Society of Justice 3: Crisis on the Earth

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"Not here sounds good." Taryn replied though she didn't activate the comm unit so she doubted anyone actually heard her. Levi's mention of Brian surprised Taryn. She'd forgotten that the Canadian was a healer. Thinking of the last time she was healed, during the body-swap, distracted Taryn momentarily. Images of spikes going through 'her' feet and the pain associated with the injury...both were disorienting. A shambling zombie used the opportunity to move closer. It made a sound similar to a growl as its arm shot forward. "Hey!" Taryn violently protested the zombie's initiative, swinging her boot to connect solidly with the zombie's knee. It screeched and fell to the ground. Taryn stepped onto then over the zombie before following Levi.

A shimmer of light reflected off the titanium blade between the blood, as the zombie and Vesper continued to charge at each other. A moment before the two would make contact the zombie's leading arm was sidestep and Vesper turned in a counterclockwise direction, planting his leading foot three quarters through the rotation, slamming the short sword into the middle of the zombie's femur. There was a sharp, crescent, high pitched whine as the blade sliced through the flesh, clearing the bone, and out the other side. The motion completely dismembered the leg from the body, causing it to fall to the ground as the zombie struggled forward.

After the zombie collapsed forward, it attempted to hoist itself back up, using its large arm as a support. Turning around, Vesper ran towards the zombie and jumped onto it's back. Taking a few steps up its back, he jumped into the air turning one hundred and eighty degrees. The short sword was held with it between both hands and the blade tip pointing down, as it impaled the zombies at the top of its cranium. The body of undead flesh collapsed and the head fell down freeing the blade from it so it didn't need to be pulled out.

A sizzling lump of greenish brown goo landed beside Vesper, on top of part of the dead zombie he had just killed. The dead flesh was eaten away as the goo made its way to the ground before creating a small hole in the ground and disappeared. To vesper's back, behind a row of zombies stood a zombie completely missing a good portion of its lower jaw. It was riddled with small holes from the acidic slime that it had just shot out at Tyson's body.

Vesper turned around and the zombie shot out another glob of slime which impacted a zombie in front of it, dissolving the head. Vesper started out towards the threat that had made its presence know. As he ran he pulled out the last throwing knife left in the holster and through it at the zombie. It sailed through the air turning end over end before being hit with a wad of slime dissolving it midair.

Only focusing on the dire threat Vesper attempted to charge through the group of zombies between him and the acid spitter. The group of zombies clawed and bit at his living body that was trying to breakthrough them. Blood became visible as the finger nails and teeth peeled back layers of skin as they were passed by the deleterious being. This failed to slow him down as his rush towards the spitter continued. A large lump appeared in the throat of the acid hawking zombie as Vesper closed the gap separating them. The sword was raised in the air and swung forward towards the zombie's head as it spat out the acid from its throat, morphing and changing its shape as it passed through the constantly generating sound waves, before covering the plates of Tyson's armor on his left forearm as the sword continued on its path unaltered.

As the swing came to a rest and the zombie's body collapsed to the ground. The acid had eaten through the armor's plates' connections. I metal clang was barely audible as they fell of his arm and onto the ground. A sizzle of melt flesh soon followed and the sword quickly switched hands. In order to stop the acid from removing the limb, Vesper crudely removed a layer of flesh that went under the acid eaten, leaving shallow bleeding wound.

Or was it virus after the beast? Maybe it's something else altogether and I'm misremembering. Oh well, I'll look it up later if I ever get control of my body again. As Tyson finished thinking to himself, the younger version of himself left the room causing everything inside of it to freeze as what happened after he left was unknown. Not wanting to be left in the strange sight of a frozen point in time, Tyson left following himself out of the area and the building.

As Tyson left building the memory started to fade and refocus multiple times before stopping and staying normal for a few seconds. This caused Tyson to stop in his tracks confused about what was happening to the area around him before it stabilized. After a few seconds a feeling that what had happened was gone, Tyson took a few more steps before an intense pain shot through his arm and he closed his eyes and he gritted through it.

When Tyson opened his eyes again his vision was hazy. Blinking a few times to helped clear it, and reveal that he was now in a rundown bar. A quick scan, with the sound of loud Portuguese music being blared in the background, showed that he was in a South American bar. After walking around the dance floor, Tyson spotted himself walking back from the bar with six beers in his hands.

A certain awkwardness was felt as he watched himself walk back over to a large table that seated himself and five of his former teammates. There were also four other empty chairs for the four remaining team members that were currently located elsewhere in the bar. Walking over to the table he sat down at one of the empty seats. From the look of his teammates in his memory he could tell it was five or six years ago. Tyson basked in the familiar sight of his teammates sitting together drinking in some far off country. It was always done after a completed mission before they were shipped back home, or to another country for another mission.

Vesper shifted his feet apart into a wider stance and raised the short sword into the air. An impact passed through the sword and into his body. A zombie had jumped a considerable distance towards him, caught in motion without a means to alter its course; the zombie slammed into the sword head first. The force caused Vesper to bend his knees, redirecting the zombie off to the side.

Before a chance to recover came, two zombies with ivory blades in place of forearms attacked him at the same time from his flanks. Without the time to react properly both zombies made direct hits with their attacks. Although his armor took the majority of the blow the blades bent several plates; opening and exposing weak points. The arms landing on both of his sides trapped him in place as they both swung again with their opposite arms.

Vesper couldn't move at the present point in time and no option but to take the second strike. This time the blades were angled upwards so to try to cut in and under damaged plates from his previous fights with the other zombies. Snaps could be heard as the stress from the blows broke off several plates. The attack however caused the arms that were stuck in his armor and trapping him to be knocked back; freeing Vesper.

