June 3, 2018 at 9:05 pm #28513
Along the southern boarder of the massive continent, closest to the equator there is what is known as The Outskirts. For miles and miles barren wasteland, barely maintaining life stretches on. It is a place no one has need to go to. But in this world there is always somewhere people need to go. Even if it is nowhere.
September 27, 2020 at 4:05 am #118278
Sands blew up into large dust clouds side winding into small dust devils scouring the grounds almost as living as the mutated lizards burying themselves seeking shelter from the incoming dune buggy speeding its way through the wastes where roads had gone several miles back. There was so little life out here other than the beasts, monsters, and creepy things crawling through open land. This did make things a little dangerous with not shelter or sanctuary for miles upon miles and it was starting to grow dark.
Like a beacon off the stormy shores with a light house a neon sign saying “Bar” was a welcome life savior to anyone who would wander insanely through these treacherous and savage lands. The dun buggy slide to a stop near many other very altered vehicles of a similar nature some looking like hellish machines just resting before they roll over their next kill. This was possibly the best place to look further into the Clockwork Gang.
Stepping up to the rusted out building, having the look of an old time flour mill; obviously run down and only restructured enough to house the bar scene properly. Each step on the iron steps creaked sadly under the dust covered boots catching the attention of the cybernetic guard dogs laying down on either side of the haphazardly placed door that seemed to come from an old ship of some kind with a portal window at the top. Both dogs stood to their feet their eyes beginning a scan on the newcomer. One single robotic bark woke the sleeping door man, along with a stirring a couple of passed out patrons laying in their own vomit on the porch. “Wha? Who dat? Who dere?” The old man scrambled for his large double barreled shotgun snapping it up towards the stranger.
“Peace old timer. Just here to get some water and some information possibly.” The filtration mask muffled the strangers speech, this was a common trait out here. By the looks of the old timer he was modded out pretty hard, probably having lung filters built right in.
“Well, you may get yer self some water ere boy, but don’t go lookin fer answers or thing dat ain’t yer bizness.” The old timer never lowered his shotgun; it was a nasty piece of work with large bore barrels, quick loading system built in, and a vibro-knife under the barrels for unwelcome close quarters. It looked heavy yet he held it in one hand tucked under his arm as he glared at the stranger from under his hat.
“That’s a nice piece you have there. Looking to drop anything that isn’t a tank I would guess.” Hoping the small talk would help bring this down a bit the stranger stepped all the way onto the landing leaning against the post supporting the tin roof above.
“Shut up! We ain’t friends. Go in bofer I sick Dairy and Melanie on ye ass.” Well…that didn’t work. The stranger put his hands up and stepped gently through the door with the ever watchful eye of the old timer and the growling cyber-dogs as he entered in.
With a sliding horizontal door the stranger stepped in seeing all the heads turn his way. A tune on a dying old jukebox played some sort of remixed song that was so bad you couldn’t make out more than the bass and the electronic styled music parts. There weren’t many people here in this split level bar. It was a dive with flickering neon lights behind the bar and low lit areas through the rest. Tables we set in sporadic areas made of objects found in the wastes, though they did look to have a good welder / designer behind them. Stepping fully inside the door slid shut quickly, though eyes were still on the stranger their heads turned back to their drinks and now lower muttering conversations.
Looking at his environmental read out on his wrist, the air quality was passable to breath without the re-breather mask he was wearing so it was nice to take it off for a little while. Taking his hood down and his mask off didn’t make the stranger fit any better than he did just showing up. The place was full of different far more rough looking types scarred from battle and hard living. The stranger’s complexion wasn’t marred in any way. His beard and goatee were trimmed and styled well with his long black hair tied back in loose ponytail with his bangs freed hanging in front of him, with his sides and back shaved just enough to be considered shaved. Hazel eyes of amber and jade hues gazed around the place mainly to focus in the dim light as he walked up to the bar. Passing by several tables hearing different languages speak as they were all saying they said, “Looks like trouble just showed up.” Or “Be ready for bad things to happen.” or something similar across the board. The stranger knew he stood out, this just meant he may have just unwittingly stumbled onto the gangs hideout. At least their hideout between hideouts. He knew he was on their trail but they had a huge lead on him…they couldn’t have stopped here for 2 days could they? They wouldn’t be that dim witted would they?
“Kade! Look at you coming here to no man’s land!” Yep, the would’ve, could’ve, and did. They work like clockwork, but they plan like shit.
