"Wait, you took a hostage? Yeah... Uh—... I'll see what I can do."
Della’s words flowed in one ear and out the other, as Proctor’s eyes were nearly bugging out of his skull, watching the ensuing mayhem taking place in the Square below him. Enforcers had dropped into the middle of the fray, not to mention the EMT Teams that rushed the stage to find the injured Gatch and Campbell, with complete disregard for the fact that the mysterious assassin responsible for this mess was still standing right next to them. Disregard, though, did not mean they were ignoring him, as the bulk of the men were focusing their fire on whatever the assassin was, be it man or machine or something in between.
The assailant finally decided it was time to leave the Square, the servos in his legs tightening up in preparation for a hasty escape, but his concentration was but short by some small drone that entered his view, a drone Proctor quickly identified as S’venia’s News drone. A flash burst from the drone’s camera, visibly blinding the man, stunning him long enough for an Enforcer to land a sickeningly critical strike with an explosive, violently ripping away and charring the man’s clothing and skin, exposing his electronic innards. Through the smoke a dust, Proctor could see that the killer was still standing, although perhaps a bit staggered. Above him, the drone flashed a few more shots, but they seemed to have little effects on the man, After a few more seconds, recovering from the blast that shredded parts of his torso, the man entered his stance once again, with one powerful blast from his legs propelling him up and away from the Square.
The Medical Team had begun to attend to the fallen candidates, but Proctor, breaking his gaze from the fleeing assassin, couldn’t quite make out what they were doing with Campbell. Even if his heart was still pounding from his encounter with the Knight, somewhere in the back of his head, he was worried about Campbell too. After seeing his head turn partially into red mist earlier didn’t exactly bode well, but if the medics were still working and attending to him, Proctor hoped it meant he was still able to be saved. Breaking his concentration on the stage, a whole new chaos began to break out from the edges of the square.
Stumbling over scattered corpses and splashing through accumulated puddles of mud and blood, some Knights began to take the fight into their own hands, opening fire on the Enforcers, reigniting confusion that had just begun to die down from earlier. Amongst them, no commanding element could be identified, and no special markings were apparent, either. In fact, these men lacked any markings of importance, and seemed to be conscripts or lowly street thugs, not the kind of men Rott would typically send to fight Enforcers. With no leadership, the disorganized and outgunned Knights quickly lost any semblance of organization they had, and resorted to blind firing over cover and screaming and shouting at one another, as they each gradually made their contribution to the corpse piles, one by one.
His head was spinning, and after a few stray bullets struck the wall of the building he found himself in, Proctor quickly hit the floor, considering his next moves.
Campbell was either dead or nearly there, and with the Medical Teams extracting him from the Square weren’t exactly informing everyone of where they were taking the candidate. As their personal jets revved up and they carried, Proctor simply watched in growing disbelief, his whole head raising his gaze as they lifted off and flew away.
Picking his jaw up off the floor, Proctor took a deep breath, his eyes darting around as he quickly raced to come up with a new game plan. Whatever happened next, he urgently needed to get back across the Square and reunite with the rest of campaign staff. Only, the task entailed moving across the breadth of the Square amongst a firefight between Enforcers and Knights, which showed little signs of slowing down, despite the Knights’ lack of leadership. What they lacked in organization they made up for in numbers, it appeared. They were still hopelessly outgunned, though, and Proctor didn’t particularly feel like staying in that shell of a building long enough to see if a reinforcement of Knights arrived.
Grabbing the still comatose Knight by his collar, Proctor started his way fumbling down the stairs, his free hand maintaining a white knuckle grip on his pistol, anxious of what awaited him outside the door.
Breathe in, breathe out.
Bursting through the door, Proctor swung his pistol back and forth over a wide arc across the area, scanning each end of the alleyway quickly, finally leaving the small doorway after seeing it was clear. As he carefully dragged his captive towards the edge of the alley, the sound of gunfire and bellowing became closer and more clear, until he finally entered the Square actual.
Even if the Square was vast and the firefight was relatively small in comparison, it still felt like the whole place was on fire, and Proctor was quick to slide into cover behind a food cart that had been abandoned near the edge of the Square. Flinching from a few nearby impacts, some dust and glass shards rained down near him as large, high velocity rounds went high and struck the building close by. After taking another solid breath, Proctor poked his head out and made a quick scan of the fight. The Enforcers had pulled back to the stage, the Knights forming a sort of half-circle around it, hiding behind piles of bodies and other various pieces of debris left behind from the stage collapse. The Enforcers had taken a few casualties, but the Knights were taking an absolute beating, some of them having to pile up and hide behind the freshly dead bodies of their comrades to avoid being shot themselves.
Glancing to his left, Proctor saw a parked car, covered in a mixture of paint that was used for grand political messages, and blood which had been splattered against it in the initial mayhem. The way to the car would keep him behind the fight, and in cover, but moved him closer towards the dangerous center of the square. Another glance showed the fight had entered a lull as the combatants reloaded and repositioned, and Proctor seized his chance, heaving the Knight nearly off the ground as his legs pounded the pavement.
Just a few moments before Proctor made it to his cover, the fighting erupted once again, and this time, someone has spotted him. Unable to identify him, they decided to take a few shots at him, causing him to make a panicked dive into cover, tossing the Knight aside, not quite completely concealed, but mostly behind the car. Proctor, clearly shaken, braced himself against the engine block section of the car, casting a wide-eyed glance at the holes in the wall, made by the bullets that narrowly missed him. He exhaled shakily, hoping to whatever higher powers were overseeing him that it was just an Enforcer taking potshots, and not a Knight that could’ve recognized the man Proctor had in tow. As he glanced up at the sky, however, he noticed that S’venia’s drone was still high in the sky, observing the battle. Currently, though, it’s camera was pointed towards him, as if she’d finally spotted him. He simply raised two metal fingers in a peace sign, reached over to his limp companion, and readied himself to move to the next closest piece of cover.
