Calfuray secured the lock and set the self-destruct. If she didn’t return, then no one else would either, not that she cared one way or the other. Her mission was straightforward. Find John, kill him. Find Tom, kill him too. Return onworld and hope like hell the ensuing chaos created an opening. A rather simple mission until her cover was blown. The mighty null, she mused, shaking her head, what a frailing joke.

Long before the tocsins, Kyra knew. She closed the folio, stood, opened her eyes and allowed the unnatural vibration of ill will to wash over her six senses like a bloodhound taking the measure of its charge. Walking to her closet she slipped out of her jacket and molded her hard body into her black bodyglove. The glove, as it was called, fit like a second skin, allowing full and unhindered motion while providing more protection than a full suit of ceramite armor.

She had wanted a glove for as long as she could remember, but Papa insisted she earn it. Days of training turned into weeks and weeks into months and months into years. Her physical skill grew quickly, a natural, Papa would say. More shocking, or perhaps most delightful to Papa, her mental acumen astonished as if it danced ahead beckoning and teasing the body to keep pace. The first time Von saw the child perform, Papa asked him how long he thought she had been in training. Von gave an educated guess of three years, which for most Tao would have been a fair estimate. When Papa replied three months the two simply exchanged glances with raised brows.

In her glove, Kyra looked abso-frailing-lutely lethal as coal black hair fell on shoulders neither wide nor narrow, strong yet lithe and eyes sapphire blue narrowed in focus with an intensity seen rarely outside the annuals of greatness personified in the moment of destiny. Kyra pulled her hair back and bended knee while whispering words not known. Goldie watched from the shadows, quiet as a mouse waiting for the cat to pass, mesmerized with circuits feeding off energy sublime and overpowering. Goldie never felt more alive.

Calfuray felt it too. Von’s signature was clear and she made a note, time permitting she mused, of his location. But there was another, one stronger, one different yet somehow similar. Her mind raced. Priorities flickered and threat analysis considered. To the left, her main objective; to the right, this unknown threat, a threat growing warmer, stronger, nearer. John would have to wait.

Calfuray, like Kyra, was something of a prodigy. Not of the Arc’teryxian race, she had been bartered in a hostage trade to keep the peace many years before in a campaign the voice would just as soon forget. The peace was broken and Calfuray, as agreed, would render blood. After she killed the seventh executioner, barehanded, the voice thought otherwise. Natural talent of this order was rare. Ten years later Calfuray’s skills as an assassin were unmatched. Until her encounter with Von, she had never failed a mission. She intended to never fail another.

“Are you looking for me?” asked Kyra, standing on the far end of the cargo bay.

Calfuray focused her oculus crosshairs and marveled at the feedback. Calibration failed, but that was only a matter of time. “You know, we both want the same thing.”

“And what would that be?” responded Kyra, trying to get a feel for this unknown entity. Vibrations were mixed in an odd sort of way. Not what she expected. But then, she thought, what was.

“To go home. To live in peace,” said Calfuray. “We are tired of being hunted, of running, of living on worlds not our own. I sense you understand. Am I wrong?”

Kyra smile and now she knew why Von had had such a struggle. Before she could answer she felt a warm purplish light cross her retinal. Calfuray felt it too. Calibration. And upon the signal released the hounds of hell with all her might.

Categories: Story, Calfuray, Kyra