231 reported back as ordered at 0900. He was met at the door by the same Officer, and escorted back to the same room. This time, the room was empty, except for a blue duffel bag on the table. “Change your clothes and await Coordinator Marx,” said the Officer. “He’ll introduce you to your charge.” And with that, the human turned and left.
As he opened the bag, 231 wondered again why the corporation would send the girl into hostile territory. He was not surprised to see civilian clothes in the duffel, and began changing. In the other bodyguard assignment he had been given, the client had provided him a tailored suit to match his personal staff. He still stood out at six-foot-five, 285 pounds, but he had enjoyed wearing human clothes. It was like a costume.
231 was cinching up the black workboots when the door opened. He stood quickly, at attention before the Coordinator had taken a step into the room.
The glossy Tower emblem on the right breast of the Coordinator’s uniform caught the light and shone. He grinned at the Goliath, looking him up and down. “Very good. Much more discreet.” He nodded approvingly.
231 sighed gratefully on the inside. Then, from the corner of his eye, he saw a strand of dark hair flutter.
The Coordinator stepped into the room. “Two-three-one, this is our client, Miss Sophia.” He gestured behind him to the girl, who stared up at the Goliath with wide eyes.
“Milady.” 231 bowed to her, stealing a glance at his client. She was just over four and a half feet tall, thin, with slightly wavy black hair just below her shoulders. Her face was heart-shaped, with an almost pointed chin. The girl’s eyes were brown, and locked on him. Frightened. Anxious. 231 straightened, and returned his eyes to the wall.
He could feel her gaze on him. In the back of his mind, he felt a twinge of guilt he could not explain.
“Stay close range, watch her carefully, and make regular reports. You’ll be armed with a sidearm, and any hand-to-hand weapons you need, so long as they are fully concealable. We want you looking as casual as possible. Sophia here will lead the way. Understood?”
“Milord, understood.” 231 did not question the order. According to protocol, humans had authority over Goliaths. Children or not.
“Good,” the Coordinator said. “Make us proud, Goliath. Miss Sophia is a very special client.” He patted her on the shoulder. Even with his eyes averted, 231 saw her twitch. “We’ll drop you off shortly at your first destination. Any questions?”
231 had a hundred questions, but he was certain that as far as the Coordinator was concerned, he didn’t need the answer to any of them. “Milord, no questions.”
The Coordinator smiled and looked down at the young girl. “How about you, miss? Any questions?”
231 sneaked a glance. The girl, Sophia, was glaring at the Coordinator. Then, she looked up at him, and caught his eye. In the instant before he looked away, he saw her look of surprise. She stared at him for a moment, tilting her head ever so slightly. Was she examining him?
“No,” she said.
The Coordinator chuckled, pleased. “Excellent. Goliath, report to the transport bay in twenty minutes. Miss Sophia, right this way.” He reached for the door and pulled it open.
231 remained at attention, the questions knocking around in his head. Sophia began to leave, then glanced back at him.
~Thank you, came her voice. But her mouth never moved.
A chill of surprise ran down 231’s spine as the girl and the Coordinator left the room. His thoughts grew suddenly quiet, then erupted with even more questions. But he had one more piece of information.
She was a telepath.