Chapter 53

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Terra rounded the corner to see two uniformed Blue Uprising soldiers standing in the hallway just inside the entrance to the emergency ward. One pointed his rifle toward Zoe, a menacing scowl on his weathered face. The second soldier stood behind the first with his rifle ready. A burly hospital security guard lay leaning against a wall, his hand pressing against a bloody wound on his shoulder.

Zoe spoke forcefully. "Back down sergeant! Your wounded will be treated like everyone else."

He spat the words. "Now! Or you will be the next casualty!"

Zoe advanced slowly on the soldier with a steeled expression on her face. The scowl on the soldier's face morphed briefly into confusion at her boldness. She stopped directly in front of him, nearly touching the gun barrel with her chest.

Her fierce eyes locked on to his. "I said back down! No one will be treated in front of a weapon!"

Terra knew what Zoe was about to do. But it was ill-advised, especially with the position of the second soldier. She shifted into the aura and concentrated on the second soldier's rifle.

In a sudden move, Zoe pushed the rifle barrel up and to the left with one hand while landing a jab to the sergeant's throat with the other. He gasped as she twisted and flung him to the floor with a hip throw. Before she could take his gun and deal with the other soldier the sergeant swept his leg across Zoe's ankles. She landed hard on her back. Zoe watched in sudden fear as the second soldier aimed his rifle at her and pulled the trigger.

Click.

He pulled the trigger again.

Click.

Unknown to the soldier, Terra had telekinetically induced an electrical charge countering the rifle's electromagnetic pulse so that it could not launch a dart. In anger, she directed a push against the soldier sending him tumbling down the hallway and crashing into a cart along the wall, upending its contents of bandages onto himself.

Nobody threatens my family or my friends!

The sergeant grabbed his rifle from the floor and began to raise it towards Terra. She lifted her hand and closed her fist. An invisible force under her direction snatched the weapon from his hands. He found himself lifting up from the floor and then floating in the air, his flailing having no effect.  His eyes widened and his face paled as the rifle also floated up, turned, and pointed at his head.

Silence stilled the hallway and all eyes turned to Terra. She walked closer with her hand extended as if to choke the sergeant. He represented everything in the world that would harm those she loved. A voice within her urged a brutal vengeance, here and now. But she paused as Will's words came back to her: 'you do have a good heart, look to it for guidance'.

Mercy.

The rage that filled her mind faded away.

The rifle before the frightened sergeant began to come apart in the air. The power cells and darts unloaded themselves. Next the latching mechanism unlocked and the barrel, armature, and stock separated. All these pieces floated in an orderly formation until Terra released them and they clattered to the floor, the sound echoing in the otherwise unnaturally quiet hallway.

Terra walked up to the astonished sergeant and spoke in an even tone. "This is what will happen. You and your men will surrender all weapons. The wounded among you will be stabilized, and then you will return to your unit. Do you understand?"

The sergeant gulped and nodded as Terra let him down and released her hold. He stood bent over, gasping to catch his breath.

"Good." Terra motioned to a hospital security guard who just arrived. "Please assist the sergeant and have the wounded taken to triage."

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