Not too long ago, the hitwoman known as “Shrike” attacked New Vegas, targeting its ruler, Josey Wales. She killed Wales’ closest associates, with the exception of Craig Boone. Wales and Boone have been missing since Shrike’s attack and Shrike herself has been in the wind, although there is rumor that in the time since she has continued her murder spree around the country. Working alongside Shrike are two men: Thomas Hamilton and Randall Clark, both notorious killers in their own right.
Shrike slowly advances her plan to kill those she has deemed necessary, regardless of the collateral damage inflicted. Meanwhile, those Shrike pursues prepare. Will a competent defense form against her in time or will Shrike achieve her goal of ending the Legends of the Wastes?
1. The date is July 1, 2290.
2. You can be a Human, Ghoul, Supermutant, or Synth.
3. You must post a character card before posting. You can have as many characters as you want, provided that you can handle it.
4. Don't be OP (should speak for itself). VATS is disabled. Guns and gun wounds work like real life. You cannot survive three bullets to the head, et cetera. Armored characters be it metal or skin obviously have the edge.
5. You cannot kill (or control) other people's characters, without their consent. Same goes for amputations and maiming. Named NPCs cannot be directly controlled by the players, without the GM's permission, for story purposes.
6. Take the RP seriously, shit posting will get you banned. I don't care how bored you are or how many pets you've lost. Don't hijack the story and change its purpose, you're more than welcome to make your own RP doing that. Anyone who leaves (without a good reason) will not be allowed back in. This is to stop people from taking the RP hostage, by constantly leaving/threatening to leave.
7. Please use common sense when adding a character. The story relies upon the inherent threat Shrike presents. Do not make a character that Shrike would have no desire to kill (such as a bag merchant) or a character that Shrike would be incapable of killing. If your character can’t be hurt by Shrike, doesn’t care about Shrike, or isn’t afraid of Shrike, then what the heck would they be doing here?
S. P. E. C. I. A. L. (Optional):
Tag Skills (Optional):
Background: Keep in mind that your character’s background is the reason they were contacted by Miller or Shrike is coming after them. Refer to rule #7.
The new coalition planned to divide up based upon objectives. One group is planning to be headed for the Big Empty to search for a weakness for Shrike, while the other two plan to get clues on Randall or Hamilton.
It was eventually decided that Morgan Jones, Josey Wales, Denis Callaghan, Brutus, Harriot Walker, Wilkes Walker, Rick Deere, and Paul Morgan would head to the Big Empty. Tanner Collins, William Van De Poorter, Timothy Ashford, Tyrus Carr, Evangeline Winfield, and Shanks would be heading to San Francisco.
In the Big Empty, the Vertibird designated Devil 2 crashed into a crystal filled trench.
At San Francisco, Timothy Ashford ran into an unhelpful whaler, and Willy drew the eye of the Yakuza.
In the Big Empty, the crew of Devil 2 came up against THE RAT GOD, an undoubtedly worthy adversary who will most certainly destroy them. They've gotten through spore carrier forests and communist ghouls of Little Yangtze. They must press forwards to X-13 so that they can claim valuable tech to use against Shrike. After killing Rat God in X-8, rescuing Mobius, and retrieving Muggy and a Sonic Emitter from the Sink, they were ready to crack open X-13 and get valuable tech to use against Shrike.
In San Francisco, Willy was captured by the Yakuza and brought to Kabu Chotto. He was rescued by Eva, but it incited a shootout in Chotto's club between the crew of the Devil 1 and the Japanese gangsters. After defeating second lieutenant Inchi's crew, they got some information out of Chotto about Shrike and Randall, mainly Shrike's interest in the Steel Palace and Randall's severance of ties with the Yakuza. They headed to the Steel Palace.
Inside the Steel Palace, Eva met with Chairman Qin, the head of the Shi, who had no knowledge of Shrike.
Tim and Willy are about to receive some training from Ju Yung, the same woman who possibly trained Shrike, although the ages don't line up.
And those who were previously in the Big Empty know find themselves in the Divide, being briefed by Ulysses on the dangers of the Divide and Shrike's intentions. It appears the hitwoman intends to wake the giants of the Divide for usage against her enemies.
Oh, and Shanks is enabling Tanner's alcoholism. Tyrus joined them.
In the Divide, Paul Morgan and Morgan Jones fought against Shrike, and held their own long enough for Denis to lead the rest of their group below Abaddon, to disarm the missiles before Shrike can use them.
After questioning Governor Liu, and getting tipped off that the best place to get useful info on Shrike might be New Reno, The crew of Devil 1 returned to the Warehouse just after the crew of Devil 2. There they regrouped and prepared for their next mission.
They flew to New Reno, intent on getting info on Shrike from the many families and gangs there. Attempting stealth, their arrival was spotted, and only Morgan Jones successfully got away unseen. She headed to the Desperado club, where she intends to meet with the Mordinos. She had an unexpected, but ultimately friendly, encounter with Bosu No-Kiba.
Shanks and Kayleigh hit the streets, getting info from a trio of junkies. They got insight into Shrike's backstory, how she used to work often with the Van Graffs and frequently butt heads with the Bishops. Kayleigh determined it'd be best to meet with the Bishops, but elected to regroup with Tanner first.
Tanner, for his part, led the rest of the Brigade to the Van Graff's compound where they were relieved of their weapons. Exiting onto the showroom floor, Tanner intends to try and have a word with Tiaret Van Graff, the family's matriarch.
Through a series of shenanigens, Tanner, Duncan, Tim, Naomi, and Hancock ended up in the penthouse suite of a centenarian Tiaret Van Graff, who mistook Naomi as her daughter, Gloria (who had been killed 9 years prior by the Courier himself). They managed to learn a bit about the Van Graffs and Shrike, many the hitwoman's connections to the family, as well as the Van Graff's ongoing plot to smother the caravan trade. During this, Johnny Angel was also running amok in the compound, causing all manner of trouble, which included bopping Eva over the head and dosing Doris with sleepy juice. He also microwaved someone's guts using his mind. Johnny ran into the rest of the Devils who were in the compound, and they all managed to more or less escape together, although they left their weapons, as well as Doris and Eva, behind. They'd better fix that!
On the other front, Morgan Jones had a poor meeting with Mrs. Mordino, who sent her off to the torturer known as Mister Fingers. The two engaged in a game of mental cat and mouse, which ended only slightly in Morgan's favor--she got away with knowledge of Shrike's name and Mister Fingers' memoirs, but Mister Fingers took her eye in recompense.
Managing to recover Eva, Doris, and their weapons, the Van Graff crew ran into an issue in the form of Johnny Angel. While Tanner and Kayleigh went to meet with the Bishops, Johnny stole a necklace of questionable value from Doris. Although they were able to track him down, they were all kidnapped by some guys in silly outfits labeled with the anagram H.U.N.T. They're currently trying to escape, although it's only going moderately well.
Morgan and Eva are having a heart to heart. Tanner and Kayleigh are making their way to the heads of the Bishop family.
Tanner and Kayleigh struck an accord with the Bishops, they regrouped with Morgan, Eva, and Hancock, then headed off to rescue the others from H.U.N.T.
Everyone together, bringing with them Johnny Angel as a +1, they returned to Warehouse Zulu.
It was true that he had a reserved spot within himself that he didn't like or didn't want others to see, as it all too much remembered him of the reprimand his father would give him, but with Kayleigh he couldn't help but to show it out in the open. She figuratively brought out the best in him, he thought, and he didn't mind that.
He smiled back. "Of course I do", he chuckled. "I am not made out of stone. Look, I even cleaned my gums and brushed my teeth."
"Oof... Hurts enough, when you do it with flat teeth." Kayleigh winced, stroking his face.
"You sound like you're so used to this..."
"It is quite... Normally, in the wastes, I'm listening out for danger, during the quiet but here? I can take it down a notch and... almost relax." Denis agreed, dimming the lights a little as they probably didn't help with the headaches.
"We're going there next I think." Morgan murmured. "But...at the start it was me and Rook. And the people of Broadway. Took us a good year to find what we needed for Solar Power and to gain the folks' trust." She sighed and blinked, a few times.
"Few years later, word spreads you know? Peopple come to us. We go to them...Soon the whole city will be united. I...hope."
He merely nodded slowly. "That it did", he said, sounding more like a lamentation than a confirmation. "For better and for worse, but mostly the latter."
Evangeline had washed up and gotten back to her own outfit. She was drawn out from her quarters by the sound of music from the jukebox. She approached the noise carefully as she eventually came across Tanner sitting in the kitchen.
"You are one rare butterfly, redmop", he said, almost turning a bit too sentimental for his own comfort. He glanced around. "I need some fresh air", he huffed, nodding with his head in the direction of the outdoor balcony.
Shanks leaned over the railing, fumbling for the cigarette pack in his breast pocket. He put one to his maw and reached for the lighter, but didn't get chance to ignite it before he accidentally dropped it over the railing.
"Fucking shit", he cursed, followed by a defeated sigh. He put the cigarette back to its pack and took a long deep breath.
Evangeline had washed up and gotten back to her own outfit. She was drawn out from her quarters by the sound of music from the jukebox. She approached the noise carefully as she eventually came across Tanner sitting in the kitchen.
Evangeline took him by the hand and walked him out of the kitchen and out to the big rec room with the jukebox. "I have ... never really done anything like this before", she said, trying to keep a conversation going as she steadied herself. "So I trust that you will be my guide in this?"
"I certainly want to", she said. "I just wanted some ... privacy. And some time alone with you for this moment."
As the previous song had played out the jukebox put the next LP in queue. She moved closer to him as the jukebox started to play a song by Presley she thought fit her situation a little too well for convenience sake.
"Eva, what is this about?" Tanner asked, Johnny's words ringing in his ears. Regardless of what he'd said, a quiet dance was a pretty intimate thing for two friends. He kept himself still, unwilling to be dragged into a dance.
"It's too soon", he agreed, rubbing his eyebrows. "It's just that ..." He groaned. "You remind me so much of my wife. Everything about her in fact. The way you look, the way you talk to me."
He began to tear up, quickly swiping them away on his arm. "It's so unreal, I feel almost as if am just trapped in some terrible dream and that I will soon wake up, safe and sound, back in my own bed. Before the bombs. Before the war. Next to her." He gave her a quick glance, followed by yet another sigh. "Next to you."
When she was this close to him, she could tell just how much shorter she was compared to him. She just barely managed to rest her chin over his shoulder as they slowly danced and she held him tight.
"I do not know if I have said it already, Tanner, but I have missed you", she began.
Wilkes smiled, gently taking her right hand in his left and sliding his right onto her lower back. He held her close, as he gently swayed with her in clockwise circles. The grace of it was somewhat taken away by the soft whirring of servomotors, and the mild stomping noises the metal soles of his exoskeleton made.
"When I build that new frame, I promise I'll dance with you properly."
"I'll be paying him a visit regardless, so I'll bring you and Harriot along, when I do. He can probably help you both... If he feels like it. He likes me a bit more than he likes most people, so... we should be okay." Denis shrugged, glancing up to the ceiling and wondering why someone was piping Frank Sinatra down here.
Kayleigh wondered if it was her he wanted anymore or if it was his wife and she was just his replacement.
"You are right, in that it's too soon. Though I understand..." She whispered, doing her best to put her arm around his back.
"Don't get me wrong", Shanks sighed. "I know that she is gone. And I know that you are you, Kay. I am just a mess, is what I am. The bombs should've taken me instead."
She glanced up at him. "Is it not obvious to you why that is the case?" she asked him, unfazed by the fact the jukebox had gone silent. "I have been thinking about you for such a long time", she said. "Ever since we first met at the World's Fair. Tales of your experiences and hardship were shared with me when you were on your journeys. While I could not be there for you in person, you were never truly far away from me."
"It's not obvious, Eva." Tanner said, feeling frustration rise as she dodged the question for the upteenth time. "I'm tired of people snickering about me behind my back, tired of not getting a straight answer. Just talk to me, whatever it is I'll understand."
The moment Josey wasn't looking he could feel himself get quite hot under the collar. Just for a second, as if he got a very intense shiver down his spine. That warm feeling you get when you realise something mildly terrifying, only this time it seemed to just come on for no reason.
Johnny was starting to get annoyed by these fools. None of them seemed to act like he wished them to act to him. A rare occurance for Angel.
He leaned his head against hers. "Sorry. I didn't mean to mope, redmop. Not now when we've had such a nice time."
"I thought that would make you understand", Evangeline began anxiously. "Ever since I was but a bratty teenager, you were such an inspiration to me. You always seemed to have a set goal ahead of you to strive for. It resonated with something within me. And it has stuck with me", she said. "For such a long time, Tanner, you have no idea."
She only had one opportunity left to make him understand.
Evangeline took a deep breath, realizing there was truly only one option left for her. Her heart was pounding so wildly within her chest she thought a heart attack would take her before she even had a chance to begin to explain.
She stood up on her toes to reach all the way up to him face-to-face. She closed her eyes and softly pressed her lips against his. She couldn't tell for how long she remained there. It felt like an eternity, but might as well have been a second or more.
When she opened her eyes again, she looked into his own, suddenly feeling completely weak in her knees. But her voice remained steady and confident. "I love you, Tanner", she said softly. "I always have."
Once she sank down to her heels again, she felt the fear take her. Had she really said that? Out loud? She had, and there it was. The truth laid bare.
She trembled slightly and made a clumsy curtsy, before scurrying out of the room like a frightened badger, leaving him standing there.
"Only when I am near you", Shanks confirmed, suddenly feeling weary and tired.
Tanner watched her go. I love you, Tanner. Everyone of their interactions over the last few days flashed before his eyes like a kaliedoscope of rapid, still images, and then the images balled up into a fist and hit him in the face.
He facepalmed. "Jesus Chirst, I am such a fucking idiot."
How could he have been so unbelievably stupid? Oh and the things he'd said to her! That they were the best of friends. How much he'd admired her? What, was he fucking brained damaged? What a cruel, cruel thing to say.
A little voice in his head told him he should run after her. Tanner tried to ignore it. The little voice become a loud one.
"Fuck me..." Tanner hurried after her, first at a jog and then a sprint. "Eva!" He took the turn out into the hall sharply, and caught her arm before she could get too far. "God damnit, Eva, stop!"
Harriot grinned. So rarely was Wilkes in high gear these days. She went at him, like an animal starved for weeks.
"Yeah, but I...what if I can't do it? Or what if it...what if it turns out wrong? What if I ruin it and he's not...Rook." Morgan sighed. She flopped back and put her arm over her eyes, hissing loudly in pain as she did so.
"He'd want me to forget him and move on without him, I can hear it now"
"I don't see a way that you could do anything that wrong." Denis shrugged, sighing heavily as he looked over the injury.
"Look... He isn't here, we can only speculate on what he'd want for you but that'd be a waste of time. You know how funerals are for the living? It's the same with the grieving process... Do what's best for you."
"Urgh, you age old, mutant, dog men are all the same." Kayleigh chuckled, faintly as she turned to him.
Harriot sat up on his lap. She yanked his top off, eagerly, almost ripping it straight from his chest.
"It is. This is the main reason I accepted coming here." Morgan nodded. "It's the best chance I have of getting the stuff I need. Almost didn't even care about Shrike killing him, til I realised that'd be stupid too. Two birds one stone yeah?"
"Hell yeah! Bring him back, into a world in which Shrike isn't here, best of both worlds." Denis assured her, with a faint smile.
"Not to mention that the tech we have access to, the workspace, even the people on the team...
It's a great shot. Though, I'd consider asking Naomi for some help, she literally holds the synth factory. If you don't want her to do anything, that's fine but information isn't aligned to anyone, right?"
Evangeline defiantly back-pedaled to her room, still sobbing heavily. She hated to have to leave him in this state, but she needed to be alone and cry out. Once inside she locked the door behind her and sank onto her knees against the floor, feeling as if she could just melt down into one depressive puddle of tears.
She had made such a mess of things, just as she had expected of herself. You idiot, she kept repeating inside her head.
How could she possibly have thought that it would go any other way? He was married to Pan. And he didn't love her, he loved Kay. He had even told her about the many things that were weighing him down, making him feel unappreciated - and here she was, putting him up for even more burdens to carry.
She was selfish. It was selfish of her to think that he would reciprocate her feelings. What would that make her? The other woman? The one who stole him away from his wife and child? The one who would make him forget about his affection for Kayleigh?
Her head kept pounding as she thought about it. Her sobs turned into strained breathing.
She just wished that she could have turned back time. Take it all back. Gone back and just kept it a secret. Gone back to suffer in silence. How else was she supposed to face him again after this?
"What is it with between you and my nose?" the mutant chuckled. "Should I be worried that it will steal you away?"
"I have a mouth, don't I?" he said and pointed to his jaws. "But I know what you are thinking, and I can't fault you for it. My maw isn't exactly the most hygienic of places, no matter how much I am keeping clean house."
Tanner watched her go and didn't chase after her this time. He'd never felt smaller than this moment.
He looked up at the skylight and a voice, different than the one before, told him to break it. Another told him to drink. He ignored them both and went to bed. Fuck it, he'd deal with the fallout in the morning. Now he just wanted to fall into a deep sleep and forget the disaster that was his life.
Tim blocked his way.
"You okay?" He asked Tanner.
"Do you need to ask that?" The psyker replied, wryly.
Tanner sunk down into a seat at the counter, dropping his chin into his hand.
"Women are just..." His other hand made a fist. "Think of it like this--I've got this friend and I like talking to her, and it's great. But then she says something that makes it seem like the whole reason we were friends in the first place was because she had a thing for me. I mean, I've known her for years. And the whole time she has this fixation with me, and doesn't say a thing. Do you know how frustrating that feels?"
Still on the ground, Evangeline begrudgingly dragged herself up with what little energy she had left. She walked over to the bathroom mirror and gazed upon her reflection. She hated it. Her eyes were red from all the tears and in their center was the pair of blue neon-glowing lights shining back at her, as if mocking her.
For a brief moment she wanted to smash the mirror into a thousand pieces, but relented. Instead she touched the side of her temple, shutting the adapters behind her eyes down. Light faded from her vision and everything was completely black. She had always feared the dark since the day she had been bereft of her sight, fearing that she would remain shrouded in perpetual darkness where no one would ever find her again. But this ... this moment, with Tanner ...
It was hell in comparison to such a petty fear.
She would rather stay in a pitch black abyss than think about her current situation and how she would have to tackle it from now on. She could only imagine what she saw in front of her now in the mirror's reflection. A soft but weary face, crowned by wavy, unruly, raven-black hair, and a pair of sad eyes, looking grey dead.
She didn't feel like turning them back on. She was fine where she was as of now. Her hands fumbled along the walls as she oriented her way to the bed. She didn't bother undressing either. She just crawled onto the mattress and pulled a blanket over herself, feeling anxious over how she would face him in the morning.
"I see." Tanner said, sensing it was a touchy subject, and not in the best emotional state to get into it. "I'm going to head to sleep, Tim. Thanks for being a friend. And if you've got, like, any confessions of love you want to get off your chest, sooner rather than later, please."
While she was hoarse she certainly wasn't in the mood to drink. She wasn't really in the mood for anything. She didn't like to curse, but if she had been able to get her words out she would've rightfully called her confession a "royal fuck-up". Not only because of its execution, but because of the fact that she had even said anything at all.
She pulled the blanket harder over head to cease the pounding and tried to fall asleep once more.
Shanks scratched the back of his head. "Uh, alright then."
He wasn't complaining, but he certainly hadn't seen this coming. Though he had lips, they were hidden well under all the fuzz around his muzzle. He doubted she would be able to tell what was what. And it wasn't an easy thing lining his long face up with hers as he softly pressed the front of his mouth against hers. He barely felt a thing, but then again it was the idea that mattered. He wanted her to know how much he appreciated her, even if it meant giving her the sensation of kissing a fluffy pillow.
He then slowly withdrew his head, looking down at her, slightly abashed, but all the same waiting for a reaction.
"It's okay, it's not your fault." Kayleigh assured him.
"Hmm... Actually though, they did used to make things for that before the war. Sticks that dogs could chew... Wonder if we could make one, with any flavour you wanted. They apparently help keep the teeth clean too."
Evening turned tonight and night to midnight. Rain pitter-pattering on the rooftop. Tanner awoke once, swinging his legs out of bed. He wasn't sure what it was that woke him.
"Jesus, I need to get on tranquilizers or something." He muttered, laying back down, and drifted of into sleep again. His dreams were good.
Kayleigh held Tanner down as she kissed him, not that he had any inclination to struggle, or was in any position to.
Someone was pulling his hands behind, placing them somewhere they definitely did not mind being placed. A third person grabbed him by the leg roughly, tugged his torso around to free his waist.
He grunted, half-falling off the bed, and tried to pull away from Kayleigh to look at who was pulling at him, but she laid a hand on his face before he could see. Her calluses were smooth. Worn. Tanner didn’t think he could be with a woman who didn’t have worker’s hands. Soft people didn’t suit him that way.
“What’re you looking at?” She asked him, drawing his attention in. “I’m right here.”
He grinned up at her, freeing one of his arms to pull her chin down to him, but he was abruptly jerked upwards, out of Kayleigh’s grip.
Pan’s bright, red hair dropped over his face, and hard, sharp nails were dragged down his back. He gasped at the series of bracing feelings, but willingly submitted. It was a different kind of attraction than what he felt for Kayleigh. Less in terms of kinship, more in terms of need. Pan had needed Tanner. She needed him now. It felt good to have that kind of power over someone. Intoxicating.
She pressed into him, palming the muscles of his chest, grabbed his jaw roughly, pulled him to her. When they kissed she smiled against his lips, and Tanner wrapped her lean frame up in his arms.
The tugging on his leg grew fierce and he was pulled away for a final time. He hit the ground hard, separated jarringly from Pan, wincing as he whacked his head on the ground in the fall.
“Enough of that, Tanner.” Eva said, standing over him, offering a hand. He tried to take it and stand up, but instead she caught his hand and pushed him down, then swung a leg over, straddling his chest. Tanner had never realized until this moment the intense, dark beauty in her features. All points and fine lines. “Time for you to wake up.”
Tanner blinked. “What?”
“She’s coming to kill you.” Eva told him. “You need to wake up.”
Open your fucking eyes, boy! A real man don’t lay down on the job!
Tanner jolted awake in his bed, slamming up against the bedpost. The covers fell away from his naked chest, revealing how hard his heart was racing.
His room was pitch dark. He could hear rain against the steel roof. The storm was still going.
He smiled abruptly and touched his mouth. That had been a good dream. When was the last time he’d been with a woman? Too long. Was Kayleigh still interested in him, he wondered? He meant, was there a chance?
No. Stupid—stupid. He was married.
But Eva. She was single. And she liked him.
It was this moment that Tanner realized he wasn’t alone. A cool feeling settled over him, the feeling a rabbit gets when backed into its burrow by a fox.
In vague darkness of his room, shadows moved, and Tanner rolled sideways. There was a rush of air and wave of force pulverized his bed, smashing it into pieces. Wood crunched, splinters scattering. Stuffing filled the air.
Tanner landed in a crouch and slapped his revolver off the nightstand, turning towards the shockwave’s origin as his hand flew over the hammer. Six gunshots cracked into the night and then Tanner threw the gun sideways as someone came flying at him.
The stuffing settled to the ground.
A kick came at his midsection and he rolled to the side across his shoulders, standing up at the end. An elbow followed the kick, chasing him. Tanner parried it with a palm, replied with his own jab.
His attacker caught his arm at the wrist and elbow, and threw him across the room. Tanner tumbled through the air. Without light, he was powerless to stop himself. He slammed hard into the door, chest first, and fell to the floor.
“Great. Just great.” He muttered, starting to stand up, leaning against the door for balance, hoping his foe wouldn’t attack him from behind. He had no such luck. A slim hand clasped his throat and lifted him effortlessly into the air. Tanner gurgled as the breath was stolen from his throat, and was slammed back against the door. He pried at the fingers around his neck. They were like iron, pressing into his flesh. Thin, bony almost.
Desperately, he slapped the wall next to him, searching blindly for his salvation—the light switch. His fingers caught it, and the lights snapped on.
Shrike shielded her eyes with her arm as the overheads blazed on, but it was already too little too late. She could only watch as Tanner suddenly glowed golden--and then punched her at one one-millionth the speed of light.
It was like something unfathomably strong had peeled her off Tanner and chucked her. She shot backwards, smashing through the steel wall of Tanner’s room. The metal warped and puckered and then gave away entirely as Shrike was thrown through it, sending shards of steel in all directions. Shrike was launched across the desert, bouncing several times, and then slid to a stop. She did not move.
Tanner hovered in place where he’d been released, then dropped down to the ground, holding his already swelling hand. Equal and opposite reactions. You weren’t supposed to punch things three times the speed of a fast ball. That was faster than the human eye could track.
Outside, in the rain, Shrike rose up, dusting herself off. Well, it had been too much to hope that’d kill her. In fact, she appeared completely uninjured.
“Can’t catch a break.” He muttered, plucking his coat of its hanger as he stepped through the new doorway Shrike had made for him. He left the incandescent light of his room behind, accepting the natural light of the moon and stars instead. His bare feet squelched in the wet sand. The rain gathered on his shoulders, soaked his hair, and he shrugged into his coat. It felt sticky against his wet skin.
He reached into his coat and withdrew his butterfly knives, holding each in a hand. It hurt to wrap his injured hand around the knife. He wondered if he’d fractured a few somethings.
“How’d you find us?” Tanner called to her over the storm. He ran a thumb anxiously over the handle of one of his knives.
Shrike stood tall. Thunder rumbled, and lightning flashed.
She smirked at him. The dyed portion of her hair fell unevenly over her face in the rain. “Please. You should’ve known I was coming.”
“You should leave.” Tanner said. “I don’t want to fight you. That.” He nodded back at the hole she’d made in the side of the warehouse. “That’s nothing. I could punch you to space. Fly up and throw you into the sun.”
“You could.” Shrike agreed. “But you won’t. We both know what would happen after that.”
Tanner supposed she had him there.
The desert expanded two hundred meters between them. It was flat, barren, and empty. The rain poured down around them. It had wet his brow now, and dripped over his eyes. Tanner set his jaw. He wasn’t going to let her hurt anyone else.
“Fine.” He muttered, only loud enough for himself to hear. “Have it your way.”
It was like a beam of moonlight had cut its way through the storm to shine directly on Tanner. He glowed a sudden furious silver, lifted off the ground, and shot at Shrike, clothes rippling.
The hitwoman didn’t move, even as Tanner rapidly closed the distance. She stood perfectly still, an unworried expression on her face.
Tanner felt a sudden anger arise with him. The knives unfolded in his hands as he yelled at the top of his lungs. Thunder boomed.
Shrike vanished and reappeared in the same moment, close enough to drop on top of him. Tanner’s flight was stopped instantly as Shrike flattened him into the ground, driving a heel into his back.
Tanner twisted to avoid a broken spine and Shrike kicked the ground as she landed, throwing up a shower of sand. Tanner’s photokinesis pulled him sideways across the ground, and he landed in a crouch, growing brighter. He leapt at her, his jump enhanced and swung twice. Shrike avoided the first one, receiving the second across the armor of her stomach.
She kneed him in the gut, hard, and Tanner doubled over. She seized him by the hair on his head and twisted his neck painfully, turning him over. She raised a fist to punch into his throat.
Tanner exploded with light, and Shrike cursed as she was momentarily blinded. He swiped at her again, this time cutting her across the cheek, and Shrike reflexively letting go of him in the sudden flash of pain.
Tanner lunged, attacking Shrike as she recoiled, and was slammed into the dirt by a casual backhand from her. The hitwoman wiped her already healed cheek clean and kicked Tanner in the chest, sending him skidding across the ground. He gasped, feeling his ribs flex as they threatened to break.
He struggled to get up, sucking down air, and Shrike calmly approached.
He willed himself to his feet, just in time to avoid and sweeping kick from Shrike. He leapt backwards, pulled by glowing trails of light, out of her reach, but she quickly vanished and reappeared at his side.
He immediately shot upwards, taking to the skies, but before he could get serious height a hand grasped his ankle. Tanner was spun around like a doll, and summarily thrown face first back into the ground.
He rolled, trying to recover, and ended up on his hands and knees. His knives clattered from his grip, bouncing blade over pommel away from him. One came to rest at Shrike’s feet and she took her time to pick it up, crouching over the knife first to examine it. Tanner watched with growing dread as she took hold of the knife in an experienced grip and started towards him. He cast a frantic look around and located the second knife a few feet to his right. He recovered it and stood, holding it out before him, the back of his empty hand pressed to his throat as he assumed a tactical stance. Shrike may have been stronger than he was, faster, more experienced, but Tanner had the advantage of a decade and a half of knife-fighting under his belt. It was a losing battle he fought, but one he could fight all the same.
Shrike came at Tanner without any semblance of a defense, and Tanner took quick steps back to avoid the combination of kicks she lead with. He hastily ducked a spinning heel-kick that had threatened to take off his head.
As he rose out of his duck she swiped at his neck with the knife and Tanner parried it with his own, stumbling backwards, the sheer power of the blow enough to almost knock him off his feet. Her leg swung out and hammered into his side, hitting him hard enough to fracture his hip. Tanner buckled, and Shrike spun, raining a second kick down into his chest. There was a pop as one of his ribs snapped.
She brought the knife down at an angle, and Tanner side-stepped, punching the edge of the knife out. It caught her at the forearm, knocking her slice aside.
He raked the blade down her forearm, scratching her armor, and stepped inside her guard, slashing the top of the knife across her stomach. The armor deflected it there too, and Shrike shoved him back.
The shove would’ve slammed Tanner into the dirt, but his photokinesis caught him and brought his feet back beneath him. Shrike swung bodily at his head, putting all her weight behind her attack. Tanner bobbed under, moving beside her. He cut her at the knee, where the tendons were. The armor there was thin, and he felt his blow strike home.
The victory was short: Shrike’s elbow cocked back and sunk into his solar plexus. It was audibly dislocated. Tanner wheezed and all air was forced out of his chest in a sudden rush. Shrike turned around, an irritated expression on her face, wiping the blood off her knee, and Tanner waved his knife in effort to keep her back. Shrike caught his wrist, held it to herself, forced his arm straight, and broke it at the elbow.
He roared, feeling his arm go slack, and tried to will strength back into it, but was unable to do anything as the knife slipped from his dead fingers. It made a soft, ringing noise when it hit the dirt.
Shrike placed a palm against his chest and pushed him hard, knocking him flat, and stood over him. The pain in his abdomen intensified to agony, and he rolled over onto his stomach, coughing miserably and trying to rise again with the use of one working arm. He couldn’t manage it, but he did manage to drag himself away from Shrike, pawing the ground to gain every inch. It must’ve looked a pathetic, pitiful display. Tanner had seen similar himself, usually from men about to die.
The rough ground cut his naked skin and Tanner desperately scrambled in it, uncaring as the jagged stones bit into him. His struggling quickly proved useless, and his chest and stomach were bloody with scratches when Shrike’s boot prodded his side, forcefully turning him onto his back again.
She dropped down onto a knee, landing with all her weight onto his broken rib, and stars flashed across Tanner’s vision as his body threatened to give out, his eyes fluttering. The fight now was to stay awake, and he managed to force his eyes open just in time to see Shrike bringing the knife down towards his face.
There was a flash of light, and Tanner caught Shrike’s forearm. The knife’s blade hung over him by centimeters and its point was all he saw out of his left eye. Shrike’s strength more than matched his and the knife dropped towards his eye. Light flashed again, and Tanner switched his grip over, bracing his arm against Shrike’s like a frame, resisting her with all his strength.
The hitwoman smirked, and began to easily overpower him, slowly inching the knife towards his face. Every muscle in Tanner’s arm and chest quivered in protest as he pushed back, but it was no use. The stars grew bright overhead as Tanner drew on every pocket of strength he had. Shrike showed the slightest bit of effort, pursing her lips in concentration.
The blade of the knife bit into his face, ground bone beneath it, and Shrike dragged it downwards, gouging.
Tanner wasn’t able to help the horrified scream that followed, as the knife dredged its way over his brow, cleaved cleanly through his eye. The jelly squelched around the blade’s edge, and Shrike finished by slicing through the meat of his cheek. He felt her try to force it deeper, to finish the job, and Tanner screamed until his throat was raw and shoved. The knife was ripped from his face, making a sickeningly wet noise as it left his flesh.
Tanner’s strength failed him, and he let his arm drop to his side.
All his effort was for nothing. Shrike simply turned the knife over in her hand and placed the point at the shallow of his neck.
Tanner realized, in one last desperate moment, that he was about to die. He looked up at the moon with his one remaining eye and pulled on the light from it, reflected from the sun, with everything he had. There was a flash of lightning.
Tendrils of something gripped him underneath his arms, and yanked him out from beneath Shrike. She jumped, trying to grab hold of him, but he was rising into the sky too rapidly.
He looked down at her as she stood in the empty desert, and she back up at him. Her face was blank, but her eyes held bottomless fury.
“Ha.” Tanner hiccupped around the blood dribbling out of his mouth. He tried to wipe it away with his wrist, but only succeeded in smearing it across his face. He looked down at himself. Several parts of him were pointed ways they shouldn’t have been pointed. Everything else was wet with blood.
“That your best?” He coughed, forcing a smile. "Come'an get me."
Sirens blared within Warehouse Zulu. A calm, patient voice announced throughout the facility:
“Perimeter alarms have been tripped. A security sweep is recommended. Perimeter alarms have been tripped. A security sweep is recommended.”
Josey stumbled out of his room, half dressed in only jeans and a work shirt. His suspenders hung at his waist.
“What in the high hell is going on?” He demanded, holding his revolver up by his head.
The halls of the warehouse were dark, flashing intermittently with a bright, red light.
Tanner's door tore off its hinges with an ear-piercing screech as the psyker was thrown through it. He slammed into the opposite wall, leaving a visible dent, and then fell to the floor on his stomach, splattering blood.
"I've had better days." Tanner groaned, struggling to get up.
Shrike stepped through the doorway after him, completely uninjured, carefully avoiding the shards of metal. She cast a cool, unconcerned glance over the filled hallway.
Willy considered the order for a spell before doing as he was told, seeming sad he had to.
Doris meanwhile shot a fierce glare at Paul.
"Who are you calling a weakling?" She furiously asked as she strapped her pink bathrobe tighter around her midriff.
Tanner's door tore off its hinges with an ear-piercing shriek as the psyker was thrown through it. He slammed into the opposite wall, leaving a visible dent, and then fell to the floor on his stomach, splattering blood.
"I've had better days." Tanner groaned, struggling to get up.
Doris felt faint seeing the man's eye gutted, along with other parts of him covered in blood or bent the wrong way.
Johnny knew this broad was serious business from the look of her, but considering he didn't know her, he wasn't particularly intimidated by her. He usually wasn't intimidated by anyone since he could do what he could.
"Get regrouped, GO!" Paul snapped, trembling as he grew into a much larger mutant and charged head on at her. Within seconds, he went from the size of a man, to the size of a particularly bulky super mutant as he charged straight into Shrike.
Shrike smirked at the mutant and, a second before impact, vanished. She reappeared behind Paul and gave him a powerful kick in the rear.
Vanishing again, she appeared now in front of Tim, driving a fist through his rifle--it shattered like glass--and with her other hand she took a hold of his mask and lifted him up in the air by it.
"Yeah, I seen enough." Josey muttered, turning to do as Paul said. When confronted with Shrike, you always ran. He knew that now. The Courier took off, shouting "On me, to the hanger! Ain't gonna get her here!"
Tanner was still trying to get up, feebly. He began crawling towards' Shrikes legs.
Shrike was smirking amusedly at Tim as he pawed at her for the split second before Paul attacked.
The claws rent Shrike's face open and she bit off a curse, staggering away, and chucked Tim down the hall so that he'd be out of her way.
"I've had about enough of you." She told Paul, raising a hand towards him, and a powerful shockwave was discharged point blank into his chest.
"Fuck it, fucking fuck it." Tanner glowed, an aura of bright red the same as the flashing lights, and floated up onto his feet. He could feel the power leeching into him, pulling him further and further away, but it didn't matter at this point. Everyone else's safety came first.
"Haven't you had 'nough?" Paul said, matter of factly as the powerful shockwave sent him skidding back. He then proceeded to send another almighty slash at her throat, eye and then chest in a feral bombardment.
Tim made several rolls on the floor before he came skidding to a stop. Had he not been wearing his kevlar vest, he probably would've broken some ribs; now, they were merely bruised. He gingerly pushed himself onto his feet and drew his sidearm, taking careful aim. When the shot went out, the bullet struck Shrike below the base of the skull, digging right into her brainstem in a one-in-a-million shot that even Anse McCoy would've envied.
That would put her out of commission... for a moment.
Paul stumbled back, though there was little to no 'soft' there at this point as a bunch of muscle was starting to build up around his face. It was still a vulnerable spot though and that made him very mad.
He opted to grab at Shrike, seconds after Tim made the shot.
A hologram deployed from Shrike, asorbing the bullet before it could make impact. She glanced over her shoulder, looking around with a glare for who took it, before she could engage them Paul grabbed her.
"Enough of this." The hitwoman muttered, and together the two of them vanished.
Tanner blinked, settling down onto his feet, holding his side, and collapsed against the wall, leaing against it for support.. "Fuck."
Paul and Shrike reappeared in the center of downtown San Francisco, crushing four or five unlucky passerby. There were screams of shock and surprise as they completely interuptted the flow of traffic, and hapless bystanders began a violent scramble to get away from them.
Shrike still held Tanner's long-bladed butteryknife and, as Paul held her close, began to repeatedly plung into his liver, each stab making little snickt snickt noises.
"Fuck, go!" Tanner waved a hand at the rest of them, dragging himself along the wall, leaving a long trail of blood behind. "Get the fuck out of here!"
Shanks' impeccable hearing had brought him up early the moment he had heard the ruckus from Tanner's room. At first he reckoned that the blind woman and Tanner had finally gotten down and dirty, but quickly realized that the grunts stemmed from acts of violence.
After witnessing Shrike in motion, having a fight with both Tanner, Tim, and Paul, respectively, he was torn on what to do. The soldier and the assassin in him wanted to have a go at Shrike as well, but upon seeing Shrike's actions, and realizing that Kayleigh was due to be exposed to the same, he retreated back to the room to give her a rude awakening.
"Kay! Get up!" he said, shaking her. "We need to get you the fuck out of here!"
Evangeline had slept poorly. She hadn't even dreamt. Thus she wasn't susceptible to the sudden awakening having an impact on her senses. There were sounds of fighting and alarms going off. Once she had activated her lenses and left her room she was greeted by the sight of the woman who could only be identified as Shrike, fighting several members of the Devil's Brigade, among them, Tanner leaning on Tim.
She gasped out in shock upon seeing the damage the hit-woman had caused him. "Tanner!" she exclaimed, rushing to his other side.
"I don't think a band-aid's going to do much." Tanner wheezed as he leaned heavily on Tim. Just that was enough to soak the masked man's clothing through with blood.
Shrike buried the knife in Paul's side and let it go, instead grabbing his wrists where his claws were embedded in her armor, and pinning them to her. Paul was larger than her, but Shrike had strength and leverage, and she pulled down, applying careful pressure, and he could feel the joints in his wrists and elbows start to seperate, seconds from dislocating.
"Vertibird's gotta enough firepower to bruise her." Josey said, leading those with him, towards the elevator. "Failing 'at, she ain't flyin' anytime soon."
