Ever since the incident with Jack, Dinarzade had been uncomfortable if she were alone in her home at night. Construction ‘bots had repaired the physical damage to her tower, but traces of the violent intrusion into her home lingered in her mind. Adding to her unease was this business with the Mechanic, Cailte. He had told her he was a member of a group that was little spoken of, but part of the Community nevertheless. Dinarzade had been searching the archives of the Terran ‘Net for almost two weeks and had not managed to locate a single document by, or refering to, the Mechanics. The existence of a secret group within the Community alarmed her. Such a thing was very much against the principles of their society. As she looked out from a delicately stained window to the tree lined avenue below, Dinarzade was unable to shake the feeling she was being watched. Narrowing her eyes slightly, she turned on her heel and strode towards the cabinet she used to store her Entheogen and derived chemicals.
* * *
Anonymous squatted in the long shadow cast by the oak tree. While he remained still, he was effectively invisible, his form concealed by the effect of the Disruption suit he wore. The Disruption suit was a relic of the Foundation Wars, a Bio Engineered device which changed its coulour and texture to match its surroundings. A moving wearer would become flickering and indistinct, hence the title given to the garb. Anonymous had affixed alternate spectrum viewers to the suits hood and was scanning the rooftops of the nearby buildings. As his gaze settled on a building, Anonymous rotated through the different spectrums, looking for some trace human presence. There was a watcher nearby, he knew, clearly very well concealed. But definitely there, somewhere. He was going to have to wait for the watcher to make a move. That was far from ideal, he thought, were that to be the case he would have to reveal his presence. Anonymous had rules. One of the most important was that you didn’t reveal yourself. Well, not unless you intended to do so. There were always exceptions to the rules. Anonymous allowed a small smile to creep across his face. Across the avenue, on the same side as the target but four buildings down, Anonymous could see a faint glow in the ultra-violet spectrum. It was a number of lingering movement tracers, evidence of the use of a psychic talent nearby. Moving very slowly, Anonymous unslung another relic of the Foundation Wars, the Infiltrator Multi Role Assault Rifle. Designed for Special Forces troops, it offered the user a number of fire options from high explosive mini missiles to pinpoint accurate sniper fire. Anonymous levelled the weapon at the building and overlayed the UV sensor display with the weapons thermal imaging. There were six heat signatures visible through the sensor, four downstairs, two upstairs. The UV overlay showed everyone in the building leaving a trace signature, consistent with mescaline use.
‘Very clever,’ muttered Anonymous to himself, ‘hide amongst the amateur psychnauts.’
Moving the targeting sight from person to person, Anonymous held his finger over the trigger.
* * *
Dinarzade popped two Entheogen capsules into her mouth. A natural psychic, the drug would amplify her existing abilities to a much higher degree. As the drugs began to affect her, she swiftly altered her visual perceptions. Immediately she became aware of a shadowy presence in the upper corner of the room. Another psychic! She was being spied on. Furious, and not pausing to consider the potential danger, Dinarzade lashed out with the full force of her mind. The psychic detonation shattered the presence into a million shards, which dissolved into nothing. She knew the shockwave would travel back to the other psychic as he withdrew his awareness. And it would hurt.
* * *
Anonymous watched through his scope as one of the figures in the house lurched to his feet, a vast flare of light in the UV spectrum accompanying his move.
‘There you are.’ Anonymous squeezed the trigger. A slight thud followed, as the bullet penetrated the wall of the building, pierced the skull of the watcher and then imbedded itself in the far wall. Anonymous knew that by the time the victim hit the ground, the bullet would have almost completely melted. Anonymous ran forward, towards an onion domed tower that lay ahead of him. With the watcher neutralised, it was essential to move the target before events began to escalate. As he arrived at the door of the tower, he produced a small hand held device from one of the numerous pockets the suit was equipped with. He attached an implant to the hand sensor on the door and after a second, the door slid open. Anonymous entered the tower, carefully closing the door after him.
* * *
With her enhanced awareness, Dinarzade was instantly aware that someone had entered her home. Far too outraged to be afraid, she positioned herself out of immediate view of the door to the room and began to gather her mental strength. As the chamber door opened, she could see the indistinct outline of a human form. Without hesitation she telekinetically launched her wooden desk at the shape. They collided with a crash and a muffled cry. Dinarzade grabbed a softball bat and readied herself for a swing as the flickering form tried to free itself from under the desk.
‘Who are you?’ demanded Dinarzade.
The prone form held up the hazy outline of a hand. ‘Anonymous. I’m here to help you.’
‘Anonymous? from the Forum?’
‘What d’you mean, sort of ?’ Dinarzade raised the bat higher.
‘Different Anonymous, same group, so to speak.’
‘You better start making more sense, or I’m going to pound you.’
‘It’s not complicated. I’m from a group called Anonymous. We’re a very old group from before the Foundation Wars. You’ve come across one of the Communitys dirty little secrets and have put yourself in considerable danger. You need to disappear, or they’ll make you vanish their way.’
‘Who are ‘they’ ?’
‘The Life Engineers and their enforcers, the Mechanics. They got to the Anonymous you spoke with on the Forum and your search for information on the Mechanics drew both their attention and ours to you. They had a telepath spying on-‘
‘Two people have just come in through my supposedly locked door, friends of yours?’
‘No, I came alone.’
‘They have strange minds..’
Anonymous shoved the table away and leapt to his feet. He began to hustle Dinarzade away from the door. Opening the window he attached a grapple to the wall below the sill and handed the cable to Dinarzade.
‘They’re coming up the stairs, so you go out the window. Stop trying to read their minds, they’re a type of clone. It won’t work.’
Anonymous watched the woman descend towards the avenue below, as he prepared a second grapple for himself. The cable grasped in one fist, the Infiltrator rifle in the other, Anonymous perched on the window sill, facing the door. A dart flew through the door and embedded itself in the wall of the room. After a few seconds roiling clouds of gas filled the room. Anonymous remained motionless, his suit had gas filters so he was unconcerned by the attack. The clones came confdently into the room, one of them carrying an Incinerator Cannon.
‘No mercy, indeed.’ muttered Anonymous. He launched himself backwards and fired a mini missile into the room. Anonymous was blown across the avenue by the force of the blast and Dinarzade was bowled over by the shockwave. Dinarzade staggered to her feet, her ears ringing. Anonymous was struggling to rise, his suit flickering frantically as it knitted itself back together. Though she could hear nothing but ringing, Dinarzade was made to understand that Anonymous has suffering a broken leg among other injuries. She helped him to his feet and the pair stumbled off towards a small park. There, under the undergrowth, was a man-hole of considerable antiquity. With difficulty, the pair of them pulled it aside and then slipped into the pool of shadow below. Clinging to a rusty ladder, Dinarzade dragged the cover back over the hole plunging them into stygian darkness.
* * *