Turning up to the second level where a very stylish looking man with a handlebar mustache and trimmed goatee looked down over a pair of round glasses and a bowler hat looked at Kade with a thin cigar dangling in his lips. “Well Dervish…I thought you were the smart one. You stopped here? This long? For what?” In that moment Kade knew exactly why. Wish he would have gotten that thought before. Still figuring out how much of Rvulper has given over to him and how much is a test with that damn symbiote all the time! Not letting on Kade leaned on the bar keeping a watch through the dingy mirror resting behind all the poorly lit bottles.
“Because you’re gonna die here today Kade. Didn’t you know? This is your death day celebration!” Dervish stood straight spreading his arms wide. The full gang came out of a hallway from behind him. Apollo, the enhanced sharpshooter with his sleeveless trench-coat probably staying up high, his rust colored hair falling around a smirking bearded face. Crabber, modified former elite soldier, still fighting whatever war he thinks is going on in his head. Full tactical gear which was going to be hard to get through let alone his tactics and his auto-shotgun, he uses flechette rounds which tear things apart and keep tighter than buck shot. Then the doozy of a member they call Flack. A bionic troll heavy gunner that gives zero fucks about collateral damage. Can’t forget Poe, the fucking drone raven of Dervish. That damn thing is hard to avoid and it keeps it’s eyes securely peeled on the battleground relaying information to Dervish. Speaking of…Devish; leader of the Clockwork Gang and also a combat magus. He has street smarts, a higher education, and he’s handy with a gun and evocation spells. This guy is on the level as more dangerous than the troll heavy gunner. Now that everyone else in the place was standing looking at Kade he knew they were going to be the least of the issues. Getting to them was going to be a bitch.
“Hope you brought me a gift!” Kade says as he looks up with a smile at Dervish. “You know what…forget it. I’ll come get it.” Kade’s eyes grow serious and he puts Rvulper on, the mask takes little time to cover Kade in armor coming to life once again producing a shortsword and heavy pistol for Kade to use in just moments.
Spinning around Kade cut through three incoming threats blood spraying across his armor and the bar. Firing off 6 well placed .45 ACP shots into 2 more flipping tables and firing. With a barrel roll flip Kade leapt over the bar for cover. The bar owner pointed his coach gun at him but promptly set it down sliding it over not wanting to take part. Still in a tactical setup, the armor produced a holster for him to put the sawed off shotgun. Grabbing extra shells and placing them in a manifested bandolier Kade made sure the barkeep could get out of there as not to take a wild bullet. Popping up he fired off his last 6 shots in the pistol, caseless rounds made the capacity a lot more for the large rounds thankfully, but it only caught 3 more. Glass was breaking and he was trying to maintain awareness of where Apollo and Poe were at. It wasn’t going to be long and Crabber was going to be there along with Flack. Both fights he wasn’t looking forward to.
Putting his focus into his Stress Point Detection and Psychological Intuition applying them to find the weak point in the battle. It of course fell on Dervish. He was swaying the way the battle went….however…killing his team will weaken him which may cause him to slip. Well…shit. This wasn’t going to be fun. Then he took a shot in the shoulder snapping his attention up to the possible location instantly making him move. The bullet penetrated straight through and the armor was mending him and itself. Apollo and his HVR sniper rounds were why Kade knew he had to be the first to go. The other shots went stray going through 3 of the patrons with each shot only blood spatter being left with their unarmored bodies, poor bastards. Kade slid from under the bar getting under the scaffolding that supported Apollo, pulling the coach gun from the holster putting his pistol away Kade moved cutting through a large group channeling his negative force energy through the humming vibro-shortsword. Tearing through armor, bionics, and cybernetics like butter. A mix of hand-to-hand tactics with throws, traps, kicks, stabs, and slashes with the occasional blast from the coach gun splattering people who seemed to think no armor was a good idea.
Seeing the carnage below Apollo attempted to move but the random gunfire caused him to hunker down yelling out, “Stop fucking shooting! I’m trying to move here!” His voice was lost with the noise even as Dervish attempted to get people to stop firing. Looking across the way Dervish realized it was too late as Kade made his way cutting through Apollo’s gun splitting it and him in half but he was finished with a close ranged shotgun blast launching the two halves to fall splitting in the air landing with a low slap to the ground.
Freaking out some of the would be helpers they ceased fire briefly enough Kade could move across the beams making his way quickly towards Dervish. A large blast from the auto-shotgun of Crabber reminded Kade he was deviating from what the plan was. Knocking him off the beam sending him slamming into the tables below that didn’t break…they were made of some sort of cast iron metal.
