The first time she meets Boyd in a new body, it nearly gets her killed.
And these raids are all that make her feel alive these days, these suicide missions for the materials Alpha needs to keep them all in their own minds. The gun is a steady weight in her hands. Her eyes are sharp and focused on her target. Her ears are tuned to the sounds around her, listening for signs they’ve been spotted as she closes in.
She puts her back to the wall and signals for Paul to stop a few paces behind her, where he sets his stance and immediately readies his weapon.
A slow, silent count of three, and she slams the door open, gun up and trained on the room’s sole occupant – a slim, blond man in a slightly tattered suit – before he can react.
Except he does react. Calmly raises his hands in a placating gesture and says, “Easy, Echo. Everything’s going to be alright.”
And she stumbles, nearly loses her grip, because that voice is completely strange and entirely familiar all at once. If she wasn’t shocked into silence, she’d have to bite her tongue to keep from replying (and even that can’t stop the instinctual feeling of relief, the stinging at the corners of her eyes).
The sound of gunfire behind her is what alerts her to the other one in the room, the one who would have killed her while she stood and stared if not for Paul watching her back.
She shakes her head and trains her gun back on her target, bites the inside of her cheek, because she’s not going to let any tears fall. Not here. (She should have expected it. She’d seen them all: Harding, Ambrose, Randolph, even Lipman and some of the other less prominent members of Rossum. But she’d never thought…)
Boyd looks disappointed, but no more alarmed than before. This is body is younger than one she knew, but the lines on his face are drawn deeply in a familiar pattern – tired, maybe even with a hint of regret somewhere. He keeps his hands up, more in surrender now. He says, “I’d hoped it would never come to this. I wanted to end it before it started.”
Echo swallows. “Me too.”
The shot rings out and the body falls. Paul slowly enters the room, watching her out of the corner of his eye as he sweeps it for further threats. He won’t approach her yet.
The blood pools slowly toward her feet. “Now that you’re here,” she says dully. Then, barely a whisper, “I’m sorry.”