Sophia didn't have time to even shout, never mind evade, before she felt a stunning shock to the back of her neck that lit up her entire body like she'd stuck her finger into a wall socket. As she dropped limply to the ground, she twisted around and spotted Armsmaster looking as grim as she'd ever seen him, some sort of device in his hand, standing in the doorway to her bedroom.
The world faded to black before she felt herself hit the floor.
Snapping awake at the hammering on the door, Alan Barnes blurrily wondered what the hell was going on before his mind caught up with reality and he sat up in bed, blinking. Beside him his wife Zoe did the same, her eyes wide. The sound of thunderous knocking came again, followed immediately by a splintering noise and a crash. He instantly realized that someone had kicked the door in and dived for the bedside table, wrenching the drawer open and fumbling for the pistol he kept there even though Zoe didn't like it. In this city you couldn't be too careful.
Footsteps on the stairs approached at a run, as he grabbed the magazine in the same drawer and tried to get it into the weapon, his hands shaking. Before he'd quite managed it, the bedroom door slammed open and two black-clad figures charged in. Even as he recognized with a shock the PRT logo on their armor each of them aimed at him and Zoe with some sort of high tech gun, then there was a sizzling zap sound and he slumped, feeling consciousness slip away. Dimly he heard screams from elsewhere in the house as his daughters reacted to the intruders with shock, a couple more zaps, then everything went away.
As he lost consciousness he was trying to work out why the PRT had invaded his house, but didn't have time to even begin to come up with a reason.
Madison, trembling, hid in her bedroom closet and listened to the shouts from her father and mother, which abruptly stopped after a pair of closely spaced strange electrical arcing sounds. Heavy footsteps came down the hallway, stopped outside her bedroom door for a second, then there was the distinct click of her door opening. She pressed herself back into the cloths hung above her, clutching her knees to her chest, as the footsteps came remorselessly across the room directly towards the closet.
Again, they stopped, there was a slight noise that sounded sort of like a very quiet radio crackle, the sort of thing you'd hear on TV, then the closet was pulled open.
She closed her eyes after seeing a pair of black boots standing right there, her heart hammering in terror.
The sudden zap and blackness rather came as a relief at that point.
Standing in her office looking out across the city from the position far above the street, Emily pondered the sad remnants of the Medhall building, which looked like something had tried very close to successfully to eat it. How it was still standing was something of a mystery, and it was clearly close to that no longer being a thing that it did. There was a five hundred yards exclusion zone around it being enforced by the BBPD, just in case it decided to fall over before it was pulled down.
She inspected the enormous hole halfway up, multiple floors visible through it, then scanned over the other gaps in the facade on the two sides she could see. At least one of them went clear through the entire structure and she could easily make out part of the Docks area beyond it. The whole building had a slight but definite lean to the south and the VTOL pilot who had retrieved Kaiser and his two remaining capes from the roof of it some hours ago had been quite unenthusiastic about actually landing on the thing, feeling that his luck might well run out if he tried. Still, he'd managed to get the passengers on board without incident and all three of them were now downstairs in holding cells designed specifically to cater for their abilities.
None of them were going anywhere.
The horrifying thing was that all three of them were grateful of the fact.
Renick was about to start the interrogations and she expected to learn a vast amount of very interesting data, which was a small good outcome of a night that was otherwise a total unmitigated disaster. One that was still ongoing, of course, since Overkill was still out there and she had no reason to think was likely to be in a good mood, one way or another. Hence the unprecedented meeting with local capes last night, and the orders she'd given a little while after New Wave and the rest left.
With a sigh, Emily shook her head wearily. Sooner or later, probably sooner, she was going to crash and crash hard, the stimulants she'd flatly blackmailed Armsmaster into giving her would wear off in a big way. She was certainly going to pay for that, and the doctor would be excessively annoyed about it, but she needed to see this through first.
Making a mental note to finally ask Panacea to do something about her issues and firmly pushing her instinctive revulsion over Parahuman powers down, she looked in a different direction.
The vast crater that had very abruptly and loudly replaced Winslow High School was easily visible from here, a couple of miles away. Once again she marveled at the sheer size of the glass-lined hole, which looked like something out of a movie it was so incongruous. Yet it was very real too, and even from here in the light of early morning she could see a faint shimmer of heat above it. Armsmaster's readings suggested it would be cooling down for days yet, although it had finally stopped glowing just before dawn broke.
