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Heavy Metal - Chapter 15: Melee at the Medical Center
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Thunderbird



Joined: 13 Sep 2009
Posts: 2139
Location: Rising from the ashes

Posted: Sun Mar 20, 2011 3:11 pm    Post subject: Heavy Metal - Chapter 15: Melee at the Medical Center  

Heavy Metal
Chapter 15
Melee at the Medical Center


A throng of onlookers had coalesced outside the lobby of the emergency room at the University Medical Center, making it difficult for emergency vehicles to part the crowd.

Cordoning off an area around the ruined ambulance that had arrived with a savage patient earlier that morning had been no less than a chore. Now it was all Lieutenant Oscar Tolbert could do to keep the press at bay. Their cameras scoured the crime scene as thoroughly as his investigators went about their work, tenuously divided by the yellow taped perimeter.

“I told you, we don’t know too much yet at this time,” Oscar was telling a tall news reporter who looked suspiciously like a Barbie doll.

Heather Hanson replied with yet another question - there had already been so many, “And what was the fate of the officer whose head had been thrust through the roof of the cabin of the ambulance on their harrowing journey back to the hospital?”

“He’s in the ER now. I’m told he’s in critical condition,” Oscar sighed.

“Sources tell us this brutal patient was involved in the theft of jet fuel that took place yesterday at McCarran airport. Can you confirm this allegation?” She pressed on.

“I was there investigating that robbery, Miss Hanson, and can tell you very little at this time. There appears to be a strong connection here but that has not been fully confirmed,” Oscar answered, his patience wearing thin.

“We were also told your car was stolen during that investigation? Is this true? Was it stolen by the robbers?” Hanson asked with a wry smile.

Lieutenant Tolbert flushed and growled as he answered, “Yes, my vehicle was appropriated but we do not think it was any of the perpetrators of the theft itself that made off with my vehicle. Later reports maintain that the auto thief, impersonating an officer, may have been the same individual who was found locked in some kind of hand to hand combat with the thug that was brought here earlier this morning. When confronted, he was said to have run off into the desert. My car was found tossed across the road like a matchbox toy at the scene in the desert, adding evidence that the giant we brought in had been one of the robbers at the airport.”

“Was the fuel found then? Where were they going with it?” Heather continued.

“We believe one of the canisters they put the fuel in was found exploded at the site. Tore a huge hole in Route 66 from what I’m told. So we know the vehicle that was involved in the heist was present on the scene at one time. We look forward to being able to question the individual we brought to the hospital this morning. In the meantime, we have some investigation work to…”

“Hey boss!” interrupted a gangly officer Perkins, Oscar’s partner, who rushed up to grab the athletically endowed Lieutenant by the shoulder.

“Not now, Perkins! Can’t you see I’m in the middle of…”

“Look!” Perkins jutted his finger to point through the crowd to a sidewalk beyond the throng. “Isn’t that the guy we saw steal our car?”

Squinting against the light of the morning sun, Tolbert followed the figure his partner indicated, Heather’s cameraman swiveling to get a view of the same.

After a moment of studying the youthful, toned, biker, Oscar began to nod. “Yeah… I think it might…” then as the figure turned to enter the hospital Emergency Room, slipping effortlessly through the crowd, the blazing cross stitched into the back of his jacket could be seen. “That’s HIM!”

“Come on then! Let’s bring this guy in!” Perkins shouted as he ran towards the gathered crowd, flashing a badge and wedging his way past the onlookers.

Oscar followed shouting, “Get out of the way, Police coming through!” as he flashed his badge. But the crowd was so fascinated by the scene of devastation around the ruined ambulance that they were hardly paying attention, and they were packed in dense. It’ll take too long to get through this dang crowd! I just hope he’ll still be there when we reach him!

~

The corner of Thomas’s lips rose in a wry smile though the glint in his eyes remained concealed behind his shades. Nodding towards the gnarled elder leaning on a glinting mining pick, Thomas answered, “YOU, soul-less,” then paused to let his words sink in. The olive skinned girl at the counter suddenly spun to glare at Thomas as the scruffy old man stood a little more upright, his hands slipping down to grip at the haft of his pick. “I’m looking right – at – you!”

Launching into action, Thomas slipped a cross-shaped dagger from under his leather vest into each hand, flicking them towards the Tainted before him as he spun, lunging into a tumble towards the doorway where the third crimson radiance had disappeared.

End over end, the shards whirled lethally towards his foes. The old man reflectively held the pick up to deflect, the blade burying itself in the wood shaft inches from his wild, filthy white beard.

Turning to dodge, the girl caught the knife in her shoulder and she screamed as she went to a knee, a wisp of acrid vapor spewing from the wound as blood soaked through the ragged hems of her tank top.

Howling in pain, she went on all fours, reaching up to grasp the handle of the cross, a searing sizzle engulfed her hand as she winced and steeled herself enough to pull the shard from her flesh, tossing it aside hastily as if it were the glowing end of a hot poker.

The old miner took a moment to scrape the blade out of his pick’s handle with a thick, mud-encrusted boot. When he looked back up, their attacker had vanished.

