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Trojan wolf olympia, p.3
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       Trojan Wolf: Olympia, p.3

           Tobias Gavran
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viciously and destroyed as though they understood their true purpose. Her dagger didn’t share such a characteristic. It killed rather than wounded.

  Judging by the bite of that man’s sword, he wasn’t just any grunt. He lacked the skill of a man that had trained enough and faced skillful foes, but he had wielded the thing for some time. Almost expert in the art of being struck, Daya found him very urban. He had been careful to provide pain to his opponents without killing them, as though he feared the repercussion of such an act. Loan sharks loved to have such people in their employ, which had led her to deal with them early in her life and despise them for the rest of it.

  With a powerful kick, she busted the man’s knee before he could even remove the blade from her arm. She didn’t have the time to deliver the killing blow, however. The sword that had dug into her skin twisted itself around, severing the artery and letting out a lush spurt of blood. The blade spun out of the wound and aimed for her throat, but she grabbed it. No matter how experienced the telekinesist was, his art would never match her strength; unless of course the bleeding deprived her of all energy.

  She could feel the magic getting cold. Daya was exhausting her forces faster than she should have. Once again, she felt stupid, but she didn’t have time to wallow on her incompetence. Retreating was the better thing to do. She pulled out her dagger from the man’s thigh, leaving him to bleed out, braced his companion’s sword and jumped over the railing.

  As though a rope had been tied around her neck, Daya suddenly collided against the concrete, held by an invisible force. The sword alone was able to fall below the 14th floor. She should have accounted for that possibility. She should have accounted for a lot of things, she now realized. She tried her best to cast her magic against his, but there was no defeating that man. Her skills lay elsewhere.

  “Pull her up,” the mage ordered.

  “But Drake is bleeding out,” his subordinate argued.

  “Drake won’t be the only one if that warrior gets away. Quickly get her back on the floor before she recovers her strength!”

  Daya tried to thrust her dagger into the hand that grabbed her shoulder but he stopped her. Her magic was too focused on stanching the blood flowing from her arm to feed her need for strength and speed. Burdened by the telekinesist’s hold, she was an easy target. She quickly found herself laid on her back, unable to get up. The swordsman tried to get her dagger but she cut him. She couldn’t be proud of this superficial wound. How weak of her…

  “Break her arm,” the mage advised.

  The swordsman gave a proper twist and yanked, but there was no resounding crack. He growled and panted, tried again and eventually got hold of the dagger, even though he was unable to defeat her bone structure with the sole help of his hands.

  “Who sent you?” the mage asked. It must have been curiosity rather than real concern, because he shrugged at her silence.

  Daya felt his power on her seconds later, it took him about three minutes to cast a proper charm, but he did well. Paralyzed from head to toe, she realized she couldn’t even unclench her jaws now that he had bound her. Breathing through her nose, Daya had trouble opening and closing her eyes.

  The swordsman stripped her of her weapons and tools. She was quite disappointed when she heard the mage warning him about the silver coin in her pocket, designed to poison anyone that would steal it. That trick had been used by some regulars for a few decades, now, but still she suspected the man had dealt with the Imperial army before. He might even have been an old soldier for all she knew. The guard grabbed her arms and dragged her into the corridor.

  “Where will we keep her?” The swordsman whispered far too loudly for her not to understand.

  “The drawing room,” the mage replied without trying to be discreet.

  “Can’t we ward a closet or something?”

  “Trust me, we don’t want to keep that one out of our sight.”

  “She’s dangerous, alright, but if you can’t keep her in check, we should kill her.”

  “Unwise. I fear her teammates would very much kill us if we did.” The mage was right, she thought.

  “Won’t they try to do that anyway?”

  “I doubt that. If they wanted us dead, they’d either take down the building or invade it by force.”

  “So this wasn’t an invasion to you?”

  “No, she was just clearing the road for her more delicate companions. Large squads are rarely sent into the wilderness. They are easier to track for the Wildlanders and more appealing to challenge for the Barbarians. The problem is that you can’t really be a master of everything, which is why there’s only one or two true warriors in the expedition.”

  Daya frowned at the man’s explanation. It was painfully true, and suspiciously well-informed. Most regulars didn’t know about their activity, and those that did had very few details about their modus operandi.

  “Wait, if she’s the only true warrior, then we’d better kill her. That’ll weaken their squad and…”

  “Ah, shut up, will you? She’s the best at using steel, but don’t think for a second that a technician couldn’t cast an enchantment that would suck the air out of your lungs. We need to keep her still and silent. As long as she’s alive, this is just business to them. They do what they must and they get out. We let her go and they let us live.”

  “She didn’t seem too keen on letting us live, you know?”

  “Was it my idea to confront her armored, sword drawn, and without an explanation?” the mage snapped back. “You wanted to boast about taking down an elite fighter and protecting the city, now you’ve got two dead friends and their killer to carry.”

