Several pillars of smoke rose into the the sky from several fires that burned atop Enforcer Headquarters. From the perspective on the ground, it was difficult to see the full extent of the damage, but Felina imagined the flight deck was likely in ruins. Long shadows from the city’s skyline put the streets in a twilit hue, diluted somewhat by the haziness of the smoke in the air. Felina couldn’t help but be reminded of the billowing Mt. Dragon Li on Cymric Island, and this setting felt equally ominous.
She walked alone, down the middle of Main Street. There was no traffic, but several piles of of debris from cars and aircraft littered the way. Up ahead, she could see the large steps that led up to the lobby of the building, where several had gathered. From what Felina could see, Callie Briggs, her uncle, Mayor Manx and T-Bone were still restrained to the flagpoles in front of the building. She also couldn’t help but notice that the flags bearing the Enforcer’s emblem had been taken down. Instead, new colors were flying: black flags with red symbols that looked like two uppercase Ys stacked on top of each other. Felina recognized the markings as the same one on Turmoil’s peaked commander’s cap. They also bore a striking resemblance to the markings used by the Chartreaux Pirates during Megakat City’s colonial times.
Several humvees were parked in a row in front of the building, acting as a barricade. Felina could see Turmoil’s female soldiers had set up a waist-high walled perimeter with sandbags. She could clearly see the barrels of M2 Browning machine guns poking over the wall, facing outward.
High above she could see a pair of the Turbokat copies flying in tandem, patrolling the skies, with a third one at rest on the street, behind the established defensive line. Several of the Chinook helicopters were also resting on the streets.
The troops on the ground were on alert, rifles at the ready, at attention at the wall of sandbags. It did not take them long to notice her.
Being dressed like this probably made it easier.
Felina imagined there had been more recent occasions where she had worn her blue-white dress uniform, but the last she knew of for certain was her graduation from OCS almost ten years ago. Today, the tightly buttoned, pressed waistcoat with large cuffs that covered up almost half her forearms, with a rigid collar grasping her neck, a four-inch wide white belt wrapped snugly across her midsection, white gloves, tight white trousers, and very shiny, black formal shoes made her feel out of place amid what had no doubt been a war zone earlier. On her head, she wore her own peaked cap, with the Enforcer emblem on the front in gold-select, reflecting her former first lieutenant status.
She had not bothered to return the uniform upon her demotion, just as she had not given up the other item that was currently in its scabbard which was attached to her belt. It was the last item that completed the ensemble, and in many ways the most important. It was the Mameluke sword, the symbol of duty, courage and accomplishment.
Turmoil’s soldiers looked unimpressed, and brought their rifles up, taking aim.
Felina stiffened, standing upright, her chin held high. It was a stance of attention so rigid it was making her have flashbacks of BCT.
“Just a moment,” a voice called out with authority.
The soldiers relaxed their stances and lowered their weapons.
Emerging from behind the soldiers, the vampiric cape flowing behind her, the epaulettes squaring her shoulders, and the peaked cap resting low on her head, Turmoil walked forward. Felina was just now realizing how quiet things were, as each booted step Turmoil took clacked one after the other.
Her expression was difficult to read. Was it surprise? Annoyance? Amusement? Felina couldn’t tell. She stood there, unmoving, as Turmoil reached her, and casually circled her. Felina felt as though she were being examined like a mannequin in a department store.
Turmoil came full circle and now stood in front of her, scratching her chin in thought.
“You clean up well, Miss Feral,” Turmoil said. “I suppose it’s fitting for one to be wearing their best for their own funeral.”
Several white flakes began to slowly descend from above, and once again Felina found the drastic difference in weather from the tropical jungle she had been in the day-before-yesterday to be strangely unsettling. After being forced to use a motorcycle in the winter, she had grown to dislike snow, and she didn’t view its presence now as a good omen.
“I’ve come before you today to issue a challenge,” Felina said, keeping her attention facing forward.
“Oh?” Turmoil asked, and put a hand on her hip.
Out of the corner of her eye, Felina could see that among the soldiers several reporters were on hand. Their video cameras were now trained in her direction.
