Abigail Mary Bowe turned her face from the right to the left. "Assalamu alaikum wa rahmatullah," she repeated. Peace be upon you, and God's blessing. A reminder that though one faces Mecca in prayer, the lives of those around you are just as important as God's.

A low snort from behind. "I wonder what the 9/11 victims would say if they could see you now," Thomas Jay Bowe said.

"I would assume the same thing that the children of Iraq would say to you," Abigail Mary said, getting to her feet and rolling up her prayer mat. "Assuming, of course, that one could piece them back together after their homes were blown up in drone strikes."

Thomas Jay snorted. He was tall, lean, slender, with ebony skin and a shaved head and a soft, gentle smile that belied his angry words: the polar opposite of Abigail's short, freckled paleness and ginger curls. He was her brother, with all that implied, both good and bad. "James Aaron just reported in," he said. "The Project Romero test just concluded."

"How did it go?"

"He didn't say." Thomas Jay frowned. "Seems there was a complication."

It wasn't a particularly good image; the photographer had been using a telephoto lens from an unstable position. But it was enough for Abigail Mary to see what was going on.

Two rows of men in dark blue tactical gear, carrying riot shields and hand weapons, standing in a shield wall formation against a wave of rotting, walking corpses. Most of the corpses were children. Some of them wore brightly colored blue t-shirts with the words "HAPPY ACRES YOUTH CAMP" in big balloony letters.

"A Foundation Mobile Task Force?" Abigail May asked.

"Looks like," James Aaron said. He was olive-skinned, with dark brown curls, and a serious disposition. "Beta-5. I'm not sure which one that is."

"'Babysitters,'" Thomas Jay recited. "Primary mission: on-site security. Secondary mission: escorting vital personnel through danger zones. Tertiary mission: rapid-response force."

"Thanks," James Aaron said. "Anyway, all of that was pretty ordinary. What you predicted. Then I saw this." He tapped a button on his beat-up laptop computer, and the image turned into jerky, blurry film footage. What looked like a woman in a black catsuit, wearing a face-concealing helmet, stepped out from behind the lines and began rapid-firing a pistol, reloading as quickly as magazines could be tossed to her. "Twenty-two shots, twenty-two-kills."

"This is their new task force?" Thomas Jay asked.

"Andrea Adams. Mobile Task Force Lambda-2. She's the product of some kind of super-suit project." Abigail May tapped on

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