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You've been counting stars, now you're counting on me
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Shamino was on the radio again, in contact with HQ. Greynolds had made things clear. The score was pretty well known. The kids in the tunnel were lacking one thing, though: pressure. It was time to clear things out, get Polanski unprotected, then finish her. Shamino said into his microphone, "Who else is in there?"

The reply came. He considered.

"Who's least likely to run?"

A little longer of a reply. Shamino said, "I'm about to make a threat. Carry it out, please."

Greynolds, Cecily, and Richards were standing back a bit, providing cover. Shamino pulled out his shotgun, then stepped to the entrance to the tunnels. He shouted into them, "Hey, listen up.

"I hear there's four of you left. Well, that's about to be three. Garrett Hunter, you have thirty seconds for HQ to tell me you're running down the tunnels to the other side of the mountain. Otherwise, you lose your head."

He'd considered reiterating the bounty offer, but it seemed absurd. They wouldn't turn to violence now. The way to hit them was cowardice.


He was pretty sure they'd be able to get things clear. No one wanted to die, especially by explosion. No heroism in that. It made it a very effective threat.


It'd be best if these kids returned to the game. The one who'd yelled the joke at him was already going. He was mildly disappointed by that. It took some guts to stand strong. That sort of thing deserved a quick death. It'd been his choice, though.



Christina was heading into the tunnels by the side passage, Baines right with her. Shamino was doing a good job of keeping the main entrance as the center of attention. She figured she and Baines would be able to sneak into the middle of the resisters and light them up. The GPS on her wrist told her where most of them were. The tunnels were dark, hard to navigate, but she was good in that sort of situation. It wouldn't be long until they had the girl in their sites.

She checked the safety of her assault rifle. Off. This was going to be quick. She and Baines both knew how to handle themselves in a fight well enough to take on every one of the kids here. They were armed and armored. Trained.

No point being arrogant, though. She was more than ready to toss a grenade and finish things like that.

They were closing in. The relays that transmitted the signals to the collars down here kept the GPS working, too. The only one they couldn't exactly pinpoint was Polanski. Christina was pretty sure the girl would tip her hand soon, though.

Then, this would all be over.
Juliette Sargent drawn by Mimi and Ryuki
Alton Gerow drawn by Mimi
Lavender Ripley drawn by Mimi
Phillip Olivares drawn by Ryuki
Library Vee
Misty Browder drawn by Ryuki
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The Gully · The Tunnels