“There you are,” Katelyn said. “We were starting to get bored. In fact, I’ll wake Alexa up.”
“We could’ve been here faster but Sirvanna wouldn’t accept a lift,” Ines said.
“You’re fast, but you aren’t that strong,” Sirvanna said. “You’d never be able to carry Aurora and then go back and carry me. So it was safer to just stick together.”
“Your mission?” Alena asked.
“We blew the depot,” Sirvanna said. “Yours?” Alena gave her a thumbs up. “I see, that’s good.”
“You should’ve seen Alexa’s coat go flying when she used her powers,” Katelyn said. “You know that she has a really short skirt under there?”
“Yeah?” Ines asked. “I’ll bet the soldiers enjoyed the view.”
“What little they saw before they died,” Katelyn said.
Ines shrugged. “A glance of heaven before oblivion. It’s better than most people get.”
“You wanna take the risk?” Alexa asked. “I could blow you away.”
“Nah,” Ines said. “If you show me anything it’s not going to be during a fight.” She winked at Alexa. “It’ll be just as intense though.”
“Are you going to flirt with everybody on the team?” Sirvanna asked.
“Why do you even care?” Alexa asked.
Katelyn smirked. “I’ll bet I know. It’s jealousy.”
“We really don’t have time for jokes,” Sirvanna said. “We have to rendezvous with the main army without being spotted by enemy soldiers. Everyone, move carefully and keep to the back roads!”
“Weren’t the orders to fight our way through?” Alena asked.
“I’m changing the orders,” Sirvanna said. “We’ll join the fight when we reach the main force. Remember, get behind the ordinary humans and let them act as your shields.”
“Vicious,” Alexa said. “I like that.”
The six walked for a while. There were no soldiers in sight. Eventually, Sirvanna stopped them at an old petrol station.
“Undine, scout ahead and don’t be seen,” Sirvanna said.
“Aye aye,” Ines said. She returned a few minutes later. “There’s a convoy going about six miles from here. We should be able to avoid it with a little detour.”
Sirvanna nodded. Okay, lead the way and don’t flirt with anyone.” Sirvanna turned slightly. “Why are you smirking, Pixie?”
Katelyn answered with her best Sirvanna impersonation. “Oh, Undine, don’t look at the other girls. I want you to look only at me!”
“I never flirt when I have a girlfriend,” Ines said. “So if someone were to ask me out…”
“Will you two knock it off?” Sirvanna asked.
“You’re blushing,” Alexa said.
“She is!” Katelyn laughed. “I think we struck a nerve.”
“Undine, lead the way,” Sirvanna said. They continued on their way with Ines taking the lead.
“Why is Sirvanna annoyed?” Yuni asked.
“She wanted the wedding to be a surprise and we ruined it,” Katelyn answered.
“You mean that she and Ines…” Yuni stammered. “They’re?”
“Passionately,” Katelyn said.
Yuni walked forward until she was right beside Sirvanna. She was hesitant for a moment and when she spoke it was in a loud and clear voice. “I have a very important question.”
“What is it Aurora?” Sirvanna asked.
“When you and Ines get married can I be the flower girl?” Yuni asked. Katelyn burst out laughing behind them.
“What are you talking about?” Sirvanna asked. “Undine and I aren’t an item.”
“Besides,” Ines said. “You’re too old to be a flower girl.”
“There’s that blush again,” Alexa noted.
“But… but Katelyn said,” Yuni muttered.
“She was teasing you,” Sirvanna said.
“She was?” Yuni asked.
“Aren’t you glad that you still have a shot?” Ines called back.
“Why me?” Sirvanna muttered.
It took them about twenty minutes to reach the line.
“Remember, get behind the regular soldiers,” Sirvanna ordered. “Stick together and watch one another’s backs. The six of us are going to survive no matter what!”
They entered the fight with a flash. Yuni sent a giant ball of light into the sky, blinding soldiers on both sides. Alexa’s winds and Sirvanna’s lightning cut a path through the enemy troops. The girls pushed through, swiftly ending up behind the regular soldiers.
From their relatively safe position, Yuni sent daggers of light flying into the enemy line. Sirvanna hurled bolts of crimson lightning. Alexa brought an enemy helicopter down into their midst by ripping its propellers off with a fierce wind. Katelyn turned their own weapons against them. Alena “borrowed” an assault rifle and fired away.
“We’re doing pretty well,” Sirvanna said.
