Shaun saw the unfolding events happen in front of his own eyes, everything was slow and happening much more slowly, time came to a standstill in Shaun's mind until he heard one the group members yell, "GET THE FUCK IN! WE ARE GETTING THE FUCK OUTTA HERE NOW!" he yelled from within the Hummer, Shaun knew what he had to do and quickly jumped inside the hummer.
As Shaun was awaiting for the others he looked to Marcus "Hey can I jump out when we get in front of hanger one, I left a very valuable piece of technology there" Shaun pleaded with the group's leader, "And don't worry, Ill be back".
Marcus looked to the spot where Delrath had fallen and then quickly turned away. He wrestled with Ashe as she tried to get to the body. "HE'S FUCKING GONE, YOU HEAR ME? HE'S DEAD!" He paused for a second and then continued. "Get in, he died to help us and we can't thank him if we're fucking dead. Now get in!" Marcus said, chucking Ashe into the Humvee. Looking back around, Marcus yelled for Mortis and Blake. "MORTIS, BLAKE! GET THE FUCK OVER HERE AND GET IN NOW!" He shouted. For the first time, Marcus was starting to worry. He wasn't entirely sure this was going to work.
Outside, the vicious battle was raging. The bandits had a lot of firepower and were tearing into The Foundation. Yet the soldiers fought on, to protect the loot inside of thee giant dome. A sudden, loud fizzing sound came from one of the bandits trucks. There, on the back, was a rail rifle. It's barrel pulsed blue for a second and then it fired, a defining crack washed over the ears of everyone and the round tore through the air, leaving a blue haze behind it. With little more than a cloud of dust, the shot hit the ground infront of The Foundations truck.
Immediately four of The Foundation soldiers opened fire. One, who seemed to be a new recruit held the trigger down and the rifle kicked back and shot into the air, as the man stumbled backwards. The other mans shot missed, clipping the door of the vehicle. Yet the other two mens shots found their way home. Hitting the man in the gut and shoulder, blood gushed out, as he fell backwards screaming, a massive chunk of flesh torn from his abdomen.
The bandits out numbered The Foundation, atleast two to one. But their lack of discipline was showing. Under the combined fire of four heavy fifty calibre machine guns and small arms fire of nearly a dozen soldiers, they were being beaten back. Bodies littered the floor next to their trucks. Though still numerous, they weren't quite as sure as when they had engaged.
Blake was already reloading his crossbow as his first target fell, a bolt pierced through his throat. Nobody had noticed. Taking aim on another Foundation soldier, Blake took a deep breath and squeezed the trigger, watching as the bolt zipped past firing troopers and slammed into its target's shoulder, sending the man reeling to the floor. Not a kill, but the soldier would definitely know he'd been hit.
Before Blake could load another bolt, he caught a glimpse of Marcus firing at the Foundation group's leader, air hissing out of power armour's leg piston. The huge man came to an abrupt stop as Marcus jumped into the humvee, yelling for the others to follow. Strapping his crossbow onto his back and pulling out his berreta and knife, Blake launched himself out of the bushes.
The Foundation soldiers looked surprised as the pale, ghostly figure of Blake rushed past them, firing shots as he went. Two soldiers went down with shots to their guts, the bullets somehow managing to find their way between the armour. Blake roared in defiance as he rolled under the attempted swing of a soldier's rifle to his head, hamstringing the unfortunately man with a deft flick of his knife. The man fell to his knees screaming. Blake continued to run.
Bundling himself into the back of the humvee, Blake found himself sat next to the stranger he'd seen in the dome. The one who claimed he had information they would want.
"Who are you?" Blake grabbed the man, gun to his head and knife to his throat. "Marcus," he said, not taking his blazing eyes from the stranger's own, "who this this!?"
Mortis remained hidden in the shadows; his eye's scanning the field of anarchy from within the safety of the black. Flames kindled amongst the foliage like scattered beacons, the remnants of his prey's explosive onslaught. The number of Foundation soldiers had dwindled during the Arachnid incursion but enough of them still remained to hold a threat. Mortis descended through the darkness to lower ground, inching ever closer to the entrance, its stream of light creeping from the large metal doors cast ajar.
As Mortis drew nearer a ringing chorus of his own 'name' resonated through the great dome, bouncing off of its curved walls and filling the abyss with a hatred fuelled beckoning. The tips of his lips curled upwards into the familiar dervish smile firmly etched onto his face, the noise of immediate gunfire came to a halt followed by yet another aggressive addressal from the mutant hunter. With that queue he raced to the side of one of the blast doors masking his presence in the looming black. He watched as Blake rolled through the opening, raced down the small corridor and launched into the vines, in his wake roughly over half-a-dozen armed foundation foot soldiers charged in formation, armed and hunting HIS prey.
As the last Foundation dog passed, a glimmer was caught in the corner of Mortis' eye followed by a loud hissing noise. He traced the glint to a paladin seemingly frozen in place beside a pillar of flame, pain highlighting his scrunched up guise. Before the man was the crumpled body of the gargantuan mutant that had aided them in their endeavour, Delrath. The paladin's fixated glare shifted onto Mortis as he crept from his hidey-hole. An expression of shock crawled along his brow for a split second before returning to the cold stare he had transfixed earlier.
As Mortis entered the warm glow of the wastes his senses were thrown into a state of confusion, there was a massacre occurring around him. Bandits, not 'Dogs', were pressing forward and it appeared they were overpowering the Foundation. Another quick scan of the battle field yielded a sight of reprieve. Marcus and Ashe were atop a large vehicle gesturing him to join them in what they must have assumed was their method of escape. Mortis ran through the gunfire his black leather bag slung over his shoulder jolting up and down, his empty rifle clutched tight in his left hands grasp and the device in his right. He leapt into the Humvee landing hard on his back with Marcus towering over him. The memory of Delrath's damaged body returned to him and for some odd reason in that moment Mortis failed to keep his thoughts from becoming verbal.
