“Quiet night, tonight.”
“Yes. Indeed. Better be grateful. I know you were looking forward to a chaotic first night out. Don’t be in such a rush. No chaos is good. We want that.”
“Right. I’m just anxious to put what I’ve learned to good use.”
“What you’ve learned? You’ve learned nothing yet. The Academy only barely touches on what you need to survive out here. You’ll learn soon enough. Trust me. You’ve learned absolutely nothing yet.”
Skylar swallowed her breath. Her new partner was not her favorite person. She wished they would have paired her up with another female. Maybe she would have better understood her worth. This creature called Carlos was just not going to help matters at all. She was ready. She felt ready, that is. Rookie adrenaline.
“So… you just drive around until something happens.”
Carlos looked at her curiously. He was not going to get away so easily tonight. He was so looking forward to his rookie partner keeping her mouth shut. Not with this one. He had been doing this for 10 years and had trained three partners before her.
“Look. I’m going to give you a tip. Enjoy this – “
“All units in the red quadrant of the Thorn House District, a 280 in progress in the main house corridor has been detected. Stealth grade recommended as there are six armed men and a parent drone. The entire building has been penetrated. No known hostages. Treat as hostile.”
“Fuck! Kid! You’re about to get your wish! Unit 43B responding. Will wait for backup. You ready, kid!”
“Roger 43B. 78A and 92B on their way. Do not go in without your drones.”
Carlos shook his head and laughed as he noticed his partner swallow several times, looking quite tense. Skylar felt adrenaline course through her blood as the hover craft sped up. She felt the knots in her stomach climb up to her throat. It was not at all the feeling she had imagined. She became a little apprehensive and clutched her fingers to the sides of her seat with great force.
“Six armed men.”
“Yeah. You weren’t trained to deal with armed men?”
“Not exactly…” she said with heavy breath.
“Well, now is not the time to tell you this but… I told you so. Just relax, kid. I got your back. Okay. I want you to stay behind me when we walk in. I don’t want you to try anything fancy. I’m sending our drone in.”
Skylar nodded. She ran through the steps in her head. 280 meant armed robbery. Step one was to scan the perimeter. The drone would take care of that. She put her visor over her face. This was now a full functioning matrix not like the one in training. Her first look at a live drone scan gave her butterflies. She engaged her gun at half hook. Carlos looked back at his young partner and shook his head.
“Kid, we don’t engage our weapon at half hook until we know what we’re dealing with. Accidents happen. Lord knows I’ve had my share of experiences. Disengage and wait for my signal.”
Skylar took her finger off the trigger gauge and swallowed her nerves until it hit the bottom of her belly. A bit of sweat trickled down her face. Carlos kept his focus on the matrix. Something was off and back up should have arrived by now. Six armed men would be nothing for him alone but now he had Skylar. He knew how rookies loved to engage quickly and adventurously. She, however, was not like any of the others he had trained before. There was an innocence about her that rendered his heart weak. It was a weakness he felt. Skylar’s eyes widened as she took a breath.
“There. Beyond the beauty salon. I can see heat.” Skylar whispered out of breath.
“Okay kiddo! Here we go. One down, five more to go. He has no weapon. Interesting.”
The drone hovering over head slowed at the entrance of a bank a block from the salon. Skylar moved ahead of Carlos. Something was drawing her in. She felt a need to approach the perimeter quickly without hesitation. She moved in and Carlos ran after her, pinning her against the wall in the nearby alley.
“Fuck! I told you to wait for my signal! What do you think you’re doing?”
“I don’t know. I feel something. There is a voice. I’m not sure…”
“Kid! I’m thinking you’re not ready for this and you should go back to the hover. Wait for me there.”
“No! I know what I’m feeling, and this feeling is telling me I should move in! I won’t deny my instincts!”
“Instincts? More like nerves with balls of steel. You’ll get yourself killed on your first day, woman!”
“Suddenly I’m not a kid! I’m a woman now! You’ve been so cool keeping me in check. I bet your other partners were all men. Now you have to deal with a silly bitch!”
Carlos stepped back in awe. This feisty little vixen was a piece of work. He couldn’t wait to let her in on the fact that he had trained two women before her. She obviously had not read his bio. He became a little annoyed. Sighed and as he released his hold on her a loud crash startled them both. Rule number one… never lose track of the matrix. It was too late.
Carlos fell back on to the floor. Skylar’s breath became heavy. Her heart was racing. Where was backup? Where were they? As she knelt beside him she noticed a small pool of blood collect from his left shoulder. She shook her head violently and tears began to pour out. She had failed. Her pride had gotten the better of her and now her partner, her mentor was dead.
“Carlos… I’m so sorry!”
“Stay with the matrix. Follow the alley… back up…”
Carlos closed his eyes as his breath slowed. Skylar used all her force to move drag him into the shadow of the ally behind her. She looked up frantically searching for the shooter. The matrix was malfunctioning somehow and all she could see were lines and letters filling up the screen. Another crash sounded, and something flew straight passed her striking the building behind her.
“Are you sure she’s the one?”
“I’m positive. I’ve been watching her all her life. She’s the one.”
“She does not look like much. Perhaps your research was lacking. I see her to be rather impulsive. I’m not impressed.”
“The prophecy does not say she would be perfect. Need I remind you… ‘liken to an innocent child, she holds the key to humanity’s survival and when she has found her true self, all the universe will bend to her will.”
“Acadia… that is a myth. By the gods you do tend to be dramatic. The See do not care for such rhetoric. You know that.”
“She’s the one. I felt her. I knew her in the whom of her mother. She IS the one!”
“All I know is that this better work. I hate when you play games.”
“This quadrant is always empty at night. I needed to get her alone.”
“Why injure her partner?”
“I wanted to see her reaction.”
“She’s perfect. Her heart is perfect.”
“Acadia… you’re a piece of work! Okay, let’s see what she’s really made of.”
“Enox! No! She is not to be harmed. We can…”
“Too late! She’s surrounded. Let us see how she gets herself out of this one.”
Enox smiled as he saw Skylar reach for her weapon, full hook this time. Six armed men surrounding her and no back-up in sight.
©2018 Mel Gutiér