A Vignette. A quick trip to the mall.

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« on: (01:00:54/05-05-13) »
There's a loud crash. Broken glass scatters into the muted light like shooting stars as a body goes flying head first through a plate glass window and drops to the bottom of the mall atrium from the second story.

I'd like to say the next thing I did was step up to the broken window and call down a pithy one-liner to the poor schmuck I'd just thrown through the window. I didn't though. You see I was the poor schmuck I'd just thrown through the window.
I had good reason though.

One piece of luck. There were no ledges or benches or anything for me to snap my spine on. I hadn't had time to look. Instead I got to land on a nice hard flat sterile white tiled floor. Very hard. Lucky me.

I did my best to land like you're supposed to, feet first and collapsing forward into a shoulder roll to bleed off momentum. Supposedly it pushes all that kinetic energy into a forwardly direction instead of down into a floor that very rarely yields for you to move through. It was far from perfect, I managed to mash my knee a little and smack my left wrist hard enough for it to immediately go numb, but I kept anything major from getting damaged.

As I started hauling myself to my feet the reason for my second story half-gainer went off with a dull thud like an angry giant slamming a metal door. A frag grenade. Bits of stuff went flying out the recently broken window and the wall kind of jumped as the frag shredded the contents of the small office.
Well almost all the contents. I'm not dumb enough to think a single frag is going to take out whatever that... thing was. So as soon as I'm sure my skull is relatively undamaged and I can keep my pins under me I start running for it.

Good thing I didn't stick around, because my dance partner doesn't take long to take the stage himself. The window is too small for it to jump through like I did, but that's no problem, it simply goes through the wall. It even manages to land on it's feet. The bastard.

My first thought on seeing it was that it was some sort of cross between a dragon and a troll, but now I'm not so sure. For one trolls don't come in that size. It's Big with a capital B. 600 kilos if it's a gram. I mean it's biceps are thicker than my chest and I'm not exactly a puny guy myself. It's gray and scaly with big claws on it's feet and hands and all sorts of pokey horn like spurs coming out of the joints.

Even weirder is the getup. It's carrying a two handed hammer with a metal head the size of a laundry basket and wearing patches of honest to god chainmail armor strapped all over the place. I couldn't tell if the horns were part of the helmet or if they belonged to the creature itself.

I glanced back long enough to confirm that my frag grenade probably didn't do more than scuffed up the armor, maybe chipped a nail. No wait there was a small spot of something dark and wet looking on one of the hands. Yea that'll teach it.

It rose up to it's full ten feet and change height and bellowed an incredibly deep brassy roar of challenge. I felt it in my chest as much as heard it. I shout too, but not at it, into my commlink.

”Midnight patch me through to John!”
I put my head down and book it. It's a big mall and I've got a ways to go to get to the right parkade entrance, silly me I'd thought having plenty of time and space to scope out the area for potential ambushes was a good idea.

The thing shook it's head. Maybe it was disappointed I didn't turn to fight now that I'm out in the open? Maybe the frag was loud enough to annoy it's ears a little. Then it dug the clawed feet of it's freaky backwards canted legs into the faux-marble tiles and starts after me. When you have that much sheer mass it takes a bit to get up to speed but once it did it could really hustle.

Midnight's voice came in over the comm. ”Drake what are you - Merde! What is that?”

As we rounded the first bend I looked over my shoulder to check on it's progress. It had a little trouble negotiating the corner, with scaly clawed feet skidding on the freshly cleaned tiles. Then it pushed off an information kiosk, partially collapsing it, and my hopes were crushed as it got it's feet back under it.

”John! Now!”

Now in the straight away the thing, I'm gonna call it the Grey Goon, it just seems kinda goonish to me. Maybe it's the big chin. The Grey Goon accelerated even more and I could hear it coming after me like a runaway freight train. Ready to crush me into a greasy smear across the floor.

I wasn't going to make it to the stairwell.

I waited until what sounded like the last possible moment before the Goon plowed into me before making the sharpest left I can manage at a full sprint, aiming for a Teenistia Botique. There's a horrible screeching scraping noise and the wind of something big passing by very very close, followed by a loud ground shaking crash and even louder scraping.

Apparently once runaway freight trains get going they can't turn on a dime and take a time to slow down. Yay physics. The Goon had fallen and was now sliding across the floor. With all the spiky bits though he'd stop in a moment and he was now between me and my ride out of here.

I hear the sound of someone being slapped over the link and figure Midnight must be trying to get John's attention. The two of them were on overwatch tonight, John astrally and Midnight over the trix, while Eva, Kaylee, and Dust did the hard part of the job. My part of the night's work was supposed to be cake, a simple dead drop for someone we trusted. Well someone my teammates trusted. Me? I'm not much for trust. With Midnight having sleazed the security system it was supposed to be dead easy.

It rarely is but this is an entirely new sort of messed up. For example how did two-thirds of a ton of ugly sneak up on me? Maybe it's the professional embarrassment but the only thing that pops to mind is magic. Between that and the wierdo appearance I'm guessing this thing is some sort of Spirit.

I picked the Teenistia not just because it's “the most trendilicious hot spot for teen fashion on the go”, but because unlike most of the other stores it doesn't use those pull down folding security grates when it's closed. I figure this is because the floor to ceiling glass isn't actually glass, but something a lot tougher. Something I won't be able to just jump through.

With a flicker of practiced motion my old friend Mr Foreman is in hand. I ripped off two thunderous shots from the oversized revolver into the doorway. Sure enough the glass didn't just shatter on the first shot. It picked up a fist sized hole and a network of cracks. But then again it's not designed to withstand the sort of firepower a Foreman dishes out, and the second shot on the opposite corner of the door caused it to sort of go soft and fold along the web work of cracks, held together mostly by the exterior coating.

I ducked my head and shove through the shattered door, trying to avoid picking up any cuts and leaving any DNA at the scene. I'm pretty sure that with all the collateral me and Goonie had been throwing around there were all sorts of alarms going off. Not that any of that would matter if shagnasty got his mitts on me.

I made for the back room full steam ahead, trying to ignore the visual proof fact that the good people at Teenistia apparently thought that techno-kink prostitutes were the correct trend-setter for teen and pre-teen girls. Maybe I'm just getting old.

I didn't even bother checking to see if the stock room door is locked, just blast the handle right off before I get there and push through. Another door and another bullet take me to the service hallway.

Have you ever wondered why you never see delivery people with pallets of goods trundling around your local malls to deliver the stock that stores sell? It's because all the deliveries and stuff like that go along a back hallway.

I hear John's voice, muzzy like he'd just woken up. ”Drake. What's going on about a big whatsit?”

Because customers never see or use it the back hall is ugly and plain and cramped. That last bit is the important part. The hallways are only four feet wide at the widest part. I'm guessing shagnasty is five, maybe five and a half. He'll be able to squeeze in maybe but he sure as heck isn't going to be sprinting like I will. I think I have enough time I can get- The wall barely a meter in front of me explodes as the Grey Goon's warhammer went flying through, cutting off my line of thought.

I got a face full of debris and goggle as the hammer actually hits the ferrocrete outer wall hard enough to put cracks and a huge dent in it and send shards flying like bullets. All these interior walls were pretty and all but hell with a bit of effort I could probably punch through them with a few tries. To actually tear a chunk out of ferrocrete was... Well. Let's just say it was by the grace of god and the steely will of a Private Eye I managed to keep control of my bowels. I assure you the noise I made as I hopped over the debris of two walls and a giant hammer was not at all womanly and terrified.

Through the hole I saw that the Grey Goon was on his way to retrieve the hammer he'd just thrown. Probably my skull too.
John's voice comes through again. ”Holy s#!t! What's that?”
I didn't hang around to give him a better look, Midnight would be able to show him security feed pictures or recordings from my glasses cam.

True to form it came crashing through the wall to fetch up against the ferrocrete a few moments later. There were all sorts of fishnet skirts and leather strappie halter tops and stuff hanging from it's pointy scaly bits.
It's not an improvement.

”I was kinda hoping you could tell me that John!”

I was right it had trouble getting up speed while twisted sideways to keep it's shoulders from digging into the walls.

Midnight where is he? Never seen it before Drake. Might be a warrior spirit. I'm gonna send backup."
I tried to contain my temper as I vaulted a stack of boxes that some inconsiderate jerk left in the hallway after closing.
”Well I sure as **** don't think it's a mall-cop! I don't see any uniform or flashlight!”
At a flat run and trying to pay attention to where I'm going I can't exactly aim too well so I just sort of pointed Foreman roughly in the Grey Goon's direction and pulled the trigger as fast as I could four times.

With all the motion and commotion and dust and armor and bits of clothing I can't even say where the bullets landed or if they did any damage. There's no convenient agonized shrieks or sprays of blood to announce it. Instead the Goon just let out an annoyed sounding rumble and raised the long hafted hammer for a throw. Whereupon it promptly plunged through the ceiling tiles and snagged on something.

I grinned at my own cleverness as I vaulted a stack of boxes some inconsiderate jerk had left in the hallway. In the back hall the ceiling was far too low for the beast to do an over the shoulder throw and too narrow for any sort of a golf swing type throw. The Goon grunted and ripped the hammer free of the ceiling and did it's best to hustle after me.

I shouldn't be too proud though. I didn't even know it could throw the hammer like that when I'd decided to take the back way. It was mostly luck rather than planning.

Even squeezed in like that the big lug was made good time but I was pulling away again. Around the time the big steel security door that would lead to the stairwell I wanted came into view John's backup arrived.

The wavering form of a large figure appeared, quickly solidifying as it filled in with with what John had insisted was ectoplasm. The ghostly form was that of a massive troll, wearing full body armor with a face concealing helmet and a massive combat axe. I grinned, recognizing the spirit. It was Mouse. The biggest baddest fighting spirit John had ever pulled up.

Foreman was empty so I switched it out for Barrerra as I slowed. For a moment I considered turning and facing down the Grey Goon. With mouse here I'd be able to stop and take some properly aimed shots instead of firing over my shoulder at a full sprint. Really put some hurt into the big lug.

The *****er had made me use up a grenade and pull a cement swan dive.
I was pissed.

Of course what happened next made me change my mind about hanging around to play pattycake. The Grey Goon didn't even slow down when Mouse appeared. He choked up on the hammer with one hand and blocked the scything combat axe with the other. The axe parted the thick chain and opened a nasty looking gash in the Goon's forearm but that was nothing compared to what happened to Mouse.

The hammer came down in a brutal chopping motion and I swear blue light flashed from the head of the hammer. Mouse, the baddass combat monster troll ghost, folded to the ground like wet cardboard and the Goon went right up over him, trampling his rapidly deteriorating ectoplasmic form.

Right then, time to go.

I lost a little time blasting through the fire door but by that point my lead was good enough it didn't matter. At the first floor of the parkade I found my car already running with the door open right beside the stairwell exit.

Midnight's voice came over the car's speakers.
”Care for a ride Mon ami?”

I dove in. My breathing ragged and my smacked knee throbbed from the sustained sprint and the fall but I managed to drag in enough breath to say.
”Have I told you lately that you're an incredible dame?”

The Mercury Comet starts off before I even have my legs all the way in.
”Non. But I would very much like to hear about it later.”

I hauled myself into the driver's seat to engage the manual controls. The Comet's dog brain computer always worried about things like speed limits and safe driving. And now that I was more or less in the clear Midnight would have all sorts of important matrix troubles to worry about rather than remote controlling a car for little old me.

As I bounced old faithful up the exit ramp the Grey Goon crams itself through the stairwell doorway and roars something after me.
It sounds suspiciously like “Draaaaahhkkke!”
My blood ran cold.
Did it just say my name?


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« Reply #1 on: (16:33:25/05-05-13) »
Interesting so far, love the label for the bad guy... Will there be more coming ????
Its not the victors who write the history books, its the suvivors


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« Reply #2 on: (01:21:30/05-08-13) »
It was just a little vignette I wrote during a two hour ferry ride, to Seattle of all places. It was half for my own amusement and half to give insight on the character to others, who I am currently playing on a Play by Post RPG website.
I hadn't really planned on writing more, but the idea of actually going somewhere with it is kind of appealing now that I think about it.


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« Reply #3 on: (01:28:55/05-08-13) »
will happily wait for more :)
Its not the victors who write the history books, its the suvivors


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« Reply #4 on: (22:32:29/05-27-15) »
will happily wait for more :)

Same here! It's been over a year, I know, but damn! That piece was good!