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Книга Army of Devils. Страница 19

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"She's been in there two minutes," Gadgets said, glancing at his watch. "If she's dead, she's dead. But if we go in there before we're ready, we're dead, too."

"I'm ready now!"

Lyons left the cover of the Ford. A form leaned from a first-floor window to aim an AK. Firing the Atchisson from his hip as he ran, Lyons sprayed the window with a three-blast burst of number two and double-ought steel shot, the high-velocity projectiles raking the window from side to side. The AK gunner's left hand and face disintegrated as the window exploded inward.

Lyons sprinted to the window. Pulling a shock-stun grenade from a thigh pocket, he lobbed it in.

Blancanales ran to the building and waited with Lyons — both men covering their ears — for the few heartbeats until the grenade's fuse triggered the white flash.

The deafening boom fractured the air. Kicking through the door, Lyons held his Atchisson ready.

In the pale blue light from the side street, he saw a tangle of bodies on the floor. Broken plaster, books, spilled papers covered the semiconscious wounded. He did not see Flor.

Moving fast, Lyons kicked punks over, checking each of them. Blancanales stood in the doorway, his riot-length Atchisson covering the office and the inner door. Lyons pointed to the inner door, shouted, "Whitelight!"

Blancanales aimed at the doorknob and lock. A single round from the 12-gauge removed the entire assembly. Fire from an AK answered. A shock-stun grenade in his hand, Lyons pointed at the center of the door. Blancanales aimed again. Two blasts opened a hole six inches by twelve inches.

Gunners on the other side of the door sprayed wild automatic fire. Lyons let the safety lever flip from the shock-stun, waited to the count of four, then snapped the grenade through the hole in the door.

The blast threw the door across the office. Lyons dodged through the doorway. In the swirling plaster dust, he saw a Chicano sprawled against the wall with a Kalashnikov in his hands. Lyons kicked the Chicano's throat. Through the leather and neoprene of his shoe, he felt the cartilage crush.

Blancanales saw movement on the office floor. A hand lifted an AK by the pistol grip. Whipping around the twenty-inch barrel of his Atchisson, Blancanales jerked the trigger.

Unfamiliar with the assault shotgun, Blancanales inadvertently advanced the fire selector to full-auto as he triggered the blast. The shotgun roared with a burst of point-blank fire.

Andrzej Konzaki, the Stony Man weaponsmith, had loaded that magazine to impress the onlookers of the police academy demonstration with the destructive firepower of the assault weapon. The magazine alternated jungle mix — number two and double-ought steel shot — with slugs. Fired at point-blank distance into a human body, the four rounds, two of steel shot and two of one-ounce slugs, exploded the torso and head, tore through the dying punk in a storm of projectiles to strike the linoleum-and-concrete-slab floor of the office, and finally ricocheted, spraying high-velocity steel and lead fragments in all directions.

Gore splashed the office. Konzaki's weapon and ammunition succeeded in highly impressing Rosario Blancanales, ex-Green Beret and veteran of several wars. For a moment he stared at the mass of glistening meat and blood that had been a body. He had never seen an infantry weapon — other than a grenade launcher or a LAAW rocket — create such mayhem. He dropped out the empty magazine and jammed in another.

In the corridor, Lyons kicked over gasping, bleeding gang boys. One had a Kalashnikov, another an M-16, a third a .38 pistol. Lyons went flat against the wall and peered through the dust that grayed the corridor.

The corridor led through the old apartment buildings, passing from one building to the next, connecting offices and meeting rooms. Several doors opened onto it.

A form dashed from an office. Lyons raised his Atchisson, but Blancanales fired first, a blast of steel shot throwing the punk down. Lyons looked to Blancanales and raised a shock-stun grenade in his hand. Blancanales nodded. He braced his Atchisson to cover his partner.

Lyons ran forward, one shoulder against the wall, his eyes searching the doorways for any movement. At the first doorway, as the wounded punk tried to rise on shattered, blood-spurting legs, Lyons tossed the shock-stun inside.

With a growl, a wide-eyed punk stomped from the office, his M-16 spraying fire. Lyons stayed to the side and slammed his arm down on the weapon's barrel and black plastic foregrip. Slugs from the M-16 killed the wounded punk on the floor, then the blastflash of the grenade threw the hyped-up homeboy across the corridor. Lyons snatched the pistol grip of his slung Atchisson and pointed the fourteen-inch barrel at the punk's head. When the muzzle flashed, the head ceased to exist.

Looking into the office, Lyons saw a form thrashing in the clutter of spilled papers and books. The young black man wore a black jacket vivid with the gang logo, The Headhunters, and a severed head dripping blood. Glitter made the staring eyes of the head sparkle. The gang punk reached for a weapon.

Lyons stomped on the Headhunter's hand, breaking the wrist under his heel. The punk snatched at a pistol with his left hand.

The heel of Lyons's shoe came down again, this time on the punk's solar plexus. Though the stomp propelled the air from the teenager's lungs, he did not feel the pain. His hand closed around the pistol grip. Lyons kicked the pistol away.

Lyons put the muzzle of the Atchisson into the soft hollow of the punk's throat, where his neck met his collarbones and chest. Lyons asked one question, "Where's the woman?"

The Headhunter sucked down a breath and attacked Lyons, flailing at him with his broken hand and his good fist. Lyons pushed the muzzle into the punk's throat. "Where's the woman?"

Clawing at Lyons, the punk thrashed against the muzzle of the full-auto shotgun. Lurching from the floor, the punk grabbed at Lyons's right hand gripping the Atchisson.

The blast sent the Headhunter into the void to forever hunt for his head.

The torso flopped and quivered on the floor as Lyons went to the door. He took another shock-stun from his battle armor's pouches.

"They're rushing..." Blancanales called out, the booming of his Atchisson cutting his words short.

A storm of autofire swept the corridor. Five-point-fifty-six-millimeter and 7.62 ComBloc slugs ricocheted and whined from the walls and floors as Blancanales sprayed the line of onrushing gang punks with his Atchisson.

The shock of a bullet impact knocked Blancanales back. Lyons saw his partner fall, once more called out, "Whitelight!"

Throwing the shock-stun grenade at the mob of punks, Lyons jerked another seven-round magazine from his bandolier. Holding his Atchisson in one hand, he shielded his left ear with his other hand and turned away.

The boom-flash silenced the autorifles for an instant. His head ringing, Lyons leaned from the protection of the doorway and emptied his Atchisson into the downed crowd of chemically hyped punks.

High-velocity steel exploded skulls, ripped away arms and feet. Lyons took cover again, dropped out the empty mag, jammed in the next. He flipped the fire selector up to semiauto and searched for targets.

A punk in a blood-splashed purple jacket rose to his knees. He swung a Kalashnikov to his shoulder as Lyons put fifty steel balls through his chest at 1400 feet per second.

Another Chicano clawed his way from under a dead comrade and pointed a .45 automatic. High-velocity steel ripped away his arm and head.

A wounded punk pushed himself up from the bloody floor. He lurched upright and swung a machete. Lyons set the Atchisson's sight on the teenager's forehead. Brains sprayed.

Lyons pulled another magazine out of his gear, then went to Blancanales's side. The stocky Puerto Rican got to his feet. He looked to his battle armor. A bullet had torn through the Kevlar to punch through an Atchisson magazine. But the steel trauma plate had finally stopped the slug.

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