"Don't lose the prisoner," Alexa said. "It's going to be a long flight."
"I can keep her still," Anya said. "After all, you certainly couldn't handle her if she got loose."
"Now now," Jenny said. "There's no need for concern. We'll be back in a few hours. Until then, Anya won't have a problem keeping her still."
"Well, the enemy is a hunkametal," Katelyn said. "So there's no need for you two to fight and or engage in bondage foreplay."
"Is it really a good idea to be heading back right away?" Sirvanna asked.
"If Michael says that the new base is fortified enough with the regular troops, you can bet it's fortified enough," Jenny said. "Or that if it's not he's got some kind of plan that involves the enemy taking it."
"Or he's over-excited," Ines said. "He did seem really curious about the number of deaths."
"The boss doesn't let emotions get in the way of his judgment," Anastasia said. "Ever."
It was an unpleasant flight, for all of them. They hadn't had time to rest or bathe. They were tired, sweaty and generally irritable. Except for Yuni and Christina who did their best to cheer everyone else up.
They touched down back at the base. Anya emerged first, with the prisoner floating behind her.
"Welcome back," Michael said. "You all did very well." He held out his hand. "Would you care for a kinder egg? They're quite good."
"Yay!" Yuni cried, taking one.
"Thank you kindly," Christina said.
"I'll have mine later," Anastasia said. "I'm covered in fleshy bits and I really need a bath." She stomped off.
"I'll take hers to her," Callie offered, grabbing two. She headed down the corridor that Anastasia had taken.
"I'm sorry we couldn't save more of them," Sirvanna said.
"Don't worry about it," Michael said. "Based on all of your reports, it's apparent that there was no other option. Still, I would like to know what they did to them. Anya, could you bring her to my lab?"
Anya saluted. "Yessir!"
"Such a girl scout," Alexa muttered.
"At least I'm not some mopey emo," Anya said.
"What did you just call me?" Alexa demanded.
"The rest of you are dismissed," Michael said, ignoring the exchange. "Anya, you may relax as soon as we have her under restraint."
"And Zhao has completed another masterpiece!" Zhao exclaimed. "Zhao's fangirls will go wild."
"You don't have fangirls, you goof," a voice behind her said.
Zhao turned around and ran. "Jenny!" She jumped into the larger woman's arms. "Did Jenny's mission go well?"
"Not really," Jenny said. "I... had to kill some of our kind."
"Zhao is sorry to hear that," Zhao said. "Zhao will get some sodas and you can tell Zhao all about it."
Anya followed Michael into the restricted area.
"I've prepared everything," Michael said.
Anya floated their prisoner into a large, metallic chair. Naoko and another woman secured large restraints around each of her limbs.
"Are you sure you don't need me to keep her under control?" Anya asked.
Michael put a hand on her shoulder. "There's no need for concern. She's quite immobile. And, should anything go wrong, I've got Naoko and Florence to protect me."
She couldn't protect a mouse. But I can stop anyone in their tracks.
"Who would want to protect a mouse?" Florence asked. "The filthy vermin carry all kinds of diseases."
"Please," Michael said "have some rest and thank you for all of your hard work."
Anastasia sat in the bath and closed her eyes.
"What do you want, Callie?" Anastasia asked.
"I can't drop in all of a sudden?" Callie countered. "Here, let me wash your back."
"The water's too hot for you," Anastasia said. "Find your own bath."
"I can take the heat," Callie said. "Can you?"
"Who do you think you're talking to?" Anastasia asked. "I can take any heat you can throw at me."
"Lovely," Callie said. She climbed in behind Anastasia.
It's odd. Her mind is unlike any other.
"Please, elaborate," Michael said.
Sirvanna couldn't focus on her reading.
"Something bugging you?" Ines asked.
"Ines, I... didn't hear you come in," Sirvanna said.
"You have a lot on your mind," Ines said. She put her arms around Sirvanna's neck. "Are you upset because we killed those guys?"
"Yeah," Sirvanna said. "I know, it's stupid. We've killed people before, but..."
"But nothing," Ines said. "You don't want anyone to die, even though we're fighting a war. You're a kind woman and I love you for it." She kissed Sirvanna's forehead.
"I have to stop under-estimating you," Sirvanna said. "I forget how well you understand people."
"I'm not that good with people in general," Ines said. "But you, you I always understand."
"Flatterer," Sirvanna said.
"You okay, Boss?" Florence asked.
"They actually did it," Michael spoke low, with grit teeth. "Those monsters."
What should we do?
"Call everyone here, Now." Michael said.
To the lab?
"It doesn't matter," Michael said. "They need to know."