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by DKJ
Rated: 18+ · Fiction · Sci-fi · #2208531
Is war on its way. What has love got to do with it?
         We’re going to start with one of my most favourite things, a digression. The observant among you will be thinking, hold on, we haven’t started yet, how can this be a digression? To which the only response can be poetic licence.

In the question of gender politics and binary or non-binary, little thought is given to the Man. Clearly a male sort guy, right? After all, he’s the Man! Are you the Man? If so, which man are you? And in this context can we consider this conceptually to be the gender equivalent of the magnetic monopole… Theoretically it exists but at the time of writing no conclusive evidence has been found to show one way of the other the validity of the statement.

         You see, digression within digression. Upon successful completion of a difficult task, you might be told ‘You’d man!’ This is a complement, engendering confidence and pride at a job well done. Yet we also have as has already been sighted, ‘the Man’. This is the oppressor and anonymous authoritarian figure making sure you obey even the most obsolete tired old rules and conform to an idealised version of yourself as building block in an idealised society.

         Is there a point to all this? This digression, possibly not. Or maybe that is the point, this is to put you in the right frame of mind. These are questions you may have asked before or indeed need to ask now. Are you someone else’s the Man? Just remember, you’d man!

         At this point it would be crass to ask if we’re starting or in middle of a story. We are here, in the here and now. We know that we are just travellers on the road, our story is unwinding, sometimes unravelling at a scary rate. Imagine the Lunar Lagrange Station, from a distance it looks light and fragile. Importantly the Lunar Lagrange Station can be seen from really great distances. Yet up close, the station is big and imposing and strong. Gigantic arms reach out purposefully to support the rings almost like flowers from the stem of a blossoming plant.

         The piers would appear like great scaffolds of veins and capillaries where ships dock. Where they load and off load their cargos. Some are all or in part enveloped in a blister for repairs or refits. Some of the larger veins carry shuttles from one place to another. The Lunar Lagrange Station is a home to thousands and an industry for hundreds of thousands more.

         A lot had changed in only a few hours. A man, Deputy Master Murray lay broken and bleeding in his quarters. The furniture was overturned and broken. Ornaments were smashed, the last vestiges of a woman’s touch, torn and bloody.

         His eyes in his aching head trying to focus. The device attached to outer hull looked inert but the Deputy Master recognised a bomb when his eyes finally drew into focus. The explosion shredded anything that had so far survived the disruption and tore open the hull. Pressure doors that hadn’t been inspected for years snapped shut with a sense of finality.

         Red and yellow flame burst out into space like an over sized thruster. Ships that were docking at the time crashed and crumpled as the station shifted. Others following the traffic lanes that were set out in relation to the stations position had to make emergency corrections.          Many near misses averted what might have become a catastrophe.

         An event of seismic proportions was witnessed by hundreds of people. Tugs pilots, shuttle passengers, freighter crews and many more. To some it was flash of colour against the black. For others, it was a shower of debris and a few saw the body of a man slip quietly into the darkness. The sound, yes there is sound in space, if you know where to find it. The sound came to those in the path of the pressure wave of the exhausting atmosphere and debris rattling off hulls.

         In a bar, The Black while the station shook, Razor pumped his fist in the air. News feeds began to fill every public space. Sombre reporters stood as close as they could get to the entrance to Circle E, level 5, Begonia Walk. “All the apartments on Begonia walk have been evacuated as well as one level above and below.” the man on holo-board said, “It is rumoured that the catastrophic hull breach appears to be the result of terrorism. We do not have any news of casualties but the emergency pressure doors are holding. Incident Management teams are inspecting the structural damage. So far, no one knows when residents will be able to return to their homes. This is Tuan for Slide-Scape Media reporting. We’ll have more for you as news comes in.”

         Tabita got an idea of quite how big this place was. You’d need really acute hearing to make out the voices. “FBI! Don’t move!” and “FBI!” and “Put your weapon’s down!” These were shortly followed by the coughs of the Directed Impulse Plasma discharges. At full power one impulse could burn a hole in a man’s chest the size of his fist.

