*whistles Jeopardy! theme song*
Just a few miles away, Sugar Dayton closed her ultra thin laptop computer with a snap and sighed. She sat back in her chair, and ran her hands across the face that was identical to her sister’s. Using the long nail of her pinky finger, she pushed the ankh in her nose to the proper positioning, thinking again how ironic it was that she wore the symbol of life when she was nothing more than a bringer of death. That small task done, she quickly made a list of the things they would need for their job. A job. Laughing to herself as she realized the absurdity of calling it a job, Sugar choked back the scream that threatened to surface.
SIFRAS, the Specialized Institution For Research And Recovery did not give jobs; it gave orders that no one alive had ever disobeyed. Founded secretly by a mishmash of scientists and tin foil hat wearing people in what was known as the Space Age, SIFRAS was a place that everyone knew about but no one knew about. In other words, the general public believed that it was a place for kooks and crazies; the government knew it as a place where the possibility of non-terrestrial life was studied. The reality was both, and more. The Dayton sisters were proof that, not only did non-Earth based life exist, some of them were very, very dangerous.
It was the dangerous ones that the Dayton sisters hunted.
“No time for this shit,” she warned herself, unknowingly echoing her older sibling. Rising from the heavy oak desk she used for business, she tapped a small button set in the floor with her foot. The bookcases in her office parted, revealing a hidden armory. Offering a silent prayer of apology to her ancestors, the woman crossed to the hidden room and began removing guns and their required ammunition from the shelves.
Their prey this time was known as the Fire Wielder. Usually appearing in the form of a man, the Fire Wielder was from an uncharted spiral galaxy. He had the ability to create dangerous weapons from flame. Whether or not he was also capable of creating the flame itself was what SIFRAS was investigating when he disappeared.
“So call those Dayton girls; they can handle it,” Sugar said bitterly, imagining the conversation that had taken place amongst the higher ups. “This is a golden opportunity, my ass!” she scoffed.
As checked and double checked pieces, hefting them, considering their weight, she heard the intruder alert located on the walkway in front of her house chime. Quickly loading her favorite semi-auto handgun, she slipped stealthily out of the room she used as her office and crept towards the front door. Staying below window level, she made her way to the steel reinforced door that guarded her private sanctuary just as a heavy hand pounded on the barrier, and a young male voice cried out “Delivery!”
Still not wanting to take a chance just yet, the woman touched the screen set in the wall of the foyer. Sitting on her knees, she peered at the CCTV feed. Standing on her front porch was a skinny youth wearing the national postal uniform. He shifted his weight impatiently from his left foot to his right, When he lifted his wrist to, she assumed, check the time on his watch, she saw the package in his hand. Working the controls to the concealed camera, she zoomed in on the package in order to read the information label.
“So it’s gonna be that kind of job, eh?” Sugar swore under her breath, and rose to her full height. Moving hurriedly to make it to the door before the postal worker gave up, she arrived slightly out of breath and still clutching chrome plated protection.
“Yes?” she snapped into the face of a very surprised delivery man.
His eyes went to her pistol. “Um. Package?” he said, making it sound like a question.
“Um.” He held up the small box and squinted at the label, and then double checked the smartboard in his other hand. “Sugar Dayton?”
“That’s me. Give it.” She held out her hand, waiting.
The postal worker started to place the box in Sugar’s outstretched hand, and then hesitated. “Says I’m s’posed to scan your ‘code’.”
Sighing, the younger Dayton sibling stuffed her gun in the waistband of her pants, and pushed up the left sleeve of her shirt. She held out her hand, wrist up, showing him the heavy black bar code. Raising an eyebrow, the young man placed the box securely underneath his armpit. He then removed the portable scanner from the smartboard and ran it across her code. He watched the screen closely as the identifying information of the scary woman in front of him appeared. He glanced at her face, and grimaced at her unhappy expression. He pushed a few buttons, and finally released his hold on her package.
“Here you are, Miss Dayton. Sorry to trouble you.” He tipped his hat and just about ran away, back to the safety of his vehicle. Sugar watched him flee, and then backed away from nature and into the house. She viciously kicked the door closed, and stalked back into her office.
Turning her attention to the small box in her hand, she stared at it, as if she could see through the plain brown wrapping. With a feeling a of dread, she ripped away the paper to reveal a silver metal case. Prying it open, she hissed when she saw the vial filled with pale orange fluid.
“Oh, Mae Day, I’m sorry.” She carefully placed the object on the edge of her desk, and returned to the armory. Once inside, she tried to resume checking and packing weapons, but was unable to concentrate. Her hands were shaking badly, and her vision was unsteady. Her breath came out in short bursts and pants. She leaned her head against the cool steel of the shelves, fighting back tears of frustration. She knew her beloved twin was reaching her limit of this type of job, but they were unable to refuse SIFRAS. the company had, after all, raised them and allowed them to live in this world.
Sugar roared, and threw the ammunition clips in her hands to the floor. She upended the bag of packed equipment, taking satisfaction in the loud clatter the mess made as it struck the marble flooring. Guns, telescopic sights, and bullets scattered every which way. Laughing wickedly, she kicked the ones that lay in her immediate path to the side, and stormed out of the secret room. On the verge of hysteria, she marched into her bedroom, and yanked open her closet. Bypassing conservative suits and simple sweaters, she reached to the very back, and unhooked a blue garment bag. Carrying it to her bed, she unzipped it, spilling the contents onto the rose colored comforter. She regarded the black leather clothing with gleaming eyes.
“Yes,” she said to herself. “This is exactly what I need.”