Turning from left to right Aoi looked at herself in the mirror. She was wearing a gray chauffeur's uniform; coat, trousers, low boots, gloves, and cap. The final effect was very androgynous, leaving her looking like very much like a slender, pretty man, or an equally slender, flat chested woman. The price she paid for being Shion's full-time valet. Oh well, at least she got to drive the Empress's car around.
Turning around with a start, Aoi nodded, "Yes." There was no "Boss" or banter this time. This wasn't some corporate dinner or expo, Shion had been called on to meet with a client, and she was now the Empress, cold, regal, and strict. Aoi found it interesting that Shion wasn't wearing her combat gear. Apparently her working clothes were for later, when she was actually on a mission, or needed to project an air of command. Now, however, she was simply meeting with a potential client and wanted to be more low-key. Her clothing: black trousers, white long-sleeved turtleneck, black jacket, and ankle-length black overcoat managed to equally mix covert and class, resulting in a stunning, but subdued appearance. The broad-brimmed black hat only added to the effect.
"Boss, you look like a cowboy." Okay, maybe just a little banter, to lighten things up—it was either that or crack under the strain.
"Do I?" Shion gave her a slight, almost predatory, grin. "Let's saddle up."
Turning to lead the way down to Shion's car, Aoi couldn't help but roll her eyes. Her own outfit had been Shion's idea. Not because the she wanted to demean Aoi's status as valet, but more as camouflage. The people Shion tended to deal with would probably ignore her dressed as she was now. In fact, they probably wouldn't even acknowledge her existence in the first place, making her effectively invisible. A useful ability in some situations.
Sitting in the driver's seat, Aoi turned the key, feeling a bit of a thrill at the muted feel of power coming from the engine. The Mercedes 2028s was a pretty impressive car, no matter how you looked at it and Aoi secretly enjoyed the chance to drive it. The fact the car could hit a top speed of over 200 miles an hour and was armored well enough to stop small arms fire didn't hurt either.
"Jersey?" she asked activating the car's computer and bringing up the map.
"Jersey," Shion replied flatly. "495 to 501 south."
"Isn't that a bit odd?" Aoi knew she might be treading on dangerous ground, questioning Shion's decisions, but being asked to meet someone along the New Jersey waterfront, deep in the manufacturing district, didn't strike her as standard corporate procedure.
"Yes... I'm not sure what's being planned." Shion paused and looked at Aoi, "You are armed, aren't you?"
"Yes, Boss." Aoi started the car, a quick glance in the rearview mirror showing Shion checking her own pistol before replacing it in its shoulder holster.
Bayonne was a far cry from downtown Neo York. Set between Newark Bay and Upper New York Bay is smelled of salt, the sea, sewage, and smoke. There was a lot of industry down here, as well as port facilities for shipping. To the northeast loomed the Neo York skyline, while to the southeast was Staten Island—home to the massive pyramidal R. Scott Foundation arcology as well as Mitsumi Technology. That's where Shion-hime, now Elisa, had come from apparently. The sudden thought made Aoi start and she glanced back in the mirror.
The woman Elisa been modeled after sat in the spacious back seat of the 2028s, looking both bored and perfectly at peace. Aoi suppressed a shudder at the thought of what would have happened if Shion had ever met her synthetic duplicate. The term "nuclear holocaust" came to mind. There wouldn't have been enough left of Elisa to put in a plastic baggie...
But Elisa, Raven, the Zone, and a good many other things were not her current concern. She had left that part of her past behind her, for now, and had more important things to worry about—like getting the Empress to her meeting on time.
"We're here," she finally announced, bringing the car to a stop on a weedy expanse of ancient asphalt. The rusted, decaying remains of several empty trailers were clustered to one side, as well as a scattering of dumpsters, abandoned tires, and what looked like a gutted forklift. "At least I think so."
Standing next to her car, Shion impassively surveyed the scene, ignoring the screaming gulls and the high-pitched whoop of an air horn. Her coat and hair caught the wind, blowing out dramatically behind her. "This way," she said a last, crooking one finger and striding off in the direction of several sprawling warehouses.
One had to wonder who would pick such a Godforsaken spot as south Bayonne to hold a meeting. Especially a meeting with someone like herself. What could be so important as to ask her to come all the way out here? And here wasn't even a corporate facility, it was just a sprawling expanse of warehouses and factories slowly disintegrating into rust and scrap. Much like the Zone in fact, except the Zone had character. All this had was rats.
