Please Help Support CTTA By Checking Out Our Sponsers Products

If you’re a spy vs spy fan you’re going to love this one…

Justice Survives


Rhonda Eudaly

"We have a situation."

"Well, yeah, Simon, I figured that or you wouldn't have pulled me in here my only free weekend in six months." Kitty Carone leaned back in her chair. "So what's the story?"

Katherine Carone had been called Kitty her entire life. She had never been certain if it had been because she'd been cute as a kitten as an infant, or if her parents had been completely enamored with Gunsmoke. The nickname had stuck, and through the years, had its uses. "Kitty" conjured images of a bubble-headed blondness, despite her masses of ginger colored hair and above average intellect. Many of those preconceptions rankled even as she learned to take advantage of them.

"What do you know about Dr. Raymond Johannsen?" Simon Chadwick sat back in his supple leather desk chair and watched her through long, thin fingers steepled over his aristocratic nose. Hazel eyes containing the wisdom of age and experience of fifty plus years studied her expressions. Only a quick flash and twinkle betrayed his keen wit and intellect in an otherwise stony, chiseled face.

"He's a brilliant scientist. Published more scientific papers in more journals than most fiction writers can dream of. He's got an awards list longer than most entertainers. He's currently involved in major anti-terrorism research. What about him?"

"He's missing."

Kitty stared at her boss and mentor in shocked disbelief. "He's what?"

"He's missing. The local authorities haven't found any evidence of foul play, but there's no indication it's anything else. He can't simply wander away."

"Johannsen's one of the most important scientists of the decade. What happened to his locator? Isn't everyone at his security level tagged?"

            "Nothing's coming up. He resisted the sub dermal, but the files say he's got something."


            "That's why I'm assigning this to you. If anyone can find him, you can. "

"Who could possibly get close enough...?"

"One name springs to mind."


"It was about time he popped up again, and this is right up his alley."

"I should've killed him while I had the chance."

"Probably. Don't let personal feelings get the better of you, Kitty. Johannsen's too important. We need him back, alive, and soon."

"What's he working on? All I know is its anti-terrorism, but nothing specific."

Simon handed her a pre-programmed file reader. "Here."

She quickly scanned the material and looked up in surprise. "Is this for real? Can this really work?"

"Yes, Johannsen's device will be a major breakthrough in security both on and off planet. It goes online in less than thirty days. It's safe to bet whoever took Johannsen is trying to get counter-measures out of him before then.

"Kitty, I don't' have to remind you the doctor isn't part of our world. He's not trained to withhold information from those determined to get what they want. I don't know how long he'll be able to hold out, but I don't have much hope of him not breaking."

"I'll get him before that happens, Simon."

"Anything you need, Kitty, just ask. Where are you going to start?"

"I know Michel. I think I know where I can find him."


Heads turned as Kitty navigated the black-tie event like one born to the spotlight. Her shimmering, low-cut, royal blue gown was tailored to enhance and accentuate her lush, ample curves. She cut through the crowd with an inherent grace and confidence that left incredulous whispers in her wake.

Kitty ignored them as she made her way to the patio on the opposite side and stepped out into the cool night air. She went straight to the low wall separating the patio from the immaculately manicured grounds. She wasn't alone. A man leaned on the wall nursing a crystal flute of champagne.

Michel Poisson was a tall, muscularly lean man entering middle age. His collar length blond hair rustled gently against the stark black of his formalwear. The uneven light cast changing shadows in the planes and valleys of his face. He cut a romantic figure in the moonlight.

"Give him back."

"I beg your pardon?" His vibrant voice was thick with an indeterminately European accent.

She spared him only the briefest of glances. "Johannsen. I want him back."

Inside, the orchestra began playing a stirring dance tune. He uncoiled from the wall with a whip-like grace, and set his glass aside and held out a hand to her. "Let's dance."

"I'm not in the mood to dance, Michel."

