Monday, July 8, 2013

Metal In The Moonlight - Episode 18.



Episode 18

Once more the sun was setting low in the sky and Oliver and Vedia were once more readying themselves for another patrol. Vedia slammed home another power cell into the waiting Phoenix’s chamber and double checked it was packing a full load. She had reviewed the weapons specifications back when they had encountered the off-world mercenaries and knew full well how power hungry it could be. It made use of an under barrel kinetic charger that allowed it to be primed to deliver a doubly condensed blast but at the cost of additional drain on its power source. The Phoenix could drink down a power cell quick, and as handy as a micro-gen cell could be the time for it to recycle its charge could mean death in a battle. Vedia much preferred to keep a steady supply of cells to keep her little blasting beast well fed.

Moving to inspect her other offensive option Vedia gently laid her new rifle upon a table and reached to examine something quite different. They all referred to it as a ‘Heat Axe’ but in truth it was little more than a broad blade with a piercing point on it’s backside held at the end of a long shaft. It could be handled easily enough with two hands but its weight quickly pointed to the incorporated tech built into it. The axe was not something they ever used as weapon itself, instead it was just something they used when the needed to force their way past an obstacle or make an emergency entrance. Its blade would superheat with thermal energy to allow it to cut through metallic and other dense substances with ease. Just the kind of thing that should do nicely in a pinch should she require to face something up close.

“Make sure to load up on all the mass slugs you can carry for that thing,” Vedia advised as she slipped the axe to hand at her back. “That Thunderbolt should be able to rip one of those things apart, but like this little Phoenix here it is dependant on its ammunition. While I can keep pouring in cells you are going to have keep providing that Thunderbolt with those super-dense mass slugs. Just keep that in mind while we are on patrol and you should do fine.”

Oliver tried to make a mental not to remember that as he started to look around him to double check just how much ammunition he had been able to scrounge up. He had to hope Vedia was right about these weapons because he could still picture his last encounter and didn’t want to repeat that feeling of helplessness. “And what am I supposed to do with this fusion torch anyways,” Oliver asked hesitantly.

Vedia simply blinked back at him at first. “Oliver, I believe you just answered your own question. But just so we are clear let’s review, shall we? It is called a what, exactly?” “Well, it is a torch, ma’am,” Oliver answered quickly. Vedia instantly followed up with another question to further form her point. “And you use a torch to…” Oliver now felt completely foolish, it was just that simple. “You torch things, ma’am,” he admitted with a lopsided grin. “Precisely, all you need to do if another of those creatures gets in close is turn that fusion torch their way and let it get introduced to the focused beam intimate-like.”

A metal tapping came from the doorway to grab both officers attention like a teacher calling for class. “Hope I am not intruding,” Gabriel politely proclaimed. “But it looks like there has been another attack, we just got the call.” The metal mottled man casually reviewed the new formidable firearms laid out and couldn’t resist a whistle. “Looks like you two are loaded for Ursian,” he declared with a chuckle.

But officer Corvan wasn’t laughing; she seized up her rifle and pocketed anything in sight in a flash. “Come on Novius, let’s hit the streets we have monsters to mutilate,” she commanded confidently. “Ready to roll,” Oliver replied with a chambered round, an edge of courage sparking to life in his tone. “Lead the way Mr. Vincent,” Vedia added as she strolled up to stand before him. “But let’s try to keep your other side out of sight until we arrive on scene and even then only if it is absolutely necessary, understand?”

Gabriel found himself curious by the request but after finally getting to once more see the outside of a cell he wasn’t about to question it. He needed his freedom to help tackle these terrors; there wasn’t anything he could do from inside a cell. “Yes ma’am,” Gabriel confirmed before turning to hurry off like a hound on the hunt. The Night-Watch Squad was once more on the prowl for pernicious perpetrators of panic and pain.

As they ran through the darkening streets that Gabriel was navigating their way through Vedia could feel her own eagerness growing to test herself against these creatures again. Even Oliver seemed to be keeping pace with them without his former reluctant slower step. They moved through blocks and side streets to follow Gabriel’s lead until the he padded to a stop with his hammer already in hand. Vedia and Oliver immediately followed suit to bring their own weapons to bear. With a crack Vedia primed the kinetic charger under her barrel until the weapon purred with the hum of waiting power.

Laid out upon the ground was the grizzly remains of what they could only deduce had to have been another victim. A trail of terrible tracks lead off down the street and the scent of fresh blood filled Gabriel’s nose. “This way,” Gabriel offered as he concentrated on the lingering smell and moved to follow it. “Keep your eyes peeled,” Vedia advised and took to cover Gabriel’s left side. Before she could even order Oliver to take the right she noticed her squad-mate was already in position as they all three cautiously continued.

Awaiting them was the howling horror itself, its ferocious form bent over what could have been a fresh kill or something intended to be. The baleful beast rose to regard them with it cruel gaze to stand up upon its hind legs, its open jaws still dripping with saliva. It was just as Gabriel had described, Vedia decided as she took everything in with a momentary flash. This thing was something like what Gabriel had shown them when he transformed, some abominable alteration that was neither man nor beast.

A savage and sinister snarl sailed to life to challenge them defiantly from the creature’s lips that was echoed by a faintly detectable whimper. The sudden sound made Gabriel’s ears perk up and instantly he understood – they had interrupted this things idea of sport. He must have another poor soul cornered like some helpless prey. Fearless the fuzzy foe turned his own eyes toward the source of the noise and an almost grin began to form on his gruesome face.

“No more,” Gabriel growled and threw himself into motion to block the beast. As he moved he felt his flesh flow to form once more into his own mixed shape. This time when his right arm moved to block a savage swipe he found the brutal barrage repelled. His left hand quickly slapped aside a separate stab aimed at his middle and a furious roar punctuated the creature’s frustration. It seemed determined to remove this new obstacle keeping it from its waiting quarry just as Gabriel was resolute in resisting it.

As the two mighty monsters began their brawl Vedia cursed her inability to line up a clear shot. “I can’t take a shot without hitting Gabriel,” Vedia reluctantly confessed. “Heads up, we have company,” Oliver advised and gestured behind them. Moving towards them they could make out the familiar appearance of revenants that seemed to be drawn to them by something. “We’re going to have to leave that fur ball to Gabriel, we’ll have to deal with these things,” Vedia commented as she took aim. Oliver couldn’t help but agree himself with both what Vedia was saying and what Gabriel had. “No more,” he vowed beneath his breath and his finger brushed the waiting touch of his trigger.