Twenty Nine

Amaya comes up with the dresses, she called Mayumi and Satomi, who set up the original Chloe fan page. Then Mayumi graduated from NY Fashion Institute and Chloe Couture was founded.
“Mayumi took a look at the movie and knew instantly what fabrics to employ. She sent designs to our people, they made the dresses in a week. I called people at Murakami Sylk Films, they came up with the period jewelry and accessories. Some of it will have to be child sized.”
Eloise, “I can do that.”
Amaya, “That simplifies things, thank you sweet. So good to have a mechanical person on the premises.”
Janah joins us, it’s pre-tea, the business girls are still at the Chinatown HQ doing money things.
“Daria’s Shadow seeking program has come up with a possibility.”
“How possible?”
“Ninety percent certainty.”
“That’s pretty possible, I don’t recall any higher since she added the probability algorithm. What’s Prince Charmless up to?”
“Assisted suicide for starters, except not for sick people, or even people who want to die.”
“He gets people to off themselves?”
“Yep, and more. He gets a family of three, mom, dad and kid. He flips a coin, heads for dad, tails for mom. Whoever gets selected is offered a choice. Kill the spouse or kill the kid. Once he made them all play, three coins tossed, if all three come up the same, they toss again. Soon though, it’s two of one side, one of the other. Person with the odd coin has to make the choice.”
“So the kid is in, on the killing side.”
“It happened once that they know of, son chose mom to live, dad to die. You can imagine the repercussions.”
“And explanations of mystery man who made them do it sound insane.”
“Worse, nobody remembers any fourth person, they only say they felt compelled to do it. Like a voice in their head.”
“How many?”
“Six that we know of. Nevada and Colorado, four and two, all different cities.”
“How can one Shadow control three people, something isn’t right.”
Janah, “No, it’s not, there may be more than one, two talented Shadows could do it, particularly if one is a child.”
​Chloe, “How do we find a Shadow, or Shadows, who aren’t working one place?”
Janah, “Two possibilities. Cassie goes back in time, Daphne and I round up birds across the states involved and hope he doesn’t decide to go to Utah or Arizona.”
Nikko, “When do you leave?”
“Day after, we’re taking David Li to help with the birds. He and I will cover Colorado, Daphne and Sloane will take Arizona. I figure two days to get to enough birds. Vast swaths of Arizona don’t need coverage, it’s either desert or mountains with no people. We’ll drive the cities where nothing has been reported yet, then David and I will meet them at our Arizona home.”
“Lot of driving.”
“It is, so far, he’s stuck to places of some size.”
Amaya, “How do birds all over two states find you?”
“They don’t. We GPS them, then monitor. A stationary bird for a couple of hours is the signal they have a target. We hit the web to see the physical location, then drive or fly to it and determine if they’ve found the Shadow. It’s messier than I’d like, but I can’t come up with a better plan.”
Zi, “And we have to get to this guy and stop him. They get more and more insane.”
“I’m certain some are still looking for us. We’ve killed nine in the last thirty months. If there hadn’t been martial law during the vigilante uprisings, Shadows might have been more active, but people were cautious, paranoid of every stranger and some acquaintances.”
“Can’t blame them, everybody walking around with guns. Riding it out in Canada was a luxury most people don’t have.”
Nikko, “Shouldn’t you take more protection, Dasha and Daria? I’d go but we have a ton of work.”
I weigh in, “The twins have mom duty for now. The girls have embraced them, they are adjusting beautifully. I don’t want to pull them away for what might be a week or even more.”
Nikko, “Then call Black or Chan, both would be better. David Li is Shaolin, but he’s hardly a warrior monk, he’s a chemist, botanist and the Abbot. For all you know, this bizarre activity is not just Shadow entertainment, one or more could be trying to draw us out.”
“Point taken,” I dial Chan, put him on hold, dial Black and we conference. I explain the situation.
