Excerpt

 

Updated excerpt

THE RED UMBRELLA SOCIETY
by Khrys Vaughan

Chapter One

     

     “I’m in.” Suspended from a cable affixed to the exterior of a 30th story Tokyo penthouse, Blake confirms her position via headset. She detaches the D-ring from her harness and enters through the window.

     “Copy that. This is Dowager. Recover the stolen data in his possession and retrieve the artifact. Your target is Leif Ludgen, founder…”

     “I know. Founder of one of the most prominent tech companies and creator of some of the most advanced algorithms. I cited him in my dissertation. What did he do?”

     “Besides a significant portion of his creations being someone else’s work, a company we shield discovered he had compromised one of their interns. It would’ve gone unnoticed, but we had eyes on the situation well beforehand. Quite an unfortunate exchange for opportunities that never came.”

     “Exactly. Never believe that ‘resume builder’ line. It’s just another way to say ‘Smile when I use you,’” Blake curtly replies, hastily searching her way through Leif’s penthouse.

     Dowager laughs, “It would be ridiculous to accuse him of stealing something he already had access to. At least until whatever he was working on was completed. By then it would have signatures from both companies and appear they were engaged in counter-sabotage. They’d be crippled by the time the courts sorted through everything. Not to mention the witch hunt within.”

     “Tell me about it. We cautioned them against hiring anyone unvetted, but they considered working with such a high-profile individual too great an opportunity.”

     “And that’s why we took measures. Several companies associated with the project would’ve fallen. Two of them ours; one with a vested interest.”

     “Typical. But that’s odd, isn’t it?”

     “What do you mean?”

     “For more than one company in an incident to be ours.” Blake replies and instantly interrupts herself, “Found it. Thumb drive encased in a crystal paperweight?”

     “That’s the one. Ensure no other copies exist and destroy any remaining signatures.”

     “Already on it.”

     Dowager accompanies, “Cloud open… Scanning penthouse… Securing all data… Oh, that’s a nice encryption. Got it. Say my name!”

     “Uhm, no.”

     “Done. Everything will be here for you in the morning.”

     “I love it when you’re thorough.” Blake jokingly commends her.

     “Leif should awaken shortly. Secure the artifact. It’s time for this piece of our history to come home.”

     “Understood.”

     “In all thine ways, be wyse. Dowager out.”

     Blake shifts her attention to locating the artifact. She notices a partially hidden metal and glass curio at the far corner of Leif’s bedroom just as he begins to stir. She removes a slender chrome tube, slightly larger than the width of an ink pen, from the lining of her boot and checks her equipment. Blake walks toward the curio and sees the artifact. She reverently genuflects before it, opens the door, and removes a flattened padded case from the bodice of her black tactical gear. She gently lifts the delicate object and carefully nestles it within the case. Groggy, Leif awakens just as she secures it to her body. He wipes his eyes, straining them to focus on the Asian woman in his room. He starts from his bed, then stops just as abruptly. His eyes bulge at the sight of the red charm dangling from Blake’s wrist, just as much from the weapon pointed at him.

     “Consider yourself fortunate. But, this is the only warning you will ever receive. Thou shalt not steal!” Blake sternly reprimands him and quickly exits the window. Leif rushes from his bed, but falls to the floor, partly entangled in his sheet. Stumbling to get up, he frees himself in time to see Blake zip line to a waiting helicopter at the next building.

The Red Umbrella Society excerpt

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3 Responses to “Excerpt

  • “So excited to read your book!”

  • “The excerpt is so good!!! You left me hanging!! I can’t wait to read the whole book. That was a real teaser.”

  • This is an exciting writing project with lots of angles of what’s next. Keep writing

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