Blood Under the Sun (Combined)

Tales of the Interstate

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Paladin
Trunk Monkey
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Blood Under the Sun (Combined)

Postby Paladin » Mon Jul 11, 2005 3:01 am

Well, A year late, but here she is. Blood Under the Sun. Going to cut it into 7 parts as the entire document is 75 pages in word. I left it pretty much un altered so the positions of some of the post may be out of position. They had been copied and pasted straight from the VOX forum at the time of creation and the Data has survived by some miracle since 1999... its hard to believe it has been six years.

If the original players (those still around anyways) would be interested in a possible Revision or possible completion I am more than game (Lord knows i sooo want to change what i wrote, as this was my first attempt at fictional writing and it shows..).

Anyways, here it is: (Even got the Cover Image that Bishop, i believe, whipped up.)


Image


Part One

Into The Desert

April 15th, 1980

The briefing ended, the soldiers, in ones and twos, made their way out of the small room and down the hallway, exiting into the harsh, unyielding sunlight. Many headed for their equipment kits, sitting on the tarmac next to the 3 Huey helicopters, to begin a last inspection before liftoff and execution. Each man was alone with his thoughts; for many, this was old hat, nothing compared to some of the other operations they had been on. For a few others, however, this was the first test of their skills, their abilities, their manhood. One of the rookies, Corporal Samms from the Army, approached one of the team leaders, quietly smoking and looking into the distance.

'Hey, do you have a cigarette?' Samms asked. The leader, who had been introduced as Mr. Singer, silently handed over his pack of Red Apples and continued staring away from the base. Samms lit up and nervously handed the cigarettes back to Singer. 'So you've done this before, huh?'

'Yeah.' He finally turned to look at the corporal. 'First time on deck?' Samms, slightly embarrassed, nodded. 'You get used to it after a while. That fear you feel in the pit of your stomach...it's normal. You'll get past it soon enough.' Samms looked at him, as if wanting to speak, then shut his mouth and dropped his head to look at the oily black pavement beneath his feet. After a moments hesitation, he raised his head again.

'Mr. Singer, have you ever been over here before?'

'Yes, I did some freelance stuff a few years ago. Actually, my team and I were some of the sorry sons-a-bitches who helped make it easier for that bastard to take power. If I'd known I was gonna be here now, gettin' ready for this mission...well, I would have gotten a job as an auto mechanic.'

Samms perked up. 'Hey, my brother does that! He works out of a shop in Socorro. That's in New Mexico, north of Truth Or Consequences...everyone seems to know that town.' He was rambling now, sucking down his cigarette with increased urgency. Singer discreetly checked his watch: 5 minutes until lift-off. A sound from the northwest caught his ear, and he glanced towards it. In the distance, one shape resolved into two, and he saw the big transport helicopters come in low and fast over the desert.

Samms looked up as they flared in over the landing pad and settled down. Bishop shook his head imperceptibly as they landed. 'Great, just what we need, a couple of stick cowboys' he muttered under his breath. The pilots exited the choppers, one of them making a beeline for where Samms and Singer were standing, lighting up a cigar as he did.

'Bishop! Somehow I knew I would find you in the center of this mess. Still doing the countries dirty work, eh? Not like that mess down in Angola, though, hey? That was totally FUBARed.'

Bishop, nodding, dropped and ground out his cigarette, spitting on the ground. There was a sizzle as it hit the helipad. 'How you doing, Simon? I thought you were working for Idi Amins Special Police Force in Uganda.' The words came out with the same tone he might use to insult someone. If Simon noticed, he didn't say anything.


'Nah. The pay was shit, the women were all sleazy and diseased, and the talents of a world-class pilot like myself were obviously under-appreciated. They had me driving a CAR, for Christ?s sake. Idi made some deal with a gangster or something in Dallas, they had a bunch of Courchevals and Phaedras with guns and rockets and shit. You know, like those wacko's in Texas and New Mexico and Arizona and everything. They had me dealing with 'possible civil dissidents,' basically people Idi didn't like. It was good work, but after a few months of shooting up houses and blowing the crap out of their piece of shit cars, you get bored with it. So how about you? I heard you and Sabrina retired and went into the consulting business. How is Sabrina, anyway? She still talk about me?' Simon grinned, puffing on the cigar.

Singer shook his head. 'No, Simon. She doesn't talk about you at all.' Simon laughed, poking Singer in the chest.

'Uh huh, uh huh. You're still pissed because she wouldn't give up the goods for you and spent 2 days shacked up with me in that West Berlin Hotel room, huh?' He shook his head. 'Look, man, I told you when we were in Panama, she just ain't into the black thing. So keep your dick in your pants and you'll get on fine with her. Now, take a prime Georgia specimen like myself, and the women just can't seem to resist.' Singer opened his mouth to reply, when a shout from the hanger drew his attention.

'Thane, get your sorry ass in here for the briefing before I kick your sorry ass back to rotting in a bar in Cairo!' Simon smiled, tamping out the cigar on his heel.

'Well, gotta run. I'll catch you after the fireworks, eh?' He jogged into the hanger, the sun gleaming off his buzz-cut blond hair and his aviator sunglasses. Samms turned to Singer and raised an eyebrow.

'Who was that guy?' Singer shook his head.

'Someone I would much rather forget.' He checked his watch again. 'We got about two minutes before they start loading up the 'copters. You might want to go over your equipment before you're cooped up. Its 3 hours there, and you won't have another chance before you're lining up on a terrorist.' Singer started to walk away, then turned. 'By the way, if you can manage it, stay away from Simon Thane. He's trouble, and I've seen his stupid stunts result in a lot of people getting hurt.' Samms nodded, then dropped his burnt out cigarette butt and trotted towards his equipment.

A few minutes later, with an hour left 'til sunset, the 5 helicopters lifted off in formation and started towards Tehran and the hostages in the US Embassy.


*******************

Singer came to with a start. The first thing he noticed was his head, which felt like a used basketball. The next thing was the blood that had dried on his face. He began gingerly inspecting his body with his hands, and soon found himself to be intact, if bruised and battered. With a concerted effort, he sat up.


He came to two quick realizations: first, that he was the only survivor from Chopper 3, and second that the blood on his face wasn't his. He strained to remember what happened right before they went down, and he had a brief flash of the sound of screeching metal-one of the transports rotors hitting the cockpit of Chopper 3-and the chopper suddenly tilting up 90 degrees and the desert floor rushing up to greet him. He wasn't even sure how he was still alive. He started picking his way through the wreckage, looking for someone from one of the other choppers. They must have stopped after this, right? He had a sudden fear of having to endure a scorching Saudi Arabia day all alone. The feeling of a hand clapping on his shoulder made him jump, and he spun around, drawing his pistol as he did.

One of the other squad leaders, Johannson, was yelling at him. He realized that there was a ringing in his ears he hadn't noticed before, and he holstered the gun. Behind Johannson, he saw the other 2 Hueys and the 2nd transport chopper. He looked around for the remains of the first transport, and saw it 20 yards away. It was damaged, but it was intact. Singer, ignoring Johannson's attempt to get his attention, made his way towards the transport.

He threw open the door and climbed in. The interior was a wreck, with equipment and fluid and paper strewn throughout the passenger cabin. He made his way up to the cockpit, and found a chilling sight. The pilots seat was empty, the safety restraints unhooked, as though someone had calmly exited after the landing. The co-pilots seat was more of a mess: he was still strapped in, dead, his blood and brains on the window next to him. In the side of his head facing the pilots seat was a bullethole. Singer uttered one word.

'Thane....'

Through the ringing, Singer could barely make out Johannson's words. 'We think he shot the co-pilot, then clipped chopper 3. By the time we got here, he was already gone. We figure he must have a jeep hidden somewhere out here, but they didn't give our choppers any radar, so there?s no way to track him. The missions been aborted, we're going back to Saudi.'

Singer nodded, exiting the chopper and heading for one of the other helicopters. As he made his way back, he passed the other soldiers zipping up the dead into bodybags. He saw Corporal Samms face, frozen in shock, as it was obscured by black rubberized plastic. Shaking his head, he climbed into the chopper and began the long ride home.

**********
August 3rd, 1980

Singer walked into the Texas bar and sat at the table across from the creeper. They had done business before, when Bishop was a federal employee, and he knew the creeper had good connections. When he sat down, the man slid a manila envelope across the table, a cocky grin on his face.

'The last known location of Simon Thane, with pictures, some hotel logbooks, bank deposit slips, travel itinerary, bar tabs, and his penis size too, I think.' Bishop nodded, handing the pile of bills to the man. 'So, does Sabrina know you're after this guy?' Bishop shook his head, lighting a cigarette.

'If she knew I was after him, she'd pick up her rifle and come after him too. I need no distractions right now.' He stood, nodded in thanks. 'I owe you one, Wing. I'll see ya around.'

Wing nodded in return. 'See you around, Bishop.' Bishop left the bar.

**************

The phone rang, shattering Pike's hangover like a freight train shatters a Phaedra Pony that got stuck on the tracks.

'Unnnnhh... what the who in..?'

He winced in pain as the sharp, high chiming set up a reverberation inside his head. It was like a whole army of little blacksmiths inside his skull, pounding his gray matter into horseshoes, which were then thrown at the back of his eyeballs.

'Rrrghh, godammit'

Pike clumsily pushed the blanket away from his body and rolled off of his old, ratty mattress onto the ramshackle floor on which it lay. He crawled across the floor to where the phone lay, its cord running outside through a hole in the wall directly up the telephone pole. Just as it began to ring again he snatched it off the receiver and slurred into the mouthpiece: 'Whoinhelliscallingme..?'

The thin, tinny voice that came through the other end was just barely recognizable as coming from an old high school friend of his who had, for reasons Pike couldn't understand, joined the army in '73.

'Hello? Hello? Anyone there?'

'What, Mike? Mike Knox? Jesus H, man, why the hell are you calling me? I thought you were stationed way the fuck over in some useless desert. I've got a fucking hangover man!'

'Thank god, it is you, Ca-'

'Pike! Call me Pike! If someone is listening to this line and found out my real name they could find my past! I don't want my mom's tongue getting cut out, you hear!? You hear me!??' Pike's hangover was disappearing like thin mist over a lake on a hot north woods morning.

'Shit, sorry  Pike. Pike. Christ, what the hell have you been doing these past few years..? Wait, no, I don't want to know. Hey, you know that kid you used to hang out with a lot? Last name Samm's?'

Suddenly, the oppressive heat inside the tiny, ramshackle hut that passed for Pike's home disappeared. He shivered as a cold chill ran down his spine. Pete Samms. What the fuck had the kid gotten himself into? After Pike had ripped the tongues of a couple creepers out of their rectums, he had done a drive through the town they'd been destroying. It was a flaming inferno for the most part, bulletholes everywhere. Blackened, twisted limbs sticking out from underneath burning cross members of houses. And one 13-year-old kid staring at his parents. His dead parents. For a few years, Pike had become the kid?s father. And mother. And brother. He?d told Pete not to join the army; he'd get killed He had been a wonderful mechanic, they could've stayed together, and Pike was all ready to give up that vigilante crap. After Pete had left for the army a year ago, Pike had lost the lease to the trailer they'd been living in.

His voice shaking, Pike asked: 'Wha  what hap  what my god'

Mike's voice softened. 'I'm sorry Ca - I mean Pike. Look, there's guy named Singer, Bishop Singer that's going after the guy who did it. From what I've heard it was a guy named Simon Thane. Singer was last seen in Texas.'

Just before he started sobbing, Pike got control. His voice hardened, and his watering eyes dried up. 'Thanks Mike.'


Totally silently, Pike picked up the phone, unplugged it, and hurtled it against the wall with every ounce of strength he had. It shattered into hundreds of tiny, plastic pieces that scattered across the floor. The ringer made a tiny clinking noise as it landed. Pike picked up his trusted Colt .45, and what ammo he had for it. He slipped into his only pair of jeans, hiking boots, and old faded orange T-shirt. He put his long, greasy hair in a ponytail and donned his well-worn black duster. Lastly he took the remains of his rum and vodka and splashed them across the floor. As he left the shack, he tossed a match inside. It was instantly engulfed in flames and threw an eerie, reddish glow on his banged-up, battled scarred Palomino as he walked to it. Sweeping the duster underneath his legs, he got in, started it up, and drove off in a cloud of tire smoke and a shower of gravel.

* * *
2 days later

'Are you Bishop Singer?'

Singer slowly turned around to see short, haggard man in a black duster. It was hard to spot, but the bulge of a handgun was just visible underneath the old coat. His eyes, nearly hidden under his brown bangs and a single, black eyebrow, looked weary. And yet, there was a fire in them. Restrained, controlled. But a hot fire just the same.

'Why should I tell you?'

'Do you know who killed Pete Samms?'

Singer understood.

'Yes. I know him. There's a saying amongst the terrorists in the Middle East. It goes something like: 'a man has many bones so that each of his enemies may have his share in revenge.' '

Pike just nodded.

The two men walked out of the bar and into the harsh Texas sunlight. Across the street, a rally was taking place, a group of men and women holding signs saying things like 'Guns+Cars=Death!', 'Enough is Enough' and 'Who will save our children when The vigilantes come for US?' There was a young, well-dressed, crew cut man who was speaking; the crisp, dry morning air was distorting his words so that they were unintelligible by the time they reached the two. Pike eyed the gathering; Bishop ignored it completely and pulled out a pack of cigarettes. He offered one to Pike, who declined. Bishop leaned against his car and stared off at the Waco skyline. He turned to Pike.

'So, look, buddy....' Pike interrupted him.

'Pike. The names Pike.' Bishop nodded, laughing.

'Okay, Pike it is. Anyway, you need to know something. You wanna come along on this crusade, you're more than welcome to join me. You look like you've been around the block, and it's always nice to have someone to watch my back. But lets get one thing straight: Don't get in my way. You want this son-of-a-bitch as much as I do, that's fine by me. But he's got about 10 years of bad mojo to answer to before your brother?s death. That's just the last nail in the coffin, as far as I'm concerned.' Pike gave Bishop a hard look.

'Look, asshole. I'm not some fresh-faced son of a bitch whose daddy bought him a brand new Cavera with the Deluxe Vigilante Package included, alright? I've been around the block, and I've seen some shit. Yeah, maybe you've got the experience with this jerkoff....' He trailed off.

'Thane. Simon Thane.' Pike nodded.


'Thane. Right, okay. You might have some history with Thane, but he took the one decent thing I ever had any hand in and took it the fuck away. So yeah, if we have some kind of plan, you'll get first crack at him. But if he happens to cross my line of sight before that, all bets are, off, you get me? ALL BETS ARE FUCKING OFF!' Pike was yelling now, a dangerous look in his eye. Bishop had calmly watched as his hand had unconsciously started creeping towards his holstered pistol, and noted that the morning had suddenly become very quiet. A pair of large black guys, walking out of the bar, came over and eyed Pike suspiciously. They looked at Bishop.

'You okay, brother?' The big one said. 'This guy giving you some trouble?' Bishop laughed and shook his head.

'No, man, its cool. My partner here was just expressing his concern over some bad merchandise he purchased from an autoshop last week. Isn't that right, Pike?' Pike, taking in the two men, nodded. The tension seemed to ease a bit from their bodies, and both smiled.

'Alright. Just didn't want to leave a brother hanging out in the-' His words were cut off by a bottle smashing into the side of Bishops '49 Hermes. Bishop shifted his head to the left, Pike dropped his hand to the butt of his pistol, and the two men stepped back and into a defensive posture.

From across the street, the mob of anti-vigilante protestors were making their way towards the group. They were already agitated, and the young man leading them had a positively murderous look in his eye.

'There they are! These are the men who have helped in the deaths of your children, your friends, your brothers and sisters! It is time to make them pay for what they've done!' His exclamation was met by howls and screams, and the four trapped men could positively smell the bloodlust in the air. Bishop, with a disarming smile, stepped forward.

'Uh, wait just a minute, folks. What exactly are you saying?' The young man leveled a finger at Bishop.

'It?s you and your filthy kind here who are making things worse for the rest of us. You're no better then the criminals, hell, you're worse! You think you're doing the right thing, 'upholding' the law! But what happens when you start going too far? When you blow some teenage dropout away because he breaks the law....by JAYWALKING? What happens then, huh?'

'Seems to me, that the Vigilantes are doing the best that they can. They keep the Auto-Villains from overrunning the country. Or do you want to end up being some sick bastards plughole to keep your family alive?' The statement, intended to shock the man into silence, had no effect.

'No, I don't think so. You guys...you just make it worse. If it wasn't for your little crusade against them, they would just fade out. But you Vigilantes, you go on the warpath, and they respond with force....it escalates. And it?s our goal to put a stop to it...to all of it! And we're gonna start with you.'

'That?s really not a smart idea. See, my friends, here, they're all unstable, and I have no idea what they might do if you don't drop that threatening posture of yours...' Bishops last chance to keep the confrontation from escalating failed with the young mans next words.

'If you know what's best, nigger, you and your spearchucking friends will just come quietly. It won't hurt for long...I promise.'


'Well...' Bishop laughed again and shook his head. 'Okay, if this is how you want it...' He looked at Pike, and then back at the two guys, who were teetering somewhere between rage and fear. Bishop indicated a pair of parked cars with his eyes, then his raised hand. Both nodded, and Bishop turned back around. 'You got a name, son? I figure I ought to know who's taking me to my grave.' The young guy nodded, victory in his eyes.

'My names Lester Clayton, with the Citizens Anti-Vigilante Organization. I hope you're ready for...' Bishop dropped his hand.

With a sudden flurry of activity, all four men burst into movement. The two men turned and sprinted for the pair of cars, a black Jefferson Sovereign and a dark blue Courcheval Courchelle. Pike drew his gun and dropped back behind the Hermes, drawing a mental line between himself and his battered Palomino. Bishop, moving like a zephyr, charged right at Lester Clayton and tackled him, going down in the middle of the crowd. They closed in, and Bishop was lost to sight.

'Oh, shit,' Pike swore emphatically.

**********

?Awwwwww Damn,? MofoFunk muttered to himself, 'Why do the silly Vigs always have to get themselves in a riff-raff with these dumbfuck civilians?' Mofo leaned up against the left side of his beat up ugly orange and tan '73 Bushmaster. Its looked like a little ex-postal vehicle with burnt tinfoil wrapped around it for armor... but it did get the job done. 'Jeez, the damn fools should be goin' after me, I'm the so-called big bad creeper,' the freelancer thought out loud. Mofo eyed the crowd closely from across the street, sipping on his Cherry Squishee from the Quick 'E Freeze, which was almost liquid now due to the blazing sun. He noticed earlier that this Bishop character was the one Hell's Finest member The Wingnut had been telling him about, and also saying to keep a close look-see on things. So far Mofo had made sure Bishop hadn't gotten into anything he couldn't handle around these parts, but it looked like time for some action and less watching.

Mofo casually hopped into the old Bushmaster and started it up. He screeched out of the parking lot, weaving back and forth towards the crowd. The angry mob, too concentrated on their task of violence, didn't even notice the jeep coming towards them. It screeched to a stop, inches away from the people shouting in the back. Terrified and bewildered everyone turned around.'Heeeeeeyyyyyy you stoopidfrigginjerks!' Mofo shouted dumbly.

'I'm your baby-killer!!! I'm your big bad creeper you lookin' fo'!' ... 'Muhahahahahaaaaaawww' MofoFunk laughed insanely, as he jerked the front of the Bushmaster in the direction of a nearby telephone poll. 'Lookitmeeeee!' He screamed, shooting three solid firerite rockets into the tall wooden post. It splintered, and fell down hard with a loud snap. The crowd was totally confused, looking in each direction. One towards the vigilante Bishop and Lester Clayton still wrestling on the ground, and towards the insane creeper, sticking his head out his window with his tongue hanging out.

MofoFunk pulled the wheel hard to the left and confronted the crowd with the front of his jeep and a well played mad look on his face.'Heeeehhheeehheee...' Mofo cackled. A cloud of dust went up as the crowd scattered it less than a second, looking for cover in their cars or behind nearby buildings.

...When the dust settled Pike looked up over the Hermes and saw Bishop still beating the now unconscious Lester with his fists. 'Come on Bishop, save it for Thane... he's out cold.' Pike said as he tried to pull Bishop off of the bloodied man.Bishop got up just it in time to see the dirty old Bushmaster speeding off down the road.

'Who and the hell WAS THAT?' Bishop looked at the equally puzzled Pike.

'C'mon, I think the crowd is reforming' Pike said, 'Lets get on the road.'


The Palomino, Sovereign, Courchelle, and Hermes took off down in the direction of the fast fading daylight.

***

The sun was beginning to set and MofoFunk laughed to himself.

'Oh man, I sure hope ta hell I don't hafta do anymore actin'' Mofo grinned, 'Wing' is gonna owe me big time.' The little jeep rumbled along, far ahead of the other four cars.

******

A Dry Morning

Early the next day, as the sun just began to slide over the tips of the mesas that broke up the horizon, Pike and Bishop were conversing over a couple cups of coffee in some weak excuse for the greasy spoon species of diner. The coffee was pale and watery and nearly tasteless, but neither of the men was thinking about coffee or even the scrambled eggs and chunky sausage they were waiting for. Pike blew a whiff of steam off of the top of his cup and leaned in towards Bishop. He took a long sip by bringing the cup to his lips and leaning forward so that he could keep his eyes on Bishop.

'So. Do you have something against staying alive? Some sort of aversion to your own well being? Perhaps you?re allergic to getting a clue. Why the hell did you jump into the middle of that crowd? You, a goddamn black man of all people, should know what an angry mob can do....'

Bishop chuckled softly. He was sprawled all the way across the bench seat he was sitting in, bruises and a few gashes scattered around what parts of his body weren't covered by his clothes. He had been single minded about giving his target the beating of his life but he hadn't come out unscathed. Smiling, Bishop also leaned forward.

'The real question is, Pike, why weren't you right there next to me. You're not a well man, that's obvious. I saw the way your eyes lit up when I mentioned the opportunity to break multiple bones. You've hurt people and enjoyed it in the past, why not defend yourself now?'

Pike's eyes widened and his face drained of blood at those words. He settled back into the bench, seemed to shrink in on himself. He mumbled something unintelligible.

'What was that?' asked Bishop, thinking that perhaps Pike had been caught by fear and was embarrassed. Especially after his earlier outburst about having been 'around the block.' However, when Pike looked at him, Bishop was taken aback and realized it was something deeper. Much deeper.

'What ... what if they were right? I mean, maybe it was really me that killed Pete. God, I ... I always told the boy about how I'd been a vig... How I'd stopped, stopped for him... He'd always say, you know, he'd say: 'Come on Pops, you were great! You helped people! You did more than my first dad ever did!' I always told him that was wrong, but he musta wanted to, you know, follow me... Do good or some other useless shit... So he joined the army... And now he's dead.' Pike looked down, filled with shame.

Bishop, unsure of just what to say, simply sat silently for a few seconds. Then, in a low yet clear voice, he said, amazement thick in his tone: 'Pops? I thought Samms was your brother.'


Pike shook his head side to side, a wistful smile on his face. 'Nope...' and then he told him the whole, real story of how he's saved Pete and Pete only from that small town, how he'd done his best to raise the kid... The good times, the bad... Finishing with how it was his fault that Samms was dead. '... Maybe, maybe I could have done a better job somehow...' Bishop took it all in, then said one word: 'Bullshit.'

