Her breath came in desperate ragged gasps as she fought for each one, her lungs burning and every muscle in her body screaming a protest. In perfect synchronization, her heart beat a frantic rhythm within her chest, so hard and so fast she thought it might explode any moment. The noise of it filled her head and swallowed all thought, all sense as she ran, snared within a long, dark passageway with no turns aside and no hiding places. In contrast, her feet were almost soundless on the smooth floor. Even in her panic, she ran lightly on footwear designed especially for stealth. Shame it wouldn’t save her neck now.
At last she turned a corner and flung herself back against the wall, pressing her lithe body as close to the surface as nature would permit. She turned her head to watch for something following, catching her breath as she held herself ready. The chill of the surface behind her came as welcome relief. Her one-piece, skin tight combat suit was supposed to dispel perspiration quicker to help keep her cool, but right now all it did was cling to her like wet seaweed wrapped around her. Likewise tendrils of her long red hair, darkened and dampened by sweat, stuck to her skin. At least her vision was clear. Thin goggles covered her eyes with an iridescent lenses for night-vision, and the ornate earpiece she wore to augment her hearing hadn’t slipped free. She held her breath, listening hard, but there was no sound of pursuit. Yet.