Ash – Silence

What’s this about oil again? “Olivia, what is it?” asked Miya.

Olivia’s face scrunched up in concentration. “I’m trying to hear something,” she answered, her voice distant. She never tells us what she hears and smells. Something going on?

Meanwhile, the conversation had picked back up again after Amanda’s recognition of the Overlord robot. “Guys, shut up, shut up” shushed Miya.

They looked at her oddly, though everyone besides the Watch quieted down immediately. “Is something wrong?” asked Preacher.

Miya motioned to Olivia. “She hears something,” she whispered.

Preacher nodded and kept quiet.

After a silent moment, Olivia murmured, “People outside, all around.” Shit. Miya grabbed her pistol and saw Quarrel heft her bulky crossbow. Everyone turned to face the two doors to the warehouse.

“Someone, no, two people on the roof,” continued Olivia. “Smell like oil.” A couple people, Miya included, turned their attention to the ceiling. Up?

At that moment, a portion of the ceiling exploded. Two dark figures rappelled from the brand new hole, aiming rifles on the way down. It took Miya a moment to realize they were firing, the muzzle flashes the only indication that bullets were coming out of the barrels. Roach took two bullets to the head. Amanda dropped. To Miya’s left, the back wall began to peel away like tin foil.

“Shit,” yelled Ben.

Miya backed away as the figures hit the floor feet first. Fuck, what? Quarrel’s shot plinked off the chestplate of one of the figures.

Miya raised her pistol. One of the roof figures snapped towards her and raised his rifle. Miya met his eyes. Except he didn’t have human eyes. Instead, his metal face was locked in a perpetual scream.

“Robot!” Miya yelled in warning as she threw herself to the side and fired.

Olivia roared and grabbed the robot that Miya shot at and threw it to the ground right as its rifle tracked Miya. The robot took Olivia’s throw in stride, twisting its rifle around and firing a burst point blank into Olivia’s face with unerring aim. Olivia growled and staggered back, holding up a hand to ward off any more bullets.

The robot rolled to its feet and backed away, still aiming at Olivia. Miya climbed back to her feet, pistol in hand.

Before she could shoot the robot, the wall behind Olivia and the robot stopped peeling and a cone of fire burst into the warehouse. Someone had flipped the table they’d been using previously towards the wall, and people, Miya had no time to recognize them, ducked behind it as the flames washed over them. Miya threw herself to the ground again. The mass of fire above her sucked her breath out.

Miya patted down her hair. Not on fire. Move. She climbed to her feet once more, this time to the deafening sound of gunfire from all around. In front of her, Olivia and the robot had paid the flames no mind. Olivia rushed forward and rammed into the robot with her shoulder. It’s rifle took the brunt of the blow, bending down the middle. The robot staggered back a few paces before righting itself.

Miya took aim. Right as her finger touched the trigger, Olivia closed the gap between her and the robot. Damn it.

The robot dropped its useless rifle, ducked under Olivia’s follow up swipe, and rolled behind her. Before Olivia could turn, the robot pinned her tail to the ground with a dark knife it had produced from a slot in its wrist. Olivia hissed and tore her tail free as she whirled around to face the robot again. The knife, now twisted and useless, clattered away.

Miya fired at the robot. Most of her shots went wide, but two made contact. The robot ignored the two new holes in its leg, simply shifting its weight to the undamaged one. Miya’s pistol clicked as she pulled the trigger a final time.

“GO! We need to leave,” shouted Preacher as he retreated to the front door, Quarrel a ways behind him, crossbow aimed at the torn wall. How?

Miya took a split second to assess the rest of the situation. She, Olivia, and their robot had drifted about fifteen feet away from the others. Rob crouched over Amanda’s prone form; blood tricked from beneath her on the concrete floor. Roach had rolled over to his side, a hand pressed to his head. Beyond them, Ben lay unconscious near where Chris rapidly shifted between liquid and human forms as he fended off the second robot, fireballs raining down all the while.

