Blake loaded his crossbow slowly and methodically as gunfire roared around him. Setting himself up at the window, he picked his target: a relatively short man wearing a dust-mask fire ineffectually at the hardened skin of Delrath. Hovering his sights over Delrath's head, Blake sighed and gently squeezed the trigger just short of unleashing retribution. Suddenly, a fearsome crack tore through part of the truck, throwing Blake to the floor.
A decade of this life had honed Blake's skills to perfection, resulting him the fact that when he was thrown to the floor, he hadn't dropped his crossbow. Surprisingly, it was also still loaded. Snapping back into position, he searched for the giant mutant, and the short raider. Spotting his target, he squeezed the trigger, a small smile touching his lips as he watched the bolt strike the man square in the chest.
Shifting his weight to the left, Blake swiftly loaded another bolt and fired - seemingly in one motion - at another raider firing at Delrath.
As he panned the landscape for more targets, something caught Blake's eye; a brief flash of glare from the sun. Unsure, he waited and then, "yes," he breathed as a muzzle flash sparked, betraying the location of the sniper.
Unable to reach the sniper from his own position, Blake clambered to the back of the truck and searched the bags for a handgun. "Oh hello," he murmured, pulling a beretta 9mm from a dirty sports bag. After strapping his crossbow onto his back with a piece of cord found in the bag, Blake grabbed a clip for his newly-acqiured weapon, he loaded the pistol, drew his knife and prepared to go into the firestorm.
"I'm going after that sniper!" He roared to anyone who could hear him, and then sprung out of teh window with alarming speed and agility.
The raider fell backwards from the impact, letting out a savage scream of rage, he stood up. snapping the crossbow bolt from his chest. In a moment of madness, the radier jumper onto Delrath, pushing him to the floor.
In the distance, from one of the hills, a figure appeared. He had just stood up and began running towards the group, brandishing what looked like a machete.
At the back of the trucks, Marcus was pinning down the two raiders from the other truck. With short bursts from his Rifle.
"Good" Was all Delrath muttered as he watched the two raider's spewing blood fall to the ground. The third survived long enough to jump him. Delrath quickly grappled the man off and with a satisfying snap he tore the man's arm off. Two loud shots rang out and Delrath turned to see Ashe taking cover The girl's not completely useless He thought as he dashed across the landscape and dove into the cover by her. "If I draw him out, you kill?" Delrath asked he would rather do it himself but he had watched a sniper take out 3 of his tribe before he was captured, he knew the danger, even he might only be able to take one or two shots. He closed his eyes and inhaled trying to track the sniper, too many scents were present all he could do was discern the vague direction of the sniper.
Ashe leaned her head out again and spotted a figure running towards the group. Dumbfounded she leaned back and looked towards Delrath.
"No need for that..." Ashe leaned out with her Colt Python in both her hands. "He's coming towards us!" Ashe waited for the man to come into range as he was still running. She aimed the magnum with both hands and increased her stance. Ashe only fired the weapon twice before and the kick from the weapon was enough to send anyone who hasn't trained with the gun a magnum towards the face. Ashe lined up the shot towards the center mass of the charging figure. Ashe fired the magnum. The figure running towards them was stopped in his tracks as he flew backwards as if he had run into an invisible wall.
"I think I got him..." Ashe said after seeing the raider fly.
His raiding instincts not letting up even now, Kreth rummaged through the pockets of the man who's blood was still poring from his wounds. He found some coins and ammo, pocketing them before dipping his fingers into the blood of the man. He smeared the crimson fluid across his face before grabbing his knives again and looked up to see who his next target should be. He saw a man with a machete raised over his head charging towards the group. Grinning sadistically, Kreth got to his feet and charged back at the man, looking for a good fight.
While the man was running forward though, he suddenly staggered back, dropping to the ground. Apparently he had been shot by one of Kreth's allies. Kreth looked back towards where the rest of the group should be and raised his hands in frustration.
"Damn guns..." Kreth muttered under his breath before turning back around to see if there were any other enemies about.
Years of brandishing his own beretta gave Blake the impressive ability to kill men with one simple shot to the head. Flowing from target to target, he paced - knees bent - through the carnage, eyes constantly flitting towards the sniper's location.
Suddenly, a man brandishing a machete jumped up from the location Blake was focused on. dropping to his knees, sheathing his knife and dropping his gun, Blake began unstrapping the crossbow. Before he was able to load a bolt, however, the man was flung backwards from a heavy shot. "Hmph," he grunted, loading a his crossbow and viewing the prone man in his sight.
