Canyons of Steel – Minus Human Pt. 5
The trio hunkered down behind a service box as soldiers began firing in their direction. Someone fired, but Walker had no idea who. One minute he watched as the adjutant discussed shipping orders with the sergeant, the next his brains were splattered across the pavement. Walker hated wild cards. And suddenly, there was a wild card. The three didn’t return fire, hoping the possibly the Illuminati would merely fire indiscriminately toward some target. He watched as another target went down. This seemed to come from a completely different area. A sniper. He watched the rooftops for a moment as they remained hidden. Monty and Marianne waited for orders, watching carefully themselves.
“Whoever’s fightin’,” Walker said slowly as he pulled up his scarf. “Is keepin’ on the move. From the rooftops.”
“Whoever it is must be fast,” Monty added as he watched the rooftops carefully. His eyes narrowed as he caught a glint of light from the setting sun. “But whoever it is, ain’t completely perfect. There.” He motioned toward the building nearest them. “Up there.”
“Time ta crawl,” Walker said as he began to crawl on the ground on his stomach. “Monty, take the other buildin’. Mary, keep watch an’ keep us posted.” The three separated quickly, dodging the incoming bullets. The firing was sporadic, as the sniper picked off another Illuminati agent. Walker curses under his breath. He hated wild cards and that was exactly what this was. He had no clue who the sniper was, but he did know that whoever it was, was a damn good shot. It almost seemed as though the sniper were clearing a path for them.
Marianne watched the movements of the sniper carefully, narrowing her eyes as she recognized a slight pattern. She predicted the next location and started to move toward it, hoping that she’d be able to catch whoever it was before the next volley. She rushed into a condemned building, obviously one that had seen much better days. An old hardware store by the look of the interior. More than likely the owner went bankrupt, or was pushed into early retirement by Don Maximus’ men. Whatever the history, Marianne kept herself focused as she mounted the stairway to the rooftop. Keeping close to the shadows, she saw the mark getting set up. She furrowed her brow for a moment, thinking that this was a young boy. But the tell tale signs told her differently. She drew her pistol and aimed it at the figure. “While we appreciate the assistance, I worry that you may turn that weapon on us.” Her voice was even and seemed cold as she spoke.
“Well then,” Pania Alow said with a slight smirk. “It’d seem tha’ I go’ a wee bit careless in me movements. Guess I’ll ‘aveta remember tha’ fer next time.”
“If there is a next time,” Marianne replied in a low tone. Her pistol was trained evenly at Pania’s head.
“Ye know, love,” the small elf said with a slight coo in her voice. “I think we’re aimin’ fer the same targets, bu’ diff’rent means ta diff’rent ends. Ye want ta recover tha’ crate tha’s in there,” she said, revealing how much she knew. Marianne held her expression well, but was surprised the woman knew as much as this. “I want ta destroy it.”
“Destroy it,” Marianne repeated, some disbelief coming out in her voice.
“We keep the agents off ye friends,” Pania said as she replaced her clip. “An’ I’ll give ye the full story. I promise.” The last she used her persuasive manner to convince Marianne of the urgency of the situation. For some reason, this woman seemed extremely persuasive to make Marianne move to assist her. Granted, Monty’s voice over the comm helped the message from Pania more.
“We’re stuck in a fire fight, Sheila,” he shouted over the comm. “Could really use some support!”
Monty had hunkered down in a bombed out building, using the weakened walls as cover. The agents, both Illuminati and Front, caught sight of him. It was risky, but the position he needed to reach was a difficult one, and he knew that the chance of him being seen was a good one. But he still had to try. And now he was stuck. Every thirty to forty seconds he would return fire that was being directed at him, hearing the impact of their bullets on the surrounding area, while distinctly hearing his own burrow into a pair of agents. His prayers were soon answered as a pair of familiar gunshots were heard, quickly followed by screams for retreat. Walker wasn’t far away. The Aussie gunslinger smirked as the old gun hand rolled behind the barricade that Monty had found. “S’prised ta see ya here, boy,” Walker said with a chuckle.
