Ikumi knew the attack was coming. There were always consequences when you welched on a deal, but she had to admit to being surprised that anyone would be foolish enough to try this with her. Frankly, she was tired of killing stupid people.

A little variety is all she asked.

But no, yet again she was being followed by several over muscled men in dark clothing, trying to fit into the environment and… doing quite well, actually. Only she knew everyone in this crapped out section of the city and for good reason: it belonged to her.

The Sunderers had pushed out everyone else. The people payed her protection and her gang followed through; even the police didn’t come near these days. Not that the place was run down, mind you. Ikumi saw to it that those that could pay, payed, and those who couldn’t were given a leg up. The area was quietly thriving, and her pockets were filling out nicely.

So she knew everyone in this part of town, and these guys didn’t belong. The people passing by knew it and the message would already have gotten through to the others, leaving no need for her to call. She wandered casually and without purpose, leading these fools on through the dirty streets she called her own, looking for a prime spot.

They had tried to take a shot, at first. Her armour had coalesced from nothing around her, the Nanites building faithfully as always in response to the stress pheromones floating about. So now they followed, waiting for her to end up in a corner, for her to lower her defences.

Ikumi smirked at the passers by and they grinned in return, knowing what would happen. She made a bee line for her favourite bar, but ignored the patrons and the drinks, heading instead for the bathroom.

She did so love the ring of skull on porcelain.

There were three, as it turned out. One covered the door as the other two followed her inside at a rapidly closing distance. She went to a stall, put the seat cover down, and sat heavily so they’d know she was vulnerable.

The heavy ‘chak’ of a gun being cocked, and not an expensive one at that. She put her hand to the wall, imagined it soft like confetti, and the nano’s went to work. Before they fired the first shot she was able to squeeze through a disintegrating hole roughly her own size and into the next cubicle.

Ikumi sat on the floor, head low as they unloaded into the stalls. The primitive bullets tore through the flimsy metal with ease, would have been a challenge for her lightweight armour, but nothing save ricochets hit her. A gun was strapped to her waist, a high end gobbler pistol, but it felt almost like cheating to use it.

As they reloaded she burst through the door. Magazines went everywhere as the men frantically tried to jam them home and she closed with a crazed grin on her unarmoured face. Gauntlets seized weapons and threw them aside as the men tried to grab for her, but her suit was slippery and she was quick, twisting out of the grunt’s grasp and breaking an elbow for the trouble.

The second attacker punched, she blocked with an elbow that tore his hand apart. Wrapping arms around his neck she brought him across to the sink and slammed his head into the taps. He went limp and she brought an elbow down on the back of his head as she turned away, just to be sure.

The first guy’s nanos worked quickly, his elbow nearly restored as he charged. Ikumi braced against the sinks and brought up both legs to kick him in the chest. He caught her and pulled, but she twisted and pulled back, straining on the sinks. A sharp heel bit into his chin and as he screamed in rage she pushed down with full force, sending him through the swiss-cheese door of a stall to slam against the wall. Breathing hard she found her feet and ran to him, bringing a knee to his face with the momentum of her run.

Slumping to the floor he groaned in confusion, so she grabbed his head, pulled him up, and slammed him into the toilet until the porcelain cracked.

The first shot barely grabbed her attention. The next shattered her left shoulder and made her howl with rage. Rolling away the following shots only peppered the man’s partner and the other stalls, allowing her to get a bead on the final attacker. But he left no opening and had an extended magazine, following her relentlessly through the room.

More hits to her armour and she knew she was losing, despite most being stopped a few found chinks and bit savagely. Ikumi ripped a sink out of the wall and used it as a shield for a moment, then threw it at him when he changed magazines.

The sink hit squarely in the chest and his arms flew out with the impact, then Ikumi was on him, punching with sharp gauntlets and head butting him with her helmet. She darted back as he struck out, tore a pipe from the wall and proceeded to shatter both of his arms.

Falling to his knees her attacker attempted to scrabble for the door but she broke his leg, then lined the pipe along his throat and pulled his head back. With a grunt and a twist she tied the metal around his neck, crushing airway, major blood vessels and fracturing his spine.

Ikumi stumbled to the bar, dripping wet, as patrons went to gawk. The Sunderers came in as she sat down, took a look at her and grinned before going to clean up the mess. The barman came over and asked what she wanted. She raised a hand, watched the drops fall with a smirk.

“Water. Just water”

“On the house” He replied, fetching her a glass.


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