[31st of December, 2740 AD; outskirts of Helm, Ahnlikohn – the abandoned Mars factory]
With no time to waste, Gavin rushed through the walkways with Law right behind him. Henry hurried up the ladder with the two guards running after him. A few meters of distance separated Gavin and Law from Henry, who made it up to the walkway. As Gavin continued to move about between the railings of the walkway, Law stopped to look over the ground floor.
“Hey, you notice something missing, right?” Law asked.
Gavin stopped. “What are you talking about?”
“Well, it’s not ‘something,’ but rather ‘someone’ is missing here,” Law said. “Take a look for yourself, bro.”
Gavin listened to Law and looked in the direction where Law was pointing at. As it turned out, neither of them could find Casper Bradley. Gavin looked over towards the end of the walkway that he and Law went up, but no one was there to greet them nor could they see anyone near the bottom of the ladder. With the uncertainty towards Casper’s location, Gavin took out his pistol.
“This is bad,” Gavin said. “Where the hell is he, anyway?”
“Good question,” Law replied. “Let’s go help Henry out first and then we can worry about figuring out an answer.”
Gavin and Law resumed their pursuit in assisting Henry, who was already dealing with one of the guards climbing up the ladder. Henry kicked down at the large man in his face, which dislodged him off of the ladder’s rungs and sent him falling to the ground below. The other guard tried to climb up, but Gavin and Law arrived to Henry’s aid and looked down.
“So you’re not going to give up, are you?” Law asked. “We could just go and kick you down again, you know…”
“I’ve got a better option,” Gavin said, leaping ahead and aiming his gun at the second guard. “I’ll just make it tougher for them to get up here!”
He fired his gun twice at the man, the first bullet hitting the man on his shoulder. The second shot soon followed and hit the guard a few inches lower from the first shot. However, the guard continued to climb up the ladder, which was when Gavin realized he had another option before him.
“He’s still climbing,” Henry said.
“Don’t worry,” Gavin said. “Lawrence, help me out here.”
“Ah, I see,” Law said. “Looks like we should take a step back, though. We wouldn’t want to get ourselves hurt, now would we?”
Gavin and Henry did as Law suggested and took a few steps back. As the guard continued to ascend the ladder, Gavin got a clearer view of the chains that kept the edge of the walkway raised up. With the flimsy chains being the only thing keeping the section above, Gavin knew that he had a couple more shots to make. He then took his gun and looked at the chains that dangled in front of him, firing his gun at the first chain. The chain broke, causing the platform to tilt down to the right of Gavin. Then, Gavin followed up with another shot to the second chain, breaking that one and causing the platform to drop. Still, the guard kept himself up on the ladder, though it too was beginning to tilt back and forth as Gavin aimed his gun once more at the guard.
“I think I’ve got an idea,” Law said.
“What do you mean?” Gavin asked.
“Luckily for you, I’m here,” Law replied. “Did you think I wouldn’t have an idea on how to deal with these guys without some semblance of self-defense in my repertoire?”
Law reached into the inside pocket of his jacket and pulled out a small dagger. He looked ahead of Gavin and at the guard, but adjusted his focus up and to the left. With a swift swing of his arm, Law threw the dagger at the wall next to the chain. The dagger then bounced off of the wall, cutting down both chains that held up the ladder. It was then that the ladder lost its support and fell down to the ground below, toppling the two guards as they were both knocked out cold. Law breathed a sigh of relief and chuckled.
“Was that your big surprise?” Gavin asked.
“I never said it was a surprise, did I,” Law said. “Just that I was ready if the moment arose.”
“That’s nice and all, but we still have to deal with Casper,” Henry said. “He shouldn’t have gotten too far.”
“Right, we still have our executive friend to deal with,” Law replied. “Tell me something, Henry: do the two or you go back or no?”
“Aside from official meetings, not really,” Henry answered. “Of course, it’s his son that I’m more familiar with personally, but there was one time in which Tori and I had to deal with Casper himself.”
