Chapter Four: The Kill
Half an hour later of sprinting, hiding and resting later, the remains of Team Chaos arrived at the village. A collection of lumpy, white huts about ten meters wide and fifteen feet high; it was not an interesting settlement. Like the rest of the planet, it was incredibly dull and boring. But didn’t care about of course Jancy the looks, and ever since they’re transport and exploded in mid-air, boredom had been far from his mind.
Now, he and Pyro were on top of a slight hill overlooking the bland looking village. About thirty or so buildings, he figured it could probably hold a hundred or so inhabitants. The problem was that he couldn’t see any of the inhabitants. They’d been watching for about five minutes, uncomfortably aware that the longer they waited there, the sooner they were to being discovered by the terrorists.
They had both been scanning the whole area with thermals the entire time, and still they saw nothing. The heat-sensitive vision was picking up only blacks and grays, meaning that everything was cold. Leaning closer to Pyro, Jancy said,
“I think they’re all inside. I mean, who would want to hang out here in this blasted cold?” Pyro’s voice crackled back to him.
“Yeah, that’s probably true. How shall we go about this? Hit every house one by one?” Jancy nodded, affirming the idea.
“Yeah, we’’ get in close to the first one over there,” He pointed to the nearest hut. “Jump in and hose everyone down. The others’ll run over t see what happening, then we cut ‘em down, okay?” Pyro’s confirmation light blinked green. Jancy slapped him on the back in a reassuring manner, and said with excitement I his voice. “Ok then, let’s go! Follow me up, ten yards behind!” He quietly and quickly scampered over the hill, slid down the oily slope and got to his feet. Pointing his rifle in front of him, he steadies his breathing and crept forward, friend behind him.
Crouching, he picked up the pace and dashed over to the small, oval-shaped entrance to the white hut. He kneeled and scanned the position around him, checking for anyone watching him. No one was, he signaled Pyro over. His comrade took up a practiced position, right besides the other side of the door, flat against the wall. Jancy’s hand flashed three fingers, three, two, and one. Chaos 1 whirled round and booted in the door, rifle leveled in front of his face. He rolled and came up silently, ready to waste anything he saw.
Breathing lightly, he scanned the room. Nothing. Jancy moved forward into the room, Pyro silently filing in behind him, rifle barrel constantly moving with his hands and face. The dwelling seemed to consist of a large main room, and two smaller room’s side-by-side. Jancy shivered as he stepped forward and into the next room.
He rushed into it, heart pumping wildly and eyes wide open, ready to shoot anything that moved. But nothing did. Now he was getting nervous. Swallowing heavily, he tried to shake off the uneasy feeling as he rolled into the final room. Nothing, no people, no furniture, no anything! Just a bare room, like the other two. He turned and saw Pyro in the door way. Shaking his head in a silent no, Jancy backed out of the room and left the house.
Now he noticed the silence that filled the air, the dead, thick silence which permeated everything. Normally he’d expect people talking, moving, something to show that people lived there. Bt now it was dead and lifeless as a ghost town. They checked several more of the huts, and found them bare and devoid of all signs of life as the first.
Now in the center of it all, they glanced uneasily around the buildings, the uneasy silence seeming to close in all around them. Pyro voiced both of the opinions then, simply stating,
“This isn’t good man, not good at all. Where are all the people? There ought to be at least a hundred people here, maybe more! But it’s all dead and lifeless as Parcon.” He referred here to their old Commander, Higher 1 Gyrel Parcon. Jancy chuckled a bit at the remark, breaking the dead silence. But not for long, soon the humor was swallowed up by the all-consuming silence.
An idea had been forming in Jancy’s head after the second hut, growing and festering like some sort of infection, an infection which Jancy didn’t want, but decided that he would now have to admit to. Turning to face Pyro, cradling his rifle in his hand, he depolarized his visor and stared his last true friend, and told him what he believed to be the truth.
“I think I know why they’re all gone.” He said bluntly. Pyro asked rather eagerly.
“I’m all ears, what’s up?” With a deep breath, Jancy started explaining his theory.
“They’re all gone, that much is clear. I’m willing to bet that the Cortalan terrorists, the ones we just fought, saw our ship crash and warned them villagers to escape. I’m willing to bet they all took off for their emergency ship and took off.” Pyro stared at him, annoyed.
“You mean the ship we were planning to get off this frozen slime pit with?” Jancy nodded solemnly.
