A cloud of greenish-gray smoke drifts up from the bunk, curling gently until being suddenly drawn out the ventilation duct near the ceiling. Faint light flickers near the source of the thin cloud as the dark-skinned shaman replays the video feed.
Gunfire pops through the tinny speakers, mixed with shouts and the deep thumping of helicopter blades. The view swivels quickly to show a troll-shaped hole in the apartment wall as Gary’s bullets mash themselves ineffectively against Mako’s armored jacket.
“…try this on for size…”
Vanity’s voice is hard to hear through the chaos, but the feed swivels to frame her just as she completes a spell and releases it at the horned Maori mountain. The slim woman’s eyes widen in fear as Mako’s tattooed bulk lunges across the room, his massive fists crushing the frame of the bed as she barely manages to get out of the way.
Smoke flicks a finger and the feed slows, zooming in on the corner of the frame that contains the troll’s face. Manipulating the video controls, the shaman scrolls back and forth over the point where Mako’s expression changes from uncontrolled rage to cold indifference, studying the transition point for a moment before allowing the video to continue.
There is an near imperceptible pause in Mako’s movements as he transitions to the calmer state. Then the troll turns toward the hole in the wall, his fist lashing back at the woman almost as an afterthought. The impact creates a sickening crunch as Vanity is smashed through the window, taking a large portion of the wall with her. Mako disappears from view as the image moves rapidly toward the window, framing the woman’s broken body in the rubble strewn street below.
Smoke’s countenance darkens and he shakes his head.
Cold blooded killer, mon. Ain’t no way we should be doing anyting but putting him down.
The massive barbell bounces slightly as it lands on the mats. The troll grabs the chalk bag to redust before leaning back over the bar.
Andre steps into the room, but keeps clear of the mat and the massive set of weights the troll usually heaves around.
The bar bends ominously as Mako heaves the weights to chest height, nearly above Andre’s head.
“Did you see the message from Grace? With the video feed from the safehouse fight?”
The lead discs nearly touch the ceiling as the troll heaves the bar above his horned head and steadies it.
“What about it?”
“That mage was a friend of hers. And a police recruit.”
The sinews under Mako’s dermal ridges crackle with effort as over a hundred kilograms of lead shakes ominously.
Andre sighs in exasperation.
“So the infiltration team isn’t going to be very happy about it. Knight Errant’s probably pissed too.”
The entire room shudders as the weights slam back down to the floor. Mako shrugs, not even looking in Andre’s direction as he grabs a towel walks out of the room.
“Couldn’t care less, pakeha.”