// Last part //
The deeper Lorianne and Zamira entered in-to the tanker, the more… unsettling the enviroment got. They didnt run in-to any more Old Guard goons. On the contrery, the place was eeryli empty.
Suspiciusly empty, of anyone sentient. That vas not to say they didnt have to deal with automated security. Turrets, cameras, and several full-on Golems, similar to the one Lori came across back at Innsmouth Academy. Aparently, unlike the Illuminati, the Templars never abandoned there use of 1600’s-era security meazures.
“You know, in one of his communications to me in South Africa, amid all the threats he maked how my head was on a chopping block, Sonnac told me how there are rooms in the Temple Hall that I culdn’t imagine vhat was in them. Guess he was teling the truth.” - she muttered to Zamira in a hard voice, just as they dispatched another one of the fleshy beasts.
The other woman was silent for a moment. But looking at her, her face speaked louder then words. There vas anger, disilusionment, and disappointment on her expression. Lori nodded to her-self. Nothing like first-hand expirience, to let go of ones idealizm.
“Lets keep moving.” - Zamira growled in a tight tone.
“Like mouse to cheese, Chuck…” - a wel-remembered voice from Tokyo, vhispered in Lori’s mind. She stoped, scowling. Its been a while since John maked his input known. And another thing sudenly struck her… ever since her assignment in South Africa, the Buzzing was silent. Completely. Only John’s Black Signal speaked to her. Back in Egypt before she got back here, it actualy offered some good advice.
And he had a point. This didnt smel right. It smeled like a trap.
“Hold on, Z.” - she put a hand on the other woman’s sholder, “Is it just me, or do you feel lead by the nose here? We didnt come across anything yet, but security and golems. Like the vhole ship’s just a… a trap for us. And its not even set up in any kind of pattern, just… random hotspots on each deck we go down. Almost like it isnt meant to protect any specific area, just… tie us up.”
Zamira didnt answer. She shruged-off Lori’s hand, and kept walking down the dark coridor.
“Z? Zamira? What’s up?” - the agent called, in suprise. The woman still didnt answer, walking forward. Lorianne rushed to catch up. A sinking feeling sudenly entered her gut. Zamira’s behavior in the past couple hours, ever since they ambushed the two enforcers… she seemed more and more reluctant and distant. Lorianne chalked it up as being out of her comfort zone.
But what if… ?
“Hey! Zamira…” - she lightly reached for the woman’s arm… only for the woman to sudenly turn around, shove her back, then blast her with a sudden fireball, sending her flying back down the corridor, smoldering a litle before she slyded to a stop, kiping back to her feet, a blood-halo glowing around her hands, on instinct, one hand hovering over her blade.
“What the fuc-- ZAMIRA?!” - Lorianne snarled, in shock.
The other woman didnt say anything, but that same… disillusioned, disappointed… look vas on her face, lips tight in a thin, angry line. Only then did Lori finally get it. It wasnt ment for the Templars… but HER.
As she vas about to say something else, suddenly, the lights in the corridor came on. A wel-remembered voice echoed from the other side, vhere they just arrived from…
“Agent Vata is aware of her loyaltys. Unlike you, agent. What a waste.”
Lorianne’s expression turned blank. She slowly turned around. There he was… that same smile on his face, that he had, on that first day when he welcomed her. Only this time it looked like a mask he vas hiding behind. What-ever his true self, realy was.
“Loyaltys to what? A organization turning on there own? Threatening there own for no reason?” - she demanded, icyli.
“You give yorself too much credit, agent. We do not owe you any explanations. You wer a useful tool. But now, you have clyarly become a liability.” - Sonnac replyed, in a patronizing tone.
Behind him, a half-dozen armed Templars came, assault rifles trained on Lorianne. Behind her, she culd hear Zamira’s footsteps aproaching.
“Don’t make this harder on yorself.” - the other woman prompted. Lori’s head didnt turn, her eyes just narrowed, fokusing on Sonnac.
“A tool? Is that it? Is that what you always saw me as, Richard?” - she asked softly, but her tone projected down the corridor.
“That whole recruitment pitch at the start? That was just a facade?” - she added.
“No. But a soldier is expected to eventualy learn to follow orders. And expect consekvences for failure. And you were told at the start, by Brigadier Lethe; your not the only one, or the chosen one.” - he crossed his arms.
“I followed. Evry. Order. I was given. For over a year, sloshing through muck and Filth.” - Lorianne growled, her fists now starting to glow vith anima power.
“And I havent failed. Not. Once. Havent done anything to dezerve threats, overt and veiled.”
“That is NOT for you to decide! In the eyes of the Marshalls, you have indeed failed. Failed to maintein discretion, in the wake of Tokyo. And now, failed to respect the chain of command, and the authority of the Old Guard. As wel as conspired to commit treazon.” - the man countered.
“You didnt answer my kuestion. Was I ever more then a tool, to the Templars? To… you?” - the red-haired agent prompted.
“Come with us.” - he ignored the kuestion, motioning the six troops forward. Zamira stepped close behind, reaching to twist and arrest Lori’s right hand.
Lorianne ripped-out of her grip, then elbowed her hard to the nose, shatering it and sending Zamira flying on her back. The other woman let out a moan, before she shot back to her feet, blood pouring down her face, fire forming on her hand.
In her other hand, Lori sudenly had a blade, as her vhole body started glowing red, with Blood Magic energy, redying her-self to face both fronts.