“You mean these powers that most people lack are giving us an advantage?” Katelyn asked. “I’m shocked and not like those guys you just hit.”
“When do we get a tea break?” Yuni asked. “And where’s Ines?”
“Over there,” Katelyn pointed. Several enemy soldiers dropped and several others suddenly found themselves unarmed.
With a brief gust, Ines was back. “I’ll go out again in a sec,” she said. “I just need to catch my breath.”
“Take your time,” Sirvanna said. “And don’t get too reckless out there.”
The fighting lasted for several more hours with the American forces gradually gaining ground. Katelyn was almost injured, but she found a nearby “volunteer” to levitate into the path of the bullet. Yuni was almost taken by a sniper, but Ines caught the bullet, followed it back to its source and returned with a virtually new sniper rifle which Alena promptly claimed ownership of. The enemy troops eventually retreated.
“Is everyone okay?” Sirvanna asked.
“Dandy,” Alexa said.
Alena gave her a thumbs up.
“I’m hungry,” Yuni said.
“I’m fine,” Katelyn said.
“Just a bit tired,” Ines said.
“Good,” Sirvanna said. “Let’s grab something to eat and return to headquarters.”
“Yay!” Yuni said.
“These dumplings are really good,” Yuni said. She turned to Ines. “Here, say aah.”
“Aah,” Ines said. Yuni popped one into her mouth and went back to eating.
“Looks like someone just got an indirect kiss,” Katelyn said. “Careful, you’ll make Sirvanna jealous again.”
“I am not jealous,” Sirvanna said.
“Indirect kiss?” Yuni’s face had flushed. “I hadn’t even thought of that.”
“Sure you hadn’t,” Katelyn said. “You sneaky girl, you.”
“You know,” Ines looked directly at Yuni “it doesn’t have to be indirect.”
“Will you cool it with the flirting?” Sirvanna asked.
“And there she goes again,” Katelyn muttered. “Jealousy is a terrible thing.”
“I’m not jealous,” Sirvanna said. “It’s just that…”
“Shut up!” Alexa interrupted.
“Excuse me?” Sirvanna glared at her.
“I said shut up,” Alexa said. “We’re all grown women here. Some of us barely, but were all old enough to consent. We don’t need to be protected from the big bad flirt. If we have a problem with it we can stand up for ourselves and tell her to back off. If you’re jealous it’s fine. We can understand that, but if you’re not then you’re just treating us like a bunch of kids. Get over yourself! You aren’t our mother and you aren’t much older than anyone else here”
Sirvanna and Alexa sat there in silence for several minutes glaring at one another.
“Well, this is uncomfortable,” Katelyn whispered.
“Can’t we all just get along?” Yuni asked. She grabbed Alena’s hand. “Can you try talking to them, please?”
“It has nothing to do with me,” Alena said. She pulled her hand away.
“You’re right,” Sirvanna said. “I tried standing up for you instead of letting you handle things for yourselves. It won’t happen again.” She looked over at Ines. “If anyone tells you that your flirting is bothering them, you’d better leave her alone or you’ll hear from me again.”
“What kind of girl do you think I am?” Ines asked. “I would never do something so uncool as bother a girl who said she didn’t want me to.”
“You can keep flirting with me!” Yuni said. She hurriedly turned away from Ines’ gaze. “If you want to.”
The room was well-lit. A small black and white mutt was lazing on the floor. A feminine-featured man with long silver hair and violet eyes was standing over a military map. A Japanese woman with short black hair was next to him.
The door burst open. The mutt jumped to his feet and moved in front of the man as though he could protect him. A tall woman with long red hair, an eye-patch over her left eye and a light blue right eye came in. “Sir,” she saluted. “The allied nations have conscripted the gifted to fight against us. We’ve lost ground on all fronts!”
“I see,” he said. “Mobilise our special squads. Order them to take defensive actions only, for the moment and tell them that if they have to sacrifice some of the regular soldiers to survive, it will be acceptable.”
She knelt down to look him in the eye. “Sir, shouldn’t we make our move? We could take our territory back and more.”
“You’re so impatient, Anya,” he said. “Right now we should let them tire themselves out while we conserve our energy for the big push.” He put a hand on her shoulder and smiled. “Do you understand?”
“Yes Sir,” she said. “I’ll give the order immediately.” She ran from the room.
He walked behind her, closed the door and locked it. “Everything is on schedule,” he said.
I’ll gather the information for you.