“Who WAS that asshole?” Cactus shouted through gritted teeth.

“Ah’m not sure, girly,” the old man growled, “But ah kin see where he been. There’s bluish footprints leadin’ tha way. Nobody takes a swing at ol’ Prospector an’ gits away wit it! You good ‘nuff for fightin’?”

“Yeah,” she snarled, “I just need to catch my breath for a moment. That damn thing burned like the dickens! It DID cauterize the wound though… somehow.” Gesturing towards the cross-shaped blades, she sneered. Standing to her feet, she could see that everyone in the lobby of the emergency room was sitting there in wide eyed shock looking at the two of them.

A man bolted for the exit.

“Oh no you don’t,” she menaced as she stretched her uninjured right arm out to point towards the fleeing man’s backside. If one were to have watched very carefully, they may have seen the hair on the back of her forearm rise, stiffen, then as she flexed her wrist down, the hair would have been seen to flatten towards the retreating citizen, then launch from her arm like a hail of needles.

As it was, however, most just saw her make a strange gesture towards the man, heard a whistling, hissing noise, and witnessed him collapse, blood streaming from the back of his neck and head. Soon after, he began twitching on the ground, and the crowds who saw him collapse erupted in a screaming panic.

“C’mon! Quit screwin’ ‘round! We got an enemy ta deal with!” the Prospector jabbed as he grabbed Cactus by her rump pocket and dragged her towards the swinging doors.

“Sorry, P, I get in a murderous mood when injured… makes me feel better to kill,” she muttered as she spun to follow the lumbering old man down the hospital hall.

“Yeah, well, let’s go kill the one who earnt it then,” the Prospector rumbled.

~

The roof, Thomas considered, that’s where the nurse said they were taking him, to the helipad, where military men would be taking him away… to where I wonder? Thomas sped down the hall, dodging gurneys, a couple patients in wheel chairs, and some hospital staff that were looking behind them, aghast by something they’d recently witnessed.

Pausing, Thomas grabbed at a passing nurse, gripping her forearm and spinning her around to face him. “Where’s the stairwell?” he asked urgently.

“Did… did you SEE that guy?” she asked, fear in her eyes as she pointed further down the hall.

What is UP with this third Tainted? What sort of abomination must he be? Thomas wondered as he pressed her further, “Yes! I’ll be back for him but first I must know how to reach the stairs!”

“Further down you’ll find a door to the right, there’s a blue sign just above the doorway that will tell you it’s the stairwell. You can’t miss it… Wait, who…”

Thomas was already running down the hall, leaving the nurse to wonder as to his identity. Momentarily, he envisioned what she must be seeing as he sped away from her, the emblazoned cross on his leather jacket standing out, marking him as a warrior of God.

Watching for the sign, as soon as he saw it, he slowed his sprint and approached the door to the stairwell. It was lodged open for some reason and he gasped as he looked down to see that the body of a security guard was left in the doorway. Propped with his back against the doorframe, the portly guard was still holding his taser in his hand, but his eyes were rolled into the back of his head. He was convulsing and shuddering as froth foamed forth from his lips, curled back into an involuntary sneer.

Nearby, an orderly stood from a hidden crouch behind a medical supply tray. “He went up the stairs,” the young man pointed towards the doorway, his eyes wide and fearful.

Hmm, great warriors think alike, eh? Thomas considered as he nodded at the orderly. Shouts and screams from behind him in the hall began echoing down the passage.

“C’mere ya lilly-livered bastahd! Come on back here an’ fight!” a gruff old voice shouted.

Not here… still too many people… some even injured already. Can’t make things worse for them! I’ll probably be ambushed up the stairs, but that Tainted may not yet know I’m here. No choice… we MUST take this to the roof! Thomas quipped towards the orderly, “RUN! Go tell the police what’s happening here! They’re just outside the lobby… GO NOW!” Then the holy warrior turned and sped through the doorway to bound up the stairs, each lunge moving him four steps at a time.

~

“Oh my God!” Perkins shouted as he looked down at the bloody mess on the floor of the Emergency Room lobby. “What happened here?” Kneeling, he felt for a pulse. “Ach!” he yelped, startled as a hair’s width needle punctured his wrist. Bending down he squinted his eyes to see the vast array of such needles buried deep into the victim’s head and on down through the nape. The skin surrounding these needles had begun to swell violently.

“What is this?” Lieutenant Tolbert asked as he crouched to pick up a blood stained dagger in the shape of a holy cross. It was cool to the touch but the blood looked as if it had boiled into a baked on state across the blade.

They had fought their way through a surge of citizens, many of whom were injured or sick, as the people had poured out of the lobby in a panic.

A male nurse stood from behind the front desk and said, “Some guy came in here and threw a couple of knives at some guests then charged off down that hall.”

“Has security been alerted?” Tolbert asked.

“Yeah. I think they’ve got some security tape footage too. You want me to take you to the control room?”