"Damnit! I needed that monster's corpse!"
Marcus stepped out of the vehicle, seeing a small child standing near to the truck where Shaun had been held. He done a double-take and then with one arm, lifted the Child up and chucked, 'her' into the Humvee. Marcus had got one foot into the vehicle before he stopped. A sickening look coming over his face. "We didn't get the injured man!" He said, pausing for a second. "Oh fuck this is going to be stupid..." He turned to Ford "Get the engine running and get this thing to the blast doors." Ford looked at Marcus, slightly worried. "Wha-what about you?" Ford stammered. Marcus smiled and winked "I'll be right behind you, now fucking go!" He yelled, slamming the passenger door shut.
Marcus sprinted faster than he had ever done before, he could feel the bullets whizzing past and heard the snap as they missed by mere inches. He jumped and dived over the undergrowth, making his way back to the Airship. Inside, slumped against the wall, lay the wounded man. Paler than ever. Marcus checked his pulse, it was there. Faintly. Grabbing the man, Marcus attempted to lift him onto his shoulders, he struggled at first, but with a mighty heave, he lifted the man. Marcus looked back outside, The Foundation soldiers were advancing towards him. "Stupid, stupid, stupid, stupid, STUPID!" He yelled as he sprinted back out from the wreckage. Running as fast as he could, he saw the Hummer start to pull away, heading to the doorway. With a glance to his left, Marcus saw the flash of a rifle and then with the force of a hammer, felt an impact in his waist. He felt the burning pain work it's way up to his brain and gasped. Continuing on, he half ran, half limped towards Ford and the others. Still carrying the wounded man on his shoulder. He looked up, breath coming short and sharp, the hummer was roughly twenty-five metres away. Marcus slowed to a walk and sank to one knee, panting and clutching his side.
Ashe tried to keep herself from shutting down completely as she always would. She had seen Marcus leave the truck and put in the other girl. She could tell right away but as soon as Marcus left Ashe quickly leaned her head out but not far enough for fear of taking one straight through her forehead.
She saw Marcus pick up the wounded crewman then him receiving a bullet right at his waist. Ashe glanced back at the turret behind her. The dead Foundation soldier's blood still looked wet where he had fallen. In one fluid motion she manned the turret.
In an instant bullets began pinging around her. She aimed in fire. The force of the recoil nearly drove the gun upwards. She hadn't worked with one ever since she had lived back at the fort. Finally she got the gist of it and began firing in a quick succession of bursts.
"GET MARCUS!" Ashe screamed to the people below her as she belted out another burst. She was sure that she wasn't hitting anybody but the volleys was dangerous enough to keep even the bravest soldier suppressed maybe even for a few seconds.
It came to Irish's attention that besides the poorly-oiled tin-man, he was not alone in the dome after hearing the loud shouting and the roar of the engine coming from one of the humvees. He could now see the second humvee clearly through the windows of the first and the people clambering in and out. Those don't look like Foundation men...not raggedy enough to be bandits either... Irish thought as he hobbled along. Seems we share a common enough goal though.
The pounding from the .50, though inaccurate, seemed to be keeping the Foundation troopers at bay, at least enough to allow him to make his escape. Irish hobbled as fast as his injury would allow, almost hopping in a fashion that would seem comical were it not for his current situation. He reached for the door handle of the humvee, yanked the door open and threw his pack into the passenger seat then climbed inside, wincing as painful pressure was put on his wound. He slammed the door shut and began attempting to hot-wire the vehicle.
Hex didn't really argue at her sudden movement, being shoved unceremoniously into the truck. After all, it had gotten her out of the firing line with little expense of her own. Hell, it even turned out that they had her bag stashed in the back of the vehicle they were all piling into. If it wasn't for the gunfire, and the fact that it seemed the group had just lost a hulk of a man in the fighting, and perhaps the spindly, pale man that had landed on his back not two feet away from her, only moments befores she herself had found her way there, she may have felt relieved.
It couldn't be, could it? No. The last time she had seen him... Not that luck was in any way in her favour lately. For perhaps the first time that day, she actually felt the stirrings of nervousness as opposed to disorientation and ire. Moving quickly as far away as possible and nestling in a corner, she drew upon the years of habit and wrapped her arms around her drawn-in legs, wide eyes peering over the tops of her knees, the words of a rhyme chanted softly from her lips.
"ring-a ring o' rosies, a pocket full of posies..."
She watched, words dying away, as the man who had dropped her off ran back, dissapearing for a few moments beforse reappearing again with what looked like a corpse slung over his shoulder, watching as his almost comical fall to one knee set him down in the middle of the firefight. Once again, the rhyme picked up as her eyes flickered to the white haired man, inching so that her back was pressed against the very boundaries of where she could move.
"A tiss-ue, a tiss-ue, we all. Fall. Down..."
Shaun was held up by Blake with a knife to his throat and a gun to his head, How the hell will I get out of this one Shaun thought, but suddenly the man known as Mortis lands in the hummer on his back, and then out of all things happening Marcus runs out of the humvee and sprints with all his might towards the wreck, What the hell is he thinking Shaun thought once more before he spoke "We have to go back to him!" Shaun yelled at the driver.
Shaun's attention returned to the angry man beside him, but the weapons were more loose against his throat and head, he was distracted by the man on the ground known as Mortis and everything around him ,"Heh" Shaun chuckled as he suddenly reached into his pocket and pulled out Ebony and stuck it right to Blake's heart, "You better pull those things away from me before we get hurt" Shaun whispered to Blake as he cocked the trigger, Shaun's neckless with the cross and dogs tags jangled as he said that.
Marcus gasped, clutching his side. He could feel the warm liquid running from it, drenching his hand and clothes. "That wasn't 'sposed to fuckin' happen, I hope your worth it you lump of shit..." Marcus groaned, face contorted in agony.
