None this chapter.
Elpida took command.
“Into the gravekeeper’s room, now!”
Click-click-click went metal on metal, racing down the lift shaft.
“Amina, hold onto that shield and get behind the wall. Vicky, grab three more ballistic shields, toss them back there, then start flipping tables, pile them in the archway. Atyle, you take a shield as well then get behind the wall. And help Kagami, hunker down. Howl—”
Elpida froze. The others froze with her, hanging on her words; they didn’t know that Howl was a name.
Elpida’s closest was not at her side. She’d never faced combat without Howl, not even that first time when the cadre was six years old.
Howl was dead.
“ … Ilyusha, help Vicky with the tables. We need cover and we need it fast. Move!”
Elpida knew this wouldn’t be enough. Cover was unreliable and in short supply. The armoury side of the room held nothing useful except the ballistic shields; the tables on the laboratory side were made of thin metal, not enough to stop a bullet. The only good shelter was the dividing wall between the first room and the gravekeeper’s chamber, but the archway was wide and tall. Elpida would not have attempted to hold that against Silico even with a full team in hardsuits. But there was no other exit, only the grey pyramid, the rippling black sphere, and the dead lips of the interface corpse.
At least they had a clear line of fire.
The others scrambled to follow Elpida’s orders. Amina scuttled through the archway, almost tripping over herself. Vicky went tight and professional, grabbing more of the stiff bulletproof shields. Ilyusha helped with gusto, flipping tables and slamming them together into a makeshift barricade, panting wet and hard through a twitching grin. Her tail was lashing back and forth. Kagami staggered behind the barricade under her own power, augmetic legs wobbling, hands clutching at the tables for support.
Atyle didn’t move. She stared up at the lift shaft and the rapid approach of metal-on-metal with detached curiosity. Her peat-green bionic eye swivelled and rotated in the socket.
Elpida snapped, “Can you see through the wall? See what it is?”
“No, the metal is too thick. But the sound is fascinating. I count six — eight — ten legs?”
“Get in the gravekeeper’s chamber or I’ll throw you in there myself.”
Atyle turned away, head high, walking without a care.
Clack-clack-clack; too many legs closing on the core of the tomb.
Elpida grabbed a coilgun. She pulled the apparatus from the racking, tucked the receiver under one arm, and setted the power-tank on her back. It wasn’t like any coilgun ever manufactured in Telokopolis: red and yellow warning stripes all down the barrel, curved protrusions for handholds, thick cables running from power-tank to receiver. But the technology was timeless. Elpida identified the controls, strapped the aim-assist support rig around her hips, and stowed the receiver. She dragged a second coilgun off the rack, then turned and hurried back to the arch and the gravekeeper’s chamber, pausing only to grab a light machine gun and a box-magazine of ammunition.
Loaded down with heavy weaponry, she vaulted the jumble of tables to join the others, huddled in the gravekeeper’s shadow.
Amina was pressed against the wall a few feet from the arch, hugging her ballistic shield, a nest of clothing paralysed with fear. Kagami was braced against the cold metal, legs quivering, eyes wide in her face, long black hair swept back. Atyle was staring up at the sphere of the gravekeeper, watching the slow ripples move across the surface.
Vicky was at the barricade, half-sheltered by one side of the arch, long rifle in her hands; Elpida recognised the pre-battle tension in the way she stood and the way she moved her eyes. Ilyusha was at the opposite end of the arch, staring at the lift doors and — drooling? She’d shed her backpack of shells and blue nano-goop, and stashed it at Amina’s side. Her tail was flicking, her breath pumping, her claws exposed and clicking against the rotary shotgun in her hands.
Vicky tried to laugh. “Elpi, you’re carrying half the armoury.”
“Vicky,” Elpida said, “look at me. Look at my eyes. Take a deep breath. I’m going to get us out of this.”
“Never was any good at fire-fights. I’m sorry.”
“Do you know how to use a coilgun?”
Vicky frowned. “A what-gun? Is that the thing you’ve got strapped on? Looks heavy.”
“Yes.” Elpida dropped the second coilgun and thrust the machine gun toward Vicky. “Take this instead. Set up on the ground, sight-line between those two tables. I’ll get the ballistic shields in place to protect you.”
Vicky nodded. Her hands shook as she slung the rifle and cradled the machine gun. “I can do that. I can do that.”
