She jumped from an island of mud to a pile of discarded magscooter pieces. Even in the darkness, she jumped with absolute precision, her feet angling perfectly, her balance feline, graceful, intuitive. A derelict warehouse echoed her landing; something was burning inside, two red embers staring at her like demonic eyes.
She stopped and tapped her mocom to retract the mask. Something scuttled across her boots as she shook her hair free, some low-legged creature, so perfectly adapted to its environment that it looked like the mud itself had taken form and come alive. The rancid smell of stagnant puddles made her spit; her spit immediately seized upon by wriggling water creatures feeding and sucking.
She jumped again. Right over a bunch of scrapped (but still working) sunlamps submerged in the muddy water, and then she saw it: one metal container inside a chain-link cage all on its own: Hank’s workshop.
The place was like a physical extension of Hank himself: neons with random words, flashing signs pointing to no place in particular, price displays for things he wasn’t selling. All of them clumped together with the reclaimed junk he couldn’t fit inside the workshop. A kind of forest of mad electric trees and bizarre paraphernalia.
She moved forward but froze suddenly—she became aware of a presence, someone or something approaching. A squelch. She darted sideways without thinking, hiding inside a broken generator, switching her cloaking on and disappearing into a shimmer.
She sat very still holding her breath. The cloaking hummed softly. She sat there listening.
She switched the cloaking off and came out slowly, whispering to her AI, “sensors,” keeping close to a tumbledown wall, crouching in the shadows, treading carefully amid the broken glass.
“Ten metres and closing, two o’clock, north-west: organic, human.”
Electra nodded, her hand already searching for the carbine behind her back. It wasn’t there.
“Five metres,” whispered her AI, Electra tapping her ear implants as if to confirm the message, slinking further down into the shadows, becoming a shadow herself, thin, sly, hearing another small squelch, her muscles primed and tense. She saw a figure turn the corner. A man. A man with a plasma knife. The knife glowing green in the gloomy darkness.