The man shuddered once and then lay still. Ferra slid her knife from his chest and removed her other hand from his mouth. The bedroom was empty now, just her, the corpse and rows of beds in the makeshift bunker. The foreign insurgents kept odd hours, though she didn’t blame them. Eetland’s icy climate ensured all people saw day and night was dark snow and storm clouds. Ferra supposed it would throw off one’s sleep schedule.
Everyone was up. She could hear them, loud boisterous laughs and the occasional bawdy joke. Her Eetlish was rusty but she could make out most of the words. They were unaware of the assassin standing at the top of their stairs.
Ferra twisted her mouth. She counted four voices, two male, two female. It wouldn’t be a good fight, even facing down untrained militia. Right now all her command needed was a capability report. These cells existed all over the city and if prior intelligence was correct, the numbers were growing and mobilizing. Central command needed to know if these fringe groups were just pissed off college students or indicative of something larger and more dangerous.
A chair scrapped against the floorboards. Ferra darted back, ducking below the cheap stucco bannister. No footsteps creaked on the dilapidated stairs. Eetish farewells followed the crack of the front door and the howling afternoon wind. Ferra smiled at her luck.
The door shut again and she strained her ears, one set of feet stepped across the floorboards entering back into the dining and common area. Ferra unfolded herself from beneath the bannister and slipped down the stairs, listening to the remainder move around the house.
With her silenced Beretta comfortably cold in her gloved hands Ferra crouched outside the entry way and spun around the wall. The remaining insurgent’s head snapped up. The woman was hunched over a wide table, electronic maps and hand written notes spread over it.
In the span of a moment Ferra leveled the pistol towards the remainder’s forehead, the woman’s eyes widened and the woman threw something towards her. A flurry of paper obscured Ferra’s target. Ferra cursed and moved towards the table expecting to give chase; most people facing down a pistol choose to run.
When the iron toed boot crunched in Ferra’s combat mask the assassin realized her mistake. Ferra stumbled back, gun hand blocking while the woman slid across the table towards her. Ferra tore the ruined mask off with her other hand.
“Why are you here?” The woman demanded in perfect Eetlish.
Ferra responded with a quick jab to woman’s nose. Bone crunched and Eetish woman gasped with pain. Ferra stepped back bringing up her pistol up again. The insurgent snarled and dove, wrapping her arms around Ferra’s waist, bringing them both to the dirty floorboards. “Isaak!” The woman yelled, neck craning upwards even as she fought to keep Ferra pinned.
Ferra writhed, trying to get the woman off her. Isaak would not be joining the fray, thanks to her earlier efforts. And it was a good thing too; she’d underestimated her opponent drastically. Even as they struggled Ferra realized that the Eetish insurgent was a good deal stronger than her. Hand to hand this woman would eventually win, even with blood pouring down her face.
As if to illustrate the point the insurgent slammed her wrist against the floor, Ferra felt one of her fingers snap and the Berretta spun from her fingers. “How did you find us?” The woman demanded again, voice thick from her crushed nose. She was fully in control now. Even Ferra’s lifelong training only did so much when you were pinned. “Tell me.” The woman leaned down harder.
Ferra couldn’t submerge the small quirk of her lips and the insurgent’s eye’s narrowed. “You’re the one that’s been following us. Isaak saw you, he—“ The realization came quickly and the woman’s jaw tightened. She was right of course; Ferra had been casing their improvised base and a few others in the area. Theirs was the largest and the best stocked, it’d been liable to have the most information. “You’ll pay for that.” The woman said.
“Uh huh.” Ferra said and bucked, arching her back and forcing her hips up hard. The insurgent grunted as they flipped, Ferra now on top. Ferra drove her knees into the woman’s thighs and leaned in, keeping the squirming woman down. Ferra snaked an arm in front of her chest, laying that forearm hard against the woman’s windpipe. “In the future I would recommend less talking.” Ferra said, forced close to the other woman’s face.
Fury narrowed the woman’s ice blue eyes to slits as she gasped and clawed at Ferra’s shoulder. It was a short struggle. The insurgent weakened moments before her eyes rolled back and she went limp. Ferra allowed herself a small sigh and a stretch as she stood. After retrieving the gun and the useless mask Ferra turned towards the table and what she’d come for.
Her trigger finger was badly broken. She held her hand close to her stomach as she moved through the papers and plans covering the living room. Ferra snapped the pictures she could of the larger maps and folded up the smaller ones, tucking them under her loose jacket. Occasionally she flicked her gaze back to the woman. Drying blood covered the lower half of the woman’s feline featured face. Bringing her back alive would be difficult but potentially game changing. The woman was trained and considering the maps, these people were definitely getting ready for something bigger.
Satisfied with her progress Ferra frowned at her hand again. It wasn’t too bad, and she was just short of ambidextrous. However any permanent damage in her profession would count against her. She slipped her good hand into her jacket and pulled out her phone, she’d need a pick-up with a captive in tow.
Across the room and past the entry way the lock clicked on the door. Ferra cursed inwardly, glancing from the table to the unconscious woman. Her hand twitched to the holstered Berretta. The insurgent had seen her face but her options were disappearing. She took a step back. The door wiggled and Ferra sidestepped, silently padding back towards the kitchen. There were any number of people coming through that door and Ferra had what she needed.
The cry of alarm reached her ears right as stepped from the side door into the alley. Ferra didn’t waste any time ducking into the flurry of the snow storm, it would cover her tracks better than anything she could engineer.