202 Voice of a Friend
"Zoey! Is that you?" Taigen's voice came through Zoey's earpiece as soon as she connected to his Eve.
"One and the same. How are things going?" Zoey replied.
While Taigen filled her in on what he had been up to, Zoey never stopped working on her interface. She was using all the Eves to gather information and form a plan about what to do next.
She paused for a moment when Taigen told her what happened to the Barron and his men, glancing at the brunette still working on Cornelius's corpse in the corner. Zoey guessed from Taigen's description that she was who he had seen.
"That woman, she shouldn't be a threat to us. I think she was only hunting the Cornelius's men," Zoey told him.
"Got it! So, what do you want us to do? We have been wandering around for hours with no clue where to go," Taigen complained, his voice exasperated.
"Sit tight for a minute. I'm working on getting everyone connected. I'll send you instructions soon."
Zoey broke the connection and kept working on her interface. She was modifying the Eves to identify threats and identify if her people were at high risk. She could already see several groups of survivors on the portion of the city that her signal had scanned, so she just wanted to make sure that everyone was safe and sound.
The next step would be to coordinate the groups to gather in a location where hopefully, she could get everyone safely back on board the Stella Tenebris, that is if she could even find the cruiser.
She was already directing Eve to coordinate the various groups to move, sending them to nearby locations that looked safe. Meanwhile she directed groups of the stronger individuals to go out and collect any stragglers that had gotten lost, streaming orders and directions straight to everyone's Eve.
Two groups of her crew that she located had been under attack from leftover noble forces, but luckily Zoey managed to send reinforcements in time to avoid any casualties.
But others had not been so lucky. Zoey's scan found a group of ten Eves that sent back responses indicating that their owners were deceased. Zoey used the Eves to perform a proximity scan, using the overlapping signals to create a real-time projection to view the scene. She discovered that the culprits were a group of noble soldiers, and they just so happened to be looting the bodies of those they killed when Zoey had discovered them.
Her eyes grew cold at the sight, hands becoming stiff as she watched them laugh and joke as they stripped the belongings from her crew. They had clearly acted with ill intent, after all, the ones that they had killed were noncombatants! She could not let this go unpunished.
A moment later, a shadow took form before Zoey. Smoke swirled and shadows expanded until the feline form of Viridi stood there in all her magnificent glory. Her midnight black fur shone with luster, and her emerald green eyes were alight with a fierce glow. The armored spines along her back were shiny, and her claws were sharp, digging into the metal tiles as if they were soft turf, and her long tail swished back and forth with predatory grace.
Zoey smiled and rubbed the top of her friend's head, and Viridi licked her arm affectionately. They both had not seen each other for a while, and it was nice to be together again. But their reunion celebration would have to wait.
"Go," commanded Zoey.
In a flash, Viridi disappeared, sprinting away through the metal halls of the city, heading full speed towards her target. Zoey had given her the path to where her crew had been killed, and Viridi was tasked with recovering the Eves of the fallen, and with punishing those responsible. Those noble soldiers had no idea that death was on its way towards them.
Zoey's eyes nearly crossed when a loud yell suddenly blasted through her earpiece. The caller of course, was Athena. Zoey easily recognized the rich musical timbre of her friend, although Zoey wondered why she was contacting her now. A moment later, she realized with a shock that Athena's signal was showing up on her interface as being on the flying city! And on the upper surface no less!
"What the hell Athena! How did you end up here with us?" Zoey asked in shocked surprise.
"I'll tell you all about it later hun! How you been holding up?"
Zoey sighed and shook her head, happy that Athena was here even though her presence raised more questions.
"I'm doing ok, working on getting everyone grouped up and safe," she replied as she looked at her interface to see who she was with. "I see you met up with Baiken and Markus?"
"Yeah, the gal is a looker for sure!" Athena said playfully as she winked at a blushing Baiken. "I am a little surprised to see you having a noble on a leash though. Will he be a problem?" Athena asked, switching to a more discrete mental voice.
Zoey paused when Athena asked that. She went over what she knew of Markus and the recent events with Cornelius. She did believe that Markus was trying to make good with the second chance she had given him, but if he decided to go back to his old ways… she would not be merciful again.
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"He gets one chance. If he turns on us, it's over for him." Zoey replied grimly.
Athena sniffed in acknowledgement, then said, "He claims the person that was trapped in that crystal his brother broke was his sister. You know about that?
Zoey's eyes widened That was something she had not known. All she had heard was Markus screaming to not let Cornelius break the crystal back on the ship before everything had gone crazy. She had no idea that their sister had been sealed inside! That crazy aura she had sensed had been hers?!
"Damn, that's gonna be trouble," she said with a sigh.
"Chin up hun, that's why I'm here," Athena said. "If she shows up, I'll keep her busy."
"Thanks Athena. I need to get back to finding the others Ok? Let me know if anything comes up," Zoey said as she glanced at the alerts on her interface.
"Sure thing hun, just stay safe!" Athena replied.
Zoey disconnected and went back to work. She still had too many groups stranded in areas that were unsafe and she needed to get them to safety.
She was so busy that she never realized that she had sat down and Max had fallen asleep on her lap. She also missed the brunette as she stealthily left the room, leaving behind a dissected noble corpse in her wake.