Using my implant, I opened up a comm connection to Mateo and Vincent, “You guys aren’t anywhere near the tower yet, right?”
Vincent laughed, “We’re at the fourteenth floor at most.”
“We’re almost at the seventh,” Mateo said, taking a long breath. “Look next to the door up there.”
Vincent muttered, “Crap. How many floors does this place have?”
“Thirty-eight,” I said, “according to Wikipedia.”
Another raspy laugh came from the hamster. “You’re reading Wikipedia? Is that what you’re doing up there?”
“No. I’m fighting vampires in powered armor and shooting off smoke bombs.”
And then I shot off the smoke bombs—which technically were less bombs than missiles. The nice thing about having larger armor meant that I had more room to store things and the nice thing about years of designing for smaller spaces meant that I had plenty of experience packing the power in.
I fired off two missiles, each of them containing smoke bombs that I felt confident would fill the floor. Watching through their feeds, I saw them both hit windows and fly in, drop off their payloads, and fly deeper in, incinerating themselves and starting off the second payload.
The first flew through the window that the vampires come out of on the theory that that might be where they had all the tech—and the feed did seem to show tech. I sent the second down a few floors because my sensors showed there were people there, something the missile’s feed confirmed. I didn’t see many details beyond blurry people running.
I’d have analyzed that more if it weren’t for the vampires. The woman I’d knocked into the tower had recovered control before hitting the train station. That was an overall good thing because it avoided more property damage.
Above me, the man had stopped his armor from twirling in the air. Even though he still didn’t seem to be able to move his arm from the direction it was stuck in, he was dropping into range and aiming the arm and its gun in my direction.
Meanwhile smoke poured out of the windows, noticeable in my suit’s sensors if nowhere else. A part of my brain that had begun to register the consequences of bad PR felt some relief that pictures were unlikely thanks to the darkness.
More bullets hit my suit, this time without damage. They were both firing. The suit was mostly repaired from the shots that they’d hit me with earlier, but the suit was weaker than it had been. I couldn’t create more matter out of nothing.
I turned to the left, letting myself drop as I did it and turning away from Book Tower and over the bus station—which was a better idea than it sounds because of what was on the other side of the pavilion.
There was a parking lot. Even better, it was almost empty. Better than that? Almost every lot around it was also a parking lot.
The way I spun as I turned and jinked from one direction to another left them struggling to hit me, but it didn’t stop them from trying to follow. The man’s suit’s damaged shoulder joint and permanently outstretched arm kept pulling him sideways. He couldn’t keep up.
The woman, though? Her suit wasn’t as damaged. Not only could she keep up, but she was gaining on me.
I couldn’t have planned it better than that.
I kept on dodging, watching her get closer in my HUD, swerving sideways to avoid shots that hit the parking lot ahead of us and exploded, throwing chunks of asphalt into the air. They shattered without hitting anyone. Well, except for one chunk. It hit the windshield of a car.
No one was inside the car, so I counted that as a win.
Then she grabbed the leg of my suit, but she didn’t stop there. She tried to smash the rocket pack on the side of the boot with her other hand.
While this suit could fix it, even a short period with one boot’s worth of thrust would decrease my chances of survival.
I flipped head over heels and her punch missed, but she hung on and as she went over me and began to head downward, she tried to take me with her. Pulling my foot downward, she tried to aim me toward the parking lot.
The V4 suit wasn’t quite flexible enough to turn into a ball, but it was close enough. I tried. I also fired off the directional rockets.
By then, we were close to the ground and the directional rockets had given me enough thrust to get one more half-flip in, putting her between me and the ground. Better, while the V4 suit wasn’t as flexible as a body, it bent forward far enough for me to grab her arm with the suit’s massive hand.
She hit the pavement with enough force that I heard it shatter. It wasn’t just the pavement shattering. An audible crack came from the back of her suit and it was more than an audible crack. A physical crack ran up from her back to the point where the neck and helmet met.
I reached out and dug into the crack with my left hand, holding the suit in place with my right, and pulled.
It ripped apart. Mindful that her partner was behind us, I fired a wooden stake straight into her heart.
At the train station pavilion, someone screamed.