“Consortia, remember – size isn’t everything,” she told him, turned back to the stairs, listened, felt for vibrations along the walls.
The material construction of the hall was a composite, not hard or dense, likely an insulator. The conductor stream would slip right through it, losing little power. She should be able to deal with them without even being seen.
She pressed a palm against it. The surface was cool and rough. Althea felt a moment of dizziness, leaned against the wall. She felt herself being shaken.
“Are you all right,” Kyso asked, hand on her shoulder.
She shook her head, then nodded. She had to focus, could not fall back asleep here, now.
They are approaching the stairs.
“Get ready to move,” she concentrated on sound, calculated the firing angle.
“I’ll show you,” she told them lightly, turned back to the dark staircase, whispered to Dorian.
The beats stretched long before the time was right. She felt a touch on her shoulder shook it off, held her hand up– arm outstretched.
A six, from the base of the stairs, two fives, a five.
Her ears strained to hear the creaking of the stairs, the fainter footsteps, rustling of clothes as the intruders began to climb. One, two, three.
Althea held her breath, then pointed the projector at the wall, angling down – pressing the firing pin – redirected, pressed – redirected, pressed.
The sound of tumbling bodies, clatter of weapons came from below. Althea smiled a tight smile; the fine stream of the molecules had done their work, not even making a visible mark in the wall.
“Was that it?” Kyso whispered from right behind her ear, so close she felt the warm breath. She turned back, nodding.
“They’re down,” she told him, and then started down the steps. She moved quietly, swiftly. The other two moved noisily behind her. It didn’t matter. As she’d expected, three men were collapsed in a pile at the landing, weapons scattered on the floor.
She checked for signs of life, consciousness. Found the former, not the latter. Dorian confirmed the fourth was just over two sixes away, inside the side entrance, likely a guard for the three across the street.
Althea stepped over the bodies, aimed – fired – turned back to Traejan and Kyso, who were already picking up the short-barreled guns from the floor.
“Get out of here,” she told them. “As fast as you can. I’ll follow.