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04 July 2019 @ 01:26 pm

Chapter Thirty

Checking in

“So how did it go?”

“Smoothly.” Xen kicked back in in his chair and eyed his boss. “We’ve collected a bunch of ID codes. The troops are working on decoding them, and then we’ll need some hackers to see if they can get into the system. Ra’d suggested a Oner by the name of Azko. If any other polities are interested, you might ask if they want to send someone.”

Xen eyed him. “Privately. Because they knew who to target for maximum effect. I suspect they still have people on the ground here. I’d like to find them before I bring the Renshe here.”

“Yes.” Lon winced. “In case they’ve got orders to kill any Transportees on sight or some such. So . . . does the God of Spies have a repours with spies?”

Xen couldn’t help but grin. “Of course. Do you have any idea how many people on Embassy are government agents of one sort or another?”

Lon snickered. “All of them?”

“ Close.” Xen bit his lip. “Lon . . . does sending other people into dangerous situations ever get any easier?”

Lon Hackathorn shook his head. “No. But you grow callouses. And . . . you being such a bloody lone wolf . . . and having a lot of personal and painful experience in how dangerous it can get . . . You are going to have to work at it. Fake confidence in their abilities. Because if they think you don’t think they can do it, they will doubt their own ability. And that will be deadly.”


“Sooner or later you’re going to lose people you know well, respect and like. And you’re going to turn around and send out someone else who you like to try again.”


“Deal with it. Get some callouses.” Lon sighed. “Callouses are only skin deep.”

“Oh . . . well . . .”

“Take a few days off to loaf around eyeing all the spies around here. I’ll see about getting you some computer experts.”

Xen pushed himself out of the chair and stepped into the hall. Which was occupied by half the staff. Xen jerked his thumb over his shoulder. “That why Lon’s a better boss than I am.”