“No, that shouldn’t be necessary, just go there and make sure they keep the tapes safe. I’ll want to take a look through them later. For now, we’ve obviously got more immediate concerns to address.”

“He’s got a pulse!” Perkins shouted as he released the victim’s wrist. “It’s faint, but I think he’s still alive… stiff as a board though… and having a bit of trouble breathing I’d say.”

“I’ll call in a doctor,” the nurse said as he grasped a com device on the desk.

“Come, Perkins! Let’s go get our man!” Tolbert shouted, but as soon as he’d flung one of the swinging doors back, he heard shouts and screams coming from down the hall. “We’ve got trouble up ahead,” he stated gravely. “Call for backup!”

“I thought the SWAT team was already in the building!” Perkins answered as he grabbed his walkie-talkie from his belt.

“Oh, right… give them a call then. Let ‘em know we’ve got some trouble on the first floor and need some assistance pronto!” As Perkins shouted into the radio, Tolbert muttered, “What is this guy up to?”

~

Soft sounds of elevator music, a converted ‘Dawning of the Age of Aquarius’, filled the chamber as the lift began to softly glide into ascent.

A black garbed SWAT commander stood to the left, facing the door. On his right was a grizzled old General in combat camo, built like a tank, tough and stout and armed to the teeth. Both of them had their arms crossed in an official and imposing posture.

A faint French horn in the backdrop mixed nicely with the occasional bleating “Baa” of the enormous furry gray goat-man in the center of the group.

Propped against the wall behind him, was a huge cocooned and unconscious black man, his lips sputtering, his eyes darting back and forth behind their lids, beads of sweat dripping off his nose and chin.

“Do you think we’ll need the other SWAT team men once we get to the roof?” the commander asked the General.

“I don’t believe we should have any further trouble,” the old wolf grumbled. “But I’m glad they’re in the next elevator all the same.” Glancing over his shoulder he asked, “How’s he doin’ back there Kape?”

The goat-man turned to examine the cocooned body, sniffing at the giant man’s face, then turned and bleated, “Baaaa” while nodding.

“Let’s just hope he stays that way,” Sternheim replied.

“Sir,” the SWAT commander began, “if you don’t mind me asking,” he gestured towards Kape, “What exactly is… he?”

“Kape?” the General smiled, “A way to keep a good soldier alive. He may not be what he used to be but until recently, we didn’t have a way to save him other than this experimental approach, which, incidentally, gave us the knowhow that would’ve been necessary to have fixed him up the right way originally. Too late for that, I suppose, but I don’t think he minds being what he is, do ya Kape?”

Kapeleontes shook his head, bleating, and flexing his finely crafted muscles under his grey fur that coursed down his chest.

“See? I think he likes what he’s become. Better than bein’ dead huh Kape?” Sternheim added.

The goat-man nodded and for a moment, the SWAT commander could’ve sworn the creature had smiled. But as he looked into the strange, sideways slit pupils of the goat’s eyes, a shiver went down his spine and he had to look away, swallowing hard.

Suddenly, the pleasant tones of the background music were shattered by the squelch of the radio on the SWAT commander’s belt, blaring through the message, “This is Sergeant Perkins of the LVPD! Request backup on the first level of the ER! People are dying up here! Violence has broken out between two unknown parties and we are giving chase, repeat, we are in pursuit of suspects now! SWAT team, where are you?!?”

Tearing the device from his belt, the commander replied, “We’re on our way to the roof now. We have a suspect detained with us and we cannot, I repeat, cannot leave him without escort! Where are your suspects heading now?”

“I’m not sure yet! We’re in pursuit now,” the voice crackled through the airwaves in reply.

“I will divert half the team to sealing off all approaches to the roof. If there’s trouble, it’s got to be some sort of rescue attempt on our detainee!”

“It may not be a rescue attempt, sir,” Perkins shouted.

“What do you mean, Perkins?” the commander replied.

“It might be an assassination attempt. We had a visual on the suspect that was found battling your captive last night. We believe he may be here to finish the job.”

“The holy roller? He’s here?”

“Yes sir! We believe so! I wouldn’t have thought he’d be a murderer, but you aught to see these bodies we’re seeing down here, sir! Casualties all over the place!”

The SWAT commander was about to respond when suddenly a meaty hand held his radio down at his side. The General leaned in and whispered, “Let him come to us. I want to get a load of this guy. If we can capture him I’ve got a boat load of questions for him.”

“So what do you think we should do then?” the commander asked.

“Send your men to cover all entrances to the roof once we get up there. Let him come and we’ll put him down with non-lethal firepower,” Sternheim rumbled.

Slowly, the SWAT commander nodded. Holding the radio up, he responded, “Chase him up the building boys! Call in more men to guard all entrances. I want to make sure he doesn’t get out anywhere. Then do a sweep, level by level. I’m hoping he’ll try to make it to the roof to meet us there but in the meantime, let’s make sure he can’t get out!”

After a moment of silence, Perkins answered, “Alright, we’ve called for more backup. From what witnesses have stated here, he’s in pursuit of some strange looking lizard-like man? And a couple more are in pursuit of him? Be advised this appears to be an even more complex situation than we thought. I’m told they’ve gone up the stairwell. We’re locking down the exits down here then will return to pursuit.”