Pausing, Shion took a quick glance behind her. Her car was right were they'd left it, and Aoi was right behind her, looking left and right with an expression even more wary and suspicious than Shion's own. Good.
Turning a corner into a broad alley/service road between two crumbling warehouses finally brought her to her apparent. Contact. He was tall, neatly dressed in a long coat, and had a silver case in one hand. He was also alone.
Shion stopped in the middle of the alley, studiously ignoring the weeds and rusted wreckage. So far this was looking to be a colossal waste of her time and she was growing impatient.
"Ms Nys. It is a pleasure to meet you." The man sketched a slight bow to which Shion did nothing. She was used to such things, it came with the territory and the notoriety. At least he hadn't called her "Empress." Although she liked the title, it tended to sound mocking when used to her face—she preferred it when it was used in hushed whispers in dark bars.
Giving a regal nod of her head, Shion decided to get to the point, this wasn't some corporate function after all, where verbal sparring was to be expected, even required.
"You wished to see me?" She crossed her arms under her breasts and narrowed her eyes. Job offers had been coming fast and furious since Jinsei had sent their Yozora-ryu gunships in. If he didn't impress her fast she'd find someone else who would.
"Yes." He set the case down on the cracked asphalt and turned his hands out to show they were empty. "My employers wish to hire your services, as you might have guessed."
So did a lot of people. Shion restrained sighing at this rather mundane bit of news. She'd only come out here because the inital message had mentioned Jinsei's esper activities. That was something she wanted to know more about, being paid to look into it was an added bonus.
"And those services are?"
The contact give her a slight smile. "To counter Jinsei's anti-esper operations. The Neo York Zero Zone is noted for its high concentration of free espers and Jinsei is using the invasion as a cover for gathering up as many of them as they can. They wish to mold them into something akin to an army, and barring that use their genetic material to create new espers."
It was Lilith all over again. Naturally-occurring espers weren't enough for the corporations. They were too few, too subject to the vagaries of genetics and chance to satisfy some. The corps wanted to be able to create espers on command; to either activate them via chemical means, or grow them to spec in a lab.
"You have my attention."
Unnoticed and for all intents and purposes simply part of the scenery, Aoi stood silently, watching Shion and her contact. The discussion, as were many when Shion was involved, concerned espers. Not suprising really, as they were the one thing the corporations couldn't control. Despite the best efforts of the corp science labs, espers continued to be stubbornly born here, there, and everywhere. You couldn't make them, exactly, and even the best esper activation drugs couldn't be counted on to produce a viable and useful talent. You were just as likely to get someone who could shift around paperclips as you were someone who found tossing buses to be child's play. If the subject didn't go mad.
Aoi sighed and glanced over at where the Zone lay across the bay. So Jinsei had invaded in order to round up the many espers who lived there. She really shouldn't feel suprised. Espers, or more specifically, the combat-capable "esper weapons" were a popular corporate commodity. Nations pointed nuclear missiles at each other, the corporations used espers. And Heaven help anyone who got in the way in either form of conflict. She'd seen first hand what Shion could do if riled, and even one of Jinsei's giant black triangles wouldn't help them.
Squinting, Aoi stared at the stain of smoke on the horizon. You could just see the scattering of buildings that made up the western edge of the Zone. And... there... even from a good five or six miles away you could see it. One of Jinsei's immense, 600 foot-long black triangles, floating like some great bird of prey over the tangled expanses of the Zone, dealing death where ever it felt like it. Aoi almost wanted to see Shion tackle one of the monstrous gunships, if only to wipe the smug look off of some Jinsei exec's face.
Turning back, Aoi noted the contact stepping back from where he'd placed the steel case on the ground. Shion, for her part, didn't bother to move, but simply stuck out one hand, lifting the case to her. Showoff, Aoi thought, feeling rather blasˇ about the sight. Then again, she'd been teleported to the otherside of the world by the woman, so a little trick like that wasn't high on her "gee-whiz" scale.
Shion took the handle of the case in her hand and started to turn, a signal to Aoi the meeting was over. She reached into one pocket for the keys and began to pivot, fully intending to follow her "boss" to the car.
Then the case vented a large cloud of white mist with a rapid hiss.
