The two men turned to her. Daagiis said, “No camouflage for this exercise. We’ll go hand-to-hand and test your abilities.”
Raven looked from one to the other. She was used to being the smallest kid on the block, but she was still up against two muscled men who had unknown fighting abilities. She scowled.
“So, no weapons. Me against the two of you. And this is fair because—?”
Daagiis grinned at her grumpy tone. “Because I am going to load a program into your interface. It contains all the information you need to defend yourself against two larger, stronger assailants. Hold still. You’ll go offline for a few moments.”
Before Raven could ask him what he meant by going offline, the face-changer grasped the underside of her jaw, holding her still while he plugged something into small port at the base of her skull. Daagiis had pointed it out to her as he’d braided her hair. The idea she had an actual computer port in her head plus a computer had been surreal, to say the least.
She was definitely not in Kansas anymore.
The instant Daagiis plugged his device in, Raven couldn’t move. A strange buzzing, felt more than heard, filled her skull. Her mouth fell open and in a voice not quite hers, Raven said in a monotone, “Download successful.”
Daagiis unplugged what looked like a slender rod from her port. Raven could think and move again, and she staggered a little. Vendeen grabbed her shoulder to steady her.
Raven shook her head. “Holy shit. That was not pleasant.”
Vendeen thumped the back of his hand against her abdomen, letting her feel a slight thud from his knuckles. “Your bodysuit is flexibly armored. It will record any kill blows we land, but other than extreme pain—” he grinned evilly “—you will not truly be harmed.”
Daagiis added, “Head shots to you are off limits, but you are free to attack us in any way you wish.”
Raven gave him the meanest look she could summon. “You don’t think I can do any harm?”
Daagiis rolled his eyes. “Of course you can. If we are foolish enough to allow it, we don’t deserve to live.”
Raven stared at him in shock. The two men were serious about this. The grim looks they gave each other told her they meant business.
Vendeen narrowed his black eyes at her. “Let’s see what you know, my protector.”
Releasing in August