1:05 a.m. An Ice Era Chronicle

Chapter 7: Faith and luck.

”The target is some crazy recluse who lives in one of the Northern Earth Dens. Hes in an area of the ex-United States thats still partly accessible from the surface. And as for time? Im afraid my boys wasted a lot of it. You only have three days. I want you to check in with me. I need confirmation by 1:00 a.m. That gives me time to contact the client. ” Fletcher paused. ”We couldn get into his place. Its harder than I thought. ” Fletcher appeared embarrassed. Normally, she would make fun of him for that, but because of the timeline, she was reeling.

”You can be serious. Ive recon to do, weapons, and logistics. Three days, my ass. ”

Fletchers laugh nauseated her. Karma had never before wanted to shoot someone as badly as she wanted to kill him.

”I have the entire job set. Ill download all the information to your cell. You can go over it on your trip there. Your phone will work until you get to the old Texas area. Once you get to Dallas, the snow and ice will get thick. Your phone will become a paperweight. My boat is waiting, and I have all the ins and outs. All you have to do is go there and do what you do best. Kill people. ”

Karma hated when he sounded smug. She also hated that it was true. She was good at killing people. After this, she would go somewhere and never be tied to anyone or anything again. She would get a job she actually wanted. Maybe she could get a hobby too. Maybe she would kill Fletcher first, but then she really was quitting.

”I don like prepackaged murder. I work alone. You, of all people, know that. I can trust your info or the fact you supposedly left The Seemyah. Besides, has it occurred to you that maybe I don kill people anymore? ”

”As for The Seemyah, Ive no ties to the family anymore. When I couldn have you, I couldn have them. And you don have to kill anyone if you don want to. ” Fletcher took a step back. ”Here are your options. We have a gunfight right here, right now, and youll probably escape, and you can probably hide again, but I can guarantee you that your so-called brother here will die. ”

Tad gasped. She had the urge to shush him.

”Or you can do this job, ” Fletcher continued. ”And, when you
e all done, you can both walk away alive. ”

Karma glanced at Tad behind her. His face was swollen, and his arm was horribly twisted. He didn look good. She remembered how her mother got all excited when she found out she would have a little boy to love. Her mother had loved her shiny new husband and his child from the moment they met. For her mother, she could risk her life to save Tad. It was the least she could do to make up for some of the mistakes shed made. There hadn been a lot of love between Tad and her over the years, but after all this time, she could do this for him. Shed risked her life for a lot fewer noble reasons.

”Fine, ” Karma sighed. ”Ill give you my cell. You can download the specifics, but while Im gone, I don want one hair on his head disturbed. Got that? ”

Karma eyed Fletcher while she put her gun into the holster on her thigh. She tossed her phone to him. He caught her cell with an easy sweep of his arm and finally put his weapon away. Once his gun was no longer pointed at her, his disciples followed suit.

As Fletcher started to download information at a snails pace, she put her other weapon back in the pocket at the base of her spine. Since the ice damaged everything beyond the Equator, the towers and the satellites were slow. She had time to ask more questions.

”Where am I headed? ”

”Water Base. ” Fletcher finally finished with her phone, and he threw the cell back to her. She looked down at the information and swore.

”The mark is on a water treatment compound underground? Those water bases are fortresses! ”

”I told you it was in the NEDs. Northern Earth Dens are underground. You know that. ” Fletcher picked a piece of lint off his coat.

”I hung out on one of those bases once. ” Karma shook her head. ”Dad used to say the guy who runs them is out of his mind. They
e a maze. They say that man was military trained and better armed than the U.S. Army was before it was disbanded. This is a suicide mission. This is a setup. ”

”I thought you said we were babies. ”

”Its a setup by The Seemyah because I left and didn take my fathers position when he died. You and The Seemyah want to see me die so I never cause problems. ”

”If I wanted to see you die, Id kill you right now, and I don want The Seemyah anymore. I want something better. Anyway, the story is theres an old guy whos building water treatment bases all over the C.T.O.N.A. The Canadian government lets him because, without him, wed have no clean drinking water. The Canadian government is all about the water bases in the NEDs. They
e part of the whole rebuild-and-survive initiative. ”

”Don bullshit me, Fletcher. Canada has been running the old U.S. and Mexico since we lost in the Oil War. Theyve no reason to rebuild anything in the C.T.O.N.A. They like everything the way it is, and water treatment plants are a necessity. Everyone dies without water, ex-Americans, ex-Mexicans, Canadians, everyone. Besides, its not new information that water bases have been appearing. They
e the only safe places to live. People are flocking to them. They
e going to be underground cities one day. ”

Karma glanced again at her phone and read the first name on the screen. It was only one word. Mac. It seemed familiar, but she couldn place it. When nothing came to her, she went to study the stats. Every line was blank.

”What the hell, Fletcher? Youve got nothing on Mac? And who are these other guys that you sent me info on? ”

”I forgot how annoying you are to work with. Scroll down and youll see the two men that need to be left alone. There can be no accidents. Mac dies, and the other two will be left for me to handle. Besides, Bennett isn even on the base. He travels a lot. Just take care of Mac. ”

Karma gave Fletcher a curt nod and kept reading.

She was a professional, so it was completely offensive that Fletcher would imply she would make a mess. She didn comment on the insult and instead looked at the next name. The next one also had a familiar ring. Eric Bennett. This young man had pages of data. He was a thirty-one-year-old wealthy heir with a house on the Equator. Only the super-rich could afford a house above ground in the last remaining areas with no surface ice. If this guy had so much money, why would he be hanging out in a frozen area like the C.T.O.N.A.? Why would he be in the NEDs? The Northern Earth Dens weren the safest places unless you were on an already established water base. This didn make any sense. Was Bennett the client? Was that why he wanted to make sure that he was safe while the hit went down? Why did his name seem familiar? Maybe shed worked for him on another job.

Karmas inner voice screamed setup though she didn say it out loud. There were to be too many pieces to this puzzle. If her dad were here, he would deal her a hand of poker and tell her to check her luck.

”I want Mac dead. Hes building a new compound. A new water base should be easy to get into. When its still under construction, its weaker. Im sure someone as good as you will have no problems. Just check in when you
e done. ”

”At one a.m.? ” Karma replied distractedly. Already her head filled with plans to get into the base. She would need a few items.

”For you, princess, ” Fletcher shrugged. ”Since weve such history, how about I give you an extra five minutes. 1:05 a.m. ”

”Save it. I know you don care about the time. Besides, Ill be done long before that. Just keep your fists off Tad while Im gone. ”

”Your brother will stay with us. If things don go well, lets just say Ill send you a picture. ”

”Stepbrother, ” she sighed. ”And after this, Im out, Fletcher. I mean it. Im not killing anyone else. I left The Seemyah. Im free to do what I want. ” After her confident statement, Karma realized that might not be entirely accurate.

”Yeah, right, whatever you say, ” Fletcher responded, unfazed. He flashed another one of his dazzling smiles.

Karma glared and grabbed her extra weapons. She studied her frightened stepbrother and then made sure to find her deck of cards. She didn deal herself a hand. There was no point. She would do the job, and she hoped after she was done maybe, just maybe, she could change her luck.

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