Pretending to check her purse, Myrtle surveyed the lay of the land. Hatchet came up beside her and rested his hand on the small of her back.
“Detective don’t carry this cover too far,” Myrtle whispered close to Hatchet’s ear.
“Needs must,” Hatchet said with a wicked grin and kissed her quick.
They walked across the restaurant. When Myrtle had first arrived on Enceladus as Chief of Security, she had been feted to the toniest eateries by the moon’s bigwigs. Everything had been cool slickness. This restaurant was different. Intimate and homey, androids and humans shared simple candlelit tables. Myrtle and Hatchet headed to a nondescript booth in the back. Hatchet pulled out a chair for his superior officer and took the gunslinger seat, his back to the wall and a view of all doors. Myrtle surveyed the room
“Nice dress.” Hatchet’s deep gray eyes drank her in and he tossed her a roguish look.
Myrtle rolled her eyes in return. Their history charged the air between them.
Two murders and a string of arsons had brought them here to Dutch’s. All the clues pointed to the FlorCorp and its stranglehold on the local growers. But circumstantial evidence and good intentions weren’t enough to bring down a Goliath. Hatchet was here to find a stone. Myrtle was here to make it happen.
The room darken and a baby spot lit a singer and a piano player on a small stage in the far corner. A waitress set down a pair of menu tablets, a water for Myrtle, and a silicone gel in front of Hatchet.
“Can I start you guys off with something? Hey, Hatch,” the waitress said. Soft and round, the plain android gave Hatchet the most beautiful smile. Myrtle shifted uncomfortably in her chair. Hatchet squeezed the waitress’s hand.
“Ryan, this is Captain Myrtle TwoAxe, my superior, the new chief. She can guarantee your safety.”
Ryan snatched back her hand. Her eyes were wide with fear.
“You know men like Panama and Driver will never stop not with Big Flower money behind them. They will squeeze this moon dry, squeeze this sector dry. Enceladus is a safe corner for androids a place to be free and prosper. You can protect that,” Myrtle said.
“Me, I can’t help you. I was made not born, a rent-a-womb for rich parents. And that is all I will ever be to humans, just equipment. I can’t help anyone.” Ryan turned. With a lightning fast hand, Hatchet grabbed her arm. Myrtle shook her head slightly. Hatchet released.
“Excellent choice, I’ll bring your apps.”
The cops sat in silence.
“I’ll try her tomorrow,” Hatchet said.
“Don’t. She’s afraid but not for herself.”
The silence grew. Myrtle met his eyes.
“I always thought you left me, left us for a cause. But I just realized you left Mars to fight for this a safe corner.”
They returned to silence with their hands on the table centimeters apart. Gentle music began to swirl across the restaurant as the first song began.