Jamie Jeans, Max Fauth, & Rob Rutherford

Winters Investigations,

My name is John Harris and I would like to retain your services. I would like you to bring back two runaways from the zone. I wish to make an appointment to discuss the details of the contract and make you a formal offer.

John Harris

Reading over the e-mail again, Korey rubbed her chin. All in all, it wasn't telling her much in the way of details, but the job seemed fairly simple.

"Simple, yes... easy to carry out? Probably not," she mused aloud. She checked the time on the grandfather clock sitting along one wall of the living room turned office. The steel hands read 7:30.

"Hmmm... well, why not? It is not as though I have clients beating down my door to get at me." After a few minutes, the reply was sent off and Korey got up to cook some breakfast.

It was over the sound of frying bacon that she heard her computer beep. Setting the frying pan back down on the stove, she sucked the grease off her fingers and punched up the newly arrived e-mail. Listed there was a meeting time and place: 6:30 PM, at the DF Productions Archology.

"This must be pretty important to hold a meeting on their own ground," she thought. "Especially their main headquarters and not some branch office or a restaurant. But, if anything, this has me intrigued."

A sudden loud 'WOOFFFF' caught her attention and she turned back to see her bacon go up in flames. "My breakfast!!!"

"DF Production," the worlds largest media conglomerate. Computers, Stereos, TVs, vids, music; if it was worth distributing then it was bought up, repackaged with their name on it and sold. And not only in North America, but every other continent on Earth. Korey knew all this and more as the free time before the meeting she had had had been put to use studying the company inside and out.

However, walking through the arcology and eyeing the many stores, all of which DF Production owned, she had to wonder exactly why such a well off conglomerate would hire her to capture two runaways.

Like all arcologies, the first few ground levels were shopping malls that were open to the mall, and it was a job for the espionage expert to make her way through the crowds that drifted through the mall like so many packs of fish. As she made her way through the mall, she spotted a "Cheers" pub, logo included. Across from that, she spotted the restaurant from "Hudson Hawk" and one beside that named "Mos Eisley." Slowing down, she took a more careful look of the names and discovered that a good many of them, and those with logo's, were from vids and movies that had no small amount of notoriety. Shaking her head, Korey sighed and continued on.

Arriving at the main reception desk, Korey casually observed the area around her, carefully taking mental note of the guards, employees, and what security cameras she could spot. The reception desk was what she'd expected of a company this large: constructed of black obsidian with numerous monitors built into it and shaped like a section of an circle. Standing in front of it, Korey waited for the Lynx, a six foot tall synthetic with long black hair and cute ears on the top of her head and a cordless phone attached to one ear, to notice her.

"Good morning, ma'am, and welcome to DF Productions. How may I help you?" she finally said.

"Good morning, I'm Korey Winters and I have a ten o'clock appointment with John Harris," she replied.

The Lynx looked down and typed rapidly on a keyboard for a few seconds. "Yes, he is expecting you. Please wait while an escort comes to pick you up."

Korey nodded and took a seat at one of the many plush office chairs in the reception area. After a few minutes of waiting, a different Lynx, this one with deep violet hair and gold eyes wearing a black business suit, arrived. "Please follow me," she said.

A few minutes later, Korey entered John Harris' office and immediately took in all the details: black tiled floor, expensive desk, expensive data unit, a additional synthetic, this one a Security Guard class Puma that Mitsumi Inc were so famous for, and a rather fabulous view over the skyline of Neo York City.

"Ah, Miss Winters, so glad you could make it," John Harris beamed at her as he stood up from behind his desk and approached. He took one of her hands and, after a moment to receive her nod of permission, kissed it softly.

"It's a pleasure to finally be doing business with the DF Productions company, Mr. Harris," Korey replied as he let go of her hand the two of them sat down opposite one another. Korey studied him intently, and inwardly made a sigh of disgust at his apparel. While the DFP Inc clothing did show a rather blatant product loyalty, the fact that it was in the form of golfing clothing was a testament to the man's lack of good taste. However, the clothing did accentuate his athletic build, a build, no doubt, brought about by countless hours in the company gym.

