Isis came through a vacant lot and approached a group of four brakkas, grooming each other near the entrance. They probably smelled her before they saw her, and immediately fanned out into a semicircle. Three males and a big female. They looked like humanoid weasels, although of course were no more related to weasels than to redwoods; the miracle of convergent evolution. The female sized her up. "Far from the nest, tasty tasty," she murmured. Humans rarely came off colony, and when they did it was as heavily armed groups. The brakkas knew about human weapons. But unless the silver choker was a weapon, there was really nowhere else Isis could be hiding anything. The aliens slid closer. Actually, the choker was a weapon, though not the type the brakkas were expecting.

"Mites," said Isis. It was a grave insult. Having decided she was unarmed the two nearest to her launched themselves through the air. The alien predators moved faster than the human mind could process, though as it turns out not faster than the human eye could follow. Isis shimmied sideways and struck with left and right hands across their eyes, spun under the third and punched it in the loin as it curled back to bite her and caught the fourth under its chin with a kick. A second kick put the big female back down. The male she had struck in the eyes came like a cracking whip across its mother's body, its teeth snapping the air where Isis' hand had been. Her hand was now on the male's nose, bringing its chin down to her knee with a dull thud.

The fight had taken just over two seconds. Isis surveyed the four aliens where they lay on the ground. She scratched her nose. Then her brow furrowed. "Stop that!" she shouted.

"I perceived your suffering," said Augi. Actually Isis said the words, Augi using her mouth to say them. Augi sounded considerably less pissed off.

"I was going to scratch it myself, thank you!" She knew that was actually the problem - the time that passed between the perception of a need for action and the action itself. A few seconds for her, but an aching eternity for an augmentation intelligence. Isis scratched her own nose out of principle, and waited to hear if there was going to be something else.

Augi stayed quiet. The intelligence part was for real, and it had learned when to shut up