[...] Anyone who might think of attacking them would also probably recognize that they were armed. She smiled slightly; all three of them actually had valid concealed-carry permits for the Belgian FiveseveN specials under their jackets. Although not for the P90 machine pistols in the attaché cases, and some of the stuff in the vehicle would be right out of it. Semtex, timers, detonators, cans of gasoline and thermite bombs, for example. Even if the invoice reads "Cleaning supplies" back at HQ.
The waxen line of the bowstrings struck their leather bracers with a light whapping sound ... A man dropped from each end of the attackers' rough formation, with the flat punching smack of arrowheads striking flesh loud enough to hear.
The Mackenzie had never met folk so poor in story and song and legends, and it moved him to a pity that pricked at his eyes. Without that tapestry of colour and words and ritual, what was life but eating and mating, sleeping and moving your bowels? All of them good and necessary, but not enough; and they themselves needed that framework too, to give them meaning.
....another vision, where water still curled on the sandy beach beneath a clear blue sky where birds flew, but their patterns were mathematics precise beyond his comprehension. A man walked between buildings that were perfect, and empty. He turned to look at Rudi for an instant and where his eyes should have been were silvery tendrils that waved and sought.