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Книга Army of Devils. Страница 17

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A muzzle flashed, the report of an assault rifle blasted the quiet. Lyons aimed above the flash, triggered a burst, saw the form hurled back. He emptied the last cartridge from the extended ten-round magazine into the falling gunman.

Gasping for breath, Blancanales fell back from the concertina barrier. A dead man hung in the coils, hundreds of razor-points stuck in his arms holding him upright.

As Lyons dropped out the empty magazine and slapped in another, he heard Gadgets's Beretta zip slugs into a stairwell housing on the LAYAC roof. Nine-millimeter subsonic slugs hammered stucco, one slapped flesh. In the blackness of the doorway, someone gasped. A rifle clattered to the roof.

"In we go!" Lyons called out to his partners.

Gadgets answered. "Ironman, what the..."

"Now! Through the wire!"

Rushing to the concertina barrier, Lyons reached through the tangle of steel razors. He grabbed the hair of the dead man and jerked him against the wire. Lyons dragged the corpse toward him, forcing the wire down with the dead man's weight. The wire sagged. Pulling his arm clear, Lyons put his foot on the corpse and compressed the coils.

"Now!"

Lyons ran over the dead man's back. Reengineered Colt pointed at the stairway housing, Lyons snatched up an AK from the roof. He glanced at the sights. The ComBloc weapon had the clip-on night sights in place.

A muzzle flashed from the door. As slugs tore past his head, Lyons triggered a three-round burst. He did not slow in his rush. He saw movement and slammed it with the AK. As the form fell back, Lyons flicked his Colt's fire selector up to single shot. He killed the gunman as the guy raised a shadowy autorifle.

Gadgets checked Blancanales. His Puerto Rican partner pulled himself up.

"Cover me!" Blancanales scanned the roof ahead of him for movement, then scrambled over the corpse.

"This is crazy!" Gadgets said to no one. But he followed his partners.

At the head of the stairway, Lyons emptied the captured AK into the chest of a punk on the landing below. Dropping the empty magazine, he searched through the tangle of dead punks in the stairway housing. He found a loaded Kalashnikov and an Uzi. Blancanales grabbed a bloody AK and snapped shots down the stairs.

Gadgets ran up behind them. "Ironman, you gone crazy? I got two mags for my Beretta, and we're going into a firefight?"

"If they've got this many sentries..." Lyons passed the Uzi to Gadgets as the punks returned autofire "...they've got something important down below."

"Like an army," Blancanales answered.

"Something as important as us living through this?" Gadgets asked.

Flipping over a dead punk, Lyons found a web belt hung with AK mag pouches. "Two magazines, plus whatever's in the rifles. And this..." He held up one of two grenades he found in a pouch.

Blancanales searched other corpses and came across a belt pouch with two Uzi mags. He passed the pouch to Gadgets. A burst of AK fire roared past him and feet hammered on the stairs.

A wide-eyed, screaming punk sprinted up the stairs, his Kalashnikov flashing. Lyons stepped back, waited an instant, then fired two rounds from his own Kalashnikov point-blank into the screaming punk's chest.

Flesh and fragments of bone exploded from his back as the punk slammed sideways into the stucco of the stairwell housing. He did not fall.

Staring around him, the punk saw Lyons and Blancanales. Screaming as he staggered forward, his face twisted with hatred, blood spraying from the two lung wounds, he swung his AK toward Blancanales.

Lyons put the muzzle of his captured Kalashnikov under the chin of the punk and fired. Impact lifted the bleeding, mortally wounded teenager off his feet, the blast tearing away the side of his head. But still he did not fall.

Screaming, his shattered jaw yawning, blood frothing from his mangled throat, the punk lurched forward again. Lyons grabbed the barrel of the punk's AK and jerked him off balance.

The punk staggered from the stairwell. Gadgets stepped up behind the punk and put his captured Uzi at the base of the punk's skull. A burst severed the brain from the spinal cord.

"Take his weapon," Lyons told Gadgets.

"This is insane! I'm not going down there! There could be a hundred of them!"

Lyons jerked the cotter pin from the first grenade. A storm of autofire came from below, then more feet hammered the stairs. Berserk punks screamed with chemical rage. Lyons let the safety lever flip away, counted to four, then gave the grenade an underhand toss.

Standing to the side of the roof door, he raised his AK. The first punk out the door took a through-and-through head wound from a Com-Bloc slug. Still screaming, he fell and kicked as his life spurted from his shattered skull.

A second punk ran from the stairwell as the grenade exploded below. Though the stairs and landing shielded the punk's body, steel fragments punched through the back of his head.

As if he did not feel the wounds, the punk continued advancing, streams of blood fountaining from his skull. Blancanales aimed at the punk's back and put a careful burst through the wounded punk's heart. Still screaming, with a vast wound where his heart had been, the punk continued on to the end of the roof. He hurtled into space.

From the stairwell they heard a bestial, inhuman sound. A sound like a dog's growl, but broken with gasps and choking. They saw a hand clutching a Kalashnikov, then the third punk crawled from the stairwell.

A hundred grenade fragments had shattered and ripped both legs. Dangling by only ligaments and a few strands of flesh, the legs flopped and twisted behind the punk. But obviously he did not feel the horrible wounds.

Clawing at the asphalt of the roof, he looked around for the attackers. Blancanales dispatched him to darkness with a burst to the back of his head.

The autofire from below slacked off. Absolutely astounded by what he had seen, Gadgets stared down at the finally dead teenager. Then the ex-Green Beret turned to Lyons.

"I'm not going down there. I don't care what the fuck you say, Lyons. Call down an airstrike, call for tanks, call for the Marines, but I'm not going down there!"

Blancanales changed mags on his captured AK. "Second the motion. Motion carried. We retreat. Period. Follow me."

"All right, all right," Lyons finally agreed. He took his hand-radio from his belt. "I need my Atchisson, anyway. Flor," he said into his hand-radio, "we got some heavy action here. We need our weapons."

In the alley behind the apartments, skidding tires answered his call.

"Now that's a quick response," Gadgets commented.

"Go!" Lyons shouted to his partners. "I'll cover."

Gadgets and Blancanales, both holding captured autoweapons, dashed to the corpse spanning the wire. They jumped through the gap, then took positions to cover Lyons.

Sporadic autofire came from the stairwell. Lyons held his fire. He stuck a finger through the ring of the second grenade, then stopped.

He reached into the stairwell housing and grabbed one of the dead punks. He jerked the corpse out of the doorway, then slammed the door closed. He pushed the corpse against the door to hold it closed.

He devised a booby trap. He jerked the pin from the grenade and put the grenade between the corpse holding the door closed and the door itself. When the punks shoved the door open, the grenade would explode, maiming or killing the nearest pursuers, perhaps killing a few on the stairs.

Lyons grinned sardonically at a thought. Can't chase if they got no legs.

"Ironman!" Gadgets called out. "Move it! Flor says there's action in the alley."

The boom of a .45 spurred Lyons. A loaded AK in each hand, he ran for the corpse-bridge through the razor wire. The .45 boomed twice again. Autofire from an M-16 answered. A final shot from Flor's Detonics .45 silenced the Colt rifle.

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