Over to my left, Cassie pulled herself up from where she’d been lying—on a desk in one of the cubicles and partially into one of the walls. Then she jumped over the next cube and into the next. For a moment I wondered where she was going, but then I knew. She was going after her sword.
I’d added tracking devices to it and other pieces of equipment that were likely to get lost. She could see it in her HUD just like I could if I wanted.
The mechs on the left side on the far side of the cubicles next to the windows fired at her, but not soon enough to hit. Pieces of the cubicles exploded outward as the bullets blew through.
If that weren’t enough, the ones on the right started firing as well, taking chunks out of the cubicles and the big rectangular block holding the elevators—which on this floor had been painted red for some reason.
But, this was no time to think about interior decoration. Besides the two mechs to my left that were firing at Cassie, there were three more to the right that had come around the other side of the elevator block. Those three, of course, were firing at me.
This was something I’d anticipated as soon as a saw them. So even though I’d been keeping track of Cassie and her problems with mechs, I’d activated the rocket pack on the way down and aimed myself out over the vast sea of cubicles, whipping around so that I could come at them from behind.
However effective those mechs were, they weren’t great at tracking quickly moving objects inside. They tried to aim their gun arms in my direction, firing constantly, shattering the windows behind me, and taking chunks out of the cubicles below. In some cases, the bullets hit where the panels joined, blasting chunks out of the metal, causing the panels to sag or even fall off.
I hoped no one was hiding in the cubes, but at this point, the best I could do for those possible victims was to take out the mechs—which definitely contained victims.
Curving around in the vast room, I watched as the mechs slowly turned in my direction, adjusting position, but constantly aiming at where I’d been. I aimed a barrage of armor-piercing bots at the nearest one’s joints and gun arm. It had worked with the other one, though these mechs were moving.
On a gut level, I didn’t see any more competence from their operators than the last one, but I’d only been down on this floor for seconds. They might be better or at least have had time to activate better defenses.
The bots worked. They tore the gun arm of the mech directly ahead of me into three different pieces that fell to the floor. At almost the same time, more bots hit the mech’s legs, causing them to explode and the mech to fall over.
As the other two mechs turned toward me, I flew toward them, bobbing and weaving in the air to make it harder for them to aim. At the same time, the mech that was furthest from me and closest to where I’d come from, lifted in the air and flew backward, hitting the other mech that had been standing.
“Had been standing” because when the flying mech hit it, both fell to the ground on their sides.
I’d been planning to land next to the closest one and see if I could tear it apart and use it to block me from being attacked by the other. With them both struggling to stand up, I flew past them, but not before firing off more bots aimed at the nearest one’s legs—which blew up.
I flipped in the air to turn around, finding that none of the three mechs were moving and that Daniel had flown in my direction. He’d probably put the person inside the mech to sleep—which was interesting. He’d said that the building had telepathy blockers when we were outside, but he’d talked to me telepathically upstairs.
If they’d protected the outside, but not the inside, it could only mean that they had telepaths visit often enough that they didn’t want to inconvenience them—which made me think of the Dominators.
That’s my thought too, Daniel told me as I looked over toward the two mechs on the other side of the building to see how Cassie was doing.
She was fine. So was Yoselin.
The two mechs lay on the ground, one of them with all four limbs shaved off and lying on the floor. The other mech was still standing, but smoke drifted up into the air from the inside—which was open. A woman lay on the ground in front of the mech. Whoever she was, she wasn’t Ana. This woman was a stocky, 40 something wearing a blue suit and coughing.
Yoselin stood in front of her, but unlike the mind-controlled people upstairs, the woman didn’t even try to attack.