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Last Moments

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MikeW

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« on: <09-03-10/1642:29> »
To help kick off this Fan Fiction forum, I am posting a story I wrote for my own gaming group a few years ago called Last Moments.  As I am the gamemaster for our group, it was a story that was meant to lead to other storylines down the road.  I really liked this story, so I am posting it here for others to (hopefully) enjoy.  Since you may have noticed I am a SR freelance writer, I think it is important for me to put out a small disclaimer: that Last Moments is strictly an original work by me (as fan fiction) and that it was originally written back in 2008.   

And so, without any further adieu, I give you, Last Moments.

“Afterburner, you can tell that fragging Johnson of yours that we won’t be taking his job, no matter the pay,” I stated firmly. My teammates glared at me, apparently angry that I had come to this important decision without consulting with them first, especially when it involved this much nuyen. But it didn’t matter. I was acting in their best interests as the team leader, even if they could not see it.  Doing a job against Aztechnology inside Aztlan was something that no sane person should even remotely consider. Aztlan was their home turf, period.  And Aztechnology has spent the better part of a couple of decades to lay down the game rules for that part of the world.  And nine times out of ten, those rules are so stacked against you, that it leaves very little possibility of success.  And personally, I have heard too many horror stories from other shadowrunners of people simply disappearing, of people being imprisoned in Aztlan’s gulags, or of them being used as metahuman sacrifices in their secret blood rituals that for me, it just wasn’t worth taking the job, no matter the amount of money being offered. “It would be suicide, pure and simple.”

“Black Out, you know just as well as I do that any run can go to hell when you’re working the shadows, even those you believe to be milk runs right here in Seattle,” Lamprey said. “What’s the difference between taking jobs that we have no clue what the hidden dangers are that could get us killed, versus knowing what those dangers are ahead of time and being better prepared for them? Besides, didn’t the Johnson say he’ll pay the full amount, regardless if we succeed or not?”

Afterburner nodded. “The Johnson assured me that he will transfer the agreed upon amount to whichever accounts you wish after you have crossed the Aztlan border. He’s well aware of the dangers involved with this job, and is willing to make sure you are paid handsomely even before the job is done, so that if things do go sideways, your families or those you care about, if any, are still provided for, based on the efforts you make.  He is really determined to get this particular clinic shut down, and is willing to make certain concessions to get you to do this job for him.”

“Gee, what a great guy,” I growled. “A compassionate and humanitarian Johnson, willing to fork over a hefty sum of nuyen for a job that he may not get any benefit from. That has to be a first for the shadows. I mean, besides our street reps, what’s to stop us from simply taking the money and running?  I smell a trap.”

“Stop being so paranoid. As long as the pay is up front and Mr. J. is being honest with me about the dangers involved, that’s good enough for me,” Lamprey argued. “And besides, it’s just a small-time medical clinic in Juarez, owned by Aztechnology’s subsidiary, Medicarro.  Entanglements with the big ‘A’ should be kept to a minimum.  And if what Mr. J. says about the clinic are true, by successfully taking it out, it may mean that there are a few less people in Aztlan who will become involuntary guinea pigs for whatever horrific experiments the Azzies are dreaming up in their laboratories. And it would put an end to an ongoing drug ring that is being run out of that clinic. And I’m confident that this attack will do nothing more than to ultimately annoy them. It’s not like we’re taking out one of their prized temples or destroying one of their state-of-the-art medical facilities in Tenochtitlán. We can be in and out of Aztlan in what, twenty-four hours tops?”

“That’s what I’m hoping for,” their fixer added. “You should know that I would never sign you guys up for a mission that I believed was ultimately a suicide run. In my opinion, this has a very good chance of succeeding. Aztechnology is already hurting in that area after being hit several times in recent weeks by several resistance groups, so they’re still scrambling to recover from those attacks, and are busy ensuring the rest of their vital interests in the area are protected. Every bit of intelligence Mr. Johnson has seems to indicate that this particular clinic simply isn’t one of their vital interests, and therefore, should be a relatively soft target for you.”

“Yeah, and I suppose he hasn’t heard of the concept of counter-intelligence, either.”  I looked down at my drink.  I just knew I was losing this argument with my fixer and the rest of my team.  “I will tell you right now, I have my doubts that Mr. J’s intelligence is accurate.  And besides, we should be asking ourselves why it is that he isn’t hiring local runners.  He would have a better chance of success using locals.”  After a momentarily pause, I think asked, “Can we at least see the intelligence that he has on this clinic for ourselves, and on this region?  So at the very least we can judge the merits of his intelligence?”