Taking advantage of this, a show of force was made to move himself through their arms in front of him. A few steps clear of them, Vesper turned around and raised the short sword in front of him in a vertical blocking position. Both zombies were fast of their feet and had already moved forward, swing their bladed arms in a downward strike. Moving his arm right both blades were caught and blocked. Using his left arm to support the blade, he stopped the left sided strike without fault. The right side however hit two plates up from his wrist, cutting them off from his armor due to a lacking of surface area to disperse the blow.

Still this was gained ground and it wasn't about to be lost. As the outside arms swung in at waist level, Vesper moved towards the left zombie. Feigning a sword swing from the right, Vesper grabbed the left shoulder of the zombie as it moved to dodge it and pulled it down towards the other zombie. This caused the zombie from the right side to cut off left zombie's left arm. This sisn't stop the slash as it continued forward and mildly dented one of the larger sections of the chest armor.

Any advantaged gained by removing the one zombie's arm was immediately lost as four fang like teeth pierced his back. Two teeth hit his shoulder blades, while the lower two landed right behind his kidneys. The plates that they pierced through made a crippling sound as they bent towards the center of the back, before the whole back section of his armor was torn off. Turning around a zombie with an up scaled version of the Predator's mouth, retracted its mouth and slowly crushed the armor that it had torn off with it.

Before any reaction could be made a scorpion esque tail shot into the dented plate on his chest; ripping it off as it retracted it. Two bladed arms slammed into his own from behind, sinking in through the armor and leaving shallow cuts just below his triceps. The remaining armor on the body's forearms dropped off his arms. The right side got stuck on the sword as it fell down. It wasn't stuck for long as the zombie tail breached his front armor again; this time completely removing what was left of it as it withdrew the tail.

Outnumbered three to one, without his armor, left him with only one option. Run! Acting on that option immediately, Vesper ran off at the biggest gap between the zombies. He headed in the safest direction. This was behind the ones with the blade arms due to the ranged capabilities of the other zombies. This however proved to be a problem as it was leading away from the Promenade.

A sense of desperation could be felt coming off the psyche that had taken control of Tyson's body. Running away helplessly, having to dodge the fray of newer approaching zombies was a sight of insanity. The only thing that pushed him forward was the instinct to stay alive. Still a glint of hope survived as the handle from the long sword coming out from below a corpse in front of him. The sword however was in the path of a massive fifteen foot zombie, that had muscles grown and mutated large enough that they barely even fit on it. Still it was the only gamble that could be had towards a light at the end of the bloody tunnel called death.

Getting to the sword seconds before the giant zombie, it was pulled out from under the body. An unexpected reward came with it as the belt with explosives attached to it lay on the other side of the corpse. Slinging the explosives over his shoulder and picking up his long sword. Vesper took two steps forward, ducked down, and turned around while jumping as the extremely large zombie passed over him; its feet having just missed him. Vesper drove both swords into it, and started to climb up its back.

The zombie started to weave as each sword pierced its back while he climbed up it. Turning around he saw the group of zombies following him had grown. Setting the incinerary device on the belt to explode in three seconds, Vesper lightly tossed the belt. He watched the zombies burn up as a chemical flame covered them and destroyed their bodies. As the large zombie he was riding continued to move on, the other device on the belt blew up as the chemicals melted the wiring allowing the current to transfer through the blasting cap, setting off the device.

The bar disappeared and his vision became blurry again before appearing in a mud filled field. Guns were being fired off and bullets were flying through him as barbed wire ran through his legs. Soldiers crawled under the barbed wire and Tyson immediately recognized this as basic training.

A crackling voice that wasn't audible could be heard as the training field disappeared and his vision returned to a haze. A room with wooden walls and floor surrounded him as his vision returned. A small child and an adult male walked down the center of the room. Freshly made beds and lockers were on either side of them and the adult male spoke out. "Tyson, we're going to be living here for the next few weeks. It's only temporary as they are still preparing my officer's quarters. This means you can't make a mess or damage anything in here for the next few weeks."

The memory muddied and vanished. This time the voice from before became more audible, but still unrecognizable. "Do it...Chance...Up now! Tyson couldn't understand anything beyond that as he found himself at a crowded mall. Identify the general time or location of the place didn't happen as the memory was lost right away.

The voice returned but it was almost completely clear this time. "Do it now! This is your chance right now! Wake up now!" By the time the voice finished it was too late. Tyson was now inside a cave. An injured black female laid inside the cave beside him in matching black armor to his own. Tyson recognized this memory instantly. Marrow and himself had gotten separated from their team and she was injured. Tyson had to move her into the cave since it had started to rain and the weather was liable to kill her. The sight brought a tear to his eye before his attention was snapped away as the cave disappeared.

Tyson instantly started to try to move his arms and legs. The ones in his mind didn't move nor did the ones on his body. Twisting. Turning. Trying to get something to move or respond. Tyson was getting desperate as he didn't know how much longer he had left before he was in another memory. In a few seconds he had become desperate and yelled out, "This is my body! This is my mind. I demand control here! I demand to have my say!"

Surprise hit Tyson as his vision remained in the white, but o new memories formed. It had been a lot long than normal between the memory transfers, and it didn't feel like he had any control over his body either. Suddenly the white focused but didn't stabilize. It just seemed like it was refreshing constantly. It didn't feel like he was seeing it, but instead hearing it. Suddenly he began his brain began to process what was happening. A detailed vapor became visible in the distance as freshly crushed zombies laid on the ground closer to him. Twisted creatures became consumed within the vapor and lost their shape in his eyes.