She shivered at the thought of that much power in the hands of someone so young and so utterly furious.
On the other hand, at least the girl had, somehow, reduced collateral damage to an implausible minimum. She was utterly merciless when provoked but one thing you could definitely say was that her violence was very carefully targeted. And pretty fucking final.
Looking towards the eastern residential area where the Hebert home lay, she wondered if Overkill had even bothered to go to sleep yet. Or take that armor off. Not that she was planning on doing anything at all to find out. The longer Taylor Hebert and her blasted father stayed out of things the happier she'd be.
She had a horrible feeling it wasn't going to be long, one way or another. And she was pretty much on her own in a situation where the smallest misstep could end up with an entire city looking just like what used to be Winslow currently did.
Not something she wanted to see. Especially from the inside.
So she'd taken measures that were undoubtedly at best skirting the edge of illegality if not merrily galloping full tilt for the middle of it while whooping and hollering. Sooner or later she was most likely going to have to account for her actions, but as she'd been thinking a lot in the last day, that was something she'd worry about if and when she actually reached that point. Right now she had far more important things to worry about.
Like, for example, where the fuck the high level PRT people had buggered off too.
No one seemed to have the faintest idea where the Chief Director had gone, or even when, and certainly not why. She'd simply disappeared at some point in the last twenty four hours, without trace or message. If it wasn't for the fact that none of the alarms she was constantly surrounded by had been triggered Emily would think she'd been abducted, but the sheer amount of technology and paranoia surrounding the woman made that fairly unlikely. It seemed more plausible that she'd arranged her own disappearance but why and how Emily didn't have the first idea. And she wasn't going to sit around with her thumb up her ass waiting for her to turn up either.
Alexandria, Eidolon, and Legend also seemed to have vanished at much the same time, which suggested some common link, and the most likely one she could think of lived far too close for her liking. Possibly they were all holed up together somewhere plotting on what to do about Overkill, but of course even if that was true they hadn't had the decency to let Emily or the PRT ENE in on it. Again, this was not uncommon, there were quite a few things that had happened, or not happened, over the years that made her suspect that Brockton Bay was more or less hung out to dry. But at least they normally answered the goddamn phone and gave her some bullshit about why they were doing nothing useful, rather than dropping off the face of the planet…
She turned away from the window and the golden light of the slowly rising sun that was casting huge shadows across the scene in an annoyingly pretty way as if nothing had happened, walking over to her chair and sitting down with a wince of pain. After a moment's thought, she shrugged and pulled out a small bottle, unscrewing the lid and shaking a pill into her other hand. Flipping it into her mouth she washed it down with a swig from the water bottle on the desk, then shuddered slightly as it instantly made her head feel like it was going to burst into flames for a brief moment until everything settled down. The tiredness immediately vanished, swept away in the rush from the Tinker stimulant, leaving the world in sharp focus but feeling slightly brittle around the edges.
Yeah, when she went down she was really going down, she decided with a snort as she put the lid back on the bottle and put it in her pocket. One left, and Armsmaster had quite seriously told her that taking all of them in her condition would likely kill her, so it was best not to.
After a moment, she took it out again and locked it in her desk, just to remove temptation.
Pulling one of the tablets that was in a small stack of them closer, she tapped the screen twice, then scrolled slowly through the document that was displayed there, reading it carefully. Making a few notes on another one with one hand, she thought carefully. This next part was a gamble, a big one, and if she got it wrong the end result would probably cause more than a few problems. It might well do that anyway. But she couldn't see any other choice under the circumstances.
A knock on the door made her look up. It opened to reveal Armsmaster, who came in followed by Renick, and Captain Williams, one of her own people. All three of them arrayed themselves in front of her, all three looking grim and unhappy.
"Renick. Results from the initial Kaiser interview?"
"Not good," he replied, shaking his head. "The E88 is, or was, into everything. We've already grabbed two of their moles in our own building, found three more people who were on their payroll at a lower level, and uncovered half a dozen in the BBPD, the FD too, and even the Brockton Coastguard. All are being arrested right now, and we've locked down absolutely everything in sight."
"Which led us to discover that our entire computer system has been compromised, quite likely for some years," Armsmaster added with a scowl like his chin was making a fist under his beard. He looked quietly furious.
"Kaiser managed that?" she asked, shocked. "How?"
"Not Kaiser. It was obviously an inside job." Armsmaster shook his head. "One done by someone with top level access over at least three years. Dragon and I have correlated a large number of logs and other data and the only suspect that plausibly could have done it is Thomas Calvert."
