“Drop the canister and walk away,” one of the mechs bellowed at her, pointing a laser canon. The other four followed suit, training their various weapons on the lone Salamander woman. She walked to the side, and their sights followed.
“Why don’t you come over here and take it from me?” Gilliastrik tossed the canister up and caught it, grinning at them. “Surely you boys aren’t afraid of little old me, are you?”
Speakers crackled as one pirate said, “It doesn’t look like she has any weapons but that big sword, Garvey. Nothing to worry about.”
“Go get it then, Heath,” the boss responded, motioning with his own grappler arm towards the scaled woman. She offered the containment pod at arm’s length, balancing it on her palm, and smiling. Her other arm had the sword by the hilt over her shoulder.
“Fine,” Heath said, “Let’s get it and get out of here. Didn’t want to be stuck in any damned desert anyway.” The big mech stomped over to where Gill waited, stopping about eight feet from her. He made the grappler arm point to the dirt between them while training his blaster on her. The speaker whined again. “Put it on the ground.”
“I’ve got a better idea,” Gill responded. “Catch!” she cried as she threw the pod into the air, bringing her now free hand to the hilt of her sword. As the mech’ front tilted upwards to follow the pod, she swung her sword around and caught it in the knee. It tilted to the side as the joint exploded, and her swing continued through the other leg. The pirate snatched at his controls and fired his weapon, the beam evaporating several antennas sitting on the roof of the depot.
Gill noticed this and screamed out, “You’re paying for that, Jarik!” as she leaped into the air and brought her sword point down into the cockpit, impaling the driver. The machine shuddered, going limp and powering down.
Jarik, who’d been watching her work and looking for an opening, yelled back, “If we live, fine!”
He broke from cover, scrambling towards his own mech as Wilson followed in a panic. They reached the cockpit and clambered in, the tiny bot having activated the remote startup while they were waiting. It came to life and ran towards the pirates’ flank, opposite of where Gill stood. He aimed his giant rifle and fired, taking one of the remaining four mechs in the back where the jump jets were situated. The engines were hit, and the others scrambled away as their friend was turned into a fireball of twisted metal.
The pirate captain shouted, “What are you idiots waiting for? Get them!” and turned his gatling laser on Jarik as his remaining men scattered. The bolts struck the chassis, scoring black gouges in his armor.
Jarik turned into the barrage and leaped, using his own jump jets to soar into the air towards the opposing mech. The pirate’s stream of laser fire tried to follow, but couldn’t match the velocity of Jarik’s machine. As he flew towards his opponent, Jarik deployed his light sword. It was a two meter long beam of bright blue plasma, and it could cut through hull metal like a giant’s blowtorch. He swung down as he landed, slicing the gatling laser in two, catching it in the power pack. Both men’s eyes went wide as a sharp whine filled the air and the Chintamani tooth powering the gun exploded, tossing the mechs apart.
As those two picked themselves up from the ground, Gill was watching the other two pirates' attempt to flank her. She had her guard up, but being unarmored she wouldn’t survive a shot from one of their laser weapons without a lot of luck. They didn’t speak, just watched her and circled, trying to get on either side. Gill focused, and in her palm a radiance formed.
Before either pirate could react, Gill threw the fireball at the left one, breaking right. The fire stuck to the front of the mech like napalm, and began to melt through the laser resistant glass as though it were plastic. The pirate screamed at the intense heat, panicked, and ran his mech into a rock. It fell over backward and the hatch opened, the pirate leaping out with a fire extinguisher in hand.
As he raced to put out his melting machine, Gill ran at the other, who unleashed a torrent of laser fire at her. She blocked these with the blade of her sword, but blasts would slip around and scorch her scales and dark skin. She kept up the run until she was within three meters, then dove forward. Rolling, Gill came to a stop underneath the pirate and used her momentum to power her sword up and through the mech.
Metal split, then skin, organs, bone, and metal again as she cleaved the machine in two. The parts fell to either side of her, and she turned her head slowly to look at the remaining pirate. He had seen this all happen, dropping the extinguisher and backing away towards the rock with his hands out. She grinned, looking predatory with her fangs, and cocked back her arms. In a massive overhand swing, she flung her sword end over end towards the pirate.
It crossed the space between them before he could move, and the point hit him in the chest, pinning him to the rock. He scratched at it feebly, his lifeblood and innards leaking out on the sand, then died. Gil walked over and grabbed the hilt, working it back and forth to slide it from the stone. As she delivered a final blow to the burning mech, she turned to see how Jarik was doing with the captain.
The two had regained their feet, and were facing each other down. The captain’s right arm was a nasty black hole of gears and machinery, and Jarik’s light sword had been lost in the conflagration. His grappler arm still functioned, but it was looking damaged and would need repairs soon. The pirate had seen the call signs drop from his console, and knew he wasn’t walking away from this one. Even if he did, his boss would have his hide in more ways than one if he ran from a fight. He couldn’t go back without the tooth, so he readied his own grappler arm and flashed the cutting torch at Jarik.
Jarik clamped his grappler open and shut a few times, indicating that it still worked and was more than up to the task of tearing his enemy apart piece by piece. A wind blew across the valley, scattering up a dust devil that danced between the two for a moment before dissipating. For her part, Gill sat down on the warm sand and leaned against the rock, smiling at the two as they prepared to destroy one another.
If you enjoyed this story, you can find many more like it on my Original Fiction page, or in the anthology Darkest of Dreams from DimensionBucket Media on Amazon. You can also find more of my work at my website, jimfear138.blogspot.com, including my weekly podcast and audiobooks I've produced. You can also throw me a tip if you like at Ko-fi.