He took her hand anyway and swirled her back into the ballroom and onto the dance floor. He pulled her close to speak directly in her ear. "I don't have him, Kitty. Someone got to him before I did. My employers are very put out."

"Has someone finally surpassed the master? I didn't think you'd ever let that happen."

"Why do you think I'm looking for him, too? I want the cheeky bastard who thinks he can beat me."

The song ended in a dramatic flourish. Michel dipped Kitty deeply and kissed her. When she regained her feet and her breath, she was alone on the dance floor. Michel Poisson had vanished.


"And you believed him? Come on, Kitty! Why would Michel Poisson tell you the truth?" Simon Chadwick shoved a hand through sleep tousled brown hair. If the dark circles hadn't been an indication Kitty had pulled him out of a sound sleep, the silk pajamas were a dead giveaway.

            Kitty paced before the vidphone, still in her ball gown. "I've had time to think about it, Simon, I don't think he'd lie about this. It's too important. Someone else has Johannsen, and Michel wants that guy almost as much as we want the professor. So, yes, I believe him."

"Dr. Johannsen is vital not only to our government, but to Earth and its colonies."

"I'm well aware of that, Simon, I'll find him."

"Before whoever has him can get the counter-measures out of him."

The screen went blank. Kitty went into her elegant bedroom and carefully got out of the gown and shrugged into a robe. After making herself of a cup of tea, she retired to her study - her sanctuary, really - and settled into her favorite chair. She opened the armrest and pushed a button. Instead of the typical massage function of chairs of similar types and styles, this one opened a panel in one of her floor to ceiling bookcases. A top of the line computer workstation activated itself. She pulled a keyboard control pad and a stylus out of the table next to the chair and began work, starting the series of search parameters. While the computer ran, she pulled up Johannsen's file in another window.

She stared at the image of the forty-something year old Dr. Raymond Johannsen. He was a handsome man, especially for a research scientist - accomplished, reserved, and now in serious trouble. She studied the details of his long and award-winning career until she could no longer focus on the screen. She needed to get some sleep. She'd start fresh the next morning.


"Come on, you've got to give me something," the little, rat-faced man whined.

"Funny, that was going to be my line."


"Ferrell, you know how it works – something for something. I don’t support your habits out of the goodness of my heart, you know."

Ferrell trembled as he watched the chit moving between her fingers. His small, dark eyes bright with the prospect of a payday, but the chit stayed just out of reach. He struggled to come up with information she'd find valuable.

Kitty watched his struggle and tried not to let any of the myriad emotions coursing through her show in her face. Ferrell had been useful in the past, a man born to be a snitch. The dirty, little scoundrel heard and saw more in a day than most people did in a lifetime. She couldn't prolong their encounter much longer. She didn't want Ferrell to be missed, nor could she stand the odor coming off him.

"Kitty, please, if I knew something, don't you think I'd tell you? All I know is you're not the only one looking for him."

"Who else?"

"Easier to ask who's not looking for him. I've had both sides of the fence coming around, if you get my drift."

Kitty sighed. It was the same thing she'd hear from other sources of information all day. "Anybody ahead of the others?"

"As far as I can tell, nobody's got the upper hand, but you and Poisson are making the most noise."


"Yeah, he really wants the guy who pulled off the snatch. I think he's taking the whole thing kinda personal."

"Thanks, Ferrell." She held the chit out to him but didn't let go of it. "Let me know if anything comes up?"

Ferrell managed to look hurt. "Kitty! You wound me."

"Just call me if you come up with anything."

"Absolutely." He tugged at the chit until she finally let go. He started to scurry off, but she stopped him.

"Oh, and Ferrell?"

The rat-faced man turned back. "What?"

"Use some of that for a bath, would ya? You're pretty ripe."

Ferrell rolled his beady eyes at her and disappeared into the shadows.


"We're running out of time, Kitty," Simon reminded her. His stern, patrician image frowning over her mobile's video link. "Johannsen's anti-terrorist device is still being implemented by all the major carriers as scheduled. It would be good to know if it's been compromised before it's been installed! I don't need to tell you if Johannsen breaks, the combined efforts and budgets of governments and research facilities for the last fifty years will be for nothing."