“You can. You know what you’re doing.” Elpida had no idea if Vicky knew what she was doing, but the other woman needed to hear those words. “I need you to get that machine gun in place.”
“Yeah, yeah. On it. Okay. Yeah.”
Elpida didn’t bother with a pep-talk for Ilyusha. The heavily augmented girl was chewing her own tongue, drawing blood.
“Ilyusha, hey. Hey!”
The augmented girl twitched her head but didn’t look at Elpida. “Mm?”
“Look at me. Ilyusha, look at me.”
Burning grey eyes swivelled round; murder-happy combat high, a junkie look. Elpida had seen that on a few faces before. One especially. But she didn’t have time to grieve.
Elpida said: “Don’t jump this barricade alone. You stay here with us. I will get us out. Stay here with me. Understand?”
“Mmmnnnn … ‘kay,” Ilyusha rasped.
Elpida stepped past Ilyusha to deal with Kagami. The doll-like girl looked ready to scream. Elpida held out her submachine gun. “Have you fired a gun before?”
Kagami stared at the weapon like it might sting her. “In a … sim. In sims. A lot. Never for real.”
Elpida pressed the weapon into Kagami’s hands and moved her fingers to hold the grips. “Safety is here, flick it off like—”
“Yes!” Kagami hissed. “I know how it works! I just don’t know if I’ll fall over from the recoil, you moron!”
“Sit on the floor and peek around the corner.”
Kagami laughed, hollow. “You’ve got a coilgun, what do you need with me?”
“You’re needed, we all are. Sit, aim, and wait for my command. I know you can do that.”
Kagami did as Elpida ordered. She slumped awkwardly at the corner of the arch in a puddle of grey-black clothing, inches from Ilyusha’s clawed feet, peering through a tiny gap in their paper-thin barricade. Elpida hurried to the other side, stepping over Vicky, who was lying flat to sight down her machine gun. She grabbed the spare ballistic shields and propped two of them up against the barricade, either side of Vicky’s position; they’d take a hit for her, perhaps. Then she gave one to Kagami, a bit of extra cover.
She unhooked the coilgun receiver, hit the controls to power on the magnetic containment, and felt a sabot-round clunk into place. The power-tank hummed into life on her back. She braced the barrel on the side of an overturned table and aimed at the open doors of the lift.
Elpida knew they were doomed. This was not a trained team who’d spent a lifetime working together. They were not an under-strength Legion squad waiting for extraction at the edge of the green. These girls were not her cadre. This was a group of scared young women with nowhere to run.
But the cadre had been like that once, back in the earliest days.
Before anybody could voice doubt, Elpida said: “Everyone stay quiet. Hold your fire. Let me do the talking.”
Down on the floor, Vicky almost laughed. “Talking?”
“We don’t know what this is or what they want.”
Kagami said, dripping scorn, “I think we can fucking guess! They want to eat us!”
Elpida raised her voice. “Hold your fire until I say so. Ilyusha, do you understand? Hold your fire.”
Ilyusha answered in a mocking sing-song: “Hold-ing, hold-ing, blah-la-la.”
Click-click-click went metal-on-metal, louder and louder — and then something heavy thumped onto the roof of the lift car. For twenty seconds nothing happened; everyone held their breath. Did Elpida hear voices? She strained to listen.
Then something tore through the roof of the lift with an ear-splitting rip of peeling metal. Scraps of pulverised grey material flew everywhere, flashing scythes of dull orange punched down through the lift, and then a dark shape squirmed downward and into the light.
“Oh my fucking God,” Vicky said.
Ilyusha barked. “God! Ha!”
“Quiet,” Elpida snapped. “Hold fire.”
Something pushed out through the lift doors and stood up.
A shield-wall, dark orange: the front of the intruder was protected and obscured by six huge metal shields in a rough square. Eight heavy bionic legs were visible beneath the shields, non-human, multi-jointed, armoured with dun brown plate, curved away from a massive elongated body in the rear. Tiny eyes peered over the topmost shield — human eyes, soft and sane and green, framed by frizzy brown hair.
A single construct? A girl riding a construct, or standing on a construct? The shield-wall concealed the details, but the size and scale was all wrong. The thing standing behind those bunched shields was the size of two horses, nine feet tall, and made no sense.
Before Elpida could gather her wits, somebody squeaked from behind the shield-wall, riding on that eight-legged bionic construct.
