Within a shockingly brief period of time, there were no more living tech-adepts in the command hub.
In the sudden stillness, the cracked glass of an artillery plotter broke apart and slithered to the ground in pieces. Questioning vox-blurts were crackling around the horse-shoe of blood-spattered cogitator stations, as the self-propelled guns outside requested targeting updates from the geo-satellites or the recon aircraft or whatever else the Patriot tech-priests had been drawing their data from before Kally made her violent interruption.
The only thing among the wreckage and half-human corpses that mattered to Kally was that Delzharian wasn’t there. She paused for a moment, while irradiated smoke twisted up through the still air. Delzharian must have heard the explosion from the ammo lift, just like everyone else. And more than likely one of the adepts or skitarii down here had squirted off a warning to him about a heavily armed killer blazing through the bunker. That left one logical place to retreat to...and the cogboys did so love their logic.
+ + + + + +
Kally rolled up the blast shutter to the artillery magazine and let it drop behind her with a rattling crash. Above the graveyard silence she had left throughout the bunker, the muffled crump of artillery and the rattle of small arms filtered down through the air shafts. Small arms meant the fight had gotten closer - a fact that was confirmed soon after by an alert klaxon, wailing distantly up and down the scale
The caged electric lights overhead were sputtering from connections knocked loose by Kally’s improvised bomb. They threw shadows across countless artillery shells, stacked up on wooden pallets. The air smelled of brass and cordite.
“I would leave the rad-carbine outside.” a clipped voice rang out, speaking in Martian-accented high gothic. “A flash in here would make an even bigger bang than that affront to good demolitions practice you left on the elevator.”
Soft footsteps striking against the metal floor announced a tall, slender man stepping out into the light-flicker, between two long walls of shell-stacks. Another figure appeared to Kally’s left, and then a third to her right. Another two. Another four. They were android constructions of myomer coil and contoured plate, all with integrated gamma blasters bulging from their forearms. But the curved housings over the gun-barrels remained shut - the speaker hadn’t been joking about the cataclysm that weapons fire down here might unleash. Instead, each automaton's hands hovered over a pair of short blades, mag-locked to their thigh plates.
Kally glanced around, noting their weapons, and noting their faces. Or rather, the same face on every robot: a perfect facsimile of the man who had first spoken. It was a handsome face - broad-nosed, full-lipped, with skin the colour of hardened clay. The speaker was the only one whose frame and angles looked partly human beneath his sleek red robes, but even then it was difficult to tell - lines crossed his face like the meetings of metal plates, and deeper trenches running with plasma-blue light carved back from his jaw and the tails of his eyes.
“I hope you realise that was an extremely rare battle-automaton you just ruined.” Delzharian continued, monotone. “Now I’m going to have to salvage your augments to rebuild it.”
The six automata grinned with synthskin lips, and snatched their paired short-swords from their clamps. The click of disengaging mag-locks was replaced by a soft hum as twelve sets of powerfields activated.
Delzharian shook his head, as if the preceding carnage and the post-human assassin bearing down on him were trivial grievances. The blue LEDs of his eyes roamed around to fall on the softly glowing blades of his bodyguards, and he let out a very human-sounding sigh. “Such primitive weaponry. No matter. Kill her.”