Phase 13 - In the Devil's Arms

Mobile Suit Gundam SEED TWILIGHT

Phase 13 - In the Devil's Arms

March 3rd, CE 77 - Poljarny Inlet Naval Installation, Russia

It was almost overwhelming to even Emily's nascent senses as the Twilight Gundam cruised back towards the Minerva. Death was everywhere the inlet was clogged with half-sunken ships, both of the Resistance fleet and the Alliance. The grounds were littered with burnt-out mobile suits and smashed armored vehicles. And there was a blackened swath of destruction from the beach into Murmansk the legacy of the fallen Destroy Gundam.

And to think a few of those smashed buildings and groups of bodies were the work of the Strike.

Emily shook her head the pressure had felt familiar, but she could not place it. She wondered if it was worth it to try.

"Twilight, this is Minerva," Roxy's voice interrupted. "Approach the starboard bay, and bring it in. We're calling it a day."

Emily threw a switch, easing the Twilight down as the Minerva's starboard catapult hatch yawned open. "Roger."

She glanced back at the Destiny as it fell into formation behind her, and wondered how Shinn was feeling.

Earth Alliance Hannibal-class land battleship Bonaparte, Murmansk Oblast, Russia

The maintenance pod room was quiet for all but the soft humming of the machinery and tapping of keys. Harris Meyers crossed his arms and watched it all impassively better that it all be quiet, of course. The last thing he wanted was to have to put up with an awakened and belligerent Kyali.

"Colonel," one of the technicians said, gesturing to the screen, "there's something odd with the brainwaves."

Harris peered at them, expecting the technicians to interpret it because he sure as hell couldn't. "How so?"

"The fluctuations are off," the technician continued. "Indicative of increased emotional intensity, I'd say. Based on this, I would say that she took this last fight unusually seriously."

Harris peered across the room at Kyali, where she lay sprawled and sleeping inside the Plexiglas cocoon. He had been forced to use her block word to get her to return to the Bonaparte, after exhausting all her weapons against that black-colored Destiny unit. It was strange for her to be that tactically unaware of herself.

"Also, colonel," the technician went on, "I would like to take this opportunity to caution you against repeated use of Kyali's block word. It's like an antibiotic "

"Then perhaps Althea should have done a better job of disciplining her," Harris interrupted, glancing testily at the technician. "If she would obey my commands better, I wouldn't need to use the block word."

The technician paused for words. "Kyali is a Class II, sir," he said. "By their nature, they're not as stable as Class I Extended. And if she was a Class III, the only thing she would be good for is sticking her in a mobile suit and setting her loose on the enemy." He paused again. "Besides, every Extended reacts differently to the conditioning. Some become very docile, while others remain more rebellious. It's up to the caretaker to figure out how best to control them."

"That's what you're here for," Harris shot back. "Keep her under control and get her rejuvenated as quickly as possible."

"Yes sir."

Harris swept out of the room in annoyance, shutting the door behind him. He glanced down the hallway, finding a man in the ubiquitous black uniform of the Phantom Pain approaching.

Lieutenant Colonel Yuri Tupolev was the captain of the Bonaparte, and the square-jawed man greeted Harris with a duly-returned salute. "The Minerva will probably be taking off soon, sir," he said. "We guess within the next thirty-six hours. The Charlemagne's projected course data had them going across Siberia towards the Sea of Okhotsk."

"We'll chase them all over Eurasia if we have to," Harris answered, heading towards the bridge with Tupolev at his side. "We have the advantage of knowing the territory better than they do."

"Aye, sir."

"I want to capture one of the Minerva's pilots," Harris continued. "We have the Gamma-Zero maneuver for that. We'll be able to find out where they're going, and see what else we can pull from them. The Minerva is the most famous unit of the Resistance I'm sure they're in frequent contact with the Resistance's leadership."

"A captive Minerva pilot will make a fine gift for your father, as well," Tupolev added.

Harris smiled and shook his head. "I am my father's son," he said, "but I am also Colonel Harris Meyers. And as long as I'm Colonel Meyers, my father will have to be simply Senator Meyers." He glanced at Tupolev. "My duty comes first. I'm sure you understand."

"Perfectly," Tupolev said, nodding.

"Have the mechanics hurry with the repairs to our mobile suits," Harris instructed. "I want to be ready as soon as the Minerva leaves Poljarny. In the meantime, I'm going to call ahead to St Petersburg Regional Base. There's a particular MP unit based there that I'm sure will pull plenty of information from our captive-to-be."

