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The stormtrooper stalked dead center down the wide hallway, his blaster rifle at the ready. The white plastic armor clacked with each determined step.
Emma fought a groan. Here we go again.
Why couldn't these people stay to the left or the right? It was the normal thing to do. But in the last hour not a damn one of these adult-sized children dressed in battle gear had done so, no matter how packed the lobby had been. It'd taken three sharp knocks to her shoulder for her to realize these guys expected everyone to move out of their way.
Clutching her notebook to her chest, Emma sidestepped him to save her shoulder from another heavy blow and bumped into a bald, orange creature with long, floppy ears and tusks.
Grimacing, Emma murmured, "Sorry." She shuffled through the crowd and stood with her back against the wall.
The stormtrooper disappeared down the hall, people parting before him as if he were a king. She might be standing in a hallway, but the Imperial soldiers attending the 31st Annual GalaxyCon were not. They prowled the corridors of the Death Star, protecting their evil lord.
And it was the most ridiculous thing she'd ever seen. "I'm going to kill Harry."
"You're the one who wanted to be an undercover reporter. No reason to complain."
She looked at her brother and scowled. "I don't need comments from the peanut gallery, thank you very much."
Eddie shrugged. "Just keeping it real."
Keeping it real? It didn't get more real than this. This stupid assignment was ither last shot. One more major screw up like her last investigation, and buh-bye, career. She'd worked too hard and put everything in her life on hold for too long to allow that to happen.
If sending her into geek central was Harry's idea of a punishment, and her way of making amends, then so be it. She'd suck it up and prove that taking a chance on her hadn't been the biggest mistake of his lifeas he'd repeatedly said over the last two weeks.
She just wished he'd given her more than a three-hour warning before sending her out here. She'd only had time to do a quick search to see exactly what she was in for. The website had failed to brace her for the madness. Sure there'd been people in costume on the homepage, one or two casually dressed fans posing with some intergalactic icon, but nowhere had the website depicted this plethora of creatures crammed together as if waiting for their last chance to be beamed up to their home planet.
"These people are all nuts."
Eddie pushed his glasses up with an index finger. "Watch it, sis. You asked for my help but if you're going to bad-mouth my people, I'll leave you here and you can do this on your own without my connections."
"Don't even think about it. I'll never make sense of this without you."
"Not my fault. You were too busy playing Miss School Newspaper to bother learning about my interests. You should've paid attention."
Truthfully, she knew more about geeking than she wanted to admit. Years of growing up listening to Eddie and his cronies mumble about twelve-sided die and power levels would do that to a person. She'd just never imagined her professional future would come down to knowing the difference between a class one mutant and a class five.
Having Eddie for a brother had never prepared her for this.
The moment she'd walked inside the Plaza Hotel, she'd been warped to a totally different planet.
"I'm suffocating. Can we move to a less congested area?"
Eddie sent her an amused look. "This isn't even crowded yet. People are just getting here."
"You're kidding, right?"