She stared at him for several seconds, then squeezed the tablet in her hands so hard the screen shattered. Dropping it to the floor without even bothering to look at it, she leaned forward and fixed him with a hard look. "Calvert?"
"Are you certain?"
"We are, yes. There's no other candidate who could have done it without at least six separate accomplices and most likely a high level Thinker. Calvert, however, had access to every single system during the relevant times we can show that the exploits were installed, and we can prove he was also present at times that match those. There is a ninety nine point eight four percent likelihood of him being the architect of the compromised system."
"We've so far traced a number of illicit accesses made through the subverted systems to somewhere in the commercial district," Renick told her. "It's going to take longer to narrow it down, but we will. Most likely he has a rented office or something of that nature that he's using to tap our systems, probably full of servers. He's been siphoning data from us the entire time, all the way up to top secret classification material, and I for one would very much like to ask him why and what he was doing with it."
"I would as well," she grated. "Quite forcefully. Do we have him in custody?"
"Unfortunately not," Armsmaster replied.
"Why not?" she demanded.
"We can't find him," he admitted with a sigh. "His house is empty, although there are no signs of a hasty exit. By all appearances he left intending to come back, but… didn't. Nor is he in any of the usual locations and no one has seen him that we've been able to find for at least forty eight hours. We've got his description out across the state, BBPD has locating him as a top priority task, and there are several teams canvassing everywhere we have any suspicion at all he might be. We'll find him sooner or later, but it may take a while. In the mean time we're removing all the compromised hardware for deeper forensic examination and replacing it with equipment from spare stock. That will take several days to complete."
Emily massaged her hand, finally looking at it to see there were a couple of small cuts on it from the broken screen. Muttering to herself she dug out a can of aerosol bandage and gave her hand a quick squirt, hissing in pain as the cool spray turned into a sharp sting for a moment until it solidified into a transparent flexible coating.
"Do you need to visit the infirmary?" Renick asked, watching. She shook her head, dropping the can back into the drawer and slamming it shut.
"That can wait. OK. One disaster after another, apparently." With a look at Armsmaster, she continued, "At least tell me that you got everyone you went after other than Calvert."
Now he looked darkly satisfied. "Yes. I acquired Shadow Stalker in her home without trouble. She is in a holding cell wearing suitable restraints, currently unconscious, but unharmed."
"And her family?"
"Also in holding, not in contact with her. They are quite upset but nothing we can't handle."
Nodding, she looked at Captain Williams who was standing at parade rest and listening calmly. "The other two?"
"My teams retrieved the Barnes family and the Clements family without difficulty, Ma'am," he reported. "There were no injuries although there was a small amount of property damage. They made sure that both houses were secure before leaving. All personnel of interest are in the low-security cells with a guard on hand. No problems to report although they are highly upset about it, not surprisingly."
"I can imagine," she said with a small sigh. "Good. We're never going to hear the end of it, but good." Turning back to Renick, she asked, "Any further news from the Chief Director's office?"
He shook his head. "No. I've tried several times and I get the impression that everyone is frantically running around trying to figure out what the hell they should be doing. The problems reported with Thinkers world wide has seriously impacted normal operations, and even without that problem, Overkill's exploits across the entire planet are occupying the attention of virtually everyone. Almost every military or intelligence agency that exists is on high alert and trying to work out the next move, but no one seems to want to be the first to jump in." He paused, then added, "I suspect that none of them yet know she's here in the city. We may get a lot of very upset visitors when they do realize that."
"Which will make a bad situation far worse, in all probability," she snarled. "Wonderful. Let's see if we can keep them in the dark for long enough to try to keep a lid on the whole thing, shall we? I don't want Overkill wiping out the fucking US army or something because they interrupted her breakfast."
She got up and shuffled through the stack of still functional tablets, choosing three, as the others exchanged glances. "You think she actually could?" Williams finally asked.
Looking at him for several long seconds, she then turned her head and looked meaningfully at the distant crater through the window, before returning her gaze to him. "You think she couldn't?" she inquired with a flat look.
The captain followed her eyes, then nodded his understanding. "Ma'am. I believe you are right."
"I'd really prefer not to find out," she said as she headed for the door. "Let's go and put the fear of Overkill into some extremely stupid girls and see if we can somehow prevent a PR nightmare."
