The fourth marine, whom Malachi had now mentally designated as "Moe," now stood only a meter and a half from him, casually aiming the last remaining Gauss rifle in his direction. His partners, whom Malachi was now thinking of as "Larry" and "Curly," moved into place on either side of Moe.
"By the authority of Sikarran Security, you are hereby placed under arrest for the illegal trafficking of stolen materials, attacking an officer, resisting arrest, disarming an officer and, if Private Wheeler does not survive your unmitigated attack with a stolen weapon... murder," Moe said. He then tapped a button on his waist. "That was for the record. Now I'm going to blow a hole in your head you mutated freak."
Malachi dropped into a fighting stance and waved. "Bring it on."
Moe lifted his weapon up but was stopped when Curly, the one whom Malachi had disarmed and flung across the room, put his hand on the weapon and moved in front of Moe. "This son of a bitch is mine."
The good thing about marines is that they are slow and have low visibility in those clunky power suits, Malachi thought. The bad thing is that if they get a hold of you they'll squish your unarmored ass like a blood sausage. Speed is the key to winning.
Curly stepped forward and Malachi was already in motion, his adrenaline flowing like a raging river. Spinning to avoid any gunplay from Moe, he moved in close to Curly with blinding speed and broke off the pull-tab of the fire extinguisher on the marine's chest. A mass of chemicals spurted out, foaming over Curly's faceplate and blinding him while Malachi continued his movement behind the marine. He picked up a chair and brought it down on Curly's armored head. The impact jarred the marine but he wasn't going down that easily, and Malachi didn't expect him to.
He continued his fluid movement and slid past Moe's back to move in close to Larry. The marine lunged at him and Malachi flipped backward, slamming his metallic boots into Larry's faceplate, shattering it into a thousand pieces of plasteel.
Sweeping these jokers isn't an option with all that armor on, Malachi thought. Time to take it to the air.
Moe was now turning around trying to get a bead on Malachi's location while the other two struggled to see again. Malachi mirrored the marine's movements until he was behind him again, and gave himself some extra room to separate himself from Moe.
"I'm behind you, slow-ass," Malachi said.
Moe swung around, ready to fire off a few rounds, but Malachi was already in flight by the time the marine had finished turning. A vicious double-snap kick shattered the marine's faceplate and knocked him off balance. Malachi grabbed the Marine's sidearm as well as Curly's. Moe recovered quickly from the kicks that had been delivered, and his partners could now see again. Looking at each other and then around them, they turned to see Malachi running toward the bar. Larry and Curly ran after him while Moe fired off several bursts just as Malachi reached the far wall and ran up it, defying gravity momentarily as he launched into a backwards dive and fired his guns.
One round caught Larry in the jaw and exploded, blowing his face off. At the same time, another round clipped Curly in the side of the leg, blowing out a servomotor in his armor that dropped him to one knee. A follow-up bullet impacted with his goop-covered faceplate, shattering it and obliterating the head inside before the body flopped onto the floor.
Still in mid-air, Malachi twisted his body and hit the ground in a roll as spikes from Moe's Gauss rifle flew past him, ripping apart the bar and the back wall. Coming up into a crouch, Malachi fired six more shots at Moe. The first one blew off Moe's gun arm just below the shoulder and sent both his arm and his Gauss rifle clattering to the floor. The second penetrated his thigh but failed to explode. The third and fourth rounds hit him square in the chest and exploded, but failed to do little more than char and crack the armor there. Numbers five and six missed completely.
Malachi stood up and released the empty clips from the guns and placed the weapons on his belt hooks.
"Explosive rounds. Nice choice," Malachi said. "Need bigger clips though."
Moe looked at him, a well of disbelief and anger swelling up inside him, and limped toward him. "Under arrest... asshole," the marine muttered in shock.
Malachi closed his eyes for a second, breathed in and opened them again. "Arrest this." With a quick inverted-scissors movement, his hands crossing over each other, Malachi watched Moe's body mirror the movement as it was torn in half at the waist, the two parts flying in opposite directions.
With his body weakened from the effort, Malachi breathed out a rush of air and fell backwards, hitting the ground like a sack of wet cement as the expected seizure enveloped him in its shaky embrace. His vision clouded with strobing white light.
"Hold it right there, Missy," a marine said as Haley and Kaiyrnyn exited the café. Haley turned and put her hands up in surrender, and was quickly mirrored by her mutant companion. The marine's weapon was trained on them as he looked at the pool of blood by the main entrance, while the sound of weapons fire rang out from inside the building. "My buddies must really be workin' your friend over, lady. Now hand over the merchandise and we'll all take a nice little trip downtown."
Haley shot him a pouty look. "I was just havin' fun, officer. I was gonna return it. I just wanted to see you big strong men and your cold hard armor up close." She tilted her head to the side and let a strand of hair hang loose over one eye. "I mean, with all that security guarding your headquarters, how's a girl supposed to meet anyone but these weak little Sikarran men and all these scary mutants?"
Kaiyrnyn looked at her as if she had just blown off his foot.
"Yeah, well, I'll let the courts decide whether yer guilty or not, little lady. Next time you want to meet a man in uniform, I suggest you enlist as a medic," the marine said. He tapped a button on his arm communicator. "Anderson, this is Moore. Come in, over."
"This is Anderson. Everything okay over there, Moore? Over," came the static-laden response.
"Yeah, Boyarsky and Reynolds led the point team inside. I've got two of the fugitives out here and it sounds like the boys are havin' some fun inside with third one. Over."
"I copy that. I'm headin' over to your side. Over and out."
Moore looked back at Haley and Kaiyrnyn. "Soon as he gets here, we'll make that trip downtown."
Haley put her arms down. "My arms are tired." She started walking toward him.
"What do you think you're doing? Stay where you are," Moore said.
Haley unbuttoned her shirt a bit. "Don't you wanna strip search me, officer?"
Moore blinked in surprise and then scowled again. "Look, I don't want to hurt you, ma'am, but there are rules I have to follow."
Haley moved in closer until she was standing only inches from Moore. She began rubbing her hands across the chest armor. "Oooh, you must be really strong to be able to wear all that heavy armor."
"Well, yeah, I work out when I —" *Zzzzzzzzt* Moore said before falling to the ground with a thud.
Haley stood over the unconscious marine, turned off her taser and slid it into place on the back of her belt. "Was it as good for you as it was for me?" she said with a smile. She turned to look at Kaiyrnyn and saw him looking toward the building. Anderson was approaching them and Haley's eyes went wide. Seeing his fellow marine on the ground, he aimed his weapon at the mutant, assuming he had killed Moore.
Kaiyrnin's eyes went wide as he dove to the right to avoid a burst by Anderson and fired a weapon Haley had never seen before. Two pulses of energy flashed out of the bizarre weapon and slammed into Anderson, the first punching a hole through his chest armor that immediately cauterized the flesh inside, and the second decapitating the marine.
The mutant stood back up and brushed himself off and turned to see Haley giving him The Look.
"I guess we're both full of surprises," he said. He waved the strange weapon briefly and smiled. "Protoss technology."
"Come on, we've got to get out of here before the others come out of there," Haley said, heading toward her bike.
The Antioch Chronicles™ © 1998, Eric Dieter & Ruben Moreno. All rights reserved. The Antioch Chronicles™ trademark and associated logos are the exclusive property of Eric Dieter & Ruben Moreno. Characters and distinctive likenesses thereof, character names, item names, place names, named events, artwork and all other related material not disclosed herein are protected under the laws of the United States of America and other countries. Any reproduction, retransmission, or unauthorized use herein is prohibited without express written permission.
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