Paul's forehead smashed into Shrike's nose, bouncing her head back like it was on a spring. The pressure lessened on his arms somewhat.
The headbutt left a visible dent in her face, which Shrike didn't seem to be all too pleased about, because she then jerked down sharply on his wrists and he felt his arms do something that crossed somewhere between holy-fuck-that-hurts and why-can't-I-feel-my-fingers.
"On the Vertibird, not here." Tanner said, waving them away. "There's no time."
They arrived in the hanger, the elevator doors dinging open, where the staff of Warehouse Zulu had gathered. They were in various states of dressed and undressed, and all were wearing tired, confused looks, having come here when the alarms began to sound.
"What's going on?" Campbell, the heavyset chef, demanded.
"Shrike's attackin' the Warehouse, place is burned, we're leavin'." Josey announced, pushing past them without care.
Psychomantis108 wrote: "Knowing what she's capable of, it wouldn't surprise me." Kayleigh sighed, stepping out and looking around.
"Let's try to regroup."
Shanks kept close behind her, keeping his eyes in the other direction. Though he could hear well, sudden noises from behind almost always got the jump on him, and he certainly didn't want to give Shrike that satisfaction.
"Thanks." Tanner said to Denis, sagging in Eva and Tim's arms.
Shrike was amused by him trying that and, right as his jaw's came down, he snapped air. Shrike had vanished, abandoning him in the busy San Francisco street.
Passerby were still running for their lives, screaming, others pointing.
Shrike blipped back into existence in front of those escorting Tanner, an image thrown onto canvas. She raised her brows at them, as if surprised to see they were still here.
"He won't be coming back for a while." She informed them, dusting her hands together, before kicking out. Her heel smashed into Tanner's knee, snapping in back, and she advanced with momentum, driving an elbow into the side of Tim's neck. She spun, and her foot came around and caught Eva in the side of the head in a spinning heel kick.
Paul roared in fury as his power grew, he immediately grabbed the nearest passer by and crushed them in the palms of his hands.
Denis drew his rifle and took aim at Shrike, blasting straight at her, with a rather powerful round. He used the advantage of her back being towards him to aim at her spine, figuring that this would work best if the bullet hit it.
Shrike turned around as they fell away, looking for new targets, all cool confidence. When Denis opened fire, a hologram appeared to asorb his bullet. She turned in the direction of him and Morgan, and 'T-1000 sprinted' at them, arms pumping.
Shrike waved her gauntlet at Morgan, and a shockwave well up, deflecting the bullet and violently yanking the rifle out of the woman's hands, disarming her. And then Shrike was ontop of her, grabbing Morgan's shirt in a fistful and ruthlessly pulling her to the ground, slamming Morgan against the steel floor.
"Don't you people learn?" There was dry bemusement in Shrike's voice, as if she couldn't get over how stupid they were.
Tanner was already in an astonishing amount of pain, so it was unclear to Johnny what was him and what was the other twenty things wrong. He did curl up slightly.
"The guns, the same tactics..."
Shrike hadn't been aware of Shanks, so his rifle round managed to strike her without activating a hologram, the round embedding itself with a jolt into her shoulder. The hitwoman grimaced.
"...see what I mean?" She grasped Morgan's throat and picked her up, using her as a shield as she walked towards Shanks. She made sure to stomp Morgan's rifle into pieces as she went, and made sure to launch a shockwave back at Denis in case he got any ideas.
Realizing that he couldn't fire anymore, lest Morgan would get caught in the way of the next bullet, Shanks tossed the rifle over at Kayleigh, steadily approaching Shrike with the means to go into close quarter combat, and hopefully snag Morgan out of her grip.
"So you are Shrike, eh?" he said. "You certainly don't look like one, but I'll happily give you the identity of 'Pizza-face' when I am through."
Same tactics, huh? Denis considered the possibilities here, he didn't have many of these 'silver bullets' so he wouldn't be able to just go trigger happy at her.
"You've known for a while, right? Why now?"
Naomi stepped out of her quarters and went straight for her powered suit, if nobody else was going to do this, then it would be down to her. She hopped on inside, sealing it shut and waiting for the red goggles to light up. As soon as she did, she noticed Cheyenne stood before her.
"Hold on, I'll be going with you."
"Don't have time for that, even if we did, you're too old to take on Shrike. She'd crush your bones, like Dust. Just look after Cable and the others."
"I joined this group to fight her, not babysit. If I can take down Horrigan, I can do this, I just need a suit to stop me from giving out."
The Chosen one seemed rather serious about this and Naomi didn't have time to argue... In fact, this could be a blessing in disguise.
"Cheyenne... Go to my room, in my satchel, there are some purple vials. Inject the dark purple one before following me. It's a... stimulant. I'm not sure about its side effects but for a one time use, you should be okay."
Cheyenne didn't really like the idea of that but... she did admit, it would make up for her inadequecies.
"Fine, I assume you have fusion cores as well? I'll take one, while I'm at it and meet you there."
"He's new, isn't he?" Shrike replied to Denis as she locked her sleeper hold in on Johnny. "Two days ago, there wouldn't have been nearly as many of you. I didn't even know you were working together until I ran into Deere."
Holograms spammed from Shrike, absorbing each of his bullets. She did not even flinch.
While Shanks had been hoping to get locked in a fight with Shrike, figuring that he would be the most endurable in a situation like this, he didn't mind Morgan being released.
"Hoo there", he gasped at the sudden turn of events as he caught the one-eyed woman.
Evangeline's sight flashed back and forth like a broken monitor. Shrike's kick had certainly done a number on either both or one of her adapters, and most likely something had been shaken loose inside.
She slowly crawled towards the only target in the disarray she was able to locate. "Tanner", she moaned, her sight flashing as a myriad of error messages popped up at the right side of her field of vision, indicating that something was severe.
Denis took this as his chance, he rushed forward and rammed the barrel of his rifle, into her lower back before pulling the trigger. The specially manufactured bullet tore through her and hit her spine, shattering on impact and breaking the capsule of liquid nitrogen, held within.
To Shrike, it would've just felt like regular pain, followed by more pain as the delayed explosives at the back of the bullet detonated, causing quite a lot of structural damage to that bit of titanium.
The moment Shrike dropped to her knees, Shanks made a run for her, intent on kicking her while she was down. He didn't mind that, considering what he had just seen that she was capable of.
Evangeline crawled blindly, losing her orientation each time her lenses flickered. She couldn't even see Tanner anymore, and the surroundings blended into each other like a distorted mess. She could only go by her hearing at this point.
"You're right, I am new." Denis said, pulling the latch back and letting the empty casing fall to the floor. He opted to finish her off, once and for all, by loading another round, this time he pressed it against her the back of her head.
With no hesitation, he pulled the trigger.
