Melinda slipped the pistol into her purse and stepped onto the last train car as the doors closed.
The engine lurched forward with a metallic screech despite its magnetic levitation plates. The train car was hot with activity and thick with humanity. She was used to cars further up the train with leg room and tea service. This time period didn’t have those luxuries. Much had been lost in the Radiation Wars just a decade prior. Many more decades would pass before mass transit returned to the finer things.
She weaved her way through the narrow aisles of screaming babies, grumpy old men, and hired guns. Yes, she’d noticed the mercenaries despite their disguises. The dirt was too carefully applied to their faces. They were just a little too obnoxious in their reverie. Their period clothing was a little too authentically ripped and smudged. Their eyes watched everyone while watching nothing. If she hadn’t written the book on blending into a time period, she’d have never noticed them.
They’d see her. The dress would take care of that, particularly as it played against her dark skin. No one wore bright colors in this now, too much dust and smog dulling everything. She had to bring it to the station in a hermetically sealed bag, or a coating of gray dirt would have killed the effect. She didn’t like leaving her time shifter behind, but it would’ve spooked her quarry.
She pulled open the door at the far end of the car, and winked at the mercenary who sat nearest it. He paused mid dirty joke and stared, cigarette clinging precariously to his lip.
She stepped through the bridgeway and opened the far door. More mercenaries and a smattering of real riders plus a few chickens filled this car. She walked straight to the far end. As she pulled on the handle of the next door, the door she’d come through opened. The mercenary she’d winked at came through, gun drawn, followed by his compatriots. Train riders grabbed their children and sheltered in place. No one screamed. While unwanted, this was not uncommon.
She closed the door and stopped on the bridgeway. She waved at them through the door’s large window. She pulled a small thermal fuser from her purse and placed it on the door handle. The fuser hissed. It melted the door mechanism into a solid lump of metal. She waved at them as they yanked at the door.
She yanked open the opposite door and walked straight into the dual barrel of a plasma shotgun.
To Be Continued…