Y.T. punched the button on her phone and shouted, "It's your Kong buck."
"Y.T., is that you? What's that roar?" Hiro asked.
"Going through a tunnel, what's up?"
"Look, I've got to tell you something - something that you might not take well. Normally I'd wait to tell you in person, but this is a developing situation."
Y.T. closed her eyes, involuntarily but briefly. "Ready."
"I'm sorry to tell you that Uncle Enzo has died."
She felt something tighten up in her chest. Damn, it shouldn't be this hard to hear the news, because Y.T. knew that it was happening. She wanted to pull in a deep breath to clear her head, but it wasn't the time or place. Instead, Y.T. simply said, "I know," minus all the usual sarcasm.
"You do? It really hasn't been published yet. I picked it up from a CIC pay feed. How did you find out?"
Did Hiro forget who he was talking to? Sure, he was probably unaware that Y.T. was actually in New York, but still. She thought about hanging up on him, but reminded herself that they were still partners even if she had been preoccupied with college for the last two years, and not focused on gathering intel. She could ignore that when he put his heart out to provide sympathy, it had the side effect of deflecting the blood flow from Hiro's brain - how typically male.
"I have connections, dumbass," Y.T. said loudly, so the phone wouldn't miss the 'dumbass' in the rush of tunnel sound. Hiro needed to stop trying to be gentle and nice, because she needed to focus on her ride instead of crying again.
If you had asked her five years ago if she'd have cried at Uncle Enzo's funeral, she'd have laughed at you. Hell, once she saw L. Bob Riff go down at LAX, she thought that she had seen the last of Uncle Enzo and Mr. Lee and Ing. It couldn't have been further from the truth. Hiro started Hiro Protagonist Security Associates with his half of the payoff from Mr. Lee's Greater Hong Kong and the Mob. This immediately led to a contract or three with Mr. Lee. In theory, Hiro would periodically work with Ing, but they had philosophical differences. Hiro had explained that while Ing did code that he was primarily an engineer, not a hacker. It was a clash of the practical and the virtual, which Y.T. found dumb, but both men frequently asked her to be their go-between.
This worked out well, because between Hiro, Ing and Juanita, Y.T. had one kick-ass thrasher avatar in the Metaverse. It allowed her to try her hand at starting and failing at her own businesses. The failures pissed Y.T. off, not because things didn't take off, but because it was ammunition for Mom's campaign to make sure Y.T. got a college degree. The fact that Juanita and Hiro tended to side with Y.T.'s Mom didn't help.
The result of the blow-out argument that she and Mom had the week after the raft was that Y.T. still had twelve point three million Hong Kong Dollars in one of Mr. Lee's banks. The money she was allowed to hang onto went into three things – business startup cash, Y.T.'s college education, and an upgrade to their house. By upgrade, Y.T. had insisted on a new house without any listening devices that was located in an LA burbclave that had withdrawn from the United States of America. That was the part she made her mother agree to – quitting the Feds. Now Mom was a supervisor of the junior hackers in Hiro's company. Hiro still owed Y.T. for that matchup, because Hiro was incapable of establishing the necessary bureaucracy to actually run a company with more than one employee.
The relationship with Uncle Enzo was personal. He wrote her letters and hired her to Kourier them to herself. It was silly and a little stupid, but the kind of endearing thing that made her keep writing back. Uncle Enzo was non-committal about college. He told her that once that at the very least it would show her how not to start a boring career.
Often during school breaks or holidays, he'd send her on an Ultra-High Priority Delivery from an some random Nova Sicilia franchise to LAX . Mom had been leery of her continued career as a Kourier, but Y.T. had invested in Rada-K-S and only took the jobs she wanted between classes. The Mob scheduled these deliveries to Uncle Enzo, which never ended at LAX, because Uncle Enzo was solidly based out of Brooklyn due to physical limitations from his encounter with Raven. The Mafia jet would be waiting to whisk her to NYC.
Just like her grandpa or a favorite uncle, Uncle Enzo took her to iconic, family-friendly places. There were crowded Italian restaurants in Brooklyn, Giants games, Yankee games, museums, art galleries and once a mediatronic light show at the Hayden Planetarium. The music was from a really old band, Pink Floyd. Uncle Enzo seemed to have a kind of nostalgia about it, perhaps connected to drug use in the 70s. It wasn't nuclear fuzz grunge, but there was a defiant edge that Y.T. liked, even if it was kinda quiet. It was music that both she and Uncle Enzo could get behind.
