. The little old lady that had enough money to Jump into a younger body and is just out buying her bread or the trained assassins like the man who attacked me or the crew that gunned down the former Mayor hopeful, Homes. Let me tell you from personal knowledge that man that came after me wasn’t pretty. All I think such policies would do is make it a crime to be attractive. Is this the type of world you would want to live in?”

“Personally, I would expect them both to be locked up. Isn’t that the law Captain Dak or does the man in charge of this new task force think we should be lenient on these lesser Jumpers just because they haven’t used their changes to hurt anyone yet?”

Choosing his words carefully, he said, “As a Public Enforcer officer I have pledged myself to uphold the law. I think you can count on my continued vigilance on this issue. If the amount of crime committed by Jumpers doesn’t decrease over the next year I will hand in my resignation voluntarily.”

Nodding, this finally seemed to satisfy her and he was able to get through the rest of the questions without suffering anything worse.

His office was still in transition and this became a great excuse to go get some air. He ran into Matthews on the way out the building. “You okay Dak? You look a little pale.”

“It all comes with the new position I guess. Can’t say I like talking to the press.” He ran a hand over his brow. “I wonder if I’ll be able to get used to it.”

Matthews brightened. “Oh yeah, congrats on the new position. I guess it will be Captain Dak now.”

“What would you feel about being the first man I hire on?” 

Matthews took a step back. Since he was the only other non-clone working for the Jumpers, Dak figured he would be a natural choice. “I’ll have to ask,” Matthews answered strangely. He soon departed a stiffly and Dak couldn’t help but wonder which Jumper might be holding Matthew’s strings. Shaking his head, he thought he might have the answer. He only hoped he was wrong.

 

*        *       *

 

The scent of stale smog burned his noise. Trash blew like city leaves. Even near the PE building bums and dregs fought for a hand out. His vehicle was secured below, but Dak felt like walking. He passed the taverns that most of the PE grunts frequented.

He felt less a part of them than ever. What was he a part of?

Mace

Dak really wasn’t a big one for drinking before sundown, but he felt he needed one. He headed into a nicer establishment hoping that he would find it empty. He was right. The sparse patrons lurked in dark corners huddled over tables. Fine suits mixed with low cut dresses. Conversations ran from afternoon affairs to cooperate backstabbing. Ignoring these, he headed over to the reflective plastic bar.

Massaging his temples, he looked down, while he waited for a hopper. “Hard day captain,” it was a voice that had already been haunting him. Opening his eyes, he saw that Lacy Law had helped herself into the adjacent barstool. “Having a drink before two pm. I see that he are off to a great start hunting down the Jumpers.”

Turning towards his hopper, he took a long pull before saying. “I was supposed to meet a contact here that had a list of known Jumpers, but with a Posher Cleb like yourself around here, he probably won’t show.”

She looked around uncertain. “You aren’t serious?”

“If you had only shown up ten minute’s later you might have had a big scoop.”

She waited until he was looking her way to cross her trim legs. Her gray business skirt did little to hide her looks. Years of police work left him wondering if she was hooked on some type of speed or if it was some fascist exercise routine that kept her body so tight.

“Perhaps you’ll let me take you out to dinner tonight and you can tell me all about it.” Her manicured nails lightly traced his hand. “You fought back well today. Most men crumble when I go up against them.”

“That must make you very proud,” he said while moving his hand away.

“So what about dinner? No one needs to know.” Leaned forward, exposed more of her toned body.

Staring for a long moment, he then slammed the rest of his beer. “No thanks, I think I’m going to be putting in long hours for quite a while. Her intake of breath was so loud that many of the patrons turned to watch, as he turned his back to her and existed back into the faded sunlight.

Find out more about the Skinjumpers of New Cluster Here!

skinjumpers_copy

In Charge of My Demise Part II

Erin pulled the amber tie out of her golden waterfall of hair, as soon as she heard him open the door. He saw her cute backside, while she quickly tossed her apron into the closet. Like usual, she wore very little underneath. The apartment gleamed. She rushed over to him before he had even tossed off his jacket. The freshly opened hopper that she held was wider than her delicate wrist. Red nailed fingers parted to hand him his beer, while a smile spread over the most beautiful face in the world.

