Chapter 2 - The Unwelcome, The Unbidden

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The angelic red construct had six thruster-wings arrayed out the back, creating an intimidating wingspan. The head was shaped like an ornate helmet, with a single glowing white sensor-eye peering out from under it. The Seraphim had a shape consisting of severe angles and elegant design.

In the construct's right hand was a force sword, a glowing, 2-dimensional plane of force capable of severing the bonds between atoms. There was nothing the weapon wasn't capable of cutting through, although thankfully it could only be used in very close range.

In the other hand was an oblong shield that came to a point at the end. The edges could also project a field of force powerful enough to parry a force weapon or be used to attack.

It was shooting through the debris field at dangerous speeds, easily dodging the metal detritus large enough to threaten it. It was closing in on June's Cherubim.

"June!" Eve screamed "Watch out!"

Eve pressed a button on her helmet and a visor slid down. She would have five minutes of oxygen, starting now. She flipped several switches to override the security override, and then blasted herself out of the cockpit of her Cherubim into open space.

A little under five minutes, then she would suffocate. Eve used a little of this time to shoot a burst of oxygen out the back of her flight suit to propel her forward. She couldn't afford the air to maneuver so if a piece of debris entered her path she was sure she would die.

Eve could see the barnacle-covered angel ahead, the sum of all her hopes. She took a deep breath and used the last of her air to shoot forward just in time to avoid a metal jag that would have pierced her suit.

Eve came into contact with the crust of debris covering the humanoid form. Her heart was pounding in her chest so hard it hurt. Her vision was starting to go blurry. She couldn't hold her breath much longer. Eve questioned whether she was hallucinating as the cockpit of the Seraphim opened, breaking through the debris covering it and scattering it like ice.

Ever floated into the pilot's seat and the cockpit quickly sealed shut and pressurized. She pressed the button on her helmet to disengage the visor and took several deep, gasping breathes.

The panoramic screen came to life in patches as the thousands of sensors covering the Seraphim came to life one-by-one. Finally the glowing sensor-eye opened, snapping the entire thing into high resolution.

Meanwhile the red Seraphim closed in on June. She attempted to jerk her clunky Cherubim out of the way, but the Seraphim maneuvered like a snake in the water. It dove past the Cherub and cleanly divided it in half diagonally with it's force sword as it passed.

"JUNE!" both Eve and Sam called out together, although neither could hear the other.

Eve's tears hovered in the zero-gravity environment as they spilled from her eyes. It was a physiological response to emotions Eve couldn't quite experience yet. The danger snapped her mind into crystal clear focus.

Eve's Seraphim, still covered in debris, brought it's own force sword to life in a burst of energy. Crunching and shedding wreckage with each move of it's ancient joints, the Seraphim assumed an aggressive posture.

The controls rearranged themselves as Eve moved, creating a configuration that resembled what she always imagined Seraphim controls would look like. She knew instinctively how to pilot the machine.

Dodging back and forth with hard blasts from rapidly spreading thruster-wings, the new Seraphim shot through the debris field like a living bullet straight at the intruder. It left behind a trail of debris as it did so.

The red Seraphim was able to react just in time to interject it's shield between it and the force sword, narrowly avoiding being cut in two. There was a burst of illumination as the two force fields reacted to each-other.  


The red Seraphim attempted to disengage by blasting backwards, but Eve followed close behind her opponent. She wasn't going to let the pressure up for a second. The two exchanged a flurry of swords strikes, both attacking and parrying one another in rapid succession while the red Seraphim was pushed further and further back.

Both pilots had to be careful to avoid the debris even as they engaged in melee combat. A large chunk of spaceship came flying past, forcing them to briefly pull apart before smashing back together with another exchange of sword strikes. A single misstep by either pilot would result in a quick but grisly death.

The red Seraphim shot upwards, but failed to react in time to a jagged metal shard, which damaged one of it's secondary thruster-wings. Eve came flying after it in her own Seraphim. The pilot of the red Seraphim tried to dodge, but the loss of maneuverability was too much. Eve was able to cleanly sever the red Seraphim's shield arm with a wild swing from her force sword.

The red Seraphim was exposed to a fatal opening, but doubt gripped Eve before she could deliver the killing blow. The red Seraphim spun around and fled, and she let it. Instead she sat in the cockpit of her Seraphim, watched her enemy disappear off her sensors, and cried.



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