231 led his squad through the service area toward the telepad. Detonations rumbled the walls.
The Goliath sighed to himself. They aren’t your squad. Sophia is your charge. Nassar is on another mission. They aren’t your squad. It was getting harder to remember.
“What? Yes! Nassar here!”
231 halted sharply and looked back to see the enforcer, wide-eyed, speaking into his comm.
“Thank God,” Sophia whispered. “There are still some police left.”
“Yes, we’re on route to… now?” Nassar cursed. He looked up at 231. “They’re firing on the telepad right now. They’ve already cracked the shield.”
Sophia shot a terrified look to 231. “Are we trapped?”
“The pad might still be working,” he said. They both looked to Nassar, who listened for a moment, then nodded.
“Yes, okay, but… Owens! Where’s the mortar? …because I have a Goliath with me.”
Sophia put a hand on 231’s arm. “He wants you to go after the mortar.”
“It may be the only way to get you out of here.” He hated the thought of leaving her side, but if it was to keep her safe-
A strange feeling hit him. He wasn’t, he realized, just thinking about the mission. The thought of being away from her saddened him.
“Concourse, second floor. The balcony,” said Nassar.
But he had to keep her safe.
“Milord,” said Goliath 231. “Get as close to the telepad as you can. I will destroy the mortar. Please, take Milady Sophia.”
“But I can help! I can protect you!” Sophia burst out.
The sensation in 231’s chest was warm, as though his blood was spilling from a wound to the heart. Except it didn’t hurt — not exactly. She wanted to protect him.
He had, in overheard conversations, come across the word love. He wondered if that was what he felt for her.
231 knelt and looked her in the eye. “You’re too important for that.”
She had just begun to reach for him when he turned and ran toward the concourse.