 

Erin from Behind

“You’re home early. I was trying to make things nice for you.”

“Erin, you don’t have to work so hard.”

Suddenly shy, her green eyes found the sparkling floor. “It’s just…since you found out that I work for the Jumpers I…”

Moving forward, he took her trembling form into his arms. “You think you have to prove what a perfect woman you are? I already thought you were perfect. The fact that you work with your own kind doesn’t change anything.” His face was graced with the kind of smile that only she could bring him. “Besides the extra money is nice.”

Detective i

She slapped him playfully, but then kissed his lips. Holding her close, he didn’t hurry.

She came up for air and wanted to take it further, but he moved back. “Erin we have to talk.”

“That is usually what girls say.” Erin played the role of the perfect female the way only a man could, for Erin wasn’t only a Jumper, she was a Genderjumper as well. Sometimes in the dead of night Dak wondered over his choices, but it was a sick world out there and she was his only light, but now he was somehow in charge of eliminating her kind.

With a sigh, he explained his assignment. A few gasps and startled expressions later, he had finished describing his new position.

“If Bly was for it, then I guess it must be a good thing,” She said, hesitation tainting her voice.

“Yeah, but what about the Mayor. He knows about you…us. Jumpers are his pet project. This will be like a slap in the face.”

“I could think of no one’s face I would rather slap.”

 

                                               *        *        *

 

“Yeah, it’s a pretty nice office.” he had to agree. Dak’s eyes focused on the grimy window. Sure there wasn’t much of a view, there rarely was in New Cluster, but Dak had never had an office with a window before.

Fesse wore the closest thing to a smile his face could manage. “Nothing too good for the new man in charge of keeping the press, the mayor, and everyone else off my back when it comes to this Bodyjumper mess.” Patting him on the shoulder, he continued, “I’ll have them move your desk up here before lunch. You’ll not be needing it this morning anyway.”

Smoking

“Why is that?”

“Because your first press conference starts in an hour.”

“I’m not sure if this is going to work Fesse. I-”

”Make it work,” his voice was raised, “or I’ll send you back to being a beat cop in Dreg Park.” The door slammed behind him, creating a haze of dust in the empty room. Dak watched the motes of dirt dance through the narrow squares of yellow light before finally heading down to the Public Enforcer pressroom.

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Shadowed Dak1

In Charge of My Demise

Mopping the lingering sweat off his brow, Dak entered the Deputy Chief’s office. Fesse’s wide face scowled. It might have bothered Dak if that was not the only look that he had ever seen there. It surprised him to see Fosters in the room with his supervisor, even though Dak knew that the real Fosters had died years ago.

 

Detectives

The man who examined him with Fosters’ gray eyes was named Bly and he was a Skinjumper; a man whose consciousness had been put into the cloned form of Fosters. The Jumpers were more powerful that most realized and Dak should know, he was dating one of them.

Dak, like Fosters, had become a man on the inside—an agent for the Skinjumpers, only he himself had never Jumped. It was his sweet Erin who had drawn him in.

“Have a seat Dak.” He did, and then lit up a smoke. The silence stretched.

Dak

“That was some job you did taking out those Grafters Dak. The idea that someone could clone an assassin and send him after the public again and again,” Fesse rubbed his forehead. “Let’s just say it made waves.”

“They don’t care that it targeted mostly just me?” he lied.

“This isn’t the only story Dak. These nutjob clones are big news. Nothing has been the same since those damned Grafters learned how to place a person’s consciousness into any type of clone they wanted. The world is full of the beautiful people and freaks. How can you even be sure you’re talking to?” For once he refused to meet his eye. “And you know how the damn Mayor feels about these Bodyjumpers. He has been putting a lot of pressure on our department.”

Dak’s mouth went dry. Jumping was a serious offence that gained one enough jail time to forget who you were. If Fesse were to ever find out he was dating a Jumper…

“What does this have to do with me?” He exhaled sending jags of smoke coiling through the triangles of sunlight.

Fosters/Bly spoke up. The young punk did the grouchy jaded cop thing almost too well. “Don’t be an idiot, Dak. You’re part of this. The press loves you.”

