For her crimes, Jo is sentenced to prison for life. She knew it would be no vacation—but what she encounters there is worse than her wildest imagination. So she should be open to an offer, shouldn’t she? But what if her allies play a wicked game with her?

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Cover Art by Carmen Waters

With this action, I attracted the attackers’ attention and fire on me for the moment, away from the ROS’ men who’d stand no chance against these plasma weapons. However, as I was in no mood for catching a direct hit, I doubled over a few times on my approach.

Nevertheless, some of the sun-hot projectiles came uncomfortably close. That wasn’t good, not at all!

I didn’t need my Analogy’s warnings to know that these tactics’ usefulness was extremely short-lived. No, I wasn’t inclined to remain a target.

I initiated a sideways move, thereby dodging two more plasma shots, instead collected a badly aimed machine pistol salvo—ouch, that knocked!—and then jumped the opposite direction with activated camouflage.

An opportunity to get my bearings—here, before the house, I had to deal with ten persons from two vans, two of them armed with plasma rifles, four with machine pistols, four with normal pistols. I couldn’t spot the other cars, nor could I instantly discover Davide’s men.

That was good, as they had better keep their heads down. For this kind of game, I was better equipped.

A giant leap carried me between the attackers. This is war, I remembered, and we can’t accommodate prisoners yet. So I extended my claws.

A few seconds later, ten men were lying in their own blood. What now?

Shots and cries of pain from the buildings’ rear clarified where I was needed.

Although I ran at top speed, I arrived too late for two of Davide’s men, who had tried to prevent the Mafia henchmen from entering the building. Big, scorched holesdemonstrated that you should respect plasma rifles.

Their murderer was already on his way inside, past the restrooms. I jumped into his neck. My sharp claws severed his cervical bones and demonstrated that you should respect Velvet.

His two conventionally-armed partnersshared his fate. Only then did I listen again. No more shots.

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