“Gather it for those gifted who died as well,” he said. “It could come in handy.” He produced a silk pouch from his coat and reached in. “Would you like a kinder egg?”
She stretched her hand out and nodded. He took one from the pouch and dropped it into her waiting hand.
Thank you. I’ll be going now.
She was gone when he looked around. He sat down, the mutt jumped in his lap. He stroked the dog’s fur. “Now we just have to let them get comfortable. Comfortable enough to send my future allies right into my lap,” he muttered. “And when that happens I’ll have them.”
A girl’s bar! Ines hadn’t noticed it before, but the Cunning Linguist had to be a girl’s bar. She went inside.
“Welcome,” she was greeted by a very attractive middle-aged woman. “Just you?”
Ines nodded. She scanned the area. Women as far as the eye could see. Sure, they weren’t all young or attractive, but this was still paradise. Especially after spending so much time chained to a cell wall.
“You seem nervous, Hun, do you want one of these?” She held up a white wristband.
“What’s it for?” Ines asked.
“It’s mainly for our straight female customers,” she said. “But you can also use it if you just don’t feel like getting hit on.”
“I notice that you’re not wearing one,” Ines said.
The bartender laughed. “Aren’t I a bit old for you?”
“True beauty is ageless,” Ines said, winking.
The bartender looked around. “I get off in an hour. If you want to wait around.”
Sirvanna swung her blades in a series of complicated maneuvers. The training dummy wasn’t exactly a worthy opponent, but it would serve well enough. They were good blades. Very sharp, weighted perfectly, They would serve her well. That was when the summons came through her radio. She didn’t have far to go, but Ines had beaten her there. She had a slight pout.
“Something wrong?” Sirvanna asked.
“I was about to get with a hot older woman,” Ines said. “Now I don’t know when I’ll get another chance.”
“Poor baby,” Sirvanna said, sarcastically.
“I know, right?” Ines asked. “I’m so glad you understand.”
She gave Sirvanna a big hug. Sirvanna stood there awkwardly, not sure where to put her hands.
“Should I come back later?” Katelyn asked.
“No fair!” Yuni cried. “I want a hug too!” She ran forward, throwing her arms around Ines and Sirvanna.
“Please tell me this isn’t our newest team building exercise,” Alexa said.
“It is,” Katelyn said. “You go next.”
“I’m not doing it,” Alexa said.
“What, are you afraid of a little group hug?” Katelyn asked.
“Fine, I’ll do it,” Alexa said. She joined the group, positioning herself as far away from Sirvanna as possible.
Katelyn examined them for a moment. “What the hell?” She threw her arms mainly around Alexa and Ines.
Alena walked in, looked around and just shook her head.
“If you ladies are done I’d like to start the briefing,” Trask said. The group hurriedly dispersed. “All right then,” Trask said. “Our spy in the enemy army has sent us some crucial information.”
“One of our spies, you mean,” Katelyn said.
“No,” Trask said. “I mean our spy. We’ve only been able to get one in.”
“Could the spy be a traitor?” Sirvanna asked.
“Not that it’s any of your business,” Trask said “but the spy is a plaguer. She has the same chip in her head as you do. We suspected that the enemy was using psychic plaguers to detect our spies so we sent one of our own to counteract them. Now, the information we received indicates that the enemy forces in Boise are going to make a huge push. Our soldiers are preparing to fight against it and you six are going to be sent to take advantage of their decreased numbers to attack their headquarters. Any questions?”
“What kind of resistance can we expect?” Sirvanna asked.
“Unknown,” Trask said.
“Only one way to find out,” Ines noted.
“Sir,” A young brunette saluted. “I sent the information like you asked.”
“I know,” the silver haired man smiled at her. “You did very well. Kinder egg?”
She took it. “Thank you, Sir.”
“You can do whatever you like until I have more information for you to send,” he said.
She nodded and skipped out of the room.
Can we trust her?
“You’re so suspicious, Naoko. Of course we can. She’s our precious comrade.”
She was sent by them.
“Yes, she was. She served them because of this,” he held a jar with a microchip floating in liquid. “Quite a heinous device, really. And they’re using it to control their gifted squadrons.”
Do you really think that her allegiance would change so easily?
He nodded. “True allegiance isn’t gained through coercion or threats. They tried to force loyalty on her. It’s only natural that she’d reject them when given a choice. Is the special force ready?”
In position and fully briefed.
“Good. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to go meet with Grease Monkey.”