Dust: Chapter 17 Part 4

Three-arms recoiled in shock and Goldenrod bent the arm back, putting the hand where it was easier to steal the knife out of it. From there he fell across Two-arms’ body and pinned the arm with the knife onto the floor. Two-arms struggled as best he could, but Goldenrod made short work of his upper left arm with the monoknife. From there it was over, One-arm tried to grab at Goldenrod but Goldenrod put the blade to One-arm’s belly and palmed it in.

One-arm lurched into a back-bridge as all that was left of his body tensed at once and then crashed back down. Never to move again.

Goldenrod stood back up and looked at his opponent. His gold finish was scratched and dented all over and flecks of paint stained his diamond knuckles.

He smirked. “Mess with the best. Die like the rest.”

Then Goldenrod gasped and looked down. The curved end of a monofilament machete poking out of his belly.

Aww please.” The machete-swinger peeked his head around Goldenrod’s shoulder. “Ah’ll bet y’all don’t even know where that’s from.”

A gentle push at the shoulder and Goldenrod toppled forward. I looked around for No Mouth and saw bits and pieces strewn here and there across the corridor. The majority of him lay slumped against the opposite wall.

The Machete-swinger bent down to pull Goldenrod’s body off One-Arm and assess the damage.

He swore to himself, slipped the machete back into the sheath on his leg and retrieved his machine-gun.

A swift kick from his prosthetic foot broke the door in half and tore the remains from their hinges, both halves fell to the floor and the Machine-Gunner strode inside.

I crept up behind him and waited for him to go further into the room. Inside my mind raced. If he took out PR and Kitty right now I’d need to wait until Tachi caught up with me to steal Atom back off him.

As if summoned by my thoughts I heard Tachi’s voice in the cype. [I’ve reached the main building, I’m on my way to you now.]

The Machine-Gunner slowed to a halt and looked around. PR and Kitty had chosen the school’s old server room to be their Alamo. The room was barely lit by some low fluros illuminating the floor between server towers. Not that it mattered. Odds on the Machine-Gunner had NVG built into his optics. I had them in mine.

Alright.” He called out as he walked into the middle of the room. “Fun az it’s been Ah think Ah’ve killed enough niggers for one day and Ah’d rather not have to go fucking-around to find the damn thing after Ah’ve iced y’all. So why don’tcha just hand it over now and I’ll leave you be? How’s that sound?”

From somewhere in the semi-darkness PR replied. “You want it? Come get it.”

The Machine-Gunner shrugged. “Alright.”

He swung his weapon to the left and hit the trigger, sweeping fire across the room. The armour-piercing rounds passed through row after row of server towers, easily compromising the thin metal and plastic casings and only coming to a stop when they reached solid wall at the far end.

The roar of a machine gun in such a confined space was murder to the ears. Even though my pain editor took care of the discomfort, I still clapped my hand over an ear and wished I could jam my finger down the hole.

His weapon empty, the Machine-Gunner reached down to the pack on his hip and pulled out a fresh belt to feed into it. I took this as my chance to duck inside behind him.

Ah didn’t think Ah needed to show y’all I wasn’t in a fuckin’ around kinda mood.” He said as he attached the chain-link to the gun’s feeder and cranked the first round into the chamber.

With this much noise catching all the attention Kitty obviously thought it was safe enough to sneak around the other side of the room. I saw her move behind a server tower right next to me, clutching her backpack.

I smiled and drew my PD9 from its holster.

Ah’m still gonna kill ya if you don’t give me what Ah came for. Ah just thought Ah’d take it easy on ya if y’all were willin’ to take it easy on me. Ah mean, what’s a buncha barely literate ghetto-trash need with a smart A.I. anyhow?”

There was a moment of silence.

Kitty kept her eye on him and crept aside behind another tower. She only stopped when the barrel of my weapon pressed against her cheek.

[Hello Kitty.]

Kitty gasped and pulled away from me.

[Don’t make a sound.] I warned her. [If you get his attention there isn’t anything I can do to save you.]

Then PR spoke again, in his orator voice.

When our barely-literate founding fathers settled in the new world they wanted three things: Individual Freedom, Economic Independence and a new way of life. They rebelled against the oppression of the entrenched powers of the British Empire. A regime that secreted power and the agency of society behind closed doors to serve nothing but their own business interests.”

Kitty stared at my masked face in disbelief. [Dust?]

[Give me the bag Kitty.]

[I, I can’t.]

I put the gun back into her face. [The only reason I didn’t just shoot you and take it is because of the last shred of professional courtesy I have for you. I will ask one more time and then I will kill you. Now give me the fucking bag.]

Up by the far wall, from behind the remains of the furthest server tower, PR stood up and stepped out of the shadows.

And now…” PR continued. Out of nowhere a burst of loud static exploded in my ears. Electric agony crawled through my brain on spider-legs. Forcing my way through the pain I activated my macro and shut down my wireless card. The pain receded instantly, leaving only a dull ache behind.

PR stepped forward and finished his sentence. Across from him, the Machine-Gunner clutched painfully at his chest and heaved.

“…three hundred years later America has become the very thing it rebelled against. Under the guise of libertarianism the powerful have torn liberty from the hands of the people. Like the very imperialist rulers our forefathers fought against they have entrenched their power bases so much they appear unassailable. But not anymore. Information is power and Atom will allows us to control the flow of information, putting the power back into the hands of the masses…”
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