Chapter 3

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After a restless night, Terra woke just as the sun began to rise, unusually early for her. This was to be an emotional day. Two years ago to the day Necros, the Dynasty's Chief Enforcer, killed Anna. She had been Terra's best friend and a fellow agent of considerable Talent. 

Her blanket slid into a crumpled heap on the floor as she threw it back. Making her way down the dark narrow hallway to a sparse kitchen, she sighed at the empty state of her pantry and chiller.

The sea breeze tossed her long dark hair about as she trudged down a sandy path, dodging clumps of brush and tall grass, toward a small open-air cafe near the beach. She took a seat on one of the worn wooden stools before a long wood bar.

A wiry grey haired man with a stained white apron turned toward her. A broad smile brightened his wrinkled tan face. "Terra! Good to see you again. Did you have a fun trip?"

"Just work, Carlos. Boring as always. But my cupboards are bare, what do you have?"

Carlos always brightened her mood and filled her belly. After finishing breakfast Terra strolled along the beach, watching the waves break against the rocks, tossing white water upwards and salting the cool wind. As she walked on, her mind turned back to her best friend.

Terra recalled the outgoing flirt that drew her out of her shell, her cringe-worthy puns, and that goofy smile. Anna was the only one who could really make her laugh. She remembered how hard it was to suppress giggles as Anna would make funny faces behind Walt's back; how Anna taught her line dances even while they were on important missions; and the legendary pranks they pulled on fellow agents who thought far too much of themselves.

It was Anna who recruited Terra into the Blue Uprising. Their Talents complimented each other. Anna was technically a more powerful Talent than Terra and able to put on an impressive display of force, but what Terra lacked in raw power she made up in precision and stealth. A typical plan of attack would be for Anna to provide a distraction and cover for escape while Terra carried out the core mission purpose, whether it be assassination, theft, or rescue. Together they made a formidable team.

These and many other memories produced alternating waves of happiness and grief within her.

Terra also remembered, but this time only with sadness, the day about a year and a half prior to her death when they learned Anna's unique aura signature had been tagged by a Dynasty Finder. That was essentially a death sentence. 

The parting of best friends was tearful and heart wrenching. Anna insisted on it lest Terra also was caught up by the Enforcers. Besides, Anna said she found something 'wonderful' with which to spend her final days. Terra often wondered what that was.

As what became a simple tradition of remembrance, later that evening Terra lit a candle in memory of her best friend and gazed at the flickering light in the darkness as tears again rolled down her cheeks.

The next morning Terra cracked a smile as she opened up the shed that held her pride and joy. She stood a moment to admire it. Dark grey with chrome fenders, the motorcycle was not at all flashy, but had a sleek powerful elegance like a panther prepared to strike. With an eighty kW electric motor, it could outrun most any vehicle on the road, and an oversized power cell meant it would go long distances before needing a recharge. Two saddle bags carried enough gear for a long road trip.

Powerful, good looking, and responsive. Kind of like the perfect man.

Terra opted to take her motorcycle rather than a Blue Uprising approved transport, not that she asked for permission, though. With the exception of a set of fighting spikes, the saddle bags carried the normal things for a long road trip, including extra clothes, a toiletry kit, a jug of water, and some snacks. A bedroll and small tent were added in case road houses became hard to find. The weather looked to be perfect this late summer day, and she was looking forward to the long ride. She rolled the cycle out and tied her long black hair in a pony-tail. The whine of the engine as she took off gave her a feeling of exhilaration.

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