She found herself biting her lip and firming the grip on her poon handle, getting control of her emotions.
Hiro's voice interrupted her musings. "It's those connections that made me think I should get a hold of you right away. Y.T., I get that Uncle Enzo has always treated you right. Now that he's gone, I don't think you should count on that from his former associates. In fact, CIC is predicting that there's a Mob War about to take place. You need to lay low in case anyone wants to exploit your, well, your family connections."
She wanted to roll her eyes, but she didn't because she'd have been doing it to herself. "For once, you've got a good idea." Too bad she didn't know that before she had gotten on the plane for New York.
"Juanita and I would love to have you at our place. I can swing by UCLA and pick you up if you want."
"So what would you say if I was out of town on an ultra-high priority delivery?"
"How far out of town?" The tone of Hiro's voice let her know that he had figured it out but wanted to spend another minute in denial.
"Oh, about three thousand miles. The good news is that there are three major airports with twenty-five miles."
"That's…hopeful. You do get that the Mob more or less owns New York City, right? As in, New York is practically one gigantic Nova Sicilia franchise. They'll have eyes out at every major transit hub, bridge, airport, and train station."
"I am aware. Look, I've spent time with the local thrashers over the years, and they've shown me how to get around this city under the radar. I can even get to Jersey out of sight. If you could help me solve the airport issue, then I'll be home in no time."
"Do I want to know how you're getting around?"
"It doesn't involve jumping out of a helicopter," Y.T. said in a cheerful voice with a full load of snark. Old people forgot facts that they considered inconvenient. Mr. Runs-With-Swords frequently needed reminders of Y.T.'s previous experiences and how most things were never going to look scary after that.
"Ri-ght. I'll call back in an hour."
"You're bringing in my Mom, right?" It had just snapped into her head that the Mafia might try and pull in Mom for leverage. The feds had made that lesson clear during the Snow Crash incident.
"Yeah, I've already invited her to my place for dinner. Not that I'm looking forward to filling her in, but Juanita and I will keep her safe." There was a long, uncomfortable pause and then Hiro piped up again. "Do me a favor - don't pick up any psychopathic boyfriends this trip, okay?"
He always had to bring up her little encounter with Raven. As much as he tried to forget how capable she was of taking care of herself, he never let her forget some of the marginal choices. Hell, she had been 15 when that happened, half a decade ago – she had learned a few things. For instance, she learned that, while not a sustainable relationship, a little fun with bad boys could be good. She also learned that when bad boys got married and settled down, like Hiro, they became gigantic sticks in the mud or sticks in less pleasant places.
"Don't worry, Dad, this one only carries hand grenades instead of nucs and glass knives." She stabbed the button on the phone, because there was nothing more to say to Hiro at this point and her exit was coming up. Y.T had been watching the stenciled numbers stream by on the bare concrete stanchions. It was time to lose her current ride, the Downtown 1.
With the press of a button, her poon detached itself from the back of the subway car, and the cable retracted back all the way. Her plank came to a stop relatively quickly - much more quickly than on any paved surface. She mused that it must be from dealing with the uneven surface of the railway ties, not that she even felt a vibration, because the Smart Wheels were that good. She snatched up her plank and ran down the tunnel about twenty feet until she found the alcove indicated on the Mega!Thrasher ™ app with a flashing light.
Apps were one of the benefits of the smaller, more powerful tech of the last few years. A phone wasn't just a phone anymore. They were cameras, finger print scanners, retinal scanners, breathalyzers, STD blood testers and even portals to high speed, full color access to the Metaverse. Apps were a new hacker's paradise, or so Hiro had told her. They could be developed by a single person and didn't need the crushing weight of a corporation to back them. That said, people might buy a game from anyone, but for security they did want the comfort of a logo they recognized. Hiro Protagonist Security Associates had found a niche to exploit.
Because Y.T. was an investor, she was behind the success of Hiro's company. But in general, she hated apps and smart phones because they were turning everyone into gargoyles. Y.T. could not believe the people that walked around googled into the Metaverse all the time. They were only peripherally aware of the actual world – walking targets.