“They’re pointing guns at us! Gun-guns!”
A second voice, a throaty wheeze: “They?”
“There’s like three-three! Four? Wow-more!”
A third voice, muffled and mechanical: “Assaulting into an armoury. Bad idea. Told you so.”
“Not-not an assault!” said the squeaky first voice. The human eyes and frizzy hair ducked down behind the dark orange shield-wall.
At least three people, plus a bionic construct — Silico? Elpida made a split-second decision; whoever these people were, they hadn’t rushed in guns blazing. She raised her voice. “Stay where you are! We have you covered with three coilguns.”
The muffled and mechanical voice said: “Coilguns. Great. Of course it would be a tomb with coilguns.”
The green eyes popped up again, wide and staring.
“Lie! Lie-lie, they have one. Two? Two-two.”
Elpida shouted: “State your business or I will open fire.”
The wheezing voice said, “No firing! No firing! The star-caller is among them, don’t hurt her!”
The dun brown bionic legs skittered and danced on the spot, jostling the shield-wall. The squeaky voice said: “Back-back!?”
“No!” wheezed the second voice. “She— star-called— caller— I can’t— oh, it’s coming, I can feel it unlatching from the heavens, I— uhhhnn—” The voice dissolved into wet gurgles.
The muffled and mechanical voice said, “Boss? Not now. Boss? Fuck!”
“Yeah, back up the lift, we have this lot bottled up anyway—”
Ilyusha leapt the barricade.
A flash of pale flesh and red-black bionics vaulted the overturned tables, lips pulled back in a rictus grin. She raised the rotary shotgun in both hands, aimed at the shield-wall, and pulled the trigger. A roar split the air — then again, and again, as Ilyusha yanked on the trigger and pumped the mechanism to rotate the cylinder for fresh rounds. Pellets bounced off the dark orange shields. Several people screamed. The legs of the construct flinched and jerked.
Vicky shouted, “Elpi, do we help her?!”
“Hold!” Elpida said. “Ilyusha, stop!”
But Ilyusha wasn’t listening. She sprinted forward as she fired, clawed feet chewing through the metal flooring, tail lashing from side to side. She slammed the shield-wall with the tip of her tail and raked at it with the claws from one hand — and then Ilyusha jinked sideways, flanking the intruder, shotgun jerking up to point at whatever hid behind the shield-wall.
Howl blossomed in Elpida’s memory.
Thirteen years old, straddling Elpida’s chest, both of them black and blue and bloody, Howl screaming in her face: “One of us fights, we all fight! You taught me that! Tell me you still believe it or I’ll kill you myself. Tell me you love us.”
One in, all in.
Elpida slipped her index finger over the coilgun’s trigger, sighting dead centre of the shield-wall. She would take responsibility later. She always did.
But in the split-second before she could fire, a blade flashed out from behind the shield-wall and cut Ilyusha’s rotary shotgun in half.
Ilyusha sprang back, spitting and hissing — and fouling Elpida’s clean shot. She dropped the shattered pieces of her firearm, then flicked her claws free and whipped her tail above her head like a scorpion. A figure darted out from behind the shield-wall before Ilyusha could pounce, and forced her away with a flurry of strikes from a pair of swords. Ilyusha turned away the blows with her claws and the metal of her arms, but Elpida could tell that the heavily augmented girl was inexpert and clumsy; she’d be dead without the bionics.
Ilyusha’s opponent was unreadable: tight and athletic, wrapped in a dark red bodysuit and draped with matching robe-like layers, head concealed inside a black helmet with a smooth face-plate. Nothing but an angle for a nose and slits for eyeholes. She held a pair of long, curved swords, the metal glittering red. She swung them like liquid.
Vicky shouted, “I can’t get an angle!”
The squeaky voice was screaming from behind the shield-wall: “Zel-Zel no! No! Back-back! Ahhhh!”
Elpida kicked her way through the makeshift barricade. She kept the coilgun pointed at the shield-wall. The plates were wavering, as if they wanted to intervene in the claws-and-sword duel. Ilyusha was getting a feel for it now, knocking away the sword-strikes and trying to impale the swordswoman with jabs of her tail. The red-clad duellist reacted with expert precision, dodging and twisting out of the way. Ilyusha spat with anger.
“Ilyusha!” Elpida shouted. “Off! Now!”
