Snide Disguise

I breathed in and out and counted silently to five. “I don’t have time for this now,” I said. “But bear in mind that Sweeper is fully backed up between missions. If I did flush you both, the most he’d lose is a couple of days’ memory.”

Jiana muttered something inaudible, but it sounded like “Abomination.”

And then Sweeper fired a weapon I’d never seen beforeā€”a big ball of neon squiggles. The Marauder and human guard both slumped over to the ground.

“EMP capture gun,” Jiana said smugly.

“Another of your sister’s ‘extras’?”

I used my Optica to override the Marauder’s safeguards, pulled its CPU , then I went to Sweeper and cracked open his. I didn’t like the look of it. Instead of all gold flecks, the block was now mottled with copper. Jiana, no doubt. Nothing I could do; I’d just have to put both of them in the Marauder shell and hope for the best.

The guard booted up just fine. It was only eight feet tall, a cyclemech, meant for city work. I pulled on the human’s uniform, and we were set.

I hoped.

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