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white lie coverOne name stands out on the list, making Wil very curious. R.A. Emory has been on many missions of late. Of the team, he is the last man standing every time. Wil and the others suspect he’s a traitor, but Wil intends to be sure. He needs a man with Emory’s skills.

Ben leaned over Wil’s shoulder, reading the information on the screen.

“Last man standing every time? Only one left of ten, last of fifteen…. This sounds suspicious, Wil. Each was a team like ours, super soldiers. Isn’t that what the brass call us?”

“I have a bad feeling about this guy, Ben. But you know, I think his luck has run out. I want him on my team.”

“Are you crazy? We could all end up like those others with him last man standing again!”

Wil’s face went blank. “I’ll put him against me any day and bet heavily on myself. If he’s taking out our kind, he’s a traitor, just like Lill.”

Ben knew better than to ask who Lill was. Wil had let just enough slip for him to have a general idea. He said nothing, waiting for Wil to work through whatever was on his mind. With a shake of his head, Wil broke his reverie and glanced once more at his list.

“All right. You, me, Ray and Penny plus Krall, Freedrick, Wallace, Bennett and Emory, that’s nine. You think we need one more?”

Ben looked at him and shrugged.

“Maybe on back up, since Ray’s gimped. Be good to have one more.” Again Ben shrugged, non-committal. “Okay, who do you think?”

Ben took up the list pointing to each name in order. He repeated the process for a few moments, and eventually lit on one name, highlighted it and handed the scanner back to Wil.

“Ishanti Abrams? Who the hell is he?”

“She,” Ben replied. “No idea.”

“What made you pick her then?”

“My four friends.”

Wil frowned. Ben held up his right hand, back toward Wil.

“Eenie, meenie, minie and mo.” He lowered one finger with each word until only the middle finger was extended. Brandishing it, then snapping a cocky salute, he turned on his heel and left the room. Wil’s howl of laughter followed him all the way down the corridor of Greyling’s ship.

* * *

Adam Krall slung his duffel bag over his left shoulder and picked up a ruck sack with his right hand. Travel light, huh? Bullshit, never could travel light! Too much shit to carry.” The tall, dark skinned man shifted uneasily, trying to ease his toes in the tight new boots.

“Slap a new rank on a man, try to make him feel important. It’s all bullshit.”

He headed toward the docking bay where a shuttle waited for him. He strapped in, leaning his head back so he could take a nap while he waited for the trip to be over.

“Bullshit,” he muttered.

* * *

“How much on there?” Lance Freedrick leaned over the barbells, looking at the weights.

“Two seventy-five,” the other man answered, glancing up at Lance.

He froze, suddenly terrified. Lance was nearly eight feet tall, broad as a barn and built like a stone wall. He had muscles in places the other guy would have paid real money to own. His abs doubled as a washboard and he could bend a steel rebar one-handed. His platinum blond hair was cropped short and his blue eyes twinkled from his well tanned face.

“Go ahead,” Lance gestured toward the weights. “Didn’t mean to interrupt. I’ll spot you.” He flashed a friendly smile.

The other man looked intimidated, but took his position. With difficulty, he raised the weights to his chest, broke out in a sweat, turned red in the face and dropped the weights on the platform. Breathing hard and rubbing his arms, he stepped back right into Lance. Smiling apologetically, he moved out of the way.

“Mind if I have a go?”

“Sure, help yourself.”

Lance stooped and began adding weights to the bar. The other man’s eyes grew wider with each addition.

“How much you got on there?”

Lance looked casually at the bar. “Oh, around seven fifty.”

Taking his stance, he lifted the bar, the weight on the ends causing it to sag slightly. After a clean jerk, he put the bar carefully back down on the floor.

“Thanks!” He patted the smaller man on the shoulder and moved to another station.

The man shook his head in disbelief, staring at the weights Lance had so casually raised.

“Completely took to shame,” he muttered.

©2015 Dellani Oakes

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