There Had Been Twelve by Orin Drake
There were twelve of them. And she smiled.
Twelve. Soldier-boys, by the look of it; they were all posed in that same stance, ringing her, staring at her. How pathetic.
Twelve--oops, eleven. That sickening crack had most definitely come from his neck when her boot connected, and he'd dropped. Excellent.
Eleven mean-looking boys. And she smiled.
Two of them from opposite sides darted toward her. She let them. Then she side-stepped and grasped them both by the backs of their necks, crashing their heads together. Helmets? The worst thing that could have happened to them--the metal caved in.
Nine startled-looking boys. And she smirked.
Three broke away. Took off in a dead run back to camp. One, two, three. She pulled the stolen pistol from her boot. One, two, three. And one more for each for good measure.
Six sick-looking boys. And she grinned.
"Go." One of them said behind her, quietly.
"I intend to." She responded.
"No more deaths." The same one who had spoken before insisted.
"When you stop killing me, I'll stop killing you." She announced, perfectly reasonably.
"We're following orders." He insisted.
She rolled her eyes. "So am I."
A held breath amongst them. And then, on some silent order, their attack stances fell.
She did not turn to the talker. There was no need. "You're giving away your sanguine, you realize."
"I realize." He agreed. "But I have loyalty to the younger ones."
Five young soldier-boys, shaking. One who only appeared to be among them, unmoving. She did not smile. "What side are you on?"
"Neither." He answered. "My own. Like you."
She turned, then--just in time to catch the full box of ammo he'd thrown at her. Unquestioning, she pocketed the "gift". Knowing better than to bother learning his face, she studied his eyes. "Say your good-byes soon. They're coming any day now."
He nodded, closing his eyes and taking a breath. "Go, then."
Five soldier-boys. One more other-worlder. She could not smile.