The Guns of the CHOTA: Part 2-The Artifact
Writer’s Note: This is part two of my first epic story for Sparks in the Ashes. To be honest, I have no idea how many parts this will be or where exactly it’s going to go. I intend to let this story tell itself, with only a few planned events. I hope you like it! -Kathryn A. “Kit” Southworth
Allen Darksider sprinted past Nysek’s position, arms pumping and head down. As he reached the small rock outcropping, he poured on more speed and dove, tucking as he hit the ground on a shoulder and rolled. He immediately sprang back to the outcropping, and as his vision cleared he aimed both High Roller hand cannons over the cover and yelled “clear!!!!!” As Allen began blasting away, Nysek emptied the clip in his GlobalTech Warmain and broke cover, rushing past Lydia and into their planned fallback position. After a few moments of leapfrogging, all three Vista managed to join Nemo in the fallback and each one of them placed fresh clips in their weapons as their pursuers began to close. “You think they’re pissed off?” Nemo glibly commented, firing over a double wall of sandbags. “I mean, all we did was interrupt the church service….it’s not like we stole the offering or anything…” Nysek smiled a grim, amused smile. “I think they’re less angry about the interruption than our not donating an offering…” Allen smiled as well, an amused swashbuckler’s smile “yeah…why are they so serious? These Judges need to learn to take some time off…live a little…” Just then, a loud voice, augmented by a bull-horn, shrieked out. “Desecrators of the house of the lord!!!!! You dare interrupt the work of his chosen!!!! Now you shall be purged, in order to save your souls, you heathen…you…HERETICS!!!! At that, Nysek and Nemo looked at each other. “I rather like the sound of that one…let’s keep it!” Nemo offered as he fired on a pair of scrambling Judges. Nysek shook his head as he sent another Judge to meet his creator “Heretics it is…now...where the hell is Mashed?”
Mashed crept through the building, following the crudely drawn map. Twice, it had gotten him lost until he figured out the error the artist made. As he reached the door marked by an “X” on the map, Mashed placed an ear against it, listening. After a few moments of silence, he hazarded opening the door. The room was dark, and Mashed had a bit of difficulty navigating it. He reached the chest indicated by the star-shaped mark on the map. He opened it as quietly as he could, and was rewarded with the object they were here for: a thin matte steel case, stamped with the letters MJOLNIR. Mashed eased the case out of the chest then went to close the large wooden container. As he did, it gave a betraying creak of hinge. Mashed froze as a slight figure sat up in the bed that he had ignored during this infiltration. “Who has cometh?” A high-pitched, honey-filled voice asked. The silhouette reached over and lit a lantern. The glow revealed a very young, lovely blonde girl in nightclothes. Mashed, forever the lothario, played the moment to the hilt. “It is I, dear one…the Angel of Love…” The girl started at the sound of a male voice. “Only Brother Harker enters here…I know of no Angel of Love…truly, who art thou?”The girl’s eyes strained to see through the gloom of the room, but could not quite make out Mashed’ features. “Oh, but I am an angel, lovely one” Mashed crept out of the shadows to reveal himself “I am…your angel of love, sent here to do your bidding” The girl’s eyes grew wide at Mashed youthful features. “Oh, Lord, pardon me my sin and forgive me for temptation…” the girl began praying fervently, hands clasped to her bosom. Mashed sat on the bed, reached out a hand and cupped the girl’s chin, tilting her head up gently to look her in the eye. “My dear…there is no need of forgiveness. After all, we are about to obey the good book. Does it not command to be fruitful and multiply?”
Gunfire came from all directions as the four Vista bought time for Mashed to complete the infiltration. “It’s a good thing these guys can’t shoot for crap…” Lydia quipped as she unloaded a burst from her dual Deathmax Magnum Specials. “We’d be in real trouble if they could…” Nysek ducked as a blast from a shotgun just missed the top of his head. “Oh…I wouldn’t say that…” He said through clenched teeth. Nemo fired several rounds at Judges who were attempting to get closer, then pitched a grenade at the closest pair. The bomb blew the two supplicants out of cover and caused several more to retreat. “Where the hell IS HE?” Nemo thundered. “We were supposed to evac two minutes ago!” Just as Nemo finished the statement, the diminutive blonde bounded out of a window and sprinted through gunfire at top speed. The others increased their fire, covering the scrambling Vista until he dove over the sandbags, landing in a heap on his stomach. Nemo glared at his companion. “Late much?” He snapped at the shorter Vista. Mashed grinned crookedly at his leader. “I was about the Lord’s work, Brother Nemo…” Mashed chuckled at Nemo. “Who am I to question the Lord?” With a final glare at his shorter companion, Mashed nodded at Nysek. “Allen? The red carpet, if you please?” Nysek quipped. “Gladly...” Allen unslung the intimidating bulk of a Valkyrie rocket launcher from his back, took aim and blasted an escape path through the wave of attacking Judges. “Last one out is a rotten egg…” Allen slung the launcher and burst from the fallback, the others following. The five Vista ran pell-mell to where their vehicles were parked in a tree line. As one, they started their vehicles. As they speed away, Judges ran at them shouting and screaming. Lydia looked back and managed to blow a kiss as the proclaimed “Heretics” sped away with a hard-won prize…and the virginity of the leading reverend’s daughter.
