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The Gully
Topic Started: Feb 22 2011, 05:33 PM (5,128 Views)
MurderWeasel
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You've been counting stars, now you're counting on me
[ *  *  *  *  *  *  * ]
((Lily is still Away, so I'm the whole team for the moment.))

HQ was talking with Shamino. It sounded like everything was working well. Of the kids that had been in the tunnel, all but Polanski has scattered. It seemed like their show of force had been sufficient. Now it was time for cleanup. Baines and Domino were heading around. They'd be in a good flanking position. They could catch the girl in a pincer, surround her and take her down. As long as they were careful not to catch each other in the crossfire, an overwhelming response seemed most prudent. She was a high school girl, sick and weak and wounded, but she had caused serious problems, and underestimating her would be a very bad mistake.

"Clear," Shamino called to the others.

"Right. Move in," Greynolds replied. Further orders were unnecessary. They already knew the formation, could adjust instantly to the absence of two team members.

Shamino and Richards took point. Shamino held his shotgun. It was the best choice in close quarters like these. A good hit from it would end things on the spot.

Greynolds and Cecily brought up the rear. It wasn't cowardice on their leader's part; his job was in all likelihood the most critical and dangerous. If the girl was planning an ambush, or if someone else came after them, Cecily was the one most likely to land in trouble, and most important to the repair mission. Guarding her was vital.

They started into the tunnels, moving fairly slowly. There weren't many places for the girl to run now.





Christina and Baines were heading down the side tunnel, Christina watching the blips on her GPS scatter. Things were going perfectly, that is, until she saw that one of the students was heading directly for them. It seemed like she was content to let them pass, though. This would be simple. No one fleeing would throw their life away.

And then, it turned out she was wrong.

The flashlight went flying by, blinding her for half a second with the afterimages. She automatically jerked her own light after it. This was probably going to get really ugly really quickly.

But Baines was already on top of things. He'd dropped into a defensive stance at the first sign of trouble. Christina couldn't see what he was doing, couldn't see if the student was going for him, but she could hear him clearly.

"I've got this. Get the girl."

Priority was the little rebel.

"Got it."

Christina took off at a jog, leaving Baines and the student, counting on him to watch her back. She glanced at her GPS.

There was a new dark spot.

The tunnels were deep enough under the mountain that relays were required to route the signals. They kept the collars functioning, and fed data to Christina's GPS. A blank spot meant something had happened to a relay. Polanski was knocking them out. It was a damn shame she'd never realize what she was doing was totally useless. She wasn't freeing students. She was turning random parts of the tunnels into surprise danger zones.

Christina pulled out her radio. Depending on how quickly Polanski worked, she might run out of chances to communicate really quickly.

"Got her position," she said. Shamino was on the other end. They all had their own personal units. No more mistakes like V3, when everyone on the island had managed to lose communication.

She related the information about the girl's location, then hurried on further. She'd get a good way down the tunnel, then circle back. They'd surround Polanski, cut her off.

End this.
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End this.

Bang.

That was the wrong sound. Guns sound like small bombs going off by your head.

Stupid girl.

Clear your mind.

Almost out of bullets.
 
For the last while, she had been hearing echoes in the cave. The soldiers were close now.

She was going to die here.

Those are not the right thoughts.

Brendan, Garrett, Belle, Jeremy. Belle had instructions, Jeremy had instructions. Faraday cages. It should be easy. Plans around the island. Everyone knew about the blackout zones. Mr. Kwong could tell her. He was right. Liz, you need to have more faith in other people.
 
She was looking around, mentally calculating the area she'd covered, the relays left. Someday she should learn the properties of radio waves in caves. She'd been here before. 

Ethan Kent.

Ethan had been the one with the note, by the ranger station.

And she had two relays left.

One was nearly above her, the one that she and Feo and Ethan had spotted. She had tried to smash it, then. Now she could destroy it for real. She had enough bullets.  

Bang.

It shattered.

There was another one. Had to be another one, up where she had first met Ethan and Feo, and Frankie, and Duncan, and Haruka, who'd been scared of her. They had all missed it.

Come on.

Running. She was using the edges of the wall for balance, air pushing out of her throat. Wheezy and stumbling, half-falling.

Closer.

Stagger. Land. Pick yourself up again. Rest soon. Try not to think.

The relay was now painfully obvious. Haruka. Feo. Duncan, Frankie, Ethan. The voices were closer now. Liz swore silently. She hadn't thought about the tunnels manipulating sound. 

