My patrons just can’t seem to get enough of a heartfelt and emotional tale of mother-daughter bonding, so we’re back with more Ozymandias. That’s what it’s about, right? A parent and child who never knew the other existed coming to terms with this realization and finding their way through this new relationship amidst a whole of lot blood, screaming and grievous bodily harm. In this chapter, more bonding between Adrianna and Harper. I mean, Harper is swearing at Adrianna a lot less and Adrianna is no longer messing with her daughter’s head just because. That’s progress, right?
Oh, and Harper still half-suspects Adrianna may kill her to hide the secret of what they’ve found. That is, if the End of Dawn doesn’t beat her to it. We’ve seen what their scouts are capable of and just one can make even the Red Queen put some effort in. What happens when they take the gloves off?
Below is a snippet with some more heartwarming family time as the prospect of their brutal deaths gets figuratively and literally closer. For the full exchange, and what happens next, check out the link above!
She’s gotten past your defences, idiot. No, don’t even try to say getting. You know damn well that it’s past tense. Harper let out a breath, her mind running along several trains of thought, one after the other in rapid-fire succession. “You’re trying to distract me, aren’t you?”
Adrianna nodded. “Was it working?”
“It was.” Harper pursed her lips. “You think I need to be handled?” Though it wasn’t as prevalent on Rally, the few times she’d been off-world following leads or working on ops, she’d run into a certain paternalism from other CIS agents. They weren’t as dismissive as those outside the agency could be, but they had always seen Harper and her peers as representatives of a flawed people first, in need of additional guidance, protection or instruction. Adrianna had never treated Harper like that. There was no patronization in the Red Queen’s attitude towards the agent. Not even when she was fucking with me.
Even if they were on the opposite sides of a war, the thought that Adrianna might think so little of her… it bothered Harper, more than she ever imagined or thought it could.
“No,” the blue-haired woman said. Her answer wasn’t rushed in an attempt to salve Harper’s pride, but as flat honesty delivered in a manner the younger woman was becoming more and more familiar with. “I don’t. But nobody can be on edge forever. Sometimes we all need something else to focus on.”
“So the story about finding the Hesiod was bullshit?”
“No, that’s completely true. You can work out theories for that on your own and if you have questions, we can play the game again.”
“I really hate you.” Harper looked over at the security kiosk and the screen. The blip of the End of Dawn shuttle was coming in fast. Almost here. “What about you?” She asked after several seconds. “Who distracts you?”
A brief, sad smile crossed Adrianna’s face. “No one,” she answered. “The girl is dead. Long live the queen.”
“Long live the queen,” Harper murmured back, though she didn’t understand the first reference. Then, to break the tension that had thickened the stale air: “Anything in our supplies?”
“Rope. Two days’ worth of rations. First aid gear. Batteries and lights, thermal blankets, water filtration and cleaning. A pair of utility knives. Two flares, seven flare rounds. No flare gun.”
“What happened to it?”
“You hit me in the head with it and it broke.”
“Oh. Right.” She remembered that now. She’d kicked Adrianna back, using the brief reprise to grab the gun out of the emergency kit, but she hadn’t had enough time to load it and she’d been forced to use it as a cudgel. “Not much useful here, then.”
“Not for defensive purposes. There’s some more here,” Adrianna gestured to the rest of their supplies, “but no weaponry. I can’t even make a decent IED out of this. Any booby traps we build might as well count as pranks instead of deterrents.” She ran a hand through her dirty, blood-mattered azure hair.
“And you’re still optimistic we’re getting out of here?”
“I’ve been waging war against the largest star nation in the galaxy for sixty years, agent. Defeatism is a self-fulfilling prophecy.”
“I hope you’re right,” Harper told her, her eyes fixed to the monitor. The icon had reached the Stone Eye. “Because the End of Dawn is here.”