Queeep! Queeep! Queeep!

“Shut it off!” Kaire ordered him.

“I can’t! I don’t –“ Dax flipped it open, searching desperately for the ‘off’ key, but he couldn’t find it.


* * *


“Suit up! We’ve got company!” barked Adree. “Lorez, take point! Garbeton, watch the prisoner!” She pulled the slide on her Garrick rifle to switch it to automatic and sighted along the line of buildings. It was a bad angle, but Adree was a sharpshooter - she could still take a target in the first shot, whatever it was.


* * *


“Forget it!” Kaire told him. “We’ve got to act now!”

"Kaire, don’t!" 

She ignored him and sprang over the wall, leaping out into empty space.

Dax managed to press something to shut the cell phone up and fumbled for the gun, having no idea what to do. All he could do was watch as Kaire jumped down towards the street. There was a blast of gunfire – perhaps more than one – but it just shredded her cloak. He thought he saw blood, but that might have been his imagination -

The remains of the material trailing, she leapt straight down towards one of the soldiers. Dax waited for those deadly spines to appear, but instead she just hit him squarely, leading with a fist. There was a loud crunch; he thought the faceplate had shattered, until the soldier crumpled, his head at an unnatural angle. The impact had broken his neck.


* * *  


Caught between anger and sorrow, Adree fired again, a short burst of fire over the attacker’s head, afraid to catch her soldier in the crossfire. Maybe if she could drive the woman off, she could get to Lorez, she could…But he was unmoving, his head was twisted around. He had to be dead. Damn!

The woman sprang off Lorez and turned towards Adree. Their attacker didn’t seem to be armed or wearing any protective gear. There was a trickle of blood running down her arm – at least one bullet had found its mark, but it wasn’t slowing her down. Her cloak was torn up by gunfire: she shrugged it off carelessly, revealing eerie white hair and weird tattoo-like markings on her face and neck.

Who the hell is she?

“This is an Evinthei operation!” Adree shouted. “You’ve just killed one of my officers, and that means I’ve got the authority to use deadly force! Halt and surrender or I’ll fire!”

The woman just started walking towards her, as if she hadn’t heard the warning. Adree set her teeth and fired another burst at the woman, but she ducked and rolled, faster than any human should be able to. She came to her feet and clenched her fists. Dark, metallic spines emerged from her forearms. Adree froze, her mind racing. Biomech, maybe? Anything useful in her mind? – can’t read it right now. Go to plan B, surround her, take her down right away before -

Hey, you!

The fierce, joyful shout came from Athellus: he had managed to get to his feet. Garbeton, who was watching him, clouted him hard across the face, making him stagger.

He knows her. It’s a rescue mission.

If she thinks she can take my prisoner, she doesn’t know who she’s dealing with. You want a battle on Lailenus Street, sweetheart? You’ve got one!

She jerked her head at the others. “Take her out!”



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