Tachi sided up to me. He handed me a small box covered in Christmas wrapping and a red ribbon. “Before I forget, I got this for you.”
I stared dumbfounded at Tachi. “And you thought this was the best time?”
Tachi grimaced at me. “It’s that knife you wanted. You may be about to need it.”
I took the box from Tachi, still a little incredulous. “You gift-wrapped it?”
“I assure you.” Tachi sighed. “It was going to be hilarious.”
I wanted to shake my head at him, but tore open the wrapping paper instead. I stopped when I got a good look at the contents. Calling this thing a knife was paying a compliment to knives everywhere.
This thing was a knife as Crocodile Dundee would define it. Like a Chinese butterfly knife punched above his weight and married a machete, begatting this thing in their union. It came with a matching sheath which let me slip the whole thing under my jacket at the small of my back.
“Now.” Tachi said glancing at the monitors. “Miss Kitty as the only non-combatant member of our team I will have to ask you to keep your distance. Our guest should be arriving shortly.”
While Tachi and I took up positions on either side of the door, Kitty cautiously moved towards her kitchenette and jumped back onto the cype. [Guys, I’m sending you the passwords for my restricted network. Get in and see if you can lock down their signals for me.]
Super Moe-Moe Ball asked. [What’s their encryption like?]
[Hardcore.] Kitty replied.
Then Atom piped up in my head. [What’s going on? Why are you just standing around?]
[I said shoosh now Atom.]
In the real world the sound of a firm hand rapping against the front door sounded three times.
I looked at Tachi. [He’s knocking?]
Tachi shrugged. [We understand the importance of good manners in Japan.]
“Kojiro-san?” Baldy had the kind of Japanese voice that always sounded like he was threatening you with disembowelment. “<Korijo-san the mistress wishes to speak with you.>”
Tachi and I exchanged looks, there was a shortlist of people who knew his real name and only a couple of them could refer to themselves as ‘mistress’.
When the knocker didn’t get a response he gave the door a swift kick. His enhanced prosthetics shattered the fibreboard around the double locks, slamming the door wide open.
I’d unwisely positioned myself behind the door and had to raise both my arms to catch it before it could collide with my face. Meanwhile my new monofilament knife parted the fibreboard like custard and sunk into it all the way to the hilt.
Tachi was onto Baldy as soon as he was through the door. A hook across the chin from his prosthetic fist knocked Baldy back a step and opened him up for a follow-up punch to the gut and an uppercut.
Baldy rocked back from the impact, but still held together well enough to throw out a back-fist at Tachi’s head. Tachi ducked under the fist, but it had only been a set-up for a low-kick that caught him square in the face.
I pulled at the handle of my knife, but it was buried so deep into the door that it was getting pinched tight at both sides. It may have gone in easily, but now it was like trying to get a chew-toy out of the mouth of a fox-terrier.
Baldy threw out a side-kick at Tachi, who slipped past his leg to catch him by the face and slam him back into the door.
And just like that my knife popped back into my hand.
Tachi’s fist smashed Baldy’s head so deep into the door it broke through to my side. Before the guy could recover Tachi yanked him right out of the crater and threw him clear across the room. His shoulder impacted with the sliding door leading out to Kitty’s balcony and the tempered glass cracked and spiderwebbed from the impact point. Baldy fought to right himself again and in the next instant Tachi crossed the floor and side-kicked him through the glass.
The mouth on Patriot Rap’s avatar hit the floor. [Daaaaaaaaaaaaamn!]
Baldy crashed into the balcony’s steel railing and tried to use it to pull himself up. Before he could even get his second foot under him Tachi smashed him in the chest with his foot. The railing crumpled under the pressure and I could hear Baldy’s casing crack. He fell to the floor again and desperately clawed at Tachi’s feet. Tachi ignored his victim’s feeble protests, grabbed him by collar and belt, hoisted him up in the air and threw him right off the balcony.
Baldy’s fleeting cry came to an abrupt halt a second later, cut off by a metallic crash and a screaming car alarm.
I lowered my knife. “You okay mate?”
Tachi looked over his shoulder at me. “I am fine, thank you.”
I turned to Kitty. “What about you?”
Kitty was staring open-mouthed at Tachi as he strode back through the doorway and brushed some glass crystals off his suit. She blinked out of it before he reached us. “Sorry, were you asking if I was alright?”
“I’ll take that as a: Good enough.” I said, heading for the door. “Let’s GTFO.”
Patriot Rap cut in. [Better do it fast. Gotta lotta wireless signals heading your way.]
Kitty took a quick breath and regained her composure. [Filter out all the signals of the building’s residents and let me know if that signal I marked moves anywhere near us.]
I cautiously stuck my head out the front door. [Where’s the nearest enemy signal?]
When I didn’t see any more cyborg assassins in the corridor I motioned for the others to follow me outside.
[Hauling ass towards the loading dock. Here.] Patriot Rap said.
PR’s screen switched to the live feed from Kitty’s camera system, showing an Asian man with long hair and a sharp suit sprinting across the road to the building.
I looked at Tachi. “Would walking right out the front door be too obvious?”
“Then we exit through the car park.”