[ Pobierz całość w formacie PDF ]

"Here," Dean said, passing the woman a fistful of .38 cartridges. "I'm fine.
Still have eighteen rounds for the Weatherby."
"Thanks."
"No prob."
"Watch for bars, taverns, any place with booze," Ryan said, driving away
slowly.
"And stay sharp. We're gonna need a lot more than a fistful of ammo to stop
another sec droid."
Keeping to the middle of the streets, the companions began driving a spiral
pattern around the city blocks, slowly expanding the area covered until
finding a liquor store in the middle of a street lined with outdoor
restaurants. The front door was unlocked, the shop open for business, and the
people raided the shelves and storage room, obtaining enough vodka to fill
their tanks. Always on the prowl, J.B. found a double-barreled shotgun hidden
under the counter, but the weapon was empty, and no ammo anywhere. Some
peaceful shopkeeper intended to use it as a prop to scare away robbers.
"Triple-stupe bastard," the Armorer snorted, disgusted by the sheer stupidity
of the deceased owner. What good was a blaster you couldn't use?
On the way out, Ryan paused to break open the cash register and check the
money in the till. He carefully scanned the bills, then he tossed the paper
aside and departed with the others, leaving the register drawer open for the
insects and mice to harvest as bedding for their nests.
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Krysty noticed him inspecting the money and nodded. Smart man.
None of the pay phones on the sidewalks had a Yellow Pages book, only a short
chain attached to ragged pieces of faded paper. But a nearby video store had a
phone book behind the counter, and Ryan carefully turned the brittle pages to
search for the address of a gun shop. Strangely, there were no listings for
military supplies or gunsmiths, only a sporting-goods store, which they
determined was located a couple of blocks to the east.
Arriving at the location, five of the companions stayed astride their bikes at
an intersection to stand guard while Ryan and J.B. walked along the middle of
the street. The dark shops were lined with dead neon signs, placards in the
windows announcing January sales. A few cars dotted the curb, and a police
sedan was parked at a sharp angle in front of a sleek roadster, but immutable
time had reduced both cop and criminal to powdery bones on the black asphalt.
The sporting-goods store was closed, an iron grille in place across its window
and door. Normally, that wasn't a problem, but unfortunately there was a
broken key jammed in the lock of the grating. J.B. tried for a while, then
pronounced it hopeless unless they used plastique. Holding their small supply
of C-4 in reserve, Ryan checked the pawnshop across the street, the classic
three brass balls hanging from a post announcing the honored profession.
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Pawnshops often carried weapons and ammo. The main window was coated with
black paint on the inside, making it impossible to see if there were any
blasters on display inside. Were the owners trying to hide from the rampaging
mobs? But this city had died at the instant of skydark, and there had never
been any crowd of starving people to loot the stores. Curious.
But luck was on their side. The steel grating before the establishment was
drawn aside, and J.B. easily picked the lock on the door. Taking the point
position, Ryan started to open the door when he stepped on something hard.
Instantly, the man froze. Only recently, he had encountered a land mine, and
since then he was extremely wary of stepping on anything. His heart pounding,
the man glanced at the sidewalk and slowly tilted his boot to see underneath.
The lump proved to be only a small blob of congealed silvery metal on the
concrete. As the puzzled man glanced around, he noticed the source of the
puddled steel and felt
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cold adrenaline flood his body.
"Hey, Albert!" Ryan called out in forced casualness. "Get the bikes over here
so we can load them easier."
Caught by surprise, the startled companions looked hastily around for the
source of the danger. If any of them used a name that began with the first
letter of the alphabet, that meant they were in an ambush. But from where? The
streets were empty.
"Aw, push your own damn bike," Dean shouted, working the lever of the
Weatherby while it was still in the boot. "That ain't my job." [ Pobierz całość w formacie PDF ]