1328 Maryzell Ln
“Shit, shit, shit,” Teressa cursed her face contorted in a mask of rage. “How could I have been so stupid?”
She growled under her breath, slid the car keys into the ignition and the car’s engine roared to life. Anger flashed in her eyes as they fell on Kruhl. The once-king shrank away, taken aback, but then she gazed forward, clasping one hand around her neck, the second on the steering wheel.
“Hang on,” she said between gritted teeth, inky mist rising out between her fingers. “This will be one bumpy ride.”
She pulled on the lever between the seats and the car careened, a high-pitched screech emanating from the wheels. It slammed through the garage door with a wail of protest and wood and metal exploded, fragments slamming into the windshield with several dull thwacks and Kruhl threw her arms up to shield her face.
The vehicle lurched into daylight, swerved sideways, and just avoided slamming into a vehicle Teressa told her, after their first meeting, was called a police car. She clutched at the handle on the door, gaze fixed on Teressa.
“Oh hell,” Teressa cursed again her eyes staring out the windshield growing wider by the second. She raised both hands, palms out and fingers up, misty ink fading into the daylight. Kruhl followed the other’s gaze. A tall man bearing one of the fire-sticks was standing before the car, weapon trained on the other woman.
Kruhl was not the type to surrender, if she could help it, but even a proud warrior such as her recognized a helpless situation when she saw one. She scowled, then mimed the other woman’s pose. She narrowed her eyes, watching as the man approached picturing herself snapping his neck, but remained motionless. The police clan had won for now.
Putrid emerald energy crackled against the azure dome that Amy had summoned. The agent gritted her teeth, panting against the effort of holding her shield. She’d had no opportunity to practice using her new powers, but they seemed to respond when she needed them, even if she didn’t quite understand how. It was a marked contrast to Sapphira’s struggle to control the same powerset, but one which she could live with… if she stayed conscious.
Amelia’s shield rippled and the sickly green illumination brightened, spreading out and sizzling with such intensity, Amy’s eyes ached. She averted her gaze, tears cascading down her cheek, and held on. Perhaps Sapphira who was more experienced might know how to retaliate with the shield still up, but it was taking all of her concentration just to hold it against the mysterious attacker.
Her strength ebbed and she fell to her knees, her shield wobbling and contorting. She moaned, clenching her eyes shut and focus all her will on holding the barrier. She only needed a little more time…
As if on queue, an explosive crash of shattering wood and shrieking metal sounded from nearby. That would be Teressa and Kruhl, she thought, a smile touching the corner of her lips.
The pressure on her shield vanished and instead of taking the time to gawk like her assailant and most of the police force, the agent straightened. She rounded on her attacker and sent her shield flying out. It burst into the cloaked figure with enough force to send it tumbling to the pavement and rounded on the nearest of their attackers. She threw a hand out a wave of telekinetic force, rippling out, and three officers soared away, landing in a tangled heap.
She took the briefest of seconds, soaking in every detail she could. Kruhl and Teressa had crashed through the house’s garage door in the Yomato Diadem the former had stolen during their escape from the mental hospital, but the vehicle had only just cleared the exit. A ring of police cars blocked their path out.
All eyes turned toward her and she grated her teeth, already erecting a wall of shimmering azure energy as a new barrage of bullets came hurtling across the lawn toward her.
Time was not on her side. Already her body had begun to weaken and her vision began to fade. She fought it, teeth gritted.
She redirected her efforts, diving behind a flowerbed with a raised stone wall and dropped the shield. She may not be able to save herself, but she’d be damned if she was going to let them get ahold of Kruhl and Teressa. Instead of attacking, she reached out and pushed the first squad car blocking the Diadem’s path. The vehicle lurched back, bursting through a small white picket fence that separated the driveway from the neighbor’s property.
Her vision dimmed and she clenched her jaw, fighting back the darkness, gunfire spattering into the stones all around her. She hurtled the second squad car away, moving on to the third and final one. It lurched into the street and Amy found herself on her knees.
The agent gasped, willing a shield to form around her, but it quivered and dissolved into the air with a soft sizzle. She felt a sharp prick on her neck, and snapped a hand up, finger clasping a short metallic tube with a fuzzy tip. She pulled it free, holding the tranquilizer dart in front of her face before peering back at her assailant. Chief Avery stood in the distance, tranquilizer gun clasped in her hands, scowling.
The agent fell the rest of the way to the ground, face-planting into the soil, fingers clawing at the ground in a futile escape attempt. She peered up, eyes focused on a cloud of inky haze that had oozed its way over the yard, the last thing she heard as her awareness faded into unconsciousness was the sound of screeching tires.
The girl stood back, pulling several strands of blonde hair away from her soft delicate features, her eyes wide as a pair of officers lifted the inert form of a tall dark-haired woman into the back of a squad car. She turned away, sinking her teeth into her lower lip.
“Amy,” she whispered the name, as a cold quiver shot down her back.
The agent was bound… and odder gagged. How and why had Amelia run afoul of the police? She was working with them. They were the ones who’d requested help from AEGIS. The mission files were very clear on that point. Why then had they detained her? It made no sense.
It all had something to do with the woman in black, the girl glanced at her, another shiver running down her spine. When the girl first laid eyes on her, she’d done a double take. The woman looked like she’d walked out of the set of some sword and sorcery movie. She wore a long cloak and its cowl was pulled back to reveal a youthful face framed by a shock of lengthy black hair. An emerald-topped staff was clenched in her arms, and, if the energy readings from the RPR module were any sign, she was packing a lot of astral energy. The girl didn’t quite understand what that meant, but she knew enough to be wary.
Though the cloaked woman seemed out of place amidst all the officers, she moved through the throng with an air of authority. She stopped a few yards from the car where they’d imprisoned Amelia and planted her staff in the ground. An older middle-aged woman in a police uniform rushed up to her and curtsied, like some peasant maiden supplicating themselves to their liege lord.
The girl frowned. Things were getting stranger by the moment.
She considered making a rescue attempt, but shut down such a fleeting ludicrous notion with a firm set of her jaw and a violent shake of her head. Even with the full RPR, she didn’t like her chances. Whatever power the robed woman had at her command, she was not one with whom the girl wanted to cross on her own. Making her first test run with the new gear, while tempting, would be stupid beyond belief.
Amelia was being help captive, but at least she was still alive. With the agent in police custody, finding her would be an easy enough effort. It would be a better course of action to bide her time, gather information, perhaps find a few allies and form a plan.
She stroked her chin, studying the home around which the police cars were clustered. She regarded the fragments of the garage door and pursed her lips. The hole was more or less car-sized. Given that, and the tire marks on the lawn, she guessed someone had left in quite the hurry. A potential ally, perhaps? If so, why had they left Amelia behind?
Bullet holes peppered portions of a white picket fence dividing the home from the neighboring house and portions of the exterior wall of the first. She didn’t know much about firearms, but the RPR had identified the weapons carried by the police as AR-90 Automatic Rifles. Military hardware of the sort far too sophisticated for any street cop, least of all for a backwater town like Tondzaosha. It was… concerning.
She dropped her hand and considered her options. Whoever had fled the scene probably had the answers she needed, but she didn’t have the foggiest idea how to track them down. She needed help, and with the information Director Malcolm had provided, she thought she might know where to find it.
With slow, careful movements, Ashley Harris turned away from the crime scene, and slipped the RPR module from her pocket, calling up the information she needed. With quick, yet furtive steps she moved away, heart hammering in her chest. God, this would be a pain in the ass, but it was the least she could do for Amy.