A woman’s voice, the pilot is a woman. I didn’t expect that at all. A hard voice, no fear in it, whatsoever. Standing up to three mercs. Impressive, given where she is. Given that it’s three in the morning, and she’s not likely to get any help from anywhere, if she needs it. Not here, where killing a woman wouldn’t even make the news. I get the feeling she’s more than capable of taking care of herself.
There’s a strength in her voice. One I don’t often see in women. She’s lived hard, her face shows it. I’d be willing to bet that she has more scars than just the ones on her face. A jagged tear up her jaw. Another over her eye. Her nose has been broken, at least once. Short dark hair. Her eyes are dark, maybe blue. Intelligent. Not a pretty face. Not ugly either. Just hard.
Lt Col Adams. Military. Except I don’t think she’s still military, or she wouldn’t be here, shipping “cargo”. I wonder if making a trip to a military prison has her worried? Merc made a point of saying it, and that one never says anything by accident. She doesn’t look worried. About anything. She should be, but she isn’t. Wonder why.
I’ve been waiting all this time, shot and beat to hell, waiting for just one thing to go wrong. Never expected that that one thing would a female pilot with a set of balls on her. These mercs have underestimated her. The one who mentioned her rank thinks he’s frightened her, thinks she’ll go along. The other two probably think she’s just a woman, and nothing to worry about. Hell, they think I’M nothing to worry about anymore.
Try and watch her, and be prepared when the time comes. I don’t have any pretty notions that she’s going to see me as something more than just a prisoner because she wanted me treated as a passenger. I think she would have done that anyway, just to piss him off. But I do get the feeling that, if anything happens to the mercs, she’s not going to be making any visits to a military prison.
To anyone else, and to these mercs, she looks calm, almost relaxed. She’s not. Spent too much time in the military, too much time in Slam, watching people get killed, to look at her and think she’s calm. People always say that those killings happen without warning. That’s never the case, there’s always warning, if you know what to look for. I watch her throat, watch as her pulse slows. No scent of fear. No sign at all of what’s to come. She’s watching, and waiting, for someone to make a mistake.
The prisoner drops, a little, under the weight of the blow. Time draws out, as I wait for the fist to pull back again. The prisoner drops a little more, bringing the merc down with him. Just a bit. I don’t know whether he can see with those goggles on or not, but, if he could, I’d be willing to bet he was looking right at me.
Keep calm, wait until the top of the arc. Holding the prisoner with his left hand, his right pulled back to hit him again. Looking down at him, the nape of his neck exposed. The prisoner drops a little more, pulling the merc down with him. Always nice to have a little help.
I take him out first, the skinning blade finding her way easily through the spinal column, at the nape. He collapses, killed instantly. Probably a cleaner death than he deserves, but I have two more to worry about, and can’t run the risk of having a fight on my hands. I don’t worry about the prisoner. He’s still chained, and doesn’t look like he’s in any shape to fight in any case. That look he gave me, before helping to set the merc up for the kill, tells me that he’s not really a problem at the moment. That, whatever else may be the case, he’s going to help at the moment.
With a grace only Degas could have captured, the move completes itself, sweeping upward, in a seemingly insignificant slit in the upper thigh of the second merc. He actually smiles at me for a second, thinking I’ve missed. I’ve already turned away from him, towards the last of them, by the time it dawns on him. Femoral artery. He’s dead, bled out, before he hits the ground.
The prisoner has pushed the first merc off, and is struggling to get to his feet, as the third merc lunges at me. Good. It’s a distraction. The merc doesn’t know which one of us he should be more worried about. The indecision is fatal. His eyes flick to the prisoner, just as he reaches for me. Spin, my left hand grabbing his wrist, pulling him towards me. The sharp jerk exposing his throat for a fraction of a second. The momentum propels him into the prisoner, but the merc is already dead. I mutter an apology, but it’s lost, in the gurgling of blood from the man’s throat.
The mercs made a serious mistake underestimating her. She played them well. No hesitation at all when she killed them. Didn’t wait around to see whether the moves she made were successful or not. Knew they were. Turned her back on the second merc before he was even dead. A lot of people would have waited to be sure. Probably would have lost the opportunity to kill the last one. She didn’t wait. Knew he was dead, standing, and moved on. Admirable.
Doesn’t worry about me at all, wipes the blade, and turns to the cockpit. Her voice is calm and casual, when she contacts the dock steward. If she’s exerted herself, you’d never know it to listen to her.
“I need a clear to launch for the Virago.”
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