The universe was in turmoil. Totalitarian regimes ruled with an iron fist, crushing any signs of dissent with brutal force.
In the midst of this darkness, a ray of hope emerged: The Gold Cobras, a special operations team led by the legendary Matrix Rico. These men were the best of the best, a group of elite soldiers who had been handpicked for their skills and their unwavering commitment to the cause of freedom.
For years, The Gold Cobras had fought tirelessly against the forces of oppression, taking down some of the most brutal regimes in the galaxy. Their exploits had made them heroes in the eyes of many, but they had also made enemies.
As the years went by, members of The Gold Cobras began to retire and settle into civilian life. They thought they had left their dangerous pasts behind, but they were wrong. One by one, former members of the team began turning up dead.
PROLOGUE: Trimming The Fat.
THE DEATH OF SERGEANT THOMAS TAYLOR.
The city was a divine showcase of pixel art, a cacophony of neon lights, flickering screens, and futuristic pixel built skyscrapers towering high above the streets. A place where technology had overtaken humanity, and people had become mere cogs in the video game machine. The night was hot, and the humidity hung thick in the air, making it difficult to breathe. Two police officers, both of Hispanic appearance, walked down a dimly lit suburban street. They were dressed in standard-issue uniforms, the shiny metal badges on their chests reflecting the neon lights around them.
The street was deserted, except for a lone taxi parked in front of a house just down the street. As they approached the taxi, a man stepped out. He was built like a soldier, with red hair, a strong jaw, and dark blue eyes. His left leg was robotic, a reminder of the injuries he had suffered during years of loyal service. He patted the roof of the taxi, and it lifted off the ground, steam pouring out from underneath it as it hovered.
The man looked up and saw the police officers approaching. “Evening, officers,” he said in a calm, measured voice.
The first police officer nodded. “Evening. Lovely night,” he replied.
The man smiled politely. “Yes, yes it is. Has been a quiet one for ya?” he asked.
The second police officer responded, “So far. These types of areas are a good shift though.”
The first officer hesitated for a moment before asking, “Excuse me, sir. Are you Thomas Taylor?”
The man looked at the policeman with confusion. “Ahh yes, I’m Thomas Taylor. Do I know you?” he asked.
The second officer smiled, revealing a golden tooth. “Have a good night, Thomas,” he said.
Suddenly, both police officers pulled out Handheld Rapid fire laser guns and opened fire. The area around them lit up, the beams of light tore through Thomas and into the surrounding buildings and street sending bursts of pixels flying into the air. Thomas fell to the ground, lifeless.
The two police officers began to walk away from the scene, undoing their uniforms as they went.
Concerned residents began to cautiously leave their homes after hearing the commotion. As the officers walked down the street, they revealed the clothing they were wearing underneath the police outfits. On the sides of their necks just below the jawline reveals a black skull tattoo with a Cristian cross etched into it’s forehead. A woman screamed in the distance as the residents now saw the lifeless body of Thomas on the ground.
The two men crumple up their uniforms and dump them into a nearby dumpster.
They get into a nearby parked black Mercedes hover vehicle, The engine roared to life as the man driving looked back up the street.
A larger smile grew across his face exposing his golden tooth. As the black hover car lifted off the street with a light hum, police lights could be seen in the distance.
THE DEATH OF SERGEANT BOBBY JORDAN.
Neo Hendrick was a bustling largely black neighborhood in this glowing pixelpunk city of Central Bridge,
Amidst the lights, pixel art signs and the sound of blaring horns, was an old barber’s shop, a hub of the community.
Every evening, after a long day of work, men would gather at the shop to unwind, catch up on the latest news, and get a haircut.
It was filled with people, the smell of hair products and the sound of clippers buzzing in the background.
In the midst of all this was Bobby, an ex-soldier who had seen his fair share of battles. He was a tall, black muscular man with broad shoulders and a rugged look about him. He had a cybernetic enhancement in his right eye, a testament to the injuries he had sustained while fighting for his country. He was sitting in the barber’s chair, watching the barber trim his hair, when the conversation turned to his daughter Laura.
“So how’s little Laura, Bobby?” the barber asked, his hands expertly moving the clippers over Bobby’s scalp. “Geez, she’d be about 8 years old now, right?”
