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Chapter #10

Declan 1.1 (House of Refuge)

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About that time, David Wayne walked up.
Here we go.
He leaned on the table and in towards Tawana, in a rather provocative
way. He said in his Jersey accent, “Hey, youse guys have any idear why the
NSA and the CC is on its way up here?”
Jokingly, I replied, “Maybe it’s that bank I robbed.”
He was less than amused. He looked down at the buzzing comband on
his wrist, pulling up a VeeM so we all could see it. The view looked like it was
coming from the valet’s eyephone. I could see a desk that had been moved
inside on account of the heavy snow. There was a sharp-looking, gray-haired
fellow showing the valet a hologram of me and Jizmo. Hmm, Jizmo? Gizmo? I
couldn’t remember.
The hologram was of the two of us back at the Synopsis Five building,
about the time ‘Quantum Man’ hologrammed and snuck into the elevator.
Behind the snappily-dressed guy were several more agents. They passed by
him as they walked through the door, and they were heading to the elevator. I
couldn’t believe it.
Goozmo didn’t tell me that they were going to hunt him down before
pulling the plug on him. I really didn’t think it over too much, now did I?
David pointed at some white drapes pooled on the floor just behind us
and said, “Go hide in the curtain.”
I looked around, got up, and snuck behind the curtains real easy like. I
hugged up to the wall, and I was just so dizzy. The wine and the scotch were

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pulling me one way, and the caf-buz was pulling me the other. It was trying its
best to jack up an overstressed, worn out, sleep-deprived, exhausted shell of a
I heard David Wayne sit down with Tawana. In a low voice that carried,
he said, “This isn’t about any bank job. That’s the NSA coming up the elevator
right now.”
I wondered, what bank job? I was beginning to wonder if this night was
ever going to end. This night had just been too long.
David said, “Those curtains are special order, if you know what I mean.
It’d take some very special equipment to scan through them. They’re state of
the art.”
“What if one of the agents hits ’em with a baseball bat?” Tawana asked.
Nice going, gill breath. Like I wasn’t scared enough.
I hugged up even closer to the wall and took a very deep breath, letting it
out really, really slow. It made me dizzy.
I pressed my body slightly into the window jamb to keep the curtains
from popping out too much, and I noticed that if I turned my head just to the
right a little, I could see a slice of the bar in the window’s reflection. Then I
heard David sing out in a high-pitched tone, as if it were a joke, “They’re here.”
I was fucking petrified. Rigor mortis never stiffened a corpse stiffer than
my nerves were at that very moment. They were so tense it was painful.
I could see the door that the devils came through earlier. Now, there were
two muscle heads with short blond hair there, one on each side of the door like
soldiers guarding King Nimrod himself. One of them looked like he had been

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punched in the nose a couple of times, but other than that, they looked like
Before I could finish a single thought, I heard, “Excuse me, ma’am, may I
have a word?”
“You can pull up chair, good lookin’, as long as you promise to conduct
yourself like a gentleman,” Tawana purred.
A little intimidated by her response, the man identified himself as Agent
Lazlo and asked her, “I believe you know this man, Mr. Richard Duncan
At least he didn’t call me Dickey.
“His hologram left just a little while ago, when the other entertainers
left,” said Tawana. “A couple of days ago, Declan said something about finding
his dream job, so I gave him a lift to New York just this morning. I was headed
this way already. I told him his new job sounded more like a nightmare to me
but to stay in touch.”
"Ma’am,” growled Agent Lazlo, “if you don’t cooperate, I may have to take
you downtown for a more intense interrogation.”
“Shall I call the attorney, Tawana?” David Wayne asked. “Or the press?
Or worse, a tabloid?”
“One more outburst like that and I’ll haul you in, Mr. Krain,” I heard
Agent Gonna Killme say. Then I heard him order, “Pull up the sec-feed, Bozz.”
That must be his partner, I guessed. I could only hear them.
“Security feed. Blue Judas. This night,” a new voice stated.
Excuse me, his android partner.

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You couldn’t cut the tension with a knife. It was over. We were all going
to jail, or worse.
Then I heard Tawana say, “See, there he goes, walking out with all of
them other devils, wiggly waggling and playing the oboe. Tonight was his big
debut. He’s been talking about it for days.”
Whew, that Tawana was a pro. She was smooth as ice.
The agent called a couple of colleagues over, and then asked Tawana,
“Do you have the name of this clown company?”
Of course she said, “No idea. All I know is he took off after we landed
earlier and he said he’d catch up with me later. Then he left. I don’t even know
where they’re staying, and as far as I know, he hasn’t replaced his comband. It
broke last night.”
The colleagues conferred about whether one of the devils could possibly
be me. I was sure one of them looked pretty similar. Goozmo might not be a
very good conman, but he wasn’t without his talents.
“Ma’am, who’s the blond-headed fellow sitting next to you,” I heard Agent
Lazlo ask. “Where is he?”
Tawana replied, “Oh, that’s Declan’s long-lost cousin Betty Joe. I know
that she looks more like just Joe, but we can’t all be beautiful, now can we?”
Tawana giggled and continued her story. “She’s having some serious lady
problems tonight, along with some very severe diarrhea. Poor child, I went in to
see if I could help, but I just couldn’t stand it for more than a couple of
seconds. I almost lost it myself. I’m sure you could find her in the bathroom if
you'd like, though. We’re just waiting for her to pull herself together so I can
take her home to bed.”

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I heard a chair slide back, and David said, “Well, if youse guys will
excuse me, I’m going to go on back to my table.”
As he was getting up, a voice right beside me—and I mean right beside
me—called out in a deep, confident tone, “Lazlo,” and I almost shit my pants. I
heard Agent Lazlo get up out of his chair at the table and walk towards me. I
had to pee so badly. I was going to have a heart attack, and I braced myself for
the baseball bat.
I heard Agent Lazlo say, “Yeah?”
The other agent whispered, “I found the signal. It’s coming from a small
warehouse in the Bronx. Looks like it’s beside Pier Seventeen on the Upper
East Side.”
“Wrap it up in here,” Lazlo said, and I heard the other agent step away.
“We’re headed into the blizzard, boys. We’re headed to the docks.”
An eternity later, I heard Tawana say, “You can come out, Dickey.
They’re all gone.”
I thought I was going to die. I headed straight to the pisser, and it was all
I could do to hold it in long enough to undo my pants.
Ahhh, that’s better. The stream slowed, but before I could shake it, David
Wayne came in and said, “Say, Dicklan, what’d they say over there, before they
all chummed out of the joint?”
“I don’t know. Something about Pier Seventeen in the Bronx,” I told him.
“Yeah? And whats these guys want with you and that robot?”
“I don’t know,” I said. “I really don’t know.”
“That robot,” David mused, “he’s different. Seems to think for himself,
like some sci-fi movie or something.”

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I laughed. “Surely it’s in surrogate mode, right? The real culprit must be
at Pier Seventeen.”
“That’s my dock,” David Wayne confided, and he pulled up a VeeM,
making a call to one of his associates. Before the line connected, he gave me a
what-a-chump look and told me to go over to the bar and get myself a drink on
his tab.
I gave him a yeah-I’m-a-chump look back and said thanks.
I pretended to walk away as the door closed behind me. But instead, I
scoped out the hall, and then put my ear against the door. Inside the
bathroom, I heard David say, “Hey, Bruno. What’s going on down there?”
And Bruno replied, “Everything is under control. All the stuff came in
just like you said it would. I hooked the helium bottle up to the connector on
the stainless steel box just like you asked me to.”
Oh shit.
“Yeah, listen carefully,” instructed David sharply. “If I call you again,
youse just make sure it’s me. It’s very important.”
“If you say so, boss,” Bruno replied.
David continued, “And if I come down there in person, make sure you
shake my hand or pinch me. Make sure you ain’t talking to a hologram, youse
hear me now?”
“You got it, boss,” Bruno replied.
Moving on, David said, “Unhook the helium and throw it in the drink.
Then duct tape that stainless steel box soes nothing can get out of it. Take the
forklift and get it out of there right now. The NSA’s looking for it, and I’m not

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sure what’s in there, but I think it’s very special. Soes you take good care of it,
you hear me now?”
Oh shit. What had I done?
I ran quietly down the hall, then walked really fast and easy across the
room to where Tawana was sitting.
She was high as a kite. I wasn’t surprised; she’d been drinking like a fish
all night. All excited, she whispered, “Dickeeey, you should have seen me
handle that punk-ass Agent Lazlo, aw yeah. You would have been so proud of
me.” Then she straightened my collar, looked into my eyes, and said, “I didn’t
know you were such an outrageous and scandalous outlaw, Declan. You
surprised me, you devil, you.”
“Ugh, I’m not,” I said.
David walked up then and said, “Tawana, you know how to get in. Make
yourself at home. Youse guys enjoy the hot tub for a while, and I’ll be home
later. I have some business to tend to. Youse can sleep in the right front guest
quarters. Help yourselves to anything you like.”
Fuck, I’d sold out the Amazing Popsicle. David was headed to the docks
right now. I sure hoped QD wasn’t in that freezer anymore. What was I going to
do? All I could possibly do was get lost and freeze to death for nothing.
Tawana grabbed my leg and slid her hand up really high on my thigh
before squeezing it. She said, “I’ve got a special treat for you, Dickey Dickman
No way. Was this really happening? The only thing keeping me going at
this point was just sheer adrenalin.
“Come on, Declan, let’s go.”

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But, but, but, I thought, and then I completely surrendered. There was
really nothing else I could do. What was I supposed to do? Go rescue the
world’s first condroid from the head of the KBD, who just invited me to stay the
night in a warm, cozy bed? Or get caught in the middle of him and the NSA
partnered with the United States Cyber Command’s finest?
No, no, no, I was going to follow my fishy fairy princess all the way to the
hot tub. “Let’s go,” I commanded, with my finger in the air. I was quite sure I
was wearing the face of a man who had lost all sanity.
So we left the Blue Judas, wiped to the max. We were giggling and
laughing about nothing and everything as we stumbled our way to the elevator
and down to the fourth floor. There was a peop shoot across the hall from the
Standing on the encapsulator pad, Tawana said, “Come on, Declan.”
Reluctantly, I got up there, and she pushed the button. A ring spun
around and sprayed a thin bubble around us as Tawana told the machine our
At least it was sterile.
Then whoosh! Away we went. Now, it was no secret that these kinds of
things made me nervous, and I was a little wound up, but Tawana was feeling
no pain. She was like a little kid on a rollercoaster, shouting, “Wee! Awww!”
She squealed again softly as we went soaring through the transtube.
I could see outside, but it was a little blurry, like a bad acid trip. It was
getting quite late, and there weren’t too many other passengers around. We
buzzed by the Empire State Building. I looked, but I couldn’t really make out

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the brick-laying machine that was specially engineered for restoring the
historic site. I really wanted to see that for some reason.
A sexy, young lady appeared in front of us and pulled some horses out of
her pocket, assuring us that these were the best condoms on the market. And
then a tall, bearded cowboy made sure we knew all about the best male
enhancement treatments to use. Then three more holograms appeared after the
cowboy faded and asked, “Partners? Try all three—flesh, synthetic, and holo!”
I don’t think I could ever get used to big-city advertising.
All in all, it really wasn’t a bad ride. The accelerations were kind of slow
and easy as we stood there holding the hollow pole that formed the center of
the sphere. We gradually accelerated at a steady pace as we flew around the
geometric architecture of the Big Apple, until the slow and steady decline led
us to a large, round structure near the coast.
Yep, I was near the coast in Who-Knows-Where, New York City, with a
fish digging her hard, nippley breasts into my shoulder and looking at me with
big, aqua green, wanting eyes. The silhouette of her gill plates looked like hair
flowing over her shoulders, blending into her glowing, neon coral, sea anemone
hair. They were lit up brightly and divided by the fin folded down the center of
her head. She thought I was a badass outlaw.
Our peop shoot ascended steeply to the top of a large, forty-story
building, then rounded over the top of it. The top of the rim looked to be about
two hundred yards long.
Tawana was humming a song while hugging me and kind of slow
dancing. Looking down on the other side of the ring-shaped top, I saw there
were parks, swimming pools, and dormant trees and shrubs, suspended by

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sidewalks and a peop shoot going down off center and to the northeast of the
Tawana said, “Oh, Declan. You want to move to New York with me? It’d
be so quantum to live here.”
Now, the romantic side of me was coming out, and I replied, “I’d follow
you to the moon, my love.”
The peop ball descended down the shoot a couple of stories, then rolled
level. Some circles arrayed in a sphere pressed into the bubble and sucked it
into a tube. A second glance as we exited the peop chute revealed some high
pressure material hoses running the length of the shoots. Nice, very efficient. I
couldn’t help it. I liked observing how things were made and worked.
“Wait until you see this place. It’s amazing,” Tawana said. We were in a
large foyer with some tall doors that were glowing they were so brightly
polished. They were stainless steel and had some unusual three-dimensional
glass patterns. Tawana waved at the door and said, “Open sesame.” They
turned to mist and then disappeared.
We walked into the high-rise palace. There was a large, open walkway
that lit up and stretched past an open living room on the left and a large sitting
area on the right before dividing into hallways. They lit up artwork lining the
walls going back when I looked in that direction. “That’s awesome,” I
We continued into the great room. The kitchen was on the right, and a
large bank of windows lined the wall straight ahead of us. On the wall far to the
left was an elevated, and real, fireplace. And I couldn’t believe it, David Wayne
had a V-six harp just in front of it. It was arranged in a way that people sitting

