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Tori & Lara – part thirteen

July 25, 2014

Finally the sound of heavy boots on metal reached her ears. She stood and raised her weapon…

XXXX

Tori heard gunfire burst from the hole in the ground. She raced to the edge and peered down into darkness but nothing stirred. The gunfire sounded like automatic rapid… she quickly glanced over her shoulder at the men she’d taken down and more particularly at the weapons they’d been carrying. Automatic and rapid…. Crap! She stared down with her heart in her throat and waited.

XXXX

Moments earlier.

Michael crouched behind a large rock formation cradling his backpack carefully. The contents were so important he was afraid to let it out of his sight for even a second. The urge to open the bag and remove the box pulled at his fingers and itched at his mind. It whispered to him in seductive tones wanting to be touched, wanting to be opened. He waited for the woman to call him forward so they could return to the ship and get off this planet so he could investigate its secrets, but all was quiet.

How long was this going to take?

A burst of gunfire from the ladder area had him ducking low before he had a chance to think about moving. His hands wrapped around the back of his neck pulling his head lower into his lap as if the very act of becoming as small a shape as possible would protect him from the brutal efficiency of military grade weapons. His whole body was crouched low around the bag, shielding it with his entire body.

The hand on his shoulder scared the crap out of him. “Arghhhhhhhhhhhh.” He yelled jumping away from it.

Lara held up both hands, “Sorry, sorry, I thought you heard me!”.

Michael landed on his butt and scooched back like a scared crab until he hit the wall finally her voice registered. The bad guys were guys after all.

“Really?” he cried, anger warred with the relief in his voice. His hands shook from left-over fright. He clutched at the bag with its precious cargo. “Can we go now?”

“Yes, let me help you.” Lara spoke in a soft voice concerned she would spook the civilian again. She held out a hand but he brushed her away and climbed to his feet.

Lara led the way back to the ladder as Michael pulled the bag back onto his shoulders. He settled the weight across his back. Was the bag heavier than before? He was probably just tired. It had been a really long day. And they were only just getting started.

As they entered the area where the ladder was bolted to the floor, Michael stared around in horror. Two bodies lay splayed over the rock floor. Blood was everywhere. He looked away as quickly as he could and focused on his fingers where they gripped the lowest rung of the ladder. “Ah, good work,” he muttered and started the long climb.

Lara watched him go. “Good work?” she looked around at the bodies. What a mess. She’d given them a choice when they were almost to the ground. She’d stepped from her hiding place, pointed her weapon and a soft voice offered them a chance to surrender. They’d chosen the wrong and she’d had no choice but to put them down when they’d both swung their weapons in her direction. It hadn’t taken long and she’d had the protection of the rock wall whereas they’d been exposed on the ladder.

She had taken a moment to speak quietly over the two men before she fetched Michael. This damned mission was getting more deadly by the second. She was worried for what it meant for them. What the hell was in Michael’s bag?

XXXX

Tori helped Lara out of the hole. “You good?” she asked, quickly looking her partner over for injury.

“Good.” Lara replied.

Tori watched her partner carefully. She knew how the other woman reacted to direct violence. She’d block the fear and the guilt for now but would fall apart later. Tori just hoped Lara could hold it together until they got back to the ship where she could fall apart in safely.

Michael hovered not far off waiting for them. He seemed quieter – more subdued than before, perhaps triggered by all the violence and death. She prayed he’d be able to handle it. He looked shell-shocked. Hell, between Lara and Michael Tori would have her hands full on the flight to the next link in the chain that was this stupid mission.

They ran into no more hit squads on their way back to the ship.

But when they lowered the ramp Tori grabbed onto Michael’s shoulder. “Wait!” she snapped. She stared at the splatter of red on the ramp’s surface.

Lara had frozen next to her, staring at the entrance to their home. A cold chill settled over her small frame and lodged in her chest. “Someone’s inside.”

 

Go to Part 14

 

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