Peering across the front of the car, Proctor could see the front of the building that S’venia and anyone else part of the campaign could still be hiding in. Taking a moment to think, Proctor turned on his communicator to make sure everything was still alright in the hotel, but noticed no response whenever he tried to open his mic. Not even the usual static.”The fuck?”
Proctor rasped to himself. Either the comms were down, they’d kicked him off the network, or, somehow, his communicator had taken damage in the prior scuffle. No matter what the issue was, Proctor still needed to get inside, and the fact that S’venia was still operating her drone told him that it was probably still safe enough in the building that he need not worry.
The servomotors in Proctor’s leg’s sprang to life as he heaved his limp companion over his shoulder, making a last dead sprint for the front of the hotel. Without turning his head, Proctor could tell the fighting to his right had entered another fervor, as the air was perforated and hot with slugs of lead, flying all over the square. One burst of gunfire seemed to crack even louder than most, as an Enforcer, thinking Proctor was a Knight carrying a wounded comrade, started taking errant sprays at him. As the door got closer, as did the pursuing bullets, kicking up dirt and dust as they struck the walls past him and the ground around his feet. His vision tunneled as his urge to flee grew, his animalistic fear driving his machine legs to their limit, as they pounded along the cement.
Finally, as he neared the door, a burst found its mark, and loud metal Pangs!
could be heard as it struck his right leg, ruining his balance and sending him stumbling into the front door, the door splintering from the impact of Proctor’s outstretched arms, and breaking away from its hinges. Crashing hard against the tile floor and landing rather uncomfortably on top on the limp Knight, Proctor could feel a dull, hot pain in his legs and a stinging in the rest of his body that found itself smashing into either the floor, or chucks of the door that hadn’t exactly gotten away from him in the fall. Proctor’s veins coursed with adrenaline as he ignored the pain waving across his body, and his arms shrugged off the Knight and the bits of door, freeing themselves so that he could rapidly sink his fingers into the floor tiles, cracking and crunching as he dragged himself rapidly forward away from the door. He wasn’t sure if the damage in his leg was serious or not, but he’d rather not chance further messing it up, and let his arms pull and yank on the floor as he grabbed onto a coffee table and slid behind it, near the center of the lobby.
Finally having a moment to think, he leaned his shoulder over onto the floor to get a look, focusing on the bloodied, still motionless man he had landed right on top of as they crashed through the door. The blood seemed to be seeping from a few cringe inducing gashes in his head caused not only by crashing through the door, but also the weight of Proctor falling on top of him.
Grimacing, Proctor turned his head and lifted his shoulder off the floor, ever aware of the cracking gunfire in the square, to look over the leg that had taken the impact of three bullets. His metallic hands slid over the metal in his legs, feeling the deep dents the bullets left, and found that one bullet was still, in fact, lodged in the side of his knee. With the adrenaline in his blood slowly leveling out, the searing pain waving up and down Proctor’s leg become more and more perceptible, and he gritted his teeth as he turned his leg to find that not only was it completely stiff, but one of the three bullets was still lodged cleanly in his leg, jutting in the side of his knee, rubbing against the motorized joint. Two lustrous dents were left in place of the other two impacts, so the damage overall was thankfully minimal, but the bullet in his knee seemed to be a little too much shock for the leg to handle.”Ugh, fuck…”
Instantly leaning over the side of the table, Proctor’s face was one of complete astonishment as the Knight appeared to have finally woken up, shaky hands patting the bloody wounds on his head as he slowly struggled to wake up. As the gunfire and pain all over his body slowly became more and more perceptible, the Knight slowly sat up, and began crawling on his stomach over to the door, seeming to want to get a look.”Shit!”
He pulled himself up using the coffee table as a brace, and gritted his teeth as he took a few stiff and painful lumbering steps, increasing in speed as he grew closer to the Knight. Locked at the joints, Proctor’s stiff leg gave away from under him, and his thudding impact on the tile floor alerted the Knight.”Oh fuck! Not you again!”
The Knight turned over onto his back, and brought his legs up in an attempt to start throwing kicks at Proctor, who had begun grunting and growling as he pushed and pulled himself across the floor towards the Knight. After taking a rather irritating blow to the face, Proctor stuck his hands out to grab the Knight’s wildly flailing feet, grabbing one and pressing down with excruciating force. A cry of pain escaped the Knight’s lips as he began wilding kicked Proctor in the arms and face, to little result, besides bloodying his nose quite a bit. Through the kicks, however, Proctor grabbed both the man’s feet, and used his grip to leverage himself up onto one knee, the other stiff leg jutting behind him, hindering his balance. Now that he had the advantage, Proctor’s shoulders and elbows whirred sharply as he began to deliver savage blows to the Knight’s face and head, only needing a few to return him to his heavy, painful sleep.
Proctor panted heavily, each breath pushing more and more red blood down his face and over his mouth.”S’venia! Anyone! Help me the fuck out!”
He gave a good, echoing yell, and fell down into his back, his chest rising and falling rapidly as he panted and spat blood out of his mouth, trying to wipe it away with his suit sleeve, which had become tattered and spattered with blood in the whole ordeal.”Goddamn.