Read The First Scene!
Our hero splashes to shore, safe, but with no memory of how he got there, let alone where he might be. He is allowed to lie gasping on a bed of gritty sand for a few moments, before something else happens, taking the action to another location, and another level at the same time.
Ana often wished she could be the protagonist in the scenario that began so many short-form dramas. Instead, here she was with her tongue down the throat of a Texan diplomat, her hand snaked around his neck, poised to deliver a fast-acting sleep inducer. She knew exactly where she was and how she’d got there. She was no safe harbor for illusions.
Sure, life would be grand if she were seducing the puffed-up, drawling midget-man for his money. In fact, she suspected that he suspected that the money was her true motivation. Yes, indeed. Life would be a blissful approximation of normal if things were that simple.
Ana lowered the sagging body to the thick pile of the carpet on the floor. She located the safe in a matter of seconds, pulled her cryptocycle from a garter strap, and set it to work aligning charged particles. In another matter of seconds, the door of the safe swung open.
Inside, several varieties of precious metals were stacked in columns of pressed bars. They glinted in the light, but Ana wasn’t here to steal anything quite so heavy. Instead she slid a slender arm over the top, found a keypad, tapped in a few numbers, and extracted a small square piece of manufactured material. She tucked the chip into a pocket laser-stitched into the fabric holding her bosom – what there was of it – in place. Her eyes rested for a moment on the stacks of hardened ores which represented a lifetime of wealth – at least for someone with her simple needs. Probably not enough for her to hide for a lifetime though, and certainly not enough to make it worth living with that kind of fear. She had no way of knowing how much of it was real anyway. Harbor no illusions. Predict only the future you can affect.
Ana had turned to make her escape when Mr. Hutchison started gurgling white foam. She dropped to a knee beside him and grabbed his wrist. His pulse was weak. Still unconscious, the diplomat coughed, and the white mess coming from his mouth turned pink as more blood was added to the mixture spilling down his face.
Mr. Hutchison had been given a neurotoxin that had reacted with what she’d injected into him. Either it was a security measure or someone had known she was coming. She didn’t have time to think about it. The security cameras would only be off for another two minutes and thirty-nine seconds. Never plan for a contingency, and you’ll never have one.
Fishing the diplomat’s comm from his pocket, she thumbed the button to trigger a security alert, and ran for the door.
Continue reading the first two chapters here: The Valkyrie Project