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SDvP Part 5: The Climax

There was a strange, blurred, fuzzy sensation, and Slamdance slowly opened his eyes. What…? Asleep? I don’t remember going to…

Something was wrong, very wrong, obviously. All he could see was the odd, pitted gold surface he was lying on. Glowing. Visual malfunction, or is this surface actually luminescent? Strange. And this mist… where is it coming from?

This is very strange. I don’t remember falling asleep here. The last thing I remember – he sucked in a breath. This odd, sharp sensation of worry was new to him. Combat. There was combat. I was fighting – and then… then I felt a shock, like electricity and…now I’m waking up.

He pushed himself up onto his hands and knees. A pounding sensation reverberated in his head. It was indistinct, like everything else, mixed in with a strange soreness he seemed to feel with his whole body. He inhaled deeply, through his nose; the sensation began to resolve, shape itself into a quick rhythm, then faded again. The floor was still there, although the mist had closed in around him again, encircling his arms until halfway up the tricep. This must be a hangover. This must be what they call a hangover. But how did it happen? I don’t remember being at Callahan’s or anywhere else, and my filters would have taken care of the alcohol. This is a problem. I must be malfunctioning.

Head still down, eyes on the floor, Slamdance shook his head from side to side. No. Not a malfunction, at least not yet. But something is definitely wrong here. There was…

A blur, a moving blur, and then combat… blades of some sort, something swinging something at me… I remember…

Thick atmosphere. Moist, tropically hot. This can’t be Sydney. Or maybe it’s a sauna. Maybe my bio-filters temporarily malfunctioned, I got drunk and Toby or Steve or someone dragged me off to some weird sauna with glowing floors and…

…it came out of nowhere, and there were blades, and I remember damage, and this is very, very wrong, because if I was attacked, what am I doing waking up in a strange place in compact mode? Slamdance looked down at himself. Instead of the red-and-blue armour plating he was expecting, his eyes met flesh-covered muscle. Somehow, he’d compressed himself back down to his Mike Ryan guise.

I think I need to deploy right now, in case that whatever attacked me comes baAAAAAAAAA! For the first time he could remember, Mike Ryan doubled over in agony. It lanced from his back and arms up and down to the rest of his body. Somehow, with his arms wrapped about him, his chin tucked to his chest and his eyes screwed shut, he didn’t collapse back onto the floor; instead, he wrapped his arms around himself. The pain disappeared, leaving only another dull ache layered atop the first.

Then his fingers found something. Instead of meeting his skin where his arms were wrapped aobut his body, they met something… hard, unyielding. Mike opened his eyes again, and looked down at himself again. A dull grey, ribbed plate was wrapped about his torso, an armoured vest that covered his rib cage and the tops of his shoulders. About his arms were odd looking greaves of the same material, like a metal but duller, less smooth. Whatever it was, it was effectively and thoroughly preventing Mike from deploying into combat mode.

It was night. Middle of the heatwave. I was patrolling between the scenes of the murders, trying to find a pattern. There was a blur, and it came out of nowhere, and whatever it was, it was fast and tough, and I couldn’t see it for an instant, and then it was coming right for me, slashing across my chest with blades, and they went straight through my armour, and I fought back – we knocked each other through walls, and it threw something at me which I barely got out of the way of, and it must have been either a Boomer, some sort of custom model made up to look like some poor lunatic’s idea of a tribal warrior, or... and I managed to cold-cock it somehow, and I was going to try taking off that mask thing it wore, and then there was the pain and now this place and the mist and the drumming…

Drumming. That’s what it is. Something hitting something, sounds strange and echoing, and metallic and…

For the first time since he awoke, Mike looked up.

And around.

And, perhaps, he knew fear.

The chamber was huge, vaulted, the same glowing gold as the floor, but shaped into strange patterns. It curved down, then away and up and over, with arched exits leading… elsewhere. Below the raised platform on which he stood was the floor, crowded with more of those things like the one that attacked him. Strange creatures they were, with mottled grey-yellow skins, huge heads with lank black fibrous tentacles like the “dread-locks” he saw some people wearing. They had no lips, instead having odd, crab-like mandibles, two above and below, waving before mouths that seemed more like exposed throats between teeth-lined jaws. They growled, snarled, yelled, and as Mike looked up, he saw a raised tier that ran around the room against the wall and above his head.

There more of the creatures sat, cross-legged, some wearing masks that covered their alien faces and odd foreheads. At four equidistant points stood creatures, drumming on what resembled a cylindrical metal log-drum with yellow clubs.

And directly opposite him, on the other side of the platform, stood the creature he must have fought earlier on. Its fierce gaze shined hate at him past an ugly green bruise over its right eye as it fastened a set of greaves much like Mike’s own about its forearms, and Mike realised that these things had contained the blades it had used to attack him.

Between them and off to Mike’s right stood one final creature, taller than the rest, powerfully built, adorned with inhuman skulls of bleached bone, face hidden behind an ornate, decorated mask, shoulders and back covered in a cloak made of the hide of some unknown creature. The being croaked and growled, and a long spear with a blade at either end was thrown onto the platform, landing at Mike’s right. His opponent – for Mike realised that this was a match, quite possibly to the death – was handed a similar spear. It hefted the weapon, threw back its head and roared.

Mike picked up his own weapon, and when the creature brought its spear back to its side and its gaze back to Mike, he stood and lifted his own weapon above his head, returning his opponent’s gaze. Beings from another planet after all, just like Big Daddy Matt said, Mike thought. I thought it was impossible. I thought they were just modified Boomers on a rampage. But here I am, and here they are, and they want me to fight.

Mike lowered his spear. With that, the cloaked warrior yelled something, and Mike’s opponent crouched, intent on him, moving toward him.

Mike took his own spear in both hands and began to circle. They want me to fight. So I’ll fight. It’s what I do.

But can I kill? This is no insane Boomer. Can I take this being’s life, even if it seems glad to take mine? Even if it means saving myself?

Old Comments

You really are a bugger! You make me wait this long and then you pitch 2 of my favourite characters against each other and leave it hanging in mid air. NO FAIR!

Love V.

Posted by: Vickie at May 29, 2004 12:42 AM

I got another word for him, Vickie, but "bugger" will do for polite company.

Sheesh, Rob, have you got nothing else to do but drive us nuts?

Peg

Posted by: Peg at May 29, 2004 08:59 AM

Nope.

:-D

Posted by: IMAGinES at May 29, 2004 09:01 AM

uurgh!
Ish!!
Bllargh...
Pain...
Lot's of pain!

Posted by: Simlauren at May 29, 2004 09:38 AM
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