‘Things sure have gotten lively around here!’ Jiding Gongbao shouted to no one in particular, before getting shot square in the shoulder. He cursed in mandarin as he tripped backwards, the left side of his body numb due to the blast impact.
The audience cooed and wondered at what they thought was a rather realistic ‘Beyond the Human Line’ show held for their amusement was taking place around them.
Like something out of a movie.
In more than one way it was, thought Colomba. Set in the Grand Hall, with all its opulence – an outdoor museum beneath a blanket of stars, thanks to the translucent roofing. Triad members and Syndicate men in evening wear shooting at security forces disguised as waiters and guests shooting each other. Mechanical spider stomping around. Woman in small black dress jumping and kicking and being a pain in the neck.
What a show-off.
Colomba wasn’t expecting such a level of armed resistance from the Casino’s security, and definitely not the Ultranaut. Her plan’s chances of success were getting slimmer and slimmer; being part of the Casino takeover team would have helped her get closer to the Triads’ leaders, where the real power was. That way she could have struck her own blow into the system…
Her thoughts were interrupted by the shooting of the antique mining wheel display. The wooden contraption blew up, sending the bucket wheel itself in a spinning airborne arc.
From the corner of her eye Colomba noticed a looming figure entering the Grand Hall. Part crocodile, part bear, standing over eight feet tall, it calmly surveyed the scene, before breaking into a run. It made its way towards the nearest gunman and hit him, so hard he was thrown into another of his fellows. Without breaking pace the warrior produced a baton with which it hit two others, in a perfect sweeping arc. Its movements were calculated and precise, like a perfectly oiled machine’s. Colomba couldn’t believe her eyes. There was little doubt this was a Europan Battle Master. Part of a dying tradition that distilled the fundamentals of combat into a science and a rigorous way of life. There were only a few hundreds left in the entire Solar System – suggesting major strings being pulled by whoever led security in this joint. Within minutes, no, seconds, the Europan cleared the room of hostiles.
To make matters worse, in the meantime the Ultranaut lady took care of the robot spider by literally ripping its cannons off with her bare hands. Colomba decided that the best course of action would be to make herself scarce. Very, very scarce.
She gave one final quick look around. There was no sign of Pettirosso, naturally – and the target of his heist, the Polish miners’ prehistoric squid fossil, was nowhere to be seen, either. Maybe that was a good sign, she figured.
Colomba discarded her heels and blaster, and decided to make a dash for freedom.