  “How do you know they’ll not try to kill us, even if we keep her alive?” the swordsman asked.

  “I do, that’s all you need to know.”

  Daya couldn’t really see the expression on their faces, but she sensed the swordsman just didn’t have the guts to challenge the mage’s authority any further. They propped her up against a wall in a sitting position, in a room full of large tables with tilted tops.

  “Be ready for anything,” the mage told the swordsman before he went back into the corridor. Good advice that Daya wished she could have tested, but the magical bounds simply didn’t break, no matter how she tried to defeat them. Her arm was incredibly itchy at the moment. A thick layer of coagulated blood had kept her from bleeding out and she could feel her flesh healing underneath, despite the blood that had spilled into her tissues. Her skin was black around the wound from the dead red cells that lay beneath.

  She counted five more armored guards when the mage came back and sat beside her.

  “Soyons honnêtes,” let’s be honest, he told her in French, “these fools have no idea who you really are.”

  Daya couldn’t say a word, due to the charm, but she didn’t even make a sound. She had no intention of giving him any information about her team or her opinion on his, for that matter.

  “They can’t understand, don’t worry.” He gazed into her eyes. “How is Campbell doing…no? How about Thompson?” The mage smirked. “Okay, Thompson, then.”

  She used all her energy to try and break the charm. He knew about the team, about the Sergeant Major. She had to kill him. She wanted to kill him, now.

  “She says ‘okay’ a lot, doesn’t she?” he remarked. “Anyway, now I guess you know where I come from. You see, I understand that the team shouldn’t be talked about. I will handle these guys; use a common cover story, that won’t be a problem. All I want is that as few people as possible be killed, today. Can you believe that?” He sighed. “Of course, you can’t.”

  “What are you talking about?” the swordsman that had dragged her in asked, irritated.

  “I’m trying to get her to tell me about the whereabouts of her friends. Now, do you mind?” the mage retorted.

  There was a lingering moment when the swordsman might have thought about drawing his weapon, but he eventually turned and sat at the other end of the room.
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  “My name’s O’Connell,” he informed her, speaking in French again. “Your handlers, at Dispatch, are going to want to know that. They’ll ask all kinds of questions and you’ll probably have gathered all the intel you need to answer. I’m just letting you know this will be a long debrief. What’s important to me is that your team leaves this place without having a clue who organized our own little expedition. Now, we both know you weren’t sent here to find that out. So, if you tell me what you’re looking for, I can have it brought to you right here.”

  She felt her power once more and slowly regained control of everything above her shoulders. That didn’t mean she was about to tell him anything.

  “Below the twentieth floor?” he asked almost casually and nodded. “Above this floor, I presume?” He nodded again, as though Daya had answered. “Then it’s a design, I presume. I guess you don’t even know what design. You just know where the data’s at.”

  O’Connell’s eyes suddenly widened and he stood up. It took a few seconds before Daya realized all his men had suddenly stopped moving and chattering. Perfectly still, they seemed frozen in time.

  Daya’s companions suddenly appeared from under Diego’s veil, once again able to reflect light and make the air vibrate with sound. The noble must have sensed O’Connell telekinesis trying to waken, because he pointed his finger at him and ordered: “No!” He lowered his finger. “Siéntate!”

  Unable to resist the command, the mage sat down. A nobleman’s word held actual power, no matter whether or not those subjected to it could understand the language.

  “What we want is on the eighteenth floor,” Thompson told him as though he was part of the team.

  “Oh,” O’Connell let out as though he suddenly understood something.

  “Do you know him?” Daya couldn’t help but interrupt. This felt all too strange to her to keep quiet.

  “Never met him, but I trust he was in the system,” she smiled. “You’ll be able to notice one of our own after a few years too.”

  “Do you want me to bind him, Dom?” Diego asked.

  Thompson shook her head. “He’s going to lead us there. I doubt he organized this whole trip, but he must have enough sway among their guards to get them to shut up.”

  Daya felt Diego’s magic surging against the charm that held her captive, tearing the very fabric of the spell with the sole force of his own energy. She immediately started scratching her arm. Under the coagulated blood, the thinnest scar had appeared. She’d seen a lot worse than that. Daya wanted to voice her doubt about letting O’Connell lead them anywhere, and the possibility of letting him go after that. He seemed too dangerous and far too knowledgeable to be left alone, in her opinion.

  Yet, she didn’t say anything. The Sergeant Major gave the orders, she followed them.

  “Do you know what you’re here to collect?” O’Connell asked Thompson tauntingly.

  “You think you do?” she retorted.

  “Oh, I know I do, Dom.” The last word didn’t seem all that respectful in his mouth. He turned to Diego. “Can I get up, amigo?”

  The Sergeant Major nodded and the nobleman lifted his command with a similar gesture. Daya suddenly rushed on her feet, noticing she, too, was still sitting. She grabbed back her gear and soon, they left the six paralyzed warriors behind them to reach the staircase.