"I'm well aware of the consequences, Simon, but whoever's got him as really covered his tracks. There're still no hits on his locator. I've hit all my regular sources and came up empty. There can't be too many people or groups who can go that deep. Someone should be taking credit for this."

"He's still on the planet though, right, Kitty?"

"I can't even be sure of that, Simon. He could be on the moon or even Mars. I'm working on it."

"You won't be able to find him alone," a new voice said.

"I'll have to call you back, Simon." She broke the connection over Simon's protests and looked up. "What do you want?"

Michel Poisson took that as an invitation and sat down across the table from her. "I need your help."

"Why would I help you?"

"Neither of us is going to find the professor on our own. We should team up."

"You're kidding. Why would I even consider doing that?"

"You can at least hear me out before you dismiss the idea out of hand." Michel pouted. "I'm making a gesture."

"Oh, were we exchanging gestures?"

"Play nice, Kitty."

"What's to keep me from taking you down right here and now, Michel?"

He shrugged and reached for the glass of water on the table. "Public place, Kitty, bad form. Besides, if you want to recover the professor, you need me as much as I need you."

Kitty studied the man across from her a moment. She knew Michel Poisson almost as well as she knew herself. They'd had a long history. "Why?"

"Let's just say I don't care for my current employer's intentions."

"Let's say more a little more. Since when do you care about anything more than the payoff?"

"That's unfair and unkind, Kitty. Just because my objectives aren't the same as yours doesn't mean I don't have my standards. My employer failed to meet them. I'm working on my own. Will you listen to what I have to propose?"

"Dangerous choice of words, Michel."

"These are dangerous times."

Kitty sat back and crossed her arms over her ample bosom, eyes glittering suspiciously. "I'm curious. Convince me."

"I've narrowed my list of possibilities down to a handful of people, but I need access to some of your resources to narrow down the list."

"Let you have access to my systems? I don't think so. Besides, what do I get out of the bargain?"

Michel flashed a bright, white smile. "My sparkling personality."

Kitty sat back, expression hardening. "Try again."

"Okay. You know some of those people on your most wanted list? I'll give you a few of them."

She studied the dashing figure across from her. "Simon's not going to like this."

"What about you?"

"So you're proposing an enemy of my enemy kind of thing?"

"Something like that, though I never considered you an enemy. More like a worthy adversary."

"I'm flattered."

"You should be."

She couldn't tell if he was sincere or not. She finally held her hand out to him. "It goes against my better judgment, but okay."

Michel took her hand, but instead of shaking it, he turned it over and kissed the back of it. "You won't regret it."

"Famous last words."


            "Stay here," she told Michel as she opened the door to the house.

            Michel waited patiently on the doorstep while she disengaged the security system and invited him in. He took in his surroundings in minute detail. "Nice place."

            "It serves its purpose."

            "Safe houses usually do."

            The slight bobble in her step told him he was right. She turned back to look at him. "You didn't think I'd let you anywhere near my home, did you? This has everything we need."

            "I hope so." He took a turn around the broad living area and collapsed on the sofa, popping his feet up on the coffee table. "At least it's comfortable."

            "We're not here for that either." Kitty picked up an elaborate remote control and pressed a specific series of buttons. The entertainment center slid aside to reveal a massive computer workstation similar to the one at home.

            "Nice. With what I know and this system, we might even find the good professor alive."


Kitty asked rubbed her eyes and accepting the mug Michel handed her. She sniffed warily at the aromatic steam coming off the contents. "Is this safe?"

            "You wound me," Michel said, taking a pull of his own mug. "Of course it's safe. Besides you made the coffee, I just poured it."

            "There's no such thing as 'just pouring'," she said as she took a sip. "What've we got?"

