Sirvanna hugged Ines tightly. “I missed you. I missed you so much.”
“As much as I’d love to cuddle up to you for an indeterminate period of time,” Ines said “we have to finish this mission.” She lowered Sirvanna back to her feet.
“Oh, right,” Sirvanna said. “After this mission then.”
Ines winked at her. “It’s a date.”
“What’s the plan?” Alexa asked.
“That’s easy enough,” Ines said. “I run in, blow the place and get out.”
“It’s not that simple,” Sirvanna said. “Alena, how close did they come to hitting you when you had your speed?”
“Pretty close,” Alena said.
“They probably have some kind of auto-targeting system to deal with speedsters,” Sirvanna said. “You’ll have to move unpredictably.”
“Got it,” Ines said. She took the explosives from Alena.
“What’s in the bag?” Yuni asked.
“Conventional weapons,” Ines said.
“We’ll use those to keep them occupied,” Sirvanna said, opening it. “Alena, you can use one of these, right?” She held up a sniper rifle.
“Without missing,” Alena said, taking it.
“Yuni,” Sirvanna continued. “You and Alexa throw the grenades, but not in the direction I am.”
“You’re going back out there?” Alexa asked.
“Did you hit your head?” Yuni asked.
“I’m fine,” Sirvanna said. “I should be able to use my powers to create an electrical shield around myself while I use the sword to fend them off.”
“How long can that last?” Ines asked.
“I don’t know,” Sirvanna said. “You’d better be quick.”
“Aren’t I always?” Ines asked. She moved into a start up position. “I’m storming through.” In a blur, she was away.
“Katelyn, take their weapons away from them if you can,” Sirvanna said. “But don’t strain yourself.” She concentrated for a moment and ran out. Electricity cackled around her. Her hair stood straight up.
Alena fired shot after shot with almost mechanical precision. Each one hit an enemy’s head.
Yuni and Alexa lobbed grenades. “No,” Alexa said.
“No?” Yuni asked.
“You don’t just throw them in their general direction,” Alexa said. “You throw them into clusters.” She pulled the pin on the one she was holding and hurled it into a cluster of enemy troops. “See?”
“Oh,” Yuni said. “I get it. But won’t they start dispersing?”
“That’s why we have to be fast,” Alexa said, tossing another.
Sirvanna ran straight for the enemies. She flinched when the first bullets came, but they were indeed deflected by her shield. She ran into their midst, her sword swinging. Its blade piercing their armour and sending lethal bolts into their flesh. She kept moving, kept swinging. She’s back! Another opponent fell. She’s back! She dropped and used an upward slice to bring down a massively built enemy. I just have to survive this and I can hold her again. Another volley of bullets hit her shield, this time she felt it waver under the strain. It wouldn’t last much longer. That’s when she heard the explosion.
The remaining enemy soldiers turned and looked with dismay as their building collapsed. Sirvanna used the opportunity to run back towards the others, but the enemy recovered quickly and turned back to them, firing.
“Got you!” Sirvanna felt herself being lifted for the second time that day.
“The rendezvous site is…” Sirvanna began.
“I know,” Ines said. “Katelyn’s there already. The others are on their way.”
Sirvanna clung to Ines on the ride back, terrified that she might go back to sleep and not wake up again.
“If the mad professor there is okay with it,” Katelyn said “I’m a bit curious. Why take something as old-fashioned as a sword?”
“I brought one because Sirvanna likes them,” Ines said.
“How romantic!” Yuni cried.
“Is it?” Katelyn asked.
“How’d you feel when you woke up?” Alexa asked.
“Disoriented,” Ines answered. “A little confused. It’s hard to believe I’ve been asleep for over a month.”
“What was it like being in a coma?” Yuni asked. “Did you have good dreams?”
“Oy vey,” Katelyn said. “This girl.”
“What?” Yuni asked.
“I don’t really remember much of anything from when I was asleep,” Ines said. “The last thing I clearly remember is taking the explosives up that robot and then waking up in Florence’s medical bay. I do vaguely remember one thing…”
“What’s that?” Sirvanna asked.
“Your voice,” Ines said. “Calling to me.”
Sirvanna kissed her.
“Still,” Ines said. “I’m glad you kept it together while I was out.”
“Honestly,” Sirvanna said “I didn’t. Without you… everything kept moving just as it always did, but something within me shut down. I couldn’t eat half the time, couldn’t sleep well and couldn’t muster up any energy for missions. Without you I just… fell apart. I… I…” Tears started streaming from her eyes.
“I’m sorry,” Ines said, stroking Sirvanna’s cheek with one hand and wiping her tears with the other. “Don’t worry. I’m right here by your side and I’m not going anywhere for a long time.”
“The purpleness,” Katelyn muttered. “It’s overwhelming.”
“At least we’re all back together,” Yuni said. “We should throw a party.”
“When we get back to base,” Sirvanna said. She moved her lips close to Ines’ ear and whispered: “and after the party you and I will celebrate alone.”
They were almost back at the base when their craft was rattled by explosions.
“What’s going on out there?” Alexa asked.
“Pretty sure it’s called being attacked,” Katelyn said.
“Omicron,” Florence’s voice came in over the radio. “Sit tight. We’ve got Anya coming to get you.”
“What’s happening?” Sirvanna asked.
“They came a little after Ines left,” Florence answered. “Surrounded the base without warning.”
“Who?” Sirvanna asked.
“Golem units,” Florence answered. “Thousands of them.”
They felt the plane level, stabilise and it quickly started descending. When it finally landed they rushed out. Anya was standing by the plane, sweating profusely and gasping for air.
“Was lifting a plane too much for the human magnet?” Alexa asked.
“More than… the human hair dryer could manage,” Anya gasped.
Your mission was a success? Noriko moved forward to greet them.
“Yeah,” Sirvanna reported. “What’s the situation?”
As Florence said, there are thousands of Golems. They’ve surrounded the base and attack anyone trying to enter or leave, but they show no interest in actually breaching our walls. For the moment, anyway.
“What should we do?” Sirvanna asked.
Nothing, for the moment. Tomorrow we’ll decide on a guard rotation until we can think of a stratagem. For tonight, do as you will.
“Understood,” Sirvanna said.
“Does this mean we still get to celebrate?” Yuni asked.
“At least let me get patched up first,” Katelyn said.
They celebrated for several hours before dispersing. Sirvanna and Ines walked hand in hand down the corridor.
“So, what did it say?” Ines asked.
“What did what say?” Sirvanna asked.
“Michael’s Will,” Ines answered.
Sirvanna froze. “I… I forgot to play it for them.”
“Do you want to do that real quick?” Ines asked.
“I’ll do it tomorrow,” Sirvanna said. “Tonight is all about us.”