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Zodiac Forces Serial: Part 89
Part 89 A phone rang. Alex grunted and tried to burrow closer to Lance, face against his hot skin. He didn't want to get up. A phone rang and Alex furrowed his brow. Who brought a phone into their room? Neither of them owned a cell and Zodiac didn't permit a land line. Did Taylor leave it behind? The phone rang. Lance sighed, "What time is it?" Alex pushed himself to the side of the bed and blinked sand-filled eyes over the edge. A new cell phone blinked at him. It said Kimberly on the face. It also said 2:30 AM. Alex answered it. "Hello?" His voice cracked from sleep and still recovering from yesterday's antics. Kimberly growled through the phone, "I should have given you to the scales when they first asked. Do you know how to not be a pain in the ass?" "No, sir. It's not in my nature." "Don't sass me, stinger, it's too early for that shit." "Respectfully, sir, what the hell am I doing on a cell call with you?" "You have," she paused, "forty five seconds to pack a go-bag for high-altitude deciduous forest terrain at which point a pickup will be waiting outside your door. Don't miss it. You are to observe the Pisces in action and stay out of the damn way, am I clear?" Alex shot out of bed, "Yes, sir! Thank you, sir!" Kimberly hung up on him but Alex didn't care. He stripped in record time and threw on a fresh pair of in-training greys. Lance rolled to his stomach and hugged a pillow, "Where's the fire?" Alex jumped over to kiss him, "I'm going out in the field!" He hissed his excitement and dug under the bed for his duffel. His hand hit the smooth case of his rifle. Number zero two seven. Alex shook with adrenaline. He yanked the rifle out, shoved three pre-rolled, loaf-sized sets of clothes into his duffel, and came up short against Lance's strong hands. "Full sentences. Talk." His eyes were too-bright without sleep. "The Pisces group I've been shadowing is going out for their mission today. The phone call was from Kimberly. I'm allowed to go. Right now." "I thought you were in suspension." "Me too, but she just told me to get going. I'm not passing this up!" "No, you're right." Lance let him go. "Go kick ass." Alex gave him another smash of lips together and rushed out the front door. No car. Keta sat on the front steps, leaning on one hand. She held up a breakfast bar. "You're going to want this." He tried to catch his breath, frazzled and pumped with no where to go. Two thirty chill made him shiver. He accepted the bar and shoved half of it in his mouth. "Take a seat. It'll be another minute." He spoke around the bar in his mouth, swallowing the wince his internalized mother gave at his manners. "How do you know about this?" "I've been talking with Eve--" "About me?" "About you and Lance. About what you do…" She looked down at her hands, "She's helping me understand." Alex sat down on the top step. Keta shook her head, "I don't really understand. But I get that you're not crazy. Mostly." She sighed, "Anyway, I noticed you've been a lot better since you started working with the Piesces. I mentioned to Eve how bummed out you were about being on restriction when they were going out. I thought going with them might help you more than staying grounded and she agreed with me." Alex bit the second half of the bar. "So Eve talked Kimberly into letting me go." Keta wiped a hand down her face, "And I may have called my father." Alex tensed. The oatmeal bar lodged in his throat. He coughed, "Why?" "Because I'm your friend!" She looked down at him as if the question offended her. Two headlines and the drone of an engine appeared in the dark. Alex stood up with his bag and rifle. "What does your father want with me?" "What do you mean?" Keta stood as well. "I called in a favor with him." Alex fought with himself for a brief second. Was Commander Zeta looking to pull him into Internal Affairs? Was Keta a plant or did she not know? The truck scratched over gravel and Chief hung his elbow out the window, ending the debate. "Hey, the scorpion is getting his stinger wet, I hear." That fat grin wasn't talking about field work. Alex jogged down the steps and climbed into the passenger seat. "Where are we going?" "Back to Supplies. The fish are getting their bags ready." Chief spent half the drive eyeing Alex as much as the road. When they pulled into Supplies, Chief took the farthest parking spot away from the Pisces, a corner of the building more shadow than light. He shoved the gearshift into park. "Hey." Alex paused with a hand on the door. "Hey, I meant it when I said I'm still interested. Whenever you're back up to speed." A phone rang.