Kings Row : hour 6
Onward they moved into the night, going
from one dark place to another, scouting the Gish for signs of the
enemy. They crept their way close to the train station, which stood
offline and breathing a dark smoke still, the flames that had been
raging here a few hours earlier, were now gone. The distant flashes
of the battle towards the Independence Port tunnel were still lighting
up the sky now and then, reminding them that their mission was crucial,
and most certainly had to be completed before the sun came up.
hate timed missions, seems we always have enough time, and yet we
have to rush to it just to spare the important seconds.” Said Silver
Girl in a hushed voice to Skye Knight. That last simply nodded in
agreement, along with some of the others. They were all hiding behind
crates, turned over cars and debris, Xanthion had chosen this spot
for the ambush. They were all positioned in a circular pattern around
him, he would serve as bait to draw the enemy in their deadly trap,
where he hoped to capture at least one or two enemies for interrogation
purposes. The four chimney stacks between the buildings, just north
of the station had crumbled to the ground, taking with them part of
the buildings and balcony ramps. Silver Girl thought to herself that
Kings Row looked more alien now, than ever before, everything she
knew about this area of the city, had definitely been rearranged in
a destructive manner. How many had died here in the first hour, how
many were still alive, had her friends made it out, were they still
here? She felt anguish running through her mind, on their way here,
they had crossed many a dead body, left in the street, or hanging
partly from windows, the Circle of Thorns had killed all that they
had found so far.
She looked at Xanthion once more, unphased and steady,
standing by the information kiosk of the train station. She envied
his nerves of steel, his hard as nails attitude that most certainly
shielded him from all this. As she watched him, he suddenly got distracted
by something on the ground, near the ramp access of the station. He
was walking towards it now, looking around like a wolf for signs of
the enemy, he bent down to pick up an object. She couldn’t see what
it was, for he stood with his back to her, but she looked around for
the others, and all eyes were glued to the ruthless scrapper. He then
flipped opened his Apocalypse radio and made a call. The conversation
was muffled and too distant for her to hear anything, but as he started
to walk back towards the ambush position, she clearly heard him say
: “We’ll find her Moon, no worries.”
In his hands was a purple hat,
partly burnt and crushed.
Her train of thoughts was broken by the
sounds of footsteps close by. The scrappers were suddenly brought
back to reality, and readied themselves for the enemy. All of them
were hungry for a bit of payback, and most of all Xanthion. He dismissed
the hat and let it fall to the ground, looked at his team, each of
them in turn, to make sure they were ready, the animal that slept
in him had awaken, and he screamed. There was no denying the boldness
of it, the rage and disdain in the long battle cry he let out, was
calling out the enemy. Xanthion was letting the killer instincts take
over this night, hero code and ethics be damned. Around the corner,
to the east, a full unit of acolytes, accompanied by a Demon Lord
and a few ghosts appeared.
The leading mage, a death mage, was at
first surprised to find Xanthion there, all alone in the middle of
Kings Row. But, the Master’s orders were clear and he wasn’t one to
argue with them, to sacrifice everything in Kings Row, had so far
been an easy order to follow. But, they hadn’t met anything alive
in the last two hours, patrolling the Gish district, no one had been
found, and now this. “Get him.” He simply said to the troops, as he
summoned the dark powers to aid his fellows.
“Yeah… Get me…” Answered
back Xanthion as he made ready for them. Forty to one were not good
odds, he knew this, but they had to come in the trap, then the others
would help, so he only needed to hang on for a few seconds. The crescent
moon swords they were using looked painful and deadly, and he also
noticed the ghosts vanishing from normal sight. He knew this enemy
well, fought it often in the past, he wasn’t afraid. They came for
him running, expecting him to run away and save his life, so when
he jumped ahead into their ranks, growling like a tiger, some of them
actually stopped dead in their tracks. He took down two of them right
away, using his arms like a wrestler would to push them back onto
the pavement, making sure the back of their heads were crushed on
impact. He followed by rolling on himself, passing under the slicing
arc of a blade. Standing up, he threw an uppercut under the chin of
an acolyte who literally flew off the ground and over his comrades,
jaw broken and unconscious before he hit the ground.
But there were
many of them, and he knew he would have to take some damage as well.
The burning sensation of a blade cutting through his lower back and
another deeply carving into his left arm, had him abandon all reason.
The beast within took over, survival instincts kicked in. The warm
sensation of blood on his skin, the sweet pain that accompanied those
wounds brought him back in time, when he first met Cavalier two streets
down from here.