            Michel went over to the map on the computer monitor. Several red dots pulsed on the screen. There were two other maps embedded in the corners of the larger one – the Moon Base and the new colony on Mars.

            "Let's rule out Mars."


            "It's too new, too exciting, and way too visible. No one's set up shop there yet."

            "Okay, that makes some kind of sense. We've covered almost everyone with the capability."

Michel paced, muttering to himself and staring at the map. Kitty watched his movements carefully while looking at her notes. He stopped suddenly. "Grigor."

"Excuse me?"

"Grigor Surtsey. He's got Johannsen. The only question now is where. He's got a place here on the planet and on the Moon, and both are equally secure and equipped."


            "I can't believe I’m doing this," Kitty muttered, staring down at the expensive country estate.

            Michel studied their target through his low light, night vision visor. "You've probably done as many breaking and enterings as I have."

            "I meant I see a junction box on the south corner. We can probably bypass the laser grid from there. What about the other sensors?"

            "Give me some credit, would you?"

            "Organic assets?"

            "You mean human guards and/or dogs? Covered."

            Kitty took a deep breath. "Then let's go."

            It took less than ten minutes to disable the security system and meet at the estate house's patio doors. They faded back into the shadows as four guards barreled out of the house. They were taken down with four quick spurts from silenced weapons. Communicating by hand signs, they swept the house and were back out in less than five minutes. They found nothing.

            "You know what this means," Michel said as they sat on the grassy knoll, catching their breath.


            "To the Moon, Kitty, to the Moon."


Kitty found herself lurking in areas of the Moon Facility she'd only read about it. She never thought the dark side of the moon would actually be this dark. Industrial lighting barely pierced the constant black. It had become the repository for warehouses, the homeless, the dangerous, and the back alley practitioners. Society's underbelly had found a natural home here. The only thing that kept her from turning around and going home was the strong suspicion that Johannsen was nearby, but his location could be anywhere in a hundred places.

Michel pulled her back into the deeper shadow. She saw the armed guard in a dirty pseudo-uniform carrying a very clean, well-used weapon stroll by. Apparently appearances only mattered back on planet. They waited until he moved out of sight before easing out of the shadows and moving on.

"Grigor's complex is just ahead."

"I suppose the best camouflage would be industrial tacky."

"Be nice, Kitty, and be careful. Let me scout ahead and see what kind of security he's got. I'll be right back."

Michel started forward, but Kitty caught his arm. "Oh, no. Uh uh. No way. We stick together."

"Can't you trust me just this once?"

"Uh, no. Remember, this is a partnership of necessity. I don't trust you further than I can throw you."


"I have a present for Grigor."

Three men standing around an exhausted and beaten man lashed to a straight-backed chair whirled in fearful amazement at the unexpected interruption. The man in the chair was still alive but barely recognizable as Johannsen. An older man in the expensively tailored dark suit stepped away from the two henchmen and came toward Michel and a restrained Kitty.

"What're you doing here, Poisson? And how did you get in?"

"You've got some guards sleeping on duty."

"They will be dealt with."

"I'm sure, and I thought you might like to see what I found lurking outside your front door." Michel pulled Kitty into view. "Kitty Carone, Grigor. She came for Johannsen. You're lucky I got her before she got you."

Grigor's gaze barely flicked over Kitty. "This cow? You're kidding. Impossible. She couldn't free Johannsen from a meadow. What game are you playing, Poisson?"

Grigor drew back to strike, only to find his arm stopped before the blow could connect. Kitty held his arm in a vice grip and slowly forced it down. His eyes grew round in disbelief. No matter what he did, he could break neither her grip nor her gaze.

"Didn't your mother ever tell you it's not nice to call a woman fat?" Her other hand flashed out striking quickly cutting up under his chin. His head snapped back and severing the spinal cord with an audible snap. She let go of his arm and let his inert body hit the floor with a final thump. She kicked the carcass a couple of times for good measure as she stepped over it.