         What had been long ago dismissed as a childish, little girl’s fantasy, felt real. Hope is a contemptuous vile emotion and it is a treachery. Do not be mistaken, if you’re warm, at home safe, curled up in bed with a cup of hot coco, then most likely you have no need of the hope to be rescued. These girls were hopeful, they were trapped and powerless. Next time someone says to you we should give them hope, try to appreciate their real meaning. Slowly at first the sounds of the fighting got nearer.

         The break didn’t have a sound as such more of a change of pace. The defenders were broken and suddenly FBI agents were swarming through the compound. The awe and horror on their faces hidden behind their combat breather masks. The black clad warriors of the FBI looked even more intimidating and threatening than the cargo loaders.

         The girls had been left hanging for hours. Yet this was when the waiting really seemed to start. None of their supposed rescuers even went near any girl, instead taking up century positions. Men strode in lock step with an officer like manner between the rows of racks. Without even acknowledging the girls they talked about planning and contingency planning. How to process such a large scene and all the evidence that they’d collect.

         It wasn’t that they wanted to dismiss the girls or in any way diminish their ordeal. They were in their way as shocked as the girls had been when they woke up here. “Look at what those bastards did to you!” or “You’re okay now!” or “You’re going to be okay!” or “Fuck, that’s hot!” none of these were the kinds of things that the girls wanted to hear.

         Mervin walked into stock room not expecting to like what he was about to see. As he took in the view of all the girls he swore under his breath. “Hey, we’re going to get to you as quickly as we can. It will take a while but we will get you home.” He explained quietly and went from Rack to Rack, offering gentle reassurance.

         Some of the girls had already been moved into a cargo container. Adelaide, she was the first to be cut down, although strictly speaking that was inaccurate. They lifted her off the rack and placed her on a cot before cutting away the pole. “Hello, my name is Nurse Selby.” the woman in the cute nurses’ uniform said. “This is going to hurt but you’re going to get through it. Okay?” Adelaide looked at the woman uncomprehendingly. “I’m going to remove your gag now.” Selby said.

         Adelaide suddenly understood. She whimpered and cried as her mouth felt like it was forced open further than it was ever meant to go. “That’s better,” Selby said, “now what’s your name Honey?” she asked.

         “I’m Adelaide.” the girl answered awkwardly, finding it hurt to close her mouth and to open it.

         “I’m sorry Adelaide but we’re only just getting started. When we release your binding, you will relax and it’s going to hurt. That’s a strain injury. Your body’s been forced into an unusual position for a long period of time. Now, it’s probably started to feel normal. So, when we release you, it will be hard to feel normal. Do you have any questions?” Selby explained.

         “Can’t you, like give me pain killers?” Adelaide asked.

         Selby offered wan smile, “No, I’m sorry. They already kept you out cold on sedatives that still haven’t worked through your system. I’m sure you can tough it out, okay.” Selby said, “Hey, you know your outfit is totally cute. I mean, I know it’s bad but it’s like kidnap chic and you’re totally rocking it!”

         “So, my bum doesn’t look big in this?” Adelaide asked with a sardonic note.

         “We’re going to release your wrists, now.” Selby said. A nurse braced Adelaide’s legs, while another held her arms. Selby pushed the key into the binders. Then slowly, first Selby brought the right arm down to Adelaide’s side. Adelaide would have strained through gritted teeth except it still hurt too much to close her mouth. She was almost crying as they straightened her left arm. “Fuck, fuck, fuck!” Adelaide even exclaimed before they set about straightening her legs.

         Again, starting from her right, her body was convulsing as they pulled her leg straight. With the left leg she stifled an agonizing scream. “Now, we’re going to flip you over.” Selby announced as they held Adelaide down. Her arms and leg wanted to return to their new natural positions.

         “One… Two… Three!” Selby counted and then Adelaide was lying face up.

         “It’s nice to meet you… I’d offer to shake your hand but it hurts too much.” Adelaide said. Selby smiled and brushed Adelaide’s fringe out of her face.

         “It’s nice to meet you too, Honey.” Selby said. “Now try to rest, I’ll check on you later. Okay?”

         “Sure.” Adelaide said. Adelaide focused on her breathing, her body felt like it’d been put through some medieval torture device.

         Selby took her contingent out of the small infirmary room. They were supposed to be working on getting the girls released from their bondage. Selby found Deputy Director Dietzen in conference with some Special Agents. “Hey.” she said interrupting their discussion.

         “Can this wait?” Dietzen asked.