Ilyusha cackled and pressed forward. The red swordswoman deflected a tail-swipe with both blades.
“Back down or I will make you back down.” Elpida twitched her attention to the shield-wall. “Call your one off, or I will put a hole through you.”
“Zel-Zel! Zel!” The squeaky voice was not coherent enough for orders.
Elpida judged the distances, weighed the coilgun receiver in one hand, and took the opening: she strode at the melee fight just as Ilyusha was rocking back for another blow, scooped Ilyusha’s petite form up from behind, arm around the smaller girl’s stomach, and pointed the coilgun at the red-clad swordswoman. Finger on the trigger, ready to squeeze.
The red-wrapped figure stopped, swords frozen in mid-air. Ilyusha was kicking and screeching in Elpida’s grip, clawing and raking — mostly at the floor, but she caught Elpida’s leg as well, bruising and grazing the front of her shin. Elpida clutched Ilyusha tight and held the coilgun steady.
“Move and I shoot,” she said to the red swordswoman.
“Suits me,” came the reply, muffled into mechanical noise by the helmet and mask.
Ilyusha was spitting. “Fuck you! Fuck you!” Her tail-spike went up and down like a stinger in flesh, ramming dents in the metal floor.
Elpida said, “Swords down. Back away.”
The red woman said: “Not happening.”
“She’ll go for me again.”
Elpida suppressed a sigh. “Ilyusha. Ilyusha? Ilyusha, I need you to stop.”
Ilyusha finally let go of her raving anger. She sagged in Elpida’s grip, panting through gritted teeth. “What!?”
“If I let you go—”
“Fuck you too! Lanky bitch!”
Ilyusha squirmed down and out of Elpida’s grip like a greased weasel. She instantly turned away and stomped over to the armoury. She yanked another rotary shotgun off the racking and slammed it about, then scooped up shells from a box, sat down cross-legged, and started loading the weapon, sulking with her head down.
The red swordswoman stayed perfectly still. Elpida kept her covered with the coilgun.
“How about now?” Elpida asked.
“She’s loading a gun. Li?”
The squeaky voice answered from behind the shield-wall: “Mm-mm?”
“That girl raises that gun, you cut her in half.”
Elpida said: “Nobody is cutting anybody in half.”
Vicky’s voice joined them, along with her hurrying boots: “Yeah, fucking hell. Guns down, okay? Guns down. We don’t all need to shoot each other.”
“Ilyusha,” Elpida said.
“Yeah, fuck you!” Ilyusha spat. She didn’t look from loading her replacement shotgun.
“Promise me you won’t start another fight.”
“Reptile fuck. Cold-blooded cunt bitch. Cunt.”
Elpida twitched her head sideways; she needed to cover the swordswoman but she needed to talk to Ilyusha. She couldn’t do this alone. “Vicky, get Amina, we need her to—”
But to Elpida’s surprise, Amina was already hurrying through the armoury. The younger girl clutched her ballistic shield to her front as she went straight to Ilyusha’s side. Amina went down on her knees, touching Ilyusha without hesitation. The heavily augmented girl shoved her away and raised her bionic tail as if to strike, but Amina dropped the shield and pulled her into an awkward sideways hug. Ilyusha stopped loading the gun. She stared at the floor.
Elpida asked: “Now?”
“Sure,” said the red swordswoman. “Can I move?”
An explosive cough came from behind the shield-wall. That earlier voice, the bruised and wheezy one which had descended into gurgles, started up in panic: “No firing! The star-caller is here! We can’t risk— risk her. What— what happened, Zeltzin?”
‘Zeltzin’ lowered her red swords and then slid them away inside her red robes; Elpida did not like how the woman moved, as if her joints had a wider range of motion than a human being should possess. Zeltzin took a step back and glanced behind the dull orange shields. “No injuries. Just pride. I count six fresh.”
“Six?” The wheezy voice sounded surprised.
Ilyusha muttered, on the other side of the room: “Fuckin’ eat you, cunt. Come try again.”
A clunk and a scrape came from behind the shields. The soft green eyes and frizzy hair from earlier peered over the top. “Lianna,” said the wheezy voice. “You may stand down. Nobody is shooting.”
