At first, Kato and her friends thought they were doing pretty well for themselves.
With Striker’s back turned, as soon as they saw Max’s attack succeed, they each made their move. George hit the deck. Chase snatched up his half-sacked coat-of-arms. And Kato tackled the pirate who took her laser whip while her attention was fixed on Max, grabbing her wrist as they fell to the deck.
While she struggled with the other Cyexian, Chase hastily threw on his coat, hauling out the first weapon he could find that hadn’t been stripped down yet. At first, the group of pirates surrounding them jumped back in spite of themselves at the sight of his compact power pistol. Then, both he and they remembered the EMP wave with almost simultaneous chagrin. Figuring it wouldn’t hurt to try, Chase pulled the trigger.
Everybody jumped again, but nothing happened.
“Shit!” Chase muttered, tossing his useless weapon aside, and digging again.
Before they could close in on him, this time he produced an exotic and evil-looking knife. The very one he had lifted from that mysterious weapon gallery in the Harken Building. After their escape from Centralict, he had considered just throwing it overboard, fearing it might be as cursed as the place it came from, but instead decided to keep it as both a trophy and a souvenir of his haunting experience there. Now he was glad he kept it, as it now served as both a weapon and a reminder of the merits of low-tech armaments.
Such thoughts flashed through his mind in the space of a couple seconds, which was a good thing, as that was all the time he had to think before the fight resumed. Much to his dismay, now that his adversaries had regained their initiative, they too went low-tech, at least half of them pulling knives, iron-knuckles, and one of them even a length of chain with a hook on the end. All he could think of to do was back up against the deck railing; at least it would keep any of them from getting behind him, and just hope he could avoid getting pushed overboard.
Only a few feet away from him, he then spotted George huddled against the railing, cradling his now possibly useless armtop computer in his arms, trying to keep a low profile.
Fearing another hostage situation, Chase shouted at him, “Hey dumbass! Go back to the ship right now!”
At first, George just sat there looking dumbstruck.
That finally got George back on his feet, scurrying over to the boarding ramp leading to the Triad III, Chase warily covering him every step of the way.
It was an immense relief to see that Kato had managed to overpower her opponent and reclaim her laser whip, she and Chase both moving to cover the boarding ramp as George scrambled aboard. Fortunately, the pirates who had boarded the Triad’s ship had rushed back aboard their own when the fighting started, so now it was just a matter of securing their escape.
“As soon as George is done fixing the engine,” Chase told her, “we get the hell outta here!”
“Why?” Chase demanded. “Those bastards came and attacked all on their own! They can take care of themselves!”
“We’re not goin’ anywhere without our Tri-Medals!”
It was hard to shake off the memories of cowering before NK-525, jumping at her own shadow in the Harken Building. Now she faced real Cyexians, had to fight in front of them, and she just wasn’t sure she was up to it. Yet, when it all came down, she had worked way too hard to just abandon their dream, even in the face of such dire odds.
Hoping she wasn’t making the last mistake of her life, she held out for now.
Author's Chapter Notes:
...and side by side