CHAPTER 08.2

Approx.5500 words

All Rights Reserved

Copyright 2015   SJ

The Rise of Chaos:

Chaos Mean  

 

written by  SJ

 

 

    After Lana left the Colonel’s office, her mind was in a swirl of thought. She considered returning directly to her room, snap on the computer, and begin studying every detail of that mine...then contact one or more of the rescued civilians for questioning. But she digressed when she spotted the sign pointing to the hotel lounge. She decided obeying the General’s orders would be the prudent choice for right now...
    But before she could act, she was approached by a tall, slender man with blond hair.
    He was young, and very well could’ve been a Marine. But she didn’t recognize him as a Cheyenne Ranger. He greeted her, talked a little about how he liked the space station hotel, then bluntly asked her if she wanted to return to her room with him.
    Lana was confused. The way he talked sounded strange, slurring from time to time abnormally. Of course, she hadn’t met ever person from every planet in the Sol Frontier--quite the opposite, she had met very few. His way of talking could be normal...from a another solar system, maybe from the Tau sector. However, he didn’t look Tau. When she apologetically turned him down, he simply turned and left...which seemed strange to her also.
    After a second or two of thought, Lana proceeded to her initial destination.
    Standing at the hallway entrance to the lounge, Lana easily spotted two of the biggest Marines she knew, as well as those currently in the room; before she reached their table, they stood up and waved her over.
    “LuLu!” Gannon smiled eagerly.
    “Have a seat, Little Sister.” Bull pulled out a chair for her.
    Sitting down, she was glad she made the recreational choice. There were two other Marines sitting across from Bull and Gannon; all of them had female companions, which made Lana feel a little out of place, but at this point, she didn’t care. The two other Marines didn’t look familiar until Gannon introduced them. “This is Gunnery Sergeant Ren Salvadori, and Staff Sergeant Lance Armstrong–-”
    “Assault Marines, right?” Lana finally recognized them, not so much by appearance, but by reputation. “How long have you guys been here? Last I heard you were back at the Base.”
    Bull answered for them. “The Colonel had ’em flown in for the finally assault on the mine.” He looked at the two Marines. “What was it, a couple days ago?”
    “Yeah, something like that.” Lance responded, smiling with bright white teeth. “You must be the famous, Little Sarge.”
    “How did you like learning to fly?” Salvadori asked cordially.
    Lana didn’t understand at first, but then sighed, remembering her difficult jump pack training at the Omicron Ranger Base. “Oh...yeah. Well, let’s just say I passed.”
    They congratulated her.
    Before she could thank them, she yawned.
    “Hey, LuLu.” Gannon remembered something. “There was some guy looking for you.” He pointed. “He was at the bar over there.”
    Lana turned to look.
    “Naw...he’s not there now.”
    One of the women at the table spoke up. “Oh, yeah–-that guy.” She smiled at Lana. “The tall, slender guy, with blond hair, right? Very nice.”
    It didn’t take much thought for Lana to match the guy she met in the hallway with the woman’s description.
    Lana thought seriously to herself a moment, then looked at Gannon. “Didn’t you think he sounded--kind of strange?”
    The big Marine shrugged.
    “I think I remember him from Astoria, an Omicron Ranger.” Ren was not sure.
    “I met him in the hallway just before I came here.” Lana remained serious. “He talked really strange...didn’t you think? Or was it just me?”
    Gannon shrugged again. “I don’t know...I didn’t really pay that much attention to--”
    Lana yawned again...this time a big one. She had to shake her head a little upon its conclusion. Everyone at the table was staring at her. She smiled, embarrassed. “Sorry.”
    “One more of those and someone’s gonna park a shuttle in your mouth.” Bull joked.
    The others at the table chuckled.
    Lana sighed. “The General told me space-lag is a bitch. I guess he’s right.”
    “General Parker, right?” Salvadori spoke rhetorically. “Yeah...we had a meeting with him also when we spaced  in. It looks like he’s got us doing some demolition on the mine building for the final assault.”
    Lana was going to respond with what the General told her...but, she yawned again. Then, before anyone else came up with another clever yawn-joke, she stood up to take her leave. “I think I’m going to turn in, guys.”
    “Good idea.” Gannon commented agreeably.
    After a round of good-by’s and nice-to-meet-you’s, Lana made her way back to her room.
    ******
    She was even more tired then she thought--it seemed to hit her all at once. After using her key card to get into her room she plodded heavily, already asleep on her feet, toward her comfortable bed only to be startled to full attention--recoiling a step backward.
    The tall, blond, man she had met earlier was sitting on the edge of her bed wearing nothing but underpants, hands folded neatly in his lap, patiently waiting like a pet for his master to come home. He didn’t say anything, just stared at her...expressionless.