'Look, man, you did the best job you could. You know, that kid looked up to you, and having a kid you raise, even - or maybe especially - partway, want to be like you is just natural. The fact that he interpreted being like you as doing good just proves it more. You gotta let go. It was his choice, and his alone to join the army. You did a good job raising him, but the hardest part is admitting he's his own man. What Simon Thane did ain?t got a goddamn thing to do with it.'

Bishop took a deep breath. The breakfast arrived, and the men began to eat, thoughtfully. Finally, Bishop finished off his latest bite of toast and leaned closer to Pike. 'See the guy over there-' he indicated a direction by nodding his head '-? That?s the one that was driving that Bushmaster yesterday. Pike nodded.

'Already saw him. Perhaps we should have a chat with him.' As they began to get up, Pike reached out and put his hand on Bishop's shoulder. 'And Bishop...'

'Yeah?' the other man said, confused.

'Thanks.'


Bishop and Pike made their way to where the man was eating his food and having a conversation with himself. They stood there for a moment, waiting for him to acknowledge their presence and look up. Both men eyed each other as the man continued talking to himself at length about the merits and flaws of the 2-egg breakfast he was wolfing down at the moment.

'Yes, yes, I think you're right. The eggs DO have a nice balance between fluffy and thick, and the bacons consistency is just chewy enough to make an impression, but not so crispy that it tastes like eating fried charcoal...on the other hand, the breakfast you had at the truckstop outside of Vegas 2 years ago was THE BEST....yes, it was good, but you ALWAYS bring up that truckstop. Aren't there any other places that you've ever had breakfast that you like?.....Well, that was a truly sublime and excellent breakfast.....Okay, that?s a good point...' He continued eating, humming a tune. Bishop and Pike looked at each other again, then shrugged. Bishop spoke first.

'Hey, pal, mind if we have a word with you?' The man didn't look up from his meal when he responded.

'As long as it has nothing to do with that girl back in El Paso, then sure. And if it does, she never told me she had a boyfriend, and I really didn't mean to shoot him in the head with that sniper rifle....'

'Uh, no, we don't care about any of that,' Pike said, keeping his voice as even as possible. 'We were just wondering why you saved our bacon in front of Roosters Roadhouse yesterday.' The guy just looked up at them with a dazzling smile.

'Speaking of bacon, the bacon here is SEN-Sational! Have you tried it?' Bishop looked as though he were fighting to keep his face calm as he replied.

'Yes, its great, but if you don't stop talking like a crazy person, I'm going to have no choice but to throw away your breakfast.' And with one swift move, Bishop snatched the plate away from the man and held it at arms length from him. The man looked up and fixed Bishop with an icy stare.

'Mister, I've killed people for doing less then touching my food. So unless you want to step outside and dance, do the smart thing and put the plate back on the table.' Bishop raised his eyebrow.

'You tell me why you helped us, and I'll give you back your food. Hell, I'll even pay the check, but you better start making with the answers, or the only mouth this plate will ever see again is the one on a trash can. So spill the beans, amigo.' The man kept glaring at him, then he dropped his gaze.

'The names MofoFunk. I'm a friend of The Wingnut; he asked me to keep track of you, make sure you stayed out of trouble.' Mofo looked at the plate. 'Could I have my food now, please?'
Bishop lowered the plate back to the table. Pike was giving him an odd look.

'The Wingnut....name sure sounds familiar. Doesn't he run with some creeper gang, guys called Hells Finest or something....? You know that guy?' Bishop, lost in thought, nodded.

'Yeah. He got me the info on Thane.' He looked down at MofoFunk. 'Why did Wing ask you to do that?' Mofo shrugged.

'I don't know, man. He just did. Said something about how you nearly got killed in Bangkok and needed him to watch your back, or something...' Bishop smiled.

'Bangkok. Son-of-a-bitch. Okay, that's cool.' Pike now looked more confused then ever.

'Bangkok? What the hell were you and Wing doing in Bangkok?' Bishop smiled.

'That's a long story...' Mofo looked up.

'I'd like to hear this story too, man. Wing always plays it so close to his chest, it's be nice to hear a bit more about the guy....' Bishop and Pike looked at each other, then sat down. Bishop lit up another cigarette (Damn, thought Pike, He sure smokes a lot) and started talking.

'Well, it really started in the middle of a job the day before we were in Bangkok.' Bishop took a long drag, then exhaled.

'Wing' and I were flying a C-54, that's a government DC-4, for The Company out of Guam. Huge load of crap, ammo, so forth. Our flight engineer was a native Cambodian. The Company liked to mix and match crews to look a bit more like a legit op, you know, small startup airline. It's a good thing the airport cops never inspected us by surprise, because we were always carrying dope or something like that mixed in with the guns and other crap.'

Bishop took another drag, leaned back against the booth's plastic and sparkle vinyl seatback, and exhaled smoke and words.

'At any rate, this Cambodian didn't talk much. Did his job, watched all the gauges, commo'ed with the air bosses and ATC and that was about it. Kind of a shady character. Never talked unless he had to, didn't make eye contact when he DID talk, and never had anything but the task at hand to talk about. Chairman Mao would have hung medals on this guy with eagerness. A real worker. This guy was just fine, we'd been flying freight and bigwigs all over S.E.A., that's Southeast Asia, for more than a month with him without a hitch. Then he starts acting weird. I mean, not weird like a normal person would act weird, he just suddenly got friendly. Opened right up. Started cracking jokes, good ones, too. Told us about his wife and kids, asked us about our lives, marital status, and so forth. This was WEIRD behavior for a guy that before hardly ever uttered a word. After about three hours of this, he says he's going to take a nap and goes into the cargo bay.

Singer took yet another drag, flicked ashes into the horseshoe-shaped ashtray by the window, and continued talking.

'Wing and I didn't know what to think. He just kind of shrugged it off, and we kept heading for Iwo. About an hour later something went BANG' - Bishop shouted the word loud enough to turn heads in the entire joint - 'in the back and the guy came running up front with a gun. He had this wild-eyed look, and I thought we'd had it right there. He told us to fly to North Vietnam or die. Obviously, you can't do that with two hours' fuel left and NV six hours away. We told him we'd have to land at Iwo and fuel up or we'd die anyway. He gets real mean, tells us that if we even blink funny he's going to plug us both and fly the damn plane himself. The funny thing is, I think he would've. We touch and go at Iwo, fuel up really fast and hightail it out of there. Two hours out of Ho Chi Minh City, the guy tells us to get on the deck and firewall it to Thailand. Well, you don't argue with a guy that's holding an AK to your head no matter how weird he's being, so we ended up in Bangkok. We land; the guy makes us taxi into this hangar, and then tells us we're going to be executed as enemies of the People's Republic of North Vietnam. As this point Wing's getting real antsy, like blow an o-ring antsy, and just goes freaking berserk. Screams his head off, jumps out of the left seat, and before the guy gets the gun off of me and onto him, Wing's got both fists in this guy's face, and the Cambodian dude's putting holes all over the cockpit trying to plug at least one of us. They both fall over, the guy somehow gets the gun under Wing's chin, and I grab the fire extinguisher off the bulkhead and throw it right at the gook's head. BAM!' -heads turned again - 'hit him dead center, snapped his neck and send blood all over the place. Couldn't believe it, almost like divine intervention.'

Bishop exhaled loudly, took another drag in the cigarette, and slouched deeper into the booth.

'So that's what we were doing in Bangkok.'

The entire restaurant was silent. Pike and Mofo were looking at Bishop as though he had just suggested they all sing the national anthem naked and then play a few innings of baseball. Bishop, lost in thought, was staring out at the desert. In the distance, thunderheads were rolling in over the landscape, casting the sun in that ultra-bright glare that always comes right before a hard rain. Mofo was the first to break the silence.

'You know, if I didn't know Wing', I'd thing you had just lost your mind, buddy. But I have to say, that sounds like the kind of thing he'd be neck deep in the middle of.' Bishop shrugged.

'It was what it was. I'm no better or worse because of it.' He stood, dropped some money on the table. 'Well, Pike and I need to be hitting the road. I have some people I need to go see. You tell Wing thanks for keeping an eye out, and if he wants to join the party he's welcome to. Something tells me he's got other things on his mind, however.' He looked at the short man, who, even after a night at the Motel 13, looked as haggard as ever. 'Jesus, Pike, do you always look like boiled shit in the morning?' Pike gave him a dirty look.

'Fuck you, man.' Bishop looked at Mofo.

'What about you, Mr. Funk? You interested in joining the posse for revenge? Guaranteed lots of violence, death, maybe a little torture...should be fun.' Mofo gave him an odd look.

'I dunno, Bishop. That thing you and the Wingnut did.... That a regular type occurrence in your life?' Bishop laughed.

'Mofo, that kind of thing happens to me all the time. You ever hear that ancient Chinese curse, 'may you live in interesting times?' Well, this girl I dated met her while on assignment in Hong Kong, actually.... Well, she and I had a falling out, and, well, that was the last thing she said to me. Ever since then.... What a nightmare.' He shook his head, lost in reverie. 'Anyway, if you wanna join up, you're welcome to. But its gonna be dangerous. The guy we're going after, he plays for keeps.' Mofo just smiled at him.

'Bishop, I gotta come along. I want to see what happens to you next! I've never had the opportunity to travel with a guy who was cursed before! This is gonna be great! Hold on, let me go take care of the check. I'll be back in a flash.' Mofo walked across the restaurant to a mild-mannered looking man in glasses who seemed to be trying to sink into his chair as the outlaw approached. Pike turned to Bishop once Mofo was out of earshot.

'Great. You're letting a certified loony-tune come along on this thing, and the only reasons he wants to join us is because he's insanely curious to see what happens to you next? Isn't that just a tad on the side of INSANITY?'

'Hey, Pike, you know what Sir Edmund Hillary said when he was asked why he wanted to climb Mount Everest?' Pike shook his head. 'His reply was, 'Because it is there.' Some of the craziest ventures that have ever happened have been based on a whim. If my continued state of cursed existence gives this guy a boner, and that means one more live body-and well armored car-to catch the lead that will inevitably fly, then I'm all for him joining the party.' Mofo finished talking to the guy, then came back to his table, dropped a dollar, and looked at Pike and Bishop, an eager smile on his face.

'Okay, Villa, lets ride!' He started out of the restaurant. Bishop and Pike reluctantly followed. As he was nearing the door, the waitress, Dolly, called out to him.

'Hey, hey pal!' Mofo spun around. 'You forgot to pay for your breakfast!' Mofo pointed at the man he had spoken with, and gave him an even, expressionless stare.

'Uh, no, no miss, he didn't,' the man stammered. 'Just, uh, just add it to my bill, please. Thank you.' He went back to his impression of the Invisible Man. Mofo smiled, waved, and started doing the hustle out the door. Pike gave Bishop a look of exasperation. Bishops face reflected his sudden doubt as well.

'On the other hand, having a guy who might or might not be certifiable could present a problem...' They walked out into the lowering sky.
Formerly Known to the Interstate Faithful As:

187 [TBP]
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Redline Fox
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Postby Redline Fox » Wed Dec 07, 2005 10:41 am

The dusty town of Miller, New Mexico had no real history to speak of; the only noteworthy thing about it was the fact that, in June of 1916, Pancho Villa and his bandits had staged a raid on the border town with the intent of pillaging it for supplies. Unfortunately, they were met by a surprise contingent of American soldiers. The Battle At Millers Creek, as it came to be known, was written as an American Victory, and rightly so: 5 Americans lost their lives, and 15 more were injured, to the nearly 50 Mexicans killed and 300 wounded. Beyond that, Miller had quietly stayed out of the path of history. It had sent its sons to both World Wars and to Korea, where they returned with honor, distinction, and even a few medals. They had even sent them to a little known country named Vietnam, where they had fought and bled and died with honor, then returned to a world that didn't want them. Miller, though, accepted all of its returning sons, the ones in uniform, the ones in wheelchairs, and the ones in caskets, always with a little bit of ceremony and standard small town gossip.


Today, though, one of its sons was returning incognito, which was his intention. Though the Royale was brand new, it was painted an unassuming shade of blue. Though it was armed, there was nothing obtrusive about the weapons; the driver was very intent on not drawing any attention to himself. At least, not yet.

The car parked in front of The Sheriffs office, the man exited and walking into the small liquor store next door. As he did, he saw three more cars, a Clydesdale, a Stag, and a Bushmaster, all with Mexican plates, pull up and park in front of the movie theatre across the street. He smiled to himself. Right on time, he thought. This should go off without a hitch. In his minds eye, he saw the other cars all pulling into position: Two cars at the three officer border checkpoint. One car at the bridge over Miller?s Creek, swollen with the spring rain run off. Four out at The Westerner, the only bar in the area where Vigilantes were welcome. Two at the small radio station that had been playing tinny Country and Western music for as long as he could remember. And finally, 5 at the real prize, the railway station on the south edge of town, one of 2 places in the state where train traffic into and out of Mexico was regulated by a miniscule staff of 5 people. He remembered planning the operation in the hacienda with The General, listening as the Intelligence Chief had outlined the plan, and named two possible towns for the operation, and the thrill he'd had when his old hometown was dropped in his lap like a surprise gift. He had responded immediately that Miller was their target, and The General had confirmed it without a second thought. He couldn't afford to be wrong, not with the money he's shelling out for this shindig, the man thought. Not to mention the incredible risks being taken in his name. But it only has to work for a week, he thought. After that, things will be fine. More than fine; The General will have what he wants, and I'll be so deep inside his organization that when The Boss drops the axe, we'll have those bastards by the huevos.... He smiled even wider at the thought.

He glanced at his watch; 3 minutes until noon, the inception point. High Noon, all bets were off. The smile sliding away, he remembered watching Gary Cooper and Grace Kelly fight the bad guys in the movie theatre across the street. He'd rooted for the bad guys, but they never won. The girl he'd been with, Amanda MacReady, she hadn't liked that at all. They'd only been 10, but from that afternoon to the day he had left the town for the last time to go to army basic training, they had never spoken another word to each other, or more specifically, she'd never spoken another word to him, though he had tried to talk to her on more then one occasion. Well, today the bad guys were going to win, although bad and good were all really dependent on your point of view. Hmm... Amanda MacReady. Maybe after the fireworks were over, he'd have to pay her a visit. He found himself liking that idea.

He looked at his watch again. 1 minute left. He pulled a six-pack of Cola from the large refrigerator and glanced around the store. Aside from the bored looking young woman behind the counter, there were a few other people inside; a pair of young teenage girls, laughing and joking; a man dressed in mechanic garb, thumbing through a nudie magazine, and a genuine cowboy, down to the hat on his head, the chaps on his legs, and the blued steel 6-shooter on his belt. He dawdled a bit, then walked up to the counter with the sodas in his left hand. Out the window, he could see dark clouds rolling in to drop more of the seasonal torrential rain on the town. Perfect, he thought to himself. As he stepped up to the counter, his watch reached 12. Across the street, the 3 carloads of armed men rushed into their assigned targets. Nobody in the town had the slightest hint of what was about to happen. On the radio, the DJ was talking about the latest debate between Carter and Reagan.

Simon Thane smiled at the clerk, put the sodas on the counter with his left hand, and with his right, drew the .44 Magnum he'd hidden under his jacket. 'Howdy,' he said to the young woman?s astonished face, the last thing she would ever hear.

Far off, there was the sound of thunder.

SPLAT.


SPLAT.

SPLAT, SPLAT SPLAT.

Big heavy raindrops sounded on the windshields, roofs, and hoods of the three cars. The man in the Bushmaster was leading the other two, riding in between both lanes.

'Man, this acting like I'm a loony thing isn't as hard as I thought.' Mofo smiled to himself.

The three cars headed southwest, into the storm, which, by the minute was getting worse.

'I guess I gotta keep it up though, don't want to confuse them any more just yet... but OHHHH, that Wing', he is gonna owe me big time! Yeah, maybe some new rims for the Wonkanator...' Mofo thought out loud. He began to hum his favorite tune, tapping his hands wildly on his steering wheel to the beat.

Bishop stared ahead at the Bushmaster taillights, weaving to and fro.

'What in the hell is that crazy doing?' Bishop glanced out his rear windshield at Pike, only to see a greatly distorted image of a rain washed Palomino behind him.

The rain was coming down like liquid boulders now, the sides of the asphalt road, now long muddy lakes. But the three cars pushed on, speeding through the storm torrent.

***

Many miles ahead, in the muddy hills of New Mexico. Thane and his posse had taken the whole town of Miller hostage. 4 people were already dead. A clerk, a cowboy, and two officers.

Simon Thane leaned back in a chair and sighed. He had gathered most of the townspeople together in the small makeshift train station. But this isn't the way he wanted it to go. The inches of falling rain had impeded almost all of the vehicles that Thane had arranged.

'Damnit...' Thane gruffed softly to himself.

He thought of what he was going to do next. How to get everything straightened out. Some of Thane's men were getting antsy. And he knew that if any of them blew this now, and operation slipped up, The General would have is head on a platter. He looked down at his boots and sighed again, his demented mind racing...

What Thane didn't know, is that Bishop Singer, the man he thought he had taken care of, the man he had killed when those helicopters went down, was only miles away, speeding along the wet asphalt.

***

The Bushmaster, Hermes, and Palomino glided through the rain, picking up some speed as the weather was beginning to let up.

Bishop looked to his right, wiping away some steam that had formed on the inside of his windshield. He slowed down just enough to make out what the billboard said as he passed it...

He repeated it out loud to himself in a whisper, 'Welcome to New Mexico.'


******

Bishop?s first sign of trouble was when the taillights on the Bushmaster ahead of him lit up and the ugly orange vehicle started sliding across the road. Without thinking, he engaged the weapons and started watching the radar. A quick glance in the rearview revealed Pike was on his same wavelength. He started slowing down and moved to the right to clear Bishop from his field of fire. As both cars slowed to a halt, Bishop picked up his CB and called to the others.

'Bishop to Knight, Bishop to Knight, come in, what?s the delay, over,' he said, scanning the roadside for any possible hostiles. He didn't see how anyone could get out of the mud in the side of road unless they were driving a car with a bulldozer's' suspension and tires. Nevertheless, he remained alert and ready for trouble.

'Uh, Knight to Bishop and Rook, Knight to Bishop and Rook, you guys are out of luck, over.' Without a second thought, Bishop locked his weapons on the vehicle in front of him. Mofo had sold them out. His mind started racing. They'd passed a turnoff 7 miles back, if he spun around and floored it, they might make it there...but what if he had reinforcements waiting? He tried to size up the situation as he responded, doing his best to keep his apprehension out of his voice.

'Come again, Knight? Don't understand what you mean, over.' His fingers hovered over the trigger, his 3 7.62s ready to cut through the Bushmaster like a can opener. He thought really hard in Pike?s direction to be ready for action.

'Bishop, Rook, we have a bridge out, repeat, the bridge has been washed away into the river here, and I don't think you guys can fly across like me, so you're outta luck, over.' Bishop sighed. Shaking his head, he picked up the mike and responded.

'Knight, you need to work on your phrasing, you nearly got filled with lead, over.' Before Mofo could reply, Pike?s voice came from the speaker.

'Roger that, Knight. I was ready to send a few rockets up your keister, over.' Bishop shook his head in amazement as Mofo laughed into his mike.

'No worries, boys. I can't die, didn't you know that? I'm invincible. Yeah, I bought this potion from a woman in a traveling circus about 15 years ago, and since then, I've never had a scratch. So don't worry about me.' Bishop shook his head.

'Ah, roger that, Knight. In the meantime, we need to find an alternate way to Mescalero. If we can't take 62 because the bridge over the Pecos is out, we're going to need to find another route, over.' He picked up his map and started perusing it, tracing a possible route with his fingers.

'No problem, Bishop,' Pikes voice responded. If we had back to that turnoff about 7 miles back, we can head up to Artesia and take 82 out to Alamogordo. From there, Mescalero is only 30, 35 miles away. By the way, who do you know on the Reservation, over?' Bishop was surprised, then remembered what Pete Samms had said.

'Roger that, Rook. I keep forgetting that you know this state really well. Go ahead and lead the way, over.' He chuckled to himself, dropping the car into reverse. What a wacky little band they had.

Blood Under The Sun, Chapter Two: Ghosts Around The Fire
By: Bishop, Pike, Mofofunk, Wing, Paladin


The Clydesdale came to rest in the ditch, discarded like a piece of litter on the side of the highway. Joe felt like his head had just been compressed in a vise; shaking off the headache, he hit the release on the 5 point racing harness that had just saved his ass. Climbing through the shattered windshield and clawing his way through the mud to the crest of the ditch. He peered through the rain and darkness, straining to see what he had hit. The flash of lightning lit up the night sky, before him sat the remains of what had been the Pecos-River Bridge. Off in the distance on the other side of the river 3 sets of headlights appeared through the mist. Climbing back down to the wreckage, Joe Salvaged a pair of military night vision goggles. Looking across the raging Pecos River, stopped on the road overhead he saw a vintage Hermes, a Palomino, and a Glenn Bushmaster.
' MofoFunk? Son of a Bitch...' he muttered peering through the lens. ' Sold him a chopper a few years back...only person I know crazy enough to drive one of those...it has to be him....'.

Joe searched frantically for the flashlight he always carried in his Surplus WWII Air Force Vest, finding it he flipped the switch...nothing.... Throwing it aside he muttered ' Shoulda used Energizer....' Across the river the headlights turned away, disappearing in the mist. 'Shit...'

******

They were 3 miles out of Mescalero when Bishop started getting the feeling he was being watched. The rain had continued all day, and the sun had set behind the clouds, though the only noticeable effect was the light had faded into an inky, wet blackness. This is crazy, he thought. Who would be lurking in this mess at night? The roadsides were so bad that only a complete nut would let his car get bogged down. Plus, anyone on foot would be miserable in this weather. Still, he couldn't shake the feeling. He glanced at the two cars behind him. As he did, his radio suddenly crackled to life.

'Bishop, this is Rook. I have the feeling we are under observation, over.' In the Palomino, Pike shifted in his seat, trying to shake the uncomfortable feeling he had. Bishops voice came out of the radio.

'That's a BIG 10-4, Rook. You must have read my mind, over.' Their words were confirmed a moment later.

'Attention, three armed vehicles approaching the Reservation, please prepare to stop and be approached. Any hostile action will be met with lethal force, over.' Bishop instantly complied, as did the two cars behind him. They slowed down, eventually reaching a well-constructed roadblock and several cars all with their weapons trained on the road. Bishop slowed to a halt, rolling down his window and keeping both hands visible. After a moment, a figure approached the door, a shotgun in its hands. As it came closer, it resolved itself into a woman. She gave Bishop the once over.

'Hi there. Just so you realize, your friends make any moves, you die first. Now then, if you're just passing through, you can back up and go around the Res. through Tularosa. If you have business here, tell me and I'll let you know if you're welcome. Now then, what's your name and what do you want?' Before he could answer, a voice cut out of the darkness behind her.

'His name is Bishop Singer, Lydia, and he's most likely here to cause trouble and raise some hell, if I remember correctly.' A man stepped from the wet shadows and approached the car.

'Actually, I'm here looking for a no-good Apache redskin named Johnny Blaine, sometimes goes by Johnny Zero. If he's here, tell him I owe him for East Germany.' The man behind Lydia snickered.


'Tell that Spear Chucker that if knows what?s best for him, he'll turn and leave before I lose my temper.' Bishop suddenly exited the car. Lydia, unsure of what to do, kept the shotgun on him as he walked toward the man.