The detail about what was happening, about what he was "seeing," was far better than he had seen before. The refreshing disappeared and it became a constant streaming picture of everything before him. It took him a few seconds but Tyson realized that he was viewing echolocation. The original aim for his genetic mutation was happening in his head. His vision center in his brain was now transferring the reflected sound waves from his vocal power into a form of sight.

The thought process was short lived as his body was rocked hard and debris came overhead into his line of vision. His body turning around and the change of direction showed the back of a creature before his body moved up and his head looked over the zombie's shoulder. It was clear that they had busted into the cafe. His body seemingly moved on its own like when it turned around and climbed up the zombie's back. Vesper took both swords came with him and thrust them into the left side of the zombie sending it into a hard right turn and into the right side of the rear cafe wall.

The impact sent Tyson off of the zombie's back; leaving the swords stuck in it. Tyson's legs tucked in before launching into the zombie's back, sending him into a flip before he fell onto a pile of half burnt bodies. Tyson's head shot around the room and the high pitched sound being produced from his mouth with it. The returning echoes showed a room filled with scattered living zombies and a large number of already dead ones. The massive zombie Tyson rode in was stuck in the wall and Taryn and Levi were visibly running down the hall, about to exit it.

The massive zombie was breaking himself free along with most of the wall when his head returned to its direction. "Aim at the ceiling and shake the roof down!" Tyson yelled throughout his mind. He was trying to order whatever still had control of his body into killing the giant in front of him. It would also close off the Cafe entrance to the Main Hall stopping the zombies' movements into it. Tyson thought he had failed or was ignored as his body turned around and ran towards to massive hole produced by the zombie, that lead outside. A thought of helplessly watching passed through his mind before it was shot down when his head was lifted and his power intensified and found the resonating point of the ceiling.

The ceiling shook apart and collapsed as Tyson's body made it outside; being knocked off his feet by the resulting shockwave. A feeling of relieve washed over Tyson as he got up and the vision of the toppled ceiling impaling the colossal zombie multiple times came into him. It was a short lived victory though as a set of claws slammed into his kidneys and lifted him into the air. A winged zombie had swooped down from above him and was now flying away with him.

Its head snapped forward and tried to bite Tyson's throat as Vesper jerked his head back. A hand slammed into its face pushing it back as the other grabbed its wing. Pulling the wing hard forward, a loud snap indicated a dislocation. A hard right and a steep drop soon followed as the zombie couldn't flap its one wing and stabilize itself. The pain coursing through Tyson from the claws soon disappeared. A greater wave swept through him as his back slammed into a wall of debris that used to be the front entrance.

Whatever speed the zombie was moving at had to be extreme as there was still enough force to send Tyson and itself through the wall separating the Main Hall from the General section of the museum, the wall between the General section and the First Generation section, and finally the wall separating the First and Second Generation sections of the museum. A loud impact was made as they hit hear the base of the Second and Third Generation wall; stopping hard. The zombie was still living but so were Vesper and Tyson. Before it could strike again for his neck Vesper grabbed its head and twisted it completely around breaking the neck. A large pool of blood was growing around Tyson and his vocal powers shut off as he passed out.

One last section of the ceiling was sent to block their retreat as the main force that were at the front entrance met up in retreat with those from the cafe, the two groups heading back to the entrance of the lounge. Once they were safely inside the doors were barricaded with all the furniture that was still intact inside.

After placing the coffee table in front of the door Garrus turned around and counted to make sure every member had safely returned. He was initially worried that those guarding the back would still be fighting the zombies, but thankfully they had made it back safely (including an unconscious Tyson that was currently be carried around by Tommy).

'Alright good, everyone is here,' Garrus thought after recounting the group a few times to make sure. He headed over into the kitchen, hearing his son and Leland reciting odd-sounding words as he entered it. Renton noticed his father and started to babble happily causing Leland to yell out in frustration.

"We were this close! THIS close! And now we have to start all over!" he yelled, seemingly at his last wits after having to restart saying the whole spell backwards word-by-word to get Renton to say it.
"Just keep trying it. This will keep going on until you manage to get him to say it," Garrus replied, turning around and leaving his brother and son to continue working on reversing the spell. He called out for everyone to listen to him, and once he got everyone's attention he said, "Look everyone I know this probably isn't what you want to hear but we're gonna have to keep going out there for a bit longer. From what I gather the spell is close to being reversed, but until then we need to keep these zombies back. I know we just rebuilt the Promenade but if most of it has to come down to keep these zombies out than so be it."

"Now we need to come up with a strategy to keep them from breaching in again. Any ideas?" Garrus asked, getting no response until Tommy spoke up and explained the chest he had brought out. "That would work but I don't know if we'll be able to get over there in time before another wave comes. Taryn, are the cameras still working? If so, can you check to see what's going on inside and outside?" he asked after turning to her.

With the favorite couch barricaded against the door, Jason plopped down where it was once placed, head hanging in his hands as he realized his folly. The pure fact that he jeopardized his team's survivability factor by willingly losing his temper ate at him. Erebus tried his best to calm him down.

"AAARGH! How could I? the fuck could I? Oh my god...I mean, it would've been cool if I ended up killing all the zombies...but it would've sucked entirely, because I would've ended up killing everyone else too! I just...fuck..." Jason's voice traveled between a collective of random octaves as he mentally paced through the mindscape, Erebus looking on doubtfully.

"Jason, it'll be alright. had me worried there for a second, and I feared I was gonna have to step in and intervene...but you gained control, and all on your own! The door closed back! Through shear will, no less! Our meditation sessions must be really helping." He replied encouragingly.

