Having single-handedly dispatched of the scavenger-gone-bandits, Red decided to stay behind to look for any other lurking dangers. John had mentioned two more bandits, but these had yet to reveal themselves. If indeed they were still hanging around after their friends had been so efficiently gutted. Red checked his newly acquired rifle, and got moving to a nice vantage point for some scavenger-poaching.
Liam, Jac and John continued to the old decommissioned anti-grav anchor projector. The compound was circled by a 6 meters tall wall. The entrance had a still working two-component ident-scanner. Jac went to work, but the security systems, while old, were still formidable and proved too complex for Jac.
Scaling the wall about as elegantly as a pooping sloth, Liam, Jac and John entered the compound clumsily, if effectively. Moving towards the anchor-projector they were, somewhat, surprised to find a security robot waiting for them. Violence ensued. Jac decided to sit down in the open to start hacking into the robot's systems and was summarily shot with a neuro-stunner until he was unconscious. Liam kept moving, leading the robot away, as John tried to ambush and destroy the robot from hiding.
Failing his attempt at robot-destruction, Jac ran to the closest vehicle in an attempt to get him and his compatriots away. And was summarily rendered unconscious by the security robot as he arrived by the van. This was the eventual fate of Liam too. It just took longer.
The first thing John noticed was the throbbing. The second thing was that he was shackled. Looking around he could see the security robot in stand-by mode a few meters to his right. By a door. He could see his two companions lying, also shackled, next to him.
What happened John struggled to remember. His head was like thick white rice porridge, his memory like a peeled almond.
The chrono on his HUD informed him that at least 1 hour minutes had passed since … the van. Things started to come flooding back.
The muffled grunts from Jac indicated a more severe neuro scrambling being de-scrambled in his head. John felt better about himself. What had that idiot tech been thinking, sitting down in front of an armed robot like that…? He'd been more careful against the obsolete technology on the Nova Terra. Perhaps it was hubris.
Liam exploded into action. Suddenly and violently he rolled up onto one knee and half jumped half ran straight into the robot, body tackling it to the floor, trying to bite off wiring. John almost got his hopes up just as the robot crackled and hummed, Liam spasming and saliva frothing. John remained still. Liam continued to spasm as he rolled off the robot as it stood up. The robot started to move, but stopped…
Liam was unconscious again, Jac seemingly still unconscious. John eyed the robot. It was holding Liam by the right arm, it was unmoving, frozen in mid-stride.
Red watched the two bandits come out of the building where the remains of their compatriots were. They looked around warily, faces too far away, but Red was convinced he could see fear. Satisfactory. Suddenly they collapsed. Red was startled. He hadn't done this, yet they were now on the ground. And pretty dead judging by the dark pools growing around the head of both bandits.
Hunkering down Red scanned the area. There. A shadow. Moving swiftly past the two bodies, ignoring them it moved towards the anchor-projector. His friends. Comm'ing them could reveal his and their location. Red followed at a distance.
The door opened. John couldn't see or hear much from where he was, but someone had opened the door. It closed. Someone was inside. Yet John couldn't see or hear anyone.
Suddenly the robot moved again, startling John. It moved Liam next to him and remained there, blocking John's view. He fumbled with his restraints, they were loose – as were Liam's and Jac's.
In the shadows across the room, in the dim light from computer terminals, John saw a shape move, he could hear keys being tapped, he could also make out a muffled voice, yet not what was being said. John pulled out his pistol, looked over at an unconscious Liam, and a now awake and confused Jac – luckily the civie remained silent. He was learning.
Red hustled through the open gates of the compound, he could see lights from one of the buildings. He checked and readied his rifle.