Battleship Minerva, Poljarny Inlet Naval Installation, Russia

Athrun Zala emerged from the cockpit of the Infinite Justice to find Viveka waiting for him, with her overcoat slung over her shoulder. He blinked in surprise, wondering how long she had been there.

"Do you tinker with this thing after every sortie?" she asked with a grin. Athrun shrugged.

"This Gundam is what I am," he said. "It has to be as perfect as I can get it."

Viveka sighed and let it go. "Well, thanks for sticking with me out there," she said. "It was a hell of a battle."

Athrun struggled to push down the bitter memories of Destroy Gundams and slain friends of the past. They had died because he could not protect them he had not been fast enough, accurate enough, strong enough. And the cost was too high.

"It's what teammates do," he answered.

"Yeah, but it felt sort of like you were going out of your way to protect me," she said Athrun blinked in surprise. Had he? "And I kinda felt invincible out there with you." She extended her natural hand. "So thanks."

Athrun hesitantly shook her hand. "I just don't want to lose anymore comrades," he said.

Viveka looked up at him interestedly. "Anymore?" she asked.

Athrun's eyes darkened as he let go of her hand. "It was a long time ago," he mumbled, brushing by her. "And it can't be changed."

Athrun headed off down the gantry, with Viveka glancing after him in confusion.

Strange, distorted pressure. That was the phrase that Emily's mind had settled on as she leaned against the gantry railing, staring up at the dark eyes of her Twilight Gundam. That was what she had felt coming from the Strike. Shinn had said that that was how the Extended felt but could it be possible that the Strike's pilot was the Extended from Murmansk? Were the laws of chance that cruel? She glanced aside as Shinn approached.

"You're still here?" he asked, coming to a stop next to her. "What's wrong?"

Emily turned her eyes back towards the Twilight. "I felt pressure from the Strike during the battle," she said. "It was...different."

Shinn cast a sidelong glance at her for a moment. "It's not worth trying to figure it out," he said; Emily glanced at him hurtfully. "It's better if you don't know." He shook his head, and once again Emily guessed that he was speaking from experience. "It's hard to fight an enemy you know."

"I could feel the pilot's fear..." Emily murmured. "How am I supposed to fight when I can feel my enemy's fear of death?"

"That's the tricky part, isn't it?" Shinn agreed. "In the end it just comes down to how strong you are."

Emily glanced at him. "What if you're not strong enough?"

"I don't think that's something you need to worry about," Shinn said. He shook his head, his smile fading. "But I'm sorry for dragging you into this war. I didn't expect things to turn out like this."

"It's alright," Emily replied. "You've given me a home, and the power to protect it."

Shinn smiled sadly. "That sounds familiar."

Murmansk, Russia

"Goddamn," Auel sighed, "this is awful."

He glanced from the passenger seat of Sting's beat-up jeep as they cruised down the streets of Murmansk. Everywhere, it seemed, there was destruction. There was no hope of driving on the streets that the Destroy had been through what streets still existed were choked with emergency vehicles, trying to rescue survivors and recover bodies. The latter was a task neither Extended wanted to see, so they had decided to stay in the parts that the Destroy had not decimated. But even those areas had seen catastrophic damage it would take Murmansk a long time to rebuild.

"A whole lot of people died here for no reason," Sting said grimly. "I guess it's a good thing that we were able to stop it before it killed anymore, but still..." He shook his head. "Damn the Phantom Pain."

Auel glanced towards one of the ruined buildings, where an ambulance was being loaded with bodies whether they were living or dead, he could not tell. "Those Destroys," he mumbled. "Were they...were they made for us?"

Sting glanced over at him, pulling over to the side of the road as another ambulance went barreling past, siren screaming. "Neo wanted Stella to pilot the first one," he said. "Do you mean you and me specifically, or the Extended in general?"

Auel was silent a moment, watching a man and woman sobbing over the bloody body of a child. "Either or," he said. "Those Destroys...were we supposed to pilot them?"

"Probably," Sting said, pulling back onto the road. "Like I said, Neo was going to have Stella to pilot the first unit. Before she, y'know, left."

"We were supposed to do things like this," Auel murmured. "We were supposed to cause so much pain..."

"That's all the Alliance made us for," Sting said. "But the thing that you need to remember is that we're free."

"We are," Auel said, "but what about the other Extended?"