Breathing slowly, Blake fired. The body flinched as the bolt pierced the ribs. Blake loaded another bolt and called to Ashe, "shoot him again! Make sure he's definitely dead!"
"Good" Delrath said before stepping out of cover, it seemed to him that their enemies were vanquished. Delrath scowled he hated the quiet, the peace, he longed for an enemy. The raider that had gotten his arm pulled off coughed up a small stream off blood before reaching for a knife and throwing it at Delrath. It landed several feet away no where near him, "Still alive?" Delrath asked before slowly standing on the man's chest. "Leader where?" Delrath asked as one of the man's ribs snapped. "Ffff-uck up-" The man started to sputter before Delrath stomped on his chest shattering his ribs and killing him. He reached down and yanked two fingers of the man, chewing slowly on one while he waited for the others.
Mortis hit the deck when the bullets began to fly. He lay there motionless watching as each member of this little crew went to arms and leapt from the vehicle. Once everyone had left the truck Mortis commando crawled along it's exterior where he came across a dull grey duffle bag shapely enough to be containing something.
As he unzipped hit his smile grew just that bit wider. It was an old war M1 Garand and it looked to be in near perfect condition, truly the term antique would be an understatement.
How did the dogs get their hands on a beautiful machine like this?
Just as Mortis was admiring the weapons a stray bullet shot past his ear, He took this into consideration and decided the best course of action was to 'Get the hell down'. He gripped the corner of the truck and pulled himself over, once her was there he used his body weight to fling himself underneath the vehicle.
Once on the dirt and rock covered base of the waste Mortis took a prone position and started firing pot shots off on a small group of raiders trying to sneak up on his companions through the rubble. He hit two of the men, each falling to the ground while making a loud but muffled screaming noise but one had evaded him. He was rushing towards Delrath while he was crushing what must have looked like the last of the raiders. Mortis lined up the shot and pulled the trigger. The last enemy fell about 10 metres early, before he even got to the Gargantuan Beast. now chewing on what looked to be ... fingers?
Strapping the crossbow onto his back, Blake crouched down and relinquished the beretta; the clip was spent. Shoving it into his belt, Blake drew his knife and stalked towards Delrath.
The hulking mutant was devouring human fingers, crunching the bones loudly. B;lake pointed the blade at the creatures face. "Stop that," he hissed, "you filth!" The anger inside him was intense, but Blake knew it wasn't the sickening rage taking effect, just the abomination in fronnt of him. When he next spoke, his words were very quiet and seemingly very calm. "It's bad enough having to travel with your kind, but I will not bear witness to your sins. I will not idly stand by and watch you do it."
Blake, despite his small size compared to Delrath's, squared up to the huge mutant, still chewing the fingers.
The sounds of combat dissipated and only the light breeze was left. Marcus popped his head up, looking for anyone left. The silence was strange after the commotion of battle. "All clear" Marcus yelled. He strolled over to the corpses and found a battered M16 rifle, searching the corpse he found several magazines for it. He set to work removing the rounds and packing them in a neat little box.
The raider that had been shot by Ashe, lay in a pool of blood, breathing heavily. One hand hidden under his back, as if he was holding something.
Ford clambered out of his truck, visibly shaken. For the duration of the firefight he had been laying on the floor of the truck, hands over ears.
"Sins?" Delrath asked stripping the last of the flesh off the fingers. He tossed the bones at Blake before lifting the man up with both hands. "You break easy" Delrath said, "Not today" Delrath dropped Blake unharmed. No fear, he will prove to be a worthy opponent Delrath thought. Delrath tossed the corpse to Kreth "Your turn" he muttered before walking back to Ashe "Girl are you harmed?" He asked
Ashe looked over at the mutant and the mutant hunter that once again butted heads against one another. In some bar a while ago Ashe remembered a joke about putting a mutant hunter and a mutant in the same group. As the mutant went back Ashe nodded to him.
"I'm fine..." Ashe looked back and saw the raider on the ground still breathing but very slowly. "I'm thinking of investigating that raider over there... he looks alive." Ashe turns to the rest of the group.
"Hey guys, we got a survivor!"
Gear walked out of the truck. He was slowly moving the lower part of the rod, charging it up.
"Lets keep him that way a little more." Gear yelled to Ashe. He then grinned slightly, as he walked up towards them.
As he walked past the raiders truck he looked inside, in the seat was a 50 cl steel bottle filled with water, and a box of ammo. "Perfect." Gear mumbled as he put both things into his pocket.
