Mr. Dark 4

By: Lauren Landish

"I see. You enjoy it?" Scott asked as he attached a flywheel to the compressor. "I mean, I know it pays better than HVAC repair, but people don't work just for money."

"I know what you mean," I said, handing him a screwdriver. "And yes, I like my work. I'll admit I got lucky by being picked out by Marcus Smiley for his local investments, but that can make all the difference. We're spending his money not just for making profit, but to help real people make a real positive way in the world."

Scott set his wrench aside and looked at me. "And that's important to you. Making the world a better place."

I smiled and sat back on the small stool that we both had. "Yeah, I guess so."

"That's pretty cool. Uhm, I'm not sure if I'm supposed to do this or not, you being the financial analyst, but I was wondering if perhaps you and I could..." Scott said, looking even cuter as he fidgeted a bit in his jeans.

I've always been kind of forward, and I answered him before he could even complete his question. "I'd love to. I'm into Italian food and I'm free this Thursday night."

"You ever been to Mar de Napoli?" Scott asked. "Real wood fired pizza oven, and the best frutti di mare you'll find in the city."

"You had me at wood fired pizza. Now, I really should do a walk around to do the work part of my job."

Scott smiled. "Of course. Dad should be back soon, and if you need anything I'll be happy to help you out."

Chapter 3


The night was cloudy and there was only a new moon in the sky, which is exactly what I was looking for. Pushing off from the observation deck of the Financial Tower, the tallest building in the city, I rode the updrafts from the sides of the surrounding buildings pretty well in my glider. Made of the lightest materials available, it was one of my newest purchases, and came in non-reflective black. While not totally invisible, I could be assured of a very quiet approach.

"So how's it going back there?" I whispered. The contact microphone taped to my throat worked perfectly, and I knew that Sophie could hear what I was saying. "I mean, instead of doing this, I'd much rather be having a relaxing bath with you."

"Hmm, well, you get out of there in one piece, and you can have more than a bath," Sophie purred back. "In fact, if it wasn't that you'd probably crash, I'd tell you right now what you could be having."

The sound quality on the radios was perfect, it sounded like I was sitting next to Sophie, who was back at our home in the bell tower where we had one of our headquarters for surreptitious activities. She wanted to come with me on this mission, but Sophie hadn't learned how to fly a hang glider yet, although it was something we were planning on doing soon.

I hung a right, catching the updraft coming off of the Huddleston Subway Terminal to get my final approach on my target. Landing was really the only tricky part of the entire flight. The top of the Hamilton Building wasn't at all like a lot of the other skyscrapers around town, with helipads and open gardens dotting their roofs. Nope, the Hamilton Building was covered in pipes, conduits, and a bunch of other crap that more or less make landing a very tricky proposition indeed. To do it the way I wanted, I needed to come in actually lower than the roof, then quickly pull up and bleed off speed to gain altitude, hopefully just clearing the lip of the building before settling down. I'd done a similar landing before on the top of our roof, which was much more comfortably laid out and was about ninety stories shorter.

Pulling back hard on my control bar, I cleared the lip, and found I was still too fast. I was going to keep gaining altitude, damn! Reaching out with my arms, I let go of the control and pulled in on the wing deployment, cutting the surface area in half within a blink of an eye. With so much less fabric to support my weight, I dropped somewhat under control, landing with a bit of a thump along the conduit lines that fed the building's backup generators. "I'm in."

"That's good. So I don't have to worry about the muttered fuck that I just heard then?" Sophie replied. That's the problem with throat mikes, if you want a truly hands free experience, you have to transmit constantly.

"Nah, just came in a bit fast. But I'm down and safe. How about you?"

"Oh, nervous, sweating, and wearing nothing but those pajama pants that you like so much," Sophie teased. "Want me to tell you about it?"

Her next chuckle made me realize that I had probably groaned deep in my throat, and I tried to put my mind off of the image of my beautiful fiancée sitting in loose cotton pant and nothing else. Trust me, it was more difficult than I had hoped it would be.

"I swear," I finally told her once I had my glider stashed and my small satchel ready, "when I get home I'm going to make you pay for all this teasing."

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