Drake Squad – Mercenaries at Large – Part 5

by holojacob

Drake Squad Mercenaries at Large-small

Link to Part 4

“Look on the bright side,” Shrike said. “At least the crusaders aren’t getting through that.”

Fierce volleys of Gatling fire echoed through the complex.

“No, I suppose they won’t,” Twinkie said quietly.

“Forward?” Shrike said.

“It’s not like we have a choice,” Twinkie said. “Jane, care to do the honors? We’ll cover you.”

Jane opened the next hatch. It led to a smooth-walled corridor very different from the rest of the complex. Instead of flaking paint and corroded metal, this passage was almost medically pristine. Flat walls led to a gently arched roof. The corridor split in the form of a Y. The door on the left said: CAKE. The door on the right said: GIFTS.

Twinkie walked up to the intersection. “Why do I have the distinct feeling we’re being toyed with?”

“Probably because we are?” Shrike asked.

“Don’t let your guard down,” Agnis said.

“Not for a moment,” Shrike said.

“All right,” Twinkie said. “What’ll it be, team? Cake or gifts.”

“Gifts,” Shrike said instantly.

The other three turned and stared at him.

He shrugged. “I’m not hungry.”

“Okay, that’s one for gifts,” Twinkie said.

“I vote for cake,” Agnis said. “It sounds less threatening. I don’t think it matters. We can take either door to the exit.”

“The vote is tied. Jane?”

Twinkie looked up at the huge woman in armor. She stared back at him.

“Right,” he said. “That’s one for cake, one for gifts, and one voting present. You people are no help at all.”

“Noted,” Shrike said.

Twinkie walked up to the CAKE door and turned the wheel. He eased the hatch open and stuck his shotgun through the crack.

The room beyond was small and brightly lit. A square table sat in the precise center with a lace tablecloth draped over it. The table looked like it was real wood or a very good facsimile.

Four plush, high-backed chairs were pulled away from the table in front of four settings with crystal plates, golden forks, and lacy napkins.

The double-decker chocolate cake in the center was huge. Twinkie imagined the table groaning under the weight, which was silly given that they were on the moon. The rich icing glistened from the flickering circle of candles atop the cake.

“Right …” Twinkie said.

“As traps go, this really isn’t that dangerous,” Shrike said. He poked one of the chairs with his sniper rifle.

“Uh huh.”

“Now, if it was pecan pie, that would be dangerous,” Shrike said. “I have a bottomless stomach when it comes to pecan pie.”

“Funny. I never knew that about you,” Twinkie said.

“My gran has this amazing recipe. She—”

“Shut up. I don’t care.”

“Let’s get out of here,” Agnis said.

“My thoughts exactly.”

Twinkie edged around the table and stepped slowly to the next hatch. He grabbed the wheel with one hand and turned it a quarter. He tried to let go.

“What the hell?” Twinkie said.

“What’s wrong?” Shrike asked.

“My hand! It’s stuck!” Twinkie yanked on it. “There’s something on the handle! I can’t pull free!”

Shrike slung his rifle. He drew one of his knives. “Let me see if I can get you loose.”

“Careful with that!”

The double-decker chocolate cake split. The top layer rose, revealing a hollow interior. Machinery unfolded, expanded. A barrel extruded out, and turned to face Twinkie.

“The cake! The cake!”

The hidden gun spewed a thick stream of liquid fire. Twinkie’s whole world went orange. He could feel the heat through layers of armor. Temperature warnings flashed in his visor.

With his free hand, Twinkie raised his shotgun and fired. The blast kicked his arm upward. The scattershot’s micromind fragmented half a meter in front of the cake, showering it with diamond splinters.

Chocolate icing and yellow cake blew across the room, revealing the cold metal exterior of a flamethrower. The table began to change shape. Hexagons across its surface segmented. They shifted position and changed color to a matt black. The legs moved inward, thickening. Two table legs shifted up along the torso. Their ends segmented into fingers. The flat plane of the table folded inward, forming armor. Plates and utensils slid off.

The chairs began to change as well. Hexagonal plates unlocked and rearranged themselves. Surgical blades extended from hidden recesses. Limbs broke free of the main body. They stood up, four spindly robots around a hulking monster.

TO BE CONTINUED …

Link to Part 6

Picture Credit – H.P. Holo at Holo Writing

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