Two large pulse blasts are fired at me. They comin' in at breakneck speeds. Like bullets. I'm too tired to move. My legs aren't cooperatin'. I remember the pain I felt the last time one of those blasts hit me.
This ain't gonna be pleasant.
Then comin' in—like a blur—is the homegirl. Mera-Ven rushes to my side, grabs my arm, an' pulls me outta the pulses' path. The pulses splat against the wall, send out an electrical charge that makes the lights flicker.
Then I see Rutra hoverin' in overhead. Never been happier to hear that dude's buzzin' wings. Was hearin' it before. A couple of the soliders are lyin' on the ground cuz of him. He's been puttin' in work while I been gettin' my butt beat by this knight. Now he's flyin' by my side an' shootin' at the knight.
The knight jus' stands there. He's unfazed by everything goin' on. Jus' standin' there holdin' his sword in one hand, an' mine in the other. I'm kinda salty right now. I think he knows it. I think the reason he's standin' there jus' lookin at me is cuz he tryna taunt. Wants t'goad me into doin' somethin' stupid. He could blitz me. He's got the speed t'do it. He's already done it. I ain't got the reflexes or reactions t'stop him, but no. He's silently callin' me out. Shoot naw.
My ribs hurt when I laugh. I find the pain funny, which makes me laugh a lil' harder.
See, I know this dude's type. The knight's one of dem honorable types. The kinda dude that waits for you t'catch your breath before goin' on with the fight. I seen those typa dudes on TV. I'm the hero, an' he's the ultimate rival. An' if this plays out like those TV shows, he's gonna toss my sword back an' we gonna go at it for round two.
See, he's doin' it now. He's liftin' up my sword. All that bright blue energy flowin' from it is mine. He's—hol' up now—what? He's pullin' the blade back. He's takin' a stance. He's swingin'. He's swingin'? He's swingin'!
From the slash comes a blast of wind, a bolt of lightning, an' a white energy blade cuttin' through the air straight for me, straight for us. There's no where to run. The blast stretches across the hall from corner to corner.
In a flash of light, as fast as light, we're all knocked over. Dude doesn't even care that some of his own soldiers got caught up in the crossfire. We all take the hit. Rutra's lost a wing tryna shield himself. Mera's all bloodied up. Kal-Artang is unconscious. As for me? Well, I think once you get to a certain level, all the pain you're covered up with jus' starts t'feel numb. That's prolly a bad thing.
But I'm still standin'.
I'm leanin' over a bit. Arms all danglin' out in front of me, slouched over, breathin' heavy.
But I'm still standin'.
Now that was dirty. He was s'pose t'give us a chance to recupe, a chance t'catch our breath. Dude ain't got no honor. This ain't TV. An' he's movin' way too fast right now.
Like lightning, he bolts in my face. The knight strikes at my side with his sword. He strikes at my other side with my sword. I raise my arms, tryna block what I can, but for every ten hits, I'm only able to defend two. How in the world is he this fast?
I throw a punch at his face. I miss. He spins in place, crouches down, an' swings at my shin. Cags me up. I trip. I fall. I hit the floor. Ain't no mercy here. Get kicked in the gut on my way down. The kick is forceful. The kick is powerful. I'm sent back.
Dude doesn't let up.
I throw myself back up on my feet. I'm startin' t'wish I wasn't invulnerable. At least then, I'd be dead an' this'd be ova with.
The knight's already at me again. He swings both the swords at me. They close in like a pincer. I raise both my arms, an' block them both. The searin' heat that the blades give off gives me pause. Gives him pause, too. I use all my strength to push him offa me.
He steps back.
I step forward.
I pull back a fist. Throw a punch at his head.
He steps out of the way.
I swing with my other arm.
He evades that, too.
Now I'm spinnin' around tryna hit him with this backfist.
Nothin' but air.
He's tirin' me out.
I know this.
I step forward.
He swings at me with my sword.
I turn to it. Raise both my arms up in defense. Palms facing in, wrapped up as fists.
The blade scrapes against the back of my forearms.
I quickly grab hold of it. One arm wraps over it, the other under.
Sword's in my grasp.
He tries to pull it back.
I hold on tighter.
I see him lift up his other blade.
I step as hard an' as fast as I can on his foot.
I work on twisting the sword out of his demonic grasp.
I throw myself to the floor, just barely avoiding his next slash.
I tumble over, roll out, an' make my way to my feet. Sword's in hand. Body's shakin'. I spit off to the side. Some phlegm an' blood's mixed in that loogie. I rub some of the snot that I now feel is drippin' from my nose.
I gotta be honest with ya. I'm not sure how I'm gonna get outta this. The soldiers, the mechs, an' this knight? This knight who's faster than me, stronger than me, an' can shoot an' absorb energy better than me? An' with Rutra out now, it's jus' down t'me, Kal-Artang, Mera, an'—hol' up now—
He was lyin' on the floor passed out a lil' while ago. How's he up an' disappear? Did he leave me? I knew that punk would do somethin' like this! Turn tail an' run! Forget the plan! He's in it for himself. Dang it. Now I'm gonna die. I'm gonna die, an' he's gonna –
“Ese, how're you still alive?”
I turn to see that curly haired Mexican dude standin' behind me. He's standin' on red stains. Stains that're slowly drippin' out from all of his cuts an' bruises.
“Negro, how're you?” I reply.
He tries to hold back a laugh. So do I. Everything hurts.
“Jus' talked to FenGri an' Scion” Carlos goes on. “They've figured out where we're gettin' jammed.”
“Okay?” My voice lacks inflection.
“Menso, that means if we were to take it out, we'd be free. The ship could warp, an' we'd be outta this hellhole.”
“Oh. That's good. How're they gonna disable it?”
“See, that kinda falls to me. Right now, all of our warp tech's jammed, including personal teleporters. The cops've done everything in their power to make sure we stay put. But they didn't count on me bein' here.”
“So you port to the spot, break it, an' we're free t'leave? I can dig it. Where it at? Go for it.”
“It's kinda on their ship.”
“Their ship? As in the ship where all these cops is comin' from?”
“Well, you better get in, an' get out, quick.”
“That's the plan.”
“An' by get out, I mean get out an' come back here. Remember, we tryna leave planet-side.”
“Together. As in, don't you be abandonin' me as soon as you're out. Matta fact, I oughta go, too.”
“Nah ese, you gotta stay here an' keep these fools from tearin' up everything.”
“A'ight, but remember.”
“I will,” Carlos says with a smirk. I don't trust that smirk. I don't trust him. But as I see him pop out of existence, I'm not left with much of a choice.
Carlos is gone, an' I gotta trust that he'll make it back.
I grip my sword, tightly, an' set my sights on the knight. I see him talkin' to one of his white clad soldier buddies. I don't bother tryna eavesdrop. This may be the only chance I get t'get the jump on him. I'mma take it.
I run up on the dude, pull back my sword, but then, before my very eyes, a thick, black an' purple fog shows up around 'em. Covers up him, an' his surroundin' soldiers. The fog dissipates, an' they're gone.
What does that mean? Are they done? Are they still on board? I turn around an' see the other soldiers have left, too. The ones that're conscious, that is. Quite a few of 'em are still on board, passed out, knocked out, or dead.
I hear a voice over the intercom. It sounds like Scion. “Prepare for emergency jump. We're free to warp in three...”
No, wait. Not now. Carlos isn't back, yet.
I rush into the control room. Scion's speaking over a microphone. There's the bunny eared, blue bear standin' by some controls.
“No! We can't go yet!” I cry out.