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Running the Shadows: Chapter Four, Escape and Evasion

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#1 Guest_Serena_*

Posted 14 December 2004 - 03:09 PM

Running the Shadows: Chapter Four, Escape and Evasion

Annika crept through the alleyway, heading up to where it joined what had once been a main street. The twilight cast everything into shadow. Keeping the cracked brick wall of the alley to her back, Annika moved forward. Ahead of her, something dislodged a pebble.

Shit. She froze. Ahead of her, she saw someone walk by the mouth of the alleyway. Control hadn't said anything about hostiles, but it was likely. Flattening right up against the wall of the alley, she watched whoever it was pass by the mouth of the alley, sending only a cursory look in her direction. Yeah. Better. Still, she had to get by this person somehow. She had already explored as much as she could get at from the back alleys. There were a few old steel catwalks that crossed the street above her, she had thought about using one of those, but it meant getting into one of the old buildings with out using the front entrance. And it meant trusting her weight to a hundred-and something year old metal bridge. She crept closer to the front of the alleyway. Maybe he was the only one? She dashed across the alley and dropped into a crouch, peering around the corner. Nope. There were four of them, with assault rifles and black body armour. Whoever they were, they meant serious business. Annika doubted they were the cadets. One of them knelt down and fiddled with something stuck to the side of a building. Unsure of exactly what it was, she frowned. It didn't look like any of the explosives she had studied . . . letting her gaze track along the buildings, she swore softly. There were a number of them, planted on the walls of a number of buildings along the street. Not explosives, though. This was only training . . . right. Annika shook her head. Yeah, right. Only training, she thought sarastically. Annika watched as one of the soldiers touched the device. It flared bright for a moment . . . and then nothing. Falling back, Annika pondered. She might have to try the catwalks after all. Not knowing what the mystery devices were, she would rather take the other way.

Turning around, she headed back towards the back door she had seen before, that had lead into this old building. Rusted by the years, it stood before her, quite well and truly stuck, locked by an ancient keypad lock. Damn. Now what? If she had had gear with her, she stood a chance at getting past that.

There were footsteps in the alleyway. Placing her back against the door, Annika drew one of her long knives. But there was no one there. The footsteps came closer . . . Annika darted her eyes around, looking for the telltale shimmer of a cloaking field . . .

“D-don't be afraid. I'm right here.” There was a brief distortion, and a fellow cadet appeared before Annika, wearing the same green-and-grey uniform.

“How --” Annika strangled out. There was a young elf standing before her, with long golden hair pulled into a tight ponytail. That hadn't been a cloaking field.

“Magic.” The elf said simply, with a slight smile. “Aerie Nataile.” She held out a gloved hand.

“Annika.” Magic. . .Control was really screwing with the rules. Mages existed, but they were frighteningly rare . . . . More legend than fact. “How . . .” her voice was strangled.

The elf chuckled sadly. “The -- The Alliance rescued me from a Federation prison.” She shrugged stiffly. “I – I figured it was – that is -- “ fumbling for words, the elf just shook her head.

“Forget it. Can you get through this?” She gestured to the old, rusted door.

“I think so.” Aerie put both hands on the keypad, and Annika watched her hands glow for a brief moment. After a moment, she punched in a combination, confidently.

Annika motioned her back, and stepped through, pulling her knife.

“Don't move!” A male voice yelled. She whirled in the direction of the voice, and found herself looking right down the barrel of a shotgun. Oh, shit . . .

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