The snow crunched under her feet as she walked. Why was it that every evil group, organization or species had to place their bases in the most inhospitable environments? Couldn’t they, just for once, put them in the middle of a paradise?
“Skipper,” Loving asked. “Have you ever wondered what you’ll do once the Bio’s are gone?”
It was a good question, Kate realized. Just what did she want to do with her life? Was there a place in Intelligence for someone who just didn’t have the desire to kill or do the dirty work necessary? Furthermore, would Reyes even allow her to leave if she wanted?
Kate shrugged. “Honestly, Lieutenant, I haven’t thought about it much.”
“I don’t see you staying in Intelligence,” Loving said. “I see how you feel about killing and death.”
Am I that transparent? Kate found herself shaking her head.
She cocked an eyebrow. “You’re quite perceptive.”
“If one keeps there eyes open,” Loving explained, “You can learn a lot about a person. Skipper, you’re the most dangerous person I have ever met but deep down you wish you weren’t.”
“On Necko, there’s many things you wish you weren’t,” Kate murmured.
“Permission to speak candidly, Skipper?”
“Sure. Why not?”
“You should leave the Fleet, Skipper,” Loving said. “Just retire and disappear. If we stop the Bio’s from coming through the Gate, then it will be many years before they return. When that happens, let someone else deal with them; you’ve given all that you have for too long.”
Kate chuckled without mirth. “You are wise and perceptive, Lieutenant. Is there anything you aren’t?”
“I can’t cook for ****,”
“Don’t feel bad, Lieutenant,” Kate said. “I can’t either.”
They crested a hill and Kate came to a stop. At the edge of her vision was a squat structure. The building was almost invisible, its roof barely above the snow drifts. However, despite the near whiteout conditions, flying devices burned bright in her enhanced vision.
“Get down!” Kate hissed as they dropped to their stomachs in the snow.
A buzzing sound passed by overhead and moved away. Kate rolled onto her back, rifle at the ready, her eyes tracking the source of the noise. What the hell was that, she wondered, an aerial drone of some sort or another cybernetic killing machine?
The device flew off into the snow and Kate started to let her breath back out when it turned back around. With a curse, she lifted the rifle into a firing position. Buzzing filled the air as it grew closer, and this time it was closer to the ground. As it emerged from a snow squall, twin whirling laser blades were visible-and it was heading straight for Loving!
“Don’t move!” Kate snapped as she pulled the trigger.
Even the sound of the wind couldn’t contain the roar of the combat rifle. It kicked back against Kate’s arms as it discharged several 20-millimeter phosphor rounds. Each of the bullets tore into the device and it exploded, covering the snow in flaming wreckage.
Loving rolled over and looked at her. “Jesus! What the hell was that thing?”
“Some kind of hunter-killer device,” Kate said as she got onto her knees and scanned the area around them. “And there are more around.”
Another hunter-killer appeared in her vision and drew a bead on them. Kate locked in on it with the rifle and blew it from the sky. Burning debris landing in the snow and a gust of wind blew the hood of her parka back.
Raven hair blew everywhere as she scanned the area for more droids. Three more had targeted them and Kate cursed under her breath. Didn’t the Bio’s ever give up? Overkill definitely seemed to be the word for them and it was starting to get very annoying!
“These things don’t give up do they?” Loving asked as she got up onto her knees.
“No, they don’t,” Kate said, “Get down!”
Another hunter-killed emerged from behind a snow bank. Kate let loose a volley of phosphor rounds and the droid exploded as the rifle clicked empty. With a snarl, she removed the empty clip and slammed a loaded one into the gun. Moments later, the other two were destroyed as well.
“And they’re annoying as hell,” She muttered. “That’s the last of them.”
“You really are a dangerous person, Skipper,” Loving said as she got back to her feet.
Kate stood up and ran a gloved hand through her sodden hair. “Never claimed otherwise,”
Loving reached over and pulled the hood of Kate’s parka back over her head. “You forgot something,”
Kate gave the security officer a half-smile. “Too many other things to worry about.”
“I can understand,”
Kate looked at the building again and narrowed her eyes. Inside that structure was their goal. If the two of them were successful, then the Bio’s would be dealt at the very least a crippling blow. However, if things were done correctly and the Gate was destroyed, then that would be a blow that would take the mechanical monstrosities years to recover from.
And fighting them can become someone else’s problem, Kate thought with a sigh.
The storm continued without end as the two women approached. Much to Kate’s surprise, there weren’t other welcoming committee’s waiting for them. Not that the one they had encountered wasn’t enough to stop most people because it was.
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