“DAMMIT can’t this thing go any faster!” Sternheim shouted as the numbers ticked by painfully slow.

~

Charging up the stairwell, Thomas paused as his hackles rose. Glancing up the middle of the stairwell, he caught a glimpse of a red glow and a swatch of tan fabric as it ruffled around a rail just three levels up.

The echoed stomping of thick boots beneath him were beginning to slow, now accompanied by some wheezing and snorting and an occasional, “Come on old man, keep up!” from a hissing feminine whisper. By Thomas’s judgment, he had been gaining ground in the chase, and they had faltered and should be around ten levels beneath him by now.

A loud CLONG-KERCHUNK from above startled him as he paused to catch his own breath and he shot a glance back up the stairwell. A door? he wondered. He had been sure the Tainted would be heading for the roof, but he realized now he couldn’t be sure. Taking a deep breath, he lunged back into action, sprinting up the steps, fire burning in his lungs.

As we exert in the name of God, God fills us with energy for the task, he reminded himself as he felt paradoxically reinvigorated with each exhausting step.

Rounding the stairwell to the landing where he believed he’d heard the door open and shut, he paused to look through the small window before charging through. Beyond was a hall which appeared to juncture with the elevator lifts and farther down he could see some hospital staff mulling about a counter. Squinting, he briefly studied the behavior of the staff… they didn’t seem disturbed in the least.

Step right, a voice whispered into the back of Thomas’s mind. He had these sudden messages arriving in his thoughts regularly since he’d been blessed and he’d learned to obey them immediately and without question. As a result, he suddenly found himself inadvertently dodging a lunging face-first strike from behind.

Whirling, Thomas saw a reptilian-skinned Tainted pull his dazed head back from the door, prying free long fangs that left deep punctures in the steel as he hissed in fury. A sour scent wafted off the dripping ichors that oozed from the holes in the door.

Thomas instinctively crouched, ripping free his dual cross-shaped billy-clubs from his belt as his foe took a moment to shake his horrifying head and back up to crouch against the wall as if preparing for another leap.

The holy warrior did not pause to wait for the reptile to strike, lunging forward, clubs swinging in an effort to brain the creature. But the snake-man’s movements were flowing and inhuman, impossible to predict as it dropped to its back, wrapping its oddly disjointed legs around Thomas’s ankles. Twisting on the floor like a writhing serpent, it sent the priest tumbling to the floor of the landing.

Sliding his torso up his legs with an infernal flexibility, he reached out with his lanky arms and wrapped them around Thomas’s neck, pulling the holy man’s face close to his slavering fangs. Thomas closed his eyes, averting them from the hypnotizing gaze of the golden hued irises glaring at him with savage hatred. This gave him the ability to determine with clarity the position his body had become enwrapped in. His right arm was free!

As the snakeman snapped forward to plunge his fangs into Thomas’s face, the priest’s eyelids shot open, holy light spilling forth with such a glow that the world became devoid of color. Hissing, the serpent recoiled back just enough to allow Thomas to free a bottle from his belt and fling it up to the stone landing ceiling above them.

Shattered glass and a dribbling spray descended upon the two warriors locked in mortal combat. On Thomas’s skin, it felt refreshing and welcome, but where the droplets splashed across the reptile, wisps of burnt ether tapered into the air.

Hissing and screaming in the same breath, the creature released its hold on Thomas and struck its way up the stairwell with nearly blinding speed. Thomas leapt to his feet and pursued, catching a brief glimpse of the tainted as it disappeared behind the next level door access.

Ripping open the door, Thomas charged in after his quarry, only to find the serpent man slipping through the sliding doors of one of the elevator shafts here. Mohave looked back venomously as he hissed and leapt into the open shaft, the doors sealing shut behind him with some force.

~

“This ain’t workin’ missy!” the old man growled. “They’s just too many dangnabbit stairs!”

“I agree,” the dark maiden whispered as she collapsed against a wall, exhausted, sweat dribbling off her nose. “So what do we do then? Just let him go?”

“Sounded like Mohave an’ him were scrappin’ up there… I’d know that hiss anywhere! But from what me eyes can see, thar’s still some blue up that way. Ah’d say he survived the attack.” The old man paused to wheez and hack.

“You thinking what I’m thinking then?” Cactus asked as she caught her breath.

“Yeah, I’m thinkin’ so,” the Prospector answered as he heard some shouts from police down below ordering everyone to ‘halt!’

Cactus nodded and said explicitly, “We need Billy. But how are we going to make it dark enough for him to manifest?”

“Leave that ta me,” the Prospector snarled as he squinted, looking around at what seemed like something behind the walls. “If’n I kin find tha right place to strike, I kin cut the power to the whole facility.”

Leaning over a rail, Cactus reported, “The men in blue are on their way… you seeing anything yet?”

