“R8PR!” I shout. “Can you help me defeat this guy?”
“Not yet,” he replies, separated from by a distance of about ten armed guards. “This body’s too clunky. Let me gather some supplies first.” At the same time, he picks up a spare Magitek wand taser and blasts it at a guy in front of him.
Donald Blyth and me are in the middle of a one-on-one. Jones has been knocked out, and all of the other Ascendants have long since fled. Until Yuri Motokawa and her mercenaries get to the conference room, it’s up to me to prevent this man from getting away.
And man, I do not like this fight.
I’m hurt, in pain pretty much everywhere, but I can still dodge his attacks. He’s like a bull running at me, stampeding rapidly but unable to overcome his momentum to stop when I jump out of the way. He runs into the wall before he can change course.
Maybe he won’t be so impossible to beat if I keep him far away like this.
Blyth turns around and charges again, but I jump-flip behind him and punch him in the back, which–
What part of him ISN’T made of titanium?
As I vibrate uncontrollably on the floor from that very unfortunate punch, Blyth stops and laughs.
“I’m not even damaged,” he says. “You can’t possibly keep this up.”
“Neither am I,” I pant, gripping my cracked-up ribcage and starting to feel the swell of a black eye.
Blyth detaches his left arm and swings it at me like a baseball bat.
It nearly hits me in the face. A blow with that thing, at that speed, is probably like being pummeled by an eighteen wheeler, in which case I am more than likely a goner.
“Can’t we talk this out?” I ask, dodging his attacks. He’s slow, out-of-practice for sure. But if I’m just a little bit less careful than I need to be, he’ll kill me dead. I really don’t want that. In my current state, one good hit could probably do it.
“I know about your healing abilities. You’ll survive.”
“Survive? I thought you were trying to kill me.”
“The better you fare, the more I’m reconsidering you. It’s a tough call. Will you be a good mind-controlled servant after enough dream sessions? Or will you end up a valuable cadaver?”
“Those both sound like decent enough fates to me.”
His left eye glows with red energy, and then blasts a laser at me that I barely dodge before it sets a bush behind me on fire. Geez!
Of COURSE his red eye shoots lasers.
“Okay!” I shout. “This is breaking the rules of combat!”
“Just a second, Morgan,” R8PR says from afar.
I grab at his detached arm with my free hand and try to wrest it from him, but that just lets him pull me closer. He lets go of his detached arm and I lose my balance. I thump on the floor butt-first.
The arm magnetically floats back up and reattaches. He clenches the metal fist and jumps in the air, higher than anything I’ve seen from a guy that heavy.
He lands in exactly the spot I would have been had I not rolled aside at the last second.
I’m laying on the ground, basically helpless while some laser-eye robot tries to beat me up. Oh, yay, this is the most fun I’ve had in ages.
I get back up, but not in time to avoid the pummeling.
The good thing is that the conference room doors burst open in a small explosion and a bunch of gun-toting mercenaries barge in. The good thing is I see Lamar and Karina, safe and sound next to Yuri Motokawa. The bad thing is I’m being pounded in the stomach by a big metal fist.
I keep my place, I don’t fall back. But my entire body burns in pain. I hobble around aimlessly trying to shake it off, but it doesn’t go away.
Lamar and Karina rush to my side. Karina grabs ahold of me before I fall over again, while Lamar zips ahead so fast I can barely register his body before he’s up against Blyth himself.
The two cyborgs duke it out, trading punches, blocking blows. Neither one gets a hit in. Their fists collide with enough force to crack Lamar’s glasses.
“We need to get you out of here,” says Karina.
“I’m fine,” I say. “Go help Jones. She’s hurt bad.”
After a second’s hesitation, Karina leaves my side and goes over to the unconscious girl. I look around at the room, where soldiers and robots fight, where tasers zap and fists fly. Carnage almost like a real war zone. I hear gunshots in the distance, but nothing in the conference room. It’s mostly empty by now, save for the main man himself.
R8PR, still in a robot body stolen from an Ascendant bodyguard, is gathering weapons and attaching them to himself. I don’t know what he’s going for, but he doesn’t have much time. We have to stop all this.
Blyth shoots another eye laser and Lamar barely dodges it; the tip of his hair is singed, and that’s just enough of a shock to throw him off-balance; he’s thrown to the floor and slides right up against my feet.
“Eighty-five percent chance of success,” Lamar mutters. “No, seventy-three. Seventy… one.”
“I’d say it’s about one hundred,” I tell him, pulling him back on his feet.
Lamar and I stand by side, right in front of Blyth. He stares at us, assessing the situation with a single leering eye.
Jones is up, too, next to Karina. She’s holding her knife again, while Karina is in a fighting stance. They stand right behind Blyth.
And off on the other side of the conference room, R8PR is still fighting with all of the goons not paying any attention to us.
The five of us could have struck a badass action pose if we were all together. But this is good enough for me.
“Wasn’t a good idea messing with us,” I say. “Your little Ascendants thing is about to end. Right here and now.”
“Ha.” Just one laugh.
Then another jump–
Clear over our heads–
And lands next to the conference room door. He dashes away like a bull exiting a china shop.
Karina’s jaw drops.
I tilt my head to the side in disbelief. “Did he just… run away?”
After a second’s hesitation to understand what the hell just happened, all five of us sprint out of the conference room.
This just became a chase scene.