Shayla is studying her rendezvous point for signs of danger. She knows someone else is watching the clearing. She decides to move...
Slightly creative punctuation
She hurried to the centre of the clearing and found what she was looking for. On a worn section of paving that had not yet succumbed to creeping vegetation, four sticks were laid out in a square. Shayla stooped and picked up two of them; she rearranged them in a cross between the two remaining sticks. The pattern formed a crude hourglass shape.
She stepped back to face the side of the clearing where someone lay hidden. She waited once more, all senses straining.
So exposed! Shayla bit back irritation at the recognition protocol chosen by the local Insurrection cell; it required her to show herself out in the open while her contacts stayed safely hidden.
Master assassin Shayla Carver has killed many times. That's what assassins do, nothing to lose sleep over, but this mission is different.
She's never killed a whole planet before.
In a time when Earth is little more than a legend, life is dangerous for wayward colonies. Everyone fears the Emperor’s power to order a Cleansing, the burning of all traces of civilization from the face of a planet. Shayla's own home world was Cleansed, and now, years later, she's ready to exact payment in kind.
But her meticulous planning didn't prepare her for living undercover amongst some of the two billion people she's about to slaughter. Ordinary people. Not the strutting Imperials readily dismissed as legitimate targets or collateral damage. Then there's the Emperor himself. An ordinary man with troubles and dreams of his own.
Did this man really order the slaughter of innocents?
Now she's starting to lose sleep.
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