That was another reason that visiting Uncle Enzo was so special. They always talked about how you needed to keep moving and use your senses to stay alive. This was saying something, because the encounter with Raven at LAX had left Uncle Enzo using a cane. Eventually he moved to a wheelchair, so he'd have the stamina to show her the city. They were both nervous about the chair at first. Uncle Enzo understandably didn't want to give into his decreasing mobility. Y.T. had been nervous because for the first time it made Uncle Enzo seem old to her. Then Uncle Enzo started practicing wheelies when he could shoo away the young mafiosos that pushed him around. They were able to trade notes about their Smart Wheels. They went places you wouldn't expect could accommodate wheel chairs, and they were too busy to even watch TV when Y.T. was in town.
Of course, the reality show that she had experienced only a few hours ago was not what she had wanted either.
As usual, a couple of lieutenants had picked Y.T. up at the airport and driven her to Bensonhurst. She headed up to what had become her room to drop her plank and freshen up after the long flight from the West Coast. Once she had washed her face, she started heading to Uncle Enzo's office, to officially complete her delivery in her Rada-K-S coverall. After they had exchanged pleasantries, she'd go back to her room and change into the clothes she had picked up over the last couple of years, mostly jeans and sweatshirts with iconic New York sports logos – sweatshirts because she always felt cold when she was away from Southern California.
This trip, the wanna-be dons pointed her to a different door. She found herself in a big bedroom. Uncle Enzo was in the bed, paler than any human had a right to be.
"Y.T." Uncle Enzo smiled and laughed weakly. "Come here." A nurse helped him sit up, but Y.T. could tell by the look on her face that she really wanted him to lie back down.
Somewhat stunned, Y.T. slowly approached the bed and stopped at the foot.
"Have a seat!" He coughed and pointed with a shaking finger at the wheelchair parked next to the night stand. "I haven't been able to use it for a while. Someone should give it a workout."
After she sat down, she asked. "Did you catch a cold?" It was a weak opening that ignored the obvious reality.
"Yeah, the cold called old age. Hey, I'm sorry I didn't warn you. There are people always listening, and there are political ramifications to my current state. Y.T., I didn't want to go without telling you how proud I am of you."
Y.T. felt herself sinking further into the chair. It might have been the praise, but it was probably the reality weighing down on her. Not knowing how to respond, she reached for an old stand-by – a smartass comment. "You apparently haven't seen my latest Econ grades. Seriously, my business attempts haven't taken off. I'm thinking of switching to teaching. Mom, wanted me to cut back surfing in traffic, so I spend more time teaching new Kouriers how to pick locks instead of actually delivering. But I'm good at it, you know?"
Uncle Enzo laughed, but the laugh moved into a long coughing jag. The nurse was there, wiping his face and messing with the oxygen tubes in his nose. More slowly, he continued, "I know you're passing everything, including Economics. Here's a tip – institutions that thrive on conformity, reward conformity. You're not the kind of young woman that just drinks the Kool-aid, they're trying to serve. You'll be a success on your own terms."
Y.T. was feeling pretty stunned and her brain was scrambling for what you did when you were at someone's deathbed. When nothing came up, she went for ritual. Reaching into one of the long pockets her courier jumpsuit, Y.T. pulled out the useless envelope she was supposed to deliver. "Not that you actually want this, but here." She thrust the envelope toward him and finished "I need a signature before, before –" Her voice was cracking and she couldn't finish the usual sentence because it ended with, 'before you run off on me to do something important'.
Uncle Enzo took the envelope from her and her hand at the same time. He kissed the back of her hand. It wasn't the firm and polished kiss that he had given her hand when they had first met. It was the dry papery kiss of a man who was fading away.
"I'm proud of you for the important stuff – for taking care of your mom and trying to be more than just someone that will live out of a three-ring binder. There are so many things I'd like to tell you, but you wouldn't want to hear them, not now because you're young. You want to do it all the right way, experiencing life firsthand. One day you might have appreciated it." Uncle Enzo shrugged and smiled. "Maybe not."
Y.T. was shaking her head and didn't know when she had started. This was wrong and unreal. "No! I…I-"
He patted her hands and let them go, shushing her. "It's okay, it's okay. Y.T., I'm good with this. Maybe I regret some things, but I wouldn't have done them differently." Uncle Enzo reached over to the bedside table, picked up a folded handkerchief, and handed it to her.
