Dust Chapter 13 Part 4

[Get the doors.] I told Tachi. [Sooner or later one of those rounds is going to find Kitty or PR.]

[Some already came close.] PR informed us. [We got us a holy-windshield now.]

[Well a second ago he was trying to make the van a convertible.]

Tachi waited for SS to change mags then dashed out and grabbed the doors. A couple of bursts got him square in the face before he got them closed. SS emptied ammo wildly into the back of the van after that. PR’s words were a bit late, the van was already pretty holy.

We gained a lot more ground on SS before we reached the Marina. I could still see him in the distance, once we brought the van to a halt that distance would shrink rapidly.

The thunder of a massive engine told us the hovercraft was on its way. Kitty darted her eyes around. [Where’s the hov…]

Then our pilot screamed in from the river, mounted the ramp and spun the craft right around so that the wide side door opened up in front of us.

PR jammed on the breaks. [Everybody out.]

[Don’t forget anything important.] I said, holstering my PD9 and grabbing the 240.

Kitty grabbed Atom from the cabin, threw open the passenger door and legged it for the craft. PR followed her.

Tachi grabbed Rembrandt and guided him to stand.

[I got him.] I said [You keep Seriously-pissed-off Sentinel off our backs.]

Tachi opened the back door and stepped outside. Sliding both swords out of their sheaths as he touched pavement.

[Can you hear me Rembrandt?] I asked.

[I hear you. You been shaking me around a lot, what’s going on?]

[I need you to stand and follow me out, stay low-though, you’re still in the van.]

Guiding Rembrandt out of the van was annoyingly awkward. I had to lead him by feel.

[Who’s that?] Rembrandt suddenly asked when his foot slipped on Duke’s shin.

[Just keep going. Company’s on the way.]

I kept alternating my view from Tachi, to the entrance to the Marina and to the hovercraft. My mind told me that at the first sign of SS to just let Rembrandt go and leg it for the exit.

Then I saw Psycho Sentinel jump down from the roof of the boathouse and land a few metres from Tachi. Tachi dashed towards him.

[Shit, he’s here.] I exclaimed, and put my arm around Rembrandt’s back and pushed him. [Move it mate. We gotta go.]

SS snapped up a pistol at Tachi and pulled the trigger.

Tachi was already slicing the gun in half, separating the slide from everything beneath it.

SS responded by palming Tachi in the face with the hand holding the pistol before Tachi could take his next swing.

Tachi was forced back a step while SS followed up with a gut-punch. Then he opened his fist, dropped the broken pistol and grabbed a handful of Tachi’s fatigues before firing his in-built taser on its overcharge setting.

The crackling burst of electricity fried every circuit in Tachi’s fatigues. They were already full of holes form the rounds he’d taken, but the overcharge shot off-lined the entire unit, his fatigues returned to their native black, the section SS had been holding gaining a glassy tint from the excessive heat.

Tachi himself suffered third degree burns in various places on his Realskin. It added a hint of fried chicken smell to the air.

Tachi dropped to one knee, a sword dropping from his grasp.

I froze mid-stride, while Rembrandt heedlessly ran on.


Silver Sentinel looked up at me, the retractable mouth-shield he’d raised to protect his ‘community policing’ face had been damaged somewhere along the way, allowing me to see the grin he flashed when he saw me.

I dropped the empty 240 and reached for my PD9

SS snapped up his pistol and squeezed a burst into me.

I hadn’t even gotten the gun out of its harness.

At first I’d thought he’d missed, then my pain editor blanked out all feeling entirely, leaving me completely numb. I felt my shoulder sag involuntarily and my legs became weak.

I gasped. And tasted blood. I must have bit my tongue.

Then Tachi put his head up, grabbed the Sentinel’s ankle with his free hand and sliced his shin in half with his sword.

The smile disappeared from the cyborg’s face.

A quarter-ton of cyborg hit the ground before I did.

Tachi stood up and planted his heel on SS’ gun wrist, before it too was sliced off. Then he turned back towards the hovercraft and saw me. He baulked.

Dust?” Tachi exclaimed. Ending the longest round of Marco-Polo we’ve ever played.

He dashed over to me, completely forgetting about his other sword, grabbed hold of my rescue strap (what the hell did we have to do before they added them to fatigues?) and snatched me off the ground. He sheathed his sword and transferred me to a proper cradle position.

No.” I mumbled. Completely disregarding the very real chance I might bleed to death. “This isn’t homo-erotic at all.”

Fortunately, internal monologues are exactly that. Tachi got me inside the hovercraft and laid me down on the space between the chairs. PR hit the button for the doors to close behind him.

[Strap yourself in.] PR told Tachi. Outside the pilot was already taxiing us out of the marina and into the open water. Inside it was far too loud for ordinary conversation. [We need to hit the jets and get out of here.]

[He needs medical attention.]

The pilot jumped into the cype. [There’s a Bag-o-Doctor in the back by the bunk. If you can wait until we’re over state lines you can treat him then. If you can’t then when we’re all arrested maybe Night Watch can drop him back at the same hospital you ripped off.]

[But he’d get medical attention?] Tachi asked.

[That was supposed to be sarcastic. I thought you could tell.]

[Don’t be an idiot Tachi.] I said [Just strap me in so we can get out of here.]

Tachi growled under his breath and did as I asked, before he strapped himself into the furthest chair and looked away.

[Alright.] The pilot began [Now that the seat belts are fastened and the tray tables are up we will proceed to our destination at something approaching the speed of sound. Sit down, shut up and hang on.]

Then she hit the after burner.

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