All of them trailed after her, looking both thoughtful and very worried.
Blinking, Sophia stared at the ceiling, wondering why her bedroom had been repainted a strange color when she wasn't looking.
Then the memories came back, and she quickly looked around, seeing Miss Militia standing in the doorway of what was obviously a Parahuman containment cell, one of the ones in the PRT building basement. "What the fuck is going on?" she shouted at the top of her voice, only then realizing that her hands were cuffed behind her back and she was lying on them. Apparently on some sort of bed, based on the feeling of cloth under her skin. Instinctively trying to phase through the bindings she yelped in pain when she instantly got a vicious electric shock that made her arms nearly go numb.
Miss Militia, her eyes hard above her bandanna, shook her head. "You won't be able to use your powers, Shadow Stalker. Armsmaster made those restraints specifically to block them."
"Why am I here?" she demanded, twitching as the pain ebbed away. She wasn't about to try that again because it had fucking hurt. Swiveling around on the bed she sat up, lowering her head when it promptly started spinning until the feeling faded.
"The Director wants to talk to you," the older woman replied. Sophia stared at her in disbelief.
"And she decided to assault and kidnap me on my night off because she wants to talk to me?" she spat when she finally realized the other woman was serious.
Miss Militia locked her eyes on Sophia. "She wants to talk to you very urgently," she replied in tones that made the girl lean back. "Get up, follow me, and don't try anything stupid or you really will not enjoy the results. You're on far thinner ice than you understand at this point."
Wondering what in god's name had crawled up her ass and died, Sophia grudgingly did as ordered, then went after the older hero. As she left the cell a pair of heavily armed troopers fell in behind, and she noticed with a sense of foreboding that they were carrying the high powered taser pistols as well as shotguns, rather than foam projectors. Neither man had the air of someone who would hesitate to shoot either.
She had a very bad feeling about this whole thing, especially after whatever had happened last night. The massive explosion that lit the entire city had made her wonder, but decide in the end to avoid an off-the-books patrol since by the number of sirens the entire PRT and BBPD were charging about like an upset hornet's nest. Probably better to avoid drawing attention to herself, especially so soon after Hebert had vanished and people were already giving her funny looks.
The little procession headed up the stairs to three floors above ground level, finally ending at a conference room she'd seldom been in. Miss Militia pushed the door open and stepped to the side. Walking in, Sophia stopped dead when she saw Emma and her family sitting on one side of the large square table, Madison and her parents on the other side, and Sophia's own mother and brother on the side nearest the door. At the far end Director Piggot was glowering at her.
"What the hell is this?" she said, by now more than just worried. It was pretty obvious that this was connected to the locker prank and whatever had happened to that worm Hebert.
"This is the most important meeting you will ever have in your life, Sophia, so sit down, shut up, and listen hard," Director Piggot said, sounding furious and disgusted.
"Why are they here?" she asked, stalling for time as she frantically tried to work out some way out of this.
"Because it concerns all of you, you idiotic little asshole," Piggot snarled. She pointed at the only unoccupied chair. "Sit. Down."
A hand on her back urged her onwards, causing her to glare at Miss Militia, who just returned the look with one of somewhat worrying blankness. Eventually, realizing she had no choice in the matter after she looked over her shoulder and saw that the PRT troopers were standing in the door blocking it, she complied with ill grace. "You going to take these off?" she asked nastily, wiggling her fingers to indicate the restraints.
"No," Miss Militia replied shortly, pulling the chair out so she could sit, which she did after a moment.
"Thanks a bunch," she said sarcastically, then looked around at the other people in the room. Emma looked furious and scared, her father looked much the same, her mother and sister appeared more puzzled than angry but also scared too. Madison was staring at the table, her hair hanging down over her face and hiding it, while her parents were clearly very nervous and confused. Her own brother was obviously only barely restraining himself from starting to ask a lot of questions, while his expression betrayed aggrieved confusion, and her mother simply seemed cowed and worried.
Emily Piggot, on the other hand, looked absolutely ready to shoot someone, under a veneer of calmness. In front of her were a number of the standard issue PRT tablets and she was sitting in front of and under the main screen for the room, which was enormous but currently blank.
A sound from behind made Sophia look back to see Armsmaster, Assault, and Dauntless had all come in and were now standing at the back of the room next to Miss Militia, while the door was closed with the troopers on the other side. Wondering what all this was about, since it seemed more than slightly over the top if it was connected to Hebert, she returned her attention to the director.
