Dust: Chapter 06 Part 6

Tachi cyped me. [Do you feel you can handle him again?]

[It’s not the student I’m worried about.]

[Kiru won’t do anything yet. Toshi needs to prove he was worth the replacement body.]

We all enjoyed one last moment of tense silence and then everyone moved at once. As Crocman threw himself at me, Tachi lashed out at the Hair guy. I stepped back in time to dodge the fist flying at my head and got ready to duck and weave around the next two. Kitty hugged Atom’s bag and bolted for the space between the nearest cars.

Tachi knocked Hair guy’s knee aside with a low-kick then brought the same leg up high and smashed the ball of his foot into the side of Hair guy’s face. He took the hit like it was a smack from a feather duster and stepped into Tachi’s space. Three fast punches forced Tachi to block high, then low, then high again. On the fourth Tachi went to bring his elbow in the way for an easy body-block when a sound like a mach-truck clearing its nose split the air. The piston-punch shot straight past Tachi’s guard and hit with the force of a sledgehammer wielded by Conan the Barbarian. It hit so hard it actually shook up Tachi’s brain inside his biopod. Before Tachi could completely recover Hair guy slid his fist back into his forearm, regaining control over his fingers in time to scoop Tachi off the ground and hurl him into the windshield of the nearest car.

Back with me, Crocman threw out his monowhip again. He’d gotten better, he hadn’t needed nearly as much wind up to get it out this time, but his target was still so obviously my neck that I knew to set my stance and duck my head to let the invisible cutting wire sail clean over me. While the monowire was still in flight I lashed out with my knife at Crocman’s knee.

Crocman pulled his whole leg out of the way before my edge could even taste fabric. But my swing was just the opener, the side-kick I’d set myself up for knocked Crocman off the one foot he had left to stand on.

Crocman hit the ground, cursed, then back-fisted the ground for good measure, cracking the concrete around his hand.

I rushed the Hair guy while his attention was still on Tachi, but he saw me coming out of the corner of his eye. He waited until I was just within range and threw out a back-fist at me.

I brought my monoknife’s broad blade in front of my face and Hair guy swung his forearm straight into it, slicing right through synthskin, silicone underlay, polymer casing, copper wiring and tungsten steel structure alike. The actual fist itself kept coming and smacked hard into my cheek before bouncing off. I hesitated just long enough to leave myself open for a gutfull of his other fist.

Fortunately he didn’t have two piston-punches. Not that a normal prosthetic fist doesn’t hurt like a sonuvabitch when it hits you in the soft-tissue, but it was something my pain editor could deal with.

From behind me I heard Crocman growl.“<He’s mine.>”

I played possum for a second. Doubling over from the hit I slowly lowered myself to the ground, before pivoting on my heels and slashing at ankle-height with the knife. Crocman’s pointy, brown-leather shod foot flashed in front of me for an instant before my blade separated it from his body.

As soon as I completed the turn I rolled to my side. Both cyborgs immediately went to follow me but without the use of his foot Crocman slipped on the concrete and collapsed face-first on the ground.

Hair guy successfully completed his first step, but was interrupted before he could take his next by Tachi kicking him right off his feet with a step-up side kick. For reference: this is a kick Bruce Lee would routinely use to pluck a man off the ground and hurl him into something vaguely designed to break his fall, Tachi hit Hair guy with the augmented cybernetic version.

Cyborgs being lighter than most people meant that when Hair guy took off, he flew. He hit a cement pillar with the force of a defensive line backer with poor depth perception. Desperately, Hair guy went to push himself away from the pillar. But Tachi caught up with him and punched his head in the same spot his foot had connected with at the start of the fight. I could actually see the metal skull beneath the fakeskin deform until his cybereye cracked and popped right out of its socket.

Hair guy rode the impact and spun around to take Tachi on anew. Tachi deftly kicked his opponent’s front foot aside to unbalance him and then sandwiched what was left of his head between the pillar and Tachi’s shin before he hit the ground.

<Good.>” Kiru said in the approving tone of someone who’s found the right colour for her curtains. Tachi and I whipped around to face her.

Kiru straightened up and unfolded her arms. “<I’d hate to tell father you weren’t worth bringing home.>”

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