    “What are you doing here?” The words came of Lana’s mouth automatically, demanding--
    All during her Special Ops training, she had always thought she would be ready for an ambush situation: Dive...roll, make her escape, or come up fighting. She caught a glimpse of someone out of the corner of her eye to the right...and seemed to know there was one other person to the left. However, before she had another thought or could flex a muscle--she was hit by some kind of energy beam...and fell deep into unconsciousness.
    ******
    Lana’s arms and legs felt painfully cramped as she tried to move. All she could tell was that she was in a kneeling position, her arms behind her, uncomfortably wrapped around what felt like a cement pillar with some kind of manacles locking her in place. She moaned several times, struggling to rise from her current position, eventually standing up as she began to open her eyes and focus.
    She winced, the light hurting her eyes. The first person she noticed was to her right, about two meters away. When she began to see more clearly--she recognized her.
    “Jennifer!” The surprise at seeing her training partner and friend from the Omicron Ranger Base was pleasant...at first.
    But Sergeant Dakota didn’t respond to Lana’s voice, her eyes just staring into space, like a zombie.
    As Lana became more awake, she called her again. “Jennifer...Jennifer...”
    “She only responds to my commands.” A familiar male voice sounded off to her left...a little more distant.
    When Lana turned to look, her surprise was obvious. She immediately recognized the man, standing about eight meters away, at a forty-five degree angle to her left. He appeared to derive satisfaction from her startled look
    “MAJOR BOSEMAN.” Lana couldn’t believe her eyes...but there he was wearing some kind of Imperial Guard helmet...one she didn’t recognize.
    He was standing next to some particle-board tables, which were off to his right. About ten meters behind him, both to his left and right were more individuals, but Lana’s vision was still a little too blurry to make them out. The building around her seemed fairly large, some kind of sturdy, cement, warehouse with a high ceiling supported by numerous pillars--like the one she was currently shackled to.
    He smiled at her with satisfaction, like a big game hunter that had just bagged a valuable prize. He took a couple steps toward her, showing his obtrusive superiority.
    “Sergeant Dakota responds only to my commands.” Boseman repeated.
    As Lana’s vision continued to clear, she could see that behind Boseman, to his right, were about a dozen men, most of them dressed like Space Marines without battle suits. They appeared to be lined up, two wide, next to numerous wooden boxes stacked up against the wall on their left, and several tables, plus more boxes on their right. Next to the Marines’ feet, ready to be picked up, were four Space Marine missile launchers, and one plasma cannon, all with their supported back-packs that would normally be attached to a battle suit. There were also a number of other Space Marine weapons nearby the men, mostly bolters, plus ammunition.
    Further back, to the right of the men, there was another whole building section, the width taking up half of the main building, going back more than thirty meters filled with tall, red-brown, humanoid creatures...lined up, three deep.
    Between the men and the creatures, in front of what was the corner of the wall between the two building sections, was a strange-looking, dark-gold, arched, gateway, wide enough for two men to pass through, and tall enough for a man to have another man on his shoulders.
    Boseman continued to brag contentedly as he held out his hands as if to gesture to all the other living beings in the room. “They will only obey MY orders. And they will obey my orders--without question.” He paused, looking directly at Lana with contempt. “Unlike others I’ve had under my command in the past.”
    For the most part, Lana was just still too shocked to get the gist of his last sentence. But what she did understand, she was equally shocked at. “You mean...you’re doing this to me because of what happened in Cliffdale...the parking garage--months ago!”
    The Major smiled contentedly again. “Now I have soldiers that will OBEY my orders...to the letter.”
    More conscious, Lana started to get a little miffed; she decided to rudely comment on Boseman’s last statement. “Yeah...now you’ll get them ALL killed, instead of just two.”
    Boseman suddenly put that annoyed look on his face...like she saw back at the trial at Camp Cheyenne. But then he smiled again...grinning, knowing he was in control now--of every one and everything, and ready to prove it. “Let me demonstrate.” Still grinning, he addressed Jennifer. “Sergeant Dakota, I want you to hit that woman in front of you...five times.”
    Even after Boseman spoke the words, Lana didn’t really expect Jennifer to comply. They were friends, she would never intentionally hurt her. However, right after her name was spoken, Lana noticed the look on Jennifer’s face change--fully alert. When the command was finished, the strong, Omicron Ranger, Gunnery Sergeant frowned angrily.
    Lana still couldn’t believe it...even while it was happening.
