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This is just an excerpt from the awesome fanfic Strider: The Powers That Be, written by Lewis Smith and Scion. Enjoy!

The Powers That Be

...twin sprays of bullets kissed the ground on either side of him. He drew Falchion and busied himself with deflecting the next fifteen shots, at which point the firing ceased and a man in olive-drab and yellow armor descended from the sky.

"You are Hiryu, of the Striders?" the man asked.

The one in question said nothing, only kept his cypher drawn and pointed at the armored one.

"How characteristic of your kind," the man continued. "It matters little, however. You must be he. I am Solo, a bounty hunter. I tell you my name because I want you to know the identity of the person who kills you."

Hiryu smirked.

"I have never failed to bring in my quarry," Solo continued. "You would do well to-"

Hiryu cut him off.

"Just shut up and fight."

Solo fired the main barrel on his arm-cannon, sending an plasmodial blast flying directly at Hiryu. He cartwheeled to the side and leaped forward, bringing his cypher down in an arc upon Solo’s helmet. At least, it would have struck Solo’s helmet, had he not engaged his rocket boosters at the last moment and bolted into the sky. Hiryu’s blade swiped through empty air, and his momentum carried him to the border of the ledge. Solo fired three more shots from the air, then dropped to the ledge to prepare another shot of plasma. Hiryu slid underneath the bullets and cross-kicked Solo’s leg, nailing him on the side of his knee and driving him onto his hands and knees. Hiryu sprang up from the slide and cartwheel-jumped over Solo’s back, landing back-to-back with his adversary. He stabbed backwards with Falchion and skewered Solo’s arm-cannon. He whirled, gripping Solo’s neck with his hook just as Solo re-ignited his boosters. The two of them shot skyward and grappled there, each struggling to control Hiryu’s hook. Solo grasped the hook’s blade with his armored hand...and instantly regretted it, as it sliced through the panel covering his palm and he began to bleed.

Hiryu stared at the hand, momentarily dazed. The blood ran dingy yellow over the olive-drab glove.

"Impossible..." he breathed.

Solo took advantage of the momentary opening; he reached behind his back, gripped Hiryu’s gi, and spun in midair as he flung Hiryu outward and down. Hiryu crashed onto the ledge below and slid along it for several meters before he came to rest at the base of the cliff. The maneuver threw Solo off balance, however, and he too crashed onto the rock shelf not five meters from where Hiryu lay. They both struggled to their feet, and Solo attempted to take to the air once more, but failed. The crash had damaged the left booster and it refused to ignite. Hiryu threw himself at Solo, who attempted to ward him off by firing his twin secondary barrels. Hiryu had hit full stride, however, and was moving so swiftly that Solo’s helmet-mounted heads-up display could not even pick up Hiryu’s afterimages. Solo began firing randomly at whatever motion he picked up, hoping he would bring Hiryu down by sheer luck.

Then Hiryu appeared above him and brought Falchion down upon Solo’s head, carving an arcing swath from his scalp to just below the right side of his rib cage. The two pieces of Solo’s body tumbled forward onto the shelf, his blood spilling onto the ground and contrasting with the pure whiteness of the flakes beneath him.

"You’ve never failed to bring in your quarry, huh?" Hiryu asked Solo’s carcass. "Your ass just got owned."

Want to read more? Visit Scion's awesome Strider site...