The first shot ricocheted along the octagonal corridor and dissipated against Katherine’s Kinetic shielding. Her shields flared blue briefly with the impact marking her out as a target in the dark corridor.
Even before her shields cleared Tom was returning fire. And she could hear the echo of gunfire from Steve’s group in the left hand corridor. Now things are starting to get interesting. Katherine dropped into a crouch as Tom fell back behind the corner under a hail of gunfire.
“These people have more ammo than sense,” he muttered over the Tac Net.
“Just remember to grab some after we clear them out. And I mean that for everyone,” she said firing a few more rounds before sliding back around the corner.
“Steve, what have you got?”
“We’ve run into a group guarding an entrance way. Looks like a lift.”
“Ours are in front of a stairwell. I count four hostiles.”
“We have a head count of four as well.”
“Let’s go and clear this vermin out.”
“Check that. Alpha Squad going in.”
“Okay boys,” Katherine said turning to the crouching men, all their backs hugging the wall. “Let’s start cleaning.” Both gave her a quick nod. Her onboard sensors had already updated her HUD map. The T Junction they had just come off of was the head of a large octangular ring of corridors with exits going to a stair and lifts with another door sitting on the internal wall at the rear of the floor. Katherine recognized the layout, recognized it well enough to know not to go to the rear door. Daniel would be located on the fourth level, the Guinea Pig level. Daniel was right. This is Yunga all over again.
Katherine darted forward, assault rifle up and firing down the corridor, Tom moved past her, lithe and deadly, his rifle ready as he took his position to lay down covering fire. Then Joshua scrambled passed to take up his position opposite Tom. The Val Myran skidded to a halt and then ducked back abruptly as gunfire slammed into the rock wall showering Joshua in particles of stone and dust.
Joshua straightened and returned fire as Katherine sprinted passed him to what she knew was the enemy position. Her rifle was up and firing and her Kinetic shields rippled and flashed as it absorbed enemy gunfire; hopefully they’ll hold out long enough to get through the barricade.
The four guards were taking cover behind two steel riot barriers and taking it in turns to hold their rifles up over the shielding long enough to fire a quick burst at the Adelaidians.
They’re not even trying. Katherine slid to a halt as she neared the barriers and was still under Tom and Joshua’s cover fire. She leaned the butt of the assault rifle into her shoulder and waited.
An armored hand and rifle showed itself above the barrier and Katherine took aim. Her shots slammed into the barrel of the rifle and the weapon shattered in its user’s hand, the shrapnel causing the owner’s shield to flare green as it was hit. She then darted up against the other side of the riot barrier as the three remaining guns predictably returned fire down the corridor.
There was some hard swearing from the owner of the destroyed gun followed by a hurried conversation that Katherine could not hear clearly. The only words she did hear was ‘Two’ and ‘not here.’
They don’t know I’m here. Katherine gripped her assault rifle and quietly drew her auto pistol. A reverse roll through the gap between the two barriers and fire both weapons into them before they realize what is happening.
‘I’m going in. Boys draw their attention.’
‘We’re on it.’ Tom’s voice came over the Tac Net.
As she moved closer to the gap, Katherine saw Tom and Josh duck out from their cover and let off a few rounds over the barrier before ducking back in again. One pistol behind the barrier returned fire, but that was not what caught Katherine’s attention. There was a muffled clunk followed by a grunt and the sound of someone hefting an unwieldy object.
“Are you insane?”
Katherine heard that clearly and agreed with the sentiment if the noises she heard tallied with what she thought were being readied.
“God damn it. Just load it.”
Katherine looked down the corridor and gave Tom the gesture to retreat back up the passageway. She then readied herself.
Katherine slid backwards into the gap and then reverse rolled through it, coming to a stop with both weapons raised and firing at the men stationed behind each barrier.
The four were caught completely off guard. The rate of fire from the assault rifle enabled the bullets to rip through the Kinetic Armor of the two men on the right and then slammed head long through the physical armor itself before penetrating flesh. The two did not stand a chance.
The auto pistol was not as successful. The two men on the left were in the process of loading a small grenade launcher. The man loading the launcher took the brunt of the pistol magazine; his shields barely put up a fight before failing under the barrage of fire.
Staring in surprise as his comrade fell, the last man standing swung the grenade launcher around to aim it at Katherine. She squeezed the trigger and found her auto pistol running on empty.
A smile formed under the man’s helmet visor as he aimed the launcher squarely at Katherine’s chest.
She leapt to her feet and rushed the man, ramming her armored shoulder into his groin region just as he jammed his fingers on the trigger. Both of them slammed back against the wall; and the launcher did not activate.
Instead the soldier bought the large grip of the launcher crashing down onto Katherine’s back. She grunted with the impact; powered kinetic shields were not designed to handle hard, physical combat. But her body armor was.
Katherine shot her slim form between his arms as he raised the launcher again and smashed her helmeted head into his unprotected nose and mouth. There was a crunch and a surprised gurgle and then the weapon clattered to the ground as the man staggered back clenching at his ruined face. She heard a faint whining sound and a splash of blood appeared at the soldier’s neck. The man slumped lifelessly to the ground. Katherine looked up the corridor in time to see Tom lower his rifle.
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