Black and Chan entered the Shaolin temple with us a zillion years ago, they are both priests of long standing. Black is black, and six four or five, body like an NFL linebacker, a big one. Chan is five nine, crediting him a half inch, built like a granite obelisk. 
Chan’s qi matches Janah’s, he can poke a hole through you with his mind, or his fist.
Since Dasha and Daria received the transmission from the grizzly in Canada, they are the only two people who can deal with Chan in our hand to hand sessions. The rest of us he tosses around like tennis balls. When he goes up against the twins, it’s the irresistible force against the immovable objects. Daria’s qi is almost as powerful, and when she and her sister combine energy, even Chan is stonewalled.
If they kept at it, the universe might explode. Mostly they’re happy to see who can toss the other across the room farthest.
Neither man would refuse a request for us. They both lead busy lives, but we come first and second, they would never think of declining.
“I’ll text you a time to show up at Teterboro. We fly to the Mesa airport, Janah, David Li and Chan go on to Denver. Don’t worry about weapons, we have drones and dart guns. The job is simple, watch our backs, if a Shadow shows, kill him.”
We click off, “Amaya, will you arrange the pharmaceuticals? We won’t do hotels in advance, we’ll be on the move and check in to whatever’s available. I’ll call Transportation and arrange cars.”
“The case will be ready, Oblivion, Truth, Sleep and Trust. Extra Oblivion.”
“Sloane, help Eloise pack drones, four, and four dart guns. Pack them two and two, one set for Janah’s crew, the other for mine.”
“They’ll be ready mom.”
Grace B, “I presume you think I’m just going to hang out here and tell Amaya to piss off. Isn’t happening. I travel with you and Black.”
“Emma B, you’ll have the house to look after on your own. Kota B stays with the girls twenty four seven.”
“I shan’t get much sleep, then again, I don’t sleep anyway.”
Zi, “We’re not helpless, we can make our own beds. Dasha will be here to feed us.”
“Amaya and Chloe will watch out for Cass and Oceane. Speaking of, I need to get Cassie searching.”
I go upstairs, Oceane’s not in her room, which means she’s in the pool or with the girls. Not the pool, one more flight up to the girls’ dorm. She’s in there, Cassie cross legged in the air over her shoulder. Girls are occupied with a program, what is it?Khan Academy, Bayes’ Theorem. Go figure.
“Cassie, come down for a sec please.”
She floats to the floor, unfolds her legs while she does it, settles gently standing up.
“I need you to watch a few news reports, Grace B has them ready for replay. She’ll be in your room. When you’re done, try to go back to the scene of the event. If you can get anything, make us a picture, a description, whatever you see.”
She taps the seated Oceane on the shoulder, she turns. Wherever she was, she wasn’t here, now she is. She stands and smiles.
“Daphne,” I get a warm kiss.
“Cassie is going to…”
“I know,” they head to Cassie’s room.
Janah giggles in my head, “Feeling creaky?”
“More like special ed, maybe we should get a short bus.”


Without doing a travelogue, suffice it to say we spend five days zooming around Arizona while Janah and crew zoom around Colorado. At least we’re in roomy top shelf  Tahoes. Black needs the space.
“Nice ride, and the state has lots of scenery, particularly up north, more green, less brown. We like going to your Arizona place, Ning gets to wind down, Chan spends time on the mountain with Danika. Chan can meditate for days. I’m not in his league.”
We didn’t have to go south from Phoenix, the Shadow, if that’s what it is, had already been through Tucson and a spot further south called Sierra Vista. His third kill was in Mesa, then Glendale just northwest of Phoenix proper. There were two incidents in Colorado, south, Durango and someplace called Cortez, the smallest town so far, population under ten thousand. Why he went though north Arizona without a kill is unknown, Shadows can be impulsive and erratic.
