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Lefty was in Jin Chu’s room because…why? He had no way of knowing I’d come. He wasn’t there for me. He must have been there for Jin Chu.

A Latino assassin. And wouldn’t you know it, Sanchez Aluminum was owned by Brazilians. Shit, I know companies get pissed when you trash their stuff, but murder? Murder?!

I looked through the peephole again. The guard stood nearby. I was safer than I’d been all day. All right. Time to search the room.

Man. Must be nice to be rich. The room had a king-size bed, a tidy workstation in one corner, and a bathroom with a graywater reuse shower. I heaved a sigh. My dreams of a nice place had died with Trond.

I tossed the room. No point in subtlety. I found the usual stuff you’d expect for a business traveler: clothes, toiletries, et cetera. What I didn’t find was a Gizmo. And judging by the condition of the room (at least the condition it was in before I trashed it), there hadn’t been a struggle. That was all good news for Jin Chu. It meant he probably wasn’t dead. Most likely scenario: Lefty came to kill him but he wasn’t home. So Lefty waited. Then I showed up and ruined everything.

You’re welcome, Jin Chu.

I was about to leave when I noticed the safe in the closet. It’s one of those things you don’t even pay attention to. The wall-mounted safe had an electronic lock with instructions on how to set it. Pretty simple, really. It starts disarmed. You put your shit in it, then set the code. It’ll keep that code until you check out.

I tried the handle and it didn’t open. Interesting. When one of those wall safes isn’t in use it’s ajar.

Time to become a safecracker. Those things aren’t exactly made to protect the crown jewels.

The contents of my now-destroyed purse lay strewn across the floor. I found the makeup compact and slapped it against my palm several times. I opened it to a mess of crumbled powder. I held it up to the safe and blew across the surface.

Brown, dusty makeup clouded the air around the safe. I stepped back and waited for it to clear up. Dust takes a long time to settle in Artemis. Atmosphere plus low gravity equals particles taking forever to fall.

Eventually the area cleared up. I took a good look at the keypad. A layer of makeup covered everything, but three of the buttons had more dust on them than the others. The 0, the 1, and the 7. Those were the ones with finger grease on them. With a hotel like the Canton, you could bet they cleaned everything in the room between guests. So those numbers had to be the digits Jin Chu chose for his combination.

According to the instructions on the safe, you set a four-digit code.

Hmm. A four-digit code with three unique numbers. I closed my eyes and did some math. There’d be…fifty-four possible combinations. According to the instructions, the safe would lock down if it got three incorrect combinations in a row. Then the hotel staff would have to open it with their master code.

I replayed my brief interaction with him in my head. He was on Trond’s couch…he drank Turkish coffee while I had black tea. We talked about—

Aha! He was a Star Trek fan.

I typed 1-7-0-1 and the safe clicked open. NCC-1701 was the registration number of the starship Enterprise. How did I know that? I must have heard it somewhere. I don’t forget stuff.

I opened the safe door and found the mysterious white case—the one Jin Chu had tried to hide from me. The outside still read ZAFO SAMPLE—AUTHORIZED USE ONLY. All right, now we were getting somewhere!

I popped open the case to discover…a cable?

It was just a coiled cable, maybe two meters long. Had someone taken the secret device and left the power cable behind? Why do that? Why not take the whole case?

I looked at the cable more closely. Actually, it wasn’t a power cord. It was a fiber-optic cable. Okay, so it was for data. But what data?

“Okay. Now what?” I asked myself.

The door beeped and slid open. Svoboda stepped into his studio apartment and dropped his Gizmo on the shelf near the door.

“Hi, Svobo,” I said.

“Svyate der′mo!” He put his hand on his chest and panted.

I’d smuggled in so many illegal chemicals for him over the years he’d given me the keypad-code for his apartment. It was just easier for me to deliver that way.

I leaned back in his desk chair. “I need some work from you.”

“Jesus Christ, Jazz!” he said, still breathing heavily. “Why are you in my apartment?”

“I’m in hiding.”

“What’s with your hair?”

I’d changed back into normal clothes, but I still had my whore-do. “Long story.”

“Are those sparkles? You have sparkles in your hair?”

“Long story!” I pulled a square of wrapped chocolate from my pocket and tossed it to him. “Here. I read somewhere you should always bring a gift when visiting a Ukrainian.”

“Ooh! Chocolate!” He caught the morsel and unwrapped it. “Rudy came by the lab today asking about you. He didn’t say why, but scuttlebutt is you’re involved in those murders?”

“The guy who killed them wants to kill me.”

“Wow,” he said. “This is serious. You should go to Rudy.”

I shook my head. “And get deported? No thanks. I can’t trust him. I can’t trust anyone right now.”

“But you’re here.” He smiled. “So you trust me?”

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