A few minutes later Wu took a bite out of the first of his dumplings and was pleasantly surprised.
“These are home made.” Wu said between bites. “Back home these go straight from the freezer to the wok.”
“The iced tea’s not bad either.” Sifu remarked. “Not perfect but it takes the heat off.”
The growl of a speeder engine from around the corner signalled a new arrival long before the three-turbine convertible pulled up on the street outside. A skateboard poking out of the back seat.
The teenage owner hopped out of the car and strutted on inside the noodle shop. He was big for his age, almost as tall as Wu and wore an open button-up shirt for a jacket over a black tank-top that came down to thigh level and his hair was short, spiky and perfect.
“Oh that’s cute.” Sifu whispered to Wu. “Shame he’s wasted on the girls his age, all they care about are idols singers.”
The kid slinked over to the counter. “What’s up Mr C? How’re the buns today?”
Mr C shrugged. “Hey Jie. I’m out of the good rice wine, so I had to use some of the cheap stuff I use in the Gherkin salad. How’s school?”
Jie rolled his eyes. “Let’s not. Are Jun and Yang free?”
Mr C shook his head. “They got homework.” Then he pointed across to Sifu and Wu. “I got some people I need to introduce you to. They’re looking for the Shining sun.”
The kid cast an uncharacteristically nervous glance where Mr C pointed, then when he saw Wu and Sifu he brightened and came right on over.
Before he could take ten steps the roar of starship engines just outside the shop drowned out all other sounds. Jie grimaced and covered his ears as he looked out the window to see where all the noise was coming from.
Wu and Sifu similarly covered their ears and got out of their chairs.
Outside someone was parking a small-haul freighter on the road in front of the noodle shop. Mr C’s jaw dropped in horror. He dived behind the counter screaming “It’s them!”
The freighter’s loading ramp dropped down in front of the door to the shop and out from the belly of the ship emerged four figures.
The leader was a stocky caucasian man in a long brown duster. He already had his sidearm in hand as he pushed through the shop’s front door and strode inside. The one on the right was a black woman in a bomber jacket with a red bandana around her neck. She immediately turned her rifle towards Sifu and Wu and narrowed her eyes at them. On the other side strode a barrel-chested man with a merchant-navy tattoo on his thick bicep. He hefted an assault rifle with an under-slung grenade launcher and pointed it directly at Mr C.
Bringing up the rear was a firm caucasian woman in olive-drab cargo pants, a black singlet and electric blue hair tied at the back. The intense focus in her eyes was the only emotion her face conveyed.
“Well if it isn’t the young Mister Lin.” The Leader bellowed as he strode in. He aimed his pistol straight at Jie’s face. “This must be my lucky day. Come ‘ere.”
Jie raised his hands in surrender. “Mad Mac McCarty.”
Mac beamed at him. “Well Mister fancy pants has heard of me.”
He grabbed the kid by the upper arm and pulled him in to press the barrel of his gun against his temple.
He then turned to his people. “Elena, Bristol cover the hostages. Brook, stand there and look creepy. Everybody else, put your hands in the air. None of you so much as twitches a way I don’t like or I will End this young man right here.”
Wu and Sifu raised their hands. Mr C cautiously rose from behind the counter with his hands up as well.
“Ah there you are Mr Choi. So good of you to join us. Elena.”
Mad Mac McCarty passed the kid to the black woman, who stuck the barrel of her carbine under Jie’s chin.
Then he grabbed Mr Choi by the collar and pulled him half over the counter. “Now how’s about showing me that nice big freezer of yours, my friends and I could use a good feed.”
“Al-alright.” Mr Choi sobbed. “It’s j-just back here.”
Without letting go of Mr Choi’s collar the leader walked around the counter and half-followed, half-pushed Mr. Choi through the kitchen.
When they were out of sight Elena turned her attention back to the rest of her hostages and found Sifu standing right next to her.
“Hello.” Sifu smiled.
Before Elena could move Sifu shot out her right hand and knocked the barrel of her carbine out from under Jie’s chin and followed up with a spear-hand strike to Elena’s throat.
Wu bounded across a table and thrust both feet into the big man with the rifle. The unexpected impact knocked him flying into the front counter.
While Elena gasped for breath Sifu quickly unleashed a flurry of blows against Elena’s vital points, ending with a double-fist strike that pushed Elena away as it completed her paralysis macro. In the next instant Sifu pulled her head out of the way of Brook’s foot.
Bristol recovered from the landing against the counter and brought his rifle to bear against Wu.
Wu rushed him, closing the distance in only a few steps before pushing down the rifle with both hands and smashing his forehead into Bristol’s nose.
Bristol growled from the pain. Wu tried to wrench the rifle from his hands when Bristol roared and charged into Wu, pushing him back into the dining table and knocking it over before they both crashed into a heap.
Sifu leaned back to avoid a fast spinning-kick from little Brook and tried to move in one her with some fast punches but Brook had already completed her turn and began parrying the incoming fists. On the third strike Brook batted Sifu’s arm aside and responded with a hammer-fist to Sifu’s face.
Sifu parried and returned with a back-fist only to be countered again. This time Brook successfully landed a Leopard-Palm strike to Sifu’s hip.
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