I stuck my head out the window and saw. High above us, hanging from a zip line was our Scratch-and-dent Sentinel. He wasn’t in a hurry to go home tonight.
Air One moved over the highway and came in low, following right behind us, but also dangling Night Watch’s toy cyborg in Templar Protection’s face.
A smirk tugged at my lips. I pulled my head back in.
[How’s the eye Duke?]
[Gone.] He replied, attaching another belt to the one already loaded. [But the other one works just fine.]
[Good. I need you to have another go at shooting down that helicopter.]
By the time Duke got the back door open and hung himself out the side, Templar Protection had added another couple of squad cars to our tail.
Tachi grabbed hold of the bench seat with one hand and the webbing crossed over Duke’s back with the other, steadying the big borg as he did his best to aim.
Duke’s tactic for compensating for his lack of depth perception was to deliberately aim off to the side of Air One and sweep his fire across target.
Air One banked away as the tracer crept closer, swinging around the sentinel underneath.
Duke noticed a better target as he did so and unloaded the rest of the belt at and around the tail-rotor.
A couple of rounds must have done the job as Air One swung violently back the other way and eased off the throttle after that. Seen-better-days Sentinel snapped his head up and gestured angrily at the pilot for a few seconds, when it became clear the pilot was going to bring her down, SS let go.
Even over the roaring sirens the sound of 250 kilos of armour and cyborg hitting the pavement still made Kitty stick her head out the window.
“What the hell was that?”
I already had a clear view out the back door. “We’re about to see his top sprinting speed.”
“What does it think that’s going to achieve?” Tachi asked. “If it had the speed to catch us it would have done so in the suburbs.”
SS didn’t seem to care, he dropped down into a sprinter’s crouch and took off after us. Behind him Templar Protection gunned their engines again. They’d backed off a little when Duke opened up on the helicopter, now that both of their objectives were on the ground in front of them they manned up.
SS’s thighs opened and he had his pistols out and blazing an instant later.
I crouched down tight behind Rembrandt again, who was still sitting perfectly upright, cradling his head in his hands. God only knows what he thought was happening this whole time.
Tachi turned to one side and covered his chest with his arms as the barrage tore through the van.
Duke ignored it and went back to reloading the 240.
Then one round punched through a crack in Duke’s armour and pierced his biopod. The belt dropped from his fingers as his body immediately stilled. His eye locked forward, staring at the exact point he’d been looking at the moment the bullet went through.
It was only when the vibrations from the engine caused his body to topple forward like a statue that any of us became aware he’d died.
Tachi reached out for him and managed to catch hold of the rescue strap on his left shoulder as he fell out. Tachi had to drop down to his knees to catch him and Duke’s body still hit the road. Tachi reattached the carbine in his other hand to the magnet on Duke’s back and got his other arm around Duke’s waist.
The rubber on Duke’s boots had already begun to grind away as Tachi heaved with all his strength to lift him back into the van.
Out on the road, SS had speed-loaded both pistols and had resumed his barrage. Tachi stood Duke up again and held him up as a shield. Snatching the carbine off his back to return fire.
I did the same with my PD-9 behind Rembrandt.
SS rushed through our fire undaunted. The high-velocity 9mm and armour-piercing 5.56mm bouncing off harmlessly. It wouldn’t have been out of place for him to puff his chest out and smile.
Then Atom’s voice appeared in my head.
[Why don’t you shoot at the cars behind him?]
I hesitated, my finger hovering over the trigger. [Good idea mate. Tachi, shoot at the cars behind him.]
Tachi loaded another magazine from the stash hanging off his shield and did just that. I turned my SMG out to the massive wave of squad cars and squeezed off a long burst. We swept our fire back and forth, until the rounds caused one of Templar Protection’s people to freak out and swerve right into the squad car beside them. Spreading out only three ranks wide and several ranks deep now worked against them. As the front row were forced to a sudden stop the next rows slammed on the brakes.
Night Watch would later get in the ear of one of their news affiliates and ran a report claiming over a dozen cars rammed up the back of each other, bringing the entire pursuit to a standstill.
All except their Somewhat beaten-up Sentinel, who continued to lose ground to our van’s roaring engine.
PR took us down the last off-ramp and towards the marina. I breathed a sigh of relief. We out-paced SS on the highway and used that to gain a lot of ground. If he’d been chasing us in the twisting streets of upper-class suburbia he could cut across spaces we couldn’t and move directly towards us while we had to follow the roads.
I leaned back in my seat and glanced out the window looking up at the highway.
And saw a tall, dark figure vault off the side of the wall and plummet down into the gap between the highway and the not-so affordable housing.
[He’s still on us.]
[It.] Tachi and Atom corrected in unison.
[Oh for the love of… Do you really think now is the time?]
The resounding NO answer came in the form of a loud metallic ‘THUMP’ and the entire van swaying to the right suddenly.
[Oh Shit!] PR yelled. [He’s on our back.]
Tachi looked in the direction of the thump and saw it. A set of chromed metallic fingers had punched through the van’s soft bodywork and dug in for grip.
Tachi pushed Duke’s body into the seat behind him and drew his swords. He stabbed both of them back through the body of the van and with a quick circle separated the one piece SS was holding onto from the rest of the van.
SS came away from us and fell to the road, bouncing and rolling as he forcibly decelerated. Miraculously he corrected his roll, stood back up out of it and resumed sprinting after us.
[This may be redundant, but he’s, still, after us.] I told PR and Kitty.
I holstered my SMG and picked Duke back up. Tachi joined me as Smashed-up Sentinel got his guns out and started peppering the van with ammo again.
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