SESSION 16

Spike lit a cigarette as he walked along the dock. A light rain started to fall misting the lake. Lin and Shin waited for him behind a stack of crates watching a building stretched out on piers above the water. Casually he leaned against the crates and eyeballed the windows and doors. Most had been welded shut with plates. There was only one obvious entry. "So, is our lab rat in there alone?"

"Nope." Lin stood up with a grunt. "Keith's got seven friends with him. They've got some pretty heavy artillery in there."

Shin heaved a sigh. "You never should have left that trespassing dealer alive."

With a smirk, Spike murmured, "If he would have been a good little boy and stayed out of Tharsis we wouldn't be here. But at least he picked a better location. With eight in there it gives me an opportunity. I haven't shot pool in a while."

The two moved to Spike's shoulder as he stepped out onto the docks. "Wait here in case some of his buddies poke their heads through the hole. I got this."

Lin scowled and grumbled to Shin. "Peh. We get to play whack-a-mole, again."

Spike's footsteps echoed along the dock. He glanced down at the water, the ripples catching the light off his cigarette and shredding it. In the dark, swirling waters in the nearly setting sun he looked like a feral dog scavenging for prey. In truth, that's all he was. And the collar chafed him.

Approaching the warehouse he had one advantage. The glare of the sunset shown directly in their only entrance, a heavy door where recent scuff marks gouged the deck. They might see him coming. But he would see any who happened to be trying to line up a shot. The whole place was still.

With a quick motion hidden as he discarded and smudged out his cigarette, Spike set a special C-4 charge low on the wall of the building. Just like wedging the old pool table. He grinned. Same old game. Pulling out the Jericho he flicked the safety off. Different cue.

He tore the door open to the flash of shock on a handful of men's faces. They scrambled.

Spike fired off a single shot and nailed one in the back of the neck as he tried to climb over the card table. "One, side pocket."

Pulling out the Ruger, he grinned. As the shuffling of panic ensued, Spike entered leading with the guns pointed off in different directions. A second man popped his head up struggling with a gun jam, his eyes popped wide. Spike squeezed off a round with the Ruger. The man dropped like a rock. "Two, corner pocket."

The warehouse became the table. The targets shifted around, but Spike's ballistic cue took them out of play. Drifting through the crates and boxes, he mercilessly chased the decreasing force, letting them lead him back into a corner toward a barricaded door. The last two thought they were safe.

Spike ricocheted a bullet off a catwalk. It struck the target through the eye when he looked up. "Six."

The last man leapt up and squeezed the trigger of his gun, kicking him off his feet. A short burst of automatic fire peppered off to Spike's left.

Leveling the gun, Spike shot at a rack holding a fuel tank above the man's head. It fell, nozzle down. The gunman screamed and rolled to the side. The tank missed, but the nozzle struck solid floor. The valve released as it shattered, a fine mist ignited to the spark. "Seven … And now," Spike's eyes stared at the solid door. "The eight ball."

Trading the Ruger for a grenade, he pulled the pin, lobbed it at the door and ducked behind a column. The blast rocked the building, the backside of column was peppered in shrapnel.

Inside the room he found the dealer Keith, holding his head. Dozens of cuts bled on his face. Spike seized him by the collar. The moment Keith looked up his color drained. "Ahhh!"

Spike slammed the muzzle of the Jericho into his chest. "Shut up! You've been a load of trouble to me bringing this shit back here. I know you've been dealing with Vicious. And now, you're going to pay dearly for that."

"I … I didn't mean … "

"I said shut up! I don't want to hear it! Now move!" He pushed Keith out the door and lobbed another grenade into the room where it landed in the middle of his equipment.

"NO!"

Spike dragged him along even as he tried to escape. "You have something you have to do before you can die."

Wordlessly, Keith wailed as Spike dragged him toward the door.

Spike tucked the Jericho into his pocket. His fingers grasped the detonator. No going back. "Let's make this sporting."

Keith looked over his shoulders as Spike released his hold and shoved him forward. Seeing that Spike was now unarmed, he couldn't believe his eyes. In a scramble he darted for the door, clearing it. Spike narrowed his eyes. "One … two … three."

He plunged forward as if in hot pursuit. " four … five … "

The gunshots fired from the crate blind echoed. Spike's phone clattered across the dock as he threw it behind. "… six … seven … "

Spike drew in a deep breath. "Eight!" He hit the button.

The blast tore the side of the building and the front of dock dropping it out in a tremendous fireball. Spike tumbled like a rag doll out over the water. Below him the dark waters blossoming into a brilliant red a split second before he impacted.


See you, Space Cowboy!