"Director Piggot, I'm sure you realize you've violated our rights and broken a number of laws by invading our house without a warrant and..." Emma's father suddenly said, causing the woman to look at him and hold up a hand.
"No. We don't have time for all that. You can complain later if you want, but right now you're going to listen to me." The look in her eyes made his bluster instantly stop. It was somewhat impressive, Sophia couldn't help but think, how unnerving she could appear with nothing more than a glare that could strip paint from the wall.
Panning that glare around the table, Piggot was clearly waiting for someone else to be foolish enough to interrupt, but no one did. Eventually she nodded. "Good. Understand this, I am deadly serious about this, and you will listen to me. It's entirely possible that none of this will matter in the slightest but I choose to believe I at least need to try, so I'm going to whether you like it or not." As Sophia was wondering what that meant she reached out and tapped one of the tablets, causing the screen behind her to immediately produce an image. One that Sophia recognized immediately.
It was a photo of Taylor Hebert in all her utter lack of glory, looking at the camera through those stupid glasses and appearing her normal sheep-like confused self.
Emma looked, as did Madison who raised her head, then froze. The red-head glanced at Sophia who tried to indicate through her eyes to keep her mouth firmly shut no matter what happened. But she knew inside this was going to be bad.
The director waved a hand vaguely behind herself. "This, for those who do not know, is Taylor Hebert, fifteen years of age, daughter of Danny Hebert, and the girl who Sophia, Emma, and Madison spend a happy eighteen months torturing for kicks."
Alan Barnes immediately opened his mouth. She pointed a finger at him and shook her head once. He closed it again, pale with anger and worry. Emma now seemed to be beginning to understand this wasn't going to end well, although Sophia could see Madison had already come to that conclusion and was basically waiting for the ax to fall.
Piggot tapped the tablet and another image came up, causing several people to make a gagging sound when they realized what they were looking at. The imprint of a human form was clearly visible in the sludge in the locker, although there was no sign of whoever had made it. Sophia, of course, was well aware of the identity of that person, and she knew that Piggot was too.
"That torture culminating in a 'prank' that would even under normal circumstances almost certainly count as negligent manslaughter if not attempted first degree murder, and very definitely as assault," the director said after she'd given everyone time to inspect the image. "Possible even bio-terrorism charges could be laid if the prosecutor was sufficiently creative."
Emma's father again opened his mouth and she wagged a finger at him without looking. "However, these are not normal circumstances. Not even slightly." The woman scanned those present with a hard gaze. "These are, in fact, about as non-normal as circumstances get even in today's world. You will note that there is no one in that… mess… although clearly there was. What some of you may not have heard is that Taylor Hebert, the girl who was pushed into that locker by our little terror cell here, vanished from it at some point in the next six hours, the time it took for someone to bother to investigate where the stench was coming from."
Sophia's mother made a small sound, making her brother look at her, then give Sophia herself an unreadable look. She didn't return it.
It was important not to show weakness.
"Taylor Hebert disappeared two weeks ago, without trace, and without any sign of how or where she went. The locker was not opened during that period, she didn't leave the school somehow, there was no miraculous rescue… she simply disappeared. And the school, in conjunction with some PRT personnel who are currently very much regretting their life choices and will be for a considerable time, managed to cover this up."
She looked directly at Sophia as Madison's parents exchanged looks, and Zoe Barnes stared at her in horror. "The reason that the school was able to do this, of course, is due to Sophia Hess being a Ward and a Parahuman. There is also a case to be made for serious dereliction of duty on the part of the school, fraud, embezzlement, and a number of other charges I have no doubt will keep the lawyers busy for quite a while."
Sophia stared at her in disbelief. The fucking PRT Director had just outed her to everyone present without a hint of remorse or even interest. What the fuck?
none of that is of the slightest concern to me right now. Because there is a much more serious issue." Still looking at Sophia, Piggot leaned forward slightly. "Because last night, Taylor Hebert came back. And she is not happy."
While Sophia gaped at her, as did Madison and Emma, she tapped the tablet again. Almost unwillingly Sophia raised her eyes, which widened when she finally worked out what she was staring at.
Madison made a little choked sound.
Alan Barnes swore under his breath. Several of the others gasped.
"That is what made the very noticeable explosion last night, the one that people in New York probably heard," Director Piggot carried on into the deathly quiet room. "You will note the complete absence of Winslow High School. You will also note the appearance of a crater sufficiently large that under any normal physical conditions would have been accompanied by a blast large enough to erase the entire city and kill everyone in it."