He then continued up towards the downed raider. "This should get him talking." Gear said loudly as he walked up beside the man and tapped him lightly with the rod. It wasn't close to full charge, but it was still enough to cause considerable spasms of pain, and any kind of metal he was wearing close to his skin would probably leave burn-marks.
"Now, this was just a warning shot." Gear said to the raider, still twisting with pain, while he took a step back and started charging the rod again. "And it can get quite a lot more painful if you don't tell us what we would like to know." He looked at the raider that now slowly stopped moving. "Who the hell sent you?" Gear pointed the rod slightly towards the raider as he asked the question.
The raider let out a faint laugh, removing his hand from behind his back, he released the pin on a fragmentation grenade he had been concealing.
"Fucking hell!" Gear yelled and started running simultaneously. His brain was working at full pressure. Cover! Two to three seconds fuse! 15 meter radius. He jumped and hit Ashe, the only other one within danger area, square in the chest, throwing both her and himself to the ground, just as he counted the third second.
The silence was striking. No explosion, no nothing. Just silence. Gear lifted his head slowly, and looked towards the raider, who had a confused expression on his face. Gear accidentally placed a hand at Ashe's chest as he tried to rise, which he quickly removed again. "Sorry 'bout that." He said as he rose and offered her a hand. Behind him the raider was yelling loudly and hammering the grenade to the ground in a vain attempt at detonating it.
The raider hit the ground with the grenade and with an almighty bang, it exploded. The raider disappeared into a haze of red mist, bits of dirt flew through the air, the puff of smoke rose into the sky and vanished. A small crater remained, where the raider used to be, now just the smell of burnt flesh and the smell of explosives lingered on the air.
Ashe took his hand and got up but then she pulled his hand closer bringing them both face-to-face.
"If you tell anyone, I'll have the mutant eat you. Got it?" Ashe pushed Gear away. It was clear to her now that it was only a matter of time before the others found out like in all the situations she has been in. Ashe walked away from the raider and went back for the vehicles getting her bag. The explosion from the raider made Ashe flinch a bit but soon she regained her composure and just sighed.
"Easy now. No need to get so defensive." Gear said to the girl, while she walked away. He sat down slowly on a nearby rock, he had taken the full force of the explosion, which he clearly felt through his entire body, truth be told, had the girl not risen up and supported him, he would probably had fallen over again.
"And no need for thanks either." He yelled after her. He felt a painful sting in his lower right leg. It seamed a piece of shrapnel has glanced his leg, making a slight cut at the outside of his leg. "Damn." He looked up at the group. "Did anyone have a med-kit?" He yelled towards them.
Kreth watched as the large brute tossed the body his way after removing several of the man's fingers. Did he expect Kreth to eat some of the man as well? Well Kreth was feeling a bit hungry and would either need to eat a bit more or fall asleep for a while. Walking over to the body, he kneed down and tore open the man's pant leg. He sliced a chunk of the muscle off before tearing into it. It wasn't the tastiest raw, but Kreth had eaten worse in the wastes before.
It was then that he heard commotion coming from other members of the group. He looked over while he chewed to see one throw himself on another. Kreth wasn't sure what was going on when the grenade went off, partly stunning the mutant. He dropped down onto his back before getting back up to see the last bits of dirt and flesh hit the ground near where the explosive went off. Shaving his head, Kreth turned his attention back to the body, checking it for anything useful. Some more coins, a couple crude smokes, several spare rounds for a gun, and what Kreth was really happy to find, a small box with some flint and tinder. He pocketed it all, although he wasn't letting any of the others get a hold of the fire starting kit.
Mortis began advancing towards the rest of his companions, his new found weapon slung over his shoulder. The large mutant and the man with the bandages covering his eyes were devouring the corpse of one the raiders.
What a waste of a good body
The mutant hunter with the deep scar was grimacing at the sight, not because of a weak stomach but out of hatred.
From there his attention was caught by the ringing sound of a detonating explosive. Mortis sprinted towards the crater when he heard the older man from before call for medical assistance. Mortis knew all to well the damage explosives can have on a 'human' body. Under the slavery of the 'dogs' had made a deal with Balthazaar, the pups he could fix, he would fix. The ones he could not, He got to dissect. After many raids Mortis saw his fair share of mutilated bodies, whether from mines or grenades almost all resulted in dissection.
When Mortis finally reached the old man he couldn't help but feel disappointed.
Only a scratch
"Stand still and be quiet please, there might be more in the distance, The noise from the grenade could have been a signal." Mortis said bringing a single finger to his lips, still drawn wide into a smile.
