Categories > Original > Fantasy > Tradewinds 04 - "Tranz-D"


by shadesmaclean 0 reviews

Max vs the robo-guards

Category: Fantasy - Rating: PG-13 - Genres: Fantasy - Warnings: [V] - Published: 2008-10-14 - Updated: 2008-10-14 - 1437 words - Complete

Max just about hit the ceiling at the sound of the alarms, and Bandit was taking it even worse.

“Justin!” he cried, trying to make himself heard over the noise, “Where are—”

“Intruder alert! Intruder alert!”

Against the deafening warble, Max never even heard the clanking footsteps emerge from a room around the corner.

At the sound of that harsh, digitized voice, Max wheeled around, deciding that he was not as alone as he had previously thought. From the next intersection he saw a black-and-grey-armored figure approach. Even before the figure brought its sidearm to bear, Bandit was already snarling at it as Max had never seen before, just standing there with his hackles rising before his eyes.

Hoping he wouldn’t need it, Max held his power pistol behind his back.

“Another Intruder has been detected on this level…” the armed figure stated, as if Max wasn’t supposed to be able to hear. Max supposed his adversary was speaking of Justin, and he quietly hoped his friend was alright. “Requesting assistance to capture and hold…”

“Excuse me…” Max began, trying to figure out what he was supposed to say even as he said it.

“Silence! Do not move!” the armored figure snapped, sounding a lot like Justin’s impression of TSA guards. Something he found less than encouraging. “Surrender and come quietly, Intruder! There is no escape!”

Based on Justin’s horror story of the mines, Max had decided that he wasn’t going to come quietly. Even as the guard launched into more instructions that he didn’t bother to pay attention to, Max whipped out his pistol and fired.

His aim was true, but the shot had no effect.

Even as he marveled at the idea of armor that could repel stun shots (which he had been told most armor couldn’t), he knew he was in trouble. He moved as quickly as he could, despite the knowledge that he could never hope to outrun a laser beam. His second shot hit the guard, who didn’t even flinch.

Yet his luck hadn’t completely deserted him. Right before the guard could pull the trigger, Bandit sprang, knocking Max’s opponent to the floor. The two struggled for a moment but, much to Max’s dismay, the guard was stronger, knocking the panther aside with one sweep of its arm.

But Max had wasted none of his window of opportunity. Furious at what this powerful foe had done to his best friend, he whipped out his laser sword. In a flash of motion that was too fast for an armored person to keep up with, he kicked the guard back down even as it tried to get back up, feeling an almost numbing jolt in his bare, cold foot as it collided with twice his weight in steel, his energy blade cleaving the barrel off the guard’s gun. He finished by pointing the neon-green blade in the enemy’s face.

“Don’t—” Max began, but the guard started getting back up anyway. He watched in dismay as it tried to swat the blade aside and instead getting its arm sliced right off. “Move…”

For a moment, he just stared, jaw hanging slack, at where the guard’s arm ended and where the mess of wires and mechanical components hanging out of it began. At least now he understood why his stun shots had no effect. Apparently, even the guards here were machines.

Realizing that he was free to use his full power against these bizarre adversaries, and that even his best might not be enough, he wasted no time and simply chopped the robo-guard’s head clean off, the laser blade cutting through the machine’s armor as easily as it did through air.

“Damn…” he muttered as he picked up his power pistol.

“Halt, Intruder!” More guards at the next junction. “Surrender your weapons! Resistance is futile!”

“Resist this!” Max shouted as he opened fire on them, no longer bothering with stun mode. As the firefight erupted, Bandit bolted. Even as he gunned one of the androids down, Max could see how quickly the situation was spiraling out of control, and he decided he was with Bandit.

Fearing that his feline friend might have gotten too far ahead of him, he dashed down the hall, hoping his superior speed would give him an edge against these clunky robots. Years ago, Uncle Angus had commented once on how tough it was to fight machines, even with energy weapons, and now Max was finding out for himself. A moment later, Bandit came bounding back his way, and he heard the sound of more guards up ahead, shouting and clanking. Max turned and dashed down a different section, calling, “This way!” and Bandit skidded into a turn of his own and followed.

“Halt, Intruder! Stay where you are! There is no escape!”

Can’t they come up with something new to say? Max asked of no one in particular as he fled down another stretch of the hallways that seemed to continue forever in all directions. He was beginning to suspect that this place might have an entire army of androids to throw at him, and he doubted he had enough ammo to fight even half of them.

As he was trying to figure out where exactly he was running to anyway, he spotted out of the corner of his eye a door that was different from all the others he had seen. Instead of a keypad, it had a latch handle, and could swing outward on hinges. Thinking perhaps that he could lock the guards out from in there he opened the door.

And nearly fell down the emergency ladder well beyond. Designed to function even if there was no power, it spanned several levels above him and one below. Max reached out and grabbed the ladder rail just in time to avoid falling in.

He climbed partway down, then dropped the rest of the way. If he took the time to climb, he feared the guards would catch up with him. As it was, he didn’t know whether or not the things even could climb.

Not wanting to stick around and find out, he snatched up his pistol and opened the door on his level. Even as he cleared the bottom of the narrow well, Bandit made a graceful landing right behind him. Above, he heard his pursuers clank to a halt at the entrance.

“The Intruder is no longer on this level! Alert all commands on levels seventy-five through one hundred…”

Max wished he understood what and where they were talking about, then their words might be of some strategic use to him.

Though he got an answer to his earlier question at the sound of metal feet clanging on ladder rungs. Hoping to slow them down, Max leaned out and fired upward at them, ducking back in a moment later to avoid a salvo of counterfire. As a last resort, he slammed the door shut, turning the latch and blasting it several times, fusing it.

His sense of accomplishment was short-lived, though, as an all-too-familiar voice said: “Intruder detected on Level 86! Concentrate search pattern around—”

“Shut up!” Max yelled as he blasted the machine, bringing it down with several shots.

But the damage was already done. Seconds later, several more guards converged on that intersection, and Max noticed that, not only was this level more brightly lit, but the walls were straight, rather than bent into hex patterns. Worse still, no supports or alcoves to provide even a hint of cover.

Then, just as Max was about to make a break for it in a blaze of cover fire, when things couldn’t get much worse, another group of guards showed up at the other end of the hall.

He managed to pick off several of them before he found himself trapped in the midst of a lethal light show. For a moment he thought of hitting the deck to make himself harder to hit, but then he knew they would just move in and tackle him. As the crossfire intensified, his only thought was I’m going to die… in this place I don’t even know…

A moment later, he did hit the deck as one of the guard’s shots hit its mark, and as everything faded to black, he heard Bandit’s desperate yowls, and the last thing he remembered was wondering if he and Justin would have had a better chance of survival if they had been able to join forces down here.
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