Fire! - chapter 1

There were two boxes standing on top of one another close to the door and Mike was now  taking cover behind them with a pistol in his hand. The magazine case of his gun was already empty – he shot all the bullets to defend himself while getting to the door, so he threw the gun away. The pistol loaded with only three bullets wasn’t much of help either. But nevertheless he had a plan, an idea of what can be done while he's on the mission and alive. He knew, he is going to die. But he was prepared to take as many enemies with him as he only could. Gus and others were silent for a few seconds – they tried to guess what had forced Mike to change his position, where he is now and what should they prepare to. They even thought there might be another exit from the building that they didn’t notice. All that distracted their attention a little.

Mike felt it was the time to act - there were only three or four steps separating him from the door and his enemies. From the moment he took the path each step echoed in his head together with the blood pulsing in his ears as if he was walking on top of a huge drum, while in reality no one heard him coming.

At that moment Ivan was the one closest to the door and he was looking at Gus.
“Where had zat bustard gone?” Asked he in full voice. “Maybe we should - ”

Ivan had never got a chance to end his phrase – he turned his head to the door, following Gus's eyes and faced a muzzle of the pistol, which Mike was holding right in front of Ivan’s forehead. The trigger was pulled three times, all the three bullets hit Ivan and he fell down already dead. The same second Gus (who’s reaction was the best of all the mercenaries there) shot Mike in the chest. The distance was small and bulletproof west didn’t save Mike from this one – he stepped backwards and felt the wall behind his back. He didn’t even try to hide inside the building – it was simply impossible and meaningless – he had no bullets, only a knife, which in this circumstances was nothing more but a useless piece of junk. So he stood there, leaning his back against the wall. He still had an empty pistol in his hand, covering his wound with the other hand. His yellow-brown eyes met eyes of all his enemies one by one. All the guns were facing him, but no one took a shot. It was the most terrifying silence he ever heard – only his heart was counting seconds.

He looks like lion in a cage… – thought Lynx, wondering what should Mike feel now and how he manages to look dangerous even when caught. Even Gus seemed to be a bit hypnotized with those scary stubborn eyes, which added a bitter pill to his unquestionable victory. Only Scully had a feeling that he had to do something but he knew for a fact that nothing could be done. And Mike would finish his job, if they've switched places, wouldn't he?

No one said a word – there was only Mike’s heavy gaze on one side and five people ready to shoot, held back by nothing but this gaze on the other. It lasted few seconds more until the atmosphere was on the top of the tense.

They all opened fire at the same time – five guns produced five flashes of light, all the five bullets stroke Mike, even Scully had taken a shot, almost instinctively. The strange thing was – no one, even Gus, has shot Mike in the face. It was like out of some kind of respect to him they didn't make him to loose his guise. For Gus it wasn’t enough – he took two more shots right then to be absolutely sure that Mike had been killed.
Shots brought Mike down to the ground, the pain was hard to take, but it only lasted a few seconds. Different pictures from his past filled his mind – it was like ‘that's the way it is – when you are dying, watch the past events of your life’. So he did.

There was a big suspension bridge over a fast mountain river. It happened years and years ago, he was something like nineteen then. Mike was crossing the bridge holding a gun, Scully right behind him. Shot down by enemies Scully couldn’t keep the balance and fall down from the bridge right into the river… Mike hadn’t got the time to even turn his head to see that all happening. He was perfectly in control of his own situation, but didn’t bother about the others. The whole squad was under the fire.  They've made it to the other side and one of the two leaders ordered Mike, pointing at Scully, who was injured, but still trying to fight against the stream and wasn’t very successful at it: “Get that guy the hell out of there! We need all of you.”

Mike quickly looked at the river – it was almost suicidal to jump in there. But an order is an order. The very next moment he threw away his gun, ran across the waterside and jumped into the water…The second team leader addressed the first one: “Why the hell you sent this guy in? He is damn talented, he's worth the squad altogether, we can’t afford loose him!”

The other one replied calmly: “Lower your voice. He’ll be presumptions. If he is that good – he'll do it. If not… He is not worth your words.”
Mike couldn’t hear them talking and they've never told him anything like this. Yet he was fancy enough about himself without any encouragement from anyone, always dividing people into the two groups – those who are below him, and those who are temporarily above him, which meant he was moving people from second category into the first one, step by step, always heading for the top.
Now he had to jump into the stream to catch Scully, and get him out of it. He knew, it was a challenge - he had always to prove his skills and his unicity. Why was he doing this? – Same reason: “it’s all about money”. The better you are, the higher you go – the better they pay you. Now, injured in the shoulder by enemies and with the  water getting into his throat, so that he couldn’t breathe, he was trying to get to Scully…

Mike coughed, feeling his own blood in his moth, blocking his throat so that he couldn’t catch the air. All the pictures disappeared, his eyed were closed, his body cramped from pain… Few seconds he was agonizing then remained still.

“He deserved it,” Said Shadow calmly.

“Of course, he deserved it. For what he’s done - for killing Raven and Ivan, for working for that bitch, ”Answered Gus, looking at his life-long enemy lying in front of him covered with blood.

You deserve every second of your struggle for ruining years of my life - thought Gus still looking at him - I'm still wondering, who were you – a genetically invented robot or something?

He smiled to himself - but anyway, you are as mortal as we all are. That makes me think you were not worth your money.
He even regretted that he hadn’t got a chance to say it all to Mike's face.

“Let’s leave him in peace. He paid off all the debts now. And we have still some work to do.”
Said Reaper, already walking away.

Other mercenaries followed him, including Gus, who enjoyed his victory, but now was feeling a bit uncomfortable with his own conscience.
C’mon, Mike hadn’t got any conscience, you’ve got nothing to worry about now, – he tried to deal with himself in this manner.

Only Scully was still standing there. He lost his friend. And why? For money? Mike would say, it was worth it. Scully couldn't agree.
“I’m sorry, buddy. It’s sad. Not you, not like this… It’s just money over friendship those days… Nah, as always for you. But so sad!..”
Scully cast the last glance at his friend, running after the rest of the squad. Soon they moved to the other sector in search for Deidrana.