[We’ve just received word that a chemical spill has occurred on that line. I don’t have the manpower to respond to both.]
Penny looked over her shoulder and saw the damaged shipping container leaking refining agent.
[It’s not at dangerous levels yet Captain. I’m standing right next to it. Get Lin at the space elevator, I’m sending you a photo from my records.]
The Captain sighed. [Understood Ranger.]
Another thought occurred to Penny and she looked up at the Ravenwing pulling ahead of her.
[Wu.] Penny broadcast. [Can you give me a hand?]
[In a word: No.]
Wu rolled aside as Mac attempted to sandwich Wu’s head between his boot and the deck of the ship.
Wu kept rolling as Mac tried to follow-up with a stomp. [I’m a little busy not dying.]
Back on the train Penny clenched her fists. She looked worriedly up at the Ravenwing. [I can’t trust you Wu. For all I know you’re trying to escape. You’ve got five minutes and then I’m activating that collar no matter what’s happening.]
Wu rolled up to the wall and struck back at Mac’s legs. He managed to catch him behind the ankle with one foot while thrusting at his shin with the other. Mac collapsed onto the deck and Wu got his legs under him. Mac rolled away from Wu and the two men squared off for the last time.
Wu’s breaths came to him in haggard gasps, his shoulders ached from hitting the deck and his arms were so heavy that just raising them felt like lifting a pair of sandbags.
Wu looked at Mac, his face marked with bruises and bleeding from his nose and lip. Wu hadn’t counted on Mac’s stamina, a big guy like him spent more energy just moving around. But Mac could shrug off hits like an old overcoat and go ten rounds with an ultimate fighting robot.
And Wu had less than five minutes to put him down or he was dead.
Mac brushed his busted nose with his thumb. “I still ain’t seen this new trick of yours yet.”
Wu smirked at him and with a confidence he did not feel said. “You ain’t seen nothing. How ’bout we stop playing around and finish this.”
Mac snorted at him. “You wanna stop playing?” He started moving towards the communications console. “Sure. How ’bout we do this.” Before Wu realised what Mac was doing the big man grabbed the knife in Wat’s head and pulled it free.
Wu didn’t even have time to conceal the terror on his face. Mac charged at Wu with his knife low, thrusting at Wu’s gut. Wu slammed his forearm down onto Mac’s arm as the blade thrust up at him and jumped back a step. Wu’s other hand involuntarily patted his ribs, searching for any new holes he hadn’t had a moment ago.
Mac changed things up and swung at Wu’s head with his empty hand first. Wu knew already knew that this was just a set-up for another stab and threw himself at Mac. Stepping in quickly Wu got inside the arc of Mac’s fist and with both hands he pushed the knife arm aside as it sought his ribs.
Wu wrapped his arms around Mac’s and turned the knife away from him. Mac countered by slamming his fist into the back of Wu’s head.
Wu clenched his teeth and fought through the pain to keep pinching Mac at the correct spots across his arm.
Mac felt his arm go limp and the knife slip through his fingers. He grabbed Wu by the throat. Wu turned his neck away from Mac’s grip and ignored the pain as the big man’s fingernails dug into his flesh. Wu kept turning and threw an elbow up at Mac’s face. Mac pulled his head away, abandoning his grip on Wu to do so. As soon as they were apart Wu stomped his foot down on the handle of Mac’s knife and kicked it away from them, while Mac began thumping out the counter-macro.
Wu seized on his one chance and grabbed at Mac’s free arm, catching him at the wrist just as he completed the macro. Wu continued by driving his knee up into Mac’s ribs and swinging his leg behind Mac’s to reap him off his feet. Wu kept hold of the arm the whole way and pulled Mac into an armbar.
Wu didn’t give him the option to tap.
Mac howled in pain as his elbow joint popped out.
Wu released Mac’s arm and got up.
He couldn’t resist putting the figurative boot in. “You like my trick?”
Mac snarled at the pain, until he saw Elena’s pistol lying next to her body a few paces away.
Wu noticed Mac suddenly get quiet and followed his line of sight.
Mac didn’t give Wu time to figure it out. He pushed himself back up with the arm that had just recovered from paralysis and sprinted across the deck.
Wu took off after him.
Mac dived for the pistol, sacrificing his landing, the harsh grating of the floor dug into his skin and tore it in several places as his body skidded across the deck. But his hand closed around the pistol grip and he rolled onto his back to bring the gun to bear.
Right on time to get a face-full of Wu’s ruined, two-hundred credit Zero-Cools. Wu heard a wet snap as his foot collected Mac’s face on its way through. Mac’s head rocked back and the pistol slipped from his fingers as his whole body went limp.
For good measure Wu quickly thumped Mac’s chest with one of his total paralysis techniques. Then at last, Wu could slump to the floor and rest.
[Ranger.] Wu gasped into his comms. [Ranger I got him, he’s down.]
[Good to hear.] Penny said firmly. [Soon as you’re able I need you to swing back for me. I gotta train that needs a toe. Make it fast I’m holding up the next train.]
Wu let his head roll back and the collar dug into the skin on his neck. He pulled his head back up.