“Mhmm,” the grizzly old man replied as his eyes scoured the walls. Spitting at his boots he stomped over to the door at this level and slammed it open. Entering, Cactus on his heels, he squinted, following some energetic trail which led him to an elevator door.

Without warning, the geezer hefted his pick and thrust it through the sliding doors, prying them apart. “Grab that end!” he shouted at Cactus as he pushed at the other with a heavy boot.

Within the shaft, the cables whirred, carrying a cargo to the upper levels. After a glance down the shaft, Cactus shouted, “Whatever you’re going to do you better make it quick old man! That elevator is only a couple levels below and approaching rapidly!”

Planting his boot at the base of the left sliding door, the Prospector reared back with his pick and flung it towards the far wall, where an innocent looking box bore a lightning bolt shaped label. As the sharp end of the silver metal buried itself deep in the box, sparks sprayed forth like a firework fountain, showering down the shaft as the lights overhead flickered out and the lift stopped dead in its tracks.

In the shadows cast by the cascading sparks, Cactus saw the blurred silhouette of a lanky being fall past her to land, with a feline-like grace, onto the top of the lift, now just a short human-height jump below her feet in the shaft.

~

“Hold on,” the SWAT commander suddenly uttered. “I have a message coming in from the Police Chief.” Holding a finger to his earpiece, he leaned in a bit to hear.

Meanwhile, the General was tapping his foot impatiently, fingering the pistol at his belt. “Something’s up here, Kape. I can feel it, can’t you?”

“Baaaa’aaa,” came the reply as the goatman lifted his enormous rifle off his shoulder.

“Yeah… me too,” grumbled Sternheim. “Makes me wonder what our mistake of an experiment back there has been up to since we last met.”

“Certainly, Sir… but… are you sure about this? I mean…” the SWAT commander stated into the microphone on his headset as he glanced nervously back towards the Bouncer, eliciting a raised eyebrow from the General and a glance passed between Sternheim and his horned side-kick.

But they didn’t have much time to ponder what the SWAT commander was hearing before a crack, spark and zap threw the lights out and brought the elevator compartment to a sudden stop.

“Uh Oh,” the SWAT commander stated into his mic, “We may have a situation here Chief. I’ll get back with you on that.” Tapping his earpiece, he backed up to the wall brandishing his firearm.

“What the?” the General growled as he looked around in the darkness. Reaching for his cargo pants, he pulled out a small ocular eyepiece and fitted it to his forehead, flipping a lens down over his right eye. For him, the world lit up in a hazy green aura.

Just as Sternheim fitted the piece over his eye to get visibility in the otherwise pitch black environment, however, a thud rocked the elevator causing it to sway a bit and a plastic panel in the ceiling cracked overhead. Glancing up he drew his pistol. “Watch yourselves boys! I think we’ve got company,” he roared as he crouched into the corner with his sights trained on the roof.

~

Jutting out his hand, the Prospector called his weapon to return by what would have seemed a telekinetic force. It ripped free from the power box and flung back into his grip as Cactus shouted, “Look, Prospector! It’s Mohave,” then called out to her teammate, “Mohave? What are you doing down there?”

The snakeman merely hissed as he crouched, coiled around the cable attached to the center of the elevator pod beneath him, and pointed up the shaft.

Once the pick had flung back into the Prospector’s grip, he glanced down to see his serpentine friend… and his eyes went wide. Hardly noticing what Mohave was pointing towards, he was distracted by the clear image of what was beneath the reptilian, his eyes discerning the auras beaming from the elevator under his ally’s feet.

He suddenly shouted, “Mohave! Beneath you! HE’S HERE! The BOUNCER’s right under your feet! By the Devil! We’ve found ‘im!”

“I guess Lucky’s gifts are with us today,” Cactus muttered in astonishment.

“S’long as we serve ‘im, I’d say they always are missy,” the Prospector grinned toothily back at her. “C’mon then, what’re we waitin’ for? Geeeeeronimooooooo!” he cried as he leapt from the balcony, both hands lofting his pick overhead as he plummeted down the shaft, slamming his weapon down just before impact.

~

Sternheim hadn’t suspected the roof would come crashing in so violently, imploding into the elevator pod, sending splinters of plastic shards everywhere. He fired off a few rounds into the chaotic jumble of debris flying towards him but he suspected the rounds hadn’t reached any worthy targets before a falling steel support bar slammed him back against the corner of the pod.

Peering out from behind the bar as he pushed it off him, he saw that the disturbance had not shaken Kape’s footing. The goat-man was exceedingly capable of fighting in the darkness, his acute ears guiding him towards his opponent. In the green haze of his ocular, the General witnessed Kape striding forward to grab a figure crouched in the center of the pod.

Bleating an angry war cry, the goatman grabbed the invader by the hair, reared back, and threw whoever it was through the metal elevator doors! They rent with the sound of tearing steel, peeling back to reveal a hallway, dimly lit by backup lights.

Whoever Kape had just flung cried out in a deep throaty bellow of pain as he slid across the waxed hospital floor to crash into the opposing elevator doors, leaving a deep dent there. Kape clacked two steps forward and bellowed a bleating cry of rage once more.