Shion stood there for a moment, feeling very much the fool. The mist, or gas, or whatever it was, drifted down around her as she opened her hand, letting the case fall to the ground, more of the mist hissing forth as it fell. If felt cool against her skin and made her nose itch. Her throat felt dry, her tongue thick, and her eyes smarted. She wasn't sure if it was something that needed to be inhaled or simply absorbed through the skin, but whatever it was, it was working fast. Her breathing had quickened and her pulse rate was up. Hyperventelation wasn't far off at this rate.
Turning she started to tap into her Power, intending to swat her traitorous contact from the very face of the Earth. She could see him, through vision slowly tinting red, in a low crouch, his expression one of wary fight-or-flight. One hand formed a fist, fingers locking together as the throbbing in her temples increased in tempo. It was going to be a race against time—could she kill him before she blacked out?
There was a faint cracking sound as debris whipped up and past her field of view. She was dimply aware of a brilliant blue flash as a wave of nasuea washed through her followed by a muscle-rending shudder. The pressure in her head theatened to overwhelm her, to shred her sanity from the pain as the spike drove right behind her eyes, the pounding so intense she was sure every blood vessel in her body was on the verge of exploding.
Then she screamed and it all went away.
Oh fucking shit!
Aoi realized she needed to do something and do it fast, but the whole sequence of events had caught her off-guard. Who, in their right mind, would have ever thought of trying to abduct Shion? Especially alone?
The tall esper swayed drunkenly as she dropped the case, gas still hissing out in a great cloud. The contact stood beyond her, crouched expectantly, ready to run the moment it looked like things hadn't worked as planned. One hand was out in front, the other at his hip, obviously resting on the butt of a gun.
Right. First things first. Get rid of the imediate threat and then get Shion the hell out of here. Inwardly Aoi cursed the woman's arrogance and overconfidence. She should have sent Aoi to get the case, except to do so would have probably sent some sort of signal that Shion was... "weak" and the esper would never, ever, do such a thing.
Pulling her pistol free, Aoi dropped into a standed shooter's stance, feet braced apart, one hand on her gun, the other supporting her wrist. She tried to ignore the temor that passed through the ground, concentrating only on drawing a bead on the soon-to-be-ex-Mr. Johnson.
"Get out of the way, Boss!" It didn't do any good. Shion took one staggering step, reaching for Mr. Johnson as she did, her jaw working soundlessly. The asphalt at her feet was cracking and spliting, with small chunks tilting in all directions. Great, all Aoi needed now was to be at ground zero of an out-of-control esper weapon. If she was lucky, there'd be enough of her to identify.
Then came the unexpected, which all things considered was saying something. The contact had produced his own weapon—a laser-sighted submachine gun—when four cyberdriods appeared all around them. They were roughly human-sized hunter-killer models, armed with God-knew what all, and more than enough to see Aoi very, very dead. Apparently they'd been there all along, standing motionless under hooded Opti-cam cloaks.
Then the one closest to Shion fired off something with a hollow "thunt."
Okay, that did it, she wasn't going down without a fight. Sighting beyond Shion, trying to ignore the cloud of debris surrounding her, she fired three quick shots, trying for Mr. Johnson's center of mass. A moment later the air around the Empress erupted in a display of blue lightning as the charged darts the 'droid had fired hit home.
Mr. Johnson brought his own weapon around, the red line of the laser sight reaching out for her. Aoi was dimly aware of at least one of the 'driods turning as well, but her attention was focused solely on the man opposite her. Bring him down, she reasoned, and they might get out of this.
Another bright blue flashed marked more taser darts impacting. Some part of Aoi's mind registered the fact the tasers seemed to be impacting not against Shion, but the air, meaning she had some sort of protective field up.
Mr. Johnson fired a short burst, bullets snapping past her. Aoi ducked and then stumbled as the ground shook again. Catching herself on one hand, she glanced up, everything else momentarily forgotten at the sight of Johnson's laser sight visibly knotting in the air. She knew Shion could deflect bullets, but to actually twist a beam of coherent light?
