One of the androids stood patiently beside the foot of the ramp in case the guests needed something carried. As the ramp reached the deck it looked up and saw Penny.
Penny’s opening shot from the missile launcher turned 60 kilos of android into two kilos of shrapnel. The super-heated plasma turned the other 58 kilos to gas in less than a second.
The explosion alerted a dozen labour robots throughout the hanger, all of whom reached for their rifles.
Penny took a flying leap off the side of the loading ramp landed behind a powered cart full of rock pieces as the first incoming rounds cracked past her ears.
As the robots poured on the lead Penny kept her head low and looked back towards the mouth of the cave. On the edge of the entrance she saw what she was looking for and locked a missile onto the hologram generator.
The missile, designed to penetrate starship hulls, obliterated the machine, sending shards of white-hot metal in all directions.
Over her comm she heard the Sergeant say. [Curtain’s down! Showtime People!]
Penny discarded the empty missile launcher and retrieved the assault rifle from her magnetic sling.
Then the Carsontown Constabulary roared in, flying an old periphery troop carrier from the war days. The constable manning the machinegun opened up on the gathered robots, tearing the two closest to Penny’s cart to jagged metal shreds.
The labour robots trained their rifles up to engage this new threat. Penny watched them through her rifle’s sighting optics and popped up to spear two more of them down.
The remaining robots closed ranks and began a fighting retreat. Splitting their fire between the two targets as they slowly backed towards the other end of the cave.
The door gunner abandoned his post and ducked into the transport as a hail of bullets ripped up the spaced he’d just been.
As the robots’ rifles ran dry they tightened their ranks again, the three robots in front forming an android shield as the five behind reloaded.
Then out from the transport appeared a constable in full riot gear with his own missile launcher. Hanging onto the open door with one hand the constable leveled his weapon and shot a missile right in the middle of the squad of robots and watched them disappear in a ball of white-hot plasma.
[Ranger Dreadful.] The sergeant saluted. The troop carrier glided in to land and he stepped off to greet her. Behind him the rest of the Constabulary dismounted. Like their Sergeant they’d clearly raided the riot gear supplies for this mission. They shifted uncomfortably in their enclosed helmets and plated body armour.
Penny gave the Sergeant a curt salute. “Good to have you here Sergeant. What are your total numbers?”
The Sergeant looked around like something was missing. “Got a full platoon here Ranger Dreadful. Where’s the Sheriff? When we couldn’t find you guys at the canyon we got a little nervous.”
Penny grit her teeth, but she raised her voice so that everyone could hear. “Sheriff Rose is dead.”
“Dead?” The Sergeant was furious. Penny watched the wave of emotion break across the entire unit.
Penny nodded. “’Fraid so. Everybody listen up. Lin Hui Tan has been running this here secret kerium mine. When your Sheriff launched her investigation Mr Lin tricked us all into walking into an ambush. In the crossfire Sheriff Rose gave her life to get us out. Now Mr. Lin is in this mine somewhere, guarded by an army of robots and who knows what else. The labour robots he’s pressed into guard duty are shoot-on-sight targets, but any human technicians, Shining Sun employees or even members of the Lin family must be taken alive. Everyone understand?”
The Sergeant looked at his people and smirked. “Oh we understand Ranger. We can’t guarantee nothing, but we’ll do our best not to shoot Lin.”
Penny looked out over the constables before her. Grim faces told her rules of engagement were going to be considered more guidelines than gospel.
Given the circumstance, Penny decided that was going to have to do.
“Alright, let’s get started. Sergeant. Pick two people to stand guard over our craft, I’d leave more but we’re going to need every soldier we can get down in the mine.”
The Sergeant looked out over his people. “Tracey, Lao, you guys stay back and watch our ride. Everybody else, let’s move out.”
At the end of the cave they found an old six-wheeled tanker truck converted into a people carrier. Though Penny suspected it mostly carried droids. From the truck’s navigation systems it looked like the hangar connected to the rest of the mine via a long spiraling tunnel. Penny and the sergeant climbed into the front cabin with another constable for a driver and the rest of the platoon piled onto the truck.
The constable fired up the engine and took the heavy, police-laden beast down the winding ramp.
Tracey and Lao waved them off as they went.
Lao turned to Tracey. “Looks like we lucked out.”
Tracey snorted. “More like Sergeant Mohammed hates us.”
Lao shrugged. “He can hate me all he likes if it means I don’t have to follow him and that crazy ranger into a meat grinder.”
Unbeknownst to both of them Mad Mac McCarty slowly lowered himself from the Ravenwing’s under hull behind them. When he’d successfully touched the ground without alerting them Mac disengaged the magnetic clamp he’d hung onto the ship with and fed it back into his belt buckle.
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