Lilliana had only just sealed the main corridor from the floor of the cargo hold to the engine room when it opened again. That was the advantage of zombies who had mechanical limbs… they could be ordered to move their arms into position and then remotely controlled for precise work.
“No, please!” Lilliana said, spinning around to face the trio who now advanced on her. Her pointed heel broke off and she pitched backwards. She began scurrying backwards, losing her other shoe in the process. “Please… don’t!”
Whether at a whispered command from their watching master or because of their own primitive hunting instinct, the zombies lunged forward, propelling their rotted bodies after her with unusual speed and force, their arms outstretched and their dead faces contorted into obscene grimaces…
…which didn’t change even they reached a point a bit behind where Lilliana had fallen, where their heads popped off their necks seemingly of their own accords. The bodies stumbled forward a few more feet on sheer momentum before toppling to the floor.
Lilliana laughed, knowing the necromancer could hear her. She picked up the broken heel, gathered up each head, and plunged the pick through the sensors of the first two. She paused, looking into glowing red eye.
She shook her head.
“I know you look at us and see an under-manned, under-armed, run-down wreck of a ship, but the fact is you’ve got no idea what you’re messing with here,” Lilliana said. “Pull your zombies out and leave now, and you can avoid everything that’s going to be coming your way if you stay.”
There was very little chance that her bluff would make a difference, but it never hurt to try.
She put out the lights on that head, retrieved her shoes, and seamlessly reattached the “broken” part.
She then went over to the side of the corridor and very carefully advanced to the point where the zombies had spontaneously decapitated. There, she plucked the tiny monofiber anchor off the wall and began reeling it in. The same trick wouldn’t work the same way again… hopefully because the necromancer wouldn’t send his troops down that route again.
She sealed the passage again anyway, adding an extra layer of encryption to the lock, then headed off for the next logical attack route, turning on her communication earring as she went.
“Daniel,” she said. “We need Cicada to help hold the engine room.”
“Oh, now you want Cicada,” he said.
“I said ‘need’, Daniel,” Lilliana said. “As in, we’re screwed if we don’t have some serious firepower here.”
“I’m screwed if I’m dead,” Daniel said. “I’ll send her out when she’s finished sweeping our quarters.”
“Good enough,” Lilliana said.
It wasn’t really, but it would have to be.
“First level, clear,” Cicada reported in her slight brogue. She stood at the base of a marble staircase in a palatial suite full of sculptures and fountains that would have fit in better in the Rylean National Palace… or anywhere that wasn’t on a tramp freighter. “Checking upstairs now.”
Daniel nodded. He was a thin, nervous-looking man with curly hair and a beard on his chin that always looked slightly scruffy no matter how often he groomed it, which was very often. He sat behind a large mahogany desk. On the right side of the desk was a line of pistols and personal weaponry. On the left side was a line of bottles.
It wasn’t that he didn’t trust the blonde mountain of a cyborg to keep him safe. He just had issues with the walking dead, and with any spell that would allow intruders into his personal sanctum.
She advanced up the stairs, her pistol raised. It was an outsized double-barreled weapon, with a cylindrical magazine sticking out of the top above the trigger and grip. She held it in her left hand, which was flesh and blood. Most of the right side of her body… at least what was visible outside her gray sweatpants and muscle shirt… was gleaming silver.
She’d only made it to the landing when she saw them… three zombies, at the end of the hallway. She leveled her gun and pulled the trigger three times, with only a tiny jerk of her hand to correct the aim in between them.
The gun was essentially recoilless. Three projectiles—large for bullets but still deceptively small—popped out of its barrels at low velocity, igniting once they were clear and accelerating towards the zombies’ heads. The rounds could be programmed to fire tiny retrothrusters just before impact, slowing the bullets to the velocity calculated to penetrate the target but not go through them. Alternatively, they could use the fuel that remained to detonate, as Cicada’s did.
Gyro-stabilized mini rockets. In atmosphere, they could travel for miles for a sniper shot. On board a ship, they could take out a target with maximum force and minimum risk of hull breach.
They were illegal for private hands on most planets. Not so on Planet Shays.
As with most times that she used her GSMR gun, Cicada had to repress the urge to blow on the barrels. There was of course no actual smoke to blow away from them, nor were the rockets’ contrails the least bit corrosive. It was just that a gun that badass seemed to demand a badass move.
Realizing that she was alone, she decided to indulge herself… right as another group of zombies burst out of the door on her right. The lead one lunged for her arm, grabbing it and biting… and breaking its teeth on the metal casing.
“Ach, no wonder you idiots are always hungry for brains,” she said, bashing its head against the wall. She put her metal fist through the skull of the second and knocked the rotted brains of the third out with a swipe of her pistol.
“Honey? Did you say something?” Shays called nervously from the ground floor.
“Stay where you are,” Cicada called back. “Everything’s just fine and dandy up here.”
She checked the room the zombies had come from and then made her way down the hall, whistling Loch Lomond as she went.
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