Will was trying to use the Council’s computers to figure out how many mercenaries they had in the city, but he had to keep half his attention on Burnout.
“You need to rest.” He had forced Burnout to sit in one of the Council’s chairs, Adamant’s actually, but now that he’d caught Will up, he was trying to leave already. “This fight isn’t going to end anytime soon and you need to let someone else take a turn.”
“You just told me that the others all woke up, including Mach, and you expect me to sit here while they are fighting someone they know nothing about?”
“Yes. If I’m reading this right, then there are at least twenty walkers on their side, and that’s just the one’s satellites can catch. We have to assume that there are at least twice as many as that, and most of our toughest have already been taken out.” A loud crash echoed through the building. “What’s happening out there isn’t a normal fight, it’s the closest thing we’ve had to a Walker War since the Sons of the First. That means that we can’t afford to send everyone out at once. You’ll be a lot more helpful with a couple hours of rest than you are now.”
Burnout face tightened slightly around his goggles. “I can’t just-“
“If you need something to do then look for anyone out there who knows anything about magic. You’re the one Court used to break the spell, if they take a look at the circle they might find something that gives us a better third wave. I’m going to close the bulkheads on my way out. When anyone’s ready to fight, you can set the doors to ripple out if you type in Springheel. You can let someone in with Caesar. Make sure someone in here knows it if you leave.””
“What are you going to do?”
“Adamant was just thrown through the front doors. If he’s unconscious, I’m going to throw him back here and then I’m going to start collecting everyone I can and sending them this way.”
Another loud crash echoed through the building.
Will typed a few more commands into the computer and walked for the door.
“Two hours. You should rest at least that long. Try to get some sleep.”
He didn’t wait for an answer.
The room outside was half filled with people who’d managed to avoid or resist the spell. Most of them were sitting in the chairs and benches spread around the room. A few were laying on the floor, but none of them were standing.
They didn’t look up when he walked by. The only Council member still awake was outside the building, he was just another refugee hiding away.
It wasn’t until he made it to the far door that any of them paid any attention. About half a dozen heads turned to watch him leave. Those would be the ones who were willing to fight when Burnout left. But right now he didn’t’ need volunteers.
The door swung closed behind him without a challenge.
The hall outside was long and empty, lined with blown up images of magazine covers and news articles describing some of the more famous fights the Council had gotten into. Below them were the trophy cases. Mementos of defeated enemies and lost allies, they were mostly reproductions but a few of the harmless trophies were the originals.
Including two suits in a shared trophy case near the front of the building. Thick metal doors slammed into the floor behind him as he walked towards it, but he ignored the sound. Will didn’t read the plaque next to the case. He’d memorized it over two years ago. It was flowery and nice and he knew she would have hated it as much as he did.
He stared briefly into the jet black mask that he’d worn for years, watching his distorted reflection squint at it. Right now, all he had was a jacket and a pair of pants that should have been washed yesterday. A mask, any way of hiding his face, could save his life, but he couldn’t bring himself to open the case.
‘I’m not you anymore.’
The thought was quiet, but there was a firmness to it that Will couldn’t deny. Rumor had died with Kalliope. He wasn’t coming back. But that didn’t mean Will had to stay out of the fight.
Another crash echoed through the building and a something heavy landed on the ground behind Will. He strode towards Adamant carefully, ready to duck away if he decided to jump back outside.
“You know, they could at least be nice enough to toss me through the same hole.” Adamant’s voice echoed in his own throat.
Will nodded. “It’d make things easier to clean up, wouldn’t it? You’ve gone full metal. How many do they have out there?”
“More than I felt like counting. If they didn’t have the one who likes playing home run derby with me, then it wouldn’t matter.”
Will nodded. “That one’s mine then. I’m gonna need you to keep the bullets off of me until I get close.”
Adamant slowly worked his way to his feet. “Always a pleasure to play human shield.”
Will stayed close behind him; Adamant couldn’t stop all the bullets but they’d have a hard time hitting him before he could get to the walker.
Even now, none of the mercenaries had made it across the street, but the few walkers that remained were tiring quickly without Adamant’s help. They were huddled behind some hastily made barricades that they would only look above for long enough to fire a few shots. Even so, there were enough of them to keep the storm of bullets flowing almost constantly.
One in particular stood behind the others, shuffling impatiently.
“The one with the girder draped over his shoulder?”
“Really?” Adamant grunted.
“Just making sure. Count to three and jump to your right. I’ll handle Girder Man”
Adamant moved, and Will burst forward. Girder Man had already stepped in front of the barricades, and all the mercenaries were avoiding shooting too close to him.
THe massie walker gripped the girder in both hands and began to draw it back; he lifted a leg and started to swing. The girder was just coming around his shoulder when he noticed that his foot hadn’t landed on anything solid. He felt his ankle twisting beneath him, but he had too much momentum to stop. Girder Man fell forward, instinctively letting go of his weapon to try and catch himself before his head hit the ground.
Instead, his head met Will’s foot and was thrown backwards. He could feel his skull rattling inside his head, and then he was on the ground and unmoving.
There was no pause in the rain of bullets, and a few guns started to focus on Will.
Adamant charged. Without somebody that could bounce him back, all of the mercenaries were forced to focus their fire on him to keep him from running straight through their defences.
Will ran down the street and ducked into the first empty alleyway he found. He leapt up to a fire escapre and was on the rooftop in seconds.
He’d only been able to spot one of the group members form the satellite pictures, and he could see Hawthorne’s forest from there.
“Time to see if I can still do any good.”