“For about another twenty minutes.”

Fesse took over. “That’s why we have to strike now and keep these guys off our backs. I want to start up a Jumper Task Force. And I want you to be its Captain.”

Dak almost swallowed the smoke.

Fosters/Bly was quick to add, “Listen it was a natural choice. When I heard about this, I knew you were the only man for the job. You’re young enough and have enough charisma to keep the press at-”

Shadowed Dak

”But if you’re trying to head off the Mayor, I think we should try to remember that I’m not his favorite guy.”

Fosters shell spoke Bly’s words. “Don’t argue. I’m sure as hell not going to do it. Who else do you think is qualified? Matthews is just a kid and what, would you rather see Peterman doing it.”

Dak wasn’t a fool. He had to take the post if only to keep someone else from taking it.

Still how could he be in charge of hunting down his own woman?

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skinjumpers_copy

Base Jumpers Part IV

Maxwell knew more than he might have hoped. In his opinion there was only one Grafter who could pull this level of cloning off. Someone else might have gone in there guns blazing and tried to do the whole thing themselves. Dak brought in the boys. The Public Enforcers rained into the complex. Most of the men they found didn’t survive the ordeal and that suited him fine. The less that knew about Erin’s true nature the better. He himself had put a bullet in the Grafter’s skull when he had drawn against him. Maxwell had wanted the guy dead anyway.

 

Enforcers


In one of the cloning vats, they had discovered another of the bald assassins ready to go. The Grafter had just begun to animate it. Dak hadn’t minded at all when a half dozen trigger-happy Enforcers had mowed the clone in half.

Then it was nothing but the paperwork. It was a big bust, but like everything else it would blow over in a few days whenever something new came up.

Dak had no idea how much the repercussions of this bust would effect the rest of his life.

 

                                                         *        *        *

 

As the first part of their reward, Maxwell had set them up in one of his safe houses. It was a surprisingly nice villa in one of the newer sections of the inner Hub. Erin lounged on pastel floor pillows. The opened windows blew gauze curtains the color of pink coral across the room. Erin rolled onto her back the full length lace negligee did little to conceal…anything.

His Personal rang.

Erin eyed him. “Don’t you dare.”

“It could be important,” he said and she rolled back on her tummy and returned her attentions to a glossy magazine. If she thought that such a thing was punishment, she was wrong, because she looked delightful that way too.

It was Matthews. “Dak, Dak are you okay?”

“Yeah. Sure. Why?”

“The people looking into those blasters just gave me a call. I guess they had my number on file for the case. You know that officer that got shot thing. So it would speed up the case and all that.”

“Yeah, yeah Matthews.” Erin glanced at him over her slim shoulder.

“Well they have a tracker on them. That was how they were able to locate you. They went after Erin both times, so it’s probably on her.”

“Without overly sharing, I can assure you that Erin isn’t wearing enough to have any tracker on her now.” This got her attention and she turned around and glared at him.

“No, no this is high tech stuff. It could detect a spray of perfume or clear paint. They have chemicals that it takes weeks to wash off. Another agent could have sprayed her at a store or something.”

This gave him Pause. Erin sat up now her magazine forgotten.

“Don’t worry Matthews, we got them, I saw the last clone die myself.”

He could sense the relief. It was nice to have a friend. “Okay then, okay. I was worried. Just wanted to make sure. You might want to make sure Erin doesn’t have any lingering-“

”I’ll clean her up real good, Matthews. Good night.”

“Clean me up real good,” she asked. She was just about to stand up, but Dak was tackling her. He had seen the figure climb through the window only seconds before it unleashed a massive volley out of the all to familiar blaster rifle.

Sci Fi Big gun


Erin had been drinking wine and the bottle was quickly lunched at the clone. Dak watched the wine spill in lazy arcs as it spiraled through the air. It took the assassin in the eye stunning him enough to spoil is aim.

“How many times to I have to kill this loser,” Dak snarled, as he leapt for his discarded overcoat.  Erin went the other way snatching up her purse as she went. Dak felt like his heart stopped when another round of shots elicited a shrill scream from his love.

The clone really was more concerned about killing her!

