flying through the sky at a thousand feet, catch a gust and rise a little. Wings spread out wide, feathered even. White wings of a dove spread out in the light of mid afternoon, ground far below, a city teeming with life starting 500 feet below.

Pure silver body reflecting light like a beacon, skin long since replaced by metals and composite materials. Lighter, stronger, more agile than a real human body. The body no longer has gender, but the shape is female, the curves hint at beautiful form - a familiar shape from a previous life. But the parts that make gender are gone. All is a simple shade of silver/white dancing in the sky above the city on wings of steel and feather. Real feathers, lose to many and you have to wait for them to regrow before flying again.

Flying. Spending days floating on air currents. System nearly self sufficient. Can go weeks without the needed sustienance. Perfect form. Agile, quick and capably of man's oldest dreams of flying high. The tale of Icarus warns not to go to high, our wings don't melt. Not there wings of technology, limited only by air density and draft. Go to high and you fall until lift occurs again. Self contained body that can go a mile up or more.

Another joins the first, a masculine form, again without gender. Just solid body with wings catching air, sailing high, diving, dipping. They play at this game for hours, weaving about in the fading sunlight of evening.

Loops and twists. Dips and turns. Flips and Circles. Sun is setting, their forms reflecting what light there is, silver streaks in a darkened sky below the stars. From this high the city lights don't affect as much. More stars, brighter, filling the sky for miles and miles as the earth drops off below.

Night falls on the city. They can still see the sun just beyond the curve, but below all is darkened and the orange-yellow glow of artificial life comes into being. They dive.

Two forms falling silently out of the sky like raindrops, wings folded up, each removes a pair of small black objects strapped to their backs. Determination in their solid black eyes, taking in all light and all motion and all sight and remembering everthing.

Remembering over a hundred years of memory, these technilogical angels. Knowing who the Beatles were, recalling names like Ambrose Bierce and Edgar Poe. Knowing how time changes things, all things even them. They live in a world of constant upgrades and remakes, all to stay airborn. All to stay in the sky. All to watch and wait and act.

A massive network of information, a massive network of power. Sentinals watch. But all watchers need a hand that strikes. Angels strike. Swift, deadly and without warning. A directive from the Gods themselves.

She remembers Mandy as she falls to the earth below, centered on a tower of glass and steel, they got those two alright. But there were more, many more. More than one person could handle, more than a dozen could. So the entire network came to life. Several hundred Sentinals came to life at once acting as one body with decisiveness that many would come to fear. That was their power.

Bodies curled as the side of the tower became larger and closer, two forms burst through the glass, their unreal bodies rending steel frames from their holdings in a screach of pain. They land curled up, arms shielding faces from instinct instead of need. And the room has mere seconds to react as the late running meeting is stunned.

He remembers others who's lives were taken from them, others lost to the company known as the Global Aged Alliance. Sarah, Greg, Alex.. all names lost to the tides of time by a group of men jealous of what they were - or fearful. Seeing the room in faster than real time as eight people stare stunned and afraid. He was a bird of prey hunting for a mouse, and he found them.

In synch two forms stood and spread their wings, each hand holding a small machine gun, they opened fire at the room. nine millimeter depleted uranium rounds turned table, chairs and bodies into shredded remains. Even sweep, dead on the mark and more accurate than the most modern computer guided system - the computer enhanced system of the human mind seeking vengence and filled with hate not one single round missed it's mark. Not one bullet wasted on anything but flesh and bone.

And nothing left. The Seattle Branch was no more. It's uppermost level of people taken away by those who protect what is theirs, and theirs is all you see. They owe nothing to the world they put together with their own hands. This was their future and they would always be there to protect it.

The weapons were dropped and the two figures turned and jumped out the window to catch an updraft into the night, to continue their dance on the three dimensional plane of open air.

The Angels have guns now.

Story Copyright 2001 ghost, reposted with permission