“Aye, mate,” Monty said as his fears were allayed. “So, we gonna do what comes natural?”
Walker winked and drew his Colt. “Straight shootin’, boy. We’ll leave them up ‘bove ta snipe them we can’t see.” Monty gave a confident nod as he drew his own pistol. As the pair lept out from cover, the bullets began to rain in, but carefully placed shots, along with excellent cover fire, kept them moving. And move they did. “What’s the situation look like, Mary?” Walker shouted into his comm.
“We have a new ally,” Marianne replied casually. “And she says everything can be explained. It would appear that we are merely being used. I would say that quite possibly we could end up dead had it not been for Miss Alow. It would seem she knows Amen’Dell all too well.”
“Alow,” Walker replied with a huff as he squeezed off a pair, not even watching as a pair of agents fell to the ground. “Never heard a name like that b’fore.”
“Maybe she’s Canadian,” Monty shouted as he fired point blank toward an oncoming attacker. The Illuminati agent fell quickly, never really knowing what hit him. The pair of gunslingers strode confidently into the warehouse, catching sight of the well labelled crate. There was the target, but something was most definitely wrong. It would seem that the man who promised them payment was already here. Walker trained his gun on the one wearing the fancy robes, and Monty followed suit. “I think we’ve been duped, Walker.”
“I’d say yer right, Monty,” Walker spoke, loud enough for Amen’Dell to hear. “Maybe there should be an explanation comin’. I figure it’s only fair.”
Amen’Dell laughed under his breath as he lowered the hood that covered his head and turned to face his attackers. The sharp points of his elven heritage revealed to both gunslingers. Monty looked to Walker and mutter quietly. “Definitely not Canadian. But I figure a reject from a Star Trek convention, mate.” Walker never replied, but kept his hand steady as he trained the barrel on Amen’Dell.
“Gentlemen,” the elf replied with a smile. “I thank you most humbly for making sure that the local government here had no clue what was transpiring. You see, I needed a diversion. Normally, I would simply tap into the weave, and produce an illusion. But here, the weave is weak, and I do not know how to manipulate it.”
“Walker…” Monty said in a hoarse whisper, never taking his eyes off the elf.
“We’re out gunned,” Walker commented without looking. And sure enough, the hidden agents began to crawl out of the woodwork. If Monty and Walker fired now, they’d be gunned down, no matter how good they were, or what back up they had. The old gun hand could tell that backup was coming, as hastened footsteps rushed from behind. Pania Alow and Marianne Wollcott stopped suddenly as rifles pointed toward them. Each knew that they didn’t have a chance, and lowered their weapons without protest. At least, none that was visible on their faces.
“Well then,” Walker announced as he lowered his gun. “I’d say that we have here what we call a Mexican standoff. But we can make it easy. You still owe me the other cut.”
Amen’Dell laughed aloud at that. “And you’ll let me go,” he said, sounding a little less than impressed or convinced.
“You have my word,” Walker said as he holstered the pistol. Monty looked to him for a moment, the question of his sanity in the Aussie’s eyes. But Walker kept his eyes firm on Amen’Dell. And the elf seemed to grow uneasy.
“Your word,” he repeated. “I have you that you do keep your word.” The mage snapped his fingers and a soldier came forward with a satchel. The elf motioned for it to be delivered to the gunslingers. “Your payment. And now, we shall leave.” Another snap of his fingers, and the soldiers began to retreat. Weapons still trained on the small group, but holding their fire. The elf and the remaining soldiers disappeared into the belly of an armoured transport, and Walker could only watch as it fired up and drove off. His eyes never left it until it had disappeared in the distance.
And then he turned to look to their new acquaintance. “Explanations, huh?”
Pania Alow took a deep breath as she shouldered her Winchester Model 70. “I did promise tha’, didna I.” Walker nodded slowly as Monty and Marianne seemed to take up position without word of an order from the gunslinger. Pania found herself surrounded. “I do ‘ave ta go after ‘im,” she said as she removed her bandanna, revealing her own elven heritage to the trio.
“An’ you will,” Walker drawled. “With our help. You have my word.”