With that Mortis opened his doctors bag and began stitching the wound on Gear's leg shut. When the small gash was sealed he administered a mild antibiotic to the site of damage.
"This close to Willows, Can't be too careful" Mortis giggled
Unless you're me
"Damned mutants." Blake muttered after Delrath had dropped him. His knife would have been ineffectual against the hardened skin, and the grip was so strong that struggling would have been useless so Blake had simply allowed himself to be picked up.
Standing a little away from the group, surveying Willows in the distance, Blake heard Gear shout and then an explosion threw two of the people to the ground. Unfazed, Blake dusted the dirt from the explosion off of himself and shrugged at Ashe, "I told you to shoot him again, boy" he said glaring at her. "Now who knows nothing of the wastes?" He turned his back and unstrapped his crossbow, looking towards Willows through his makeshift scope.
"Seems to be over," he said, "but the ragdoll's right..." He turned to the others, face deadly serious, "you can't be too careful."
Strapping his crossbow back on, Blake stalked past the others and back to the truck without another word.
Gear nodded thankfully at Mortis. "Wouldn't want to get that infected." He rose slowly, still feeling the shock in his body. He was glad that he always wore the heavy leather coat, no matter how warm it got.
"I don't really think anyone in Willows will care about a small explosion a mile or so away though." He looked at the others. "And it would take them some time to get here if they did that if we keep going now we'll be long gone when they get here." Gear started walking back towards the truck. He stretched his shoulders and neck sightly while he did so.
Mortis watched as Gear walked towards the now bullet-hole ridden truck. The man had a slight limp to his strides but he was masking it well.
Mortis after standing aloof for the briefest moment remembered almost instantly something of dire importance. He thrust his hand into the bloodstained labcoat fishing for something. He breathed a sigh of relief when he confirmed that the box with the heart engraving was still in his pocket and hadn't come loose in the fray of battle.
After this confirmation Mortis decided he best catch up with the rest of his squad and began running towards the truck, His leg left leg was still loose but it didn't impede his movement. Once Mortis finally reached the machines he was greeted with silence by Gear, Ash and Blake. All were either seated or tinkering with their weapons The rest were still in the field retrieving the spoils of their battle.
I should have picked up a body
As Mortis walked by Blake he gently, but swiftly, ran a finger down the scar on the side of his head and took a seat opposite him.
Ashe ignored what the mutant hunter had said. She didn't want to waste her breath talking to a stubborn man like him because all hope of getting the man to come to his senses would be futile. Ashe grabbed her bag and noticed Marcus solemnly by himself.
"Isn't this the best group out in the wastes? It makes you wonder... once everything is said and done, who's the real ones that are gonna be left standing?" Before Marcus could answer Ashe went towards the raider's truck looking to see if there was anything worth scavenging.
Blake tensed his muscles as a finger lightly brushed over his puckered scar. He fixed Mortis with a cold stare as the man-made mutant sat down opposite him, scarred face fixed with intrigue. "Strange," the mutant murmured.
"Don't touch me with your filthy hands, Ragdoll." Blake rasped quietly. "Next time, I'll cut it off and feed it to you." He leaned back in his seat, toying with his knife hilt. After a short moment of silence, Blake snapped forward, fingers arched toegther. He was deep in thought and suddenly addressed the mutant opposite: "I heard you mention earlier that your mutation is man-made." He fixed his hard gaze on Mortis, viewing him through the gap between his arched fingers.
"You're a liar," he said at last, reaching behind for a canteen of water.
Mortis chuckled as the Mutant hunter attempted to frighten him and proceeded to christened him "Ragdoll". He could glare and threaten all he liked, but as soon as he tried anything Mortis would simply slit his jugular. This 'Ragdoll' may not present himself as the the most adept fighter, but he had killed many in his short time in the wastes.
After a moment of silence Blake addressed Mortis once more, and yet again he was being rather aggressive about it. Apparently his maculate origin was being brought into question.
"I spoke not a single lie, I was made by man, Direct descendants of the ancients in fact. I was seen as a prime specimen for their experiments to make better humans. Thats how I got this 'Mutation'."
Mortis was pleased to see the curl of distaste on the mutant hunters face.
"Really?" Gear looked at Blake, who now started with his mutant hate again. He shock his head slightly, deciding not to comment further, if the guy wanted to make enemies he wouldn't stand in his way. He sighed heavily as he turned to his own work.
