Max was shaken from his thoughts by the sound of footsteps echoing off the walls of the base. Trass’khar let out a low angry hiss. Filip whispered, “They’re coming.” Max grunted and prepared himself, thinking of a time back in academy when he’d been walking up some stairs and the seat of the pants of the girl in front of him had suddenly split open for no reason.
Max chuckled. His right hand tightened around the grip of the plasma pistol he’d brought with him. The psi-focuser in his left crackled with yellow energy. He was ready. Let them send their troops. Let them send a squad. Hell, let them send a whole platoon. He could take anything they wanted to throw at him. He was feeling it, man.
Two figures rounded the corner, and Max’s first thought was that they were the vanguard of some larger force, overeager scouts rushing ahead to either find glory or death at the hands of their hated enemies. But after a second, he saw that they weren’t wearing the armor and tactical masks of standard Annexer troops, their special forces, or even their rookies. They were clad in the simple fatigues of combat engineers that were expecting to see absolutely no combat. The two figures looked as far from trained soldiers as possible, one of them short and paunchy, the other tall and painfully thin. Their faces wore similar expressions of shock, which quickly turned into fear.
Before they could properly react, Max shot his hand forward and unleashed the psionic energy he’d built up there. The two engineers went flying down the hall in a flash of yellow light, slid across the floor, and stayed down. “Are they…” Filip began and trailed off, as if afraid to give voice to his thoughts.
Max shook his head. “Their brains are a little scrambled, but they’ll be fine in a while.” He paused to think about it. “Won’t really matter if we blow this place to pieces, though.”
The kid said nothing. Max had nothing to say to him. Trass’khar broke the silence by hissing and clicking.
“I know. Weird, right? You’d think they would have sent a proper squad of soldiers to investigate the impact. Or at least a fire team to serve as an escort for the engineers.”
Trass’khar snorted and sniffed. Max laughed softly.
“That’s crazy, Trasky. What other problem could they possibly be dealing with?