"Yeah, but that's besides the point Ero. I'm getting tired of running from myself. I just want to lose my temper for once, knowing that i'll be in control of my body the next day. It''s becoming too much to bare." He ended with a long sigh, distraught in behalf of the price he would pay on behalf of his emotions. Back on the psychical plane, Jason came back to life after Garrus asked for suggestions. As Garrus and Tommy exchanged words, Jason rose to his feet. He approached Levi and Taryn with a plan of blockading.

"If we could like, find fucking humongous sheets of metal or something, then Levi and Taryn could do their welding thing that they did earlier. If that doesn't work...then I could use my spikes or something. Y'know, make the spike walls like I usually do." Jason suggested to the two.

"Are you sure you want to do that? Considering the freak-out that occurred literally a second ago, you might want to slow down a bit. I know that you're doing this to put the team before yourself, but right now, it might just be best to stay in one spot for the time being." Erebus said. As eager as Jason was to provide assistance to his teammates, he knew that Erebus proved a solid point.

Taryn weighed the protective power of barricades against the time it took to weld before searching out the remaining cameras in the Promenade. She slid her hand into her pocket, reaching her phone which was surprisingly still in one piece. Using the phone as an amplifier Taryn linked to the network.

"Most of the entrance cameras are out." She reported. "Let me see..." Taryn turned toward Garrus slightly. Her gaze became unfocused as she concentrated on the string of numbers and symbols that she could 'see'. There were cameras that weren't destroyed but rather malfunctioning severely. Their readouts didn't make sense, the heat and power indicators either extremely high or extremely low. The resulting warnings were mixed in with the power failure messages. Taryn frowned at the implied amount of damage. To reach the cameras in some areas of the Promenade layers of the walls would have been destroyed.

Fortunately there were a few cameras left. Mostly on the roof and in the rooms the zombies hadn't been able to get to. 'Guess there were only a few flyers' Taryn decided. Which was good. She wasn't looking forward to fighting another grotesquely morphed flying zombie. "I have visual on the roof." she commented out loud.

Taryn tilted her head slightly as she cycled through the available cameras. There were more zombies. Except it was hard to judge just how many. Switching half of the cameras to active infrared and half to thermal imaging took but a thought. Taryn selected a series of the live feeds and strung them together creating a single panoramic display that was only slightly out of alignment. Her natural vision went blurry for a few seconds until the digital images were transposed into something she could 'see' as an overlay.

An abrupt flash of pain reminded Taryn sharply of the injuries she still needed to have bandaged and taken care of. Soon. She inhaled carefully before giving Garrus the rest of her report in a clipped tone. "There's another wave incoming. Fast ones in front, four or five yards from the main group but the bulk of the horde is still at the pillars."

Levi frowned. "I would try to make another barrier," he replied to Jason. "But I used all the metal I had making the ones at the Cafe". Pausing for a moment, he could still hear the muffled moans and shrieks of the undead echoing through the hall. It was a matter of time before they broke through the rubble Garrus sent crashing down upon them, so their options were somewhat limited.

"There's another wave incoming."

And even more were on the way. The situation was bad, and Levi was sure everyone knew it. The army of demonic ghouls had pushed them into the very back of the Promenade, essentially trapping them in a corner. There would be no retreat this time if things went sour. This would be where the team of heroes make their stand. But with several of them injured and two incapacitated, things wouldn't be easy.
Unless if the incantation could be reversed, a desperate battle was just over the horizon.

Levi glanced over at Taryn and made eye contact. He didn't want to imagine what would happen if their stand went south, but the morbid thought that this might be their last moment together lingered in his mind. "Taryn..." he paused to swallow back a lump that had formed in his throat. "...if...if anything happens...I love you". There was nothing else he could say. If there was any consolation, it was that Levi wouldn't be facing this alone. He would have Taryn fighting by his side, just like how they first met.

'That was not what I wanted to hear...should have expected that though,' Garrus thought anxiously, scratching his goatee as he started to pace around. 'Gotta think. What should be done? Should we try for Tommy's weapon? That would be dangerous, but it could be one of the only ways to keep them back...and if we're going to have to defend we might as well make a run for it,' he reasoned for a minute before turning back to the group.

"Okay, I'm thinking we should try to get that weapon. If it can turn things around like Tommy implied than we might as well. We'll need everyone to help out to push through any wave that might be in by the time we're ready to head through. Our objective is to get to the main entrance and to that chest, unless anyone else has any idea," Garrus announced, watching as the Doctor was checking everyone's injuries out and prescribing handfuls of painkillers to them.

'Or at least that's what I hope they are...' Garrus thought sullenly, getting handed some himself.

"I hope you realize how utterly insane this idea is. We barely survived long enough to get here, now we are expected to actually gain ground. But if it is the only way then I guess it is the only way. On the other hand, couldn't Leland just magically get the kid to say whatever it is we need him to say to end this?" Richard replied as he kept his gun pointed at the makeshift barricade blocking one of the doors.

"I mean, magic isn't really my area of expertise but isn't that something that could be done?"

"Yeah it's dangerous, but so is just staying here. We might as well try it, perhaps we'll get some luck and actually manage it," Garrus replied to Richard, adding, "I think he already tried that."

"I tried it!" Leland called out from the kitchen, cursing once Renton did his best to recite what he said, "No we were so close!"
"Stop copying me for a sec kid. Anyways, it just won't work that way Rich. Tommy decided to tell me that after I had already tried it," Leland said aloud, going back to saying the spell backwards word-by-word.

"If only it was that simple. Alright everyone, let's get ourselves ready to go out. If you're too hurt or unconscious than just stay back here where it's safe...potentially. If we fail than obviously it won't be, but we won't fail. We can't," Garrus told everyone, his nerves starting to come back now that the adrenaline was starting to subside.

