Breed Book 4, Part 55


“Anything?” Rox asked, tapping her foot nervously.

“That doesn’t help, actually,” Anita said, smothering Rox’s foot with her own. “And there’s a lot of variables; too many moving pieces. We could all be wiped out or not, based on whether an airman at NORAD drags toilet paper out of the bathroom on the bottom of his shoe.”

“That’s distressing.”

“And that’s factoring in your insane luck abilities. Trying to find the right sequence, where we don’t all die or go to jail or get sold to an oil sheikh like I’ve always fantasized…”


The door behind them cracked open, and both women spun around, trying to keep their gun arms down to maintain a veneer of normalcy.

“I can handle things here,” Mahmoud said. “And it sounds, from the radio chatter, like they could use the luck out there.”

“Bad?” Rox asked.


“You’re welcome,” Anita said.

“And a helicopter.”

“Can you shut them down?” Rox asked.

“Not without compromising their security response. They’re going to need them to take on Raif’s guys- you just have to make sure they don’t kill any of ours in the meantime.”

“You sure you’re okay alone with him? God knows, I’d have trouble not at least winging him for my own amusement.”

“He’s not going to shoot him,” Anita said, before noticing Drump was listening intently, “unless the saggy tub of moldering racism does something stupid, like try to talk. And I’m not being funny. Every goddamned ignorant thing that plops out of his mouth like a half-formed turd is disgusting to anyone with an intellect, not even a high one, one qualifying as sentience. So even to some plants.”

“That seemed at least a little funny, in an insult-comic kind of way.” Anita pantomimed being shot in the heart, then blood spraying out of the hole, before dropping to the floor. “Too mean?”

“Nah,” Anita said, wrinkling her nose. “I like it when you’re a little mean to me.”


“No, it just means I don’t have to feel bad about all those times I was mean to you.”

“Fastest route out of here?” Rox asked.

“Window,” Anita said, rolling out of the window Rox had previously opened.

Rox tucked her gun in the bag and then leapt out feet first. She landed gracefully beside Anita, who was brushing grass off her knees. “You even take gymnastics?” Anita asked, exasperated.

“I joined a team for a while,” Rox said. “But it wasn’t challenging enough to be fun. Besides, I prefer contact sports.” Rox ducked, as a Secret Service agent rolled around the wall, aiming a pistol. She bladed her fingers and jabbed him in the throat before taking his gun. “Listen to me,” she said, pushing him against the wall and holding him there with his gun pressed into his stomach.

“I won’t help you,” he said defiantly.

“Other way around,” she said, “we’re here to help you.” She turned his gun so the handle was facing him. “But I’d appreciate if you’d listen first, so I don’t have to take it from you again.”

He narrowed his eyes. Raif fired a spray of bullets, some of which struck the side of the White House. “We’re not with him,” Rox said. “In fact, we’re the reason his attack on Moscow failed.”

“I’m listening,” he said reluctantly, “but that window’s closing.”

“Even if you can’t trust us, just don’t shoot us in the back; the enemy of my enemy can be an ally, at least temporarily.”

“What do you have in mind?” he asked, holstering his gun.

“Our friends are by the treeline, pinned down, unarmed.”

“I thought you said you weren’t with the terrorists.”

“We did, we aren’t, but there’s two different groups there.”

“And he can shoot earthquakes, he shoots fire, and the girl can create explosions. They’re hardly unarmed.”

“Except in the literal sense,” Anita said, “wherein they aren’t carrying armaments.”

“She’d know; she’s an English teacher.”

“You’re from that school, aren’t you?”

“Does dropping out count?”

“Or abandoning your teaching post after less than a full school year to gallivant with a bunch of juvenile-at-the-time delinquents,” Anita said, before adding, “unless you mean maturity-wise, in which case they’re all still quite juvenile.”

“The plan.”

“I want you to give us a little pocket to operate in,” Rox replied. “It’ll look to Raif’s people like you’re corralling us and them into the same spot; they assume we’ll work together, at that point, rather than be killed or captured- but that’s when we turn on them. We time it right and we might even be able to stop them without anyone getting seriously hurt.”

“And how are you going to coordinate your plan with your team?”

“Text,” Rox said, taking her phone out of her pocket and unlocking it.

“How? All outgoing calls that aren’t ours get routed through us; you shouldn’t be able to so much as post on Facebook or send a message.”

“Our people have skills yours can’t match.”

“You’ll have to show me how that works.”

“Given who your boss is, and his general stance on the existence of people like me, I’m going to take a hard pass on that.”

“Fine. We’ll try a pincer move. But your people are on the tip of the spear, and I can’t guarantee things go well for you there.”

Rox stepped out of the way to let him leave, then waiting until he was out of earshot to ask, “You think he’ll turn on us?”

“Well,” Anita said, wrinkling her nose,  “on the one hand, the drafts are starting to converge on a single reality, and it isn’t one where most of us end up dead.”

“And what’s the reason you don’t seem happy about that?”

“I’m really bad about dropping the soap. You’d think that would be less of an issue in a women’s prison… but you’d be surprised.” Anita stopped, reluctant to leave the relative safety of the White House’s shadow. “What do you think the odds are that he plays nice?”

Rox leaned away from the building. “Oh, I’d say pretty good,” she said. Already, fire teams of agents were peppering the two Breed teams with gunfire in an attempt to drive them into a section of the lawn where a line of trees would inhibit flight to the west. “Shit,” she said, “they’re moving too fast; we need to run, or we won’t be in position.”

Anita burst past her, pumping her longer legs. They ran, staying as close to the building as they could until they could hook at the last second across the field, meeting up with Ben, Rui and Sonya sheltering behind a tree.

“This an okay spot for an ambush?” Rui asked. “Because I feel like Bugs Bunny in a cartoon where it’s wabbit season.” Several rounds burrowed into the bark of the tree near him.

“Unfortunately for us, we’re sitting on their backstop,” Anita said. “Just stand behind Little Miss Bullet Repellant and we’ll probably- shi-“ Anita spun on one heel, then flattened into the grass. Blood was seeping out of a wound in her arm as she lifted her head off the grass. She squeezed her hand, then tensed the muscles in her arm. “Just a through-and-through,” she muttered testily from the ground. “Jinxed myself, that time.”

“It’s about time,” Rox said, dropping to one knee and taking her gun out of her bag. “You want to give Sonya your gun?”

“I can handle it,” Anita said. “Fact, I do some of my best shooting prone.”

Anita rolled over, and aimed down the sights of the gun.

“On two, one,” they fired together. Anita’s shot went wide, but Rox’s struck Raif’s rifle, sending it bouncing off a tree.

“Anybody catch that?” Rui asked.

“What?” Sonya asked.

“Hearing… it works a little bit different when I’m gaseous, I can feel the vibrations through all of my molecules. There was a subtle change to the helicopter’s engine, it- aw, crap.”

“The Russian with the electric arm,” Ben said, pointing to the young man hanging off the side of the helicopter. “What the hell is he doing?” Tendrils of electricity arced from his electric limb, plunging into the cockpit and its controls.

“Seems like nothing good is the general answer,” Sonya said.

Electricity leapt from the front of the helicopter, striking both tanks in turns.

“We should really stop him from doing anything else,” Rui said.

“Well?” Sonya asked. “You’re the jackass who can fly.”

“Crap,” He said, and kicked off the ground. An instant later a bullet whizzed through him- but passed harmless through the gaseous cloud of his atoms.

“We should probably cover him,” Anita said, firing a few rounds near enough to Raif he hid back behind the tree.

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