Dangerously Involved

By: Sidney Bristol

Aegis Group Lepta Team #2


1.





Thursday. Tech Conference, Kyoto, Japan.

Yvonne Krieger was going to be sick.

She and her brothers were about to meet very important people from their Krieger Asia offices. She couldn’t hurl now.

“Vee, you okay?” Her older brother Theodore leaned close.

God, did he always wear so much cologne or was this new? And why did she have to sit between Theodore and Douglas?

“Fine. I just need to be out of a car, plane or train for a little bit.” She pressed her hand to her stomach and tipped her head back as the town car slowed.

“Well, we’re almost there.” Theodore gave her knee a squeeze. “Supposedly we have a security detail that’s meeting us here.”

“Is that really necessary?” Yvonne lifted her too heavy head and frowned at her brother.

They were into virus protection software, for Christ’s sake. Not weapons or anything dangerous. Between the two of them they’d taken over many of the operations for their family company, Krieger, Inc. Their father had made the company a household name with the rise of the personal computer. Someone had to protect those precious machines from hacking and viruses.

“Hard to say.” Theodore frowned.

“It’s all bullshit.” Douglas, their younger brother, actually put his phone down to utter that statement.

The car eased to a stop out front of the hotel-convention center they would be living at for the next week. The conference hadn’t officially begun and wouldn’t until tomorrow, but they had plenty of business to see to before and after the main event.

Yvonne’s stomach gurgled.

“I need out.” She pushed at Theodore’s shoulder.

Her brother didn’t take the urgency to heart. He waited for the valet to open his door, gathered his briefcase then stood. Yvonne scooted out of the car, abandoning her purse and hoofed it inside, her heels clicking in double time as sweat broke out all over her body.

What was wrong with her?

She traveled all the time, weathered the worst conditions, ate the most miserable food and rarely ever got sick.

Yvonne spied the universal symbol for the toilets and darted into the ladies room. She dashed into a stall just as her stomach revolted. She clutched the porcelain god and heaved.

Great. As if she didn’t feel gross enough after thirty hours traveling.

It had to be all the trips. For the last eight weeks she’d done nothing but travel, shaking hands, smoothing out the wrinkles for a massive deal they’d just closed with the US government last week. She should have scheduled a doctor’s visit, especially after Vegas, but there hadn’t been time.

Now she was paying for it.

For several long moments she crouched on the floor, weariness weighing her down, and waited to see if her stomach was finished. She was fairly certain there wasn’t anything left inside her. Their meal options while traveling had left much to be desired. She’d been dreaming about a bubble bath and room service for half the flight.

Yvonne flushed the toilet and got to her feet, wobbling just a bit.

There was no way she could meet with the delegation from their Asia offices smelling of vomit and sweat. She’d need to change, a shower—all in about fifteen minutes.

It wasn’t happening.

Theodore would have to do this one solo. Truth was he probably wouldn’t notice her absence. He was the face everyone wanted to see. The next CEO of the family owned and operated Krieger Inc.

Yvonne leaned against the bathroom wall and unbuttoned the top button on her suit jacket.

This was not the way to start a conference.

“Ms. Krieger?” a woman called out.

“Yes?” Yvonne opened the stall door slowly.

Please don’t let it be one of our employees...

She was still paying penance for Vegas.

A woman wearing a pale blue pant suit with a white silken top stood in the middle of the marble and tile bathroom holding Yvonne’s purse. She was petite, spoke English as though it were her first language, of Asian descent—but not Japanese—and looking at Yvonne as though they should know each other.

“Hello, Ms. Krieger, I’m Melody Nguyen.”

“Nice to meet you.” Yvonne stepped past her and washed her hands, more for the cool feeling water than anything else at this point.

“I’m the client liaison for your security detail.”

“Oh.” Yvonne grabbed a paper towel and turned toward the woman.

So they really had security.

She’d read the risk analysis, but it hadn’t seemed more dire than usual. Apparently someone on the government side of their deal thought otherwise.

“I know you have a meeting in a few minutes.” Melody glanced at her watch. “Is there anything I can do for you?”