Brian was worried. There seemed to be no end to these zombies and no way to stop them. The team, or who was available of the team at least seemed worn out. Leland was having little to no luck with the kid, Taryn and Levi seemed to be comforting each other, resigned to the fact that this might be it. Jason was on the floor, head in his hands. Richard seemed just as pessimistic about their chances. Garrus was trying for a risky suicidal plan and the Doctor, ugh. Why couldn't he have been eaten by one of those fucking zombies? The mood in the lounge was sombre. Dang it this sucks. We're able to beat an otherworldly British bastard and now we can't even stop a few reanimated corpses? Fucks sake.

Brian adjusted the tie around his head, making sure it was secured tightly to his head. "You know what?" he said. "I think we can get this thing, eh? We aren't going to be losing to no zombie forces there. Let me take the lead on this run buddy. I haven't been moving around too much so I still got the engine running pretty good inside and these shotguns are pretty brutal close up. Maybe I can get to that chest there and we can't see if we can't get these buggers home to hell in time for apple bobbing!"

Although if the Doctor can't be saved that'll just be too bad there now won't it?

"That's the spirit Brian. Let's go and push back these zombies and take back what's ours!" Garrus said, starting to push everything that they had used to barricade the lounge doors. Once the coach was moved he slowly opened the doors, taking a peek outside to make sure no ravenous zombies were waiting for them on the other side.

"Coast seems clear right now guys. You ready to charge in?" Garrus asked Brian, stepping out into the hallway littered with debris. "Also Doc, be ready to patch all of us up once we get back," he added after turning around and getting the Doctor's attention, the man just nodding as he sat back down in his corner. "Alright, let's go then."

"All right! I'm not planning on having that creepy ass doctor touching me up at all, so let's go get that there weapon!" Brian was ready for action on this one. It had been a while since he had felt nearly as invigorated as he did now. It was a while before Kayla, that was for sure. He brought both his shotguns forward and made sure they were both loaded. "Let's take them out!" He jumped over the couch and moved out the doors, ready to prove his worth in more than just healing.

"...if...if anything happens...I love you"

It should have frightened her. The idea that maybe, just maybe, they weren't going to survive the fight. That this would be the last stand for the team. But instead the thought made Taryn all the more determined. She reached for Levi's hand and threaded her fingers between his own. Ignoring the flash of pain that radiated from her shoulder Taryn brought their combined hands up to her chest. Trapping Levi's hand under her own Taryn looked up at him.

"I love you." She stated quietly. Taryn held Levi's gaze for a second and then smiled. She grinned as though they weren't in the middle of a battle and bodies weren't littering the floor. For just a moment she allowed herself to pretend that the battle was already over and done with. Then Taryn's gaze sharpened into an almost defiant glare. "We're going to live." she countered firmly. They were going to live because dying meant she'd lose Levi. And Taryn adamantly refused to lose Levi. Not now. Not ever. She'd battle the whole horde if she had to.

Taryn released Levi's hand and gripped the sides of his jumpsuit. Her fingers caught on a burnt section of cloth, or it may have been a tear. The implied damage caused her to frown. 'It doesn't matter' she decided. They'd been injured before. They could endure.

"We're going to be okay." Taryn whispered before leaning up to kiss Levi.

Levi leaned down to meet Taryn and kissed her tenderly. The contact was held for just a moment, but in that moment he felt that familiar rush of warmth and happiness. For a fleeting second, everything was right with the world. It was just Levi and the woman he loved. No flesh eating beasts and no blood splattered carnage. Nothing to separate them from each other. With reluctance, he pulled away but kept his gaze focused solely on Taryn.

Behind her beautiful brown eyes was a powerful resolve. A fiery determination that he had seen in her many times before. Levi knew that look very well. There would be no dying on Taryn's watch; She simply wouldn't allow it. And he wouldn't allow for anything to befall her either. They had been together for too long and faced too much for it all to end like this. Taryn was right. They would make it.

"Tomorrow, me, some Chambord, and Firefly," he told her quietly. "What do you think?"

"Alright, if we're going to do this then I guess it is now or never. This is insane but tell me when we leave and I'll get in position." Richard said as he quickly grabbed a paper towel, ran some water over it, and took it to a few of the deeper cuts he had sustained. He knew the nanites would stem the bleeding and healing the wound, but it wasn't instantaneous by any means. For the time being he was covered in cuts and gashes from his retreat. None of them were life threatening he knew, but they still stung and bled.

"What do you think?"

"Add some Dr. Pepper...." Taryn murmured. "And it's a date." A slow grin formed as she thought about the scenario. 'Sounds perfect...' Some time to relax...some time to talk...or to not talk...Taryn's gaze drifted down to linger on Levi's mouth. Somewhere on the fringes of Taryn's awareness the other team members were discussing something. But at the moment, she didn't care. She just wanted to stay be here. With Levi.

Taryn ignored the other conversations until someone mentioned 'leaving'. Then suddenly she was alert. Pulling away from Levi, reluctantly, Taryn scanned the area for the others. 'They're leaving?' Some people had moved but everyone was still accounted for. 'Good' Taryn cleared her throat quietly and took a small step so that she was beside of Levi but they both had room to maneuver if necessary.

Brian braced himself as the doors were being opened. Richard and Garrus would have to handle whatever zombies would be swarming the door as the first wave. Hopefully they could buy him enough room to make a break for the main entrance. It was going to be a long run, he'd have to go through two museum wings worth of zombies before even getting close to where the chest might be, amidst the wreckage that the main hall had been reduced to. It could very well be a suicide mission if it was too deep in the debris to salvage. So this is it. This is what I'm going to be facing here. Well, I guess now's a good time to be hitting up that Timmy's in the sky as any.