“I will speak with the Johnson, and see what can be arranged.”

“Well, my vote is that we still take the mission,” Scorpion, as the team’s magical support, chimed in. “My sister lived and worked in El Paso. She did things down there that most people would have looked down on her for, but at least she was surviving. And then one day about six months ago, she simply disappeared. To this day, no one knows exactly what happened to her. But I fear that she could have been taken by either Aztlan or Aztechnology. And this can be one way that I contribute to the hurting of Aztechnology. Even if they had nothing to do with her disappearance, ultimately, they are still a perversion of magic; a malignant cancer in this world. I want to do this for my sister, I want to do this for all the people who have been victimized by Aztlan and Aztechnology, and I also want to do this because I am a shaman, and am damn tired of seeing the magical abuse that Aztechnology inflicts on our world, both in the physical and in the astral planes. It’s time to stand up for principles.”

“I’m sorry, Scorp, but our team is not in the hero business, or in the vigilante business, or hell, in the martyr business. We are shadowrunners. We do our damn jobs, we come back from those jobs, and we get paid. Nothing more.  And yes, if this facility was in Seattle, or in Pueblo, or in Free Cal, I would be all for attacking it. Just like I’m all for hijacking their shipping trucks. But this facility is in Aztlan. Once the deed is done, we will be on the run, scrambling just to get out of Aztlan alive. There will be no safe havens or friends that we can count on in Juarez to let us disappear for a while. There is a fine line between being a dare devil and just being stupid, and this crosses that line. You can never trust any fragger down there because you never know who’s a damn spy who will turn you in even for a small amount of nuyen. You get into town, and you may already be on Aztlan’s radar for being a potential threat as an outsider. And last time I checked, since Aztlan and Aztechnology are so closely interwined, it wouldn’t be hard for Aztlan to pick us up on trumped up charges, and make us disappear for their Aztechnology overlords.” Turning to Afterburner, I asked, “You mentioned Aztechnology had been hit several times by runners. How many of those runs do you know of that had actually succeeded, and how many runners on those teams actually came home alive?”

“The shadows are not known for maintaining accurate records for statistics, Black Out,” Afterburner added, sounding annoyed. “If I had to guess, from the rumors I have picked up, there were probably five or six runs that accomplished their objectives, and the runners came out of it alive.”

“Out of how many? Twenty runs?  Thirty?  And have you given any thought at all about what happened to all those unfortunate runners, if they were captured alive by Aztechnology? No, I don’t care if all intelligence in the world shows that this target is a verifiable, soft target. In my mind, there is no such thing as soft target in Aztlan. ”

“Black out, you’ve made your arguments crystal clear. But I’m with the team on this…Aztechnology needs to be hit… repeatedly and hard. If we don’t do it, Mr. Johnson will ask another team to take out this clinic. Right now, I’m not sure how many runners are lining up for this type of work, based on your very arguments. And anything we can do to help to take the fight to Aztechnology, I am all for. Seems to me the mega corps should not have stopped over a couple of decades ago when they issued their first ‘Omega order.’ They should have fought tooth and nail to have rid this world of Aztechnology, instead of simply appeasing them.  Dark and twisted magic plus a megacorp is not a good combination.  There’s really nothing making you come with us.  If you don’t want to come with us, then you can stay behind.” With the rest of the team nodding in agreement, Black Star, the team’s other street samurai added, “I’m sure we can find another capable street sam to go with us for the price being offered.”

I grabbed my beer, and drank the rest of it slowly. “You know that’s not me. I’m loyal to the team to the end. If the team decides it wants to go on this suicide mission, than I’m with you guys. And bringing in someone out of the cold at the last minute is just asking for trouble. You haven’t trained or worked with them, and aren’t familiar with their capabilities. For all you would know, you could have a loose cannon on your hands. That type of sloppiness on a mission like this just isn’t acceptable. But I really wish you would reconsider. This is just a bad idea.” With their facial expressions resolved, and their minds made up, I know there would only be one outcome to this meeting.  We were going to Aztlan.

