The Wrong Play: Part Two
Updated: Mar 13, 2022
Nia led Jameel out of the room into the hallway. She didn’t trust him at her back, but it was hard keeping her sensors on him and a horde of assassins. She focused on their attackers.
“They're almost at the building,” she said. “How the hell did they know we’re here?”
“I told them,” Jameel said. “Sorry.”
Nia spun around, her sword streaking toward Jameel’s neck. He jumped back then raised his hands. Pinched between his thumb and finger was a tiny object.
“Tracker,” he said. He dropped it then crushed it under his book heel.
“We’re still fucked,” Nia said.
“We can fight our way through them,” Jameel said.
Nia hesitated before answering.
“We go up. To the roof,” she finally said.
Jameel grinned. “I knew you had another way out. Miss Nia always has a backup plan."
Nia ran to the emergency stairs then bounded upward.
“Slow down!” Jameel called out.
“Keep up!” Nia shouted back.
She reached the roof. Nia lowered her shoulder, slamming into the door as she pushed the handle. Cold air hit her face and her eyes watered as she sprinted to the center of the roof.
“Don’t you think we should hang back behind cover?” Jameel said between pants.
Nia was about to answer when she heard the clatter of metal against stone. Snyths appeared on the roof edge, clamoring over onto the surface. Nia took out her sword and activated it; Jameel did the same then pulled out a blaster from under his cloak. Nia frowned and he grinned.
“I told you I was on your side,” he said.
They ran to the center of the roof.
“What is this?” Jameel said. “Our last stand?”
“Shut up and shoot,” Nia replied.
Nia twisted her sword handle again, expanding the field range. If these were normal snyths, the EMP would have disabled them. Instead, it only slowed them, which was enough. Nia waded into them, decapitating and dismembering them with sudden accuracy. A red light blinked just outside her vision, followed by a sound like distant thunder.
“To me!” she shouted to Jameel.
“What?” Jameel shouted back.
“Get over here!” she said.
Jameel backpedaled until they were back-to-back. Seconds later the roof was flooded with light from above.
“We’re dead,” Jameel said.
Bolter fire showered down from above, splattering synth parts and oil in every direction until the roof was clear. Nia checked her scan; the humans were still on their way up the stairwells and elevators. Her ship uncloaked then landed beside them.
“I’m not the only one holding back,” Jameel said. “How did you afford this?”
Nia shut off her sword and sheathed it.
“Did a few jobs here and there,” she said.
Nia sprinted to the ship and the door slip open. Jameel was about to follow when a stun bolt struck him in the chest, knocking him onto his back. Nia turned to look then laughed.
“Sorry,” she said. “Forgot to turn off security.”
Jameel grimaced. “Yeah. Right.”
Nia went to him and pulled him upright. Then entered Ship; Nia took a seat at the console; Jameel sat in the passenger seat, rubbing his chest.
“Offworld,” Nia said.
“Affirmative,” Ship answered.
They rose from the roof as the humans rushed out. Their small arms fire had no chance of damaging her ship, but she swept the roof with bolter fire anyway out of spite. Ship shook as they passed through the atmosphere into space.
“We’re clear,” Jameel said.
“For now,” Nia replied.
“So, what’s our next move?” he asked.
“We’re paying the CAI a visit,” Nia said.
“You’re kidding me, right?”
“Nope. The only way to end this is to cut off the head of the snake.”
Jameel leaned toward her, placing his hand on her shoulder. She shook it off.
“Sorry,” he said. “Look, you can’t do that. First, Corporate is a fortress. Second, if by any miracle we get to and kill the CAI, the entire system would collapse.”
“I’m tired of running,” Nia said. “So, I’m not going to anymore. If I’m going to die, I’m going out with a bang. Corporate is only a fortress if they know we’re coming. They don’t, because what we’re about to do makes no sense. Second, I don’t give a shit about the system.”
Jameel shook his head. “I don’t want to be a part of this.”
“Then you can leave,” Nia replied. “Right here, right now.”
Jameel slumped into his chair. “Not much of a choice, is it?”
Nia smirked. “Strap in.”
Nia took her own advice.
“Take us to Corporate,” she said.
“Affirmative,” Ship replied.