Last relay. Far away. High up. 

Bang.

Just like pitching. 

It shattered.

Two, four, six, eight, who do we appreciate? A softball cheer. Now she could let herself stumble against the wall, let exhaustion sap her movements.

I've won.

Jeremy, Mirabelle, Brendan, Garrett, all needed to do their part. Liz, you need to have more faith in other people. 
 
She could lean against a wall. 

She could stay alive a little longer, wait until the terrorists came, kill one or two of them with her. For Mr. Kwong. It was the least she could do.

But standing in the open wasn't the best way to do it. There was the alcove she'd been in before, the bag where she had stolen Cyrille's clothes, the corpse. Cyrille's body was rotting; Liz breathed through her mouth. She stepped into the alcove as Danya's mooks rounded the corner.

A crackle of voices. They had her location now, surprise surprise, and were arguing over who had to go first.  Liz almost sighed. She had heard this so many times. People asking for drugs, people asking for math help. You're afraid of me.
 
Yeah. Danya's soldiers were afraid of her. It wasn't a bad thing. 
 
She grinned reflexively.

No life flashing before her eyes, just people. Jeremy, Brendan, Garrett, Belle, her makeshift team. Kimberly, with her vendetta and Daisuke's gun. Dave, Isabel, Charlie, Winnie, Helen. The ever-bewildering Milo Taylor. Teo Weinstock and the bruises on her neck. In school, Jeremy counting cards, the fleeting camraderie of the girl's softball team. Hammy, Mom and Mr. Kwong.

Dad.

Had she thought of him that way before? She didn't know. But it seemed obvious.

Her voice could take a little more. And it's not like Danya would show it to him, but it was good for posterity. Or something.

"Bye, Dad." She said. "I love you."

Was she crying? She hadn't realized she could cry anymore.

Bye, Dad. Thank you for teaching me. I wish I could save you. I think they're going to kill you now, and you're scared, I know you're scared, and I wish I could be there, take your place, drive a bargain. I wish I was cleverer. You always taught me to be clever. I wish I had done this better, gotten you free...

The soldier was getting closer.

I'm sorry, Dad.

She made sure the gun was steady, pulled off the safety. Something complicated, factorials of multiples of nine, could calm her hands.

Concentrate.

She could hear the soldier's gun click. A squeak of shoes. An intake of breathe.

Bang.

(G055 Liz Polanski: Deceased)
--------


Alice Boucher was a liar.
Liz Polanski played with fire.

And who the hell is Radio Asuka?
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[ *  *  *  *  *  * ]
Impact.

The gun darted left, Belle had cleared the distance between them before it had trained back on her. She felt it, though; cold, cylindrical steal, right up against her arm. Two more inches and that piece of forged death would be in her ribs; two more inches, and its deadly cargo would have smashed her bones to pieces and shredded her organs apart.

Combat is built upon a hairs-breadth. The more narrow your dodges, the better your counters. Simple fact. The more skilled you were, the more you could exploit the minuscule openings in an opponent's attack.

Not that Belle being this close was a result of skill so much as luck. But at this moment she'd take what she could get.

She lashed out with her left hand, knocked the gun to one side, and then tightened her grip around the arm she found. She drew back the knife in her right hand and let it plunge, discovered what it feels like to let a knife slip into another person's flesh--easy, like stabbing a piece of steak with your fork, slipping right through. Fragile, she thought vaguely, in that part of her mind that wasn't wholly here, on her body, on this.

A short, sharp cry. The arm twisted out of her grip, a leg connected with her, she stumbled back into the dark as her fingers scrambled around the barrel of the gun. It flew off into the darkness, clattering against the stone and he's a soldier don't assume he's only got one gun get back in there!. She flung herself forwards, curling her fingers back, lashing out with palms. She connected with something solid and bony--a shoulder?--and then something softer--part of an arm?

That was before the fist connected with her face, an explosion of bright, star-laced pain as something cracked in her nose. Another fist lanced into her stomach, knocked the air out of her; a leg raced up from the dark and crashed into her. She staggered backwards, one hand around her nose and split lip, the other on her stomach.
Edited by Grim Wolf, Apr 26 2011, 02:18 AM.
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Tara Behzad: "They don't get to decide how I die."

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Alex Tarquin: "No more masks."

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Baines shouted Domino on. The mission took priority. Besides, he was sure he could handle himself. After all, this was a student. It couldn't be that challenging to take her out.