###
Mike Wich, SR Freelancer
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« Reply #1 on: <09-03-10/1646:05> »
Black Star and I waited silently for the bug crawler to move into its position on the ceiling, so that Lamprey, our team’s rigger, could see what was waiting for us down the hallway, without us having to expose ourselves by looking around the corner and getting ourselves shot all to hell. I had my right handblade popped out, and ready to strike. Black Star had his two sub machine guns ready, which, we both knew, had less than half a clip left in each one before they became improvised melee weapons. Finally, Lamprey sent us a text to our commlinks to give us an update.

“Bad news, chummers. I count seven heavily armed soldiers down your corridor, taking up tactical positions with assault rifles, and are backed up by four of those magically animated statues. There are also three more soldiers, human, hugging the wall, and sliding slowly towards you. They are about four meters from your position and drawing closer.”

Great, talk about overkill. We were trapped, screwed and dead. And the dead part was only if we got lucky. We all knew we did not have the firepower left to break through that barricade, or through the other one that awaited us at the south wing of the facility. “Any other good news you would like to share with us?” I shot back to him.

“Actually I do,” Lamprey sent in a text, written in italics to emphasize his sarcasm. “The men heading toward your position have patches on their uniforms.  Jaguar patches.”

Damn, AZT Special Forces. This keeps getting better and better.

“Would this be a bad time to admit that I was wrong?” texted Black Star over the comlink.

“As a matter of fact, yes, it would be,” I shot back. I listened carefully for the footsteps and the breathing of the soldiers as they approached the corridor juncture, waiting patiently until I was confident that their team leader was in arms’ reach. I then reached around the corner, moving as fast as my wired reflexes would allow me, and placed one hand firmly on the surprised man’s throat and the other on the cold steel of his assault rifle, forcing the barrel away from me. Being significantly stronger than the human, I pulled him around the corner with me and slammed his back into the wall. Before he could react, I used my Ork strength to rip the assault rifle out from his hands, causing it to clatter loudly on the ground, and to scatter a meter or two away from me.  The man began screaming in a tongue I did not understand, but he was quickly silenced by my handblade running through his neck. The blade pierced through his armored pieces around his neck, and came out at the base of his skull, leaving the man to dangle lifelessly on my handblade. The two other Jaguars following him gave up on the idea of being stealthy, and came around the corner with their assault rifles trained on me, even as my blood-soaked handblade was still embedded in the neck of their buddy. It could have ended really badly for me at that moment. Fortunately, Black Star had my back and was ready for them, and he opened fired on the two soldiers using his SMG’s. The two soldiers were hit multiple times and fell, landing in pools of their own blood. Black Star continued to spray the soldiers with bullets until his SMGs rain dry, and then dragged the dead men by their legs out of the hallway, so he could field strip the dead soldiers of their weapons and ammo.  I did the same thing with the dead soldier I was holding, grabbing the holstered pistol and two spare magazines for the assault rifle, and slipped them into the pockets of my armored jacket. I then dropped the corpse and recovered his assault rifle, and backed away from the adjacent hallway, using the recovered assault rifle to cover our withdraw.     

“Both lines are now beginning to advance. We’re going to be caught in a cross fire,” Neurotoxin warned over the comlink.

“We’ve got to get out of this hallway. Any usable rooms between our position and yours that we can use to hold up in,” I sent over the commlink.

“There is a lab about fifteen meters from your position. I’ve already unlocked the lab door for you. We will meet you and Black Star there,” Lamprey replied.

Black Star and I worked our way backwards, withdrawing quickly from the advancing, superior Aztlan forces, hoping we could get to the lab before the bullets started flying. Unfortunately, three more Azzie soldiers rounded the corner, and unloaded full-auto bursts at us. I thought we would both be cut down by that ferocious rain of bullets that filled the corridor. I felt myself get hit twice as pain exploded through my left arm and felt blood trickle down my arm. Despite the heavy fire we came under, Black Star and I managed to exchange fire with our attackers. One of them I felt confident was a confirmed kill, as the young human took a few rounds to the face, and fell where he stood. The other two I wasn’t sure about, as both took rounds squarely in their mil-spec armor. Still, they were knocked to the ground, and it was obvious that they would require some time to get back up, which would buy us the precious time we needed to get further down the hallway to reach the safety of the lab.

