John Ringo: Sister Time

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John Ringo Sister Time
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Sister Time: краткое содержание, описание и аннотация

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Cally O’Neal is officially dead. In her over forty years of being an active secret agent she hasn't used her real name, much less spoken to her sister. So when Michelle interrupts an important mission, by seemingly appearing out of thin air, it’s an unexpected reunion. This highly anticipated sequel to the bestseller features the return of Michelle O’Neal, the first human Sohon mentat. is about life, love and covert operations amongst the universe’s ultimate dysfunctional family.

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Sister Time

by John Ringo and Julie Cochrane


For Miriam

And, as always:

For Captain Tamara Long, USAF

Born: May 12, 1979

Died: March 23, 2003, Afghanistan

You fly with the angels now.

Chapter One

Tuesday 10/12/54Chicago, USA, Sol III

The dark figure dropping over the edge of the building could have given lessons in camouflage to a Himmit. Well, almost. Actually, the bodysuit and balaclava she was wearing owed rather more of their stealth abilities to the Himmit than the reverse. The rappelling rope was more conventional, as were the multivision goggles. A clever observer, had she been observed, would have noticed that the better gear was old, and the cheaper gear new, suggesting that the agent or her employer had seen better days.

She stopped at the thirteenth floor, fourth window from the north end. The tool she pulled from a clip on her web gear was something like a monomolecular boxcutter. Working with a fluidity that belied the complexity of the task, she clipped a line to the rope above her, deftly secured the two suction cups of the complicated apparatus to the window, tightened them down, and excised a wide oval of the thick glass. She pulled the glass piece free and allowed it to dangle, swinging her feet through the hole and slipping inside.

The room she entered was dusty from extreme disuse, and she wouldn’t have braved it at all if the threadbare carpeting hadn’t been there — perfect for hiding footprints that otherwise would have been glaringly obvious. The carpeted cubicle walls, now a moth-eaten, mottled gray, had the occasional rusty bolt showing through the cracked plastic. The dusty, crumbling particle board contraptions that used to pass for “desks” for corporate underlings dated the room as being part of the postwar surplus office space. The phenomenon made the middle floors of skyscrapers in most major cities very convenient for people in her profession but, despite its drabness, it did tend to trigger a certain wistfulness for a world she’d never really gotten to know. Still, it was eerily silent, beyond the muted traffic sounds coming through the hole in the window, and that was creepy enough that she’d be glad to leave it. She was careful to touch as little as possible as she shrugged off her gear and went rummaging through for the props for the next stage of her mission.

If the stealth suit was high-tech and inconspicuous, the little black dress she pulled from her back pouch was neither. The only modern convenience was the very light antiwrinkle coating that enabled the minimal silk sheath, with its skirt that flared out below her hips, to look as perfect as if it had just been pressed. Still, the dress was tight and she had to wiggle a bit to shimmy into it and get her ample cleavage positioned for maximum effect. She frowned down at her chest, grumbling a bit about the overendowment she’d gotten stuck with when they’d lost the slab in the Bane Sidhe split.

Her employers had steadfastly refused to surgically alter them, pointing out the futility as it was hard-coded in her body nannites; they would only grow back inside a month. Besides, the doctors were unwilling to afflict her with the scars such primitive field surgery would undoubtedly leave. She harrumphed at them silently as she pinned her silver-blonde hair into a smooth chignon at the nape of her neck and spritzed it with good old-fashioned hair spray. She slipped a gold and diamond torq-style watch, which was unusual in having a digital instead of an analog readout, around her wrist. Damn, gotta hurry. Not quite a minute until the guard reaches this floor again.

In the past few years, rejuv had gone from being a mark of social shame to an outlet for conspicuous consumption among the glitterati. Hence, all but minimal makeup was out of fashion. Chances were very good that she would be taken for an authentic twenty-year-old. Most black market jobs were incomplete, missing at least the individual fine-tuning that was necessary for the full effect. They left subtle signs that the gossips were quick to notice and comment on. Her rejuv, done in better times, was perfect. A light coating of lip gloss, a pair of clear Galplas high-heeled sandals that looked like cut crystal and felt like a medieval torture device, and she was ready to go. Well, almost. She tucked a small egg-shaped device with a pull ring into her cleavage. The body her own DNA originally built never would have been able to hide it. I swear I could hide a truck in there. Geez. Not like I really need to be able to blend in with a crowd or anything, not like sticking out like a sore thumb with this attention-getting look isn’t a mortal hazard for an assassin. And thank God my “real” work has been light enough since I came back to work that they can divert me more often to fluff missions like this one.

Her rappelling gear and other nonessentials got bundled into the pack and clipped onto the line outside the window. She looked down, and down, and down to the street below and shuddered. And Tommy wanted me to exfiltrate the same way? Hell, no! Crawling around outside some skyscraper like a freaking fly was bad enough once, I’m not doing it twice in one night. She pulled her eyes away from the dizzying downward view. God, that’s a long drop. Besides, who tries to catch party-crashers leaving the party? And this way I spend about half as much time slinking around places in the building where a party guest, even a lost and tipsy one, has no business being. Okay, and I don’t get out much. Sad, Cally, really sad. Maybe I ought to make time next month to take the girls up to Knoxville to the zoo. Maybe I ought to get back into character and get my mind on the job. She shook herself slightly and got back to work.

Two sharp yanks to the line and the pack began ascending out of sight — now it was Harrison’s problem. Once she got the glass oval seated back in the window, she took a ballpoint pen out of her evening bag. The pen extruded a thin line of silicon-based adhesive and nannites around the cut piece. The window would heal in about a day. After that, it would take a very sophisticated forensic analysis to tell that there had ever been any damage. Well, okay, there was a slightly larger bead of goo where she’d had to shake the pen. Damn thing was almost empty. Still, it was the next best thing to untraceable. When she was done, the pen went back into the tiny evening bag with her lip gloss, a pack of Kleenex, a comb, an assorted handful of FedCreds, and the ubiquitous slimline PDA that nobody who was anybody went anywhere without. The decoy nanogenerator code keys were in a hidden pocket. It wouldn’t pass close scrutiny, but then, as she wasn’t on the guest list tonight, neither would she.

She’d chosen this office because the suite had an internal stairwell access, and the door was right outside this one. The office door was ajar, and she ghosted through the opening without needing to lay a finger on it. The door to the stairs was another matter. She opened it with a tissue, crumpling it and tucking it back in her purse. As she climbed the stairs to the thirty-second floor, she glanced briefly at her watch and sighed, slipping off her shoes so she could pick up the pace without sounding like a herd of elephants.

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