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Chapter One



“Report to the sim room. Stat.”

I pressed my personal com tighter to my ear and closed my eyes, rubbing at the tension those few, simple words evoked.

I’d just gotten back from Hades and a rather nasty op involving the attempted theft of a load of diamonds, not to mention a few spiders I could have done without meeting. I hadn’t even made it home yet. I wanted a workout, not an afternoon wasted at the whim of a bored controller. None of that changed the current reality.

“Mission parameters?”

My boss wheezed for a moment, his obstructed breathing nothing out of the ordinary, but it sounded gravelly in my ear.

“Sniper operation. I’ve allowed for your usual equipment and the run down on the op will be given to you once you’re in the sim.” He paused. “Play nice, Athene.”

“Yes, sir.”

I ended the com and tucked it back in my pocket before closing the door on my locker. Special operations being what they were, virtual operations—or sims—were the best choice for on-the-job training. I hate sims, but Chronos had been a constant in my life since I was a small child and I hadn’t won an argument with him yet. Instead, I headed for the lifts for the upper floors, keying my security code into the panel and waiting with irritation for the few second ride to be over with.

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