Fiddlestix and Deacon find Pete on top of the mountain. Deacon shows her his personal cloaking device. She provides a distraction, talking to Pete, while he moves into position. Fiddlestix fires at the cyber handler, only to find herself contained in the slow motion field.
Pete leaned in, careful not to be caught in the field himself. “Pretty,” he chuckled darkly. “Pretty, pretty lady. Very deadly, insubordinate. Macky doesn’t like you, nope, nope, nope! Wacky Macky doesn’t like interfering, fiddling Stix!”
With a mammoth effort, Fiddlestix tried to move her hand to fire at him. He was so close, she could smell his bad breath. But he wasn’t close enough to get caught in her field. Suddenly, Pete Livingston was shoved into her. Caught in the same slow motion field she was, he was at her mercy. Her cyber arm was able to move more quickly than the flesh and blood one. It wasn’t governed by the same parameters as the rest of her. Blade deployed, it slid slowly through his throat, severing his spine. Gurgling, Pete Livingston wilted to the ground, his blood spraying in long, slow motion arcs, bathing her from head to foot.
With a disorienting surge, time started moving right again. Deacon was at her side, Livingston’s computer in his hands. Grabbing her arm, he jerked her toward the clearing. There was, rather unexpectedly, a console in the middle surrounded by toadstools and wild flowers. Deacon placed his hands on the dome covering the control panel and it slid aside. Palm down, he placed it on a screen. A quick scan and she saw a row of yellow blinking lights gradually fade and go out.
“Your people are free again,” he said. “Contact them.”
“Diaz,” she bellowed.
“Yes, Master Sergeant!”
“Get to the Shine Clan compound. They need our help.”
Deacon was already talking to Jasper. “Hannah’s people are heading up the mountain now. They’re coming to help.”
“Get back here fast,” Jasper said abruptly. “It’s fixing to cut loose.”
“On my way.” Deacon held the device out to Fiddlestix. “Tell me you can use this,” he implored.
“I can’t, but Harmony can. He used to be a handler. What’s the fastest way back down?”
“The speediest elevator east of the Mississippi.”
He grinned, leading her to a large tree to the side of the clearing. The inside of the tree was hollow. There was a metal platform that hardly looked big enough for the two of them to stand on it. Deacon held her to him, hugging her close, heedless of the blood on her. As soon as they stepped on the platform, it started to drop.
Fiddlestix felt like she was going to vomit. Had the trip been any longer, she probably would have. It was over in less than thirty seconds. Ears ringing, she stumbled out of the shaft with Deacon in her wake. They were standing next to the room they’d started from earlier, at the junction of the tunnels leading to the east and west gates. They heard fighting behind them. A glance at the scanner showed that the cyber warriors were already at the east gate.
“Yo, Master Sergeant!”
“Got a job for you. Where are you?”
“East gate, Master Sergeant. We’re under attack.”
Deacon nearly dragged her behind him as they ran along the hall. Harmony was waiting for them at the mouth of the tunnel. She thrust the scanner into his hands.
“What can you do with this?”
“Let me see.” He fiddled a moment with the controls, then smiled. “It’s responding. Get your console, Master Sergeant. We’ll take these boys out.”
Kaz’ console in her hands, she typed in the deactivation code. She followed Harmony to the gate. Cyber warriors were mowing down the Shine Clan soldiers, flattening them. The one doing the most damage slowed slightly, hitched and stopped moving. His gaze traveled to Fiddlestix and Harmony. Raising his weapon, he tried to fire, but froze. His companions surged him over, walking on top of him as they clambered up to the door. The second one in line faltered, hesitated and crashed onto its back. The third got a little further, but tripped on his downed companions before toppling over and rolling down the mountain a couple hundred yards before crashing into a tree.
© 2018 Dellani Oakes