“Okay… so how come the trains inside were all rusted out, while the bridge, the one I remind you is exposed to all sorts of weather, looks like it’s in perfect condition?”
“Don’t like it, don’t trust it.”
“Higher grade of steel?” Pixie and Sarge turned to glare at Mort. “How the heck would I know? Look, we’re barely breaking even on this job as it is right now. So either we sell off Intel on this place or we find a pump-cart and use the tracks to head home.“
“Going through an area we haven’t seen, scouted, mapped, or anything.”
“Do NOT like that at all.”
“But we’ll be able to carry a decent sized haul of stuff back for once and it’ll take us within 20 miles of Home. How else we going to be able to pay rent?”
“Fine Mort. You’re the science guy, go check it out,” sighed Pixie pulling her binoculars out of her pack.
Mort shrugged off his backpack, leaned it against the doorway, and waited for Pixie’s nod. Creeping out under cover of Sarge and his silenced 9mm, Mort approached the bridge leading out of the museum rail yard. He carefully tapped the wooden planks between the rail-ties with a shoe before stepping out on to the bridge. Then he leaned down to examine the metal rails before standing back up, walking over to the railings, and leaning over to look down.
The railing broke; Mort pitched forward and over, too fast to cry out.
Sarge raced over. Pixie paused to grab Mort’s backpack before rushing after Sarge; the first aid kit was in there. Sarge didn’t bother with the bridge, instead stopping at the edge of the steep bank down the hill, to the left of the bridge and Pixie came up behind him. She got a glimpse of Mort splayed out at the bottom of the gully before Sarge fired and the casualty chewing on Mort’s ankle collapsed in a spray of brains across the rocks. Mort hadn’t moved or screamed at all the whole time. There was blood dripping down the side of his forehead. It looked like a lot of blood to Pixie but she’d heard that head wounds bled a lot... She pulled out the first aid kit and blood tester from Mort’s bag, and was grabbing the rope from her own when Sarge glanced over and saw.
“Aw hell no Pixie. He landed on a goddamn casualty. You are not a good enough shot to be dealing with a goddamn Vector halfway down a gully!”
“Well I can’t counter-weight you and he isn’t waking up on his own, so unless we’re just abandoning a team–”
Both of them jumped in response to the howl of pain and rage from Mort. He was on all fours, scrambling up the gully, black veins visibly spidering underneath his skin. His eyes were bloodshot, blood dripped from his mouth, and he was scrambling up the steep slope on a clearly broken ankle — the bone was sticking out of his boot.
“ohshitohshitohshit” Pixie mumbled, abandoning anything not immediately in hand and hightailing it back to the open doorway. Soft ‘phft-crack’s again came from Sarge’s gun. Pixie dropped her backpack in front of her, unslung the shotgun across her back, and tried to brace herself on both backpack and doorframe. Her hands were shaking pretty bad. “Sarge!”
Sarge stopped firing, turned, and sprinted for the doorway. Pixie was afraid he was in her line of fire — she hadn’t exactly had many opportunities to practice with the damn thing before. Sarge grabbed the doorframe as he was sprinting by and spun himself back around.
“Nope,” Sarge said, bracing his right shoulder against the door. “No time.” He fired again as Mort’s dead(ish) body crested the gully.