Thursday, March 17, 2016
August 28 (part 2)
Four Tragooms hove into view, shoving their way through the enlarged hole in the pile of debris between the training and rehab sections. I noted how the lighting panel shards didn’t cut their rock-hard hides. I was so jealous of those bastards.
Then I thought of how I’d stabbed their cohort in one of the three places they were vulnerable. Shit, I’d killed two Tragooms all by myself. Me, Shalia Monroe.
Unfortunately, I had no time to feel triumph. Enemies were on their way towards me, the odds four-to-one. Can you say screwed? I knew you could.
They stalked towards me, their noses sniffing the air as they came. They paused in front of the armory and softly grunted at each other. One in particular made a bunch of noise. I don’t know Tragoom, so whatever words he slobbered between those curved yellowed tusks growing from his lower gums was unintelligible to me. I watched and waited to see what they would do.
After a moment, the speaker and a second Tragoom went into the armory to investigate. The other two kept coming in my direction.
Okay, so the odds had just gotten a little better. It would have been nice to blow the pair away while they were still at a distance, but I wanted to give the two in the armory time to get past the counter. The longer it took for them to come running, the better my chances of picking them off and staying alive.
A smidge of a plan to do just that had formed in my mind. Not a great plan by any means, but the only plan I had. A girl takes what she can get.
I waited as long as possible, letting the Tragooms moving down the corridor get barely a yard from the pile of wreckage I hid behind. They stomped slower and slower, no doubt discerning my scent was strong so I would be nearby. Their heads strained forward on their almost non-existent necks as they peered uncertainly behind heaps of debris.
I didn’t give myself time to think. I lunged and opened fire, the wide blast range and their close proximity my best hope. I moved fast.
They moved faster. Had it not been for the suddenness of my attack , the fact I’d kept low to the ground, and that most of me remained behind cover, they would have been fast enough to get me. As it was, the percussion blast shots they got off took my cover away and grazed my shoulder. Shrapnel from the blasted wall of rubble peppered the exposed parts of my skin.
It didn’t matter. They fell dead. I did not. Now I had to get the fuck out of there before the other two came after me.
I ran deeper into the training section. Seconds later the air shivered about me and more wreckage went flying as the other two Tragooms fired, thundering after me.
I didn’t have time to look back and see how close they were. I sprinted all out, weaving among the piles of trashed corridor, expecting to get hit at any moment. I ran faster than I’d ever run before. I had the crazed idea that Resan’s esteemed grandmother, may she live forever, would have been proud.
Then one of the walls of debris I’d barely been able to tunnel through before was in front of me. I didn’t pause for an instant. I dove into the small channel through broken bits of ceiling and wall and crawled as fast as I could go.
When I arrived at the other side, when I pulled myself clear and rolled away from the small opening, I couldn’t believe it. I was still alive. By the prophets, I hadn’t been killed! It was a miracle, one I didn’t have a moment to spend being properly grateful for.
I peeked through my just-big-enough-for-Shalia passageway. No sign of the Tragooms yet from my vantage point, but I could hear them still coming. I grinned and pointed my blaster. I was about to add to my kill count.
The first one rounded the last pile. I opened fire. My aim wasn’t very good as I didn’t have much range due to the gap I shot through. I hit the Tragoom, knocking it back into its companion which had followed it two steps later. I didn’t kill it though. My victim squalled, hitting the floor and jerking all over the place, squealing in pain. I shot it again. A mistake.
Instead of going after the healthy one, the one still on its feet, I killed the one I’d already injured. Dumb. Dumb, dumb, dumb. I realized that as soon as the able-body Tragoom wheeled around and ran out of sight.
Fuck. If Resan had seen me do that, he would have piled on the insults. And he would have been right to do so. If there was anything I hated more than proving Resan correct about anything, I couldn’t think of it at the moment.
Thinking of Resan reminded me that he was in big trouble. If I was going to get him out of it, I needed to stop playing target practice with Tragooms. I needed to get my ass to Medical.
I listened hard. Alarms continued to sound in the background, the clamor familiar now. In the distance I heard things crashing. More walls and ceiling coming apart, no doubt. There was no sign of the Tragoom I’d let get away.
I crawled back through the hole in the wreckage. The odor coming from the Tragoom I’d killed was easily the worst stench I’d ever had the displeasure of inhaling. I gagged silently, trying hard not to give my position away if its buddy remained in the vicinity. I was thankful I hadn’t had much to eat in the last couple of days.
I stepped carefully over the corpse, moving as quietly as I possibly could. Staying low to the ground, I edged my way around the first pile of debris. Nothing waited for me there, and I let a little of the tension in my shoulders loosen.
I kept going, heading back towards Rehab. I stayed cautious, but I could have done better. I was halfway there when I walked into the damned Tragoom I’d let escape.