“I guess that’s as good an answer as any,” Law said. “I will say that it is odd to have the Ameci president himself going after us. You’d think he’d just send out a bunch of goons, but he decided to make it personal for some reason.”
“Well, he did serve in the military,” Gavin said.
“Yes, but now he’s got the title and the power,” Law replied. “It makes zero sense to me, even with what he said earlier.”
“Perhaps it’s not that simple,” Henry said. “If it were about my betrayal, he would have sent the military after me. But I’m thinking that he really does want a lot more than he’s letting on.”
“So that’s how you dealt with them…”
The voice was familiar as Gavin, Law, and Henry looked around atop the walkways. They found no one else up and about above the floor, which meant that the target was on the ground below. Gavin soon saw towards the back end Casper Bradley, who entered in from the back door.
“So that’s where you were, asshole!” Gavin exclaimed.
“So I guess the formalities are officially dropped,” Casper said. “And after what you did to my men, I suppose that I should have expected some pushback. Oh well, I guess if I have to take care of a problem on my hands, then I’ll have to do it myself.”
“Do you think you already have us cornered?” Law asked. “You’re at quite a disadvantage right now, so what else do you have waiting for us that we don’t know about?”
“You must be an idiot to think I’d tell you,” Casper said. “Isaac’s got some high expectations, which is why I won’t be holding anything back against you three!”
A gunshot fired as Gavin watched the chain next to him snap. The platform began to tilt below him as he hurried to the next one, while Law and Henry kept moving as well. Casper proved to be quick on his shots, however, and soon took out two more supporting chains to have the nearest platform drop.
“You see, I let you two into the factory because I knew that it would be easy for me to let you have the sense of security that you’d make it out,” Casper said. “I never even considered that you would go exactly where I expected you to, which is why I’m all the more ready to send you falling!”
“Shit, he already took out the platform from where we came from,” Gavin said. “Looks like we’ve got no choice.”
Gavin took another look around. There was a large machine a couple of feet away from where he and Law stood, while Henry saw a ladder from the other branching path in the walkways.
“Split up,” Henry said to Gavin. “If we stay together, he’ll be able to easily pick us off.”
Gavin nodded and turned to Law. “Let’s go.”
They split up from Henry, who decided to take the path towards the other ladder. Gavin let Law go up top on the railing first and watched as he leapt from the railing to the top of the machine below. Despite the machine’s size, it proved to be a considerable drop but nothing that Law could not handle. Next, Gavin did the same as he leapt over the railing and managed to grab onto the edge of the machine. He struggled to pull himself up before Law went and helped him get on top as the two hurried and went down the other side.
“He can’t see us now,” Law said. “You still got bullets?”
“Do you think I’d forget to bring bullets?” Gavin asked. “Of course I have more bullets.”
He reached into the pocket of his coat with one hand while he held his gun with the other. Gavin then took out the correct amount of bullets needed, taking his occupied hand and opening up the chamber of his gun. With the pistol loaded, Gavin closed the chamber and pressed his back up against the machinery. As that went on, Law looked from behind the large machine.
“I see Henry,” Law said. “Looks like he’s got the president in his sights… I’m going to go and help him. Watch my back!”
Gavin turned to Law. “What do you think you’re doing?”
But Law had already made his choice. All Gavin could do was stay back and keep his eyes on Casper, who was already focused on Henry. Gavin wanted a few more moments before making a move, but Law threw that plan to the side with his impulsive action. Gavin grumbled as he took his gun and fixated on Casper while he looked away.
“Let’s not fuck this one up, then,” Gavin said to himself.
Meanwhile, Henry was inching closer to Casper, taking cover behind an oil drum while Law rushed over. Casper looked over to Law’s direction and shifted his body in that direction, while Henry emerged from behind the large drum and moved a few steps closer.
“I have to admit, you’re playing aggressive with me here,” Casper said. “I’d congratulate you, but there’s no use doing so when I’ve got the upper hand!”
Casper took his gun and shot at Law, who rolled out of the just before the bullet made contact with him. Gavin watched as the bullet flew past him and hit the wall at the other end, which gave him an opening.