Figures. Turmoil would want the media present for the executions.
“I’ve come here today,” Felina said, speaking louder so that everyone could hear, “to challenge you to a duel.”
“Really?” Turmoil asked, and crossed her arms. “And what makes you think I’ll accept this challenge?”
Felina swallowed, hoping that it wasn’t too noticeable.
This is it. Time to see if Lt. Durov’s story was an exaggeration or not…
“Because I know that you have a code of honor. An understanding. You appreciate the fighting chance. No matter the opponent,” Felina said. “I’m here today as a proud member of the Megakat City Enforcers, to represent the city you have defeated.”
Felina chose her words carefully, wanting to elevate the stakes in a dramatic, yet still respectful fashion. Something theatrical that would appeal to Turmoil’s eccentricities without offending them.
“This is a very bold move,” Turmoil said. “I could snap my fingers and my soldiers would not hesitate to kill you.”
To emphasize the point, Turmoil raised up her hand and rubbed her middle-finger and thumb together, as if to tease a snap. The soldiers once again raised their weapons. Felina could feel perspiration starting to form on her brow. She resisted looking down the numerous barrels pointed at her, instead keeping her focus on Turmoil in front of her.
“You could,” Felina admitted. “But you won’t.”
“And why is that?” Turmoil asked.
“Because unlike many today, you appreciate the tradition,” Felina said, using her own words against her. “And, I’d like to think that when you approached me, we, too, had an understanding.”
Turmoil stood there a few moments, apparently in consideration. Finally, her mouth cracked into a smile.
“You would have fit in quite nicely among us,” Turmoil said, and she extended her hand to her side, holding her gloved palm open. The soldiers lowered their rifles.
Captain Elizaveta, now having completely discarded her disguise, emerged from the soldiers wearing her red beret and combat fatigues. In her hands she was carrying a sheathed sword, which she handed to her leader. Turmoil took the sword without looking, as she reached to her neck and unlatched her cape.
It slid free of her shoulders and dropped to the street.
Elizaveta turned to walk away, not making eye-contact. Felina briefly wondered if the loyal subordinate really shared Turmoil’s appreciation of theatricality-driven duels, or if she just quietly tolerated them.
Turmoil grasped the hilt of her sword. The same sword she had used to cut off Dark Kat’s hand, Felina noted. Megakat City’s conqueror grasped the top of the scabbard with her other hand as she slowly drew the blade, the minimal twilight illumination glinting brightly off the sharp weapon.
“Name your stakes,” Turmoil said cooly as she held up the blade, dropping the empty scabbard to the ground.
Felina grasped the hilt of her own Mameluke sword and slowly drew it, rolling her wrist to hold it up in similar fashion.
“You don’t execute your captives, your forces leave the city, and if you survive, you leave with them,” Felina said. “Yours?”
Now Turmoil’s smile widened.
“Only one,” Turmoil said. “Your life.”
Felina swallowed again. Despite the chill air and the fluttering flakes of snow falling around her, a droplet of perspiration ran down the side of her face.
“Agreed,” Felina said, and then took a wider stance, her leading foot matching her arm as she raised the blade in an en guard position.
As Turmoil began to take up Felina’s entire focus, she couldn’t help but look past her toward the four captives. They were less than a football field’s length away, and from their slightly elevated positions, able to see everything. Though it was hard to tell at this distance, Felina imagined she could see Callie Briggs mouthing the words “what are you doing?”
And then it came. Movement. Incredibly fast. At the last possible second, Felina brought up her Mameluke sword to block. Turmoil had attempted to strike with a rapid chop. The impact of the blades rattled her wrist, and she lost her footing, fell backward and landed on her back. Felina quickly scrambled back and got to her feet again, ignoring whatever embarrassment she was feeling.
Turmoil did not capitalize on the moments of vulnerability.
“You have good reflexes,” Turmoil complimented, her free hand on her hip, sword pointed down to the ground. “A lesser opponent would’ve been cut in half.”