He struggled to get to his feet, teeth gritted as pain washed along his side. Managing to take one step, he fell to his knee again. He coughed and tasted copper in his mouth as blood splattered the floor near him. His eye's had begun to glaze over and he seen the surrounding darkness enveloping him. He clung to consciousness for as long as his body would allow, but the wound proved too much and he collapsed to the floor.
The Foundation soldiers were pouring fire onto the now occupied Humvee with the others in, rounds ricocheting off of the reinforced glass and armoured plating. They had begun to rally around the frozen man in power armour, one dropping a toolbox and setting to work on his leg.
Outside, all hell was loose. Gunfire was rampant and rounds tore through the air in every direction. Puffs of dirt kicked up from bullets and the 'thump' of grenades rang through eardrums. The bandits had regrouped and formed a tighter wall with their trucks, almost completely protecting them. The Foundation were still laying over the bonnets and pouring fire onto them, the heavy machine guns tearing into flesh and metal alike.
Blake's eyes snapped to Mortis as the scarred mutant landed heavily inside the humvee. His weapons were still fixed on the stranger but as Blake's anger at the raggedy doctor resurfaced, he felt his weight lighten on the stranger's throat.
As something pressed against his chest and an ominous click reached his ears, Blake's eyes flicked down before fixing back onto Mortis. An impressive-looking Desert Eagle was pointing directly onto his heart, held by the stranger. Growling like some wild beast, Blake tensed all of his muscles. He fixed the stranger with a murderous stare. "Prove the Good Man favours you. Get Marcus." With those final words, he shoved the stranger out of the Humvee, ignoring the man's grunts as he tumbled to the ground.
Without pausing, Blake lunged for Mortis, plunging his knife into the mutant's right shoulder whilst the beretta pressed hard against his forehead. Blake's rictus smile gave the mutant hunter a crazed look, the long scar on his head, blazing red against his pale features. His fury bubbling inside, Blake hissed menacingly at the grotesquely-scarred mutant. "No pain... But I'm sure a bullet to that wicked brain of your's would send you straight to hell, monster."
Mortis' back was pressed firmly against the cold metallic base of the militaristic vehicle, rounded bolts rising ,jutting along his spine as he lay motionless lost in the twisted recesses of his mind. He was calculating over in his head just how useful Delrath had been and whether his demise was a necessary loss. A minute of intense thought brought the conclusion that there were in fact more of the clan that monster hailed from, a fact 'It' felt so inclined to announce. This realisation caused the corner of his left lip to curl into a fiendish smirk.
There will be more opportunities
Mortis paused for a moment, the lids of his eyes coming to a close. The chaos of the world around him began to slow, sounds became clean and crisp, the fragrance of blood and gunpowder flaring through his nostril. The heavy pants of his companion, Marcus rising above the gunfire and screams. His inhales and exhales becoming metronomic, Mortis' trance was interrupted swiftly by a foul and familiar tone, Angelic in key.
"A tiss-ue, a tiss-ue, we all. Fall. Down..."
His trance was broken. His body jolted upwards with inhuman alacrity, his sadistic smile curling upwards across his portrait. His fingers curled in and out of his grasp like a nervous tick and his head cocked ever so suddenly with a clearly audial Crack! Mortis' eyes drew focus and were greeted with the visage of pistol barrel aimed square in the centre of his forehead. Tingly against his flesh was a feeling of sleek steel folded to an edge. His prey towered over him, his face emblazoned in red, his lips moved but sound was yet grace Mortis' ears once more.
"We all. Fall Down..."
Mortis saw a perplexed expression creep along that mauled face, Mortis took this opportunity to slash the scalpel in his lab-coat pocket across the hunters thigh, deep but mostly superficial. The man winced and dropped his guard for a split second, A split second that Mortis took advantage of. Mortis pushed with all his might, the strength surprising for his build, casting his prey against the side of the vehicle. Wasting no time Mortis leapt through the exit, but not before catching a glimpse of the small girl, yet another damaged individual for their entourage.
Mortis was now in the dread of the battle field, behind him the steel husk they had hoped to escape in, before him the image of Marcus, bleeding heavily and the fool he had met earlier aiding him in his rise. Beside him was the lacerated man he had seen earlier, he was near death but holding onto life with ever fibre of his being.
Mortis slid along the dusty earth of the waste skidding beside the dying man, Marcus and Shaun. He exchanged a subtle nod with both of them before violently gripping the foreign man by the grimy collar and dragging him towards the Humvee in the foreground.
"Fuck you, I am in his favor!" Shaun yells back in response to him, a sudden figure came from the hummer, it was the man Shaun met earlier, "Hello Mortis, I see that brute threw you out as well" Shaun spoke as he helped the pale man up, he only responded in a nod as he dragged the injured man back to the steel humvee Something is definitely going on here Shaun thought as he turned back to Marcus.
Shaun walked up to the injured Marcus, "Need a hand mate?" Shaun spoke with a heavy grin across his face, "Can't ignore me now, can't you...hehe, can you walk?" Shaun chuckled as pulled out his emergency survival kit and started to bandage the injured part of Marcus's waist.
A few second have passed and Shaun has wrapped the bandages successfully around Marcus, "This should hold for now until we reach a doctor, also don't speak, you don't want to be dehydrated out here" Shaun muttered to Marcus as he grabbed his arm and put it across Shaun's shoulders and held it in place with one hand, then he started to walk towards the metal hummer with Marcus, hoping to avoid fire.
Blake glanced down in confusion at the gash on his thigh, frowning at the stinging sensation pulsating across the rest of his leg. The abomination had been right there to kill, but he'd only stabbed him in the shoulder and threatened with his gun. In previous years, Blake would never have erred so foolishly; he would have struck the hellspawn down immediately with his righteousness.
But something had stopped him from outright killing the mutant. What was it? A quiet voice inside Blake's head uttered the words "man-made" over and over again. Before it could get louder, he squashed the voice down. "The Good Man will give me strength," he muttered quietly, ignoring the raging battle outside as he focused his attention on Mortis.