He swung his pistol towards her, planning to eliminate her with a quick shot to the chest. A gun was a pretty damn awful choice in this situation, but it was what he had at hand, so it'd have to do. Then, the gun was knocked aside, and the girl grabbed Baines' arm. In that moment, he knew he wasn't dealing with some random student. She had training of some sort. The knife biting into the back of his hand told him she knew exactly what she was doing. He let out a cry of pain, half involuntary, half vocalized rage, and twisted his arm free, lashing out with his leg to knock the girl off balance. His hand was burning like a bitch, probably bleeding everywhere too, but it wasn't crippled.

The girl took that opening to disarm him, though. The gun clattered off. It wasn't the right weapon for the job anyways, not against someone like this at this range. The girl came in close, trying to press her advantage, but she picked bad targets, giving him a few strikes to the shoulder and arm. It was more than enough of a respite for him to regain his balance and snap into gear.

He sent a fist into her face. Baines knew full well that wasn't a very good plan in most circumstances, delivering little damage for the effort, but it was a wonderful distraction. Besides that, he was using his wounded hand. Getting blood on your opponents also did wonders, especially when they couldn't tell whose it was. He managed a nose shot, though, so there'd be plenty of blood from the girl. His other hand followed through with a strike to the gut. Then he went after her with a knee strike.

It was enough. She was on the defensive, now, and Baines wasn't about to let her retake the initiative. He lunged forwards, continuing his attack, fists and elbows flying. She'd started this, and she'd hurt him. She was now fair game.





They were closing in. Christina knew it. She was still separated from the others, but they were drawing the net now. Polanski had done a remarkable amount of damage to the infrastructure of the tunnel radio network in very short order. She was out of places to hide now, though.

Up ahead, Christina could see the others. They were paused for a moment. They must have cornered the girl. It made her slightly bitter to have been so far away, so inconsequential to everything except securing an escape route.

It didn't matter.

Used to be, she preferred not to get her hands dirty.

A shape moved forwards, and there came the sound of gunfire.
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Oh
God
Oh
Christ No Stop
FUCK
Please...


Those two fuck-ups had cost her everything; she'd failed to capitalize on her momentary advantage, failed to strike at something vulernable, something that would turn the rhythm in her favor, and now he pummeled her without mercy and without apparent effort and her body turned to pain. It wasn't absolutely one-sided; here and there she threw up her hands or knees, catching inbound attacks; here and there she sidestepped the blows raining down upon her, throwing an open-palm to slam into his chest, his side; here and there she simply darted away, out of the range of his attacks.

These brief back-steps, however, would last only as long as it took her to remember that somewhere within this darkness there was a gun that this murderous, terrifying shadow knew all-too-well how to use, and then she'd throw herself back at him, striking, dodging, trying as best she could to hurt him.

Trying, and failing.

Once, twice, thrice she darted back, head spinning and body crying for release; once, twice, thrice she thrust herself back into the fray. She couldn't turn back, she couldn't let this sonofabitch through to hurt Liz, she couldn't turn away from these miserable bastards but...

But she hurt.

Her nose felt twisted and out of place, and was fountaining blood (and their was blood everywhere--on her face, on her hands, on stained and dirty gi), her body felt as though it had been permeated with cracks--as though this terrorist's blows had struck some fundamental bodily fault-line and sent terrestrial turmoil through every inch at her. Try as she might, she simply couldn't see him, and every time she pressed the attack she exposed herself; he, unlike her, had the luxury of time.

Master Liang had warned her of aggression, a warning Belle had had plenty of time to understand for herself here on this miserable island. But what was she supposed to do now, when her aggression (and all the fucking Christ-bitching pain it brought with it) was all that was stopping this silent bastard from shooting her?

Brief, useless thoughts, brought on by her pain, and they cost her.

A blow, out from the darkness, to the side of her head. She stumbled, lost the defensive posture she'd been struggling to keep up; a knee raced up and collided with her stomach and she keeled over without thinking, hunched, useless--all thoughts of protecting herself had vanished with that blow to her stomach, the blow that had robbed her of air and left her gasping.

A powerful force hammered into the back of her skull; it felt like it burst a dam, felt like it had caved in her head and driven all the way into her brains. Stars exploded in the wide-eyed darkness, miniature supernovas; she fell to her knees, struggling to breathe, struggling to think, struggling to stay conscious.

She felt, rather than saw, the something being readied above her; the killing intent like a knife and like an odor, gleaming out of the black and stinking of everything she'd ever feared in her short life.
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Tara Behzad: "They don't get to decide how I die."