Erin was firing some sort of small flashgun at it. Fingers tore at his jacket trying to get his pistol loose. Gossamer drapes hovered between him and his target. Many of them were burning. This emitted a thick greasy smoke. The clone was hovering over Erin. The rifle aimed just as Dak’s flashgun came free. He fired without looking. Earlier he had used his slug thrower during the raid, for he wanted to make sure things stayed permanent. He had never switched his Flashgun from its wide angle setting. The cone of energy funneled before him. As soon as it hit the clone he began to quake. Soon it was dissolving in a familiar pattern, but Dak wasn’t watching. One of Erin’s slim perfect legs had been nearly severed.

She was losing blood quickly.

“I guess they had already sent one after me,” she whimpered while trying to fight against the pain.

“Oh Erin, hold still,” he said as he began to apply pressure onto her wound.

“Why Dak? I never tried to do anything to hurt anyone.”

“Shh, I’m going to call for help.”

“No, no, it has to be my people, call Mace.”

Mace was about the last person he would ever want to call, but he did anyway. Still even with the Jumper Riggers, it was only Dak’s daring move to cauterize Erin’s wound with his flashgun that kept her alive long enough to make it to Maxwell’s personal Grafter. Rumor had it that the Doctor himself aided in the safe transfer of his love.

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Big Gun

Base Jumper Part II

They shared a quiet ride home. Dak’s mind was full of questions, but Erin’s mood remained taciturn. It wasn’t until they were almost back to their small apartment that she asked, “You aren’t upset that I dragged you into things.

“Being with you was my choice. I knew what I was getting into when I chose to date a Gender-Jumper.”

“Did you? I think you thought of it as a sexual choice, the thing that blazed your passions higher than anything else ever could.”

Only the hum of the auto interrupted the silence as they pulled into the underground garage. It was a dark greasy place, but the complex tried to keep it secure.

“Erin,” he started slowly. “None of that matters now. I love you and it’s just that simple. If this means I have to do a little to help the Jumper community, then so be it. You know I personally don’t think Jumping should be illegal and I certainly would never want anything to happen to you. I would lay down my life to protect you.”

Detective and gal

“Really?” Her voice was barely a whisper as she turned to face him. Tears formed in the sides of her large green eyes.

“Of course.”

She rushed into his arms and soon it was all they could do to postpone their appetites until they could make it to their floor.

As soon as they left the lift, he knew something was wrong. He moved Erin to the side of the corridor. “What’s the matter?”

“It looks like our door’s open.” Moving closer, he found that it wasn’t just open; it had been broken open. He used one hand to keep Erin back, while the other filled with his Flashpistol. Moving into the apartment, he hadn’t made it five feet before heavy blasts broke out and plaster began to fill the air with choking dust. Only a quick drop to the floor had saved his life. Now however, the walls over his head were being ripped away as some serious weaponry continued its assault.

Remaining low, he rolled into the bedroom on his right. He was almost as surprised as when the bullets had broken out, when Erin dove in right behind him. The hitman shifted his attacks to the walls of their room, which began to rain down on them, whitening everything as more chalky powder covered the room.

“I told you to stay in the hall!”

“Screw that. Give me a weapon Dak!”

Detective Dak with pistol

“I got something better,” he said with a grin and started for the closet. Seconds stretched into years, as he fumbled with an old brown suitcase. The walls continued to blast and splinter.

His hand came away with a silver object the size of a dinner plate. In its center was a red panel. Dak’s fingers danced over a small set of controls. Looking up he saw that the gunfire had created a large hole just over them. After punching a few more buttons, he reached back and flung the device through the hole.

“Get down,” he yelled as he flung himself over Erin’s slight form. Her soft body cushioned him nicely.

A bright red flash blinded them for less than a second. His teeth throbbed for a moment, but they were spared any farther effects.

Erin sat up, once he let her, and tried to brush the dust off her black dress. It was not working. “Can I have a gun now?”

“I don’t think you’ll need one,” he said, while he helped her up.

“What was that thing?” She asked. Her heels crunched the fragments of plaster as she followed him into the hall.

“Something I picked up on a whim from the Market. It called a Newt, which is short for Neutralizer I think, and it creates a large stun blast. I’ve had it for years. This is the first time I have ever used it in my own home.”

