Nick lay on his stomach on the roof of Aziza and waited for Burk and his girlfriend to finish their meal and move on. He’d been following them for twenty-four hours and was agonizingly bored. Fancy restaurants, a quiet party with a producer and some currently popular actors, a night at home, a day in the office…. Geez. The only mystery about Burk’s life was why his sexy girlfriend was with him.
Of course, in his line of work habitual people were a dream come true. By tomorrow, he’d know all the couple’s patterns of movement and after the security schematics for the house were delivered, he’d be ready for a dry run. After an experimental breaking and entering to test what he was up against, he’d have everything he needed to get the alien tech the Pleiadians wanted.
Resting his chin on his stacked arms, Nick stared down at the misty, quiet street. Not too long ago Geary Boulevard would have been crawling with people on their way to or from dinner at one of the many restaurants scattered through the surrounding blocks. Nick missed the excitement that busy people going places generated. Only a few brave souls ventured out these days, especially after dark.
Watching the leaders of every major country get in front of a camera and announce there were races beyond our cosmic borders had shocked the hell out of the world. Human nature being what it was, most people’s response was to hole up and not come out. Nothing like fear and awe to spoil everyone’s fun. True, a small percentage partied at the news, but they were only the ones who anticipated some kind of miraculous rescue.
Nick almost sneered at that. As it turned out, fancy technology didn’t necessarily equate high morals and saintly motivations. Because of the work his brother had done, Nick happened to know that their “space family” had secretly been on Earth for a long time, and they didn’t all have humanity’s best interests at heart. Surprise, surprise—no matter where you went in the Universe, there were good guys and bad guys and they didn’t play nice together. Maybe the humans doing their version of rabbits were the smart ones.
Anger and sorrow touched the sore, hollow place in the middle of his chest. People like his brother sure hadn’t been smart.
Laughter drifted up through the clear night air and Nick’s focus sharpened. Burk and his girlfriend were finally on the move. At the same time, a black SUV turned the corner of Clement onto 22nd and cruised slowly toward the restaurant. As it approached, the driver of the loaded up white pickup parked on the curb darted across the street from the UPS store. He pulled the brim of his ball cap lower over his face and climbed into the cab. After a moment, he dug for a pack of cigarettes in his shirt pocket.
The couple came around the corner as the SUV slowed, pulled in front of the pickup and snugged up to the curb. A burly security guy in a dark suit got out and positioned himself at the rear of the vehicle. Another bodyguard climbed from the driver’s seat and made his way around to the back passenger door.
Burk, an average, dull-featured man in his late thirties with thinning black hair and a body like the scarecrow from Wizard of Oz, smiled down at his companion as they came up to the car. Lithe muscles flexed as the woman linked her arm through his and laughed flirtatiously. The same height as Burk in her high-heeled sandals, her face and body showcased the best features of the world’s nations coming together in one breathtaking package. Nick wondered again what a guy like that had to offer her besides money.
They stopped short of the SUV, and Burk said something to his girlfriend. Her thick lashes shadowed over her almond-shaped blue eyes in a provocative way that made Nick think of long, dark nights tangled together in soft sheets. Burk laughed and they started forward again.
The guard reached down to open the side door and there was a puff of sound from behind him. Alarm snapped through Nick as the guard’s eyes widened in shock. The large man’s knees buckled, and he dropped to the sidewalk, a thin trail of blood trickling out from under his head.
Nick clenched his teeth and vaulted silently to the dark balcony below him as the bodyguard behind the car slammed into the bumper and fell out of sight. As he crouched down into the deeper shadow of the building, the tarp covering the bed of the white pickup was thrown back, and three armed men surged from beneath it to charge towards the couple.
The smallest of the three, a guy with a shaved head and muscled arms the size of most people’s thighs waved a .22 revolver at Burk and the girl. “Into the truck,” he barked.
Burk stared at him in confusion. The woman paled and her eyes widened with terror.
The man raised his gun and aimed at Burk’s chest. “Now! Or you’re dead!”
Chapter Two, Part Two next week!