The Last Marshal

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Chapter 8

I started running toward the nearest elevator, when I saw someone pounding on the door. Security had already shut them down, and he was stuck. I was about to ask the chief to release the elevators, when I thought I heard someone laughing. The man stopped pounding on the door, and slowly turned to look at me. The wild look in his eye was the first thing I recognized. By the time I had put two and two together my gun was already out of its holster and pointed at the man’s chest. Macintosh let out a loud scream and pulled his own gun, but not fast enough. Before his gun was even aimed at me I put two rounds into his chest. He dropped to the ground, clutching his heart. And then I saw it. Or, a lack of it, I guess. There was no blood. He pulled his hand away, and all that was there was a black mark. Armor? I couldn’t believe it. I had special rounds designed for punching through armor like it was tissue paper. That was when I saw it: a shimmer. He was trying to disappear. I pulled my gun up higher, and put two rounds where his head was. By the time I pulled the trigger, he had rolled away and come up with his gun. I spun around the nearest corner where Amy was hiding just as I felt a bullet smack into the wall beside me, sending chunks of plastecrete and paint flying by my head. Another round passed within inches of my ear. I felt warmth running down my neck, and when I wiped my temple it came away bloody. One of the bullets, or maybe a chunk of wall, had caught my head just right. I was lucky. I heard him yell curses at me. A distraction would give me just enough time to shoot him, if he bought it. I pulled off my coat and threw it out as far as I could. He fired four rounds at it, the nano-fibers catching the bullets and diverting the impact fairly well. The moment the first bullet hit I spun out from cover, bringing my gun up and putting a round right through his arm. No armor there, apparently. Or, more likely, not enough. Armor hinders mobility, especially on your shooting arm. He howled in pain and lost control of the weapon. Before he could reach down to grab it I put a round into the barrel, sending the gun out of his reach. He fell down on the ground, both from loss of blood and fatigue. Amy ran around me and stood there, pointing a pistol of her own. I felt the tension as she seriously thought about shooting him, but I grabbed her arm. “No. Don’t. He can’t go anywhere now. The police are on their way, and we’ll bring him in. He’s done.”

She relaxed, letting the barrel fall to point at the ground. “I know. I just want him to pay. And I’m still worried about how dangerous he is. He could escape, you know. Break out of custody somehow. If anyone can, it’s him.”

I knew she was right; the easiest thing to do was to kill him. No one would know. But I had questions, questions that needed answering. “Hey. Moron. Tell me what I want to know, or I’ll blow your brains out right here, right now.”

He rolled over onto his back and sat up, staring blankly out the window. “Sure. Whatever. You know, a few of your buddies begged before I cut their throats. The last one; you were supposed to be it. But no. You just wouldn’t die!” And with that, he jumped up and ran at me, head down. I thought for a split second about shooting him and just killing him. No one in the galaxy would mind. But I would. He was avoiding my questions. I put a bullet into his outer thigh, then spun when he got close. He stumbled and hit the ground, screaming louder.

“I WANT TO KNOW WHY YOU DID IT. TELL ME!”

He turned around, a look of pure insane hatred on his face. “Because, Marshal, I HATE YOU ALL! Everyone who thinks they’re better than me. You all looked down at me like some low-life scum. Well guess what! I killed them all! All of your friends are dead! All the Marshals, dead because they thought they knew better. I showed them. I showed them how wrong they were.”

“What about the bomb? A whole bomb just for me?”

“No. Hell no. I don’t blow people up. I kill ’em real slow. I want to hear them whimper in pain as they die. That was the other guys. The psychos. The pyromaniacs. They were supposed to take the attention off me, let me kill you. But no, you just kept coming after me.”

“Why? Why were they protecting you? Did you pay them?”

I saw his eyes light up as he realized that he knew something I didn’t. “YOU DON’T KNOW?! That’s rich! You just chased me because you wanted me that badly? That’s kinda sad. A little obsessed, are we? Hmm? Well, let me enlighten you. I was paid to kill your Marshal buddies. I would have done it for free, but I couldn’t get close to them. I was given money and instructions, and in return no one got in my way. Beautiful. I usually prefer working alone, but this was too easy. Taking candy from a baby. How could I say no?”

“Who? Who paid you? Who paid those anarchists?”

“I don’t know, I really don’t. I just worked in cash. You’d have to ask the anarchists. They’re the ones who did it for money. They’re the ones who talked to the boss. They just paid me when time came due.”

I turned around and thought about what he’d said. It made sense; Amy’s father had possible ties to an anarchist group, and suddenly an anarchist group tries to kill me? And the theory that the Marshals were killed off. That was true. Was Devereux behind it all? I turned back to ask him about the military gear when I heard Amy scream. There, sprinting toward the whole in the wall with all his might, was Macintosh. Before I could catch up he leapt from the hole, falling a few hundred to his death. I ran to the edge, hoping to catch a glimpse before he passed, but he had fallen through the clouds too quickly. I fell down beside the crumbling remains of the wall, exhausted and in pain. Macintosh may have been dead, but I couldn’t give up just yet. Amy came and sat down next to me. She was just as tired, and even more ragged than I was. She wasn’t used to all the running and gun fighting and death yet. She put her arm through mine and held on for dear life.

“You ok?” I asked her.

“Yeah. I think I’m ok. I would have liked to have seen him die in front of everybody, but this is just as good. He doesn’t get the audience he so wanted. He just died, alone and bloody. I’m just concerned about what he meant.”

“About what?”

“About the ‘boss.’ He was paid to kill your colleagues. Doesn’t that bother you? Don’t you want to find out who it was?”

Before I could stop myself, I turned and blurted out “What if it was your father? What if you father really was behind it all?”

She looked at the ground for a minute, then closed her hand into a fist and replied. “He’ll answer, if that’s what it takes. He can’t get away with it all, just because I don’t have the stomach for it. I’ll make him answer for it all. Whatever it takes.”

I stood up, shook myself off, and helped Amy to her feet. “Well, then, let’s go find us an anarchist group.”

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