The emergency capsule doors closed behind them. The police officer – Nassar, his sleeve said – tapped the location of the telepad on the map on the wall. He then turned to 231. “Give me your Tower ID.”
231 offered his left wrist. “Milord, the emergency terminal is likely to be heavily guarded.”
“It’s an implant?”
Nassar looked impressed. He slipped the ID scanner from his belt and scanned 231’s wrist. “Can’t get your mission data since the hub’s down, but… okay. Goliath 231, on special assignment. Good enough for me.” He put the scanner back in his belt and caught 231’s eye. “And you’re probably right. You have a weapon?”
Sophia looked weary. “They’re gonna be waiting for us?”
“Milord, I have my sidearm. I am also trained with the A-12 rifle,” said 231, nodding to the confiscated weapon on Nassar’s shoulder.
“I’m sure you are. We don’t have Tower’s resources, but we train out here, too.”
“Milord, let me clarify. I am rated a triple-A marksman with the A-12 rifle.”
Nassar’s eyes bulged. “You’re… take this.” 231 gladly took the weapon back from the enforcer, relishing the look of disbelief on his face. “You’ve got combat experience?”
More than any human alive. “Milord, I have fought on nine worlds. Most recently, my squad and I destroyed a tank unit on New Corinth.”
“Well.” Nassar was silent for a moment and shook his head. “You got any ideas?”
“You should let me give you a shield,” Sophia said, her gaze locked on the rifle.
231 was glad he didn’t have to ask. “Milady, how many bullets can you stop?”
“What do you mean?”
“If she keeps her focus,” Nassar broke in, “it won’t go down. Isn’t that right?”
“Yeah,” Sophia said.
231 found himself cursing Tower’s psionic trials, and the rift they caused between the corporation and the psions. He only knew what he had observed firsthand about psionics, and what his training had taught him. Mostly, he knew that he was woefully uneducated on the subject.
“S… milady,” 231 said, catching himself, “please stand behind me.”
“But they won’t shoot me!” She looked at him quizzically.
“We don’t know that,” said Nassar. “We’re almost there. Stand behind the Goliath, girl. That’s the safest place.”
Sophia threw a frightened glance to 231, then stepped behind him. She put her hand on his lower back, her fingers twitching. “Now what?”