I got one shot out and then a whole lot of nothing. Mid swing the magazine slid right out of the feeding ramp and hit the deck a few feet away. One of us must have accidentally hit the mag-release in the confusion.
Then Kiru was upon me. I dived passed her, I wish I could have dived for the magazine but it was behind me by this point. So I had to put even more distance between me and it.
When I came up again I reversed my grip on the PD9, turning it around like a night-stick.
Kiru slowed her twirl and brought herself to a complete stop opposite me like she was finishing a dance.
She smiled at me. “<Hello Dust.>”
I eyed her suspiciously, trying to catch a tell that would give away her next move. “<Hello Kiru.>”
“<The new arm suits you.>” She went on. “<I actually didn’t recognise you because of it. I was afraid our little games were going to grow dull if you kept refusing to upgrade.>”
“<Oh do fuck off.>” I said. “<We’re here to fight over Atom, can we cut out this Shonen-hero bullshit?>”
Kiru shrugged. “<Atom crawled off into the boat somewhere. Minus an arm and a leg. The only way either of us is getting to him is by stepping over the corpse of the other.>”
She stared at me in silence for a moment, then said. “<Good. You’ve also come up with a defence for the pain-editor hack. You are learning.>”
I snorted angrily. “<You’re not listening to me are you?>”
“<If you want to shut me up Dust, you have to come over here and silence me.>”
I did not relish that prospect. I remained where I was.
“<That’s what I thought.>” Kiru said with a dismissive shrug.
So I threw the gun at her. Kiru detected the movement and lashed out with both sets of wires, catching the gun with all ten strings, the lines pulled taunt and with a tearing motion Kiru opened up her arms and shredded the gun into steel confetti.
The second after that I threw a lunging-jab at her face. Kiru pulled her head hard left out of the way and ducked under my follow-up hook. She slipped passed me and I continued the rotation, pivoting on my opposite foot to throw a round-house kick at her. Kiru blocked the kick with both forearms and then waved her cutting fingers at me with the closest arm. I blocked her arm at the wrist before the fingers could swing around, so Kiru turned the other way fast and shot the other hand out at me.
I jumped back a step, then pulled my head aside as a high-heel shot out at my face. I circled around and Kiru swung another wave at me. I dropped down into a very low wrestler’s crouch and went at her.
Kiru stopped her turn immediately, ready for the catch and throw I’d done every other time.
But instead I fired the piston-punch. Unlike the Hair guy, who’d always kept it back on his power hand, I used the piston-punch on the end of my jab instead. With an arm that suddenly shoots forward by an extra ten inches suddenly I had a completely shadowless punch at my disposal.
Kiru rocked back a step, unable to fathom what just happened.
Before that moment could pass I grabbed hold of Kiru and swept her to the ground. She got her shit together just before my heel could make impact with her face and quick as a flash she had her hands up to catch my foot before I could hit her.
Kiru threw my leg aside and I fell onto her. I tried to elbow her on my way down but she rolled to the side, causing me to smash some floorboards on the deck.
Kiru pressed off the ground and kicked out with both feet, smashing into me just before full weight landed on the deck. The double-kick knocked me aside, rattling my insides before Kiru caught up to me again and sent me rolling once more with a soccer-kick to the gut.
I crashed into the BBQ, not a lot of which was still standing. I clamped a hand around the edge of the counter and pulled myself back up to standing.
I heard Kiru’s piston heels fire and she was beside me in the next instant. She swung her line out at neck height. Thinking fast, I revealed the last thing I had up my sleeve. Grabbing the tip of my index finger with my chrome hand I pulled out a length of monofilament wire and held it out at arm’s length, right in the path of Kiru’s wave. Her strings hit the line and coiled around it, when all five lines began to turn I got my arms to swap places and loop my string around hers.
Kiru felt the tension change and began recoiling the lines. But it was too late, with my line looped around Kiru pulled her fingertips into the tightening hole I’d made and sliced them clean off as they passed through. Her face distorted into a furious snarl as her fingers returned ruined.
When the lines had completely recalled into their spool she flexed her now shorter fingers and balled them into a fist, her anger disappeared that same instant.
My chrome hand let go of my flesh-coloured fingertip and I recalled my own line back into my hand, careful not to cut myself.
“<Impressive.>” Kiru said through gritted teeth. “<You drew my attention with the chromed metal arm so I wouldn’t see that the rest of you was also a prosthetic. Very impressive.>”
Kiru cocked her head to one side. “<What made you come to your senses?>”
I smirked at her. “<Only the insane may prosper. Only those who prosper may truly judge what is sane. I just stopped clinging to my old rules and decided to get a little crazy.>”
Kiru giggled. “<Doing what you need to complete your mission isn’t crazy. In order to be crazy, properly, Japanese-crazy, you have to give your life for the mission. Whether it requires it or not.>”
Kiru relaxed her shoulders and changed stance, I was expecting her to stretch out her arms to give them lots of swinging space. Instead she put her ruined hand behind her back and gently extended the other towards me, hand palm-up. That was new, I hadn’t seen that stance before.
“<Do you know where the word ‘Banzai’ comes from?>” She asked.
“<That was that Kamikaze battle-cry from world war two wasn’t it?>”
Kiru nodded. “<It’s much older than that. ‘Banzai’ in the old Japanese-tongue means ‘Ten-thousand years.’ To scream that from the core of one’s essence means you are willing to trade eternity itself for this moment. To resolve to cast away one’s life before blades are even drawn.>”
“<You think I’m not ready to die?>”
Kiru flashed her teeth at me. “<You’d better be. I was ready to kill you when I thought you were still flesh. Now that I know you’re wearing a prosthetic I’m going to cut you out and keep you as my new pet.>”
I blinked at her. “How do you keep getting scarier?”
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