Unfortunately, as I started to breathe a sigh of relief about our fortune, I glanced over at Black Star, and realized that during that violent exchange, he hadn’t been quite as lucky.  I saw that Black Star had been hit six or seven times in the center mass, with dark streams of blood pouring freely down his shredded armor.  I listened helplessly as he began to violently cough up dark red blood. Black Star only managed to stagger a few more steps before he finally collapsed from his wounds. Instantly, my commlink’s indicator flashed urgently that his biomonitor was signaling that he had gone flat line. Damn it.

I wished I could have done something more to have helped my friend who had saved my life more times than what I could remember; I wished I could have done something to try to revive him, or wished that I had the opportunity to try to stabilize him, or even wished that I had the time to properly mourn him, but the sound of combat boots and stone feet clambering down the corridor told me that I had two choices: to either flee or die. I had no choice but to leave Black Star behind, even as three grenades bounced down the corridor in my direction.  I ran as quickly as I could to get further down the hallway just as the grenades exploded, allowing me to avoid being caught within their blast radius.  I knew at that point that if there had been any chance to save Black Star, it was all but gone now.

Upon finding the lab that Lamprey had mentioned and seeing the doors wide open, I dashed into the room on my right.  Inside, I found four wage slaves, hiding under their work stations, making non-threatening gestures of surrender.  A few moments later, my three other teammates joined me in the laboratory, followed by another intense volley of bullets and shouts, coming from both directions.  Lamprey manipulated a couple of buttons on his AR display, and closed the security door behind him, and locked it shut.

“Barricade the door, quickly! Scorp, put up a mana barrier to keep out any spirits,” I shouted to the others, as I knew I had something else I needed to do before the firefight got started in earnest. I knew they were wage slaves. Most of the time, on normal runs, I simply ignored them or tied them up. After all, they normally didn’t have anything to do with my run, and they normally didn’t do anything that would require them to die. And I wasn’t the kind of guy that would kill unnecessarily. But these wage slaves were different. They were willing to work for and collaborate with an evil megacorporation that everyone knew had malignant purposes. To me, I did not make the distinction of them merely working for a subsidiary of Aztechnology.  To me, it was all the same. And frankly, my left arm hurt like hell, and my friend, Black Star, was lying dead in the corridor because of their damn megacorporation.  I made sure it was quick, since that’s all the time I had, as I went around the room and slit their miserable throats with my handblade; their facial expressions of terror forever recorded by my image links.

“Was that really necessary,” shouted Lamprey.

“Yeah. This way, these fraggers can be used as our meat shields. They’ll actually have the opportunity to do something good for a change. And there’s one for each of us.  Plus, we won’t have to worry about them resisting us when the bullets start flying.  Besides, what better way to get back at Aztechnology than using their own resources to help us.” I grinned morbidly. I somehow got the impression that Lamprey did not care for my taste of humor at that moment. “And I will admit that it was also some pay back for Black Star. He’s dead now because of those fraggers out there.”  I then went around the room, and took out any security cameras that were in the room.  There was no need to risk feeding their security office any useful intel about our situation, and making ourselves that much easier of targets by keeping the cameras in tact. 

Before I could say anything more, Lamprey turned his face away from me and said, “I’ve got a lot of work to do.  I noticed there were a few steel lynxes on the floor above us, in their armory.  If I can bounce through the right nodes, I can hack them, and bring them to help us.”

I nodded, as I took stock of the rounds I still had for the stolen assault rifle, as well as for my own personal pistols.  I spent ten rounds helping to gun down those guards in the hallway.  That meant there were twenty-five rounds still left in the gun, and I had two full clips of thirty-five rounds after that for the assault rifle.  Both my personal pistols were empty as far as rounds, but the stolen pistol had a full clip of sixteen rounds.   “Soft target, my ass,” I grumbled, mostly to myself.  But I had to admit; disguising a military compound as a local medical clinic was sound strategy.   As I turned to talk with Neurotoxin, the barricaded doors began to be pounded on hard, and hit by multiple rounds. I knew the heavy metal security doors wouldn’t be able to hold them out for much longer, as I grabbed the assault rifle, and took cover.  I made sure my meat shield was next to me, so when the assault rifle ran dry, I could grab the pistol and the corpse for protection.

“Neurotoxin, Black Star and I weren’t able to get to the target location to set up the detonation charges. Was your team able get your explosive charges planted in the south wing,” I asked quickly.

