They’ve escaped the slavers, but Lezvie’s badly hurt. Will his mysterious friends in the Bunker be able to save him?
Jack and Rodrigo were already in the entrance hall when they arrived. Rodrigo had a minigun strapped on him, the large barrel currently folded up beside the ammunition box on his back as he checked a computer on a wall. “They’re coming. Four Humvees, complete with fifty-cal turrets.”
“Any markings?” Jack checked the safety on his rifle.
“Yes, but not one I’m familiar with. Look.”
Lezvie followed Jack over to the screen, looking at the insignia on the side of the approaching vehicles. “It almost looks like Crimson Talon,” Lezvie said, “it isn’t, as you can see. There are four markings here, where the Talon only has three. But it’s almost like they’re from the same family or something…”
The vehicles stopped about a hundred feet from the outer doors, and men in combat armor poured out, forming a semi-circle around it. Two of them set up a heavy cannon in front of the door, aiming it dead center at it.
A man whose armor bore more color than the others stepped up to the door. His voice was distorted by the helmet he wore, making him sound robotic. Alien. “You harbor fugitives. You will surrender them to the Crimson Fang immediately.”
Lezvie turned to Jack. “You ever hear of a ‘Crimson Fang’?”
“Rumors.” Jack shrugged. “A more organized, better equipped branch of the Crimson Talon.”
“While we’re swapping rumors,” Rodrigo interjected, “I heard that they’re both arms of a parent organization, Crimson Dragon. Hence the names. There’s also, supposedly, a Crimson Wing and Crimson Eye.”
“Unimaginative lot.” Lezvie fingered his knives. “But well-equipped, undeniably well-equipped.”
The men outside grew impatient. “We grow tired of your disobedience. Give us the fugitives or we will blow the door in. You have thirty seconds.”
“Fugitives. That would be the girls and I, yes?” Lezvie chuckled. “Well, Jack? You gonna throw us to the dragon?”
Rodrigo pulled down the barrel of his minigun and gave the barrel an experimental spin. “C’mon, Lez. You should know better than that.”
“Good then. Should we let them shoot first? Give ourselves the moral high ground?”
Jack grinned. “Always.”
“You have chosen to defy the Crimson Fang. On your own heads be it. The Crimson Fang shall destroy your feeble installation and kill all of you.” The man stepped back behind the semicircle of soldiers, gesturing to the men behind the cannon.
The first shot splashed harmlessly against the powerful doors of the Bunker. So did the second. And the third. Right after the fourth, Jack gestured to Rodrigo, and the security officer flipped a switch in the wall, causing the massive door to slide open.
Jack threw a grenade as the door opened. By the time the massive gates had stopped moving, the grenade latched on magnetically to the cannon. It exploded violently, tearing the cannon apart and sending shrapnel into the Crimson Fang soldiers nearest it.
Rodrigo and Jack followed the grenade with a volley of lead. Jack’s rifle sounded rhythmically, each shot bringing down one of the soldiers manning the guns of the Humvees. Rodrigo’s tactics were simpler; spray and pray. The Crimson Fang soldiers went down like flies.
Despite the heavy losses they were taking, the red-armored soldiers came charging forward, those that had guns firing them, those with melee weapons trying to close the distance as fast as possible. While outgunned, their numbers allowed them to endure the brutal damage the Remnants’ guns inflicted while still getting closer to the Bunker.
Lezvie stepped forward, drawing his knives. He still looked agile, but Angela could tell that every movement pained him, and his usual grace came with much more effort than usual. She stepped up beside him and kept the invaders from reaching him, putting each one down with a single shot to the head.
Even her sharpshooting could only slow the tide, and Lezvie had to fight. His dance of death flowed as smoothly as it always did, and the soldiers’ blood stained the ground at his feet. Eventually the ranks of the Crimson Fang were depleted, and the few survivors piled back into their trucks and fled.
“We can’t let them escape.” Jack’s voice sounded tired.
Rodrigo nodded and stepped back across the threshold, tapping a command into the console. The barrel of a large gun extended out of the mountain above the bunker door. It fired, one shot for every truck. Every shot hit its mark. Every truck became a pile of scorched metal.
“That’s the problem with this wasteland. You can’t trust anyone. If you get in a fight, you have to wipe them out, or they’ll come back with friends and wipe you out.” Jack set his rifle down and closed the doors.
Lezvie cleaned his daggers and sheathed them. “Yeah. Terrible.”
Then he collapsed.
“Lezvie!” Angela rushed to him, catching him before his head hit the ground. “Stupid, stupid man…”
She stripped off his bandage, which had been soaked to the point of uselessness. His wound had been reopened during the fight, and now his blood ran down his chest. “Stupid, stubborn, stupid man…” She turned to Jack and Rodrigo. “Help me get him back to the medical bay.”
They carried him in, laying him in one of the beds. Angela shooed the men out of the ward and began taking care of Lezvie’s wound.
“Stubborn, thick-headed, arrogant, prideful, stupid…” She finished binding his wound and rested a hand on his cheek. “Stupid, amazing man…” With a sigh, she sank into the chair beside his bed, resting her head on his chest, her blonde hair tumbling across his pale skin, suddenly exhausted.