*The Rooftops of Neo Hong Kong*


  Bullets rained from the sky, opening gaping holes in the skyscraper's rooftop and in the cars flying on the skyway.

  But Hiryu was extremely agile. His complicated footwork evaded Solo's strafing with unmatched precision.

  Yet Solo's machine gun fire continued. He did not think it would be possible to defeat the Strider this way. Rather, it would be a lengthy, challenging game.

  For his part, Hiryu puzzled upon how best to bring the mercenary down to the rooftop. The mercenary flitted back and forth, disappearing into the shade for a few moments.

  He is Solo.

  He has a wide-range artillery rifle.

  An oscillation weapon which discharges the heatseeking ring laser.

  A rocket booster permitting lengthy flight times.

  And a powerful railgun that draws power from the rocket booster, which forces him to land in order to fire it.

  Hiryu ran along the skyway for a while, searching for more stable footing. He found it in the form of a rooftop ravine, a narrow way between skyscrapers.

  Solo chased him right to the entrance of the ravine.

  Because darkness decreased visibility, Solo verified the location of his target with his radar and night vision scopes.

  He caught sight of Hiryu climbing a wall, the barest shadow flickering across its surface.

  The distance between the buildings was approximately three meters. As for the distance between Hiryu and himself, fifteen meters.

  He switched on the oscillation machine. A low droning hum emanated from his rocket pack and two large orange buzzsaw wheels of pure energy formed over his shoulders.

  He had a lock on the target.

  He fired the ring lasers.

  One fired directly at the Strider, another arced downwards and attacked upwards from a forty-five dgree angle.

  Hiryu became aware of the object hurtling towards him and hastened his speed in scaling the wall.

  The first ring laser made prey out of the roof. Hiryu did not try to take evasive action, only continued to climb the wall.

  The second ring prepared to make Hiryu its prey, when he abruptly kicked the wall and sprang out of its way, flying across the three meter gap to the other skyscraper.

  He eliminated two ring lasers that way.

  Solo caught another glimpse of Hiryu on radar, verifying that he had indeed gained the rooftop. He followed suit.

  The instant his head appeared above the roofline, Hiryu attacked. Solo did not have the time to bring his gun to bear on the Strider, so he shot upwards into the sky. He rained down a hail of bullets onto Hiryu from above, reflexively flying to the rear, exchanging volleys with the Strider.


  Solo did not produce this sound. It sounded like a small switch being thrown. This troubled him.

  The Strider swiped his cypher upwards at Solo. Naturally, he was out of range, and thus assumed he was safe.

  He assumed wrong.

  An energy wave swooped upwards from the cypher's blade, squarely hitting Solo in the solar plexus.

  "Oh @#$%", he said.

  He didn't understand it. He only moaned.

  Then a long-forgotten theoretical Strider attack came to him.

  Boost mode.

  It is one function that can be equipped to a certain type of cypher. All cyphers use plasma in their blades, but recent upgrades allow the plasma in a cypher blade to be pressurized and fired rapidly with swipes from that blade.

  However, because it greatly increases the load on the blade, it cannot be used for extended periods of time.

  Solo immediately takes evasive action, spurting back and forth across the rooftop in high-speed bursts. They are in an extremely confined space.

  Hiryu is ready with his cypher.

  Solo perceives danger, dodges.

  The Strider's naked blade ripped through the black body armor.

  Solo escaped a fatal wound with instant evasive action, but the wound was so grievous that it hindered his mobility.

  He flew away.

  Hiryu tried to give chase, but the mercenary escaped outside his range before he could ready himself.

  Smoke wafts through the sky, emanating from Solo's torn armor.

  Hiryu can pinpoint Solo's position ahead.

  He heard a low rumbling overhead.

  "Something comes!" he muttered.

  So it was that the instant he perceived danger, he attacked.