This was all about the time that the bolt clicked uselessly on "empty". One would think that a German knockoff of an PK and a double load of sliver/cells would be more than enough for a single man insertion to do this job, and we were a prepared, trained, experienced response team. Even against shadowdarks.

Let me begin at the beginning.

Basic insertion, right? In, out, just like that. They hate it when you beat them on their terms...after we wasted a couple scouts caught flatfooted, their buddies just faded. I was already joking..."Damn 'darks must've had a yellow streak up their backs...they just pussied themselves to death!"

Strawn played with his hair. He always did that. Poor bastard. "They don't reflect could they be yellow on any part?"

"Shut the fuck up, poindexter. Geez." Graham thinks it's funny to give Strawn a hard time. I was gonna shoot 'im a dirty look, but that's when the lights went out.

Now, we had this covered. 'Darks always think it's clever to knock out the lights, but Basic drills this shit into you. Blake was against the wall like he could see in the dark...only guy I ever knew who even joked about having blackblood, and I'd believe it. Graham and I were on our knees, underslung halon flashes scanning the room. It all would have been perfect if Strawn hadn't dropped that goddamn flashbang.

Sometimes they say that 'darks hate light. Never asked 'em. But they were on us before I saw anything but spots, and they had those goddamned hooks in Strawn...he came apart like nothing ever held him together. Poor bastard. I tried to nail the ones that got him, but I might have just wasted his shadow. Fuck if I know...I was shooting the 'darks off of Blake's ass, until he lit the place up.

Graham was already gone....lost or shreds, I don't think I'll ever know. But Blake fucking lit that place up like turning on a lamp, and the 'darks faded like smoke off of burning tires. What was left of 'em was almost a cloud, with bits of almost ash flying backwards, like a storm of smoke and soot. I was stunned by the effects, and even the 'darks he missed just faded, like they were never there.

Until I fucking missed one. Maybe I was just shooting at the spots in my eyes, but one of those fuckers with his hooks for fingers got Blake. A cut off, gurgling scream...I probably killed Blake myself, tearing it to bits, if he didn't die instantly.

That was ten minutes ago. I lit a flare, and I've got my back to the wall, and those shadowdarks aren't coming close to me. I see 'em now, on the edge of the light, just vague shapes circling me in the darkness. They'll come for me, when they realize I'm out of ammo; they're just still wary. Not like I can run, anyway...and where do you hide when the dark is alive?

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