Drake Squad – Mercenaries at Large – Part 6

by holojacob

Drake Squad Mercenaries at Large-small

Link to Part 5

Jane threw her bulk in front of the flame and shot her railgun. The flamethrower robot staggered back a step, but kept firing.

Two of the stick-thin robots pounced on Shrike, forcing him to the ground. They stabbed into him with long, shining blades. Medical warnings from his suit scrolled across Twinkie’s visor. Shrike swung at them with his knife and cleaved an arm off.

A smaller robot jumped at Agnis, but she stuck the barrel of her sniper rifle into its torso and blew it to bits. The fourth robot raced towards her, but Jane caught it in her gauntlet and crushed it.

Twinkie switched his shotgun over to maximum penetration. He took careful aim through the fiery haze and pulled the trigger. The projectile didn’t fragment this time. Instead, the micromind vectored the explosive charge to increase the scattershot’s velocity. It struck the fuel tank just below the large robot’s flamethrower and bored in.

Fuel burst out of the tank. It ignited, engulfing the robot in flame. The output from the flamethrower’s barrel dropped to an impotent flicker.

Hexagonal plates along the robot’s right arm shifted, building a long extension beyond its wrist. The hexagons locked into place as a seamless blade of black metal.

The robot charged forward and swung at Jane. She deflected the attack with the body of her railgun and kicked the robot in the knee. The limb bent back unnaturally, for a human, but the robot maintained its balance.

Jane threw an uppercut, her fist crashing into the robot’s armored torso. Each knuckle left an impression. Jane grabbed the robot by its shoulders and gave it a vicious headbutt. The robot collapsed to its knees. With a massive boot, Jane stomped on its leg. Metal crumpled flat.

Agnis stuck her sniper rifle through a crack in its armor and fired. The large robot exploded into smoking chunks.

Shrike threw the last of the smaller robots off him. It scampered across the ground and dove at him again.

Jane crushed it under her boot. Sparks spat out of its flattened body. She ground her heel until the sparking stopped.

Shrike put a hand on the wall and struggled to his feet. He grabbed a nanomedic booster from his belt and injected the contents into his chest.

“You okay, man?” Twinkie asked, patting out the last flaming bits of his armor.

“Fine,” Shrike hissed through clenched teeth. “I’ll be fine. But my suit is cut up pretty bad. I’m not going outside anytime soon.”

Twinkie checked his visor. His armor showed a lot of red in its status display. The attack had melted his air recycler into a solid, useless ingot.

“Same here,” Twinkie said. “My recycler’s shot. We’re stuck until we can handle vacuum again.”

“Should we try the gift door?” Shrike asked.

“Fuck no!” Twinkie said. “Now, would someone get me loose?”

Shrike pulled out a knife and worked Twinkie’s fingers free of the handle.

“We could scavenge parts from the crusaders,” Agnis said.

“Maybe,” Twinkie said. “I didn’t see any bodies in the main chamber. Just those severed heads.”

“Me neither,” Shrike said. He slipped the knife under Twinkie’s palm and slid it across.

Twinkie jerked his hand back. He flexed his fingers.

“Jane? Would you get the door, please?”

Jane walked up to the hatch Twinkie had been stuck to. She took a step back, pulled her leg up, and kicked it off its hinges. The heavy metal slab slid to a halt in the next corridor.

“Well, I suppose that’ll work,” Shrike said.

“Thanks, Jane,” Twinkie said.

Jane nodded. She led the way inside. The white featureless corridor stretched on ahead, curving slightly to the right.

“Hey, Shrike,” Twinkie said.

“Yeah?”

“Do you have that feeling? You know, like we’re being watched?”

“I feel like that all the time, so it’s hard to tell if this is different,” Shrike said.

“I just can’t shake it. It’s like we’re mice in someone’s maze and they keep moving the cheese.”

They reached the next hatch.

Agnis waved her hacking glove over it. “Looks clean to me.”

Jane kicked the hatch down.

Twinkie peeked inside. “I hate this place,” he said. “I really, really hate this place.”

Shrike looked over Jane’s shoulder. “Oh, my …”

The room was set exactly like the first with four chairs around a square table, except a steaming pecan pie had replaced the cake. A circle of spotlights on the ceiling focused their beams directly at the pie.

“Is that what I think it is?” Shrike asked. He reached into a belt pouch.

“Probably not,” Twinkie said.

Shrike pulled out his titanium spork.

“What are you doing?” Twinkie asked.

“Well, it’s a pecan pie. They’re like my kryptonite.”

Twinkie put a hand on Shrike’s chest and pushed him against the wall.

“Here, let me handle this.”

Twinkie walked into the room. He put the barrel of his shotgun against the pie.

“No …” Shrike muttered weakly.

Twinkie pulled the trigger and executed the pie. Warm, flaky crust and gooey filling blasted into the air. He pulled the shotgun back and fired a single scattershot into each chair, then unloaded the last three shots into the table.

Twinkie ejected the shotgun’s smoking clip and slapped in a fresh one.

“There. Done,” he said.

Shrike whimpered.

“Oh, get over it, man.”

Agnis waved her glove over the wooden wreckage. “No electronic components detected.”

“Don’t care,” Twinkie said. “I am so fed up with this place. Jane! Next door!”

Jane stepped through the broken bits of chairs and table.

“No,” Twinkie said. “We’re through playing nice! Shoot the fucker off its hinges!”

Jane nodded. She raised her railgun. The shot blew the hatch clean off. It tumbled into the next corridor.

Twinkie marched in, shotgun ready.

“Goddamn it!” he said.

The corridor ran straight ahead. A steaming pecan pie sat on the floor in front of the next hatch.

Twinkie growled deep in his throat. He marched over to the pie.

“You think this is funny?” he shouted. “Huh?”

The corridor rumbled with a deep, bass noise that repeated. It was a cross between loud machinery and laughter. The sound made Twinkie’s heart skip a beat.

TO BE CONTINUED …

Link to Part 7

Picture Credit – H.P. Holo at Holo Writing

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