Author : Michael Varian Daly

Dawn’s light angled off the blank brick walls of the narrow alley. The air shimmered, then expanded like a large soap bubble and softly popped. Iyo stood there for a moment to orientate herself. She glanced up and around. No windows. Bioforms reading only insects and the odd rodent.

“Clear,” she said to no one in particular.

She was flying solo. It would have been nice to have her old unit along, but explaining away a squad of heavily armed Shan dog troopers, five foot canine humanoids, or Corporal Jax, a three quarter ton Marine cyborg, well, the locals might get nervous.

So, Iyo stood in this alley alone, a tall blonde in jeans and a leather jacket. The air reeked of hydrocarbons and decay. The nanites in her lungs and blood were already working hard to offset their effects.

“You’ll get used to it,” she thought, like the dank, moldy air in the catacombs of that scathole Trobathney back…”or forward?” she mused. Transtemporal/Paratemporal operations were still new enough to have not worked out the tenses of their grammatic descriptors.

“Your cover is Camilla Göteborg. You’re a model from Sweden,” her Case Officer said. “Remember, this line is swarming with unmodified males. Refrain from killing them unless you have absolutely no choice.”

Iyo knew all that from the compressed immersion vert. This was just her Real Time cover activation. She also knew she was picked because she looked more like the locals than her mostly dark and therefor potentially ‘exotic’ Sisters.

Not mentioned in the vert briefing was the underlaying reason for this mission. The tactical rationals were addressed in detail. The strategic concepts were clear. The socio-cultural purposes were left unspoken.

Iyo knew them, however. She was only one of hundreds of millions of Sisters who had been born into, and had grown up to fight, The War. It was always there, generation after generation. Once, The Enemy had threatened The Sisterhood with extinction. Now, Victory was almost assured and The War was slowly winding down.

What to do with all these battle hardened warriors?

Retrain them in covert operations and ship them out across all of Creation was the plan The Elders of The Sisterhood devised. Iyo actually thought that a good idea. She knew she’d get into mischief in peacetime and the necessities of ‘blending in’ would help her readjust to non-martial society.

Thus, she found herself in place called Brooklyn.

“Okay, enough woolgathering,” she said using local colloquialisms.

She strode out of the alley, though quaint asphalt and concrete streets, to a promenade overlooking the city’s harbor. The water smelled even worse than the air, but the skyline of the tightly packed urban island across that water held a chaotic beauty.

She knew one of the two ugly boxlike towers that dominated that skyline would be destroyed in the Father/God wars that plagued this period. But that was nearly two decades…’up the line’. Maybe.

“Things change,” she murmured.

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