Lizzie Luz: "I don't want to go."

Alex Tarquin: "No more masks."

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MurderWeasel
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Baines continued his assault, the pain in his hand and the discomfort from the intermittent blows he received entirely lost beneath the adrenaline and ingrained reflexes. Surprisingly enough, this girl was actually a damn fine fighter. Not up to speed with a trained soldier, of course, but a formidable opponent nonetheless. This was taking too fucking long. It was time to step things up. She wasn't falling for the newbie tricks. She wasn't running away.

Yeah, definitely time to wrap this.

He managed to fake her out and hammer her skull. His angle was a bit off, so she didn't drop entirely, but she did cease her offensive, unable to respond for a second. Baines snaked his left hand to his side, and brought it back up full with his favorite combat knife. Some fighters believed in things like honor and art. Baines believed in getting people dead in as big a hurry as possible. It meant he did really well against those with concepts of fair play.

The girl seemed disoriented. Baines looked at her for a split second, wondering why they were fighting. By all rights, she should have been out there on the island, tearing through the competition. She should have been one of their top players, giving the killers who'd just gotten lucky a run for their money. She had no survival instinct, though, no sense of self-preservation.

Whatever. Made her easier to kill.

A knife strike to the skull wouldn't do much good, but Baines figured he'd just give her a good smash and then slit her throat. Easy.

And then, there was someone else who needed killing.

He swung.
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She felt, rather than saw, the something being readied above her; the killing intent like a knife and like an odor, gleaming out of the black and stinking of everything she'd ever feared in her short life.

He moved; they were closed enough now that she felt the tension in his body, the swift movement like a taut bow-string being released, and that thought brought memories--memories of Simon and of Jackie, memories of that brutal fight by the Sawmill. She'd let Samantha go--why had she done that? Had it just been the thought that Jackie had given up?

The moment separating her and her death seemed to be infinite; she felt it in all its intricate slowness, the slow undulation of her last moments. Garrett and she had allied, in the end; the boy she'd thought of as her enemy had turned out to be just like her, helpless, desperate, alive. The girl she'd traveled with had committed suicide-by-proxy, and Belle hadn't even noticed the despair that led her to that decision. And Liz? Liz was somewhere down this tunnel, and this sonofabitch would find her and kill her because Belle hadn't managed to a damn thing. All her desperation, all her aggression, all her raging against the trap in which these murderous fucks had placed her had done nothing but lead her to her knees, deprived of oxygen as death raced towards her.

Surrender, then. Let the bow-string be released, let the arrow of her end fly; she was done with this, done with struggling. She was done with her struggle.

Her hands lifted up into the infinite slowness of that eternal moment. She felt it--the slick, sleek agony of a knife drawn across her hand and fingers, bright and burning pain as the blade sliced deep into flesh. The fingers of her uninjured right hand curled around his wrist and she twisted with his slash, turning the hand in her grasp: the blade clattered to the floor next to her.

"Do you know why Baguazhang is oriented upon the circle?" Master Xiang asked her.

She kept her hold on his wrist; when the counter came (a low, brutally-fast kick--Christ, he was quick!) she felt it, flowing out of his leg and into the rest of his body. She was too close to dodge entirely, but when it hit she moved with it, turning to one side with the arm still in her grasp and driving an elbow into his side. A low, pained grunt greeted her efforts; the muscular arm tensed in her grasp and pulled backwards. She went with it, swinging her elbow out behind her and driving it into his stomach; for an instant he stopped fighting, his body going rigid.

"Baguazhang is not meant to be aggressive, nor is it meant to be passive. It is meant to be like water--to occupy the cracks in his defenses your opponent cannot help but have."

A sudden push shook her off his hand. She dug her feet into the dusty stone of the tunnel, feet skidding over the floor, and then took a step in, palms raised. His hand raced out and crashed against hers, and for a fleeting moment the spilled blood of one hand mingled with the spilled blood on the other.

"Your opponent's blows have force--this force cannot always be dodged or blocked. All energy goes somewhere; control the system, and you can use even the energy of your enemy to strike back at them."

She turned into his attack, stepping forward and twisting under his grasp. A quick strike to his chin; she felt his head jerk back, even as a crushing blow swept into her side. She moved with this, too, turning at an angle and coming out low with a swift kick to the side of his knee that left him stumbling.

Her whole body ached. She was still short on breath. Ever blow she took was a sharp, agonizing reminder of her other aches, her evident injuries, but...

Control the system, and you can use even the energy of your enemy to strike back at them.