Y.T. took it, but didn't know why he gave it to her until she felt a tear curl around her jawbone and fall off. "Shit, you can't die. I don't want you to die," she blurted as she furiously used the square of cloth to wipe her face. Antsy, Y.T. jumped out of the chair and reached to give him a hug. It must have looked scary, because she saw the nurse and every young Mafioso hanging in the corner of the room, move toward her. In contrast, Uncle Enzo leaned into her or at least tried to hug her back.
He must have shoo-ed everyone from the room with a look or a hand wave, because when she let him go and sat back down, they were alone. "My caretakers won't leave us alone for long," Uncle Enzo said. "As you might imagine, my will is complicated. I couldn’t leave you anything directly."
"Don't! Just fucking don't!" She was shouting at him, mad. "I never asked for anything, I don't expect anything."
"I know that, Y.T. It's why you deserve it more than anyone else. Still, the bulk of my stuff has to go into the legacy, the next generation. This I want you to have."
He handed her a book from his bedside table. It was a little bigger than her hand, bound in soft leather that was stained and curled from years of use. There was a loop of leather in the spine that was stretched to hold it closed. Y.T. slid the loop off and flipped through the pages. There were hand-written notes through it all and pictures glued in the back pages. A few were of Uncle Enzo when he was younger, but most were of him and Y.T.
"It's got mission notes for my unit from 'Nam, bookie notations and the pictures."
She shook her head again. "Don't die."
"Not my choice. Hey, but speaking of choices, don't stay for the funeral. Don't stay for the end. Promise me, promise me right now." His voice was serious and his face stern.
"But nothing. A bunch of assholes are going to come out of the woodwork when I'm gone. I don't want them pulling you into it. When you leave here, tell 'em that you're going out for some air and don't come back." He pointed at the book. "There's a pouch built into the back cover, filled with Kong bucks. It's not much, pocket change really, but I wanted to make sure you had some hard currency on you."
She found cash and recognized that Uncle Enzo had an exaggerated sense of pocket change. If she wanted to live humble she could probably set herself up for life on his idea of pocket changes. None of that mattered because it would be a life without visiting Uncle Enzo. Squeezing her eyes shut, Y.T. tried to push back the threat of tears and nodded her head. Then she blurted. "You're kind of an ass, you know. You fly me across the country and dump me in a house full of people out to kidnap me or worse."
The look that Uncle Enzo gave her let her know that he understood the outburst was all about trying to find her cool again. With a shrug he pointed out the book and mimed turning the pages. Flipping the pages, she tried to ignore the pictures of happier times until Uncle Enzo said, "There."
It was a picture of the two of them on the top of the pedestal of the Statue of Liberty. One of Uncle Enzo's entourage had taken it. She was holding the handles of the wheelchair, leaning her head close to his. Meanwhile he was holding up her plank. Even though Y.T. didn't get off on statues designed by a guy with a fetish for his mother, it had been a fantastic day.
"I told you to come, because I knew you could handle yourself," Uncle Enzo said. He coughed a little and then cleared his throat hard. "As much as all those people in LA love you and want to take care of you, none of them will tell you to skate down the side of the Statue of Liberty."
The smile was spontaneous – nothing Y.T. could have stopped if she wanted to. Right after they took that picture, he had dared her to skate down the pedestal – take over the stairs, whatever. Not that Y.T. ever worried much about guards, but she asked, "Don't you ever want to come back here? Also, this is an island, so no quick getaways."
He had waved a hand and said, "Fuck 'em, if they won't let us back just for having some fun. But, you know, if you're chick-"
She hadn't let him finish the word before she was pushing down the wide balcony heading for the first set of stairs. He told her later that he could track her by the squealing of the seagulls and visitors. The Metacops were going to arrest her until they saw Uncle Enzo. Then they were told to enjoy the rest of their visit, with only a mild suggestion that they leave the wheels at home before their next trip.
"You get to choose." He jabbed his finger at her like he was accusing her of something. "Sure, finishing colleges and becoming a teacher is something you'd be good at. It's nice and safe and comfortable, like sitting in the back of a Lincoln or a Crown Victoria. You could do that instead of pooning them, but I think you should also consider skating down Mt. Everest."
Standing up, Y.T. slid the book into a large pocket and stuffed the hanky into another. She gave up trying to find something to say and instead gave Uncle Enzo's hand a brief squeeze. Still not trusting her voice, Y.T. turned to walk out.
"Hey, Y.T., don't ever let them make you wear a helmet, either," Uncle Enzo chuckled.
