Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Wayward Son - Intro - Out to get me

The courtyard of Sendai Castle was dark and unwelcoming to Park Yun-Hee's eyes, trying to confuse her with some dark corners and the glare of white snow in others. Finally, her night-vision goggles settled into a somewhat comfortable pattern of amplification fluctuations. Still, she could see everything with relative clarity.

"Overwatch ready, you're green," she subvocalized, trusting her Archer standard cochlear implant to do the grunt work of figuring out what she wanted to say, then sending it on an encrypted frequency. Mark Simmons - sitting beside her - had yet to put in the hospital time to get an implant himself and relied on a headset/throat-mike combination to keep in touch with her.
"Catch you on the flip side," he said, then slipped down into the courtyard and began his search.

A minute of intense nothingness followed as Mark searched the castle's courtyard, and Yun-Hee found her thoughts wandering to Michael Simmons. For as his bravado and their unfamiliarity, she had a way of reading the discomfort right from Mark's face on the entire train ride. That had been the face of someone who'd taken everything life had thrown at him in stride only to snap at the latest prank. She briefly wondered how she'd react to getting an evil clone; for a second, she had to actively resist that word, evil, because -rationally - she knew that she was merely on one side of the conflict, and not anywhere near "Good"...but it was convenient to think of enemies as the bad people.

Her watch buzzed, belying its PsiTech origin - it had to give off an innocuous signal that wouldn't be confused with an ordinary "It's 6 AM, you've had enough sleep" alarm, and buzzing seemed like one of those things one could almost accept being built into a watch. Maybe something built for salarimen on the go, having to juggle an alarm clock function on their watch with sitting in meetings all day long. Surely, it'd be a popular feature for people who wanted to leave at the right time without giving that away, avoiding continued stares at the watch and a loud alarm. Rather nifty idea, that, one could think looking at the watch, and maybe make a quickly-forgotten note to watch out for that feature next time. This, however, was no ordinary silent alarm, and Yun-Hee knew that. She shouted "Abort!" and jumped off the wall, attempting to escape.

What the watch had warned her about was a laser painting her; her fast reaction was vindicated when the wall behind her disappeared into a brilliant explosion, courtesy of a laser-guided XM395 PGMM smart mortar round. (This was a piece of information Yun-Hee would have been unable to process, had she been aware of it - to her, that thing just went BOOM.)

The frozen ground outside was hard, but Yun-Hee had little choice in determining her landing zone; she just rolled with it, knowing that her ankle was sprained at the very least, and came to a stop rather unceremoniously when she hit a tree outside, cracking a few more ribs for a good cause.

Her eyes were stuck half-open until she could summon the strength to rip the busted goggles from her head. There was a firefight going on inside the courtyard now, but she was in no condition to help Mark; instead, she fished out her cell phone, unlocked the Archer-specific gadgetry and triggered "Panic Mode", setting the cell up to broadcast her position. It meant advertising herself to Tsong's loyal PAC agents, but she knew that Black Tiger had an extraction team nearby to cover them - now Mark only had to manage to fend off the local PAC and Shop forces. She wandered off, leaving the firefight behind her; she had to get away before they could sight her.

There was a whistle in the air; she was too hurt to react in time, then felt the cellphone being torn from her hand. She followed the trajectory - it was now neatly pinned to a tree by a Sai. The hairs in the back of Yun-Hee's neck stood up; she turned around slowly. A woman appeared from nothingness - a chameleon suit, Yun-Hee realised upon seeing her -, hefting another Sai in her left hand and a peculiar-looking pistol in her right one.

"Sorry about the phone," Dareka said, then raised the pistol and fired. Yun-Hee felt the dart hit her neck; her vision dimmed before she hit the ground, out cold.

1 comment:

Valentina said...

Why, it's a stub. Will grow into a full article some day, little stub?
What are you about?