The others scrappers jumped in, screaming their battle
cries, to attract attention away from Xanthion. By doing so, the Circle
of Thorns mob gave him the few seconds he needed to take down one
more opponent. Using his two hands, he twisted the neck of a surprised
attacker, who turned around to look at what was going on. The acolyte
fell to the ground, lips already blue. Ensued a deadly dance between
the Circle of Thorns and the scrappers, but two to one put the scrappers
at the advantage, and they killed all of them with a certain ease.
Silver Girl had knocked one out, and was now standing with a foot
on his chest. Shadow-Step had taken position next to Xanthion and
they were almost done with the last ghost, truly the scrappers had
shown no mercy.
The Death Mage, when he saw that the battle was lost,
had run to sneak into the alley north west of the station. He was
hoping to reach the other patrol, and bring them back here. Turning
north, he exited the alleyway, passed the dumpster and was now running
across 2nd street, towards the grain silos. Hugging the concrete walls,
he went on towards 4th avenue, less than four hundred yards from the
other patrol, he turned into another alleyway, still going north.
As he turned, he felt the blunt end of a shotgun hit him square in
the face, his momentum sending him flying both feet forward, to land
flat on his back, wind knocked out.
“Xanthion said he wanted survivors,
you poor bastard.” Said Marrowsnap, as he pointed his shotgun on the
right knee of the death mage, as he shot it at point blank range,
separating the lower leg from the body. The mage screamed in pain
and disbelief, looking down at his obliterated leg, he turned pale
“Shut up.” Said Marrowsnap, as he administered another blunt
end blow to the face of the Circle of Thorns, who passed out. Marrowsnap
quickly untied his belt, and garrotted the bleeding leg to prevent
more blood loss, for now. He then swung the mage’s body on his shoulder
and headed back to wards the train station, to regroup with the team.
He felt good about himself.
Back at the station, the scrappers were
gathering the two surviving acolytes and tending to their wounds.
Xanthion was already healing up, he only wished at times that scars
would vanish as fast as his wounds.
“Where’s the Demon Lord?” Asked
the mechanical scrapper, Machine.
They all looked around for it, suddenly
realizing the situation wasn’t quite contained. Then the sound of
a shotgun close by was heard, firing repeatedly. .Xanthion ordered
Machine and Comatoast to remain with the prisoners, while he, Shadow-Step
and the others ran in the direction of the gunfire as fast as they
could, finding the alley the Death Mage had used earlier. Upon reaching
it, the first thing Xanthion saw, was the Demon Lord holding Marrowsnap
in one of his hands, while the other one was raking him across the
chest, carving into the flesh and ripping him apart. The scrappers
moved in, and destroyed the ghostly being, which had to let the infamous
Skulls lieutenant go.
“Yo, Snap, you ok buddy?” Asked Shadow-Step
to his friend, as he crouched down to ascertain his injuries. The
deep gashes in chest and belly exposed the organs in some places,
and some of his ribcage was visible also. He was badly injured, blood
flew freely from his mouth, as he tried to speak.
“This hurts like
a bitch man.” He gurgled to Shadow-Step.
“Be still bro, we brought
along some first aid kits, we’ll patch you up and you’ll be ready
to get drunk in no time.” Replied Shadow-Step as he looked up at Xanthion.
“I don’t know bro, it…” He went still, breath leaving his lungs for
the last time. The scrappers all remained quiet, for a few minutes,
and paid respect that way to a fallen hero, even as unlikely a hero
as Marrowsnap had been.
“All right, grab the mage and let’s move on
people, nothing more we can do here.” Said Xanthion to his troops,
as he turned around and started walking to wards the station again.
Shadow-Sept looked at Marrowsnap once more, then gently laid him down
on the ground. He then grabbed the shotgun, and cocked it.
not much of a hero, Snap, but you stood by your friends. I hope god
will recognize this.” Whispered Shadow-Step as he turned around and
followed the team.
“We need to find a safe place and interrogate them.
We also need to be on the look out for someone else. I think she’s
still here somewhere, at least I hope, and I promised Moon Psyche
we’d try and find her.” Spoke the ruthless scrapper, as he picked
up one of the unconscious acolytes.
“Who are we looking for?” Asked
Skye Knight, while looking around to make sure they weren’t being
observed by the enemy.
“Sun Heat… I found her hat by the train station
earlier.” Said Xanthion in a flat voice.
“Why aren’t they attacking
Jade?” Asked Metal Core to the radiation defender.
“I don’t know,
but it’s kind of eerie to watch them, if I were them I’d get it done
and go home.”