“Ugh! That fucking sucks.” Kade rolled off the table scrambling to his feet as he was now being surrounded and his coach gun had slid free and his pistol had come loose from the holster due to the hard impact. A group of 15 men, Crabber, and Flack surrounding him.
“Give up Kade! You’re dead no matter what!” Dervish said arrogantly standing away from the fray. Like a miracle made of cigar smoke, bad whiskey, and gun oil two cyborg dogs rush through the doors pulling two of the patrons down dragging them back with Old Timer stepping into the room pointing the shotgun up at the rest. “What the hell are you doing Doc?” Dervish asked shocked looking almost betrayed.
“Dis is my fuckin place ere boy! You didna tell me dis was goin ta be happenin! Dis is yer problem Dervish. Now. You and yer boys can finish this wid da man else where or finish it ere in a pit fight wit jus da tree of ye. No gimmics, no weapons, no nothing but yer natural gifs.” Dervish looked as if he was going to protest. With a gun blast Doc destroys Poe sending it clattering to the ground being ripped to pieces by the dogs. “Ye were sayin?”
Dervish looked at Doc with a sinister glare but raised his hands up conceding to the prospect of this being a bad idea to keep going. The other patrons weren’t wanting to go against Doc and Kade already put down one of their gang a long with a lot of other bodies and did so quickly and without hesitation. A fist fight without that mask may be his best play…he still had Flack. “Fine old man where’s this pit?”
Doc moved to a small area on the wall, tucking the gun tight under his arm still keeping it raised, he lifted his left hand it formed an odd shape that he used as a key. With a clockwise turn the ground began to shake as the floor dropped a foot and with a circular opening spinning open making steps leading down into a dungeon looking area. “You and yer boys leave yer shit here and git down dere first.” The watchful eyes of Doc glared after them, but Crabber, Flack, and Dervish all did as he said heading down with nothing more than a pair of pants and hand wraps being applied by a small referee drone. Looking at Kade he didn’t have to say anything. Kade moved to him taking his mask off giving it to Doc, “I trust you can keep this safe for me please?” The armor fell off him going into the mask, with wonder Doc nodded the gave a side ways grin, “Now git yer ass in dere.” Kade complied taking his gear off as well.
Kade was separated from the gang into opposite sides of the arena having his hands wrapped the same way. They stared at each other from across the way, Kade’s shoulder still pretty rough from the sniper shot and his back bruised with a freckling from the shotgun rounds and the impact on the table, but this…this was like the temple all over again. Multiple opponents, highly trained, different skill sets, and a stronger and larger opponent. Almost made him feel nostalgic.
From up top where Doc his dogs and the other patrons watched on Doc modulated his voice enough to be heard, “Alright ya fuckin turds! Ya made a mess a ma place. So now y’all owe me in blood. Only 1 of ya fucks comes out of ere. Da bots only job is te keel ye if try te escape on me. Oter den dat ya fight to da death.” Doc sat down in his chair with his dogs sitting on either side of him, his shotgun in his lap. The rest of the people gathering around the hole in heightened anticipation now. “Well? FIGHT!”
As Doc says “fight” Dervish holds his hands up conjuring up fire bolts firing form his finger tips. Kade was quicker than that, especially knowing his opponents and he moved past the bolts by simply slipping under them. Crabber was fast and closed the distance using a flying scissors takedown on Kade and moved into a leg lock. Kade was not liking this spot since Flack stomped his way over. Rolling with Crabber in the leg lock to avoid the smashing bionic arms of Flack caused the arena to shake a bit to the surprise and glee of the crowd.
Kade slide around the ground moving to a more side position next to Crabber sitting up pulling his head closer to his chest rolling him up into a rear mount position. Laying on his back, putting his heels into the thighs of Crabber and sinking in choke but keeping Flack from smashing him with his own team mate on top. Little did Kade know that Flack didn’t give a shit. Kicking Kade hard in the ribs tossing both men through the air slamming into Dervish all three spilling on the ground looking up at the troll who was no rolling his shoulders, “Man said only one leaves. It ain’t gonna be one yous.” he stalked forward with all three men looking at each other worried. Dervish was the quickest one to react rolling to one side touching the ground sending a sheet of ice to the feet of Flack. Crabber saw the big man slipping just enough that he pounced on the man and began to rain down blows while holding on to Flack with his legs wrapped around his neck.
