Dust: Chapter 21 Part 4

Atom looked up where the shot came from. His face fell with disappointment.

I followed his gaze and watched as Kiru no Yubi jumped down from the upper floor.

Still in mid-air Kiru pumped a round from her massive rifle into the merc that was trying to arrest Atom. The .50 cal bullet tore through his armour, prosthetic casing and biopod like a sharp pencil through wet cardboard. As she neared the ground she fired her heels so that the retraction would slow the final few inches of her landing and she still smashed spider webs into the tiles on the floor.

She was packing a Barret M2092 Anti-material rifle. Normally built for the extreme long-shot, Kiru’s had been set up for close combat. She’d discarded the scope for a Smartgun link, swapped out the cheek pad stock for a solid, removed the bipod entirely and loaded a drum-magazine. I never even knew they made those for that gun.

My target priority changed. I locked onto Kiru with my cross hairs and hit the trigger.

Kiru took the rounds and dived aside. She caught herself with her hand, cartwheeled out of the dive, turned her barrel back towards me and squeezed off a shot.

I’d stepped aside as soon as I saw the cartwheel. The big round speared through four ravers behind me.

A second later the bodies of two of the Merc snipers fell from the upper floor. I looked up and saw Edger bringing his machine gun to bear from their old position.

Then Rembrandt opened up on a bunch of merc with his own machine gun. A hand full of ravers heard the shots and turned their pistols on him only to be mowed down by Rembrandt’s next burst.

Sinotech’s in-house people recovered from Atom’s attack just in time to realise Kiru was in their midst.

The lead operator levelled his machine-pistol at point-blank range. Kiru waved one of her hands at the gun, while the other hand pointed her rifle at the operator beside him and pumped a round into her. The lead op pulled the trigger on his weapon, then realised only the pistol-grip was still in his hand. Kiru ran up his body in two steps, kicked off his face and back-flipped over to another operator. Holding her rifle outstretched in both hands Kiru caught this op around the neck and landed right behind him. Using him as a cyborg shield she jammed her rifle’s stock into his throat and started popping off shots at his comrades. Two of them died before the last one opened fire on her. He emptied his entire mag into Kiru’s captive, aiming high to avoid the biopod, but only succeeded in shredding away plastic and armour. When his machine pistol clicked dry he noticed everyone else on his team was either dead, missing their head or facing him right now.

Then Kiru shot him and he didn’t have to worry anymore. A quick glance up and Kiru abandoned her captive to dive aside. The guy had all of a half-second to contemplate his freedom before Edger tore him to shreds with his machine gun.

Kiru dived, rolled and got up sprinting as Edger swept his fire after her. Appropriate, considering she was running rings around us.

I joined in, my PD9 kicking in my hands as I tried to get my crosshair on Kiru. I swung the gun around to follow her, pausing my fire only when Tachi’s body appeared in the firing line. I felt my finger leave the trigger of its own will. Only to slam back down as the muzzle passed beyond him. Without a care in the world, Atom just kept on dancing.

Kiru responded to the two of us by charging towards the nearest wall and getting three strides up its side before firing her heels and launching herself out sideways. While in flight she turned her rifle my way and opened fire. I ducked under her first shot, rolled aside the second and lay flat to narrowly avoid her third. Kiru flipped over to right herself again and stuck the landing. Then immediately rolled back the other way as Slice landed right next to her and stabbed down both mono machetes where she had been only a heartbeat ago.

From where I lay I opened fire on Kiru, kicking my legs up over my head and rolling back to my feet without ever taking my finger off the trigger.

Slice left his blades in the floor and quick-drew both his pistols to unload them at Kiru.

And between the three of us we still couldn’t hit her.

Kiru ran, jumped, dived, rolled, flipped, cartwheeled, slid and break danced out of harm’s way.

My PD9 ran dry and I dumped the cylinder magazine and reached into my jacket for a fresh one.

Then I realised both Slice and Edger were also reloading.

Then Kiru realised it.

Get Down!” I yelled at Slice.

Kiru dive-rolled into a kneeling position and fired seven shots. One in my direction, two at Slice and four up at Edger.

I had already dropped my legs out underneath me and pulled my head back as the big .50 burned its way through the air above my face.

Slice took both rounds to the chest and stumbled back a step.

By instinct Edger brought up his machine gun in front of his face and let it take all four rounds for him. The heavy rounds ripped through the big gun, smashing into the action, the belt box, the grenade launcher and the barrel. The belt box spilled open, the disintegrating belt broken part-way through, allowing the majority of the belt to fall out. Edger discarded the useless hunk of metal and plastic that used to be his weapon and let it drop to the floor.

Meanwhile Slice had reloaded his pistols and brought them up again.

Kiru fired one heel and cartwheeled away, firing another round back towards Slice. This one hit him in the shoulder. Throwing off his aim on both pistols and wasting those rounds.

Kiru was just about to line up a second shot on his face when she jumped away again.

This time Edger hit the ground right where she’d been, punching at the floor with his over-sized right arm. But where Kiru’s landing had split spider webs across the floor, Edger punched a hole in it.

The impact shook the whole room, causing everyone, even Kiru, to stumble for a moment.

Edger tore his hand out of the dent he’d smashed into the floor and turned to follow Kiru.

And then he disappeared when the floor gave way beneath him.

A second later Rembrandt fell from the uppermost floor, still trying to shoot back up with his machine gun. He hit the ground right next to Edger’s hole, the impact shattering his optics and further compromising the floor, which gave way under him as well and we all watched the hole get a little bigger.

Then Atom saw his chance and dived into the hole.

No you don’t you sonuva bitch.” I yelled as I reached behind my back and pulled out the gun I’d been saving just for Atom. Joni had been nice enough to sell me her spare Smith & Wesson Tri-star.

As I took the time to get it out a zip line was thrown down the hole after Rembrandt and a second later what had to be the last surviving merc Sinotech had hired slid down the line after it.

I holstered my PD9 and jumped down the hole after them.
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