Back in Los Alamos, Four of the Vista Heretics sat and drank from aluminum tankards of real malt beer while Nysek sat at a nearby table negotiating with three indistinct individuals. These worthies wore no symbol of faction affiliation and had never offered any. They had simply made a request of the Vista crew, who had desired the work in order to fund a few faction operations that needed doing. “What are they talking about? You guys aren’t curious?” Mashed said over the rim of his tankard. “Drink your juice…you already have a time out coming…” Lydia quipped, then took a long pull on her tankard. “Reverend’s daughter…I’m getting my tail shot off and you find the time to wet your willy...I oughta…” Nemo raised his hand to smack the back the head of a ducking Mashed. “You already did…twice!” Mashed whined as he raised his hands. Allen watched all of this with mild amusement on his face, but with concern with what was happening at the other table…
“You have done well, Nysek. All that we have asked…and now….we wait” The tallest of the three cloaked figured spoke. “When another of our agents arrives, he will open this case, verify the contents and give you your full payment…as agreed” Nysek didn’t like this set-up; his team was too exposed and there were too many unknowns, too many variables in this tactical scenario. Still, the money would let them continue Project Unity operations against a very stubborn group of Techs who were threatening to turn Gaia into a sludge pit. There was simply no way around this. “How soon can we expect your boy to show?” Nysek sniped “We have things to see and people to do…we haven’t got all day” “Our operative should be here any moment” said another of the indistinct men. Nysek huffed at this, anxious to get his crew clear of this situation and back into the field. Suddenly, as if teleported there, sat a small Asian woman, clad in skin-tight armor covered in a hex pattern. The armor seemed to absorb the light shining on it, seemingly clouding the light around her, even in this well-lit bar. Her armor was replete with pouches and Velcro straps, and she wore two visible weapons, paired Deathmax magnums. Her raven hair was pulled back in a short ponytail. Her eyes were almond-shaped jewels of amber. Her lower face was covered with a mask, a rebreather by the looks of it. Her voice, surprisingly, was not muffled, but electronically amplified. “Good evening” Shiu spoke, her amused voice very pleasant, “My apologies for startling you” Nysek already had a hand waving off his companions, who had risen and started reaching for weapons at the appearance of the masked woman. “Good timing” Nysek said, impressed with the punctuality and manner of this mysterious woman. “This is not our agent…” the apparent leader of the three men spoke hesitantly “What is going on here, Nysek?”
The Asian woman chuckled at the confusion. “Again, my apologies. I am neither your agent nor his team member. I am, in effect, a free agent, a simply interested third party. You see, I have information of interest to you both.” Shiu sat back expectantly, crossing her arms. “What in the…” Nysek stammered out. “How dare you…” hissed the leader of the cloaked men. “Hmmm...Neither of you disappointed me” Shiu grinned through her mask, and continued. “You see…Your agent, Xuki Yang, an arm breaker and informant for the Lightbearers, ran into some trouble in Tannersfield. Seems Xuki had some very bad habits that led to his demise…well, that and the price on his head. He won’t be joining us.” The clocked figures started at this, looking hesitantly at each other. “No need to worry, though…the information he carried is safe…for now.” The cloaked men seem to shrink within their robes, “As for you, Nysek…they are getting ready to pay you…take a look around…” Nysek glanced about the bar and noticed that the majority of the patrons were young, fit males with muscular builds, the type of builds gained in a weight room. They also had clean-shaven jaws and short hair. Added up, that spelled Enforcer. Every one of them fingered their lapels nervously, as if waiting for a sign, watching Nysek and the other Heretics with hardened glances. “Crap...” Nysek whispered, “Cheating back stabbers…” With a flourish, the three clocked men stood as one, throwing off their cloaks to reveal the power-assisted armor of Ravensmark Special Ops troops. The other muscular men stood with them, pulling pistols and submachine guns from beneath their jackets. The Heretics fell from their chairs, flipping the table to its side and taking cover behind it. Nysek dove away from his table sliding beneath the one adjacent to it. Shiu, in a blur too fast for the eye to follow, put one foot on the table, pushed off and flew through the air backwards. As she did, she pulled a knife from somewhere behind her back and flicked it between the eyes of the lead Ravensmark trooper. The blade drove deep into the skull of the elite soldier, felling him before he could so much as draw a weapon. As she began to hit the ground and slide, Shiu pulled her Deathmax Magnums, blazing at the two remaining elite troopers as she slide on her back across the