"Can I get you anything, Miss Winters?" he asked.

"Yes, if it's not too much of a bother. Earl Grey Tea, please."

With a nod to the Lynx, she left and came back a few minutes later with a tray carrying the tea, some milk and sugar, and a couple of finely selected biscuits.

"Now, to the business at hand," Korey started as the Lynx poured her a cup and offered it to her.

"Ah yes... it's fairly simple, the retrieval of two women from the Zero Zone. I expect such a job should be completed in no less a day for someone of your skill." From a drawer, John took out a number of photos and handed them over. Korey easily recognized the silver haired woman as Silver, whom she knew to be a dancer at the 93 Underground. The pictures of the second woman, a dark haired Japanese girl, she did not know.

"Hmmm... what can you tell me about them?" Korey asked in-between sips of tea.

"The first is named Evelyn Grey, the daughter of a, colleague of mine," John started. Korey took note of the slight pause before colleague, but kept quiet. "She's a a genetic up-grade." He handed her the second picture. "This person is called Gem... I think. And she also has some sort of upgrade. But I'm not sure if it's genetic or cybernetic."

Korey nodded. "Anything else?"

"Not that I am aware of."

Korey sipped her tea. There was obviously something he was not telling her, and by the way he stared back at her expectantly, it was something personal. Was this a matter of pride? Or something else? Inwardly, she gave a mental shake of her head. The only other subject of interest to speak next on was payment.

"I see... well then, let us discuss my payment. As you know, my policy is half up front and half on completion," she explained.

"I will be more then glad to pay you twenty thousand dollars for your efforts," John said. "And an additional twenty thousand upon completion. Does this meet your expectations?"

"You are most generous, Mr. Harris, and yes, it does." A tiny voice spoke up within her, a small whisper of doubt questioning why so much would be offered for two girls who weren't even out of their teens yet. Korey dwelled on it for a moment before pushing it aside. After all, she was a professional, and professionals didn't fuss over such nonsense.

Seated in a corner of the Edge of Night, Korey ran a hand through the light blonde hair wig that was affixed firmly to her head, and blinked eyes that shined a bright purple in the flashing lights of the dance floor. Her seat had been well chosen, and not so easily bought from it's previous occupant, but now she had a clear view of the two women.

Stirring her drink lazily with one finger, Korey drifted her gaze about the club every so often, her thoughts lingering on the past couple of days spent on tracking the two down. Eve had been relatively easy to track down, especially when her job was that of a dancer/stripper at one of the most popular bars in the Neo York Zero Zone. It had been the second woman, who she now knew to be Gem, that had been harder to track and observe. Oftentimes, she had seen her disappear with the same woman who had helped her to save the life of the Shion puma, and other times she had simply disappeared.

John had, of course, requested almost daily updates on her progress, a stipulation that she knew she should have squashed the moment it was given, and they had come at the most inopportune times.

A beeping noise came from her right pocket...

Such as now.

Being careful to keep it from view, Korey withdrew the pager and read the words scrolling across the screen: "Report now on your progress."

She sighed and was about to turn it off when one of her targets started to move off. It was Gem, and from the way she moved, she was drunk. She talked with Eve for awhile, their voices lost over the loud music, and then walked out.

Pulling out a folding keyboard, Korey plugged it into the pager and quickly sent off a message: "Will report back in five minutes, prepare transport." Once it was sent, she unhooked the keyboard, folded it back up, and placed it and the pager inside her coat pocket. She left a few dollars to pay for the drink, retrieved her firearms from the bouncer, and left.

Korey stepped quietly, her breath shallow as she trailed the dark figure ahead of her. The Japanese girl stepped into a pool of light cast by a nearby home. Korey raised her dart gun in anticipation. Somehow, she was heard. Gem spun around before her, swaying slightly. "What're you-" she began. Korey fired on instinct, aiming dead to rights and landing the dart in Gem's chest. The girl staggered back for a second, then dropped like a rock.

"Easy enough," Korey said to herself with a smile. She stepped over to Gem and knelt beside her. "Nothing personal," she muttered as she leaned closer. Her expression changed to one of concern; the girl's breathing was shallow and almost undetectable.

