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© 1998, 1999  Andrew V. Smith. All Rights Reserved.
2nd Edition
QUARANTINE
Chapter 1: BEST OF (SIMULATED) FRIENDS con't
     After what seemed like an eternity, Lauren reached the inner walls.  She carefully climbed to the highest vantage point she could find.  It was well hidden in the purple leafed trees.  Looking down Lauren saw the shadow figures slowly working their way through the courtyard, looking for at least Jillian.  They held their rifles cautiously pointed ahead of them. Suddenly, a hand barely lying out from underneath and overhanging portion of fallen wall caught Laurenís eye.  That had to be Jillian, and by the looks of the unmoving outstretched hand, she must be unconscious. 
 

     Lauren watched the searcherís pattern, and tried to spot when any of them,  even briefly, were isolated from the others.  Thumbing her rifle from automatic, to very narrow single fire beam, she raised it to her shoulder and rested her cheek on its stock.  Her scope was set to infrared lock, she quickly killed that option and sited one of the shadow figures hidden from the others.  The beam pierced his head.  Being very narrow,  the beamís wound would not be fatal and would self cauterize.  Before the shadow figure could react, Lauren gently stirred the beam in a small circular motion, effectively cauterizing hundreds of capillaries within the shadowís brain.  It stiffened and collapsed with a muted thud.  It twitched spasmodically as neurons fired randomly in its brain.  Lauren chose this method of killing, not because it was more humane (it was not) but because it was fairly silent.  There were approximately twenty shadows for Lauren to deal with in the courtyard and she was badly outnumbered.  Lauren picked off two more with the same technique before the noise of the third collapsing shadow alerted all the figures in the courtyard. 
 

     All hell broke loose.  Lacking surprise, Lauren thumbed her rifle back into auto-fire mode, normal beam and sprayed the courtyard.  Chunks of rocks exploded everywhere as the more alert and agile shadow figures dove for cover.  Some stood their ground firing from the hip at Laurenís general position.  Others looked up in slack jawed surprise as different parts of their anatomy burned up.  Those pierced fatally collapsed like rag dolls.
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

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