    After stepping forward, Jennifer quickly used her left hand to hold Lana up by the neck, just under her chin. With her right arm, the strong sergeant hit Lana in the stomach, easily knocking the wind out the smaller woman with the first blow. Following blows continued to hit Lana in the abdomen, who couldn’t do anything but grunt loudly after each one. Just when Lana thought one more blow would knock her out, Jennifer stopped, let go, then stepped back to her original position as Lana slumped to her knees, groaning, then gasping for breath.
    Lana remained on the floor, in pain, recovering the best she could. In the distance, she thought she could hear Boseman talking, but didn’t pay any attention. Eventually, the man began asking her a question, over and over again, louder each time until Lana looked up and tried to answer. “What? Hey...give me a break–-I’m coughing up my liver here.”
    “Sergeant Dakota does hit hard, doesn’t she?” Boseman smiled smugly.
    Lana was content to remain in her kneeing position, looking at Boseman, frowning, but at the same time analyzing her bonds, which felt like standard, military handcuffs.
    Boseman turned to point at the dark-brown creatures. “You see those?”
    Lana remained kneeling, uninterested.
    “Stand up...come on, get a better look.” When Lana didn’t get up right away, he looked at the other woman. “Maybe Sergeant Dakota can help you--”
    Before Boseman could finish his statement, Lana struggled to get up--but still wary.
    “That’s better.” The man turned back toward the creatures identifying them. “I hear the General labeled those as Khorne Cultist Berserkers. Look at those bio-pods behind them.” He faced Lana again, revelation on his face. “They’re grown in those pods. Look at them...it’s only been several hours...and they are already on their feet, and ready for my command. They, and all my troops, are ready for delivery to my buyer.” He looked somberly at Lana. “You see, since my resignation from the military, I was unable to obtain another position. I lost quite a bit of future income.”
    Lana was just about to snap back with a nasty comment about how much the dead Marines lost, but decided against it. Another round of blows to the stomach from Jennifer would, more than likely, leave her in no shape for escape, or anything else.
    She had already freed herself from the handcuffs while Boseman was talking, and was now just holding on to them to make it look like she was still helpless. And primarily, the main reason she continued to listen to Boseman was to gather as much information as she could.
    “I have a legal mercenary contract.” Boseman explained, trying to sound completely rational. “Once I deliver these troops to my buyer, I will have more than enough money to retire on.” He pointed at the strange-looking, arched, gateway. You see that--it’s a WARP gate. As soon as it activates--”
    “WARP gate! You’re dealing with Chaos?” Lana couldn’t keep silent any longer.
    The look on Boseman’s face showed she was right.
    “You DON’T know what you’re dealing with, Boseman!” Lana shouted emphatically. “You CAN’T believe they are going to keep their end of the bargain...legal mercenary contract or not.” She sighed, trying to be a voice of reason. “And those creatures over there...that’s NOT legal. You CAN’T grow a sentient life form.”
    “You know, LaFong. You’re right there.” Boseman explained smugly, turning away from Lana. “But who’s going to tell anyone. Once I’ve made my departure, that WARP gate will begin to heat up, then ignite some incendiaries and the rest of the ordinance over there, and...well, then this place, and you, will be history.”
    He suddenly turned and walked toward Lana. From his pocket he produced a small, familiar-looking, gold-colored, disk...the same one she had found in the Cornucopia power plant. “I wanted to thank you for this. I am not sure what it is, but my employer is willing to pay extra for it...and, you know, I might not have found you hadn’t you had it with you.”
    Lana stared at the disk with interest: It was the damn disk she had left in her suitcase.
    Boseman pointed to a square, wooden desk about two meters to the right of were Lana was located. On top of it was her suitcase, open, some of her clothes thrown out and in disarray. “It was in your suitcase over there. Thanks.”
    Lana turned to look. However, her only thought was whether her two 9.1s were still there. If so, she’d be able thank him back. She held back a nasty grin as she turned to watch him carefully.
    However, the former Major was staring at the WARP gate. When he was convinced it hadn’t activated yet, he continued his conversation with his presumed, captive audience. He took a couple steps toward the Cultists then began explaining. “You know...I was supposed to have thirty Cultists...”
    Lana could plainly see the tall creatures in the distance. They appeared to be lined up, ten wide, three deep.
    Boseman continued. “But I only have twenty-nine. He pointed at the pods located behind the Cultists laying around in disordered columns. “One of the pods didn’t...” He searched for the correct word. “...function correctly. The Cultist is still in there...malformed and dead. Rather ghastly.” He looked at Lana as if to asked her for the answer. “Why didn’t it work?”
