>the greened, weathered tiles dimpled twice, sending dust and cracked mortar into the air before Nicodeem jumped and realized he was being shot at. the poly had already rolled away and was running for the door_Nicodeem yelped and yanked the trigger of the pistola, shredding his cloak and felling Murgo with a staccatto burst. Murgo squirted blood and struggled to one knee, whipping a monoblade around and facing the shadow standing in the door.
>Nicodeem blinked, staring at the slug-gun poised in the figure's hand, realizing the sub-sonic bullets had come not from the poly, but from the figure in the door, who had been watching the whole transaction. a wisp of smoke trailed up from the maw of the gun and Nicodeem collapsed in a heap, clutching his head. a pool of blood began collecting on the cold, basalt tiled floor by the side of the poly, as the figure lept through the door way and rifled the pockets of the dead youth, pulling the tube out and sighing with satisfaction.
>Murgo grunted in pain, feeling the flechettes twist deep in his thigh as he looked for an escape.
>the assailant brushed the dust off the black fabric of his factor's robe and let his hood slide down off his head. an auburn mane of thick hair twirled lazily in the eddies kicked up by the brief battle. he threw back his robe and rested a pair of hands on his hips, keeping the slug gun trained on the wounded poly with another. his fourth hand, his high left, crept gracefully into a pocket and patted the tube of serum thoughtfully.
>"okay, poly," the voice was a reedy tenor, "you're going to tell me who this was," he prodded the autocrat's body with a long, sandaled foot.