         “No, it can’t.” Selby said emphatically, “There’s only three of us, we got twenty cots and over a thousand girls to treat. We need help and more room!” Selby explained, “It’s just taken us twelve minutes to get one girl on her back and resting. At this rate it’ll take us days! And the girls don’t have that much time.” Deputy Director Dietzen nodded.

         “I’ll make some calls, see what I can do.” Deputy Director Dietzen said and she turned to her subordinates, “In the meantime, round up as many volunteers as you can.” she ordered, “You show us what to do and we’ll do it.” she said to Selby

         The plain cloths investigator, Devin was for the time being The Man as technicians worked on the pressure doors that shut the Begonia Walk residence. The rupture in the station hull had been sealed with a force field and temporary blister pack. The technicians were trying to get the pressure doors to open again. They had been only this ‘ ’ close to not shutting in the first place.

         “This is making us look incompetent!” Brad remarked.

         “Good, incompetence lowers people’s expectations and they lose interest quicker. A job well done is the one that isn’t seen.” Devin said.

         “Don’t the people have the right to know?” Brad asked earnestly.

         Devin shot Brad a look of utter derision. “The people?” he said, “Do you know what the people are? They’re a bunch of ignorant vicarious thrill seekers with an attention span that only lasts as long as it keeps their cocks stiff!”

         Brad liked to think of himself as a modern sort of guy. He respected women, he believed in equal rights, equal education, equal pay. Indeed, all the same things Devin believed. “Hold on! Seriously, that’s chauvinistic and offensive?”

         “What, you don’t think women like a stiff cock?” Devin asked.

         “What about the right to know?” Brad asked trying to draw the conversation back on course.

         “You have the right to know, I have the right to know. Kid, we have an open government, that’s what it’s for. Our reports from this investigation will become a part of the public record. Any one who’s interested has the right learn everything about this case and many others. And, if anyone is still interested by that time, then we messed up somewhere.” Devin explained.

         “You conveniently missed out Protected Records!” Brad insisted.

         “You ain’t heard of privacy? Protected Records are sealed to protect the privacy of decent citizens and the details of ongoing investigations, or details pertinence of potential investigation. That’s the other cliché Kid, an equal and fair society.” Devin explained.

         “Not very open if you ask me…” Brad grumbled.

         “That’s why it’s a cliché. We have checks and balances to make sure everything is done right. You’ll learn and you’ll learn the way the world works…” Devin remarked.

         Brad was an Apprentice Sleuth, he even had gum stuck to the sole of his shoe but that was merely an unfortunate circumstance.

         “No, Boss Man.” The Senior Technician said, “We’re going to have strip this all back and pull the whole lock and gate as one unit.”

         “How long with that take?” Devin asked testily.

         “Two, three days, Man.” the man answered.

         “Can’t you cut through it?” Devin said.

         “A week, unless you wants a bigger hole in the side of the station?” the Senior Technician retorted and Devin nodded.

         “Strip it and get us in there!” Devin said to the Senior Technician, “Someone’s getting a kicking!” he stalked away with raw violence in his heart. Brad followed eagerly in the hope of being able to observe an aggressive interrogation. Apprentices, especially the young green unproven apprentices like Brad were not supposed to be allowed to be anywhere around interrogation. It wasn’t just for their nerves but also their protection.

         After no more than half an hour, Adelaide was stood up. She’d given up her cot to make room for another girl. She was still stiff and sore but able to stand normally and walk around. What was harder was actually keeping of the way of busy teams.

         Selby cornered Adelaide, almost as if the girl had been avoiding her. Which Adelaide had, in her way of trying to not get in the way. “How are you feeling?” Selby asked as she ran a new bio-scan on the girl.

         “Better, a lot better actually. Thank you, Doc!” Adelaide said.

         “It’s Nurse! Nurse Selby or Sister.” Selby said defensively, “This is remarkable, your body is showing levels of recovery we wouldn’t expect to see for several hours, if not days!” Selby remarked. Not that Selby had a problem with doctors but she was proud of putting the caring back into the caring profession.

         Selby glanced about conspiratorially and said, “Watch this.” She raised a hand in the air and gave a flick of her wrist. In response a marine soldier in his cute uniform trotted over as bidden. Adelaide and Selby shared a moment of delightful authoritarian miss use of power. “We need somewhere to keep the patients that are recovered. Escort this patient to a Waiting Room.” Selby ordered.

