Illustration by Zetpainter
While Bragg's rickety buggy rumbled down the cracked highway to a hive of people who hated him, Quincy rolled to Detaunt Avenue in the trolley. After two more days of flawless evasion, Levi brought in Crichton and Maselyn for his next stage of training.
"Did you imagine we chose this venue to play on your distaste for meat?" Levi asked. He unveiled the panel of levers behind the hanging husks, "Crichton will operate the hooks as a simulation of projectiles. Maselyn will act as a secondary attacker while you deal with Bragg- me."
"Planning for chaos," Quincy coughed.
"If we don't, and there's chaos, we're toast," Crichton called out from behind the meat.
"Fair enough," Quincy popped his blades open and shook loose.
"Ready?" said Levi, who gave immediate signal to Crichton. Gears turned in the ceiling, slinging hooked corpses at Quincy on rails from all around. He evaded them until Levi sidestepped through the raw wind. He survived three clashes before a Quincy-sized steak barreled him over. Crichton threw the halt switch until he was up to try again.
Quincy tried using his peripherals to monitor the fleshy storm. Crichton wrenched the meaty projectiles out of pattern every time. During the confusion, Quincy accidentally deflected Levi's blade into a passing body. He smirked at how long it took him to recover. It took days to master diverting Levi, while jerking between shifting safe zones. That's when Maselyn became a problem.
After every string of hooked-away strikes, every rush of sidestepped steaks, there was Maselyn in Quincy's blind spot. He'd crack a smile, bolting between Crichton's shifting maze and Levi's jeweled blade, just before Maselyn jabbed her javelin in his side. How she managed to ride the shadows just where he couldn't see, it took him three days to decipher.
Quincy kept his head at a constant tilt. He learned, over the course of the week it took Bragg to pinpoint a pirate nexus outside Juno's scope, to keep both Crichton and Maselyn in the corner of one eye. Unfortunately for Bragg, Juno's true scope stretched well beyond the walls of the Legs. He sent word of the General's arrival before the first marauder signed to his last-resort navy. By then, Quincy was experimenting with his footwork. He swung from Levi to Maselyn, to hook strikes into meat. He bolted between shifting rows of beef, sometimes with intention, to shield himself. While Bragg patched together a fleet large enough to sail, Quincy went a half-hour against two opponents in a shifting battleground. There wasn't a slice on him.
"Let me see her," Adrian pleaded. Quincy shook his grin and shed the Rouge Bolt with a shrug. He felt immediately like he was getting ready to sleep, the only time he was without it. Adrian laid his prized cloak over his desk to jack it in. He marveled at the numbers that flung across the screen. "Been busy, have we?"
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Strand: the Silver RadioScience Fiction
A shape against the night, in the light of a highway construction sign, is a young man in trouble. An artist in an artless place, he must fit into Strand's machine, or be thrown away like garbage. From the best laid plans to hapless coincidence, Qui...