Code of Conduct

Code of Conduct by Kristine Smith

Book: Code of Conduct by Kristine Smith Read Free Book Online
Authors: Kristine Smith
    â€œAngevin.” Ridgeway thumped the touchpad in the vicinity of the fourth floor. “Language.” He didn’t bother to ask Jani which floor she wanted. The door closed like a judgment, and they ascended in silence.
    The door opened to reveal a mob. Jani found herself surrounded by aggressively helpful staffers who first sought to separate her from her duffel and, when that failed, tried to usher her down the hall toward a large conference room. At the sight of the reporters, holocam operators, and Security guards milling at the room’s entrance, she executed a sloppy but successful excuse me ricochet spin-off. The move propelled her away from the conference room and past Angevin, who was engaged in heated conversation with a sulky young man who appeared determined to confiscate her shopping bags.
    Jani skirted around a corner and down an empty hall as images from the display map paged past her mind’s eye. She wandered up and down halls, avoiding guards, searching for a stairwell or secondary elevator that wasn’t alarmed.
    Close-controlled floors have one and only one nonemergency entry—slash—exit which means if I want to get out of here without lighting up the whole damn complex, I have to walk by the cams and have my face transmitted to every damn colony—shit !
    â€œMs. Tyi!”
    Jani turned to find Durian Ridgeway rushing toward her.
    â€œHave you seen Angevin? She’s disappeared!” His ruddy face flushed as he palmed into several of the offices, searching for his wayward aide. “The meeting begins in five minutes, and she has all my notes. The Deputy Prime Minister is here. Angevin needs this exposure, damn it, but every time she gets a chance to put herself forward, she’s nowhere to be found!”
    What Angevin needs more than anything are six months’ pay and an hour’s head start . Jani leaned against the wall and watched Ridgeway pace. “Sounds important.”
    He nodded. “Emergency session. Called by Langley.” His mouth twisted around the Deputy’s name. “‘We’ll meet as soon as you get back,’ he said. ‘Nothing important,’ he said. Then we pull into the main parking garage to find vans from every major news service parked there. We had to flee down to the subs to avoid being blitzed. Bastard .” His voice took on a desperate edge. “If you could help me find Angevin, Ms. Tyi, I would be very grateful.”
    Jani gave him a halfhearted salute, hurrying away before he felt compelled to say, “please.” She picked a hall where most of the doors lacked palm locks. She tapped lightly on a couple, then pushed open one labeled, FURNITURE . The room lights had already been activated, brought to life, no doubt, by the furious motion taking place atop one of the desks. Angevin, her long skirt bunched up over her hips, had her bare legs wrapped around the arching back of the young man with whom Jani had seen her arguing a few minutes before. He wasn’t sulking now.
    Jani kicked at a nearby trashzap, sending the metal bucket clattering across the floor. “Durian!” she hissed before forcing the door closed. She took off down the hall, rounded the corner, and barreled into an agitated Ridgeway.
    â€œWhat was that noise, Risa?” he asked as he tried to dart around her.
    â€œJust me being clumsy,” Jani said as she gripped his arm and spun him around. “Angevin’s down on the third floor. The parts bins.” That seemed reasonable. Documents examiners always fretted over their scanpack functions, especially before important meetings and transactions. “She’ll be on her way back up within a few minutes. I ran into someone who saw her go down. There.”
    â€œI hope she doesn’t show up stinking of broth. Who told you she was there?”
    â€œOne of the Security guards.” Please don’t ask which one . “Angevin gave

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