heavy weight that pressed her to the ground was suddenly pushed
aside. Two voices, distorted with rage, growled deeply. Finally,
a surprisingly soft sentence arose above the dispute: "Wanna
lose the second, too?" The hiss that followed accompanied
the sound of a punching fist, and heavy steps left at a
She gathered herself up,
propped her arms in the mud and pulled herself up into a
squatting position, expecting to see two or three of her combat
group who must have attacked the leader of the enemy group that
had caught her apart from the actual front line. But they weren't
there. She blinked the dirt out of her eyes and tried
unsuccessfully to make out Killbane's actual position.
She whirled round in
her crouching position. The Runt sat not far away, watching her.
He's in Killbane's group... She concentrated,
unconsciously raising her hand to her temple. If I can blind
him a moment
need," he said harshly.
voice was farther away than she'd thought. Too far away to
attack him. She noticed the assault rifle over his arm. Too
calm. He must know it
don't want to finish his battle."
took her a moment to understand his words. "Why
He's in Killbane's
group. Carefully she began to get to her feet, expecting him
every moment to finally attack her. "You're my enemy. I'm
supposed to fight you" she started.
can do what he did."
I'm still gonna die here.
just don't want to after I attacked him."
attacked Killbane!? She dropped back on her backside, staring
at him. "Why?"
beat him! "I remember how it is to be his
She turned some of
the stones around in the mud, trying to figure out what she
should do next. He stayed carefully out of her reach so she
couldn't attack him. She observed him with narrowed eyes and
noticed a shadow behind him: Stingray, preparing to throw
his knife. "No!" The stone flew before she even
realized her decision. It hit Stingray's forehead above his eyes.
He stumbled backwards, lost his target. The Runt was immediately
on his feet, whirling around, aiming his rifle. She jumped to her
feet, reducing the distance between him and her. "If you
shoot, I'll attack you!"
Runt watched Stingray holding his head in both hands, shaking it
to clear his vision again. "I won't," he said.
owe you nothing!" she warned him. "The next time we
meet I'll attack you."
grinned. "I know. The next time I'll fight."
lowered her head after he was gone. The Runt's strange. The
Runt... what's his real name again? Shane. She shrugged.
for the Runt?" Stingray snapped, picking up his knife,
pointing with the blade toward her, "Since when d'ya prefer
talk shit, headbanger!" She snorted. "Forget Ryker's
propaganda and use your brain: This runt's defeated him
more than once alone! Show me one of us who can do the same."
closed the surveillance file and looked over at Walsh. "That's
it. We've ordered him more than once to stay away from Killbane.
He disobeyed again."
would have lost Darkstar if he hadn't done it, Owen, and she's a
really good EEC. Do you really want to punish him for helping
her? That would lead them to even uglier conduct."
sighed. "I know we can't do that. But he only attacks
Killbane to defend somebody else. If he weren't a BDC I'd believe
he knows that we can't punish him for it."
can't expect a BDC to analyze our behavior patterns, Owen.
They're limited to a max of 105 IQ to guarantee their
controllability. You did that yourself."
know, I know. It's just strange."