Impressively, I manage to be late posting an entry I didn't have to write...
The door gently slid open and Amanda stepped inside. Almost immediately, she dropped into a crouch just as two massive arms closed around the space where she’d just been. She lashed out with a sweep kick, dropping the guard onto his back, then stood up and planted a foot solidly between his legs. Of course, she thought as he curled up into a fetal ball, the truly successful criminals were the ones who understood that, while violence wasn’t the preferred option, it was nonetheless one of the ones available to them.
She knew that the patrols here worked in pairs, which kept her from being surprised when the second guard showed up. He came in a bit more cautiously than his partner, knowing that not only did he not have the advantage of surprise, but that his partner had and look what had happened to him. Amanda risked the slightest of glances downward at her wrist to ensure that the red light on her wrist-band still blinked steadily; after doing so, and knowing that the guard’s comlink remained jammed, she locked her eyes back on the guard and prepared for his initial assault.
He started out by throwing a round-house kick at her, almost immediately betraying his fighting style as one of the old Earth karate variants; she ducked under it easily and closed in, wanting to get too close for him to try another kick. She’d heard the tell-tale humming of a kinetic enhancer as his foot passed by her head—that meant that a single well-placed blow on his part could probably take her head clean off her shoulders and send it a good fifteen feet down the hallway…or embed it in a wall, depending on the direction she was facing.
The guard used the momentum of his kick to spin himself in a full circle, so that by the time she’d closed in with her he was facing her again. He punched straight out at her head, but this time she was ready for the blow; she grabbed his arm and used his momentum to throw him to the floor. He leapt to his feet, only slightly winded, but before he could turn to face her again, she’d grabbed his shoulder and put him in a joint lock. As always, her mind returned to the time she’d learnt that hold, her sifu putting her in it by way of demonstration.
“You see,” Sifu’d said, her voice like old leather, “how the lock forces you to put your weight evenly on both feet. Try to lift one to kick back at me, and you either lift the shoulder too high causing pain, or too low causing pain. You cannot turn, or you will dislocate it, and—“ Her reverie was interrupted by the popping sound of the guard dislocating his own shoulder. She winced. He’d done exactly what she’d done the first time Sifu had used the hold on her, and with exactly the same result.
With a quick shove, she sent the dazed guard sprawling forward into the transparisteel barrier, after which he slumped forward to the ground. She didn’t know if he was actually unconscious or simply considering discretion to be the better part of valor, but she didn’t much care either. She headed purposefully down the hallway, preparing herself for the most enjoyable part of her little caper. She pulled out a gem-studded brooch and placed it just over her heart, where it affixed itself to her dark grey cat-suit. Amanda pressed one of the gems on the image-bender, activated the holographic evening gown, and prepared to mingle.
The image-bender was unique among the items she’d assembled for the evening’s activities, in that it was the only device she hadn’t obtained herself. It was a gift from an admirer, some boring industrialist from the Dival Nebula with a bull neck and a hairy back, who insisted that the sea-blue gown would bring out the blue in her eyes. Oddly enough, he’d been right—the holographic gown had looked perfect on her, right down to the way the back was cut low enough that her hair didn’t brush through the holographic field. Not that it mattered tonight—she was wearing it in a bun. Blonde hair might look beautiful, but she didn’t intend on giving anyone anything to grab. Even so, she was proud of the way she looked in the holo-gown, and a little surprised at the taste of what was otherwise an odious little squat of a man—so surprised that she briefly considered not robbing him of his priceless sculpture and leaving him tied to the bed wearing nothing but a pair of boxer shorts that said, “Love Machine—Grab Handle To Activate”. But then, on thinking about it, she realized that fashion comes and goes, but that kind of opportunity can only come along once in a lifetime.