Flack stomped his foot cracking the ice and shaking the arena again causing Dervish to fall over again. Kade move to the other side working his way behind the large creature. This wasn’t going to be easy and it was going to hurt a lot.
Flack grabbed hold for Crabber as if he was a stuffed animal pulling both his arms off with a howl of pain and blood raining down from the now arm less Crabber but his pain was only short lived as a large foot slammed down busting his head open like a watermelon. Dervish, appalled and now extremely angry he stood up with a spinning of his arm and clashing his fists together he opened up a small magma pit underneath the behemoth.
Flack yelled out in pain as he began to sink into the magma pool movement wasn’t even an option at the moment. Dervish concentrated on the spell hard keeping it open with sweat rolling down now mingling with blood as he was tapping too far into the essence that they use. Seeing the weak points now Kade made his move springing off the wall up to Flacks neck. Wrapping his legs around he yanked on his horns on his head pulling them off with a loud CRACK! As Flack screamed out Kade spun around the neck shoving the horn up in his mouth through his thick skull.
Dervish relinquished his spell now a much shorter Flack started to fall forward. Kade loosed his grip, pushing off the body into a back flip up and over Dervish landing behind him. Dervish was no fool and rolled forward coming up feeling a bit expended, but he was far from done.
“Well…now it’s just you and I Kade.” Dervish stood starting to circle around. Both men moved watching waiting for the other. Kade could feel the energy rising on Dervish, he was stalling. Smart. Dervish’s build was average and slim covered in rune tattoos some even starting glowing a feint blue glow. Kade was a much different physical specimen compared with toned lean muscle with tattoos just there for looks. The musculature of the two were glaring, but Dervish was still highly dangerous here. “Was this worth it? Was me and my boys dying worth all this?” Dervish took off his wire rimmed round glasses tossing them to the side wiping the blood mingled sweat with his hand wraps looking at them with a hint of acceptance, nodding as if he had a question answered by looking at it.
“No Dervish…none of this is worth it. You had a chance to come in quietly. You refused. Killed the officer, who was in his 20’s just out of the academy. Then took and killed that mom and daughter. Why? All to help you escape. You put timed fireballs in their mouths Dervish. The abuse they had was due to your sick headed cronies. You had them have to hire outside the department just follow you. Which the trail wasn’t hard to follow. You left carnage of innocent lives across even the Outskirts.” Kade’s tone was even, he didn’t like what he had seen or found out about the gang and their atrocities to the world. This wasn’t personal though in any way.
“What do you care? I know about you. I know where you came from Kadama.” The name struck a cord with Kade, this was about to become more personal than he wanted. “You…you’re no saint. You’ve wiped out innocents without any thought or care too! Who are you to be my judge and executioner?” Dervish had a point, but he didn’t care.
“You’re right. But now I try to do better. I try.” Kade looked up throwing the other horn at Dervish who deflected it quickly with a magical shield. That wasn’t meant for the kill. Kade moved after he threw it pulling the other horn out Flacks head breaking off just a piece of it. Dervish tried to move but it was as if Kade was in the place he was going not leaving driving the horn deep into his chest. “This isn’t personal Dervish. Never was.” With a quick grab Kade moved behind Dervish snapping the head back as hard as he could. The limp body dropped with only a few twitches in its death throws.
Kade looked up at Doc, “Last one old timer.” Doc nodded stamping his foot twice and the stairs folded back down. Kade walked up with people parting and backing away. Doc held up Rvulper to Kade. “Here you go kid. Took ya long nuff.”
Putting on his gear and Rvulper on his hip once again Kade was silent the whole time. Taking some pictures of the dead bodies sending it to his contact with a return message of his new account balance being 40k richer. “Yeah I know I took too long. It was to increase the payment.” The two men walked out of the bar where things resumed to their normal drinking and carousing with bots cleaning up the blood, fixing the broken items, restocking the bar, and disposing the bodies. The door shut behind them as Doc took his old seat with his dogs laying back down. “Thanks for the tip Doc.” Kade said putting his re-breather mask on and pulling up his hood.
Putting his feet up lowering his hat down, “I’m a bastard Kade, but I’m not that big of a bastard. Good to see ye again kid.” A smile crept up Docs face.
“You too old timer. You too.” Kade walked off getting into the dune buggy he arrived in tearing out of there to get back to the city as soon as he could. The Outskirts were no place for anyone…except tough guys like Doc.
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