For some reason, Blake no longer felt the blind fury that had recently gripped him whenever he thought of the shambling mutant. He stared, entranced, as Mortis began dragging the wounded crewman towards the humvee.
He's doing more to good than I am right now... He grimaced at the thought, the idea of a Good Man-blessed mutant turning his stomach. The abomination can wait, he told himself.
Frowning at his own thoughts, Blake put away his weapons and urged the men to hurry.
Ashe swung the Fifty Cal from side to side as she belted out barrage after barrage of heated lead towards Foundation and Bandit alike. The belt feeding the gun didn't seem to stop jiggling as Ashe continuously fired, not relenting until there would be no more enemies left to kill. She fired at the men behind the leader for a split second before turning to another group of bandits trying to peak their head out. The men behind the leader fell back a bit as rounds nearly tore into them and Ashe was sure that she hit one of the bandits.
Ashe saw out the corner of her eye Marcus being pulled closer to the Humvee but that didn't stop her from continuing. It almost felt reliving to her. Then the click of a jam stopped her heart. Ashe scrambled to clear the jam by the way she was taught. She tried cocking again to clear the jam but a round ricocheted past her head driving her head downwards.
"The gun's jammed!" Ashe yelled. She peaked her head out again but that attempt was met with incoming fire from men realizing that her barrage had stopped.
Marcus hung from Shaun's shoulder, trying to move his legs but with no luck. He slumped to the side, nearly dragging Shaun to the floor. He coughed again, with more the warm red copperish substance being spat up, gleaming on the vegetation. Feeling around his waist, Marcus placed the his index and middle finger into the wound. He let out a cry of agony, nearly passing out again. He dug the fingers deeper into the wound, each bump as he was being dragged causing agonizing pain. He finally felt a metallic object resting inside of his gut and with great difficulty gripped the round. Tugging it out, he screamed in pain until in his blood stained hand, a bullet lay. Grinning to himself, Marcus slipped the round into a pocket in his combats and then passed out.
The Foundation soldiers, wary of the heavy machine gun moved carefully forwards, each with rifle raised. They advanced in formation, with spacing between them. Roughly fifty or so metres from the Hummer.
The battle outside was raging on still, with The Bandits fighting on for the chance to loot Foundation equipment and The Foundation fighting on to protect an important investment. The superior firepower of The Foundation was winning out, with accurate and well placed shots wounding or killing the more experienced bandits.
The engine of the humvee roared to life and Irish was beaming with success, but his internal celebration was cut short by the rounds that began battering the vehicle. Luckily none of the rounds had pierced the vehicle but with the concentration of gunfire on the windshield, Irish wasn't sure how long it would hold. Suddenly a wild idea formed in his mind and he quickly opened his pack and dug into the tackle box he had for fishing line. He pulled out a roll of line, shut the box and zipped the pack shut, then dug into his pocket for his Swiss Army knife. Painfully, he clambered into the back, unwound a few feet of line and cut it with the knife. After pulling the limp corpse from the gunner's hatch to gain access to the .50, he reached up and wound the line around the trigger and tied a loose knot. Certain the line would hold, he positioned the business-end of the MG in the general direction of the advancing soldiers and yanked hard on the line. The knot tightened and put firm pressure on the trigger causing the MG to fire upon the troopers. Irish was sure this would buy him enough time to execute the second part of his plan, and with that surety he reached for a carbine on the floor of the humvee, set it in the passenger seat, then clambered back into the driver's seat with the line and knife in hand. Unwinding several more feet of line, he cut two equal-length strands and began working on securing the steering wheel in place.
Shaun looked at the dazed Marcus grabbing the bullet from within his wound, "I thought I put a damn bandage around that, and WHAT fucking idiot removes the bandage!" Shaun yelled to himself as he put Marcus down, avoiding gunfire, and tightening the bandaging around Marcus.
After picking Marcus up once more Shaun started to resume his journey to the hummer, "Motherfucker, I wonder if Mortis made it yet, DONT LEAVE ME YOU ASSHOLES!" Shaun screamed out loud which echoed through-out the dome with the gunfire.
Shaun pulled out Ebony, noticing the greater increase in fire. He fired a round into the nearest enemy near him which turned out to be a Foundation soldier, he got shoot in the back of the neck when he didn't check behind himself, blood splattered on the ground.
The gunfire kept getting louder as Shaun drew near the hummmer with Marcus around his shoulder, "Guys, I need help!" Shaun yelled.
Mortis was drawing nearer to the foundation vehicle, nearer to his escape. Hot, piercing, shrapnel and rounds of lead flung through the air all around him, unrecognisable corpses littered the battleground mingling with the wounded and dying. The putrid stench of blood and smoke wafted through the air. Mortis' 'prize' was limp, but not lifeless. The man's clothes and flesh were torn, soaked in the lustre of rubies, his eye's rolled in the back of skull and an insistent twitch in his left leg that did little to deter Mortis' strides.
Mortis made a last ditch effort to make it to the Humvee in one piece, a shame the same could not be said about his companion, Mortis cared not whether this man lived or perished, it was his body he wanted and nothing more. In the rising dust of his sprint he skidded around the corner of the vehicle, nearly ramming the 'patient's skull against the bumper of the machine. A twinge of confusion ran through Mortis' macabre mind as he was greeted with an agitated but hardly murderous visage of his prey. A scowl flushed over the 'ragdoll's features like the downpour of a cursed storm as Blake aided him in raising the body into the safety of their ride.
"Where is that rage?! Where is that bloodlust?! "
Stamping down the rising hatred, Blake pulled the severely injured crewman into the humvee from Mortis' bony hands. The man was covered in - and still losing - a lot of blood but Blake had never had any skill with first aid. Eyes scanning the man's crimson-slicked uniform, He suddenly heard the stranger shouting for help from outside of the vehicle.
I am one of the Good Man's chosen, He thought, hands slipping as he attempted to apply pressure to the man's wounds. I must do something. Blake closed his eyes and made a silent prayer before shuffling to the humvee's opening.