“The very one. Now of course, since we’re in a clearing here, we can just send out an emergency beacon and the Cyroni could just send down a shuttle to get us. We head back up there and set the planet on fire, mission accomplished.” Then, another through occurred to him, and before Pyro could say anything, he said. “Wait a second here. If they wanted the village to get out of here before we got them, they must know we’re heading here.” His blood froze as he heard his own words. “We’re not leading them here, they expected us here.” He and his friend exchanged shocked looks, frozen in realization of the truth. Jancy broke the shocked stupor with one command.
“Run! Get to the tree line!” Both men blasted out of the village, sprinting flat-out for the cover of the hanging fungus. Jancy was half-panicked now, heart beating and adrenaline pumping furiously through his system. He had to get out of there, out of before the inevitable happened. Panting, Jancy was getting closer and closer to the tree line. Forty yards, thirty yards, twenty, ten. Then, ten yards from the relative safety of the tree line, Jancy’s whole world exploded on him.
The entire village vanished in a blinding explosion which set fire to the oily landscape around it. The land blazed like a sun for a moment, just before the shockwave extinguished it. The same shockwave hit Jancy, hurling him along at a few hundred miles per hour, picking up his six hundred ton armoured body like a mere toy. Jancy’s terror flared as his limbs all flailed, trying to stop his inevitable crash.
He blasted through the air for what seemed like an hour, he hit a ten meter fungal growth. His shields exploded, collapsing violently. His breath burst from his lungs in an instant. His senses enveloped by sound and flames, he senselessly crashed down through the ‘branches’ and piled onto the ground beneath. Crumpled in a heap, he lay there for almost ten seconds before coming to a world of pain.
Gasping a shooting agony striking through his chest, he clutched the wounded region, crying out in pain. He lay on the ground gasping, and then opened his eyes, looking at his flashing vital stats on his visors Tactical View Display (TVD). AS he became more aware of what his surroundings, he saw through his pained daze that his left lung was destroyed. His armour was even now numbing down the pain to a more tolerable state to help him operate better. As the pain faded partially, he managed to pull himself up and look around.
Where the village had been, a smoking, black and smoldering crater remained. He leaned on his rifle to help himself balance, gasping through his one working lung. He searched desperately around the devastated land, searching for his last friend. He opened up a COM channel to his friend and desperately started calling out.
“Pyro, you there buddy? Answer me man, answer me daje it!” He screamed in terrified rage at his friends silence! In frustration, he whipped his rifle butt into a nearby fungal growth, crushing it to a pulp. Red faced, he stood there, steaming in anger at those who’d taken his friends from him. Then, a weak, pained voice crackled in over his COM.
“Yeah, I’m here. Turn around.” Jancy whirled around in a fury, and saw Pyro’s battered form limping towards him. His grief and anger quickly turned to joy, then to horror as he noticed Pyro’s legs. Or to be more precise, his lack of them. Pyro’s left leg, from the knee down, was a horrific, smashed and crushed mess of blood, flesh and armour. Pyro tried to smile at him, but it too quickly broke down into an agonized grimace.
He nearly collapses, blood spilling onto the white ground. Jancy rushed forwards to catch him, but Pyro warded him off with his hand. He managed to stand back up, straighten himself out, and start hobbling forward. He increased his pace as he cast a fearful look behind him; just as bolt of fenton blew apart a patch of fungi a few feet away.
Jancy whipped around, rifle up and firing. He expended off a several short bursts of cover fire as they both retreated into the fungus, now in a flat out run for safety and life. Jancy took the lead, then stopped and turned for his friend. Pyro saw his efforts and started furiously shouting at him.
“No way! Get outta here now! Look I ain’t going anywhere on one leg, not like you can with two! No get outta here now! I’ll be fine; I’ll find a way out, I always do. Now just go, forget me and go!” Angry and agonized, Pyro through all his strength into turning away his friend. Seeing his furiously determined face, Jancy nodded softly, and ran off, leaving his heart behind.
He sprinted forward, trying to get as much distance as possible. However, you just can’t run far on one lung, and Jancy made it twenty yards before collapsing in a heap. Panting and gasping against the pain, he lay back and stared at the white sky.
He was alone now.