'What you gonna do, Red man? Hit me with your Tomahawk and scalp me?' There was a moment of uncomfortable silence, and then both men started laughing and gave each other big bear hugs.

'Jesus, Bish, what the fuck are you doing here, man? I ain't seen you since May of '75 at least. What?s that been? Four years? How the hell are you?'

'I'm good, man. How about you? Been staying out of trouble?'

'Yeah, you know, just doing the family thing. So what?s up? Why are you here? Still talk to Sabrina? Those guys there with you?' Bishop nodded.

'Those guys are with me, yeah. Sabrina is good; she's doing some stuff in Vegas. And I'm here because you once said to me that if I ever needed your help with something, you'd be willing to do it. So that's why I'm here.' Johnny?s smile faded.

'Who?' Bishop looked serious as well.

'It?s Thane. He went over the top.' Johnny nodded then looked at Lydia, still pointing the shotgun. 'It?s okay, Lydia. He's a friend.' she aimed the weapon at the ground. 'What say you and your friends come to my house, we can talk all this over?' Bishop nodded.

'That sounds outstanding.' A few moments later, the three cars, joined by a beat-up looking old pickup truck, made their way into the Apache Indian Reservation.


Johnnys house wasn't much to look at; 3 bedrooms, a living room, dining room and kitchen, a screened in porch, and a bathroom that made noises even when no one was using it. The building itself had been built sometime during the Great Depression, and so it seemed amazing that it had made it into 1980. But what it lacked in style or grace, it more than made up for in charm and comfort; when Bishop, Pike and Mofo had walked inside, they were instantly at ease, and felt the tension and fatigue of the many long miles on the road slide away to be replaced by a comfortable warm glow. This was further evidenced by Pike turning to Johnny soon after they came inside and asking him where he could put his sidearm. Johnny had indicated a worn, old fashioned hat rack, and now the three Vigilantes holstered weapons were all hanging from the carved cedar arms.

Johnny?s wife had greeted him with a warm kiss when he walked in, and the three men had turned away, suddenly embarrassed by the show of affection, and all three privately reflected how long it had been since they had felt the comfort of another?s touch. The couple broke the embrace after a few moments, and then Johnny?s wife walked over to Bishop, hugging him and pecking him on the cheek. Johnny indicated chairs and the couch, Mofo and Pike sat down as Mary greeted her old friend.

'Bishop It?s good to see you. How are things in the Department?' Bishop gave a half shrug.

'I don't know anymore, Mary. I quit working for the Department about 5 months ago, finally. We had some...trouble with something.' Mary raised an eyebrow as Bishop practically collapsed on the couch.


'Trouble? Last time I remember, trouble with you usually involved political leaders, terrorist plots, and UN treaty violations.' With this statement, Mofo burst into laughter. He turned to Pike.

'See? I told you this guy was great! Man, I can't wait to see what happens next.' Mary turned and looked at him, her expression slightly chilly. Mofo made a face and stuck out his tongue at her. Pike turned red and suddenly wished he were somewhere else. Bishop broke in at this point.

'Johnny, Mary, let me introduce you to Pike, and, uh, MofoFunk. Guys, these two are old friends of mine from a long time back. They were one of the best Operative Teams we ever had.' Pike and Mofo both got puzzled looks on their faces, and it was Pike who gave voice to his thoughts.

'Bishop, what the hell is going on? I mean, who ARE you? You have these connections, you've been around the world, all kinds of crazy shit....what did you do? Are you some kind of a spook? uh, no offense, not the slang term, you know, for a black guy, but the slang term for a CIA dude. I mean, you mentioned The Company, but you haven't gotten more specific then that. So what?s the deal?' Bishop looked very thoughtful.

'Well, Pike, that?s a very good question. And truth be told, I was planning on filling you and Funk in on my history while we were here. I know Johnny's people have a type of ceremony where people get together and share their histories, and I was hoping on doing that while we visited him. But I can give you the beginning right no-'
He was interrupted by a knock at the door. Johnny crossed to the entrance and opened it. Lydia, the woman from the roadblock, was there, as were 3 other women.

'Hi, Lydia. Everything okay?' Lydia nodded.

'Oh, yes, no problems. My shift was up, so I thought I might stop by and see who could elicit such a warm response from mystery man Johnny.' In the light, the three men could now see that Lydia was young, appearing to be just barely over 18. They could also see that she was stunningly beautiful, even in jeans and a work shirt. Johnny nodded, a smile on his face.

'Alright. Why don't you and your friends come on inside.' They walked in, and as they did the scent of something that smelled absolutely delicious wafted through the room, and it was apparent that all five were carrying plates of food. The three men, on the road all day, were suddenly struck by how hungry they were.

Within a few minutes, the table in the dining room was set, and the nine people-Johnny, Mary, Bishop, Pike, Mofo, Lydia, and her three friends Tawny, Inez, and Denelle were sitting at the table, eating, laughing, and having a good time.


********

Joe was hunched under the remains of the Clydesdale, chewing on a ration bar that had all the flavor and consistency of rubberized cigarettes. The few cars that had managed to come along the road had stopped when they saw that the bridge was out and turned away, all before he could flag anyone down. The situation had turned from annoying to troubling. ?I might die out here, he thought to himself, and that would make me very unhappy?. Gloomily, he took stock of his supplies and his situation. He had enough stuff here to last him for 2 days, but once this weather system passed by, it would get back to the usual; hot as a frying pan August heat, and he would be roasted alive. In fact, the rain was already starting to slack off. That would be very, very bad.... As he was thinking this, he started seeing spots in front of his eyes, as though things were fading in and out. ?Oh, this is great. Now my eyesight is going as well....? It took him a moment to realize that he wasn't seeing spots, that it was a light....someone was flashing a light down at his car! He scrambled up and out from under the wreckage, his hand near the pistol hidden under the back of his flight vest. Yes, there up on the road where he had seen Mofo's car was a pair of headlights and a figure standing outside with a light. Joe thought briefly about the dangers of creepers and scavengers out here in the new frontier, and the rumors of rapists, cannibals, and worse. He thought of all of these things for an instant, and then he started screaming and jumping and waving his hands.....


The man?s name was Ralph Stanley. He ran a service station outside of Artesia, and he had come to investigate the bridge after three guys passing through had mentioned that it had washed out. He told Joe he would take him to his station where he could stay the night, and the next day he would send his son and 2 nephews out to get the Clydesdale and have it fixed up for a small fee. Joe paid it with no hesitation. As they were driving back, he asked Ralph about the three men. Sure enough, one of them matched the description of Mofo. He also asked if they had said where they were headed, and Ralph said he wasn't sure, but he thought he heard the word Mescalero, which would mean the Mescalero Apache Indian Reservation outside of Alamogordo. Joe nodded to himself. He had a destination now.....

********

In the afterglow of one of the best meals the three men had enjoyed in a long time, Lydia and Johnny were in the middle of discussing an incident at the roadblock a few days before.

'So this guy, he had greenhorn written all over him,' Johnny said. 'I'm sure you guys know the type; he was driving a brand new Palomino, with Missouri plates. I mean, the guns on this car looked like they had come right off the assembly line and never been fired. He's dressed like a cowboy, which is made even more ridiculous by the fact that he has this flat nasal city voice. He was the type of guy who's been watching those TV shows and reading all of the newspaper articles and cheap 'man?s man' novels about the vigilantes of the southwest and decided to leave his wife and kids and go be a hero. The thing is, he can't understand why we won't let him just pass through. Then, in this 'menacing' voice, he says, 'I don't think you people understand what I'll do if you don't let me pass.' At this point, I give the signal....'

Lydia jumped in. '...And the 25 people we have hidden in the underbrush all pop out and have everything from shotguns to hunting rifles to bazookas pointed at the guy. Now, it?s not just the look on his face that?s priceless. It?s the fact that after a few seconds, this STINK wafts out of the car....the poor bastard had filled his pants!' Bishop, Pike and Mofo burst into laughter at this point. After a few moments, Bishop spoke.

'Now, just a minute here, guys. I do feel it?s important that you know that I've never been in a fight in my car yet, either, so I'm not much better then that guy.' Johnny waved off his observation with an amused expression.

'Bish, that's different. You might not have ever been in a car fight, but you've been in battle. You've seen and done stuff that this guy could never understand. You have a hell of a lot more knowledge and experience then that greenhorn could ever understand. Anyway, that's not the best part of the story. So now, the guy is pleading with us to let him through so he can stop at a gas station and get cleaned up. And Lydia, here, she look sat him and says...'

'I said, 'There?s a gas station back in Alamogordo. If you hurry, you be able to salvage your pants.' That guy turned around and left so fast, I think he left skid marks....BOTH kinds.' Everyone laughed again. After the laughter had died down, Pike looked at their hosts with a question on his face.

'That reminds me. What is the deal with the roadblocks, anyways? You guys expecting someone to come through, or what?s the deal?' Johnny got somber, and nodded thoughtfully.

'that?s a good question. about 5 months ago, there was a Great Council meeting between the Tribal Elders of every Reservation in the southwest. Apaches, Hopi, Sioux, Navajo, Zuni, Acoma....all of them. They had all been trying to ignore the resurgence of the violent days of 100 years ago, but it wasn't working. Too many innocents were dying, and too many white man towns were being razed by the bloodthirsty souls who seemed to revel in the destruction. They were afraid that it would soon spill over onto the Reservation as well, and we have fought too long and too hard to keep what little land we have left to lose it again to people no better then the outlaws of yesteryear. So, it was decided that the Reservations would police the roads going into and out of each area, and aggression would be met by deadly force. It?s our goal one day to see peace return to the southwest, but until then we WILL see peace on our land.' Johnny fell silent, and for a moment no one at the table said a word. It was Mofo who finally broke the silence.

'Well, I have to say, that?s the coolest thing I've heard in a while. I mean, some creepers, they're honorable types, you know? They raid oil convoys and stuff like that. I'm not saying these guys are great, mind you, but they're not truly evil. But these other types, the guys who destroy whole towns for the sheer thrill of destruction....they're sick. I mean, totally insane. There?s a difference between fighting a guy who's making a freight run through dangerous territory and knows the risks, and wasting a family of people because your mom didn't love you enough as a kid.' Pike and Bishop were looking at Mofo in amazement. 'Of course, I didn't have a Mom at all, really. I was raised by wolves and learned to speak by listening to radio shows on my fillings, so what do I really know?' Pike turned to Bishop and spoke quickly before anyone else could comment on Funks comments.

'So, Bishop, I'm ready to hear your story, if you don't mind....' Bishop nodded, looked at Johnny.

'Johnny, I trust that your company here understands the art of discretion?' Johnny laughed.

'Bish, I don't think there is a soul alive who could get anything out of the people on this reservation unless they wanted to talk.' Bishop nodded, reaching into his shirt and pulling his pack of cigarettes out.

'Alright if I smoke?' Johnny and Mary nodded. Bishop lit up and leaned back in his chair.

'My story begins in a small town outside of Newark called Plainfield. I was your average kid, you know, went to school, did my homework, tried to get together with girls, the usual. It was kind of hard for me growing up, though, 'cause my dad was Black and my mom was white. They met while my dad was in the service; he was a pilot in World War II, one of the Tuskegee Airmen, the black pilot corps? Anyway, they met in France, where she was a nurse. I won't bore you with the details, suffice it to say that it was an unconventional relationship, to say the least. Anyway, after the war, they came back to the states, where she went on to become a doctor and he was a flying instructor at a nearby Air Force base. I had some problems growing up, but nothing too harsh. Anyway, I totally idolized my dad, wanted to become a military pilot like him. I actually got my pilots license before I got my drivers license. I had it all figured out; I'd go to the Air Force Academy, rocket through, and then I would get my hands on the good stuff. Jets, bombers, recon planes to take pictures of the Cuban Missile Silos, I didn't care. Well, 2 weeks before my 18th birthday, in June of '67, my dad had taken this new kid on a test flight, and something went wrong, this kid ends up plowing the plane into a supermarket two towns away. 18 people died, 60 or 70 wounded...a real disaster. My mom, she's so heartbroken, she just kind of wastes away, dies of a broken heart a month later. Anyway, the tribunal committee that?s assembled afterwards decides it was my dads fault, and they take away everything-the house, the cars, any compensation money I might have received....gone. My request to enter the Air Force Academy is denied, and the next day, I get 'the letter.' The following week, I'm on my way to basic training.' Bishop took a drag and studied his cigarette before continuing.


'Six months later, I'm in the jungle, out on a standard patrol. The guys are all deadly serious, because there's been reported troop movements in the area, and the supply guys had screwed up a re-order and instead of ammo and replacement weapons had been shipped a bunch of razors and nudie magazines. Each man is down to 3 clips apiece, and now it looks like the whole NVA is going to come tramping through our little piece of real estate. The L.T. is shittin' bricks, because he was one of those guys who liked to talk to his men, who did the best job he could, and the thought of us being under armed and fatigued to boot was screwing him up. He was a good guy, really, had been in 'Nam long enough to make a decent impression on the rest of the squad and treated all of us like we were brothers. Poor bastard already had an ulcer the size of Texas by this point. Anyway, so we're all making our way along the patrol route when a radio message comes in: 4 clicks west of our present position is the downed aircrew of a B-52, including 2 Colonels and a General who had been observing. They want the L.T. to send a squad of men to go get them out to an extraction point and make sure they stay alive. The only problem is, The NVA are supposed to be somewhere between us and the Brass.

'So the L.T. asks if he does this, can the rest of the platoon go back to base? The guys agree, and so first he asks for volunteers. I agree, so do 4 other guys, including this redskin kid out of New Mexico.' Bishop and Johnny smiled at this point. 'The LT has everyone hand over one of their clips to us, so pretty soon we're really well armed. Anyway, we head out, al quiet like, and all more then a little scared shitless. As it happens, we find the brass pretty quick, don't see a single Charlie anywhere at all. They're all little shook up, you know, but the general, he's hardcore. I mean, this is the kind of guy who looks like he could eat zippos and beer cans for breakfast and wash it all down with hearty helping of motor oil. I mean, TOUGH. I'll never forget the first thing he said to us, in this drawl that was VERY south of the Mason-Dixon Line, 'How nice of y'all to come to our little soiree. I'm afraid we're all out of canapes, however. Could I interest you in a cocktail?' It was surreal.

So we start out for the extraction point, and right away I start getting a bad feeling. Sure enough, 2 clicks out, they jump us. Coash and Jackson, they're down right away, Coash missing most of his head, Jackson with three holes in his lungs. We start booking for the LZ. The General has his .45 out and is firing into the bush as cool as can be. Each time he fires, there's a scream, or some guy tumbles out and sprawls on the ground. We finally make it to the zone, and a pair of Cobra gun ships, a Huey Hog, and two transports come over the tree line and turn the jungle around us into a forest fire. I've never seen a sweeter sight in my life. Just as they're coming in to land, the guy standing next to me, LaPorte, goes bowling over. A second later, I hear the crack of a rifle. Well, me and Johnny, we both acted out of instinct. I jumped in front of The General, Johnny dives towards the Colonels. Sure enough, I feel the wind go out of me in a *whuff* and I'm picked up and thrown 10, 15 feet. Johnny gets the Colonels down and is emptying the m-16 in the general vicinity of the shooter. I found out later on that he took one in the leg and another though the collarbone.

'So we're thrown onto the rescue chopper and leave that area quick as can be. I've got blood all over me, and I'm trying to breathe, but I can't seem to do it. The General is sitting next to me, holding my hand, talking to me, keeping me alive. He starts asking me all kinds of questions, you know, where I'm from, all that kind of thing. I'm trying to stay focused, you know, and I'm talking about my dad, and my mom, and all that crap. Well, it turns out that the General had been a bomber pilot in Europe, and my dad and the rest of the Fighting 99th had come out of nowhere one day when the General-then a Captain-and his squadron were being overrun by German fighters. The 99th had saved his ass, and when he realized that both father and son had saved him, well, that old guy, he actually started crying. I was so surprised by this that I promptly passed out.' Bishop stabbed out his cigarette at this point.


'Well, I came too in a hospital in Saigon 3 days later. The general was there, and the nurses told me later that he had stayed at the bedside the whole time I was out. Anyway, he said that he owed me doubly, both for saving his life and for what had happened after my dad?s death. He told me he could get me a great position in the organization he was working for, something called Department M. It took me about 5 seconds to make up my mind and say yes. It turned out he had made the same offer to Johnny, who had also agreed. So, within 2 weeks, I was on my way back to The World, where I was taken to the main training area, a few hours outside of New Orleans.

'Department M, it turned out, had been started back during World War 2. They were formed to handle operations and missions that were too secret even for the OSS or MI6. Operatives were trained in everything from guns to knives to explosives, from commando style infiltrations to disguise and language instruction. We learned how to talk, walk, act, speak, think and look like any of 20 or 30 different nationalities, races, groups. They loved Johnny and I, because with our coloring, we could pass for any of a dozen different races or backgrounds. And so, for the next 5 years, we did it all. That?s where we met Mary, and it?s where we met Thane.

'Thane was of a new breed. About a year and a half after we joined up, the General, who had been the head of the Department, died of a heart attack. The guy who replaced him was a real bastard. Knew all the dirty tricks and liked to use 'em. He seemed to have some kind of affiliation with some other organization, something called the SSS or something like that. I never found out who or what they were, but that's where Thane had come from. He was a real jerk-off, but for some reason the women just loved him. I never understood that, but he and my partner, Sabrina, they shacked up one weekend in West Berlin. It pissed me off something awful. The bastard knew it, too, and would always bring it up whenever I saw him.

'Anyway, it was during this time that I was farmed out to The Company and put on flight duty with Wing for the better part of 6 months. That's when that incident with the gook and Bangkok happened. Because of that job, it was decided that I was a bit too much of a maverick for my own good, so they started giving me really crappy details. You know, sneak into a country, assassinate a Head of State, then get out before sunrise. I think the new head honcho was trying to get rid of me. During this time, a lot of good people in the Department died on assignment or retired. Johnny here had the good sense to get out before he was eliminated, although he took Mary with him by proposing to her, and of course she accepted. Sabrina also retired about a year later, and headed for the southwest in August of '76 or so to look up an old friend from Los Angeles. I stayed in; I was damned if some asshole who didn't like how I did things was going to try and off me. Thane disappeared, and from what he told me right before the incident was doing some work for that butcher Idi Amin in Uganda. I ended up doing a lot of training and military stuff, and had been working with a new group called Delta Force when they were sent out to Saudi Arabia to go in and rescue the hostages in Iran. That?s where I met your friend Pete, Pike, and where I saw Thane again for the first time in nearly 4 years. I remember getting a bad feeling in my gut, but I had shaken it off as nerves. If only I'd known....


'Anyway, the thing is, after the crash, when I got back to Washington, I found some things out. Like, the co-pilot of Thanes chopper, who I found with his brains on the window from a close range pistol shot, had been assigned to keep an eye on Thane. Like the fact that after the crash, some of the others had heard a jeep starting up and leaving the area, indicating it had been stashed there. Like the fact that none of the choppers had military radar was a decision handed down by someone on high, but no one could tell me who it had come from. The only thing I found out for sure was that it hadn't been anyone in Department M. And the fact that there was a rescue attempt that failed was in the media less then 3 hours after it happened, and lambasting President Carter for making the attempt and putting more Americans at risk. Separately, it?s all just a jumble of facts, but put it together, and this is what you get: Someone, who had pulled all the right strings, made sure this attempt would fail and that the powers-that-be in Washington would take it in the ass. That the Instigator, if he survived the crash, would have a means for escape and no way for any of the other Survivors to track him. This was a deliberate ploy to kill Americans and make us look like fools. And stopping that kind of thing is exactly the reason why I joined Department M in the first place. So I think it?s fair to say that it's not just Thane I'm after, though I will be very happy when I see the life leave his eyes, but I want more. I want to find out who he works for, and what their agenda is. That?s my mission. That?s my crusade.' As he finished, he lit up another cigarette, and in the ensuing silence stood up and walked out the front door. As he did, the others could notice tears starting to run down his face.

As he stood on the porch, staring into the wet night, he heard the door behind him open and shut. A voice spoke behind him. 'Bishop? Are you okay?' He turned around to face the young woman who had so recently aimed a shotgun at his face. He gave the ghost of a smile.

'Yeah, I'm, alright. Just, you know, so many memories....' he trailed off, looking pensive. When Lydia spoke again, it was very hesitantly.

'Well, I don't know about your friend Sabrina, but I'd never end up with someone like this Thane guy. I'd much rather be with someone like....someone like you.' She moved toward him, and was surprised when he took her by the shoulders and stopped her.

'Look, Lydia, I appreciate that, but my life is just...way too complicated right now.' Her shoulders slumped, and she dropped her head and nodded, then looked at him again.

'Well, just know that there are people out there who can appreciate something good when they see it.' Bishop nodded at her, then looked up as the door opened again. Pike was silhouetted in the doorway.

'Hey, man, you cool?' Bishop laughed.

'Yeah, Yeah, I'm cool.' Pike smiled.

'Well alright then. Get your ass back in here, 'cos I'm about to tell a story of my own. Fairs fair, and all that.' Bishop and Lydia started back inside, and as he passed Pike, Bishop patted his shoulder.

'Hey, Pike?' Pike looked at the other man. 'Thanks.' With a smile, both men walked back into the warm living room.

User avatar
Redline Fox
Crazy Vulpine
Posts: 466
Joined: Wed Oct 29, 2003 5:56 pm
Location: Silent Hill

Postby Redline Fox » Wed Dec 07, 2005 10:49 am

The fire flickered, casting an eerie red light on the faces of the assembled group. Long, black Indian hair brushed the ground behind the backs of some of the members, while others shifted in their greasy, ratty clothes. Life on either side of the line was tough these days in the Southwest. Pike cleared his throat.

'So, we all know why Bishop wants this guy dead. Maybe he wants to take out some whole fucking organization. I don't know about all that, and I don't care. He killed Samms, and for that I'm going to see that fucker burn. I'll tell you why?

* * * *

The Pally rolled and rocked underneath Pike, the stiffened suspension barely smoothing out the cracks in the road at all. In his line of 'work,' handling was more important than anything else. The entire inside of the car had been stripped out, extra metal added in, and a pair of used seats from the Trans-Am series had been bolted in. Right behind him lay the huge ammo box for his WP, prudently protected by 6 inches of armor stripped off of an old Sherman tank. The CB crackled to life and Pike started in his seat, caught unawares..


* I wasn't expecting anyone to be around here* He had been driving through New Mexico on his way to the Oilfields of Texas, as he'd been contracted as an escort for a convoy. 'Hello!?, Hello!?' there was the sound of some sort of firefight going on in the background of the radio transmission. 'Is anyone on this frequency!?!? Hello!?'

Without thinking, Pike reached down, picked up the mouthpiece and thumbed the button on the side. 'Unknown broadcaster, this is Pike, what's going on where you are?'

He could hear the relief in the woman's voice. 'Thank god! Help us, our town is being attacked by Creepers, we're at the intersection of County road 62 and State route 43!' This time, he could also here a thin scream in the background He passed a route indicator on the side of the road. It was County 62.

'I'm on 62 right now, I'll be there as soon as I can, miss! Don't worry!' He slammed the gas pedal down and the big Ford 342 pulled the Palomino towards the horizon. Somewhere, in front of him, lay destiny.

