Part XIX


Star crouched down, her knees bent to allow her to move instantly in whatever direction might be required. She held the big rifle, a cartridge carefully inserted and locked in the chamber and the little safety lever pulled back to allow it to fire.

The doors opened and Ninety-One surged forward so quickly it caught Star off guard, but it was immediately apparent there was no one else there. The pines bent against the gentle wind and the sun was high in the sky. Star blinked rapidly, trying to adjust to the new bright light, so different from the darkness and subdued light they’d had below and inside the lift. The lift doors stayed open.