Elpida lowered her coilgun, but she kept it powered. She glanced at Vicky and found the other woman was still cradling that light machine gun. She reached out and put a gentle hand on the weapon, as if encouraging her to keep it pointed away from anybody, but she caught Vicky’s eye and nodded, hoping she understood. She glanced back at the archway: Kagami had staggered out a few paces, supported by clutching onto Atyle’s arm — not offered but taken regardless. But the borrowed submachine gun hung limp in Kagami’s free hand. The doll-like girl looked terrified, mouth hanging open. Atyle was enraptured by the shield-wall, or perhaps by what lay behind the plates.
“Guns are down,” said the red swordswoman. “Boss, this is a mess. Are you sure she’s here?”
The wheezy voice said, “The star-caller must be here! Lianna, let me see. Let me see. Lower your shields, that’s it, good girl, let me see, let me see … ”
The voice trailed off. The shield-wall broke, individual plates separating and drifting apart.
Behind the shields was the top half of a young woman: a head of frizzy brown hair, eyes green and wide and slightly manic, face pale and pinkish and pinched, narrow shoulders and thin ribs clad wrapped in layers of comfortable grey robe, with a pair of normal arms and human hands sticking out from the folds of fabric.
Flesh ended at her waist; below that she was a bionic spider the size of a hippopotamus.
Twelve feet long, main body and abdomen structures armoured with dun brown plating. Eight legs supported the body, segmented and flexible, made of bio-plastic and bunches of artificial muscle fibre. Eight arms sprouted from the front part of the body, in a ring around the human torso: six arms ended in those flat orange shields; two arms were shaped into curved pincers, with razor-sharp edges as long as Elpida was tall.
Ilyusha’s tail had left Elpida shocked by non-human body plan bionics. The four-armed cannibal had seemed impossible. But this was beyond her. This was not human — but neither was it Silico.
A second woman was riding on the back of the spider-centaur, a twisted scrap of bark-brown cradled in a nest of blankets. Hollow-cheeked, stubble-scalped, and encrusted with sensory bionics, like coral growing on her face. She had little blooms of metal and bio-plastic in her forehead, sending out feelers up her scalp and down her cheeks. Her nose was replaced with a black and grey apparatus that seemed to cling to her flesh, a limpet sucking at her blood. Little spirals of bionic matter swirled across her lips and chin and down her throat.
And she had no eyes; her eye sockets were filled with a crust of bionic matter, spilling outward and overflowing onto the bones of her face.
She smiled. Elpida was reminded of Old Lady Nunnus, the cadre’s one and only teacher.
The crusted woman spoke in a wheezing voice. “My name is Inaya. One of you has called a falling star.”
She paused for effect and the similarity with Nunnus vanished. Elpida glanced around at the others and concluded that those words meant nothing to anybody. Atyle was staring at the spider-girl with open awe. Kagami looked like she wanted to flee. Amina, oddly, did not seem to care, still focused totally on Ilyusha. Ilyusha just sulked, loading her new shotgun; maybe she’d seen this before. Vicky looked pale but stable. Elpida didn’t blame her. She took a step closer to Vicky, closed the gap between them, and made sure she had a good grip on the coilgun.
Zeltzin, the red swordswoman, spoke up: “None of them know, boss. We got it wrong.”
The spider-girl spoke too. “Six-six is crazy! Six!”
Zeltzin looked toward Elpida, just a pair of slits in a black mask. “You kept this group together?”
“Yes. Why is six crazy?”
Zeltzin snorted behind her mask. “Most first-time fresh don’t even stick together.”
Inaya spoke over her companions, from up on the spider’s back: “Please! Speak, tell me, tell us. We mean you no harm, star-caller, we will not take—”
Lianna the spider-girl interrupted. “If she isn’t here, they’re just fresh-fresh. Riiiiight?” A nasty smile crept across that pinkish face.
Ilyusha looked up from her shotgun, suddenly very still. Amina let her go. Vicky went tense as well.
Zeltzin turned her masked face toward the empty space in the racking from where Ilyusha had taken all the cannisters of nanomachine slime. She said: “Where’s all your ambrosia gone?”
Ilyusha slammed a final shell into her shotgun and stood up. “Fuck you, reptile. Drank it all up. Come get it.”
Kagami shouted from the rear of the room: “They’re here to eat us! Somebody shoot the fucking spider-tank, please!”
“No-no!” Lianna squeaked — but she was grinning.
Vicky swallowed. “Yeah, hey, I don’t like the sound of this.”
