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A short story by

Kal-El Bogdanove

It wasn't. The next three deaths came two days later, a whole family picked off mid-flight. Rin got the story from poor Dium Flecc between gasps of pain as caustic blood ate through what was left of his arm. He'd brought the Torrent, and he'd taken the shot, but he hadn't had the damn sense not to be underneath the thing when he fired.

Mutalisk blood becomes highly corrosive when exposed to atmo, thought Rin. She'd gone on the hypernet and read up on the things the night after her failed assault on the mayor's pigheadedness. There was surprisingly little info, but Rin had learned that little gem before Rita had come in for an early shift and had promptly told her to go the hell home.

Mayor Haskins hadn't said a word since he'd come into the room; he had just gone from pale to pale green and tried to look anywhere but at Flecc.

"Flew right off with 'em. Lord, Rin. Flew right off!" Flecc moaned.

"You did all you could, Dee. I shoulda been up there."

And maybe I should have, thought Rin, though what good I would've been, trying to fight monsters on that damn cliff, is anyone's guess.

Doc Beele gave Flecc something, and he slipped into blissful unconsciousness. As Beele set to lasering the arm off cleanly, Rin turned to Haskins.

"You and I better take a walk."

Outside, bright, clean air swept away the acrid smell of Beele's tiny surgery, and Rin sucked it in gratefully. Haskins panted as if he'd just run a 5K.

"I'm gonna need a link to Strong in an hour. Not tonight, not tomorrow morning. An hour," said Rin.

Haskins nodded so hard his head seemed in danger of detaching as Rin continued, "He's our goddamn Dominion rep. He better get ready to start repping."

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