Bobby’s face lit up with pride at the mention of his daughter. “Yeah, 8 and a half. She just got a scholarship from Venosa pre-tech. When she grows up she wants to be a cyber enhancement surgeon.”
Venosa Pre Tech being one of the most prestigious Junior schools for cyber enhancement surgery.
The barber let out a low whistle. “Oh damn, is that right? You’ve got a smart one on your hands, Bobby.”
“I guess it runs in the family, right.” Bobby said smiling.
Suddenly, Bobby’s attention was drawn outside. He looked out the window and saw a reflection of light on metal from the rooftop of the building across the street. A Hispanic man knelt down and pointed a rocket launcher down at the barber shop. Bobby’s heart raced as he realized what was about to happen. He quickly stood up from the barber’s chair and screamed for everyone to get out.
The man on the rooftop fired the rocket launcher, and the barber’s shop exploded in a ball of fire. Flames engulfed the street, sending bystanders running for cover. The man on the rooftop grinned, his face light up by the flames below as if he was looking down into hell itself. A tattoo of a Black skull with a Cristian cross on it’s forehead sat comfortably on the right side of his neck just under the jaw line. He tossed the rocket launcher down to the street below before running to the closest fire escape and fleeing into the night.
THE DEATH OF SERGEANT MAJOR ROBERT BERRY.
It was a typical day in the bustling pixelpunk metropolis of Ohdensburg, Port Kosta, with people scurrying about their daily lives.
The air was filled with the sound of chatter, footsteps, and the occasional roar of an engine as hover cars zoomed by.
In the midst of all this activity, there was a car dealership that stood out from the rest. It was a high-end establishment that catered to the elite of the city, offering the latest and greatest in hover car technology.
The dealership’s owner, Robert Berry, had built his reputation on providing top-notch service to his customers, and he took pride in his ability to match them with the perfect ride.
As the sun beat down on the sleek metal and glass façade of the dealership, Robert, a tall military looking man walked purposefully towards a Hispanic man wearing a crisp white collared shirt, black trousers, and a black tie.
Robert himself was dressed very smartly in a light grey pinstripe luxury business suit and sporting a handlebar mustache would make any biker envious, he was also a walking advertisement for the latest in cybernetic enhancements after seeing countless military operations.
“Looking for a new ride, sir?” Robert asked, approaching the man with a friendly smile.
“Yeah, thought I’d treat myself, you know?” the Hispanic man replied.
“Well, what’s your budget?” Robert inquired.
“Let’s just say, show me your high-end stock,” the man said, with a hint of confidence in his voice.
Robert led the way, guiding the man through the dealership, pointing out the most luxurious models they had to offer. They passed by a series of gleaming, high-end hover cars, each more impressive than the last.
Finally, they arrived at a cherry red hover car that sparkled in the light.
A high-performance vehicle that is designed for speed and agility. Powered by an advanced propulsion system that uses a combination of anti-gravity generators and ion thrusters to lift it off the ground and propel it forward at incredible speeds.
The car’s body is made from a lightweight, yet incredibly strong material that provides maximum protection while also reducing weight and improving performance.
“This here is the Elbanseea Skyver GT V3,” Robert said, gesturing towards the vehicle. “A beautiful piece of engineering. It boasts a massive 22-90 blast drive on top of a gorgeous 3 thousand GS pistol pipe injected engine.”
The Hispanic man was impressed. “Whoa,” he said, running his hand over the smooth exterior.
“I’m sorry I missed your name?” Robert said, extending his hand for a handshake.
“Rey,” the man replied, shaking Robert’s hand. “What’s yours, man?”
“Robert,” he answered.
“She’s beautiful,” Rey said, admiring the car.
“Yeah, Rey, this girl can get you into quite a bit of trouble,” Robert said with a chuckle.
“No, Robert Berry. It’s got you into a lot of trouble,” Rey said coldly, pulling out a laser pistol from his pants pocket.
Before Robert could react, Rey aimed the laser pistol at Robert’s head and pulled the trigger.
Robert fell to the floor, blood pooling around his lifeless body.