"Get her!" Johnson commanded, pointing at Shion. The 'droids did as they were programmed, turning away from Aoi to focus on staggering esper. One stepped forward as Shion's head snapped back, mouth open in a soundless shriek. The 'droid suddenly folded in on itself, imploding in a spray of lubricant and sparks. Aoi blinked and then, acting more on instinct than conscious thought, threw herself flat. A moment later the ground bucked, tossing her into some weeds to bounce off of a rusted trash can. There was the sound of metal being ripped apart and as Aoi rolled to her feet she saw another 'droid down. The other two fired their tasers, but the rounds never hit, hurled away in the esper storm that was centered on Shion. Of Mr. Johnson there was no sign.
It was surreal, in a way, to watch what was happening. Aoi scrambled through the weeds and trash, crawling on her hands and knees as getting to her feet on the quaking ground was an utterly absurd notion. Shion was kneeling now, staring sightlessly at the sky, arms at her sides. Around her raged a field of destruction that expanded and contracted in pulses. It ripped up the ground with each pass, hurling what ever it found up, out, and away. For a moment, just a moment, Aoi watched in sick fascination as the ground around the Empress sank into a circular depression. One of the remaining 'droids chose that moment to step forward and was caught in the field's flux. It struggled for a moment before being ripped in two, with the legs crushed into the ground and the torso a shrinking dot in the sky.
Another tremor sent Aoi sprawling. The earth itself seemed to buckle under her and then she was flying, a loud roaring in her ears. She hit the ground and rolled, finally fetching up against something heavy and solid. Debris rained down around her, causing her to curl up into a protective ball. Then it was all over.
"Boss?" Aoi peeked out from between her fingers. Everything was quiet as the last bits of junk finally landed.
Where the Empress had been was a wide crater, the ground pushed up and out, chunks of asphalt and concrete tilted in all directions. The two nearby warehouses had partially collapsed and a cloud of dust hung in the air.
Rising, Aoi put a hand on a stack of rotting tires to steady herself. The only sound was a a faint cracking noise as the ground slowly settled back down. Stepping carefully she made her way over the chaotic landscape to the edge of the crater. Dreading the thought of what she might find, Aoi took a peek over the edge.
Shion lay in a crumpled heap at the bottom of the crater. Her hair and clothing in equally tangled disarray. Fearing the worse, Aoi scrambled down into the crater, noting with some trepidation that the ground seemed to have been compressed down, as opposed to blown out.
"Boss? Boss!?" A touch showed her to be still alive and breathing, albeit slowly, but completely unconscious. She was also bleeding from the nose and her face had a slightly flushed look, Aoi suspected more broken blood vessels.
Move her or not? Aoi took stock of her surroundings. A mostly abandoned industrial waterfront with the added bonus of a large, easy-to-spot-from-the-air, crater. Right. Mr. Johnson had come prepared, with four Opti-cam cloaked hunter-killer cyberdroids and a trick briefcase. Who knew what the hell else was out there. The Empress had to go.
Go. Go where? Aoi glanced up. Here she was at the bottom of a five-foot deep crater. Which wasn't a major problem, she could clear that easy. No, the trick was getting Shion out. Granted the woman only weighed around 160 to 165 pounds and Aoi's augmented body could life that easy, but she was also six foot, one inch of dead weight... And that didn't consider the ankle-length armored coat she had on. Wonderful.
It would have to be a fireman's carry. That was the only way she was going to manage Shion's sheer height (roughly a foot taller than her own). Get both of her hands together, roll her over and... lift!
Staggering in an effort to gain her balance, Aoi looked over at Shion's blood-streaked face, which looked rather peaceful, all things considered. Shaking her head, Aoi took one step and then another, grunting slightly at the effort. "Boss," she grumbled, "You weigh a ton. Time to cut down on the cheesecake." She paused and then thought about what she'd just said. "Although in your case, you are the cheesecake." Which was true enough. Shion was probably the physically sexiest weapon the world had ever seen. Which made her both terrifying and an object of desire. It also made Aoi quite certain of one thing. I am so glad she can't hear me right now.
Having gained the rim of the crater, Aoi made her way back to the car. It was right where she left it, apparently untouched and unharmed. She could only hope.
Getting Shion into her own car proved to be more difficult than one would have thought. For starters she was practically limp and Aoi didn't want to simply shove her in and hope for the best. Pulling her in seemed a bad idea as well, as it would only bang the esper up worse than she already was. Aoi finally settled on a combination of pushing and pulling, laying Shion out across the back seat. It wasn't the most comfortable of positions, but then, Shion was in no shape to complain.
