Running in the Shadows

Carbon Copy

The ork groaned as he sat up in bed, pushing the heavy covers off of himself. Sun streamed through the windows, and he fumbled on the nearby nightstand nearby for his glasses. He squinted at the bedside clock. 8:55. He mumbled to himself and staggered out of bed. In his many years he’d never been a morning person, and he didn’t feel like he was ever going to adjust to it now. While making his way to the bathroom, his commlink chirped, and the icon
showed a laughing coyote. With a grimace, he answered the call.

“Johnny,” the ork said flatly. “Lemme guess. You ain’t been to bed yet.”

“You know it!” the voice on the other end said trying to sound cheerful. “Was heading there soon, but wanted to touch base and see how things were going for you out there.”

“Things are fine. And hell, being a fixer is cake. I sit back, make a few phone calls, meet with a few uppity young runners too big for their britches, and let the money roll in. It sure beats the drek outta getting shot.”

“Or being hounded by a dragon,” Johnny replied. He was working hard to keep his voice calm. “Or being hunted by bug spirits. Or—”

“Ok, ok, enough. Yes. It’s much better. I already said that.” Irritation flooded his voice. “It’s early and I just woke up, chummer. What did you need?”

“I had a vision. Lots of blood and Mayan symbols.”

“You been smoking the peace … Hold up. I got another call, I should take it. Be right back.” Th e ork put Johnny on hold, and answered the other line. “Hoi Tosh, what’s up?” He listened to the voice on the other end for several minutes, then hung up angrily.

His blood pressure was rising, he stumbled back to sit on the edge of the bed.

“Bull?” Johnny’s voice came through the comm. “You there? I think we got cut off .”

“I’m here Johnny,” Bull replied, his voice with an angry edge. “That was a friend’s commlink. It … he …”

Bull’s voice cracked, and sweat trickled down his face.

“He’s back.” Th ere was a short pause. “Again!”

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