Avalanche – Snippet 34

By this time more of the guards had figured out they were being taken from behind.  They turned to face Sera, who had sheathed herself in flame and leapfrogged past John, her sword and spear so hot they were white-approaching-plasma.  The guards had ballistic shields, rated to withstand rifle fire.  If they had counted on those to protect them, they were sadly mistaken.  Sera sliced the tops off, and took out three of the tightly-packed guards with blows from the butt of her spear.  They went down like hammered cattle.

Before any of the other security guards could turn their weapons on Sera, John sent a blast of flame from his right hand, centered on her. It blossomed around her, engulfing the guards nearest to his wife. She could see perfectly well in his flames, which could not hurt her; the guards, meanwhile, were panicked and screaming in pain. He slung his rifle, manifesting his fire claymore as he charged after his wife.

Sera, as usual, was doing her best to be “non-lethal”–but that did not mean pain-free.  She was using the hilt of her spear and the pommel of her sword to knock out those who appeared to be having second thoughts about what they were doing, but for those who were showing no sign of mercy…well…neither did she.  For every step she took forward, a man went down, either unconscious or dead.  Unlike the hardened Thulian armor, the Kevlar vests and shields offered no more resistance to her fiery weapons than butter.

John was right behind her; he wasn’t being bloodthirsty, but where he struck, it was usually a killing blow. It was the quickest and easiest way for him to protect himself and Sera, and these men had made their choices already so far as he was concerned. Slicing through barrels and weapon receivers as easily as armor and flesh, he cleaved his way through the opposition, his back to Sera’s at all times as they mowed through the guards. It was almost like a dance, with he and Sera being the only ones in time with the steps.

Sera performed a wide, low sweep with her sword and spear; John leapt over both, executing a back edge cut with each pass. They went until John had gone around in a complete circle, with several sweeps of Sera’s weapons. When they finished, all of the security guards around them were dead, dying, or incapacitated. Neither of them were breathing hard. There was still a chaotic knot of action happening immediately in front of them, however.

At the heart of it was something–someone–dressed in what looked like a uniform coverall, torn in places and splattered liberally with blood. It was the same style as the one John had worn when he was a part of the program; instead of green, this one was light blue, like a hospital patient’s.  It had to be young Marlowe…there couldn’t be that many people down here who were green-skinned and teal-haired. John could tell immediately that the boy had already been through Program experimentation; where his arms were visible, he shared the exact same scars that John had. The fruits of that awful labor were readily apparent. Zachary moved fast; in an instant, John gauged that the boy was slightly faster than himself; the rare speedsters out there, where being fast or reacting quickly was their primary power, were the only things faster. And he was plainly as strong as John, if not somewhat stronger; the enhancements under his skin bulged with his exertions, standing out with each swipe and thrust and jab.

The kid was a brawler. When John and Sera first saw him, he was busy finishing off three security guards. He didn’t have any finesse or real technique to his fighting; no training, even. Whatever they had tried to impart to him in the Program he had either rejected, or it just hadn’t taken. It didn’t seem that the kid needed it, either.

The security guards were good. They didn’t take turns, or hang back, trying to take Zachary on one at a time. All three of them rushed him together. One had a stun wand of a model that John had never seen before; it was actually arcing electricity in loud pops and snaps, and looked lethal. The second guard had a pump-action shotgun tricked out with a tactical light and a red dot, while the third carried only a pistol. The guard with the shotgun fired three blasts in quick succession, only a handful of paces away from Zach…but none of the shot seemed to find him, instead hitting the walls and floor around him; the closest bit took a bite out of Zach’s coveralls, but didn’t find flesh. Even with as fast as the kid was, that should have been impossible; it looked like the shotgun had been lined up dead on him. This wasn’t like the movies, where a shotgun has a spread five feet wide two inches from the barrel. Zach was next to the guard almost instantly, just after the guard had racked the pump on his weapon. The teen grabbed the barrel of the gun, wrenching it violently to his left; the longarm bucked in his grasp as it discharged harmlessly into the wall.

By now the guard with the stun baton was in range; he swung in quick, short arcs, aiming for Zach’s head and torso. Still holding onto the shotgun, Zach ducked and twisted out of the way; the guard holding the shotgun was tugged off balance by the movements, losing his footing and almost falling to the floor. Some of the strikes from the wand came close enough to singe and burn holes in Zach’s clothing, but he didn’t seem to notice. Like a lightning strike, his right hand shot out, grabbing the weapon arm of the guard with the stun wand; the man screamed as Zach’s hand squeezed, crunching the bones like they were dried twigs. With a swift jerk, he carried the crippled guard’s arm and stun wand into the man with the shotgun; the other man seized with a spasm as the electricity surged into him, causing him to collapse to the floor. It took John a second to realize that it was only the arm from the guard with the stun arm he had pulled towards his comrade; the teen had torn the guard’s arm off at the elbow.

The third and final guard, who was behind the other two, began firing with his pistol. His rounds tore through the guard with the missing arm, who was staring at the stump of his right arm with a befuddled expression—likely from shock—before one of the rounds entered his temple and sent him to the floor, dead. John’s heart skipped a beat; the shots surely would hit Zach. Unless he had a healing factor, or he and Sera could somehow heal the kid…he was as good as dead.

The guard with the pistol emptied his entire magazine in one quick fusillade, the slide locking back once it was finished. The guard stood there, stock still for a moment…then he frantically began to reload. Zach was advancing on him, completely unharmed. Not a single round had struck him. Incongruously, John saw that there was a small drift of leaves at Zach’s feet, quickly wilting and turning brown. The guard managed to jam the magazine home and drop the slide just as Zach reached him; the teen slapped the pistol to the side at the last second before it fired. The guard on the ground with shotgun had seemingly recovered during the barrage, and had taken aim at Zachary’s back as he was walking towards the last standing guard. The round from the pistol slammed into the shotgun guard’s unarmored throat with a wet smack, and the guard’s eyes bulged in pain; his aim wavered for a moment before he finally pulled the trigger. Zachary twisted to the side at the last moment, and the blast caught the guard with the pistol full in the chest. The guard fell backwards, landing hard on his shoulders; the ballistic vest he was wearing had protected him, but his wind was gone.

Zachary glanced back at the guard behind him; he was gurgling blood, too focused on the losing battle of keeping the wound covered with his hands to be any more of a threat. He returned to the guard in front of him; the man was groaning, trying to force air back into his lungs. Zach took his time, coming to a rest standing next to the man’s helmeted head. He waited until the guard regained his breath, opening his eyes.