With her mouth warring between a smile and a sob, she turned back, hand on the door knob. "It pisses me off that most of those assholes on the other side of this door will never appreciate that you're the best uncle that anyone ever had. I love you, Uncle Enzo." She caught him smiling and waving her off before she jerked the door open and headed out.
Y.T went to her room, rubbing her eyes with the heel of her hand. Her coverall was like a survival suit all on its own, but it made her stand out in a crowd. She was going to need some street clothes, and it would be more natural to leave the house wearing them, anyway. She took off her coveralls, moved some money, gear and the handkerchief to the pockets of some jeans and changed. She pushed some clean underwear into the bottom of a knapsack. She was about to put the coveralls in, when she glanced at the closet. There was another pair of jeans and a couple of tops, but the thing that caught her eye was the dress. It was a gift from Uncle Enzo that she had only worn once.
For his birthday the previous year Uncle Enzo had rented out the entire Metropolitan Opera and treated his high-ranking franchise owners and close associates to a performance. The floor-length gown had flowing layers of gauze embedded with elegant bling over a clean-lined skirt. Normally she would have balked at it, but it was gorgeous, and frankly, it had made her feel like a princess.
Because it didn't have bulky crinolines, it crushed like cotton candy into the knapsack. There was even room for the low-heeled, matching shoes. It was a bit of struggle, but she got her Kourier uniform squeezed in on top. No one questioned her as she walked through the house. The guards at the gate politely asked her plans.
Y.T. pulled out the handkerchief, and it wasn't hard to fake the tears, because they started again for real. She needed to get some air and keep herself occupied. She told them that she was heading down to local Rada-K-S office to have some more local barcodes added to her uniform. Helpfully the uniform was bulging out the top of the knapsack a little.
After looking both ways for cops and Mafia, she picked the lock to a door that lead to the maintenance section of a subway station. Her years of practice changing in a stall at McDonalds meant that she was back in her armor-gelled jumpsuit and ready to poon a ride on the D-Train heading for Manhattan in just a few minutes. She took it all the way to Columbus Circle before changing trains doubling back behind the Downtown 1. She was underground and out of sight.
The Mega!Thrashertm app was plugged into all the current subway train intel – delays, construction, closures. In LA she used it to track traffic jams, mostly. It had a set of commercial maps that were overlaid with traffic info and little icons that let you know another thrasher had added information like hidden shortcuts through burbclaves and recs for fish tacos. In New York, the thrasher icons led you to an elaborate network of backdoors into the train tunnels, both modern and abandoned.
She felt the rumble before she heard the noise of the local train that was following the express she just detached from. LA technically had a subway system, but it was limited - it basically only got you from one part of downtown to another. Then it had the unmitigated gall to leave you at a bus stop. Y.T. would not consider using that any more than she would consider pooning a car where all you could see was white fluff sticking out over the headrest - the cotton-swab top of an oldster's head. New York was an entirely different animal. This was an underground transportation system that was made to get you places.
Now that the tunnel was free of trains for a few minutes, she made her way to a maintenance exit and headed up toward the platform. It would let her out on 18th street between 6th and 7th. She reviewed the steps. Cross the road, down half a block toward 6th, and then she'd step into a little alley between buildings. If all was clear, you broke into the basement of the building and kept moving down until you found a formerly sealed door behind a stack of old file cabinets.
And it went just that way, like clockwork. The Mob might be watching the terminals and bridge crossings, but they couldn't watch every stop in the NYC subway system. They certainly weren't watching the 19th street PATH station. That was primarily because that station was closed down in the 1950s. Now thrashers used it to catch a train to New Jersey. You could go straight into the Hoboken terminal or down to Journal Square. Making it all the way to Newark was dicey. Even hardcore NYC and Jersey thrashers didn't follow the trains from underground to elevated tracks.
While she was waiting for her ride, her phone rang again – Hiro.
"Yo back at you. Look, we're working with General Jim's Army, trying to see if we can get a helicopter to come in from the old Fort Dix. In the meantime, Juanita suggested making your way up to Saint Patrick's Cathedral. She can use her Vatican connections to get you to a safe house."
"A safe house? What kind of safe houses does the Vatican have in New York?"
Hiro cleared his throat. "I think Juanita said something about a rectory or maybe a convent. You know a little down time wouldn't hurt you."
Whipped. That was exactly what he was. "You are whipped!"
