Friendly Fire

"It's more than that." Gabriella said, concern in her voice. "Families aren't just made from social forces. They exist in the Aether as well. The Aether binds all together, family connections are stronger than most. However, both your parents don't technically exist any more, their Aether-selves are these huge, composite entities and you provide a tangible connection between the two. Both of them could use you as a sort of back door, if you were willing, to access the other directly. You're a bridge that joins them together."

"I don't much like the sound of that." Michael said.

"Sounds like it's even better we didn't let the demons get hold of you then. If they'd discovered this you'd be forced to give Tetherson access to Triad and this fighting wouldn't have been necessary. They'd have just won."

"Great, then they'll still be after me. Triad kind of let slip directly to Tetherson that I was it's son. It knows."

Gabriella thought about this. "We have to have faith in Triad, it must have done that on purpose. By distracting Tetherson it's giving itself more time to come up with new defences."

"Great, so I'm a decoy now."

"Better than being dead."

Michael slumped in Chair and thought. "We can't just wait for the DETF, we have to do something, keep moving at least. Can't have daddy-dearest catching me."

"We need to move. Right now." Max suddenly said.

"What's wrong Max?"

"There is a missile heading our way."

 "Crap!" Ursula yelled, leaping to action. "Evasive action now Max."

Max swerved and turned as fast as he could but he was too late and the missile hit with an almighty crash. Max groaned, a horrible, wretched sound that echoed through the entirety of his being and began to fall to Earth.

"Max! Max! Are you all right?"

"Ursula. It was nice working with you..."

"Don't say that Max! You're going to be fine!"

"No I'm not. You need to leave now before you are killed by the impact."

"Who did this Max? I'll get them for this!"

"You have the details in your AT. Now go!"

Tears in her eyes, she began running for an emergency escape node, but it was too late, another thundering crack was heard and Max screamed as he hit the ground. Michael quickly grabbed her and Gabriella and Dived.

Unfortunately, when they emerged in his apartment back in London, they carried part of their momentum with them and they slammed into floor with a thud. Ursula was the first to recover though she was in no state to do much of anything. She began to sob in huge, racking gasps. She and Max had been together for most of her life and now her best friend and her home were dead. She searched her AT for the info-packet Max had sent through. It was a Technomancer craft, which made sense, missiles were a mostly technological thing after all. Why the Techs had attacked them though, she had no idea. Michael's apartment was strange, both minimalist and desperately messy. Most basic fixtures had been removed to cover the walls in various parts of computer technology or to provide space to run cables to the other bits and pieces. It was a single room, or was now, at some point an interior wall had been hastily knocked down to provide direct access to the toilet. The shower had been rigged up to some kind of distributed water cooling system and there was no sign up a bed anywhere, just an old dentists chair which provided a termination point for most of the wires and cables.

As she looked around, Michael began to wake up from the unconsciousness caused by the impact.

"Michael, what is this place?"

"This? This is home. Easiest place to think of, given the circumstances."

At the word home, Ursula began to cry again.

"I'm so sorry about Max."

Ursula continued to cry until she felt a warm, furry thing brush against her hand. She looked down to see Chair nuzzling her.

"Chair! You're the only part of Max left in the world, but how?"

"I guessed I must have pulled him through with the rest of us."

"Well I'm glad you're okay." Ursula said, stroking Chair's fur gently and wiping her eyes. "Is Gabriella all right?"

Michael rolled stiffly to his right and looked over Gabriella. "She's still breathing, doesn't look to have damaged anything to badly but I'm not a doctor."

The End

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