Bullets and energy projectiles filled the air above Cyne's head. Within seconds, the table he claimed as cover was shot to splintering, burning shreds. Much of it hardly remained but Cyne, flatly embracing the floor, managed to avoid the majority of the deathly hail with only a handful descending shots grazing his armor and a small few direct hits being absorbed by the inner kevlar-like material of his armor. Suffice to say, he was lucky he wasn't the table.
Seconds into the firefight, a sizable portion of the mercenary platoon's attention shifted to the raging and charging mass that was Gaz after witnessing one of their own literally cut down lengthwise. The remaining grunts kept their focus on Gerad and Cyne. Cyne slowly and carefully crawled away from his degrading position, minding his own head as gunfire still whizzed by. It wasn't long until the mercs gunning for him realized that their target was no longer present, having utterly obliterated the cafeteria furnishing and no bloodied heap to be found. After the incoming gunfire subsided, Cyne, having taken up new residence behind a toppled structural beam, quickly rose from hiding and returned fire. His first shot neatly exited the head of a machinegun-wielding merc; the primary culprit responsible for suppressing Cyne before, leaving a spray of red behind its vapor trail. He took pleasure in the kill and with his second discharge, the round tore off the left arm of an unfortunate scavenger. The merc reeled back and crumbled to the shell-casing ridden floor, rolling and screaming in pain. But with so much exploding gunfire, he was silenced and but a face of churning agony.
Cyne instinctively ducked as returning fire came his way. Predicting his new position would soon be compromised and being annoyed to no end of the constant threat alerts berating him across his HUD, he deployed Pathfinder once more. This time however, the drone was shifting into a combat stance. Presenting Pathfinder with an array of hand signals, the drone dipped its frame into a nod and flew off, diving and weaving through the local debris. On his part, he tapped a switch built into his gauntlet and soon a low winding noise resonated from the center of his suit.
Within seconds, a Cyne materialized into view, breaking cover and running horizontally in the mercenaries' sights. The mercs were quick to retrain their fire at Cyne and not long after that, their gunfire homed in and struck him, causing him to abruptly lose momentum and collapse. And then his form completely vanished into thin air. The engaging mercs ceased fire and stared at the unusual scene, struggling to comprehend what had just happened and where their supposedly defeated foe had disappeared to. It was then one of the mercenaries had pieced together the grim puzzle and called out to his squad mates in panic.
"A-a hologram!" he cried, "it was just a-"
The frightened man failed to finish his sentence. It didn't help that a glowing blade of a heat-knife was sticking out the front of his neck. Fumes of cooked flesh seeped out of the puncture wound as the heat-knife cauterized the merc's thoat, burning and fusing his esophagus and wind pipe. The blade quickly retracted back the way it came and the buckling gunman reactively clutched the hole in his neck, painfully wheezing and gasping. His comrades spun around and found him squirming on the ground, further adding to their confusion. Once they had figured it out themselves, it was too late.
Another merc lost his balance as two deep cuts swiftly manifested into his unarmored thighs with emptying blood spraying across the floor in a horizontal manner. Before he could even utter a word, a large incision appeared in his chest as some invisible force effortlessly slammed him backwards into the hard ground. He quickly died as the driving momentum pierced his heart.
The three remaining mercenaries of their squad jumped back in dread, their weapons trained on an empty space with no visible opponent to shoot back at in spite. Regardless of that hopeless fact, they let loose a desperate barrage with pleading aspirations of scoring a hit on their invisible attacker. However, none of their shots struck true. They never had the moment to retreat or call for help when the empty scene flashed loudly before them. Two of them naturally flinched and the third member fell backwards with a bleeding hole in his head. Another gunshot discharged, this time briefly revealing the illuminated form of Cyne just before he claimed another victim. The last merc, finally catching a glimpse of his assailant took aim and fired. Cyne's ghostly after-image vanished once more and again, the merc claimed no hits.
The frightening moment gripped the mercenary's nerves as his startled eyes darted all over the room, oblivious to the carnage behind him as he tried to find his target. He then lost it and insisted in firing his weapon wildly in all directions in distress. His assault rifle eventually fell silent as its magazine became empty. The merc initially failed to identify this fact and when he did, his wobbly and trembling hands went for another magazine confined to his waist pouch. In that very instant, everything faded to black for the merc after a loud bang resonated briefly in his ears.
The merc fell dead and Cyne finally reappeared back into reality, holding a standing posture with his right arm extended and a smoking handgun his hand, pointed right where the merc's head was. Cyne rested his arm and holstered his sidearm just as Pathfinder zipped by and re-docked with his suit. He looked over the new mess they had created and grimly observed Gaz massacring the remaining mercenaries. One such merc, wearing the armor and uniform configuration of a field communications officer, seemingly lost all will to fight and backed away from the Fungai as it tore into his comrades. Seeing no other direction to go, he made a frantic dash back to the entryway where his unit had originated from. Cyne, twirling his knife by the circular ring at the butt-end of its handle, quickly gripped the lower handle and threw the knife into a wide vertical spinning arc toward the escaping merc. The blade found it's mark and imbedded itself into the back of the man's neck, dropping him to floor, dead as the others.
As Cyne walked over to the dead mercenary, the shifted his view to Gaz and Gerad. Unsurprisingly, Gaz had leaped into the fray, only to walk out with his lumbering form covered in blood. The still wet body fluids from the different species he'd slain today didn't mix well and turned him into a grotesque color pallet. Gerad on the other hand, remained mostly untouched. Cyne recalled the Garudin's victims wither bore large burned-out holes in their bodies or where overall charred and shrapnel ridden.
He eventually pulled the knife from the corpse from the man he killed, wiping the remaining blood off the merc's uniform. Before he could turn back to his team mates, Cyne took notice of a synthesized sound resonating from the merc's headset. Wrestling the headset off from the merc's limp form, he pressed one of the speakers to his exposed ear and listened in.
"Charlie Four to Command," a voice barked from the headset, "munitions deck secured but we're encountering stiff Hive resistance. Requesting intercept squad at the following..."
Cyne didn't need to hear anymore from the open transmission. Their original plan to capture and rig the munitions depot had just went up in smoke now that the place was now infested with not only mercs but Hive as well. Fantastic, he sarcastically thought.
Walking back to his squad, Cyne chimed into comms, "Change of plans," he reported, "just got word that the munitions deck has just become a hot zone of enemy activity. Silas, we're regrouping with you now. We'll meet you at the armory shortly."
He then faced Gerad and Gaz, "Saddle up...and I suppose take any snacks with you..."
Making their way to the armory was surprisingly uneventful. While echoes of conflict resonated around them, not a Hive abomination or a lone mercenary scout crossed their path. It was almost like walking past a sealed off stadium with a syntho-metal band blaring their music from within, only to be drowned out by many layers of concrete and steel. They eventually reached the armory, finding the doors open after its security locks were visibly breached. Walking inside, Cyne found Silas, but only Silas and no one else. Not even Macklyn's IFF was showing up on his HUD.
"Where's Macklyn?" he bluntly asked.
Silas eventually explained what had happened and Cyne went silent. Despite what they just went through, it was the case of a betrayal that caught him off guard the most. The appearance of the Hive however was a guaranteed second. While Silas and Gerad spoke on about their next direction, Cyne found himself a terminal and queried the armaments it held in stock and created a checklist of what they could steal.