The footsteps ceased and the silence filled with the drip of ruptured containers and the hiss of recharging plasma cells. They became aware of the smell accompanying the guard – a composite of plastics, oil and slightly rancid meat. The odour was distressingly penetrative. There was another moment’s pause as they held their breaths, and then Bensen heard the distinctive click-whine that preceded discharge.
Roughly shoving his captive ahead of him, Bensen steered them from cover to cover from the renewed fusillade. Around them, furniture and table settings cracked and fused in the super-heated streams lancing across the restaurant. He hissed despite himself as one of the bolts clipped his back, sparking a spray of ablating armour plating but he at least now knew where the guard was firing from – a window that had been behind them as they entered.
Bensen waited, counting under his breath. On ‘five’, he stood and flipped a grenade through the window, before stepped back and to one side, crouching out of sight next to his trembling captive. The detonation belched a tongue of shrapnel and debris through the air and drowned out all other sound. There was no return fire. After another pause, he started assembling a rod with a small mirror on one end, slapping his captive when he whimpered in shock.