Dust Chapter 13 Part 2

Kitty’s vidwindow appeared next to my head. [Templar Protection are closing in.]

[How far off are they?] I asked.

[They just turned down our street.]

Duke let rip on Silver Sentinel. At the same time SS snapped up both his pistols and returned fire.

The first burst tore a chunk out of Duke’s head, destroying his right eye. Tachi had already ducked back inside the van to reload.

Duke kept pouring on the lead, but it was barely making a dent. When SS closed to ten metres he put his pistols back in his thighs. Duke tossed Tachi the 240 aside and got down into a low wrestling stance.

[Oh you’ve got to be kidding me. Duke get in the fucking…]

I didn’t even get to finish the sentence when the two cyborgs collided. Everyone in the street heard that crash. With a grin on his face a kay wide Duke hurled himself at SS at the last moment. For a fraction of the second they remained in my line of sight I couldn’t help but wonder if they were reliving their high school football days.

Regardless, Silver Sentinel just had too much weight (and run up) on Duke and took him down.

Tachi drew his monofilament swords and jumped out.

I yelled after him [For fuck’s sake we’re trying to get away.]

The blaring sirens outside told me Templar Protection had arrived before Kitty could update me.

[You want I should just hit the gas and get us outta here?] PR asked.

[Don’t tempt a tired man.]

Kitty was less happy. [Templar Protection are almost on top of us. Get moving.]

Silver Sentinel must have had the same rear-mounted cybereyes Kiru had. He interrupted his ground and pound on Duke as soon as Tachi got anywhere near him. Pushed down on Duke’s chest to free his legs from the mount and half-cartwheel away. He landed in a low stance, ready to shoot for a tackle.

Tachi sized him up, keeping his swords loose and ready to move.

Then one of Templar Protection’s heavily armoured squad cars rammed straight into Silver Sentinel.

Atom’s voice came over the cype. [I told Templar Protection that one of Night Watch’s sentinels went rogue and there’s a bounty on him.]

[You did what?] I blinked. [Good work son].

Tachi wasted a precious second blinking as it registered that his second biggest problem just took care of his first. Then he sheathed his swords, hooked his arms under Duke’s armpits and dragged the borg back into the van.

I yelled at PR “Punch it!”

[Too late.] Kitty said. [They’ve cordoned off the area, they’re deploying road spikes…]

[Don’t worry. I see a short cut.]

PR stepped on the pedal and the poor, slave-driven van roared in protest as it got moving. PR aimed her away from Templar Protection’s cordon, away from the road entirely, mounted the curb and took us out over the soccer field.

Out the back door I saw Silver Sentinel pull himself out from under the squad car, grab hold of it by its bumper and flip the whole thing like a tractor tire at a cross-fit gym.

Which was good, because it drew all of Templar Protection’s small-arms fire away from us. SS ignored them and stared out at our retreating form for a moment before breaking into a sprint after us.

Close that door.” I shouted.

Duke grabbed the handle and yanked the door down. The rounds Templar Protection missed SS with punched into the back of our van. I got down behind Rembrandt and curled into a ball, trying to make myself as small as possible.

A stray round slipped through and pelted into my arm anyway. My pain editor told me to just ignore it.

[Almost there] PR said [I need someone to shoot out the emergency barrier.]

Tachi stuck his head out the window. He saw the low, red emergency barrier padlocked shut. He levelled the carbine and fired. When that round missed he tried two more times.

[Stop if you have to PR.] Kitty screamed down the cype. [Don’t you dare try and ram it.]

[One moment please.] Tachi said like he was checking his watch.

Tachi fired his last shot, paused to admire his work and pulled himself back inside.

A second later I heard the skirts of the van scrape the curb as we re-joined the world of asphalt roads.

Scratch-finish Sentinel had gained a little distance on us. Now that we were back on a surface the van was built to handle the tires found purchase and rolled the machine back up to 90.

[So now what?] PR asked.

[Get us back on the highway, head straight for the Lakeway Marina. Let your pilot know we’re on our way and we’re expecting guests.]

Kitty added her two yen. [Silver Sentinel’s recalling Air One. He’s still on us.]

[And we’ve still got Tachi and Duke.] I said. [Let’s handle one problem at a time.]

[It might not be enough.] Kitty replied. [Night Watch’s formally offering their assistance.]

Templar Protection lacked a lot of the resources that Night Watch boasted. Air units and Robocops being key examples, they also lacked sufficient patrol units on the ground to respond to situations like this. For normal everyday policing I’m sure they were fine. But as soon as a major emergency like us propped up the cracks began to appear. They had to pull a lot of units off their regular patrols to deal with us. We were a problem that required a widespread police response. A municipal police force can call on units from other precincts to take over regular patrols while they pour everything they have into an emergency.

We got an idea exactly how large this response was when we got onto the highway. More Templar Protection squad cars joined our pursuit at every on-ramp we passed.

[It’s like something out of a three-stooges sketch.] PR said, glancing at the number of flashing lights in his mirror.

[They’ve told Night Watch where they can stick it.] Kitty said.

[Maybe we’ll get lucky and they’ll recall the Sentinel.] I said, expressing an optimism I didn’t feel. [If Templar Protection’s puffing their chest out, it’s in Night Watch’s best interest if they fail.]

Kitty pointed to the sky. [Tell that to him.]
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