Setting aside the raging fury inside of him, Blake flicked his eyes briefly to Mortis. "Keep him alive, ragdoll," He growled, "I'm going after the other two." As he readied himself to jump back into the chaotic firefight, Blake finally fixed Mortis with a hard stare, his eyes blazing with the promise of death. "The Good Man knows this ain't over between us, hellspawn." With that, Blake pushed into the fray.
It wasn't far to the stranger struggling with the prone body of Marcus. Blake skidded to a halt, cursing as a bullet narrowly missed his head. "He's alive?" He asked the stranger. Marcus had a horrific wound to his gut; hopefully it was something that could be dealt with if they got him back to Crux safely. The stranger nodded in response to Blake's question and shifted his weight to allow Blake an easy hold of the bleeding man.
The two men quickly got Marcus into the humvee, blood covering their entire arms and most of their fronts. Blake pulled himself into the back, breathing heavily.
"Ford," He shouted through his panting, "We got 'em, get us out of here!"
Ashe looked back up. She needed to get the gun going again. Then the banter of machine gun fire started up again but it wasn't from her. Ashe peaked her head out and realized that the other humvee had started firing but there was no gunner.
She saw some of the Foundation soldiers advancing towards them duck their heads as the gun fired, almost instinctively. Using this to her advantage she tried her hand at unjamming the gun again. After a few tense moments the M2 was firing again. Ashe pointed towards the advancing soldiers and fired.
Soon she heard the group retrieve Marcus and the yelling at Ford to get the truck going again but Ashe didn't stop firing.
Irish tightened the last knot of his makeshift steering wheel rig, giving it a couple test tugs to see how well it would hold, then put the knife into his pocket and tucked the roll of line into his pack. The constant battering the windshield was recieving from incoming fire was beginning to take its toll as cracks formed and almost immediately began windening. Irish grabbed his pack, tossed it out the open driver's side door, picked up the carbine he set on the passenger seat and hopped out of the humvee.
The door provided enough cover for him to execute the second phase of his plan with precision. He removed the magazine from the carbine and ejected the round from the chamber, Waste not, want not, he thought with a smile. After pocketing the mag and the round, he firmly grasped the carbine and jammed the barrel as far under the seat as it would allow then wedged the stock against the gas pedal. The humvee roared as it began rapidly accelerating toward the Foundation soldiers.
The troopers had begun to make a gap in their line to let the humvee pass through when suddenly one of the lines securing the steering wheel snapped and the humvee started violently swerving left and right. With the unpredictable sway of the vehicle and the incoming fire from the MG sweeping across their line, the troopers scattered like roaches; running, ducking and diving for cover.
Well, better than I expected. Taking advantage of the chaos he hobbled over to the other humvee, dragging his pack along the whole way. He yanked open the passenger door, swept his gaze across the other occupants and smiled wide. "Room fer one moor?"
Shaun was looking at the heavy injured body of Marcus and saw that the bandages he put on him were slowly becoming useless, "Damn these B-graded shit bandages, is there a doctor here!?" Shaun asked everyone, but there was one character that he hasn't seen before, "Room fer one moor?" he spoke in a strange accent, "Yeah sure, just sit anyway, just don't come over here, this man is bleeding a lot" Shaun greeted the newcomer just like himself as he applied pressure to the wound and tried to look for more bandages.
From the very moment Mortis hoisted himself into the Foundation vehicle, it had become his operating room. The man lay before him, his chest torn to ribbon by what he had assumed were a great arachnids claws, the jagged edges of ripped flesh running along the lacerations a clear indication in favour of his hypothesis. This stranger was resting against deaths door, his chances of survival dwindling by the second. Mortis had been told once in his relatively brief time in the wastes that "It's a doctor's duty to help the sick", to which Mortis had simply giggled.
To 'save' people, to 'fix' people, to 'help' people, these were not his motivations. To him all he needed was the challenge; to wrest some wrenched monster from death's cold icy grasp, to defy the very expectations of nature itself just because he could. To call Mortis a doctor was the wrong term, in his mind: He was an artist.
Mortis had only just finished scanning over the body his eyes keen, pinpointing every vein and artery that had been either torn or sliced, every bone and ligament that had been dislodged or snapped. A second body, far more familiar than the last, landed hard against the metallic base of his surgeons theatre, his prey and the fool he had met earlier crawled in after it. The new task was their intrepid leader, Marcus, his side bleeding profusely, enough to coat the attire of his paramedics a rich crimson.
Mortis' scars that ran up his cheeks began to rise, the stark white of his teeth revealed as the curtain of his smile was raised. His world went black, silent but for the deep drum beat of his patients hearts, almost in unison.
"Eeny, meeny, miny, moe,"
"Catch the monster by the toe"
"If it screams let it go"
"Eeny, meeny, miny, MOE!"
"May I have that, Dear?" Mortis outstretched his stitch-scar adorned hand, a spindly finger uncoiled towards the black leather bag resting comfortable to the side just out of reach. His eye's firmly locked onto the small girl pressed firmly aback as far as she could, shivering ever so slightly.
"A penny for the alderman"
That all Hex saw from her corner of the truck as she huddled out of harm and everyone else's way, strands of childish melody twisting from lips pressed tight. She watched as everyone piled in, then ran out as the man fell. She watched, wide eyed, from her seat atop her bag, blending in with the other luggage that seemed to have migrated her way.
"A farthing for a bell"
Of course, that's what it looked like. Wide eyes assessed the situation carefully, rather than being overwhelmed by it, and the hands that had fallen to her sides were toying with a knife about the width of her palm, running a thumb alng the edge, deliberately right next to the opening to her sachel in case of any need to quickly discard it. Watching the man get dragged back to the vehicle, she kept an eye on the scarred one, studying the twists of scar tissue, from what looked like cut and burn alike as it moved over the exposed skin.
"A shilling for the grave maker"
When his hand extended towards her, though, she acted just as one could expect, shrinking back slightly before she nodded assent, and reached beside her. As the sides of the bag fell open in the process, she let a cursory glance assess its contents. Under the mask of simple curiosity, it took but a moment to determine she really should take a look into the contents at a later date. Sliding it closer, the pool of blood on the floorspace growing steadily larger, she slid it across the floor, gaze avoiding looking the man in the eyes.
"To bury little Nell."
Mortis wrapped his skeletal fingers around the soft, worn, leather of his black doctor's bag, a feeling of nostalgia rushing through his veins. The rapid current of a shiver raced up his arm as the small woman trembled ever so slightly during their exchange. She hid her unease well enough, but Mortis had learnt during his short time in the wastes the telltale signs of fear that humans exhibit. Under her breath rang a sombre tune, just beyond his ears reach. As she recoiled he noticed a glimmer in the small framed woman's eye as she glanced over the contents that graced his medical cache.
"A thief, how... Familiar."
Mortis, now armed with the tools of his trade, began positioning the bodies. Marcus was placed to his left and the stranger to his right. Marcus' examination was far simpler than that of the unknown figure: A bullet wound, high calibre, had pierced his side. It hadn't severed the artery but it had torn it. Upon closer inspection, beneath the poorly fastened bandages Shaun had applied, it appeared that a portion of the work had been done for Mortis; the bullet had already been removed.
The plague of red was slowly seeping further and further across the floor of his operating room, time was quickly becoming of dire importance. Mortis turned his attention to his comrade and pseudo-leader, his treatment was far more straight forward than that of the foreigner. Mortis reached into his bag of medicine and pulled out a myriad of metallic instruments, some simple blades while others were more odd and exotic. A thin needle complimented with a liquid of milky white smoothly slipped beneath the skin of his neck, the fluid slowly emptying from it's chamber. the pain etched onto Marcus' face was washed away with an unnatural sense of laxness. Next came the blade. The scalpel made the swift outline of a across section across the gaping wound, with this Mortis was able to pull back the flesh and fat impeding his progress. Two small clamps were applied to the artery and a plastic tube running adjacent to return the flow of blood while he worked. This was practically the final part of the operation and the most important. The tissue that hung from the tare of his thick blood vessel was still alive and malleable, Mortis sewed the artery closed and followed with the application of a clear liquid with a tinge of blue. The tissue sizzled as the acid cauterised and sealed the damage. When all seemed well he removed the clamps that held back the tide of crimson and watched as his handiwork once again spat in the face of god.
With Marcus free of death's grasp, there was but one more hurdle to face; The mauled figure lying to his right. Mortis punctured the stranger's throat with a syringe of the same pain nullifying concoction that he had given Marcus, it's dosage almost twice of that his companion had received but the effect was the same. Mortis discovered he needn't make an incision on this new patient, his flesh was torn well beyond what was necessary for the invasive surgery. His stomach was gashed, and corrosive liquids were seeping through. Two of the man's ribs were broken and needed to be repositioned and several of his secondary veins were severed completely. Aside from the physical was the risk of infection, his wounds were like great maws and dirt and grime had already found their way in. Mortis performed a similar technique of stitch-work upon the gash in his digestive chamber as he had on Marcus, the acid that leaked through the stomachs walls were rapidly drawn with the aid of a long, slender, cylindrical instrument of glass that drew the liquid with the pressure of air via a valve. Step one, a success. Time was running thin, Mortis made haste and moved onto his next objective: The ribs. He reached into his black bag and pulled out a device similar to a stapler with a gas chamber hooked to the side. He positioned the bones to the best of his ability but calcium shards had come lose meaning they would never truly fit perfectly back together. A noise akin to gunfire reverberated through the mobile medical theatre as bolts of sterile steel shot through the bones casting them imperfectly in place. Not Mortis' best work but he was under pressure, his battle with the forces of life and death incurring the unseen time limit to his operation. Finally, now that the ribs were out of the way Mortis could focus on the thin de oxygenated valves called veins. The process was yet again, much like Marcus', albeit with the greater requirement of precise due to the restrictions of size however. It was a dangerous surgery, Mortis had nearly over cauterised the veins, ensuring the man's demise. However, With quick thinking he was able to dilute the agent before it burnt too deep. As a final measure, Mortis delved into the deepest recesses of his black bag pulling out his last immuno-booster. He had no need for it and the man was at a critical risk of infection. He thrust the wire thin proboscis into a vein running along his forearm, the yellow ichor of the antibiotics channelling it's way into his body.
Mortis lifted amidst the puddle of blood, the lights of the world around him returning. Both his patients exhibited similar transitions, the colour returning to their flesh as the feeble stream of life that coursed through their bodies became a raging torrent.
"They shall both live, such a shame." Mortis said, a tune of pride edging his words, much in the manner his scars edged his smile.
Reaper, I win.
Shaun stared in awe at the operation that Doctor Mortis succeed in, especially because were in an enemy vehicle with bullets whizzing around us like a sharp fresh wind in the summer breeze. Shaun than looked at the two bodies and saw the color return to them like they have had another chance at life, the battle outside was still raging, bandits against foundation and they still haven't forgot about us. Shaun turned towards the driver "Get us the fuck out of here already!" he yelled to the front seat driver, Shaun then chuckled at Mortis's last words as Shaun kept tapping he knees in nervousness awaiting the humvee to roll out.
Irish looked curiously at the man who greeted him. "Hasn't yer mudder e'er told ye about the dangers o' strangers?" Throwing his pack into the humvee he remembered a bit of wisdom about gift horses, and he certainly wasn't about to check any orifice of this particular one. With that, he threw his pack into the humvee and climbed in after. "I s'pose we'll be makin' all the proper introductions after we get the 'Ell outta 'ere."
A loud crash could be heard by all as the rigged humvee slammed into one of the foundation trucks and came to a halt. The MG, however, was mercilessly hammering into the truck. That seems to 'ave run its course... Irish thought before shouting aloud: "Iffen ye all wanna get shot an' killed then please, by all means, keep off the feckin' gas pedal!"
