My HUD showed my armor’s status as 89%—as in 11% of the armor’s cells had been damaged and no longer responded to commands. Even though the anti-tank mini-missile hadn’t hurt me, that counted for something.
If she had more of those, I might be forced to use the laser or the killbot.
It did strike me though that she was clearly in a mood to talk. If I could keep her talking, it would be better than killing her.
That left the question of what to say. What would get her going?
I never got to answer that question. The force field guy stepped out from behind an Escalade. “Dammit Eagle, I told you no killing! What the hell is up with tankbuster?”
I checked my HUD, but couldn’t see Vaughn in the air. The HUD showed his vitals as normal, so maybe he was just stuck to something? Anyway, I might have to take care of both of them.
“Eagle” didn’t move, continuing to point her guns at me.
“I’ve got my orders,” Eagle said. “I’ll help you with this penny ante shit so long as you remember that it’s not important. Now, as soon as you remember that, we can get somewhere. As soon as the Rocket’s dead, I get the bounty, and it becomes easier for everyone to do business in this town.”
“No. I told you my conditions for the job going in. No killing.” Force field guy said, extending a sword-like shape from his hand.
“Sorry, but no, Captain Cubist,” she said.
I almost laughed at that because it would be funny if the guy had named himself after an art movement. I didn’t actually laugh because I took advantage of the moment to blast Eagle’s helmet with more anti-electronics sonic noise. That wasn’t all though. I also fired off a series of explosive rounds at Eagle’s feet and legs.
They didn’t go through her armor, but they weren’t supposed to. They blew her feet to the left without doing much to move her upper body. She landed on her side, trying to push herself up, but the suit itself fought her, limbs jerking uncontrollably out before the arms stopped working at all.
“Captain Cubist—” I began, but didn’t get to say much more before he’d extended a blade of force that knocked me over. It wasn’t hard enough to knock the suit’s armor status down, but it was still solid.
I rolled with it and back to my feet, aiming the sonics at the force fields surrounding his body and wondering if they had a resonant frequency. I felt sure that they should, but I’d never had the chance to experiment with a force field, so it was anybody’s guess.
I had my answer in almost the next second. The cube around the man’s upper chest shattered and disappeared. Beneath it was a flash of white shirt but then the force field reformed.
With a sudden insight into how I planned to use that I began to run toward Captain Cubist, but I wasn’t fast enough.
A big man with a shaven head ran past me. He wore the light blue shirt and dark blue pants that security guards sometimes wore, but his physique was that of a body builder. His muscles were obvious even through his shirt.
Stranger, I recognized him. His name was Philo Schwartz. He was a Cabal soldier, but we’d seen him guarding an armored car the first time I’d caught up with one of this gang’s robberies.
He tackled Captain Cubist and squeezed. After a several seconds, all the force fields shattered and Philo dropped the body of a man to the ground. Captain Cubist’s body couldn’t have been as powerful as Philo’s in reality, but he gave Philo a run for his money in appearance.
Black haired and square jawed, he wore green army fatigues for pants and a white t-shirt.
Philo spat on the ground. “I nearly got fired after the last time.”
He stared down at the man’s body, and for a second, I worried that he might attack him. He didn’t.
At about the same time, I realized that I didn’t hear any more fighting. I checked my HUD, taking in my helmet’s nearly 360 degree view.
The Escalades and armored cars were now the only vehicles nearby. Haley and Camille had gotten all the others out of harm’s way. There were no civilians closer than fifty feet away, and most were further.
Even better, Haley, Camille, and Kid Biohack stood above the unconscious bodies of a black woman in a red and gold costume—the woman who’d been firing energy blasts, and Alden.
Vaughn, black gooey spheres still attached to his body, lay on top of of one of the Escalades, awake and frowning, but presumably stuck to the roof.
I had no idea how that happened.
That wasn’t the strangest piece of it though. A man stepped around the burnt remains of one of the Escalades to pull Philo into a hug. I didn’t need the eagle symbol on a necklace to make me suspect he, like Philo, was from the Cabal. The man’s muscular arms and chest and Philo’s wide eyes gave me enough of a hint.
I didn’t recognize the language they spoke in, but they started laughing and talking almost from the second they first saw each other.