07 Aug 09

Star and Scribe, Chapter Seven

Barb was waiting for Ozzy in the kitchen. The bodyguard was dressed in his best black suit, although he had swapped the black t-shirt he usually wore underneath his coat for a neatly pressed black shirt and a black silk tie. He was carrying a shoebox full of hundreds of tiny microphones, each one identical to the microscopic transmitter Barb had discovered stuck to the painting in the front hall.

He set down the box of transmitters, all of which had been carefully pulled to pieces. The transmitters and chips were still intact but no longer joined together, making them harmless. After two and a half hours of searching, he’d found more than seven hundred. Barb was standing expectantly by the kitchen table.

You search, I destroy, Ozzy joked, grinning grimly. He scanned the empty table. Where are yours?

Barb indicated a sealed metal box on the counter top. It’s aluminum, she informed him. There are no signals getting out of there. Even if they could, the feedback from 836 microphones crammed together would be tons of fun to deal with.

I scanned for them using every frequency. My second sweep came back negative, Ozzy informed her. But I keep getting scared I missed some. I sent you a the file detailing the location of where I found each one.

I got it, thanks, Barb replied. It concerns me more that we didn’t detect these before. Who knows how long they’ve been here?

They must be using a frequency that doesn’t show up on our standard security sweeps.

Barb frowned. I’ll spend tonight rechecking every inch of the property. The grounds and guest house are likely to be infested with bugs. Keep an eye out in the car, and try to keep them from arguing. She glanced upward at the ceiling. All was quiet upstairs. With some luck Jane and Edmund would be off to the Awards without any screenworthy drama.

Ozzy paused for a moment, mulling over the problem. He focused on the most important question. What do you think they will do, he questioned her, When they figure out that we know about the breach?

Barb had no response. They stood in silence, each trying to work out the questions and the answers. Fang trotted in, circled Ozzy’s feet and whimpered for attention. Both of the figures in the kitchen ignored him, standing eerily still in the semidarkness. The dog sullenly left the room when it became clear to him that dog treats weren’t a possibility. Ozzy suddenly turned his head as he heard Jane and Edmund coming downstairs. Barb’s gaze focused, and she took the shoebox from Ozzy.

Time to go, Ozzy indicated to Barb, who nodded.

Be careful, she warned, drumming her fingers absentmindedly on the side of the shoebox. I don’t know if the evac plan we put together last week will still get the job done. Things have changed.

Ozzy turned to leave, but paused in the doorway. Should let them know?

Not yet, Barb replied hesitantly. Just watch over them tonight, and keep in touch. Anything could be a trap from now on.

Ozzy nodded, turned, and was gone.

© 2009 Stella Quinn

Star and Scribe — a novel by Stella Quinn
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