Stories From A Cyber-Stroud: Tumbledown Patrol

“SCPD!  Put down your weapons and come out with your hands up!” Tanx, a herg, bellowed at the door.

“What are the odds?” he whispered to his partner Ali.

The much smaller illietheril winked at him while adjusting her combat helmet around her large pointed ears.

“That’s what I thought.”

“FUCK YOU!” Came the response from the other side of the door.

Ali smiled at Tanx, while she checked her pistol and crouched next to the door. Tanx took a step back from the wall.  He looked at the wall, looked the door, nodded to Ali at the wall. Tanx looked down the hallway. Twenty-feet to his right the hallway ended in what he assumed was a collapsed roof, effectively sealing that end of the hallway.  There was no way of knowing what was on the other side of the door.  He hoped for a single room with one or two gunmen.

Tanx held up his left arm, the stubby digits on the hand counting down.  Four, he ratcheted a round into the Oakenshield Grinder shotgun.  Three, he looked at Ali ready to spring. Two, deep breath. One, with a thunderous kick Tanx stepped through the wall, levelling the shotgun.  Stepping into the room, he saw four gangers facing the door. Tanx shot the one closest to him in the chest. Ali slide into the room to his left, placing Tank’s bulk between the gangers and her.  Rolling into view, shot a ganger through the knee and chest as the ganger collapsed to the ground.

As sections of the wall slide off Tanx’s shoulders, one ganger began firing at him, the other at Ali who had rolled behind a chair.  The small rounds from the gangers sub-machine-guns impacted Tanx body armor, a minor irritation.  The ganger trying to shoot Ali was in spray-and-pray mode, firing in a semi-circle as he tried to track her movement behind the chair. Some of his rounds struck Tanx in the arms and shotgun; knocking the shotgun from his hands. Tanx saw a ganger entering from a bedroom behind the gangers; the ganger carried a Maxwell Arms Roomsweeper, the distinctive barrel of the auto-shotgun well known in the department.

Ali popped out from behind the bullet-holed chair shooting spray-and-pray in the chest four times.  As the ganger dropped to the ground, the top and middle of the chair exploded.  Bits of chair and stuffing flew everywhere; the distinctive whine of the auto-shotgun chewing through rounds filled the room. Tanx drew his over the shoulder combat knife while charging the ganger shooting at him. Peppered with over a dozen rounds he knew were going to hurt later, Tanx drove the combat knife, all three feet of it, into the ganger’s stomach, the force of his charge drove him and the impaled ganger through a wall into the bedroom.

Auto-shotgun whining, Tanx could hear return fire from Ali. He stood up, wiped ganger off his chest. Thankfully, there was nobody else in the room.  He reached down to pick up the obviously bent sub-machine-gun. Tanx yanked his combat knife out of the dead ganger and ran to the bedroom where the ganger with the auto-shotgun stood. Tanx could see over the ganger’s shoulders the room was a disaster with impact craters all over.  Tanx shoved his combat knife into the ganger’s back while palming the back of his head and pulling him towards Tanx.

“Ali?” Tanx shouted.

Ali leaned out from behind the remains of another chair and gave a little wave, “Room secured.”