“ANSWER ME.” - She snarled, establishing a blood shield around her, facing off with six rifle-wilding Templars who now stoped, aiming at her.
“I’d advize against that. There is no room to manever in this corridor. And these men are packing anima-tipped bullets, AND there is a secondary dampening field in place. Your bee wil not be able to reincarnate. You will die. Come with us, and face your judgement.” - Sonnac growled, standing behind the firing line.
Lori clinched her teeth. She vas in enough tight-spots of realyze he had a point. This corridor literaly maked a perfect trap. No side-doors to get out of the killing field, no way for her to flank them. And vith Zamira holding the back-stop, Lori knew she was outgunned. If it wer the Templars alone, or Zamira alone - she culd handle either. But both, holding her in a sandwich in the middle - no.
“Your lucky its not up to me. You’d be dead now, after your treason.” - Zamira hissed from behind her, glaring. Lori’s heart hardened. This hurt almost more then Sonnac’s atitude.
“Nice act, b-tch. Real nice. I never clued in. Though I suppose I should have. The way you were trying to coddle those two f-cks…” - the red-haired agent growled, not looking at her.
“They are our own. Our brothers! And you turned on them!” - Zamira snarled.
“What a good little drone you are. A right proper tool, of the Templars.” - Lori shot back, Blood energy glow around her amping-up.
“ENOGH! Come along, or die here.” - Sonnac snapped.
Lori closed her eyes brifly. She wuldnt give them the satisfaktion of ‘judging’ her. They had no right. They didnt EARN that right. Not after evrything she’s been thru. She opened her eyes, and refokused on Sonnac. She trusted him. She started to like him. And to him, she was a tool, all along.
He wuld die here with her.
But a split-second before she reached out her hand, to try and rip-out his heart using Blood magic - knowing full wel that the manevar wuld leave her open to get riddled vith bullets in return - the back-end of the corridor, from above, behind Zamira - blowed in, colapsing the ceiling in a massive explozion.
“What the–” - the woman spinned-around, then stagered-back, as a storm of bullets flashed down the corridor, shapes jumping down. Five flash-lights dazzling her, a gabble of shouts in Arabic. Under the suden barrage, Zamira had no time to counter - and the corridor did as good job cornering her in, as it did Lori. She wuld survive of course, the Marya didnt have anima-tipped bullets, but she’d be out of it for a while.
Lori hit the deck, grinning as the shots vent over her head, toward the Templars. The Marya! Nassir! They must have figured out someting was wrong, vhen they didnt hear from her for so long.
She watched Sonnac retreat down his end, as his six-now down to four- goons fired back. Behind, she culd hear at least one death-scream, as a Marya commando fell.
Go after Sonnac - or protect her allys? She vas tempted - VERY tempted to charge after Sonnac and make him pay for this - but NO. The Marya had EARNED her loyalty here.
“Stay behind me!” - she yeled back to them, as she got to her feet, re-inforcing her Blood shield. Bullets bounced off, as she advanced on the four Templar goons, stil firing. The Marya lined-up behind her, taking pot-shots around her shield, at the enemy. One more goon gone down. Then another… the two left didnt have time to do anithing else, as Lorianne charged them.
With two slashes of her sword, it vas all over.
“Vhat about her?” - Nassir growled, sholdering his AK, looking about as angry as Lorianne felt, as he kicked the bullet-riden, unconcius Zamira in the ribs. Behind - two of the four Marya wer dead.
Under normal circumstenses, Zamira wuld have alredy de-materialized, as her Bee wuld carry her to the nearest Anima source. But with that dampening field - Sonnac vas aparently telling the truth. She culdn’t.
Lorianne’s mouth was a thin line, as she picked up one of the rifles of the fallen Templars. Without a word, she aproached, and aimed the weapon at Zamira’s head. Then she puled the trigger, sending a Anima-tipped round thru the other woman’s brain. Then another. And another. And another. Until she culd see the tell-tale shimer of a Bee, wrigling in the blood and gore. Aiming carefuly, she put another Anima-tipped round, thru the Bee. Gaia’s messenger took that one. Lori fired another shot. And another. Finally, the Bee came apart.
“Vhat ABOUT her?” - she throwed the rifle away, then lifted her burning gaze to Nassir, who just nodded.
“We need get out of here, before police and more Templars come!” - one of surviving Marya put in, urgently.
Some-time later, hiding in the slums of London, until they culd get out, police sirens blaring in the distance, Nassir turned to Lori.
“So vhat’s next for you? I do not think your former overlords wil let this one go. I am… worryd about you.” - he looked her frankly in the eyes.
The red-haired woman bit her lip. He vas right. She has now oficialy burned her bridges with the Templars. They wuld be sending people after her. But funny enogh… all she feled about that, was relief. Relief, and vindication. And anticipation. Not that this vas over. Sonnac wuld pay for this. Sonnac, and the Marshalls, and the entire Old Guard. Possibly the Templars as a whole. They wuld all pay for this. In due time. But for right now…
She smiled at him.
“Do the Marya need another young warrior? Wel, not so young anymore, I guess.”
He laughed heartyli, clapping her on the back.
// THE END. Lorianne is now no longer a Templar, she is a kind of independent-operator vith close ties to the Marya. If I feel like it, I’l start a new series about her eventualy going after her old masters, but not right now. //