Traveler: Storyteller Tales: Firefight

            Lockhart took a bullet in the back as he dove behind some crates.  Fyodor grabbed his leg as he fell back into a tarp.  The Princess felt a bullet bounce off the shoulder pad of her armor, but all that just made her mad.  One arrow took out the man on the walkway, two stories up on the left.  A second arrow took out the man on the walkway to the right, but this one had the bad sense to behave like he was in a stupid movie.  He grabbed at the arrow in his chest, groaned and fell off the walkway, two stories to the concrete floor.

            A man came barreling out of the front office—the one by the front door with tinted boss’ windows that could look out on the warehouse floor.  He had a gun in his hand, but got the Princess’ long knife in his chest before he could fire a shot.  The Princess looked at her bleeding friends, struggling to fire at the men who arrived from some room at the back of the building.  She put the bow and arrows back in her cape, though it still appeared to be simply a free-flowing cape.

            The Princess left that place and let Martok the Bospori, her other alien life take her place—the armor adjusting automatically to his short but broad shape.  Bospori were not the swiftest runners even in Earth’s low gravity, but they were strong as a gorilla on Earth thanks to that same gravity difference. 

            Martok put one arm around Fyodor’s waist and helped him to his feet.  He practically picked Lockhart up off the floor with his other arm.  He had to drag Lockhart, but Fyodor limped and hopped and even managed a shot or two behind them as they stumbled into that front office.  Immediately Martok threw the office chair through the inside window so they could return fire on the men that poured out of the back.  Then he tipped the desk and shoved it to the window so they could have more protection against incoming bullets than just the thin fake wood wall beneath the window.

            “Prop me up.  Prop me up.”  Lockhart was on his stomach complained and tried to use his hands to get himself up to where he could fire his gun.

            “In a minute.”  Doctor Mishka’s voice made him pause.  Martok had left and let the good Doctor fill his shoes.  Lockhart felt his shirt rip and some cool ointment spread on his back where he was busy bleeding to death.  Doctor Mishka clicked her tongue but said nothing as she helped Lockhart sit up by the window.  She used a small knife from her boot to cut open Fyodor’s pants leg.  She spread some ointment on his leg even as she spoke.

            “I must go.  The bomb,” she said and she stepped up to the door and shouted in Russian.  “Colonel Nadia Illiana Kolchenkov, KGB.  Throw down your weapons and surrender.  This is madness.”

            “Very good,” Fyodor commented.  Of course, no one surrendered, but about half of the enemy stopped firing for a moment.  Mishka took advantage of that moment, but of course it was not Mishka, it was Diogenes of Pella who leapt, dove, slid to the dead body and dragged the body by the foot to keep the dead man between him and the shooters until he reached the back side of some crates near the wall where a steel girder went up to the ceiling. 

            Diogenes called, and the Princess’ knife vacated the dead man’s chest and jumped to his hand.  He wiped it clean on the tarp and put it back in its sheath while he considered his options.  The girder attached to the walkways two stories up.  There were rooms at the back of the warehouse, probably attached to the loading docks, but the little army of some twenty men had come from the downstairs rooms.  Diogenes surmised the bomb was likely  in one of the rooms above, off the walkways, and without a second thought he let Martok return.

            Martok jumped as high as he could and grabbed the steel girder.  He held himself up merely by his steel-like grip and the strength of his arms.  He reached the top quickly, but paused.  There was a man with a rifle who had come down that walkway with the hope of finding an angle to shoot down on Lockhart and Fyodor.  That, however, was not why Martok waited.  Come on!  He thought, and he was rewarded as Billings, Radcliff and a dozen agents came pouring in the front door.  Most made it to crates for cover, but two never got passed the door.  The enemy had some automatic weapons.

            Martok knew he would be exposed, but he hoped the people down below would be too occupied to look up.  He swung like an ape from the girder to the walkway rim where he hung and inched his way along to the man.  He grabbed on tight, actually bent the steel lip of the walkway with his right hand while his left hand reached up.  He grabbed the shooter by the ankle and with one good Bospori roar, he pulled the man right under the railing and off the walkway to plummet to the floor.

            Martok flipped himself up to the walkway and scurried along on his belly for a distance to get away from that spot.  No one fired on the spot, but any number of heads looked up at the roar.  Then it was Diogenes’ turn again.  He did a lot of this sort of stuff for Alexander, and he knew his job well.

            There were two men on the walkway in front of the most likely room.  The Princess wanted to come back and get out her bow.  Diogenes said, no.  Killing was his business.  He got out the bow himself.  Maybe he was not as good as her—no one was—but he was best in his class at the Academy in Pella.  From his angle, it only took two shots, and he did not even have to check  when he arrived and put his bow away.

            The door to that room was cracked open but Diogenes knew his job.  He pulled out his sword and long knife and readied himself.  He kicked the door open but stayed behind the wall.  There was a burst of automatic gunfire that stopped when the shooter saw no one in the doorway.  The instant the fire stopped, Diogenes let his long knife fly.  He caught the man in the shoulder, leapt into the room and finished him quickly.  The man in the white lab coat stood up and Diogenes cut the man’s head off with one back swing of his sword.

            The bomb was right in front of him.  It looked more like a trunk than a suitcase.  Mohammed was on the floor, dead, a monkey wrench in his hand.  He must have damaged it, but the man in the white coat said it was repairable.  Diogenes frowned.  They did not teach atomic bomb making at the Academy in Pella. 

            For the third time, Martok returned.  Even he was stymied for a minute by the bomb, not because it was so sophisticated, but because it was so primitive.  He decided there was only one insurance.  He uncoupled the radioactive material and threw it out the door as quickly as he could in an attempt to limit his exposure.  He heard it fall to the warehouse floor below, but then he noticed someone else in the doorway.  He leapt to the corner of the room behind the bomb, squatted down to his smallest size, put his face to the wall so only his cloak over his head and back faced the room.  The grenade still gave him a pretty good concussion, and he passed out where he squatted.

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