"Oh dear," she whispered. "She must have been more inebriated then I thought."

Kami turned the corner in time to see her friend lying on the ground, a blonde girl kneeling over her. She had some guesses as to what was going on, but remained calm. Still she was prepared for a fight if necessary.

She picked up the pace, her hands balled into fists.

The sound of someone stepping on a can caught Korey's attention and she whirled around, gun in hand. At the sight of the battle ready Eve, Korey knew that taking her out would not be as easy as taking Gem out had been.

Covering the distance between them in the blink of an eye, Kami back handed the dart gun from Korey's hand, sending it spinning off into a pile of garbage. Wincing, Korey dropped down and swung her legs about in an effort to knock Kami down, but only caught air.

Having used the same attack earlier that night, Kami had easily been prepared for it and hopped back, adopting a defensive stance. She looked her opponent over and knew that she wasn't ordinary street trash. Patiently, she waited for her to make the next move.

Inwardly, Korey was cursing her bad luck. She knew that the two were together but had decided for a close encounter rather then taking them out from afar. Now the tranquilizer gun, her only hope for taking out someone who was obviously faster and stronger then she was, lay in the garbage.

"I suppose we could not discuss this like civilized people," she began. Perhaps she could put Kami off guard enough to make a lunge for the gun.

"Sure." Kami's voice was icy calm, and her eyes almost expressionless. "Explain yourself." It was hard to believe that this was the same person flirting and dancing in men's laps or even the same person smiling in the picture she was given earlier.

Smiling as big and as friendly a smile as she could, Korey nodded. "Of course!" She cleared her throat. "The crow flies at midnight, purple monkey red dog."

Kami, was nonplused. "I'm being uncharacteristically generous right now. If you're not going to explain, start running."

"So much for that," Korey thought as she twitched her arm. The Duen slid easily into her hand and she snapped her hand up even as she made a run for the garbage pile, quickly firing off one of the five rounds contained in the small gun.

Kami easily sidestepped the round fired, it hadn't even graze her jacket. "Well, that was stupid, just standing there and talking to her," Kami thought as she drew her 'zeta and cocked it.

Korey heard the distinctive click, moments before she reached the garbage and quickly fired off another shot as she tossed herself into the refuge.

The bullet lodged itself in Kami's armor cloth, but it barely fazed her as Korey continued into the garbage like a bull in a china shop, grabbing blindly for the tranquilizer gun. Shots pelted the garbage about her, and she knew that she was only a slow clod compared to the lightning quick reflexes of her foe.

"You can raise both your hands and come out of there," Kami said.

Standing up slowly, Korey held the Duen up by its barrel and faced Kami. She felt the weight of the Tranquilizer Gun in her hand and quickly moved it up into her coat sleeve.

"Drop the Duen and come over here."

The Duen clattered to the ground even as she raised her hands and felt the tranquilizer gun slide down her coat sleeve. "You do know she's going to require medical assistance," Korey stated.

"Let's get her to Dr. Lydia down on Clark Street."

"She won't make it there... however, I can get her medical attention in minutes, if you allow me to call some friends."

"Call 'em, and no funny business. If she dies, you follow."

Korey nodded, and from out of her coat pocket she pulled a small radio. "Hello, this is Korey. Send the transport now. Home in on my signal." Pushing a button on the side of the radio, she placed it in her coat pocket. "You might want to holster the gun. Just a warning in advance."

Kami slowly put her pistol away, but remained wary and alert. Before long, the sound of a large aircraft could be heard followed shortly by the aircraft itself. A large spotlight snapped on as the aircraft, a V-22 Osprey, came to a landing on the street, it's powerful engines whipping up the dirt and garbage and blowing it aside. Before it had even touched the ground, the rear and side hatches came open and a group of four men got out.

They were dressed in gray and white camo-pants and jackets, with a jet black vest that had the DF Productions logo in bright gold on the right breast pocket. All were armed with Stry GB-100 handguns and Jinsei M-100 Assault Rifles, all of which were trained on Kami and the unconscious Gem.

