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Drifter

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« on: <09-05-12/2140:19> »
Petra had been dead for several hours. His carcass lay motionless in the middle of the street, his eyes fixed in an empty, lifeless stare. Flies had already begun to gather in massive numbers, and soon the bloating and the stench would be intensely foul.
   
Doc Kharatov winced through the dried blood caked into his bushy, white eyebrows. He could hear them from behind the burned out husk of the van, speaking to each other in odd chittering noises. It made him nervous and uncomfortable.
   
He checked the Ares. Everything seemed to be fine. Just a little dinged up. But his magazines were all empty, and he hadn't had time to look for anything.
   
Doc peered out from behind the melted steel hull. They were rummaging through Petra's corpse, ripping him to shreds in the process.
   
Assholes, Doc muttered to himself.

Doc crawled to the other side of the van and looked around. The others were heading in the opposite direction, probably looking for other survivors. Now was probably the best to time to make a move. Doc ran his fingers gingerly over the grip of his katar, and was struck by a memory from just a few nights ago...

***************

"Fuck the Vory," Seamus snarled, slamming his shot glass down on the table.
   
Doc glanced at his comrades, then back at Seamus. The bar was empty, save for the four of them.
   
"You left us a giant, gaping data trail, you stupid trog," Doc exclaimed, pacing back and forth behind Seamus. "Even a rookie could sniff your ass out of the barrens."
   
Seamus belched. "Sod off, Doc. You bloody slavs are the worst." Seamus turned to face the two men and the dwarf while steadying himself against the bar.
   
"How much then?" Seamus groaned.
   
Petra laughed.
   
"You don't understand, Seamus," Doc replied. "There's no money involved this time. You're coming with us. The boss wants to have a word with you, omae."
   
Seamus's demeanor shifted. "The boss? Cut the drek, mate."
   
Doc paused to light his pipe. "Nothing I can do, Seamus. You had your chance. Now come on, there's a new trid I plan on catching when I get home. Let's move."
   
Seamus roared, bringing himself up to his full height. His eyes began to glow a vivid yellow as the roar quickly became louder and louder. Soon the entire bar seemed to be shaking.
   
Doc, Petra, and Zeusch all covered their ears. The piercing roar was unbearable. Bottles of liquor lining the shelves behind the bar began to explode under the pressure. Beer mugs and shot glasses began to crack.
   
Petra and Zeusch were on the floor in pain. Doc desperately tried to reach for his Ares, but couldn't take his hands off his ears. The sound was agonizing.
   
Seamus, continuing his roar, swung one massive arm into Doc, knocking him nearly across the bar. Doc tasted blood and grimaced. He then watched in horror as Seamus began a new spell, enveloping Petra and Zeusch in tendrils of wild, vicious lightning.
   
Doc drew his Ares, ignoring the ear-spliitting pain, and fired two glops of Narco-Jet into the back of the troll.
   
Seamus immediately stopped and turned to face Doc, his eyes still glowing.
   
"What the hell did you just shoot me with, you bloody halfer?" he bellowed.
   
Doc rose to his feet. The bar was quiet. Petra and Zeusch lay charred and smoking behind Seamus. Doc remained silent.
   
"What did you shoot me with?" Seamus crossed the room in a few long strides. He easily picked up the dwarf by the collar, holding him out in front of his face.
   
"You little bastard," Seamus growled. "You little..." he trailed off.
   
Doc grinned as the troll's lids began to grow heavy. Narco-Jet never took long. Doc head butted Seamus and dropped lightly to his feet. Doc was already running over to his comrades by the time he heard the troll slump to the floor with a dull thud.
   
Petra was getting back to his feet, but Zeusch was in bad shape. Doc had his medkit out, ready to work.
   
"Watch him, would ya?" Doc barked at Petra, jerking his head in the direction of Seamus.
   
"Sure, sure," Petra replied. "Let me make you some fucking supper while I'm at it."
   
Doc grumbled.
   
Zeusch looked pretty bad, but he'd make it. Doc pumped him full of morphine and applied a stim patch. Further treatment would have to wait. They needed to get the hell out of here.
   
Doc turned around in time to see Seamus bearing down upon him, dragging Petra by the throat with one hand. Doc dodged nimbly as the troll came down him, and rolled into a position behind Seamus.
   
Doc drew his katar and slashed at both of the troll's lateral collateral ligaments at the knees, then crouched to sever both achilles tendons.
   
Seamus howled in pain. Letting go of Petra, he turned on Doc, but Doc was ready.
   
As Seamus sank to the floor, Doc launched himself up the troll's body, plunging the katar into Seamus's neck and then firing his Tiffany Elegance Shooting Bracer at point blank range into the troll's face.
   
At last, Seamus was quiet.
   
"You okay?" Doc asked Petra.
   
Petra chuckled. "Of course, you considerate squat. Never been better."
   
"Good," Doc said, patting Petra on the shoulder. "Let's see if we can find out what this ogre was hiding."
   
"Didn't you pump him full of Narco-Jet?" Zeusch murmured, still prone on the floor.
   
"Two doses. One didn't take. Got absorbed by his armor," Doc answered as he looked over Seamus's body.
   
"I'll be damned," Doc grunted.
   
"What is it?" Petra asked.
   
"I think this is what the boss is looking for." Doc held up a tiny micro chip, about the size of a fingernail. "It was embedded in Seamus's fingertip compartment. Must've come loose or short circuited during the fight. Who knows?"
   
Petra was helping Zeusch to his feet. "At least we'll get paid, then?"
   
"Yeah," said Doc, surveying the damaged bar and poring over Seamus's corpse one last time. "What a pain in the ass. Let's get out of here."