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Old 10-01-2007, 08:24 PM   #57
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Just before she left, Stark's office, Kathryn Davis sent a small string of code to the chip in the reader, which unlocked the remainder of the information for Stark's use. Then, she walked out.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Once he'd left Jennifer at the bar, Jon did indeed go to the restroom. But he didn't stay there. At the mirror, he withdrew a small bottle from one of his suit pockets, shielding his face with one hand, he sprayed it; instant spray-on hair color. He put the bottle back in his suit pocket once his hair had been sprayed fully bright red. Then, he gave his beard and mustache a light trim and shed the suit jacket. Even if there were cameras in the mens' room, which Jon was almost certain there would be, he was here as Galactic Police Force Major Jerry Taylor... and even if Stark didn't appreciate the Terran Union or any of its police forces and organizations, it wasn't as if Major Taylor was doing something out of the ordinary. So Jerry Taylor had changed his look. GPF officers did that often.

Hidden beneath the suit was a series of small, inflatable 'muscle enhancers', air bags designed to alter physical appearance ever so slightly. The greater majority of people looking at Jon now would not recognize him as Jerry Taylor. Satisfied, he left the bathroom, flashed his badge to a guard, who obligingly let him through a secured door. Security were alerted to 'observe, but don't detain' when it came to GPF. And Major Taylor wasn't going to any area that had major secrets to keep.

In the end, he didn't seem to find what he'd come for. He filtered through a few stacks of paper scattered about, but didn't pick anything up. Then, he left. On the way out, he made a quick stop by the bathroom to comb out the red coloring and deflate the muscle enhancers. As a final touch, he messed with his beard and mustache a little, to mask the fact that they'd been cut.

His final stop in the casino was back to the bar.

"I'm terribly sorry," he told Jennifer, "but work is calling me away from vacation." He smiled apologetically. "One of the many problems with being on the board... call me later..." He passed her a business card and headed for the door. If he'd judged her right, Jon expected she'd call the number fairly quickly. If she was smart, she'd suspect him of being someone other than who he'd claimed to be. The number was discontinued, but gave a second number to call. The second number was also discontinued and gave a third number.

The third number had an answering machine attached to it, which Jon never checked. The opening message announced, "If you've been given this number, I may or may not be sorry for you. To put it bluntly, you've been deceived by a master of deception. You may try... and you may even succeed, but I'm Jon Martin. I always get what I want. And that means you've been played. Have a fantastic day."

The phones would ring many times before admitting to being discontinued. The third phone was set up to ring a total of twelve times before it went to the machine. By the time, Jennifer Cleo realized she'd been speaking to Jon Martin the entire time, he'd be long gone... no trail for the bounty hunter to follow.

As he reached the shuttle, Maria Carter came from an entirely different direction, carrying assorted bags of food and other supplies.

"You went shopping?" Jon asked incredulously.

"We needed stuff," Maria replied bluntly. "Did you get the information?"

Jon tapped his forehead. "All up here."

They entered the shuttle. A few moments later, it took off and flew away from New Chicago, and then out into space, leaving Alpha Centauri IV behind.
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