Other employees screamed and ran for their lives as Rey calmly walked to the reception desk, pulling out a bunch of electronic keys. One by one, he pressed the unlock button, and the doors of the hover cars in the showroom began to click open. After a few seconds, the doors to the Elbanseea Skyver GT V3 finally unlocked.
Rey smiled as he undid his collar, revealing a black skull tattoo with a Christian cross etched into its forehead. He jumped into the driver’s seat of the hover car, starting the engine with a satisfying hum.
The car lifted off the ground, and Rey sped off into the sky, leaving behind the chaos and destruction he had caused.
THE DEATH OF SERGEANT LEWIS VANDER.
The sun beat down on the shimmering waters of lake Synthia, Located in the center of the giant pixelpunk city of Quardona. A small tin boat makes its way to the center.
A bald man sits in the boat with his fishing rod and tackle by his feet. Though he appeared to be blind, thanks to his cyber enhancements, he could see perfectly. His muscular frame, built like that of a soldier, belied his age, making him appear younger than he actually was. As he pulled up to the middle of the lake, the water gently lapping against the sides of the boat, he said, “Audio off,” and with a beep, all sounds to his ears stopped. He was in silence.
“Play nature sounds. Lake fishing,” he said, his voice calm and measured. The sounds of a lake in summer filled his ears, the gentle splashing of the water, the chirping of the birds, and the rustling of the leaves. A smile crept across his face as he felt the tranquility of the moment wash over him.
“Vision off,” he said, and with a beep, his eyes went dark.
He sat in stillness for a moment, enjoying the serenity of the lake.
As he reached towards the esky to grab a beer, he said,
“Activate danger sensors” to his computer implant. A soft voice in his head responded,
“Activated, Lewis. Enjoy your relaxation,” then with a beep the voice was gone.
Lewis cracked open the beer and took a long swig. “Ahhh,” he let out a sigh of satisfaction before stretching his arms into the air.
“It’s about time I got to relax,” he said, his voice calm and content.
Suddenly, a loud zap echoed across the lake. A laser beam tore through Lewis’s skull, and he fell back into the boat, his hand dropping the beer can into the water. The can sank into the depths of the lake, never to be seen again. The nature sounds playing in Lewis’s ears turned to static, and the tranquility of the moment was shattered by the sudden violence.
Rico stood at the edge of the cliff overlooking the sprawling pixelpunk city of Arcadia, his imposing figure is casting a long shadow, His large hands clasped behind his back. His muscles bulging under his taut skin. He was a hulking figure, standing at well over six feet tall, with a chiseled physique that spoke of years of military training.
The sun was setting, painting the sky in vibrant hues of orange and pink. Behind him, a large, well-lit house sat nestled among the hills, a beacon of safety and comfort in an otherwise chaotic world. He breathed in the cool evening air, savoring the tranquility of the moment. But his peaceful reverie was soon interrupted by the sound of footsteps behind him.
Rico let out a small smile, amused by his daughter’s antics. He knew it was her, of course. He had heard her footsteps long before she had even reached him. But he played along, letting her have her fun.
His daughter Sasha, a bright and precocious fourteen-year-old with beautiful long blonde hair and a dimple set deep into each cheek, stepped up onto a rock behind him.
With a mischievous grin, Sasha reached around and covered his eyes with her hands. “Guess who?” she giggled.
Rico chuckled. “You need to do better than that if you want to sneak up on me. You stepped on three branches, and I could hear you breathing.”
Sasha pouted. “What?! No way, I got you, Dad.”
Rico laughed. “Nope, You didn’t.”
“Did too.” she said, standing on tiptoe to plant a kiss on his cheek.
Rico smiled down at her, tousling her hair affectionately. “What are you doing out here, kiddo?”
“Same as you, Just enjoying the view.” Sasha says stepping down off the rock.
Rico chuckled. “Well, be careful out here at this time of night. It can be dangerous.”
“Not with my Daddy here. You’ll protect me.” Sasha says with a wink.
Rico shook his head, grinning. “Is that right?”
He turned around and scooped her up in his arms, tossing her playfully into the air.
Sasha let out a joyful scream as he caught her in his muscular arms.
The two shared a moment of lighthearted playfulness before Sasha reminded him that dinner was ready.