Endless turns, endless strikes, but she moved with them, moved against him, moved to fill the cracks in his defenses.
Edited by Grim Wolf, Apr 26 2011, 02:17 AM.
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Tara Behzad: "They don't get to decide how I die."

Lizzie Luz: "I don't want to go."

Alex Tarquin: "No more masks."

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MurderWeasel
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[ *  *  *  *  *  *  * ]
The girl wasn’t quite as down as Baines had anticipated. She managed to get her hand into position and deflect the knife strike away from her vital areas, though she clearly sustained some damage in the process. It wasn’t enough, though. She was out of luck. She knew it, he knew it. She just wasn’t lying down, though, wasn’t giving up. Damn. This was a complete pain in the ass diversion. Didn’t she get it? It didn’t matter what she did. The other girl, the troublemaker, was already doomed. There were six heavily-armed terrorists in here. This girl was stalling one of them.

Baines growled as she grabbed his hand and knocked his knife away. He didn’t try to fight it too much, using the opening instead to launch another kick. It had worked so far; she wasn’t a good enough defensive fighter to hold him off. She moved with his strike, though, minimizing and redirecting the energy. Dammit. Just what he needed right now.

Almost as much as he needed that elbow in the side. This was a case where body armor didn’t help so much, the blunt impact still packing quite a punch. Bullets, knives, those wouldn’t be much use compare to their normal effects, but good old punches still got the job done.

The next strike to his stomach winded him. He was too good for it to take him out of things for more than half a second, but she was too good not to capitalize on it. He shoved her away, got his arm free again, and took another shot, but she met it. She got in an attack against his chin, but he countered with another shot on her, a decent one. She’d stepped it up, though, had hit that adrenaline surge that kept her going in the face of adversity and near-certain death. That desperation was the one thing Baines didn’t have; as pissed off as he was, he had thus far had no cause to doubt that he’d emerge victorious.

Shit, she was just a high school kid. She shouldn’t have known this stuff.

He stumbled away from the blow to his knee, borrowing the tactics used against him, moving with it to some degree himself and sparing himself a debilitating injury. The lack of light was messing him up too. Normally, it’d have been to his advantage, but she seemed comfortable blind-fighting as well.

The problem was, this fight was far too even and protracted. It needed to end, and now. As she moved on him, Baines let her make some headway Then, when the time seemed right, he feinted a shot for her face, followed by a vicious punch aimed for her solar plexus. If she froze up for even an instant, she was dead.
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Hit, hit, hit, hit, hit, hit. Again and again, trading blows, keeping close. She couldn't hear especially well, but from this close to him she couldn't help but feel him move, and as long as she moved with those movements (danced with them, to each side, back and forth, each touch moving her with the force of an order and she whirled about) she no longer too much damage, she no longer lost her feeling for him.

There was a rhythm here, a rhythm she hadn't yet mastered, but it was there and she could follow it, it was there...

She felt his arm tense and shifted as a fist came hurtling towards her out of the dark; it was only as she turned her head slightly that she felt the slight change in his body, a ripple of force extending out from his core, and suddenly the arm had changed direction, changing the rhythm once more, and was heading straight towards her stomach.

The blow hit and she turned with it, turned even as the air rushed out of her in one smooth rush and made it hard to breathe, turned with it in that fragile second before she realized how much pain she was in. One high elbow caught him in the chin; she felt his head knock back, felt him stumble. She continued the turn, directed two blows with her palms to his head, then swept low again with her leg. He stumbled again, his balance precarious, and for the first time in their whole fight he was the one with a hole in his defenses, he was the one who wasn't ready.

She'd only been learning Baguazhang for three years or so-not long enough, really, to have become really good at it. And there was no doubt this guy was stronger than she was, better than she was--he had more experience, the only reason she'd done nearly so well was because he'd been underestimating her and because he'd lost his gun. She wasn't yet a great martial artist, but...

But she had been learning savate since she was five years old, and her kicks, as she had learned, were as good as they got.

One quick step, then she was in the air, and the kick she threw towards his chest had not only twelve years of practice behind it but 127 pounds of mass and practice and fury.
Edited by Grim Wolf, Apr 26 2011, 02:20 AM.
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V6 Players

Tara Behzad: "They don't get to decide how I die."

Lizzie Luz: "I don't want to go."

Alex Tarquin: "No more masks."

