The soldier guarding her cell was just a boy, she was sure of it. Genni Zonda could tell by his stance, standing at rapt attention like he wanted to do a good job but nervous and fidgety. He would cast glances at her back over his shoulder, as if he had to constantly reassure himself that yes, she was in fact still there. She was pretty sure she’d heard him gasp when that boom had echoed through the base, too.
Unprofessional all around. Damn Annexers, putting a kid in charge of a high-value prisoner. The People’s Army wasn’t perfect either, and there were certainly bases and outposts that were understaffed and operating in ways totally divorced from standard operating procedure, but no fighting force under her command would have left a rookie in charge of one of the most brilliant (and therefore dangerous) strategic and tactical minds in the solar system.
“Hey. Kid. What’s going on? What was that noise earlier?”
The guard jumped at the sound of Genni’s voice, but he quickly recovered and turned around, the crimson lenses of his tactical mask flashing in the light. “Quiet, prisoner!” he said, his voice artificially deepened and distorted by the mask.
Hm. Do I detect an edge? Genni thought. Alright. Let’s see what we can tease out of you.
“I’m just asking a question! Was it an explosion? It sounded like an explosion.”
“The prisoner is to remain silent,” the guard said, his voice a growl even through the mask. “Or corrective measures will have to be taken.”
Ah. So that’s what kind of man you are. “How dare you threaten me!” Genni stepped forward, just outside of arm’s reach of the bars separating her from her freedom. She pointed angrily, hoping the guard would be dumb enough to do the same. “Do you know who I am? Do you know what my soldiers are going to do to you when they come to rescue me?”
The guard stepped closer to the bars and slipped a gloved hand through them, “Listen, bitch, you…”
Genni leaped forward like a snake, her hands wrapping around the guard’s wrist, shoving him back, and pulling him forward to smash his face against the bars. He croaked in surprise and pain, but he didn’t drop, so she did it again. The guard collapsed with a concussion and a dislocated shoulder, and Genni dropped to the ground so she could rifle through his pockets and find the keyguard that would open the cell.
And that, she thought, is why you don’t use a rookie.