Blake sat facing the makeshift operating theatre, the wounded men's blood slicking the floor of the humvee. He's good... he thought to himself, watching the mutant doctor work hard to save the injured crewman. Mortis had been impressive when dealing with Marcus' gunshot wound, but the crewman was in a much worse state and Blake was certain that the ragged mutant wouldn't be able to keep the Good Man from taking this soul.
As he watched Mortis working methodically, using all manner of strange contraptions, Blake's mind began to wander. Is this...thing...really evil? He's working hard to save a man he doesn't even know after having saved a man he barely knows. Squeezing his eyes shut, Blake banished the blasphemous thought form his mind. No...the Good Man is truly testing me this time. My faith cannot falter in the face of such trickery.
Eyes snapping open, Blake searched Mortis' scarred face, intense concentration fixing it in place. The 'smile' spreading across the doctor's cheeks gave the intensity of his face a horrific quality, something that parents would describe to their children to ensure their obedience. 'If you aren't good, then the scarred doctor will come and cut off your arm'. Looking at that permanent grin, Blake was convinced. The abominations are evil. This righteous act is a trick...there is an ulterior motive.
He had seen it all before. Mutants rescuing kids from drowning, gaining access to their village as a result. A few days would go by and then suddenly, people would begin to disappear. And the mutants would grow fatter. The Good Man liked to test Blake's faith constantly, introducing mutants with seemingly good intentions into his life. But Blake never faltered; all mutants were evil and needed to be eradicated if this Twisted Earth were to become straight again. At least we're down one mutant in the group, he reminded himself, thinking back to Delrath's quick death at the hands of the Foundation group's leader.
Focusing outside of his mind once again, Blake saw that Mortis had finished dealing with the crewman. The mutant was covered in sticky ichor, and his grinning scar framed a faint smile. Blake noticed that the two men were breathing, shallow but steady The Ragdoll truly is a test of my faith... he mused. False claims of being man-made, good deeds towards humans...Yes, a true test.
"They shall both live, such a shame." Mortis' voice cut through the raging gunfire outside, pride subtly dripping form his lips. The others sighed as one, all seemingly releasing the breaths they had not realised they were holding. Blake merely smiled, a feeling of triumph and self-indulgence spreading through his body.
"...Such a Shame." Three words that give you away, Ragdoll. Blake breathed deeply, savouring the foetid smell of gore, a reminder that Mortis' good deed was tinged with something disturbing, something that needed to be watched.
I see through your tricks, Ragdoll. And I will get you eventually, the Good Man's people inevitably do. But for now, I'll let you bathe in your false glory.
Ford slammed his foot onto the accelerator, the roar of the engine blanketed all other sounds for a moment. The wheels skidded and dug into the dirt, spraying mud. Then with a shudder, the vehicle pulled away. Accelerating quick enough to push all inside back into their seats. The hummer pulled out of the dome, tearing up the vegetation, the sunlight tearing through the darkened storm clouds blinding Ford temporarily. Expertly timing the braking, he drifted the vehicle and pulled away, heading away from the Dome, passing the two trucks they had left earlier. Ford let out a deep breath and a sigh of relief.
A heavy 'Dink' on the rear of the vehicle brought to attention the occupied Foundation Humvee following them - Obviously the bandits had pulled back. The rounds tore past, spraying dust and dirt over the bonnet of the jeep. Ford swerved to the left and right, trying to dodge as many rounds as possible, a frown of concentration creeping onto his face as he rustled the gear stick and spun the wheel, to dodge another burst from the enemy vehicle.
Ashe pounded away on the Foundation as they pulled out of the dome and back into the desert. The stormy clouds had dissolved into a steel gray that was occasionally pierced by the light of the burning sun. It looked breathtaking but Ashe only saw it as they drove back into the desert as shots pocked the land around them, occasionally ricocheting off the armor of the Humvee.
Ashe had also run out of ammo as the box attached to the machine gun remained there empty and devoid of ammunition except for the unused or separated belt that must have been left there by the Foundation. Ashe leaned over slightly looking over the damage as the dust kicked up all around her. It would be a lie to say that Humvee was unscathed and that particular side of that jeep was lightly damaged. Two rounds had made large dents the size of her hand from what she could see and it was a wonder that none had pierced the armor. Ashe leaned back down without acknowledging the new member and grabbed the body of the dead foundation soldier.
"You using this Mortis?" Ashe asked.
"Eeny, Meeny, Miney, Mo.
Catch a tiger by it's toe.
If it squeals, let it go..."
From her perch, Hex watched and waited as they moved forward, the force of their takeoff pressing her back in her seat just as much as the grace of self preservation and the intense desire to avoid a rogue bullet to the back of the skull. Interweaving her elongated digits, she stared at each one, the pads covered in the soft dust of the environment and the nails kept worn down by hard use. A checklist was what she wanted. Devoid of any form of recording device, she resorted instead to the children's game
"Eeny," she spoke lightly, her index finger. The one which she always caressed against the very edge of her blades to make sure they were sharp before she threw them. She began with the man who now sat staring with the eyes of a daemon at the figure bent over the two patients, the one who had before been carrying around a crossbow like a child's toy. He was one to watch, from what she had seen. From his outraged bellows before, it wasn't hard to realise that he was about as hard to anger as it was to raise the ire of the foundation, and they seemed to have all found out exactly how simple that was. Apparently equally as religious from what she had caught of his mutterings, and like all zealots, that gave her enough reason to avoid him. He was something to be wary of, rather than to fear. That scar he wore, however, was interesting. As much a collector of information as one of prized items, it wouldn't be long until her curiosity got the better of her and she asked. Bending her finger slightly, the dust forming red-brown lines where it had creased, she crossed him off the list.