Sloane is asleep in the second row with Grace B. She’s either in hibernate or just eyeballing the surroundings. I pull over to the shoulder just outside Kingman. I walk to a spot out of sight of the road and wait. The way we get birds to show up is with intention. I intend for a bird, preferably an owl or an eagle to find me.
Ten minutes and a barn owl shows up on the branch of the scrawny tree I’m under. Kingman is still desert, craggy mountains surround the city, lucky an owl was around.
Barney, ‘A human who can understand. Who taught you?’
‘One of your Great Horned pals up north.’
‘I have heard of humans who understand, never met one, what do you want?’
Gets to the point at least. I explain the mission, that I’ve recruited birds along the way here and would appreciate her help and why.
‘You kill the Dark Ones.’
‘Yes, we call them Shadows, they are only partially human.’
‘My mother saw one once, she told me they appear black to us, the color around them.’
‘We call it the aura, an energy field surrounding all life.’
‘I know what it is. You want me to fly my territory and look for him. Easy. How do I find you if I see him?’

I show her the GPS, ‘It fits on your back, doesn’t impede your flight,’ I hold up my phone, ‘your position shows up on this.’
‘For insane creatures, humans produce amazing machines. Put it on.’
‘If you spot a Shadow, fly in a circle, then a smaller one, and a third even smaller, do not get close, he will kill for no reason. Find a place to rest and wait. The device will beep three times, that means we know you found him. You can hang around, I’ll show up and remove the GPS, or go on about your life, the band that holds it in place deteriorates after several suns and it will fall off on its own.’
‘Good enough.’
‘Thank you.’

She blinks, flaps her wings, the GPS stays in place. Barney is up and away with a screech.
It’s getting dark, my crew must be hungry. We check into a Best Western, king suite for Black, two queen beds in ours, go off to find dinner. 
“Grace B, you don’t have to go, it’s not like you eat or drink.”
“You think I am going to leave you unprotected? Don’t be an idiot.”
Black laughs, “So much for my usefulness.”
“There may be multiple Shadows Black, don’t be a second idiot, I’ve already got my hands full with Daphne.”
“Love you too Grace B.”
“Fuck off.”
We take a chance on El Palacio, typical Mexican, clean and orderly. Sloane is our only drinker, she passes and has a Diet Coke like Black and I. We have taquitos and flautas, then pulled pork and grilled sirloin with the typical Mexican accompaniments, rice, guacamole, pico de gallo with chips.
Black, “Not bad, little town like this, you never know. People passing through, they figure they can serve up anything.”
“Might have something to do with one of the customers being the size of a Humvee.”
Black goes off to the restroom, three guys walk in, half pissed already, looking for tequila and “sumpin’ ta-eet.”
One of them spots me. I’m not in anything particularly hot, loose jeans and a pullover. Grace B and Sloane are attractive, but their outfit are similar to mine. We aren’t advertising for companionship.
“Well boys, what we got here? Hello little honeys, ‘bout we buy you a drink at the bar? See you already done chowed down. Three of us, three of you, kinda like fate, huh?”
“If my fate is a cracker asshole.”
Second Chump, “Sassy little bitch,”
I stand, he changes his mind, “Fuck she’s taller than I am, all legs too. Now don’t go with no attitude girly. We’s nice guys, show you a good time.”
Black appears behind them, “Problem Daph?”
“Peckerwoods can’t handle their liquor, no biggie.”
They turn in synch and stare at Black.
Third Chump, the big one, as in lard fat, “Fuckin nigger boyfriend, got-tamn. Screwed up world.”
Black, “She’s not my girlfriend, I’m married,” he sticks his skillet sized hand up and twirls his wedding ring, “and she is a white girl.”
First Chump, “You got some of them mixed pickaninny kids?”
Grace B is standing next to him, “Move along assholes.”
First pokes her chest with his index finger, apparently too swizzled to notice it’s abnormally hard, “What the fuck you gonna do about it?”
“That is assault, “ she breaks his finger, hangs on to his hand and forces him to his knees.