Standing over the, would be, assassin, they discovered that the device had succeeded in its assigned task and he was quite unconscious. The figure was tall, ugly, and bald. His wore a tight gray uniform of common make. Besides his oversized and brutal continence, the only odd thing about him was his tech. He had a few small items which Erin looked over. Meanwhile, Dak took up his blaster. It was huge and of a make he had never seen. The barrel was 20 millimeter wide and it had a clip the size of his forearm. How the man got it into the building was a mystery.

Suddenly a sizzling sound reached his ears. Suspecting some type of bomb, he was prepared to flee, but what his eyes fell upon did just the opposite and glued him in place. The man’s body was becoming bloated. Skin opened and leaked fluids, which smelt worse than a decaying body that had been left in open sewer.

Erin had found her way into his arms and he hugged her tightly as the assassin continued to dissolve into a foul puddle of wet cells.

“Erin is this guy a Jumper?”

“I’m not sure,” she said pressing against him. “I’ve never heard about anything like this. Maybe the Doctor would know.”

“Well it’s too late to see him tonight.” The sounds of Enforcer boots could now be heard sprinting down their hallway. “I’m going to have some explaining to do. Let me do all the talking.”

“Okay,” she said giving him a quick kiss. “After all I am just your innocent little girlfriend.” When she batted her eyes, it was all he could do to keep from Laughing.

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The Climax of A Clone of a Different Color

It did not take long to pack. Fear lent them speed. Dak’s Public Enforcer salary was enough to allow him the luxury of a vehicle. Sure there would be numerous checkpoints before he could be free of the Hub, where the Mayor’s influence remained strongest, but he could only hope that if they moved fast enough this Enforcer clearance would see them both through before anyone realized they were gone.

Once they opened the door, they found themselves staring down the barrels of three Flashguns. It was Matthews, Waterman, and Fosters and it didn’t take much to force them back into the apartment.

Fosters shut the door behind them then motioned them with the business end of his pistol to have a seat on the sofa. He sat down opposite of them. Matthews scanned the rest of the small apartment, while Waterman mopped his brow with the back of his arm. Neither Waterman nor Fosters took their aim away from the couple.

Waterman sneered at Dak. “Matthews told me about who you really are and what you’re doing, and before they put you away, I just wanted you to know how sick I think it is.”

“Thanks for the update. I would have never been able to sleep other wise. Your opinion has always mattered so much to me.”

“Why you piece of-” Waterman hollered, as he rushed forward.

But Fosters drew him off. “Put a gag on it, Waterman. You know the Mayor wants these two. We’ll let him decide what to do with them.”

Dak looked over at Matthews. His silent pleading proved a wasted effort and Matthews avoided any uncertainly by looking away. Dak was running out of options.

“Come on guys, after all we have been through, you’re going to flush our friendships on a technicality?”


“We do not consider sleeping with a terrorist a technicality, Dak,” Waterman snarled. “Your perverted mind is just too clouded to see how screwed up you are.”

“All right enough of this chit chat,” Fosters said, his voice growing louder. “Matthews, Waterman, check them for weapons. I didn’t want any surprises.”

As it turned out everyone was surprised, but Fosters, when the older man shot Matthews and Waterman in the back with a powerful stun setting. They crumpled to the floor limp and unconscious.

“Wait, what?” Dak said, hopping to his feet. His confusion multiplied when Erin began to quickly gather the fallen officer’s weapons.

“Calm down and sit down,” Fosters said, waving his flashgun at him. He did so. Even if he could make a break for it, he would have stayed. He had to hear this one out. He just hoped it didn’t end with his death.

He looked down were Erin used each officer’s own cuffs to bind their hands behind their backs. She refused to meet his eyes. His heart pumped twenty extra beats a minute. “Erin?” he questioned. She still refused to look up at him and moved father away from him. She made a small sniffing sound and then wiped a hand across her face.

“Don’t blame poor Erin or should I say Evan. She didn’t know she was going to fall in love.”

Fosters seemed pleased with himself, but Dak had never been more confused. Although he had a feeling it would soon be becoming very clear to him. He looked from Erin, who still used her hair to hide her face, over to Fosters.