Closing the rear door, Aoi stepped back and took a deep breath. Step one was over, now to get out before any reinforcements showed up. She was suprised no one had arrived already, although there was the chance who ever was behind this was waiting to make sure Shion really was out. Otherwise, anyone arriving too soon would run into one highly-angry esper weapon, and such meetings never went well.
Turning around Aoi stopped dead. There, along the rim of a nearby dumpster, stood several rats. More were just visible in the shadow to one side, their bright eyes glinting. And they seemed to be watching her. Aoi felt more than a little nonplussed by the sight and quckly got into the car, closing the door and hitting the all-lock button. Sealed inside armor plate and bulletproof glass she finally felt safe. Well, safer.
Firing up the engine, Aoi took one last look at where the rats had been (there seemed more of them now...) then at the crater Shion had made and shook her head. "I hate New Jersey."
Where to go? Aoi mused over this thought as she brought the car out of the abandoned factory zone. Back to Neo York was a given, but the main question was "where?" Shion's penthouse or a hospital? And if the latter, which hospital? Did Shion even have a personal doctor? (Of course she did; the problem was, Aoi didn't know who.)
All such thoughts were cut short as a white bird-shaped object drifted silently over the road. Aoi watched it float past, slowing down slightly without even thinking about it. That was a drone. A low-flying, remotely-piloted recon drone. She paused for a moment, letting that thought sink in. Who are these guys?
Such questions could be answered later. Right now she needed to get out of there. Word was the 2028s could so over 100 mph in second gear. She decided to see if that was true.
Interstate 78 to I-95 north to 495 back to Manhattan. Foolproof, right?
No sooner had she hit 78 then there was a car behind her. A low-slung sleek speed machine in high-gloss black that looked like you could stand it on its tail and put it in orbit. It hovered at the rear bumper shadowing her every move. Aoi pressed on the gas, hit the clutch, shifted, and then was pressed back into her seat the the car surged forward. The 2028s simply oozed barely-restrained power, power she was now more than happy to unleash. The only problem was, the car behind her didn't seem very impressed.
With I-95 coming up Aoi changed lanes, letting the car drift over into the right-hand lanes. She was doing well over 120, but everything was still running smooth. She hit the brake, drifted, hit the brake again, and then whipped onto the onramp. Her pursuer right behind her. No matter, she was about to get onto 95, where she could really cut loose.
A quick glance showed a car coming up quickly on her left. She'd need to time this right if she was going to make it. Another glance showed the car closing and... gun!
Without even really considering what she was doing, Aoi slammed on the brakes, grunting as the seatbelt cut into her chest and trying to ignore the heavy thump as 165 pounds of unconscious Empress impacted with the back of her seat. The car behind her crunched into the back of the 2028s as a sudden flash marked a gun being fired. Downshifting, she them pushed down on the gas, the wheels spinning for a moment before catching and shoving the car forward. Pressed back into her seat, Aoi felt more than heard the shudder of Shion being subject to the forces of momentum.
The 2028s surged forward as Aoi went from third to fourth, turning the wheel so she only just clipped the other car with a crunch of metal. It skidded to one side in a cloud of white smoke as her original pursuer continued after her. She was on I-95 now, with anywhere from four to six lanes to play with and she intended to make full use of them.
The chance to finally open up with the 2028s made Aoi feel almost giddy. The only problem was the car behind her. Correction. Cars. She could see the second one was back in the chase and doing its best to catch up. Great, now what?
Almost as in answer to her question a motorcycle joined in. A glance showed the driver crouched down over a two-wheeled machine that looked to be all engine and streamlined farings. The bike was being whipped in and out of traffic at a breakneck pace, closing the gap with dizzying swiftness. And there was still the first car glued to her bumper. Crap.
Then the minivan cut in front of her.
Time seemed to slow. At 120 mph the van approached with frightening speed. There was no time to panic... or think really. Clutch. Brake. Shift from fifth to fourth. Turn the wheel, drift to the right. Gas. Clutch. Shift back into fifth.
The van passed in a blur, Aoi only dimly aware of its presence. The car shuddered slightly, the only indication of the battle being fought between inertia and the vehicle's inherent ground-hugging aerodynamics. Then it was behind her and she was safe... for the moment.
The following car was not so lucky. It tired to duplicate her stunt and almost made it. Almost. Clipping the back corner of the van, it seemed to explode in a spray of parts. The van was lifted into the air and spun a full three hundred sixty degrees, littering the road with debris as it bounced. The motorcycle leaned this way and that as it blew past the wreckage, followed by the other car.
