Speak 24-III

Blocked, Shipped Out, And Bought.

“Edith,” I snapped, before I could stop myself, “break that fucking thing right now.”

She ignored me. Shocker.

Big guy didn’t seem to shaken up by the loss of his hand. He glanced down at it, then back over his shoulder at Edith.

“Funny,” he said mildly, and then tossed me to the side. Onto the roof, thank god. I managed to roll onto my feet, to find him now facing Edith. She still had her back turned, studying the back of the datapad. It was like we weren’t even there.

She must’ve been following us the entire night. I should’ve paid better attention. Then again, I wasn’t exactly going to complain about her showing up now.

“Edith,” I repeated stridently. “Edith! Hey! E!” That one worked. Her head tilted slightly towards, just enough that I could see the edge of one eye. Still silent, though. “Break that fucking thing in half. It’s not- there’s nothing on there.”

The big guy tilted his head at her. Blood still dripped from the stump on the end of his arm. “Nothing interesting here, I’m afraid,” he said dryly. “So I’ll be having that back, now.”

She didn’t move, but I saw her grip tighten. “I don’t think so,” she said, her voice raw. Ooh, that’s not good. She gets all raspy when she’s… not doing good. And right now she sounded like she’d swallowed sandpaper.

“Oh,” he chuckled, “I’m sorry. That wasn’t a question.”

He disappeared into his meat-cloud. Still just as gross as ever. It was definitely smaller now, though. He shot towards Edith, churning up the ground, but she didn’t move until he was right on top of her. Then, in a blink, her hand flicked upwards, sending the datapad spinning into the air, and a second later she disappeared too, a spear of white crystals piercing straight through the meat and bone. Doesn’t seem to do any damage, though; Meat-And-Greet immediately adjusts course, following the pad up into the air. Edith followed him almost immediately, but she was a few seconds behind, and wasn’t going to catch up in time.

Fuck that.

I hit the pad with a nudge of power, sent it spinning towards me. Meaty Chunks had almost had it - I could see a hand half formed in the swirl. He shot up directly past it, curving in a high arc around. Edith did the same, quicker thanks to less momentum, but the pad got to me first, and I snatched it out of the air, grabbing both ends with my hands and raising a knee to-

Shit! I aborted the movement, throwing myself to the side just as Edith spears through the air where I’d been. An instant later, I have to do it again as the meat-cloud finishes its arc and does the same thing.

Shit shit shit. I frantically look around in the half-second I have before. I needed to break the fucking pad, but I wasn’t going to get a second to do it unless I made one. Rooftop meant no running; not that I could outrun those two even if I wasn’t beat to hell. There were one or two nearby buildings that were maybe low enough to do a hop, but right then I didn’t trust my body or my muscles enough to-

I had to cut the train of thought off to dodge another consecutive one-two pass. Edith was second, and she actually reformed in midair for a second, trying to snatch at the pad. I managed to yank it out of the way, just in time. I guess I was lucky, in a way; Meat-a-ccino had already proven he didn’t want to kill me, for whatever reason, and Edith seemed more focused on the McGuffin than me, though I suspected that was subject to change.

Just- fuck! I kept trying to break the fucking thing, but I couldn’t get a goddamn second. Couldn’t throw it at the ground, they’d probably swoop in. Same for tossing it over the edge. If I had a gun, I could just shoot it, but guess fucking what! Come on, come on, come-


A door, leading down into the building below. Being inside won’t be much better, but less space and more obstacles-

FUCK! I couldn’t even marshal my thoughts. Just- go. I faked to the left and sprinted forward. I got a couple of steps unhindered, just long enough to start thinking I’d make it the whole way, before a familiar whirr from behind signals that it’s time to get with the dodging.

I twisted my head around, to take a quick look. They’re both right there, trying to take chunks out of each other as much as they’re gunning for me. Now they seem to be about even; good for them, bad for me. Meatlover went for my legs, while Edith stuck high, aiming for the pad, and by extension my torso. I’m getting one-twoed by my ex and a crazy murderhobo. Wonderful.

Time seemed to slow. Maybe it did, I dunno. Moment of panic, adrenaline rush. The usual. I skipped a step, throwing off my rhythm and slowing me down, then jumped, kicking my legs out to the side and putting me parallel to the ground. The two of them shot over and under me, tearing gashes open on my knee and shoulder, but neither of them got a solid hit or the pad, and I tumbled to the ground as they shot past.

Dead Meat seemed to have cottoned on to my plan, and he reformed directly in front of me. With both hands, I noticed. I hadn’t even gotten back onto my feet yet, so I was pretty sure I was fucked, until Edith sliced straight through him, sending him reeling. How the fuck is it that she’s the only person who’s actually managed to hurt him? I took the opportunity anyway, and turned the roll into a half-slide that got me within a few steps of the door.

Close enough to see that it was held shut with a heavy padlock and chain.

Just fucking typical. I launched myself upwards and forwards, slamming into it with my shoulder, but I don’t weigh anywhere near enough for that to work. It rattles a little, but that’s it.

I grab the lock, and, not even thinking, send a spike of power through it. Seeing as it wasn’t moving, it should’ve done absolutely nothing.

The lock shattered and fell away.

I stared at it in shock. What the actual-

It cost me.

Something slammed into me from behind, sending me flying through the doorway, knocking the thick metal door open as I did. The stairs were right there, barely a landing to speak of, and I only just managed to avoid tumbling head-over-heals down them. It was still an undignified, frantic descent, barely keeping my feet under me, and I hit the wall on the next landing hard. The datapad went flying from my hand, bouncing down the next set of stairs. I reached after it, but my ribs were fucking hurting, and I nearly doubled over with pain.

Edith swept past me, going for it, but just as she reformed, the other guy came out of fucking nowhere, slammming her down into the ground from above. She cried out in pain, and he stepped off of her and snatched up the datapad.

I ground my teeth, and I could see Edith doing the same on the ground. We locked eyes, and I guess we still knew each other well enough to communicate without words.


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