The room exploded, shouting, pinging ricochets of lead off hard surfaces, the thunderous bang of firearms, Sid had abandoned the black because of this very situation. Grabbing the table that had hosted the case as a shield, hoisting it on his back like a shell, he moved toward Cavalier and Leo. The metal table rattled, with some rounds merely denting, others punching though with just altered trajectories. If one of them had struck him, the pain was yet to take hold.


  Thankfully the goons that had moved to bar their exit, were busied with activities outside, he could see many were wounded, possibly dead already, the drone’s missile left them in utter disarray. He’d hoped their backup had arrived. Between Sid and his escape, his partner fought with the gang boss, she still held his arm, twisting it to gain advantage, the pain leaving her larger foe both on the back foot, but with gaining fury. Her eyes were still closed, but she dodged Leo’s attacks with ease. Effortlessly flowing from one stance, one grip, to the next.


  Leo struggled, his motions slowing with each passing breath. A left hook to her head, countered with a spin, his twisting arm eliciting a new shout. He lashed out with a kick, his thigh pushed aside with her own striking knee. Leo staggered, his own legs bent, she moved to finish the fight, with his arm released, pushing on his shoulders with both hands, using the momentum she jumped, bringing that same knee into his contorted face. He dropped.


  The melee finished, she drew her weapon, eyes opening, a singular stare of clarity as she took aim. The quick retort of handgun fire left several of the shooters ducking, or crumpled as the rounds painfully crashed into their armor. Sliding her spent weapon back to its holster, grabbing Sid’s just as he closed the gap, she unloaded another volley. Most of the gunmen were still in cover but had yet to re-engage. Seeing the gap, she took hold of her partner’s hand turned to run pulling him toward the cover of some just to the right of the door. She pulled their pin on their grenade, hurling it into the crowd blocking their path, the device unnoticed until it sounded, the two of them sheltered from the worst of it.


  Sid’s ears rang, and his vision was blurry, but Cavalier strode forth pulling him along. She ran headlong toward the doors. Stepping over the downed members of Leos crew they found themselves back in the night air. Sid thought he heard the sound of Leo’s muffled commands being shouted. The troops it seemed were just beginning to rally, as shots rang out, whistling around the feeling pair, or breaking patches of wall as they ran along back to the open street, where Hyugin had said their pickup would wait. It was still another thirty meters maybe, when Sid noted he was slowing.


  He landed, his left leg bearing all is weight and it gave in, he buckled, stumbling. ‘Fuck. Cavalier!’ she stopped, turning to see his predicament.


  ‘Shit! Shit! Shit! we don’t have time for this.’ surveying the scene, as she moved to assist Sid. She pulled him not toward their exit, but instead toward a dumpster. She lifted the lid, her hands coming together as if she were going to boost him in. ‘Get in!’ she commanded.


  ‘What?’ he moved slowly to obey.


  ‘No time!’ she helped him into the stinky den of rot, before climbing in herself, pulling the lid shut just in time. Sid didn’t even have time to complain about the smell before he heard it, and felt the ground shake. In the dark of the waste container they felt the sound of it more than heard it. They felt it hop, and heard the screech of it sliding as something pushed it away. It was growing warmer, making the smell even more acrid, the horrendous stench of the dumpster juice causing Cavalier to grow queasy, vomiting into the dark.


  After a few moments, She rose, and lifted the lid off their hiding spot, grabbing a hold of Sid and helping him out. They were met with a terrifying site. The building, where they had been, where this shit show began was gone. A smoking crater, a few small fires, and scattered debris were all that remained to note its passing. Shadows, marked where where Sid thought their pursuers probably were when whatever destructive force had gone off.


  He’d heard of corps doing it, on sites out in bum-fuck-egypt, but never in the sprawl. If they’d done that, they’d have all the usual routes out of here covered, including their driver, at least, that was his worry. He looked down toward the alley where they were supposed to head with mounting paranoia. He whispered ‘Hey, I think our escape is probably nabbed.’


  ‘So, what then?’ she helped him hobble to the wall


  ‘How many guys you think you could take?’


  ‘Two. Three if I’m lucky, or they’re dumb.’