Fat Chump reaches for her, Black has his hand around the chunk’s elbow, the bone crunches, he screams.
Second has a knife out, decent sized hunting blade, his arm pulls back prepping a strike, Sloane growls, bites the joint where his thumb connects to his hand, the knife clatters to the floor. A soft clatter, it’s cheap linoleum. His thumb plops next to the knife. 
Another screech, “She bit my fucking finger off!”
Sloane has blood dripping down her chin, I hand her a wad of paper napkins, “Go to the ladies and wash up, we don’t need to freak the whole place.”
Two men show up, one is the bartender, the second I hadn’t seen before.
Bartender, “Saw the whole thing, guy got pushy, his pals got even stupider. Punks stepped deep into it with you four. Cops coming, best if you hang around.”
Janah’s been in my head since this started, she’s also been on the phone to a Society contact.
Two patrol officer appear, another siren, two more show up and stand with rifles on their hip.
There are three men in various states of disrepair lying on floor. Sloane’s guy is bleeding, Black’s guy has an elbow facing the wrong direction, Grace still has First by the finger, which is now flush with the back of his hand.
Cop One, “These three dorks never learn, always some shit. Problem is, most of the time they’re on the walk away side of the altercation. EMTs on the way Freddie, looks like you’re gonna be in a cast for the next few, Leroy too. Is that a thumb on the floor? How did his thumb get detached?”
“One of us bit him,” not about to say my daughter, we aren’t using our real names.
“Jesus, where is she?”
“Washing up.”
“That’s evidence tampering.”
“Bullshit, evidence of what? I told you what happened, the evidence is on the floor.”
EMT’s arrive and start patchwork, take the three outside to the ambulance.
Cop One turns to me, “Need to take statements, you’ll have to come down to the station, collect your names and whatnot. Gonna have to testify if you want to press charges, assault with a deadly weapon, assault, like that.”
“We won’t be riding to the station, Officer Kendall, or pressing charges. They paid the price, we don’t need them punished twice for the same offense.”
“Well, I still gotta…,” his phone dings.
“S’cuse me a sec,” he answers, listens, then “but we need a sta…”
I can hear the voice on the other end, it isn’t happy, something to the effect of being reassigned to Native American reservation duty. Work that means hauling drunk or drugged First Americans back home over and over again.
“Nossir, nossir, yessir, loud and clear sir, I got it, I got all of it sir.”
He clicks off, “Um ma’am, I am mightily sorry for any inconvenience. Would you like us escort your vehicle to your hotel, or place of residence?”
I lean to him, “I love cop talk, altercation, assault with a deadly, vehicle, place of residence, could you throw in perp for me, or even perpetrator,” I smile my high beam glow.
He grins, “Ma’am, don’t know who you know and I surely don’t know how you got to them so fast, but I got a call from God. I do not want to be haulin’ drunk Geronimos back to the res every night.”
“What’s your next job up the ladder?”
“Sergeant, ma’am. Small town, promotions come slow. Haven’t even been told to prep for the exam, which means they aren’t lookin’ yet.”
“Start the prep, you’ll be taking the exam in a month, don’t flunk, you’ll be a Sarge by the end of summer.”
“How you gonna…?”
“Another phone call Officer Kendall. Have a good evening, keep your men safe and watch your back.”
We leave him standing slack jawed, don’t know if he thinks I’m jerking him around, it’s okay, he’ll find out I’m good for it soon enough.
At the hotel, Black peels off to his room, Sloane showers, I hop in when she gets out. Feels good to get the day washed off, and I smell like cilantro and chili sauce.
In the room, Sloane is watching CNN with Grace B, I check in with Janah.
“Guess you followed, nice work, and quick. Dear Officer Kendall had a moment when he thought we’d spend quality time at the station filling out forms.”