Felina recognized the relaxed stance as the same one Turmoil had taken in her duel with Dark Kat, and began to recall Jake’s instructions. It was an invitation to attack.
Just keep within six feet of her for ten minutes.
Felina could see Turmoil still wearing the earpiece, and the transmitter Jake had given her was tucked inside of her dress uniform’s top. Felina had accomplished the first part of her plan: convincing Turmoil to engage in this duel. Now, the second part of the plan was in motion.
I’m not sure I’m going to last ten minutes against her.
Felina knew she couldn’t just stall, as Turmoil would sense that and just end it. While Felina had taken several courses in her QRF training that involved melee and edged weapons, including a multi-week formal fencing class, she knew that Turmoil far outclassed her.
This had better work, Jake, because if it doesn’t I’m as good as dead.
Felina indulged Turmoil’s invitation to attack, and moved forward with several quick thrusts.
In an ease exemplified with poise, Turmoil did not even lift her sword as she stepped backward, one step for every thrust Felina tried to drive forward, subtly moving her torso to the left and right. Felina’s blade missed by inches each time.
“Good form,” Turmoil said. “You’ve obviously received some training.”
Felina didn’t respond as she felt herself growing frustrated. When she’d first thought of this plan she couldn’t help but entertain the notion of actually defeating Turmoil in a duel. But, the chances of that occurring seemed to grow more remote by the second.
“Since we’ve established you know how to handle a sword,” Turmoil began, and then drew hers up at last to finally block one of Felina’s thrusts, stopping her advance dead in its tracks.
Felina’s arm protested at the abrupt halt.
“Perhaps we can analyze why you’re not doing so well,” Turmoil finished, and then with a precision Felina had never before witnessed, flicked her blade at three points along the Mameluke sword. The consecutive strikes provided enough force to jostle the weapon from her grasp and it clattered off to the side noisily.
Felina was disarmed, her hand empty. She glanced down and to the left to see the weapon resting on the pavement, no more than a few feet away. She contemplated diving for it, but before she could move there was an unsettling feeling on her neck. Turmoil had raised her sword and planted the edge of the blade firmly against her jugular. Felina froze, keeping her neck stiff, her eyes wide.
She couldn’t help but be reminded of Turmoil doing the same thing in her apartment days prior upon a perceived insult to her ancestor Sergey Balikirev. Now, Felina knew, they were far past insults. The coldness of the steel she felt against her neck was testament to that.
“I’d like to think that it’s for the same reason you never used that Glock of yours on me,” Turmoil said.
“And what reason would that be?” Felina asked, deciding that stalling with conversation was now an option, particularly as Turmoil could end her life by just pulling the sword back. The sharpness of the edge would be more than adequate to effortlessly saw right through her neck.
“It’s because you’ve never killed anyone,” Turmoil said.
“Doesn’t mean I couldn’t,” Felina replied.
“Oh, you’re a poster-child for physical excellence, Miss. Feral,” Turmoil said. “I have no doubt that if I was not holding this sword to you now, you could break my bones with your bare hands. Likewise, if this was a gunfight, I’d not be surprised if you bested me. And if we were in the skies, your dogfighting abilities would probably be on par as well.”
“Thanks for the compliments,” Felina muttered, her chest moving in and out with mild exasperation as she tried to awkwardly catch her breath.
“But, despite what you might think, for all your bravado, tough-talk and posturing, you’ve never killed anyone,” Turmoil said. “And ultimately, that’s why you’re going to lose.”
Felina pondered that statement, ignoring for the moment how exactly Turmoil knew that particular fact. Felina had indeed spent years learning a skill set that, despite all the colorful euphemisms many tried to pretty it up with, was ultimately meant to do one thing. And that was to take another’s life. It was a cold fact that Felina had never fully come to grips with, and on the few occasions she had been in a position to execute those abilities, the situation had always turned out for the better. Sure, she’d put bullets into her fair share of creatures and monsters. Could probably fill a landfill with those. But when it came to people, well, that was a different story. Secretly, she had always been thankful for that.
