With a gentle squeeze Oliver let fly his first blast from the Thunderbolt’s barking barrel. The slug’s super-dense mass broke down in a flash to accelerate into a hyper velocity stream of heated light that traveled directly towards an oncoming revenant. A condensed bean of white matter plowed into the creature like the impact of the weapon’s namesake. The brutal blow sent the unnatural thing free from its feet as the majority of its chest vanished against the destructive force.
“Nice shot,” Vedia complimented as Oliver chambered another slug and took aim again. Another revenant found itself unfortunate enough to cross within the waiting crosshairs of her Phoenix. The crackle of released power rippled through the air to ride its way into the foul fiend with a concussive crash. Thermal energy devastated the decayed flesh as it ripped its way through to burn the baleful body.
As the revenant fell to the ground Vedia immediately primed her kinetic charger once more and moved to train her aim upon another target. Already Vedia felt a sense of pride at how effective these weapons were proving as opposed to their standard issue side-arms. But for every well placed shot they both made to bring down one of the approaching abominations another seemed to come into view. There was no way of knowing exactly how many of these things there were to contend with. And while they dealt with the disgruntled dead the sounds of growls from behind them told them Gabriel was still otherwise engaged.
Staring up through the shock and tear stained cheeks that had plastered her hair to her face a terrified young woman wailed at the madness unfolding before her. While she watched on, tucked behind trembling knees tightly curled into a ball a second horror joined her shattering sense of a sane reality. This new monstrosity shined in the moonlight with patches of metal mixing with its furry flesh.
For Gabriel the growing sounds of desperate fear from behind him fueled his fury and drove his determination to defend them. A part of him began to wonder whether or not this vocal victim could understand that he was fighting on their behalf or if they even cared. Would they simply fear him as well if he proved victorious? He didn’t have any way to know for sure but as another series of swiped and slashes scrapped along his left side all such thoughts left him. Replacing the contemplation was a stinging pain that violently tore its way through him. Brought with it was the overwhelming rage that accompanied the fact that this animalistic opponent had hurt him.
Impulsively Gabriel’s hammer lashed out to respond to the sudden suffering as it slammed to strike a series of pounding pummels. Each echoed blow met breaking bones that quickly began to re-knit themselves. Confusion caused chaos to ignite its way through his mind as he reeled at the realization he wasn’t causing any lasting damage. In the face of this frenzied foe he seemed to be stumbling. He hesitated to swing his hammer again and instead attempted a clumsy thrust with his own claws.
But where Gabriel was acting on conscious thought he found his adversary easily responding brutally with primal instinct alone. The Doc had been right, this shifting savage had grown so completely comfortable with its own nature that it didn’t need to think about what to do. Like some wild predator it merely acted by reflex alone. The time Gabriel was taking to think everything through was beginning to cost him as another assault left his abdomen bloody with a fresh stream of warmth before his own body could race to deal with the burning sensation.
As a flurry of fangs and claws continued to lash out at Gabriel he could hear fresh cries of terror from behind him. He had to do something before this crazed creature managed to tear him to pieces. The beast inside him begged for release against the shackles of self restraint. It howled in the face of the horror and promised to destroy it. But with every step closer to being unchained Gabriel found his own fear of lost control rallying against it.
A sharp shriek pierced the night as the painful presence of snapping jaws clenched down upon his shoulder and claws shredded at his skin. Gabriel could feel the chains of his conscience shatter in response. An explosion engulfed his insides as rage roared through him and he seized upon it to ride it upwards. His hammer smashed solidly into his foes skull to stagger it with a stunned shock. Immediately his open hand found an opportune grip on the beasts flailing arm and held it fast. A second savage swing connected his mighty mallet with the lethal limb with a loud shatter that was quickly followed by a sharp snap from his own jaws.
Dangling at its side the barbaric beast retreated back several steps as its arm slowly started to try and repair the terrible trauma. Distant sounds of Vedia and Oliver struggled to reach Gabriel’s ears as he found his focus squarely centered on his adversary. Even the cries from behind him now seemed muffled as he moved to give chase. The only goal gripping his mind in its sway was the need to destroy this thing before him completely. Only then would he be satisfied.
Vedia rushed another cell into her Phoenix and risked a look back just in time to see Gabriel moving to pursue his chosen enemy. “What is he up to,” she found herself asking as her brow furrowed with concern. “He’ll leave them defenseless if he ventures from his position! Oliver, I’ll cover you why you make for that survivor. Keep them secure,” Vedia ordered as she squeezed off a quick blast before priming a second.
“On it,” Oliver answered and immediately threw himself into a dash to take up Gabriel’s vacant location. “Don’t worry, you’re safe now,” he reassured the frail and frightened figure. Oliver had to appreciate the sense of irony of the moment as he heard himself trying to console someone confidently. Perhaps he was cut out for this assignment after all.