Korey walked up to the lead man, and motioned to Gem. "She needs medical attention, stat!" He nodded and waved two of his men forward to better cover Kami, then waved his remaining man forward to pick up Gem.

Kami kept her hands high, she knew that they didn't have much opportunity to use their grenade launchers, and she wasn't about to give them one anytime soon.

As soon as Gem had been carried in, the Team Leader spoke up. "Remove all of your weapons and lay them on the ground! Then back away!"

Korey stayed close by, her retrieved weaponry armed and at the ready as Kami slowly lowered her left hand and undid her gun belt. Attached to it was a Zeta, Ammo clips, and a katana, which she laid carefully on the ground before undoing the second belt. Attached to this one was yet another Zeta, more ammo clips, and a second sword, smaller then the first. Her movements were slow and deliberate, and her eyes were locked on Korey.

"Sorry," Korey said. "Just doing my job."

"Remember what I said earlier." Kami's voice was calm and flat.

Korey nodded, and kept her weapon trained on Kami as the Black Ops member who had carried Gem into the Osprey returned and, with an order from the leader, retrieved Kami's weapons while the other two flanked her from an angle. The leader took out a pair of hand cuffs and tossed them to her. "Put them on," he ordered. She did so, albeit reluctantly.

Once her weapons were away from her, the three members of the team guided her inside the Osprey, followed by Korey. The interior of the Osprey was spacious, despite the room taken up by emergency supplies and the folded down Gurney that Gem was currently occupying. A dark haired medical Lynx in field gear was knelt over her, tending to her gently. The moment she saw her, Kami's eyes never left her.

"These guys are really cocky," thought Kami. "Sure they've got assault rifles and grenade launchers, but no way are they going to be using them inside. I doubt they even have live ammo, as it would defeat the purpose of my assailant carrying a tranq gun."

Korey holstered her guns and took a seat across from her, as did the leader and one of his man. The remaining two sat down on opposite sides of Kami, albeit two seats over, All had their guns at the ready in case she tried anything. The doors slid up and locked into place. Moments later, the Osprey took to the air.

Kami finally spoke. "So do you guys work for my father, or for Mr. Ashton?"

"Actually, neither," Korey replied. "A Mr. John Harris hired me to return both you and your friend to him for some reason or another."

"Harris?" Kami seemed genuinely surprised.

A slight frown creased Korey's face. "I take it you were expecting someone else...?"

"That's just not somebody I normally have something to do with, unless..." Kami paused to think. "Unless he's blaming me for something that happened to Terry."

Korey frowned a little more. This was certainly not along the lines of why she had been asked to retrieve the two young women.

"Terry's Mr. Harris' son youngest son. He and a friend of his showed up in the Zone awhile back. He had a Puma with him and was using her to push people around and start problems. Pumas are tough, but not that tough."

Korey sighed. Revenge, plain and simple. John's little boy had been hurt and now 'daddy dearest' was making amends. Perfect.

"Yeah, well the little shit bag would have tried to rape me in the 93U if it hadn't been for Gem."

Korey was about to reply when the radio from the cockpit came alive.

"Control to 0-14. Scrub the mission."

At that, Korey arched an eyebrow and the Black Ops team turned to look in the direction of the cockpit. Kami immediately recognized Angel's voice through the squelch and perked up.

The pilot swore. "Damn, it's that Angel bitch. What the hell is she doing interfering with a field operation?" He seemed rather frustrated.

The leader of the team spoke up. "This is a mission for Mr. Harris. Tell her mission scrubbed, returning to home. Then continued on as planned."

"Excuse me, but who is this Angel you are speaking of?" Korey asked the pilot.

"She's some mercenary that Mr. Ashton hired. She and her people answer to him only," the pilot replied. "Mission Scrubbed, Control..."

Korey frowned, and glanced over to Gem and Kami.

The group leader continued. "She and her people have been doing crap like security audits, training, and rewriting the security manual."

"Which is why she has the authority to put an end to this mission, correct?" ventured Korey.

"We're doing this for Mr. Harris and Terry. This has nothing to do with her," said the Team Leader.