In her line of work, and the situations she seemed to be finding herself in more and more frequently, she knew that unfortunate milestone was probably inevitable. Someday, someone wasn’t going to give her a choice.
And from the looks of things right now, that day might be here.
“Had you accepted my offer, we could have helped you work through that,” Turmoil said. “Helped you realize your full potential. But instead, here you’ll die, because of your own self-imposed limitations.”
Felina could see Turmoil’s soldiers had formed a weak perimeter around the street, their weapons low but ready. The media was still present, their cameras rolling. Felina could just barely hear Ann Gora in the distance speaking into her microphone.
“…confirmed that this lone individual is in fact former Enforcer lieutenant Felina Feral…” Ann was saying, though the rest was hard to make out.
Felina wondered what Callie Briggs, her uncle, T-Bone and even the mayor made of all this. Felina knew that if it was her tied up there, facing a firing squad, she’d be feeling really frustrated right now, watching this duel unfold and being unable to do anything. Though, it’d also be a nice distraction from the imminent execution, too, she thought.
A distraction from dying would be nice about now.
Felina felt that her life was a speeding freight train about to reach the end of the tracks, with no working brakes or room to stop. She hadn’t felt this resigned even when she was in the mayor’s office the day prior, confronted by Captain Elizaveta and being forced to fall out the skyscraper’s window.
Of course, I hadn’t had time then to contemplate the severity of the situation either.
Turmoil seemed to be savoring every passing second, cementing Felina’s guesses that she enjoyed putting others through as much strife as possible.
“Perhaps you’re now realizing a bullet would’ve been far quicker and less humiliating,” Turmoil said. “You’d never know what happened. But, this is the way you’ve chosen. As an example to others who may rise against the new order, maybe I should let you live a few moments more to witness the deaths of your friends.”
Felina’s eyes narrowed.
No more pretenses. No more personal reflections. Just action.
Felina imagined that the most rational move would’ve been to attempt to withdraw from the blade, moving away from it in the hopes that it’d somehow miss her neck. But, Turmoil would be expecting that. Instead, Felina quickly moved forward, and brought her left forearm up, pushing the sword out and away.
A cold fire raced across the flesh that connected with the edge of the blade, the sleeve of her dress uniform slicing open and turning crimson. The sword had been safely directed away from her neck, and Turmoil’s eyes widened in surprise. There was an opening, and Felina took it, continuing the momentum and shouldering into Turmoil. It was a close, awkward attack, but it worked.
Turmoil stumbled at the impact, taking several steps backward, giving Felina enough clearance to reach down and pick up her Mameluke sword, once again raising it.
She winced as she held the weapon at the ready in her right hand, as she started to lose the sensation in her left arm. Felina could barely move the fingers on her left hand as droplets of blood dripped through the finger tips of the formerly white glove.
Turmoil regained her composure, and held her sword up again.
“Well, I suppose that means we’re done talking,” Turmoil said.
This time, she moved offensively, making several light thrusts and cuts which Felina tried to parry, successfully doing so three of the four times. On the fourth strike, Turmoil’s blade sliced across Felina’s shoulder, dicing through the insignia, and she couldn’t help but let out an involuntary gasp of pain.
Felina began to move laterally as Turmoil matched. Both opponents were now orbiting the other, with Turmoil making light strikes every so often. None of her attacks seemed intended to finish the fight. Instead, they were wearing Felina down, as she narrowly managed to block the thrusts and cuts, though a few managed to penetrate. A minor slash across the abdomen. A light stab in her thigh. Felina’s left arm now felt like it wasn’t there, and it hung lifelessly. She was now almost completely out of breath, and growing tired. It was a strange and unsettling tired. Her body felt like it wanted to do nothing but stop. Her vision was getting blurry as she began to get lightheaded.
Must be the blood loss…
Time was moving slower. What were probably seconds felt much longer. And yet, somehow, she was managing to keep defending. Bringing the sword up to parry, then attempt to strike herself, only to be frustratingly blocked. Felina had a height advantage, and a greater reach, but it didn’t seem to be helping. Thus far, her Mameluke sword hadn’t done any damage to her opponent.