  ‘Alright, I’m going to hobble that way as bait, you’ll drop on them alright.’ She simply returned a nod. They needed to confirm who their corporate enemy was any way, but he’d expected goons, and a cleaner get away. If they were out here bombing buildings, then they’d have shot out any surveying drones as well, so they’d have to get one of the corporate minions themselves.


  Sid hobbled along the wall down to the alley entrance, letting out a brief exhale, to center himself, he stepped around the corner. ‘Hey dude we need to go!’ he shouted, seeing four awaiting goons, and their ride, all but destroyed, with a hand dangling out the driver side, dripping blood onto the pavement. Guess they aren’t taking prisoners Sid thought.


  ‘Halt!’ yelled one of the mercenaries, but Sid ducked staggered past the entrance to the small street, and tried to cover as much ground as possible. A few bullets, whizzed out after him, but he continued to limp, his leg giving way once more and he collapsed.


  ‘Think he’s armed?’


  ‘He was clearly wounded, I don’t think we have to rush.’ Cavalier watched, hidden just out of sight as the Sid’s pursuers cautiously approached. One kept overwatch from the alley, one more moving to hide where Cavalier herself was. Lucky, she thought, pulling a knife from her belt.


  The other two, were slowly walking toward Sid, but if they were going to hurt him she didn’t have a lot of time. Just as the one appraoached she sprang from her spot, burying the knife to the hilt in the goons throat. Gurgling, as he died, he did manage to squeeze of a round, alerting his compatriots. She nestled her shoulder beneath his sternum, and attempted to free his sidearm, however that was proving difficult. Cursing to herself, she guessed it had a thumb scanner before it would open. So they weren’t stupid.


  Rounds unloaded into the back of her human shield, she instead pivoted, using his bandolier to sling his weapon around, gripping it and returning fire of her own until the two out of cover dropped. Clip running dry, withdrawing the knife from her victim, dropping the body, and favoring her luck as she sprinted toward the one that remained. Her luck however, didn’t hold out.


  A single round blasted into torso, the pain stopping her dead, and she fell backwards, slipping on her first kill. She gasped, the fall and bullet punching the air out of her. The trooper, stepped forward toward her. Weapon raised. ‘You fucking bitch.’ spat the mercenary. Once he was sure she was disabled, he covered the distance, he dropped to one knee, placing it squarely on her chest, pressing the air back out of her. ‘I have half a mind, to do something horrible. At the very least, I’m going to make this slow, before I off your friend over there.’ Cavalier waited, until he took his weapon was positioned away, before she turned her wrist to reveal the knife, but he was fast, his hand clamped down on her wrist, slamming it back down before she could push it into his throat. ‘God, I am gonna make thi-’ his words where cut short as the blade shot off the handle, nad into his throat. He slumped, rolling off her to land beside her.


  Cavalier coughed, her breath returning slowly, she was slightly dizzy, but thankfully no others showed up. She rose, and found Sid had crawled some of the distance between them. ‘Yo-ka-ta’ he whispered, his head slumping forward.


  ‘Yeah, I was going to say four, if they were cocky. Thankfully at least this one was.’ She helped him to his feet, and they set about examining their assailants. He dug through pockets, eventually finding a wallet, containing an identification card.


  ‘Sans-Ryber Consortium.’ Sid murmured pocketing the card ‘See if any of the others have one, they might be useful later. Cavalier moved to do as she was asked. That would make this a little easier. The consortium, was as cuthroat within as without, so there would be more leverage points. It also, identified the locale as they weren’t a major player in this part of the world, hailing from the Great American Confederacy, so they only had one research building they’d been able to secure.


  ‘Got two more. But, our ride looks super wrecked.’


  ‘Yeah’ he heaved a heavy sigh.


  ‘But you’ve got a backup plan?’ she smirked, as she slipped a couple of looted pistols into her back waist band.


  Sid tilted his head, starting to mouth words but stopping, before he finally said ‘Yes. There black keeps the subways clean, for everyone really. There should be an old abandoned station, my guess is that’s where Hyugin would come looking, if none of the Murder party reports back. They’ve been modified a bit. Secret rooms and all that.’


  ‘Sounds like we’ve got a walk ahead of us.’ Sid glowered, but began to lead the way.


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