Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Gauntlet - Episode 25.



Episode 25 – Beware a Burnt Backside

The sound of screeching steel assaulted the air as the Bull-Boys rushing roller skidded to a halt. Immediately both Wynt and Briscole jumped clear to take up positions along either side of the vehicle, weapons in hand. “Caess,” Dyzon shouted as he rose to step out himself, a gun in one hand and a megaphone in the other. “Get behind that toy of yours and kindly give these good folks a taste of our resolve. I want them to know we mean business and ensure that we have their undivided attention.”

Caess hesitated for a single breath before moving to obey the order, a look of concern clearly etched on his slate shaded brow. “Alright Dyzon, but I haven’t finished testing this thing out yet – no promises the power cells will hold it under prolonged use,” he explained. “Any particular preference in regards to targets or would you like me to provide them with a warning blast?”

 “Just pull the trigger and reduce something to rubble boulder brain,” Dyzon scolded. The Kry-Santhian slipped behind a swivel mounted device and pivoted in towards some nearby buildings and tediously squeezed its trigger. For a second his heart skipped a beat as he questioned whether it would even work only to find a roar of relief when it erupted. A bright steady stream of shimmering energy poured out to rip its way through everything it touched. With a jerk Caess pulled the pointed power to his left and watched the wrecking weapon’s blast obey. By the time he released the trigger he knew only seconds had past but before him he would have sworn a few minutes worth of a bullet barrage had occurred.

“It makes me no never mind if you want to hide in your homes or not, you can die just as well no matter where you are.” Dyzon’s announcement easily carried through the evening streets, audibly amplified by the megaphone held before him. As he began his sinister speech fearful faces slowly began to peek out from windows and rubble to regard him. “I am here for one thing and one thing only; the man who calls himself Gauntlet. Can you hear me, hero? I am calling you out, if you’ve got the guts to face a real man. And I can promise you, you’ll not find us the bunch of push-over’s you’re used to.”

Only silent shadows and trembling townsfolk answered Dyzon’s challenge as he looked around. “Alright, there may be no love lost between the people of Redemption and yourself Mr. Crusade, but I doubt you’ll turn a blind eye to their pain. Show your self or my friend here is going to start remodeling Redemption into ruins.” Along with the threat a lethal look reinforced his meaning as he gestured toward Caess.

The soft sound of soled boots padding over dirt ended with a crunch behind Dyzon, prompting a smile of satisfaction. “You can call off your dogs, friend, I’ll accept your challenge,” the mysterious man proclaimed. Awaiting Dyzon’s eyes when he turned around was a man with his own gaze downcast, his face obscured behind the brim of his hat. No weapon was visible in either hand nor was a single stitch of protective apparel anywhere to be seen. In fact, only a pair of antique looking revolvers holstered at his sides and some bizarre blades marked the man as being armed at all. And even so, the fool had ignorantly chosen to wear his weapons with the handles facing forward.

“Let me explain something, friend,” Dyzon began with a chuckle of amusement. “When you wear a weapon it’s wise to be able to get to it easily and quickly. And for your own health, it is never a noteworthy notion to step into our way when we’re looking for somebody.” A growing giggle began to grip Dyzon at the idea that this silly man seemed to think himself brave enough to walk right up to them and accept his challenge. “So why don’t you run along, we have business with this Gauntlet fellow, not some dimwit drifter.”

Marshall raised his head with measured effect, his hands still clear of his carried side arms. “I thought I made myself clear the last time we met; I am certainly no friend to you and your lot,” he countered. Upon seeing the familiar face fresh laughter found Dyzon as he enjoyed the irony of the situation.

“Well, well, well; look here boys – if it isn’t Mr. Titan Train himself! Don’t tell me you’re this Gauntlet character causing, or trying to anyways, all this trouble around here?” Marshall surveyed the position of his foes and made a mental note of their placement before answering. “The same,” he admitted careful to keep his best poker face on.

With a shake of his head Dyzon tried to clear his thoughts of the inherent humor in the claim and called for Wynt and Briscole. “Would you two remove this idiot and his bad taste in jokes, please,” he asked with a growing grown of displeasure. Perhaps afterwards the real hero might show himself, Dyzon hated to waste all night destroying the town looking for him.

Eagerly Wynt took aim relishing the chance to get back at the man who he’d promised to get even with on the Titan Train. “With pleasure,” he answered. A few steps away Briscole raised his own gun obediently as well. “Whatever you say, boss,” he agreed. Together the pair of thugs began to approach their target in tandem, ready to remove him.

Marshall allowed them three steps towards him as he sized them up and estimated their reactions. Neither one of them had moved their finger to the trigger just yet, nor did either seem intent to do so until they closed in on him. In fact, a staggered step marked Wynt as a man recently engaged in some heavy drinking. He was a sharp contrast to the sweaty tightly muscled man at his side that looked to be fresh from a workout.

Even sober and well rested, Marshall doubted either of them would have the speed to react on the draw fast enough. But right now, he was doubly sure he held the edge in this encounter. It was time to take the advantage and make the most of it, Marshall decided grimly.

Both his elbows dropped to point behind him, his wrists bent ever so slightly as his gun’s gripped seemed to reach for his embrace. A subtle whoosh of wind accompanied his weapons as they whipped out catching the bold bandits off guard by the offensive. Wide eyes stared in disbelief as a pair of pistols barked to life to send speeding shots their way. A violent volley pelted them with piercing projectiles that ended in grizzly gurgling.

Both criminals fell to the ground with a wet thud as Marshall adjusted his aim towards the other two terrorizing thieves. Perhaps now they might take him a touch more seriously. Either way he was ready to receive their reaction.