Getting to his feet, Sternheim gasped as a shadowy cloaked figure suddenly leapt onto the goatman’s back, biting down deep into his partner’s neck. Kape stood erect, bleating a cry of surprise and pain. The General raised his pistol but the quarters were cramped and Kape backed up, knocking the point of the gun aside as the goatman tripped backwards over the cocoon of the Bouncer, now sprawling across the back of the elevator floor.

As Kape tripped backwards, he thrust with his hoofed feet, throwing his back against the wall to crush his assailant. Sternheim heard a hissing ‘oof’ as the form crumpled beneath Kape’s weight.

Meanwhile, the SWAT commander darted out through the punctured doors to train his weapon on the unconscious victim of the goatman’s attack, shouting, “STAY DOWN!” perhaps needlessly.

The sudden swaying of the elevator brought Sternheim’s attention to the fact that more must be on their way down. Glancing upwards, he could see through the gash in the ceiling, but could only make out a couple of shadows moving in the darkness above.

~

Thomas, having pried open the shaft doors in pursuit of his quarry, could hear the shouting from down below, could make out all that had been said, and realized immediately that the battle for the Bouncer would be decided down there - now.

With no time to waste, he leapt down the shaft, stretching out with a billy club to hook around the cable dangling down from the winch overhead.

Using centrifugal force, he wound down the cable in a spiral pattern to break the speed of his descent. As he slipped down the cable, however, he witnessed a crimson glowing old man leap from a nearby shaft opening to plummet through the roof of the elevator.

Sounds of scuffle soon followed and the serpentine Tainted perched on the corner of the elevator roof leapt into the fray through the torn gash.

Just before he reached the roof himself, Thomas caught a crimson sparkle out of the corner of his eye. Alighting on the uncertain surface of the elevator pod, he glanced back up to see the dark outline of a Tainted female, glowing red and barreling down on top of him!

As the girl used Thomas to break her fall, the Holy Warrior suddenly felt under the assault of a thousand stinging bees as they collided, the roof collapsing completely beneath, sending them tumbling to the rubble strewn floor of the elevator below.

She wrapped her arms around the Priest, snarling in a seductive smile. Wherever her flesh pressed against his, Thomas’s skin blazed as if exposed to a raw hellfire. Shouting in pain, he reared his head back and slammed it into her forehead, bringing yet more stinging nettles to pierce his crown. She cried out upon impact and released her hold, blood dribbling through her eyebrows.

The two rolled away from each other but wherever Thomas rolled, the needles left behind in his flesh punctured deeper still.

Thomas was in too much pain to have a clear concept of what was going on around him, but he was certain that he felt flesh beneath him. A goat’s bleat startled him and he rolled to his feet to back away in the darkness. Need… urgh… some light on the situation. he struggled to gather his thoughts. Soon his eyes spilled forth with holy light, illuminating the results of the mayhem.

A man without tainted aura, covered in white fur across the chest and topped with the head of a… a goat - Thomas had a momentary double take at the sight – was convulsing on the ground in front of Thomas’s feet.

Foam was beginning to froth on the lips of the goatman and from behind the creature a hiss and a slithery movement caught Thomas’s attention. An unholy crimson glow slunk down to hide behind the goatman… the serpent! Thomas realized. But he wasn’t given much more time to survey the chaos before he heard the click of a pistol being cocked behind his head.

“Hands in the air, Holy Roller!” hollered a confident authoritative voice from behind. Thomas felt cold steel press against his neck.

Freezing where he stood, the Warrior of God was beginning to feel a sort of paralysis settle painfully into his joints and his eyes were watering, blurring the vision of the prickly Tainted female as she began to gather her wits, coming to a crouch, glaring at him villainously.

The goatman was lying limp over Thomas’s quarry, the Bouncer, whom had somehow become cocooned in some silky-fibrous substance. And the serpentine sleaze was slipping out from behind the goatman in a crouched, ready to strike posture.

He could feel something ‘good’ though perhaps misguided, in the man holding the gun to his head behind him, but he could hardly lift his arms, his muscles were giving him such a rebellion.

Oh Lord, he prayed, give me your guidance. Show me Your will and Your way and I shall walk Your path. A tingling sensation invigorated him and combated the growing venom in his bloodstream, pouring into him from a million tiny needles buried in his flesh. It would be enough to act, weakly perhaps, but enough.



Ok, so Thomas has some options where powers are concerned but few would work well against the gun to his head. He’s got the Tainted recovering in front of him and the General behind him. Sternheim may not realize what’s going on inside the lift, having just escaped the collapsing roof into the hallway. Thomas could try to talk his way out of it, or perhaps something yet more clever. But he’s seriously impeded by Cactus’s venom coursing through his veins. Certainly, he’s not up for an extended fight by any means right now… though as we may recall, some healing prayers may be capable of reversing that if he could catch a moment of peace. Meanwhile, Kape lies over the Bouncer, dying from Mohave’s venom.

Choose a strategic course for ol’ Thomas.

