Excerpt from Incursion: Book 1 of Unbound. Because nothing can be as simple as it seems…
“Is the weather always like this?” Merika couldn’t help but ask, as they headed for a large cargo door.
“Lately. This is the cold season, and the winds rise.” Tornalon spoke quickly, jogging to take his place in the lead with Kalega, as if letting Kalega answer would confer some advantage.
Given how much Merika was sweating under her coat, she hated to think what the hot season was like.
“The mine fires are making it worse,” Kalega added.
Tornalon stopped. “We told you we would fire on them if you hit our refinery.”
“And we told you if you raised the processing rates again, we’d take measures,” Kalega shot back, voice rising clearly over the sound of sand scouring metal.
“Guys!” Merika waved her hands in front of both of them. “I don’t care if you go for each other’s throats, but can we do it inside?”
The guards, seeing her movement, unshouldered their weapons and leveled them at her. In the same instant, Thorn’s own weapon was in her hands, aimed not at them but at their leaders.
Merika chilled under her sweat. If Thorn fired, all hell would break loose. And if Thorn thought Merika was in danger, she would fire.
“Now, let’s not be hasty,” she said in her most reasonable tone, as much for her friend as for the guards. “Abu Fazl arranged for us to deliver your much-needed medical supplies, and for us to pick up some rock fungus. Rock fungus, people. That’s not worth dying over.”
Apparently it worked, because both leaders gestured at their people to lower their weapons. Thorn, more slowly, lowered hers.
Merika started breathing again. “These people are crazy,” she muttered to Thorn, who’d moved up close behind her. “Remind me again why we agreed to this?”
She felt rather than saw Thorn’s smile behind her helmet. Thorn could smile at the oddest times. “I believe it was fifty percent.”
Merika sighed. “Right. That.”