He brought forth his steam-cannon, an adapter that fitted the steel-bottle, the steel-bottle, and a vial with an orange liquid in. He mounted the adapter on the barrel-hole of the cannon, and then put a few drops of the orange liquid into the steel-bottle, before quickly connecting the other end of the adapter to the bottle. Gear turned a valve at the bottom chamber of the cannon, and a small puff of steam came out, then he closed it again. As he closed it the entire contraption started shaking slightly. He placed it on the floor and hold it in place with his boots.
While waiting for the cannon to load he took out the box of ammunition, and systematically started de-assembling the bullets, putting the gunpowder into the gunpowder-pouch, and the bullets into the box again, the powder-chambers he threw out of the window.
Ashe checked the rusted out truck in front of the bridge. She poked around with her knife careful of any last traps set by the raiders when they attacked them but luckily there were none. What Ashe found was a little more interesting though.
Ashe dug out a rusted 870 shotgun among the mess inside the truck. Ashe lifted the shotgun into the sunlight to get a good view and from the looks of it the back stock was held together by tape and tally marks were seen along side it too. Impressed, Ashe slung the shotgun behind her back and dug around for ammunition for it. Aside from a half-empty box of regular 12 gauge there was 5 shells that she found in the box that perplexed her. They were completely red and even the casing on the bottom as well. Whatever the shells were they were special. Satisfied with her find Ashe dug around a bit and tossed out a few road flares that the raiders had and a jug of dirty water.
There was at least five road flares and they all were the color red. Ashe really wanted to light one but she knew that she would draw unneeded attention towards them and that was the last thing that they needed.
"Aren't we supposed to be going towards Willows already?" Ashe said.
Having finished looting the corpse the huge mutant had thrown him and having no interest in looking over the others, you don't loot what you didn't kill, Kreth made his way back to the trucks. They looked rather shot up, with most of the damage looking superficial. Kreth had no idea though if that was true, as he lacked any real knowledge as to how automobiles worked at all.
Kreth hopped back up into the truck and took a spot again. He took out a somewhat dirty rag and began to clean the blood of his blades, though not bothering with smeared blood on his face. He then sheathed one once he was done cleaning it while keeping the other one out and next to him. He reached into his pocket and pulled out the rounds he had found on the two bodies and held them out.
"Who want some bullets? Don't need them."
"Hmph," Blake grunted, taking a swig of water and sealing the lid. "So you're an experiment. The poked and prodded toy of a superior race." Blake shrugged and gestured towards the guy tinkering with his contraptions. "You're a tool used by people like him; nothing more than a glorified inventor's wild fancy used to further the human race...Or in your case," He fixed Mortis with a glare once more, "bastardize it."
Marcus swung the rifle into the truck, picked up a small bottle of water and took a long drink. He then slid an M16 under the front seat and chucked the other too Gear. "Might be of more use, it's got one full mag. He then climbed into the trucks driver seat and turned the key. The truck rumbled into life. Patting the dashboard, He turned to the others. " We've got to keep going, get whatever you had and mount up.".
Ford climbed into the front truck, carefully driving it off of the bridge and waiting.
Ashe heard Marcus and the rumble of the truck's engines from her looking out into the empty wasteland. Ashe ran to the truck and hopped back into her spot that she originally took. The seat was next to a now gaping hole where the sniper must have fired upon. Ashe fit her entire hand into the large pock mark and it even felt a little hot. Ashe put her bag against the hole filling the gap. Ashe hoped that there would be no more detours on this arduous trip.
Delrath was finished, there were no enemies left to kill. that Mutant hater, he smells strange Delrath thought as he tore a strip if cloth of a dead raider and wiped the blood of his face, he quickly climbed into the truck after Ashe, ithe truck creaked as it sunk down once again, Delrath sat in silence scrapping his knuckles spikes against each other making a soft scraping noise as he waited impatiently for the others.
"Hey mate." Gear turned around to face Blake. "I know you're not a people person and stuff, but please don't blame me for the work of another scientist, okay? I don't even work in the same scientific field as the guys who did that." Gear turned around again.
He touched the steel-bottle slightly, it still felt about half full, and burning hot. He lifted the contraption and hit the bottom slightly, it still felt solid, he hoped it would last long enough to fill the cannon.
He looked at Marcus, and then at the M16 with a slight feeling of spite against the weapon. "I don't use things I haven't made myself. At least not if I can help it." He lifted the weapon. "It could prove to have some use though." He mumbled while sitting it beside him. "First though."
Gear found forth some pieces of paper, then he methodically poured some gunpowder into each piece, and made a little roll of it, he made 11 of them, one for each bullet he had left for his gun. Then he put them into a pocket beside the bullets.