Sorry for posting such a long chapter… I think it might be near a record for length… (it most certainly is a record for HM.)
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PopeAlessandrosXVIII



Joined: 10 Oct 2010
Posts: 1858
Location: Surrounded by many beautiful naked men

Posted: Sun Mar 20, 2011 4:50 pm    Post subject: YAY!  

WAH-HOO!!! Much love for the new chappy! Kape rules! And the visuals were a perfect mix of funny and dramatic. -“Mohave? What are you doing down there?”- Had me laughing too hard for some reason. Kukukuku. Poor Holy an. Needs some heelp, eh? Hmmmmmm....


Stunning. Is there any kind of quick release prayer he can use to stun the whole group? Even a couple of seconds would be enough to turn things around. He could either move off far enough to use the healing prayer, or have those few extra seconds to talk to the guy holding a gun on him.

If no stunning, then some more of that stuff in th vial, to just, as the very least, distact the Tainted, and let the gunman know that Thomas is at the ver least trying to stop the bloodshed.


Very very good chapter Thunder-kun! YAY!
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Thunderbird



Joined: 13 Sep 2009
Posts: 2139
Location: Rising from the ashes

Posted: Sun Mar 20, 2011 5:05 pm    Post subject:  

He could attempt to blind the approaching Tainted with his eye-light to buy time to talk to the gunman... if that's what you mean. This could have the backlash of startling the General however, but it wouldn't take 'movement' per se to pull off.

With some effective sleight of hand he could palm a holywater grenade as he raises his hands, throwing it and lunging to the side to avoid a bullet in the skull... on the downside, if the guy behind him takes note of the attempt to palm the vial, it could be very bad. And he's not feeling too quick at the moment.

Thanks for reading Pope! I enjoyed your comments and am glad you enjoyed the text.
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Lebrenth



Joined: 29 Dec 2005
Posts: 1479
Location: Utah

Posted: Wed Mar 23, 2011 4:24 pm    Post subject:  

Thomas should fall to the ground and pretend he is totally overcome by the venom. Let them all presume he's out of the fight while he recovers and waits for the perfect moment to strike. Hopefully Sternheim can put up enough of a fight to change the balance of power, because right now it looks pretty grim.

I really like your active descriptions, by the way. They do more than provide the details, they add context. It isn't just painful, it burns like hellfire. You're also switching POV very gracefully, switching at the most appropriate times to emphasize the suspense.
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Tikanni Corazon



Joined: 25 Oct 2009
Posts: 1286
Location: Running through the plains of my mind, my wolf spirit at my side (but doing so in the UK!).

Posted: Wed Mar 23, 2011 7:30 pm    Post subject:  

Brilliant chapter, yet again TB! You never disappoint! :) And I agree with Pope, Kape rules! Kinda sad that he's dying.

I have to say, I'm a little stuck as to what Thomas should do. It seems that he's pretty much surrounded on all sides by enemies, and it's highly unlikely that he will be able to accomplish what he's actually there to do. And, as The Prospector turned the power off for the ghostly Billy to appear, and he has yet to do so, Thomas has likely got even more trouble heading his way.

I personally think that, in his present state, Thomas isn't going to be able to take on all of them. And,considering what Billy did to the Bouncer when they first met, he's going to be up a certain creek without a paddle, if he appears. I know that Thomas doesn't know that there is a chance that Billy will appear, but as he's being guided by God, surely he'd know that more danger was coming through that connection. I have to say that I'm agreeing with Lebby, that he should fake being overcome by the venom, and collapse or something. Then maybe, when no one is taking any notice of him, he could find somewhere to lie low until it's all over. Better to live to fight another day, than die and have one of the others take the Bouncer anyway.

As to the chapter-length-record thing, I think I might have you beat with a couple of my earlier chapters on SS. *giggles*

Lookin' forward to the next one already TB! Great job! ;)
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Thunderbird



Joined: 13 Sep 2009
Posts: 2139
Location: Rising from the ashes

Posted: Wed Mar 23, 2011 9:08 pm    Post subject:  

Thanks for reading Tik's and Lebby!

@ Leb: Your suggestion is quite welcome. I had been thinking about the scenario and I was wondering if someone would suggest that course. Also, I'm glad to hear the action scenework is coming across effectively... I really do try very hard to craft these scenes to be as exciting for the reader as possible. At the core of my story is action and adventure and more than anywhere I wish to avoid shortchanging the reader in these moments. Now, that said, if anyone has any constructive criticisms I'd love to hear them.

@ Tika: I am so very glad you took such notice of the threat that looms where Billy is concerned. I had wondered if I had underplayed him a bit in the Bouncer's flashback such that the insinuated direness of the current situation might've been a bit lost on the audience. With you helping to point that out, it lets me know that my nuances are not being overlooked here. I've been hoping that this aspect of the story could create some additional less obvious tension that makes you want to see how its going to play out all the more.

Also... thanks for letting me know how Kape is coming across. Glad to know you're enjoying this character! (With careful decision making here he just might survive... ;) )
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Crunchyfrog



Joined: 12 Dec 2006
Posts: 3998

Posted: Mon Mar 28, 2011 1:10 am    Post subject:  

Finally got enough time to read it from start to finish, and F5 - Kape Rules!

