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Running Scared

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Circular Deviation

When Kid left the room, he left an uneasy silence behind. Angel's face suddenly looked very tired; her weariness finally weighing heavily on her as her shoulders seemed to droop. There was a sense of something having changed. Power - it was a delicate game. If Kid succeeded with his promise then he would in one night boost himself to the top of the Inner Circle. Of course if he failed

Yuriko looked around the room at the other ten faces. Different shapes, different bone structures, different shades, but all with a single goal. People from the four corners of the world joined together for one purpose. Yes, a single main goal, but each with their own hidden agenda. A powerful organisation perhaps, but there was only one who held real power. No doubt Kid Jensen thought he was going to achieve something with his power play, but he didn't really understand the game.

Angel spoke, trying to suppress a slight tremble in her voice, "We have completed our agenda for today. Mr Jensen seems to have a plan to resolve this issue is there any other business before we adjourn?"

The faces around the table were silent. Yuriko's own face carried a practised blankness. Smooth skin belying her age. Black irises focused on nowhere.

Angel spoke once more, "Very well, we meet again at three tomorrow afternoon." She abruptly stood and left the room. The others hesitantly followed suit. Yuriko studiously stood and left the room along with the others, just like one of them, one of the Inner Circle - a position she had worked years to achieve. Or more precisely, to infiltrate.

The elevator took them up to the surface, to the accommodation level, which to the outside world appeared to be a monastery. She walked quickly down the bleak corridor to her minimally furnished room. She grabbed her briefcase from underneath the bed and clicked it open. From inside she picked up the small calculator. A quick tap of the six-digit code and with a quiet click, the microphone slid out. It was getting late - her angle on the satellite was rapidly diminishing. She oriented the aerial disguised as the frame of the briefcase towards the right of the small window, gently adjusting until the calculator readout was all zeroes. Quickly she dialled, the numbers relayed through the electronics hidden in the plastic casing of the briefcase.

"Moshi, moshi", said the male voice, sounding tinny through the small speaker behind the calculator's LCD screen.

Yuriko didn't even notice the automatic slight bowing of her head to the voice on the end of the phone link. "Kitano-san. Shinohara reporting."

"Hai. What is your status?"

"One of the circle, Mr Jensen, has made a claim that he can get the one called Deckard within 24 hours. I suspect he has reasonable confidence of success."

The disembodied voice remained calm, "Will this affect our plans?"

Yuriko shrugged off her jacket as she spoke into her calculator-phone, "Not an immediate danger, but needs to be monitored as there is a potential for future contamination. In the short term, the woman Ruebyk is carrying forward the initial stages of the Inner Circle plan. She is working through the front company Omni Biogenics."

"You are sure the Tyrell situation will be resolved?"

"Apparently Ruebyk has assigned a professional to the job. The situation should be under control. But we should remain cautious. I don't like so many unknowns in our plans."

"Agreed. We will assign a backup. In the meantime, we still need to know the identity of the Circle's leader." Static was starting to creep into the signal.

"Understood, sir. The Circle leader advises caution and yet I sense an impatience to see results. The Circle is vulnerable, particularly with internal gamesmanship creating fractures. I will see if I can accelerate this."

"Very well, but don't expose your position. We have wai-sss- too long for this. The Tyrell issue must now reach a resolution, -sss- we must also work towards closing down the Inner Circle once they have d-sss- our dirty work for us."

"Hai, Kitano-san. My satellite window is closing. I will proceed with caution towards achieving the Consortium's goals. Shinohara out."

Yuriko swiftly closed down her equipment and slipped the briefcase back under the bed. She looked out the little window at the slight orange tinting the evening sky. Seven years of this annoying assignment. It will be a relief to see an end to it.

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Date: 2002-09-02 13:45