Felina felt her stamina waning, and with a last exasperation that was more a desperate grunt than a shout, she successfully parried and then lunged forward, putting the remainder of her energy into it. Turmoil had forced her into a corner, both physically and mentally, and now it was time. Time to take that extra step against someone who wasn’t giving her a choice. Felina thrust the blade with no illusions about what she was trying to do.
I’m going to take your life.
Turmoil seemed caught off-guard by the burst of energy, her expression of smug confidence evaporating. The tip of the Mameluke sword headed straight for her gut. Felina drove it with all of her remaining strength.
The blade penetrated.
And then, it kept going with a tearing sound as Felina found herself falling forward. At the last possible moment, in the ballerina-like movement she had demonstrated in her duel with Dark Kat, Turmoil had spun on her heel. Felina’s Mameluke sword had still struck her, though it had done so non-fatally, instead skimming across her side and through her uniform. Turmoil’s midriff was now exposed, with a large gash going across the side, just above her hip. Turmoil staggered back, her free hand grasping at the wound, unable to hide her surprise.
Felina couldn’t help but smile at that, and kept moving forward, exhausted and unable to stop her momentum as she collapsed to the ground on her hands and knees. The blurriness was reaching from the edges and into the center of her vision.
Turmoil staggered forward, doing her best to hide the pain in her voice.
“I have to hand it to you,” Turmoil said as she approached Felina and stomped on her right hand.
Felina shouted out in pain and lost her grip on the hilt of her Mameluke sword as Turmoil kicked it away. It skidded a short distance across the street, offsetting some of the accumulated snow.
Turmoil let go of her side, stood in front of the kneeled Felina and reached forward, grabbing tightly onto her black hair, knocking the dress uniform’s peaked cap off her head. For the briefest of moments Felina wondered how it had managed to stay atop her head this entire time.
“It’s be a long time since I’ve felt someone else’s blade,” Turmoil said, and pulled upwards, forcing Felina to look up. With her other hand, Turmoil placed the tip of her sword against Felina’s chest. In one quick motion Turmoil could skewer her through the heart.
Felina had nothing left to say. Sunset had come and gone, the skies above still glowing with snow-clouds and the smoke from fires. White flakes continued to flutter down.
She had given it her all, and the best she’d managed to do was delay the inevitable. At best give some people a few extra minutes before they’d be shot dead.
Delay…delay…why does that feel like that means something?
“Goodbye, Miss Feral,” Turmoil said, and Felina could feel the tip of the sword slowly start to poke into her chest through her clothes.
Just as Felina was starting to feel the prick of her flesh being cut into, Turmoil stopped, and drew back, her free hand going to her earpiece. Felina could just barely make out what sounded like a panicked voice shouting through the tiny device’s speaker as she fell backward at Turmoil’s release. Felina managed to prop herself upright on her right elbow.
“Say again, Balikirev actual,” Turmoil said out loud, seemingly forgetting that Felina was even there.
She paused, listening for a response, and her expression became alarmed as her eyes began to look up. Earlier the Turbokat copies had been flying in tandem patrols over the Megakat City skyline. They were still there, but now, they were abruptly changing course. Even from this distance with the lowered visibility of nighttime, Felina could see multiple contrails going out from the Turbokats, with an orange, cigarette glow leading each.
The contrails streaked out, too many to count, all of them headed in the same direction due east, disappearing behind the tall buildings of downtown. Muffled explosions echoed through the night sky. Felina recognized the direction as Megakat Bay, near the docks.
Razor did it…
Another loud shout could be heard from Turmoil’s earpiece, which abruptly cutoff and became silent.
“Balikirev actual, respond!” Turmoil said, now shouting into her wrist.
Felina could see Turmoil’s soldiers glance at one another. Their earlier stoic appearance was starting to be replaced with expressions of concern. Behind them, the Turbokat that had been parked on the street came to life on its own, unpiloted. Its engines roared as it climbed vertically, catching them off guard and sending many flying back from the exhaust. Some of the settled snow near Felina was kicked up as well, and she drew up her only working hand to cover her eyes, rolling to her side as she did so.
