“Akita General to base, do you read me?”
A crackling voice finally answered. “Base to Akita General. Report.”
“I have visual on Target Cougar. Akita Pack is out of reach. Requesting permission to pursue alone.” From my vantage point near the edge of the forest, I felt more like the cougar watching my prey as it fed in the meadow.
“Is target alone?”
“Permission to pursue. Be careful: she’s dangerous.”
I pulled the locket out from under my shirt – they’d kill me if they knew – and kissed it. “I know. Hail the emperor; Akita General out.”
She was all mine. I’d been hunting her for a good third of my career and now she was here, just within my reach, ready for my revenge. Reaching for my plasma pistol, I kept as low as I could amongst the tall, waving grasses while my target ambled on. It was almost aggravating, really. I was used to the chase, the thrill. Would all my work wind down to an easy shot to the back?
I clutched the locket again. No, we were going to see each other face-to-face. This rebel captain was going to pay for my sister’s disappearance five years ago and she was going to know it. I announced my presence. She whirled around and, quicker than the speed of light, drew her own blaster.
I felt the blood drain from my face, whether from shock or anger, I don’t know. Her eyes widened likewise, but I gave her no chance to respond. I rushed her, keeping her gun away from me, but losing mine in the struggle. Finally, I had her down. My knife over her throat, her gun to my head, the locket dangling between us.
“I don’t want to,” she said.
My throat constricted. “Neither do I.” I drew a shuddering breath. “Hail the emperor.”
Half of the bloody locket now rests in a war museum. People have speculated, created wild tales.
But none of them ever guessed that I’d walked away with a broken heart and my sister’s blood on my hands.
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