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The Rats, the Bats & the Ugly: Chapter Eleven

       Last updated: Friday, June 25, 2004 22:27 EDT



General Cartup-Kreutzler's horsily decorated office, Military Headquarters

    Considering that Major Tana Gainor was a mere lowly major in the presence of the Colony's Security Chief and a general, you would have thought she'd look at least slightly ill at ease. But despite the non-regulation purplish lipstick, she remained perfectly poised. General Cartup-Kreutzler found that disturbing.

    She was a remarkably beautiful woman, even in uniform. The general might have been more interested, except for that poise. Self-confident, self-assured women made Cartup-Kreutzler uneasy.

    "Most of these charges are very close to the laugh-out-loud level, General."

    "I was told you could make anything stick, Major Gainor."

    She looked coolly at him. "For a fee, General, things can usually be arranged." She looked at the charge list again. "And it's going to be a high fee, General." She lowered her sooty eyelashes and looked at him speculatively. "Very high, indeed."

    "Cut the sales pitch, Tana," said Talbot. "And forget using him. He's my brother-in-law, and you don't want to get on the wrong side of me."

    “I’ve done my homework too, Talbot,” she sniffed. “The general likes dim-witted and buxom blonds, of which I am the second and third but not the first."

    Talbot ignored his brother-in-law's squawk of outrage. "Let's talk business, Tana. How much do you need for a war-chest? Fitzhugh is to go down like a lead brick. You dot every 'i' and cross every 't' on this one."

    "For this, I'll need plenty," she said. "Call it half a million up front and the same again when he's sentenced. And I might need the services of a few of your operatives, Talbot."

    General Cartup-Kreutzler choked. But Talbot took it in his stride. "Done. The money will be in your usual account."

    "Before I start working," she said, coolly. "I won't lift a finger otherwise."

    "Let's not forget who holds the whip hand here, Tana," said Talbot Cartup, heavily. "I've got you. I've got you pinned like a butterfly."

    She smiled. "But you need me for this. And you'll need me again. The JAG's department is getting more and more sticky by the day. But I can still work the system."

    "What are you going to do?"

    "If you must know, manipulate the roster of Military Judges and Defense Attorneys. I have... leverage. I'll handle the prosecution myself."



    When the heavy outer door had swung shut behind the Major, General Cartup-Kreutzler exhaled in a long shudder. "Just what have you got on her, Talbot?"

    His brother-in-law laughed. "You name it. She's pretty and comes from a wealthy family. You'd think we'd struggle to pin anything on her. But right from cheating on her bar exams, by sleeping with several of her oral examiners, to dealing in drugs... she's been there. And stay away from that body of hers. She uses it well, but never for nothing. You know the old chestnut about the whore with the soul of a high born lady and a heart of gold? Well, this is high-born lady who is a hooker at heart, and would sell her soul for the gold. I nicked through Thom. She was one of his prime dealers. That woman is pure poison."

    "So long as she poisons Fitzhugh," said the general vindictively.

    "Oh, she will. Literally, if need be."

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