Author : Julian Miles, Staff Writer

She cries into my arms as they come for us. Such a simple thing, this expression of heartbreak through physical reflex.

“I thought I’d lost you.”

Her hand brushes my cheek and curls around my neck. So soft. The touch is like a feather landing on a still afternoon.

“But you came back. You came back.”

I bow my head and crouch a little more to accommodate her legs as she brings them up to hook over my thighs.

“They can’t take you away again. No. I can’t do this anymore.”

I hear them approaching. Six units, two rolling heavy with ranged firepower, two clattering with ten man fire teams, one jingling with the medical team and one silent with command damping.

She hugs me hard and looks up at me. So small. So very precious. I agree with her totally. This time, we will not be separated. She senses my resolve and smiles with shimmers playing across her eyes in the unshed tears. Her words are a whisper with an adamantine core.

“We stay together or we go together.”

I nod. It was inevitable that it would come to this. So sad but so right. A love such as this cannot be denied by the actions of others. She slips from my arms and leans back against me.

“Show me, Sam. Show me what makes the enemy cry and why those who brought you back fear you so much.”

The acceptance in her voice is a release for my final doubt. I straighten up and deploy. Three metres of silken black ceramic biped blossoms as the shutters on my back release and tensor wings unfurl, blue-green in the streetlights. They arc two metres above my head and spread a metre either side of me. The irises on my forearms and calves open and my nyotentacles extend, their tips fading into invisibility where the monomolecular edges begin. My eyes are covered by silver lenses as my tactical comes up. I feel the faint vibration as my head deforms, rising in two peaks to reveal the needle laser cluster above the chronomantic array in my nasal cavity. With a casual flick of my elbow I drive a nanofilament down into the ground, fraying out to grab power feeds and data lines. I charge my combat arrays and my laminate dermal armours sparkle with slate fields. With a thought, I find that I can shape the fields around her as long as she remains in physical contact. My diagnostics tell me the little black gun she carries is a piconuke launcher with a ten pack. I pass the mapping of my environment to the augmentations and return to normal perceptions. Her voice shows as warm blue waves that fade into words as I shift sensory inputs.

“…beautiful, Samuel. My reincarnate angel, will you fly me away when you go?”

I have a voice in this form: “I shall. Never to be parted again.”

She smiles, tears still running down her face. The convoy turns the corner and screeches to an untidy stop when they see me fully deployed. No contrition this time. From the limo, a black uniformed figure strides down the road to stop a few steps away and regard us with her hands on her hips and tears in her eyes.

“Samuel, I give up. Despite the screaming of my scientists, I am going to take empirical proof and give you and Talia married quarters. Then we can all try to work out what they did right, because I am actually jealous of you two.”


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