"Let me guess, the four of you are going to hold me down while Mr. Harris and Glassjaw do what Tony and Terry tried?" said Kami, her voice dripping in sarcasm.

"Come on, Steve's a fucking rapist who believe's that women are his for the taking and then hides behind daddy's money and lawyers when he get caught. And Terry wanted to be just like him," the man beside Korey piped up.

Korey sighed and shook her head. Her shoulders slumped slightly and she glanced at Kami, making eye contact for a second "Gentlemen," she started, hand drifting down to her sides. "I am afraid that I will have to sever our business association." Before the surprise could settle in, Korey cracked her elbow into the team leader's face, shattering his nose.

With the guards attention completely on Korey, Kami took the opportunity to release the belt holding her into her seat. Before he could notice, she snapped her foot up in the same kick she has used to break the Puma's neck, striking the guard to her left in the helmet and knocking him out cold.

The guard to Korey's left got up and began to bring his gun to bear on her, but she grabbed onto it and wrestled him back, twisting the gun towards the cockpit. He cursed in her face and tried to rip the gun free of her, but she kneed him in the groin.

But as he was struck, he also pulled the trigger as he was struck, and the M-100 Assault Rifle uttered a long burst. The pilot cried out in pain as the bullets ripped through his body and shattered the front windshield. He slumped forward onto the controls, and the craft dipped forward, throwing everyone inside off balance.

"At least it wasn't the grenade launcher," Korey muttered as she pushed the guard forward as they fell to the floor. She jammed the barrel into his neck and he coughed and gasped for breath. Yanking him up by his vest, she head butted him, knocking him out.

The guard to Kami's right had just enough time to look surprised at her first attack when she tucked her legs in and lashed out at him with her feet, knocking his head squarely into the bulkhead and fracturing his helmet.

The leader staggered to his feet, blood streaming freely from his nose. "God damned bitches...!" he yelled, bringing his gun to bear on Korey, who was pulling the dead pilot out of his chair.

Kami was in her element, so to say. She was the only wired combatant fighting a group of normals. The handcuffs were a minor annoyance when your opponent might as well be moving in slow motion. Kami launched herself across the Ospery, catching the leader with a sharp kick to the knee. The sound of cracking bone cut through the noise in the cockpit. As he crumpled to the floor, Kami got him in the side with another kick. He hit the bulkhead with a wet splat. He would not wake up for a long time.

With a thud, the pilot hit the floor and Korey jumped in his seat, and strapped herself in. Grabbing a hold of the control stick, she yanked on it hard. "Brace yourself!" she yelled back, grunting as she pulled harder on the control stick. "The controls have been damaged and we are in a dive!"

"Crap." Kami buckled herself into Korey's old seat.

Gritting her teeth, Korey pulled harder on the control stick, the wind blowing in through the shattered windshield, whipping her hair about and stinging her eyes. Through narrowed eyes she could see the moonlight reflected on the East River come up at them at a heart pounding speed. She shoved that out of her mind, shoved the sound of the tilt winged VTOL straining against the pull of gravity, closed her eyes and pulled harder, harder...

Finally, with a change so gradual that no one could feel them at first, the Osprey leveled off, the bottom skimming the East River in a spray of water. Korey almost laughed aloud in relief, but managed to keep it under control. The blood from the pilot had splattered onto the control panel, dribbling in through the holes the bullets had created. She could almost smell the burned wires and circuitry, and although the aircraft was leveled, the controls were sluggish and not very responsive.

"We will not be able to stay in the air for long!" she shouted. "So prepare yourself for a rough landing!"

The Medical Lynx, who had stayed back close to Gem the entire time, nodded and tightened the straps holding Gem in before seating and strapping herself in.

"Good idea," Kami said.

Concentrating on the task at hand, Korey searched the quickly approaching land for a suitable landing strip. "Tell me, Eve, do you have much knowledge about how to pilot an aircraft such as this?" she yelled.

"Hell no!" Kami yelled, "I don't even have a drivers licence!"After getting smacked in the side of the head with her own katana, she decided that it was safer to wear her weaponry than leave it free in the compartment.