“Wasn’t to be. No action yet with the birds. We’re up early, headed for the state line. I have the feeling he’s wandered into Utah, something about the travel pattern, but maybe I’m just making it up.”
“Haven’t heard from Dasha, if Cassie has anything she hasn’t communicated it. Wonder if time travel is more like driving than flying. The movies could have it all wrong, they always portray it as practically instantaneous.”
“You may be onto something. It could take her more time than we think, and she had six locations to visit. I’m bushed, sleepy time. A strange night for me, nobody else is in the room.”
“Night Ange Blanc, I’ve had it myself and I didn’t even beat anyone up.”

Thirty One

Grace B is our alarm clock, we’re up at six, caffeinated, quick pass through the breakfast buffet and on the road.
We did Lake Havasu City after Wickenburg, an circuitous drive, but necessary, then hit Kingman yesterday. Today is Seligman, Flagstaff, Winslow and Holbrook, about two hundred forty miles. All I-40, which is primarily the old Route 66, the Mother Road, that ran from Chicago to Santa Monica, near twenty five hundred miles. Completed in 1926, it was mostly been replaced by interstate in the sixties and was dropped off the national highway system in 1985. Subsequent revival efforts helped redevelop stretches of the famous road in the mid eighties.
I connect to my bird network in Seligman, even got an eagle in Flagstaff, we have lunch at Mike and Rhonda’s The Place, coincidentally on Route 66. 
Black, “Food’s great here, I see why there’s a wait.”
“We came on it in a long ago bit of Society work. Breakfast is amazing, they have the most colossal biscuits I’ve ever seen, and they bring two of them with every breakfast order. Not only is the quality high, portions are plus sized.”
Works for Sloane and Black, Sloane eats like a ravaged wolf, Black has slabs of muscle to fuel.
The waitress checks in, asks Grace B, “Sure you don’t want anything? Glass of water even?”
“No thanks, I challenged the hotel buffet and had three coffees already. I’m wired.”
The waitress doesn’t know just how wired. She slaps the check down, “Come see us again soon, we get lots of military in here, they’d be after the big guy.”
Black, “Man of peace, glad somebody wants to do it, too much regimentation. I’m not good with following orders. Just be in trouble all the time.”
She grins, “More like somebody else would be in trouble. Anyway, have a good day folks.”
We pile out of the booth and head for the SUV, people waiting around the door part to let Black move through, we follow in the wide wake.
On to Winslow, referenced in the ancient Eagles song Take it Easy. I suppose Glen Frey got his load loosened by the girl in the flatbed Ford. Never got into the music, I wasn’t born when they were popular. Now it’s supermarket music for baby boomers, God forbid they have to listen to anything they haven’t heard a thousand times before.
Grace B makes the song play on the Tahoe’s system. She gets as far as ‘seven women on my mind,’ it clicks off, “Stupid damn song.”
Sloane laughs, “Mom likes world beat with no vocals, trance, electronica.”
“That’s sort of faded now, music is so all over the lot today, I never paid much attention in the first place. Janah and my formative teen years were spent in the Shaolin temple. Music was the gong that woke us up at five.”
Sloane, “There wasn’t any chanting, I heard some Buddhist chants on YouTube.”
Black, “That’s Tibetan Buddhism. Shaolin don’t chant, they do gung fu. I got a vision of Chan chanting.”
I laugh, “Now that’s a show I’d pay to see, Chan sitting around going om mani padme hum, little bells tinking in the background.”
Janah comes online, “You’re still in Flagstaff?”
“Just leaving, about ten miles out towards Winslow, I’ve got seven women on my mind.”
“What the…? Turn around and go to Pulliam airport. You’re flying Grand Junction Colorado. I think our target is headed there.”
“Where are you?”
“Just coming up on Vail, about a hundred miles west of Denver. Another one fifty to Grand Junction. He orchestrated another killing just west of Denver. Vail is too small and compact, particularly this time of year. The next city of size is Grand Junction. I’m sure as I can be he’s on I-70 headed west.”
