Loan Prologue

Diego sat quietly beside the road, waiting nervously. Jar had already moved into position and the trap was laid, the plan would work fine. But still Diego was nervous something about this task made him nervous. Perhaps it was just that all their efforts over the past two years rested on the success of this mission. But the task was a simple one. The two of them could manage it easily.

"Stop thinking about it, don't dwell, there's nothing more we can do" said a voice in his head.

"Yeah, I know. But still…"

"Relax"

Jar's voice crackled through the radio. "I can see them. They'll be here in a few minutes, you ready?" Jar's voice had none of the worry and fear Diego felt, but then she had always been more relaxed than him, seldom letting worry plague her.

"All set."

"You're panicking aren't you?"

"No..."

"You are. I could hear you talking to yourself. Chill out, it'll be fine. We've done harder things than this before."

"Yeah…well! No time to worry, we've got to get busy!"

Diego could see the trucks approaching now, a deep rumbling announcing their advance. He could see them clearly now, two troop carriers flanking an armoured prisoner transfer vehicle, an ugly square vehicle with thick reinforced walls.

"5…4…3…" he counted watching the trucks approaching; "2….1…" he pressed the flashing button on the remote he was holding in his hand.

With a deafening ban a fireball engulfed the foremost truck, the explosion shredding the metal frame. The armoured prisoner transport skidded round trying to avoid the flaming wreckage of the first truck. But its momentum was too great and, as it braked, its turning wheels caught on the wreckage and it tipped over, sliding several meters on its side and leaving long gouge marks on the ground.

The final vehicle had more time to react. It braked neatly before the flames of the other and the troops inside began to file out forming a defensive circle around their vehicle a sergeant shouting them into position. As soon as he'd set off the explosion Diego had charged forward, keeping to the shadows on the side of the road, and dived head first into the flames of the first troop transport. Quietly he gathered the fire around himself gathering it into a ball in front of him. His face taught with concentration he hurled the ball of fire at the second truck, the flames quickly spreading over the vehicle, the canvas top burning fiercly.

The troops all spun to stare horrified at their truck and Diego, not wasting the opportunity for a surprise attack gathered the fire around him to his fists and charged.

***

Jar watched excitedly from the side of the road as the plan unfolded perfectly. Seeing her brother leap flaming from the fire she knew it was her time to act. As the soldier turned as one to face Diego's fiery onslaught Jar sprinted forward and laid into them from the other side. The Sergeant was the first to notice her approach and quickly took aim with her pistol. But Jar was much too quick for her, darting forward she grabbed the sergeant's outstretched arm and pulled it past her, making the sergeant jerk forward just as she elbowed her hard in the stomach. Winded the sergeant stumbled backwards and Jar kicked her very hard in the chest. The woman was knocked off her feet and she fell into the solider behind her.

On the other side of the now fiercely burning truck Diego had entered the fray. The first soldier, who had only just managed to raise his rifle, received a fiery fist to the face, collapsing immediately from the combined pains of a broken nose and a scorched face. The soldier beside him fared a little bitter as Diego punched him in the stomach and then, grabbing his head as he bent forward, kneed him in the face. Diego then channelled a blast of fire at another two soldiers knocking them both hard against the bonnet of the truck.

Jar meanwhile had laid into the soldiers who were now turning to face her sudden charge. Drawing swords the two nearest her charged. Jar stepped quickly back as they swung and then back flipped, kicking them both hard in the chin as her legs swung up. The men staggered and Jar charged forward, on her feet again, grabbed them both around the head and slammed their faces together with a sickening crunch. The men collapsed but Jar was already moving on, charging at a soldier who was backing away looking scared.

Within minutes the force of fourteen were lying unconscious or immobile at Jar and Diego's feet who stood over them panting slightly. Turning together they walked calmly toward the prisoner transport. Diego crouched down at the door and, channelling a hot flame from his index finger melted through the lock.