“It’s because of her that you aren’t flapping like a fish on the floor. It’s because of your little cutie that you’ll be given options. You see,” he began using the gun like a baton to emphasize his points. “We Jumpers are far more powerful than you could possibly imagine. The Mayor is a fool. He has no clue how far our fingers reach. He might not know, but you’re starting to.”

“You aren’t really Fosters are you?”

The older man pointed his finger at his nose in a very undignified manner. “Bingo, my laddie.  Although I have been him for about seven months now. Before me it was my buddy Jaze. You see we usually get paid for a one-year stit and get paid well, I might add. By the way, a good way to keep from getting Jumped, don’t be predictable. I can play his grumpy cynical cop thing all day.”

He imitated some classic Foster mannerisms and it became unsettling to watch.

“I get it, please stop.” A moment of silence stretched and Dak looked over at Erin. She still refused to meet his gaze.

“Why so quiet Evan?”

“Don’t call her that.”

“Oh touchie, how do you know she doesn’t want to be called that? She’s getting paid too, you know.” Dak felt flushed. He stared at the floor. “Your little secret was out long ago. We keep close tabs on those that touch us.”

The presence in the Fosters shell leaned forward. “We are the new immortals, the Gods. We will never age, at least not for more than a few years at a time. I can relive twenty-three for a hundred years. I’m just doing this Foster gig so I can make some money first. Five more months and I’ll be twenty-three when you’re sixty.”

“Don’t say that, Mace,” Erin said suddenly. Her voice sounded choked.

“Hah, what, you want him to join us.” She finally met his eyes.

“Let’s just talk about tonight.”

“Wise, wise. Yes, let’s just talk about tonight. Thanks to Erin you were a useful tool an unwitting man on the inside if you will. With little nudges from the various Fosters over the years you could be steered away form areas of…conflict.”

“I’m not an idiot! I can understand what you have done.” He looked at Erin while he spoke. “What happens now?” he said raising his voice. Beneath him Matthews stirred.

“Maybe that isn’t for you to decide.” At first he wondered who else could be involved, but then Dak saw that he stared at Erin. “Well, Erin?”

“Oh, Dak I’m so sorry.”

“Don’t feel too bad, Dak. The girl you knew as Erin’s contract was up half a year ago. She signed on for another year. Usually we worry about such things, but in the end we all Jump for pleasure, so for each their own. We have no simpler motto.”

“Does Erin have to go?” he asked the ghost of Fosters.

“That’s the real question isn’t it?”

“Would you still want me to stay?”

Dak was still. How long has it been since he took a breath? “Is she allowed to?”

“Alright, this is starting to make me sick. Just tell him what you told me before.”

There was a pause. It grew longer. “I think I’ve fallen in love with you. Dak. I’d like to stay if you’d have me.’

“Will they cut you loose?”

“Oh-hey sparky. No, no, you will both be working for Jump 101 or your lives with get messed up real quick.” He stood up and put the pistol away. “I’ll send someone over with the contract tomorrow.”

“What about these guys?”

“They know a little too much I’m afraid. Besides this bastard Waterman works for the Mayor. We have known that for a while. I’m taking him with me. He might be Jumped, but” he made a face, “he’s so nasty and ugly we may just have to dump him into a den of Mut-hounds.”

“I think I could talk Matthews around it. He’s a good kid.”

The Jumper stood and considered the situation. “I like him a bit too. He isn’t too bad for a pee I suppose. It’s a deal, but if he sinks so do you. I’m still taking Waterman.”

Soon the thing in Fosters’ shell left with Waterman slung over his shoulder. He wanted to deal with Matthews, but Erin was starting to cry.

He moved over to her. “You must hate me for lying to you.”

“How could I hate the woman who loves me? Everyone needs a job I guess. I hope it pays well for I expect dinner to be one you for about a year.”

She tried to smile.

He took her into his arms. “I can live with you know as long as you are a hundred percent honest from this day forth.”

“I can do that. I’ll start with I love you.”

“I love my Erin, no matter who the hell you really are.”

Discover Dak and Erin’s most insane adventure here!