Pyro saw his last friend run, and managed a grimace. He wasn’t going to make it, and Jancy probably knew it. Pyro couldn’t run on one leg, not fast, but he could try to lead them away from Jancy. He quickly began hobbling opposite of his comrade’s direction, moving as fast as possible and using his molten rifle as a support. The fiery agony of his ravaged leg gnawed at him, maggots of white fire squirmed and ate through it as the flesh froze in the cold.
Pyro never heard the footsteps, never heard the running man behind him. He did feel the sharp, stabbing pain as the knife neatly bisected his spine at the center. The chewing pain in his legs died immediately, as did all feeling in his legs. With a yell of more fury than pain, he wheeled around and clubbed his assailant in the face with his ruined rifle. The attackers helmeted head snapped back from force of the blow, staggered back, dazed. Then he regained himself, and took the advantage immediately. Knocking the useless weapon from Pyro’s pained grasp, he kicked him to the ground, shoved the huge and wicked looking knife at his throat, and said.
“Good job.” He then plunged the knife through Pyro’s neck and ended the mans pains and sufferings forever.
That’s it, I’m done running. Jancy thought as he leaned against his rifle, gasping for breath. His one lung wouldn’t give him the oxygen he needed to run and, his armors medical abilities non-with-standing, he wouldn’t live much longer either. He stated coughing, retching and gagging violently. A splatter of blood smeared the inside of his visor and he felt a lightning bolt of pain lance through him.
He stiffened in agony, then leaned back on his rifle, panting heavily now, pain clearly evident in his voice. Head hung in shame, he thought of the two fine men, his two friends who had died under his bumbled command. He should have known, from the first explosion on the dropship, from the voice he’d heard interrogating Cirel. He should have known that he could in no way defeat that one man, that one man who’d been his friend, his competitor, and then his enemy, all so long ago.
Mercy was coming for them, had come for them, and now was coming for him. Mercy, the one man he could never beat, who’d always pulled ahead of him time and time again. Now he was behind Mercy again, and two of his best friends had paid for his ignorance. He remembered, oh so many years ago, when he was back in training on the massive Ticki-Tickalie ship, The Toratotalaternion. Back when he trained as a Tick-Tickalie Krab, as a mighty soldier before he left to join Seaport.
Now he was facing again the one man he’d hoped to never meet again, to never hear of again. What chance had he had against Mercy? The Ticki-Tickalie themselves had called Mercy ‘The Un-Defeated.’ Still undefeated, still invincible like he was fifteen years ago.
Jancy knew he was defeated, even before they hit the ground he was defeated. And now he would pay the price. He heard the crashing as the armoured man, as Mercy crashed through the fungus towards him. He did not see him yet, but he would soon. Taking one last pained breath, he checked the clip in his rifle, his last clip. Sixteen rounds remained. He vowed to use every one of them. The crashing grew louder, nearer. Jancy began to bring the rifle to a firing position just as Mercy emerged into sight.
Jancy fired, expending all sixteen rounds in less than a second. Mercy didn’t break stride, and most of the round bounced off the battle armour he wore. Six of them penetrated, sticking out of his armour like spines. He pulled them out and snapped them like twigs, never breaking stride. In a flash Jancy expended his entire handgun magazine into the approaching figure. The heavy-caliber bullets just bounced off, barely scratching the paint.
Mercy stopped ten feet in front of him. Jancy considered throwing the gun, then dropped it. He let out a sigh of defeat, staring at the ground, and then looked Mercy dead in the eyes, as f his mere gaze could burn a hole in Mercy’s visor.
“Thing sure have changed huh Mercy?” Mercy seemed confused for a moment, not speaking for a moment before answering in a calm, inquisitive voice.
“What do you mean?” Jancy replied almost casually in a tired tone.
“The galaxy, the people, you.” Mercy seemed to take this in for a moment, before asking a new question.
“Why did you stop?” Jancy half-laughed, it made out like a pained cough.
“There’s no way I can outrun you, no on one lung.” Mercy said in slightly amused agreement.
“How true that is.” Jancy took another look around, looking at the white abyss all around him. Then, with only one thing left to do, he whipped out his Kukila, the boomerang-shaped blade flashed in the weak sunlight as he charged towards Mercy recklessly, noiselessly. Mercy’s own combat knife came up to meet him, blocking his attack and following with a double feint and a stab. The blade pierced Jancy’s damaged armour and cut into skin. Grabbing Mercy’s extended arm, he slashed at it with the Kukila.