“A guess?”
“A rather big bird told me. Nothing from Cassie?”
“Not ye…, hang on, Dasha’s on the other channel,”
I switch to Dasha’s head, “What’s up?”
“Oceane makes peecture of Shadow from Cassie’s description. Emma B ees send to Grace B now. You will haf on phone, I will send also to Janah.”
“What’s he look like, guess I’ll see in a sec.”
“They, not he, there are three. Ees why Cassie took longer. You must anyway be careful Dahfoney. Sister and I can fly out in a couple of hours.”
“No good, the girls don’t need the disruption. I have Grace B, Sloane and Black and Janah has Chan and David Li. We should be capable of handling three Shadows.”
“Nyet Dahfoney, Cassie says there are more, she only saw three. There was dark disturbance in the background.”
“Any sense of how many?”
“Nyet, might be one or two, she cannot say. She ees anyway resting now, it was not seemple trip for her.”
“Then all the more reason you and Daria need to be there, she needs qi.”
“Da, sister ees with her now, also Oceane and Vesnushki. Girls know something ees not right, they are doing a dance for Cassandra, no music, no sound. Nadia says it will sooth and heal. It cannot anyway hurt.”
“I’ll get back to Janah now, you will take care of the family, yes?”
“Do not make ridiculous Dahfoney, you will kill Shadows and come home,”
she clicks off.
Got my orders, I blink back to Janah, give her the recap.
“Christ, this is a handful, Oceane’s drawings are amazing, it’s like we got them on a digital camera. See you soon, time to make haste.”
I re-recap the story for Black and Sloane.
Black, “Getting’ interesting. Cass going to be okay?”
Sloane, “Cassie is just burned from expending so much energy, Daria will get her rested, then recharge her qi after she’s slept for a while. I have no idea what the girls’ dancing does, maybe it’s just nervous energy about Cass. They are connected with her and Oceane in some way I haven’t figured out yet.”

Thirty Two

We check into Candlewood Suites, connecting rooms for the women, Black has his own room. We meet in ours.
Black, “Nice place, full kitchen, plates, glasses, utensils, more like extended stay than a hotel.”
Janah, “Thought I’d give it a shot, we could have done Doubletree, but they don’t have the full kitchen. Not sure what our hours are going to be like, we could be having breakfast at midnight. Daphne got here before we did, she’s stocked the place for a couple of days.”
Black, “Wondering where the food came from?”
“I didn’t put a bunch in your place, fresh fruit, protein bars, bread ,deli turkey, Coke Zero and juice. I’ll make meals here starting with breakfast tomorrow. There’s an Italian place that looks good, il Bistro Italiano, I booked us for seven. If we can’t make it, we’ll get something on the fly.”
Grace B, “There is fresh coffee and tea, I washed all the dishes, didn’t trust housekeeping to be thorough.”
Black, “Coffee sounds right,” he gets up to make himself a cup, pours cups for Sloane and I, the rest are tea people.
Chan, “What now?”
Janah, “We think they’re traveling in an RV, the bird said big machine that was also a nest.”
“That would be an RV. They have to park it someplace. Maybe not an RV park, Shadows aren’t much for friendly retirees and having a beer around the barbeque grill.”
“Then where?”
Grace B has herself online, “There are a half dozen RV parks in the area, one thirteen miles out in Fruita, another five miles farther in Loma, both west on I-70. One east in Collbran, but it is forty miles away. On the other hand, it has a good selection of RV sites, some private.”
Janah, “Daphne, David Li, round up birds and get them to check out the parks.”
We go outside, there’s a grilling area, pretty nice grills too. Forty or fifty yards beyond is a quiet stand of trees and bushes. We settle in until our helpers show up, a Peregrine Falcon pair and one that David Li says is a Red Tailed Hawk. She drops a Kingsnake at our feet and proceeds to feed.
