Excalibur Jones is back!
Or is he? Hunter Cambria Petersen suspects the Nexians have cloned the serial killer, but since she's already killed him once, she can't Hunt him down until he commits another murder.
But how can she wait? How can she let anyone be slaughtered by him? Answer: she can't.
For now, he's an innocent man. Cambria's not waiting, she's going after him... unofficially, without support from her boss or her husband.
She took him down once, she'll do it again.
Hunter Cambria Petersen climbed the last ladder to the topside emergency hatch of the facility. She unlocked the metal trapdoor and shoved the heavy lid up with her shoulder.
Cold mountain air rushed in, but she was prepared for the chill.
Her backpack contained a thermos of coffee, snacks she could heat and a micro blanket. In addition, she wore her long Hunter coat with its environmental controls and bullet-proof material.
She didn’t really need it since she absorbed the DNA of a mysterious Watcher, an inter-dimensional being who’d been studying humans and Nomadians by force; at least until she blew herself, First Officer Karesh and the alien ****ers up. When the Watcher tried to resurrect, it couldn’t, because her molecules and its’ combined. And she was the result.
The Watcher turned into scattered piles of black gloop. She resurrected instead.
Cambria breathed in the crisp, snow-scented air and smiled.
For the first time in years, she was free to move about her own planet and this view was her first of where the Hunter Facility was located. The Swiss Alps.
Not so far from her previous home in Geneva.
She stood on a man-made platform, a viewing platform of the towering, white- draped peaks. Around her feet, she saw marks in the grass where others had come to sit, to contemplate, to relax, while sitting in chairs they’d brought up.
Below her feet, the facility continued to rebuild following President de Crecy’s attack and his attempt to blow the building up with suicide squads of Nords. They’d become the bombs, set themselves up at the weakest points of the facility. They failed to destroy the Unit, but the damage was still extensive.
Her husband, General Nathan Caparossi, ran the facility permanently since the murder of Lord Montague by the Nords. But Nathan wasn’t just repairing the damage, he was expanding it, and had the creators of the corridors - the Spatial Vortex Transporters - the Nexians, install three more SVTs.
They wouldn’t be caught with only one corridor as an evacuation point again; the potential for disaster was horrifying. Her efforts to clear the Nords would live in her memories for a long, long time.
Fortunately, the man who provoked the confrontations, the man who deliberately oppressed the people he was sworn to protect and serve, the man who had ambitions of not just global tyranny, but to reach out to the galaxy with his own brand of government, President Peter de Crecy, was dead. And his plans to use the global population as conscripted soldiers to oppress the galaxy died with him - at the hands of the murderous sociopath Excalibur Jones.
Cambria shuddered as she remembered her shock at seeing him alive. Which came to the reason she was up on the mountainside in the cold morning air.
She’d killed Jones, stuck a knife in him and executed the warrant against him on Nexus True. The Nexians asked her for his remains, to use some of his genetic material to reintroduce diversity into their genome. In the pursuit of perfection, a facet they valued above all else, the Nexians removed certain flaws in their genes. They’d become a clone society to achieve that perfection. As a result, they no longer had a lot of diversity of appearance. She’d agreed to them taking samples of Jones’ genetic material – height, eye colour, body shape, skin colour, as long as they didn’t use any of the personality genes.
Someone on Nexus True obviously didn’t get the memo and cloned the convicted serial killer. Worse, she couldn’t go after him because she’d already executed the warrant.
She had no idea about the new Excalibur Jones, or whether there was more than one. She hoped not. Nathan had contacted the Nexian government, but along with their pursuit of perfection, they had an irritating knack of examining and discussing each request to the nth degree to reach consensus. It was how they did business and on the whole, it worked, but they’d also come to some wrong decisions.
They didn’t expect a result of the investigation for weeks, if not months, maybe years. And in the meantime, Jones was free to exercise his brand of terror, of rape and torture and murder.
She shuddered as the memories of her own torture, her own rape at his hands surged into her mind. Not even Nathan’s loving caresses could blur those memories.
He’d certainly slaughtered de Crecy just after he handed her a bound sheaf of paper, demanded she read it, and ordered her to de Crecy’s private corridor before the President’s men burst in to save their benefactor.
And that was the last she saw him. She’d heard the gunfire, but Jones had a habit of defying the odds. She’d see him again. Cambria was his obsession and he wouldn’t let her go. Ever.
She settled down on the platform, leaned her back against a cool black granite rock, and set her backpack next to her. She drew out the thermos and poured herself a steaming cup of coffee.
The bundle of paper came out easily from the pack and she rested it against her raised denim-clad knees.
The title was simple and she studied the word. It encompassed all she knew about Excalibur Jones and her index finger brushed across the printed word: Me.