Previously: Stories From Stroud: Contact
Una was on the floor when the taxi “landed.” She didn’t know where the taxi had landed, but thankfully whoever was shooting at her had stopped for the moment. She was just about to peek out the window when the interior of the taxi was flooded with a light that all Q-zoners know well an enforcement ‘luminator. Una heard the announcement, City Police, they should be able to help her. Una peeked over the back of the driver’s seat. Standing in front of the ruined taxi cab was a human male wearing a black suit and carrying a rather large pistol. He didn’t look authority; he looked like the people you needed to know to survive in the Q-zone. Turning slightly to her right she could see a korogin male dressed in a black suit carrying a large rifle and he was not looking up at the source of the ‘luminators he was looking at her.
Una ducked and moved to the opposite of the passenger compartment. Should she open the door and take her chances? Should she hope that this city’s police actually did something?
“Drop your weapons, raise your hands and power down the vehicle or we will fire on you,” ordered at least two different voices from above.
Ralt looked over at Tarro. Tarro shrugged. Ralt nodded. Orts gunned the engine and lept off the roof driving straight at two of the cruisers. Ralt dropped to one knee, putting his rifle to shoulder and firing on automatic at one of the cruisers. The sound of the rifle was deafening. Tarro ducked around the taxi, on the same side as Ralt, his pistol aiming high.
One of the ‘luminators went dark, the other two were moving about randomly as the cruisers moved to avoid the rifle fire and Ort’s truck. Ralt and Tarro watched as Ort flew off as fast as the truck would go immediately followed by the cruiser with the blackened ‘luminator, its roof lights flashing. The other two cruisers pulled up higher, then began shooting using the vehicle mounted chain-guns. Within seconds the roof and the roof of the taxi were covered in impact craters from the chain-guns. If the sound of Ralts firing his rifle was deafening, the sound of chain-guns was a clarion call that the end was nigh.
Una waited by the door for the korogin to shoot her, but the shots never came, instead he started shooting at the police. As soon as he started shooting she opened the door and dropped down on the side of the taxi. When one of the ‘luminators went dark, una bolted from the taxi across the roof top. The other ‘luminators were casting crazy shadows as the cruisers moved to avoid a truck rushing at them and more fire from the korogin. By the time she had reached a roof access door the cruisers were tearing the rooftop and front of the taxi to shreds. Una didn’t wait to see how the situation resolved; she opened the door and ran down the stairs. Una stayed on the staircase, eventually they would end, hopefully on street level where she could get her bearings.
The rooftop was shredded, the taxi was holed in so many places that Tarro could see through it and Ralts had ran out of ammunition. When the cruisers stopped firing, Tarro threw his pistol across the roof, followed by Ralt’s rifle, then he and Ralt stood up with their hands in the air. At least Ort had gotten away and could continue chasing the girl. A night in lock-up wouldn’t be so bad, Tarro thought as one of the cruisers landed.
Una was out of breath, her sides hurt and her legs were sending her brain a message that would go no further when she burst out of the stairwell onto a well-appointed lobby. She staggered over to a couch next to a wall of elevators ignoring the stares of everyone in the lobby and on their way to or from the elevators. Head in hands, elbows on knees she spent several minutes catching her breath and taking stock of her situation. Carrying something that other people wanted, in a city where she knew nobody, chased by well-armed individuals and without a ride. Well, at least the police in this city did their job; that was a good sign.
Una found a drinking fountain and some vending machines near the elevators; a quick drink and a bag of sort of cheese-flavored chip and she was feeling better. Walking out of the front door of the building, Una realized, truly realized, that she was not in the Q-zone. A highway; four lanes deep, of flying cars raced past the landing zone she found herself on. The wind was constant and strong. Three men in fancy red outfits greeted each car that stopped at the zone and escorted the people inside the building. Nobody paid her any mind. Stepping up to the edge of the landing zone, Una looked up; neon, glass, holos, more lanes of flying traffic, walkways that stretched from one building to another in the distance, lights and more as far as she could see. She couldn’t even see the top of the building she was in, where she hoped the police had captured those men. Looking out, the city spread out before her to the horizon, in those few spots that weren’t blocked by a humongous towering building. Gulping, she looked down and could see that she was far above the ground.
“Is there something I can assist you with ma’am,” an elderly human male in the red outfit asked?
Una stepped back from the edge. He was wearing a red-coat that touched the ground, some sort of holo-logo was on the right breast of the coat and he was holding a black hat in his hands. He had kind eyes; she wasn’t sure why that stood out to her.
“I’m lost. I need to get to this place,” Una said reaching into her pocket and pulling out the chip, “Can you tell me how to get there?”
The man took the chip, flipped it over and handed the chip back to her.
“Wait here a second,” he said as he moved over to a kiosk that she hadn’t noticed. He came back shortly, “I have arranged for a taxi to take you directly to Crescendo which is three blocks away.”
“My pleasure, have a good evening.”