“We did,” Neurotoxin replied. “But given the bad intel we had on this place, and the fact that we only have one set of charges planted in the proper position, there’s no guarantee that the charges that we have set will do very much damage to this complex.  It looks like our mission’s going to fail.”

“How long?”

Neurotoxin looked at his AR display. “Three minutes.”
Mike Wich, SR Freelancer
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« Reply #2 on: <09-03-10/1647:18> »
That gave me a thought; a very morbid one at that. But if we weren’t going to make it out of this clinic, at least we could make sure that those outside of this room didn’t leave it either.  I pulled off my back pack, filled with the charges that were originally intended for load-bearing walls in the north wing.  I pulled close to Neurotoxin’s ear, and whispered, “Let’s get ‘em set up here.  Put two minutes on the timer.  And if you could rig up some kind of anti-tamper device to make it harder for the Azzies to disarm it, than do it.”

As Neurotoxin urgently began to plant the explosive charges, Lamphrey sent out a text message via the commlinks, “I’ve taken control of the steel lynxes, but I don’t know if they’ll reach our position in time.  I’m going into VR to control them.”  At that precise moment, large, stone hands began punching a sizable hole through the wall surrounding the security door, but were immediately halted by Scorpion’s glowing mana barrier.  As dozens of rounds continued to batter the security door, the stone statue began ferociously attacking the shaman’s mana barrier, causing the red energy field to flare brightly from the brutal strikes.
 
“My mana barrier isn’t going to hold up long against the strength of that homonculus,” Scorpion shouted.  In preparation for the impending battle, Scorpion called forth her three, bound beast spirits; spirits that once manifested, resembled giant scorpions. 

As the mystical barrier protecting the lab fell moments later, and as the stone statue pushed itself the rest of the way through the wall, the three beast spirits immediately intercepted it and pounded on it relentlessly using their pincers and their tails, keeping its attention away from us. They were probably the best at fighting those statues any way; as my bullets would probably have just bounced off its tough exterior.  Instead, I focused on making sure nobody else could come through that new entry point.  As soon as I saw an intrepid Azzie guard poke his head around the corner, trying to follow in the wake of the stone statue, I plastered him with a long burst.  Scorpion then let loose with one of her spells at the homunculus.  Between the savage pounding by the beast spirits, and Scorp’s powerful spell, the animated statue suddenly began to break apart, and fell to the ground in a heap of lifeless rubble.  Unfortunately, another statue immediately stepped through the breached wall to take its place, and began to attack the beast spirits.   The wall on the opposite side of the door also began to give way, as a third stone statue began to tear through the remnants of the wall.  The stone statue that was already in the lab raised its arms and brought its heavy fists down hard upon one of Scorpion’s beast spirits, causing it to suddenly disappear from sight.  Scorpion let loose a second spell, but it appeared to have no affect.  “Crap, that one was countered.  And I don’t think the spirit did that.  There’s an enemy mage somewhere!”

I quickly scanned for physical, telltale signs of an enemy mage; such as the business end of magesight googles, or a head that managed to poke itself around the corner without me spotting it during the fire fight.  I also looked for hidden cameras or fly spy drones that I might have missed; and even checked the vents for fiber optic cable. Nothing.  “I don’t see any access points for a mage.”  As I said that, two Azzie soldiers started to make their way through the shattered wall.  They were immediately greeted by suppressive fire from my assault rifle, which drove them back into the corridor.  After I finished firing, I immediately grabbed my meat shield, and scrambled over to the other side of the room, where I took cover behind another work station.
 
“I’m going astral,” Scorpion declared, as she popped her forearm snap-blades on her left arm, which also happened to be a weapon focus, and dropped to the ground behind me for protection for her meat body.   Perhaps if she survives whatever is on the other side, and we don’t make it, it will be more merciful for her if she isn’t in her body when the charges go off.  Speaking of which—

“Neurotoxin, what’s up with the charges,” I shouted, as I fired another suppressive fire burst through the hole; emptying the clip the assault rifle.  I quickly ejected it, and put in one the spare clips.

“They’re set and armed!”

“Good.  Now get your hoop up on the firing line.  I’m not going to be able to keep them all back by myself!” 

