by Max Barry

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Region: Lazarus

2nd Lt. Beka Hamlin, Trenturio Marcus Tullius Höfner, and their people had barely left the helicopters for the roof of the Altenburg Grand when the plan changed.

Admiral I. Klasse Cornelia Rahlberg of the Leonism Imperiale Garde (and head of Emperor Leo's security team on this trip) was waiting for them, along with a senior agent of the Executive Protective Service.

"Wir bringen den Imperator Konsul an einen anderen Ort. Es besteht die Gefahr eines Orbitalschlags," Rahlberg said, addressing Marcus. "Übernehmen Sie die Begleitung."

"A what?!" Beka exclaimed.

"Orbital strike," the EPS agent said. "Rogue Imp's stole a spaceship armed with a powerful laser. It's no Death Star, but apparently it can hit surface targets from space and packs a punch like a five hundred pound bomb. The hotel is too vulnerable."

"What about civilians?" Beka asked.

"You and your people are going to help us evacuate them. We're emptying the building," the agent said.

"How much time do we have?" Beka demanded.

"Not enough," the agent answered.

"Then we'd better get started," Beka said grimly. "Take care of yourself, Marcus," she said to her companion. "And your Emperor, too, while you're at it," she added with a grin.

Marcus chuckled. The Imperator Konsul was already on the roof, heading to one of the Loftie helicopters. "I'll see what I can do," he promised. "Bis später, Beka. Lass das Hotel nicht auf dich fallen."

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