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on the couch or standing in the room could watch somebody playing it with the
fire roaring in the background.
“Isn’t it awesome?” asked Tawana. “Dave had some of the top designers
in town arrange the place.” Then she pointed at the fireplace, and the flames
went up and down according to the level of her hand.
“Can I play the V-six?” I asked.
And Tawana answered, “I don’t see why not. Do you know how?”
“Well, I play the guitar a little. I could probably make something up and
make it sound cool,” I replied.
I maneuvered around to the other side of the instrument and into the V-
shape of the six guitar necks reaching up and out at narrowing angles, three
on each side. They went down into the body, where the strings came together
with their pickups. Each neck had a rack and pinion fret master that slid up
and down manually, or they could be programmed.
It was state-of-the-art string magic.
The lower necks were bass guitars, the middle two were regular guitars,
and the top ones were similar to violins. The bows were on belts wrapped
around motorized wheels, with variable speeds, of course. There was a sound
conditioner and effects panel in the middle, just above the where the strings
came together.
I looked up over the center of the instrument and noticed Tawana looked
kind of bored. So I hit the power button and selected auto play from the panel,
and some classical music filled the room as I pretended to play the complex
beast. Tawana looked so impressed—until she realized that it wasn’t really me
playing it. Then we both laughed a little.

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Setting the V-six back, I walked around the device and met Tawana with
a hug.
“Come on, Dickey. Let’s go to the hot tub.”
We walked across the great room, past a media room, and into an almost
tube-shaped hallway with glass windows that circled the passageway. As we
stepped onto it, I could see the dimly lit sidewalks, courtyards, and swimming
pools in the building's center, along with the peop shoot and elevator shaft
running down the length of the building. The hot tub was in a saucer-shaped
room and took up almost the whole room.
Tawana dimmed the lights and slowly removed her outfit, revealing the
body envied by every surfer girl in Boca. I felt a little bit of déjà vu as I stiffened
with desire.
She stretched out one of her long, shiny legs and eased her big toe into
the steamy, hot water. Colored lights glistened in the reflection of her tiny
scales on her calves and inner thighs as she eased into the water.
“Come on, Dickey, the water’s so soothing,” she said as she laid back in
the seat and closed her eyes.
I undressed and eased in slowly. She was right; the water was nice, hot
and so relaxing. I sat down and lay back just across from her in the cozy pool. I
closed my eyes and relaxed as the sound of falling water echoed in the
“Ahhh. Man, this is heavenly,” I said as I stroked down Tawana’s smooth
legs with my own. I didn’t want to upstroke ’em. That might weird me out,
stroking against the grain of her scales. In fact, don’t think about it, don’t think
about it. My heart throbbed as I learned that they were silky smooth in both

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I cracked my eyes open just a little. Tawana was looking me over, and I
felt her tail slightly tickle my dangling boys.
Water was falling from the ceiling out of a slowly rotating ring that also lit
the falling streams and steam in red, orange, and blue. Tawana was so
amazingly sexy. Her face looked slightly British, but with thin lips and dimples.
I loved her sexy, devilish smile. The sea anemone hair was hypnotizing as I
watched her submerge. Her soft gentle hands gripped my thighs and spread my
legs. I felt the warmth of her mouth as succulent, soft lips begin pleasuring me.
Her dorsal fin rose slightly as I slid my hands down her back, then against the
grain of the large, shiny scales there, pulling her in closer and deeper. I ran my
fingers through her hair and massaged the two sonar pads under it, and I
rubbed them back and forth under the steamy hot water.
I felt the strangest sensation as the water rushed back and forth as
Tawana breathed it in and out. Her blowholes opened and I heard her suck in
some air, and then bubbles tickled my fancy. The water accelerated as her
dorsal fin stood straight up, and the water rushing over my shaft felt more and
more like sonic vibrations. As I began to throb and reach a climactic state,
Tawana started flicking my head with her tongue. It was kind of rough, not soft
like other girls’ tongues that I’d kissed. Tawana flicked it several times really
fast, then went down and sucked really, really hard before moving back up the
shaft slowly and back to flicking it again, and then down again in the same
fashion till I, I— She moved down deep as I came, swallowing and flicking my
testes in between the shots with her weird, scratchy tongue. I was surprised
the first couple of shots didn’t knock her brains out. I’d never come so hard in
my life.
Tawana popped out of the water and pressed her breasts against mine.
Looking up at me with her devilish grin, she asked, “Was it the best ever?”
“Oh, yeah,” I replied, “the best ever.”
She curled herself up on my lap, hugging me and singing softly, “Was
love so far away, was love so far away…”

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She tried talking to me about the crazy night that we shared, but I was
fading fast. Tawana shook me around a bit and said, “You can’t sleep in here,
Declan. You’ll look like an overgrown prune in the morning. You’re not a fish,
you know.”
She helped me up and out, and then down the tunnel. She even grabbed
my Goldie clothes for me. Then she laid me down and tucked me in. I said,
“Goodnight, Tawana. You’re the best ever.” She blew me a kiss as she left the
room, and I passed out like a light.