Neurotoxin pulled out his Auto-Assault 16 shotgun, and as a greater numbers of bullets from the Azzies started peppering the inside of the lab, we increased our rate of fire as well.  Two grenades flew into the lab from the hallway, and slammed into the workstation that I originally took cover behind.  The grenades exploded on impact, and sent debris and shrapnel into the air.  I continued firing at the Azzies through the hazy cloud of smoke and heavy particulates that swirled in the air; even as I swapped out my rifle’s empty clip for the last spare clip.  During that time, I quickly glanced over at the stone statue.  Even during that fierce fire fight, the animated statue continued to dance around, unbothered by the violence that surrounded it, and lashed out at the two beast spirits which were viciously attacking it.  Glad they are on our side. Both of the scorpion spirits seemed to have done considerable damage to the statue, having snapped off one of its arms and had punctured it in several places, and looked like they were about ready to drop it. Unfortunately, with one last swipe with its remaining arm, the Stone Spirit smashed one of the wounded beast spirits into the floor and forced it to disappear, leaving us with only one spirit to help defend us.

Great.  I am so not looking forward to tangling with those things.  I quickly checked the countdown on the timer.  Fifty-eight seconds left.  I knew we absolutely had to last for a little bit longer, in order to deny the Azzies the necessary time to disarm the charges.  Unfortunately, I did not feel confident that was going to happen.  This fire fight would inevitably get worse and we were rapidly running out of ammo and spirits.
   
Suddenly, I watched as three deep slash marks manifested themselves on the stone statue’s face, knocking it off balance and sending it crashing to the ground. Scorpion!  As the statue struggled to get up, its head unexpectedly imploded from yet another invisible strike.  Destroyed; the remains of the statue crumbled into a pile of rubble.  I did not bother to breath a sigh of relief; as I saw the third stone statue muscle its way into the lab, with the fourth statue lumbering into the lab right behind it.
Just as I started to fear that our barricades would finally be overrun by the statues and the soldiers, gun fire erupted in the hallway, causing all kinds of surprised shouts and mayhem to erupt from the Azzies’ lines.  The steel lynxes.  About time.  The Jaguars quickly scrambled in the hallway to deal with the unexpected threats that had caught them unaware from their rear flank, and were firing automatic bursts at them.  As a Jaguar carelessly crossed the opening in the wall to deal with the new problem of the captured drones, I seized the opportunity to hit him with a long burst. At the end of the burst, I knew that I had used up all the bullets left for the assault rifle.  I set it down next to me, realizing that I might need it again later as a club. I then pulled out my pistol, grabbed my meat shield and I waited. 

Meanwhile, the third  statue managed to get past our makeshift barricades and started making its way toward me.  It stopped a few meters in front of me, as the beast spirit began to attack it.  Another invisible strike landed on the chest of the statue; and carved three neat slashes across its stone exterior.  The spirit wailed, and threw a punch at its astral enemy that I could not see.  From behind me, I heard Scorpion’s meat body shake violently, as if something had struck it soundly.  I glanced behind me, and noticed blood flowing out of Scorpion’s mouth and nose.  Not good. I shot a couple of rounds at the stone statue, and Neurotoxin did the same, hoping to draw its attention away from Scorpion. However, undeterred by the physical attacks that it did not see as a threat, the statue aimed again at Scorpion’s astral self; and apparently, struck Scorpion again.  This time, I heard multiple rib bones audibly snap in her chest.  From her biomonitor readings, I knew Scorpion wasn’t going to survive another attack. Scorp; get back to your body, please.  You’ve done all you could...

Suddenly, the undamaged statue, walking immediately behind the one in front of me, shattered as if an embedded explosive device had went off inside of it, sending large chunks of rock everywhere in the lab.  At the same time, Scorpion’s biomonitor suddenly flat lined.  If I had to guess, she overcasted one of her spells at the statue that would have been capable of taking much more punishment from us than the one she had already damaged.  Reacting to the loss of its summoner, the beast spirit immediately threw itself at the stone statue in a berserk frenzy, forcing it to take a few steps back from me, as its tail violently punctured its chest. 
Even as I cautiously monitored the near-by battle being raged between the two spirits in front of me, ready to get out of their way in a moment’s notice; I listened intently to what has happening out in the corridor.  Hundreds of rounds were being exchanged between the drones and the guards; followed by several explosions.  I checked once more on the time left on the detonators; thirty-six seconds left.  We might actually pull this off...

