As the butt of the rifle touched me, I saw everything differently—not in the good and evil sense, but as if I had another sense, one totally devoted to arms and tactics.
For each man with a gun standing in the doorway, I could tell where they were aiming. With a glance, I knew that the glowing man’s golden spider legs were a plasma-like substance contained within a casing he could generate or thin at will.
Not that he was doing much just then.
Sam’s lightning bolt had knocked him to the ground, and it looked like he’d lost control of his limbs. The casing still covered him, but the burning liquid inside had mostly leaked out—or been thrown out by the blast.
The floor around him had melted into a mixture of linoleum, concrete, and puddles of the liquid. The waxy look of the cooling liquid reminded me of the casing.
Unlike when he’d fallen backward in the hall, the man didn’t seem to have hurt or killed anybody—but they’d been standing further behind him this time.
At the same time, he wasn’t unconscious. He moved his leg, and began to push himself upright with his arm.
Crosshairs appeared near him.
I wasn’t pointing the gun directly at him. He wasn’t doing much.
HE’S VULNERABLE! KILL HIM NOW!
At the same time, one of the men behind him began to pull up his gun, and point toward Sam. He wasn’t holding it particularly steadily, but he couldn’t be the only one coming to.
THREAT! BURN HIM DOWN!
This was going to get really old, really quickly.
Can you look scary without killing somebody? Because if you can, do it now.
The front of the gun started glowing. Little sparkles appeared next to it, floating near the barrel, appearing and disappearing.
That’s pretty good.
“Hey! Nobody move! I’ve got an alien death ray, and it says it wants to kill you, but I’m not going to, okay? Don’t give it any reason to fire. Drop your guns, and move over there.”
I pointed the gun to the right of doorway. That wall didn’t have any shelves.
“Stand next to the wall. Do it right now. And tell the seven guys you’ve still got in the hall to come inside.”
The Nine’s foot soldiers gave me odd looks, but they dropped their guns and started walking toward the wall. One of them even shouted down the hall like I’d said.
Maybe they thought I was crazy. Granted, most people don’t claim to talk to alien weapons, but you’d think henchmen would have seen stranger.
You’d think Rod would have seen stranger too because he shot me a very confused look.
The glowing guy didn’t move.
“Hey,” I said, “you too.”
“Give me just a second,” he said, and pushed himself all the way up, managing to stand. He wobbled for a second, and I wondered if he was about to fall over.
Seven more came in through the doorway. I had them drop their weapons there.
One of them didn’t look like a soldier. Fifty-ish, grey-haired, and wearing a blue suit, he didn’t look like a soldier at all.
He stared at the gun, and at me, and said something to one of the soldiers. I didn’t catch it, but the gun amplified it.
“That’s where she’s been? Grand Lake?”
And if there were any question about what he meant, his eyes darted toward Sam and the kidnapees. The lightning bolt must have blown their invisibility.
I didn’t want to let that go, and I didn’t have to. Thanks to Alien-Machine-O-Vision, I could see into the hall, and know that we had everybody. All the people left out there were dead.
“Hey, suit-guy! What did you mean by that?”
His face went white, and he stopped where he stood. The soldier next to him reached for his pistol, and stopped when he remembered I’d already had him drop it at the door.
“Don’t touch him! Move over to the wall. Suit-guy, over here!”
They did, and so that was looking great, but then I heard a hissing noise, and sensed glowing guy’s massive energy spike.
The next thing I knew glowing guy had limbs again, and was moving straight at me. Meanwhile the gun shrieked about burning him down, and I dodged another spider leg swipe.
Hell, no, I’m not going to kill him.
I FAIL TO UNDERSTAND WHY NOT.