They turned to head back to the house when Rico froze, his expression suddenly serious.
“What is it, Dad?” Sasha asked, her voice laced with concern.
“Hover carrier, Skyvette class,” Rico muttered, his eyes scanning the sky.
As if on cue, a military hover carrier sliced through the clouds and descended towards them.
Sasha looked up at her father with growing concern as the carrier landed in a nearby grassy area. Rico reassured her that they were friends and they began to make their way towards the carrier as its door opened and a set of stairs extended.
As they approached, a man in a white and blue military uniform with a red beret tilted jauntily to one side, emerged from the carrier. His arms were adorned with a multitude of military stripes, displaying his high rank as a General.
He looked down at Rico and Sasha with a warm smile. “Rico,” he said in greeting.
“General Morgan,” Rico replied, his voice heavy with foreboding.
The General’s gaze shifted to Sasha. “You must be Sasha?” he said, offering a kind smile.
“Hello,” Sasha said, her voice trembling slightly.
“I’m an old friend of your dad’s,” the General said, his smile faltering slightly.
“What’s going on, General?” Rico asked, his tone firm and commanding.
“I’ve got some bad news, son,” the General replied, his expression grave.
Rico’s heart began to race as he braced himself for the worst. “What is it?” he asked, his voice barely above a whisper.
The General looked around before gesturing towards the house. “Do you mind if we go inside?”
Rico nodded, his eyes never leaving the General as they made their way towards the house.
A group of heavily armed soldiers emerged from the carrier and formed a line next to it.
“Set up a perimeter. Nothing gets in or out without me knowing about it. Clear?” Commands General Morgan.
“YES, SIR!” the soldiers shout in unison before charging off, their weapons at the ready.
Once they were inside the house, Rico motioned for the general to sit at the kitchen table.
“I’m sorry to have to bring you this news, Rico, but there’s been a string of murders, and all of the victims were former members of The Gold Cobras,” the General said, his voice grave.
Rico felt his stomach twist into knots. “What?” he said, his voice rising in alarm.
The atmosphere in the room became thick with despair. The General’s face was drawn and tired as he looked at Rico. He sighed heavily and took off his beret, placing it carefully on the kitchen counter. Sasha, Rico’s daughter, looked up at her father with concern etched into her features.
“It’s bad, Rico,” the General said, his voice low and heavy with emotion. “They’re all gone.”
Rico’s heart felt like it had stopped for a moment, and he felt a cold dread spread through his body. He knew what was coming next, but he couldn’t bear to hear it.
“You’re the only one left, Rico,” the General continued, his voice strained.
Rico’s hands clenched into fists as he struggled to control his anger.
“How?” he said through gritted teeth, his voice barely above a whisper.
The General took a deep breath before beginning to speak. “Sargent Taylor was gunned down in the street in front of his house by two men posing as police officers. Sargent Jordan was hit with a shoulder-mounted long-distance anti-aircraft rocket. There’s nothing left to bury. Sargent Major Berry was shot in the head in broad daylight in front of his staff and customers at his car dealership. While Sargent Vander was hit by a sniper in the middle of East Vyhorn Lake while fishing. You’re the only one still breathing.”
Rico felt a sickening wave of grief and anger wash over him. He clenched his jaw so tightly he thought it might shatter. These were his brothers-in-arms, his fellow soldiers who had fought alongside him.
“Who did this?” he asked, his voice low and menacing.
The General’s eyes flickered with a mixture of fear and respect. He knew what Rico was capable of when he was angry, and he knew that he had every right to be furious.
“Remember the mission in the People’s Republic of El Vasu?” the General said slowly. “The drug cartel, the catch, and kill? Well, intelligence says our old friend Hellberto backed his consciousness up on a celestial hard drive. Now he’s reformed the Black Angel cartel and running around in some kind of cyborg body.”
Rico’s eyes widened in shock and disbelief. He couldn’t believe that Hellberto was back, and in such a terrifying form. He had been a formidable opponent before, but now he was practically invincible.
Sasha reached out and laid her hand on her father’s hand, trying to offer him some comfort.