Without warning, the sounds of gunfire in the corridor abruptly died off, as Lamprey opened his eyes and sat up.  He looked obviously disorientated. “Well, so much for the lynxes. They’ve both been destroyed.”

“Can you still fight?”

“Do I even have a choice,” Lamprey asked wearily, as he pulled out his two pistols, and waited for the Azzies to regroup, and to try breaching the lab once more.

Several more moments passed in a relatively eerie calm.  The only ones fighting at the moment seemed to be the spirits in the lab. With a final thrust of one of its pinchers, the scorpion spirit snapped off the head of the stone statue; dropping it instantly.  With the destruction of the final magical threat that helped to kill its master now gone, the spirit vanished from sight.   We were left to wait for the guns that would soon be pointed at us again through the destroyed wall once again.   
Twenty-one seconds left.
       
Without warning, four grenades were shot consecutively into the lab.  We attempted to fire back, but like the last grouping of grenades; these were air-timed and exploded on contact.  The third one landed the closest to me; riddling me with shrapnel as it exploded.  My left arm no longer was the part of my body that hurt me the most, as I was knocked over onto my side.  I felt multiple pieces of shrapnel in my abdomen and legs. My right side was left scorched by the explosion.  Second degree burns at the very least. I looked over to what was left of my meat shield, which looked more like hamburger than a person at this point.  Had it not been for the meat shield taking some of the blast, I probably would have already been dead.   “Sound off, everyone, what’s your status?” I croaked; finding it very hard to breathe.  I found that my vision was also blurring; I was obvious going into shock.

  Neurotoxin whispered to me a few seconds later, “I’m still here, Black out.  But Lamprey didn’t make it.  Lamprey...is a mess.”

I glanced at the detonator and the charges.  Unlike us, they still seemed to be intact.  Fourteen seconds left. I listened as Neurotoxin struggled to get back up to a firing position.  I started to try and get back up myself, despite the agonizing pain.  But as I was doing so, I saw multiple bursts of gunfire explode through the room as they struck Neurotoxin and cut him down once he became visible from behind his cover. Neurotoxin’s body fall lifeless back to the ground; landing with a sickening thud. I stayed where I was; behind cover, considering what my next move would be.

“Whoever is still over there in that corner; do not move!  We have you surrounded. Drop your weapons now and surrender,” ordered a voice in perfect English. 

Eleven seconds left.  Just need to buy a little more time.   Slowly and quietly, I crawled along the floor; around Scorpion’s burnt body; and under a large section of the roof that had collapsed from the multiple grenade explosions. Reaching the charges; I leaned my body over the blocks of C-12; shielding them from view.  I then tossed out my empty pistols so the Azzie soldiers could see them.  “I am unarmed!”  And I then waited.

The Jaguars, not only being professional military but also Special Forces, and having been instilled to be cautiously paranoid about their enemy and their motives, did exactly as I was expecting; they took their time, thoroughly sweeping the area of the lab between them and me, looking for booby traps. Hell, I’m sure they were looking for nasty things that they themselves would rig up in the exact same situation.   Seven...Six...Five...Four...

I looked up to find two Jaguars standing over me, pointing their assault rifles at me.  “Don’t move.  Lieutenant, get the medics.”
Three...Two...

 "Adios, Mother Fraggers--,” I shouted, as I rolled away from charges; letting the two Jaguars get a good look at what their fate would be. The two soldiers attempted, in their last moments, to flee from the inevitable explosion; but it was a futile gesture, trying to run away from six blocks of C-12.  A second later, and after a brilliant flash of light and heat, it was all over, for them, for me and for my team.
Mike Wich, SR Freelancer
10 Jackpointers
Sixth World Almanac
03-10 Spin Control
War!
Street Legends
Artifacts Unbound
Conspiracy Theories
Horizon Adventure #3

TheKT

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« Reply #3 on: <12-08-14/0702:42> »
Awesome fiction. Really enjoyed it.

sunny11

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« Reply #4 on: <01-26-15/2336:54> »
“Black Out, you know just as well as I do that any run can go to hell when you’re working the shadows, even those you believe to be milk runs right here in Seattle,” Lamprey said. “What’s the difference between taking jobs that we have no clue what the hidden dangers are that could get us killed, versus knowing what those dangers are ahead of time and being better prepared for them? Besides, didn’t the Johnson say he’ll pay the full amount, regardless if we succeed or not?”!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!