Marsha watched De’Zahna on the monitors and then gritted her teeth. Three teams were nearby and she couldn’t do a thing. Since the damned girl stole a com unit, they were useless. And encrypting wouldn’t change a thing since De’Zahna’s unit possessed the latest key codes!
It’d been stupid of her to sit back in the safety of C and C while De’Zahna cut a swath through her people. Not that it would’ve made any difference, she thought!.The kid-no woman!-outclassed them in every way. It was as if my people are a pack of dogs trying to kill an elephant. No matter what I do, I’m not strong enough to kill her.
The rattle of small arms fire echoed down the corridor, and Marsha sighed. A couple minutes and they’d reach her location. While going down in a hail of gunfire had its appeal, she had no intention of meeting the Grim Reaper yet.
She picked up her rifle and caressed it like a lover. The waves were crashing against the sand, taking everything with it, leaving the weapon her only friend. Some folks would think of her crazy for those thoughts, but what was it to a dying woman?
Damn, the battle had grown measurably closer while she’d dawdled. Fifteen minutes before De’Zahna’s people reached C and C? Not hardly. It’d be more like five, meaning it was time to beat feet.
She entered the corridor and then used her command override to lock the room down. De’Zahna crew would take it, but it wouldn’t be easy. And with any luck the techs could take a couple soldiers with them before they died.
Yeah right. What a stupid thing for me to think. Neither man are combat whizzes; in fact their scores and merits were horrible. Hmph. Those two couldn’t kill a wet dream.
A part of her felt sorry for them but if they couldn’t fight, then why did they join the Marines? There were plenty of civilian jobs in the corps that didn’t expose them to combat.
And I bet Jacobs dies first. He doesn’t have enough sense to know when to fold them.
She started to run down the corridor. What to do? Kill the colonists and the orbiting ship would blow the station to bits. Surrender and they’d all face execution.
In an ideal world she’d kill De’Zahna and then her sisters. However, that was predicated on her getting into position to take the shot, which wasn’t guaranteed. Given how the girl continued to outsmart them, she was willing to bet the opportunity never presented itself.
Why hadn’t she taken De’Zahna up on the offer? No, she had to be Miss Tough Girl, and look where that got her. Now none of her people would survive the fight, and it was on her head. And it was due to her-hers!-stupidity! Now, the best thing she could offer her people would be to die in battle. If might not be much but it certainly beat being executed.
Well, she could still play her last chip. One hundred colonists were still in the holding room, and they were worth nothing to De’Zahna dead. That left her the ability to use them for leverage.
I just need to get there first.
This is ridiculous.
Talia leaned against the wall and caught her breath. None of the three ambushes they’d encountered were either smart or well executed. It seemed to her that they were more meant to delay her advance more than anything else.
This made sense in a sick way, because she’d do the same thing. The overriding priority would be to keep an invader away from the colonists. And, no matter how you cut it, they are a major bargaining chip.
And she bet Breakstone was racing for their location. The Colonel was going to use the people for leverage because it was the only play she had left. Now, all Talia had to do was to beat her to them.
She stopped short of a dead end and used a hand to wipe sodden hair of her forehead. Ok, she thought, time to see what Breakstone laid out this time.
The corridor branched into one that went off to the right and another to the left. Both gently curved around a rock wall and she raised an eyebrow. Looks like I found the holding cells.
It made perfect sense. The rock provided a defense against anything but the largest nukes. And even then, it’d take a precision strike to destroy the place.
She motioned to Reyes. “If you built this, Claudio, where would you put the people?”
He licked his lips. “An easily defensible location in the center of the base,”
“A smart person would put it two levels above the reactor. That would make heating and cooling easier.” She frowned. “And it’d be close enough to use as a way of eliminating trouble makers.”
“Are you saying…?”
She shrugged. “Wouldn’t be the first time someone decided to do that.”
“And you get on us for being cruel,”
“There’s plenty of evil in the galaxy. I can’t stop everything.”
“I believe that now.”
“Good, you learned something.” She thumbed the mike on. “Dannae, I’ve found the facility.”
“So have I.”
“Any more ambushes?”
“I would hope not! I think we’ve killed fifty people.”
“You know what they say, more the merrier,”
“Only you could make a comment like that,”
“Ouch, I resemble that remark,”
“I think you’re turning into a grade-A brat.”
“What are you going to do? Spank me?”
“The thought did cross my mind,”
“Shut up, Talia,”
She chuckled. “You just can’t handle the needling.”
“Look who’s talking.”
“Any word from Crios?”
The sound of gunfire made her wince. “I’m almost to the control center. Seems they don’t want us to get there. How inconsiderate of them.”
“Hurry up, sis; we’re at the holding facility. I don’t want them gassing us.”
“I’ll have it in two minutes.”
“I’m holding you to it.”
Talia killed the connection. “Now we wait.”
Come on Crios!