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06 November 2019 @ 06:29 pm
_Cyborgs_ part 5  
 

Not far enough.

Eldon threw up a shield behind them as the blast tumbled them down the slope. And held it over head as debris pattered down all around. As headlights shone around the corner ahead, they flattened against the cliff behind an illusion of stone.

Horus looked around, and pointed up.

Eldon gave the almost sheer cliff a look over and pointed at what looked like the best run of finger and toeholds.

And where they lacked, he molded the rock a bit and they were over the ridge without being spotted.

They rested, just below the crest and surveyed the Cyborg camp. Horus with binoculars, Eldon magically enlarging his sight.

Picking targets.

“Do you actually have explosives along with you?”

“Well, no.” Horus shrugged. “But surely a military base will have enough laying around for us to borrow.”

“Hmm, I brought along some of those mortar bomb things.” Eldon grinned. “And a tank. Do you know how to drive a tank?”

“Uh . . . not one of theirs.”

“Oh well. See that big fancy tent? Why don’t we go blow it up?”

“Yeah. It’s either their HQ or their mess hall. Let’s go!”

***

It was headquarters. Horus prowled a bit . . . then pounced on a little black box and started tapping at it.

Eldon grinned. “So do you guys call them phones or comms?”

“Loc. Loquor.”

“Huh.” Eldon fished out a couple of the mortar rounds. “I hope you know how to make these things go boom from a safe distance.”

Horus started rattling away, with numbers to identify himself, then a smile as some replied to him. “Yes, I have found some interesting friends. I’m still in the Cyborg camp is there anything you’d especially like destroyed before I run? Oh, tell my sister that I’m well, and that my girlfriend got the children safely away.”

Whatever was said in return must have been good news, Horus’s facial muscles relaxed a bit. “Oh, yes, in fact that’s where we are right now. And I may be able to get things to you. What do you need? . . . I see. I’ll sign off before they track me. Oops.”

Eldon spun, throwing up a shield. Three Cyborgs sprinting toward them, weapons coming up . . . the Cy in the lead spotted Horus . . . an expression of horror.

“Sir!” The Cy put on the brakes, the other two bumped him, stopped and stared.

“Jannon . . .” Horus sounded equally horrified. “and Marcus, Callus . . .”

Their weapons lowered, then the first one’s face went slack, his eyes blank, the gun coming back up . . . Eldon grabbed a bubble and swooped it over them. Slapped it on his arm.

Horus swallowed. “I should kill them in mercy.”

“Bah. Let’s blow this place up, then we can take your friends away and see what we can do about their little problem.”

“Eldon . . . Gods, I pray you can. All the ones we tried, died.”

He took the mortar round and winced “I think it’s impact triggered.”

“It says ‘roll this way’ so lets roll it the other way and run. I can probably throw some fire if that doesn’t do any good.”

Horus shrugged and rolled it, bolted the other way. Eldon galloped after, a physical and energy shield up behind him . . . unneeded. He sent a hard punch at it, then a fireball. Everything around it burst into flame.

“Bloody hell. Well, I can burn it all down any way.” Eldon rolled the second mortar round into a fancy office and trotted away. Tossing fireballs behind and to each side as they ran through the tent. And out the far side. Stunning two Cy standing guard.

A sudden boom behind them. “Maybe it just needed to get hot enough!” Eldon followed Horus, who seemed to have a suicide mission in mind as Cys started converging on the fire.

A Cy leaping out of a car, yelling orders . . . spotting them. A stun spell staggered Eldon, despite his shield. He pulled heat from the fire behind him and threw a small diameter punch. The Cy collapsed, and the ordinary Cys around suddenly started slowing, looking around.

“The mentalist is dead!” A Cy spun around in a circle. “I’m free!” He bolted, and he wasn’t the only one leaving.

Eldon grabbed Horus. “We need to get out of here.”

Horus pointed. “See that? That’s the fortress. When we get out of here, I need you to open a gate from somewhere safe into the interior of that.”

“Right. Now get in here . . .” Eldon shoved Horus into a more substantial building. A kitchen.

“Do they have a food store? I think the fortress is running out of food, not that they’d say so when someone could be monitoring.” Horus jerked opened a door. “Yes! Can you scoop up as much as possible, and . . .”

Eldon scooped the whole room, opened the corridor against the wall and grabbed Horus and shoved him through, tossed a mortar round, threw a fireball and jumped through himself. He dodged to the side and reached back mentally and popped the corridor.

The rising sun was bright enough to outshine the fires they’d left behind. A distant boom and a new column of smoke.

Rista slugged Horus. “For scaring me, you toad!” then tried to kill Eldon again.

 
 
 
(Anonymous) on November 7th, 2019 01:02 am (UTC)
a wierd suggestion
You read David Weber, don't you? I had a thought of something similar to what he did. There were a bunch of missions to attack the Haven bases, and started out with much success. But he showed several of them, with the defenders learning how to deal with some of the tactics, and having some success at blunting some specific attacks.

You could have Eldon get sucked into multiple tries to get into cyborg camps, but have the cyborgs learn a bit about how they're being attacked? That could ratchet up the tension.

darqref
(Anonymous) on November 7th, 2019 02:25 am (UTC)
Eldon would not know of Mirk's gang and the Cyborgs, would he?

IIRC (don't have time to look it up right now) WotG managed to fix at least some of the Cyborg mods in that case.

Holly
matapampamuphoff on November 7th, 2019 03:38 am (UTC)
I don't know how far the Utopia details have spread. If they're discussed much around Embassy, the Smuggler Sisters have probably heard about it, and they do occasionally visit Betelgeuse.

Or, eh, Eldon. "Drink this, can't hurt, can it?"
(Anonymous) on November 7th, 2019 04:07 am (UTC)
How did Embassy find out about Utopia? I don't remember them being in contact.
matapampamuphoff on November 7th, 2019 04:45 am (UTC)
They aren't in regular contact.

Xen or Q might have tracked down that world with the big power gate scars. Or perhaps Halberd dropped by Embassy and politely asked Xen to do something with these 20K Cyborg soldiers, and if she wasn't a wanted criminal, could she take some witch training?

Edited at 2019-11-07 04:46 am (UTC)
(Anonymous) on November 7th, 2019 05:26 am (UTC)
Interesting. Thank you, I really feel the need to know about that when I read about Cyborgs. Perhaps you could add that as a prologue for this book? Or it might make a short story in your next collection. Do we find out how Xen got injured in this book or is that another story?
matapampamuphoff on November 7th, 2019 02:20 pm (UTC)
There was no deep story to Xen's injury. He was checking out a distant world with powered gates and found Cyborgs. Pretty much instant battle, with Xen winding up running for home with serious injuries.

After that he checked them out very cautiously, realized the extent of their empire (Eep! 829 technically advanced worlds they've conquered and I'm not done counting! sort of thing) and got real careful, not wanting to get them looking toward Disco.

That is probably when he found Utopia.
(Anonymous) on November 7th, 2019 04:08 pm (UTC)
You mentioned, several books ago, that Utopia had been contacted & officially wanted nothing to do Disco, Embassy, & the wider multiverse (I figured it was a combination of the computer not trusting outsiders after the Cyborgs, & it also not wanting to risk an extradition request for the "family" who'd proved so valuable).
Michawl DolbearMichawl Dolbear on November 8th, 2019 11:55 pm (UTC)
Q mentions Utopia to Rael at the beginning of Meet the Family

== This is Utopia . . ." She touched a world with a yellow tinge, roughly the same direction, not quite as far away. "One of the Early Diaspora worlds. They were invaded and drove off the Cyborgs, seven years ago."
"Did Disco help? We never heard . . ." Rael stopped at Q's shaken head.
"Four of the escaped Black Island Gang. Prince Mirk, Frost—one of the Veronian Witches—and two witch children apparently were able to assist. We're . . . talking to the authorities there, but they’re very cautious and don't seem to be terribly interested in trade."
==

So probably no detail for Eldon nor an Embassy public gate.

Edited at 2019-11-08 11:57 pm (UTC)
mbarkermbarker on November 8th, 2019 08:13 am (UTC)
Don't slow down, but I was just thinking about the effect of scooping a whole room out of most structures -- they just aren't all that stable. You yank a whole room out, you have probably pulled at least one load-bearing wall out, and... down will come baby, roof and all!
matapampamuphoff on November 8th, 2019 02:21 pm (UTC)
I'll make that roomful, can't have it fall on my idio. . .heroes and ruin their escape.