Brian waited a few seconds as the swarm was being allowed in. Richard and Garrus had bigger guns than he did, he was hoping that the added time they had to draw zombies towards the more actively firing members would open up a seam that he could exploit to try and make the passage to the main entrance easier. All right...keep! Spotting an opening along the right wall, he began his dash, knowing that now whether or not he won this race would be a literal matter of life and death, or whatever one could call a zombified state.

Richard immediately took up a position in front of the door next to Brian before he broke through. As soon as the door was opened Richard opened fire, using precise shots to focus on the ones nearest to Brian.

"Alright, let's get moving. Hopefully this insane idea works." Richard shouted as he tried to keep up with Brian and provide what cover he could. The wave simply kept coming and progress for him at least was terribly slow. The only saving grace was that they were so densly packed that each one he killed slowed down the horde by causing it to fall back into the others. He didn't know how long that would prove useful though, especially if their pace picked up.

The mutated zombies had managed to get through the improvised barricade made up of the Promenade, and from what Garrus could tell they would have soon been swarming through the rest of the Promenade had the group not come out first. Garrus made sure to cover Brian as best he could, keeping the zombies at bay. A number of them could be taken out in one hit due to their closeness to each other, though they were still quite dangerous as Garrus found out when he was bitten by one that was still alive after trying to jump over some of the bodies.

"Ack! Just keep going Brian! We have your back!" Garrus yelled to Brian, watching him dash along the wall to the right. Most of the zombies were distracted by everyone else to even notice the man running past them.

Brian was staying as low as possible as the two men behind him mowed down whatever zombies he could. A couple of them got close enough to drool on him, yet a shotgun blast ensured they would only be drooling because they had no jaws to contain it. Eventually the herd started thinning out towards the first museum wing. They must have just been swarming the door! I think I made it! Fuckin' Eh!

He headed out to the main entrance, it was still a mess, splintered wood and smashed concrete all over the place. Scanning the rubble around him, Brian could still see a large chest, a couple of boards on top of it, It had a couple of boards splintered, but it still seemed intact. All right there we go. Just gotta get this smashed open there I guess and we'll see what kind of weapon we got here. Picking up an exposed piece of rebar, he went to opening the chest in the traditional Canadian manner. However, this chest was proving stubborn, the wood that survived the wrecking not giving much away. Come on you bastard! Why won't you open? A couple more tries and still nothing. Brian looked out on the horizon, as if to try and find what unseen force was keeping him from the prize inside. All he saw was zombies. Many more zombies. Far outnumbering the relatively paltry number of beings that remained inside the Promenade. The thin gray line on the fields in front of him was slowly spreading wider. Oh...fuck...

With renewed vigor, Brian desperately smashed away at the chest. It seemed funny that the fate of the entire team would rest on being able to bash something in with an improvised hammer, but that was just the situation that the fates had brought to pass, and the fear inside the young Canuck was growing that he would not be able to pass this test.

With Brian and Garrus's bold charge down the hall and Richard laying down covering fire, the battle was resumed. The staccato blasts of gunfire trailed off quickly as the three of them broke in a frantic dash towards the main entrance. "Well, we can't keep them waiting," Levi said to Taryn before taking off after his teammates. He made a hard right after running out the hallway and charged forward at the approaching horde of undead.

Standing in their path was Garrus, who seemed to be having a bit of difficulty fending them off. Levi made his presence known by hurling a concentrated burst of magnetic energy into the center of the tightly packed decomposing mob. The energetic projectile slammed into the closest zombie, sending it flying backwards into its comrades. Scores more toppled over like a group of fleshy dominoes, causing a severe dent in their formation and presenting a hazard for the zombies behind them.

"Time for some thrilling heroics." Taryn muttered before following Levi. Though still running her pace was slower than his and she watched Levi turn the corner a few seconds before reaching it herself. She paused before turning. The slashes across Taryn's back had broken open again. Constant power usage had cauterized her injuries and between that and the adrenaline she'd tried to ignored the pain. With moderate success. But now the wounds hurt. 'Hope the infirmary isn't trashed.' Taryn thought fleetingly as she resumed her run.

Taryn kept her back to the wall, keeping distance between herself and the enemy as she fired jagged blasts at the zombies. White and blue mixed in sharp diagonals before impacting her target. She focused solely on wielding electricity with as much precision as she could manage. No longer controlling the electricity around her body the stray bits of power ran freely across her costume and skin. Taryn noticed some flying zombies and grinned at the bowling pin impression Levi created. She picked some stragglers to battle. With her right hand outstretched, alight with power, Taryn fried two zombies with a single shot. The headless corpses remained upright for a moment before collapsing to the ground. 'Next!'

A zed head twelve feet tall loomed over Brian as he smashed away at the chest. As he fell back from the rear entrance, Tommy saw the huge zombie prepare to attack. With all the strength he could muster in his legs, he rocket across the room and punched the zombie out. When he recovered Tommy scrambled back to Brian.

"Let me have a whack at it!" Tommy yelled as he took a swipe with his gauntlets and ripped the top of the box off. For a second he hesitated before looking at the contents, as soon as he did the same zombie he just punched got up and tackled Tommy, carrying him off into the horde. As he was carried off he yelled " Brian! Use it! Use the Destroyer!"

With a sudden dropped the horder cocooned Tommy under a blanket of acid, teeth, and nails. From withen the steady bead of Tommy's fist against a Tommy could be heard, until it was dampened into nothing by the zombies massing on top. Soon nothing could be seen or heard of Tommy. From the box polish bright pink metal of an eight barrel mini-gun gleamed at Brian, on it's muzzle a unicorn breathing rainbow fire, and spray painted in black on the body. RAINBOW PONY DESTROYER As the natural moment of awkwardness passed, a thump was head. Then a second thump, louder, from with in the horde, and a third...

