Thursday, December 15, 2005

Walking Death, Chapter 6

     Leaping aside from the toppling truck, Frieda reset her grip on her ray gun. She took a quick stock of her situation. She knew that the side of the ambush with the burning truck was clear. What she didn’t know was how long it would take for the Imperials from the front to get to that side, or if that would be long enough to get through the corner and into cover for a stealthy escape. She had her ray gun, no self-respecting weird scientist traveled without one, but she knew that it would not be enough to hold off a company of Imperials.

“We need cover!” she yelled to the Resistance man ahead of her.

“There’s an alley across the street. We can make it if we give these guys the bum’s rush.”

“Go!” she said, following tight on the man’s hip.

The pair spun around the corner of the disguised panel truck. A pair of controlled bursts from his Thompson brought down the first two soldiers in the line. The third one was not completely surprised and let of a blind shot. The man was panicked, and lucky. Frieda’s escort let out a muffled groan and started to collapse.

The doughboy was marveling at his shot when Frieda’s first ray took him in the chest. Her next two went off as she loosened the focus on the emitter with her thumb. The widened beam wasn’t enough to kill any of the remaining three men, but it was enough to catch them all and knock them senseless.

Frieda knelt and rolled the Resistance man over onto his back. The hole, gasping and bloody in his chest, put paid to any idea of helping him escape. She had no false modesty. She knew that the man took the risk to get her safely away from the Empire. There would be no purpose in both being captured in her stopping to render aid.

Instead, she ran, head down, for the now visible alley mouth. She had momentum on her side as she crossed the dangerous open space where she would be visible to the third truck. A shout of “Halt!” and a pair of rifle reports sounded behind her. The darkness of the alley was welcome shelter, an old ally that she worked very well with.

She discovered quickly that she did not have the shadows to herself. A figure stepped out from the cover of a cluster of trashcans. Frieda’s heart almost gave out until the new shadow spoke.

“Knocker.”

Frieda needed a restarted heartbeat to remember the countersign.
“White Rabbit?”

“Call me Lamb,” her rescuer said with a released breath. “Follow me.”

On closer inspection, Lamb proved to be little more than a slip of a girl. At first, it gave Frieda pause that her fate had fallen into the hands of someone so young, let alone small. A second thought revealed that it could be ideal. If one ever had an image of a fighter, Lamb was not it. If this one had a method of escaping this situation, it would be a stealthy escape and one that had been thought out well before hand.

Whatever plans the girl had had to be put into motion quickly. By the time they rounded the first corner they came upon there were at least two Imperials in the alleyway. A few more twists and turns put them out onto the street on the far side of the block.

Lamb took Frieda’s arm.

“Just look like a fella out with his girl,” she whispered. Frieda had forgotten that she was wearing workman’s clothes and could reasonably expect to pass from a distance.

Sirens sounded in the distance, and as the pair crossed the street they saw police cars go roaring toward the warehouse. Once across the street, Lamb danced up the steps to a tenement call box. She pressed three buttons simultaneously, and the door buzzed open. They slipped through as a sleep addled voice demanded to know who was bothering him at that time of the night.

Their path took them up the stairs.

“We need to get some distance before we get a ride,” said Lamb. “I hope that you don’t mind heights.”

Their climb took them to the roof. Lamb pointed the direction, and Dr. Kellner saw the almost stair like arrangement of rooftops. Before the girl could say anything, Frieda took off at a run and leapt the gap to the next roof. She drew more than a little satisfaction at the girl’s surprised look.

Then Lamb made her jump. Frieda could have sworn that she heard the girl make a quiet “Whee” sound. The two then set off at an easy run across the rooftops, making the leaps across the alleys. Just before the end of the block, Lamb pointed out a fire escape and headed over there. At the bottom was a cab with its engine running.

“Heya, Hack,” said Lamb to the driver. To Frieda: “Don’t worry, he’s one of ours.”

“Is this the Doc?” asked Hack.

“Yep, let’s do the introductions on the road, shall we?”

“Right, safe house.”

“No,” said Lamb. “The pickup got busted, I don’t know if the safe house is safe anymore.”

“So where do we go?” asked Frieda.

Lamb was silent for a moment. Then she smiled.

“I know just the place.”

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