Chapter 47:


From Nowhere to Sender

As Lux held the dilapidated bucket out in front of her, she made sure to keep careful watch over her adversary's good arm. She also remained mindful of the distance between them now that she had a calculated grasp of the man's reach. With the bridge having much less surface area to offer than the back deck, the prospect of stepping outside that reach to avoid an attack became precarious. No room for mistakes at this point.

Her mistake earlier had been being too eager in her offensive, she'd also wrongly assumed he wouldn't be able to fend her off from such a position. But this time around they were both standing. And Lux had his bucket, which she assumed meant something to him if the "Quiet Murn" party name was anything to go by. Now, how to go about using it to her advantage.

"You field service men and women don't retain personal possessions."

Lux allowed her arm with the bucket to fall slack and attempted to blow a few strands of blonde hair out of her face.

"Sure don't. Personally I don't see much value in things lacking a practical purpose."

"You've devised a personalized method for transporting water over long distances then?"

"Never would've pegged you for the sarcastic type."

"You misunderstand, if you have devised such a method I only aspire to learn it as well."

Lux's eyebrow twitched as she searched the man's features and body language for signs of a punchline but found none. He was being serious.

"Fuck man, cup your hands, hold it in your mouth, you could even keep in your cleavage if you had any. Better yet, try finding a closer source of water. That or moving towards one."

The raider did not seem convinced by her answer.

"All of your proposals notably lack a regard for the volume of water being transported."

"You're one to talk, toting around a piece of crap like this. It's full of holes! I might as well resort to cleavage."

She smacked the side of the bucket several times to emphasize her point. Something that caused his expression to darken and a step forward to be taken.

"Your insistence on creating noise WILL bring harm to you and your associates of the future."

Lux took her own step forward as the convoy finally exited the mountainous terrain, the sudden lack of a geographical barrier causing her hair to whip back and forth in the wind. Had she any attention to spare, she could even see the silhouette of the cityscape in the distance.

"Funny, I'm beginning to realize just how much of a hypocrite I am. After all, nothing more impractical than trying to talk sense into a corpse."

Taking a half-step back, Lux flung the bucket aside. She didn't know whether she threw it far enough to dispose of it and frankly didn't care, the enemy in front of her becoming her sole focus. The man in question made no attempt to save the item as it fell away, apparently killing her and snuffing out that noise took precedent.

Pulling a bayonet from the holster on her thigh, she threw her arms out to the side in favor of equipping it. A means of avoiding an upward swing from a short sword that came much too close for comfort. She watched the blade pass by the tip of her nose one moment only for it to fall past it once again a second later. Lux kept a close eye on the blade as she brought her hands back together to fasten the bayonet.

During which she witnessed the deflection of a bullet originating from the deck. Deflecting the bullet did however require the raider to drop his center of gravity, creating an opening he couldn't possibly block without growing a third arm. So in one smooth motion Lux swung the end of the rifle around and drove the bayonet downwards. In doing so she concentrated more on aim than power as missing could potentially damage the blade or worse, embed it in the bridge.

Recognizing evasion as impossible the man shifted his focus to limiting the damage to the parts of his body necessary for survival and escape. So he opted to forfeit what had already been lost. His right arm.

To achieve this he swung his head into the side of her rifle as it traveled downward, suffering a considerable gash down the side of his cheek and temple in the process as there was no way to perfect the timing. The deflection by way of head caused the bayonet to veer off to the side and punch through the bicep insertion of his right arm. The blade traveled through the arm, brushing past bone, and emerged on the opposite side. Effectively shredding all three heads of his tricep in the process.

Pulling back just far enough to remove the bayonet, Lux thrusted downwards again. Unfortunately the raider's mind remained surprisingly calm despite the state of his mangled arm and he swept an impossibly long leg into the side of her calf, nearly ungrounding her again.

In an effort to ignore the pain emanating from her poor calf and shin, Lux considered how she'd explain her decision not to shoot the raider when he had no way of evading. No feasible way of evading that is. But in the moment, even as he used the side of his head to alter the bayonet's path, he'd kept his gaze locked on her person. To her uninformed understanding of the man's effect on his opponents, this meant her shot would have somehow missed him.

Since missing at such a distance shouldn't have been physically possible, Lux needed to consider the possibility that the gun might jam, misfire or suffer some sort of malfunction if the bullet didn't have somewhere to miss. And a malfunction to any part of her rifle, especially something coil related, would leave her with no immediate way to intercept incoming rockets. Then they'd all be dead right outside Belveer's porch.

No doubt this would all come across as an overly elaborate excuse for a lapse in judgement on her part. In truth Lux probably wouldn't even have to divulge any of this, as even Heenan wasn't so cruel that he'd make her report something none of them could understand or explain. Evan certainly wouldn't say anything outside of "Lux fucked that guy up." As they were the only two real witnesses to this fight she shouldn't have anything to worry about. Speaking of the fight.

Steadying herself atop the bridge Lux assumed a lower variation of her typical combat position. To account for the excessive wind that was no longer being walled off by the various rock faces. The wind in question was blowing at her back at the moment and she'd prefer to keep it that way. Having tossed her goggles away at some point in this mess, the wind and whatever it carried would impact her vision. The raider across from her was currently suffering that fate, but also had to contest with the open wound oozing fresh blood across his face.

With both that and what was left of his arm, Lux almost felt bad for spindly bucket man. Almost. But more than anything she wanted payback for earlier. She wasn't ready to forgive or forget being thrown aside like one would a candy wrapper. Or an old bucket for that matter.