* * *

He could hear the town being destroyed about five minutes before he could see it. The thin crack and snapping of small arms fire, the dull thump of mortars landing, and from his memory that thin scream The transmissions of the woman from inside the town had ceased about five minutes ago. The foot well of the Pally was throwing off waves of heat, and sweat ran down his legs to drip on the floor. With a sweat-slicked thump, he flipped the arming switch for his weapons. He'd have to try and limit himself to the napalm hose - his WP mortar would probably just add to the damage in the town. He flipped the CB to all frequency as soon as he could see the flames in the town.

'Alright, any creepers in the area, you have two options. First, you can stop right now, come out of that town, get out of your cars, and either shoot yourself in the head or let me do it for you.' The buildings, and the flames that fed hungrily upon them, grew in size steadily. 'Second, you can fight. Either way you'll die, it?s just a question of how fast.' His answer came through fast enough. Gales of laughter came through the CB, the sound of burning buildings served as a ghastly overtone.

'Right, Have it your way.' This time, he got a little bit more of a response. 'What's your name, boy-o? Or should we just . Hehehe! Just call you .. hehe! The White Knight?' His answer was terse, giving away nothing. 'Pike.' Just then, the first target, a Dover lightning, came roaring out of the town. It was painted a nasty brown, with some sort of cannon on the roof right next to a crudely built mortar tube.

Pike aimed the nose of the Pally off to the left as they approached, and as the Lightning attempted to correct for a near-intercept, Pike led him farther and farther astray. About a hundred yards out, Pike swung the wheel rapidly back to the right. Oversized light-truck tires bit into the dirt and he swung the other way. The Lightning's mortar rounds we're quite a ways to the left. He noted the absence of a flare of light in the explosions, realizing with pleasure that other party was using HE instead of WP rounds. Probably 45mm, as compared to his 60mm tube. He slammed the car into reverse and the nose swung around as the two passed each other. Since the other had come out of the town to meet him, he was free to use his WP. He pounded the Lightning with arc fire, Braking, then switching to forward to keep the spinning car in his firing range. After his ammo counter had gone from 63 to 58, he let off. Smoke and fire covered the now-wrecked lightning, but he could see the head of the dazed driver, a shadow from inside the smoke, lolling from side to side. * He won't get far. * Pike headed into the town.


He listened to the CB as the other voice asked: 'Jimmy!? Jimmy, where are you!? Godammit, Who just got here!?' Stalking down Main street, cinders and roaring flames on all sides, Pike caught a glimpse of his prey. A Stag pickup, its bed open, was driving down a side street that paralleled Main. He gunned the engine as he turned the wheel and the rear end slipped out behind him momentarily, pointing his noise straight down the alley way to the side street. As he barreled into the alley behind the pickup, tires howling on the pavement, he shot forward and triggered his napalm hose, the barrel slung just under the front bumper.

'Alright you fucking fucker! Burn! Burnnnnn!' Pike was screaming into his CB as he emptied his hose's fuel tank into the rear end of the stag. The tires melted within seconds, the tailpipe melted shut, and glass shattered as metal melted and ran in rivulets down to the ground to cool. As soon as he was sure the Stag was no longer able to move, he slammed on the brakes and put the Pally in Park. It had been easy to take these two, a joke. He didn't know why the hell they decided that guns made them gods fallen to earth, but it wasn't a notion they'd hold for long. He ran to the driver?s side door of the Stag and yanked it open, long black duster flapping around. The terrified driver spilled out of his car, blubbering incoherently, his pants already soiled. Without thinking about it, Pike put a round in the kid's - and it was a kid, nineteen at the most - kneecap to keep him occupied. He dragged him back to the Pally and strapped him into the passenger side. It was time to fetch his buddy.

* * *

Ten minutes later he had the two tied up, in the middle of the town. The one he'd shot was only whimpering quietly, his wound had been sown shut. While he was awake.

'Alright you worthless pieces of Shit, Look around you. What the hell did you do this for? Why!?' He stared intently at the two kids. One simply cried, tears streaming down his face and onto his torn, blood spattered shirt. Pike pulled a long, serrated knife out of a sheath in his boot and advanced on the second. In a low, dangerous voice, he asked: 'Why..?'

The kid simply stared at him, uncomprehending. He stuttered something about, 'we didn't mean it' Unexpectedly, Pike smiled. He kneeled in front of the kid, and lowered his knife to the ropes tying the kid's hands together. As they neared the bonds, the kid's eyes widened in hope. Pike stopped just above the ropes, just for a second, just to bring up the hope to its peak. Then he kept going down  down to the crotch. He slit open the kid's jeans, reached, pulled out the penis, and chopped it off at the base. To quiet the screaming, he shoved the dripping member into his captive?s mouth.

'I gave you the chance, you little fuck. I said I'd kill you fast if you just let me' Over the next two hours, hell reached up its arms and grabbed those kids, and _squeezed_.

* * *

Later, as Pike was walking through the town, he heard a faint sound. It sounded like sobbing * It can't be those kids, I tossed them on the fire * He wandered in the general direction of the sound. As he walked, he stared here and there, noting the blackened, burnt limbs mixed into the collapsed, smoldering and fitfully burning buildings. It seemed that another fire flickered behind his face. Every once in a while he poked at a log or a cinder with a long piece of pipe he was holding. Then he rounded another corner, stepping over a piled of broken glass and a dismembered head, and saw the source of the noise.


Not thirty feet away, a young child stood with his back to Pike, sobbing, over a bloody corpse. After getting over his first second of shock, Pike ran towards the kid. Without thinking, Pike scooped the child up into his arms, holding him away from the horror in front of him. It was probably his mother. In one hand she clutched a sawed-off Shotgun, in the other were the shattered remnants of the mouthpiece of a CB radio. Pike squeezed his eyes shut against the tears, but they came anyways. The child, grateful for anyone to hold on to, clutched him tightly and filled his shirt with tears. 'I'm sorry, I'm sorry' he repeated over and over again to the child as he walked to the Palomino. Dust and ashes swirled in the air, flapping his duster in the wind, and the only thing he could think of was this: * I could only save one *

* * * *

There was total silence in the room. No one even cleared their Throats, it was as if even the crackling and popping of the fire had quieted in respect for the dead. Pike's eyes were wet.

'So, that's what happened.' He coughed, the loudness of it startling everyone from their horrified trance. 'After that, I became Pete's surrogate father. I did my best But But in the end I couldn't even save one. Pete's mom needn't even have ever picked up that damn radio It would've been the same in the end.' He paused, the picked back up again, almost reluctantly. 'After Pete left, I let it all go. Lost the place where I'd been living with him, lost all my contacts, fell into alcoholism. I had to wait on a road on the way here for some creeper to ambush a convoy, then, that night sneak into his camp and put a .45 round in his head while he was sleeping to get some ammo and gas. Sometimes, when everything is quiet and night is blacker than it ever should be I wonder if I'm any better than Thane.'

* * *
It was Bishop who finally responded to Pikes question.
'Yeah, Yeah, you're better then Thane. So you shot some guy in the back of the head to get his gas, and you feel bad about it? How do you think the family of the last guy he'd wasted feels? How about his next target, who made safely home to their family? How do they feel? Pretty good, I would imagine. One less Creeper in the world? Don't expect me to shed any tears.' With a half smile he tossed a small flask in Pikes direction. 'Here, this might make you feel better.' Pike turned to him and snarled his response, a look of rage on his face.

'Don't you get it, you stupid son-of-a-bitch, I've done all kinds of fucked up shit for the last few years, and the one decent thing I ever did....it just delayed the inevitable! I saved that kid just so he could die because some top-secret government asshole signed a little piece of paper in his office between breakfast with The King of Sudan and Lunch with The President! I didn't do a thing for ANYONE, just made myself more miserable and sentenced somebody else to die. Sometimes, you know, I just wish I'd never left home, I'd gone into the family business like everyone wanted....' Pike finally started to cry, big tears that ran down his face and choked his voice up. It was the sound of many years of anger and sadness and rage flooding out of a man who had played it close to the chest his entire life. He sobbed, and sobbed, and sobbed, and Bishop felt tears start to well up in his eyes as well, knowing some of what Pike felt and remembering past tragedies and disappointments and anger. He decided to tell Pike the one thing he had kept from him about the crash. His voice filled the room, and it was evident in his voice that he was struggling to keep his composure.


'There is a saying, among the members of the Jewish Religion, it goes something like 'he who saves one life saves the world entire.' It might not seem like much, but it's true, at least in my case. See, I wouldn't have survived the crash, I'd be as dead as Pete and the rest, but when the rotors hit, and the cockpit exploded in a shower of blood, and I knew we were done for, Corporal Pete Samms, with the floor of the chopper already slipping out from under him, and two or three guys either disemboweled or with broken necks already, he pushed me, pushed me out of the chopper, probably figuring that the sand 25 feet below would be a softer place to land then the inside of a Huey, and he was right, Pike. He saved my life. Which means YOU saved my life. He decided that his last action on earth would be to do his best to ensure that someone else didn't die with him. He learned that from you, Pike. Like it or not, he learned it from you. You did the best job you could, and it was the best job. And you know what? I'm not much of a religious man, but I'd bet that kids sitting up there in heaven right now, looking down at you and hoping that you will see this thing through, see justice done. He loved you, Pike. I heard it in his voice when he talked about you. You've been through hell, and you've lost one person who was close to you, but you've got me, and I'm pretty sure Mofo here has your back. We're gonna see this thing through, man, alright? So you just hang tough. Okay?' Pike nodded, and Bishop walked over and embraced him, the kind of hug that people who've walked through hell and recognize fellow travelers on the road give each other. Within moments, the rest of the room was surrounding the pair, and the outside world was temporarily forgotten as words of comfort and solace surrounded the pair.

After a moment, Bishop turned to Mofo, who was standing next to him. 'Okay, Mofo, it?s your turn, and your story had better be a happy one or I'm gonna put a bullet in my skull before I go to bed.' There was a pause, and then laughter filled the room, the kind of laughter that can only come after an emotional purging of incredible proportions. After a moment, Mofo nodded, wiping away the tears of laughter that had gathered at the corners of his eyes.

'Okay. I was born a poor black child in the hills of Saskatchewan....' Everyone in the room gave him a look. 'Okay, okay. Seriously, it started a long time ago....'

**********
?Ok, well, after Pike?s cute little story, I don?t know if mine is going to traumatize the rest
of you as much...? Mofo winked at Pike.

?Real funny Mofo, just tell everyone your loony-ass tall tale.?

Mofo snickered. ?Or what Pike, you?ll cut of my manhood and shove it down my throat??

Pike glared at Mofo, ?I just might!?

Mofo started, ?Ohhhhh-k, anyways, where was I? Oh yes, my background, well.... it all
started on a sunny day in the lovely state... wait, state? Yeahhh, state of Canada...?

The others looked at one another and laughed to themselves.

?Wha-what? Oh, I guess I could skip ahead a bit...? Mofo sighed. ?Well, I came upon
the Creeper scene like any other. But my real start was in self employment. Way back in
the day, before the cops were crooked, and the women were willing, I was a civilian like
any other. I started up my own business, well, actually I started it with my good friend
Apu, but somehow HE got all the credit. It was called the Quick ?E Freeze, the place
where you could buy a nice cold beverage made from crushed ice and soda. Ooohwee
they were good, but like all good things, they must come to an end. Our first shop was
based in Biggsville, Texas. Apu had gone off to Arizona to start up a few more stores,
but he left me in charge of the one in good ?ol Biggsville. Little did I know that the
straight and narrow coppers were having problems with the local vigilantes. I hated both,
the pigs were always giving me shit for selling fireworks to kids... hey, its not MY fault
little Bobby Duncan blew his arm off at the elbow! ....and his foot, and burned his face to a
crisp...?

Everyone gave the storyteller a disgusted puzzled look. But Mofo didn?t even take notice
and continued on with his story.

?... Uh, I mean, and the vigilantes, they always came around, hassling me, looking for a
place to hide when the sheriff rolled by. When I finally got enough money to buy myself a

car and leave Biggsville, some creepers came into town and blew the shit out of the Quick
?E Freeze! Yeah, that?s right...? Mofo nodded, ?... squishees and all!... Well, I was pissed,
I just couldn?t take it anymore, so after I had bought my new avocado Courchelle, I made
A deal with this vigilante named Joe- he taught me how to fly a chopper back then to set
me up with a mine dropper for my car. So as soon as I had it put into my new ride, I
started laying mines all over the main roads, just going AWOL. I didn?t care, I had had
enough. But low and behold, the damn pigs wanted to take me down. So as I?m driving
through the oil fields 4 coppers come outta nowhere and try to blow me up! Meanwhile
I?m laying mines left and right, but these oinkers are good, and they avoid them. I?m
driving around, as fast as I could, gettin? my brand-spankin? new Courchelle all shooted
up, nowhere to hide. Finally my motor stalls out, and the cops pin me in next to a
building, I try and try to get the car to get going again, and just as the engine turns over,
explosions go off all around me. I see three missiles fly right through the roof of this cop
car next to me and it goes right up in flames, metal shrapnel flying all around. And the cop
van behind me gets blown in a million pieces by what looks like mortar fire. Its getting
really hot in the car by then, and I?m lackadaisical, wondering what the hell is going on as
things start to fade to darkness. Just before I go out, I hear these helicopter blades
whirling, getting closer.... But all I?m thinking is, man, this is the end. I hear somebody
yell something, but its just a faint whisper in my head. I just slump in my seat, and
everything goes black...?

Mofo looks up, everyone staring wide-eyed at him, in silence.

?Hey, do you think I can get some water? I?m parched...? Mofo casually asked.

Pike broke his stare, ?What?!? What are you doing? Go on with the story already!?

?I will, I will I just wanted some cool liquid refreshment, that?s all... geez.? Mofo smiled.

Inez spoke up, ?I?ll get you some water...?

?Thank you dearie.? Mofo starts again, ?Anyways, I wake up in this helicopter, and I?m
feeling pretty groggy, but I look up and am able to make out a fuzzy Joe looking back at
me...?

***(flashback)***

?Heyyyy sunshine...? Joe says in his redneck accent, ?About time you came to, were
almost there...?

?Almost where?? Mofo asks.

?There...? Joe nods his head in the direction of a massive fort, surrounded by the most
beautiful automobiles Mofo had ever seen.

?W-Where are we?? Mofo stutters, spellbound by the fort and vehicles in the distance.

?Hell... Hell, New Mexico.... Now look Mofo, these guys are gonna help you out for a
bit.... well hopefully...? Joe mutters.

?Who? Who is gonna help me??

The CB on the helicopter crackles to life ?Nobody unless you state your business in my air
zone, chopper.?

?Hell?s Finest The Wingnut, this is 187... asking for clearance to land, over.? Joe replies.

Mofo is shaking slightly, maybe from his head injuries, or maybe from a small fear in the
pit of his stomach. ?187? Hell?s Finest? What the fuck is going on Joe??

?Don?t worry Mofo, these guys are the best. Of course, they ARE creepers, but you wont
find any other ones like ?em.... anywhere.?

***

?So for the next year and a half, I grow up with the guys over in Hell, New Mexico.
Bandit, Wing?, Testy, Tramp Royale, they all show me the ropes, and I become a full
fledged creeper. Now, creepers will be creepers, and there is some shit we did that I ain?t
proud of, and definitely can?t tell you guys about. But we did what we had to do, and
though the trials and tribulations with those guys I got the majority of my fighting skills
that I have today.? Mofo sighed.

?By the late 70s, the south was in a major battle between creepers, vigs, and bribed higher
officials. I was sick of it all, and I decided to leave for a while. So Bandit lent be an old
beat up Bushmaster, and its been with me ever since. I decided to head up north, to
Canada. I lived there for about another year, making money by any means, intercepting oil
tankers, and so forth, but I was depressed, I just couldn?t figure out what it was. Then,
one day, while I was try to hijack a shipment of cargo on its way to Bertoldo Imports I
got headed off by this vigilante that went by the name of Radiator Mother. We went at it,
I?d dodge, he?d move, parr?, perr?, thrust, thrust... it was great! By they time I had
smashed his beast of a car into a ditch, I had realized what I had been missing... the thrill
of the fight!?

Mofo took a drink of the water Inez had brought him.

?So, I decided to head back south. I made it back to Hell, New Mexico a few days later,
at sunset, and I drove up to the fort. It was really run-down, it seemed so ghostlike. I
went inside the gates to see that it hadn?t been lived in for about a year. It seemed so
strange to see the place which was once so lively, so desolate. I headed towards Texas,
throughout the blazing summer I took notice of how much had changed in the short time I
had been gone. Punk-ass pretty boys drove around the small towns with there brand-new
armed rides, pushing civilians around for money, making themselves the law. All the
coppers seemed to be in on some payroll, just staying out of way of these young creeper
gangs, who were tearing shit up all over the place. Near the end of the summer I had been
finally able to track down Wingnut. He was staying in some hangers just outside Midland.
I got all the news on how Bandit had just gone off on his own one day, and hadn?t come
back yet, and that Trampy was out in Nevada cleaning up the streets, Testy had settled
down, it was strange, almost like a movie. But it was still good to see Wing?, and I asked
him if I could help him with anything. He asked me if I knew of a Bishop Singer, and I
said I had heard the name once or twice. So, he told me what was going on, and said to
keep an eye on Bishop for a while. I think Wing? knew that some serious shit was going
down, and that he wanted to get involved, but its like, like he had something to take care
of first. Anyways, I followed Bishop who had met up with Pike, until they got in over
their heads...? Mofo winked at Bishop, ?So when they caught up with me and asked me to
join up with them. I agreed, and that brings me here.?

Pike had a puzzled look on his face, ?Whoa, whoa, whoa, wait one minute, your not
soundin? like your usual loony self Mofo.?

Bishop took notice, ?Hmmmm, your not really crazy are you, MofoFunk??

Mofo grinned from ear to ear, ?....Uh, yeeeeaaaahhh, CRAZY LIKE A FOX!?

He then tilted his head upwards and started humming a tune in his head.

?You hear that?? Mofo said.

The group sitting around him just raised their eyebrows...

Pike and Bishop looked at each other, both thinking the same thing, there was the Mofo
THEY knew.

?Man...? Mofo thought to himself, ?That was close, I?m not gonna blow my cover just
yet...?

***

It was well into the night now, the girls had left to go off to their ramshackle houses to
sleep. Johnny gave Mary a kiss goodnight.

?I?ll come to bed in a little while honey...? Johnny said to Mary reassuringly.

The four sat around the table long into the night, trying to decide where they would go to
next, and what to do. The warm glow of the fire was gone, the embers brunt down to a
dim red light. Slowly, each four heads became heavy, and they were lulled off into a
sound sleep.

The Cot in the back of Ralph's Gas 4 Cash provided little comfort for the half frozen Vigilante, Paladin had just spent the last 6 hours in the cold Desert, not to mention that his clothes were still soaked for the downpour that had just died off. Sleep seemed impossible considering the current conditions, how had he come to this, Paladin thought as he tossed and turned, he had once led a normal life....

Growing up in the small town of Walla Walla, Washington, Joe had been given a solid foundation for a 'Normal' life. He had grown up in the normal manner. That was until his 18th Birthday, when Uncle Sam sent him on an all expense paid trip to a little hellhole in S.E.A called Vietnam. He quickly excelled as a Helicopter pilot, the constant sorties and life in the Jungle had taken its toll on him by the time the war was over. When he got back stateside he scored a hell of a deal on a solid shipment of Surplus army choppers. Finding a reasonable spot to open his business became a challenge due to the escalating events in the Southwest. Finally he found a small strip of runway in a little place outside of Biggsville, Texas, nicknamed the 76th Precinct. Joe soon became addicted to a local product known as the 'Slurpee' sold down at The local Quick-ee Freeze, soon he became good friends with the owner, a Civilian known in the area as Mofofunk, a little excintric...but not crazy. Joe began to show him the ropes of handling the Huey Gunship. The local canyons that concealed the oil fields proved the perfect place to train the novice Aviators.


Business was Booming, with orders coming in daily he was raking in Cash, which he kept stored where no one could find it. One day he was taking a short run through the canyons he came upon Mofofunk being ambushed by the Cops. With his 'Personal' Weapons suite he let the Pigs have it. After the battle he took the unconscious Mofofunk away from the Hell that Biggsville had become and took him straight to Hell.....Hell New Mexico, was home to a band of 'decent' creepers known as Hell's Finest. Returning to His airport Joe found the Police waiting for him. The few good cops that were still around had smuggled him out of the area to a small Border Town between Texas and Mexico Smack in the middle of No-mans land. Under the code name 187 he served with honor and distinction until the Bastards from Biggsville caught up to him and damn near took his life...

This looked like the perfect opportunity to take a leave from the violence. Returning to his hometown for a few months he found its condition the same as the Southwest, Corrupted. The urge to protect drove him back to the southwest where he bought a used '70 ARR ?Rhana painted a funky shade of Green with custom wheels. Known as Hustler he fell into a bad crowd known as The Clowns of Darkness, the whole 2 days he was in the company of these guys he had done some evil things. Dropping from the scene again he returned as Paladin trying to redeem himself. A short stay with The GUN-fighters under the name of Wolf, where he made an ass of himself and retreated to the area surrounding the Mescalero Indian Reservation.........

With a deep sigh Paladin rolled over and drifted off to sleep, the sun just peeking over the horizon.....





Blood Under The Sun, Chapter Three: Predators and Prey
By: Bishop, Pike, Mofofunk, Wing, and Paladin


The phone rang, echoing off of the sheet steel walls of hangar C3 at Midland Municipal Airport. After the fourth ring, A.J. groggily shot an arm out from the covers and fumbled for the handset on the makeshift bedside table, an old 55 gallon drum with a green army blanket draped over it, crowned by the phone, a cheap clock radio, and a lamp made from a used military practice bomb.

'Mrrrf...urrrghyeah?'


'Mr. Hunt.'

'Yeah, A.J. Hunt of Hunt's Air Service. What can I do for you?' Hunt noticed his voice sounded like someone had been working his larynx with 60-grit sandpaper.

'You can stay out of The Department's current business, Mr. Hunt.'

'What!?' He was completely awake now. He reached over and switched on the lamp, noting the time as he blinked painfully in the light.

'Back off, Mr. Hunt, or you'll need some encouragement. You understand?'

'What encouragement? Understand what? I'm sorry, you've got the wrong number, try the next hangar. Nyuk.' A.J.'s voice raised in pitch sharply, mimicking Curly of the Three Stooges...it was involuntary. Too much TV as a child had planted it into his personality. Stress brought out the best - or the worst, depending on how one looked at it - of the habit.


'Sorry, Mr. Hunt, you DO understand. There's no way you can't. Do you want your hangars to keep standing? How about those two hangars in New Mexico? Nice trick you pulled with weathering everything. You should moved all of the stolen government property on the inside, however. You don't back off, and those pretty hangars are going bye-bye. The ones in Midland, the ones in New Mexico...AND those ones near Yuma...didn't think anyone knew about THAT, did you? We'll be nice enough to make sure you're inside when we clean up after you, though.'

'Yeah, all right, you got me...what do you want me to do?'

'Just stop digging around. Got it? No more calls to Washington. No more inquiries into the death of one Peter Samms. Cease and desist. Got it?'

'Yeah, yeah, I dig...no more business for me if I don't quit nosing around. Have a nice day, George, or night, rather.' Hunt growled into the receiver.

'Thank you, A.J. You always were a good Company man.' The heavy and nasally Texas accent pierced through the handset with sarcasm...this guy had been the main reason Hunt had been removed from service.

'Go to bed.' Hunt slammed down the receiver.

He fumed over the call for a moment, shivering in the cold of the un-insulated hangar, then got up and walked over to the space heater on the other side of his 'room', a carpeted swatch in the corner of the large hangar that housed a midnight black vintage North American P-51C and a brightly polished bare aluminum Curtis C-46 Commando. A refrigerator, a makeshift sink cut from half of another 55-gallon drum, a stove made from the other half with some piping and a propane tank, a kitchen table with chairs, a bed, a few bookshelves, a large dresser, a desk, numerous filing cabinets and a large load of antique aviation paraphernalia sat in the western corner of the hangar. Hunt switched the little heater on, dragged it over to the table, grabbed a milk carton out of the fridge and sat down. After a few swigs, he acted on an impulse. Hunt jumped up, walked to the desk 10 feet away and grabbed the other phone. He punched in a long set of numbers from pure rote memory, then flipped the phone upside down and hit a small switch dymo-labeled 'noise'. A click sounded in the handset, and then the other end rang. Three rings, then the phone was picked up.

'Murrow Enterprises.' The sleepy voice muttered.

'Jake. A.J. Need a favor.'

'Crap, Wing', it couldn't wait 'till morning!?'

'nope, sorry.'

'Ok, what do you need?'

'Get Murrow Enterprises to obtain my phone records from Gulf Bell and track down exactly where the call I just got five minutes ago came from...my guess is that it's not in the States, probably Mexico, judging from the poor connection quality.'

'Sheesh, Wing', what the hell is going on over there?'

'Nothing I can't handle with some help from my friends. And this DOES concern you, as it was a threat to take us out of business by blowing the hangars here, there, and in Yuma.'

'Ok, I'll get on it tomorrow. Anything else?'

'Nope...how you been? How?s the fort and the rest of the team?'


'Well, we're having fun looking dormant...it's a lot of work to keep out of sight! You can't imagine the kind of trouble I have to go through just took keep everything looking like nobody's been around...at least it's paying off, though, somebody was poking around a while back at your hangars, but they didn't do any damage. Probably figured there was nothing worth taking.'

'Actually, those were probably representatives of the guy I just talked to.'

'No kidding? Wow.'

'Keep your head low...play the same game as the INTies...maybe they'll keep the peace. I doubt it though, Sui's openly strutting around in Death Valley right now. Got some fresh blood with him, we may have to start kicking them around again soon. You're doing a good job, however, Mofo came through a few weeks ago thinking nobody was there. Guess he didn't look hard enough. Silly him.'

'I'm actually looking forward to some action...I'm sick of having to look like a legit business. I want to get out of that syrupy little hellhole they call Albuquerque.?

'All in good time. Don't leave me standing out in the rain.'

'Huh? Okaaayyy...talk to you tomorrow evening. Should have what you want by then.'

'Great, thanks.'

'And Wing'?'

'Yeah?'

'GO TO BED!'

'Soy-ten-ly!'

Click.

User avatar
Redline Fox
Crazy Vulpine
Posts: 466
Joined: Wed Oct 29, 2003 5:56 pm
Location: Silent Hill

Postby Redline Fox » Wed Dec 07, 2005 10:50 am

Meanwhile, in another part of the world.


?Come on, you bastards, put your back into it!,? the man with the shotgun yelled, strutting back and forth along the top of the improvised wall. He was tall, wearing a cowboy hat and mirrored sunglasses, which did little to hide the ugly scars which crisscrossed his face. The 25 or so men and women working in the morning heat were already starting to feel exhausted, and the day had only just began. Allison wondered when it would stop. Though her body was used to hard work, she knew that the others on ?the line? were not so used to it, and made a silent plea that they would all be able to hold up.


It had all started 4 weeks ago; she and 5 friends had decided to take a vacation, choosing to explore some of the cliff dwelling ruins in Arizona and New Mexico and do some climbing. They had just come back from an exhausting day scaling Black Mountain near the Gila Cliff Dwellings just north of Silver City, where they were staying, when the group of handsome men had come into the tavern where they were relaxing. The man who had introduced himself to her was named Kevin, a charming guy who had asked her to dance and bought her a few drinks. Naturally wary, she had decided that being in a group was safe, and that she and her friends would be okay. If only she?d known that these guys were professionals. A few questions which had seemed innocent at the time upon further reflection were calculated and probing; who knew they were there, what did they do for a living, who was waiting for them after they got back from their vacation. It was only as she started to feel very tired and he offered to take her back to her room did she feel the first pangs of suspicion, but by then it was too late. She awoke in the back of a semi-truck with almost 30 other people, who had also been drugged and coerced into service. Her friends were nowhere to be seen, and one of the others, a man named Brian, had told her that he had seen at least 4 or 5 other trucks, which had all appeared to be going off in different directions. He told her he had been grabbed outside of Phoenix, but didn?t elaborate beyond that.

The ride had lasted for 15 more hours, during which they stopped and picked up an additional 28 people who has been ?recruited.? Everyone fit the same profile; vacationers and tourists, solitary locals, transients and bums. They were the displaced and the wanderers, the people who fell somewhere between the cracks in the new lawlessness of the southwest. They were people who wouldn?t be missed, or if they were, it would be people hundreds or thousands of miles away, who would know that traveling into the deserts brought its own kind of risk. They would say their good-byes and cry out against the amoral wilderness that had swallowed them whole, and go back to their jobs and their families and forget about the disappeared. It was during this long ride, as the interior started to fill with the smell of feces and urine and fear and helplessness, that Allison had decided that the only way she and the rest of the people would get out of this situation would be if they did something to stop it. She had an advantage over most of the people she was traveling with, though the people in charge had no idea of it. She had been an only child, and her mother had died when she was very young. She was raised by her father, who had made an effort early in her life to make sure she was properly equipped to deal with anything that might arise. He had been a rough man to grow up with, and her memories of childhood were closer to what a recruit might remember of boot camp then happy birthday parties and ponies. She had secretly resented him, and whenever she had complained about anything, his reply had always been the same. ?You never know what might happen out there. Be Prepared.? She had thought him insane, but she was glad now, because she might be able to do something to get herself, and everyone else, out of the nightmare they found themselves in.

As she was thinking this, her well muscled back was flexing under the white tee-shirt in the hot desert sun, mixing the concrete and rebar for the North facing wall they were constructing. She wasn?t sure, but she had the feeling they were somewhere in Mexico, a few miles south of the border. Behind her, on the top of a small hill that commanded a view of the surrounding scrub-land, was a large hacienda, and the words that occasionally echoed down from the structure were in Spanish. She also thought she?d heard two or three names float down the hill: The General, Clayton, and a name that sounded like Juan Pedros. She had also kept her knowledge of Spanish a secret, in hopes of gleaning more information from their captors. It had worked, to some degree; she had deduced that there were three other projects going on. There was some kind of secret base that had been talked about, somewhere south of where they were now; the armed occupation of a town in New Mexico called Miller, and the rallying of a large number of troops at a railroad town called Nueva Castillo, which she thought might be southeast of The Hacienda.


With a subtle move, she raised her head and took in the construction. They were almost done; in another two, or three days she figured the walls would be done. She looked at how it was set up, and had to admire the ingenuity of it all. A ram parted wall, 15 feet high, with carvings built so that foot soldiers with rocket launchers, rifles and so on could defend against attack; and secondary openings at the base, where armed and armored cars could park and command an impressive field of fire. The General was intending success in his venture, but he had also been realistic enough to prepare to defend himself if his plans fell through. It didn?t seem that way, however. From what she had overheard, the New Mexican town had fallen without a hitch, there were close to a thousand people at the hidden base, and nearly 10,000 troops were at the Nueva Castillo railhead. She eyed the Hacienda, paying special attention to the portion of it which jutted out to the northwest, and had 7 or 8 antennas sticking up into the sky. The communications center, it always seemed to be busy, even long into the night. That was her best chance to get a message to the outside world, but it was always so busy that there seemed no chance to attempt a communication. On top of that, the things that would be done to her would be unpleasant at be-

?What?s so interesting, Red? Taking in the fine countryside we find ourselves in?? The barrel of a shotgun, which felt as large as a basketball hoop, was pressed against her neck. She froze.

?No, sir, I was just wondering if it was going to rain again, that?s all.? Whenever it rained the soldiers would get bored and come down to the barracks where they had all been sequestered and choose two or three girls for an evening of ?fun.? Lily, a delicate looking girl who had been chosen three times in a row, was found by Allison and one of the others hanging in the shower room, the note she had taped to her naked chest a two word declaration: ?NO MORE.? Allison had felt guilt then, guilt she hadn?t been chosen, because she knew that she could deal with that kind of thing; guilt that she hadn?t acted sooner, guilt that other women were silently enduring that worst kind of torture while she quietly planned and plotted. In the meantime, though, she had to get out of this situation. The man with the shotgun smiled.

?Don?t you worry your pretty little head none, Red,? he snickered. ?We?ve been watching you, and you?re too valuable out here, with the way you work and all, for us to get you all tuckered out during the down time. Don?t worry though, once this is all finished and you get your re-assignment, I?m sure there will be people lining up for your services. You?ll like Presidio Lago, it?s a regular resort.? Still snickering, he removed the shotgun from her neck and continued back down the line. Allison went back to work, her thoughts turning to her friends and how they were faring.


Maggie carried the tray of food into the large warehouse that had been converted into a mess hall. The soldiers inside were laughing and joking, and as she walked past one of the tables the soldiers started cat-calling her and one pinched her rear. She ignored them and moved on, knowing what would happen if she did what her instincts told her to. Instead, she smiled at the soldier, and walked to the next table, where she deposited the tray of food, moving around the cheap tan bench, giving each man his breakfast. Once finished, she picked up the now empty tray and made her way out of the warehouse. As she did, she looked around. There had to be at least 100 other women serving food, and more then 1000 soldiers in the cavernous room. She had done her best to find out what they knew, and was pretty sure they were gearing up for a large battle. She had overheard the word ?invasion? several times, but that seemed preposterous. Who in their right minds would invade the States, what with crazies tooling around the deserts armed to the teeth and looking for trouble? It seemed like an invitation to mass suicide.


As she exited the warehouse and crossed the small alley to the storage building that had been turned into a massive kitchen, she passed one of her friends, Geraldine. They exchanged a secret glance, wary of any observers. They had talked only a few times, mostly late at night, though they had managed to sneak off and make love for a paranoia filled 15 minutes that had not been worth the pleasure. Her thoughts turned to the rest of their friends, most of whom were scattered around Nueva Castillo, and the trip they had been on a few weeks ago. She and Geraldine were going to tell everyone they were in love, but that group of assholes had definitely interfered with that plan. Right now, how everyone would react was the least of their fears. Joan and Christine were okay for now, if unhappy. Both were Society Girls, used to being waited on, not vice versa. Maggie figured they should count their blessings that they hadn?t been used for other, more unpleasant diversions. To that end, Maggie reflected, Allison and Helen were unaccounted for, Allison since the town they had been abducted in, and Helen had been taken off for ?special duty? the second night they had been in town. Allison she wasn?t worried about; if anyone could weather this situation, it was her. Helen, on the other hand; she was always hiding behind her moral fortitude and her disdain for people who weren?t ?normal.? Helen had been the one that she and Geraldine had been most worried about judging them harshly. Helen, who was saving herself for marriage, Helen, who had avoided drugs and alcohol, Helen, whose idea of a good time was going dancing and then spending the remainder of the evening playing gin rummy and gossiping. Maggie worried about how she was doing most of all; she might already be dead or worse.


In the narrow bunk on the sleeper car, the two men sweating over the young woman grunted and collapsed against her, the sweat from their bodies mingling with hers. With a sigh of exasperation, she turned and looked at them over her shoulder.

?That?s it? I didn?t even come you, you bastards!? She was smiling, and they smiled back at her. She rolled over onto her back, and with her hands started to see if she could get them back into the mood. One of them reached for the bottle of Tequila next to the bed, but she stopped him with a gentle squeeze. ?Uh, uh, Garcia. You won?t be good for anything if you have much more of that swill.? Removing her hand from him, she took the bottle and a healthy swig, then leaned over and took him in her mouth. Luis, next to him, made a disappointed sound, and she soon began alternating between the two of them. Soon, they were ready again, and within moments both were inside her again. As they worked, she stared at the window.

The train was moving smoothly along the tracks; but, as it had for the last 3 hours, the window outside still showing nothing. They were traveling in what had to be the longest train tunnel ever built. The General must have money to burn with a set-up like this, she thought, then all rational thought was burned away as she felt the orgasm build inside of her. With a high, thin scream, she peaked, and lost control of her muscles, falling onto Luis. Both continued to move until they had quickly finished again. Exhausted, they all lay together for a moment. Her face against Luis? chest, she smiled to herself. The old Helen would have been outraged by the ravenous sexual beast she had become, but that person was gone. Early on, she had realized that these men would take it whether she wanted them to or not, and so had decided that they would never have the satisfaction of seeing her scared. Indeed, by letting herself enjoy it, she had enjoyed more freedom in it, had been given her own room at Nueva Castillo and her choice of who did and didn?t visit her.

Then, early last night, she had been told to pack her few belongings for a trip, and taken to the train. She had been sitting in the small room she had been given, reading a worn copy of National Geographic when there had been a knock at the door and Luis, one of her regulars, had entered, followed by a shy young soldier who Luis had introduced as Garcia, his cousin. Luis had explained that Garcia was unskilled in the ways of women, and that he greatly desired to be made a man. Helen had agreed, a small smile on her lips as she realized that both wanted her at once. She looked over at the small wind-up clock on the foldout table next to the bed. 8:13. The train trip was supposed to be 6 hours, and they had been going for 5 already; she was going to need to freshen up before they got wherever they were going.

She pushed herself up, crossing the small compartment in three steps to the sink set in the wall. She put some water in the bowl and splashed it over her face, then turned to the two men, who were staring at her with glassy eyes.


?Okay, boys, time to get dressed. A lady must have her privacy. Go on, scoot, scoot.? She waved her hands towards the door, and both sat up and slowly started dressing. After a few moments, they were in the fatigues they had been wearing, and with a last pair of smiles, had exited the room. She turned back to the sink, draining it and reaching for a towel, when something exploded outside the window. She was blinded by it, and dove for the floor, covering her head. After a moment, she realized that she hadn?t heard an explosion, and opened her burning eyes. They gradually adjusted, and she realized that they had emerged from the tunnel. She stood and looked out the window, and suddenly all thoughts of a shower were forgotten.

The train was on a cliff that had to be a thousand feet up, stretching down to what had to be 5 or 6 miles of the bluest lake she had ever seen. Looking ahead, she saw that the tracks meandered down around the rim of the lake to the only area she could she that was level with the water, an area maybe ? a mile wide and a mile long, which seemed to be taken up with a settlement of some kind. From what she could see, the rest of the area around the lake was all solid cliff stretching up to the edge of emerald green rainforest. To the right of the distant town, a massive waterfall fell 400 feet from above into the lake. A quick glance showed 3 or 4 other waterfalls also feeding into the lake. That was not the most impressive thing in the area, however. In the center of the lake, maybe a mile from the shore, was an island, which at first appeared to be a massive hunk of rock, but on closer inspection revealed itself to be a castle, jutting up into the crisp morning eye. Helen involuntarily took a deep breath of amazement; she had never seen anything more beautiful then the lake. Almost without thinking, she said the name of the place which she had only overheard, but knew without a doubt that this was where she was.

?Presidio Lago.?

It started the way many things do, as a piece of information that had been added as an afterthought to a bunch of useless facts that had been told for 20 minutes. Tesla had been on the phones all night, calling in every favor she had, digging around for as much information as she could glean. The other people in the Phoenix AVA office on the night shift had carefully avoided her, knowing how worked up she had gotten over the disappearance of Brian Lindsey 4 weeks before. Her ?secret? crush on him had been no such thing, except to the young bespectacled information analyst who had started working there 4 months before. He had disappeared while supervising the transfer of some car parts one Friday night; the bodies of 3 of the other 6 men who had been working on the job had been found, but of he and the others, there was no trace. Tesla had tried and tried to get the permission of the supervisor, a sweaty, smelly man named Tom, to use the resources of the AVA offices to try and track them down. He had refused, and then finally last night he had ?taken ill? and stayed home for the night. He?d never know that Tesla had deliberately put bad roast beef on his sandwich to get him out of the office. As soon as she had heard he wasn?t coming in, she had pawned off all of her regular duties on the rest of the night staff, and spent a frantic evening calling in every favor she had.

It was almost 9 in the morning; she was talking to a man named Franklin, in the Albuquerque office. He was going on and on about how his town had been quiet but the area surrounding it had been a mess, and no one matching Brian?s description had appeared in the AVA chapter there. He had then gone on to talk about how nice it would be if someone DID show up, since he was undermanned and overworked. Tesla was already done with the conversation, but was so tired that she couldn?t form the words to politely say thank you and hang up, and didn?t want to burn anymore bridges by being rude to him.

?.Yeah, especially with the people who keep calling here, looking for tourists,? he finished.

?Uh huh,? Tesla replied, doodling on her notepad, staring at the clock and thinking that a Mondo Muffin with ham sounded good.

?I keep telling these people that the AVA isn?t a locator service, and that if they?ve lost track of friends and relatives, then maybe they should come on down and look for them themselves.? Tesla nodded, stifling a yawn.

?Yeah. Creepers out there will take anyone they think might be easy pickings.? She started playing with her pen.


?Exactly. Besides, how do they know that these people haven?t felt the call of the road and become Vigilantes or Creepers themselves? It?s not as if every person out there in a car is a man, right? There are some bad assed women out there too.? Tesla started to nod again, then stopped, and unconsciously sat up straight.

?What do you mean?? Franklin sounded confused.

?What do I mean what? I?m just saying that women can hold their own pretty well. Equal rights and all that.? Tesla shook her head.

?No, no, why did you just mention women? What?s that all about?? She could almost hear Franklin?s shrug.

?Oh, just that a bunch of people have been calling here recently looking for women who were in the area and disappeared. Seemed a bit higher then the regular amount of calls we get, that?s all.? Tesla?s response was quick, all traces of exhaustion gone from her now.

?How many??

?Look, Tesla, it?s an anomaly, that?s all. Just like that one time there were 8 people who tried to register as THE Groove Champion in 1 day. It doesn?t mean anything.?

?How many, goddamnit?? She heard his exasperated sigh, then the sound of rustling paper through the scratchy phone connection.

?Okay, just a minute.? There was a pause, and Tesla reached for the pack of cigarettes that was sitting on the blotter, lighting one up and looking around the room. As she did, she caught the eye of Willis, one of the younger guys who had started working there a few weeks before, who was talking to his girlfriend on the phone. She waved him over, and he nodded, hanging up the phone and navigating through the desks. ?Alright, here it is. Uh.we got about 185 calls in the last 5 weeks about young women who have disappeared while in the area. Maybe a 3rd of those were repeat calls, so about 125 women total. But Tesla, you know how those things are. The family calls, all frantic, and then the next day the kid walks in, having spent an extra day or two on the road, and it?s a happy reunion and the family doesn?t bother to call and let us know. You know what I mean??

?Yeah, sure. Look, do me a favor, choose 20 names at random and call them and find out what they heard, if anything, okay?? Noises of protest came from the earpiece.

?Look, Tesla, I?ve got other things I need to be doing right now; I can?t waste that kind of time tracking down your ghosts.?

?Fine, than read me names and numbers and I?ll do it myself. ? Franklin sighed again.

?Okay. Got a pen and paper??

?Yeah, just a second.? She covered the mouthpiece and looked up at Willis, standing next to her desk. ?Hey, I need you to go to the files and pull all the names and numbers of people who have called here looking for missing visitors to the area. Then, call the AVA chapters in other major cities: Dallas, OK City, Tucson, Roswell, Santa Fe, El Paso, Nevada. Ask for the same thing. You?re looking for women, but men also. Get the names and numbers of the relatives, and either have the offices call, or call ?em yourself. Find out if any of them came back. Get as many people listed as you can. Have Derek and Walt help you as well.? Willis, scratching all of her instructions into a well worn notepad, looked up at her.

?What?s up, Tesla? You find something?? She shook her head.

?No, just playing a hunch. Oh yeah, and have Marie go down to the Mondo and get us some breakfast.? Willis nodded.

?You realize, of course, that when Tom gets in, he?s going to string you up.?

?I don?t care. Now get going.? With a nod, he turned and walked off. She spoke into the mouthpiece again. ?Okay, Franklin, on second thought, give me all those numbers.? After he protested for a second or two, he began reciting them, and she started writing them down.


Joe Fumbled with the keys to the bathroom of Ralph's Gas-4-Cash, The keys were attached to an old muffler that weighed close to 5 pounds. Finally he got the key into the lock and opened the door, the stench of fecies emanated from a pair of shit stained pants the lay in the corner of the room. Joe gagged in disgust, holding his breath he finished his business and went around to where they were finishing up on his Clydesdale.

' Someone might want to clean out the restroom...' Joe said, taking in the fresh clean air. Out behind the station rotting hulks of cars sat baking in the morning sun, in the between the car Bodies next to and old '64 Hermes Asteroid, sat a beat-up Huey Chopper. Upon further inspection Joe noted that despite the deteriorated condition of the body the old Gunship was in prime mechanical shape...

' for the Clydesdale and a Grand she?s all yours..' Stanley said, wondering over towards the Vigilante.

' you got yourself a deal, sir' Joe said smiling as he shook the grease monkeys hand.

' as long as you take the Big Irons off the roof..' Ralph Replied pointing at the twin 30mm setting atop of the Clydesdale...

The sun was ablaze in the middle of the sky when Joe finished the pre-flight check. The Chopper lifted off heading towards the Mescalero Indian Reservation. Paladin chuckled thinking off the great deal he had just made, having sold choppers for a living back in '76 he knew an incredible deal when he saw one, seeing as a grand was petty cash and he hadn't paid a penny for the truck...

As the Chopper rounded the bend in the road it had been following, Paladin noticed a road sign that said Mescalero Reservation 8 miles..' BEEP BEEP' the low fuel warning light flashed, the red light flashed across Joe's confused face. The gauge read full, thumping it with his finger it lowered to empty... 'SHIT!'.

' Mayday, Mayday, this is chopper 069'er, I'm running on fumes here attempting to make an emergency landing approximately 6 clicks short of Mescalero, on the Artesia side...'

The Chopper sat down roughly jarring Paladin into the instrument cluster. He shook of the daze as he climbed out of the chopper into the blistering sun...The distant roar of engines approaching from Artesia startled Paladin...a black Sovereign and a Dark Blue Courchelle... ' AWW SHIT!!!' paladin yelled Removing the 50cal machine gun from the cargo area of the chopper..
Bullets danced in the sand around Paladin as the Two ?Brothers? from Waco took wild shoots at the downed Aviator.....


The four men were sleeping in various positions around the table. Pike constantly moved in his chair, mumbling in his sleep as if plagued by bad dreams. Bishop seemed almost dead; he did not move much more then his rising and falling chest, occasionally readjusting his body to be slightly more comfortable. Johnny snored, though not loudly; and Mofo, head on the table, smiled in his sleep, as though remembering a puppy he had owned or a forgotten girlfriend. Mary had awoke at dawn, and quietly moved through the kitchen, preparing breakfast. It was while she was doing this that she heard the distant thump, which she instantly recognized as the impact of military grade ordinance. She crossed quickly to Johnny and gently but firmly put her hand on his shoulder.

'John.' He shot awake, looking around and then up at her.

'Huh? What is it?' She said nothing, just inclined her head, listening for the impacts again. They sounded a moment later. His eyes got wide, and then hardened. He stood up, pounding the table as he did so. 'Wake up! Wake up!' He yelled. Bishop awoke and immediately scanned the room for trouble; Mofo shot under the table and looked around, and Pike, leaning back in his chair, went over backwards and rolled up onto the balls of his feet, reaching for his shoulder holster, realizing only as he ended in a crouch that his pistol and holster were across the room. After a moment, Bishop looked at Johnny.

'What the hell? What's going on, Johnny?'

'Listen, man.' For a moment, all five of them were stock still, not moving a muscle. The sound of a distant explosion rolled across the countryside.

'Oh, shit.' Pike moved first, breaking into a run as he made a beeline for the hat-rack by the door where they had left their pistols the night before. Mofo scuttled out from beneath the table and followed him. Johnny started for the backdoor, Mary running into their bedroom. Bishop paused for a moment. Pike looked back at him as he was hurriedly strapping the holster on. 'What the fuck are you waiting for, Bishop? A Written Invitation?' Bishop shook his head slowly, as though lost in thought.

'No, man, it?s just that I'm more used to leaving the area where heavy artillery is being dropped then running headlong into it.' Pike shook his head in exasperation.

'Jesus man, don't sweat it! Mofo and I got your back. Come on!' There was obvious excitement in his voice, and it was obvious that he was happy to do something, anything. Bishop nodded and started across the room. As he did, Mary came out of the bedroom carrying a pair of revolvers, a pump action shotgun, and an M-1 Sniper Rifle. She gave him a quick smile as she disappeared out the back door.

The three cars parked in front of Johnny's residence all roared to life. The purr of their motors was met by a complementary growl from the rear of the house, and a Jet Black 62 Sovereign, followed closely by a 64 Royale, shot past the three cars and onto the road, heading back towards the Reservation entrance. The 3 cars moved onto the road behind them.

'Red watch 3, Red watch 3, this is Red lead 7,' Johnny's voice came from the CB speaker. 'What is source and location of environmental disturbance, over?' The voice of a young man came back to him over the radio.

'Red lead 7, this is Red watch 3. Source appears to be 4 miles south-southeast of our position, possibly including airborne traffic, over.' Johnny gave a silent nod to the radio. It looked like the creepers were finally paying attention to their corner of the world.

* * * * *


Joe was hunkered down behind a rock that was slowly being whittled away by .50 caliber bullets, the machinegun he had cradled in his arms starting to feel more and more useless.

'This is no good.' He craned his neck around and popped up quickly to get a fix on the situation. Both cars were stopped about 50 yards away, trying to aim at the rock and not having much success. He could just make out the two black men through the windshields, and it appeared they were conversing on the CB as they fired. The stream of bullets soon stopped, and Joe got a sudden sinking feeling. 'This could be bad, if they decide to co-ordinate an attack I'm screwed' just as this thought passed through his brain, he heard the low 'WHUMP' of a mortar shell firing. 'OH, SON OF A-' Without making a conscious decision, he rolled away and made a bee-line for a low ditch 20 feet further away. As he did, the .50 cals started firing anew. Joe felt the teeth in his head rattle as the first mortar round impacted just the other side of the rock. The point of impact saved his life, the boulder shielding him from the fragments. The concussion lifted him off of his feet and threw him forward.into the safety of the shallow indentation he had run for. He was momentarily dizzy, and when he heard the second mortar, he began scrambling away to the left towards a large rock formation. The second mortar landed long, 15 yards beyond the ditch. He knew they couldn't see him as he crawled forward, and it was only as he reached the first of several big rocks did he realize that he had left the heavy machinegun in the dirt 30 feet behind him. 'Oh, good one, Joe. Now what?' He groused to himself as they began peppering the area with mortar fire, raining dirt and gravel and the occasional cactus down around him. This was beginning to look really bad.

* * * * * *

The 5 cars rocketed through the checkpoint, zipping past a line of 2 or 3 cars waiting to gain entrance to the Reservation. As they did, a '78 Palomino pulled out from the side of the road and fell into formation behind them. As it did, a familiar voice spoke to them over the radio.

'Red lead 7, this is Red watch 4, mind if I join the party? Over,' said a female voice immediately identified as Lydia's. Bishop found himself grimacing. This was going to be nothing that someone like Lydia would want to be involved in, that was for sure.

'Roger that, Red Watch 4, just play by the rules and don't die, over,' came Johnny's response. Mofo's voice soon came over the radio.

'Red lead 7, this is White Visitor 1, what rules are you talking about? Did I miss the briefing? Over.'

'Ah, White Visitor 1, those would be the 'don't shoot any of your friends' rules, over,' came Johnny's somewhat sardonic reply. As he laughed, Bishop could almost hear Pike chuckling as sure as Johnny, Mary, Lydia and anyone listening were shaking their heads. Mofo was a card, but after a while you just started to understand where he was coming from. He was lifting up his mic to reply when Pikes voice echoed from the speaker.

'Red lead 7, this is, uh, White Visitor 2. You get used to him after a while, over.' His laughter was evident as he spoke. As they cruised along, Bishop noticed the Mortar fire had fallen silent. He wondered whether they were too late.


As the group crested a hill, they could see in the distance a pair of cars and a grounded Helicopter. The cars looked familiar, but he wasn't sure where he had seen them before. As he was pondering it, Johnny's voice gave a command over the radio. 'Okay, all cars, shut down and prepare to cruise in, over.' Bishop shut down the engine, arming the twin 7.62's he had under the hood. It was about to get realhe debated lighting a smoke to help calm him down, and then had a vision of fumbling around for a dropped cigarette as a swarm of people were trying to kill him. He decided to wait until after the battle to smoke. If he survived, that is. He took a deep breath and hoped that he'd make it.

* * * * * *

Joe was creeping amongst the rocks, trying to find a decent vantage point. The two cars had stopped peppering the area with mortar fire, perhaps realizing that he was either already dead or hiding somewhere. He finally reached a flat rock that had a view of the area and shimmied up its surface, until he could cock his head and get just his right eye up over the ledge and scope the bad guys. They were sitting in their cars, with the windows partially down to combat the already rising summer heat. Some of their words, which seemed flat and dry in the desert air, drifted to him as he eyed them.

'think we should just say fuck the basta.ake the chopper.' said one.

't's a good point, but if we hato te.ane that we left a possi.itness alive thehe'll have our asses.' said the other.

'Goo.oint, but I don't wanna waste ammoan't even see the mother fu.aybe we should get outut a .44 in the base of his sku.' The first one replied.

'..Uck you, man! Did you see the size of thatchinegun he had?' The second one whined plaintively. 'That thing'll put holes.hat a truck couive through!'

'You mean THAT machinegun on the ground right there?' The first ones voice carried to him clearly. Uh oh, thought Joe.

'Oh, well, then' the door to the second car opened and the man stepped out. He was a tall, well built man, with his curly hair cut in a military flat-top and a big hog-leg of a pistol hanging under his arm, which he drew and held in front of him one handed. He started whistling as he strolled toward the rock formation Joe was hiding behind. As he did, Joe scooted back and started thinking furiously. It was only about 3 miles to the Reservation entrance; maybe he could get down and make a run for it. Maybe he could circle back around to the helicopter and get on the radio for some help.as he was thinking, the walking man called out to him. 'Hey there, white boy, I hate to be the bearer of bad news and all, but you're fucked. Me and Don, we've got your number. Why don't you make it easy on all of us and just come out quietly, take it like a man. I promise it will be painless. Course, if you make me come look for your ass, I'll be sure to draw it out as long as possible. Either way, you'll get it, so save us all the trouble and end it right now.' The voice was getting closer. Joe knew he wasn't giving up to these guys that easily, and made his way deeper into the rocks. As he did, the voice of the first man gave him pause.

'Shit! Glen! Get back to the car! Now man! Now, goddamnit!' Joe could hear running, and turned to go back and see what had happened. He got into a decent vantage point just as 6 cars appeared from nowhere and stopped behind the two parked vehicles.

* * * * *

As they all stopped behind the two cars, Pike was eyeing the man on foot between the cars and a rock formation 30 yards or so ahead of them. The tall black man looked familiarIt hit him like a ton of bricks, and he leapt for the CB. 'White Visitor 1, uhBrown Visitor 1, that guy is one of the guys who we saw in front of that Waco bar, over.' In his car, Bishop gasped in realization, but before he could respond Johnny spoke into the CB, puzzlement evident in his voice.


'Don Davies and Glen Washington?..Hey, Brown Visitor 1, I know those guys! They were with the Department over in Africa. What are they doing here? Uh, over.'

'I have a bad feeling I know exactly what. Hold on, and I'll find out, over.' Bishop started to get out of the car.

'Jesus Christ, no!' Pike picked up his radio. 'Bishop, stay in the car! Don't get out of theshit!' Pike saw he was too late as Bishop exited and started towards the man, who looked at him and attempted to hide the obvious nervousness he felt.

In the Sovereign, Johnny muttered a quiet curse and reached for the weapon on the seat next to him.

When Bishop got closer to the waiting man, who smiled and reached into his back jeans pocket, he made a mental note of where everything was around him.

'Bishop Singer, right? Glen Washington, Special Agent rating A-5, with Department M. I was told to contact you concerning some trouble you had in the mid-east a few months ago. My partner and I were on our way to meet you when the pilot of that chopper started firing on us and we forced him down. He's hiding somewhere in the rocks over there; we're trying to flush him out.' He pointed at the rocks, and Bishop, unconsciously, looked in their direction.

Glen couldn't believe his luck; here was one of his prime targets, standing right in front of him. He mentally calculated the distance to his car, and where the group of would-be heroes were arrayed. He decided it was worth the risk. As Bishop turned to look at the rocks, Glen raised the pistol to Bishops temple and squeezed the trigger.

Pike saw the gun go up in horrible slow motion, a sudden horrible sense of unreality settling on his shoulders as he realized that he couldn?t fire his cars weapons for fear of hitting Bishop, and reached for his pistol, knowing he would be too late.

Mofo was caught unawares by Glens action, and only as the pistol was completing its upward arc did he realize that things were about to take a horrible turn.

When Joe saw the man start to raise the pistol, he turned and sprinted for the machinegun. He was already counting the stupid son of a bitch who had left his car as dead, but knew he could help extract revenge on him and his buddy once the new arrivals realized the deal.

Lydia?s mouth formed an O as she saw the man she hadn?t been able to stop thinking about since the night before about to be murdered in cold blood, and reached to start her car to deal with the pair of scum.

Mary made a silent prayer that Bishop?s soul would be guided to its final destination by the spirit warriors who she had always known were watching over him.

Johnny exhaled softly and squeezed the trigger of his weapon.

Bishop was aware of the sudden presence of cold steel against his forehead and realized he had made a dreadful mistake by getting out of the car. There was a sudden jerk as the barrel scraped against his skull and then a thunder filled the world, and he was falling, falling..


Everything exploded into action. As Bishop fell to the ground, Lydia?s car started and jumped forward. The sound of pistol fire exploded from Pikes beat-up Palomino. Mofo?s car started a moment later. Dons car suddenly spun around, throwing up a fishtail of dirt. Glen, who was turning for his car, was suddenly hit 3 or four times, blooms of crimson forming on his chest, his abdomen, his hand. Amazingly, he was able to leap into his car and close the door.

The 5 remaining vigilantes poured fire at the two cars. Don completed his turn and drove right at Pikes Palomino, letting loose with a mortar. Pike ducked below the dashboard, hearing the mortar impact behind him. He started his car and shot forward, arming his forward weapons. Another friend killed because of Thane. These bastards were going to PAY.

Joe made it to the machinegun, sprinting across the open area and scooping it up in his arms. He was cycling the gun and priming it as he took in the scene, glancing briefly at the man who lay motionless on the ground. He started to look back up when a faint movement caught his eye. Looking back down, he saw the man?s hand flexing. With a sudden boldness, he dashed forward to the fallen man.

Don was putting the pedal to the metal, intent on smashing into Pike?s car and possibly unloading his weapons pointblank into the Palomino. The two cars impacted head-on, the rear of the Pally lifting a good 2 or 3 feet off the ground. The impact jarred both men. Don smashed his face into the windshield. Pike felt the straps of his harness bite into his chest. While his car was still balanced on its front, Lydia?s newer Palomino caught the tail end of the Courchelle, spinning it around and stopping it with its front end now harmlessly pointed towards a stand of cactus. As it stopped it fired off its weapons, turning the cactus into a fine green mist. Pike?s car came down behind it, the Courchelles tail end resting against his door. Before it could move, Mary?s Royale crunched against it on the right. Within seconds, Lydias car had done the same on the left. Effectively boxed in, both women started sending machinegun rounds into the car, destroying the tires, engine and front weapons in a matter of seconds. At the same time, Pikes pistol was creating a growing spider-web of cracks in the rear window. Johnny and Mofo both moved around towards the front, their weapons trained on the front windshield. Suddenly, all firing stopped, and a deafening silence fell on the desert.

Joe reached the fallen man, crouching down over him and rolling him over. As he did, a sudden gush of blood appeared in the heavy crease that lined his skull. He couldn?t believe it: somehow the bastard had only grazed the guy instead of putting a hole the size of Jupiter in his head. He shook the guy, who opened his eyes and looked at him dazedly. ?Hey. Hey, man, you alright?? He sat up, groaning, then spit dirt and gravel out of his mouth.

?Jesus, did someone get the license plate of that freight train?? He looked up at Joe. ?Let me guess.you?re the chopper pilot, right?? Joe was about to reply when from the Sovereign that Glen had jumped into came the unmistakable sound of a chaingun spooling up. Both men glanced fearfully at one another, then Joe helped the other man to his feet and they took off for a dead run at the rocks ahead. The gun went off a few seconds later, drawing a line of bullets towards the two men. As they neared the rocks, both dived behind them, the injured man knocking his still bleeding head into a fist-sized rock as they did so. ?OWW! Son-of-a-BITCH!? He pressed his hand against the wound, leaning against the boulder he was hiding behind as the bullet impacted behind them.

?You know, I?m really starting to hate these rocks,? Joe lamented as he hefted the Machinegun. The other man gave a crazy half-grin.

?Hey man, if they keep saving your life, I wouldn?t complain too much.? Joe nodded.

?Okay, good point. But the simple fact is, Mr??

?Call me Bishop.? Joe nodded.


?Bishop. Right. I?m Joe. Anyway, if it wasn?t for the fact that these guys were so goddamn single minded in killing me-and, apparently, you-off, then I would never have even known that these rocks existed. Anyway, we need a plan.? Bishop was nodding, taking a dark blue handkerchief from his pocket and wrapping it tightly around his head. Once it was in place, he pulled his pistol and cocked it.

?Yeah. The nice thing about being on foot is that those guns can?t target us. They need a heat signature, and we?re too small. So unless he?s got a manual control on that turret, he can?t target us if we move away from the front of the car. The sound of firing echoed from the rocks, but there were no bullets hitting the boulder that was their shield. Joe popped up and looked real fast. He ducked back down.

?Okay. He?s targeting your friend in the beat up Palomino. If we move fast, maybe one of us could get close to his car and get him out of it, while the other one moves laterally that way-?he pointed to their right-?and fires at him with the Machinegun. What do you think?? Bishop nodded.

?Sounds like it might work. I?ll get the son of a bitch. You cover me with the gun. We go on three.? Joe nodded. ?Onetwo.three!?

Both popped up. Joe started moving off to the side, firing the machinegun. Bishop sprinted towards the car. The turret suddenly spun around and was pointed right at Bishop. He skidded to a stop as he was able to see right down the suddenly huge barrel of the gun and turned around, zig-zagging back and forth to the rocks. The gun fired at him a few moments, bullets whizzing past his head. As he dove behind the rocks, the gun spun to the right and started to fill the air where Joe was. With a shout and a curse, he dove back towards Bishop. Both came to a stop next to each other. Bishop looked at Joe.

?Well, I guess he has a manual aim turret. This is no good.? Joe nodded.

?Yeah, I?m starting to worry that one of his bullets might have my name on it.? Bishop shook his head.

?It?s not the one with my name on it that I?m worried about, it?s all the others marked ?occupant? that bother me.? He took a deep breath. ?Okay, we need a plan B. Did you get a look at the others??

?Yeah. It looks like they?ve got the other guy boxed in. But if twinkle toes here keeps his shit up, there?s no way we?ll be able to get to them.? Bishop nodded again.

?Yep. Okay, time for plan B. I was hoping to take this guy alive, but? he shrugged. Then reached into the pocket of his leather jacket, pulling out a small pineapple shaped object. ?Okay, here?s the plan.

Glen was looking at the rocks, waiting for the two men to pop up again. No matter what happened now, he was going to make sure that Bishop Singer died before he did. Every once in a while he was turning and firing at the people behind him, forcing them to keep their heads down. The wounds in his chest and hand throbbed. He wondered briefly who had fired the round into his hand that had spoiled his aim on Singer. He knew he?d hit the guy, but his right hand was ruined. That guy was like a cat, enough lives to make it hard for someone like Glen to do his jobhis thoughts were cut off by the reappearance of the pilot again ahead and to the right, firing at the passenger side of the windshield. He swung the turret back towards him, using his right elbow to trigger the weapon as he lined up the man in his sights. The man started moving to the right, still firing, until there was a basketball sized hole in the windshield. The poor bastard couldn?t even aim! He smiled to himself as the bullets inched closer to the doomed man.

He barely caught the movement to his left: Bishop popped up briefly and then disappeared again. He spun the weapon back towards Bishop just in time to see him drop back behind the rocks. As he started to aim once again at the pilot, there was a ?CLANK!- and something dropped through the hole, bounced off the passenger seat and rolled below the dashboard. He looked down at the pineapple shaped object disappeared from sight and registered what it was. ? a second later, he was scrambling out the door and sprinting with what little strength was left in his body.

The grenade went off with a dull ?WHUMPF?, blowing the glass out of the windows, twisting the roof up and disintegrating the two front doors. Glen was knocked on his face, and momentarily lacked the strength to stand, just glad to realize he was still alive. After a moment, he struggled to stand.

?I wouldn?t do that if I were you, Glen,? a voice said above him, the feeling of a gun being pressed into his neck. ?You?re already hurt real bad, but if you?re lucky, and you?re smart, you might just live a little while. If not, wellYou DID try to kill me.? Glen slowly sank back to the ground. Joe walked up from where he had been shooting. He was obviously feeling a bit cocky.

?Well, I guess that plan worked after all. Nice one, Bishop. I wasn?t sure you could make that throw.? Bishop nodded.

?Yeah, me neither. I?ve always been horrible at stuff like basketball. But hey, it was worth a shot, right?? Either ignoring or not registering Joe?s look of astonishment, he indicated the fallen assassin with his pistol. ?Keep an eye on our friend here. If he moveskill him.? He turned and walked towards the others.

They had dragged Don out of the car and were busy trussing him up. Johnny gave an appraising eye to Bishop. ?That?s TWO you owe me, Singer.? Bishop nodded wryly.

?Yeah, Johnny, you got that right. Thanks again.? Johnny nodded once, his unsmiling eyes looking levelly at Bishop.

?You?re just lucky I don?t have an ugly sister that I need to marry off, Bish. Jesus! Never get out of the car, man! Ever! You put everyone in jeopardy, because you interfere with their fields of fire, and then it?s easy for the bad guys to get the drop on you. Goddamn, I should shoot you myself for doing something that damned foolhardy! Don?t ever do that again, got it?? Bishop, suddenly cowed, nodded. As he did, Lydia came up to him. ?Now, let Lydia take a look at your wound.? Quietly, Lydia led him away to her car. As she did, he reached into his jacket and lit a cigarette.

Pike leaned against his car, suddenly drained of energy. He noticed Mofo walking towards the stranger that had helped Bishop, and saw the two men greet each other like old friends. They got the injured man off the ground and the three of them walked over to the group.

?Hey, Pike, you won?t believe it, but this guy here is Paladin, one of the best damned chopper pilots I?ve ever seen. He?s a genuine Mozart with a flight stick, man, sweeter than a 18 year old Tokyo hooker.? Pike nodded.

?How you doing, Paladin?? He shrugged.

?I?m still alive. And just call me Joe. I only go by Paladin on the air, now really. A lots changed since I sold you that chopper, Mofo.? Pike was nodding along, then his head snapped around at Joe and Mofo in quick succession.

?Chopper? What chopper? Mofo? You can fly a helicopter?? Mofo smiled weakly.

?What? No no no no no no no no no no no no no no.young Joe here was just talking slang for a new type of drug that?s been on the market. They call it Chopper, cos, you know, it makes your vision go all choppy, like this, you know?? And he started vibrating and making noises like a robot. ?Yeah, I sold some a while back to make ends meet. You know how it is.? Pike was looking back and forth between the two, then shook his head in disgust.

?I fuckin? give up? he muttered to himself. Johnny walked over at this point, providing a welcome distraction. He bent down and started working on the injured Glen. ?So, hey, Johnny, now what??
Johnny gave him a grim smile.

?Now we get some information.? The injured man looked up at Johnny, who returned a fierce gaze. ?By any means necessary.?

30 minutes later, The group huddled around the two men, appling torture in everyway they could think of. Joe topped of the choppers fuel tank, viewing the spectacle before him, the indians were huddled around Don. Sunlight shimmered off of the knife Johnny thrust into the air then back down towards the mans scalp....The other three, Mofo, Bishop, and...Pike were gathered around Glen. Pike was probing the wounded mans gunshot wounds.....with a tire iron, the look of pure enjoyment shone on Pikes face as the man screamed. After about 30 minutes of non-stop torment the group stopped and consulted.

' This isn't working..'Mary said, dissapointment showing on her face.

' These men have been trained to deal with this type of torture..' Bishop replied, Johnny nodding in agreement.

'Lets just kill them...' Pike muttered, a cold expression on his face.

'you could always cut of there units and shove them do....' Mofo replied, Pike stopping him in mid-sentence with just his glare...

'You guys are going about the the wrong way..' Joe said walking towards the group. I know a way to make them talk..

The two men were hancuffed to the tiedowns on the tips of the Chopper's Rotors.

'Jezuus Christ' Bishop exclaimed outloud...

The group stared in disbelif as Paladin began the Engine start-up procedure. The Men screamed as the Blades slowly began to rotate, their legs hitting the tail of the chopper with each rotation. Paladin kept the Tail rotor off, as to not chew the two to bits. The Blades began to increase in speed...

'We'll TALK!!!, WE'LLL TALLLKK!!!!' the two men screamed in unison as their legs began to elevate horizonally. Joe Powerd down the Chopper and hopped out. The group began with Don.

'We were sent to kill you Bishop...' Don cried, blood covering his face from where the Indians had been slowly scalping him. 'And....to secure the Helicoptor that we are currently hanging from.' he continued.
'until your Friend here took it..' he said pointing a bloody finger at Paladin. ' this was to be His escape ...?

'Who's escape?' Bishop said in a low growl..' Simon Thane's' Bishop, and Pike's blood ran cold as the words crossed Don's lips. 'Where is Thane?' Pike commanded growling like a rabid dog. 'He's in Miller, he has 19....err..17 vehicles supporting him.., you don't have a chance Singer..' The man finished with a cold dead stare.' You can't stop the Invasion.....'. 'Invasion....' the entire group mumbled in shock. 'Who's invading?' Singer demanded in a cold tone. 'A bunch of Hombres from down Mexico Way...Some Dude called 'The General'. Simon is Spearheading the operation, they are breaking through at Miller, The border is weakly guarded there..'. 'Shit, I knew Thane was a real Shit head.. But to sellout on your entire country?. What about his Government ties? You've got to know more!' Bishop exclaimed, yelling at the man. 'That?s all I know... I Swear to God.. ask Glen ..He's the Government agent. I'm just a Creeper, the hired help....'

The group went around to where Glen was Hand-Cuffed, a pool of blood lay below him on the ground....
' You Can't stop Them.... Americans.....Slaves....Fortress..' This was the incoherent Babbling of a man on his last leg of life..' Presidio Lago.....' Glen looked up into Singer's eyes, a defeated man...with his last breath he said...' The whole thing was planned by......' Glen's body fell limp.. his eyes closed.

'Oh SON OF A..........FUCK!!!' Bishop yelled 'the answer was right THERE!!, right there' he said gesturing towards the corpse with both hands.

'Take it easy man...' Joe said ' I found this in the trunk of his car...' Joe said throwing a briefcase to the sand. It spilled open, revealing several manila envelopes, a wad of cash, and a disassembled Sniper rifle...'holy......' Joe exclaimed looking at the piece of high tech weaponry. Bishop picked up one of the envelopes and opened it, a look of shock shot across his face, within the envelope was his life story, pictures, a single bullet, and his death warrant with three simple letters stamped across it 'SSS'........

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Redline Fox
Crazy Vulpine
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Joined: Wed Oct 29, 2003 5:56 pm
Location: Silent Hill

Postby Redline Fox » Wed Dec 07, 2005 10:52 am

It was nearing the end of the day, and as the sun sunk low over the construction site, the 'Crew' left their regular construction jobs and started their rounds. It was such a gruesome aspect of the construction of the fort that it was given a name that had nothing to do with the reality. It was a gang of 10 men and women, equipped with pitchforks and wheelbarrows. They scoured the grounds for those who had fallen, dead from the sun and the work. They'd spear the dead, bloated bodies into wheelbarrows and transport them, in loads of 3 and 4, over to an old pickup. When they were done, they'd slink back to the slave barracks and collapse into bed, physically and emotionally exhausted. The first day on the job, Allison had thrown up the tiny portion of the thin gruel they had been served that morning she'd been able to lay her hands on. Now, she could keep the horror and the disgust at bay. Thrust the pitchfork, lift the thin, emaciated body, and put it in the barrow. Walk slowly, feet dragging, over to the pickup. Transfer the body from one container to another. Watch, without thinking, without caring, as the pickup drove away, a cloud of dust behind it. She assumed they dumped the bodies ten or fifteen miles away in an open grave, or maybe just on the open sands. Let the vultures and coyotes get fat on their monstrosities. Covered in dust and sweat and grime, she turned around and walked to the barracks.


As she opened up the door, a foul reek assailed her nostrils. Somewhere in the back of the barracks, a man and a woman uselessly expended energy by fucking. 'Idiots' she muttered under her breath. They probably hadn't even considered what would happen if they conceived a child. She hoped for their sake they didn't. She trudged the short distance to the lower bunk she had staked out as her own. Dinner was only every other day here, and today was not one of those days, so she simply collapsed onto the straw-filled bag that masqueraded as a mattress. She curled up into a little ball and prepared to go to sleep. Then a thought flashed across her mind. She reviewed the conversation with the 'foreman' earlier that day. She hadn't been able to see his eyes beneath the sunglasses, but The way he talked. That slight bulge in his crotch. Word was that he hadn't used a single one of the prisoner women the entire time he'd worked there. Some said he was gay. Some said he just couldn't get the old soldier to salute. None of those were it. He wanted her, and he wanted her badly. Maybe there * was * a way to get into that communications center.

She poked her head out of the door to the barracks and looked around. Sure enough, there he was, about a hundred yards away, standing, back to her, smoking a cigarette. The shotgun was laid against his shoulder, where he could hold it with minimum effort. Making up her mind, she slowly walked towards him. About ten feet away from him, she stopped and considered. If she made a slight sound here, he would turn around, gun at the ready, but he probably wouldn't shoot her. If she touched him before she made her presence known, he very likely might kill her. She made up her mind and kept walking, as silently as she could. She stopped right behind him, breathing softly onto his neck. She had been right, he'd known about her presence behind him several minutes ago. His body was tense, nervous. She slid one hand around his waist, down to his crotch, and took a firm but not painful grip. She leaned in real close to his ear and whispered: 'take me to dinner?' He remained silent for a second, then turned slowly around. He took off his sunglasses. 'Christ, the little shit is infatuated with me. He must think I'm doing this for something besides personal gain..' she thought to herself. He leaned in for a kiss, and she forced herself to pretend she was enjoying it as he clumsily forced his hand underneath her pants and between her legs. He pulled his mouth back and said: 'You'll have to wait in my room, I'll get enough for two'

She waited inside the foreman's small room. It was tiny, no larger than 10 by 12 feet. A cot was in one corner, and a small, cheap chest of drawers was opposite, right next to a small, rickety chair. He was actually located in an addition to the hacienda, a three room structure attached to the back. She had actually seen the door to the communications center, marked 'RADIO' in Spanish, as she had been escorted to his room. She waited impatiently. Eventually, the door creaked open and he walked in, carrying a large tray full of steaming food. In spite of herself, her mouth watered. Smiling, he set the plate on the chest. He handed her a fork, then pulled up the cot next to he chest to sit down. She was already using the chair. She didn't know how often this opportunity would come, so she dug in unashamedly. She got a full half of the huge steak and most of the surrounding potatoes and green beans. For the first time in over a month, she felt sated. She still didn't forget her mission though. She got up, walked over to the foreman, and pushed him down to the bed. Using what she hoped was a seductive grace. she undid his jeans and shirt. His member stood, fully ready, putting any rumors that he was impotent to rest. She slid off her shorts and mounted him. Then, as she began to rock back and forth on top of him, she started the part of her plan that everything hinged upon. She locked her strong hands around his throat and began to squeeze. At first his eyes widened in alarm and his hands came up to grip her arms painfully. However, between gasps of her own, she said: 'don't worry. It makes it better' A confused look came across his face, then he smiled a little, as he felt his own pleasure increase as she cut off his air. She kept squeezing and rocking, until his whole body arched and shuddered underneath her. His orgasm was so intense that they fell off the cot and onto the floor with a thud, his dead weight suddenly on top of her.

She clamped her hands all the way shut, and already oxygen-starved, he passed out nearly immediately. Once she was sure he was deeply asleep, but not dead, she pushed him off in disgust. Muscles straining, she lifted him back onto the cot. She resisted the urge to clean herself, instead sliding on his jeans, her own worn hiking boots, and one of his shirts. It was probably around twelve at night. She poked her head out of the door and looked both ways down the hallway. She made her way to the door, and just as her hand was about to close on the knob, it turned on its own and the door opened. Streaming light silhouetted a standing figure. 'Who are you!?' said the man in front of her, an alarmed tone to his Spanish.

Scrambling to keep her panic under control, she spit out a hasty reply in Spanish. 'Uh, I'm just here for a couple days, I'm usually up in the states doing recon as a creeper. I've gotta radio my commander and tell him the new orders we just received.' He eyed her well-muscled frame, clothed like one of the foremen. 'Well, alright. You know how to use the radio?' he asked, still a little doubtful. 'Of course!' she responded. He shrugged, then walked past. She entered the radio room and shut the door behind her, finally letting the breath she'd been holding out. She didn't know how many times she could escape death like that. Luckily, there was no on else in the room. She glanced around and found a chart. 'Thank God' She found the symbols for Miller, Presidio Lago, and the fortress she was in right now. She picked up the radio's mouthpiece, and selected the Vigilante frequency. Just one more thing her father had shown her. She would make three repetitions of the message. 'Attention, to all vigilantes who may be listening. This is a slave, working to build a fortress at these map coordinates'

When she was finished, she snuck back to the foreman's room, slid out of his clothes, and got into the cot. He was beginning to wake from passing out, and opened his eyes a little. She smiled at him and put a finger to her lips. He smiled and went back to sleep.

*****

Tesla listened, in shock, to the recording of the radio message. Willis was with her, gaping at the twin-spools of the recorder. The radio operator looked at her. She worked her jaw a couple times, to get feeling back into her mouth. 'Well, I guess we found out where all those women have gone.'

**********

After disposing of Glen?s body, there was some debate over what to do with the badly wounded Don. Pike, Bishop, and Johnny argued for killing him; Mofo and Paladin were for letting him go in the desert with no supplies, but it was the cooler heads of Mary and Lydia who finally prevailed, bundling him into the back of Mary's car and taking him to the stockade in Mescalero Township. The others returned to Johnny's house, where he busied himself with making the group a late breakfast.

They ate in stony silence, each consumed with his own thoughts. Bishop finished his food and went out onto the porch, the smell of cigarette smoke wafting in a few moments later. The others looked at each other. Pike broke the silence.

'Well, shit, this has turned into a big old horse-apple, now hasn't it?' The others all nodded in return.

'Hey, uh, Johnny? These Department guys, or the SSS or whatever...if they've got a price on Bishops head, what are his chances of surviving?' Mofofunks question hung in the air. Johnny took a long time to respond.

'If he's lucky-and Bishop's made it out of more scrapes then most men I know-maybe 6 months, on the outside. Its like he said last night-these guys are trained to look like anyone, anything, anywhere. A Department M assassin could just as easily be up on the hillside right now training a rifle on his head, or it could be the pretty blonde with car trouble outside of Las Vegas 5 months from now. Much as I hate to say it, he's on borrowed time.' Mofo nodded soberly.

'What are you guys talking about?' Paladin was looking around in confusion. Johnny sighed.


'Its a long story....' and he proceeded to tell him the basics of Department M. At the end, Paladin narrowed his eyes in concentration, then looked up at Johnny again.

'but if you guys were both in, don't you still have contacts inside the organization? Couldn't you try to get this hit called off, or something?' Johnny shook his head.

'The last person I knew who was still in was Bishop, and I'm pretty sure he burned all of his bridges when he left...' Silence once again descended on the room.

'Well, we'd better come up with something...' Pike mused, sipping his coffee.

'We take him down.' Bishops voice startled all of them, and Mofo looked at him in confusion.

'Uh, take who down? The leader, who we don't know, of an organization, that doesn't exist, with assassins, who we can't see? It seems like a long shot to me, longer then Dorothy just humping the Scarecrow to get home to Kansas...' Everyone glanced in bafflement at Mofo for a moment, then back at Bishop.

'No, Thane. We find this town called Miller, we head down there, do some Recon, then we hit 'em with everything we've got. We muster up whatever and whoever we can, as many cars and guns and people as we can find, and then we take that mother out. From there, we'll figure out our next move.' There was a pause, and then Pike spoke, steel in his voice.

'Let's do it.' And the room was a swarm of activity as they started getting out maps, paper, graphs, and charts. The daylight was rapidly consumed as phone calls were made, supplies brought in and out, old maps and pictures pored over, diagrams drawn. In addition to this, after a single call made by Johnny, a steady stream of people began visiting the house, speaking with Johnny for a few minutes, and then leaving. The buzz traveled rapidly around the Reservation, and as night fell, the plan was made.

*******
The sun was well below the horizon when the meeting finally began. There were almost 60 Apaches, men and women, who were crammed into every corner of Johnny's house. Surprisingly enough, the conversations were low, almost silent, as they waited for Johnny to appear, which would signal the beginning of the meeting. Bishop leaned against the far wall, smoking a cigarette.

Johnny walked out of the bedroom and took his place at the front of the room. Instantly silence fell, and more then 60 pairs of eyes waited expectantly.

'Hello. You've all heard by now that there is something in the works, but you don't know what that is. Well, I'm going to tell you now. Somewhere south of here, in a border town called Miller, a group of men are planning the invasion of New Mexico, with the intent of returning it to the sovereign control of Mexico. These men here,' he indicated Pike, Paladin, Mofo, and Bishop with a sweep of his hand, 'have vowed to stop it. I owe one of these men a life boon, and so I have volunteered to go with him as well. I am asking now, that all warriors who choose to ride metal steeds, join us in this fight.' There was much rumbling amongst the group, and it was a young man named Wolf who stood first.


'What is the point of getting involved in a white mans fight? They have hunted and killed us in the past, and it is only the pact of nations and guarding of our borders that has saved us now. Why should we care what happens to those who already surround us? The army's will advance to our borders, if what you say is true, and then we will fight them off. In the meantime, let the whites die-they did the same to us many years past.' There were mumbles of agreement. A middle aged man stood next.

'Wolf speaks the truth. If there is a war coming, I welcome it, and maybe we will be able to get more of our land back from the 'enemies' after they have taken over, if we play our cards right.' There was more agreement, and scattered applause. One of the young women who had come with Lydia the night before now stood.

'There is a saying, amongst all wise people-those who do not remember the past are doomed to repeat it. Our ancestors greeted the whites with friendliness, and the suffered. They were then greeted with hostility, and they suffered. If we do not attempt to stop this invasion, we will be worse off.' She was met with silence. A few people shifted in their seats, and were it not bad manners, many would have gotten up and left right then.

This is not going well at all, thought Pike. A few of the men and women were now glaring at him in open hostility, and he was suddenly painfully aware of the 16 foot gulf that separated him from his sidearm. This crowd could turn real ugly real fast. I sure hope Johnny knows what he's doing. He started casually scoping an escape route, in case he needed to jam. He locked eyes with Bishop, who seemed to read his thoughts. He looked at the doorway, then glanced at Pikes gun, nodding slowly. Well, if it goes sour, at least I won't be alone, Pike mused. I hope Mofo and Paladin will be okay....

An old man stood, and the mutterings which had been growing louder ceased. This was Albert, who, as far as everyone knew, was older then dirt. He looked around, then began speaking slowly.

'I feel it is time for me to speak. I sit here, and listen to the braves talk about how they are not responsible for this white man?s war that is coming. I hear others say that this fight is a righteous one.' He shook his head. 'I remember a time when no apache would walk away from a fight, and when there was no one else to fight, they would fight each other. I remember when we were forced from our homes, and made to live on the white man?s reservations. I remember when the fire water had poisoned our people, and it seemed as if we would die because of it. I remember when we were called to the Great War against the Demon Hitler, and we crossed the great ocean and fought the Warriors of the East. And I remember how proud I was when we purged the fire water poison from our people, and made them strong again. I remember all of these things. But now, when instead of going to fight a righteous war, we sit and discuss things like old men, it saddens me. Letting old wounds grow diseased by opening them again gets us nowhere. Maybe the white men did bad things in the past, but do you hold the actions of the ancestors against their children?s children? Do you sit and watch while the young are slaughtered, the innocence cast from their eyes forever as their blood runs into the ground? This is bad for the Apache people, and it loses favor with the spirits. These are things you should discuss. I have nothing more to say now.' And he sat down.

There was thoughtful silence for a few moments, and then Wolf stood up again, and it was maybe Pikes Imagination, but he stood a little straighter, a little taller. 'Tell us what you want us to do, Johnny.' And with a smile, Johnny launched into his plan. Around the room, Pike, Bishop, Mofo, and Paladin breathed a sigh of relief.

******
Pike stole a glance at his watch and stifled a yawn. It was nearly 3 AM and they were no closer to a resolution. The plan had been gone over several times, and he was already bored with it. It seemed like every aspect had to be gone over with a fine toothed Tomahawk, and he was ready for bed. Bishop had stood a few moments earlier and stepped onto the porch for his vice, and so Pike got to his feet with a stretch and went to join him.


Outside, he saw that Bishop had walked over to his car and sat in the front seat, feet up on the open door. Pike ambled over.

'Care for some company?' Bishop nodded tiredly.

'Sure, as long as you promise not to talk about the plan.' Pike nodded and opened the door, sliding into the passenger seat. 'So, where'd you get this car, anyway?' Bishop shrugged.

'My dad had one when I was a kid, I always promised myself that when I settled down I'd pick one up. So, when I got back to the states, I found it on a used car lot in New Orleans. The guy who sold it to me gave me the address of an outfitter, so I got the works.' He flipped on the CB, scanning through the channels. He stopped when he found a lively conversation going on between a pair of truckers somewhere on highway 70, east of Roswell. The two men sat in silence, listening to the bawdy jokes and tales of conquest. The two men laughed at the obviously tall tales. Then, the conversation changed.

'Hey, DeuceGoose, hold on a moment 'bo, I'm gonna see if that crap is still on there.' There was silence for maybe 10 seconds, and then he was back. 'Yeah, that craps still playing. God forbid I need some help from one of them lazy sumbitches.' Pike and Bishop looked at each other in puzzlement. What was he talking about?

'Roger that, Taco Bill. Damned vigilantes always gotta play their pranks. Its a cryin' shame.' Bishop picked up the mike.

'Hey, uh, Taco Bill, DeuceGoose, this is The Bishop, whats this about the vigilantes?' There was a second long pause, and then Taco Bill responded.

'Hey there, Bishop. Go down to the Vigilantes channel, they got some damned recording playing over and over. Someone?s idea of a joke...'

'Uh, thanks, Taco Bill.' Bishop scanned down the channels to the one in question. A woman?s voice was speaking.

'...please report in to your nearest AVA office for a code 5 alert. All Vigilantes, repeat, all Vigilantes in the Arizona/New Mexico/Texas, please report in to your nearest AVA office for a code 5 alert.' Bishop turned off the CB and looked at Pike.

'What?s a code 5 alert?' Pike looked back at him, fear in his eyes.

'Bishop...we don't HAVE a code 5 alert. We have a code 4 alert, which means major organized creeper activity; you know, like when they plan to take over or raze a town. Code 5 can only mean....' Bishop finished the sentence.

'Invasion.' Both men scrambled out of the car and sprinted for the house.

*******

The last of the tanks rolled off the flat-car. Thane looked around; the population of the town had swollen from 5000 to nearly 20,000 in 12 hours. He turned to the commander, a short man who habitually carried a riding crop. He looked up at Thane.

'We begin in the morning.'

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Redline Fox
Crazy Vulpine
Posts: 466
Joined: Wed Oct 29, 2003 5:56 pm
Location: Silent Hill

Postby Redline Fox » Wed Dec 07, 2005 10:53 am

An Impact wrench wailed as A.J. removed the nut holding the big Curtis Commando's tail wheel on.


The wrench suddenly fell away from the wheel assembly, and Hunt let go of the trigger. A quick glance into the socket's open end showed the large nut had come off. Hunt let go of the wrench, letting the air hose slide through his fingers, slowing the fall. The air tool set down, he concentrated on removing the 60-pound tail wheel. About halfway though getting it off, the phone rang.

'Argh! Never fails!' Hunt pushed the tail wheel back onto its axle, being as careful as he could to not score the bearings, and grabbed a rag off of the floor with a grunt as the phone rang for the third time. Bounding across the open space in the hangar, he caught the receiver on the fourth ring.

'Hunt's Air Service, A.J. speaking.'

'Jake here.'

A.J. shot his free hand under the phone as the handset suddenly squealed with static and what sounded like interference. He located the switch, and the noise disappeared.

'Ok, Bandit, what've you got?'

'It just came off of the facsimile machine...still smells like toner. Here we go, this morning at 1:53 mountain time, a call from...crap, you weren't kidding. Mexico...Zacatecas routing station...then from there, it says the numbers undisclosed. What do you make of that?

'I don't know, but you're in the position to find out.' Wing' held the phone between his head and his shoulder and wiped the grease from his hands.

'Yeah, I'll do some digging. Got a few contacts in Mexico City, I'll call you back in fifteen minutes.'

'Fifteen!? Wow...your connection must be pretty good.' Hunt peered at his fingers, then tossed the rag halfway back to the tail of the huge Curtis.

'Hey, don't ask, all right? This is going to cost me a lot of dough...'

'Don't tell, then...'

'Hmmph. Hang up, would you?'

'Sure...oh, try to catch me at a good time, would you? This time around you got me with a huge tail wheel halfway off of its axle.'

'Ugh, Wing', I'm not a psy...forget it.'

The line went dead. Hunt made a face at the receiver.

Fifteen minutes and a lot of grunting and pulling later, the tail wheel was off and the large roller bearings were out, ready to be repacked. Hunt dipped his hand into a large can of Lubri-Plate as the phone began to ring again.

'Gnarrrrrr! Perfect timing, Bandit!' Hunt yelled in the direction of the phone. He pulled his hand out of the can and wiped the grease on its rim, removing most of slippery substance. A grab of the rag and a quick dash toward the phone put him there on the third ring.

'Jake?'

'Yeah.'

A click sounded on the other end, and A.J. flipped the phone over with the rag and threw the switch with some difficulty through layers of old terry cloth.

'Nice...caught me with my hand in the grease jar this time.'

'Always an excuse. The informant says the source is from somewhere between Zacatecas and Torreon. From what it looks like, it's an illegal splice into lines that the rail system uses...he says there are tracks that run right through that region, and a lot of older track running into areas where they used to run tin mines and ore refineries. Your caller could be hiding in a mine shaft somewhere, for all he knows. The nature of the railroad's commo lines are bad enough to track stuff, splices make it almost impossible. The guy can pin it down to a 50 mile square area, though. I've got the full details coming through on your facsimile.'

Wing' glanced at his desk, and the machine next to the phone started humming.

'Getting it now.'

'Wing'?'

'Hm?'

'Be careful, man...this stuff looks pretty nasty from what you've told me.'

'Oh, come on, Bandit...you know what a cautious fellow I am.' Wing grinned broadly as he spoke.

'Yeah, you and that little 150+ mph hot rod.'

'Don't forget the 450+ mph fighter.'

'I rest my case.'

Hunt glanced at the fax machine again. The sheet of paper curled on
itself, myriad wavy lines on thermal paper transforming into a log of
black and white wood grain. Hunt grabbed the paper and uncurled it, peering at the lines.

'Whoa...topographic map? Nice.'

'Yeah, you're going to need it. Lots of dead end canyons in there.'

'I suppose you know what I'm thinking then.'

'You just bring yourself and that hot chunk of machinery back in one piece, okay?'

'Plan to.'

'Oh, there's some WEIRD stuff going down in some little hellhole called Miller over here. Some huge vig get-together, and the AVA's been broadcasting something about a Code 5, whatever the hell that is.'

'You say Miller?'

'Yeah, why?'

'I think Mofo mentioned that to me the last time we talked on shortwave. I don't think it's any coincidence that I'll be talking to him again in a few hours.'

'Watch yourself, Wing'. Something really big is brewing here.'

'Always do...and whatever it is, can't be anywhere near as bad as that mess back in '76.'

'I gotta run.'

'Nee you sext time, I mean, see you next time. Nyuk.'

'Cute.' The line went dead.

The fax machine spooled down and it?s built in cutter sliced the rolled paper. A.J. grabbed the rolled up sheaf and pulled his chair out. Sitting down, he examined the map, looking for flat areas. One in particular caught his eye, a mountaintop with a broad expanse of spaced out topographic rings.

'Bingo. Hello, photo-recce target.'

Hunt had people to talk to, one person in particular...

And he had a mission to fly.

****

'Wing'?... Wing'?! Come in Wingnut..'

Mofo fiddled with a small knob on the side of the shortwave device Wingnut had installed in the Bushmaster's dash, makeshiftly of course.

There was some sharp static for a few seconds. Mofo ran his hand across the face of the shortwave radio, watching the little dust particles float up in front of him, then become invisible again.

'...I copy you Mofo...' Wing' paused, 'I just talked to Bandit and I was hoping to hear from you, as long as share som-'

Wingnut was cut of, 'Oh yeah, how is Jake? Is he holding everything down at the fort?'

