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CHAPTER 1

Matcher Rules


by Mary Holland


Copyright 2011 by Mary Holland

Cover Design: Rhea Ewing


Smashwords Edition

This book is available in print at most online retailers.


For Bob, with love

And for the Deadline Club, Lisa Stone and Kim Aufhauser, for the encouragement



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Chapter 1


The fountain filled the rotunda with the sound of rushing water. Liquid gushed from the top of the 30-foot high sculpture, splashing down over the abstract metal shapes, streaming into the pool at the base and rippling out to the stonewall surrounding the pool. Officers in gray Compact uniforms and civilian functionaries in expensively tailored black detoured around it under the rotunda’s dome, heading for the doors around the walls, and their offices and meetings. The closer one was to the fountain, the more the sound of the hurrying footsteps blurred and blended with the waters.

Jerzy had ten minutes to kill until his appointment. He sat on the coping at the fountain’s rim, and stared at the splashing water. After his last assignment, he could have requested more leave, or applied for a desk job, and he knew what his doctors had recommended. Instead, he’d opted for a return to active service, and had convinced them he was able. He hoped. Although he hadn’t actually seen the report they’d filed; it was ominous that he was to report in person instead of picking up his orders from the comm.

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