         “This way Ma’am.” The soldier said. Adelaide followed and she glanced back at Selby with a rueful smile.

         She was a horny teenaged girl, with an augmented sex drive and he was a man in a cute uniform which merely thinking about it made her blush. Adelaide followed him into a wide open empty room. There were no chairs or out of date magazines. As the moment came that her inner tigress prepared to jump him, the thought You call this a Waiting Room! sprang to mind and the moment was gone.

         Alone in an empty room, Adelaide did a cartwheel. Only after, she considered that was her first time cartwheeling wearing heels. “Wow!” she remarked to herself. Adelaide wasn’t alone for long as other girls began to arrive.

         At around this time Dougal was arriving at the secret CIA headquarters. Yes, they’re different from the publicly reported headquarters otherwise they wouldn’t be a secret would they. No, I’m not going to tell you where they are either… And, I don’t care if you’re going to suggest that I don’t know where the secret CIA headquarters actually are. All, I’ll say is that I did my research before writing this work of complete fiction.

         Now, where was I or where was Dougal? What was important is that he was arriving. He was greeted by Hamish. A place like this is not one where you earn your stripes and then you get a free pass. Dougal was as foreign as any civilian. His clearance would need to be certified and new background checks competed.

         “Dougal!” Hamish said.

         “Hamish, you’ll have had your tea.” came the now familiar repost.

         “Come with me.” Hamish said. This was the beginning of a long series of debriefs. For the naïve, it might be expected that after having been out in the cold for such a long time, that you’d get the reward of seeing the fruits of your labours harvested.

         Dougal knew that his patience would be tested. He knew that he may never be brought back in, not really. Only time would tell. The two men settled in an interrogation room. “How was your flight?” Hamish asked convivially. He didn’t even mention that Arch Angel was satisfied that they recovered their stake.

         Dougal nodded, “It was grand, great view on the way down.” he said.

         “What can you tell me about the tail that follows this Razor character around?” Hamish asked.

         “That will be Sally, she’s blonde and not very shy about it. She informs confidentially to the FBI. She’s been with Razor for over a year now but he’s not exclusive. Sally is wild and adventurous. She’s smart too but tries to hide it behind drink and drugs. Razor doesn’t include her in his business activities. Nor does she include him in hers. I think he’ll be surprised when he learns she’s the prosperous little earner. I’ve linked two disappearances directly to her.” Dougal explained for the first time. Until now, these had been Murray’s little secrets unrelated to the Cartel business. It was his job to know the Cartel backwards and be the man on the ground running operations.

         “What of Razor, what is he to her?” Hamish asked.

         “He’s her squeeze. She’s young, he’s dangerous and exciting. I think she genuinely believes he can change. Either way, it’s not going to end well between those two. Right now, I’d put my money on Razor.” Dougal said.

         “What happened on the Shark Blade?” Hamish said.

         The Shark Blade hadn’t been in any of Dougal’s operational reports. Indeed, as secrets go, it was one which he thought was well kept. “Not my finest hour.” he began, “The operation was a pirate attack on Cartel protected transport. The crew were hired out of dirty back water bars. There wasn’t much emphasis on security except to say that they were told if anything got out, we’d kill them. The Shark Blade was a pile of junk at its best, it was bought and then chartered through a series of shells until it was retrofitted for the action. Everything went wrong even before we got started.”

         “Was this a sanctioned operation?” Hamish asked.

         “No.” Dougal responded flatly.

         “Do you still take your coffee, black with no sugar?” Hamish asked.

         “I don’t drink coffee, never have.” Dougal answered.

         “Why didn’t you get the Shark Blade operation sanctioned. That would have been easy enough for a man in your position?” Hamish continued.

         “Because it wasn’t subject matter related. I couldn’t risk operational assets for that task.” Dougal explained.

         “How was… Sally involved?” Hamish asked.

         “Sally was unknown to me at the time. Subsequent analytics showed at the time she had four degrees separation from the operation, now she has three degrees separation. She had no involvement.” Dougal intoned.

         “Have you heard of a group calling themselves the Blood Blisters?” Hamish asked.