The bullet shot out, as it should have and hit the titanium as it should have. However, capsule holding the liquid nitrogen had been damaged on release. It hit the base of her skull, doing very little by way of structural damage to the titanium as the explosion followed, doing practically nothing to the strong standing titanium.
This close, Denis could hear a metallic whirring noise emanating from Shrike. Her breaths were heavy, almost labored.
He put the cool barrel of the revolver flush agaisnt her skin, and the moment he did that she moved.
Her head shot back, out of the line of fire, and her hand flew forwards, restraining his wrist. The pistol fired, it's shot going wide, and Denis could only watch as Shrike seized his revolver and twisted it from his grip.
Shanks flew forwards, foot aimed her head, and Shrike swung the revolver into the mutant's shin. He heard, and felt, the bone fracture to pieces.
Shrike shot to her feet, turning on Denis, and slapped him across the face with his own weapon, and like Shanks he could feel his cheekbone seperate into shards.
Out of the hole in her back, blood trickled, taking with it little fragments of metal, the wound cleaning itself before sealing closed.
Spontanouesly, impossibly, Shrike burst alight with fire, immolating her on the spot. The revolver in her hand began to melt, as did the armor she wore.
Shrike did not melt. She frowned, confused, and then smirked.
"You stupid, stupid people." The hitwoman murmured, seeming to delight in this development. The sleeves of her armor were turning to a molten liquid, and Shrike carelessly pried them from her arms and tossed them away.
She began to advance on Morgan, who had remained unscathed from the renewed assault. The whole hallway was hot, now, the steel walls acting something like an oven.
The bullet cracked into the back of Shrike's head, and ricchoetted off her plated skull.
Shrike stood before Morgan, hand primed to backhand Morgan across the face. She paused, frowning.
"I think I can walk." Tanner told Tim, spitting up blood as he did so. One of his legs was folded completely backwards, the other one was bent to the left.
Cable took a seat in the Vertibird, shaking, a worried expression on his face.
The hanger doors slid open, the Veritibrd pulling out of them. Josey leaned down into the cockpit.
"Circle around there." He pointed at one side of the warehouse. Each corner of the steel box looked the same from up here.
"Right there. Light it up with everything you have."
"What?!" Cable screetched, shooting out of his seat in the back. "You'll kill them!"
"They'll be fine." Josey said, unconcerned.
Priors glanced back at them, a conflicted expression on his face, but he circled around the Warehouse to get a clear shot.
"You think I'm some android where if you say the right word I'll stop?" Shrike smiled, shook her head. The fire on her was growing, rachetting up, as if with every word she was gaining some kind of immense, terrible power. "No. In fact, even more reason to kill you."
She backhanded Morgan across the face, the heat of it frying the woman's skin.
Shanks frowned and snarled with pain as his shin shattered. It certainly wasn't the worst damage he had received in his life, but it still hurt like hell. "Fucking bitch", he growled, immediately spinning around to deliver a kick with his functioning leg.
With a groan, he handed Tanner over to Wilkes, who nodded and glanced at the blood he was getting on his shirt.
"I'm going to run ahead," he told Harriot. "Stick with this guy," he added, nodding towards the masked man. After that, he took off, sprinting towards the hangar, the exoskeleton amplifying the strength of his legs to such a degree that he was making bounds of nearly ten feet at a time.
"Shut up," Wilkes said, stomping his foot into the doors, sending them clattering down the shaft, before jumping down the shaft without hesitation. With a loud, metallic thud, they landed at the bottom, the exoskeleton absorbing the impact.
The ceiling of the elevator bent slightly beneath the sudden of Wilkes' weight.
"You can't." Shrike backed Morgan up to the wall, and Morgan felt herself start to cook like a pig on a spit.
Shrike's eyes bored out of the inferno, level with Morgan's. In fact, Shrike might've been shorter, she was not overly tall, but in this moment she loomed. She held up one fist underneath Morgan's chin, tongues of fire burning her bare skin. "Say my name."
"GAAAAH!" Shanks screamed in unspeakable pain as he was lit on fire, desperately trying to put it out.
The fur covering his body was plenty inflammable and burned up fast, searing his very flesh. The knockback received from Shrike's shockwave extinguished the flames somewhat, but he was scorched beyond recognition, writhing on the ground.
Though the healing had already gone to work, the pain had taken quite a toll on him mentally.
Am I still here?! he had to force himself aware inside his head.
"I'm going to kill you anyway." Shrike smiled, and her hand opened around Morgan's throat. Her skin began to cook.
The hallway exploded with metal, as sudden burst of 50 cal. gunfire tore it pieces. The air became filled with flying shrapnel and shards of steel, the center of which was concentrated directly on Shrike, who caught ten or fifteen rounds in the torso and was thrown backwards, through a wall at the opposite end of the hallway, and out of sight.
Outside, heard through the multiple gaps in the walls, the engines of a Vertibird roared, as it set down, gun still spinning.
Wilkes burst into the hanger, where the rest of the staff was firing up the secondary Vertibird.
All of them, minus Captain Tanaka, paused in what they were doing.
Morgan dived out of the way, shielding herself from the explosions of gunfire. She covered her head with her hands and allowed herself to groan. The bits of metal from the necklace she wore still searing into her neck..
"We got word to Miller about what's happening." Captain Tanaka told Wilkes, stepping down from the Vertibird, as Campbell set to work on Tanner, going into the Vertibird's first aid kit. She was coolly confident, despite the chaos, as a military officer should be. "We have orders to fly everyone to Seattle."
She did not react to Johnny's frantic yells.
Cable appeared in the hallway, appearing through the ruined doorway of Tanner's room.
From the direction Shrike had been thrown, they could hear the distant, metallic screeches of rubble shifting.
As they passed through what had been Tanner's room, they could see the Vertibird parked outside, propellors still spinning, ready to take off at the drop of a hat.
The cabin door was rolled aside and Josey stood in it, revolver in his hand.
"Ain't time for dickin' about, let's fuckin' go." The Courier called to Naomi as she approached.
"Priors radioed that the others are boarding now, Shrike's MIA for the moment." Tanaka informed Johnny and Wilkes lowering her had from her ear. She grabbed the side of the Vertibird and lifted herself first into the cabin, then climbed down into the cockpit.
"Firing her up, let's go."
"Where's everyone else?" Tanner slurred, trying to lift his head up. Campbell forced it back down, working on wrapping the psyker's wounds in bandages. He had splints of as well for Tanner's broken bones, but had yet to set them.
Shanks stumbled back onto his legs. His eyes were itching, the flames had reached all the way up to his face, and he could smell the stench of burnt fur and flesh. No doubt it would heal swiftly, but it was nevertheless a most unpleasant feeling.
"Where is that ... vertibird?" he slurred, wagging back and forth.