Tuesday, 3 July 2007

It's Harder Than I Thought

by Unknown

Here, for your entertainment (or outright amusement?) is an early attempt at an action/sci-fi novel because its a slow week and I'm really busy at work. It really is harder than I thought!

Kyle peered through a small gap where the plastered wall didn’t quite meet the doorframe. He watched the separation of the group, paying particular attention to Sword who appeared to be slowly backing away from the crossroads where Broken Nose was carefully un-slinging his machine pistol. Sword slowly placed himself in the corner of two large packing crates covered with shipping labels from the Far East. He was up on the balls of his feet and obviously alert. His right hand strayed to the buttons on the front of his jacket. He undid those then carefully released the single restraining strap on his blade.

Kyle dropped back into the shadows and swore quietly to himself. Flat Cap and Army Jacket were a moment away and he was not going to be able to take them down without alerting Sword. With Broken Nose waving that machine pistol around, Sword would have plenty of time to raise an alarm or call someone.

“Change in plan,” he sub-vocalised as rapidly as possible, “I’m blown so I’m going to hit them hard and fast. There is not going to be time to get us both out quietly so I’m gonna need a full extraction team with medical support and restraints. Get here NOW!”

Even as he finished speaking he rose from the shadows and slammed into Army Jacket, keen to hit him hard and stop him from drawing a gun. As Army Jacket rocked back, the air whooshing out of his lungs Kyle spun on his rear foot and launched the twin darts of the tazer at Flat Cap. Flat Cap made a high pitched shrieking sound as he fell backwards twitching and shaking and Kyle realised that he hadn’t even been aware of the attack until that point.

Kyle quickly pivoted back to Army jacket, leading with a front leg roundhouse kick but Army Jacket had recovered just enough to pull into a tight boxer’s stance and he dropped his right arm and rode out the kick without damage. Army Jacket threw a couple of slow looping punches that Kyle allowed to impact with his side and upper arm. Army Jacket’s look of surprise at Kyle’s complete lack of reaction quickly turned to extreme pain as Kyle whipped a snap kick into his knee cap causing massive damage and sending the entire leg into an uncontrollable spasm. As Army Jacket’s hands fell to the knee to try and grab the pain and stop it, Kyle stepped forward, jabbing quickly into his victim’s face breaking his nose and jaw before snapping round a tight little hook that impacted with his temple hard enough to leave a dent. Army Jacket crumpled soundlessly to the floor.

A sound behind alerted Kyle to the fact that Flat Cap had recovered enough to try and swing the heavy flashlight at his head. Kyle threw up his forearm and the flashlight was stopped dead. Flat Cap started backwards looking surprised, he knew full well that the blow from a metal flashlight should have broken this strange attacker’s arm and he quickly decided he wanted his mates around him to take this guy on. Flat Cap started to move away from Kyle, back towards the crossroads where Broken Nose was pointing his sub-machine gun into the doorway, scanning for a clear shot. Flat Cap kept the flashlight moving back and forth and the broken components inside made a rattling, crunching counterpoint to his sliding footsteps as a he felt backwards with each step.

Kyle knew his time was very limited, he could see Sword talking into a telephone and gesticulating with his free hand. He dived forward and grabbed at either side of Flat Cap’s head. Quick as a thought he felt for that internal twitch that he had come to recognise and triggered both sets of bio capacitors across Flat Cap’s head. His teeth snapped shut biting off the tip of his tongue and all his muscles locked simultaneously. He slumped to the floor, dribbling and insensible. Kyle didn’t know if the two massive shocks in quick succession might have done permanent damage and he didn’t much care.

“You chose the wrong side.” He muttered as he leant back up against the wall and looked through the gap again. Spotting that Sword was calming down he guessed that reinforcements must be on their way. He crouched down by Army Jacket’s still form and quickly pulled out an Israeli manufactured hand cannon from the shoulder rig. The handgun was a natural progression from the venerable old Desert Eagle and although it only held 6 rounds it would pretty much punch through anything, including body armour. Pulling back into the shadows by the doorframe he quickly scanned through the gap and tried to assess his next move.

Jackson stood watching the dark doorway where his two colleagues had passed through and then apparently vanished, just some muffled thumps and a strange, loud crack marking their passing. He held onto the comforting, hard slickness of the imported machine pistol that he sometime felt was the only real certainty in a World that he often struggled to understand. He had fallen in with the local gang when the work on the docks faltered and although he had never really done anything too bad he understood on some level that carrying the gun meant that he would, if called upon to do so. The gun had been gifted to him by the man behind him, whom he only knew as Kaneda, as a reward for many years of loyalty. It was a potent weapon when most hoods owned only jury rigged 2 barrel zip guns or, at best, sawn off shotguns. The best any could hope for were looted firearms and they were only available to those who were prepared to kill.
Jackson was fast approaching the realisation that he did not want to fight this enemy, whoever he was. That just perhaps he had a promising career as a dock worker over in one of the young countries in Europe somewhere. He slowly moved to the right, keeping the machine pistol up he started to scan, not just for an enemy now but also for a pathway out of this trouble that had descended on them without warning.