Turmoil scowled, her full attention seemingly on the rising aircraft.
The Turbokat copy climbed high up above, and then hovered in place. It began to rotate mid-air. Moments later, Felina could see it deploy what looked to be its entire payload of air-to-air ordnance. The contrails of the missiles streaked in all directions.
Wait, not all directions.
The missiles streaked out in deliberate pairs, and soon found their targets: the other Turbokat copies. At the last possible second, each of the doomed jets’ pilots ejected as their respective aircraft were engulfed in explosions, brightly illuminating their parachutes. Felina counted eight distinct fireballs in the night sky.
The last remaining Turbokat that had initiated the attack on the others swooped back down, still in its vertical flying mode, and hovered above the streets at about 25 feet, facing Turmoil’s soldiers. Though it was hard to explain how, Felina imagined it to be an aggressive posture.
The soldiers did not hesitate as they brought their rifles up and opened fire. The emplaced .50 caliber machine guns also came to life. The report of the gunfire was terribly loud, and the high-rises added to the noise with a rancorous echo. The muzzle flashes were almost blinding, and out of reflex, Felina ducked down as far as she could on the street, her chin on the pavement, ignoring the protest her body’s wounds made.
Turmoil did not take cover, and stood defiantly, watching as the rounds pelted off the rogue jet in bright sparks. Perhaps if the volley had been sustained, Turmoil’s troops may have had a chance of downing the aircraft. But they did not have the opportunity to find out, as a panel slid open on the jet’s fuselage, and a rotary-cannon moved out on a telescoping arm. It roared to life, and began to shoot at Turmoil’s troops with an impressive rate of fire.
One by one, most were mowed down by the rogue jet. Felina winced as each soldier was hit, and either went flying back or fell to the ground unmoving. At least a hundred personnel down. Felina grimaced at the scene, but quickly noticed something strange. For a massacre of that scale, there was no horrific scene to be found. No missing limbs or crimson stains. In fact, there was something else present. A gray substance that had splattered in various places, and that was when Felina remembered.
That cannon’s shooting cement.
Nearly all of Turmoil’s troops had been disabled by the Turbokat’s cement machine gun. Felina emphasized the word “nearly” in her mind, as she saw it had missed one in particular, the red beret still atop her head.
Captain Elizaveta emerged from cover, behind one of the parked humvees, and produced a large, shouldered-fired weapon. Felina recognized it as a recoilless rifle, with at least an 84mm bore. Probably a Carl Gustav. Elizaveta loaded what looked to be a baseball bat-sized HEAT round into the weapon, and then took aim. Normally, shooting that type of weapon at an aircraft would be pointless, Felina thought, but at that range…
Elizaveta fired, the rocket exhaust shooting out the back of the weapon as the explosive projectile zoomed upwards. In an instant, the left engine of the Turbokat exploded into flames and the aircraft tilted at an angle. It went out of control, swerved down the street and exploded in a fireball. Felina closed her eyes as she felt small pieces of debris fall around her.
When she opened them again, she saw the thin layer of snow on the street had melted from the heat. And, it wasn’t the only thing she saw. Elizaveta had made her way over to Felina, and was now in the process of drawing her sidearm from its holster.
Nearby, Turmoil still had her back turned, ignoring what her underling was doing, distracted by the uninvited destruction that had been wrought to her forces.
Elizaveta’s Stechkin pistol looked large and menacing as she held it steadily with both hands, and took aim, pointing the muzzle down directly at Felina. She pulled the hammer back with her thumb, and it clicked loudly into place.
On the ground, at that range, there was nothing Felina could do.
“I guess we found out who’s better,” Elizaveta said, with just the hint of a smirk on her cold face.
Felina stared up, determined not to close her eyes.
Felina involuntarily jumped at the noise, her nerves rattled. But, much to her surprise, she was still alive. She looked past the barrel of the gun that was pointed in her face, and saw that Elizaveta’s smirk had disappeared. The red beret fell off her head as Turmoil’s lead soldier collapsed to the ground unmoving. The pistol she had been holding clattered on the pavement.