“He’s coming for you now, Rico. We don’t know when and we don’t know how,” the general warned, his voice tinged with urgency. “That’s why I’ve got a carrier full of heavily armed men outside on an asset protection protocol. I can’t let you wind up like the others, Rico. You’re too valuable, and I can’t let another Black Bird leave another kid fatherless.”
Rico’s anger was palpable as he glared at the general. “Let him come,” he gritted out.
“Rico, think! We don’t know what he knows about you now. You may not be his target,” the general reasoned, his eyes flickering towards Sasha with concern.
“He wouldn’t dare,” Rico said with conviction, but the tension in the room continued to mount. Suddenly, one of the soldiers outside the house yelled, “Contact!”
Rico and the general both turned towards the windows, their faces etched with urgency as the night outside was lit up with the flashes of laser fire. Rico grabbed his daughter and screamed, “Get down!” as he slammed her to the floor. The general pulled out his sidearm before taking cover behind the kitchen bench.
“Get to the safe room, Sasha!” Rico screamed over the cracks of laser fire. The kitchen was rapidly deteriorating into a pile of pixels as the laser fire tore it apart.
Sasha screamed in fear, but she knew what to do. She scrambled to her feet and raced towards the hallway, with Rico and the general close behind. “Go, go, go! I’ll cover you!” The general shouted.
Rico’s heart is pounding in his chest as he bursts into the hallway, his mind racing with the thought of protecting his daughter from the threat outside. With a swift movement of his hand, he slams his palm against the button on the wall, triggering a robotic voice that echoes throughout the house, “Home defense mode activated,” it announced as the house suddenly sprang to life. A bright blue force field flickered into existence around the perimeter of the house, crackling with energy as it repelled everything that came near it.
Immediately, the house is engulfed in a laser disrupting force field, sending waves of electric energy pulsating through the walls. Rico can feel the hair on his arms standing on end as laser turrets emerge from the walls on the outside of the house, their ominous presence casting an eerie glow across the grounds.
“Exclude military signatures!” Rico yells, his voice filled with urgency as he tries to avoid any potential collateral damage.
“Excluding military signatures,” responds the robotic voice, the turrets beginning to rapidly open fire into the night. The disrupter field opens holes in its defenses so that the lasers can be fired through, and Rico watches in awe as the bright beams of light pierce through the darkness, illuminating the night sky. The soldiers outside begin to fall back inside the perimeter of the force field, knowing that laser fire couldn’t get in but it could be shot out
Finally, after what feels like an eternity, Rico, Sasha, and General Morgan reach the safe room. Sasha was clinging to his arm, her eyes wide with fear as she took in the chaos around her. Rico’s adrenaline is still pumping, but he knows that they are safe for now. He pushes Sasha inside “Stay here,” he commands, trying to keep his voice calm for Sasha’s sake.
“Wait, Dad!” Sasha yells, her eyes pleading with him to join her.
Rico hits the lock button and the thick metal safe room door slides shut and locks. He could hear her protests as he turned to face the general.
“You want something bigger?” he asked, his voice low and deadly.
“I’ll take one if you’ve got one,” the general replied, a smile spreading across his face.
Rico knew exactly what the general wanted, and he wasted no time. He walked down the hallway towards the painting on the wall, his fingers twitching with anticipation. He had always loved this painting, with its vibrant colors and intricate brushstrokes. But now it was time for it to reveal its true purpose.
“Passcode 38654,” Rico said, his voice barely above a whisper. A small light beamed out from the painting, scanning his retina and granting him access to the secret compartment.
With a hiss, the painting popped out from the wall and revealed a hidden gun cabinet. Rico reached inside and pulled out two large laser rifles, the Western AG L-99. They were heavy in his hands, but he knew they would do the job.
“Western 99, do general?” he asked, holding one of the rifles for the general to take.
“That will do nicely, son,” the general said, his eyes gleaming with excitement as he took the rifles.
As Rico and the General armed themselves, Sasha stood frozen in fear in the thick metal safe room, listening to the sound of laser fire and explosions outside. She had never seen her father so serious before, and the gravity of the situation weighed heavily on her small shoulders.
Rico could feel the adrenaline coursing through his veins as he held the laser rifle tightly, his eyes fixed on the door to the safe room. He knew that the enemy was coming, and he was prepared to do whatever it took to protect his daughter.
