When they reach the Noir compound, they find it empty. Horrified, Fiddlestix realizes that Bobby’s been a step ahead of her all along. They head to the Harlich compound, what will they find when they arrive?
The Harlich docks were usually protected with armed men, instead devastation met their eyes. Bodies littered the ground, Harlich and Noir alike. Hopping from the boat before Loki stopped the motor, Fiddlestix hit the dock at a dead run.
“Look after them,” she ordered Garwood.
Garwood didn’t flinch at the order, but dug a med kit out of her pack and jumped onto the dock as Loki tossed ropes around the ends of the pier.
“Tully,” Fiddlestix growled into her radio. “How close are you?”
“Close enough to smell smoke. You all right?”
“I’m good, but the Harlichs are in trouble.”
“Almost to the gate. Shit, they’ve blown through. What the hell do they have, a tank?”
Fiddlestix paled, faltering in her tracks. “Yes,” she whispered. She was coming up to the boathouse cautiously. There were sounds of a struggle on the other side.
Glancing quickly around the corner of the boathouse, she saw two men fighting. One was cybered and wore the distinctive black and red uniform of the Noir soldiers. The other, a Harlich, was getting the worst end of the struggle.
Fiddlestix slid around the corner of the boathouse, keeping out of sight. She took careful aim and shot the Noir soldier in the head. He crumpled to the ground, body twitching as the cyberware figured out that the brain controlling it was dead.
The Harlich soldier spun around, knife raised. His left arm hung at a funny angle and he looked like he’d been bitten on the shoulder.
“Hannah,” he sighed, sliding to the ground. It was Dirk.
Running up to him, she assessed his wounds. He was bleeding heavily from the shoulder. The cyber soldier got another bullet in the head, effectively ending his military career.
Loki’s voice crackled in her ear. “I’m at your six. What’s up?”
In seconds he was at her side. Together, using hand signals, they moved around the encampment. There were no other signs of violence.
“Where are they all?” Loki whispered.
Fiddlestix shrugged, motioning him to follow her. They ran to the front gate. Here it looked like a war zone. More bodies littered the ground. Tank tracks ripped holes in the grass and took off southwest across the compound.
Tully and Blacksmith checked the wounded. There was no sign of Stumpy.
“Where’s the midget?” Buzzard came up behind them so quietly Fiddlestix, in her distracted state, hadn’t heard him.
“He followed the tank,” Blacksmith said. He went back to the wounded.
“He’s a bloody one man army,” Tully told her. “Where’s Red?” He still hadn’t got a handle on Garwood’s name.
“At the docks,” Buzzard told him. “Got a little field hospital thing going.”
Frowning, Buzzard ran after the tank tracks with Fiddlestix and Loki in his wake. It didn’t take a tracking genius to follow the tank’s progress.
© 2011 Dellani Oakes