         “No, I’ve not heard of them.” Dougal said.

         “I’m not really into that scene. Phase-Rock seems to be something for the young, my daughter loves them.” Hamish explained. “Does Sally like Phase-Rock?” he asked.

         “I don’t know but I can give you her Link Address, then you can ask her yourself. You never know she might go for that Sugar-Daddy sort of thing.” Dougal said.

         “Tell me more about Sally?” Hamish asked.

         Tawny came to be in the last group of girls brought into the Waiting Room. She felt mostly human now. She still felt odd, teetering on unfamiliar heels. The room seemed crowded, packed with girls wearing the same uniform. Tawny was trying to reconcile feeling prone and exposed with at the same time anonymous and alone.

         Of the girls, a few were just kids. Tawny wanted to cry, to plead for her Mum. She looked around the pretty faces seeing none that were familiar. Most were huddled in groups, consoling each other, showing off their new sexy uniform. Tawny had a sapphire stud and she felt sexy too, not that she wanted to admit to that.

         From out of the crowd, Rena appeared. “Hey, it’s… Tawny right?” she asked. Rena had been the captain of the cheerleaders when they’d been in high-school.

         “Yes.” Tawny admitted, a blush of embarrassment rising quickly. The burning desire to not be alone, replaced by the sense of mortification that she’d been recognised.

         “Cool, we’re over here.” Rena said and she caught Tawny’s wrist and led the way deeper into the room.

         “Guys, this is Tawny.” Rena announced.

         “Tawny…” Isabella said, “well, I guess you’ve really blossomed.”

         “Hey, I thought you were a boy.” Darby said confused. Darby was planning to apply to the FBI after leaving college.

         “So did I.” Tawny said. Isabella wrapped Tawny in a sudden affectionate hug.

         “Whoa, sucks to be you!” Juliette said, her plan was to be a counsellor and therapist one day. “Hey, look on the bright side. If you ever find yourself missing cock, you can always ask a man if you can borrow his.”

         “Guys! Go easy, we’re all in this together. Tawny, look the guy code still applies, you’re one of us now, we’ve got your back. But, when it comes to chasing tail, its every girl for herself. I’m sure you’ll get the hang of it.” Rena explained.

         “You notice, how there aren’t any guards in here?” Hart asked.

         “We’re not prisoners, are we?” Tawny asked.

         “No silly but the guards aren’t in here because we’re all super horny. You can’t tell me you haven’t noticed.” Hart explained and Tawny blushed a bright red. “I’ll take that as a yes.” Hart added just to increase Tawny’s discomfort.

         “We did have some cute guards, ‘for our protection’. The girls were all looking at them so much fit red meat. I think we scared them away.” Isabella said.

         “Hey, this is a life changing event, for all of us. We need stick together and we’ll get through this. I’m going to say it because it has to be said, Tawny you’re a pretty girl, now and that’s not easy.” Naomi said. Naomi was angry because right now she felt pretty and sexy like          Tawny, while she was going to be a Marine. Feeling helpless and trapped and hornier than she could ever remember, couldn’t reconcile with her ideas of being a Marine.

         With all that being said, only some of the girls noticed Mervin when he stepped into the Waiting Room and they all had questions. Within moments he was mobbed. He tried to speak but was overwhelmed by the constant barrage.

         “I don’t want to be a girl.” Tawny remarked.

         “Neither does she.” Dannie quipped all to readily.

         Rena put herself between Dannie and Naomi. “Not, we don’t have time for this!” she said.

         Much to Naomi’s surprise, Dannie said, “I’m sorry. It scares me! You’re going off to become a soldier, we might never see you again. You might never wear a cute skirt again!” Dannie said imploringly. Naomie rarely wore a skirt and only after significant arm twisting from the girls and then last time was for a date.

         “Tawny,” Hart said pragmatically, “You get what you’ve got in this life. So, make the best of it. I’m sure being a guy was great but being a girl can be great too, I like it. I mean look at what you’ve lost, you have to sit down to pee. But already, you’ve made a load new friends!” Hart explained.

         “Yeah, its not as bad as it sounds.” Naomi said.

         “Were you… ?” Tawny asked and Dannie stifled a laugh.