"We have our freedom," Sting answered, "and we're using it so that someday, they'll be free too." He tightened his grip on the steering wheel. "And we also have power. So until the other Extended are as free as we are, we can use our power to stop things like this from happening." He glanced over at Auel. "I think that's what Lee would have wanted."

Auel sighed, as the car passed another ambulance. "I guess."

March 4th, CE 77 - Battleship Minerva, Poljarny Inlet Naval Installation, Russia

"Let me say again," Pegodin's voice said on the Minerva's main screen, as the bridge crew sat back impatiently, "that we at Poljarny are eternally grateful for your assistance. The mayor of Murmansk sends me with his personal thanks to your pilots, as well, for stopping that beastly Destroy Gundam."

In the captain's chair, Meyrin shrugged awkwardly. "Wherever there's a Destroy unit, you'll find Shinn Asuka turning it into junk," she said. "It's what we do."

"I suppose," Pegodin agreed, "but you will have certainly only added to your illustrious reputation." He offered a crisp salute; Meyrin and Abbey returned it. "Nevertheless, we have been honored to host you and fight alongside you. Farewell, and God go with you to Carpentaria."

"Minerva, ready to disengage from dock," the operator said. The Minerva shuddered as it slid forward, into the freezing water of Poljarny. "All units are clear. Minerva, you are free to navigate."

At the helm, Malik glanced over his shoulder at Meyrin. "Return to course, captain?"

"It'll take some adjusting," Meyrin said, "but we can handle it. Turn east and proceed. We've had enough delays."

Earth Alliance Hannibal-class land battleship Bonaparte, Murmansk Oblast, Russia

"So they've launched," Harris said, standing at the hatch that led out to the Bonaparte's helipad atop its bridge tower. He glanced towards Tupolev, standing at his side, and looked back at the officer who had delivered the news. "Inform the helm to close us into combat range, and have the mobile suit pilots prepare to sortie."

"Yes sir," the lieutenant answered, scurrying towards the bridge. Tupolev opened the hatch, and the two Phantom Pain officers stepped through a blast of cold air and snow onto the helipad. A field green Black Stallion utility helicopter was slowly setting down on the center of the pad, kicking up a wall of snow and dust. The helicopter rattled as it finally landed, and the side hatch swung open.

Harris found himself face to face with a thin, haunting man in a green Earth Alliance Army uniform, with a red beret on his menacing head. The man saluted.

"Major Shawn Bernard, reporting as ordered, sir," he said. Harris returned the salute.

"I see you've brought your men as well," he added.

"My best, sir," Bernard said. "Rest assured, colonel, that any pilot you bring us will crack under my hand."

"I don't doubt it," Harris said, seizing the major's hand in a firm handshake. "We're approaching the Minerva now. Get your unit inside and ready, and we'll have a pilot for you. We have a maneuver specifically tailored to capturing a mobile suit and pilot intact so the ball will soon be in your court."

"Colonel, the Minerva is in range," Tupolev said. Harris smiled.

"Then it's showtime."

Battleship Minerva, Murmansk Oblast, Russia

"Hey, we made CNN again," Roxy chuckled as she kicked back on the bridge, watching the news on a side monitor on her comm console. "And they have that one anchor reporting."

"The gay one?" Burt droned.

"Yeah, but he's so in the closet," Roxy answered, pointing at the screen. "Nice designer executive shirt there, dude."

"We're reporting live tonight from the city of Murmansk in Russia, the Eurasian Federation," the anchor in question began. "Yesterday, it was the scene of a vicious battle between the forces of the Earth Alliance and the Resistance, and we've only just now been allowed access to the city by Murmansk authorities. As you can see, the damage to the city is extensive. Alliance officials report that the Resistance attacked the city to divert Alliance forces, and the Phantom Pain was forced to deploy a Destroy Gundam unit to the city. However, as you can see, it was destroyed in battle, reportedly by the Resistance battleship Minerva and its contingent of mobile suits, known famously as Gundams..."

"Yeah, not like the Destroy had anything to do with that, jackass," Roxy snorted. "Your network's sources of funding are showing."

"The Earth Alliance is a totalitarian state," Burt said quietly. "You can't really sustain a totalitarian state if you can't control the media."

"Well, yeah, but this is two and two," Roxy protested. "Giant fucking mobile suit that has more beam cannons than Lacus Clyne had fan websites goes into a city, and we're the ones who leveled half of Murmansk? Surely their viewers aren't that brain-dead."

