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post #1 of 1 (permalink) Old 07-16-10, 02:12 PM Thread Starter
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Default Drugs Don't Kill People, Bounty Hunters Do.

Just a bit of tongue in cheek, action-fest for y'all, edited from a few years back. Enjoy.

+++

The soil beneath their feet was extremely rich. Moist to the point of perfection, life teemed within it, earth insects and arachnids. It was something that the female bounty hunter couldn't get over. Never before in all her studies had she seen such a lushious place of agriculture. Anything could be grown here, she was sure of it. But for as far as her eye could see, the only thing visible were hundreds upon hundreds of obscura plantations. Such a waste, such a waste. She made no comment to her colleagues. It was neither the place, nor the time. This was business, and she didn't intend to change the way she dealt with business. Not for anyone.

Approaching the immediate perimeter of the outpost, the team fanned out, remaining silent. They would remain this way until they were forced to communicate, or worse open fire. Already ahead Melita Tiberius moved swiftly from plant to plant, gracefully swinging herself in and out of cover. The mere smell of the plants was intoxicating, creating a feeling of somewhat light headedness, within her. Shaking the feelings off she carried on. To succeed she would have to focus, getting high on whatever concoction of drug they were growing here was not the way to focus. Although she knew several artists who would beg to differ.

Tiberius glanced back, checking that the team were all still moving the same direction, and had not got in to any hostile situations. With her back to a particularly large plant, she took in her surroundings. Moving up behind her were the two friends Hotham and Ramath. They too were keeping to the cover, checking each corridor of plants before moving to the next. However, the ever silent Onesimus Kir had vanished. For an instance Tiberius panicked. This was not the plan, where had the guy gone? No sooner had the feeling arrived, Melita pushed the feelings to the back of her mind, her discipline taking over. Kir could handle himself, all too well.

Spinning out of the cover, the girl once more moved closer to their goal. Half way between one bush and the next, a guttoral retching echoed out from the next row of drugs. Stunned, she threw herself into the next piece of terrain, forcing her back against it. Using hand signals to freeze her visible associates, she began running the situation through her mind. Once more looking around she saw an exchange in words between Hotham and Ramath. As a competant lip-reader, Tiberius saw the hot headed Hotham mouth what had become his catchphrase.

"I have a bad feeling about this."

After the declaration, Melita was shocked to witness Hotham draw one of his antique pistols from a hip slung holster. The plan was going awry and she knew it wasn't long until bullets began to fly. Slowly glancing around the corner of the plant, Tiberius was able to lay eyes on the thing that had voiced the unnerving cry. Standing around ten feet away from Melita's makeshift cover stood a small, humanoid alien. Standing at around four and a half feet tall, it's skin seemed to be made up of scales and was the colour of Cerebra's sky. Midnight blue. Clearly xenos in origin, the creature was working the land, using a long pole to turn over the earth. At its waist hung a short, one-handed axe, evidently a tool used to chop the plants being grown in the area. It was however, a potential weapon. Something which was still running through Tiberius' mind when she slowly walked out from her cover.

Crouched over its manual labour, the alien beast remained oblivious to the bounty hunter's approach, continuing its work. With no weapon drawn, she moved closer, leaving her hands clearly visible in front of her body. Sshe briefly looked back at the two men standing cautiously two rows back. Now with guns in their hands they looked wary of her actions. She knew that if this negotiation failed then there would be no other option. These guys would open fire. And the gates of hell, would come crashing down all around them. Turning back to the potential hostile, now only two feet away, Melita purposefully coughed. Obviously startled, the stunted creature spun. Instinctively a shriek came out of its mouth, accompanied by a fluid propelled towards the unarmed bounty hunter. Venom.

As though in slow motion, the corrosive saliva hurtled towards Tiberius' face, aimed directly at her eyes. Melita knew that if the the corrosive material were to find its mark, then it would blind her indefinetely. Like usual though, the young woman had come prepared. As soon as the venom came to within a 5 inch proximity of her face, it was stopped. The alien looked strangely bemused as its natural defense simply sizzled on an invisible barrier, protecting its bearer. It tilted its head in confusion, before turning tail and fleeing. In seconds the fizzing and hissing had ceased and the energy field surrounding Melita, returned to its invisible state. Play time was over.


+++


Watching the startled creature flee back towards the safety of the trees, Melita knew that there was no way to negotiate now. The team had to act quickly and efficiently, getting to the target as soon as possible. Before Tiberius could act, Hotham and Ramath began their push forward, acting far more aggressively. As she looked back towards the direction of the fleeing beast, a second one appeared, this time moving with more caution. Before she knew it a makeshift spear had been launched towards her head, hurtling towards her with great speed. Not wanting to tempt fate, Tiberius knew that trusting the refractor shield again was not wise. With the lethal weapon getting nearer, the girl knew what she had to do. Keeping her sight fixed on the spear tip, she saw it almost at a reduced speed. Then ,at the last possible moment, Tiberius bent over backwards, forming a bridge position with her body. A nanosecond later the missile passed, inches from her chin. As planned, the protective field did not activate, letting the spear fly away into the plantation behind her.

Awed by the action it had just seen, the reptilian merely stood where it had launched the javelin from evidently expecting the target to be dead. As the bounty hunter rose from her bridge, a pistol had found it's way into her hand. Straightening herself, Tiberius brought the sleek pistol up to her eye. She took a single heartbeat to aim, a skill honed over the years of target practise she had put herself through. A single bullet left the gun's snout, finding its resting place in the creature's skull. Still with the look of disbelief on its face, the stunted animal crumpled to the floor, a purple liquid running from the entry point.

With a single bullet, Tiberius had unleashed hell on the farm. As Melita threw herself back in to cover, she turned back, only to see the hot-headed Damascus Hotham charging forward with his pistols blaring. Another of the small reptiles, obviously hearing the commotion, unwittingly came out of a nearby grove of trees. This put it right in Hothams' line of fire. On instinct Hotham brought his antique pistols to bear on the potential hostile. Several of the bullets failed to hit their intended target, however a lot more found their mark. By the time Hotham had ceased fire, the creature had been riddled with shots, it's torso ripped to shreds. Losing conciousness it fell to the floor, creating an omminous thud on the ground. Tiberius meerly watched as the xenos died before her. A piercing death cry escaped it's mouth before it fell into death. The sound shook through Melita's soul. She realised how often she had seen scenes such as this. And how haunted she was every time it occured. This knowledge comforted her, for when seeing death eventually had no impact on her, she knew there was no return.

Once again re-focussing her mind, she called over to Hotham, who was now reloading his spent pistols.

"Nice work hotshot! Now the whole damn plantation is ging to know we are here. Before our next excursion, you might want to spend some time in the practice rooms. Emperor's sake if you're gonna go around blowing the shi-"

Mid sentence Melita froze. Out of the corner of her eye she saw more movement. Expecting another stunted alien, she snapped her head around to the source of the movement. There was no visible sign of any more of the reptiles, although shrieks could be heard from nearly every direction. Suddenly, the sunlight caught the reflective surface of something a few hundred yards away. Finally Tiberius made out what the glare was from, field glasses. And looking straight at her was a human. The target was here, and he had seen them. She knew the ride was going to get bumpier before it was over.

The next minute was one of the challenging encounters Melita Tiberius had experienced in her career. The target had spotted at least two of their team and had made a short burst across one of the plant corridors, getting himself out of sight. Expecting to see a fire arm of some sort in his hand, Tiberius was confused to see what seemed to be a radio transmitter of some type. Shaking the confusion of Tiberius prepared herself to break from cover and charge the target. Making a last minute check to see if the coast was clear, she leaned her head out of the obscura plant, and then, simutaneously, an aggressive outburst came from every reptile in the vicinity. Within seconds, four seperate hostiles had burst out of the terrain, wielding wood axes, spears, and in one case a pick axe. With an unnatural speed and violence they threw themselves at the three remaining members of the team.

Anticipating the charge, Melita knew that the bounty hunters needed a decisive maneuvre to drive the enemy back. WIth this in mind she pulled herself further into the plant's branches, allowing herself to become almost invisible to anyone. From her vantage point she viewed the four rabid creatures charge Hotham and Ramath. The beast that Hotham had shot just minutes ago, fuelled with some mystery power, raised itself from the floor. A shocked look filled Hotham's face, as the seemingly deceased reptile charged him. Melita watched as Hotham tried to shift his body weight to dive out of the way of the incoming xenos. In a dramatic pose, Hotham, launched himself away from the crazy animal. Misjudging his footing though, the soil gave way and he slipped, thundering to the floor as he did so. "Typical" she thought. Locating Ramath, she saw another one of the aliens advancing on him. Defending himself with his long rifle, Ramath was managing to parry the creatures furious assault. It hacked the gun with its axe again and again, driving Ramath back the way he'd come. The mission was not going well. The plan had fallen to pieces. They were going to have to wing it the rest of the way. Tiberius had no worries though. Improvisation was one of her strong points. Then again, everything she did was one of her strong points. Melita smiled to herself at the thought. Another creature passed her hiding spot. She noticed that the creatures were trying to surround Hotham in particular. Probably had something to do with him making more noise than a war titan.

Still on his back, Hotham was evading the potentially lethal blows being dealt by the aliens. Rolling back and forth the axes were falling into the earth on either side of him, getting closer and closer each time, From what she could see, the aliens had become faster, stronger and more determined all at the same time. Pondering over the cause had brought her to two conclusions. Either it was a racial attribute, brought on by self preservation instincts, or it was some form of external stimuli. Readying herself for her counterstrike, she drew her auto gun, which had been slung over her shoulder for the last hour. She had an idea of how to eliminate these xenos pests and was ready to put it into action. As she stepped out of cover she glanced down at the only alien that was still downed. The one she had given a head shot to earlier. Noticing that there was some form of collar around its neck, she saw a transparent liquid pumping out of it, injecting the dead reptile. External stimuli it was then, with that matter settled, Melita Tiberius took aim.

Before she could fire, a bullet flew from one of Hothams pistols, ripping through the shoulder tissue of one of the animals. Stunned it fell backwards, hitting the floor a few feet away. This finally gave Hotham the oppertunity to drag himself to his feet. Still he was surrounded by two of the leering creatures, fending their assaults off as best he could. Picking her target, Tiberius opened fire with her autogun. Three well placed shots riddled the back of the nearest alien. Forcing it back towards the treeline. Scrabbling for cover, she had managed to pin it down where it was, eliminating its present danger. With one xenos left on its feet, Damascus began to back away slowly, watching the aliens movements carefully. A human shout of pain came from the area where Melita had glanced the target. Something or someone had gotten to him. And Tiberius had a funny feeling it migh have been the team member who had disappeared at the start of the encounter. Behind her Ramath was attempting to retreat but to no prevail. Every time he backed off, the creature attacking him would advance on him, throwing their weight behind every blow.

Before she could react again, the xenos that Hotham had shot at close range had suddenly leapt back in to the fray. Jumping into close quarter fighting with the man who had just put a bullet through its torso. With a shovel in it's hands it brought a blow down, striking Hotham in the temple. Once again Hotham was thrown to the floor, dazed and hurt. A moment of panick overcame Melita again. This had just gotten deadly serious. Unless she could react quickly, Hothams life was in severe jeapardy. Not helping matters, Ramath seemed to be in hot water too, barely preventing his assailant from landing a blow. Bringing the autorifle up to her eye, she fired six bullets. Five of them hit the two attacking Hotham and one hitting the tree behind them. The creatures staggered back from Hotham's stunned body, temporarily disheartened. The tide was turning and it wouldn't be long before victory was hers. Tiberius was sure of it.

Swinging his rifle around, Ramath was finally able to knockback the insane creature. A cracking sound from its jaw, accompanied it staggering back several yards, giving Ramath the oppertunity he needed to break away and recooperate. Tiberius watched as the staggered animal attempted to follow Ramath. The next thing she saw was the beast falling over, it's limbs totally tangled in tight nooses. Tiberius looked back to see Hotham regaining his awareness, and took this as her cue to go after the primary objective. Spinning on her heel, she called back to Ramath.

"Watch Hotham's back a second, then advance to the designated rendevous. Understood?"

"Sure thing, where are you going?"

"To take this bastard down!"

With that she moved away from the combat area, approaching the hut they viewed earlier in the mission. As she grew closer, she began to hear the sounds of a fight. As they got clearer, she could make out grunts, and punches. Moving throught the final obscura plant terrace, she finally saw the source of the sound. Layed out on the floor was what looked like the target. It was difficult to tell, as his facial features had been mashed and disfigured, it looked as though his jaw had been broken in several places, his nose was smashed, his eyes were already swollen beyond belief and several of his teeth were missing. Leaning over his body, still beating his flesh was the fourth member of Ramath's team. Onesimus Kir, living up to his reputation, had been the first one able to get the target. With an arrow through his thigh, and a sword through his foot, it seemed the target hadn't gone down without a fight. When Tiberius was about 30 feet away from the pair, the target, using what must have been his last concious thought, managed to pull a pistol out from his holster. Rather than aiming it at his attacker however he pointed it to the sky. Realising what it was Tiberius tried to call out to Kir, but she was too late. A red flash came from the muzzle of the pistol, shooting a flare into the sky. Hanging 200 feet in the air the flare, flooded the vicinity in a red light. Noticing what the slaver had done, Kir began to strike him with a heightened resolve, putting every ounce of strength into the blows. Tiberius was shocked to see that the target was still concious, but by the looks of him, he should have been dead.

Hearing more movement behind her, Tiberius once again used the plants as cover, expecting more hostile company to be on the way. She knew that flares were often used to call in labourers, after the day of working the land was over. And that's what the target was doing. Calling back the workers. Except, in this case the workers were savage, drug fuelled, psycho-xenos. Just as she had expected the two remaining aliens, not to have been hit in the previous shoot out, leaped through the trees, paying no heed to her, disguised as she was in the plants. Kir, seeing the new threat, immediately stood up from his victim. Pulling the sword out of the target's foot, he readied himself for the attack. Tiberius had knew what was coming though and knew exactly what to do. After the two hostiles had passed, she dived out of the cover, rolling swiftly onto her feet. Bringing the autogun up to her shoulder, she activated the underslung bolas launcher. After seeing the effectiveness of the tanglefoot grenade Ramath had deployed, she knew that this was the way to deal with these creatures. Firing the mechanism, two bolas' flew out of the secondary barrel, both finding their target. With one wrapping itself around the neck of a creature and the other bolas entangling the legs of another, both aliens were brough to the ground with tremendous force, knocking them both out. The drug had seemed to have worn out, or was indeed beginning to dissolve in their systems. Tiberius was pretty sure that if the drug was still in its full state, the fall would not have put the creatures out cold. It seemed that the Emperor was with them today.

Finally silence came to the plantation. The only sounds that could now be heared was the groaning of the drug dealer and the sounds of Hotham and Ramath making sure none of the animals were going to "get up". Sheathing his sword, Kir turned back to the dealer. The mysterious hunter landed another punch to the sternum of the target, before grabbing him by the scruff and dragging him towards the hut. Looking back at the destruction, Tiberius' eyes fell on the beast with its throat entangled. By the looks and sounds emmited by it, it was beginning to choke. Unable to stand the suffering, she steadily approached the creature. Gazing upon its body, she watched as it struggled and squirmed, trying to rid itself of the constraints set upon it. Feeling its sorrow, the young bounty hunter could watch it no longer. With the but of her autogun she knocked the beast into unconciousness. She then reached out and untangled the bolas. She knew that the creature had no choice in what it did. The least she could do was give it freedom.

"Heresy Fiction Competition 2009 Winner"


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