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All it took was one wrong move. One miscalculation. She'd gotten lucky on that last blow, had kept up her responses, and had managed to drive Baines backwards. She'd managed to punch through his defenses and get him off guard for a second. He knew he'd be able to pull back, knew he'd be able to regain control of the fight and end things, but it would take a second.

In that second, she changed things up on him.

The kick came out of nowhere. She'd fought with her feet before, but not like this. Had there been sufficient light to track her movements, he'd have been able to anticipate it and get out of the way. As it was, the blow hit him square in the chest, sending him falling backwards. In itself, that wouldn't have been a problem at all.

The problem came from the fact that he was too close to the walls of the tunnel. He knew it, of course. He had a very good feel for the terrain. It was enough to let him duck his head forward and push his arms back to cushion the blow.

He still slammed into the wall with a sharp gasp, then slumped to the ground.
V7:
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She landed and then immediately sunk low, legs tensed, hands out with fingers curled to bring her palms to prominence. Blood flowed from the slash in her left hand, dripping onto the dirt below her as the wound itself burned a sharp reminder into her mind, but she couldn't worry about that now; she had to be ready for the counter, ready for this murderous engine of fucking muscle to be back on his feet and at her, ready to flow with him, ready to...

One second. Two seconds. Three. And it occurred to her that he wasn't getting up.

I did it.

I beat him.


The hollow clarity that had come to her did not disperse; it was, if anything, more firmly rooted with that second attack he'd delivered, the one she'd turned against him. But it was not the whole of her being; something else joined it, a wild joy a hundred times more powerful than that she'd felt when she'd bested Garrett in the swamp. Garrett had been her one real opponent in all her time at school; beating him had meant so much to the high school girl thrust into a new and dangerous situation. It meant less to the person she'd become--to Mirabelle Nesa, who'd seen death first-hand and seen a killer who believed her murders to be ethically sound.

Here, however, was a soldier--one of the architects of all the hurt they'd had to suffer. Here was an agent of Danya, the miserable bastard who'd brought this upon all of them. And this man--this trained fighter, this professional killer of others, this volunteer in a campaign of suffering and despair and all the merde they'd been forced to undergo--

This man she'd beaten.

A slow smile spread out over her face.

Beep

Beep

Beep


Her eyes flickered down to her collar, and she felt a hand go to her beeping collar. Her mind raced back to the Sawmill, where her collar had done the same thing; raced to Danya's announcements.

Christ, they turned the Tunnels into a dangerzone.

She was still smiling, however, as she turned back the way she'd come. She had to hurry, had to find a way out--they wanted Liz to themselves, they didn't want someone like her--a fighter, a master of combat, a hardened goddamn warrior--protecting the girl who'd tried to break the system. First thing's first, break these damn collars so she didn't have to worry about this dangerzone, endless monitoring shit. And after that, rescue Liz, grab Garrett and the others, and fight again.

Beep

Beep

Beep


Her whole body ached; the slash in her hand burned. She was quite sure she was covered in bruises; she suspected her nose was broken, by the crooked feel to it and the blood which still flowed over her lips. She had to limp as she walked--her right ankle had taken a solid blow during the fighting and stung with every step she took. And in spite of all this pain, she felt as though the blood in her veins had been replaced with lightning, as though each finger on her aching hands had the force of a hurricane and each step she took could have caused grass to grow or wither at her will.

Beep

Beep

Beep


She was hurt, and alone; she didn't know where Liz was or if the other terrorists had gotten to her. She still wore a collar, which was beeping at her with all the threat of arbitrary violence. She was still almost entirely at the mercy of powers outside of the range of her strikes.

But she was going to make it now. She knew it with absolute clarity. Because what could stand in her way, really? What could stand in the way of a hardened goddamn warrior?

"Danya!" she screamed into the tunnel, limping along with her blood spilling out behind her and her eyes flashing with all the force of a vindicated will. "I'm coming for you!"
Edited by Grim Wolf, Apr 26 2011, 02:23 AM.
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Tara Behzad: "They don't get to decide how I die."

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Baines lay against the wall of the tunnel, blinking until the darkness took on a different pitch. He couldn't say for sure what had happened. He'd been out for half a second there, he thought. The bitch had actually given him a better hit than he'd had in years. Dammit.

Fortunately, that wasn't the last word on the matter. Something had changed. She wasn't pressing her attack. His head cleared quickly. He was used to being knocked around, and used to making fast recoveries. He didn't get up, though. Now wasn't the time for that. He could hear her collar beeping. Something was wrong. The cameras were out in this part of the tunnels, so HQ wasn't bailing him out. That was a damn good thing, too. He'd never live it down. Richards would already give him shit for the rest of his life over the fact that he'd be coming back bruised and cut. He'd just tell them it had all been part of the plan. All part of the strategy.

What mattered was that the girl was leaving. She was content to hustle off into the dark, go regroup elsewhere or try to save her leader or something of the sort. What mattered was that she was out of his sight, vanished into the darkness. What mattered was that her collar was beeping.

What mattered was that she thought she'd won.

What mattered was that she'd turned her back.

What mattered was that Baines had several more weapons on him, and suddenly had all the time in the world to access them.

He moved slowly, silently. Noise at this stage would just start the whole damn ordeal over again, only with the added bonus of him having to engage a ticking bomb in melee. No. That wouldn't do at all. It was time to finish this the smart way. The way he should've done it from the very start. The way he would've done it if a hundred little things hadn't been messed up by luck and circumstance.

Baines pulled his secondary pistol from his hip holster and aimed it into the darkness. The beeping collar and shuffling footsteps told him all he needed to know. He took a couple of deep, quiet breaths, stabilizing his aim. He waited, listened. When she next stepped, he would...

She screamed in rage and triumph, a threat against Danya, a promise of vengeance.

Baines pulled the trigger.
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Beep

Beep

BANG


The joy evaporated with the skin around her lower back and the front of her stomach; the joy evaporated with the part of her intestine and liver the bullet tore through; the joy evaporated with the pain that exploded in her stomach, and it took with it any conscious thought or will. She wasn't even aware of her legs giving out on her, wasn't even aware of hitting the ground, was aware of nothing but this fierce, all-consuming hurt in her stomach.

The agony stretched her moments out with the same infinite, exacting clarity as had her fight with the terrorist, only these moments had none of the will or force that her previous struggle had held; these moments were drawn out by the unrelenting pain. She discovered, to her horror, that she could feel the life leaking out of her, oozing from the wound that had been torn through her. She didn't even have time to process how such a thing had occurred, how so much force could have come from nowhere and brought her onto the ground so quickly.

Oh God it hurts.

Oh God it hurts so much.

Oh God please make it stop.

Oh God-


Her mind pleaded weakly, but there was no answer from the darkness; just this pain, and her on the ground.

The tears leaked from the corners of her eyes. She didn't even have the presence of mind to scream--she simply gasped, wheezed out as a thousand jagged shards of glass flooded her body with her every breath, reminded her of the gaping hole that had been torn through her from nowhere.

So she lay there, and bled, and whimpered, and when that could no more for her she fell quiet and sunk into the hazy world of red and black behind her eyes. This was hard, this was too hard, this hurt too much and she didn't want to be here anymore. She'd tried, damn it, she'd tried so hard.

Frustrated tears joined the ones caused by pain tearing at her insides, and she softly as she died inevitably on the tunnel floor. She'd fought as hard as she could, she'd thought she'd won, but though it still hadn't registered for her that she'd been shot she knew who had done this (that miserable bastard, God, I beat him). Liz was going to die because she'd hurt herself to fuck the game and the only person who'd stayed to defend her was weak, I'm a weak little girl who couldn't save anyone and the only guy I ever beat in a real fight wasn't even a monster, just a kid like me.

She was tired. She was so goddamn tired and she hurt so goddamn much, and the more she lay here the more tired she felt, because her life was draining out of her drop by drop and she didn't care anymore. She'd done as much as she could do, she'd tried as hard as she could, and it had been for nothing.

Something warm and comforting swam up from the depths of her, laid itself like a blanket over her eyes and head and body; smothered the pain, made her feel distant and secure. Enough, she thought wearily. Let it fucking end.

Too tired to fight anymore, she let herself sink into a darkness far deeper than the subterranean murk which surrounded her body.






G072 MIRABELLE NESA: ELIM
Edited by Grim Wolf, Apr 26 2011, 02:24 AM.
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Tara Behzad: "They don't get to decide how I die."

Lizzie Luz: "I don't want to go."

Alex Tarquin: "No more masks."

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Except she didn't.

Perhaps a minute had passed since the moment the bullet had first passed through her; the shroud of comforting, shock-forged oblivion came upon her around forty-five seconds afterwards. The moments, suspended in crystalline perfection by the acid devouring her from the inside, had seemed far longer and far worse than anything she could deal with; she'd let the darkness take her, right up until a thought had occurred to her.

Somewhere, the man who'd shot her was alive.