She looked around. "That was done by Taylor Hebert, as she was in rather a bad mood and appears to have decided that we no longer required Winslow to exist."
No one said a thing.
Tapping the tablet again, she jerked a thumb over her shoulder. "Ellisburg." Another tap. "Machine Army." Another tap. "Three Blasphemies." Another tap. "Moord Nag." Another tap.
It went on for a while, during which Sophia felt herself going paler and paler. This was impossible. Even if the bitch could have triggered, this sort of thing was beyond anyone except maybe Eidolon or Legend.
Eventually the image settled on a split view, one side showing a tall figure wearing matte purple power armor of completely unfamiliar design and holding a massive weapon of some sort, the other one showing what was clearly the same armor with the occupant having removed the helmet, in what looked like a pizza place. It certainly looked like Hebert, but an older Hebert, sitting across the table from her father and stuffing her face with pizza. Her dad seemed to be smiling at her, and the helmet to the armor was at her elbow.
Sophia looked back and forth between the images, feeling a sense of unreality unlike anything she'd ever experienced before. Then she glanced at Emma, who was gaping at the screen.
"Yes, that's definitely Taylor Hebert," Piggot said after thirty seconds or so. "She had quite a trip by what she said. One that took several years on her personal timescale, and left her with skills and equipment that means she is undoubtedly the single most dangerous person on the entire planet. She can apparently teleport with global range, she can cause destruction on a scale that a large nuclear warhead would feel worried about, and she is not remotely happy about what happened to her. We have given her the code name 'Overkill' and trust me, that is not even slightly a joke. Last night the E88 decided in their infinite stupidity that it would be a particularly brilliant idea to forcibly recruit her to their cause."
She tapped the tablet again. Sophia looked at the image of the remains of the Medhall tower while trying not to faint. "There is now no such thing as the E88. She killed all of them except for Kaiser, Rune, Othala, Stormtiger, and possibly Alabaster, although we haven't yet found his body."
"Director, we just got a report that a patrol found what's left of Alabaster and roughly forty gang members in a building a few blocks from the Medhall tower," Armsmaster cut in calmly. She looked at him as everyone twisted around in their seats to do the same, then nodded.
"Fine. All but four of the E88 are deceased. Along with at least a hundred non-powered members. Between them, she and her father in a couple of hours totally destroyed the largest gang in the city and made it look like a video game. The building is a total loss, the surviving people are literally begging us to put them in jail somewhere safe, like the moon, and we don't even recognize half the weapons they used."
Director Piggot looked at Emma, then Madison, before landing on Sophia again. In a lower voice, she added, "And the big problem from your point of view, which of course makes it my problem too, is that you three are undoubtedly next on her list. From what she said, she's not likely to be as nice to you as she was to Kaiser, either."
Hearing a thud, Sophia managed to tear her terrified gaze from the basilisk glare of the older woman to see that Madison had fainted.
"Basically, I'm going to try to think of some way to keep you three idiots alive without risking the entire fucking city. And believe me, if it eventually comes down to a choice between you and half a million people who weren't stupid enough to accidentally on purpose create someone who can probably beat Behemoth to a pulp bare handed, I'm going to stand to the side and hope she's satisfied when you're ash."
As Sophia felt herself pass out from sheer terror, she managed a certain amount of indignation about how smug the fucking woman sounded about that.
Taylor yawned, looking at a ceiling she hadn't seen in years, although it was completely familiar. Reaching up she scratched her head at the hairline, then dropped her arm to the bed again and smiled a little.
She'd made it.
After all that, she'd finally made it home. And even had pizza with her dad almost as soon as she did.
And not to mention made it very clear to Winslow what she thought of the place. That had been something she'd been looking forward to for a very long time.
Pity that Kaiser had been such a dick, it had slightly spoiled a nice evening, but then she'd got to have fun with her father, and that sort of bonding experience had been exactly what they both needed. He'd enjoyed it as much as she had, she knew. He'd been whistling under his breath for half an hour after they got home.
Raising her head she looked across the room at her armor, which was standing in the corner, then shrugged and rolled over, closing her eyes again.
Everything else could wait for now. She was home, she was in a bed for nearly the first time in more than five years, it was her own bed, and she was damn well going to get the most out of it. After that she was going to have a very large breakfast before she decided who to kill first.