Rico reached back into the compartment, he carefully extracted two sleek silver bracelets that shimmered under the dim light. He secured them onto his wrists with ease, their intricate design molding perfectly to his skin. The bracelets were personal laser disruptors, each one possessing the capability of withstanding up to five direct hits.
With a confident glance towards the General, Rico offered, “Do you want a couple, General?”
The General paused for a moment, his face pensive before he finally replied, “I’ll be fine, son. Thanks anyway.”
Rico nodded and tightened his grip on his laser riffle.
Suddenly, the sound of pounding footsteps echoed through the hallway, and Rico raised his rifle, ready to fire. A soldier appeared, out of breath and looking desperate.
“Sir,” he said between gasps. “They’ve got us surrounded and they’ve taken down the carrier. We’ve called for backup, but for now, we’re on our own. Two men are down, but we’ve managed to retreat within the safety of the disrupter’s perimeter.”
Rico and General Morgan move towards the back of the house, where the soldiers outside are still engaged in a fierce firefight with Hellberto’s men. As they make their way through the laser hole filled kitchen, they hear the sound of laser fire slamming into the force field, the occasional explosion as a missile or grenade detonates against it.
“Looks like we’re in for a long night,” says General Morgan, taking a moment to check his rifle’s power cell.
“Looks like Hellberto has been planning this for a while.”
Rico and the General crouch behind what remains of the kitchen bench, random stray laser fire that were lucky enough to pernitrate a weakened part of the field randomly flashing past over their heads.
Rico peeks through a laser hole in the bench, catching a glimpse of the ragtag fleet of hover vehicles floating just beyond the cliff’s edge. Each vehicle is rigged with small mounted laser cannons and rocket launchers. Occasionally, a few of Hellberto’s men emerge from cover spots, taking pot shots at the house before quickly ducking back down.
The General’s voice cuts through the chaos. “ETA on our reinforcements?!”
“ETA ten minutes, sir,” replies the soldier from the hallway.
“How long do you think this field will hold, son?” the General asks Rico.
“Not long enough at this rate,” Rico responds. “It won’t fail, but at the rate they’re hitting it, it will start to get real patchy in places.”
“And once it starts to get holes, you can be sure this kitchen’s going to get a hell of a lot hotter,” the General remarks.
Rico peers through the hole again, seeing a large, sleek black Hover carrier entering the battle zone. The other hover vehicles seem to move for it as it passes.
“Hellberto,” Rico grinds out through his teeth, his eyes narrowing.
The hover carrier flies down past the edge of the cliff and disappears from sight. Suddenly the earth starts shaking.
Rico looks around in concern, wondering what could be causing the ground to shake so violently.
“The hell is that?” the General says.
Suddenly, there is a massive explosion from beneath the house, causing half of the ground to fall away from the cliffside along with half the house. The metal box safe room that Sasha is inside becomes exposed and begins sliding down the cliff.
“SASHA!!” screams Rico as he watches in horror.
Suddenly, the black hover carrier flies up and into sight. It fires a massive metallic lead towards the sliding safe room. The end of the lead transforms into a magnetic pad and slaps to the side of the safe room, lifting it into the air as it flies higher into the sky.
A door on the side of the carrier pops open, and the shape of a man jumps down from the door to the top of the safe room. He grips the lead as he lands, and it’s Hellberto, now sporting a new cyborg body.
“Heeeeeey, Rico!” Hellberto yells, his voice taunting. “Remember me?! I know you do. You want this back? Come get it back, Chico! Mean while, lets see if i can find the pretty prize inside, eh? Hahaha fucking American dog!!”
He lets out another whistle before shouting at his men. “LET’S GO!!”
Rico’s eyes blaze with fury as he watches Hellberto and his men begin to leave. He knows that he must act quickly if he wants to save Sasha.
Hellberto’s men on the ground were fleeing the scene, leaving a trail of destruction behind them. They were getting into a hover vehicle that had pulled up next to the edge of a cliff.
Rico jumped to his feet, his eyes burning with determination. He knew he had to act fast.
The general watched Rico intently, his expression a mix of concern and admiration.
