The Bounty Hunter: Reckoning

Free The Bounty Hunter: Reckoning by Joseph Anderson

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Authors: Joseph Anderson
opposite of Marcus’s
despite doing the same work. Jess would have liked to stay on with them longer
but she still left the ship when they docked into the jump carrier. She knew
she had more important things to do.
    What little money she had saved up
before being stranded on Meidum was still available to her. The identification
chip that she knew had been meshed to the one in her skull was still active and
accurate, and passed through the jump carriers interiors with no trouble. Marie
had given her a change of clothes and a hauling bag as a parting gift. Combined
with the disassembled pieces of Eric’s rifle and Burke’s computer, they were
her sole possessions. She had painstakingly traced her old ship to a space
station in Prime system, named Foras. Its location hadn’t moved in the days she
had been travelling; it wasn’t a good sign that it was still in use but she
headed directly for it regardless.
    There were hundreds of ships to
choose from that were heading to Prime. It was the most populated system in
human space. She offered little conversation to the crew and other passengers
on the transport ship. She stayed in her room and constantly checked for any
sign of movement from Freedom.
    Jess searched continuously for any
signs of Burke, even delving into bounty postings and active hunter listings.
She was shocked to find him listed as a current target, rather than available
for work. There was a warrant out for his capture and a price on his head, dead
or alive for the murder of Adam Bancroft. There were details of the crime:
Burke had broken into a high security control floor of the Foras station and
killed Adam in his own office, in the station that he owned.
    She closed her eyes and inhaled
slowly. Freedom was still docked in that same station. It was possible, even
likely, that Burke had been injured while he killed Adam and died anonymously
somewhere on the station. The alternative might be worse: she was hunting
someone capable of forcing his way into the heart of a secured station, killing
its leader, and getting out alive. She remembered vividly how systematically he
had torn through her old crew and decided that she needed to be careful. She
needed a plan to even the odds against his near invincible battle aegis.
    On Foras, she walked purposefully
to the level that Freedom was docked on. She rented out a room on the same
floor but on the opposite end of the station. She left her bag, rifle, and
computer there and then went out and waited. She was confident that Burke
didn’t even know she existed and wouldn’t recognize her, but she needed to be
certain. She stood for hours outside of the hangar doors that housed the ship
and waited. And waited. The hours became days but her resolve never weakened;
standing on a climate controlled station with ample food, water, and noise
around her was nothing compared to the solitary silence of Meidum’s nights.
    Jess checked the hangar’s terminal
and knew that Freedom was the only ship in that particular section. There was
no way of telling how often someone entered or exited the facility. On the
first night she saw a man enter with a delivery of food and leave shortly
afterwards. The night next, a different man arrived with a similar delivery.
Someone was inside but she had no way of telling if it was her target. Still,
she waited.
    Five days passed before Burke finally
emerged. Jess maintained outwardly calm even as her heart rate spiked and searing
vitriol boiled inside her chest. She recognized him easily from all of his
video logs she had watched. She swapped a filter on her eye to look closer at
him and check for weapons: he was wearing no armor, only simple clothes, had a
handgun on his belt, and a military grade augmented leg. He had paid some price
for his revenge on Adam then, she reasoned, and knew that it wasn’t enough.
    The leg became an easy mark to
follow as she trailed behind him. He moved directly toward a bar half way
around the level and she

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