The rain had been constant, falling in sheets all day. It was the kind of rain that chilled you to the bone, made you want to be home with a cup of something warm. But they were here, on Tantalus IV, for the Gate, and everything had gone wrong from the start. Martinez had just started interfacing with the Gate when the pulse beam took his head off, and Christie hadn't been far behind. She tried to cover them- she was security on this mission- but they were in a crossfire and she went down quickly. He had just looked at her, at the eyes staring, unblinking, into the driving rain, until Anna had snapped him out of it.
"Come on! We have to go," she screamed over the wind. Somehow the Gate was still open- thank God for that- and it was humming. All they had to do was step through. But Christie was just lying there...
Anna was pulling him now, and it was a miracle they hadn't been hit. He couldn't pinpoint where all the fire was coming from, but...there. A flashpoint. With a roar he raised his weapon and fired, causing something to erupt in flames, but whether it was the shooter or just the cover they were using he couldn't say. Not caring, he fired again, repeatedly. Targeting any muzzle flash he saw, he yelled at Anna to go.
"Go! I'll cover you," he screamed into the rain.
"I won't leave you," she called back. "We go together or not at all."
"Go!" he yelled. "We don't have time. I'll be right behind you."
She said nothing, kept firing, then looked at him. "You better be," she said as she looked into his eyes. Then she was gone, diving headfirst through the Gate. He continued to fire into the rain, anywhere and everywhere.
Over the whine of his overtaxed pulse rifle he could hear thunder, and if anything it was raining even harder now. Visibility was zip although he could hear shouts of "take him alive" and "move in." He wondered about that as he sprinted for the Gate. It could shut down at any moment. He heard pulse fire around him, felt more than saw the blast that bloomed in his peripheral vision, and then he was there. I am coming, he thought. And then, with a last look back, he leapt through.
Eric woke, heart racing. He reached over but Anna wasn't there, her side of the bed cold. She didn't come back last night. Should he be worried? Anna could take care of herself, had gone to her place to get some things, but he had assumed she would come back. He picked up his com- no messages- and settled back into his pillow, worrying. With everything going on...
Throwing off the covers he rose and went to the window, peering out at the night sky. The ever- present traffic was there, of course, a swarm of fireflies passing in the night. The lights of the city went on forever. Paxus had always felt safe, easy to lose yourself in. Now even that was shattered, with the news they'd received yesterday. Rogue teams, a "master Gate" having been discovered, and of course the recent attempts on their lives. They'd been assured that they were safe, that they were being watched, but he wasn't so sure. The fact that kill teams had come through the Gate network told him all he needed to know.
His com chimed and he hurried over to the bed to grab it. He was hoping for Anna but instead the call was from unknown. Hesitating, he answered. "Yes?"
There was silence for a moment.
"We need to talk."
"Well, hello Andreas."