It was this lack of focus that meant he caught the rapid motion out of the corner of his eye. He reacted better than he ever would have thought possible, shouting “grenade” he threw himself to the ground, orientating his feet towards where he thought the little spinning disk would land to minimise his cross-section to shrapnel. He had seen the effects of jury-rigged grenades and nail bombs and he knew his only chance was to stay low and small.

At the last second Kyle had ditched the hand cannon and pulled one of the small non-lethal Ultra Sonic Weapon grenades from the pouch on his thigh. He had watched Broken Nose’s change in heart, his decision written plain on his face as he started to edge back from the conflict. Kyle had no desire to kill underlings, if it could be avoided. He hated the way that every death deemed ‘unnecessary’ by the group drove him and Helene further apart, she simply could not understand the mentality of the front line soldier. He set the dial fuse for three seconds and then whipped his arm around in the classic, flat arc of a Frisbee fanatic, dropping straight back into a crouch and covering his ears with both arms, trusting to his protective glasses to cut out the worst of the USW grenade’s effects. The USW grenade not only produced a devastating blast of ultrasonic sound but also strobe lights at a frequency that caused temporary epileptic seizures in its victims. Designed as a non-lethal crowd suppression weapon its use was banned by most civilian forces, as the effects were just too devastating.

The grenade was designed to skip like a pebble on a pond so when it hit the concrete floor it skimmed off leaving a puff of dust floating in the air like the a bullet punching through plasterboard. Jackson had a fraction of a second to realise his mistake before the grenade went off almost directly above his head. He never really heard the sounds that took him out of the fight and off the street as his eardrums burst almost immediately under the aural assault. He started to pitch and buck on the floor, his eyes wide open and staring in shock just in time to catch the full force of the light show that tripped his brain into a complete disassociated flux state. Foetal and twitching he was down and no longer a threat and that was all Kyle wanted. Broken nose would likely require serious care for a short while but he was still alive.

Assuming that Sword had not been caught by the grenade, as he had pitched short and directly at Broken Nose, Kyle dived through the door and fetched up against a crate about ten metres short of Sword’s last location. He was no longer there but Kyle knew he would be nearby. He assumed he had spun back behind the tall crates to avoid the grenade but he would be back in position almost immediately. His pride would allow no less.

“I know you’re there, little man”. The taunting voice that would once have been pure street had a lisping pretension to aristocracy that jarred with the surroundings but matched with the expensive suit and sword. The affectation gave Kyle hope; if Sword had come up through the ranks he was unlikely to have the swords skills to match his expensive blade. Duelling was still a fairly rare hobby and good teachers were hard to find.

Kyle leant against the crate with his back against the rough wood with his knees pulled up to his chest. Once again Sword’s voice floated out, more guttural now as the street took hold, the prospect of violence wearing at is his fa├žade like the abrasion of the moneyed at a pit fight.
“C’mon little man. Come out, come out. If you were gonna shoot me you would’ve taken your shot”.

“And missed,” added Kyle quietly as he knew the hand cannon was a very short ranged weapon, with any degree of accuracy anyway. He realised that Sword had gone through the same thought process he had. He needed Sword either conscious and subdued or out cold and in no danger of dying on the way out; he simply was no use for interrogation in any other condition. Neither seemed to be a likely outcome of diving around the corner with his gun blazing. He also knew that if Sword was smart he would have retreated into the shadows and waited for reinforcements. He always preferred a stupid opponent.

“Called your masters have you?” He tried to get a better fix on Sword by goading him into a response. “Asked them to come and rescue you?”
“I have no need”, his response was much nearer than Kyle had guessed. Sword was just walking straight towards him along the pathway!
“We know about you and your capabilities. We know you upgrades but most of all we know your limitations. Do you think you can take me down? Fine, here I am”.

With that there came a mighty kick to the crate that Kyle crouched behind. This guy had just walked up to him. Crazy. Kyle stood and slowly turned to face his target.
“You must be pretty sure of your intel”, he fished, “I could just shoot you where you stand”.
“Ah but you won’t, will you? We know. Gathering data for the Feds. Really, what good do you think it will do? We own them, man. We own them and we own you too. You were bought cheap man, a few threats and less money than this suit cost”.

Kyle struggle to hide his horror at Sword’s words. He had suspected that the security at the group wasn’t as good as they thought but to have it confirmed so brazenly shook him to his core. He needed to know more.
“Do you yield to me?” He asked Sword. “I will leave you your life intact if you do and just answer a few questions”.
“Are you crazy, man?” Came the expected response “I’ll be covered with gold for today’s work”.
“No”, said Kyle.

He threw back the long tails of his coat, customised to be longer than normal and weighted in the tips so they flared back and stayed out of the way. He rested his left hand briefly on the handle of his beautiful Cinqudea blade sheathed across his lower back. At the same time his right hand fell to the heavier slashing sabre at his hip. With a twist of his wrists he unlocked the blades from their combat harnesses and slowly unsheathed one then the other. He pulled them into a ready stance, his right arm forward with the slashing sabre, his body quarter turned and the stabbing Cinqudea ready for any thrust that presented itself. Kyle knew that the Italian twin sword technique was all but unknown, particularly where almost all the sword experience was from watching cheap Samurai flicks with all their attached myths about Japanese blades and he hoped his style would more than compensate for the longer sword of his opponent. He briefly saluted with his leading blade.

“You’re wrong. You’ll be covered in blood”.

No comments: