Storms of Steel and Diesel
Chapter One: A Rumble in the Distance
The sun was burning bright and hot, sitting at its highest point in the sky. Just as it had the days before. Just as it will for many days to come. Cloudless was the sun's domain, its heat bearing down with full force upon all below. No breeze had graced what faces had shown in the Dusties, the arid plains where no settlement, encampment, nor any living thing for that matter, held purchase for long. Save for those unfortunate enough to find themselves sunk into the loose sand...
Cor & Izzy
In the sand is where the two had found themselves caught. Sand, bone dry and unpacked, a loose pocket that had been long covered by the dust of a storm, now had the wag embedded nearly up to its axles. Attempts to drive out only resulted in the tires digging deeper into the dust. As for the pair, they were given a moment to recover from the copious amounts of excavating they had accomplished and prepare for the necessary amounts of excavating they had not.
It was troubling just how far the wag had already sunk. More troubling still was a rather faint glint on the horizon. They rested in unclaimed territory, as the distinct lack of markings had told them. What it failed to tell them was whether or not that was a good thing. At the very least, markings would suggest the intentions of the distant glint. But for the time being, they hoped they wouldn't have to find out.
Eddie & Rasp
The Interceptor was gunning down the winding dirt road that greatly contrasted the rocky surroundings. Outcrops and hills littered the area which was equally a boon and a curse. While the dust trails they left would largely go unnoticed, they themselves would not be able to tell what lied beyond the next turn.
As the V8 whipped around another curve, a crude totem had come into view alongside the road. It was a pike planted in the ground with a large cluster of rat skulls beneath a sharpened point. While it was clear to those native to the area exactly who it represented, to the two in the Interceptor it meant only one thing: Ravagers. A name attributed to those who aren't content with picking from the dead, go out in search of stragglers and loners to kill or capture. For some, the former can turn out to be the more attractive option...
Out in the open, the armored car painted?both an intimidating sight and an enticing target for those who would dare. And there certainly were those who would, for the roads it was traveling on were just beyond Diesel Dog territory. A no man's land between the Imperium and the nearest band of raiders. Certainly not some place a lone traveler would be content with loitering around.
The pistons of the beast hammered on as it pushed the fortress of a vehicle down the road, kicking up a prominent cloud of dust from its tail end. With the heat and how hard the engine pushed, the young man behind the wheel hoped he wouldn't need to move much faster. Else he would run the risk of overheating the engine. However, it seemed he may not have much of a choice with the growing billows of dirt that drew nearer in his wake. Whoever they belonged to, they seemed to be in an awful hurry.
While not the most ideal of spaces for a lone runaway to make camp, the long-since cleaned out gas station that now rested half-buried in sand was the only roof for miles to keep sheltered from the previous night. Even as buried as it was, it stood out like a sore thumb the comparatively empty plains around it thanks to the frame of what used to be a large sign that once advertised modest prices for petrol.
As high as the sun had rested, the former Blacklander was still in a deep slumber that could only come from the tremendous exhaustion of a fugitive on the run. There was little telling just how far he'd gone, and no telling at all just how much further he'd have to go to find some solace. Even nature didn't seem content in allowing him such comfort as small lizard with a large appetite tried for a meal by sinking its teeth into the lobe of the sleeping man...
Sleeping like one of the dead in the building he had found sitting half eaten by the sands Daka sprawled out in the sands that had been blows in the broken areas on the outsides of the building. sleeping and not moving the cuttas he had with him were in their holders next to him where he had set them before falling to the sands. Jerking and rolling away when something sharp and painful wakes him Dakas scar'd and mixed color hand lifts to his ear, coming away red with his life juice.
Hissing to himself and finding the small lizard on the sands close to where he had been laying before Daka lunges over and misses on his first try, sending up sand as he slides through it sending the small lizard running through the flying sand. Turning and lunging again he slams his hands down on the lizard trapping it under his hand making it thrash and try to get away. Wrapping his fingers around the struggling lizard Daka raises it up just to the level of his eyes before putting the head of the sharp toothed lizard in between his teeth. Biting down hard he takes its head off in one sharp twist ripping its head off without pulling it from between his dry lips, allowing the blood to drain into his mouth and down into his throat.
Letting it drain for a second Daka closes his eyes and chews on the body of the small lizard, each bite giving him another gush of blood pulling the thirst from his mouth and throat as it also gives him more to chew and swallow. His last food long ago and to far away to help he made this small thing last. After eating the last of the meager meal he had traded for pain Daka raises his hand again to feel his ear, the blood already dry and crusting.
Rubbing his ear one last time Daka picks up his cuttas, pulling them from their holders and looking at the edges carefully before putting them away in the harness. Walking to the broken areas in the window he looks out at the horizon wondering if he can stay here longer and rest or if he needs to move on.
<< Rasp & Eddie >>
The roar of the engine was far from the loudest thing inside of the Interceptor as it tore it's way over the dirt path, skirting sharp outcroppings and sudden hills. As Rasp was at the wheel, foot to the floor and steering with practiced recklessness, Eddie sat next to her playing his guitar, feet up on the dashboard and hat covering his face. While some would've considered the music he played to be obnoxious noise, he came to find it comforting and relaxing.
But when he skidded around the next curve and spotted the totem, the car skidded to a halt. The Buzzard's eyes narrowed on it, recognizing the string of rat skulls. So, he reached over and pulled Eddie's hat back and lightly tapped his shoulder to get his attention.
Then he grunted, pointing to his eyes with two fingers, then jabbing those same two fingers at the totem.
Following Rasp's fingers, Eddie took a good look at the totem, his face twisting into a sour frown.
"Great. No breaks, huh?"
Sitting upright, he placed the guitar at the back seat, and scratched his beard. A part of him, waaaay at the back of his head, was welcoming this promise of violence. It was always there, that part. The one that wanted him to let loose. To speak with axe and sword rather than words. Though it was easy for him to keep those urges in check, Eddie always felt a bit unhinged by them. One little slip up and he'd go back to those years. He guessed some habits die hard.
"Well, my mime companion, I think a standard equipment check is in order before we decide what to do." He pulled his Desert Eagle out of the glove box, and counted his ammo.
"Four full clips."
Rasp shrugged at his hairy companions frown, and rolled his eyes at the mention of him being a mime. He didn't even know what a mime was, but he knew it had something to do with being quiet. Still, prompted to check their equipment, he reached back and grabbed the automatic rifle they had-an old, beaten-up AK-47-and it's magazines.
"Two and a half." he rasped, his voice soft and hoarse thanks to the winding scar around his neck, and after checking his shotgun and his own pockets, added "Little over twenty shells."
Handing the rifle to Eddie, he quirked a brow. Did he think that would be enough if it turned out they were in trouble? After all, chances were they'd need to save some, just in case.
Holding the AK with one hand, Eddie stroked his beard as he mused over their situation. Back in the olden days, Warpups would normally send scouts out to count heads and measure combat readiness, but that was out of the window. They wouldn't know the amount they were dealing with until they met them, and even the smallest group of ravagers had at least two cars.
It was at this point that Eddie wished he'd found spare parts to make some grenade spears, but if it came to fighting he'd have to content with making his shots count.
So, hopefully it wouldn't come to that.
"Well, then. With the equipment check taken care of, time to come to a decision." he grinned at Rasp, "Let's see if I've been teaching you well. As as I see, we have two options: Turn back and find a way around, or go on forward. Consider the pros and cons of each, and let's hear your opinion."
He hanged back to his seat, "Take your time. These decisions could mean life or death, so it's best to have thought them over well."
The Buzzard took a moment before leaning forward and crossing his arms over the wheel, letting his chin rest on them. For the next few minutes, the only sounds were the engine rumbling, the light breeze outside of the car, and Rasp's almost imperceptible, wheezing breaths. When he felt that he had gone through their options, he sat back, but kept his hands on the steering wheel.
"We go forward, we could run into an ambush. Use up all our ammo, even get killed. We don't know the area, they do. This is their territory." he said, motioning to the totem, "But this is the way we need to go. Not a lot of paths besides this one to get there. With the path like it is, it's easy to get trapped, but they can't fit many cars in here. More likely to get hit from a hill or rock."
"We turn around, or go back, we could run into a different ambush. Can't be sure how big their territory is. But if we don't, it'll take us longer to find our way at least. Lose more food, more water, more gas. But we keep our ammo. Maybe we find a way quick enough we don't starve... Maybe we don't. Maybe we run into worse than Rats." he pointed out.
After a moment, a corner of his mouth quirked up.
"Or..." he added, "We could wait till night. Go out on foot, kill anyone in our way. Find them before they find us. Go with knife and axe. They don't need ammo."
"Astute," Eddie said as a satisfied smile formed on his face, "as I've come to expect from you. However, as promising as the sneaking around sounds, you've failed to put into account a few things."
He raised a finger, "For one, we'd have to find some place to hide the V8. That would take time, and still doesn't guarantee we won't get looted while away." he raised another finger, "Two, we don't know how many of them there are, and though you could argue that venturing forth as we are is foolhardy, don't forget that we know little about the land, while this is their territory. They are sure to have sentries, and the chances we'd be spotted are high." And another, "Again, as you mentioned, not many cars can fit here, but on foot they wouldn't have that problem, and we'd lose that advantage. At that point, we'd likely have to hightail it back to the car and make a run for it, and I sure as hell wouldn't wanna drive through these passages late at night."
He patted his young protege on the shoulder.
"Still, well thought out. You monitored our situation quite carefully. Just remember that the element of surprise only really works if you know what you're heading into."
Despite the fact that a few important facts had slipped his mind, the fact that Eddie was largely satisfied with his outlook on it made him smile a little and nod in response. What he pointed out was definitely something to keep in mind for next time. Especially since that entire exercise gave them better chances for a 'next time'.
"So, plan?" Rasp asked, before coughing softly and reaching up to rub his throat.
He normally didn't speak all that often, but if he did, it was almost always with Eddie. Too much though tended to give his throat hell.
"Well, it's not like we have much to go with right now. We'll keep moving forward and deal with things as they come."
He grabbed the AK, put a full magazine in it, and opened the hatch of the roof window.
"I'll be looking for threats above and around from here" he said as he started peaking from it, "Keep a steady cautious pace, watch out in front of us, and be ready to go full throttle if things get hairy."
Rasp nodded firmly, and once Eddie peeked out of the hatch in the roof, he thumped the side of the roof with a fist to get his attention. Then he gave a thumbs up and started to carefully take the Interceptor through the path onward.