         Selby made her way into the Waiting Room. She was greeted warmly immediately. Selby started trying to pass on the news that families were on their way and that girls would need to be interviewed before they could go home. The news did get passed on but before long she was being asked about interrogations and if any of them were suspects, were their families caught in traffic jams on the highway. Despite Selby’s protests the conjecture just grew more and more wild.

         “No!” Dannie protested. “I’ve just never been one of the girls, not a girlie girl anyway. I like boys and all but boys just don’t like a strong woman…”

         “You’re wrong there. Boys do like strong women, we… they don’t want to appear weak in front of their friends.” Tawny said.

         “I’m a powerful, strong woman.” Hart said, “Men don’t have a problem with me and I’m not a ball breaker.”

         “I know but when I’m with a guy… I don’t know, things are going well and then suddenly before I know it, I thrown him down and he’s scrambling to get away.” Naomi admitted.

         “Maybe you’re a Marine?” Tawny asked and Naomi smile appreciably.

         “Quiet!” a voice boomed filling the room. “Quiet!” the voice ordered again and the sobs and murmured voices died away. At the end of the room was a US Marines Master Sergeant.

         “I am Master Sergeant Iro. You are going to be guests on a US Navy Base. You will respect this base and its traditions. There will be no, sobbing, crying or caterwauling! You will disport yourselves with courage and self respect. When called you will line up and stand to attention. There are a lot of people working to help you and families are arriving. While you’re not working with investigators or being reunited with your families, you will co-operate to let others do their job and others see their families. This is only a small consideration that we’re asking of you so please respect that we have a difficult job to do.” Master Sergeant Iro began, he paused to let his words sink in.

         “First rank, form a line here.” Iro ordered. Much to everyone’s surprise the girls began to form a line. “Reach out to your left, fingertips to your neighbour’s shoulder.” He instructed and the girls began to shuffle side ways. Some at the end began to make up a second rank. The second and third and forth ranks and the rest all formed up organically. Iro nodded his approval.

         “When I give the order to stand to attention. I want you to stand back straight, feet at forty five degrees, hands at your sides, thumbs against the seams, eyes forward… And for a little dramatic flare ladies, the right foot come to a halt abruptly.” He said, “Attention!” he ordered and he snapped to attention as a demonstration. “Then when I give the command, to stand easy, step shoulder width apart, relax your frame and hands are at the small of your back, thumbs interlaced, the rest of your fingers straight.” Iro instructed. “At Ease!” he ordered and gave another demonstration. “After, the stand easy command, you may be given the order to carry on. That means return to what you were doing. Otherwise, you’re going to get further instructions.” With over a thousand pairs of bright young eyes fixed on him he gave the order, “Attention!” and this was received with an almost military precision.

         Master Sergeant Iro gave way to Deputy Director Dietzen. She was a little flustered, the girls looked like they were attending a cadet review.          This was the same time that in high orbit a Junker seemed to be coming apart. “Hello, my name is Deputy Director Dietzen of the FBI. First of all, we are very pleased to have rescued you. Many of you will be able to return home with your families soon. My team with be conducting interviews with each of you so please remember not discuss your experiences leading up to your being here. We just want to avoid cross contamination.” she paused, “Thank you for your co-operation, we will get you all on your way as quickly as possible!” she explained.

         “As you were.” Master Sergeant Iro ordered.

         Lara turned the girl next to her. “Hey, your stud is totally bitching!” she said.

         Tango struck a sexy pose and looked Lara in the eye, “It’s because I’m black isn’t it?” she said. Tango had jet black skin and pretty eyes and a facetted obsidian stud.

         “Umm… Yes.” Lara said, “You’re killing it. I mean…”

         Tango smiled, “I’m messing with you. You’re sweet, thank you.” Lara smile with a look of relief and the whole room shook, sirens began to sound. “They’re coming for us!” Tango exclaimed.

         Tawny might have thought the girl was over reacting but the room trembled again and again. What were normally breaching pods from pirate ships were being used as drop ships. They touched down hard and deployed inertial dampeners to cushion the impact for their cargo of men. Both dread and excitement made a peculiar competing mix in Tawny’s stomach.

         Although contentious the Marines had secured the area in support of the FBI. They were here, for no better reason than they were providing the girls transport back to the Navy base. For legal reasons it would later be important to note that the Marines played no part in the FBI Swat action to secure the release of the captives.

