Monday, May 30, 2011

Always toward absent lovers love's tide stronger flows (Part Five)

The assault on the casino started small, a small explosion at the gates as a heavy truck pressed past the reenforced gates like they were hardly there. Automated turrets slid from concealment all around the complex, taking aim at the speeding truck. As they finished deploying the truck shimmered, putting off a cross between heat and static. My equipment was far enough away to not be caught in the blast, but the electro-magnetic pulse was localized enough to damage or disable most of the turrets, their guns locking in place, or slumping ineffectively. The only turrets left operational were on the far side of the complex. Well out of the fight, as was the large truck, now immobile.

Security wasn't long in reacting to the sudden change in environment, groups of dark suited men clumped out of the casino, supplemented by groups of uniformed and hired thugs. I picked up my binoculars and focused in on the group nearest the gatehouse, sporadic gunfire crackling now from both the diversion and ahead from the casino. Both cells seemed to be in full action. Granted they both represented different causes at each spot, but both were working perfectly.

My anarchists slid up the hill, from cover to cover, returning fire, the casino's security guards fighting mostly exposed against the building were taking casualties. A second group of them held the underground exit. They were dishing out as well as they were taking, maybe more so. The teams there had heavier weapons, and were firing from more concealed positions. The tenor of the battle was changing, security forces had much heavier weapons than anticipated.

Some of the security teams were isolated but were taking cover now, having made the distance between the parking lot and garden. The ones that weren't, were either dead or running back inside. A ripping explosion drew me back to the underground parking lot, a thread of smoke led back to the underground lot, a large fireball expanded from what used to be a strong point in the advancing anarchists line. The sight of the scattered terrorists drew my lips into a grimace, I reached down and grabbed my rifle, just in time to see a second missile rip into the anarchists.

Security was turning the tide of the fight, but all might not be lost yet. I pulled the rifle into line, leaning into the scope, snugging the butt of the rifle into my shoulder. I moved the scope over the fight, yet another missile spanning the distance between the now retreating anarchists and the security forces. Scattered groups were running headlong from the fighting now, the warning sounds of sirens moving towards the casino inspired more movement from the anarchists, they were now disengaging wholesale.

I spun the rifle to the back of the casino. I had missed Harcourts driver and security detail move his car to the back entrance. I hadn't missed him leaving, yet. His security was focused mainly towards the now more sporadic gunfire from the front of the casino. The door moved open, my finger tightening on the trigger, it was only 5 maybe 7 feet between door and car. This rifle was special, loading a single, high explosive round. Specially designed to fly to the point of target, it took all the skill out of being a sniper.

First out was Harcourt, his grey eyes scanning the area quickly before reaching behind him to guide his heir, his son out the door. His hair was salt and pepper now, but my intel photographs marked him true. I could feel my mouth curling in disgust at the sight of the little runt and his father. I tracked them both to the car, Harcourts security must have been holding everyone else inside to insure his safe getaway. Next out would be his wife, through all my research on him, I had not been able to find an identity of his wife. The poor woman must want to die, living with such a corrupted, evil man.

His wife was bent over, hiding from the gunshots she perceived aimed at her, raven black hair tickling something in the back of my mind. He covered her to the car, she stood straight just before ducking in. The rifle caught a glimpse of her face and pulled it to the side, the sight stopped me cold. A sudden cold sweat trickled down between my shoulder blades.

The image captured by the gun, was a spitting image of my dead sister, her black hair a different style now, but the scar just above her eye from where her first puppy had bitten her. It haunted me from my dreams, mostly from my nightmares. Here she was, with Harcourt, with their son. The rifle sagged on my shoulder, my finger twitching on the trigger, the round firing high over the car, barely missing Harcourt, striking a security officer in the chest before exploding ageist the wall, the high explosive round shattering the side of the building.

Harcourt's car peeled out from the side of the casino, and tears ran down my cheeks, unabated. My sister was alive, I couldn't kill her and her family like her husband had killed mine. The gun clattered to the ground, single fire self destruct active. It's slow beeping narrating my memories of her. First I saw her when I was just a kid, she was a few years older than me, the oldest of our family. She raised the small dog up to her face, the thing had snapped at her playfully, catching the ring in her eyebrow.  The dog hadn't understood, or cared. She cried out in pure pain, still careful to place the dog on the ground before tending to her wound.

In less than a week she had been back with the dog, her face roughly bandaged, she loved that dog. I hadn't seen her since the day before we'd been attacked. I checked the records when I had been freed, slavers didn't keep accurate records, anything but a count. I'd tried but had never been able to find anything. I refocused, and realized I had left the roof, my body doing it's best to keep me safe a vague memory of the beeping growing in intensity as the det charge on the rifle grew nearer to execution.

For the first time I wished I had never left TXW, I desperately wanted to be back with Usagi. I moved through the hallways of the hotel like a ghost, reaching the lobby from the emergency stairs as the sniper rifle exploded on the roof. Security and police rushed by, ignoring the crying Minmatar exiting the building. I didn't attempt to conceal my capsuleer status as I exited, reaching the station, transferring more money to the anarchists I had left behind. They would have to tend for themselves. I numbly travelled back to the station just a planet distant, enabling my neocom just long enough to buy a shuttle and prep it for launch. It would take less than 24 hours to travel back to TXW.