Much Much Earlier
"Fuckfuckfuckfuckfuck!" Izzy cursed as her wag rattled across the dirt, with a raider wag in hot pursuit. The past few cycles had been absolute shit. First, she's been about twenty cycles out from a ville when the rad blew, and she'd been forced to use her some of her own agua to keep the wag moving; but the next ville was closer than the one she'd left so she decided to press on. Then the moto started to rattle and knock; she knew what the problem was, but she needed a shop and/or tools she didn't have, to fix it. So with nothing else to do, she'd reduced speed even more and pressed on. Now she was being chased and she had to go flat out if she wanted to make the ville. "Stupe ass, dirt fucking waster!" She snarled at the memory of the dead man she'd taken the wag from. "Can't even keep his wag shiny."
Her anger was interrupted by the bang of a thunderstick going of beside her as the raiders go in range. "Bitch later, drive now!" She told herself. Swerving back and forth to deny the raider a shot at her tires, she did her best to stay out front, but the moto in her wag was starting to clatter louder and louder and the exhaust was starting to smoke. She knew she wasn't going to make the ville, and there was no way she was going to let these raider trash get her either. With the moto losing power, the raiders pulled alongside for a clear shot at a wheel; waiting for just the right moment she swerved towards the raiders, slamming into their wag as hard as she could, driving them towards a break in the ground.
As the two vehicles ground against each other, she drew and cocked her gun, fighting to keep control with one hand. Aiming as best she could, she shot just as the wags hit the gully...which was quite a bit deeper than Izzy had realized. She felt very light, just before everything went black.
A Little Later
Izzy woke, upside down, and with a throbbing head. Struggling free of her wrecked wag she pulled her knife, as she was unable to immediately find her gun, and staggered over to the raider's wag. The wag was badly smashed, having hit a large rock while still airborne, though a quick check showed that the driver had been dead before the hit; Izzy's bullet had caught him just in front of the ear. She found the other one smashed against another rock.
Leaving them for the scavengers, she made her way back to her wag. It was as dead as the raiders and their wag, so she found her gun and pack and began to load in with as much of the really good salvage as she could; though she was still leaving quite a bit behind, much to her annoyance. All set, she slowly climbed out of the gully she'd crashed into, and began to head towards the ville once again. Going was tough, she kept blacking out, her whole body hurt, and once the nerves from being attacked started to wear off, she realized she was bleeding from a couple of places; nothing immediately bad, but bad enough to be concerning. "Izzy no die out here. Izzy get to ville..." The last thing she remembered was the dirt rushing towards her face.
Izzy was laying in the shadow of the wag, and glaring at the glimmer in the distance. "Stupe, stupe, stupe!" She muttered for the umpteenth time since she'd driven into the sand. She knew about the Dusties, the convoy would skirt it every so often, and she's spent enough time up in the Trader with Gampa Mik to know how dangerous it could be. Memories of her lost family nibbled at her, but after a few suppressed sobs, she pushed the memories away...
From where she was laying, she shifted slightly, until she could see Cor. He o'tay...for man... She thought; after all he had saved her after her crash. "Cor," She said softly. "Izzy think we boned. Wag stuck up to hubs an' we no diggin' out before that gets here." She added, pointing at the bright point. "Even then, prob'ly need 'nother wag to yank us out." Slowly getting to her feet, she opened the driver's door of the wag and picked up her pistol, cocking the hammer. "Izzy sorry for getting wag stuck. Izzy big stupe for not watching." With a bit of a shuddering sigh, she pressed the barrel to the side of her head. "They no taking Izzy again."
Cor always enjoyed the outside of the settlement more than the inside. The inside was safe, he'd would give them that, but it was filled to the brim with people, and people caused everything to become messy. A gun here, a piece of wood there, it had taken years to adjust to the amount of items people could stuff into a hole in the mountain, and even now he felt the need to leave to get some air. Some sandy, hot and yet oddly refreshing, air.
He seldom wore boots outside, he knew what kind of critters and creatures to look for in the sand, and when he was assured it was safe, he would dig his feet into the warm sand and stare at the open landscape for hours, without a care in the world. The medical bag rested as his side as he never went without it. For once, it seemed he would actually need it. A small figure was walking towards the settlement, then suddenly collapsed. That had gotten Cor up, and he had gone to check it out, forgetting everything about how one shouldn't just approach strangers like that. For a brief moment, the world wasn't a fucked up place built on distrust, madness and violence.
He had taken Izzy inside and tended to her wounds. It had been difficult, she seemed to have a strong distrust of anything even remotely resembling a man, a distrust that would grow violent when her mental state was at the worst. Yet, he eventually decided to go with her, leave the settlement, partly to look after what he still considered his patient, but most of all to simply... leave. Get out of there, the risks be damned.
Cor had spent most of the time digging, his scarf tucked around most of his face and the biker goggles covering the rest. He was spending a brief moment resting, both so that he could keep going, and so that he could ensure Izzy got a moment to breathe too, he had been sleeping before this, she had not.
"Stupe, stupe, stupe!"
She was blaming herself, while Cor was most of all blaming the damned wag, of course it would fail to get through that sand-dune. He was sure the bikes would have made it, or at least been a helluva' easier to get out. Even so, he shook his head, trying to speak reassuringly.
"No, it's my fault too, I shouldn't have fallen asleep," he muttered as a response, though he doubted she heard him, as there was something in the distance, a glint, which usually meant vehicles.
"Cor, Izzy think we boned. Wag stuck up to hubs an' we no diggin' out before that gets here. Even then, prob'ly need 'nother wag to yank us out."
He turned to look at her, but any thought of a reply got replaced with her suddenly pulling out a gun and pointing it at her own head.
"Izzy sorry for getting wag stuck. Izzy big stupe for not watching. They no taking Izzy again."
"No! Wait," Cor said, and approached, carefully. He was never quite sure how to handle Izzy, grabbing her had proven to be a bad idea, but how else to ensure she didn't shoot herself?
I'll try t' reason...
Right. Reason. It was hardly a word these days, even he wasn't completely sure of the origins. He was sure his father had explained it once, Medicus thought the importance of words was almost as big as the importance of medical knowledge. Perhaps it was just the from the settlement getting to him.
"Izzy, please, it's fine. No way they'll try t' do anything. Might not even see the wag, and a gunshot... a gunshot'll definitely bring them here. And I won't let them take you even if they act off, I'll burn everything they own, okay?" Cor said in a calm, protective manner.
He stood close, but not close enough to threaten her, hoping for her to put the gun down and to keep digging or even just go hide. If not... well, then he would have to try to push the gun out of her hand, but that was at best risky.
Even after two months of rolling around the area it all looked the same to Monkey, and he swore he had been going in circles for the past week. His own initial supplies were dwindling and a niggling doubt in his heart indicated he should have just returned back home, lied to everybody about that murderer, and got back to doing what he did best. It was the safest route ahead for him, and it was reaffirmed when he noticed snakes of dirt coiling behind him. His beast of a car, more a turtle than any predator, could not out-run the stripped-bare automobiles some of the crazier bastards were riding. Those designs were plain lunacy, and the realization of the mindset required to take such a ride for a spin only made Monkey worry more about his fate. He didn't want to get eaten by cannibals, that would have been a bad day for him.
Monkey took a sharp turn left, hoping to get out of the open plains and hide behind some sand dunes he spotted up ahead. He couldn't outrun his would-be pursuers, but he will try his damnedest to hide.
Izzy released a bit of pressure on the trigger, but shifted away a bit as Cor approached her.
"Izzy, please, it's fine. No way they'll try t' do anything. Might not even see the wag, and a gunshot... a gunshot'll definitely bring them here. And I won't let them take you even if they act off, I'll burn everything they own, okay?"
"Is no fine." She whimpered, her eyes darting back and forth a bit, look for a way 'out'. Her small chest began to rise and fall faster as she started to pant. "Dey may no hear shot from their wag, but dey see us...no cover. The wag sticks out like a piston ring in the crank case." Her hand was starting to shake as she began to border on a full blown panic attack. Suddenly, as quickly as the freak out had begun, it stopped; her breathing slowed to a normal rate, her hand stopped shaking, and she lowered the gun from the side of her head. "Promise?" She said, her voice now an eerie calm. "Promise you just torch they's stuff? Izzy wants one...Izzy wants to play." Her gap toothed, crooked smile was anything but pleasant. Sitting down, she retreated back into the shade of the stuck vehicle.
Gun on her lap, she closed her eyes and kept smiling at the memories of those she got to play with; the waster she got her first wag from, the dozen or so, wasters and steaders a like, she'd found since the loss of the Convoy. Her most recent was a while a go now; they'd spent a couple of cycles at ville, getting set to skirt the Dusties, all the while some oldie kept creeping on her, never getting close, never talking, but she'd see him staring at her with his hands down his pants. That night she'd followed him back to his shack while Cor slept.
Izzy wasn't strong, but the oldie was full of 'shine by the time she went in; didn't even wake while she tied and gagged him...though he woke right up once she started. Giggling to herself, she opened her eyes. Dey found him by now...had to, ville dat small, no hide dead stick fer'ver. Shifting so she could watch the approaching wag, she drummed her fingers against her gun.
The pursuers' roaring engines could be heard through the windows of Monkey's beast now that they were no longer trailing the dust wake but moving to intercept. Soon enough, he'd be able to spot the blood-red streaks of paint across the plating of the pair of buggies and the row of human skulls in place of front fenders. It wouldn't be without reason to assume the intentions of the approaching vehicles were less than cordial to say in the least.
The nearer Monkey drew to the dunes, the more clearly potential shelter had come into view. Nestled in the sandy hill was an undoubtedly hollowed gas station, not yet completely buried in its time. If he was lucky, the Blacklander would close the distance to the station sooner than his followers could close the distance to him. There was no hope in losing them now. The least he could do was find a decent place to make a stand.
On the horizon, dust was being violently whipped into the air in a straight line, dry contrails of the armored machine flying across the plains. With some careful observance it became apparent to Daka that there was a drastic change in course and the dust wake became as narrow as it could. The sharp turn allowed him to see the pair of buggies that emerged from the wheeled fortress's trail and were in close pursuit. Nowhere to run, he was forced to simply hope to keep from view and look on as they advanced.
The buggies gained far more swiftly than Monkey had initially thought. When one came into full view beside Monkey's machine it became clear why. Twin engines roared in tandem within the narrow snout of the buggy. With eyes following along the lightly-plated frame of the vehicle he noted three occupants-a driver, and two passengers clambering onto a small rear platform that housed a contraption, the purpose of which Monkey couldn't clearly make out. His gaze shifted to the right and he could see a stark symmetry with the buggy on the other side. Clearly the tell of a well-practiced maneuver.
Looking back to the left, the driver turned to Monkey with eyes shielded by thick goggles and the offer of a toothy grin. Eyes locked onto Monkey, he reached up and pulled a cord that released a sharp BLAT from the horn mounted on the roof. A rather large hunk of metal with lengthy hooks were immediately dropped from the rear of each buggy. Thick wire could be seen uncoiling at an alarming rate. BLAT BLAT. The horn sounded off, initiating the second stage of whatever plan they devised. Harpoons suddenly pierced the plating of the beast, one of them nearly splitting Monkey's foot on its way through. When the harpoons were loosed, the coil of wire followed suit. The realization came far too late for any effective reaction.
