She focused on the squirrel thirty paces away across the clearing, tipping her bow a fraction more, the bowstring as taut as a summer’s practice could pull it. A fraction more, and—
A twig snapped behind her, and the arrowshot went wide, sending the animal skittering into the canopy.
“Gods damn it!”
She spun, knowing even before she turned what she would see, what her outflung fist would hit. The Cylon stumbled away and tripped on a root, his skull striking a tree trunk as he fell.
He lay where he landed, sprawled motionless in a near-perfect facsimile of human hesitation, waiting for her to raise her bow and reach for her belt, where her spare arrows should have been.
No arrows left. She stepped forward, lowering the bow instead, pressing its tip into the skin of his neck, certain he would do nothing to stop her.
They never did anything to stop her.
His carotid artery pulsed either side of the weapon, his eyes widening with fear and longing. Every time, they just let her do this.
They just let her do this, and every time their blood sprang thick with its engineered haem, congealing on her fingers like a real life given and taken.
Diffident, anonymous figures, all of them, their heads dipped to hide features remarkable only for their ordinariness, features that would never have been picked out from a crowd,
until a mugshot had been plastered across the fleet and the first one had been dragged bleeding to the
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