"You overestimate the practical reasoning powers of humankind," Burt chuckled. "Besides, journalism hasn't been about the truth since sometime in the 20th century AD. Otherwise CNN wouldn't have a whole division dedicated to thinking up catchy nicknames for us."

Roxy heaved a sigh and tapped the screen off with the tip of her boot. "Well, as long as they leave us alone, those media cocksuckers can do all the spinning they want."

She glanced over her shoulder as something from Burt's console began to beep, and he sat up. "Spoke too soon," he said. "I've got a land-ship approaching from the south. Looks like it might be the one that attacked us at Poljarny."

"Aw, shit, what do they want?" Roxy snarled, seizing the intercom. "Bridge to Captain Hawke and Vice Captain Windsor. We've got an enemy land-ship to the south. Presence on the bridge requested."

The Twilight came online with a hum as Emily strapped herself into the cockpit seat. Another day, another battle but this one was once again against the Phantom Pain. It felt like the first time she was going up against the Phantom Pain proper, with her new Gundam and whatever skills or luck had managed to keep her alive this far. She idly wondered how she would fare.

"Emily," Shinn's voice cut into her thoughts. She looked up at the auxiliary screen. "The Phantom Pain's pilots aren't like the regulars. Stick close to me."

Emily nodded, shutting the screen off and guiding the Twilight into the portside catapult. Roxy's face was next to appear on the screen.

"There's a storm coming in, so get this done quick or your visibility will be shit," she warned. "Launch vector is clear. Twilight, you're free to launch."

Emily braced herself how many more times would she be surprised? "Emily von Oldendorf, Twilight, taking off!"

The Twilight rocketed forward, and Emily ground her teeth as the G-forces pressed her back into her seat. At last, the black Gundam lifted into the air, and she eased it into formation next to the Destiny and Gaia.

"Roxy, give us an enemy count," Athrun's voice said next, as the Infinite Justice roared up into the air.

"Looks like you've got a full battalion, plus five," she answered. "Nothing you guys can't handle, though, right?"

"We'll see," Athrun said grimly. "Visual contact confirmed!"

"Emily, you cover my flank," Shinn instructed, as the Destiny rocketed forward.

Emily pushed down the familiar feeling of dread. She had done this before she could do it again. The Twilight took off after the Destiny, arming its beam rifle. Up ahead, a squad of Jet Dark Windams broke ranks, opening fire with missiles and beams. The Destiny waved its hand contemptuously, sending the missiles spiraling back towards the Windams the Phantom Pain machines desperately cut down their own munitions with a CIWS barrage.

"Here goes nothing," Emily grunted the Twilight deployed its long-range cannon and opened fire with a withering beam barrage to force the Windams back behind their shields. One of them ducked beneath her shots and fired back; Emily yanked the Twilight back into a dizzying backwards dive, as the Minerva's Gundams came up against their attackers.

"Confirming battalion strength," Rau's voice cut in, as the Legend showered a squad of Windams with beams. He glanced towards the Chaos and Abyss, as the black Sword Calamity came streaking in on a sub-wing unit, swords drawn. "As I thought, it's the unit from Poljarny."

Then that white Gundam will be here, Emily thought nervously. And that pressure

Her thoughts screeched to a halt as a wave of beams slammed down onto her beam shield. She drew back with a beam rifle barrage, but her eyes flashed wide in fear as, across the battlefield, the Aile Strike and Aegis came roaring towards her, flanked by a squad of Windams.

"They're both back!" Shinn growled. "Emily !"

"They're coming after me!" she exclaimed. "What should I do?!"

"Fight them, you idiot!" Auel's voice added angrily, as the Abyss pummeled the Sword Calamity with cannon fire. "What else are you doing out here?!"

Emily forced down the fear again and turned her eyes towards the charging mobile suits.

"We have spent countless hours refining the Gamma-Zero maneuver in simulation," Harris told Kyali grimly as the Aegis and Aile Strike sailed into battle. "Now is where you show me that you have mastered it."

Kyali nodded soberly. "Yes sir."

"That black version of the Destiny that you fought at Poljarny appears to be the weakest link in the Minerva's mobile suit complement," Harris continued. "We will focus our operation on that one. Commence attack!"

The two Gundams rocketed ahead, leveling off their beam rifles and opening fire. The Windams followed up the attack with a wave of missiles, forcing the Twilight back behind its beam shield. The Strike lunged forward, switching to its beam saber and rushing in close. The maneuver called for one unit to distract the target while the Aegis moved around the back and of course, she did have a battle to finish.