The wires were pulled taught and rocketed Monkey toward the front along with anything not bolted down. He was sent into the steering wheel, knocking the wind from his lungs before the rear end of the beast went upwards, the momentum sending the vehicle end over end then into a hard roll once the harpoon wires snapped...
The wheeled fortress was now hurtling towards the station, scraps pried and flung from its exterior with each turn over the desert plain. Finally it came to a sliding halt a few dozen meters from the station. Each buggy made a half circle around the overturned vehicle before stopping. The raiders had dismounted, rugged rifles in hand. The view was obscured by the nearest buggy, but one could easily see that a couple of them got to work on prying the plate car open to get to their prize inside.
Cor & Izzy
Like a snuffed candle, the glint vanished as quickly as it appeared and was soon replaced by a steadily growing plume of dust. They were coming. Three sets of wheels were bearing down on them, a frig in the middle with a pair of slabs acting as escorts. One of the slabs pulled forward far more quickly, intent on reaching the stranded pair first. The noise of the engine ripped through the air, as if it were a lion warding off scavengers from its meal.
By the time it arrived, the two sitting ducks could already see that instead of windows, there were steel slats on all sides with scattered slits that acted as viewports. They felt the eyes upon them although it was impossible to see just how many or who they belonged to. The slab made slow circles around the sunken wag, scanning and gauging, surveying and weighing. Then it came to a full stop. The only sound was the engine chugging as it remained at a standstill.
Rasp & Eddie
The Interceptor crawled along in comparison to its previous speed, its lookout vigilant and focused on the sights and sounds around it. Beneath the rumble of the engine, the faint brap of a motorcycle resonated through the cliffs and hills. The source of the sound couldn't be seen, but small movements among the rocks caught Eddie's eye. Rasp maintained a steady pace, until they came upon a fork in the road. The hills continued off towards the right, and to the left was the mouth of a canyon, its walls untouched by the sun, even as high as it was.
The choice seemed clear until a blast sent boulders into the path to the hills. Another behind removed any chance of retreat. Dusty cloths, simple but effective camouflage, were pulled from pockets in the nearby ridges, revealing machine gun placements with operators at the ready. A hail of bullets were sprayed all around the Interceptor, forcing Rasp to rocket the machine down into the canyons. Numerous whooping calls rang out as several bikes revved to life and were soon in close pursuit-some behind, some above-snaking and winding through the crevices and curves with expert precision. They rode in pairs, one to drive and the other to shoot. Apparently standard fare in the region. Their shots ripped and whined past Eddie, some ricocheting off the Interceptor's roof, some whizzing too close for comfort...
"Promise you just torch they's stuff? Izzy wants one...Izzy wants to play."
"I won't try t' kill them unless I have t'," Cor replied. On one hand, he was relieved to have gotten Izzy to put the gun down. "And I hope you won't either." However, he wasn't sure he liked the idea of watching Izzy torture people again.
Hopefully, they won't care... hopefully.
When he was younger, he had often seen wags drive past with not a care for who stood there. However, this was different, this wasn't a group of people around two small bikes, this was them being stuck, alone.
If they were lucky, they would get away without an encounter. Cor gathered gasoline in a small bottle, enough to soak the hood of a car enough to get a reaction from the motor inside, should he fire one of his special arrows.
Come on, you bastars. Leave us alone.
It soon became clear that lady luck wasn't on their side, and they wouldn't get away that easily.
"Izzy, please, hide," Cor said, slowly, as he watched the vehicle get closer. "If anything happens, I need t' know you can get them by surprise. Aim for their heads, we can always try t' keep someone alive once we have the upper hand. I'm going t' try t' make them understand that I'm a medicus, I'm better kept safe and alive than splattered across a wall. Only shoot when you know it's necessary." He stepped in front of where she stood, hoping she'd do as he said. He felt at his cross-bow, partly obscured at the back of his belt. on the other side, the small bottle of gasoline had been put.
As Cor felt eyes on him, he stepped forward, slightly, and spoke defiantly.
"I am a Medicus," he said, aloud. "I am one that heals and repairs humans. Leave or let me help you, but nothing good comes from harming me."
"I won't try t' kill them unless I have t', and I hope you won't either."
Izzy made an annoyed clicking sound with her tongue, and cast a sidelong glance at Cor. "Stupe..." She muttered. Dat soft think is fine in ville...e'rry steader gotta get along if ville gonna make it; but out here, you kill 'em fore dey kill you. She thought. The longer she knew this man, the more surprised she was that he hadn't been clipped.
"Izzy, please, hide, if anything happens, I need t' know you can get them by surprise. Aim for their heads, we can always try t' keep someone alive once we have the upper hand. I'm going t' try t' make them understand that I'm a medicus, I'm better kept safe and alive than splattered across a wall. Only shoot when you know it's necessary."
Even though she didn't believe he could talk their way out, she still took his advice, and tucked her slender frame down in the hollows created by them trying to dig out the wag. "Better ta burn de firs' one you can...not like dey'll give you a warning." She said as the heavy wag rolled to a stop. While Cor tried to talk, Izzy lined up across the front for the wag; she was going to pop the first head she saw. Only six, rest in bag above; remember what Autie Jo taught you: Don't pull, squeeze.
Hiding behind a wall and looking out one of the broken parts Daka hisses softly to himself as he pulls his cuttas and holds them in his hands tight. Staring as the buggies spin around and unload their drivers he watches them start to pry and jerk on the larger moova that had been stopped by the buggies. Staring at the group and trying to stay as hidden as he can be Daka stiffens as he looks at the buggy that was mostly between him and them. He couldn't see very well but he knew they must have something in them worth taking.
Pulling behind the wall and rubbing his arm on his face and across his eyes Daka glances through the hole again trying to stare inside the buggy and see if there was another driver. Pulling back and pressing the fists of the cuttas into his belly he tries to hold in its growling for food as hunger slides through him again before sliding away only half interested in the lizard he had minutes before.
Watching the drivers jerk and pull on the large moova Daka settles his hands down on the ground, deciding that if whoever was in the moova did something to distract the things around he would move in and try to scavenge something to eat or drink.
It was then that Monkey appreciated the lessons his Uncle told him over a cup of spicy whisky. He had wore his seat-belt, which fastened him tight to his seat and prevented his brains from smearing all over the front windshield. He had also tied down all of his belongings in the car, which didn't fly around and cut him into little pieces, ready to be cooked and eatenright on the spot. Monkey was generally happy he was still alive, although that might change soon with the approaching mad savages on his tail. It was only natural that when he felt safe inside his turtle truck it would trip over itself and crash on the sand, conviniently close to the abandoned ruins of a petrol farm. Monkey was admiring his ability to stay alive when a spear-point pierced the back of his car and he quickly realized it was still up for debate. He unbuckled himself and fell down inside the the turtle-mobile. He heard the rumbleof the engines subsiding and suddenly stopping, which meant that the crazy raiders left him alone and were on their way elsewhere...A happy thought, but merely just a thought. He heard them snapping at each other in their rough speak and soon they started trying to tear the car open. It was bad for Monkey on so many levels he stopped counting them at around number sixteen and decided to actually do something about it. He cobelled together all of his belongings while outside they tore away the metal armor.
"Hey!", Monkey cried out to them, "Hey, Can, cani, cani, cannibals! I can hear you... You hear me? Get away from here, you damn dirty Cannibals, before I kill the lot of you!". Monkey was proud of his heroic cry of heroism, which should have made all of the raiders flee in terror. They must have been deaf, the whole bunch, since they continued cutting away at the metal unabated, perhaps even motivated now that they knew what kind of sad sap was sitting inside. Monkey hoped the car could hold and the crazy people outside would just leave, but hoping alone wouldn't do the trick. He also had to pray!
"Would you kindly leave me be? Please? ". Begging wasn't doing the trick either. He could hear the snarls of a ludicriously strong and very hungry cannibal, which were followed by his face popping inside to greet him. Monkey panicked like never before, funbled with his hands and found his double-barelled shotgun at his feet. He picked it up, and the expression of the cannibal soon shifted to confusion and then sheer terror right before Monkey unloaded a shot and hit what would have been his face had it was thirty centimeters to the right. The shocked cannibal stared at Monkey for a minute, in the time that took him to cry out again. "Get out or I shoot you!". The cannibal pushed himself back and away from the miserable shot inside the car, but not fast enough - this time the end of the barrel was right on top of him, and with no room to miss Monkey fired at the savage and experienced for the first time the horror of taking another man's life. It was amplified tenfold when he didn't even mean to pull the trigger, which was a mistake, and that all he wanted to do was scare the cannibal away.
"S..s..sorry....",Monkey mumbled, talking to the brain and skull fragments scattered around him and smeared on his boots and pants, "I d-d-d-dn't mean to...".
<< Eddie & Rasp >>
As he ducked inside the car to avoid shots close enough to have his head, Eddie felt blood run down his cheek; a scratch, most likely, from a bullet ricocheting off the car too close. He remembered the exact one he was talking about, and he knew he was lucky. Few inches closer and the bullet that just scratched him would have plunged into his eye, and he'd return to the mud. Outside, shots still rang, though it'd do them no good. The back of the interceptor was reinforced with metal.
Blowing their load needlessly. How undisciplined.
Lighting a cigarette, Eddie sat and waited. He waited for the firing to subdue. For that window reloading created. Had they been Warpups, such a window wouldn't exist, but that just went a showed how lucky they were to have gotten out of that hellhole.
"Careful," he said to his partner, "if you lose your cool, gravity'll be what'll do us in, not them rats." He grinned, though without noticing it himself. Part of him was enjoying this.
Rasp had gunned the engine the moment the firing started, if only because he didn't want his partner to have his head shot off because the car was going too slowly. The sound of an explosion and the resulting landslide off to one side caused him to veer off into the one path left.
So when Eddie ducked back into the car and took the time to light a cigarette, Rasp only spared a single quick glance.
"Herding us. Get ready." he told Eddie, raising his voice over the sound of the roaring engine.
He had to consider them lucky. The raiders firing on them weren't crackshots, especially not on the backs of assault bikes. His eyes flashed up to either side of the ravine they were driving in to the bikes in question. There was no doubt about it: They were diving straight into a trap.
"Yeah, yeah. I know how this works." Eddie replied, as he blew smoke off his nostrils. The firing couldn't continue much longer, not with the kinda guns they were carrying. And indeed, soon enough the sound of gunshots subdued.
Not wasting a second, Eddie emerged from the roof window, cig in his mouth, eyes set on the bike closest, to the left of him. He aimed for the driver; if he took him out, the shooter would go along with him. He fired the AK in short, three-round bursts, narrowly missing, until he got the bugger in the head and the bike collapsed, taking the one behind it with it. Shots were heard again, and Eddie ducked inside.
Small window. They're fast reloaders, at least.
He looked at his AK. It took him three bursts to take out that guy. 9 rounds for one guy. I'm getting old, it should've taken me at most six.
"Keep your eyes peeled for potential escapes. They're good, but good doesn't mean perfect. They might slip."
Rasp merely replied with an affirmative grunt. After all, he needed to focus on the road ahead, and whatever would be coming up. Whether it was a trap or a refuge up ahead, they'd find out soon. After all, they were going as fast as a bat out of hell.
Cor & Izzy
"I am a Medicus," Cor said aloud. "I am one that heals and repairs humans. Leave or let me help you, but nothing good comes from harming me."
Much to the doctor's discomfort, he was only me with the continued silence. Izzy was settling in the sands with eyes open and fixed on the slab. The engine put-putted. The doctor's breaths were growing shallow. The heat from the wag's undercarriage pulled sweat from the young one's brow. To call the tension palpable was an understatement.
Suddenly the rooftop hatch on the slap was slid open. A small, dark cylinder was lobbed from the inside. The combined action had been so swift, it hardly had time to register in either of the companions' minds before the object went off with a bang. White light had burned their vision. The explosion left them deaf. An afterimage of the unmoved slab was all they knew of the world around them.
Izzy acted on reflex, unloading the .38 at whatever was in front, winging one of the occupants in the arm and hip. There was another she neither heard nor seen, but felt as she was yanked from beneath the wag with so much strength it almost felt as if her arms were being pulled from her sockets. As much as she tried to resist, she was simply overpowered, face-down in the sand with a boot in her back and a barrel prodding the base of her skull.
Cor, completely discombobulated by the explosion, fumbled for the bottle of gas and his crossbow. It only landed them in the dust and, with the help of the hands that clutched at his shirt, him along with them. Knees were forcefully planted onto his upper arms and the business end of a gun was also pressed against his head.
"...got me, Edge!" Cor and Izzy heard, muffled but with gradual clarity, the voice of the wounded Ravager. The man, clad in a brown leather jacket and denim jeans that may have once been blue but had been weathered and worn to a washed out tan-same as the others, indicating at least some form of organization-sat against the slab's tire. "Damn slit got me! I'm bleedin' bad, Edge, she killed me!"
The one apparently called 'Edge', and the only one who wasn't indisposed with holding captives or bullets where they shouldn't be, walked over to the hunched man and delivered a swift kick to his hip. "Shut yer breather, ye ain't dyin'!" The wounded man yelped but quickly managed to keep himself quiet for the time being. Edge looked off into the distance gave a wide wave with both hands. From the sounds of the approaching engines, it was a clear sign they were about to be joined by the others...
Monkey & Daka
There was only a brief moment of stillness with the sudden disappearance of the raider's head. Then swift action. A pair of hands grabbed each of Monkey's legs and tugged, pulling the lone and shaken occupant into the open. The butt of the rifle hit Monkey squarely in his forehead, send an intense pain through his skull and stars across his vision. His shotgun was kicked aside as he was turned onto his stomach.
The man's hands were being bound at his back once his vision cleared. He turned his head towards his turtle as saw the headless corpse being dragged away. A pair of the raiders were already pilfering through the pockets and pulling what unsullied clothing he had. "Right, come off it. The both of ya!" Said the evident leader. "Work's ta be done an' we ain't got all day."
Daka watched carefully as the leader walked off towards the buggy opposite him to rummage around in the compartments. The hungry fugitive took the chance and poked around the seemingly clear buggy. He had found what appeared to be some kind of stale loaf in a rucksack and was about to take a bite before he had to mind to look around. The leader looked as though he found was he was after and returned to the pair that was still divvying the belongings of the deceased. There was also the one tying up their frantic prize, binding his ankles to his wrists. That accounted for five of them. But they had rode in with three on each buggy...
A sharp whistle caught Daka's attention but when he turned back towards it, he was met with a swinging gun stock against his jaw. The pain was blinding but only brief. He was out cold a fraction of a second after. When he came to he was being dragged around the buggy by his leather harness. "Oi! Got anotha!" The man dragging him called out.
"There ya go," the leader shouted with some pride. "Throw 'im with the otha, tie 'im up good, yeah?"
Daka found himself alongside the driver of the wheeled fortress being tied up in the same fashion. There was a small pop that grabbed the captives attention and when they turned their necks, they saw a smokey trail climbing into the sky before another pop released a large, thick cloud of green smoke that lingered in the air.
Rasp & Eddie
The Interceptor roared on and the Rats were still in hot pursuit. The driver that was shot spilled the bike, and the passenger along with it, into the canyon road. The rearmost bike deftly swerved to avoid being taken out along with them and pressed on. After reloading the passenger on the rear bike sprayed a hail of bullets across the armored back. It seemed to be an exercise in futility as nothing had pierced the thick armor.
After another sharp turn at their breakneck pace, the pair looked on towards a fast-approaching tunnel. Thankfully it was short and uneventful, aside from still being chased, allowing them at least a minor amount of ease. The momentary tension had passed and Rasp continued to rocket the Interceptor through the canyons. It seemed the passengers on the bikes, none to eager to become the next victim of Eddie's retaliation, were being more conservative with their shots. Slugs whined intermittently off the Interceptor as they mostly watched and waited.
While Rasp and Eddie carried on down the ravine, back in the tunnel a massive engine had roared to life. Its silhouette filled the tunnel almost completely as it crawled out from the hollowed wall and began to creep down the narrow canyon. It was a heavy industrial loader crudely slathered in black paint with a tall plated scoop that may as well have been a steel wall at its front. A dense black cloud poured from its exhaust as it began to pick up speed...
Cor had made a mistake. A stupid, fucking mistake. He hadn't been prepared for the damned... whatever it was, it made everything go white, and he had fumbled, lost the crossbow and the bottle of gasoline, and now both he and Izzy had a gun pointed at their heads, forced down and stepped on.
If I'd not... I could've...
Why had he been so sure this would save him? Speaking up, trying to reason, of course it had turned out to be a damned disaster. He closed his eyes, the goggles didn't really help with the sweat inside them, and his eyes were stinging. Ignoring the drama going on with whoever Izzy had shot, he took a breath. Cor certainly didn't feel like dying, but it was worse knowing he had let Izzy, who he was supposed to protect, down.
She's a child... and your patient, Cor. What a fine Medicus you are, putting her at risk because of your bleeding heart and faulty head.
"Izzy--" he coughed, and tried to turn his head towards her. "-'orry, I really didn't mean t'..." he trailed off, he had given her a promise he could not keep, like a stupid... something. He didn't care what word it was, because it certainly didn't cover what a moron he had been. Almost defeated but defiant still, he spoke to his captivators instead. "L-let go of her, I don't know what you want with her, but just... just don't. Your friend is hurt, right? I can--- do something t' fix him, make sure he doesn't die. Just let her go."
Izzy was watching the wag intently, waiting for something to happen, most likely Cor getting clipped, when a flash of movement caught her eye. Watching the small dark shape hang in the air, she was staring right at it when it 'popped'.
The light was like nails in her eyes, and the sound made her head feel like she'd just been wacked with a hammer. Screaming in pain, she opened fire; there was not thought to it, just a need to strike back at the threat. As that happened, she felt a hand grab her feet and yank her out from under the wag with such force, she lost grip on her gun. Rage and fear melded together as she ended up in the open; writhing like a snake on hot steel, she got one arm trapped underneath her, just out of reach of her knife, while her free arm flailed uselessly against the leg pinning her in place."IZZY KILL YOU!" She shrieked. "IZZY GONNA SKULL FUCK YOU WITH OWN FIST!"
Somewhere between the ringing in her ears, and her own panicked screams, she did hear Cor's voice, but in her current agitated state they made no sense. Despite the increasing pressure from the boot on her back, and the barrel in her neck, she continued to twist and squirm in a bid to get free.
Dazed and laying on the hot sand blinking the spots from his eyes Daka curses himself softly at what had happened. He should have known better and checked the buggie better before trying to get something to fill his inner fire. Turning his face to the side and looking up at the people who now had him and the person they had dragged from the moova he doesn't feel much hope, their type was known to him and he figured he would be spitted and roasting before the forge in the sky had set this day.
turning his head as best he can to see where the buggie drivers were looking at Daka blinks his eyes more as he sees some green smoke sitting in the air. Looking from the people who had taken them and the smoke Daka tries to pull on his bonds but it just earns him a kick in the side that causes him to grunt and grind his teeth in pain. Taking sharper breaths and glaring now at the one who had both kicked him and caught him Daka eyes his throat placing where he will settle his cutta if he ever gets the chance.
< Rasp >
As the Interceptor careened into another sharp turn, Rasp was quick to notice the entrance to a tunnel. No doubt part of the trap they were being led into. With a jagged-toothed grimace, Rasp almost willed the car to go faster as it sped through the tunnel.
They were lucky as it turned out to be a short tunnel, with the dark that enveloped them only lasting a few seconds. Once they were out, he took a quick look behind them, and saw the pursuit bike still close behind them, along with the other one on the edge of the ravine.
Glancing over at Eddie, a slow, wicked smirk spread on Rasp's lips, and one hand noticeably tightened it's grip on the wheel. The other reached for the gear stick.
"Hold on." he grunted, before slamming on the brakes.
Both bikes continued to speed forward, however, and he could tell that their drivers were wondering what the hell he was doing. When he shifted into reverse, his intentions were clear.
Slamming the pedal to the floor, the Interceptor sped backward, headlong into the bike behind them. The car rumbled, and he could hear and feel the bike and it's occupants crash into the back, before going underneath the wheels. His smirk took an even darker edge as he felt more than heard the crunch of bones beneath the Interceptors tires.
Hitting the brakes again, he shifted back to first gear and continued them onward down the ravine to the raider's inevitable trap. But at least the pursuers directly behind them were taken care of.
He was about to turn to Eddie to smugly say that that was two less wasters, but something caught his eye back at the exit to the tunnel.
An industrial loader, one that was modified to practically take up the entire ravine on it's own. How in the hell had those dog-humping bastards manage to hide that monster in the tunnel?! he asked himself as he grabbed onto the wheel with newfound urgency and looked for some way out.
Cor & Izzy
"IZZY KILL YOU!" Izzy shrieked. "IZZY GONNA SKULL FUCK YOU WITH OWN FIST!"
"Quite a mouth you've got, little one," said the man with the boot on her back. He had only stepped off for a moment before he fastened her arms at her back, just as his counterpart was tying up the doctor. "Shame we don't get to keep it."
"L-let go of her, I don't know what you want with her, but just... just don't. Your friend is hurt, right? I can--- do something t' fix him, make sure he doesn't die. Just let her go."
"Cut ye loose an' ye do a bit of cuttin' all yer own?" Edge tsk-tsked at the doctor, shaking his head. "Gonna need to try a little better than that." Edge motioned to the other two, now that they were no longer occupied with securing the captives. "Put this bleedin' pissant back in the slab, see to it the stitcher patches him up."
With no small amount of blubbering and yowling, the wounded bandit was pulled into the backseat and the slab was driving off just as the frig and other slab pulled up. Soon after, several men toiled away to remove the wag from the sand and winch it onto the frig's flatbed. Attached to the rear of the cab was a cage where Izzy and Cor soon found themselves, only partially shaded by the tall cab...
Daka & Monkey
Wordlessly the pair sat in the dirt as all manner of belongings were being unceremonious passed and scattered from inside Monkey's armored rig, already staking claims. One of them came up to Daka and set hands on his cuttas. "Oi!" called the one that had initially caught Daka. "Hands off, that's mine!"
"Right, let's put this in the dirt," said the apparent leader, "no one is getting it. That stays with him. Sure we'll get a sweeter deal with those on 'im. As for this one," he emphasized, nudging Monkey with his boot. "This one's ours. Eye fer an eye, right?"
The vehicles that were signaled earlier had pulled up in front of the sunken petrol station, a rather large tow truck and a small flatbed that was more of a mobile jail cell than anything. "Up ya go," said one of the ravagers as he manhandled Daka into the iron enclosure. With a few swift bangs on the side of the flatbed, the driver was signaled to drive off and away Daka was carried, the overturned vehicle and its owner growing smaller in his vision...
Rasp & Eddie
The two pressed on, Rasp clutching the wheel and gearstick, Eddie clutching the AK. The Interceptor peeled out down the canyon, running over the bikers once again before gunning it. The loader, more slowly but with an alarming certainty of what was to come. Even when the loader was out of sight, the steady roar of its engine echoed through the was. It was ominous and a chilling reminder of just how out of their element they both were.
Also, strangely enough, the sound of gunshots had ceased and bullets were no longer ricocheting off the roof. The noise of motorcycle engines had trailed off, seemingly giving up the chase. Their only encouragement was effectively a steel wall advancing from behind and Rasp had no intention of letting it gain. They rounded another bend only for Rasp to floor the brake the moment he saw what lied ahead.
Nothing. There was no more road, no more canyon, only the open air into a much larger gorge. It was a complete dead end. They couldn't go forward and they couldn't go back, yet soon enough they were put over the cliffside-not of their own volition, but by the loader sending them off. Fortunately for the pair, they didn't come to a rest at the bottom of the gorge as a twisted mass of metal and flesh, but landed in a net, stretched to cushion the fall before closing and ensnaring the Interceptor. It was clear they weren't getting out of this one...
Several days later...
It was dark, save for a few holes in the shipping container's sides and ceiling. They were also the only sources of fresh air and having so few of them made the air heavy and dank given the number of people locked inside. Each seemed to secure their own spot along the wall. Most stayed apart but some were fortunate enough to be alongside someone they knew. Though the light was minimal, the space was small and afforded them enough illumination to see a little more than a rough silhouette.
There was a little over a dozen bodies confined, a few fast asleep. Thus far it had been relatively quiet. Discounting a scrawny man who'd be vocalizing his worry throughout the entirety of the trip. It'd been nearly fifteen minutes before he broke his record of silence and verbally pondered to no one in particular, "What good am I to these people, I'm too thin for labor or to...to eat for that matter. They should've just left me alone or killed me to save me all this worry."
"'Bout ready to do tha' meself, ye keep waggin' that gob," spoke a large man in the far corner, gruff and irate. "Tired of 'earin' ye whinegin'."
"Some of us are trying to sleep," said another voice, this one from a woman lying down in the middle. "If we're all gonna die I'd like to do so well-rested."
"Oi, you tellin' me off?"
"I'm certainly not telling you on."
"I'll come over there an' shut ye up meself, then the other one."
"At least let me get some shut-eye first..."
As soon as the weight lifted from her back Izzy tried to scramble free, but in her panicked and dazed state there was no chance of her getting away. She continued to squirm and curse as her hands were bound, but that was cut short by a hard butt stroke to the back of her head.
She'd regained consciousness after she'd been shackled in place, and the feral fury that had driven her before had now abandoned her. She sat in place, nearly catatonic, her only response to the outside world was to whimper and try to pull away whenever something touched her; the voices of the unfortunate souls around her were nothing more than background noise. Momma? Poppa? Izzy scared, Izzy no...he got Izzy again... Tears started to run down her cheeks. Momma, you said Great Man in Sky watch over us all, you said he good man. Why he no save Izzy? Why he let Convoy get sacked? Why, Momma why? "Momma, Poppa save me..." She sobbed softly. "I'm scared."
Cor had tried, but he had made a dumb mistake. A stupid, damned mistake, though he wasn't entirely sure it had mattered. He should have attacked, shouldn't have tried to talk his way out of it, but of course he had tried to. Of course it had failed, almost every person he had ever met had been sociopathic maniacs, if given the chance.
Still... I had at least thought they would let her go if I fixed their guy... or I could just have done something.
People normally took his offer of help, because they knew he was useful. Now? All his tools had been taken away, and he was locked into some cage with other people. He wasn't sure what the purpose was, but someone mentioned getting eaten.
He frowned, those who ate other humans were a nasty crowd. Cor could sort of understand making use of everything possible, but cannibals were just bad news all around.
No wonder they didn't care about that one guy. They're probably preparing him for dinner, right now.
Cor curled up a bit, someone or something had touched his leg and he didn't know who it was or where they had been. He wasn't even sure where Izzy was, before he heard her voice, sobbing, not far by.
"Momma, Poppa save me... I'm scared."
"Izzy..." he trailed off, Cor couldn't bring himself to say anything, and she likely didn't hear him either way. He had failed her.
And when she had the chance t' end it... I stopped her. And now we'll both suffer a terrible fate instead, worse than just getting shot.
Cor didn't exactly need another reason to feel terrible about this ordeal, and he closed his eyes, feeling his own hands shake. He wasn't entirely sure if the droplets running down his face were tears or simply sweat, the room was terribly damp, after all, and it was difficult to breathe.
"I'm sorry," he said, aloud, though he wasn't sure if it was for Izzy or to himself. Perhaps both. "This is such a mess."
Sitting with his back against the transports wall Daka keeps himself tight with his knees against his chest and his arms around his bent legs. Staring over his knees at the rest of the blood bags in this place he clicks his teeth together in time with the bumping and shifting. The harness on his body was still tight and rubbing against his skin. The absence of his cuttas was making him nervous, tightening him up into a smaller ball.
Looking out over the other people trapped he thinks to himself.
so many blood bags. Where do they want to take us.. and if that thing over there doesn't shut up i might have to use my cuttas on him.
Glaring over at the person who couldn't keep their mouth shut and their rambling was getting on not only his nerves, making his blood itch and squeeze his legs against himself tighter.
< Rasp >
As the Interceptor roared through the ravine and away from the loader behind them, the gunshots from the remaining pursuers seemed to abruptly cut out. It had even taken him a moment to realize that he couldn't hear them over the sounds of the engine, and he wasn't sure if he should have felt relieved or even more anxious. The fact that the loader had gone out of sight wasn't reassuring, especially since he could still hear it.
With a bend coming up, Rasp hoped it led to freedom and open plains.
The moment they came around the corner, his hopes drained at the sight of a sudden drop, and he slammed on the brakes. Not a moment too soon, either, since the front tires would have skidded off the edge had he given it another split second.
He stared ahead at the cliff and grimaced. In front was a dead end. And behind? He slowly looked back and narrowed his eyes as he heard the loader come closer.
Turning to his partner, Rasp grabbed at his rarely-used seat belt and strapped himself in.
"Buckle up." he grunted.
The Interceptor shuddered a moment later as the industrial loader caught up and pushed them over the cliff's edge.
They hadn't known about the net.
Several Days Later...
Out of a variety of horrible places they could have been in, Rasp would have considered the shipping container the two of them were sharing with the Rats' other captures to be only moderately bad. After all, he had a feeling that the destination in store for them was worse. And at least it was arguably better than the ravine that had eventually led them there.
The two of them shared a corner of the container and had managed to largely keep it to themselves despite the closeness to the other prisoners. The dank, stale air only made them feel more packed in. But the others had left them alone, which was something Rasp was grateful for, and for two reasons. First, was that Eddie was hurt.
Immediately after they had been pulled out of the snared Interceptor, the Rats that had caught up immediately started to threaten Rasp with retribution for killing their kin. But Eddie stepped in, and had gotten their attention with some clever jabs and snark. The result was that he was beaten, and brutally, and Rasp was forced to just watch. Otherwise, he would have been killed, and if he fought back, they would have killed him first.
Now, he was chained, bruised and bloodied, and Rasp could only do so much to look after the old fool while he slept without their weapons.
The other reason Rasp was grateful that they were, for the most part, left alone, was because he was actually a she. Out in the wild, a woman was almost always at a greater risk whenever they were captured, for a variety of obvious reasons. It was natural that since she could, she posed as a man whenever they interacted with outsiders.
So when she was patted down for any hidden weapons, the relief she felt that they hadn't found out that she wasn't in fact a man, was palpable. Though, since there had been mention of a eunich fetching a higher price, they may have easily mistaken her for one. The idea wasn't much comfort either way.
As she glanced over at Eddie, she felt a sharp pang of worry, since he hadn't woken since the beating, and she wondered if he would wake up at all. The fact that he was still breathing was reassuring to a point, but it had been a few days. He should have woken up by now.
As some of the others started to bicker among themselves, a low growl rose in Rasps mangled throat and she glared at a few of them. But, she didn't so much as spare a glance at the young woman who was whimpering to her own companion. Those two didn't grate nearly as much as the ones in the middle of an argument.
That was quite the fall.
He had to give it to the rats, the buggers knew how to set a trap, even if they overdid it. That loader was sure to have been drinking gas like a chronic alcoholic wanting to forget. It spoke of their power, in a way. "The prestige of the tribes is measured in their motor power" Top Dog once told him, "The more and bigger their motor is, the greater the testament of their power. Motor thirsts for oil, it craves it, and the more you have, the bolder you have to be to quell it. Motor is our way of life, but it can also spell our death."
He was right, the lines of cars that he and Rasp'd seen left in the middle of the vast, seemingly endless desert, abandoned by its drivers without a drop of oil or gasoline left were too many to count, and the drivers couldn't have gotten very far on foot. So, the fact that they had a loader aswell as all those bikes spoke a bunch about their stregth. Or perhaps, how desperate they were, given that they started it up just for a single car and two people.
Either way, they were captured now, hands on the back of their heads, guns being pointed at them from every angle. To try and fight would be suicide, though given some tribes he'd seen suicide would have been the best outcome he could wish for. Hopefully they were only dealing with slavers or cannibals that were hungry enough to kill them quickly.
"WHERE ARE THEY!?" yelled one of them, jumping out of a bike, giving them both death glares as he saw them. "Which one of ye killed me brother? Which one of ye fuckin' bodybags fuckin' did it?!" Eyeing Rasp, he made his way towards him with quick steps with a frown filled with disgust, body language showing the bearest of restrains from violence. "Ye the one doin' the shootin', weren't ye? Ye the one that shot me brother's rider, ye? I'll cut yer fuckin' balls off!" he poked the blunt part of his knife on Rasp's thigh, "Eunuchs aare on high demand these days, ye'll fetch a higher price!"
"He shoulda worn a helmet."
The rat turned to face him, one of his eyebrows twitching, staring at him with what seemed like maddened rage. Completely forgetting Rasp even existed, he walked up to Eddie, raising his head to meet his eyes. "The fuck'd you say to me, furball?"
"Safety first, am I right?" Eddie chuckled, grinning, "What, didn't your parents teach you two to wear a helmet? 'Motorcycle accidents are quite common! Wear a helmet, live a long life! Bless me with grandchildren!" he mocked, as though an aged father demanding grandchildren.
The Rat clunched his fist, trembling from rage. "You have a death wish, don't you, old man?"
"Oh no, he he he, not at all! I just find it funny. You know, how your bro died like a bitch!"
His cheek exploded as the Rat, evidently having reached his boiling point, hammered him with a haymaker. He could taste blood, and almost returned the favour. Almost ripped the little rat's face off, showed him that dogs can be as deadly as cats if riled up. Instead, he motioned Rasp not to do anything rash. The moment either of them made a move, they were dead.
"You call that a punch?" he grinned as he wiped the blood off his lip, laughing, "No wonder your bro was such a-"
A flurry of punches followed, as Eddie's face was flung left and right; with each punch received, the itch on the back of his head grew, wanting him to give in, but all that Eddie did was keep gesturing Rasp not to do anything. When the onslaught was over, he felt his entire face throb from the pain, and one of his eyes swelling up. The Rat's breath was heavy, and his face sweaty; not a marathon fighter, that one.
"That it?" Eddie mocked, spitting blood on the ground. His knees had grown a bit weaker and his vision was spinning, but he'd be damned if he let the Rat see it. "I've seen 12-year-olds give more of an impression than you. I'm surprised you and your bro survived this lo-"
A heavy knee landed on his stomach, and he fell on one knee, coughing, gasping for breath, but grinning all the same. For a brief second, he pictured himself beating ratboy to death with his own leg, but he kept motioning Rasp not to do anything. Catching his breath, he started to laugh once again.
A stomp, followed, throwing Eddie on the ground, followed by an angry flurry of more foot stomps. Protecting his face with one hand, the itch in the back of his head grew ever more tempting to scratch. But he kept gesturing Rasp not to do anything. Was he motioning for Rasp or for himself at this point? It was all a bit blurry in his head. He was reaching his limits, getting real close to grabbing the little vermin's leg and throwing him on the ground, real close to making his face -if there was any of it left when he was done- unrecognisable.
But then, someone grabbed Mr. Mouse from the shoulder and pushed him back. He was a tall, toned man, less than a head shorter than Eddie, his glare showing a degree of cunning and calculation that set him apart from the rest. Indeed, if ratboy was Pinky, this one was the Brain. "Enough." he said, his voice authoritative.
"Since he killed your brother, I allowed you to rough him up. But roughing up and damaging the merchandise are two different things.
"He he he... 'twas nuthin... Barely even felt it..." Eddie said, grinning weakly, his teeth blood red. With the adrenaline setting down, the pain started kicking in, and his vision grew worse as he struggled to keep from passing out. The Rat King eyed him, reached out, and took his hat. "I know a guy that collects these. Should fetch a high price, given its condition. Thank you for your patronage.
Eddie didn't have the energy to object or fight back. It was difficult enough to keep one eye open (the other had already given up), and he couldn't even raise a hand. As darkness surrounded him. his last thought was that he really wanted that hat back.
The dank air assaulted his nostrils, making him feel rather nauseated. As he opened an eye (the other one was feeling rather uncooperative, blackened as it were), the barely illuminated room spun, his blurry vision turning it into a mish-mash of dark colours whirling around in his head. His arms were chained, hisface felt like it was run over by a truck, and his torso wasn't much better; every breath was painful, as was his attempt to raise it.
Far from the best awakening he'd ever had, all things considered. But also far from the worst.
Lumbering his body upwards, he let his back rest on the metallic wall behind him, and turned to his partner-in-crime, shooting a pained lopsided grin. "Hey there chief, worried ya there for a sec, didn't I?" He rattled the chains holding his hands, "Damn me, must've left quite the impression. eh? At least that rat didn't hold up his promise to castrate me!" He tried to laugh, but all that came out was a mixture of laughter, cough and a pained groan.
He turned to look at the rest of the occupants, most of which were unremarkable, except for a young man, taking care of a girl barely enough to be thought of as a teenager. At the sight of them, he couldn't help but frown and feel a considerable amount of sympathy for the crying girl. Life was cruel, and crueler still for children. If this was what he though it were, the girl didn't look like she'd survive long.
He let his head rest on the wall for a sec and took a -painful- deep breath. "So, Rasp," he said, his voice serious for once, "I seem to have missed a few things. How long was I out, and what happened in the meanwhile?"
Much to the contentment of many of the shipping container's occupants, the scrawny man had quieted down. Now he seemed to be occupied with peering through one of the holes in the corrugated walls of their mobile prison. When the light touched his face, it was apparent he was somewhere in his middle ages. It was hard to tell exactly where, considering the scars and pock marks that spotted his visage.
The woman that was lying in the middle of the floor was fast asleep and her breathing slowed considerably. She was very still, only moving when the rig pulling the container jostled over an uneven spot in the dust. The large man she had irritated earlier, however, was growing antsy. While he wasn't the most uneasy person present, he would've made for a decent contender. He fidgeted, cracking his knuckles every now and again. Whether it was fear or fury, something in him was stewing and was nearing the point of boiling over.
"Oh dear," the scrawny man whispered, his voice drawing attention to the added sounds of a new roaring engine. Then came the bullets.
The first reports were distant and the impacts just ahead of their mobile prison. The next came from atop the very rig that pulled them. In the exchange, the aim of the ambushers went wide. A dotted line of the shots was punched into the container. There was a squelch and those nearer the scrawny man felt the spatters from the head that was unfortunate to find itself in the line of fire.
The sound of an explosion ripped through the air. The rig swerved to avoid the burning hunk of metal the was part of its escort. Then swerved again when it tried to correct itself after its trailer swiped the flaming car. The container's occupants were nearly thrown from their seats with nothing to hold onto. With a final swerve, and a heavy snap, the trailer detached itself and turned on its side, skidding across the dust.
As it was coming to a rest, the sounds of gunfire continued ahead. Then there was one final burst of fire. The victors made themselves apparent as their vehicle came back around.
"We'll clear the crate, then the rig," called a male voice authoritatively. "Stay on the ripper. Won't know what's inside."
"Psst!" Hissed the woman that was sleeping before the attack. She was now preparing herself, eyes staying on the doorway. She whispered lowly so as not to be heard by the raiders. "Get ready, take 'em by surprise."
"Won't see me comin'," growled that large man, wiping the sweat and blood from his brow before he wrapped a studded belt around a respectable fist.
A sledgehammer struck the padlock.
Again, the lock was struck. "Bugger," a voice muttered from the other side.
With one final swing, the bolt was snapped and the door was loosened. The bottom half of the hatch fell outward. The top was about to be lifted when the large man charged from within the container. When it went up, the men on either side reeled and staggered back. One managed to turn away in time. The other wasn't so fortunate-his jaw taking most of the force and was almost immediately rendered unconscious.
Bright light poured into the shipping container, glaring into the eyes of its occupants. However it didn't take long for them to adjust. The opened hatch revealed five men with clothes that appeared to be more dust than fabric. The one that was clouted by the door was layed out on the left, to the right was another trying to get to his feet before the female prisoner set upon him. The one wielding the sledgehammer was decked by a punch from the large captive's wrapped fist.
A shot rang out from the back of a dusty, open-top wagon beyond the three raiders. And it was the only one as a casing found itself lodged in the chamber of the mounted MG3. "Jammed!" Shouted the gunner as he leapt down from the wagon. There was a secondary gunner that dismounted alongside him and the pair advanced, each brandishing a machete.
It was as if the rest of the world didn't exist to Izzy; she simply lay curled up on the floor and occasionally sobbed as thing happened around her. She barely twitched when a man sitting beside her caught a stray bullet to the face, splattering her with brain, blood and bone, and when the container fell, while she did let out a bit of a startled 'squawk' upon finding herself airborne, she made no attempt to save herself as she piled into the other sprawled bodies. The harsh clanging as the lock was busted off was just another unimportant noise to ignore; even after the door was busted open, she just stared at the uncomfortable brightness, not comprehending or caring, what was going on.
The single shot, amplified by the open container door, was enough to get through to her shell-shocked mind. Her eyes waters at the brightness, as sound and memories came rushing back. The bodies of the other captives faded into the background, as the raiders focused into crystal clarity; her eyes locking onto one of the dismounted gunners, she snarled and rushed from the container, heedless of danger.
While the three at the container were either down, or getting attacked, Izzy rushed past all that, her victim the gunner who'd just dismounted after jamming his weapon. He saw her coming and laughed as he brought his machete across in a viscous slash to cut her down mid-charge; but she was moving faster than he realized, and was inside his swing before his blade could bite her. Leaping at the last moment, ninety pounds of fury hit him in the chest and began to tear at his face and head.
Caught off guard, the raider staggered backwards as Izzy wrapped her skinny legs around his midsection, and began to rip at his face coverings; goggles yanked free, her grease stained left thumb found his right eye socket. Jamming it in up to the second knuckle, her rest of her fingers curled around his right ear and yanked his head to that side. Screaming in pain, the raider stumbled backwards and Izzy rode him to the ground as her other hand slipped three fingers into the left side of his mouth and began tearing at the cheek.
Weapons forgotten as he fell, the raider flailed in extreme pain as Izzy tore at his face; now on a stable footing, Izzy lunged at his exposed neck, her crooked teeth sinking into the flesh, the warm coppery taste of blood filling her mouth. The raiders screams went from one of pain, to absolute terror, as her teeth sunk in, and it changed once more, as his thrashing about caused her to tear a large split in his cheek all the way back to the molars.
Cor wasn't surprised by that Izzy didn't react to his attempt to apologize. She had entered one of her "states", the one where she shut everything else out, curled up. Small. Of course, he also knew what often came afterwards. There was a reason he kept away from her when she got like this, Izzy would get vicious and extremely violent, especially against men.
