Answering my unasked question, the beast showed that it was smart enough to recognize that the force field was down by leaping at the group of us. I didn’t have time to grab the guy and fly away. Instead, I leapt forward, aiming myself at the animal’s chest, activating the rockets on my back to give myself speed.
It had me on mass, but I hoped I could give myself enough force to make up for it. Keeping in mind what Geman had said about the creatures going crazy when they smelled blood, I tried to knock it sideways into the back of the barricade. If I had to kill it, I would, but I didn’t want to make things worse if I didn’t have to.
I hit it in the chest, aiming to my right, causing both of us to tumble sideways into the wall. The beast gave a yowl as it hit, but it was still faster than I was, chomping down on my arm and chest with its mouth.
I blasted it with the sonics, aiming the blast of noise directly at what appeared to be an ear. Despite a clear invitation to the universe to create creatures that used an entirely different sense, it dropped me, screeching.
I pushed myself to my feet and opened up on it with more noise, and a goobot. The smart bullet expanded into a cloud of sticky goo before it hit, covering the animal’s chest and front legs.
It grunted and experimentally tried to pull its right leg away from the left, grunting more and then squealing as it worked on it.
Checking my peripheral vision, I found that Marcus had changed into a dome, covering the three humans we’d come to protect. I hoped he’d left them air holes, but didn’t have time to pursue the question.
With a ripping noise, the beast pulled its legs apart, leaving hair from its right leg attached to the flapping bit of goo on its left.
Even before I’d figured out where Marcus’ eyes had gone when he flattened out, I heard his voice through my implant as it broadcast to the group. “Help, everybody! Even with Nick keeping it back, I can’t take off fast enough with three people.”
It made sense. He had wings.
It also meant that I’d probably have to kill not one, but all five of the terrier/tiger things. They weren’t more important than people, but it seemed a little sad to kill animals that were just being animals.
That didn’t stop me from loading a killbot. I’d make it quick, painless and efficient. If I were lucky, I’d even be able to retrieve the bot. It wasn’t as if I had very many of them. The killbot sliced through the creature’s skull and into its brain—which was enough like ours that the thing fell over, limbs moving spastically.
Along with the hole the killbot made in its head came blood mixed with brains and bone.
Maybe that would have summoned and enraged them by itself, but they were already bounding around the corner even as I fired off the killbot, possibly attracted by the sound of the force field going down.
I aimed the killbot at the first one, a terrier/tiger larger than the one I’d already killed, and gave the bot the same target.
It dove out of the air where I’d sent it after the first hit, and went through the terrier/tiger’s head in the same place as before. This time, though, it barely made through the far side of the creature’s skull. It wasn’t out of fuel, but it was close. Following my program it had put the minimum power needed to get through and flew back into my suit through the bot intake.
I readied another killbot, unsure if I’d have to skip it and start using lasers, something I’d been avoiding because the translucent force fields might not be any protection for bystanders.
The terrier/tigers were closing and just before I decided to go with the lasers, it stopped mattering. Cassie and Jaclyn landed in front of me. Jaclyn had grabbed Cassie and jumped over the hundred foot tall fence. She let go and Cassie pulled out her sword. It hummed. Running toward the nearest one, she dodged a swipe of a paw and jumped, flying toward its head. It didn’t dodge and she decapitated it with one blow.
She didn’t quite manage to avoid the body which hit her as she passed under the beast’s neck. It didn’t hit her straight on, she was too strong and too quick for that, but she had to push off it with her hand, flying sideways to land on her feet off to its side.
While watching her though, I’d missed what Jaclyn had been doing altogether. All I know is that I looked past Cassie to find Jaclyn standing in front of a crumpled heap of a beast.
The fifth and last of the creatures was still alive. Tikki had stepped through the force field somehow and stood next to a tiger/terrier that appeared to have been caught mid-leap.
With the aid of my HUD, I thought I could see a globe around the beast. Tikki’s high voice carried through the night. “Could you maybe hurry? I don’t think I can keep the bubble up for more than… thirty seconds?”