“Rico!” the general shouted. “God damn it!”
Rico was sprinting towards what was left of Hellberto’s men in his backyard.
Rico tore through the forcefield and charged towards the remaining henchmen in the backyard.
His rifle was at the ready as he fired a round into the chest of one of the henchmen, watching as it tore him apart.
He could hear the General yelling for his men to lay down cover fire.
He fired at another one of the henchmen, tearing his head open, and cracked another with the stock of his rifle breaking his jaw and rendering him unconscious. As he charged forward, another henchman turned around and fired his laser at Rico. The round hit Rico’s personal disrupter field. “One,” Rico said to himself as he blasted a succession of laser rounds into the henchman.
Another henchman opened fire on Rico, but his rounds hit the disrupter field before being taken out by cover fire from the general and his men. “Two, three,” Rico muttered to himself, counting how many more rounds before his disrupter field gave out. He knew that he needed to act fast if he was going to catch up with the fleeing hover vehicle.
As he got closer to the edge of the cliff, he saw the hover vehicle loading up the henchmen. The driver saw Rico and pulled away from the cliff, making a sharp descent towards the city below. One of the henchmen fell off the vehicle, plummeting to his death.
But there were still a small group of henchmen left at the edge, and they turned around to face Rico. Some were taken out by laser fire while others opened fire back. Two laser rounds hit Rico’s disrupter field directly, causing him to grit his teeth.
“Four, five,” he said to himself, knowing that there were only five hits left.
Rico roared as he ran through the group of henchmen, knocking some off the cliff as he leapt from the edge. He gritted his teeth as he fell, his sights set on the hover vehicle in below him.
He pulled his arms by his side and locked his legs together, turning himself into a dart as he dropped towards the vehicle. At the last second, Rico flexed his right arm, causing a surge of electricity to run down it and burn the sleeve of his shirt. Suddenly, the skin on his forearm burst open and tore away to reveal a cybernetic arm.
Rico reached out and grabbed hold of the hover vehicle, crushing his grip onto the panel with his robotic arm. He yelled in pain as the robotics tore at what was left of his flesh, feeling the force of a sudden stop from free fall.
The hover vehicle was thrown off its path for a second and swayed in the air before correcting itself. Rico began to climb up the side of the vehicle as a single round of laser fire blasted out from the inside, just missing his head.
With his left hand, Rico gripped a sturdy hand grip on the edge of the roof of the vehicle. He reached back with his right, the robotic arm clicking and humming, as he punched through the hole the laser blast left and then tore away at the metal to reveal the henchman inside.
A couple of henchmen managed to get off a few rounds, hitting Rico’s disrupter field directly, as Rico’s robotic hand began to wind and click as it change into a laser cannon.
“Six, seven, eight,” Rico said to himself, knowing he only had two free passes left.
Rico unloaded his weapon into the inside of the vehicle, the light from the laser fire illuminating the interior.
Rico then climbed to the roof of the vehicle, his robotic hand laser gun changing back to resemble a hand. He began to make his way to the front of the hover vehicle, the anger on his face becoming more and more defined as he does.
Rico stood on the mangled hover vehicle, his grip tight on the roof as he tried to steady himself. His heart was racing with adrenaline as he surveyed the scene before him. He knew that he had to act fast if he wanted to catch up to Hellberto and his men. He reached back with his robotic arm and punched through the roof of the driver’s side of the vehicle. With a grunt, he began to tear back the metal roof like a can opener.
As the driver looked up at the sight of Rico above him, fear etched on his face, Rico reached out and grabbed the wheel with a swift movement. With a strong pull, he managed to stabilize the vehicle and get it back on course. They were now chasing the convoy of Hellberto’s men through the skies of Arcadia city.
Ahead of them, the rest of the convoy was speeding towards their destination. Hellberto, the notorious criminal mastermind, looked back at the hover vehicle carrying Rico. He squinted as he focused on the figure on the top of the vehicle. With a sense of foreboding, he reached for his side arm holster and pulled out his laser gun. He pointed it towards the hover vehicle carrying Rico, his robotic vision aiming on the engine. He pulled the trigger, and a laser round tore into the hover car’s engine, causing it to falter and begin to fall from the sky.