“Looks like being reckless yielded results,” Gavin said as he jumped from behind the machine. “Give up now, asshole! You’re surrounded!”
Henry leapt out and rushed to Casper. “There’s nowhere for you to run to! I won’t let you get another shot off!”
“Go ahead,” Casper said. “If you’re going to take me down, take your time. I welcome it, in fact.”
Law stood up. “What?”
Henry reached Casper and took hold of him from behind. “You’ve got no real advantage,” he said. “There’s little for you to go but give up!”
Casper chuckled as he dropped his gun. “You don’t need to think too hard about this one,” he replied. “My gun is empty; did you truly believe that I’d fight with only a gun at my side?”
“You were hailed as one of the best to serve Ameci,” Henry replied. “But I’m no pushover, not one bit.”
“That makes two of us, then,” Casper said. “This is the sort of combat that I live for!”
As Henry tried to continue holding Casper back, Casper wriggled himself free from Henry’s grasp and threw his fist at him. Henry ducked the punch but was soon under duress from Casper’s attacks. Law moved in fast, as did Gavin, who decided to put his gun away. However, Casper soon turned around with Henry in his grasp.
“I didn’t forget about you two,” Casper said. “Take this!”
With his strength, Casper had Henry by the wrist and sent him hurtling towards Gavin and Law. Law moved out of the way while Gavin stopped and braced for the impact, putting Henry’s momentum at a standstill. Meanwhile, Law advanced on Casper, who was quick to challenge Law.
“I may not be the young soldier that scored multiple medals in the past, but I’m still capable of gaining high praise,” Casper said. “Come on, friend, go ahead and show me what you’ve got!”
“Believe me, pres, I’ve got a lot more than you realize,” Law replied.
Law did not hesitate as he rushed Casper. The two men appeared to match well with one another as Law dodged each punch that was thrown at him. There seemed to be no end, however, as Casper kept his guard up. Gavin saw no chance for an opening, though he was certain that Law would find one soon. That was when Law smiled.
“So it’s like that, is it?” Law asked. “Well, now I know how to end this fight of ours!”
Gavin realized what Law was talking about. Casper protected his front and had his back facing the wall. Even as Law tried to turn him, Casper had kept his guard safe. But now Gavin knew what Law intended to do next, so he got himself ready while Henry looked onward.
“Go ahead, do it,” Casper said.
Law moved quickly to make sure that Casper’s back would face both Gavin and Henry. Now Law had his back facing the wall with the chance to catch Casper off guard. Gavin and Henry charged at Casper, hoping to take him down. But the closer they got to the president, Henry stopped as Gavin continued to advance. It was then that Gavin figured out why Henry hesitated.
“Foolish,” Casper said. “I was hoping you’d try something ridiculous like this. Guess I’m right again!”
On cue, Casper thrust his hand forward at Law and grabbed his shirt. He then threw Law at the nearby oil drums, which sent him falling to the ground. It caught Gavin off guard as Casper turned and elbowed him in the face, catching him in his tracks while Henry stood back. Gavin clutched at his jaw as Casper did a swinging kick at him. Fortunately Gavin was quick enough to back off before he got hit, but he soon lost his balance as he fell on his backside.
“You’ve got anything left?” Casper asked. “How about you, Henry? Or are you going to be the one to do nothing?”
Henry clenched his fist. “I haven’t given up,” he replied. “Neither will these two here. Even if you’re as good as you were in the past, you’re still just one man with no one to help you.”
Casper, though, had already lunged at Henry. Henry proceeded to brace for the oncoming strike and try to get in a counter. Casper proved himself to be quick enough to strike Henry in the chest. The abrupt impact sent Henry reeling, which meant that he had to spend time catching his breath. With Henry and Law taken down, Gavin stood up as Casper sprinted towards one of the side rooms. There was no way Gavin would waste time and let Casper get away, however.
“He’s no pushover, that’s for sure,” Gavin said. “Lawrence! Henry! We have to follow after him! Hurry!”
To be continued…