bar floor. The two troopers dove for cover, one making it, the other hit twice before he could get clear. The remaining troops began firing at the Heretics, pouring automatic fire into the table they lay behind. Both Allen and Lydia were hit, Allen swearing as he clutched his left thigh and Lydia flying backwards from the rounds striking her right flank and shoulder. Nysek went into immediate action, raising a hand as the shimmering cloud of nano-healing burst from his body. Steam rose from Allen and Lydia’s wounds as the offending projectiles were dissipated and the torn flesh closed. Both rose from their slumped poses and began returning fire. The Enforcers, observing all of this, began firing on Nysek. Shiu ended her slide and reversed her position, rising and running parallel to the Enforcer line. She began firing into their ranks dropping two of them. As she reached the end of her run, the unwounded elite trooper rose into her path, brandishing a vibrosword. As the giant warrior swung it at Shiu’s neck, she dropped to her knees, sliding across the floor. She laid back as she slid, pointing both guns at the knees of the elite trooper and opening fire. Several rounds struck the hapless trooper’s legs, blowing his knees apart and sending him crashing to the floor. She popped up, executed a front flip over a stream of automatic weapon fire and landed on a table. Crouching, Shiu fired into the ranks of Enforcers, dropping two more, then dove backward over the bar. Half of the remaining enforcers turned to fire at Shiu, the rest focusing on Nysek. The rest of the Heretics saw their chance, and opened fire, felling trooper after trooper, until there was no more return fire. As the smoke in the air began to clear, the Heretics rose from cover and walked among the wounded. Every few seconds, a shot rang out as a wounded enemy was put out of their misery. As Nysek reached the wounded Ravensmark trooper, he put a Redstone revolver to his head. The trooper glared Nysek in the eye defiantly as he began to pull the trigger. “Wait…” Shiu said gently, placing a hand on Nysek’s arm. Nysek held his fire as he looked at this mysterious woman who had just helped save his team. Her eyes…were black as coals. Nysek could have sworn they were amber when she sat at the table. Shiu approached the wounded trooper and stepped lightly in his shattered knee. The trooper struggled to contain a scream of pain, but the effort was written all over his face. “Good” Shiu intoned “You know I’m serious now. So…I should get the truth and you….you should get a painless, quick end if I do…”
As he passed through the ranks of the Enforcer troops, they scrambled to get out of his path. He towered over all of them, even his own men. As tall as he was, we was no muscled-bound oaf, as were many of these Enforcers were. He was a finely-tuned instrument of death, fit with streamlined muscle. His armor was the latest design from the Techs, a power-assisted model with micro-assist modules so small the armor could be skin-tight. As he walked it boosted his movements so that watching him move was like watching a tiger walk. He carried dual holsters on his thighs, the pistol model hidden by the full holsters. He also had a fully sheathed sword on his back and grenades on his belt. The flat dot camouflage paint scheme of the armor was designed to blend into the Deadfall prairie. He was a Captain of the Ravensmark, an elite arm of the Sun and the Moon of the Lightbearer faction. His name…he had long forgotten it. He was known by a name assigned to him after his commander observed his fighting style. “You, trooper…will do anything to win…even fight dirty” Since that day, he was only known as the Dirty Fighter. As he entered the Colonel’s tent, he saluted sharply. “Captain” Colonel Ebaloff spoke with satisfaction, “I have a problem that could use your particular talents. Three of your men and a squad of mine were to retrieve a case from one of my informants and return it here. They appear to have failed…” Colonel Ebaloff strode across the room and crossed his arms behind his back as he looked at the map in the middle of the table. “Indeed, Colonel, they have…” The muffled voice of the Dirty Fighter whispered out of his helmet, “My sources have informed me that Shiu is involved. Neither your men nor mine are a match for her. I suppose that’s where I come in” The Dirty Fighter moved to stand opposite the map. “Captain…I need you to recover that case. Killing Shiu would be a bonus. And while you’re at it…do something about those Project Unity Agents who apparently have no idea what they have in their hands. Feel free to take the rest of your men and any of Major Cobraz’s unit with you. But bring back that artifact…at all cost”
The Agents of Project Unity have been dubbed Heretics by the Judges and have stumbled upon an artifact that brings death to anyone who touches it; Shiu has found the Project Purity Agents and is poised to get some answers from Ravensmark, The Dirty Fighter is now involved and hell follows him…keep following to find out what happens next in The Guns of the CHOTA…
Edited by KittheRed, 26 July 2014 - 07:50 AM.