A mass of zombie exploded into giblets, From a crater Tommy lept up and yelled, " SHOOT THE FUCKING SHIT OUT OF THESE FUCkS." Before a wave of zombies swallowed him up again.

As he sank under the weight of rotten flesh, Tommy felt tickled as zombies tried to work through his reinforced skin and muscle. But surrounded by zombies necrotic magic from their rotten souls swirled around Tommy. As he fed off the magic around him this energy seeped into Tommy's own soul, weakening him from the inside. A tickle turned to a dull throb then into a sting then a sear and finally into out-right torture as his magic drained as his defenses softened. As he was slowly being picked at by the zombies, he thought I really hope he mans up before I'm toast.

There weren't many things that would have stopped Brian in his tracks when it came to weaponry at this moment in time, but this...thing was certainly one of them. It looked like it came from Barbie's First War Crime set. So this is it then? To save the day I've got to use the Hello Kitty Death Machine? God damn it.

Hearing Tommy's curses off in the horde snapped Brian out of the semi-shocked state he was in, and he reluctantly reached in for the massive mini gun. Even with a career in youth league hockey it was a bit heavy. He swung the new weapon towards the horde where he guessed Tommy had disappeared and quickly set the tripod up as stable as he could get it within two seconds. Gripping the twin handles as he prepared to fire the My Little Pony Chunker, he figured a warning was in order. "Hey guys who are alive! You know, you may want to duck here!"

A couple of zombies turned around at this call, but once Brian figured everyone who could duck, did duck, the only thing they saw was the sight of bullets flying out towards their faces. Brian was a little wild at first, spraying the museum walls and ceilings with bullets, but once he got used to the kick that the Polly Pocket Army Destroyer had, he was mowing down zombies like they were grass. The bullet holes that punched themselves into the walls during his earlier shooting were quickly being plastered over with zombie guts and any movement above the waistline was being met with more lead. Soon enough the horde that had overtaken the museum was now only holding the floor with their gooey remains.

"Wooooo!" Brian shouted out triumphant. "That's how we do it right there, yeah!" He turned around to the outside and remembered the other much larger problem. He pivoted the Care Bear Stare of Despair around, cursing that he couldn't come up with more derisive names for it. "All right zombies, come get your complimentary ticket back to hell."

'You can do this Garrus. Brian is probably at the gun by this point and you just need to make sure you don't do anything get surrounded by the undead. Shit,' Garrus realized too late that he had found himself encircled by a few dozen of the zombies after knocking the head off of one that had gotten him. He looked at all the drooling monstrosities, somewhat thankful that at least he wouldn't be turned into one. 'Though that wouldn't even matter if they tear me to shreds.'

It was then that Garrus heard Brian yell out for those still alive to duck, and since Garrus put himself under the term 'alive' at the current time he fell to the floor and put his hands over his heads. The zombies paused for a moment before charging to the easy pray; about to make contact when bullets started to shred through them and all the other zombies around them. A few were smart enough to get to get out of the gun's range, but were quickly dealt with by the other members.

Once the zombies were dealt with inside Garrus followed after Brian to see the carnage that would happen in the front of the Promenade. "Hey Brian, nice gun," he said with a cheeky smile, catching his breath now that they were not in quite as much immediate danger as before. The streets in front of the Promenade were crowded with thousands of zombies, the faster ones breaking apart and already making their way across the parking lot.

All at once the zombies suddenly stopped and fell to the ground, odd smokey shapes emitting from them as they became still and lifeless.

"H-holy shit, I think they're Again, or something. Shoot them a few times though to make sure they aren't faking it," Garrus told Brian, not wanting to get his hopes up only for them to be shot down.

One arm after another Tommy pushed through the mound of zombies that had formed around him. When he got out he took a great breath before crawling out. He was covered from head to toe in bites, with chunks as large as golf-balls missing from his arms, legs, and chest. The left half of his face was plastered with blood to the point where he could not physically open his left eye. And pain soaked into every fiber of his being until he couldn't crawl anymore. So he laid down and breath in, then breathed out.

Brian had pulled away from the gun, a little bit stunned that all the approaching zombies just fell to the ground like that. Still, Garrus wanted shots and Brian was more than happy to serve them up. "All right then," he said as the minigun whirled to life again. The bullets sprayed out across the fields but they were just kicking up more corpse pieces, the only movement coming when they flew off their previous hosts.

Brian stopped firing and turned to Garrus. "Yeah, I'm pretty sure they're all dead out there you know?"

"This is good," Garrus replied to Brian as he watched him fire a number of rounds into the twice-dead zombies. He patted Brian on the shoulder and told him that he did a good job before heading back into the main hall to inspect the damage. Around him amongst the debris was his teammates, most of them looking quite bad from the suicide rush they had done.

"We did it everyone," Garrus told them all, smiling at the relieved faces that met his, "So now let's just head back and heal up. Have some candy and such before we start work on clearing out the many...many bodies."

A week later...

"Tomorrow the construction begins, and that's final. We've put it off long enough; it should have been started days ago," Garrus told his brother as he took a sip of orange juice, not bothering to look up at his brother.

"UGH! I hate construction! Don't expect me here the next month or however long it will take this time then," Leland replied with annoyance, taking a few of Renton's Cheerios before heading out of the kitchen and onto the coach. He heard a 'whatever' from his brother as he grabbed the remote, desperately hoping that there was something on TV this early.

