“It’s official,” Iskra sighed, “I’m in retail hell.”

Her girlfriend cast a glance her way, “Don’t be so dramatic. It isn’t that bad.”

“Sora, if one more person bumps into me I will not be accountable for my actions,” she hissed back.

Sora tossed her sleek black hair over her shoulder with a harrumph. “It’s not like you had to come. I could have gotten it myself.”

“Yeah that’s the other thing, we’ve been in line for hours. HOURS!” Iskra gestured wildly with her hands. The sleeve of her drab faux leather coat inched back, revealing a large black device strapped to her wrist. Sora caught her hands gently and pulled her close.

“You didn’t have to come.”

“But you said this was important, so of course I had to.”

Sora gestured to the cashier, who was frantically bagging items, “That coat is an exclusive release. There are only 50 in existence, and the price is so jacked up that very few can afford it. I am one of those few and I will gladly fall on the trend-setter sword.”

“How gracious of you.” Iskra wasn’t impressed by the coat. She caught glimpses of it as the cashier was bagging it. It was pearlescent white, pink zippers. Sora had told her it was cropped, which sounded pretty useless as far as coats go. But what Sora wanted, Sora got. She was raised that way. As the daughter of a wealthy CEO she was frequently under media scrutiny. Her father made up for this by adorning her in whatever fashion forward attire was hot at the moment. At this moment, this impractical and gaudy coat was it.

Iskra preferred more drab attire, things that she had worn for years without them falling apart worked just as good as any new outfit. Sometimes Iskra wondered why Sora had even agreed to date her in the first place. She was abrasive, reclusive, homely. Sora was a goddess by comparison, with her smooth ivory complexion and her big midnight eyes. She was kind and warm. One might even say she was perfect. Iskra was not, by any means.

Her train of thought was interrupted when someone in line behind her bumped into her. She turned on her heel, green eyes blazing. Sora grabbed her arm before she could say anything sharp.

The line crawled forward. Even though there were only seven more people in front of them, it seemed to stretch on forever. Ding! The register slid open. As it did so, a voice barked from the end of the line, “Everyone get on the ground!”

A chorus of screams could be heard as everyone clamored for the ground. Iskra put a protective arm around her girlfriend and furrowed her eyebrows. She watched intently as a man with a white gun stepped over people to the front of the line. He aimed his weapon at the cashier and demanded all the money from the register. The woman behind the counter obliged, her eyes wide. He fired at the wall behind her as a warning shot.

The blast itself was quiet, but a bright blue. It left a crater the size of the man’s torso. Iskra withdrew her arm from Sora’s back carefully and pushed up her sleeve, her eyes never leaving the shooter. She twisted a dial on the side of the black device. With a quiet hum, it began to heat up. The shooter moved on. He threatened the first person in the line, who handed his wallet over.

The black device developed lime green stripes. From those stripes, three blades emerged. Light the gun, they were made out of hard light, protons that could move so rapidly and tightly they became physical. Unlike the gun, this device was made from scratch. Iskra had to shoot quick, before the photons became unstable. She flicked her wrist, sending the blades at the shooter. Two missed, but one caught his shoulder. It sliced and cauterized at the same time, causing enough pain to be annoying but not much else. She cursed herself for her shoddy aim. The shooter turned, his eyes crazy.

Iskra should have noticed him earlier. He looked as out of place as she did. He wasn’t clean shaven like the other men here, his hair was unkempt and his suit was ill-fitting. He pointed his gun at her.

“You think you’re hot shit girl?” he asked in a gravely voice.

Iskra kept her mouth shut and prayed that her weapon would reload faster.

“She isn’t, but I am,” Sora swept up with one graceful motion and sent a jet of fire from her fingertips towards the man. He dropped his weapon to cover his face, letting out a grunt of pain.

The device on Iskra’s wrist reloaded and she dove into the man, a football style tackle. Sora darted towards his gun. Iskra sat on his chest, her device leveled at his face.

“This time, I won’t miss.”

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