Back in the room, “The hawk had lunch while we talked, flew up with a snake in its claws. After the usual explanation of why I can talk to birds, they agreed to hunt for the Shadows. I attached the last of our GPS trackers and gave them a description of the locations I’m interested in. They know the places where the big machines park with humans nesting in them. They also know of Dark Ones.”
Sloane, “A snake? What kind, was it alive?”
“A Kingsnake, and not for long.”
Janah, “Should we drive to the parks anyway?”
“I don’t see why. If they’re at one to the east, we waste time going west and vice versa. They only just got here, they need to set up, or if they aren’t at a park at all, get into a hotel.”
Chan, “Surprising Shadows even travel together. All they do is snipe at each other.”
“We’ve come across some that lived together, there’s generally a big dog that keeps the smaller ones in check. In this case, it’s looking like our supposition was right. They’ve joined up to draw us out. Something as obvious as tossing coins to pick a killer is going to rise to our attention.”
Black, “Wasn’t there a movie where a killer made people flip a coin?”
“Yeah, No Country for Old Men.”
“That’s it, dude was bad.”
Sloane, “I’ve never seen it.”
Grace B, “I’ll find it and play it for you.”
“You’re the best.”
“No shit.”
Black laughs, “Grace B is Amaya’s doing.”
“She’s got the vocabulary of Chloe Moretz when she played Hit Girl in Kick Ass."
I check in with Dasha, “How’s Cassie? I feel kind of crappy, being out here when she’s down.”
“No anymore down. All the girls came, Cassie’s bed ees full wiz them. Maybe sister’s qi, maybe Oceane, or maybe girls dancing in their room for three hours. She ees good now. Chloe and Zi say her aura is already bright like normal.”
“Relieved to hear it, give her a kiss for me, and thank the girls for adding whatever it is they added. We think we’ve located the general area of the Shadows, birds are hunting now.”
“You will kill them all Dahfoney.”
“We have to figure out how many, not just show up. As a group, they will be powerful. Once we get them located, then we follow with drones and see what comes next.”
“You can call Katya, she will come wiz Ellen and Sarah, they will kill them all wiz rifle, better than drug, make a bloody mess and leave a message for other Shadows.”
“I’ll take it up with Janah, in the meantime, take care of business at home. Oh, Sloane says to give Ocean and Cass a hug.”
We disconnect, I replay for the rest.
Sloane, “Good, I was worried about Cassie, she’s so gentle with everything, hard to gauge how tough she is.”
Black, “One day you can try and explain the kids to me.”
“One day when we can explain them to ourselves. We have no idea what their OS is.”
There’s nothing to do until we get something from our hunters. Janah and Sloane have a glass of wine, we head for the restaurant. Turns out to be quite delightful.
Janah and David Li have roasted beet salad dressed with ginger vinaigrette and goat cheese cakes. The rest of us enjoy fried calamari with lemon garlic cream sauce.
Janah’s entrée is a Margherita pizza big enough to share with David Li.
Our meat eaters have Costolette, American Kobe beef rib braised with vegetables, herbs and red wine, with horseradish mashed potatoes.
Also, Saltimbocca, veal medallions with prosciutto, asiago cheese and sautéed with garlic and white wine, roasted garlic mashed potatoes and vegetables.
Black, “That was quite good, chef knows his way around Italian.”
“Sure does, I’ll have to get Dasha and I to whip up Saltimbocca, the tribe will like that, veal is a favorite, we make veal marsala regularly.”
I handle the check, then my phone dings, got a note from the hawk.
“Our targets are in Collbran. We need to get a drone launched and see what’s what.”
Black, “How long will it take to fly a drone forty miles, maybe we should drive?”
“The drone can do over two hundred hundred.”
Black, “Damn, had no idea. Eloise been busy.”
“That she has, Eloise is always busy, got Lauren hooked on the mechanics, she’s nearly as good as Eloise now.”

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