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Stories from the Verse
Chapter 44: Brown 117
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They lost some time Derek did not think they could afford, and it was not exactly his fault but the blame fell to him. He had led them directly to a stairway door, but it had a sticker on it. Then as he was getting his bearings he realized that the next nearest stairwell was on the other side of the balcony they had crossed, so he was going to have to backtrack some to get to another. He briefly considered taking an elevator, but even with the scramble program he had installed he thought the terrorists would respond to the arrival of an elevator. They still did not know where they were going, so the lost time might not cost them that much.
As it happened, it cost them more than he wanted to pay. As he crossed one of the numerous alleyways between stores, he heard a shout and leapt back just in time to avoid a burst of bullets. He had been seen. His mind raced. The enemy still did not know that there was more than one invader, and he could still keep it that way.
ďDouble back,Ē he said quietly into the mic. ďIím going to take these guys on a chase in the opposite direction, and Iíll meet you in the southwest corner of level twenty.Ē
He barely waited for the nod from Jim before dashing across the space. Already the team--three, so probably the ones sent to find him--were carefully working their way closer. As he ran he heard them cry to each other and give chase. If Jim could get Pete out of sight around a corner, they should be fine.
Another burst behind him told him that they were pursuing. He dashed around the next bend, looking for the next idea. He could hope they underestimated him; that seemed his best option. Right now it would be difficult for them not to think him a fleeing child with a gun; he was a trained commando. Well, he wasnít exactly trained, but he had the experience.
He was also left-handed; that gave him an advantage they might not anticipate. He jumped into a sheltered doorway on the left and readied his laser rifle. In a moment his pursuers came around the corner and, not seeing him through the glass, moved swiftly toward him. He swung the barrel of the gun out into the corridor and fired once, twice, and a terrorist was down, twice more and another was down--but he was out of power on the clip, and the remaining terrorist was advancing on him too quickly to make the swap.
He wasnít that good at this, he thought, but Lauren had taught him a bit, and heíd gotten some instruction in recent weeks to get a bit better. He was really an amateur at this sort of fighting style; but he hoped that his opponent, a much larger and clearly stronger bear of a man who could count on his sheer size and strength to win fights for him, knew less than he did. In any case, he managed to dodge the manís grasp and find the hilt of his knife. He swung, but the manís greater reach had him too far out to connect with anything vital. Fortunately the behemoth was slow, giving Derek the opportunity to stay out of reach. On the other hand, time was against him. He couldnít just exhaust his adversary even if he were certain he could outlast him, because there was too great a risk that someone else would come, and little chance that such a person would be on his side. He was going to have to win this fight, and to do it he was going to have to take risks.
He had managed to land a few blows, minor cuts and stabs mostly in his attackerís arms as he evaded. It was risky, though--if he lost the knife he would be hard-pressed for an alternate means of attack. But heíd killed Montressor with this knife--at least, he thought he did. It was worth a try. He fell back to the wall and braced himself.
As his opponent came for him, he dropped down and sprang forward and upward, brandishing the blade before him. He realized that he hardly knew where he was going--and as he realized this, the realization struck him hard, along with the arm of the fighter which threw him sideways into the hall, where he tumbled to the floor, the knife clattering away from him.
It wasnít a total loss; but Derek had miscalculated. He had forgotten that the terrorists wore vests under their shirts, and the force of the knife had been deflected by this. Still, it tore away the shirt and part of the manís trousers, leaving a serious gash in his hip. Unfortunately, he left himself weaponless.
No, he didnít. He had the chain around his waist. Lauren used her chain-like weapon and shown him a bit of how to use it effectively, and before that he had used this chain against Michael, the crazy kid who was killing his friends at camp. He grabbed it as he found his feet, and started swinging it threateningly.
The terrorist started to draw a gun from a holster on his waist; apparently he was finished playing. But the chain gave Derek the reach he didnít have with the knife, and he flung it forward, smacking the manís wounded arm. The gun slipped from his fingers as the man flinched, and Derek pressed his advantage striking again. He moved in closer, and whipped the manís legs. The man was off balance, and Derek charged, knocking the taller adversary to the floor and tromping on him before smacking the doubled chain against his head.
That did it. The man was at least unconscious. Derek still wasnít keen on killing someone who had stopped fighting. He collected the knife first, then the laser rifle, inspecting it to make sure it wasnít damaged. Connecting another clip, he tried to get oriented. It was time to find his team.
There is a behind-the-writings look at the thoughts, influences, and ideas of this chapter, along with twenty other sequential chapters of this novel, in mark Joseph "young" web log entry #235: Versers Infiltrate. Given a moment, this link should take you directly to the section relevant to this chapter. It may contain spoilers of upcoming chapters.
As to the old stories that have long been here: