The Den Games Network Forum RPG
Page 21

Game Masters:
virtualoctopus, CKW, Wesforce, Nyerguds


(CKW)

Emmanuel's thoughts were all made a mess... Such numbers of fallen comrades... Such slaughter... But It was not enough. Even if they had all to die, the daemons shall not win.
It was time to use all of his skills to counter the beasts. He caught vidphone. The Crusader "Cavalry". That should do the trick.
"Men, the daemons have breached the lines I want you to secure the zone. But, if you donīt feel you are going to do it, donīt go. I want as many people as possible."
Punching another of that vicious beasts, Emmanuel raised his hand.
"To me! Final Judge! Help me to illuminate the world in this dark hour! I claim you, Wrath of Micael!"
A light shone in his hand, and an Astral sword appeared. He swung the sword.
Few daemons retreated, confused, as the sword sliced through them like they were butter. Despite being a man without no phisical condition, he was making the daemons pass a rough time.

Wounded Crusaders soon regained their strength, at the astonished look of their MUNDI allies. Crusaders did know that they werenīt a simple cannon fodder. They were taking sensibly more damage than any of the other forces in the ground, to have the same balance of dead people.

***

A flash amongst the mass of battlers tipped the exact location of Emmanuel to Cairns.

Soon, Motorbikes roamed, and got past all of them. These werenīt normal bikers. 500 Crusaders, the ones who had dissapeared before the battle, wielding swords, were riding the vehicles. A made up cavalry. And it intended to strike hard and pierce.

"Smart move, equipping your men with motorbikes. Now they will outmaneuver these beasts." Cairns thought.

***

The three dragons landed in the surroundings of the hospital. Astonished gunners let them pass. They didnīt know what to do.
Dunkelzahn stared at the figures. Mawroth. The fragger finally woke up.He had to speak with him.

---------------------------------------------
(Wesforce)

A Lone Tilt-Wing swept through the war-torn skies over the outskirts of Geneva, braving the skies full of rocket artillery and shellfire, falling on the Daemon horde from the rear lines, scattering them but doing little else otherwise. A Dragon's paw fighter-bomber streaked past, a jet drone in fornmation eitehr side of it. A ll three raked the ground with cannon or machineguns, to little effect. The Jump-Jet's engine was blazing, but the rigger pilot didn't seem to notice.

A flare illuminated the Aztechnology Jaguar logo on the side of the aircraft.

"Fragging Johnny-come-lately Aztech boys." Sneered a MUNDI footslogger, sitting on the burnt-out wreck of an IFV in a brief respite from the fighting. He threw down his spent nico-stick, shouldered his battered IWS rifle Smartlink slightly off. Must get it seen to, afterwards. He thought, trudging along to catch up with the rest of his unit.

He was from the 13th Mech Attack brigade, and like many from the unit, he carried a hundred k's worth of cyber in the form of wired reflexes, smartlink, cybereyes and muscle augmentation. But it hadn't done the unit much good - Barely half of the Brigade's fighting strength had made it to the MUNDI lines. Worse still, a dozen men had been taken casualty after being shot by spooked CorpSec personnel wary of Hijackers.

Shrugging, the men from the 13th Mech Attack brigade rejoined the fray.

***

Jaguar leader tested the harnesses of his plasteel combat armour and snapped down the mirrored visor of his Aztechnology battletac helmet. His Jaguar team did the same, wordlessly.

Jaguar was watching the external cameras closely. His orders were pretty vague - Seek out large enemies and destroy them. He got the feeling he was being carelessly sacrificed, thrown into the battle as a token gesture by Aztechnology. Of course, he was careful not to pass any doubts onto his Jaguar Team.

He picked out a huge fragging monster assaulting a defensive building. It looked like some huge, obcene slime-covered hand.

He yelled for the pilot to hold so he and his team could zip-line down.

"Stay close. Remember, these fraggers are hurt more by your will, than your weapons. Projectiles lessen the effect, and explosives almost negate it. So strike hard, strike close and strike fast. And stick together. Lets go!"

Jaguar two kicked the door open, Jaguar leader threw the zip-line down, clipping his harness to it in the process.
He went down first, screaming like a Daemon. He always led from the front - Part suicidal force of habit, part fatalist resignation. All gotta die sometime. He would grumble.

Dropping into the warzone was eerily familiar. He had lived in this city a good part of his life. He still hadn't registered that the Aztech compound, at the epicentre of the blast, wasn't there anymore. Seeing the ravaged outskirts of the city brought him to Earth with a bump. Seeing the freahkish hordes threading their way through made his mind race with impossible thoughts.

Stick to the fragging program. He reminded himself.

Falling through the air, slowed only lightly by the line, it was like dropping into a fireworks night display. Freakish daemonic projectile arced up towards the Tilt-wing. Bullets and tracer fire whipped around him too - They were being fired at by human troops!

All par for the fragging course. He thought.

He hit the ground on the roof of the building, and rushed to secure the line for the rest of his team. Suddenly the line was torn from his grip, bare moments after he'd unclipped himself from it. He looked up to see a blinding flash, as one of the tilt-wing's wing engines was sheared off in a gout of green flame.

Before his disbeleiving eyes, the aircraft spiralled crazily out of control. His men, who had begun zipping just after him, were being dropped not from their planned height, but high, over a daemon-swarming stretch of ground.

He looked away. His professional mind only registered the thoughts that mattered: That his team were gone, that his job would be a lot harder.

He ran down into the building from the roof. Some distance away, the Tilt-Wing exploded into a hydrogen-blue fireball, incinerating a swathe of lesser Daemons.

Running down the the second floor, Jaguar sought out the black-armoured MUNDI man who was running the operation here.

Ignoring the man's horns and odd skin colouration for now, Jaguar had a request.

"I need to reach that monster. Can you clear me a path?"

---------------------------------------------
(BlueThunder)

The van rolled up on the rubble streets that were Geneva, the sound of gun shots, screams and the inhuman sounds of Daemons could be heard loud and clear. As the van stopped and the backdoors swung open, the robed figure that was Dark Sorrow stepped out onto the burning stone.

He breathed in the smoke and ash that littered the air, the air seemed much denser here, although it wasn't surprizing. Just the thought of being near the Daemons seemed to excite Sorrow's inner-self, even inspiring him to help Silvia out of the van.

"Since when did you care about me?" She muttered as she walked past, although secretly she appreciated it. Even though she didn't need it. Xecktos and Damocles followed the pair, each coping with the new environment in a different way.

"What a pity...." the necromancer thought a loud. "The fighting must have started without us."
He took the amulet from around his neck, it was glowing green....corpses were near! He opened it up and started an incantation, he continued to swing the amulet around his head, Silvia just looked at him confused.

Silvia was about to tell him to hurry up an move when something cold grasped onto her leg. She screamed as another rotting undead hand pushed up from the ground, it wasn't long before a half rotting corpse in MUNDI uniform, slobbering all over her feet arose.

Several more corpses, all dressed differently, some died from the buke, others from the Daemon invasion and one that must have died before either and was mostly bone also grappled their way out of the ground in the area around Sorrow, The necromancer soon had an army of 12 Undead around him, all stank of rotting flesh, slobbering, bleeding and spilling their guts on the ground. It made Silvia sick.

"Now we have cannon fodder, let us continue." Sorrow walked on with his zombies, even Damocles didn't want to go near him. Silvia had never seen him actually raise the dead before, and kind of wished he hadn't of done it then!

***

Rayi went in behind Holmer, his solar powered gun frying these Daemons before they even came close. She was glad to have the dwarf with her, Cairns was in the thick of the chaos that some might call a combat, she worried about him.

"Ah can't hold this fur much longer!" The Dwarf yelled, as a beam of light burned the innards of another Daemon. "The power is runnin' low! We'll have to git up close!"
Rayi had been dreading those words ever since the combat had begun, her sword shook in her hand nervously.....just the thought of those Daemons touching her....She shivered. She was so scared and felt so alone, why was she even here?

The Dwarf gave no warning, he threw the gun to the floor, grabbed his hammer and swung it into the oncoming Daemons, knocking the smaller ones down instantly. Rayi was preparing to go in after him, but then she felt it. The heavy breath of something down the back of her neck, she also felt some kind of liquid dropping on to her robes, as if she was lying under a leaky tap. She slowly turned around, not sure if she wanted to face this nameless fear. Too slow for Jester, He grabbed her by the shoulder and spun her around, making her face him.

"BOO!" he yelled between bouts of laughter, Rayi screamed though the ranks of fighting troops, ignoring everything but the being after her. She hoped to just run away, get out of this horrid place, forget these.....things even existed, but eventually there was no where to run. Rayi just fell to the floor, dropping her sword and screaming at the top of her lungs, hot tears ran down her face as Jester closed in, taking time to inhale the prey's fear, he'd feed on this one!

***

Even though Highness' sudden appearance had held them up, the Runners turned up not long after Sorrow.They parked next to the Damocles' van, Charlie and Mary going in to look for clues.

"My goodness!" Mary said shocked. "These look like Silvia's claw marks!"
"Maybe, but she's no here now. Nor is anyone else for that matter."
"Someone needs to look after the wounded while we're gone, it looks too dangerous for them here." She was talking about Raven, Sakhar and the woman who looked like the queen, although Sakhar was already out of the examining some strange holes in the ground.

"Not good..." he muttered "Not good at all....he's been here."
Sarah, who was stood next to him, was about to ask what he meant when she heard a familiar voice screaming over the sound of gun fire, Sakhar's mouth dropped open. He seemed to forget everything, he was almost in a state of panic as he ran to the sound of the voice. Sarah followed him, both ignoring the runners cries after them.

***

Jester approached Rayi, his evil grin of sharp, drool covered fangs got wider as a paw like hand reached out for Rayi, as the beast got on top of her she was literally petrified. Jester climbed on top of her, ripping off he COL robe and dismantling her light armour as if it were nothing. It was like he was unwrapping her, trying to get to the tasty flesh in the centre.

Jester couldn't make up his mind where to start, the pathetic figure looked so juicy and tender, every bit looked just as good as the next. He picked up Rayi's leg, it stank of Human sweat and shook violently. Rayi screamed and broke into tears as his tongue met her skin, just encouraging Jester to do it again, making her even more of a useless wreck!

Jester could taste the fear. He loved it. He loved the fear, he loved the screaming but most of all, he loved the fact that she was utterly helpless. Jester laughed, it was about time he really made her scream! He sank his teeth into her stomach, the warm flesh and blood made him feel alive. As his prey screamed it terror and pain, Jester prepared to take another bite. But it was not to be, Jester felt a blunt object hit the side of his face, someone had come to the rescue...

---------------------------------------------
(Wesforce)

By now, the Daemons were attacking in a huge wave stretching all across the horizon, as far as the defenders of the MUNDI HQ and Conference centre could see. The earlier attack had been but a toe in the water compared to this full-on assault - The Red Knight, being the most forceful and most influential Daemon in the field, spurred his forces on to a furious charge that swept the foremost MUNDI and Corporate men before them like the dust that coated the streets on the outskirts of Geneva.

The full extent of the Daemonic forces was still not apparent to the Defenders - more of the beings were breaking through the rift with every passing second, a seemingly limitless supply of them.

The Defenders stood firm. However, MUNDI hadn't fought a battle on this scale, ever, even against human forces. No corporate security force had, either, although many Corp and MUNDI men were battle-hardened from smaller engagments.

Mages and Shamans became firmpoints in the trenches - Men gathering around to protect them, as they themselves did their best to protect the the men from the Daemons and their magics.

But still, they were being pushed back.

Just as a large section of Trench on the Northern flank was about to collapse, a flight of IWS FA-43 Nightwraith VTOL Fighter-Bombers - Machines due to be shipped to the RAF, but kept by IWS at the last moment and crewed by their own pilot-riggers - took a low pass over the Daemons, tailed by escort drones. All the aircraft released cylindrical containers, which arced through the air, tumbling end-over-end, exploding into sheets of liquid flame. No-one asked why a Corporation kept a banned weapon like Napalm, or why they had a weapon officially denied to national militaries, but they were just grateful. The swathe of Daemons incinerated gave the Northern defenders time to regroup.

However, on the return trip the fighters fell foul of great-form hijacker Daemons. Huge, amoeab-like forms, crackling as the manifest on the physical plane. The Aircraft that passed nearest to them seemed to lose control, though why was not apparent. A Nightwraith crashed, and as it did so the link with its attandant drones was lost, too. One came down like a playing-dart of the gods, smashing a wing of the MUNDI Conference centre.

***

The noise in the Conference centre was deafening. their ritual at the apex, the Magicians could not hope to break concentration, even to avoid the debris falling around them as the building took a structural hit. The energies being invoked, and channelled were just too intense. They were on the final incantation of their circle now. A glowing ball of flame took up the centre of the circle, being fed by streams of power from each of the symbols around the circle.

One by one, the magicians at the points intoned their arcane prophecy, screaming at the top of their lungs, in turn. Weissmuller, Lonsdale, Five-Feathers, Renwu, McGowan, Deschamps, The Russian whose name no-one could remember...

With a blinding flash, a thunderclap of power that knocked all present off their feet, the circle was completed.

All the magicians were reduced to unconsiousness, drained by the force of the spell. Though they didn't realise it yet, slightly less than half present were permanently drained - Fit only to join the ranks of the mundane now.

As the stunned bodyguards moved into the centre of the once-again silent room, the ball of energy having folded in on itself, they checked their respective charges.

Bennifer Lonsdale, Principal of MIT&T, was dead - She'd suffered a massive stroke.

***

Dunkelzahn staggered momentarily. He was caught by his two black-suited, shaded bodyguards.

"Sir!"

"I'm... I'm fine. Relax, boys."

His words were betrayed by his suddenly pale, haggard appearance, but his guards knew better than to argue.

He felt sadness. One of the typically human emotions he cultivated - He'd known of the risks the Magical council were going to take. He wasn't so sure if they had known the risks either. He felt - and felt responible for - The death of Londsale, and the damage that had been done to the others.

"Mr Dunkelzahn..." Enquired an aide.

"WHAT?" He snapped, completely out of character, stunning the young woman.

"The rift, sir."

***

The green bands that had begun knitting around the rift were now completely in place, forming a thick, impenetrable net, restricting any Astral energy from going in or out. And because physical beings would be destroyed by the still-roiling energies, the rift was, to all intents and purposes, blocked.

***

I don't know how long that will hold them. But it gives the humans a chance. A chance to seal the rift, if we can prevail against those that have already come through, but moreover - A chance to learn from our mistakes, and make sure this never happens again.

Dunkelzahn thought about his words.

He threw back his head, and laughed. He laughed like he had never done so before.

"Mr... Mr Dunkelzahn?" The aide worried again.

Suddenly, he stopped. The Old Dunkelzahn was back - The dashing, handsome blod game show host with the million-nuyen white teeth smile. He turned to his gaurds.

"Fetch the limo. I fancy getting a close up of the action!"

"Yes, Mr Dunkelzahn."

"D. Call me D."

---------------------------------------------
(BlueThunder)

The blunt of Emmanuel's sword burned Jester on impact, a sickening scream coming from the Daemon's blood covered mouth. Emmanuel raised the sword, but Jester's lounge was faster. It shot from his mouth and wrapped it's self around the Inquisitor's hand, squeezing it until he finally dropped the sword.

Jester laughed insanely at Emmanuel, looked like he was getting a starter before the main course, his mouth watered. The Inquisitor had gravely underestimated him, now getting ready to cast a spell. Fool. He'd soon see what he was dealing with.

Emmanuel looked up, sure he had the Daemon this time. He beam of light seemed to eradicate from him as the Holy Light spell took affect, he heard the lesser Daemons scream and die as it touched them, but when it cleared, The Jester was nowhere to be seen. Emmanuel was confused, until he felt the Daemons foot kicking him hard in the back.

The Inquisitor fell onto the ruble of the Geneva streets, Jester proudly standing over his new prize. Emmanuel prepared for the worst and preyed to the Lord that he at least spare the Pagan woman and forgive her sins, it came as quite a shock to him when a drop of the Daemon's dark blue blood dripped onto his robe.

He looked up as much as he could, the Daemon had a sword though him. He couldn't see the man holding the sword, but he could see that there was now another woman by the COL Inquisitor, comforting her, trying to steam the flow of blood from the wound and whispering things into her ear. He saw the boots of Holmer running up from afar.

"An' who the hell are yer?" The dwarf said to the stranger as he came closer.
"Methdos Sakhar, at your service......Mr?" the unknown man replied, pulling the sword out of the Daemon, allowing Emmanuel to get up. He looked at the man, looked more like a Daemon himself then the Angel Emmanuel had almost mistaken him for. He looked like a man, yet he was wearing all but a chest piece of gold armour, which looked as if it had been slashed in places and had spikes growing from almost every place in his body imaginable. Emmanuel was about to speak to the figure, when the low laugh of the Daemon came from the "corpse" Sakhar had tossed aside.

"You two just leave it to me." Sakhar said. "I'm a professional."
"Ah'm right behind yer lad!" Holmer, voicing his support. Emmanuel just watched, like the dwarf he was ready to leap in at any moment.

***

Sarah held Rayi tight, brushing the tears from her face and trying to calm her. It had been so long since she had seen the Inquisitor, it seemed such a shame they had to meet like this.

"You know..." Sarah began, whispering to the Inquisitor. "Just because you find me irresistible, it doesn't mean I wouldn't appreciate seeing you in clothes once in a while."
Rayi's face turned slightly red, a smile came over her face for a brief second, before the pain of the wound took over her. At least she hadn't lost her memory.
"Still under Cairns thumb eh?" Sarah continued, she wanted to keep her conscious until they could get her medical attention.
"Y-yeah...." Rayi wanted to say so much more, but she couldn't. Not now at least.
Rayi's vision was a blur, she couldn't see though the tears that ran down her face. She knew it was Sarah's voice, but she couldn't see the fighting that was going on in front of her. She didn't know where the Daemon had gone, had Sarah seen it off? What were the other voices in the background? What had happened?

Sarah slowly lifted Rayi into her arms, she needed to get her off this battlefield before any more of the Daemons smelt Rayi's blood. Holmer looked at the two young women, he ran up to Sarah.

"Follow me!" The dwarf yelled over the sound of battle. Running into the lines of the troops.
"Where are we going?" Sarah asked.
"Where do yer think? Somewhere to git the lovely Miss Shah treated of corse!" It wasn't in the dwarves nature to be sarcastic, but where did she think he was taking her? The Zoo? Oh well, no matter, at least he'd prevent another young soul dying from this infernal war!

---------------------------------------------
(virtualoctopus)

"Shit." Charlie swore under his breath, looking back at his charges. Mary, Tank, Wirecat, both gobbos and her Highness - whoever she was, he couldn't worry about that right now - the damned redhead and the guy wearing a gold tin can had dissapeared.

"Right everyone! No-one go anywhere! We need to keep..."

Suddenly, a hideous form burst from the rubble. It's long tentacles whipped around it, a gaping maw at the centre, propelled by two, sinuous legs.

"What the...." began Charlie, as Tank whipped out his autoshotgun, spraying thing thing with bullets. Huge holes were ripped through it's body, black ichor spraying over the damaged concrete and melting tiny pockmarks into it. It carried on a few steps, and collapsed, in a writhing heap.

Everything was deathly silent for a moment - nothing moved, except for Dorodo and Overmind, who were both trembling. The black storm rolled overhead, and droplets of thick rain began to fall, one by one.

"Ok. What the frag was that." Charlie walked over, and kicked the corpse with his boot. "It's dead... whatever it is... care to take a look, Miss Turin?"

Mary walked over, stepping carefully around the still bubbling daemon blood. She pulled the hood of her raincoat over, covering her from the rain, now beginning to intensify.

Kneeling down beside the corpse, she carefully rolled it over, accidentally touching a splatter of ichor with one hand, and pulling it away sharply.
"Ouch! That stuff burns!"

The corpse, although damaged, was unmistakably not human, nor metahuman. It's skin was purple, mottled black by the blood, and long tentaces hung down drom some focal point, around a chitin-lined maw of a mouth.
Mary looked it at for a moment more, and turned, looking through the rain back at her friends.
"I have no idea what this is! It's nothing I've seen before, and I did a 3 year course in Xenotic Biology! Whatever it is, it's new... and it seems to bear no relation to any other species I can think of, either!"
She paused for a second.
"Wirecat... Charlie... someone come and hold this so I can get a better look at it's mouth. I may be able to tell something from.... hold on.... where's Wirecat!"

The runners looked around quickly, Dorodo scampering to the rear of the van to check inside - although only Raven was in there, now looking slightly annoyed at Mary's orders to stay inside the van, even though he felt almost up to walking.

"He's not here, is he." Charlie spoke the question as a statement.
"It doesn't look like it"
"Frag... this is bad. I think he's gone after Sarah."

***

Cairns hadn't noticed that both Thrumman and Rayi had dissapeared. He strode onwards, towards the MUNDI lines. They needed a leader down there, more than the lazy Corp generals needed one back at the hospital.

***

The MUNDI troops retreating through the expressway took heavy casualties from the persuing daemons. However, two AET sharpshooters, and a hastily inforced low-duration astral ward gave them the time they needed.

On the other side of the expressway, the Vladistok mechs waded through daemons, flaming them with underslung weapons, and firing rockets, as best was possible on the move, at the big ones. Flisted Nash laughed, spinning the arachnid to take on an oncoming creature the size of a suburban house - after his cataclysmic record in the Orkessa riots, he wanted real combat, and this was as good a way to go, when you had no future in the Vladistok armed forces, as any. To his left, one of the seven's legs was swept underneath it in the tide, it collapsing in a firey explosion.

Flisted laughed again. He was loving this.

---------------------------------------------
(BlueThunder)

Holmer swung his hammer at another of the Daemons that leaped out in front of him, damned things. Were like flies! He'd been clearing the path for the two women, leading them to the makeshift hospital that wasn't far in front of him. Holmer had taken a few scrapes himself, but nothing he couldn't live with. It was Rayi that he was scared for, her blood was attracting the foul things, as it just dripped from her stomach. The other COL woman had tried to stem the bleeding by wrapping the remains of Rayi's robe around it, but it didn't do much good. Holmer barged though the door of the small hospital building, it was crowded with wounded soldiers, the medical staff were barely able to cope.

"Oi! Git me a bed and some gloves will ya? Some clothes wouldn't go a miss either!" He yelled.
"Gloves?" Sarah asked confused.
"Yes, Ah'm goin' to see to 'er meself, and yer're goin' to help me!"

An empty bed was set up by the medical aides, Sarah put Rayi down on it. Holmer put on a pair of rubber gloves and threw another to Sarah, he tied back his hair and beard as some neatly folded, cheap disposable hospital robe was put on a table next to him.

"You CAN do this right?" the worried expression on Sarah's face asked the question before she did.
"Look, Ah might look like another Dwarf to you, but advanced battlefield training isn't just learning how to shoot stuff and look heroic while doing it. Now we'll have to clean the wound before we do anything, as it could be infected. We also need to get a mage in here to scan her over, just in case shes in danger of becoming a Daemon or something." Sarah hardly caught a word the dwarf said, but she hoped he knew what he was doing.

***

Sakhar stared at the Daemon, the sword hole had all but disappeared. He realised that he had to wound it and keep it wounded f he was going to slay it. Luckily, he had just the body to do it!

Jester looked at where Rayi had been, his prey...was gone! No meat! No fresh, tender juicy meat! His exaggerated grin seemed to turn upside down as the realisation came over him, he'd missed his prey....and it was all the holy mans fault!

He leaped, knocking Sakhar to the ground as if he were nothing, it was the holy man he was after! He wanted revenge! Emmanuel felt the Daemons claws on his face as Jester bounced past, his red blood covered the left side of his face. Jester laughed.

"YOU DIIIIIIIIE!" Jester took out his bow and arrow, shooting the Inquisitor in the back. He lined up for another blow, but Sakhar had come to his senses, taking up his sword and slashing at the insane Daemon.

The sword cut deep into Jester, almost burning him! All the anti-Daemon magic on the sword came into play as it relatively struck the Daemon. Jester screamed his unearthly scream as Sakhar cut into him. Leaping away into the chaos of the warzone, leaving a path of blood in his wake.
"Are you ok?" Sakhar asked Emmanuel as he knelt down, putting one armour hand on the arrow.
"Do not pull it! It is cursed!" Emmanuel yelled even as Sakhar harmlessly pulled it out. He waved his armoured hand in front of Emmanuel.
"This armour has so many enchantments on it, not even I know them all." he threw the arrow to the side. "Are you ok to fight?"
"Yes...The grace of God is on my side!"
Sakhar nodded and ran in the same direction as the dwarf and Sarah had went, leaving Emmanuel to get back to business.

---------------------------------------------
(Nyerguds)

Wirecat ran into the battle. Any Daemons running in his way got a taste of his claws... he didn't care about them. Only one thing mattered... Sarah.

Where the frag did she go?! What are these things?! They look like... daemons...

The brief lessons he had had during his shaman training came back to him.

The Emantui and their Amatui servants. How the frag did they get here? What happened to Geneva?!?

Nobody had told him what had happened to the world while he had been imprisoned by Delori. Now that he thought about it... did he actually tell anyone about that? Did they realize how long he had been sealed off from the outside world? He didn't know.


He ran on, and passed a pack of Daemons running in the other direction. They attacked one of the bigger Amatui, and finished it off in no time.

No way...
This is the stuff of legends... how can all this be real?!

The Iotui.


***

The Iotui Leader looked around for new targets, and laid eyes on the oddest creature he ever saw.

He had no idea what it was, but it intrigued him... and there was one thing he recognised about the creature.

A Shaman?

***

David saw the Leader looking at him. His mind raced.
What is this? What am I supposed to do? I need to get to Sarah...

His thoughts were cut off by the Iotui Leader's voice in his head.

You are a Shaman... not?

"Yes... I am. Cat Shaman."

Will you help us in battle? Your colleagues were injured... they couldn't fight anymore.

But I need to...

I trust you.

David sighed. In some way, as Shaman, this was a unique upportunity... and his cat half longed for the hunt.
I must control myself... I can't let that happen again. he thought, remembering what happened in Orkessa.

"All right. Let's slice them."

***

"Dude... this is gross, you know that?" Silvia said to Sorrow.

"I know." Sorrow said calmly, obviously not caring the smallest bit about the 'grossness' of his zombie army. "But would you rather have these Daemons tearing us apart?"

"You think I can't handle these fraggers?!"

"No... I'm sure you can't. This is not the time for crazy stunts."

"Just keep those walking corpses away from me! Anything that comes too close is ripped to pieces; I don't care whether it's Daemon or one of your fragging zombies."

***

The Iotui engaged another daemon.... one of the bigger ones.

Abomination.

True to his name, he was a horrible monster. Nearly as high as Red Knight, but a lot bigger. His body was as asymmerical as it could be; even the grotesque head looked deformed. He knew only Pain and Suffering, and how to inflict them on other beings.
Tentacles came out of his body at all sides... purple, red and green tentacles, sweeping in all directions, and inflicting a deadly pain to those who touched them. But the Iotui were fast, and the Hunters were well-protected.

The Iotui team work was based on a mental link between the Leader and every one of the seven others. Spy, too quick even for the Daemon, looked for weaknesses while the Hunters and Flier kept attacking the victim from all directions. Warlock protected them to the best of his abilities, and helped weaken the Daemon.

Abomination was confused. His tentacles shot in all directions, but somehow the Iotui kept avoiding them. Wirecat heard the voice in is head, and followed it. It was nearly a mind control, but Wirecat knew he did what he did because he wanted to.

Like a black bird the Leader shot towards the Daemon. He knew the beast had weaknesses on both astral and physical plane... ans Spy just found a physical one.

Abomination saw them attack, and knew what was happening. All tentacles shot towards that one spot, desperate to protect it.

Careful, avoid the tentacles at all costs. To the right; jump. Claw there; it will cause him to move the tentacles away from the weak spot. Jump back on the ground...

David heard the commands in his head, and followed them. The mind link made Leader into one big supercomputer, able to attack his enemy from all sides while slowly getting to the core of the monster's mind, learning to predict its movements. Nearly being one of them, he knew what they were, and how they thought.

Leader himself was part of the attack. His mana blasts hitting the Daemon at strategic spots, either to weaken, or just to distract it.

The Hunters and Flier did their job well. One by one, Abomination's tentacles were destroyed; either cut off or poisoned by the claws of the Hunters. Their poison was strong enough to hurt even Daemons.

Once the weak spot was cleared, they charged. The claws ripped the Daemon open, the poison quickly weakening the Daemon. Warlock was ready to strike, and waited patiently for the mental command.

Blast him.

A lightning bolt crashed into the Daemon. The huge thing lost its balance, and slowly stumbled backwards.

The Hunters, the Flier and Wirecat kept attacking, wounding the Daemon as much as they could. Leader was destroying some of the minor daemons trying to help their master, while waiting for the time of his next move.

Away.

They quickly dispersed when they got the Leader's command.

Finish him off.

A cold grin appeared on the Warlock's skull-like face.
The red jewel on his chest glowed. The Warlock started to float, higher and higher, until he could clearly see the weakness, now a gaping wound filled with black blood.
The jewel glowed brighter and brighter. The light was lighter too, and almost white now. While the Warlock was charging for his fatal blast, Leader had already sent Flier to destroy the spirits attacking Warlock.

Then, without a sound, the deadly ray came out of the jewel, penetrating the wound, and destroying the Daemon's body.

While the Daemon's body dissolved in mana, the Iotui charged again, to kill the fleeing spirit. Their semi-astral nature allowed them to kill the Daemon is the astral plane in the same way they would in the phyical plane.

Flier glided down to gain speed, intercepted the weakened spirit, and bit. The fangs penetrated the weakened spirit.
A scream echoed through the astral space.

Abomination was no more.


While all this was happening, the other Iotui never stopped moving. Under the skillful guidance of the multitasking/schizofrenic genius mind of their Leader they were effectively destroying the wave of lesser Daemons that tried to kill the ones that had just destroyed their master.

---------------------------------------------
(LeFire)

Chance was taken aback by the sudden appearance of the man beside him... Aztec forces... To think that I was once fighting fraggers that were just like this stranger here. And now we are fighting side-by-side for survival.

There wasn't a need to clear a path to the monster... Heck, not when it was perfectly willing to clear a path to them!

Smashing forward over the ranks of friend and foe alike, the thing scrabbled forward ponderously, the mass of tentacles reaching out for both the Aztec man and Chance. Both men reacted with counterblows, slicing off tentacles that came too close as they retreated. A mana blast slammed into the hand, a delaying tactic by Nikkei as the lightning mage set up for a bigger spell, electricity crackling over the features of her face.

The eyes, Chance... Go for the eyes.

Chance lunged out with a claw for one of the orbs... it exploding in mess of messy yellow ichor and pus. Another swipe with the other claw met a horny eyelid as it blinked protectively, the jarring impact making Chance's arm feel like putty. Ash shoved her burning katana into the hand's lead finger... the middle one. Dead flesh bubbled and boiled, and the thing screamed in pain. It lashed out with more tentacles, but they battered and slashed uselessly against the shields of crusaders which had gathered around the big creature.
One of the Christians swung a battlehammer and crushed another eye, moments before a retaliating tentacle sweep took out his throat. But now, the hand, having lost two of its three eyes, had to turn around, bringing most of its tentacles out of reach.

And Nikkei's spell was ready... Arcing from her eyes and fingers, the mage sent lightning arcing from the sky to touch bases with the raised crosses of the crusader helmets around her, the energy only harmful to what it had been directed against. Leaping and dancing from each crusader to another, the bolt made its way from the rear to the front in a eyeblink... electrifying the beast.

The hand-thing howled a cry as it froze in electrical shock... and the Aztec man leapt into the attack.

---------------------------------------------
(Wesforce)

Jaguar was armed with an Aztechnology carbine - A cut-down version of the Corp's standard rifle, used to arm its sec-forces worldwide, but also the armed forces of Aztlan and a few other national armies. It was cheap, relatively reliable and light, witha fully-loaded clip of 35 casless oxy-phsosphur-tips in the bullpup-style magazine. His weapon was fitted with Smartlink circuitry, a rangefinder and mini-grenade launcher with a load of six incendiary rounds.

He propped the weapon against his hip. The aiming cursor appeared in his field of view, with a trajectory and wind-prediction. He mentally primed grenade fuses to airburst just as they reached the target, fired twice. Thw two fat projectiles arced almost pedantically through the closing distance between him and the creature - Reeling from the electrical shock and now thrashing around from the flames that erupted over it from the grebnade-projectiles.

But this was no earthly creature, to die so easily. the napalm gel burnt itself out quickly, finding nothing to burn on the hand-monster's slick surface. It recovered from its apparent distress with blinding speed. A whole rank of the Crusaders were swept aside almost by accident as the monster got to its fingers, gaining purchase in the swampy rain-drenched ground. A tentacle whipped around, knocking a Crusader into Jag's path. Both went down in a heap, Jaguar being squashed into the mud by the man's armour.

"Get off me!" Jag wheezed, his lungs being crushed. The thing was moving, crawling forward on it's fingers. Suddenly, what little light here was from the darkening sky was blotted out by the bulk of the creature. It was now directly over him. The Crusader crushing him was not moving, however.

"GET OFF ME!"

Jaguar was feeling fear now, real fear, the like he'd not felt since the first day at Aztechnolgy's sacred Jaguar lodge - His first day of induction, where barely half his comrades had survived. Tentace's whipped down inside the cage made by the creature's fingers, slapping into the Crusader's armour. One hit Jaguar's armoured shoulder pad. He noted with disgust the sharply-toothed mouth that tipped the tentacle and immediately gegan biting through the plasteel plate. The body of the Crusader - He must have been dead by now - Moved sickeningly as the tentacles began to burrow into it.

The sounds of battle still flooded in from outside - The constant chatter of rifle and machhinegun fire, the thump of explosions. The heavy screams and yells of the fanatic crusaders. All seemed a thousand miles away, oddly muffled by the hand around him.

As the Crusader was eaten away - his blood flowing freely, soaking Jaguar, the creature gorging itself while still fighting the others - Jag felt the load lighten enough to move his hands.

His Carbine was gone. He fumbled on his belt and came away with - A grapple gun. He pushed the body off him, with it's mass of tentacles. Then he fired the grapple straight up. The Penetrator head thudding into the sickly soft, pale flesh - Unknown to Jag, it went straight through the creature, anchoring on the other side.

Jag used the line to wrap around the frag-grooves of three frag and white-phosphorus grenades, ripped the pins and clicked the 'retract' button on the grapple gun. It shot up, into the creature's body, taking its explosive-incendiary load along for the ride.

Then Jaguar allowed his self-preservation instincts to take hold. He had no room to run, so crawled as fast as he could though ther blood and rain-drenched mud.

Just as the Creature settled on it's surviving knuckles. Jaguar was pressed down into the mud, suffocating.

***

Cairns received a message on his wristphone - His secure link to MUNDI HQ.

"Inquisitor Cairns, we have visual and astral confirmation that no more Daemons will be able to get through the rift. We've won, sir!"

He grimaced, wincing at the premature self-congratulation.

"Don't be so stupid lass. Now the beasties already through will know. The fraggers will realise Its all or bloody nothing now!. Tell everyone to be prepared!"

***

Bellowing in his constant rage, the Red Knight indeed, knew his supply of reinforcements were cut off now. Or at least until tbey could get to the human vermin who were perpetrating this witchcraft.

Wait - there was more than just mere humans behind this. There was the stench of more fragging Dragons... - As if the two that had gone through the now-blocked rift had been bad enough.

"ONWARD! ONWARD!!!!"

As if summoning on the last reserves of their strength, the whole Daemon horde seemed to redouble their efforts. Major defensive points that had held them thus far suddenly found themselves out-flanked or overrun in the blink of an eye.

Whole units of MUNDI men were swept away.

The building that Chance Deadeye's team had fought the daemons from was suddenly flanked. MUNDI armoured units were once again forced into retreat, passing the expressway, crushing daemons and the bodies of dead comrades in haste.

The Aztech mobile forward VTOL staging unit was overrun, technical staff abandoning the mobile Panzer-launch and rearming platform before the Daemons caught them. Two Panzers were caught on the surface of the huge trailer. One blasted Daemons from around it in vain using the massive downpush from it's engines, but ran out of fuel and was literally torn apart.

"Aren't we retreating a little too hastily?" Wondered a tank-rider from the 13th Mech Attack.

"Stow that shit, Cheevers. We're under direct orders from that Inquisitor guy!"

"Well, shouldn't someone tell Them?" Cheevers yelled, pointing at the glittering, lance and sword-wielding bikers roaring past the retreating IFVs. Crusaders, singing their battle hymn. Cheevers had never seen anything so picturesque, so romantic.

"What a fragged-up war..."

---------------------------------------------
(virtualoctopus)

Arachnid after arachnid tumbled over, swept under in the tide of daemons sweeping foreward. The expressway was filled with the sweeping rush, daemons crushed underfoot as they stampeded towards the last Mundi line.

"Frag.. they're ignoring us!" Flisted yelled into his comm, unknowning if any of the other mechs were even still alive. His gunner sprayed more daemons in flame, but it went unnoticed in the greater attack.

"Shit shit shit..." Flisted swore. They couldn't even make a difference now. The vladistok mech turned, and Flisted's view was filled with the expressway.

The expressway. He'd forgotten.

He almost pulled out the comm, and yelled into it, the man at the other end shocked, flicked switches as he was being told to. Whoever was meant to have ordered this was obviously dead, but at least someone who knew about it was still alive.

Daemon after daemon swept under the expressway, chiten claws scraping the concrete, and daemon bile washing the floors. Deep underneath, the man, Paul Hardy, pulled the final switch. He'd been installed here, locked behind a celing fermacrete, for this exact purpose. Along the dark corridor he had waited in were the support columns of the expressway's bases. Down here, this man had volunteered for the awful job.

Lighting a match, looked the fuse to the huge amounds of old-style explosives tied to the pillar. Each one had similar charges, but one explosion would trigger them all.

Gritting his teeth, he left the radio where he had picked up the scrambled call for detonation, and lit the fuse. Then kicked open the doors to the escape route - the access stairs, and ran up them, two at a time.

He pushed open the trapdoor at the top, and ran into the light, staight into the horde. He was gutted by a daemon in the horde sweeping across the grass verge by the expressway almost instantly.

Ten seconds later, the charges detonated, and thousands of tons of concrete from the upper expressway collapsed onto the daemon horde in a cloud of dust.

Mundi troops let out a low cheer, before the daemons were upon them.

***

Cairns was at the front line, the vladistok dragon with him. Passing through group of wounded soldiers, he could see the horde pouring forward. They had only to overwealm the fortified defences infront of them, already weakened, and then they would be upon them.

Soldiers, with grey, sullen faces looked up at him. He had no words for them., apart from a curt nod, and a brief conversation with the field officer. The daemons were coming. This was it. The reckoning.

---------------------------------------------
(Wesforce)

In the MUNDI Conference Centre, corridors had been turned into makeshift wards to cope with the influx of wounded, on a scale MUNDI had never before hadn't had to cope with since the buclear blast earlier.

Curiously, the wounded here were only a minor fraction of the overall MUNDI, corporate and Catholic casualties - There was little time to bring the wounded back here for treatment, such was the Daemon's advance.

Amid the screams and pain, the blood-drenched corridors and the stretchers bearing limp forms, embattled medics ran to and fro, seeking those who were most in need of attention, discounting those who were silent as already dead by necessity.

"Frag, get a Mage for this one." Was a phrase iften repeated - Several Mages and Shamans with healing totems were on hand to cast first-aid spells where needed. But more often, the mundane medics found men with completely puzzling magic-related conditions.
Some of these could be cured by healing spells, whereas others proved completely beyond the magical knowledge of those present.

One soldier, for instance, was missing a perfect cube-shaped chunk from his chest when he was first admitted - It was definitely not a wound from an edged weapon, or shrapnel. By the time he was seen by a medic, a further two such 'perfectly shaped' cubes had manifested - A chunk of his lower back, spine and all, and the left iof his face. They called him the 'Jigsaw Man'. There had been two more like him. Within three hours, they had both completely gone, piece by screaming piece.

Another man had been turned inside-out, surviving a good half an hour later. He was later euthanised.

One soldier had attempted to have sex with a colleague, understandably causing a disturbance. He was shot by his own squadmates, fearing a 'hijacker' incidence.

It was later surmised that all three cases had in fact been caused by one of the higher-ranking Daemons - The one known as 'The Jester'.

***

Captain Samuel Parker awoke.
There seemed to be some kind of thundery weather outside. It was dark. His feet hit the cold floor, and jolted back with the feeling.

Half his face was bandaged. He felt under the synth-skin, itching the raw tissue.

The room contained three other beds, containing men in dreadful states - One man was missing two legs and an arm, one woman was entirely covered in synth-skin. Parker could only tell it was a woman because of the name-tag - LCpl. Helen Fiennes.

He pawed at the blood-spattered curtain with his good hand. A shaft of dying light penetrated the gloom, causing the casualties to moan and stir.

Outside, hell had apparently manifested on Earth. The burning hulks of high-tech, expensive armoured vehicles and Panzers littered the horizon. This was the motor pool, strafed by the Daemon-gunship earlier. Some distance beyond, bright spotlights were being switched on on the roof of the MUNDI HQ building. Rigger-controlled turret wepaons systems tracked and fired, streaming tracers over at the approaching tide of... things.

When Parker looked at them, he thought of one name. Pharis.

Somehow he knew that he had been involved in all of this. Him and Pharis.

Two Ka-72 Hollowpoint gunships darted in, cannon chattering away. Bolts and Arcane projectiles came up to meet them. One helicopter was sent crashing into the chitetring horde. One avoided them, but only moved more aggressively, dropping a napalm canister on the section of Daemons that had downed its wingman.

Parker remembered his team - All gone now. All but Amy. Amy Takizaki, his old flame - She had been with him, hadn't she.

No, An old, weak voice in his head wanted to tell him.

Yes His heart said, or wanted to.

He pulled on his charred uniform and boots, and walked from the room.

In such a dire situation, no-one stopped to challenge a man if he was walking wounded - The laying and dying wounded were much more important. Parker walked, regaining strength with every step, until he could ignore the pain (The large amounts of stimm-drugs he'd been drip-fed earlier helped too).

He took the stairs down, passing the main entrance to the Conference Centre on the way. There was a large oile of discared weapons - Parker took an AET Lance LMG, and a 200-round hopper, He could handle the weapon easily, given his half-Dwarf stockiness, even standing up. He felt invincible, as he strode past the door guards and over in the direction of the wrecked motor pool - Where Daemons had infiltrated forward and were being huntde out by Special forces men.

Amy. He thought. That sweet Japanese girl. So sweet, but, oh, so deadly. I last saw here around here somewhere...

A daemonic shaped darted between two wrecked trucks. He gave it a long burst of LMG fire.

It was then he noticed - No mocking, sneering tones. No pain, no pressure in his head, like he'd been too far underwater in the swimming pool.

Was Pharis gone?

---------------------------------------------
(LeFire)

"Prop it up! Prop it up!" Ash was yelling at the top of her voice, grabbing a lance of a fallen crusader and using it as a lever to hold up the hand-thing's body. More of the surrounding Christians were doing the same, using whatever long weapons they had to hold the dying creature up for a few precious seconds.
"She's heavy, ain't she!?" Evans quipped as both him and Chance hauled the Aztec man out from the crumpling hand. The man scrabbled to clear his mouth and nose from the blood and fluids that covered him, then dived prone as he screamed a warning...

"She's rigged to blow!"

Chance responded with a "Fire in the hole!", yanking down the men closest to him. Meanwhile, a sudden hemisphere of light energy appeared around the dying creature... Nikkei throwing a spell in place just as the thing blew with a messy Bloooommmp. The hemisphere of transluscent light turned green and yellow with exploded daemon guts... which then collapsed in a foul shower on the men and women around it. But the force of the blast had been contained... nobody got off worse than a yucky shower of daemon guts.

"Nice job!" Chance was yelling at the Aztec man, using his arms to clear off the worst of the pus and blood covering his faceplate. Just then, another powerful train of explosions went off... as the second layer of expressway buckled and landed on the daemon attack.
But it didn't get the daemons in front... Chance watched as more daemons, including another three of the huge hand-things headed for the only strongpoint that hadn't fallen so far... his.

There wasn't even an option to retreat. The building had been flanked, and crusaders in the rear were now facing outwards in an old-style infantry square.

But then there came a awe-inspiring sight... Literally hundreds of armoured crusaders, surrounded by the mellow hum of their battle hymn, charging into the daemon attack. Pennants were flying from the backs of the motorbikes, and each crusader carried a lance with long fluttering ribbons trailing from the points as he leaned forward into the slipstream. As one, the crusaders lowered their lances with a rumbling roar, the sound of five hundred men shouting as one. Small retro-rockets mounted at the rear and sides of the bikes flared momentarily... boosting the heavy bikes' speed and stability as the motorcycles hit over a hundred kmh in closing speeds.

Few of the daemons that anything that resembled a pike, pretty much the only hand-to-hand weapon able to stop charging calvary... and that paid handsomely for the allied forces, the charge slamming squarely into the disordered daemon attack as it hesitated between continuing its attack towards Chance's strongpoint and bracing for the shock of the calvary.

The result was sheer pandemodium amongst the daemons, as crusader lances, backed by five hundred pounds of armoured man and motorbike, came punching home into daemon flesh. The lances were designed to break after impact, and did so after impaling their targets (in some cases, multiple targets on one lance) ... the crusaders dropping the useless shafts without stopping and drawing swords as they swept into the attack, wedge-shaped razor-edged plows having been installed at the nose of each bike for this purpose.
Literally half of the daemon attack, including the three hand siege machines, crumpled under the mass momentum of the charge, before an order from the catholic inquisitor via radio headset pulled the calvary back in a wheeling turn to gather speed for another charge.

Nearly a hundred of the five hundred crusaders had fallen in the chaos of the melee following the charge... but there was still enough that extracted themselves for the mess for another blow as the bikes powered away, the riders reaching back for spare lances stowed in side and back mounts and sheathing their swords for further use after another charge, leaving behind a disorganised and shocked daemon army hesitating on the field.

---------------------------------------------
(Wesforce)

Jaguar watched ambivalently as the Crusaders punctured the Daemon's attack quite efficiently, obviously taking a great deal of pleasure in doing so.

Ambivalently, because they were Catholics. Aztechnology had made Catholicism illegal in Aztlan, denouncing it as a tool of colonial power. As a result, there was always bad blood between the powerful Catholic Empire and Aztlan/Aztechnology - Some of which Jaguar had been involved in personally. He was an elite, after all, a member of the select Jaguar lodge, a position so important that he had long since come to know himself by that name, not his original name. A member of the lodge was known simply as 'Jaguar'. It wasn't as confusing as it sounded. At least not to a lodge member.

Jaguar took a moment to express gratitude to his saviours. Or comrades-in-arms, because in a way, he had saved them too. He saluted, striking his chest with his armoured gauntlet.

The black armoured MUNDI special forces man returned the salute, but then everyone turned back to their firing posts:

The Crusader's charge had done serious damage - More damage than anyone had done to the Daemons so far, apart from maybe the destruction of the expressway. But now, the bikers had to return and regroup - They were vulnerable without their lances, turning.

Jaguar couldn't see his carbine anywhere. He whipped up a fallen IWS rifle from a dead MUNDI. The software was unfamiliar, but he had used such a weapon before. He dropped into place beside the MUNDI men on the firing line. The top-mount transparent magazine emptied rapidly as he sent long, tight bursts into the daemon horde. One, two, five Daemons disspiated or exploded under the barrage from he and his compatriots - But they were but a drop in the ocean of the remaining horde.

The strongpoint was still under threat.

Jaguar caught a glimpse of something huge, something terrible coming their way. It was tall, taller than even the giant grasping hands, and was coming their way. Fluid dripped off it's blood-red skin - Sweat, ichor, blood. It began cleaving its way towards the strongpoint with massive sweeps of its weapon. One swipe felled three crusader bikers - The men were cut in two, armour sparkling with red drops as their bikes tumbled end over end before falling, or exploding from cracked hydrogen fuel cells.

A platoon of MUNDI broke from their trenches, falling back towards the main buildings at the sight.

The strongpoint was going to fall.

A helicopter lowered over the building, dropping a traction-line. It was one of the rescue oceanhahns. Thousands of tracers blipped from the side mini-gun installation, away at the daemons still-ever advancing. The fire raked over the Red Daemon a fe times, to no visible effect.

"THIS POSITION IS BECOMING UNTENABLE! I CAN ONLY TAKE 12 OF YOU! COME QUICK!" came the co-pilots hail.

Deadye, Chance, Jaguar and the others looked at it, and the horde that surrounded them, and made their choice - Not everyone would fit on board though.

Evans, for his part, tried to see if the door gunner was who he thought she was...

---------------------------------------------
(LeFire)

Chance did the rapid calculations... sorting through the names... Ash, the Jag man, Winston, Nikkei, Johan, Evans, Won, Leon, Wangfei, DeadEye, himself... but that was eleven of them already, and Chance would be damned if he left the crusader survivors around him to save himself. The catholics were fanatical and ready to die in a final attack against the huge red beast... but for an officer to leave his (though they weren't technically under his command) men was galling to say the least.

He realised that he would die today...

Chance was pulled from his hesitation and dismay by an armoured hand grasping his shoulder... He jumped, but then realised that it was the SF demoman, George Jnr, who had fought his way back, through hordes of daemons, to the strongpoint to join his comrades. His left hand was missing and spouting blood, holes ripped into his armour, and wavering as he stood. But the soldier was still spewing out devastation with his carbine one-handed, defiant to the last.

"You go with the team sir! This building's rigged! Only I know how to blow this place right!"
"Gruddamned you! We go, we go together!" Chance screamed back over the overpowering noise of the Oceanhahn, as its door gunners let rip with multibarrel miniguns, shell casings raining down on the armoured soldiers below.
"To hell to with you sir! You've got the TEAM... and a gruddamned WIFE to take care of! You get everyone on board!!! I'm staying HERE!!!" With that, the demoman gave the officer a punch with the strength afforded to a dying man. Chance reeled, the Special Forces man, with his superior training, having hit him squarely on the solar plexus to render him temporarily incapacitated even through his armour. Ash caught him and snapped the metal loop at the back of his armour to one of the Oceanhahn's grapples.

"Damned you... there's still one more place in the Oceanhahn!" she turned to shout in despair at him.
"No madam! All that explosive is USELESS if they are blown on a timed charge without the willpower of a man behind them, and I'm DEAD already!" George replied, his wounds there for all to see.
"Now go! For heaven's sake, GO!!!"

The demoman screamed as the huge red daemon closed the distance towards their position, the rest of the SF men already understanding their demoman's need to stay... Wangfei, ever the caregiver of the team, grasped the demoman's armour, whipped up both their faceplates, and gave him a final tearful kiss on the mouth. A painkiller spike flicked out from one of her hands, and she pushed it into his neck, a final gift to give him the strength to do what he needed to do.
Then she was gone too, whipped upwards by the Oceanhahn as its grapples worked overtime, part of her heart dying again as yet another member of the team she had sworn to protect passed out of her protection.

She prayed that the one who took her job would be better.

***

George watched as the heli headed back for the rear, his mind now clear and calm as he plotted the next course of action.
The charges were set with the precision and skill of a dedicated artist... George had guessed that the building would become a major strongpoint and suggested to Chance to choose it, citing false reasons of extra strength afforded by its design. The demoman had then spent extra time rigging it up the previous day.
The demoman had chosen the building for a good reason... and it now became apparent to the SF soldiers headed out of the fray why.

Seen from above, the 3-story building was the exact replica of a concave Claymore mine... one magnified by a thousand times.

The damage by the hand-thing had smashed in a corner, but George know that the structural integrity of the building would hold long enough for his final work of art. Grasping the demolition controls with his remaining hand, he took up position on the now-burning second floor as he faced the advancing red beast. The crusaders were still fighting lesser daemons downstairs, determined to make the enemy pay to their last breath. The sounds of combat grew weaker... and weaker...
George drew one last deep breath... and squeezed the trigger of the detonator, a final smile on his lips at the execution of his best work of art ever.

I AM a weapon of mass destruction

***

The building's shape was just right... and the charges were set perfectly. Everything in the building was sprayed in a 120 degree direction in front of it... Bodies, debris, sandbags... Everything flew as charges exploded in sequence perfectly timed with carefully cut detcord and hand-shaped plastic explosives.

It was the world's biggest gruddamned Claymore mine... as George had thought of it.

And it was fired straight at the Red Knight with the last thoughts and willpower of a man... with absolutely nothing left to lose.

---------------------------------------------
(red_Dawn)

If George had somehow, by some quirk of fate, survived his finest work he would have been proud of what he had done. He had wounded the Red Knight. Of course, it would take more than that to kill the Red Knight but it was a start. The demons all stopped as the Red Knight's pain rippled through astral space for a radius of miles. Mages in the vicinity were awestruck by the immense wailing that assailed them. Then every man, woman and demon focussed their attention upon the prone monster lying at the centre of the blast. The wind whistled past rubble as they all watched for movement....

An armoured gauntlet, red as blood, thrust itself into the air. The Red Knight got back onto it's feet, crouching, and looked around. Every MUNDI soldier felt the piercing glare of the Red Knight as it swept its view around. The Red Knight rose to it's full height, looked into the sky and roared. The ground shook and MUNDI collectively flinched. Without warning the Red Knight began lumbering towards the next line of MUNDI defences.

The struggle for humanities survival continued.

***

Lt Jessica Hayes continued walking towards the battle, led by the sound of gunfire and explosions she didn't have any trouble finding her way. She had decided to decline the invitation to evacuate from the crashed Red Dawn, reasoning that when N'Zar found out it was her mutiny that caused the carrier to crash she would be lucky to get a dishonourable discharge. Very lucky. She absentmindedly stroked the assault rifle in her arms. It felt safe, like some sort of violent comfort toy. The rifle was one designed to be used in boarding actions. It's ammunition was a simple 5.56mm soft jacket shell. Designed to ensure that it couldn't penetrate a ships hull if it missed its intended target the bullets didn't have much penetrative power, relying more on a constant stream of fire to hose down targets. The rifle could strip an unarmoured man to nothing in seconds but was next to useless against armoured targets. Jessica wondered whether demon skin was armoured.....

***

Raven scowled at Dorodo as he peeked into the van. Dirty gobbo can walk....I can't...not fraggin' fair! Stupid Mary and her cautious attitude! I know I can walk! With that Raven tried to rest his weight upon his good foot and stand up. Aside from some swaying to and fro Raven felt good, he was on his own two feet again! Then it happened. First there was a prickling sensation on his scalp, nothing to worry about, but then the sensation creeped down his body until his feet itched madly. Still unperterbed the fitter looked at Dorodo through the vans rear window. The image was fuzzy, distorted even. Raven blamed it on someone neglecting to wash the window, he limped up to the window and rubbed it with his sleeve. Dorodo remained a fuzzy image. Cocking his head to one side Raven squinted at the goblin. Still no improvement.

"Oh great! Now I'm going blind!"

He complained loudly. Reaching out for the door handle Raven began to call out for Mary, perhaps she could explain his eyesight. Raven's hand never reached the handle.

Just before his hands touched the handle Raven felt a great ripping sensation along his arm, as if his radius and ulna were repelling each other like magnets! At first uncomfortable soon the feeling escalated into agony. It felt as if Raven's arms were being ripped in half! Raven screamed and screamed. He was lucky he choose to pass out at that time. The human mind could only handle so much pain....

