by O. J. Anderson
Table of Contents|
Chapter 15, Chapter 16,
Chapter 17, Chapter 18,
appeared in issue 222.
Berney Razor — a.k.a. “Razor Burn” — of the Special Crimes Unit of the Garden City Police Department, believes in a healthy diet: he makes his own fruit smoothies and bakes his own banana-flavored bran muffins. He also exercises healthily. However, he has not read the chapter titled “Moderation.” He has developed a physique of geographical proportions; he looms amply equipped to punch out the punks on the seamy side of Garden City. What can stand in the way of this law-enforcement juggernaut? We shall see...
Doug fires a long burst across the hood until the magazine is empty. Razor grabs him by the shoulder and pulls him down behind the wheel. As Doug fumbles with the reload, Razor yells:
“Slow your rate of fire, kid. Keep the barrel cool.”
Bullets shatter the what’s left of the truck’s windows and send bits of glass raining down on them. The gunship banks around for another strafing run. Hawk 1 dumps a load of rockets and lays down heavy suppression fire with the 20mm. Carl waves for them to make a run for it.
Sticking his head around the front bumper, Razor picks a route inside the compound. “Let’s go, kid!”
They sprint for a hole in the fence one hundred yards to the front, Razor touching off double taps as he sees fit, dropping any security personnel that pop up. Once inside the fence line, it’s another two hundred yards to the nearest building where they can take cover. Razor rips a flare tube from his tactical vest and tosses it to Doug en route to the building. He tells Doug, “If you find Kate before I do, get to the rooftop and set this off. Hawk 1 will evac you. Don’t wait for me.”
Doug, barely able to speak, says something like, “Okay.”
“We’ve got about thirty minutes.”
* * *
Chief Conrad checks his watch as he circles the briefing table. A radio transmission from the airstrike leader comes over the radio.
“Danger Base, this is Blue Six, over.”
Agent Grimes takes the call. “Go ahead, Blue Six.”
“Blue team inbound. Time on target... three three mikes, over.”
“Roger that, Blue Six.” Agent Grimes puts the handset down and glances over at the Chief as though he’s thinking: I hope your man is that good.
* * *
Razor’s free hand is busy at the moment throwing heavy jabs at one of the SF’s face. Conserving ammo. The man’s head snaps back like a party balloon in the wind. He soon drops to the ground, but behind him is another guard, now taking aim at Razor. Probably on a heavy processed foods diet since the guard’s reflexes are slower than a Garden City High student taking the SAT’s. Razor drops him with one round, then kicks in the door to his left. He and Doug run inside the building and down a long white corridor, which soon turns into a three-way intersection.
Bullets rip into the wall only inches from Razor’s face. They take cover and quickly return fire at the SF team down the next hallway.
“We got no time for this,” Razor shouts. “No time!” He looks around, assessing the situation, considering the options. Then he hands Doug a few extra magazines. “Here. You hold them off for a few minutes while I make my way to the next building.”
“What? Hold them off? Hold them off!”
“You said you wanted to kick some ass. Well, here’s your big break, kid. Start kicking.” From his vest Razor removes a small explosive device, peels the adhesive backing, and sticks it to the wall. Gives the dial a twist. “Three minutes,” he tells Doug. Turns and runs down the corridor.
Doug fires and begins counting. “One-thousand one... one-thousand two... one-thousand three...” a SF bullet slams into his left shoulder. He clutches his shoulder and topples backwards.
* * *
Erskine slowly steps over the body of one of his security guards outside his office building. Sporadic gunfire and explosions still sound in the near distance. The helicopter gunship flies overhead. He had been on his way off the compound, making his escape, but now the sight of the corpse has made him stop. Erskine has never seen a dead body before.
There is a black pistol on the ground next to the body. Erskine kneels next to it. This would be the first firearm he has ever come in contact with. He picks it up and examines it as he would a chunk of gold, or a moon rock. It’s heavier than he thought it would be, but feels good in his hand. Erskine aims it, smells it, bounces it up and down in his palm, appreciating the pistol’s heft and stored power.
Standing, with the pistol at his side. Maybe he shouldn’t be in such a hurry to leave. A wicked smile creeps across his face as he sneaks off toward the sound of gunfire.
* * *
Doug has pushed himself back against the wall so that he can brace his weapon with his legs and lay down some return fire, but the situation is on a rapid decline nonetheless. His left arm is now entirely covered with blood. He looks over at the explosive device set by Razor. Vision is blurring and mind clouding. He can only barely make out the dark figure appearing in front of him. The same one who sends two grenades and a long burst at the SF team.
“Time to go, kid,” Carl says, hoisting him up.
* * *
Razor lets the door slam shut behind him. The inside of the laboratory building is white and sanitary. Quiet. He calls out her name. Kicks in any doors he comes across. Tears through the building like a wrecking ball.
In a bare room with only a few desks and computers, he stops to check his watch. Then, from behind, he hears: “I forget, is it sunburn, or razor stubble?
Razor knows instantly who this punk is. He sets his weapon down on a desk and starts removing his tactical vest as he turns to face Leon.
Leon likewise removes his jacket and the pistol from his shoulder holster. Sets them down on the floor. They both know what needs to happen here. Leon has a long, thin cigar sticking out of is mouth. Pulls it out and says, “I hear you’re pretty good with a muffin pan and a mixer. Come for some baking tips?”
Shaking his head, Razor says, “Came to serve you up a jumbo bucket of extra-crispy ass kicking.”
Leon breaks into some kind of kung-fu moves. Flapping and waving his arms around. Throws a few kicks in the air, then settles into as fighting stance. He says, “I’ve already eaten.”
Enough talk. Razor walks straight for him.
Leon throws an ill-fated punch at Razor’s mid-section. Razor lets him have that one; doesn’t move or flinch, he only asks, “Is this a pillow fight?”
The real ass kicking begins with a series of punches to Leon’s face followed by a straight kick to the abdomen. The kick sends Leon crashing into the wall behind him. Leon bleeds, growls, and charges Razor, letting fly a whole kata of punches and kicks, spinning and jumping and grunting all the while. Razor turns away the strikes with bored patience, as though leafing though a large catalogue in which there are too many ass-kickings to choose from.
Winded and frustrated, Leon stops. It dawns on him that he is no match for Razor, and never will be, not even on his best day — this day being nowhere within sight of his best day in either direction. But Leon is too stubborn to admit that by giving up. He screams and throws a big right hook with everything on it. Razor blocks the punch with his elbow, breaking all the bones in Leon’s hand. Leon screams again and falls forward curling the hand to his chest.
Razor sends a hard, short kick to Leon’s left knee, snapping it like kindling. Leon collapses to the floor. His pistol is there only a few feet away. He crawls to it, picks it up with his off hand, and tries to get the best of Razor. Without even lifting his eyes off the carpeting Leon fires two wild rounds into the wall.
Leon then looks up, regaining focus through the pain just in time to see a giant meteor entering the atmosphere of his face. The Signature Punch.
* * *
Kate hears the two gunshots from somewhere in the building. A minute later the door comes flying off its hinges and rattles to the floor. The big man walks into the laboratory and sees Kate sitting there. Obviously some sort of trap. He goes to the glass door and inspects it. Sees the grenade under the chair.
Shaking her head vigorously, Kate tries to mumble a warning through the tape. But there’s no time to work this problem. One way or another they’ll both be dead if they do nothing.
Razor pushes the door open and enters the containment area, where he is doused with contaminated water from Leon’s boobytrap. The liquid covers Razor’s head, getting into his eyes, nose, and mouth. Kate lets out a groan.
Expecting something much worse, Razor continues unfazed by the trap and takes the grenade out from under the chair. A paperclip from the desk makes a good replacement pin. Tosses the grenade into the sink.
As soon as he pulls the tape from her mouth, Kate says, “That water was contaminated with the virus. We have to find a sample so I can work up an antidote.”
“No time,” Razor says. “Your friends called in an airstrike. We have about twenty minutes or we’re both dead.”
Together, they head for the door.
“Thaddeus Bikharmer was talking about shipping the product tonight.” Kate says. “He wanted it off the grounds before you arrived. I need to get to that shipping area.”
“No can do! You need to get to the roof for evac. Pretty soon there won’t be any shipping area.”
“I’m not leaving without a sample.”
Outside, Kate points across a large paved area to a long building with loading docks and trucks parked outside. The loading docks are lit by rotating yellow lights. Alarms are buzzing all over the compound.
“Over there!” she says, and takes off running.
To Razor’s left, Carl and Doug are making their way towards his position. Doug is in rough shape. Carl has the kid’s arm slung around his neck and is practically dragging him along at this point. Razor runs over to help carry the wounded man. Together the three of them hustle over to the shipping building.
Copyright © 2006 by O. J. Anderson