the smuggler’s bible

Grazny

The flood lights kick on with the sharp pop of automatic switches firing, freezing the scene for an instant in flat blue-white.

“Seismics flagged something. Here, look. Simultaneous trigger is both of these zones.”

The shapes boiling out of the hole in the ground seem mostly to consist of glinting teeth and eyes rolling wildly in pockets of soft flesh. The turrets spin up, and the front edge of the—generously termed—formation begins to evaporate.

Grazny cuts the tape. “Ten minutes,” she says, “before they called it off. Just to probe. Imagine what they’ll endure when it’s for real.”