"Meeny," The middle finger, one of insult. It suited her next choice. Shaun was what he had called himself, and he irritated her for no damn reason. She wasn't a gravid person at the best of times; however the man had no right to be so cheerful with a bag over his head in the middle of a damn fire fight. Still, he had, by proxy, earned her a way out of the predicament she had found herself in. His eyes, though... He had to have some sort of mutation. Perhaps his tomfoolery was a ruse? Crooking the tip of that finger to follow the first, her gaze traversed the room, skimming the tip of a chipped nail, to the prone figure of the man who had tossed her in here.
"Miney," her ring finger bent down till it rested in the valley between her knuckles, overlapping the threshold where the bandages that coarsely bound her wrists stopped. It was like this where the odd length of her fingers became apparent. She could nearly graze her wrists with the pads of her fingers when she had them intertwined like this, as she often did when in thought. This man, drawing the attention from nearly every pair of eyes in the room, had to be some sort of central figure. Judging from the pool of blood on the floor, and the state of the dressings that even now looked like they needed changing from the bleed through, he wasn't going to live too much longer. Either that or the person who had operated on him in the makeshift infirmary was a genius. This brought her to the final person she had come into contact with so far, the others in the vehicle disregarded simply because up until now, they had ignored her in light of imminent mortality.
"Mo," She murmured, staccato, under her breath, losing the childlike tone as well as the levity in her disposition, clenching both hands into a ball. Eyes steely, she watched him. She had recognised him as threw himself flat on his back, skidding back the few inches on the truck bed so that his face was revealed, however briefly, from under the flimsy strands of char-tipped hair. The Chelsea smile, like a macabre child's doll from the ruins of what was before, mocked her even before it had turned in her direction, a half-remembered figure drawn from a memory of not too long ago. And then the voice, heard on the wind only once before in her memory, served only to drive the hammer to the chisel, shattering the stone that stood in place of her continuing safety. By her grandmother's beard, she wasn't going to find herself alone with him anytime soon. However, the time of need for a pretence of ignorance or fear was a long time over in his case. Speaking in a voice low enough to carry to his ears only, she smirked slightly, returning to her usual childish demeanour.
"How quaint. I could say I'm glad to see you're still alive, but that doesn't stand to truth now, does it?"
If she couldn't be amused by the follies of fate, who could?
Without hesitation Ashe hoisted the body onto the roof of the truck, hanging on to it with one hand while securing him with a piece of rope with the other. The soldier looked young in Ashe's eyes and barely as old as her. The dead body could have been a kid and Ashe wouldn't be surprised.
With the bungee chord Ashe found she fastened him onto the gun with his body hanging on its back facing the sun. The chord was wrapped around its neck with his arms and legs strewn over the back. It would only be there for a bit anyway. Ashe patted down the soldier in search for anything useful, something she has done time and time again on this Twisted Earth to any unfortunate body lying on the side of the road or anyone she has killed, one way or the other.
The magazines, any ammunition, and eventually armor was thrown down as Ashe picked the dead body clean. No remorse or any hint of decency was put into thought as she went through his body because after all none was given to her and she had to return the favor somehow. Finally Ashe came upon to the man's dog tag on his neck next to a gaping wound where a round had made its way through. Ashe looked at the shiny piece of metal and stuffed that into her pocket before taking out her knife.
Irish stuck his head out the window and looked back at the humvee that was giving chase. Methinks they weren't too happy about tha' parting gift I left 'em. He thought, right before a round ricocheted off the frame of the window. "Ye missed, ye mollycoddled ape!!" Irish taunted, laughing a bit. He stuck his head back in, then unslung his rifle and let it rest between his legs. He took a moment to look at all other occupants, silently taking note of their appearances, digging through his memory for any recollection of them. This is def'nitely an odd lot o' folk...hope they take as kindly to strangers as the welcomin' committee, 'cause I sure as 'Ell don't know any o' these fellers. His gaze fell upon the bald man and Irish began looking at him very closely. That scar looks familiar...mayhap I traded wit' tha' one at some time or anot'er.
The vibrations of the churning engine beneath the raggedy doctor's heel sent ripples of kinetic energy through his stark, pale flesh. He stood, the central focus of the tiny chamber as the machine roared to life and bolted across the rocky and blemished wastes of this twisted earth. Adjacent to his towering visage, breathing deeply with the facial quirks of a returning agony, were the contrasting guises of the two men he had wrested from the purgatory between life and death. Mortis miraculously remained at attention as the vehicle swerved to and fro, the hail of blazing lead reverberating against its thick metal shell like the 'pitter-patter' of a growing storm.
To Mortis' front was the beckoning of the androgynous Ashe, adamant in her decision to maintain her false gender farce. In the corners of his eyes were the rest of the occupants their getaway vehicle, the familiar mauled features of his pious prey, the illuminated gaze of the fool he had briefly interacted with earlier. To the strain of Mortis' near perfect memory was a figure with a peculiar tone, he was goading the armed militia in direct pursuit with them; obviously yet another intellectually impaired member of precious band of miscreants. However, over of all the inhabitants of this mobile steel prison, one stood above them all, enticing the ragdoll's intrigue so purely.
Perched in his slender, looming shadow, called the siren. Creeping along his spine and into his the crevices of his ears like a vile parasite was the angelic tone of a familiar nursery-rhyme he had learnt as 'child' complimented with the equally nostalgic ringing of cracking bones.
"How quaint. I could say I'm glad to see you're still alive, but that doesn't stand to truth now, does it?" Whispered the harlot. As Mortis turned to grace her, he was presented with a smile rivalling his own. A mask for the feelings she held so close to heart and so far from the surface, dread.
"Because I could not stop for Death-
He kindly stopped for me-
The Carriage held but just Ourselves-
The spire of a man began advancing on the tiny woman. His first stride causing her to press hard against the cold rattling rear of the foundation machine. The second bringing but a step the the girl and he, a skeletal hand coming to a halt loosely wrapped around her neck, ready to constrict.
"I wonder... How much pressure would it take to snap this pretty little bone?" The tip of his index pressing against a plate of her spine that lead to the base of her skull.