She was looking at the Rulaaru army, holding position
about one mile away from the military base, they hadn’t moved in or
attacked since Voyager left the dimension, as if his departure had
somehow cancelled their need for the total control of their dimension.
Granted, the humans of the base had been beaten, they were now gathering
themselves and going back home through the portal. The murky orange
sky was still tainted with the black smoke of the fires, and the quietness
that had followed, since the end of the battle was only here and then,
broken by an isolated explosion from overheated ammunitions. The Rulaaru
looked on without moving, observing and waiting, like a patient predator.
Why weren’t they moving in for the kill? The human base was theirs
for the taking, nothing would stop them from destroying the portal
and close the access permanently. Were they actually giving the surviving
humans the chance to leave before they acted?
After they had regained
their freedom, Jade Rade, Takeo and Joseph were watching from a small
island floating about four hundred yards from the base. Huddled behind
the rock, to hide themselves from the Rulaaru host and also from the
humans, they had never made it so close to the Firebase. At least
not since they were deported here, to be abandoned in the zone as
prisoners, unable to return home and branded with transponders that
would indicate their position at any time. When they gathered themselves
up in the cave they called home, almost twenty minutes after Voyager
and Jaden’s departure, the battle was already started. Jade had assumed
that if the base fell, then the radar tower that could home in on
the transponder frequency would more than likely be destroyed. And
with that in mind, they made all haste towards the base for the first
time in months, hope in their hearts that they would find an opportunity
to make it home, and start their lives again with more restraint and
wisdom than the first time around.
And Jade’s gamble paid off, the
radar tower had been blown away almost to the ground, very little
of the initial structure was left standing. But, there were still
people down there and she was now worried that when they made their
move, they would open fire on them. And after that, if they made it
through the portal, they would be right in the heart of Portal Corporations,
where countless heroes when to and fro to different dimensions for
missions and exploration. What would await them on the other side
worried her more than anything at the moment.
“I say we take our chances
with the devil and go for it, Jade.” Metal Core was always one for
action, he wasn’t a firm believer in thinking things through too long,
or debating his ideas.
“Well, either way we go, we’re looking at trouble
Jade, but I’d rather be a prisoner on earth than here.” Replied Lil
Smoke who had been quiet since they had made it here, his eyes were
glued to a circular explosion mark on the base grounds, and in his
heart, he hoped that Jaden was still alive.
“Ok guys, but we do this
my way. We’re not going in there to fight, or to start a fight, we’re
going straight for that portal, no stopping to smell the flowers.
And once through we run like the wind for the exit. I know a place
where we can go, and we should be safe there.” Went on Jade, as she
looked at the shimmering blue portal in the distance.
“A safe place
in the city, now that’s priceless. It’s been almost a year, who knows
you anymore or would want to harbour criminals on the lose?” Replied
Takeo with derision in the voice, not believing one second she told
the truth. They were criminals in the eye of the law, to be arrested
on sight. Granted time had went by since they were last seen in Paragon,
but some heroes were known to be zealous bastards, that preyed on
the criminals like honey to a bear.
“Well, the hard part will be making
it there, but once we do, there should be no problems about him helping
us. He will listen to us, and will use our story against the city.
I never thought it possible that the general population of Paragon
knew what Crey Industries and councilman Parkinson were up to, by
sending super powered beings here as prisoners. And I think my friend
will help us bring this to light. It should be protection enough for
us, at least for a while. Besides, it’s my intention to turn myself
in as soon as the story hits the newspaper, and testify as a states
witness in this, I hope you guys will do the same, to prevent this
from happening to anyone ever again.” She looked a them both, hoping
they would help her in this, for the odds that Crey Industries would
let her testify were slim, but if there were more than one witness
at the trial, chances are that killing them all would be more than
“We’ll see.” Replied Lil Smoke not yet convinced going
public would be such a wise idea. He saw here an opportunity to bribe
one of the richest consortium of the city, for a very hefty retirement
fund, far away from the Paragon. “For now, I just want to get out
“Yeah, let’s get moving guys, before we think too long and
see the portal closed or destroyed.” And whit that, Takeo stood up
and, made a run for the geyser that would propel him towards the base.
He was sent ungraciously through the void, feet and arms dangling
for balance, to land a few seconds later on the firebase grounds.
“Where’s this friend of yours anyways?” Asked Lil Smoke to Jade, as
he stood up and made ready for the jump.
“He has a secret base under
Kings Row.” Replied Jade as she ran for the geyser