Revolution (Replica)

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Authors: Jenna Black
to make them back off.
    “As long as it’s not security, I don’t think it matters right now,” Nate said. He jerked his chin in the direction of Angel’s club, which was just opening for the night as indicated by the pair of bouncers who exited and then stationed themselves by the door. “We’re here.”
    His heart was thumping in his chest, and a cold sweat broke out over his body as he eyed the bouncers and wondered if they had been among the goons Angel had ordered to beat the crap out of him. The goons had been wearing masks, so he didn’t know who they were, except that they were the kind of big, burly men Angel liked to use as bouncers.
    Maybe coming here hadn’t been such a great idea. While the beating hadn’t caused any serious injury, Nate’s body remembered the ordeal and was telling him in no uncertain terms that he was not setting foot in that club. Even if they did have some Basement predator on their tail, waiting for the first sign of weakness.
    A dense, jostling crowd converged on the entrance to Angel’s in the Basement-dweller version of queuing up. Elbows were thrown and curses uttered as the would-be club-goers waited impatiently for their turn to be felt up by the bouncers. And then the problem with Nate’s plan to meet up with Kurt and Nadia here slapped him in the face.
    “We don’t have money to pay the cover charge,” he said, cursing himself for not thinking of it sooner. Not that thinking of it sooner would have done them any good. It wasn’t like there was any chance of them getting hold of any money, not unless and until Nadia had managed to squeeze it out of Angel.
    Embarrassingly, there was a part of him that was relieved at the idea that he couldn’t go in. He kept trying to shake off the memory of that horrible night, but he wasn’t having a lot of success, and nerves were making his gut churn.
    “I guess we just have to wait until they come out,” Dante said, his face set in grim lines. He might not be a Basement-dweller himself, but he obviously knew how bad an idea it was to stand around in the street, especially when they knew someone was following them. His Basement costume included a flamboyant ankle-length duster, and he slipped his hand into its front pocket, no doubt fingering the gun.
    “Can’t we just ask one of the bouncers to tell Angel we’re here?” Agnes asked.
    Nate shook his head. “Those guys are not the helpful type. And if we tried to cut ahead in line, it would get real ugly.”
    “So let’s get in the back of the line,” she suggested. “We’re going to draw attention if we just stand around here with no purpose.”
    It was as good a plan as any, and their tail didn’t seem inclined to emerge from the crowd and confront them—not yet, at least—so they shuffled their way to the back of the line, and all three of them stared at the door, willing Nadia and Kurt to make a swift appearance.

    Nadia could hardly say she was surprised by the increasingly skeptical expression on Angel’s face as she recounted what happened on the day she and Nate confronted Chairman Hayes at the Paxco Headquarters Building. It did sound pretty ridiculous when you came right down to it.
    “So what you’re telling me,” Angel said slowly, her eyes narrowed in a glare that was probably supposed to intimidate the “real” truth out of Nadia, “is that our new Chairman isn’t really a human being at all. Do I have that right?”
    “I wouldn’t put it quite that way,” Nadia said. “I think Dorothy probably technically qualifies as human, it’s just that her mind isn’t human. Think of her as a kind of robot housed in human flesh.”
    Angel glanced over at Bishop. “She been dipping into the happy pills lately? ’Cause this all sounds more like a bad trip than reality.”
    “I’ll vouch for Ghost and Honey both,” he said. “If they say that’s what’s going on, I believe ’em.”
    “But you haven’t confirmed any of this

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