Worlds Adrift Chapter 72

The boat rocked as a thunderous boom blasted across the water. In less than a second, the slug reached the mana shield of the boat and dug into the concentrated mana. The shield did not last long, however, as the shield broke almost immediately under the force of the bullet. Tearing shield and metal the bullet tore a hole through the control bridge of the boat, exiting through the other side wreathed in fire. As shards of burning metal rained into the water and the boat ground to a halt, Mary shook her arm, whistling, “Damn, that hurt. I still have my arm, though!” she laughed.

Huk, Fuel, Cody, and Rick all took a glance at her arm, still attached to her torso, and laughed with her. Fuel drove the boat forward as waves assailed the small boat, “That, right there, was amazing! What’d you do to let it keep your arm?” she asked with a laugh. 

Huk stood as the speedboat approached the cargo ship, pulling out a knife as he did so, “Let her keep her secrets, Fuel,” he laughed, “We’ve got work to do! See you on the other side, kids!” Huk leaped off the boat in the direction of the cargo ship, a blast of air sending him careening into the hull. With a loud thud, Huk tore through the metal with a flurry of wind, disappearing into the lit bowels of the ship. 

As muzzle flashes began to spill out of the breach, Cody tapped Mary on the shoulder, “Have you ever gone rock-climbing before?” She shook her head and he laughed, “Then now’s a good time to teach you,” he said as he pulled out two grappling hooks and a tube, “You shoot this up to the side of the boat with this here cannon. You put it in like this.” he pressed the hook into the tube with the length of rope, “And press this button here.” As he pressed the button the hook shot out and arced in the air, hitting the railing in the ship with accuracy.  “Alright, this is our stop. You be careful, Mary.”

“You know what you’re doing, right Fuel?” Rick asked.

She sighed and nodded, “Yeah, I do. While you guys get to have fun, I have to hunt down any runaways and stop any unexpected reinforcements from crashing the party,” she complained, pulling out a pistol from her robe, “At least I get to burn stuff. Alright, stop wasting time and get in there, you two. Mary, your stop is in a bit.” Rick and Cody quickly climbed the rope, leaving Fuel and Mary alone. 

Fuel circled around the boat and stopped near the back of it, “Alright, I know you’re not new to this whole ‘killing’ thing, but just remember this: these people have done much worse than what we’re doing. These guys have killed and burned entire families of demis simply because of how they were born. These guys have brutalized men and women, and probably have done worse, because they were demis. I’m sure that some demis have begged for forgiveness and were given death in response. Don’t let them fool you. These bastards are worse than trash: and don’t feel bad about taking out trash. Anyway, you’d better get going or Huk’s gonna make you look for the steel,” Fuel said.

Mary jumped and grabbed the rope, rapidly pulling herself upwards. [Don’t listen to her, Mary. No matter what, every life is precious. You have to kill them, but don’t take it for granted. Okay?] Abe asked.

Mary’s face showed annoyance for a moment, but went back to normal a moment later, “Fine. I’ll try.”

[That’s all I ask for.]

“But can you do me a favor, Abe?” she asked.

He hesitated for a moment, [You want me to…]

“Not help me, yeah. I want to see if I can stand up against these bastards without your active help. I still have the edge, but I’ll be able to hide, well, you.”

He mentally sighed after a moment, [I’ll try, but I’ll be there the moment you’re in danger. That fair?]

She ginned, slinging the rifle onto her back and pulling up her mace, “Perfect. Thanks dear,” she said with a giggle. She made rapid progress in climbing, reaching the top within seconds. Vaulting over the guard railing of the ship, she was met by an empty deck, devoid of crewmates or guards. Gunfire rang in the distance, and Mary rushed to it, mace in hand. 

Turning a few corners, she came upon a group of crewmen taking weapons like assault rifles and pistols from a shipping container, loading them and wearing mana shields. Taking the initiative, she dashed from the thicket of containers and dove into the crowd with her mace held high. Before any of them could notice her the skull of the closest man was crushed beneath the head of her mace, making a sickening crunch beneath its weight. Hearing the noise, the men whipped their heads around and swore as they saw her. 

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Those with weapons raised them and let loose a hail of bullets while the rest ran to the container to get one. Not letting the moment of weakness pass, Mary leaped over one of the shooters and dashed towards the unarmed men. Charging at them with her mace over her shoulder she slammed into the side of one of the men, crushing his ribcage and sending him sprawling. The next man turned and threw a weak punch that simply grazed her shoulder. Turning, she slammed the mace into the man’s face, sending him flying into a shipping container. As the man went flying, the group of armed men collected themselves and swung their guns around at her, firing without care for their allies behind her. 