"Y.T., I didn’t mean-"
"Yeah, I know what you were saying, that you want me all cocooned up and safe." She could hear herself shouting, not because of the inherent noise of the tunnel system. It was because she was pissed.
"Hey, I respect that you're good at what you do, so does everyone else. We just don’t want you to make things hard on yourself."
"You want me to try the easy road," Y.T. said, half-forgetting Hiro. The easy road - is that what she really wanted? Did she want a cap and gown, regular working hours, a husband and 2.8 kids?
"Y.T. are you there?
"You know what, partner, I'm going to skate down Mt. Everest."
Hanging up the phone with a finger swipe, she had Mega!Thrasher link her up to a travel site. Instead of taking the Hoboken train she took the uptown PATH to 34th street. The map zoomed in as soon as she reached the terminal because the maze of tunnels under Herald Square and Madison Square Garden could get you lost for years. But it was a relatively simple matter to hop the Uptown 2. Technically the Number 2 only stopped at 50th at night, but that just made it less crowded when she got off there and made her way back to the surface and headed west. The roads sloped down toward the Hudson River. Her own momentum took her to docks on 52nd Street occupied by the cruise ships.
The purser guy was duded up in a uniform lined with brass buttons He was already looking up Kouriers in his three-ring binder when Y.T. skated up. He was about to launch into a lecture about how she wasn't allowed onboard and would have to give him the package or page the passenger.
"I want a room with a private bathroom."
The purser's look said, what a dumb kid, as he said, "We're not a docked hotel; we go places."
"That would be the point," Y.T. said, in a tone that indicated that she knew who the dumb one in this conversation was.
Nervously, he cleared his throat. "It's unusual to just walk up to a ship and try and buy a ticket. People plan these trips for months – sometimes for years." He was furiously flipping through his three-ring binder as he joked. "I mean, this isn't The Raft."
"Yeah, it was easier to get on The Raft."
"We dress for dinner," he said while dissing her uniform with his look he was giving her, up and down. He wasn't even giving her the courtesy of checking her out.
She held up the knapsack and then reached in and pulled out the shoe from the opera dress, like she was fucking Cinderella. "I have luggage and can dress for dinner." She slapped it on top of his podium. The shoe was expensive and it showed, although she wasn't sure if that was going to register with this particular individual.
When he took a long breath and looked down, Y.T. jumped in before he could say another word. "I can pay cash." It was of course how she had been planning to pay in the first place.
The purser looked up when she said cash.
"Uhm, that all sound reasonable, but I have to consider that someone that's so desperate to get on a ship departing in an hour may have - how shall we say it? Trouble following her."
Y.T. slapped Uncle Enzo's dog tags on his little wooden podium. "Here's my passport."
His eyes went wide when he read the name – after all, New York City was just one giant Nova Sicilia Franchise.
From Uncle Enzo's book she took out the money the travel site said she'd need for the room she wanted She held it, fanning it just enough so he would know she could pay. Then she put a one-hundred Hong Kong Dollar bill into the shoe.
He looked sideways, took the money out of shoe, replacing it with the dog tags. He probably thought he was being sly as he pocketed the money. At the same time, he pushed a white card into his handheld computer and pushed some buttons. "I need a name for the manifest."
"Tell you what, add my name to the manifest after we make it out of the harbor, okay?" She held out another hundred as she picked up her shoe and dog tags.
He swallowed and took the money. "I can mark this staff reserved for the moment."
She exchanged cash for the card which had a room number and ship's map coded into it.
"Enjoy your cruise, Miss – uh, I will have to put a name on the manifest."
She glared at him.
"Eventually – when we're out of the harbor," he added.
"Y-" She stopped herself, remember that she was supposed to be incognito. "Charlotte Olivia Matheson." That should be incognito enough – it wasn't like she used her own name.
"Enjoy your cruise, Miss Matheson."
Y.T. headed up the ramp toward the ship and then paused. When she had been looking up cruise ships, she had been much more concerned with departure time instead of destination. "Not that I care if this is a slow boat to China, but where's this boat headed, again?"
"London, Miss Matheson. Enjoy your cruise."
Y.T. turned and continued toward the ship and her room, vaguely disappointed. She had hoped it was heading for someplace warm in the Caribbean. The East Coast always left her feeling cold, and she was colder still because of the events of the day. Still London would be something brand new - and was probably closer to Mt Everest than LA, anyway.