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Stories from the Verse
Chapter 46: Brown 118
Table of Contents
Previous chapter: Chapter 45: Slade 106
He thought he’d lost more time than he could afford, and so Derek risked an elevator instead of finding a stairway, emerging on the twentieth floor. Rechecking the power supply on the laser rifle, he emerged with care, but no one was waiting for him when the door opened. He then got his bearings and headed toward the southwest corner. They were now a known presence in some form, and had left several dead terrorists, several unattended freed hostages, and a couple of enemies who had seen him.
He was also out of range for their headset communications. He didn’t realize just how short the range was, but he was getting no response from Jim or Pete, and he would rather think that they couldn’t hear him than that they were dead. That thought, though, checked his pace. He did not want to rush into a trap. He continued toward the designated rendezvous, but more cautiously, stretching his hearing ahead.
It did not take enhanced hearing to recognize gunfire. It was sporadic. Someone was in a firefight, trading bullets from behind barriers. It was almost certainly his team, and they wouldn’t be engaging unless they were cornered. He didn’t have a map of this floor--it seemed again to be offices and corridors--but he figured he could follow the sound well enough. Soon he reached a point at which he thought someone would be immediately around the next corner; at least, he dared not step around that corner without having some idea what he was going to do.
There had to be at least two terrorists, and probably at least three, but not more than four. Jim would be more than a match for a lone gunman, but five would be able to overwhelm him and take him quickly. Meanwhile, he could probably kill three, maybe four, if he made all his shots count, which wasn’t too difficult at the likely range, and given that the only cover around here was the corner at the end of the hall so they couldn’t hide from him and Jim at the same time. His left-handedness was playing against him this time, though, as they were to his left so he would have to expose more of his body to aim the rifle. Oh, and they would be wearing vests under their shirts--all the terrorists he had encountered thus far wore them, and that made the job more difficult because the easy shot to the center of the body would be less likely to penetrate, so he’d have to rely on the more difficult head shots or just shoot to wound.
Shoot to wound--he hadn’t thought of that. He had his pack here. In it was all of Morach’s equipment. Maybe he wasn’t as fast with the bow as he was with the laser, but he had enough arrows, and probably he would have the advantage of surprise if he came at them as a sprite. One would be down before they knew he was there, and he might get a second before they returned fire, and if there were four of them he could maneuver between them, being rather a small moving target.
But then, if he played it right with the laser, he could kill at least one by surprise. The gun made so little noise no one was likely to look toward the shooter, and so again he might be able to kill a second before they were aware he was there. He was a bigger target as Derek, but he could keep back partly under cover here at the corner, and force the enemy to choose between exposing themselves to him and exposing themselves to Jim.
Jim--probably within range of the headset by now, but Derek did not want to give away his presence by talking. It was time to act. He readied the rifle and moved around the corner.
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: