Saturday, February 22, 2014

Page a Day: One Hundred Seventy One

            And they were probably dead men anyway, at least if they executed orders. Which weren’t much, actually, just to reach the top, find a place they could see, and stay the hell down until opportunity presented itself. I hadn’t specified which opportunity. That was something of the point. You can’t really know these things ahead of time.

            I sure as hell hoped they managed something now.

            “Right, keep the disks hitched,” I told Ash. “Give us ten breaths. Follow my tail.” He nodded and got doing, barking orders down the line.

            “Valkyries!” I turned on my machine. “To the Stair! Let’s see if we can’t climb faster than the infantry!”

            I went, my eyes pinned on the center of the tiers. If ever there was a time, I thought.              

            And lo! As we neared, with a great grinding sound the ramp in the center of the Stair reared its blessed slope again, sliding up in segments. The earth shook. The water shivered. But it made sense. Taking the control would create a window of time, no more. For their stunt to mean anything, the stranded scouts up there would have had to have had friendly valkyries near the bottom of the stair.

            They’d been waiting for me to show myself, after the fighting turned. Well, one can’t know.

            And I was back now. “Valkyries! Full speed!”

            We left the open ocean behind. The spray sang and salt air filled my lungs. One hundred twenty breaths it took the ramp to cycle. Assuming they had killed whatever bored squad had manned the switch to start with, add a few more for the Augers to get there and do exactly the same to them. I let the line of the docks around the wharf funnel us into the single column we’d need to take the ramp anyway, thirty valkyries wide.

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