Mary was the first to reach the unconscious man. She pried open his eyelids to see whether Raven's eyes were dilating. Puzzled, Mary looked at the crowding runners and asked.

"Were his eyes always purple coloured?"

---------------------------------------------
(virtualoctopus)

The situation was now worse in the forgotten MUNDI quarantine zone. Although a hole in the damanged roof was providing valuable water, two goblins had already died from starvation, and many more of the inhabitants were set to follow. The din of battle could be heard outside - it was obvious that he beaurocratic mess that was MUNDI had forgotten all about their first 30 survivors, destined to be shipped off to LEO, when they thought they had the crisis under control, and under wraps. It would take an act of god to save them now.
Darsha was close to tears, relying only on her icy-front to hide her inner despair.

***

Far overhead, MUNDI gunships duelled winged daemons in the sky, chaingun and daemonic bile knocking their enemies out of the sky. One of them, a MUNDI Lightdagger class gunship, lost it's staliliser rotor on it's tail, and took a spiralling trip downwards, as it's crew, three blonde-haired elves, struggled to regain control.

It crashed in a spectacular explosion, almost exactly on top of the MUNDI HQ powerplant. Across the complex, lights went off, guardian deckers were dissonected, and power-locks went offline.

Darsha was leaning on one of these power-locked doors, unaware of the tiny click signifying it was now open.

***

The daemons hit the line. Cairns watched, as soldiers desperately gutted with bayonets and unleashed point-blank shots into the horde.

With a two brisk strokes of his warhammer, he smashed the ones in his section of the trench into the walls, before the soldiers could make a move. One of them whistled under his breath.
"Stop that now. We have a war to fight"

More and more deamons poured on, but, under the Inquisitor's guidance, the MUNDI troops held out.

***

Red Knight bellowed in pain, urging his horde onwards. The enemies had sealed the rift, cutting off his limitless reinforcements, and now they had had the daring to WOUND HIM!

As punisment for their misdeeds, Red Knight himself would have dealt with the purpetrators. But the building they had been in was gone, levelled in an explosion, and the survivors seemed to be liming off in one of their flying machines.

Red Knight directed seven entire swarms of tiny daemons after it.

---------------------------------------------
(LeFire)

"Frag! Looks like we miffed the big guy big time! Seven clouds of red flying bugs after us!" Evans yelled.

Ash reached out and melted a hole in the armour of the ship, directly under the tail where a anus would logically be had the Oceanhahn been a living being. (Unnoticed to her, the rigger pilot gave a yelp of pain at the prick in his butt). Pushing the nose of her flamethrower through, she got ready to fire if the swarms got in range.
Beside her, Nikkei prepped another spell, holding it in readiness in her head, the caressing lines of sparkling electricity dancing on her face a giveaway that she was ready to unleash it anytime the fly-things got near.

"Hurry up and land this crate where we can take shelter indoors! They are catching up!"
"Where?" came the howled reply from the co-pilot.
"Anywhere but here!" Ash shouted back, watching the swarms slowly close the distance...

---------------------------------------------
(CKW)

"Does that fragger need a signal?" asked Mawroth to himself.
"I need to talk with him."

He was so near the HQ. He could still sense the energies of a spell. A magic barrier.
"So... Isolate the daemons... That is your tactic. A pity it wonīt last for sure. There is something more than Daemons inside the rift."
He turned to his escort.
"Hold your position. I am going to reveal ourselves to that fragger, but we may lure the attention of daemons."
And he stirred himself. Started to chant a bit, and then screamed.
"Aurora!!!"
A beam of light impacted in the middle of the daemon crowds. It didnīt inflict much damage, but it had gone really spread. It even shattered one or two Greater Daemons.
"We are here. Dunkelzahn." Mawroth shouted mentally.

---------------------------------------------
(BlueThunder)

Holmer picked up his hammer, he'd seen to Rayi's wound and she was now fast asleep, she could have gone back out there but would she be any use? That man in the Armour had turned up soon after they did, she was asleep by the time though, he whispered to her and stood in the corner.

"If any of yer want me, Ah'm out saving the world!" The dwarf ran towards the exit of the Hospital, soldiers and medical aides a like moving out of his way. It wasn't long before the others heard his hammer drop to the floor, waking Rayi up with a start.

"What?" she yelped, holding her stomach in pain. "Where am I? Wheres Cairns? Sarah? What are you doing here?" It was hard to keep up with all her questions.
"Don't you remember?" Sarah asked.
"The last thing I remember is coming down the Stairwell with Cairns. YUCK! Why am I in these disgusting clothes? Wheres my robes?"
Sarah handed her what was left of her robes, blood stained rags with pieces of her armour tangled in it.
"W-what happened to me?" she asked staring at the robes.
"You were attacked by a Daemon, it ripped your clothes and armour to sherds and tried to eat you..."
"I always told you Daemon's eat foolish Indian girls." Sakhar cut in. "I also remember telling you that underwear was a good thing in Daemon attacks, But you never listen..."

Holmer come bursting in, almost hysterical, he grabbed Methdos by the shoulder.
"You me lad, are comin' onto the field of battle, we need as many men as we can git!"
"I'm coming too!" Rayi yelled, getting out of the bed and wrapping her old robe around her waist. "Wheres my sword?"
"I have it, and I'm keeping it! I'm not letting you go out there to die Rayi." It was Sakhar again, a tone of concern in his voice.
"Look, you spiked freak! I don't know who you are, but...." Rayi began, but she stopped as Methdos turned. The Golden Helm was unmistakeable. "M-Methdos?"
"I can't let you go out there Rayi, if one Daemon could do this to you, well..."
Rayi's shock quickly turned to anger, she grabbed the sword from Methdos, turning it towards him.

"Oh I see! I see it all so fraging clearly now!" She yelled at him. "You didn't care enough about me all those years ago, so you've come to make it up to me now. Well no! You took off and left me then, and your not worming you way back into my life now! I'm going to find Cairns."
"But, Rayi..." Sakhar began, but it was too late. She had run off with the dwarf into the thick of the fighting. Sakhar sat in the corner, his face in his hands. The spikes stuck into the wall as he tried to lean back against it, but no one dared try to move him.

"Don't worry about it." Sarah tried to reassure him. "She'll be ok about it when she comes back, and I'm sure she will come back!"
Sakhar just sighed.
"You don't understand, I may not be here when she comes back." he paused, shaking his head. "I have other unfinished business to attend to for now, damned necromancer. He STILL to this day manages to make me ruin my life, I've already broke several promises to Rayi, I don't want to brake the one I made to my family and friends....I will make him pay!" He rose to his feet, following Holmer and Rayi out the door. Sarah just sat, she was also worried. Worried about her friends back at the van, worried about Rayi and most of all, worried about David. Maybe she should go look for them, or at least what's left of them.

***

"I'm telling you Damocles!" Silvia yelled at the Bio Ork, her face was red with anger, he still refused to belive her. "He left his army of undead and has took off!"

Dark Sorrow. He said he was going a head to scout with his Undead, but after he had been gone awhile Silvia volunteered to go and look for him, it wasn't long before she found his whole army of Undead (one ripped to pieces but something) just standing there spilling their guts all over the place. But he was nowhere to be seen.

"Look, I'll even show you!" Silvia took lead Damocles to the place where she had found Sorrow's dead men, they were still there but the necromancer was still not to be seen. Xecktos took a quick look around, he just shrugged and repeated what Silvia had said. Damocles had a slight look of confusion on his face, as if he was having trouble processing what had happened.

"So...." Xecktos began. "What now?"
"I guess we grab a Daemon and take it back." Silvia replied, uneasy at the necromancers sudden disappearance. "He better not be using illusions to screw around with our heads or I'll sleging kill him!"
Damocles just grunted and continued to walk, knocking a few of the smaller daemons they had encountered down with his fist. Xecktos followed after him, Silvia stood behind for a while before also going after the Orks. She didn't really notice Sorrow's army of Undead following her until a vital Organ fell out near her feet.

"Forget the last thing I said, if I EVER see him again I'm going to kill him!"




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