It sheared through the oily armour, cutting through the plating and slicing open the armour flex, drawing blood. With a look of what seemed to be annoyance, Mercy punched the weary soldier, breaking his arm before ripping the knife out and sticking it on his waist.
Jancy fell back, clasping his broken arm as agony shot through it. Gritting his teeth, he stared at his foe, the killer of his friends. They stood their silent for a moment, before he asked a question he already knew the answer to.
“So, what are you going to do now, shoot me?” Mercy shrugged, and then hefted his rifle, saying.
“That’s the plan.” He then squeezed the trigger, and three rounds smashed Jancy in the center.
Jancy was on the ground before he felt the pain of the base-fenton rounds. He fell, a silent cry frozen on his lips as he landed on the porous, spongy ground. He craned his head up, saw blood gushing from his chest, felt the cold start to freeze him. As he began sinking into a pool in inky blackness, into the realm of oh-so merciful unconsciousness and death, he saw out of his fading, tunneling vision Mercy reach down to grab him.
Then he felt nothing more.
Chapter Five: The End
Movement. Blackness. Jancy was in a world of numbing, pressing darkness. He saw flickering shadows, heard murmuring voices from far, far away. He could feel himself flying, no, not flying. Being lifted, carrier away by people. He felt jostling, his body bumping and moving as hands grasped his limbs and hauled him away. He saw distant lights, bright lights, and then faded back into the blackness.
An unknown amount of time later
Jancy was being dragged. Not across fungus or snow, but over dirt and soil. Leaves and branches scratched at his face. His eyes opened, and then scrunched shut, overwhelmed by bright lights. Green leaves and branches. He opened his eyes again, and then felt himself sink once again into blackness.
Voices, far away he heard voices.
Murmuring, getting louder. Murky and smeared voices began to get louder, solidify. His bubble of blackness was now being pierced, invaded by reaching spears of light. Flickering light faded and danced outside his eyelids. Coming to, Jancy forced his eyes open, and he found himself staring at a thatched, woven roof. He began to hear his breathing, he started making sense of things as much he could.
He was on a dirt floor, no, on a blanket on a dirt floor. Voices, it was Mercy talking, talking with someone else. He titled his head to one side to try and pick up the conversation. He heard a new voice, no Mercy. A rather thick, but sharp and intelligent sounding voice, now like a human.
“Mercy, I’ve told you once, I’ve probably told you a thousand times! Stop bringing me dead people!” Then he heard Mercy, speaking with a tad of irritated determination.
“He’s not dead yet, I’ve made sure of that. I want him alive and well, and you can make him so. Know you, your culture dictates you can’t let anyone, regardless of race or affiliation, die in your presence! Now hurry up before he does die!” Deciding to make himself known, Jancy used his voice for the first time in a long time. He at first didn’t recognize it, it was so scratchy and dry, like a sanding belt had taken the place of his throat.
“I’m not dead yet, but one of you soon will be.” There was silence for at least five seconds, then the strangers voice came in again, full of disbelief.
“Where do you find people like this? You kill his team, beat the life from him, car him across space to another planet, drag him through the woods, and the first thing he wants to do is fight? Who is this guy?”
Jancy turned over painfully in his blanket so he could see Mercy, un-helmeted, smiling slightly.
“Lets’ just say I have my ways of finding people, and you have your ways of healing them. Now please, hurry up.” There other creature who Jancy couldn’t see yet, sighed in exasperation and consent.
“Fine, I’ll heal him.” Jancy lifted his head again and asked.
“I don’t get it Mercy, why do you want me? Why didn’t you kill me?” Mercy smiled elegantly at him, closing his fingers together. Leaning forward, he answered.
“I don’t want you, not really. No, you’ve got something much bigger in store for you. I’ll tell you when you get up what this’ll be. Now, sleep.” With that, he punched Jancy in the head, effectively knocking him out again. The other creature gave him a murderous glare, before approaching with his medical supplies. As he began to work on the battered form, he said over his shoulder.
“Honestly, can’t you bring me some less-dead guys?” I mean I can save him an all, but its awful annoying when there are so many holes in him. By the way, what are you doing with him anyway?”
The mercenary’s faint smile flickered oddly in the dancing light of the fire as he thought for a moment, then turned to the creature.
“Don’t you worry, you’ll find our soon enough my friend, you find out soon enough.”
To be Continued...