KING OF THE HILL_
“You killed Sombra? Fucking shit!” She holds her injured
right arm with her cybernetic left, her face an angry grimace. And now
what, she almost says, but that would sound girlish and weak. Her anger
nearly makes her forget who the tall man leaning casually against the
opposite wall of the corridor really is. The door in front of them hangs
loosely in its hinges, behind it only a curtain of darkness.
When Earl begins to speak, he sounds calm, almost normal.
Not that she is an expert on what’s normal, anyway. “I would have killed
him sooner or later. I merely regret the unfortunate timing - I did not
intend to run him off the speed rail.” He shows her a wide grin with
too many teeth. They are the same bright, clinical white as his
cybermechanical eye. “Not now, when the two of you just started getting
She is upon him in one fluid motion, arm raised. He blocks
her attack with indifferent ease. “Please.” His voice is like silk.
“Would you rather have killed him yourself?”
She would rather tear this knowing grin from his face with
her bare hands, but she can’t risk damaging her artificial arm any
further. First, other things need attending to.
“Too bad,” she says, turning away. “Your body would make an
excellent spare parts inventory.” He cackles in response, returning to
his usual frantic manner.
His triblade gauntlet is dangling from her belt, a safety
precaution on her part, but she can’t use it, not in this state. There’s
nothing she can do about the pain in her natural arm for the moment,
but the biomechanical one needs repairing. Badly. She can still shoot
one, maybe two lasers, but any more and the whole thing could fall
apart. “Let’s get inside.” She is already at the door when the
long-limbed man catches up and pushes past her.
The room is vast, cold. Glass splinters and destroyed
gadgets are everywhere. Dust and circuit boards crunch under her heels.
The floor is dark with old blood. When she takes a few steps inside, she
It can’t be. Impossible. And yet, there they are. New and
shiny, and absolutely out of place amid this destruction. Speed rails
have been mounted in the hall. As she approaches them, soft lights begin
pulsing inside the rails; everything is ready for the next level.
She turns around hectically and her steps echo off the far
walls as she looks for Earl. Where the hell is he? There, a shadow
behind the door, a scuttling spiderlike movement along the wall?
Nothing. Then, shuffling. At the other end of the hall a door opens and a
figure appears as a dark silhouette against the light from outside,
She is trapped and she should have realised it way sooner.
Fuck. This wouldn’t have happened, had she not been injured in the
explosion. Her reflexes kick in and, diving behind a table, she fires a
laser at the figure without thinking. It bounces off the doorframe and
leaves a ghostly trail between tables and broken gadgets. But the
split-second in which it illuminated the intruder’s face has been
“Stay where you are. Don’t come any closer!”, she shouts
from her cover. Her torso is shaking too much to keep the biomechanical
“Sin Viper? Sin, cut the crap! We can’t fight each other as long as Clarke isn’t dealt with! You know this!”
“What sick game are you playing?” she yells back before
she can stop herself. “Are you both working for GenoCorp? I thought you
had better taste than that, Sombra. Although I’m not so sure when I look
at that ugly coat of yours.”
“GenoCorp? Are you mad?” As if on cue, a cackling laughter rings in the distance.
“Where’s Earl? Is he still on our side?” Sombra takes a step towards her, but she fires her second laser at him. Her last one.
“Our side? Oh, I don’t know, what would you call your side anyway? Didn’t you have enough coins to make it to the other side?”
He lowers his katana and tries to lend his voice a reassuring tone. “What are you talking about?”
“You are dead, Sombra! Earl crashed into you on the rails,
remember?” Her voice is thick with sarcasm. “I wonder how you can be
here now. Either Earl is a damn good liar and you two collaborated. Or
you had another reason for faking your own death. Maybe to make some
preparations for this lovely game?”
“Oh shit.” Sombra has spotted the rails now.
“Well,” she mutters, getting up slowly. “Yeah. Shit.” She
can hear the laughter again, closer this time. “Why are you really
“Same reason as you. To find Clarke’s weakness.” He motions with his blade to the destroyed terminals and gadgets.
“Tetsuo Industries has been raided by GenoCorp. Clarke’s advanced technology must come from he—”
Neon lights cut broad white beams into the darkness. At
once, they are both fully illuminated, while the shadows around them
grow deeper. “They knew we would come here,” Sin Viper whispers.
Earl’s cackling laughter is very close now.
It isn’t a conscious decision when she throws the gauntlet
toward Sombra. “Keep him off my back,” she yells. Without waiting for a
response she ducks out of the light and jumps on one of the rails.
After a few seconds, when she is certain to have left Sombra and Earl
behind, she lets go and dives behind a worktop that has broken in two.
They can go at each other’s throats now, for all she cares. This shaky
alliance aginst Clarke has been a mistake. The morphbot is by far
superiour and the nice gentlemen from GenoCorp will have made sure that
they won’t find any leftover id-cycles from Clarke’s production line.
She clutches the cold piece of metal in her right hand.
Not the perfect spare part by a long way, but it’ll have to do. It’s the
best she could get from Earl’s gauntlet. Pity that she can’t repair her
natural arm the same way. Her elbow is swollen and too stiff to move by
now, but she manages to pry open the metal plate with numb fingers.
She has just stashed the screwdriver away in her boot when
the lights turn on. Every single one of them, not the flickering lights
from before, but a full, movie-set lightshow. Fuck.
GUNKATANA! The thunderous announcer’s voice must come from
hidden speakers above. She is not ready for what she knows will happen
next. At a distance, she sees Earl and Sombra, frozen in the light like
deer. “Don’t fucking keep standing there!” she shouts at the top of her
voice and lends her words authority with a few whipping laser beams.
“I’d fancy killing you off right now, but let’s take care of Clarke
It works, the spell is broken. “There!” Earl spots the
fast-approaching dark shape first. Three weapons are raised like one, as
if to salute the newcomer.