  O’Connell nonchalantly indicated the traps along the way. Jack took each of them down in utter silence. He had never been very talkative around strangers. Daya had waited three months for him to even say hello regularly.

  Such considerations soon escaped her when she noticed a very distinctive background noise. One she would have never known if her grandmother hadn’t been into old-timey movies from the TV era. The doors to the 18th floor opened and O’Connell cleared a way for them with a few simple words. When she saw the internal combustion engine running, Daya let out a little gasp.

  It might have been the first one to ever work since the early 21st century, back when the Great Change happened, disabling firearms and fossil fuels among other things. An event so major, the scientific community still argued whether or not it was of divine origin.

  The plastic frame of the computers in the room suddenly made Daya realize how old the place was.

  Jack voiced her surprise before she could, “Antenova had found a way to restore direct injection engines? How did this not make the papers?”

  O’Connell shook his head. “The enchantment they used is wasteful. Yes, it does allow for the fuel to ignite the way it did before the Change, but you’d be best served generating electrical currant, even by the 2070’s standards. It’s interesting, though.” He smiled to Thompson. “Station 187-B, I presume?”

  The Sergeant Major nodded. That was the computer which held the hard drive they were looking for. O’Connell led the way, and Jack soon got his hands on the piece.

  “By all accounts, this is it,” Jack said after a few seconds browsing the contents without the help of any monitor. “I don’t see any traces of a copy.”

  “Most of Antenova’s protocols beat our team,” O’Connell explained. “We didn’t bring any expert computer scientist with us, and the drives just won’t connect to the web, even when we get them out of the dead zone.”

  Jack put the hard drive in a leather pouch warded to withstand all kinds of abuse.

  “Do you think Dispatch is going to tell us to come back for your ass?” Thompson asked.

  O’Connell shrugged. “I’d like to pretend that they don’t have the balls, but I know better.” He held out his hand. “I hope they don’t.”

  Thompson shook his hand, to Daya’s disbelief. The team went back into the corridor of the eighteenth floor, only to find six very pissed off guards there. A flight of crossbow bolts flew in their direction, but O’Connell deflected them into a wall.

  “Put your weapons down, idiots!” he shouted.

  “Traitor!” One of the swordsmen yelled as he charged.

  Daya heard some movement behind her. The people in the computer room seemed rather interested in the notion that a traitor had led four strangers into their operations.

  “Jack, open the doors,” Thompson ordered as she reached the elevator shaft.

  The technician obeyed without the use of a single movement. His magic worked the building’s systems without trouble since he had made his early modifications. The elevators were still stuck down below, allowing the team to rappel to the ground floor before the guards ever reached them – O’Connell was covering them, voluntarily or not.

  “Diego, veil,” Thompson said.

  The nobleman masked their presence to the world until he exhausted his magic, but they had already reached the outskirts of Olympia by then. They would have to protect him, in case any wildlife paid them a visit, at least until he got some proper rest.

  “Why did we leave O’Connell be?” Daya suddenly exclaimed after they’d walked silently for about half an hour.

  “Why wouldn’t we? He wasn’t the mission,” Thompson remarked.

  Daya didn’t like when her superior wasn’t straight with her. The Sergeant Major acted like it was a way to make her think on her own, but it felt more like dishonesty to her.

  “He knew about the team. He’s a liability,” Daya argued.

  “O’Connell is a former operative if I’ve ever seen one.” Thompson spoke louder, as though she wanted to make sure all her subordinates paid attention. “As long as he’s not the explicit target, we leave him be.”

  “Why?” Daya lowered her head almost immediately, ashamed of her sudden outburst. She swallowed. “Why?” she asked more calmly.

  “Because any of us could end up in his place, that’s why,” Thompson said.

  “Secure transmission established,” Jack softly indicated.

  The Sergeant Major patted Daya’s shoulder, to show her and her teammates that there were no hard feelings. Then, she held her hand out for Jack to give her the hard drive.

” Thompson said, her voice carried through the invisible magical links, “Trojan Wolf, reporting.”


  A message from the author

  First and foremost, thank you for downloading and reading this short story.

  Trojan Wolf: Olympia is my first attempt at self-publishing an original work in English. As such, the project has been as entertaining as it was stressful. All feedbacks are welcome, be they in the form of a comment, a tweet, or a message over Facebook. Encouragements as well as critiques – constructive or not – may not only carry your voice, but also translate into an improvement on my part.

  This is true for most self-published authors who must rely on readers rather than an editor to know what works and what doesn’t. Sharing your thoughts on a story can also keep your fellow readers away from a bad surprise or, on the contrary, allow them to discover something special. Please, consider commenting on indie writers whenever possible, if not to encourage them, at least to let them know that they’re on the wrong track, in your opinion.

  I hope you enjoyed Trojan Wolf: Olympia, or that you’ll find a better read soon, if you didn’t.

  In the meantime, have a good day, a good evening, or a good night, depending on the time you read this.

  Tobias Gavran

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