Crossout

SYNDICATE. THE DRAGON DOES NOT ASK – IT CLAIMS (PART 7)

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You can find the previous part of the story here.

— Damn it! Adam, Flo, did you hear that? — three armored vehicles, not similar to each other and without identification marks, slowly passed between the skyscrapers of the East Quarter. One of them, a massive tracked one, braked sharply — because of this, it almost got rammed by the vehicle behind it.

— You’re doing it again, Steve! Nobody heard anything! And last time too! And the time before last! It’s because of that moonshine. Worrier, — Adam shouted into the radio, sitting in a small car with racing wheels.

— Shut up, both of you. The outpost of these clowns must be here somewhere. — The survivors stopped in front of a bridge with a large gap in the middle. A dried canal passed under the crossing.

— Then why are we looking for them, if they are clowns? — Stephen asked again.

Everyone was silent for a few moments, considering Steve’s words.

— Florence, why are we taking this idiot with us?

— Because this idiot is my brother, Adam. Well, the happy owner of the 88-mm Executioner, without whom we would have been killed long ago, — Steve, as if confirming his sister’s words, made several turns with the cannon.

— If it wasn’t for him, we would not have gotten into trouble so often. Like the last time, when we stole Scavenger boxes. His hands are itching to shoot, but we could just leave. Well, we made it, thanks for that, but it didn’t convince the Scavengers, — the owner of a small maneuverable armoured car with machine guns on the sides didn’t calm down.

— Enough. We are looking for these “clowns”, brother, because they have something we can get.If you hadn't been pouring your entire “Keyhole” assortment into yourself yesterday and talked to people like we did, you’d know that the Syndicate is stocked with resources, and they’re short on people, — Florence explained.

—“Talked to people?” — you mean making out with that savage in the mask? Did you even see what’s underneath it? — Steve did not calm down.

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— Actually, thanks to this “savage” we found out where to find work, —Adam wanted to continue to take out anger on his comrade, but the attention of the trio suddenly turned to the other side of the bridge, where the massive, but elegant armoured car with three pairs of unusual for the Valley wheels appeared. The headlights and lamps on the stranger’s cabin glowed with a violet-blue light, which also came from under the bumper.

After a few moments, the armoured cars on different sides of the bridge were studying each other and the trio’s weapons were aimed at the stranger.

— You have good transport and weapons, — a hoarse female voice rang out in the radios of the survivors, — we can give each other benefit.

— Damn, so it’s not just a rumor?! Looks creepy, — Steve said to his companions.

— We are ready to cooperate. The only question is the price, — Florence answered, ignoring the words of her brother.

— Follow me, — a voice said quickly from the truck, which instantly disappeared behind a skyscraper on the other side of the bridge.

— Easy to say with these wheels. How can we cross this bridge?! — Steve responded.

— And you still complain about hovers. We would have flown over this in a moment, — Adam laughed at his comrades and immediately dived under the bridge, where the dried-up canal passed. — I’ll catch up with this pretty one. Wait for coordinates.

— Are you sure she’s pretty, smart guy? He’s the one complaining about the flyers, until I shoot them down. Maybe we should leave, Flo? It doesn’t feel right, — Stephen doubted.

Having ignored her brother’s question again, Florence drove onto the bridge and looked around.

— There's a crossing a couple of hundred meters to our left. If we hurry, maybe we’ll see our friend again.

After a few sharp turns, Adam saw that the road ahead was littered with concrete blocks, with pieces of rebar sticking out at his cab level. It was too late to brake, so Adam twisted the steering wheel toward a sharp exit off the road that would work as a trampoline, and flew out of the canal like a shell from a cannon at high speed. Luckily, his flight trajectory passed neatly between two high-rises, and the armoured car landed, igniting the sparks from under the rear bumper.

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Adam quickly came to his senses and saw that neon light flashed at the end of the street. Around the corner was a giant building whose windows, unlike all the other houses, were not so badly shattered. A truck entered this building. With a little more speed, Adam managed to slip through the gate after the stranger and found himself in complete darkness. The neon that was guarding him disappeared. As soon as the Survivor reached for the headlights toggle switch, a bright blue light struck his eyes.

— Don’t move — it will save your life. No surprises if you want to talk, — the woman’s voice sounded hoarse again. — You were lucky to meet me before you met the Munmu’s hounds. You rode fast and didn’t put fear in your heart, flying across the sky like a dragon. You will fight to the death.

— What? Fight? Fight against you? Damn, what’s with the comms, — Adam whispered the last phrase to himself, realizing that he couldn’t even give a signal to his allies.

Only now his eyes had adjusted to the light and he could see the place where he was: the huge tower was hollow in the center and consisted of a system of elevators and roads. On some floors, Kaiju pulse cannons were installed, aiming their barrels at Adam. He had already seen survivors with this weapon, and now it was clear where it came from. It turned out that a bright blue light was beaming from the headlights of the same truck that stood in front of his armoured car.

— Your companions will be delivered soon. I ordered to keep them alive, — a loud voice came from somewhere above the tower.

— This is the keeper of our home — Munmu. You were lucky to hear him the first time you came here, — the woman’s voice continued. — If you’re still alive after that, consider it the luckiest thing that ever happened to you. You can call me Nobuko.

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—I’m Adam,— the Survivor replied proudly.

— We can make an exchange of services, Adam. We have a need for people.

— How will you pay?

— You don’t know what to do yet.

— We always have to do the same thing. There is little variety, as they say in the “Keyhole”, — Adam replied with a sneer. — But they pay for it in different ways.

— As long as we ask you to bring people here with good, strong armoured cars,— Nobuko continued, ignoring his words. — Parts, electronics — we’ll give a cut to Adam and his friends. If you do your job well.

— I have already brought two. So where is my reward?

— We don’t pay in advance. We do a favor. We’re done talking. I see strength in you, but I do not see honor.

— Wait, wait! I understand that you don’t get jokes. We agree.

— It’s impossible otherwise. Now you go and bring strong people here. We are good at rewarding a decent result. The partners are waiting outside. Don’t forget about the agreement. We already have your data. We will contact you.

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