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Finale - Aftermath

Leonard was led away without a struggle by Nike's elite subordinates. He stood accused of fixing all seven of the races that took place that day, as well as hindering many of the teams who took part in them and damaging their property, along with a host of other crimes. Either way, it seemed as though he would have a lot to answer for.

Unfortunately, it seemed that Carlos, the winner of the seventh race, was also to be tried as a co-conspirator for having gone along with Leonard's plans.

A week later, everything was back to normal in the bar where Jack and Halle spent much of their time in the Eastern Quarter.

Everything except the fact that Jack was actually reading a newspaper, anyway. He was looking at an article about Leonard's arrest. Halle, meanwhile, was pretending to be a bartender... Or rather, practicing being one.

'Oh, yeah,' she said all of a sudden. 'Hey, Jack, what happened 55,000,000 mira you won, anyway?'

He shook his head sadly. 'Gone like a bad bet, sad t'say. Nike took it. It was regarded as mira 'obtained through illegal means,' or some such.'

'Aww, too bad...'

'Haha. You're tellin' me.'

110,000,000 mira he had had a friend win, meanwhile, hadn't been confiscated, but Jack had already made up his mind that it would go to Carlos one day. It was his, after all.

'You sure you're okay with handin' over that memory quartz, though?' Jack asked her.

She nodded. 'Yeah. The last thing I want is someone else after me because of it.'

After Leonard was apprehended, Jack had left it up to Halle to decide what she wanted to do with the memory quartz full of incriminating information that King had left her. She had elected to hand it over to Nike.

King had intended it to act as a shield for Halle if she ever ended up getting involved in the underworld, but that very safeguard had placed her life in danger... and now an even larger number of people knew it existed. It was simply too dangerous for her to hold on to.

Originally, the only ones who knew about the memory quartz's existence were Jack and Nike--although only Jack had known that it had been incorporated into the necklace. Nike had only found out when Halle told her in the bar.

Now that everything was over, Jack couldn't help but suspect that Nike's true aim all along had been to obtain that and not Leonard's arrest.

'So, what was the code to open that thing, anyway?' Halle asked.

'You really wanna know?'

'Sure do.'

Jack cleared his throat, embarrassed. 'It was 'My beloved Halle.' Ain't never met a more doting father than your old man.'

Taken completely by surprise by his answer, a single tear rolled down Halle's cheek.

As a gambler she was first-rate, but in every other respect she was still an ordinary girl. She wiped the tear away and then spoke again, her tone carrying no trace of the sadness she must feel.

'Hey, Jack, I've got a favor I'd like to ask you...' Just as she spoke, however, the door opened again and let out its usual piercing shriek.

Through it came Nike wearing the glasses she had been when they last saw her and a pair of casual jeans instead of a fancy dress.

Without preamble she said, 'Hey there, Jack. I've got a proposal for you... How does working again as a team strike you?'

'Hey! I was just about to ask him that!' cried Halle, not wanting to miss her chance.

Jack sighed. The future, it seemed, was full of trouble.

<END>

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