Thumper preceded me out into the hall as I swept her to the left, fully expecting what I was half-hoping to not find. And there they were, Sashe’s Close Security, pistols aimed and barking. I didn’t have to think about firing Thumper. By that point in life it was automatic. Too bad there were slugs hammering me in the chest and ribs as I pulled the trigger.
My shot went wild, burying itself somewhere in the wall or ceiling as I was staggered back by the impacts against my armored jacket. Oh yeah, didn’t I mention that? The heavy jacket and pants I’d changed into while talking to Mhik and Ahni were armored. That’s why they were in the bag with the spare clips for Thumper, comp-shades, my illegal splice card and four concussion grenades. And you have no idea how glad I was at that moment that I’d decided to bring the damn bag with me. I was still staggering as I heard their pistols bark again.
I turned and ran for all I was I was worth.
The pistols barked a few more times as I tore ass down the carpeted hallway, adrenaline and a happy snarl singing in my veins. Like I said, I’d only been half hoping not to see them there. The other half of me had been swimming in my new hate-pool and very much looking forward to it.
It only took me a few seconds to get to where I was furiously sprinting – the door leading into the stairwell. I heard one of them yell “Shit!” as I barreled through the door. I didn’t slow down for the stairs and made it to the next floor before hearing them thunder into the stairwell.
“Which way,” one of them started before I let them know where I was.
“Fuck!” I yelled before tearing the door to my right open and jumping into the hall. I kept the door open a sliver as I holstered Thumper. I listened to Sashe’s team’s progress and reached into the bag. I pulled out a grenade, popped the safety and started the short-count. They’d be close enough when it was time.
Four, three, two, I counted as my pursuers pounded down the stairs, and, I yanked the door open and tossed the primed grenade towards them in a short arc. Then I threw myself back around the corner and sprinted the hell away from that door. I wasn’t worried about catching much of the blast myself. The comparatively vast open space of the stairwell would allow the concussive force to dissipate too quickly to do any real damage to anyone on the other side of a wall. But you do not fuck about when it comes to explosives. People who do that tend to not have the full inventory of parts for long. So I moved.
When I heard the crump of the grenade going off I looped back to the stairwell. I didn’t have to worry about getting the door open as the grenade had taken it off the hinges. Didn’t disperse as much as I thought it would, I mused as I stepped over to the bodies of my former pursuers. Shrugging, I bent down and started stripping them of their gear. I didn’t bother going through their pockets, just stripped them of their equipment belts and the serious gear. The pistols I found a few feet away. One went into the bag.
I zipped up the bag and slung it over my shoulder and across my back. Then I methodically dropped the clip from the pistol I had kept in my hand, weight-checking it for ammo. The pistol’s ex-owner had changed mags before tearing down the stairs. Good. I nodded, slapped the clip back in and checked the chamber. I chuckled as I jacked the slide, seating a round in the chamber.
Time to let ‘em all know just what I think of this shit. I turned to glare up into the corners where the walls and ceiling met. That was where the cameras were. Not where they would be, but where they were. Every stairwell and hallway under the dome was plugged for sight and sound. You learn that sort of thing in my line of work.
I glared at the cameras. “Not much of a psych retrieval, fuckers. Your bitches were packing slugs, not tranqs.” Then I turned to the still forms on the floor and put two of those slugs into each of their already bleeding skulls.