“Looks like you’ve lost your tanks,” Rox said, as the two remaining tanks opened and their crews crawled out, “and since the helicopter’s down I’m going to assume Oleg’s out, too.”
Raif rolled forward, knocking Rox flat on her back, and standing, drawing a holdout pistol from an ankle holster. “You aren’t winning; you understand that, right? All you’ve done is make us look weak. We look like the world’s crappiest tin-pot can push us around, get away with it, and then have us scurry over one another to lick his boots. You’re guaranteeing that he isn’t the last bigot to try something like this. All you’re doing is sending your own people to the gas chamber.”
“My own people?” Rox asked incredulously. “Who the fuck do you think you are? Because you’re sure as hell no one I’m laying claim to. I have wasted my youth trying to blunt the damage of extremist monsters like you. My friends have sweat, and bled, and nearly died to keep you from making life harder for people like us. You are the opposite of our people- and maybe you don’t understand this, but you’re worse than people like Drump- because you enable them to do what they want to us. You make the mild, moderate middle so terrified of us they cheer when he puts Breed kids in camps. But I agree. We haven’t won anything. But maybe, we lost less than we were going to, and I think that’s the best outcome that was on the table, thanks to people like you.”
“I have you dead to rights. And I’ve been working on something, though I don’t honestly know if it will work. I’ve always been able to strengthen other Breed abilities. I spent some time, working with Mira, and I think I figured out how to do the opposite, how to dial them back. I don’t want to kill you. But I will shoot you; I’m betting man enough to try it, if you don’t let me through.”
“You’d never make it. There’s an all but literal army between you and Drump.”
“That’s the difference between us; I was a soldier, and I will complete my mission, even if I have to lay down my life. But you want to try your luck, I can live with giving you a bullet.”
“Something men like you don’t ever seem to understand is there are kinds of luck you make yourself,” Rox said, and on instinct his finger began to curl around the trigger.
He heard the snap of a twig behind him and started to turn. A hand caught his arm just below shoulder, then another grabbed his forearm just below the elbow and twisted. He cried out in pain, and the next moment was lying on the ground, his arm twisted in an unnatural direction. “You broke my fucking arm.”
“And I’ll break the other if you don’t stand down,” Mira said.
“Oh, Mira,” he whimpered, “never could remember to keep your eye on the prize.” He rolled, firing from the hip.
The bullet struck her between the eyes, knocking her off her feet. Raif took off towards the White House as Rox ran to her, and rolled her over. She looked pristine, save for a bleeding hole in her forehead. “Goddamnit,” Rox yelled, pounding her fists into Mira’s limp torso.
“Ow,” Mira moaned. She touched her finger to the wound in her forehead. “Damnit, I bet that leaves a mark.” With the blood smeared away, the wound was visible as a small gash.
“I thought,” Rox said, having to stop to take in a jagged breath. “I know,” she said with a smile. “But right now I’ve got a bullet’s worth of kinetic energy to give back to that son of a bitch.” She leapt to her feet, taking increasingly longer steps as she gained speed far past regular human top speed, closing the distance with Raif in no time at all. At the last instant she leaned her shoulder forward, carrying all of her remaining momentum into him through it. He flew a dozen feet, landing face first in the grass, plowing a trench with his mouth. “You stay on the ground this time,” she said, “or this time I’ll put you under it.”