Right as Preacher grabbed the door handle, the door itself exploded backwards, taking him with it. Oh god. Oh god he’s dead. A massive man bulled through the wreckage of the door with a laugh, toting a gun about as large as Miya. Shotty? Quarrel shot three bolts into him as she backpedaled. The man rumbled with laughter and took aim as a buzzing noise filled the air. No way out.

Miya backed away from Shotty, though his attention remained on Quarrel. Her crossbow shot five more bolts into him in quick succession with a high pitched squeak. A roar from Olivia caught Miya’s attention. Right, shouldn’t just be standing here. She reached for her pocket, where she normally kept a spare magazine. Nothing. Shit. She dropped her pistol.

Olivia collided with the robot as Miya rushed towards them. The robot went flying, but managed to tumble and roll to its feet.

Just as Olivia charged again, the robot let out a piercing scream of pain. “WAIT! No, please don’t. Please don’t. NO.” The screams dissolved into ragged sobbing. Fuckfuckfuck what the fuck is that?

Olivia hesitated for a fraction of a second, just long enough for the robot to slash at her face with another knife. Damn it. Magic’s no good against that thing. Miya noted the holes in the robot’s leg as it dodged and twisted around Olivia’s blows, leaving another cut on her upper arm. That thing is too fast. Idea.

From across the room, beneath the incessant buzzing and gunfire, Miya could hear the other robot sound like a woman begging for her life. Miya lunged for the robot engaged with Olivia, aiming a low tackle at the back of the knee of its damaged leg. The robot screamed again and leaped out of the way of Miya’s tackle. She only managed to deal a glancing blow to the leg. A jolt of pain shot through her shoulder. Olivia, however, caught the robot’s extended arm as the robot leapt and ripped it off.

Something exploded behind Miya. The robot shifted to a more defensive stance as Olivia followed through. However, when the robot tried to sidestep again, its leg seized up, and Olivia’s hand went through its chest plate. A large amount of wiring and electronics came free. The robot spasmed and collapsed in a heap, the screaming going silent. Oh thank god. Then Olivia flinched as people started shooting her. God damn it.

Miya scrambled on her hands and knees towards where the peeling had stopped at the wall. I don’t have a gun. I don’t have a knife. I can grab someone and kill them, but that’s assuming they have exposed skin. Roach pushed the remains of the table between Amanda and the shooting people, blocking Miya’s view of her and Rob.

Deep laughter caught Miya’s attention. Shotty cornered Quarrel, even as she loaded a heavy bolt. The laughter caught Olivia’s attention, who’d been caught between charging the gunmen or retreating from their gunfire. Shotty still laughed despite the bolt sticking out of his eye. Finally, he lunged and knocked the crossbow out of her hands.

Quarrel kicked Shotty in the stomach as he raised her by her throat. His massive shotgun thing lay ruined on the floor a few feet away. His shoulders shook in a chuckle. He tore one of Quarrel’s bolts out of his shoulder with his free hand, then gripped it like a knife. He raised the bolt to stab Quarrel when Olivia tore off a chunk of that arm.

He roared in pain and dropped Quarrel, then elbowed Olivia. She staggered back several feet while Quarrel snatched her crossbow up and sprinted out from behind Shotty.

Shotty screamed something incomprehensible at Olivia. She hissed and lunged at him. He sidestepped and slammed a fist into the side of her head.

A couple gunmen came in through the ruined door on the opposite side of the warehouse. They immediately shot at Olivia. What the fuck am I supposed to do?

Roach burst from behind the overturned table and sprinted towards her. A couple bullets hit his chest, Miya saw the blood blossom on his clothes, but Roach pressed on. He grabbed Miya.

“Go!” he rasped in Nahua, pushing her towards the outside. Why aren’t you speaking English? Behind him, Rob followed, carrying Amanda’s motionless form.

“Where?” she yelled back.

“What?” he yelled back. He gave an impatient grimace and pointed outside. “Follow.”

