Initially, taking the walkway looked like it offered them the crucial higher ground, but somehow they were outflanked quickly by those in pursuit. And suddenly trapped on a raised platform where they were exposed out in the open. And for their adversaries, there were simply too many places to hide in the surrounding ruins and rubble.
“We don’t want any trouble!” Abek called out as he tried to get behind any kind of protection. “We just want to leave!”
But they didn’t get any answer other than a volley of canisters that spewed a noxious black smoke. The smoke filled the still air thickly around them, choking their breath and burning their eyes. There was nothing left to do but fight.
Sure Goa had his big two barreled gun, and Kel had his two small pistols, but the stinging smoke the others sent there way made it impossible to see where to fire, and just as impossible to defend.
That didn’t stop them, though. These men were survivors, after all. And they knew how to react when attacked.
Goa, mouth and nose now covered by a tied up cloth fired at everything that moved, tried to pull his partner along with him, but once they got across the walkway, what they found again and again were dead ends where the alleys or corridors were blocked in one manner or another. They were being cornered, progressively tighter and tighter.
Unfortunately, they had limited ammunition and even more limited knowledge about the ruins. If they had spent another day there, they might have set up an escape route. But they hadn’t.
The others, masked and just as well armed made short work of the two despite their struggles. And whatever they were firing, it wasn’t bullets. Larger and heavier – and much less lethal – the big projectiles pounded into the two of them, knockingGoaand Kel off their feet.
To his credit, Kel did appear to manage to take out two of the opposition, but in the end, bloodied and beaten, almost blind, the both of them had little fight left.
They were stripped of their weapons, knocked around some more – finally collapsing – barely conscious onto the cold and muddy ground.
“You’ll pay for what you’ve done,” a voice snarled.
Goatried to get back up, but was knocked back down with a hard blow across his face.
Kel also tried to put up a fight to defend him, flailed with his fists, but a big man with a large weapon smashed it hard into Kel’s head, knocked him down and hit him again and again until he stopped moving.
“I can pay,”Goaforced out through the pain. “If you’ll let me. I have caches back towards the Iceline. I can make it worth your while.”
The blurry figures surrounding him laughed.Goawas kicked hard and repeatedly. He tried to protect himself, but couldn’t do much to stop them.
He cried out, hit by a blow so hard, it felt like it crushed his ribs.
“Enough!” a loud voice commanded. The blows stopped. He had a moment to gasp for painful breaths, could barely think. Through a swollen eye he could blurrily see a couple figures approach. One of them reached down, grabbed his head by the hair, yanked and twisted so hard he had to cry out again.
Whoever had grabbed his head was looking at him closely; he could feel breath and the rough swipe of a calloused hand.
“You’ll make it worth our while, for certain,” he was told from the face looking down at him. The voice actually sounded like a woman’s. A woman?!
So there was an actual community down here? Damn him for not pulling out when Kel had suggested the place felt odd. Then they would have definitely lived, at least for another day.
“Just you wait,” he was told, then they beat him into unconsciousness.
Just my luck, he thought through the haze of pain before he passed out. Try to do everything right, and you still get punished.
Too bad there was little else in life he was good at.
Streck, was his last thought before seeing a large, dark object swing down at his head.