    Lana stared back, scowling more than anything...having no answer.
    He pondered. “And...I have no idea what weapons I should give them. I handed out as many Space Marine combat knives as I had.” He pointed at the front row of Cultists. “I gave the knives to these...the ones that hatched first. They look a lot drier now.” Looking at LaFong, he asked, “what do you think will happen if I give them some guns?”
    Boseman paused, like he was waiting for Lana to answer.
    After a few seconds, she replied, angrily, “why are you asking me?”
    The man didn’t answer, just stood smiling.
    Lana frowned, unable to resist. “The only thing I know is that you’re--pissing me off!”
    Boseman remained unperturbed, that smug smile still on his face. Neither he nor Lana knew what a WARP gate looked like activated. Apparently it had activated while Boseman was talking. He looked at it, saw that the doorway had the appearance of black, rippling, energy, then turned back to Lana. “Well...I guess it’s time to take my leave.” He took a couple steps toward the waiting Space Marines. “I leave you with this thought...” He turned back to face Lana, a deadly serious look on his face. “Just before I leave, I am going to tell Sergeant Dakota to start hitting you again, only this time, I will not state a number. That means she will keep hitting you until she literally drops from exhaustion...of course, you’ll be long dead before that happens, I’m sure.” He turned, then began walking toward the Space Marines. “Have a nice day, LaFong.”
    Lana was going to wait for Boseman and his little army to leave before escaping. However, now she had no choice. As soon as he headed toward the Space Marines, and began issuing orders for them to pick up their weapons and gear, she dropped the handcuffs and lunged forward at Jennifer. She expected the stronger woman to put up a fight, but she didn’t as she used a front kick to knock her down, sending her crashing into a potted plant next to the desk. Immediately afterwards, she dashed over and dug into her suitcase, where she found her 9.1s in their usual place. She quickly loaded and chambered clips for both, holding one gun in each hand, ready.
    The last thing Lana wanted to do was to shoot Jennifer. But as she stepped back around behind the cement pillar, she noticed Sergeant Dakota was still down, with little attempt at getting up again. Lana then quickly searched the large, cement, building. The only door she saw was behind her.
    She had only taken a couple steps toward the door when she heard Boseman shout. “DAMN!” She turned just as he did the unexpected...or was it the hopefully--unexpected.
    He was standing next to the pillar nearest to the WARP gate, where most of the Marines had already exited. He pointed at her, but looked at the Cultists, then commanded, loudly, “Cultists, kill that woman...KILL LaFong!”
    As Boseman stepped back against the pillar, all the Cultists began moving...their eyes opening wider, those in front moving the quickest.
    Lana had only one response. “Oh...crap!”
    The first thought that came to her mind was to empty both pistols into the group of Cultists before they got spread out...but that would be foolish and she knew it. She had trained many times with her 9.1s in a holo-suite for just this type of situation. Apparently, it was time to put that training to use; however, this was no simulation. If even one of those Cultists got a hold of her, she would get more than just a mild electric shock--she would literally be ripped apart.
    To her right was the wall. To her left, the wall was almost forty meters away. In-between were numerous particle-board tables, plus other furniture. In front of her and to her left was a large table made up of six tables, two-by-three, with several small boxes on top. To her immediate left, connected to the two-by-six table was a three-long table. Lana took off away from the advancing Cultists to go around that table, toward the door. However, much to her dismay, the door, made of metal, appeared to be welded shut; she would need explosives to get through. She was now trapped in a building with twenty-nine, very hostile, very-hard-to-kill, Khorne Cultists Berserkers with only one thought in their tiny, little, warped, minds: Kill LaFong! She only had time to utter a silent, “double, oh...crap,” before going into combat mode.
    She had already run around the three-long table, and was about ten meters away from the wall with the door. Like her training, she had to think fast...plan every shot in a fraction of a second--shots where only head-wounds would kill instantly. The Cultists were fifteen meters away, most of them moving around two of the tables near Boseman, walking faster, picking up speed. Straight in front of her, three Cultists had smashed a table at the end of the two-by-six-table, one had jumped on top of it, all three threatened her left flank. She aimed both pistols carefully, probably taking longer than she should, then fired one deliberate shot after another, watching as each Cultist fell, shot through the head, the one on the table tumbling backwards and landing on several other Cultists.
    Adrenaline raced through Lana’s body, powered by her rapidly pounding heart. She backed up quickly toward the left side of the building until she hit a table. The Cultists were still on the other side of the largest table, but two of them had sped up just short of the three-long table. One of them used both hands to smash the table in front of it to pieces, the other one used both hands and struck the table in front of it from underneath, sending it flying through the air to the other side of the room. Lana knew these particle-board tables were solid, heavy-duty furniture--however, those Cultists made them look like cardboard.
    Lana still had her pistols up and ready from the last three shots. She aimed and fired twice, hitting both Cultists between the eyes, dropping them like evil-looking, rag dolls...their dead bodies slowing the others behind them. She was up against a two-long table, to her left, a little further back, was another three-long table with a box on it. She quickly ducked down and slid underneath the table, got to her feet and backed up until she hit another table, her pistols up and ready.
    There was a group of six Cultists moving directly toward her. And like her training, she picked a group, quickly analyzed how she was going to shoot them, then fired, letting her reflexes do the work. And Lana had good reflexes, better than she thought she had. When she began firing, the front two Cultists were less than three meters away. One of them had already knocked over the table in front of it. In a little over a second, her six shots had downed the six Cultists. They lay dead in a twitching pile, one slumped over the recently knocked-over table. It was a successful serious of shots, but Lana had no time to pat herself on the back.
    Sliding under the table behind her, she ran into a chair, one of many standing in rows behind her. She hit the chair with her head, heard the clunk as the chair toppled out of her way; it hurt, but she didn’t have time to say, ouch.
    As she rose up to acquire new targets, one of the Cultists had already cleared the two-by-six table, and had just jumped over the table with the box, landing right in front of her. Lana fell backward into more chairs as the creature swung at her with its Marine combat knife. During the fall, Lana instinctively aimed then fired, the 9.1 millimeter bullet hitting the Cultists under the chin and coming out the back of its head.
    The woman didn’t wait for the creature to fall over and hit the floor as she quickly slid herself backwards, knocking over more chairs. As she got up, she was already setting herself up for another group of targets...eight of them before she was done. The first two Cultists were less than two meters away when she began firing. In slightly more time than it took her to shoot the earlier six, there was now another twitching pile of eight dead Cultists.
    It took another second for Lana to fully come to the realization of what she had done. In the holo-suite, eight in two seconds was her best score. This was definitely a good time to be in-the-zone.”
    However, there was no time for a celebration. The remaining Cultists were picking up speed, almost running. Behind her and to the left, there were fourteen tables arranged in a square, five wide. The line of tables closest to her looked a little wet. She ran, then jumped on the first table, letting her momentum and the slickness of the tables allow her to slide all the way to the end, ten meters in distance, where she dropped off to her feet then began backing up again.
    The group of Cultists coming straight at her had just started to run, but they had to slow down to bash their way through the intervening tables and chairs. To her left, at the other side of the square group of tables, two Cultists came around quickly, one with a combat knife. She turned, aimed, then dropped those two with little effort, the Cultist with the combat knife collapsing then sliding into a metal chandler.
    Lana backed off until she was almost against a table which was against the wall. She had no were else to run, but was confident. There appeared to be six Cultists still coming at her. Taking her time, about three seconds, she lined those up, then fired as they crashed though the second line of tables making up the square. After snapping off her sixth shot, she saw one more Cultist that she missed counting. It didn’t seem to be moving very fast, maybe defective, but none-the-less, she used the last bullet in the pistol in her right hand to put a bullet through its left eye. Seven dead Cultists now lay scattered in front of her.
    For the most part, she wasn’t sure if she had killed all of them. What she did know was that she only had one more bullet. But an angry, shouting, Boseman confirmed her score. “You killed all of them! Damn!” Boseman raved. “Damn YOU LaFong...you just cost me twenty-nine-thousand credits!”
    Boseman was standing next to the WARP gate, the last one to leave, ready to leave himself. As soon as Lana noticed him, she raised her pistol, aiming for the space between the Major’s beady little eyes, a thirty-five meter shot. Boseman’s anger quickly turned to dismayed shock. Just as he ducked into the WARP gate, the woman fired.
    “DAMN!” Lana shouted, not sure whether she hit him or not...not even sure how a bullet-like object would react in a WARP environment.
    Lana stood for a moment, two empty, smoking pistols in her hands, taking the time to take a deep breath and let out one long relaxing sigh. Looking back over at the WARP gate, she noticed it was now off. But before she had time to ponder how she was going get out of the building, there were two explosions above her--one directly above...raining debris down were she was standing. Quickly, she ducked under the table next to the wall just as a sizable piece of cement from the roof hit the table above her, cracking it.
    “Crap!” She swore under her breath. But before she had a chance to wonder what had happened, she found out: She saw one, then another Cheyenne Ranger Assault Marine fly down inside the building. They were in full battle suits with jump packs, both searching for something or someone, deadly plasma pistols ready. They had obviously blasted holes in the roof to gain entry, something Assault Marines were good at.
    Lana slipped out from under her table and approached the closest Marine, who now seemed to be staring at the scattered pile of dead Cultists. She was happy to see allies. However, Lana startled him. He turned quickly, and Lana found herself looking down the barrel of a weapon that could easily turn her head to organic vapor.
    Holding each of her pistols with one finger through the pistol guards, she held up her hands and shouted desperately. “Don’t shoot! I’m sergeant LaFong...DON’T SHOOT!”
    The Assault Marine lowered his weapon, then spoke. “Lana...is that you? I’m Sergeant Armstrong...remember me?” He opened his helmet. “We’re here to rescue you.”
    For the most part, Lana was still hyped out of her mind, agitated to say the least. She sighed, then muttered back at him, referring to the piece of cement that nearly hit her. “Did you almost have to kill me to do it?”
    “Huh?” The Assault Marine didn’t hear her, and was possibly listing to communication from his battle-suit com.
    “Never mind.” Lana sighed.
    The Assault Marine didn’t seem to hear her again. Lana could hear him talking into his com again, probably to his buddy on the other side of the room. When she overheard him saying something about finding a woman, Lana responded, speaking frantically, getting Armstrong’s attention. “That’s Jennifer.”
    The Assault Marine turned to listen to Lana. “What’s that?” He then spoke to his buddy. “One moment.”
    “That’s Jennifer...Sergeant Dakota, Omicron Ranger.” Lana continued to shout as she followed Armstrong across the room, his jump pack keeping him at table height. Lana continued talking, ordering, “restrain her...but DON’T hurt her. Do you understand--do you understand? Restrain her, but don’t hurt her.”
    The other Assault Marine could hear Lana from across the room; there was no reason to pass on the message. Armstrong began looking around the room again...but he had to ask. “These all look like those Khorne Cultist Berserkers the General briefed us on. Are they all dead?”
    Lana was still agitated...and in her current condition, she couldn’t resist commenting, joking, “yeah...they’re having a nice little slumber party.”
    She was about ten meters in front of the metal door when there was another explosion, this time the door itself being blasted open, the shock wave knocking her down.
    By the time she got up, she was looking up at two more Space Marines in battle suits, more behind them. The first two opened their helmets and Lana could see Bull and Gannon’s serious, but smiling faces staring at her.
    “LuLu...are you okay.” Gannon asked, a worried look on his face as he noticed a little dried blood on the side of her head.
    “We’re here to rescue you.” That was Bull carrying a Mk. 2 heavy bolter with the barrel extension off.
    She was about to exclaim something about not blowing her up in the process, but then remembered.
    Lana quickly raced over to the Assault Marine holding onto Jennifer, a concerned look on her face.
    Sergeant Salvadori had opened his helmet and had removed his battle-suit gloves. He was holding onto Jennifer, who now had her arms secured behind her back with some nylon restraints, mentioning as Lana approached, “she’s not violent...she didn’t resist at all.”
    Lana tried speaking to her again. “Jennifer...can you understand me. Jennifer...it’s me, Lana.”
    The restrained woman didn’t respond, just stared into space like she was lost.
    Lana frowned sadly as she looked at Salvadori. But then another thought popped into her mind!
    “Crap!” Lana began shouting, “we gotta get out of here, guys--this place is going to blow any minute now!”
    After running over to throw her pistols in her suitcase, she closed the lid, picked it up, then rushed for the exit, the others going with her. As she was near the door, Armstrong was still looking around the room, flying back and forth; it seemed to be bothering Bull, who had to ask. “What are you looking at, pal?”
    The Assault Marine delayed, then responded emphatically, just as they where all exiting the building. “Who killed all those Cultists?”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 



 



 

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