98 Years Before Impact Day
After five years of training, she was finally ready. She’d been challenged and pushed and passed every test, and now, at long last, she was ready. Ami was to be deployed on her first mission, with Gabriel as her supervisor.
She understood now why’d he’d done what he’d done. She knew why her family was dead, her home reduced to rubble. She knew why she and her brother had been spared, brought to this city, given new lives.
For five years, she’d trained to fight, to protect her new home, her new family. To survive in a world mostly reduced to chaos and death. She’d studied, watched and learned, and gotten used to a life she’d never chosen.
She made new friends, growing to respect Haylie, the AI that ran the city’s infrastructure, and Alice, the girl who looked younger than she was, but was actually older than pretty much everyone. She’d started performing, and had a small following of fans. Everything was going well.
“How are you feeling?” Gabriel asked, as the aircraft hovered over the bow of the sinking cruise ship.
“How was this thing even still running?” she asked, looking down at the 150-year-old technology below them.
“Dedication and luck,” he said. “Ships like this are one of the few places still safe from humans. Their populations will do just about anything to keep them floating.”
“Reminds me of home, a little,” she said. “Small, isolated community.”
“Fewer inhumane medical experiments here,” he said dryly.
“You’re clear on the objective?” he asked, resting a hand on her shoulder.
“Talk to their leaders. Offer them new homes and lives within Genesis cities, in exchange for any tech or resources we can salvage before the ship sinks.”
“And do it fast,” he said. “The longer you take, the less we get.”
Taking a deep breath, she leapt out of the aircraft, creating a telekinetic cushion to break her fall. A few panicked glances were shot her way, but most people seemed more concerned with getting to lifeboats than worrying about an intruder.
The combat bodysuit felt comfortable around her, and her swords were a reassuring weight on her back. She wasn’t expecting any danger on the ship, but it always paid to be prepared.
Floor plan memorised, she made her way immediately to the captain’s cabin, brushing past any panicked civilians she met on the way there. A pair of guards stopped her, guns raised.
“Don’t take another step,” the one on the left said, in perfect French.
“I was wondering if there was anyone still protecting this scrap heap,” she replied, in passable French.
“If you’re here to scavenge, you can wait until we’ve evacuated,” the guard on the right said.
“Actually, I need your help,” she said. “I couldn’t care less about scavenging.”
“We’re not exactly in a position to help,” the first guard said.
“Just let me talk to your captain,” she insisted.
“No,” the two guards replied in unison.
Rolling her eyes, she wrapped them both in telekinetic energy, holding them in place. They were so weak, it barely even felt like a strain. She strode right past them, opening the doors without moving a muscle.
The captain whirled, taken by surprise, and three other guards raised their weapons, aiming at her head.
Boring, she thought.
All three guards found themselves disarmed, their weapons floating uselessly above them. The captain’s eyes grew wide, and he backed away.
“What do you want?” he demanded. The two door guards stormed in, only to be disarmed just like the others.
“To make a deal,” she said.
“We don’t have time,” he insisted.
“Hear me out.”
“Talk fast then,” he said, not really having much choice.
“I can fix your ship,” she said.
“I have more than a passing understanding of engineering, and the equivalent of an entire team in manpower. It won’t even take long.”
“What do you want?” the captain asked, sceptical.
“How many trained soldiers do you have on board?” Ami asked.
“Around eighty,” the captain said. “Why?”
“In about forty minutes, someone is going to board this ship, and come looking for me. I need you to kill him.”
“We’re not assassins,” the captain protested.
“He is,” Ami said coldly. “And incredibly dangerous. So your options are you either lose your ship and half your population, or you keep both and help me kill a murderer.”
The captain looked around at his guards, still frozen in place. He took a deep breath, swallowed, and nodded.
“He’s dangerous enough that you need our help?”
“He’s dangerous enough that I’m not taking any chances,” she said.
“Okay,” he said. “I’ll give the order.”
“Give me command,” she said. “I can use your soldiers more effectively than you can, and I know what he’s capable of.”
“Give them twenty minutes to prepare. I’ll be fixing the ship.”
He just nodded, and handed her a headset. She gave him a fake smile, walking out of the room and freeing the guards from her telekinetic prison.
“I will kill you, Gabriel. If it takes a thousand lifetimes, I will kill you.”