The Strike brought its saber down with a crash onto the Twilight's beam shield, forcing the black Gundam back with sheer momentum. The Strike surged forward with a blast from its Aile Striker pack the Twilight went reeling, as its pilot struggled to maintain balance.

"Kyali, use the beam rifle!" Harris snapped. "If you're too close, this maneuver won't work!"

Inside the Twilight, Emily searched the skies frantically for her enemies, but a wall of firepower from the Strike and its attendant Windams forced her back again behind her beam shield. "They're all focusing on me!" she wailed. "What do I do?!"

The beams came streaking in again Emily jerked the Twilight to the side, letting them sear by, only to watch the Windams adjust their fire to chase after her. The Strike came charging in close again, beam rifle blazing.

A feeling of danger went shooting up her spine she snapped her attention to the right, and screamed in terror, instinctually pulling the controls back and yanking the Twilight out of the way as the Aegis snapped at her in its mobile armor mode, threatening to close its claws around her.

"What is he trying to do?!" she cried.

Rau's masked face appeared on the auxiliary screen, his ubiquitous smile gone. "They are trying to capture you," he said. "Do not allow the Aegis to get close."

"Capture her?!" Viveka echoed. "How do you know that?!"

"They are using a variation on a tactic that Athrun developed while he was a ZAFT soldier," Rau explained, pausing as something on his end shook. "He used the Aegis's claws to immobilize an enemy, for capture or destruction."

"Why do they want to capture me?!" Emily wailed, taking cover behind her beam shield as the Aegis wheeled around and the Strike showered her with beam rifle shots.

"Emily, focus your fire on the Aegis!" Athrun shouted. "The maneuver can't work if the Aegis is under attack!"

Emily scanned the skies for the red machine, but an instant later the Twilight shuddered as the Strike rammed it with its shield.

"They're blocking me...!" she gasped. "Are they serious?!"

Battleship Minerva

"Why are they trying to capture her...?" Abbey grumbled, as the Minerva shook from a missile's near-miss. "They've never tried this before!"

"The Phantom Pain is famous for its lack of regard for prisoners' rights," Meyrin said, struggling to force down the doubt, "so we can't let them succeed. Burt, find the enemy ship and we'll attack it! We've got to mount a distraction!"

"Distance to enemy land-ship is 975 and closing," Burt reported. "The enemy has a mobile suit force between us and the ship, in addition to the troops currently on the field."

"They're protecting the ship and letting their MS units do the fighting," Abbey noted. "Captain "

"We'll just have to break through," Meyrin cut her off. Talia would not condemn a member of her crew to the chains of the Phantom Pain. "Chen, prepare all weapons. Malik, move us forward."

"Emily, keep away from that thing!" Shinn's voice shouted, as the Twilight desperately dodged a wave of beams. The Twilight rattled as it took another volley of shots to its beam shield, with the Windams hovering hawkishly over her and the Strike charging in, beam saber drawn.

"They're all coming after me!" she wailed. "I can't "

"Emily! Behind you!" Rau's voice roared.

An instant later, the Twilight shook and Emily screamed as the Aegis clamped down on the black Gundam from behind, locking its arms around the Twilight and pointing its beam sabers towards the Twilight's cockpit. It took off with a flash, the Windams and Strike moving in behind it.

"Emily!" Shinn screamed the Destiny took off with a flash, beam wings flaring to life, but a moment later was buffeted by the combined firepower of the retreating Windams as they clustered around their commander. "Dammit, I can't get through!" The Destiny furiously batted the beams aside with its beam shield, only to be nearly struck by another wave. "I won't let this happen again...!"

"You're not taking my sister away from me again!" Viveka shouted. The Savior came roaring out of the sky in mobile suit mode, showering the retreating Windams with beam fire. They answered with a volley of their own that sent the Savior reeling back.

"Viveka!" Athrun cried; the Infinite Justice dropped in to protect the staggering Savior with its beam shield. "Dammit, how could this be happening?!"

"I can't get a clear shot!" Sting grunted, struggling to line up for a beam rifle shot to free the Twilight. "Are you serious?!"

"I won't let this happen!" Shinn roared the Destiny blasted forward, beam wings shining. The Windams deployed their combat flares, and the sky turned white.

Earth Alliance Hannibal-class land battleship Bonaparte

The Aegis slammed down onto the hangar floor with a crash, shaking the entire ship and forcing the captive Twilight to its knees in front of an empty boarding gantry. Black-uniformed, flak-jacketed soldiers of the Phantom Pain, wielding submachineguns, stormed down the thin metal walkway, clustering around the Twilight's cockpit hatch.

