HUMAN/SUPER First Contact 53

Sleep didn’t come so easily, however. She spent half the night tossing and turning, trying to block out the electronic background noise, before finally passing out from sheer exhaustion.


Late Friday morning, Angela headed to a little place in the south end of town called Dave’s Café. Leigh was already there, sitting by the window with her tablet propped up on her knee. Angela ordered a large hot chocolate from the young black man behind the counter and joined Leigh at the table.

“You ready for this?” Leigh asked.

“I have no idea,” Angela replied.

“Well, only one way to find out,” Leigh said.

She unzipped her backpack and pulled out a box. The cover depicted a battlefield full of knights and monsters and magic spells. The words “Akkraemyth Chess” stretched across the sky.

“Thought we’d play with actual pieces this time,” she said.

She opened the box and started setting up her side of the board. Angela did the same with her own side, representing various Kal Ekred races, from orcs to goblins to the undead. Leigh’s pieces were mostly elves and humans.

Angela moved a pawn forward and said, “So what’s it like to work for a game company?”

“Not as exciting as you might think,” Leigh said. “I mostly just sit in the basement monitoring servers.”

“Sounds like a dream job to me,” Angela said.

Leigh chuckled.

“Yeah, I can’t exactly complain,” Leigh said. “I do a bit of freelance hacking on the side, though. Just to keep things interesting.”

“A bit of what?” Angela said.

Leigh grinned and leaned forward.

“Remember that police corruption story that went viral last year?” she said.

“I do remember,” Angela said. “A bunch of cops got fired, didn’t they?”

“Forty-two of them at last count,” Leigh said.