The crosshairs flashed on his target. He pulled the trigger.

The solid slug blew clear through his target and deep into the stairs behind it. Bits of warbot sprayed all over the stairwell and stone splintered behind it.

“Good shot,” Jon said into the silence that followed.

“Thanks,” Jack said and moved to another firing position, keeping his eyes on the shattered drones all around them. And the unmoving warbot now lying against the bottom of the stairs. “Having fun?”

“Absolutely!” Jon said as they waited for the next attack. “Haven’t had this much fun since… well… since I was born.”

“Good to know,” Jack said and licked his lips. He’d seen warbots that looked just like that wandering around Juneau back in the day. Though Juneau hadn’t called them warbots. They’d had a much softer name for them. Something about border defense and customs if he remembered correctly. They didn’t have very intelligent AIs, but there was one thing he clearly remembered about them.

They always traveled in groups.

Jack let out a long breath. The warning in the back of his mind was still screaming. He shook his head. “Because all of this so far has just been the warm-up act. The real assault is coming.”

They didn’t have long to wait. It started with the hum of more flying drones. Then came the sound of metal feet echoing down the stairs. Too many. Far, far too many.


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