Chapter 06: Unyielding

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"So no one has any idea what the fuck is up with this guy?" Redford's question was swallowed by the silence that seemed to fill the jeep. "Oh come on, nothing?" He reached forward and tapped Allan on his armored shoulder. "Aren't you supposed to be the guy in charge?"

"I am," Allan replied evenly. "Look, I was saddled with a brand new team, all of which are dead by the way, and shoved onto a transport to go investigate some middle-of-nowhere distress call. I show up and this psycho in grade-A suit of power armor rips my team apart...literally, in one case, and then he just up and leaves. So no, I've got no fucking clue about what this guy's problem is. This kind of just came out of nowhere."

"Don't look at me," Johnson said, raising his hands defensively, then immediately grabbing the back of the front seat as the jeep bounced violently.

"This is un-fucking-believeable," Redford growled.

"We're going to get him," Allan said, staring hard through the windshield at the slowly growing shape of the starport ahead of them.

"How?!" Johnson cried. "That thing is fucking bulletproof. Hell, he survived a crash like it was nothing...where did he even get a suit like that?"

Allan was uncertain, though he didn't let it show. That kind of gear was top-of-the-line, state-of-the-art, they didn't just hand it out to the common grunt. In reality, there should be nowhere on Lindholm that that level of gear should be available. It was entirely possible that this psycho killer had come from off-planet...but why?

That was the ultimate question.

"I don't know," he said finally. "Listen, will you shut up and relax?"

"I would if you'd either A, tell me we were turning around and leaving or B, explain to me, exactly, how we are going to stop or...fuck, even slow him down!" Johnson snapped back.

"Okay, look, they usually have more security at starports. There's a good chance that they'll be packing armor-piercers. We grab some of those and then we put this guy down. Does that make you feel any better?"

"...maybe," Johnson admitted reluctantly. He hesitated. "But...wait, if security is heavier and they're probably using armor-piercers, then why do we even have to go at all? Won't security take care of it?" he asked hopefully.

"What the fuck kind of soldier are you?" Redford asked.

"I'm not a fucking soldier!"

"Whatever," Redford muttered.

"Listen, we're going there to get the job done. End of story. I outrank everyone here and this is still technically a mission under SI jurisdiction. So just...shut up and enjoy the ride. We'll be there in another few minutes," Allan said.

No one said anything further as they drove on.

* * *

There had been a small part of Allan that had been very gently growing on the ride over. He hoped that the security personnel at the starport had taken care of the situation and subdued the killer. Somehow, someway. That hope immediately died as Allan braked just short of the concrete patio that sat at the base of the main structure. The front entrance had been bashed in. One door had been torn out and tossed onto the concrete, the other had been forced in and hung at an awkward angle. Allan killed the engine and threw open the door.

"Come on!" he shouted, pulling out his pistol.

The others joined him with varying states of enthusiasm. Up ahead, Allan could hear the rattle of machine gun fire and someone shouting. He went gun-first through the ruined entryway and cast a quick glance around. The starport wasn't commercial, meant more for cargo shipments being sent offworld than anything else.

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