Hard as it might be, Thomas would need to put himself in the policeman's shoes right now, and then influence the guy's own decision to lower the gun. (I'm assuming it's the cops that have the gun at his neck - Perkins or Tolbert?)

What would he think is going through the policeman's mind? That the SWAT guy and Sternheim are probably the good guys. That everyone who does not appear human or is out of the ordinary is not.

The sight of the cactus woman and the serpent man getting ready for the kill should do the trick. Tell him something along the lines of 'Arrest me now, and we'll both be killed. Let us finish this battle, and you may yet live to tell the tale.'

Another alternative - send up a prayer for the policeman to be 'blessed'. He could use some back-up from someone else who can 'see the light'.

That'd complicate things!
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Thunderbird



Joined: 13 Sep 2009
Posts: 2139
Location: Rising from the ashes

Posted: Mon Mar 28, 2011 7:52 am    Post subject:  

Thanks for reading CF!

I'll take your suggestion in general as - Utilize diplomacy to alert the gunman to the greater threat in front of them.

Note: the gunman is Sternheim, its just that Thomas doesn't know it yet. But you've made a good point - the Police ARE on their way.
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Smee



Joined: 16 Oct 2004
Posts: 5215
Location: UK

Posted: Thu Mar 31, 2011 6:26 am    Post subject:  

Woah boy.

I knew I had to find time to catch up / keep up with this one, and lets just say it's nice to be right. Awesome collection of chapters... right from the secret goo, up until the Hospital melee.

The new 'specials' are interesting characters. Did I miss something during the first time we encountered them? We were in the Bouncer's memories, he was under the bridge chasing Catcus, when he was first attacked by them. I'm sure there was a line somewhere in there about him seperating the legs off one of them, and yet the all seem none the worse for wear later. Or is that part of their powers?

I admit to skipping the Walt chapters to start with, not wanting to bounce from cliff hanger to cliff hanger between the storylines, plus also keen to see the super-goo in action. You're still keeping me waiting on that front though, yet to see the Bouncer's reaction to it.

Thomas is certainly developing as a character, he was a bit ... distant to me from his first appearance, but as we see some DP's from his point of view he becomes more real. I like where he conducts scenes with clearly defined abilities, be careful with the 'divine intervention' occuring too often. It's fine every now and then, but it's hard to get emotionally caught up with his difficulties if I can simply shrug and say 'oh not to worry, he'll just close his eyes in a moment, mutter a few words, and 'God' will save the day'.

~

The Walt storyline is equally fascinating. The 'grey'ish reflective tunnels, and white angel, white robes etc... all very similar to the 'near death' experience humans report. Seeing a white light, heading down a tunnel, speak to an angel, then just wake up in bed wondering if it's all a dream. Sounds more like these near deaths are actually more accurately your good old fashioned alien abductions, complete with memory altering etc. I'd ask about that.

~

I'll continue to try and find time to keep up when I can, but keep it coming, even if I'm 10 chapters behind when next I appear, I'll still want to know what happens.

Happy Writing :)
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Thunderbird



Joined: 13 Sep 2009
Posts: 2139
Location: Rising from the ashes

Posted: Thu Mar 31, 2011 7:44 am    Post subject:  

SMEE! :P

Seeing you post here had me feeling like a dog wagging his tail! How fun to have you back, if ever so briefly.

Glad you're enjoying the work so far. (Nobody lost a leg in the first conflict between the Bouncer and the new Tainted though... However there WAS an allusion to them working with/for Lucky, which was repeated in this chapter.)

Can't blame you for reading through one storyline first... was often tempted to do so with Robert Jordan's books too.

I agree with your point about divine intervention. Best to keep that at a minimum...

Another interesting question for Michael there... hmm... (that chapter I'll start writing this Sunday - possibly posting it then but can't be sure yet.)

So, yeah, again, nice to see you emerge from your Warcrack stasis for a moment and will welcome you back next you return!
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Thunderbird



Joined: 13 Sep 2009
Posts: 2139
Location: Rising from the ashes

Posted: Sun Apr 10, 2011 7:54 pm    Post subject:  

Ok, folks, Polling begins now and ends in exactly one week, when hopefully, we shall see a new chapter posted by the end of Sunday!

Enjoy! o-)
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Lebrenth



Joined: 29 Dec 2005
Posts: 1479
Location: Utah

Posted: Mon Apr 11, 2011 7:23 am    Post subject:  

Yeah, I still thinking faking a collapse is a good idea, though "following the urges of the venom" sounds frighteningly unwise.
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Thunderbird



Joined: 13 Sep 2009
Posts: 2139
Location: Rising from the ashes

Posted: Mon Apr 11, 2011 8:36 am    Post subject:  

Wow... 5 votes (including one on tome) overnight? Nice!

(Sorry if I unintentionally worded the collapse option in a more dangerous sounding way Lebby. I do like that option as well.)
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