Dust Chapter 11 Part 3

Tachi looked thoughtful. “The third was around the time I went looking for you in Australia. And Aleppo is where I found Noodles’ remains.”

Yeah, but it’s hardly conclusive.” I said. “Couldn’t some rich Assyrian just decide he wants to have cybersurgery at one of the top specialist clinics in the world?”

Surely there’s cyberclinics closer to home?” Kitty countered. “Istanbul, Cairo, Dubai. They’ve all got fantastic cybersurgery clinics. And if he was admitted way back on the 3rd for regular cybersurgery what’s he still doing here?”

Tachi pursed his lips to one side. “It might not be 100% conclusive, but it does bare further investigation.”

Then a spark flashed behind Tachi’s eyes. “Atom. Look for any patients with Japanese names and read them out for us. But only if both first and surname are Japanese.”

Atom summoned a vidwindow into his hand and read off it. “Isamu Kojima, Masahiro Tetsuoka, Sachiko Miyamoto, Daisuke Yamada, Hanako Tezuka, Ryoko Shimatani.”

Hold.” Tachi raised his hand. “Repeat that last one.”

Ryoko Shimatani.”

Tachi clicked his finger at me. “I believe Kiru no Yubi is a patient as well.”

I made a rolling motion with my hand at him. “Explain?”

Ryoko Shimatani, is not only the younger sibling of my sister Sana’s favourite heart throb when she was fourteen, she also used the name as an alias online.”

Oh god.” I said. “She wasn’t one of those was she?”

Now Kitty rolled her hand at me. “Explain?”

Tachi did it for me. “It was a popular thing in Tokyo for little girls to pretend to be, not their idols, but their idols’ siblings while online. To get attention from their gullible friends. Sana always was nostalgic about that age.”

Super Moe-Moe Ball giggled “What were you doing at that age?”

Tachi cocked his head to one side, as if he could read his history on the ceiling. “Trying to decide if I liked boys or girls.”

Kitty pressed her lips into a smile. “And?”

Tachi gave her the ‘come hither’ eyes. “And it’s time to get back to work.”

Yes please.” I groaned. “What are we doing now?”

Now?” Tachi smiled. “Now we get to move onto the fun part.”

The night before the heist I was sitting in the planning room of our rented safe house. We hadn’t fully re-synched our sleep patterns for a post-midnight break-in, so some of us had managed to get some sleep.

I hadn’t, and I likely wouldn’t until the sun rose next morning. That’s okay, because it was tomorrow night that we’ll be pulling the job.

[So that’s why you’re still up while the others are asleep?] Atom asked. His vidwindow floated around me, which was interesting conversationally, but his visual point of view was still limited to the tablet’s camera.

[Not really.] I shrugged, shaking the solvent bottle to see how much was still in it. [I just get jittery before big gigs like this. This one time it happens to work to my advantage. Well I hope anyway, I might still get tired in the middle of the job.]

Conscious of those who might not be as fortunate as I was, I’d moved myself to the meeting room and spread out a blanket on the table where I checked over the parts of my weapon.

[So what are you doing?]

[Well.] I said looking over the disassembled submachine gun. [This is a new gun so I’m checking over each piece to make sure they’ve been properly machined and fit together. After that I’m looking at the springs for correct tension and metal fatigue and then I’ll make sure that everything that needs lubrication is just wet enough.]

Up late, playing with your gun.” Kitty’s tired voice grumbled from the doorway. “I’m sure there’s a euphemism for masturbation in there somewhere.”

I glanced over my shoulder at her. Kitty was wearing a tight-fitting white t-shirt and black panties.

[Is that more of that ‘sexual tension’..?]

[Shut up].

I sighed quietly and turned back to the machine parts. Remembering my mental note to look at Kitty without checking her out. “What’s the matter? Can’t you sleep?”

Kitty joined me at the table and put her head in her hands. “Bad dreams.”

I picked up my weapon’s barrel and looked down it to see if there were any grit inside. I didn’t find any but put the brush through it anyway. “You’re kidding right? How old are you?”

Kitty gave me the look I’d become most accustomed to, the one that told me she thought I was stupid. “I keep thinking of Port Moresby.”

I put the barrel and the brush down. I dropped the attitude as well. “You want to talk about it?”

Kitty turned her eyes away. “No.” She said. “Talk to me about something else. What are you doing?”

Kicking the tires.” I said. “PR came through for me with this gun, but until I look it over I don’t know what condition it’s in. If I’m going to be trusting this thing with my life she and I had better get acquainted.”

Kitty ‘Hmphed’. “So it is a euphemism for masturbation.”

Grow the fuck up.” I said flatly, picking up the frame. “Is it masturbation when you defrag your hard-drive? Or when you spend hours on end coding an update for your skill packages?”

Kitty gave me a lazy look. “Coding isn’t masturbation. It’s love.”

I started putting the barrel assembly back together. “Well this isn’t love. This is life.”

Kitty gave me the stupid look again. “I think you’ll find it’s not. Quite the opposite.”

I threw Kitty a grin. “Mine. Not theirs.”
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