"Wonderful," Korey muttered. "Prepare for a water landing!" She grabbed the throttle and tugged on it, but it barely moved. "Oh, simply MARVELOUS!" With a sigh of regret, Korey watched as the water disappeared beneath them, only to be replaced by land and the concrete streets and avenues of Neo York City. Before her glimmered forty story tall buildings that could easily rip the wings from the already damaged Osprey.

Gripping the control stick so tight that her knuckles were white, Korey wrestled the plane through the valley of concrete and steel. She ignored the fact that the Osprey was flying just over the height of the street lamps, ignored the fact that the controls were growing even more unresponsive, and the fact that all the instructions she had ever had in flying were done in a simulator.

Suddenly, the Osprey burst out of the maze of forty story buildings and flew out over Central Park. With a crash that shook the aircraft, the bottom sheared off the top of a trio of trees, bouncing it up into the air. The control stick slammed back into her gut, dazing her for a few seconds. It yanked away as the craft dipped forward sickeningly. Korey grabbed at it and yanked hard, pulling the nose up moments before the Ospray slammed into the ground... hard.

The nose crumpled, the weaponry stored in it shattered into so many useless hunks of metal. Korey was dashed against her restraints, as was the Lynx, Gem, and Kami. The rotors bit into the ground and broke off, followed by the left wing as the Osprey skidded along and tipped to one side. It flew off in a spray of fuel even as the rear end swung out and to the side and the remainder of the left wing crumpled beneath the weight of the rest of the Osprey. Finally, with an almost anticlimactic thud, the Osprey grinded to a stop on its side against a pair of tall Oak trees.

"How the hell did we survive that?" Kami muttered, remembering what Angel used to say about the Osprey not being crash worthy.

"How is... everyone doing?" Korey gasped as she hung against the restraints. She blinked dazed eyes, and noticed the crumpled form of the Team leader half sprawled out the now completely shattered windshield.

"Looks like we survived!" said Kami.

Korey fumbled for a moment with the restraints before they came undone and she dropped down. Looking back, she saw that everyone had indeed survived the crash intact. The Medical Lynx had already gotten herself free and was, with the help of Kami, easing Gem out of her restraints.

"Good... now, we had best make haste else we will have to answer to the local authorities about our unscheduled landing." Korey faced the Medical Lynx. "If you have any problem, then stay here. If not, then follow me."

The Medical Lynx shook her head. "As the only remaining living member of this team, I have no other option but to follow your orders."

"Korey, you get those bastards out of there. I don't wanna see anybody burn to death," said Kami.

Korey nodded. "Very well... you-" She pointed at the Medical Lynx. "Give Gem to Eve, and help me get these men out of here." She motioned to the members of the Black Ops team still strapped in.

The Lynx handed Gem carefully to Kami, who then left the Osprey through a tear in the hull of the aircraft, followed shortly thereafter by the Lynx and Kami, both with men slung over their shoulders. Setting the men down a safe distance from the demolished aircraft, the three quickly made haste from the crash site.

Gem's eyes gently fluttered open. Through the faze of her vision and the pounding in her head, she could barely make out her surroundings. The room was white, warm and well-furnished. She could feel herself in a soft and comfortable bed, with something pressing up next to her. She rolled her head over, and saw Silver snuggled up to her body. She groaned slightly, and moved her hand under the sheets. Her clothes were still on; good to know, but what happened last night?

"Ah, it is good to see that you are finally awake. How do you feel?" asked a soft, cultured voice.

"Huh?" Gem muttered through her haze. Looking around, she saw a white-haired blur sitting by her bed. Not knowing who it was, she simply tried to answer the question. "Sick. Real sick," she mumbled.

The white haired blur gave a sound of concern and lay a hand on her forehead. "Are you experiencing dizziness? Loss of vision?"

"Yeah, both," she mumbled. As her vision began to clear, she started to make out details.

The woman's eyes were different shades of green, one light and the other dark, and there was a streak of blue hair in the middle of her hair. "Both are temporary, I assure you. It's simply the effects of the combination of alcohol, tranquilizer, and the medicine to clear up both."

Gem shook her head. "Yeah..." she blinked. "I remember now. Some mad woman shot me."