She shook off the comforting pall of warmth and security, returned to a world dominated by pain. She felt light-headed--she'd lost too much blood by now, her brain was short on oxygen. Her senses felt tinny and distant, but she still recognized the sounds at work around her; the shuffle of a man moving, the rasp of something metallic being hefted and placed. She made not a sound; drew small, controlled breaths, her body rigid as a grenade burst in her belly, let her tears stream down her face and bit her lower lip so hard she drew blood she didn't even notice, all for one reason.

He'd shot her in this pitch-black. He'd found her by sound. In her pain-induced clarity, she realized she would have heard if he'd drawn the gun when she screamed--she would have heard it. Which meant he'd already been aiming at her before she ever screamed her fool's defiance, moving silently to accomplish her death.

Return the favor.

Her injured left hand made its way down her side, silent as a black widow creeping along its lonesome way, until her fingers found the hilt of the other knife she wore. She drew it slowly, careful of any noise, and then slid it silently along the length of her body (and how her abs burned; she grew lighter with every movement, sending more of her blood and innards pooling around her).

A minute and a half after she'd been shot--thirty more seconds of pure and potent agony that left her gasping--and she had the knife in her relatively uninjured right hand. She spend another four light-headed, dazed seconds teetering on the very edge of unconsciousness, struggling with all her will to keep her mind here, now, to listen for the sounds of his movements. He was on his feet (she could hear the scuff of his boots over the dirt); he was gathering his stuff (she could hear the clatter of the knife as he retrieved it from the ground and the click of his gun as he lifted it from where she'd knocked it aside).

A minute and forty-eight seconds after she'd been shot, he started walking. A minute and fifty-one seconds after he'd shot her, he drew parallel with her body.

Samantha Ridley crossed her mind, distantly; so did Jackie. The question of despair--of those who'd acquiesced to what had been forced upon them.

I'm a weak little girl who couldn't save anyone, even myself, but god damn it I beat you and god damn it you are going to remember that because I am Mirabelle Nesa and I am a hardened goddamn warrior and I am not going to fucking give up now!

She threw herself forwards, the years' long training giving her legs the force necessary to push her past the crushing pain in her abdomen and towards the nameless soldier she'd beaten. As she plunged the knife down, she screamed, "Nique ta mere, salop!"
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Tara Behzad: "They don't get to decide how I die."

Lizzie Luz: "I don't want to go."

Alex Tarquin: "No more masks."

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Baines heard the sounds that told him he'd hit. The girl landed on the floor, moved for a little, and stopped. He waited for a second, then stood up and turned to gather his things. His favorite knife. The gun she'd knocked away. His pack. The flashlight had fallen at some point, and was a total loss, shattered to pieces on the hard floor, not that it mattered. He could get another any time. The important thing was that he'd handled the problem. He'd never expected it to go like that, certainly had never expected to lag behind more than a couple seconds when he'd sent Domino ahead, but it was done now.

He was moving a little slowly, buying some time to return to full capacity. He'd still have some bruises as a reminder even after the game was done, that was for sure. Now it was just time to regroup with the others and finish this mess, assuming it hadn't already been done. It was odd, in a way, that the girl Baines had just fought hadn't been the leader. She had been dangerous. She'd been skilled. It was a marked contrast to what he'd heard about the actual mastermind of the operation, who was apparently tiny and had ended up on the wrong end of the majority of her physical altercations so far. He reflected again on his previous opponent's potential as a player. Maybe he hadn't been the only one to notice her. Maybe he'd just messed up someone's bet back at HQ. He'd have to ask about that one, if he could figure out an inconspicuous way to do so.

His equipment retrieved, he turned and began to walk, heading towards the others at a decent clip. The path brought him right past the girl's body. He meant to give a glance at the dark shape. Double checking was safest. The only way to be. He didn't get a chance, though, because she was already in motion, lurching across the tunnel floor towards him, screaming in some language he couldn't understand.

All he could see was the blurry shape, hurtling straight at him, arm raised. She was holding something, but he couldn't tell what due to the dimness. Even though she was below him, even though he knew she was probably fatally wounded, for a split second Baines was still terrified.

The object plunged forward, cutting through his tough combat boot, biting into the flesh beneath. He screamed, in pain and fear, but, at the same time, years of training and experience took over once more. He was still holding his original gun in his hand. He'd made sure to keep it ready. Couldn't be too careful. Turned out that was a very wise choice.

Despite the pain and anger, his movements were smooth as he snapped the pistol down into line and pulled the trigger.
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