Monday, August 19, 2013

A Change Of Mind

By Edward M. Erdelac - 

Considine said nothing as the guards led him from the gyrolift to Morgenstar’s clinic, but inwardly, he cursed Kes and himself for putting all his trust in the man.

The clinic was as impressive as the rest of Morgenstar. This was no dispensary with a bored nurse standing by with bottles of aspirin and medical tape. It was a full service facility, and he felt the pit of his stomach shudder at the sight of the cold metal examination table.

“I’ve got to take a leak,” one of the faceless guards announced to the other suddenly.

“What? Now?” exclaimed the other.

“Got to. I’ve been holding it since we nabbed this one. Stay here and wait for the nurse.”

“Hurry up.”

The first guard left, but Considine’s thoughts of overpowering the other man vanished when the guard put himself in the corner and angled his three barreled hyperuzi so it would deliver a cone of fire that would redecorate the entire room. This was no moonlighting Enforcer working toward PC pension. Morgenstar could afford to hire professionals.

Considine glanced around, trying to think of some way out, when the door hissed open and a nebbish looking bald man all in white entered.

“How come there’s only one of you?” the nurse asked warily, stopping in the middle of the room.

“My partner’s taking a leak. Wanna wait for him?”

“I don’t have time for this,” the nurse snapped, annoyed. “I’m supposed to be on deck one-eighty-three in twenty minutes for a bounceball date.”

He crossed the room and went to one of the metal cabinets, sliding his hand across the identification padlock and swinging it open.

“You’re gonna have to hold him,” the nurse said over his shoulder, snapping on a pair of tight gloves.

“Just scramble his brain,” the guard grumbled, “and get it over with.”

“I’ve got to sedate him first,” the nurse said, turning around with a gun-like inoculator and screwing in a small bottle of clear fluid.

The guard sighed behind Considine, and he heard the clatter of his hyperuzi being slung over his shoulder by the strap.

The nurse stepped forward with the inoculator, and the guard’s boots squeaked on the floor.

“Damn it,” hissed the nurse. “Just a minute.”

He set the inoculator on the table and turned back to the cabinet.

Considine snatched it up and spun as the guard’s fingers brushed his elbows. He jammed the inoculator under the man’s unprotected chin and squeezed.

There was a metallic punching sound and the guard stumbled back, gurgling.

Considine reached out and caught the hyperuzi as it slipped off the man’s shoulder.

He trained it on the guard, but the man just crumpled in the corner.

He turned to the nurse, who was standing with his back to the cabinet now, hands up, fingers splayed, eyes wide.

He tossed the inoculator to him. The man fumbled, barely catching it.

“Ready another dose of the same, if you please. Quickly.”

The nurse rummaged in the cabinet. Several bottles tumbled from the shelf and tinkled across the floor.

Considine stood sideways, ready to pepper the doorway should the second guard appear, or fire on the nurse should he try something stupid.

The nurse held the loaded inoculator.

“Butt first,” said Considine, holding out his hand. He heard boots squeaking in the hall.

The nurse handed him the inoculator and backed away.

Considine made a shushing gesture and put his back to the wall beside the doorway.

It hissed open a moment later and the second guard stepped inside.

Considine pressed the barrel of the inoculator to the side of his neck and soon he was face first on the floor.

“Now,” said Considine to the nurse. “Which way to the corporate hangar?”

“Three floors up,” stammered the nurse. “But you can’t get to it. The lift won’t work for you without an executive or pilot ID.”

Considine stooped and plucked an ID card off the fallen guard’s belt, frowning at it.

“What about security?”

“They can go anywhere,” the nurse admitted.

Considine nodded and tossed the inoculator to the nurse again.

“One more dose,” he commanded. “’Fraid you’re going to miss your bounceball date.”

The nurse sighed heavily and went into the cabinet again.

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