The woman laughed softly, and dabbed Gem's forehead with a moist face cloth. "Yes, I know. That mad woman was me. Korey Winters, President of Winters Investigation Inc. A pleasure to meet you."

"What?" Gem batted her arm away, and tried to get out of the bed. She simply stumbled, and collapsed in a heap on the floor. "Crap..."

Korey sighed and helped Gem back into bed. "You should not move so quickly so soon. You are still very much out of it. And for that, I do apologize."

"So what did you think you were doing?" she said, somewhat calmer than before.

"My job... at least, I was until the entire operation was called off. From there on in, I proceeded to save your life along with Eve's..." Korey tucked her into bed, and smiled as the sleeping Silver snuggled back up to Gem.

"I guess I owe you..." Gem sat up again, and tried to shake her head clear.

Korey sighed and pushed her back down. "You do not owe me anything. However, if you feel you must repay me, then follow my orders: Lay down and rest."

"Gladly," Gem muttered. She lay still for a while, then sat up again. "So who hired you, and why did they call it off?

"Well, do you happen to remember a pair of corporate executives that you and Eve fought in self defense some time ago? Their father ordered me to bring both you and Eve back to... ahem... account for your indiscretions." Korey picked up a pitcher of water and filled up a glass. "However, as to who called it off, I'm not sure. I heard the name Angel over the radio, but nothing more."

"Angel..." Gem ran the name over in her head, but didn't say anything.

"I tell you though, out of the entire ordeal, you came out of it with the least amount of new bruises." Korey pointed to the bruise on her forehead, then the ones on her arms. "Of course, I was amazed that we all survived the crash."

"Crash?" Gem asked, then shook her head. "Skip that."

"A wise idea. Of course, I'm sure your significant other will fill you in on that later." Korey motioned to the sleeping Silver.

Gem looked as if she'd choked. "My what?" she exclaimed.

"Oh, you know... your girlfriend."

Gem glanced at Kami. Predictably enough, the other woman was smiling in her sleep. "My..." Gem muttered, then looked back at Korey. Her cheeks reddened as she asked "What did she say about me?"

"Oh, not much. We were all fairly fatigued by the time we arrived at my home. Then there was the matter of getting cleaned up; Eve saw to that personally. But all the while she did appear to be very concerned for your well being and since I know she has no sister, I assumed you two were an item." Korey handed the glass to Gem. "Can you sit up?"

"Yeah, I'll be fine." Gem sat up, and drank from the glass. "But we're not like that," she hastily added once she'd finished.

Korey took the glass from her and blinked in genuine surprise? "Really? I had thought from last night's happenings in the club that you two were quite close."

"You..." Gem turned bright red. "You were watching us?"

Korey nodded. "But of course. Standard surveillance before apprehension."

Gem seemed to hunch down in place, growing ever redder. "And did you hear..." she trailed off.

"Not quite. The music drowned out anything I could have heard." She frowned and placed a hand to Gem's forehead. "Are you feeling well?"

"I'll live. What time is it?" she asked.

"Two P.M." Korey answered. "You've been asleep for quite awhile now."

"Two? Crap!" Gem exclaimed. She threw off the sheets and rolled out of bed, staggering on her feet but barely keeping her balance.

Before she could take another step, Korey stopped her. "You do know you are in no condition to go anywhere, no matter what it may be."

"I've gotta. My boss is relying on me."

"Then call her and inform her of your status. It would not do for you to collapse five feet outside the door."

Gem shook her head. "I've gotta be there now."

Korey frowned at her. "And this is something that cannot wait?"

"Absolutely. It's my job."

"Very well then. I shall you escort you there." And with that, Korey took up her shoulder holsters, the guns already in them, and slipped it on before pulling on an old, battered leather coat about it.

Gem padded herself down. "Have you got my gun?"

"In the night stand by the bed. Top drawer," Korey replied.

Gem retrieved her gun and glanced at Kami. "Let's go."

Korey nodded, then left the room, leaving the two women alone.

Gem turned to follow her, but stopped and looked back at the still-sleeping Kami. She gave a slight smile, then followed Korey out.

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