The Fallout - 11 | v

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Ava strode into the lobby of Anax Corp escorted by armed guards. Though it was a private security firm, the lobby was never this militarized. Then again neither was Pentorium. Now there were barbed wired barricades blocking off certain streets and arms guards at every corner. She had heard about the conflict. About the fact that the secrets the vampires went to great lengths to keep were out, and the werewolves were just as exposed. Several times, she thought about coming back but she couldn't. While she left Marx and the others to deal with the human element of their situation, she was hunting down the supernatural. What she found was most disturbing.

Martha and Shea came out to meet her in the lobby. Happy as she was to see Ava, Martha went in for a hug. Shea was the one to pull her back by her lab coat.

"Oh," Martha said. She adjusted her coat. It was clear that she had forgotten what happened the last time she made physical contact with Ava.

"Took you long enough," Shea said. Ava thought she heard relief more than animosity in the other woman's voice. Their relationship, from the get go, was an uneasy one. Ava did not like Shea's personality, and Shea did not appreciate her existence. They worked together for the good of the pack, and that was about all they had in common.

"What she means to say is," Martha cut in, "welcome back. You look—well."

Shea looked off pretending to be thinking. "No. I'm pretty sure I said what I meant."

When Ava wrapped her arms around Martha and pulled her in for a hug, no one was surprised more than she was. She was not a hugger. Physical contact, up until Ava reversed it, had only been possible with Garrick. Martha was the second person she ever touched in this world. In her arms, Martha held herself stiff from shock. On the other hand, perhaps she was waiting for the electric pulse that would incapacitate her again for hours. Ava pulled back from the embrace. She had to admit that felt good being able to touch another person again.

Martha and Shea stood there unable to speak.

"Well since we are on the matter of surprises add this to the list." Ava stepped to the side revealing the pod of floating mist that was behind her. She waved her hand, and the pod came closer.

"What's that?" Shea asked.

"It's more who." With another wave of her hand, a portion of the pod opened. The women looked inside. Martha gasped, a hand going to her mouth. When Ava pushed the hood of her cloak from her head, Martha gasped again.

"What happened to your face?" Martha stepped forward.

Ava pushed back her fall of dark brown hair showing the full extent of the scars. They went from the left side of her face down her neck and her collarbone.

"They look like Lichtenberg figures," Martha said. "The kinds of scarring persons get after being struck by lightning."

"It wasn't lightning that did this."

"And this?" Shea asked, pointing at the body in the pod.

"That's even stranger."

"What about—?"

"We should go to the labs," Martha suggested cutting off Shea's question. Ava knew what she was going to ask. "There is much to discuss." She led the way, and Ava followed, the pod floating with them.

"What did I come back to?" Ava asked.

"Short version," Shea started. She pressed the button on the elevator. "Passerini released the virus on a public commuter train. The infected vampires escaped and went berserk through the city. Then just as we thought we had it all under control half of our trained squad is infected, and that was an even bigger problem to clean up. To follow that up—"

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