“Funny that you’re doing the tech stuff and I’m the one out here fighting everybody?” I mean, it was.
“Shut up and hit people!” I could feel her irritation over the implant link.
Knowing that she had a point, I fired off a few more goobots, covering all the people near me, and then I ran around them down the side of the room, passing the newly born True who were crawling, or in some cases running and falling, toward the edge of the room.
They didn’t seem to be a threat for now, but if they got control over their muscles, I’d have to do something.
I didn’t have to in that moment, though. So I kept on running toward Victor, Rook, Rook’s henchmen, and his crowbots. When I passed Russell Hardwick, Ryan, Art, and Zola, they still seemed secure, but I sprayed them with a few more goobots anyway. Better to be sure than to be surprised.
Zola hissed at me and Art growled while Ryan struggled to pull his way out, leaning as far away from Art and Zola as possible, staring at them. Russell Hardwick watched me run past without saying or doing anything.
That worried me more than Art and Zola.
Rook’s crowbots came at me before I even reached him or Victor. Either I’d missed them or I hadn’t done a very good job on them—not that it mattered. I fired off multiple boombots. Even if the power flowing through me did more than I’d realized, it hadn’t shown any signs of preventing their killbot tech claws from going through my armor.
My boombots homed in on the crowbots, sunk into their bodies and exploded, throwing fiery crowbot parts all over. A few hit me, but nothing penetrated my armor, meaning that Rook’s version had to be powered for the monomolecular blades to keep on working too.
Better, none of them had a chance to fire off a killbot if they had one. I hadn’t taken the time to check before firing.
Taking a few steps through the smoke and burning cinders, I found myself looking at Victor, Rook, and his henchmen. They were mostly free. Monomolecular blades in the claws would have been my first thought, but I wasn’t entirely correct.
As I saw Rook, he pointed his purple beamed gun at a big pile of goop connected to his right foot and fired, turning it into a black pile of dust. It wasn’t the only one near them.
Then he and his henchmen aimed their guns at me. I don’t know how much having power flowing through me helped, but I saw them moving their guns and I had time to try dodging to my left as they fired. Bearing in mind that they’d been pointing into the room when they’d been struck by goobots and I’d dodged toward the edge, it wasn’t a bad move.
Only Rook was able to bring his gun to bear on me. He hit. The other two missed.
The great thing about that was that his gun wasn’t able to phase through my armor to hit me directly. The bad thing was that it still hit my left arm. I felt a burning heat, but not one hot enough to do any real damage. By that, I mean it didn’t cook me. It did damage the armor and cause another notification of repairs in the process.
I ignored it.
I loosed another bunch of boombots, aiming them at the whole group. A person could reasonably accuse me of trying to kill all of them at that point, but their armor could handle it, making it more of an exercise in distraction.
All the same, it was great exercise if you liked explosions. Each boombot hit its target and though it failed to go through anyone’s armor, it exploded, hitting everyone in the group—Rook, Victor, and Rook’s henchmen, throwing all of them away from each other in a different direction.
Well, technically almost all of them flew in different directions. One of Rook’s henchmen was still connected to a string of goo. He fell over on his face. The rest of them fell over in ways that were less humiliating. Rook rolled and came straight back up to his feet.
He probably had a program assisting his movement built into his suit or, depending on how much cybernetics he’d put into his body, maybe his brain.
Victor flew backward, but only the first second or two was uncontrolled. He slowed and then fully came to a stop in the air as the flames around him seemed to get drawn into his body.
It was annoying. I’d fought people that absorbed energy before and it never made my life easier—especially since it seemed like they always had a way to fire the stuff right back at you.
I wondered if Cassie could pull whatever Victor had done to himself out of the birthing chamber so that I could avoid more surprises like this.
I didn’t even get the chance to ask her before a burning white beam lit the room, traveling straight through the birthing chambers from the back and out the front. Cut in two, each side tilted inward, colliding with itself in a crashing noise.
As everyone in the room stared at the destruction, I heard Cassie’s gun in my head.
FELLOW SERVANT OF THE MASTERS, I MOURN YOUR DEATH. YOU GAVE LIFE TO SO MANY CREATURES, SOME OF WHICH I’VE KILLED, AND COULD HAVE CREATED SO MANY MORE. BUT NO MATTER, I LIKE THE WAY YOU BURN.