Elpida raised the coilgun receiver and pointed it at Lianna’s bionic spider-body. “Nobody is eating anybody.”
“Joke!” The spider-girl giggled, a weird and scratchy cackle. Three of the plate-arms went up in surrender. “Joke-joke!”
Inaya carried on. “A star is falling, or preparing to fall. I can see it, I can feel it in my skin, and it is beautiful. I have travelled from tomb to tomb looking for you and I have not seen a starfall in forty years. Please. Just tell me. Speak to me, star-caller. Speak to us.”
Elpida shared a glance with Vicky, then with Kagami and Atyle at the rear of the room. Nobody knew anything.
“I’m sorry,” Elpida said, “but whoever you’re looking for, it’s not one of us. One of our number left the group, went on ahead. Another died, eaten. Another two we never met.”
The encrusted woman looked like she wanted to weep, but her eyes were too full of metal. She looked at Elpida, but Elpida had no idea what the woman could see.
“Told you, boss,” said Zeltzin. “They’re just fresh.”
“It is falling,” Inaya said. “It is. I can feel it coming. The machine sings in the heavens.”
Elpida asked, “What do you mean, a star is falling? What does that mean?”
Kagami muttered a suggestion: “Orbital re-entry?”
Zeltzin said, “And they’ve taken all the ambrosia. We need to recoup or leave.”
Ilyusha raised her shotgun and bared her teeth. “Try it!”
“A star,” said Inaya. She turned her sightless, metal-crusted face toward the ceiling. “A newborn has called it from the heavens. A clean star, untouched and pure.”
Zeltzin took a step back. “Boss, we need to get out. This place is going to be swarming.”
“Uh-huh!” Lianna agreed. She was already shuffling her massive spider body backward, inching toward the lift doors. “Wanna take one with? Two-two maybe? Small one? Snack-snack?”
But Inaya’s blind gaze drifted toward Elpida and the others once more. “Perhaps the star-caller does not know. I never considered that possibility. I never thought. It could be one of them. It could. But six? We expected one, perhaps two. If we could winnow them … ”
“Oh, fuck right off,” Vicky said.
Zeltzin said, “It’s not them, boss. We got it wrong.”
Inaya sighed and settled back into her blankets, as if dismissing the situation. “So disappointing. Such a waste of time.”
“Hey,” Elpida said. “You’re leaving the tomb again, you’re getting outside?”
“Yeah,” said Zeltzin. She didn’t sound happy about it. She was also backing away.
“You know the route out?”
“Same way we got in. Bit busier now though.”
“Won’t bother-bother me!” said Lianna.
“No,” said Zeltzin. “Front door. Just early, soon as the worm was clear. You don’t even know what I’m talking about, freshie, what does it matter to you?”
“Because you’re taking us with you.”
Nobody said anything for a split-second. Vicky glanced at Elpida, eyes wide. Kagami let out a strangled sound. Lianna, the giant bionic spider, twitched her shields as if to cover herself, then thought better of it and pulled a grimace. Inaya peered down from her back, brow furrowed. Ilyusha frowned too, then cackled with approval as she understood Elpida’s move. Her tail started wagging. She grinned at Elpida.
“No we’re not,” said Zeltzin.
Quickly and gently, Elpida said: “Vicky, cover the swordswoman. Safety off.”
Vicky raised the machine gun and pointed it at Zeltzin. Ilyusha helped, cackling.
Elpida kept the coilgun barrel aimed at the spider-girl — and at Inaya, riding on her back. “You can lead us out of the tomb or I can put a hole through your friends and let Ilyusha take you apart. Your call.”
Fresh from the tomb, but already lethal; Elpida is a trained leader, and she’s got a new in-group ready for loyalty. Now they just have to get out.
Another long chapter! Seems like I say this every week now. Hope you’re all enjoying where this is going, because I am absolutely loving this story so far. Elpida is a blast to write, she’s already surprising me.
If you want more Necroepilogos right away, there is a tier for it on my patreon:
Right now this only offers a single chapter ahead, about 4k words. Please, do feel free to wait until there’s plenty more to read! I’m aiming to add more as soon as I can make more time.
There’s also a TopWebFiction entry, for voting. Clicky button makes it go up the rankings, where more people might see the story!
Thank you all for reading! More soon. Out of the tomb and into whatever world is left.