         The complex on that was on the edge of the New York Orbital Transit Center, other wise known as the New York Anchorage. The drop ships crushed vehicles and buildings making their landings. Berserkers came storming out. The Marines had already arrayed into a makeshift perimeter. The Swat teams which were primarily trained for assault tactics also took up defensive positions.

         The girls and the Berserkers were Mark 2 humans, augments. They were engineered to survive in the harsh environments far from civilised support structures. The Marines and FBI were all regular Mark 1s. By international treaty the fielding of a Mark 2 human in combat was illegal, although for reasons other that technological availability. A Mark 2 was vulnerable to having their rights or innate judgement overridden by an authoritarian commander. For the Berserkers however there was no such risk of that, they weren’t in any way a cohesive unit such as a military commander might understand.

         To risk stepping even further away from the action that was about to occur, the girls weren’t at risk either. Their Augmentation had been organic and solely on an individual basis. The Dingo’s while being flexible in most areas, they provided a guaranteed high level of service to their patients. All the girls were merely at the mercy of their own drives and passions.

         The men charging at the Marines came at them smashing parked cars out of their way like toys. The Marines opened fire, the Swat team opened fire. The first wave of attackers fell but then a volley of fire was returned. The fallen attackers, most of them picked themselves back up and continued their charge.

         Before the Berserkers could crash into the outer perimeter, Lieutenant Walter called the retreat to a more defensible position. As accurate as the Marine’s fire was, it took ten to twenty hits to drop one Berserker. Withering fire pouring onto choke points stalled the enemy advance.          The Marines and FBI were out numbered and surrounded.

         No one was sure where the shot came from exactly. Swat Special Agent Reilly was caught out of position by the Berserkers, his body was being torn limb from limb when the shot came that killed him. There was anger on both sides, the FBI and the Marines. There was also disbelief. This was the first attack by foreign power on US soil in living history.

         “Hold this position.” Lieutenant Walter ordered Master Sergeant Iro.

         He opened a channel back to base. The attackers were attempting jam communications but the terrestrial’s technology was more modern and more powerful. “Colonel, I’m requesting urgent reinforcements!” he said.

         “Kyle, are getting your guys getting beat up by a bunch of college girls?” Colonel Jord asked jovially.

         “No sir. We’re under attack.” Lieutenant Walter said.

         “Okay, I’m sending Number Three company your way. I want an update in five minutes.” Colonel Jord ordered and the channel closed.

         “What’s going on? Technically, you’re only here as observers.” Deputy Director Dietzen demanded.

         “We observed that we’re under attack.” Lieutenant Walter said.

         While they were talking, hundreds of Marines, police and FBI were racing to their location. The Berseker’s attack, their ‘Plan B’ was a very time constrained operation.

         Dougal sat in the interview room oblivious to the news of the outside world. They had been talking for hours. They had gone over three years of Murray’s life. Every detail of the construction of the Shark Blade had been reviewed. This would have been worse had there not been regular communication between Dougal and Hamish. They had been at it for hours.

         “You’ve got something on your mind. Out with it man.” Dougal said.

         “The CRI Shark Blade is currently in orbit engaged in an illegal attack against our nation.” Hamish explained.

         “The capability of an orbital strike was out lined in my reports. The CRI Shark Blade which I operated was barely capable of rock hopping. Let alone a long haul into an orbital action.” Dougal said.

         “That doesn’t explain what it’s doing here.” Hamish said.

         “We didn’t get the Shark Blade through channels. Her transponder was probably one of only a few serviceable parts. Her engines tore her apart before we even got started. Only a few of us got out there alive. I had to write that entire operation off. The rest was probably salvaged.” Dougal explained.

         “Is it possible that you missed Sally being a ranking member of the Cartel?” Hamish asked.

         “No. She was just one in a long list of skirts chasing Razor and he’s just a jump up thug. I don’t doubt that she has ambition. She has the talent. My people and data from analytics show her separation from the Cartel leadership as being too great for her to be of any rank.” Dougal explained.

         “It’s good to have you back in the land of the living. Go home and get some rest. We’ll pick this up in the morning.” Hamish said.

         “Aye, it’s good to be home.” Dougal said.

         As they packed up for the evening, not so far away the fighting was hotting up.
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