Behind? Catch up now!
The wall-mounted screen in the hotel room had turned on when Tanner had taken control of the feed. Sennett was staring at Whitehall, laying on the ground. He’d trusted her, given her everything he had. And she’d lost it.
She’d failed him, failed everyone.
Sennett felt panic welling up at the edge of her mind. She was breathing heavily, and she couldn’t think of what to do, how to react. She wanted to scream, wanted to tear Tanner apart. For a moment, her porcelain face twisted, contorted into the face of a monster and Sennett wanted to tear it from the bone. She wanted to attack her, like a terrified animal attacking a predator.
She closed her eyes, intending to count to five. She needed just five seconds, she thought, to pull herself together.
Before she reached one, she heard screaming and weapons firing. She opened her eyes and saw a Hollow Suit step in front of the stage.
Her wrist pad beeped. She answered it almost automatically. “Godfrey?” she asked.
“You see them?” Godfrey cried.
“I see them,” she said. “Where are you?”
“Hiding out down on Level One. They’re loading emergency shuttles, we’re trying to get on one. Get down here.”
“I can’t, I haven’t gotten Liam and Bailey yet.”
“Sennett, if you don’t get down here you’re going to die. You just have to trust Liam to get back himself. Unless you want April to lose you.”
Sennett took a deep breath. “Okay, I’m coming,” she said. “Don’t wait for me, get on a shuttle and get home if you can.”
“I know,” Godfrey said, nodding. “Get down here safe, Sennett.”
Sennett disconnected the call. Leaving her things, she ran for the pods, hoping they were still running.
They were, and there wasn’t even a line for them. This concerned Sennett, but she didn’t dare stop. She hopped into the first pod and headed down.
The pod landed in a much different scene than the one she left. The first level was filling slowly with hazy smoke. People were running, some trying to hide in abandoned kiosks. Sennett looked around, trying to think of what direction the escape ships might be in. She listened carefully for the sound of boots. There was nothing yet.
She started walking, trying to listen as she went. The wreckage around her was increasing. A kiosk was on fire, explaining the haze in the air. There was a body, a soldier who’d been cut in two. Sennett tried not to puke as she gently lifted the soldier’s weapon from her hands. She knew that the weapon would do nothing to save her from a Hollow Suit, it sure hadn’t done anything for this dead woman on the ground. But it made her feel at least a little better to be armed.
A sound behind her made her turn on her heels, expecting a soldier or a Hollow. But it was neither.
Liam and Russell were wrestling with each other. Liam was holding personal transporter with one hand and Russell’s neck with the other.
“Hey!” Sennett cried.
Both men looked up. “Sennett!” Liam called, “shoot him!”
“Better idea,” Sennett said. She marched over to the two fighting men, grabbed Russell by the back of the head, and slammed his forehead with the butt of her weapon.
“I don’t usually hit men, but since you’re my little brother I guess I can make an exception,” she muttered.
“You Khloe loving bitch,” Russell cried, putting a hand to his head.
“Oh, shut the hell up. Look around you, at what’s going on. We are being attacked by un-killable creatures. They don’t want money, or land, or food. They just want to wipe us the hell out. And by us, I mean all humanoid races.”
“You can’t think I believe that,” Russell said, but Sennett laughed.
“Don’t believe me? Look at the bodies! Khloe, Earthian, Ma’sheed, Toth. The Hollow Suits don’t seem to give a shit. And the only way we’re going to survive this, if we can survive it at all, is to work together. Now, I don’t know if we’re really brother and sister. But understand that even if we are, I don’t care. I have a little brother that I love very much, and I don’t really give a shit about you. The Core needs to stop what it’s doing.”
Russell pulled away from her. His eyes were wild, darting in every direction. “You’re a liar and a traitor. I-I’m not so stupid.” He took off, disappearing in the kiosks.
Sennett thought about chasing him, but she didn’t know what she might do if she caught him.
“Oh shit, Sen,” Liam gasped, “look.”
She heard boots before she even turned her head. There was a Hollow Suit walking towards them. It didn’t rush, didn’t hurry. It just walked, keeping the same pace as though it knew it didn’t matter if they ran. It would catch them.
“Come on, we’ve got to make it to the escape ships,” Sennett said, grabbing his hand. As they ran, she added, “How did you get down here?”
“The cops all abandoned the precinct as soon as Tanner started her little snuff show. Left me sitting at a table, my wrist pad in a tray right next to me. Wasn’t hard from there. Met up with your baby brother there in the supply room, and he decided he wanted to start somethin’. He had a transporter, and I managed to grab hold of it before he took off.”
“How did he know to come here, though?” Sennett whispered.
From somewhere in the rubble, a boy was screaming. He’d seen the monster and was running from it. The Hollow raised its weapon at the child, ready to fire.
“Don’t!” Sennett screamed. She ran back, tackling the Hollow before it could get a shot off.
The Hollow stood, struggling only a little against Sennett’s hold. It threw her, then took aim.
Before it could get a shot off, Liam was there. He put the barrel of a weapon to the creature’s mask and fired.
The mask didn’t shatter, but it cracked, right down the center. The Hollow Suit fell back, still. A curl of smoke twisted from the crack, into the air.
Liam dragged Sennett roughly to her feet with one hand, the little boy with the other. “I can’t be the first person to try that, so it’s probably not gonna be down long,” he said.
“Adam!” a man cried, running for the boy. He scooped the child up and gave Sennett a nod before running with him. Sennett and Liam hurried away as well.
“What did you shoot it with?” Sennett asked.
Liam showed her the hand-held weapon. “Picked it up out of the supply closet. Nifty little deadly thing. It’s called a KS-17. Fires a sound pulse that contacts the pain center of the brain. Causes paralysis and excruciating pain for a few minutes until the target dies. I don’t do business with these, and these cops are carrying ‘um standard issue.”
“Godfrey’s crazy theories are making more and more sense,” Sennett said.
“Yeah,” he replied. Then, he grabbed her hand, pulled her into his arms, and kissed her.
Sennett wrapped her arms around his waist and pulled herself against him. She kissed him deeply, feeling the strength in his hold, tasting his mouth and his breath.
When Liam broke away, she wasn’t ready for him to go. “Sorry, I don’t know why I just did that,” he whispered.
“Must be something to do with almost dying,” she replied. “Get’s the adrenalin going.”
Just then, her wrist pad lit up with a call from Godfrey. “You’re totally sure I’m not oversteppin’ something with him?” Liam asked.
“He’s probably my best friend, so don’t be weird about that,” Sennett said, and answered the call.
“Sennett,” Godfrey said, “we’ve got a problem.”
“Seems like we have a lot of problems right now,” Sennett said.
“No, this is a bigger one. The escaped ships have been disabled. The engines have been ripped right the hell out of them!”
“That can’t be real,” Sennett said.
“If they’re quarantining us, it can,” Liam whispered. He pulled her back into his arms, setting his forehead on hers.
Copyright © 2019 by Nicole C. Luttrell
All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, distributed, or transmitted in any form or by any means, including photocopying, recording, or other electronic or mechanical methods, without the prior written permission of the publisher, except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical reviews and certain other noncommercial uses permitted by copyright law.
Station 86 is shocked when a Khloe assassin begins killing members of the all powerful council. Officer Sennett Montgomery and Councilman Godfrey Anders swear to find the assassin after Godfrey’s wife is falsely accused. But the killer, and the council itself, are not what they seem. Neither, as it turns out, is Sennett’s daughter.