The other two men proved more difficult. They were Grigor's more skilled enforcers, and they enjoyed their work. They learned from their employer's fatal mistake. Fists, feet, and bodies flew through the air as they battled back and forth across the room. Kitty started to tire. She'd been on the move for days without a break. The tension and exhaustion were starting to get to her. Her opponent managed to get a few good licks in before she could end the fight. With one final flurry of fists and feet, Kitty put the thug down.

She took a few seconds to catch her breath before searching out Michel. Michel was more than holding his own, so Kitty turned her attention to the professor. She knelt down beside the chair and started releasing his bonds. He shrunk away from any touch.

"Who are you?" he asked through cracked and bleeding lips.

"I'm Kitty Carone, Dr. Johannsen. I'm here to take you home."


"Yes, Doctor, home. It's over now. You're going to be all right."

He cried out in pain as he stood and nearly fell as circulation returned to his extremities. She moved quickly into a supportive position, getting her shoulder under his arm, and bearing most of his weight. She looked around for Michel. He'd finished off his opponent and was doing something at the computer workstation. She couldn't see what from her angle, but she didn't like it.

"What're you doing?"


"Double-checking what?"

"Just double-checking."

"Are you going to be all right for a moment, Professor?" Kitty asked. "There's something I need to take care of."

With the professor's shaky affirmation, Kitty left the professor leaning on the back of the chair and pulled a device out of her coverall pocket. Michel hit a command and the screen went blank before Kitty could see what he'd been doing. She activated the device and stuck it to the workstation. "Two minutes. We better move."

Together they got Johannsen out of the room. It was slow going, but they couldn't push the doctor any faster in his condition. The guard they'd first encountered came around the corner right in their path. Both parties froze. Kitty and Michel looked at each other and as one, pulled weapons and fired. The guard never knew what hit him.

"There. Cover." They pushed Johannsen down behind a metal bin and covered him the best they could as the explosion rocked the area. When the dust settled, they made their slow, steady way back to the shuttleport.


Kitty sat across the immaculate desk from Simon Chadwick, and this time, he was smiling. "You did well, Kitty. Dr. Johannsen is back, snug in his lab with no permanent damage from his experience. The shrinks will work with him to get rid of the nightmares, too. He sends his undying thanks for the rescue. His device is up and running with astounding success. Those fifty years of trial and error research has finally paid off. We've managed to strike a serious blow against terrorism.

"It will be a while before they can regroup, and by then the device will be in every security checkpoint available. No one's going to be able to get a paper clip past security without it being known, or alerting the person carrying it. We've already stopped a half-dozen idiots before they got into the gates. You did very well."

"I'm glad you feel that way. There's one more thing, Simon."


"The files, Michel."

"Kitty, hello, won't you sit down?" Michel barely looked up from his dinner at the posh restaurant.

"I want the files you took from Grigor's computer. Now."

"They have nothing to do with Johannsen's device, Kitty. They were totally unrelated."

"Oh, really, Michel?"

"Come on, Kitty, mass destruction is a messy business. Dr. Johannsen's device is good for business - both of our businesses. Why would I want to destroy that?"

"Good to know you have a line." She leaned in close. "Because if I ever find out you were the source of someone getting past it, I will hunt you down and kill you."

"You can try."

"I'll succeed."

He raised a crystal wine glass in a toast. "May that day be long in coming. You are both an exceptional opponent and an exceptional woman. I would miss you."

She narrowed her eyes at him. "What're you playing at, Michel? What did you take from Grigor?"

"Nothing that concerns you, or our temporary detente."

"Temporary being the key word there. It's over, Michel. The next time we meet, I'll do whatever it takes to bring you to justice."

"Justice, Kitty? Come on."

"That's the fundamental difference between us, Michel. I still believe in justice."

"So do I, just not your brand, and I've always loved a challenge."

She stood to leave. "Good bye, Michel."

"Until we meet again."

He watched her leave with an appreciative smile she would never see, knowing she was both figuratively and literally going to be the death of him one day - and he didn't care.