The moonlit night sparked with the firing of blasters. Clansmen howled in pain. Their hands loosened on her arms and legs. She rolled to the side pulling one arm then the other free. Leaning forward she struck at those holding her legs and ankles.
The creatures milled in confusion. One grabbed at her again but another blast killed it. Grumbling, looking at one another, the clan fell away from her.
Pain wracked every part of her body. She was bleeding, but already self-repair of her synthetic skin had gone to work. She sat in a pool of Savage Clan blood. Twenty to thirty bodies surrounded her. The surviving clansmen fled. Brandy looked at the source of the shots. Five women came down a trail through the mountain. They fired their hand blasters at random. In moonlight their bare arms and legs glistened with a shiny substance.
The women advanced toward her. They looked similar to the girls aboard Future, wearing the Irish Mary O'Doul thin material outfit covering just their torso, with scoop neck and short skirt. A tough looking material covered their feet.
Her body jerked. She shuddered as terror erupted from somewhere deep inside her. Tears of shock flowed and she could not stop them. She leaned forward to cover her face with her hands and let herself jerk with sobs.
Arms came around her shoulders and a woman's voice spoke. "The wounds. We have something to cover her?"
Brandy looked up. Five somber faces looked down around her. When she opened her mouth to speak, only gagging groans came out. She tried to tell how they had chased her. Not one clear word came out, just hiccups and sobs and a pouring of tears.
"It's all right. You're safe now. What is your name?"
She tried to tell them but couldn't. She gritted her teeth in anger over her tears. It was frustrating not to be able to speak.
"Did you say Brandy? Is that your name?"
Brandy nodded as she continued to hiccup and weep. A woman put salve on her wounds, but they were mostly healed by now.
A hand held out three pills. "Take these. They will cure the diseases they gave you."
She put the pills in her mouth. She sniffled now. One handed her a cloth to wipe her tears. Another gave her clothing, another picked up the blood-soaked pouch. Her body shuddered. She was all right if she didn't try to talk. Only then did a rush of tears come.
"Can you stand, Brandy?"
With a woman on each side helping her, she stood. Sharp pain rushed through her legs and across her chest.
She swayed but remained on her feet. She stepped into the clothing. Coverings were put on her feet.
The apparent leader, a brunette as tall as Brandy, swept an arm over the area littered with fallen clansmen bodies. "They'll be back. It's too big a feast for them to pass up. And they'll bring more. Let's go."
The women were sympathetic, as if they had been through all this before. They helped her along, calmly picking her up when she dropped to her knees in tears. They led her through a solid gate, then through a maze of tunnels and openings, to a pair of huge doors.
Then Brandy knew where she was, and that knowledge dried her tears. Doubt disappeared with the sobs. As the doors opened, she sniffled once then stopped her tears. The women no longer needed to help her.
Unaided and with shoulders back, Brandy stepped into the City of Women.