Captain Scarlet leapt through the wicket doors of the saloon as a hail of bullets sent splinters flying from the wall behind him. There was the sharp crack of an answering shot and then Symphony Angel was on his heels.
They took in their new surroundings in a heartbeat. The Old West-style saloon with rows of empty glass bottles behind a battered counter, a set of rickety stairs leading to a landing, an old piano, and a large dusty mirror dominating the rear wall.
Symphony motioned to the stairs and Scarlet nodded, reloading his Spectrum pistol. The pair of Mysteron agents wouldn’t give them long to make a plan. As if to underline the point, there was a double-crack and two bullets ricocheted through the thin glass window and smashed into the mirror, sending a shower of silvered specks scattering across the floor. Seven years’ bad luck thought Scarlet, he only hoped it would be for the Mysterons and not for Spectrum.
Symphony raced up the stairs and Scarlet joined her, taking the steps two at a time. The pair were covered in dust and sand and looked exhausted. Their deadly game of cowboys had lasted for at least thirty minutes thus far and both Spectrum agents were beginning to run out of steam.
The Mysteron replicants, formerly a pair of no-good hoodlums from a nearby gambling town, seemed to have no such problem. Such was the power of the Mysterons and their control over matter itself, that their agents on Earth were never troubled by anything so trivial as fatigue.
A heavy footfall sounded on the wooden sidewalk outside the saloon. Symphony raised her pistol, aiming just above the shutters of the wicket door.
Then, to their amazement, a single revolver was tossed over the shutters and landed on one of the crooked tables with a dull thud. A few cards from a long-abandoned game of poker fluttered off the edge and flipped lazily face upwards as they hit the floor, revealing a count of Thirteen. Scarlet grinned tensely as he saw his lucky number. But the game wasn’t over yet. Where had the other Mysteron got to?
Too late, Scarlet heard the creak of the floorboards behind him and realised that he and Symphony had been tricked. While his partner in crime created a distraction, the other man had stealthily climbed the rear stairs and got behind the Spectrum agents.
With a snarl, he hurled himself at Scarlet. The impact was like a runaway locomotive hitting a brick wall. Scarlet yelled as he and the Mysteron were carried over the flimsy wooden railing and crashed to the floor of the saloon far below.
Symphony had no time to worry about Scarlet. Instinctively she knew he would be okay. Instead, she flung herself down the stairs, making for the revolver the first Mysteron had dropped. She was halfway to it when the powerful replicant appeared in the doorway. In one swift movement, he plucked up a chair and hurled it at the Angel.
Symphony threw up her arm and sidestepped, but the heavy chair caught her gun and sent it spiraling away to rest under the piano. Undeterred, Symphony raced across the floor and took a flying somersault over one of the smashed tables. The Mysteron advanced on her and was mere feet away when Symphony caught him with a vicious kick to the solar plexus. The Mysteron grunted in pain and staggered backward, hitting his head against a low beam.
Seizing her chance, Symphony ran for the piano and scrabbled under it for her pistol. The heavy running footsteps sounded behind her and she turned and fired in one fluid motion.
The Mysteron agent didn’t even have time to cry out in surprise. Carried by his momentum, he careened into the piano and collapsed onto it in a heap, quite dead.
There was a stirring on the floor nearby. Symphony swung around, expecting the second Mysteron to have recovered. She needn’t have worried. One look at him and she realised he wouldn’t be troubling Spectrum again, the fall had done its work.
It was Scarlet who had stirred. Painfully, he began dragging himself to his feet. An ugly gash adorned his face, already matted with dried blood. Symphony raced over to him and helped him to stand awkwardly.
Wiping his face with the back of his hand, Scarlet took a look around the wrecked saloon. His eyes came to rest on the Mysteron that Symphony had dispatched, still slumped at the piano.
“Play it again, Sam” he said wryly, his voice edged with weariness and pain. Symphony grinned.
Then together, the exhausted Spectrum agents made their way outside to make their report to Cloudbase.