Dodging to the side, she flooded her mace with mana and threw it into the crowd. Runes lit up on her mace as it flew, an shockwave of air exploding outward from it as it flew into the chest of the closest man. The men were thrown back, bullets flying wide as they fell, and Mary unslung her rifle. Holding it like a spear she charged into the men as they sat up and impaled a man through the chest just as he took aim. Not wanting to waste more time, she snatched his rifle and swept the crowd of crewmen with a spray of bullets. The gun clicked empty and she threw it to the side with a satisfied smirk on her face. 

Her smile quickly left her as a hail of bullets was returned from the armed men, making her dodge as a few hit her mana shield, “S***! Mana shields,” she growled. Dodging to the side once again, she had to roll as another flurry of bullets pelted her from her other side. The men who were scrambling to arm themselves did so and seemed committed to giving her a hard time. With fists clenched in anger, she dug through her pockets and pulled out a ball of grey metal mesh. She flooded the ball with mana and threw it, bouncing it off of a shipping container and hitting a man in the head with it. The men instinctually ran from the ball, diving into cover as it unfolded itself and revealed the short metal rod within. The area was noticeably drained of mana as the rod began to spark with electricity, soon launching arcs of electricity into the area around it. Before the men could react, electricity burst from it, rippling outward and wreathing every man there in burning electric currents. 

The men fell, bodies convulsing, dead. Sending a wisp of mana into a small rod of metal in her pocket, the ball curled up and rolled toward her; it rolled to her feet, up her leg, and into her pocket, warm to the touch. Seeing the dead men on the ground, she turned around and checked her surroundings. Seeing nothing alive, she breathed a sigh of relief, “That was successful, at least. That was a lot too —something like 20 or so— so we should be getting close to being finished.”

[Don’t count your eggs before they hatch, Mary,] Abe advised with a sigh, [I can’t believe I can just see you massacre a bunch of guys and feel nothing.]

Shrugging, she looked into the shipping container the men were getting guns from, “Get used to it, Abe. I doubt this’ll be the last time we do this. Anyway… looks like I found the steel,” she said with a grin. Inside the container was a line of gun racks, mostly empty of guns, and a large box in the end. The box had a label on all of its faces, marking it as ‘high value cargo.’ Tearing the box open, she found an unnecessarily large amount of packing foam and a featureless box the size of a backpack. Popping the top off of the box, she saw the tell-tale pale blue shine of water attuned metal. Closing the box, she picked it up and carried it outside.

There, she found Cody and Rick stepping around a few of the bodies with adept agility. Seeing her, they waved, “Yo! You find the steel?” Rick asked.

Nodding, she placed the box on the ground, “Yep. Here we are. Where is Fuel going to pick it up from?”

Cody shrugged, “Dunno. We won’t have to worry about that, though. Huk is just about done with the lower levels and we cleared the upper levels; seeing your handiwork though, you definitely won in terms of pure killcount. We both had about 6 each and I don’t know how many Huk took care of, but these cargo ships usually only have 20 or 30 guys. There shouldn’t be that many more.” He walked up to the first man Mary killed and poked the man’s mashed skull with the barrel of his rifle, “You did a number on them. Where’s your mace?”

Walking over to a shipping container with a large hole in it, she dug a hand in it and pulled her bloodied mace out, “Here. I had to throw it to take some heat off of me, but I did a decent job in managing them,” she said while twirling the mace in her hands.

Cody nodded, “Seems like it. Anyway, we should wait for Huk to-” As he spoke, he shivered a bit and shoved Rick to the side, diving to the other side as he did so. The dodge saved their lives, as an armored man cleaved the air where they were standing barely a moment later. 

The armored man growled, “Missed.” He stood tall as Cody and Rick scrambled backwards. Mary held her mace in a defensive position as he came into full view. He wore a set of black and red armor with silver lines bordering every individual piece of armor. The armor’s style was almost identical to a traditional set of crusader armor from the last holy crusade, bucket helmet in all. In his right hand was an arming sword with a two-sided edge and a revolver in his left. “Well, well,” he said, “If it isn’t Mary Grant. Here I thought I would have to put off doing the Lord’s work. Do you know who I am, sinner? No, of course you wouldn’t. Allow me to introduce myself, I am the leader of the Olsvanian chapter of the holy crusaders. Pope Helix has declared you a priority target, and I will be the one to take your head.” Without waiting for a response, he charged Mary, thrusting at her with his sword.


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