"I'm a speed king, hear me sing! Yes, I'm a speed king, see me fly!" Aoi did her best not to start laughing. At these speeds a sudden fit of the uncontrollable giggles would probably be fatal.
Apparently deciding enough was enough, her pursuers opened fire. Startled by the initial bursts, Aoi sent the car careening across the road before remembering Shion's car was functionally bullet proof. A rapid series of impacts across the back of the car seemed to do little other scratch the paint and leave white streaks on the rear window.
Not sure of where she was going (most of the exits for Neo York were now far behind her), Aoi wove in and out of traffic, trying to increase the distance between herself and her pursuers. It wasn't easy, as 95 had plenty of regular traffic, ranging from boxy little runabouts to giant cargo haulers. And at these speeds they'd be in Boston in no time, where the traffic would be infinitely worse, not to mention the roads.
"Who are these guys?" Aoi wondered as she caught a glimpse of the bike coming up on her right, almost on the shoulder as it passed the other traffic. The other car had closed the gap as well, its damaged front apparently not harming it in the least. It looked like they were trying to get on either side of her, possibly in an attempt to get her in a cross fire. Of course, shooting her would result in a car wreck, and quite possible a dead Empress, so she wasn't sure what they were after. Disable a tire? Shoot the front and she'd crash. But shoot the rear...
Aoi nodded to herself. She needed to end this and end it quick. One couldn't do over 130 on I-95 forever and not expect to have someone notice. She flexed her hands and eased off the gas just a bit, letting the two get closer... closer...
An impact against the left rear quarter panel caused the car to shudder and drift. The other car was in firing range and was armed with something heavy. Aoi glanced in her mirrors. Bike on the right, car on the left. The biker had an arm out, a large pistol-like weapon on his hand. He's gotta be a 'borg, Aoi presumed, to be able to drive with one hand at these speeds. The car's passenger window was down and Aoi could see the silhouette inside. A flash gave her a brief glimpse nothing discernible and then the rear window shattered.
With a loud cry Aoi slammed on the brakes, using all of her own augmented strength to keep the wheel steady. Both vehicles whipped past, the biker firing as he went. Aoi promptly hit the gas as she downshifted, the engine roaring in response. There was a fiery blast as the biker's shot hit home, enveloping the front of the car. Bits of debris sprayed up into the air, and Aoi was sure part of the bumper had gone flying. No matter, she was behind the car now.
The impact sent her flying forward, the seat belt cutting into her chest. Another thump marked Shion's response to the forces of inertia. Something went crunch at the front of the car and the tires thrummed as they went over bits falling from both cars. She left the 2028s fall back and then hit the car again, aiming for the BMW logo in the center of the back deck. The M-5 might be fast, but it wasn't armored like the 2028s. She was going to win this.
The front passenger window starred as the cyborg biker fired again. Fortunately the armor glass held. A third impact made the M-5 sway and then Aoi pressed down on the gas. The 2028's twelve cylinders roared to life and actually managed to push the M-5 forward. Grinning savagely, Aoi had to hand it to Shion, she sure knew how to select a sports car. No meek electric motor or hydrogen fuel cell hybrid for her, it was pure internal combustion all the way.
Twisting wheel to the right and accelerating, Aoi scraped past the M-5, giving a loud cry of victory as it slalomed to the left, corrected, and then brushed the center retaining wall. The result was nothing short of spectacular as the BMW practically disintegrated, reduced from a full-size car to a tumbling mass of wreckage in an eyeblink.
Ignoring the tangled confusion behind her as other cars attempted (in some cases unsuccessfully) to avoid the mess, Aoi quickly tried to find the biker. But he seemed to have decided to quit the scene after the other car had wrecked, probably in an effort to get reinforcements.
Breathing a sigh of relief, Aoi slowed. It was time to look for an exit and get off the interstate. The 2028s was distinctive car a the best of times, and now that it was a bullet-riddled mess there was no way she was going to go anywhere and not attract attention.
Now moving at a more sedate 65 miles-per-hour, Aoi spared a moment to glance over her shoulder. Shion lay crumpled in the bottom of the car, still unconscious. "Typical," Aoi muttered. "The best driving of my life and you miss it."
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