"It's locked from the inside!" the sergeant in charge barked. "Colonel, we'll need an external override!"

"On its way!" Harris answered over the loudspeaker, as the Aile Strike landed nearby. A moment later, the hatch swung open, and the sergeant stormed into the cockpit.

"Colonel, is this a joke?" the sergeant asked. "The pilot is a teenage girl!"

"What?!" Harris cried, opening the Aegis's cockpit hatch and climbing out. "Are you serious!?"

The sergeant yanked something out of the Twilight's cockpit, and Harris's eyes widened in disbelief as he locked gazes with Emily von Oldendorf.

"That girl from Murmansk!" he exclaimed. "You've got to be kidding me! She's this thing's pilot!?"

Emily went white with horror as she realized who the officer atop the Aegis Gundam was. The sergeant glanced between Emily and Harris.

"You know her, sir?"

"Captain Bayan said that it might be a kid piloting this thing," Harris said, "but to think that this is the pilot..." He shook his head. "Take her to Major Bernard! She's still a Resistance fighter."

The sergeant and his men yanked Emily down the gantry, frustration mounting as the fear paralyzed her. Her eyes frantically darted around the hangar, falling on the silent Aile Strike Gundam.

In front of the cockpit hatch, eyes wide, Kyali watched with disbelief as the soldiers dragged Emily past.

"E-Emily...y-you're the pilot...?" she whispered brokenly. "You're the Resistance pilot...?"

Emily stared back in horror as the guards dragged her away.

Battleship Minerva


His fist came down hard against the gantry railing, and Shinn Asuka clutched his head in anguish in front of the Destiny Gundam. Athrun, Rau, and a handful of the mechanics watched silently as their ace pilot raged in front of his loyal machine.

"I promised her I wouldn't let this happen!" he screamed. "I promised her I would protect her! DAMMIT!"

Shinn stormed down the gantry with a furious scream.

Athrun glanced over at Rau as he stared pensively after the retreating Newtype ace. The ubiquitous smile was gone, but he was entirely unreadable.

"Why did you warn her?" Athrun asked bitterly.

Rau glanced at him. "We are Newtypes, Athrun," he said. "It will do us no good to be exploited by Djibril."

Athrun glared suspiciously at him, but they both turned at the sound of another furious scream. Down the gantry, Vino backed away as Viveka came storming out of the Savior's cockpit, cursing.

"I certainly would not expect Captain Hawke to abandon her," Rau said, "but we will need to be in a better position when we try to recover her."

"Why do you care about her?" Athrun asked, glaring back at Rau. "You tried to kill the entire human race. What's so special about her?"

"Is this the time to ask that?" Rau countered. "Right now I am more concerned with recovering our ally than keeping you from unraveling an imagined evil scheme."

Rau brushed past Athrun, heading down the gantry. Athrun glared after him, and headed after Viveka.

Earth Alliance Hannibal-class land battleship Bonaparte

Emily was past all thought now, past all trying to rationalize her situation and find a way out. All she could think about were the horrible rumors of what the Phantom Pain did with its Resistance prisoners. The fear that had gripped her in the cockpit of that stolen Windam on the way to Ireland came rushing back, as the black-uniformed soldiers of the Phantom Pain dragged her down the halls of the Bonaparte.

Compounded on that horror was the brief and painful image of the two people who had brought her here. The image of that Phantom Pain officer from Murmansk seared itself back into her brain it was him, that officer, that had captured her and brought her here.

And Kyali had helped him.

A million feelings ran through her mind, as she was yanked around a corner. What would happen to her? Would they torture her, rape her, kill her? What did they want with her? Shinn's baneful warning that the Alliance would turn her into an Extended came roaring back would that be her fate?

A door in front of her slid open with a hiss, and Emily found herself shoved into a dark room. A light in the ceiling came on with a crash, shining down on a single chair, surrounded by the green-uniformed figures of Earth Alliance soldiers.

"So you're the pilot that Colonel Meyers promised me," a sardonic voice laughed. "I would not have expected such a young child, but such is war." Emily felt her heart stop, looking around in terror as the figures began to solidify into the baneful shapes of armed men.

One of them stepped in front of her, grinning down. Emily stared up with trembling eyes at his thin and ghostly face.

"I'm pleased to meet you, miss," he said with a chuckle. "We have much to discuss."

The door slammed shut.

To be continued...