Elizaveta was dead.
Felina blinked, and then sat upright, glancing to the left and then the right, trying to see where the shot had come from. Down the street, on the other side of the sandbag barricade, at the steps of Enforcer Headquarters, were the restrained prisoners. They were still tied to the flagpoles. Though, she only counted three.
T-Bone had managed to get free from his restraints, and Felina saw him standing at the halfway point of the steps. He was holding up what looked to be an AK-74, one of the rifles Turmoil’s soldiers had probably lost when the Turbokat attacked them. There was just a hint of smoke coming from the barrel. From his expression, he was doing so rather painfully, and he dropped it to the ground, grabbing at his still injured shoulder with his other hand.
Felina groaned as she forced herself to get to her feet, grabbing at the dropped Stechkin with her right hand. She limped forward and raised the weapon up.
Turmoil was still standing with her back turned. In the background, Felina saw out of the corner of her eye that the doors of Enforcer Headquarters were opening and several officers began to make their ways outside.
Must’ve been barricaded in…
“You realize,” Turmoil said, speaking over her shoulder. “That all of this doesn’t change anything.”
Felina didn’t respond as Turmoil turned around, facing Felina, her dueling sword still in hand.
“Your city’s government will return to its corrupt ways. Someone else will rise up to take Dark Kat’s place and threaten the citizenry. The gold I’ve injected into your economy will be squandered. You’ll be writing parking tickets, ” Turmoil said. “And when all of that happens, I’ll be waiting, and return to exact my purpose for this place once again.”
Felina frowned, and raised the pistol more aggressively, taking aim.
“Ah,” Turmoil said, and then dropped her sword to the street where it clanged loudly, and raised both hands, elbows at her side, in a half-hearted gesture of surrender. “I surrender, Miss Feral. Or, have you finally learned something at last?”
Felina gritted her teeth, the wound on her chest providing a sore reminder about what had almost happened.
“Be bold,” Turmoil said. “Set an example and others will follow. Then, just maybe, this weak city will have a chance. Prove yourself by pulling that trigger.”
Felina felt the edge of the trigger with her index finger, feeling the smooth curve of it. The hammer was already cocked back. It’d take only the lightest pull.
How many Enforcers had Turmoil killed during all of this? How many had she hurt? She was going to execute your uncle, the mayor, T-Bone and Callie. She was unapologetic about it, and only by the narrowest of margins was she now standing in front of you, defeated. If you let her live, what’s to say she’ll stay defeated? Right now you can make sure this never happens again.
In the distance the Enforcers were making their way forward. In less than a minute they’d reach them.
And that’s when Felina recalled her earlier epiphany on the steps of City Hall the day prior.
Turmoil’s offer had been tempting, but like many things in life it would’ve been too easy. Too easy to just destroy everything instead of making it better. Too easy to ignore solving the city’s problems by refocusing on something else. Too easy to blame those in charge, when the responsibility was shared by everyone. Even me…
Felina lowered the handgun, and pressed forward on the safety switch with her thumb, de-cocking the hammer.
“I don’t have to prove anything,” Felina said, and then walked away. The last glimpse she had of Turmoil was the beginnings of an expression of anger. Several Enforcers rushed past Felina, and over her shoulder she could hear them taking the would-be despot into custody.
Felina looked toward Enforcer Headquarters and saw the trio of remaining prisoners being freed by several officers. The Mayor appeared relieved, and her uncle was beginning to issue orders to those around him. Callie Briggs glanced in Felina’s direction.
T-Bone was nowhere in sight, and Felina sighed. She felt thankful he’d been there, but also guilty he’d had to do what he did on her behalf.
“We don’t have a punchcard,” a voice said, and Felina saw a familiar face coming through the growing crowd. The same paramedic who’d revived her twice in one night.
“You should,” Felina said, and then gestured to her injuries as she limped forward. “Because I think this is worth at least one free sandwich.”
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