It had gotten to the point where rather than keep trying to pull her out of this state, he kept to himself, staying out of her way until she had calmed down. It could take a while.
Yet I can't help but feel bad for her.
Perhaps, just perhaps, Cor was a little too nice. Right now, he didn't feel like being nice, only like curling up himself, and try to remain... calm? He had little hope, but he didn't want to panic. Cry, sure, he wished he could just find his parents and let them handle this. But they were dead, and he was an adult man. A medicus. He couldn't simply give up, like a feeble child.
And thus, he waited. He waited for something to happen.
Something did, far earlier than he had expected. The mobile prison was attacked, and when the gunshots came, he had no choice but to help himself first, Izzy didn't even seem to notice them, and he had no energy to try to drag her away. Luckily, it seemed they both were fine. For now, it still wasn't over, far from it. Some of the people who had spoken before talked.
"Get ready, take 'em by surprise."
"Won't see me comin',"
Cor opted to see where it would go, hide a little so that he could take someone by surprise, was it needed. However, having seen Izzy awakened, he did speak a warning to the others there, before the intruders entered. It was a whisper, but he hoped at least some of them heard it.
"Keep clear of the girl," he told the others. "She'll not be kind to those who get close." With that, he stood up. He positioned himself sort of close to Izzy, close enough to try to interfere if she got hurt or if she tried to hurt the wrong person, but not for him to be a possible next target. He hoped.
I'll let those who can fight do the fighting for now.
Eventually, if they survived this, Cor would tend to the injuries of those still alive. Right now he was practically useless, though.
< Rasp >
When Eddie finally began to stir, Rasp felt a wave of relief wash over her. He was still in bad shape, and shackled on top of it, but at least he was waking up. If nothing else, that was certainly a start, especially since she was starting to worry that he wasn't going to wake at all.
One of his eyes slowly opened, with the other too swollen to open in the first place, and he glanced over at her with a weak smile.
"Hey there chief, worried ya there for a sec, didn't I?"
She gave him an odd look, but nodded. He seemed to notice the chains after a moment and made a passing comment about making an impression. Then he looked around, paying attention to the other prisoners locked in there with them. She noted his sympathetic frown and let out an almost wheezing sigh.
"So, Rasp. I seem to have missed a few things. How long was I out, and what happened in the meanwhile?"
"Three days," she hissed quietly, "Not much. Took everything, shoved in here. Moving us somewhere."
Her head whipped around when she heard the scarecrow of a man murmur something, and she could pick out the sounds of gunfire outside. She crouched low, which was fortunate as the rig transporting the shipping container swerved, and they could hear explosions just outside. She was thrown roughly against the wall of the container, and managed to scrabble her fingers against it just in time to grasp one of the air holes to brace herself at least somewhat.
Good thing too, since with a final swerve, the container snapped off of the rig and turned onto it's side. With the sudden shift, the other prisoners were thrown onto the same wall Rasp was braced against, and she managed to catch Eddie before he was slammed against metal.
There was a final burst of gunfire outside, along with muffled voices outside that Rasp could barely make out.
"Get ready, take 'em by surprise."
The woman who was attempting to sleep earlier was crouched and ready to ambush their new attackers, and Rasp did the same with her jagged teeth bared viciously. They might have taken her blades, and her shotgun, but she still had her hands, her teeth. She could fight with that much.
When the lock was busted and the container hatch opened, the rest was a blur. The large man charged the first two just outside, only to stop at the sound of a single gunshot. The young girl that was fretting to her companion earlier looked up before charging outside, presumably to rush whoever was armed with the gun. And Rasp wasn't too far behind.
She launched herself forward and shoved past the group at the hatch, chasing after the girl with the goal of overwhelming their target. When she saw them, she noticed that the raiders only had machetes. She was expecting a rifle at least, but the fact that they both had a chopper instead made her grin, even as the girl launched herself at one. She was fast, Rasp would definitely give her that, at least as fast as she was.
As the girl tore at the man's face, he flailed, dropping his machete to the ground, which was all the opportunity Rasp needed. She snatched it up from the ground and spun low, swiping it across the back of his partner's knee. As he stumbled, she turned again and flipped it up against the inside of the elbow of his weapon arm.
It was clear that the machete was crude and poorly cared for, because instead of cleaving through the mans arm like she intended, the blade stopped a little over halfway through the elbow. But the result was that he was still down an arm, and as he struggled on the ground, she placed a boot on his mangled wrist to wrest the blade free of his meat.
As the man screamed and clutched at his limp arm, Rasp swiped the machete's blade along his throat, cutting it with only a minor jerk of resistance. He gurgled obscenely, but her only reply was contemptuous huff, before turning to face the others.
Watching the rest of the container of people Daka keeps himself contained in his little part of it. Without his cuttas and no way to know where to get them he was panicked inside, but hiding it as well as he could. Keeping still with his back against the wall he watches the talkers in the box, either talking to people they know or blustering to keep their scared inside.
Laying his head on his knees and staying still Daka missed the first half of the escalating fight. Jerking his head up when he hears the gunshot He stares wide eyed as people rush out into the sun and fighting starts outside. Jerking himself to his feet and moving through the other who were not moving or to stunned to move Daka jumps out of the container and watches as those who were outside start killing and fighting. Rather than a gun most of the people outside were holding badly made and cared for machetes. Moving to the side and jumping on the back of one of the men who were about to rush the girls who were already fighting. Reaching around and digging his fingers into the mans face Daka bites the side of his neck, blood spraying out and he mans right eye forces out by Dakas strong fingers.
Dropping back to the ground and jumping back Daka hisses as the tip of the machete hits his chest cutting a long but shallow part out of him. Holding his chest and glaring at the man Daka jumps to the side of his now blind side and keeps running around in a circle. Getting almost behind him as the man spins towards him Daka jumps forward and grabs the hand hodling the machete as he uses his fingers to dig into the other eye he reaches in and pulls it out just to crush it, making the man scream in pain. Jumping back to get out of range of his wildly swinging machete he aits till he turns around before jumping on his back again and pulling him to the ground, Daka grabs the machete and holds its handle and the back of the tip of the blade and slices the mans throat. Turning his face away as blood goes flying.
"Three days, not much. Took everything, shoved in here. Moving us somewhere."
That hissed "not much" must've been the biggest understatement young, eager Rasp had made the past week, and she was a master at those. Three days. A normal, well-adjusted (as "well-adjusted" one could be in such a world) would've been at least an itchy-bitchy bit shocked, but a frown and sigh was all she got out of him. He's had worse, way back in the olden days. Once he'd spent a week and a half in a coma, only to awaken as they were about to throw his body out of a speeding car, the grief-stricken begging of his mother's the first thing he heard. He had to spend the following days to prove that he hadn't been damaged goods. That was the way things worked; no matter how well known or reputable you were, you gotta pull your weight, and the moment you start being a burden was the moment you were cast aside or put down, if you felt like objecting.
Resting his head on the wall, Eddie closed his eyes and let the thought sink in. Engines roared in the distance, their noises and rhythm composing only what one could describe as a crude, anarchic symphony. It reminded him of the old days, except back then it was a hundred engines, and their symphony was one inviting violence.
But then, a new engine joined the fray, disrupting the flow. He felt his body tense up; his gut was telling him something was happening. His heart thumped quicker, and his stomach tightened- an eere sense of anticipation, a sensation similar to when battle was close. Bullets echoed in the distance, coming closer by the minute. It was not long until they were invited into this sortie, he reckoned.
An explosion hit close, causing the container to swerve, and Eddie found himself thrust around, only avoiding injury thanks to the timely intervention of his bony companion. The gunfire subsided, and a lonely engine roared outside, victor or survivor unclear. Whichever it was, the prisoners found this as an opportunity to wrest free, and prepared for a fight. "I'm alright," he waved and whispered to his companion, and prepared for what was to come.
He took a deep breath, and let the fear sink in, embracing the dread, claiming it for his own. Fearlessness was a fool's boast, in his mind. The only men with no fear in them were the dead, or the soon to be dead, maybe. Fear taught you caution, and respect for your enemy, and to avoid sharp edges used in anger. Fear could bring you out alive, and that's the very best anyone could hope for from any fight. Every man that knew what he was doing felt fear. It's how one used it that counted.
The hatch gave way to the heavy blow of a sledgehammer, and the other prisoners lassed and run out like rats in a cage. Perhaps not the most well-thought move; they didn't know what they were dealing with, and rushing out could've easily ended with them being gunned down, but it turned out they were lucky. As the others rushed out, he couldn't help but notice the little girl, once weeping and crying, now ripping a man's face apart with her bare hands, as though transformed in the blink of an eye. A familiar sensation.
"Keep clear of the girl, she'll not be kind to those who get close." warned the young man, and Eddie couldn't help but raise an eyebrow- he certainly kept interesting company, he'd give him that. With an acknowledging nod, he peered outside, surveying the battle. Rasp was already taking care of one of the hostiles, and the other prisoners were keeping the others occupied. Hopefully he wouldn't have to take part; his body ached with each movement, and that made him slow, not to mention his swollen eye made him vision-impaired. Slowness and depth perception were both killers on their own, their combination only serving to make the other more potent.
Alas, it would seem he was left with no choice. The larger captive struggled against the man with the sledgehammer, his opening barrage of blows not enough to take the brute down, and he had recuperated. He lay on the ground, panting, as the other prepared for a final swing, only interrupted by a full body push by Eddie. "Stay back," he warned with the confidence of a man that knew what was doing.
The truth of the matter was he wasn't quite sure. The sledgehammer, though slow, compensated for that with power and reach, and its wielder had the skill to put them both to good use. Eddie found himself in a massive disadvantage, and he knew it. They stared at each other for a few seconds, sizing up the competition, before the man lashed forward, throwing one calculated swing after the other. Dodging them proved a difficult endeavour, but after a while the swings grew more lumbering and desperate, and that was his que that it was almost time to act.
What followed happened in a flash, but to Eddie it felt more like an hour. A full-force downward swing, only barely dodged as he jerked his body to the side. He took a step forward, burying his fist deep into his enemy's face, putting the weight of his entire body on the blow. The man's legs gave way, and his grip loosened, and Eddie grabbed the sledgehammer, wrestling it away, hitting the man with an elbow and throwing him to the ground. He raised it high and the man, coming back to his senses stared in terror as he prepared to yell. It was the last expression he ever made.
Panting, Eddie took a moment to collect himself; "Still alive," he whispered, "I'm still alive." His body ached, and his breathing was hoarse, but he was still alive. "I'll keep this, if you don't mind," he told the prisoner as he raised the hammer, blood and brain matter still dripping from its head. He didn't.
Turning to see how Rasp was doing, he noticed that she had taken care of her opponent, gripping a bloody machete and looking for people to use it on.
