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Lara Croft hung upside down by a rope attached to the high ceiling beam. The floor was wreathed in shadows far below.
Nothing moved in the darkness shrouding the room.
The world's greatest adventurer slid down another couple of inches along the rope. She knew she wasn't alone in the room. Her body straight and perfectly parallel to the rope, she made her decision between heartbeats, and turned loose.
Lara dropped through the darkness, twisting her body like a cat, and landed in a crouch. Her eyes raked the darkness as dust puffed at her feet.
A line of stone idols and massive statues loomed in the darkness around her.
Her sixth sense, developed from years of facing countless dangers in hundreds of hostile situations across the globe, tripped, snapping her into motion. She launched herself into an all-out run between the statues. Her dark braid slapped at her back with every long stride.
She was clad for battle, dressed in black shorts and sleeveless shirt. Fingerless gloves offered some protection to her hands, and her feet were encased in steel-toed combat boots. Twin pistols rode in quick-release holsters at her hips.
Sudden movement behind a statue directly ahead drew Lara's immediate attention. A long metal arm shot out of the shadows, a flashing blade at the end of the inhuman appendage.
Lara dodged to the left, heading toward another stone totem. Before she got behind it, a huge spiked fist shattered the totem's head into thousands of pieces.
Lara drew her .45s as she raced around the statues. A series of turns brought her to the heart of the maze. She turned again, then spotted the shimmering disk suspended in the shaft of light ahead.
The huge droid dropped between Lara and the shimmering disk. It stood nearly seven feet tall, a huge mass of steel and cybernetic tech. Six arms jutted out from the barrel-shaped trunk, each ending in a scythe-like blade capable of cutting her in half.
Lara slid through the dust. She dropped and skidded across the floor on her back. She brought the .45s up and fired as she slid toward the huge droid.
The droid leaned down, its metallic body gleaming as it focused on her.
Uh oh, she thought.
The droid drew back an arm -- which now ended in a spiked fist -- and struck. She moved quickly, but the force of the punch sunk the spikes deeply into the floor, trapping the droid's arm. The droid punched with another spiked fist, driving it deeply into the floor.
Lara wriggled but couldn't free herself from between the arms. The droid held up an arm. The scythe at the end of the arm disappeared into the forearm housing and a drill reappeared in its place.
The drill screamed to life. Mercilessly, the droid leaned down, shoving the drill at Lara's unprotected face. It was so close, she could read its directive on its sensor: KILL LARA CROFT.
"Oh, I don't think so," Lara stated defiantly. She planted both steel-toed boots between the droid's legs with a loud clang.
The droid kept the drill coming.
Lara pushed against the droid. The droid rose, and toppled, falling up and over Lara, thudding against the floor.
Freed, Lara vaulted to her feet. She scooped the pistols from the floor and turned to face the droid.
The droid detached the two arms spiked to the floor. It retracted all its remaining hands and brought out spiked claw fists.
Lara flipped the .45s, gripping them by the barrels to use as clubs, and slipped into a martial arts stance. The droid rained blows down on her, and Lara parried the droid's attempts with pistol butts and kicks.
As soon as Lara saw the droid's guard drop, she lashed out with a combat boot. The steel toe connected with the droid's right shoulder, spinning it around like a top.
As it turned, Lara leaped onto the droid's back, and ripped at a dented access plate. But it was no good -- she couldn't get it off.
The droid flailed its arms, trying to reach her. The claws snapped within inches of Lara's flesh.
Drawing one of her sidearms, Lara aimed the .45 and fired it at the backplate. Shards of metal flew through the air. She holstered the .45, then reached inside the droid's exposed innards, closed her fingers on every wire she could grab, and yanked it all out.
Sparks exploded in the darkness. Abruptly, the droid powered down and collapsed.
Lara dropped to the floor and took the few steps to the shimmering disk. Even as her fingers closed on the prize, a razor-sharp claw slashed toward her face.
Copyright © 2001 by Paramount Pictures. Tomb Raider and Lara Croft are trademarks of Core Design Ltd. All rights reserved.