It was in her fifteenth year that Janelle slew the great gnasher beasts of Porrow Canyon, but it would be several more years before she learned how to capitalize on her success. In those early days, she did it merely to help people.
The figure she cut now, at 23, would scarcely be recognized by the younger version of herself. Taller, leaner, a slab of muscle, her head shaved and painted after the fashion of Titan natives, she carried her head high and her blast pistol low. The curved sword on her back was mostly for show, as there were few threats she couldn’t handle with either the blaster or her cyber-enhanced muscles, but there was little its blade couldn’t cut at a molecular level.
The goggles were newer and more advanced than any the teenage Janelle could have possessed. Rustic in appearance, the lenses featured an elaborate heads-up display that kept her informed of local atmospheric conditions, zoom and enhance functions, a variety of light-spectrum options, and a recorder that kept careful track of her adventures, which the transmitter behind her ear beamed to her support team. Terraforming the moon had thinned but not eliminated the dense fog that shrouded the lower atmosphere, so a good set of goggles could be life or death on Titan.
A young Janelle would have most envied the outfit. A deceptively thin but dense layer of white wrapped tightly around her body, while a hood snaked up her neck and around the back of her head. The soft, black-webbed lining of the wrap kept her toasty in Titan’s extreme cold, but didn’t restrict her movement like typical environmental gear would. Methane rain rolled off the jacket without soaking it through, and her boots formed a gentle shell around her feet that could stomp through puddles and climb rocky outcroppings with equal ease.
Janelle crouched at the base of a jagged hill, passing a hand through a loose scattering of pebbles and rocks on the ground. The sky was mercifully quiet at the moment, so there was no rain to screw with the tracks.
“They passed through here,” she spoke into the mic sewn into the hood of her jacket. “Half an hour, maybe, based on the heat residue.”
Her producer, Wendy, spoke back, her distant voice cracking on the channel. “Looks about right, J,” she said. “Orbital still has nothing.”
Janelle stood, her gaze sweeping over the hill. “That just means they’re underground,” she said. “Unlucky for them I know these hills better than they do.”