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The Rescue

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Nika awoke to intense throbbing in her chest. She didn’t need to look down or feel herself to know that her wounds, from being shot multiple times in the chest, had been roughly patched with cheap medgel. She could hear the high pitched buzz of a detention center forcefield. The bright, blue-tinged light was harsh even through her closed eyelids. The raised, cross hatched patterns on the steel floor dug into her back, making it more and more uncomfortable to remain lying on the floor.

She opened her eyes to slits. Nika was already facing the right direction to see out of her cell. A guard, wearing a uniform with sharply starched creases in it, stood with his back to her and his gun in his hands. He would have been too easy of a target for her to take out if it weren’t for the occasional flicker of the force field reminding her that the apparent open exit was nothing but a lie. First moving just her eyes and then making small movements of her head, she scanned the cell.

Steel floor, with cross hatching to prevent slipping, that bent sharply up into flat, featureless wall, and then again into an equally plain ceiling. Holes were cut into the ceiling and covered with thick glass. That was where the light was coming from. There was a vent, six inches by three inches, near the ceiling. No windows. No other exit. Furniture consisted of a single toilet and a flat slab of metal sticking out of the wall with a thin mattress on it. Whoever had put her in here hadn’t even bothered to put her on the bed.

Nika completely closed her eyes and waited. There was no chance of escape from just breaking out of the cell. She would have to wait for someone to come inside. Considering how many men she had taken out before going down, she had to expect them to be on their guard if she was visibly awake. If they were smart they would still be wary even with her appearing unconscious.

She could feel the vibrations in the floor before the guard noticed the other person approaching. Nika forced her breathing to remain regular and slow, as if she was still unconscious. There was only one person coming from what she could feel.

“I’m here to relieve you,” a voice said. Nika didn’t recognize the voice, but something about it, maybe it was the cadence or the particular accent, felt familiar.

“Great, I’m starving.”

“Did you bring in anything good tonight?”

“Some left of roast beef and potatoes. Sometimes I think I like it better as leftovers.” Nika could feel the vibrations as the guard started to move away.

About ten minutes passed before the relief officer started moving around. Nika was curious, but also wary. Many guards were just men and women working their shift, earning their money, and other than working for the wrong side, were relatively good people. Some guards weren’t so nice. She had seen first hand what some overly sadistic guards had done to prisoners. The buzzing noise stopped. The force field was down. Nika was prepared to make her move.

“Sleeping on the job, Nika?”

Nika opened her eyes and shot up to her feet. Standing there was a security guard, but they were smiling. Now she was sure. Nika had heard that voice before, despite it being electronically modified. The guard flickered in place before the holorig shut off. In his place was a beautiful woman in purple, dark skin, and long dark hair. It was Esther Martins, or “Prism” as she was now called, once one of the biggest stars you could find until her career was ruined by the corporations.

“You escaped the attack.”

“Just barely.”

“What about Central?”

“She’s off the grid. Come on,” Prism tossed a handgun to Nika “we still have to get out of here.”

Nika caught the gun and checked its condition. It was loaded with six shots. Using it would be a risk, most of the guards in places like this had their hearts monitored by the security system. If they died, and if you weren’t very lucky or skilled, it would send an alert to the security AI. One or two deaths wouldn’t make that big of a difference, otherwise they’d be going on full alert for every accident or natural causes, but when you started killing

Prism had her neural disrupter in hand. Three quarters of the charge bar was lit up. The neural disrupter wouldn’t set off any alarms and was nonlethal, but it had to be used in melee range.

“Have some trouble?” Nika asked as the two women walked past the empty cells and to the only exit. They would have to go through the building to get out.

“Only a little. He’s sleeping soundly in a broom closet. Are you ready?”

“Wait,” Nika said as she took Prism’s free hand with her own, pulled her close, and kissed her on the lips. It wasn’t a very good kiss. Prism had been kissed by some of the best in the Holovids, but this was special.

“I thought you didn’t like showing affection in public.”

“We aren’t in public. It is just us and the hacked security camera.” Nika had only seconds between Prism’s signal had gone dark and the attack of their base. After that her focus had been getting Central out of harm’s way and with Decker and International. She hadn’t been able to process the thought that Prism might have been gone.

“Yeah, I feel the same way. Do you want to go first or should I?”

“I was unconscious when they brought me here. You lead the way.”

Prism nodded before pushing the door open and heading back through the blandly, pleasing halls and offices of a megacorp detention center. They were outnumbered, outgunned, and had no hope of support or rescue from anyone.

Nika thought things were looking pretty good for the two of them.