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The man glanced around the dingy office before answering Cilreth’s question. No doubt he was not impressed. Who would be? The office was small, with modest furnishings and little or no decor. Cilreth didn’t even like being there herself.

She knew his name was Leonard. He had alerted her to his visit, but he had been short on details. He’d asked to talk in person. More and more, it seemed like the kinds of jobs Cilreth got involved in had clients who wanted to talk incarnate to avoid the government snoopers. It was the only reason Cilreth even had an office.

Admit it, old girl. You like it that way.

I’m looking for someone. I have a lot of solid data on her, but she’s since gone missing, and she wants to stay missing,” he said. Leonard sat before her on a ceramic chair. He looked athletic, though a bit past his prime, with short, gray hair and brown eyes. His skin was clear and clean-shaven. His nose was slightly bent.

He looks like a hardass. Ex-military, Cilreth thought. She decided she liked him. “Runaway?”

Yeah. A Space Force officer’s brat daughter. She’s been to the frontier for sure. Most likely she’s still there.”

What’s her overall temperament? Is she prone to violence? Involved with drugs?”

She’s intelligent and stable. Used to be, anyway,” he said. “But she fell in with a mean crowd. Smugglers. The assignment I’m offering requires moving around a lot, which of course is included in the pay offer.”

Cilreth nodded.

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