“What about the others?” she shouted.

“Escape or die,” he barked. Then he vaulted over the remains of the wall to the sound of gunfire.

Rob reached Miya, arms wrapped around Amanda. Amanda’s chest rose and fell, but her stomach was a mess of shredded fabric and blood. “Come on,” shouted Rob. They’re right.

Miya forced herself to get off the floor and follow Roach. Two gunmen, both Aztecs with dark blue tattoos of skulls on their necks, lay with necks bent at severe angles. Roach had the attention of three more men. Roach had his hands on one, but the other two backed up in different directions, shooting wildly.

Miya scooped up a dropped handgun, then fired at one of the gunmen. Her newly acquired weapon turned out to only have three bullets, but the three were enough to make the gunman dive. Miya led Rob through the scrap yard as Roach kept the attention of several other gunmen who had been drawn to the commotion. There’s the fence. Gate should be close. The building behind them rattled again.

A wayward bullet grazed Rob’s leg. He tumbled, nearly losing grasp of Amanda. Miya’s breath froze in her throat.

“Fuck, fuck, fuck,” Rob muttered under his breath. He pushed himself back to his feet as Miya joined him, letting him lean on her to take some of their weight. They passed through the fence, until Rob collapsed. Miya managed to keep Amanda from hitting the ground too hard, but that didn’t change the fact she had two wounded people she couldn’t move on her own.

Footsteps approached. Shit. Miya jerked her head up and stood, adrenaline spiking. Roach appeared from around a pile of scrap. Miya released the breath she hadn’t realized she’d been holding.

“No time,” growled Roach as he took in the situation. “I’ll take her, you take him,” he said, lifting Amanda like a child.

“You awake?” Miya asked Rob.

“Yeah. Help?” he replied. She grabbed his outstretched hand and hauled him to his feet. He leaned on Miya, letting her help him limp away from the warehouse. The sounds of gunfire, roars, and thuds faded behind them as they put as much distance between them and the scrap yard as possible. Eventually Miya could only hear Rob’s ragged breathing.

“Stop,” said Roach as they reached an empty intersection. He lay Amanda down and removed his tank top. He waded it up and pressed it to Amanda’s stomach. He looked up at Miya and Rob. “How bad?” he asked, motioning to Rob.

Miya checked Rob’s leg. The bullet wound on his leg formed a short but deep gash. It bleed, but the volume of blood did not indicate a major injury. Not so bad, thank god. “Hurts like hell,” said Rob, noticing her gaze. “What’d he say?”

“Sit down,” said Miya as she released him. “Need to bandage your leg.” After a moment of standing on his own, his leg buckled.

“Whoa, that… that ain’t good,” said Rob as he sat. Thank you for stating the obvious.

“I’ll check,” said Roach. “Could hurt her more.” He motioned to Amanda.

Miya hurried over to take his place, pushing the ad-hoc bandage into Amanda’s stomach. Amanda, though unconscious, twitched a bit. Her head rolled to the side.

“Oh, this is a lot of blood,” said Miya.

“Pressure,” repeated Roach as he tore a length of Rob’s shirt off for a bandage. That’s not what I said. Can you understand me?

She spoke in Nahua, “This better?

Roach nodded. “Yes, thank you.”

Amanda started coughing. Oh shit. “Amanda, Amanda, can you hear me?” asked Miya.

Amanda’s breathing quickened. “Hurts,” gasped Amanda. She coughed again, then let out a choked scream.

“I’m going to knock you out, OK?” said Miya.

Amanda didn’t answer.

Fuck, she’s bleeding out. Fuck. Dark blood. Um… um… platelets. Those stop stuff like this. Miya freed a hand from the sticky, blood-soaked mass of cloth and grabbed Amanda’s arm. Work, work, work. She gathered as much magic as she could. Platelets stop bleeding. Platelets come from bones. Um… more platelets. Go. She laid the streams of magic over Amanda’s major bones. Please work, please work, please work.

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