New 25-VI

The Future’s So Bright.

“Yeah, there’s no way we’re gonna be able to fix this.”

Talie glanced up at the open sky above us, and then at the massive piles of rubble all around. “Gee, do you think so?”

The fires that those mercenaries had set had continued to burn after we’d left. Only a small portion of the building was actually flammable, so it shouldn’t have done that much damage on its own. Unfortunately, during the chaos, it had apparently managed to get down to Lis’s munitions stores, and some time between Void and Ribbon leaving and this morning, something had caught and blown the building to smithereens. Ordinarily, I’m pretty sure it would’ve brought a whole lot of prying eyes our way, but with all the chaos going on at the same time, it had apparently slipped by relatively unnoticed.

I kicked a small chunk of rubble aimlessly with my undamaged leg. Most of my torso was wrapped tightly with bandages and I had to walk with a crutch until my ankle healed, so with my current hand deficit, I was effectively useless. It was grating on me, but Talie was keeping me company. “How did they even find us, anyway?” I asked.

She shrugged, sitting down on a large piece of the roof. “Honestly, it’s not like this place was super secret. We were just always under the radar enough that no-one cared enough to put in the effort.”

I grunted in acknowledgment, lowering myself down next to her. “Thought that might have changed after the bank, but I guess we’ve been overshadowed a little.”

She laughed. “You think she knows?”

“I don’t even know if she’s alive,” I admitted honestly. “If she is, though, I don’t think she’s going to be very happy with it. Didn’t exactly seem like the kind of person that’s comfortable with attention.”

Talie chuckled in acknowledgment, wincing slightly.

“Hey, motherfuckers!” In front of us, a large slab lifted up from the pile, revealing Nat and Lis underneath. Nat had multiple large fabric arms holding it up, and Lis’s arms were full of guns and explosives. A large, clunky brace was attached to her left knee, and the joint was wrapped in bandages. “Some the stuff in my safe survived!” She ducked out from underneath the slab, and Nat followed, lowering it back down after them.

Talie and I exchanged a glance. “That’s, uh, great, Lis,” Talie said diplomatically.

She beamed back. “I know, right?! I’m gonna go blow somethin’ up to celebrate.”

She dashed off. “Are one of you going to stop her?” Nat asked us critically.

“I’ve already lost one hand,” I replied, “I’m not gonna risk the other.”

“Speaking of which,” Talie said as Nat stormed off after Lis. “I know you’re gonna ask, and no, Daniel can’t heal that. It’s all cauterised already.”

“Yeah,” I sighed, “I figured it’d be something like that. I don’t think I’m going to be very effective with only one hand, though.”

“Well… I might have some ideas on that front.” She held up her hands as I spun towards her. “Just preliminary ideas,” she qualified. “I’ll have to follow up some leads, hunt some folks down, so don’t get too excited.”

“...are you gonna get me a cyber-hand?”

She grinned. “Like I said, preliminary.”

A loud boom came from behind us, and a shower of tiny pieces of rubble rained down on us. “Booyah!” I distantly heard Lis yell, followed by a whole bunch of incoherent screaming from Nat.
“So,” I asked, looking out at the rubble. “What’s next?”

“Well,” Talie answered, “first things first, we’re gonna have to find a new base. But, after that…” she shrugged a little. “What’s actually changed? Way I see it is, we all survived, and now we get to keep on doing as we did as a reward.”

“That’s a pretty crappy reward,” I noted.

“Better than nothing. But, trust me, give everything a bit of time, and everything will be back to normal.”

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