"Hey, Rasp," Eddie said as he walked closer, resting the hammer on his shoulder, "I'll see about getting that machine gun fixed up. Recon we'll need it if anyone else decides to pay us a visit." He patted her on the shoulder, "Nice work. Provide help where needed. Talk to you soon." and walked on towards the truck, getting on the gunner's seat.
"Oh," he grunted, remembering, "And stay clear of that child."
Eddy would find that it wasn't a simple jam. After the firefight sand had settled in places any gunner wouldn't want it to. An extensive cleaning would be in order, that much was certain. The same could be said for a few of the captives after their brutal attack. Izzy especially, the blood pouring from her victim's wounds now slowing given that he was already dead. The others were already dusting themselves off from the scuffle.
It was quiet in the aftermath. At least more quiet than it was. The fight was over and blood was quickly soaking into the dust. Surprising as it may have been for anyone that would have witnessed the struggle for the rather large prisoner, seeing as there was a sizable portion of his upper shoulder missing. The equally sizable man sat up with a groan of considerable pain, dust adhering to his back in the rivulets of blood that ran down his back. His arm rested limply at his side. "Bugger shot me."
Now that the light offered a better view of the prisoners, they could better see the sheer strength the seated man carried. He could easily be described as a muscle with teeth, though those that knew it were averse to referring to him as such in his presence. He wasn't particularly tall, though it was clear he didn't need to be. His shirtless figure was intimidating enough as it was. At least would have been, was he not reduced to the wounded, bleeding man in the dust, wincing as the air touched the tender nerves.
The man ran his hand of his one good arm across his hairless head, wiping the sweat and clinging dirt from his skin. Then he scratched the back of his neck in thought, head turned to look at his exposed flesh. The soured expression on the man's face betrayed what a struggle it may have been for the figurative gears of his brain to turn. Though given the circumstances, it could just as easily be out of pain. Whichever it was, his silence ended with a vocal observation. "That's a lot of blood."
"Yeah, you don't say," exclaimed the other unnamed prisoner. She paused from rifling through one of their captors' pockets to take a closer look. In contrast to the man in the dirt, she was quite small. Her skin was dark and, as her attire suggested, not from the sun's touch. She wore a sandy flannel jacket that looked several sizes too large but she kept it reined in with leather straps around her wrists and waist. Her pants were just as baggy but with the aid of her knee pads the cuffs wouldn't catch the underside of her boot heel. She rested her wrapped hands on her upper legs as she leaned forward to inspect the torn muscle. Her eyes narrowed underneath the sweat-drenched ends of her jet black hair that was cut just short enough not to obscure her vision. "Lucky for you he wasn't a crack shot. Then again, if he was there'd be nothing for you to complain about."
Izzy found herself standing over the mangled body of a dead raider, chewing on a piece of flesh she'd torn from his throat. "Shit burglar..." She spat, hocking a bloody chunk of flesh into the remains of his face. Closing her eyes, she took a deep breath, unaware of the world around her; she felt good...the best she'd felt in quite a while.
Opening her eyes, she realized there were others about...and that she'd been standing with her back to them. Letting out a surprised squeak, she dropped low and spun about, her hand searching over the dead man. Pulling a crude shiv from his belt, her eyes flicked between the various people; but the attack she'd expected never came...in fact they seemed more interested in the big guy with a hole in his shoulder. "Cor right..." She muttered. "Izzy too jumpy...Hell, Izzy know not all people bad..." Still, until she found a better weapon...preferably her own...she was keeping the shiv.
After another moment or two, she began to realize her clothes felt 'weird'. Looking down she saw she was covered in blood, which was now starting to dry; while the others were distracted by the big guy, she began to search the dead for new clothes, or valuables.
Cor couldn't help but stand with a defiant look on his face, keeping just out of range for most of the dangerous guys, hiding so that he'd be harder to shoot as well. Part of him wanted to hit someone too, get rid of some of the anxiety and fear and anger that had built up. However, he wasn't violent like that, and he knew he was more useful keeping out of the fighting. Part of him would rather just hide away, have someone come find him once it was safe again, just like he had been able to do as a child. Escape all the danger, and wait for his parents to settle it. However, they weren't alive, hadn't been for what felt like an eternity, but really only was a few years. Besides, he wasn't a child anymore.
Instead, Cor watched, looking around for anything that could help, or weaknesses or--- wait. He spotted something in the rig's cab, and quietly walked over. The fighting had started dying down, and the others were handling it well enough. Inside the cab he found containers, and inside them...
Quickly, he got his crossbow and arrows, lighter and some gas. If he was going to be helpful, he might as well have the only thing making him useful in a fight. However, when he stuck his head out, he noticed that everything had calmed down. Izzy was walking around, seemingly out of her bad mood, but likely needing some time to herself, while the strangers that had been talking during the ride was standing together, the man having taken a rather nasty shot to his shoulder and arm.
"Lucky for you he wasn't a crack shot. Then again, if he was there'd be nothing for you to complain about."
"Try t' keep a bit of pressure on that, 'k?" he yelled to the woman, and started going through his tools. "I'm a medicus, healer, give me a short moment..." he went through the procedure in his mind.
Big gun, need t' remove some pieces of gun-scrap, probably. Lot of blood, should try t' clean it and get the pieces out, but I can't waste time. Might need t' amputate, if everything is horrible, but only if I have t'. Need some alcohol t' pour into it.
Luckily most of his medical supplies was kept separate from everything else, clean, so he got that, as well as the bottle of alcohol, some makeshift bandages, and the big knife, just in case. Making his way over to the strangers, he confidently took control over the situation. He handed a piece of cloth over to the woman.
"Here, this'll help t' keep the bleeding under control. Fair bit of chunk taken, I'll need t' sew it," he started, and got the bottle of alcohol. He offered the man a little of it, because the next step was going to hurt. A lot.
"Here I go... Try not t' struggle."
Carefully, he started cauterizing the visible blood vessels in order to force the blood around to thicken, before taking another rag. Pouring a bit of alcohol on it, he started to clean the wound -though keeping it away from the areas he had just burned- while looking for anything that could cause trouble if it remained inside, and removing what had to be. Pieces of shattered bone, for instance. He moved carefully, yet swiftly, he had to get it shut soon. If there was any comments from the people around, then the Medicus didn't hear them, he was too focused on his work. The only exception was him, taking a brief second to make sure Izzy was still fine.
Doesn't matter now. Patient.
Getting one of the last surgery needles in existence through the skin, he finally finished closing the wound, and then proceeded to bandage it up, carefully. "I'm not entirely sure the arm'll be much use," he admitted. "Might, but considering how much tissue was damaged and even missing... you'll survive, though. And I don't see any reason not t' keep the arm, as long as you keep it free from infection."
He muttered, sitting up, exhausted, but happy to have helped someone. He always liked that. Looking at Izzy, he addressed her. "Izzy, our stuff is in the cab of the wag, if you're looking for that stuff. I'll get the rest of my stuff, just give me a brief moment." He didn't address the more difficult stuff, like; "What now?" or "Is anyone here going to try to take everyone else's stuff and leave them alone?"
Keeping the large cutta in his hand Daka looks down at the man he had just killed. Pulling the blade from his ruined neck and squatting to scrub the blade with sand to get the blood off Daka looks up at the only person with a serious wound and goes back to cleaning his blade. He knew a good clean blade would take the place of even a great partner, a partner could betray you.
About to stand Daka jumps when movement out of the corner of his eye startles him, making him jump away and turn around still low to the sand as a woman jumps and glares at everyone as she pulls a shiv from the bandit she stood over. Eying her Daka could see she had torn a piece of the mans neck out and her clothes were more bloody than the man was. Moving away from her Daka starts to move around the container they had all been in to see what was on the other side when someone calling out to another catches his attention.
Izzy, our stuff is in the cab of the wag, if you're looking for that stuff. I'll get the rest of my stuff, just give me a brief moment."
Jerking and turning towards the man Daka scrambles forward and ducks under someones arm and gets to the cab of the truck, scrambling inside and looking around wildly. dumping a few boxes and yelling out he grabs his harness and pulls his cuttas out to look at them. putting them back he throws his harness back on and looks for a place for his bigger cutta to sit.
< Rasp >
Not long after the chaos started it was over. And Rasp was left quietly wheezing above the remains of her only victim. A small, vicious part of her wished that there were still a few more of them to rip into with her stolen machete, but that was mainly because she wanted to get some payback for their capture and Eddie's beating. Her more rational side realized the fact that there were so few was a genuine blessing. One of the few the wastes tended to offer.
She looked up when Eddie approached, and a corner of her mouth quirked up into a half-smile. He looked like he wasn't much worse off than when he woke up, which was something to be thankful for, and he had appropriated a weapon of his own: An impressively gory sledgehammer.
"Hey, Rasp, I'll see about getting that machine gun fixed up. Recon we'll need it if anyone else decides to pay us a visit."
Quickly glancing back at the mounted gun, she gave him a thumbs-up. Then he regarded her victim and patted her shoulder.
"Nice work. Provide help where needed. Talk to you soon. Oh, and stay clear of that child."
Grunting affirmatively, she flicked the excess blood from the machete's blade and started to make her way back to the others. All the while making a point to give the young girl a wide berth even as she jumped a little and bore a shiv to any potential threats. Rasp didn't want another fight on her hands, not with the other prisoners. As far as she was concerned, they were innocent in all this. Or at least, as innocent as anyone was nowadays.
"Izzy, our stuff is in the cab of the wag, if you're looking for that stuff."
Her head perked up at that. She didn't recognize the voice, or the name they were calling out, but if the cab of the truck was where the prisoner's things were held, she was going to focus on that first. And it was clear that she wasn't the only one taking the opportunity to grab their effects, either.
A bald, heavily scarred man was in the middle of dumping some of the boxes in the search for his own gear, so when Rasp dropped down next to him, she bared her teeth and hissed. She glared at him for another moment before grabbing the boxes he overturned and started to search through them more gently.
She managed to work her way through three boxes herself, setting them aside, before she finally found what she was looking for. She let out an audible sigh of relief, and took great care and satisfaction as she slipped her kukris into their proper places, then she checked both her pack and Eddie's to make sure nothing was missing.
Reassured that everything was as it should be, she shrugged both packs on, grabbed her shotgun along with the AK-47 they shared, and climbed back out of the cab. It was tempting to just leave it at that, and go back to Eddie. It would have been more cautious and certainly would have made more sense in the world they lived in to do just that. It also would have been completely selfish, and would run the risk of having the other prisoners simply turn on them, so instead she made her way back to the container where she spotted the large man from before being looked over by the young girl's companion. Or who she assumed was the girl's companion at any rate.
Dumping the packs and weapons, she walked over and knelt beside the wounded man and across from the one looking him over. With a grunt to catch the man's attention, she placed a hand on her chest before holding it out as if to offer it.
Can I help?