Hellberto smirked as the vehicle plummeted towards the ground. But Rico was not one to give up easily. As the hover vehicle fell, he gripped tightly to what was left of the roof. He knew that he had to act fast if he wanted to survive this fall. His robotic arm began to click and hum as it started to integrate itself with his laser diffusion wristband.
Rico focused his attention on adjusting the frequency of the disruptor, hoping to create a forcefield around himself that would protect him from the impact of the fall. He felt a surge of power coursing through his veins as the forcefield suddenly appeared around him, just before the vehicle crashed through the side of a building. Debris flew everywhere as the vehicle tumbled through the building, destroying everything in its path.
Rico was thrown from the vehicle on impact and bounced his way through the building as his forcefield flashed on and off. He felt disoriented and dizzy as he tumbled through the destroyed building, struggling to maintain his grip on reality. Finally, the vehicle came to a stop, upside down and stopped by a wall. Rico continued to tumble through the destroyed building as his forcefield gave out just after he landed on a solid concrete floor.
Slowly, Rico pulled himself to his feet, his body rattled by the experience. He stumbled towards the mangled vehicle, breathing heavily. As he reached into the cabin on the hover vehicle, he ripped out the driver, the man’s body mangled from the crash. Rico held the man’s body in the air, his teeth clenched in anger.
“Where is he going?” Rico demanded, his voice low and dangerous.
The driver gurgled, trying to speak, more than just his body mangled.
“Speak up, damn it!” Rico shouted, his frustration mounting.
The driver tried to form words, but his throat was too damaged. Rico knew that he had to act fast if he wanted to get the information he needed.
Rico shakes him, desperation fueling his impatience. “Tell me!” he demands, his robotic arm whirring with tension. The driver manages to gasp out a few words before his body goes limp in Rico’s grip. “El Salvo tower,” he stammers weakly, before his eyes roll back and he goes still. Rico releases the driver’s body, letting it slump to the ground. His mind races as he tries to process the information.
Rico knows he has to get there, but the hover vehicle is wrecked and he’s still reeling from the crash. He takes a deep breath, steadying himself, and surveys the destruction around him. The building they crashed into is a mess of twisted metal and broken concrete. Smoke billows from the wreckage, and alarms blare in the distance. Rico knows he doesn’t have much time. He quickly scans the area for any signs of life, but it seems that the crash has caused everyone to evacuate.
Rico’s heart was pounding as he raced through the alleyway, debris from the crash littering the ground around him. The blaring sirens of police cars echoed in the air, their flashing lights casting an eerie glow on the building’s walls. Rico could feel the weight of the situation bearing down on him as he approached the police officers, their laser weapons trained on him.
“Get down on your knees!!” screamed the police officers, their voices filled with urgency and authority. Rico complied, slowly lowering himself to his knees, his hands raised in surrender.
Suddenly, a voice cut through the chaos. “Stand down!” bellowed the general as he walked through the police line with his soldiers surrounding the police officers, pointing their weapons at them.
Ambulances screeched to a halt, their medics rushing towards the building to tend to the injured.
The general approached Rico, his expression stern but concerned. “You okay, son?” he asked, his voice gruff yet sympathetic.
“No,” Rico gritted through clenched teeth, his eyes blazing with anger.
“We’ll get them, son,” the general assured him, placing a hand on Rico’s shoulder. “I have multiple forces on their trail as we speak.”
Rico’s attention was then drawn to the head of police, a small, balding man with a flushed face. He demanded to know what was going on, and the general began explaining the situation to him.
Rico gritted his teeth and began to walk away from the scene of the crash, his fists clenched so tightly that his knuckles turned white. As he passed the first responders rushing towards the damaged building, Rico’s eyes fell on an unmanned police hovercar. With his robotic arm, he quickly hotwired it, revving the engine to life. A police officer noticed him and yelled, but Rico paid no heed. Rico was focused and focused on one thing.
“RICO!!” yelled the general, but it was too late. The vehicle was already in the sky, the tracking device ripped out and tossed away.
Rico knew that there was only one person who could get him into El Vasu quietly and undetected, and now he needed to visit that person.
-TO BE CONTINUED