"Ai yai effing yai..." Katie murmured to herself as she finished shaping the last of the many topiary hedges that had been ruined in the zombie attack. She and Rowan had both copped hell for being missing in action for the entire fight, though the rant at Katie was nothing compared to Rowan's. She had heard a few snippets... 'dereliction of duty', 'expected to stand and fight no matter the odds', and 'sleeping on the job' came to mind. She found it hard to believe that the shapeshifter had slept through the whole thing when the Promenade was being torn apart, but that was what he had claimed.

The Promenade's gardens had been turned upside-down, literally in some areas. Katie had spent most of her time restoring them and growing new versions of the older trees and bushes. The past few times the Promenade had been attacked had taught her that no matter the beauty of her creations, it wouldn't last. As a result Katie had cut a large portion of the artistry from her home and its surroundings, seeing as it could easily be ruined by a simple flamethrower, and written up a list of the plants she maintained in order to keep the diversity that expanded her abilities.

"Just for once I would like things to go according to the god-damn plan," she said to herself, unknowingly quoting a certain cancelled TV series, as she continued her work. "Seriously, you would think that we could have a holiday in peace, but noooo. Something has to ruin our day and leave us licking our wounds for a good month or so."

It was true that Rowan had slept through the entire encounter with the demonic zombies, but no-one believed him when he backed it up. The shapeshifter slept like the earth itself when his head was on a pillow; he had opted to take a nap before things went south, having had no idea what Renton was going to do to ruin the Society's day. Bizarrely, he and his room had survived the 'mission' untouched.

The lecture he had received was somewhat deserved, seeing as he was somewhat new to the Society and all. Technically he had near-unlimited energy through his shapeshifting; this didn't stop his brain from tiring, though, and sleep was usually a good thing in his case. He wasn't one of those people who could pull all-nighters and still feel fantastic in the morning.

Right now, though, his primary concern was food. Even shapeshifters had to eat sometime. With that thought causing a smile to play the edges of his lips, he made his way to the kitchen to find himself something.

Tommy walked groggily into the lounge, he was bare-foot, still wearing plaid pajama bottoms and an old t-shirt. His left eye was bandaged up, it was taking a suspiciously long time to heal and the doctor didn't want to risk an infection. Tommy's skin was also notably paler, and his right eye had a heavy bag under it because he has not been able to sleep. Overall it was easy to see Tommy was still very worn down from the fight. His attitude didn't seemed to have taken too great of a hit though. He fixed himself a bagel with cream-cheese and raspberry jelly, and a glass of cranberry juice.

"Good morning guys." Tommy said, as he patted Renton on the head and sat down to eat, "So anything going on today?"

"Not that I know of. Tomorrow construction is beginning on the Promenade again as you might have heard with my brother's constant muttering about how much he hates it. Other than that though not much going on, which I think is a good thing. It's been a stressful week with all the clean up we had to do, the re-burials, and one again construction planning. You were lucky you didn't have to go to the meeting where we had to explain what the hell had happened to the city council. Yeesh," Garrus told Tommy, shaking his head as if to try to get the memory of that meeting out.

Unlike the entrances into the Promenade and the surrounding area, the workout room was luckily untouched by the zombies and remained in perfect order. This meant Tyson was free to go about his normal morning routine without having to wait for another month for the construction to finish. Fortunately Brain's healing powers were able to remove the healing time and physical therapy so Tyson was unheeded by it.

As Tyson walked out of his room after getting showered and dressed he headed for the kitchen to grab something to eat. The voices of conversations traveled down the hallway leading into so Tyson knew exactly what they were talking about when he got there.

"Ya I never thought they'd have such a problem with deadly explosives in an emergency. I'm rather more surprised that they didn't have a problem about me causing the Cafe roof to collapse unlike some other people who stay here." Tyson said as he walked in and gave a small smile to Leland, knowing he wasn't happy with the construction that was necessary because of the damage that he'd done.

"Can't we just build some kind of reinforcement into the Promenade's walls or something? I'm sure a few tons of adamantium or whatever wouldn't go amiss," Rowan chipped in with a hypothetical as he began to rummage through the fridge. It was nice and cool with the door open. "Seriously, take this place apart and build a skeleton of nigh-indestructible material. I'm sure there's something in this bizarre universe that is impervious to damage."

Pulling out a jug of milk, the shapeshifter found himself a bowl and a box of cereal and dug in, keeping an ear open to the conversation.

" Try to explain to my dad how I let nearly a thousand demons get loose. I swear I was scared for my life when I did that." Tommy munched on his bagel.

"I'm not sure how easily we could reinforce the place, or what's the point, something stronger will always smash it, so it's cheaper just to rebuild the place, thankfully we've got it down to a science now. We can rebuild this place from scratch in a month" Suddenly Tommy had an idea, " Hey Leland have you ever heard about the Auto-building tower?"

"I don't think adamantium actually exists. Even if it did, isn't it supposed to be really rare or something? Anyways we won't be tearing the whole place down, even though it's pretty much torn down as of now. Rebuilding it might be a good idea, but I know that problems will arise if that's done. There is a lot of history in this building, even the newer bits. The many newer bits," Garrus replied, sighing at the end. He brought the newspaper higher up, not wanting to discuss the topic anymore. "Let's just talk about something else okay? The new plans are already done, and the construction workers are coming tomorrow to start rebuilding. Today will be our last peaceful day before the noise begins, so I plan on enjoying it as much as I can."


Leland was a bit distracted flipping Tyson off behind his back to hear most of what Tommy had said. He faced Tommy after hearing the last bit though, scratching his chin as he tried to remember what he knew about it. "Yeah I kinda do. I remember reading about it in some of my books. It...rebuilds itself via magic whenever something happens to it right?" he asked Tommy, wanting to make sure he had the right one.

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