'Yeah, yeah, but that isn't really what's important right now ok?' Wing' let out, with a slight exasperated tone.

'Ok, sorry bud, go ahead... Over'

'Alright... Bandit just recently faxed me over some info and a map regarding an area where that call might have came from, its in this area with some spliced tracks and old mines... you know, a perfect place for some dirty work to be going down... .. ...'

Static cut in as Wing' began his next sentence, he tapped a knob with his left hand... clearing the air once again.

'...I just know that all that?s been happenin' ties into each other somehow, and that eventually, we'll all be involved in some serious shit...'

There was a brief moment of silence.

Mofo broke in, 'Yeah...' He paused, 'Man, there is a lot of commotion around here at the Apache reservation, everyone is getting stuff together... I don't really know what going on... gimme a second...'

'Ok...' Wingnut made a mental note, placing a X where the reservation was located on a old tattered but much wider map he had beside him.

'Wing' you still there?' Mofo gave the shortwave radio a hard slap with his hand. 'Wing' you copy?'

'Yeah I?m here... talk to me Mofo,' Wing' replied.

'Ok, it looks like we are getting a plan together here, something big, has something to do with Miller and that Code 5 the AVA has been putting out on the vig CB frequency.'

Wing' gave a short agreeing grunt, began to speak but was cut off again.

'Hold on Wing'... it looks like Bishop Singer is waving me over to the Chief's house... I'll have to get in touch with you ASAP, or vice versa...'

Wing' quickly answered, 'Yeah, and it looks like I'm going for a little trip. I'll contact you as soon as I can... If I can.'

'Wing'?'

'Yeah?'

'Good luck, and don't get yourself killed.'

'I won't Mofo... don't worry...'

Wing' was about to flip the shortwave radio switch to off when Mofo started again.

'Hey Wing'...'

'Yes?'

'...Do you have that... er, you know, where... that... man... I don't know... you know?' Mofo sighed.

There was a dead-still silence then Wingnut replied slowly, 'Yeah........ I know.'

******

Blood Under The Sun, Chapter Five: Heaven, Earth, Sun & Moon
by Bishop, Pike, Mofofunk, Wing, Paladin
Cicadas buzzed loudly as the huge steel doors of hangar C3 rolled open, groaning in the night air.

A.J. Hunt looked at Rob Mortenson.

'If I'm not back here in a week, blow the whole place sky high, got it?'


Rob looked confused.

'Gotcha...where you headed?'

'You don't wanna know. Just remember if I'm not back in seven days, make sure everything in this hangar gets turned into slag. Dig?'

'All right.' Rob looked his friend up and down and exhaled loudly. 'You look as if you just walked off of a ranch.'

Hunt grinned. His normal regalia had been replaced with a large felt Australian style cowboy's hat, a loud red and black checkered shirt, jeans with two days worth of trail dust and heavy duty work boots. Two huge nickel-plate Lightning Colt revolvers sat in a double hip rig. A monstrous canvas bag hung off of his shoulder. In the bag was his 'normal' clothes...a set of coveralls, his leather jacket and helmet, flight boots, flight suit, shoulder rig for the Colts, the faxes Bandit had sent him and a large worn out map with years worth of scribbling on it.

'That's the idea.' Hunt reached up to his forehead and flipped a black eye patch over his left eye. 'I figure if I don't shave for a while, nobody will recognize me.'

'You look like a goddamned pirate.'

'Hai, dohm Yahnkee air pihrot.'

Rob laughed loudly. 'You'd better get out of here.'

'Help me roll her out and get her started.'

'She' was a North American P-51B Mustang, a craft Hunt had picked up for a song while on leave in 1969. Black lacquer gleamed in the moonlight as the sleek predatory shape was rolled out of its hangar. Once a machine of war and then a racing craft, now she plied the skies to spy and speed. And, if necessary, destroy targets unapproachable from the ground. Uncle Sam hadn't thought of removing the hard points and internal gun ports from the wings...Hunt had dropped in some surplus .50 BMGs and attached compact versions of the popular Fire-Rite rocket pod on each external hair point. This craft was to the air as Wing's little hot rod was to the ground...fast, small and deadly.

Within minutes, Hunt had gone through the craft's preflight checklist and had the massive Packard power plant lit. Blue flames leapt from the short exhaust stacks and dimly lit the ramp in front of the hangar.

A quick taxi later and Hunt had the sleek machine lined up at the end of the runway.

'Napa Laker Charlie Niner Five Golf beginning takeoff roll.' Hunt broadcasted to the vacant tower's recorders. At night, the field was shut down, with no air traffic or ground controllers. A industrial tape recorder monitored all radio traffic for the FAA's records. Landing and takeoff were strictly at the pilot's risk.

Hunt inched the throttle of the huge V-12 forward slowly and dialed in opposite rudder as the torque of the engine tried to literally screw the craft off of the runway. Slow and steady, Wing' guided the black dart toward the opposite end of the runway. Landscape, lights, tarmac blurred. A lifting sensation indicated the tail was off of the ground, and the long snout of the plane dipped downward. Hunt increased throttle and pulled back slightly on the stick.


Airborne. He loved this feeling.

--------------
The Commotion and Confusion of the past few days had given him a terrible headache, *Then Again* he thought, looking down at the empty bottle of Dan Jackel's in his hand. It was the first time he had ever 'really' been drunk. ' Great, this is just what i need.. Another Fuckin' crusade on my hands. I don't need this.. Especially after '78.' what had began as a thought, came out as a sentence. Paladin blinked as the world became a blur, and then faded to black....

*******
1978, Somewhere in the Southwest.

The road fell away from each side of the '70 'Rhana as Joe sped down the lonesome stretch of
Interstate. The Pleas for help, coming across the Emergency Channel only urged him on faster.
4 miles ahead, a Dolphin Tour Bus was being ambushed by an unknown band of Creepers. The
Bus driver repeated his urgent plea across the Emergency band again, The Wicked laughter
echoing behind his last transmission released an Anger that had been bottled up inside ...
Joe let out a low deep growl as the Tracers became visible on the horizon, He could now clearly
see the aggressors as he opened fire, lighting up the night. The Three Black Royales had an almost militaristic look to them, The only identification on them was three Bright red letters stamped across the doors ' SSS'. Joe Slammed on the brakes the moment he saw the Glossy strip layed across the highway in front of him. The Car hit the oil, immediately sending the car into an uncontrollable Power slide, it fishtailed through the oil. As the car came into contact with the dry pavement, the tires were spinning at 160mph all at once they caught traction, shattering the drive train. Joe realized in horror that the trigger was still depressed, in front of him he watched in utter terror as the very bus he was trying to save burst into a horrid fireball.. That wicked laugh still echoes through his mind, as it did behind the
drivers last cries... ' It Burns it Burns, oh dear god!'. Four 5 long horrible hours Joe sat in his car
petrified in horror, staring straight at the blazing inferno that lay before him...

************

' AHHHH!!!' Paladins scream echoed across the reservation as he fell awake screaming. He realized that he was
awake, back on the reservation.

Pike, Mofo, and Bishop came stumbling out of Johnny's place, pistols drawn only to find him on hand and knee Vomiting by the fire.

' What The Hell is going on out here..' Bishop said looking around nervousely.

' Wow, Man You need to lay off the sauce, Paladin.' Mofo said in a hysterical laughter

The look of fear in Paladins eyes made his laughter stop instantly.

''what's going on, Pal?' Pike said concernedly.

' I just realized.., I may have inadvertently done one of those SSS bastards jobs for them.'

'what are you talking about?' Bishop asked defensively.

Paladin recited his 'Flashback' back to the group. When he had finished he reached for another Bottle of booze. Pike grabbed it before Paladin could react and simultaneously smashed in into the fire.

The burst of flame sent out an eerie light as Pike yelled. 'Jesus, Paladin, there's no way you could have known that then, you couldn't have prevented that. So don't Go drowning you grief in the bottle, it'll get you nowhere!. Ask me I should know I made that mistake, and I paid for it. You know as well as I do that they would have died anyways, its called fate!, but now your here, and now you can make amen's by helping us take these Mothers Out!'

By this time half the Apache Nation had wandered out to see just what all the commotion was.
Paladin picked himself up off the ground dusting himself off, ' I need to go take a shower' he said shoving his way through the crowd, a soul ever haunted with grief.

************************************************
The green paint, red combat lighting and blue glow of a small television monitor
made the cramped cockpit of Dark Horse seem like a claustrophobic living room at
Christmas time. The constant thumping roar of the massive Packard V-12 just
beyond the firewall certainly made for odd seasonal music. And it wasn't even
winter.

Hunt struggled to stay awake, fighting off 19 hours without sleep. He peered
intently at the four inch picture tube in front of him, waiting for a detail to
stand out in the eerily infra-red illuminated nighttime woodlands and hill
country of central Mexico. Hunt tore his eyes from the screen and glanced at
the red-lit instruments. Nothing spun crazily or leaned too far left or right.
Good. He looked back at the screen, sighed, and glanced at a folded and beaten
chart on his knee. That mountain top was down there, somewhere, It was a just
a matter of time before it showed up. A slight movement of his right hand sent
the plane to the right, turning slowly to retrace its course. Hunt groaned.
He'd been up here for hours, although it felt more like days. Just flying down
here had been rough. Now he was looking for a needle in a haystack, it seemed,
heat signatures in a steaming jungle-like landscape. Even the smallest pinprick
of heat or light would give him a place to aim the delicate camera in the
Mustang's fuselage. Infra-red sensitive film and a very powerful lens on a
military-grade photoreconnaissance camera would produce images of the target area
that would be even clearer than images taken in daylight hours. If only the
target could be found.

Hunt looked out the bulged Plexiglas canopy at the stars thousands of years
distant and pondered. How many times had his father done the same thing? Maybe
only once or twice in combat. His father's war had been different. Fortune
favored the bold. Missions were flown by daylight, at least by his countrymen.
Now, stealth and underhandedness were the watchwords. Hunt found himself
peering harder at the stars against the suddenly increasing glare from the tiny
screen...why? Hunt looked back at the screen and froze. Miles below, stars of
a different nature shone brightly in the false light of the camera's equipment.
Hundreds of lights, or heat sources, rather, gleamed at him. Hunt fumbled at a
switch covered by a safety lock next to the monitor. His finger found the
plastic button, and he pushed firmly. The glowing screen went black for a
moment, then resumed its glaring display. One photo taken. Hunt stared harder
at the scene in the tiny monitor in front of him. Rail cars, trucks, other

vehicles and seemingly hundreds of buildings shimmered with heat. He felt a
smile spread across his face. Jackpot.

Some maneuvering kept the scene below in the camera's eye as Hunt jockeyed for a
higher position in the sky. Buildings, walls, a rail yard, trucks, and other
equipment covered an entire mountaintop. Even at 10,000 feet the camera had a
hard time fitting the entire compound on one frame. At 15,000 feet, it fit with
a nice margin around the edges. Hunt took several shots while near stall speed
to minimize blur from vibration, then pushed the shark like nose of the fighter
toward the ground below. Detail shots were next. Low-level flying would have
to be done with utmost care so as not to alert those on the ground to his
presence and to avoid becoming one with a mountainside. Gauges slowly spun as
airspeed increased and altitude decreased. A large flash on the ground caught
Hunt's eye as he passed through 7,000 feet. A moment later, an explosion behind
the sleek fighter briefly lit the night sky and ground below. Hunt's heart
hammered at his chest. Not only had he been detected, the target below was
making a target out of him, and with some heavy weaponry.

A second explosion, closer this time, rocked the night, following another flash
on the ground. Hunt placed the crosshairs projected on the glass in front of
him over the area where the flash had come from. He squeezed the trigger on the
stick in his right hand and watched as tracers sped toward the ground at
supersonic velocities. A glance at the gauges told him he was passing through
5,000 feet and traveling in excess of 400 mph. At that pace, he'd have to pull
up or die in less than 10 seconds. Looking back at the ground showed small
flashes sparking around a much larger one, Hunt re-aligned the crosshairs and
sent more messengers of destruction toward the gun emplacement, watching huge
sparks and small explosions of armor-piercing incendiary rounds striking metal.
A swift motion of his thumb flipped a cover from over a second switch on the
stick and pressed the button. Rockets streaked from their tubes with a viscous
raspy whoosh. Hunt held the button and waited for the next volley as another
exploding shell buffeted his craft, small bits of metal rattling off of the
aluminum skin. The rockets fired as the previous salvo exploded brilliantly on
the ground below. A glance at the gauges confirmed the suspicions Hunt felt,
and he cut the throttle with his left hand and pulled back quickly on the stick
with his right, breaking engagement. At 1,500 feet, the streaking black
warplane wheeled northward, away from the mountaintop fortress and its now
silent and smoking single antiaircraft emplacement.

User avatar
Redline Fox
Crazy Vulpine
Posts: 466
Joined: Wed Oct 29, 2003 5:56 pm
Location: Silent Hill

Postby Redline Fox » Wed Dec 07, 2005 10:55 am

As the actions were unfolding in Miller, Hell, and The Mescalero Reservation, others were quickly being caught up in the gathering tides...

The AVA office in Socorro, New Mexico was a pretty sorry example. Once a rundown post office, it had been taken over by the AVA in late 1974, and no moves had been made to improve it since. It was widely considered by many far and wide to be a joke, the last place a Vigilante in need of assistance would go. The office was officially open 24 hours, but the reality was that it was open whenever Billy Grendark wasn't down at the bar getting tanked. Since this happened more often then not, the chances of finding it occupied were slim. Your best bet was to come by sometime in the morning, when Billy would be sleeping off the alcohol on the narrow cot he slept on in the back room.


Billy had been a hero, once; after he single-handedly fought off nearly a dozen raiders in the town 5 years ago, he had been praised and paraded around town, and was made the lifetime president of the local AVA chapter. A lot of young men and women, stars in their eyes, had purchased souped up, armed cars with the intention of fighting the bad guys.

Consequentially, a lot of them had died when the surviving scavengers had returned 4 months later with nearly 5 times the number from before. Billy had seen his kid brother burn to death in a fiery wreck, and had climbed to the bottom of a bottle and curled up their contentedly ever since. The raiders had never returned, and the town had gotten back to doing its business and staying out of history's way.

So, when the early morning August stillness was punctured by a low throbbing, Billy had rolled over and not paid it any mind. But when it started to grow, from a throb to a rumble to a roar, that resulted in every citizen in the city limits to wander out onto their porch or stick their head out of a window, Billy finally struggled out of bed and wandered, bleary eyed, to the front of the building, throwing open the door and looking around.

All up and down the street was every variety of car and motorcycle that Billy could remember seeing. There were at least 50 vehicles that were not owned by locals and armed to the teeth parked along main street. A slender young man, seeing Billy step out of the doorway, turned and walked over to him, a big grin on his face. He offered his hand to Billy.

'Chandler McCarthy. I'm leader of the V-6 Cowboys. We heard the Code 5. What's the plan?' Billy dazedly shook his hand. Chandler stepped past him, walking into the front office. 'Say, you got some coffee? I've been driving all night and I need some caffeine.' He started looking around for the coffeemaker that most AVA offices were equipped with. Billy followed him back in.

'Uh...Code 5? I'm sorry, I don't follow.' He stole a quick glance at the AVA band radio, which had stopped working nearly 6 months before. Billy had kept meaning to get it fixed 'tomorrow'. Chandler, having discovered the coffeemaker disassembled in a corner, set to starting up a pot.

'Yeah. Haven't you heard? There's been a Code 5 put out by the AVA. Some kind of potential invasion panning out south of here. I don't know the details, but we were told to report to an AVA office for further instructions. So, here we are.'

Billy nodded, scratched his head, and tried desperately to figure out what this kid was saying. A code 5? They didn't even HAVE a code 5 rating. He was further confused by the sight of a man, who was 6'10' and 300 pounds if he was an inch and an ounce, coming in and picking Chandler up in a big bear hug.

'Goddamn! If it ain't Chandler McCarthy himself! What you doing so far from home, boy??' Chandler spun around after he was dropped, driving punches into the big mans expansive stomach.

'Laughing Raven! I'll be a son of a bitch!' They high-fived, and then danced around each other as if boxing. 'Is it just you, or are all of the Crazy Birds here?' Laughing Raven lived up to his name, letting out a big guffaw.

'You know it, baby! We are here and ready to get down!' Billy couldn't make sense of it all, and had to sit down before he passed out.

********


As the day wore on, things quickly fell into place. The radio was soon fixed, and Billy, still feeling like he was in a dream, got the news. Starting to gather his composure, he stepped into the street. The gathering of vigilantes had swelled even further, and there were now close to 100 vigilantes milling about in the street, eating at the diner, having a few cold ones at the bar, and playing pool at the local billiards hall. He started to call everyone over, but the rush and clamor was soon so overwhelming that he instead asked for the leader of each group to join him in the conference room. The designated leaders all started to move forward, ready to get filled in on the situation. But then things took a stranger turn indeed.

A lone car rolled down the main street, and it was a member of the Furious Five gang that recognized it first: The leader of a creeper gang called Ground Zero. The FF member called out a warning to his fellow gang, and the word spread like a virus through an old man. Within moments, guns of every type, caliber, and gauge were pointed at the car, ready to let loose. The car slowed to a stop, and the window slowly rolled down. There was a pause, and then a white handkerchief was waved. Watching uneasily, but delaying hostile actions, the gathered vigilantes watched as the man, known as Express, got out of the car. He was a tall, gangly, pale man, with no hair and a slight bit of scruff on his chin. The voice he spoke with, however, was deep, and resonated easily to the ears of all who watched him.

'I'm here under the white flag. I request a parlay with the ranking AVA member.' As one, all eyes turned to Billy. Outwardly calm, he was ready to burst inside. He took a moment to gather his thoughts, then spoke in a voice that was much calmer then he felt.

'You got something to say, you can say it here.' Express nodded, glancing around nervously.

'Well, I'm here, as leader of the group Ground Zero, and representing the groups Red America, the Dodge-ballers, and The Goat Suckers, to offer a temporary alliance to the AVA and its members to deal with your code five situation.' There was a moment of silence. Billy spoke first.

'How are you aware of that? And why should you care? I would think this would be the perfect opportunity to go and take whatever you wanted from the towns that will be left undefended during this situation.' Express nodded, a grim smile on his face.

'Yeah, there are people who will do that. But not us. We may be criminals, but we're as American as the rest of you. Like it our not, this is our country too.' There was another pause. Billy, suddenly feeling the weight of history on his shoulders, knew that his next decision could be one of historic importance. He thought for a moment, then nodded.

'I was just about to have a meeting with all the gang leaders. Why don't you and the leaders of your groups come join us?' And with that, it was done.

**********

All across the southwest, unusual mergers like this were formed. A few were bloody-14 vigilantes and creepers died in Sierra Vista, Arizona before the reasons for the meeting were revealed. Others were more subtle-a creeper gang known as The Ringmasters quietly slipped into a packed AVA meeting in El Paso before someone challenged their right to be there. But everywhere, sworn enemies had dropped their feuds in preparation for battle with an even greater threat. Whether it would be enough, however, was a question in everyone's minds....


*******


The workers were marched down the path, their heads held low. Franklin watched as a commotion was made and one of their number, a hard working woman named Allison, was led away from the group. He squeezed his eyes shut against the tears which were fighting to form in the dry air, in his dehydrated body. He knew what was coming next. His Father and Grandfather had both told the tales of escaping the death camps of Germany, had told the tales of the soldiers marching hundreds into the woods, the far off sound of thunder, and the soldiers returning alone. He had always sworn to himself that sort of thing would never happen again. Well, wasn't this irony?, he thought to himself bitterly. I'm about to die the way so many of my ancestors did. Praying silently in Hebrew, he prayed that the end would be swift.

When he bumped into the man in front of him, realizing that they had stopped, he knew that death was imminent. He hoped he could face it with the courage that his fellow Jews had 35 years before. He could hear the conversations of the guards, and his meager Spanish skills caught a few words that he found disinheriting. Then, he heard the sound of rifles and pistols being cocked.

The reaction among the prisoners was varied. Some gasped. A few fell over in a dead faint. One older man suffered a massive heart attack and was dead before he hit the ground. Most stood stoically, waiting for the bullets.

There was a pause, and then the leader of the guards, a reed thin man named Enrique, started to laugh. He was soon joined by the guards. Franklin, grown suddenly bold, raised his head, resolving to look his killers right in the face...and was met with a puzzling sight.

In front of them, lined up in a row, were nearly 20 tractor trailer rigs, with their backs open and facing them. The guards were lined up on either side. Enrique gestured, and all the laughing ceased. He pulled out a stopwatch.

'You will please be listening to me now. You will be having 60 seconds to get into the trucks. Those who do not get in will die. Your time starts now.' And he clicked the watch.

Franklin, with a start, turned and looked at one of the people who had fallen, a young waif like woman whose fingers looked raw. Without a second thought, he picked her up, slung her over his shoulder, and ran for one of the trucks.

All up and down the column, people exploded into action. The fallen were picked up, and carried, dragged, or thrown towards the trucks. Amazingly, within 60 seconds, all the workers had gotten inside the vehicles. Franklin leaned against the sides of the truck, gasping in relief, though we was still leery of what might happen next. After the loading, Enrique assigned two guards to the back of each truck. 5 minutes later, another column of workers approached. They were told the same thing as before, and there was once again a mad dash. This group also made it safely into the backs of the trucks.

The next group wasn't so fortunate. When Enrique made his announcement, a small group of 10 or so men and women stood defiantly, not believing his claim upon seeing the people already in the trucks. When the 60 second limit ran out, Enrique nodded to 4 of his men, who ran over and promptly gunned them all down. The next group was given the limit, and the bodies of the dead were pointed to and Enrique proclaimed, 'They were not believing us.' The next group all climbed on.

This continued for nearly an hour, until the trucks were packed nearly to capacity. Only a few more were unable to comply, due to infirmity or rebellion, and they were also promptly shot. After the last load, the trucks were closed up and began rumbling down the pitted dirt road.

*******


Several hours later, the trucks came to a stop. The doors were opened, and bright lights shone into the back. The tired prisoners were herded out of the trucks across a small open space that was walled in on either side by soldiers armed to the teeth, and into a wooden boxcar. To their shock and relief, they were led through the box car and into passenger cars, where they were allowed to sit on threadbare but comfortable seats. When the train was filled to capacity, it pulled out, heading south, as near as anyone could tell. Another train moved into position, and another load of prisoners was put onto the train. In all, 5 trainloads of displaced Americans were soon heading down the tracks, toward a place they had overheard referred to as The Presidio....

Franklin, on the last train, leaned back in his chair, the waif like girl, named Lucy, curled up in his lap. Now that he was in no immediate danger of dying, it was time to figure out how to escape this nightmare. It would take time; but time, he figured, was soon to be in plentiful supply.

*********

In his office, the man in charge of the New Mexico operation was looking over some notes. Things were proceeding according to plan. He had the resources of Department M tied up in a hundred different places, so they would be unable to respond. And his SSS teams were already in place, ready to move at a moments notice. All he needed was a few more days, and soon there would be nothing that could be done to stop the operation. The phone rang. He finished jotting down a note, then picked it up on the 3rd ring.

'Yes?.....Uh huh. We're very happy with the meeting, sir....Yes, as you requested, they won't be released until after the ceremony....that's right, Mr. A.K. is indeed going to live up to his word.....yes, sir. And sir? Good luck in the debate tonight.' He hung up the phone, then pressed the intercom button. 'Bernice, please send Mr. Hammer the Asia Memo and have him get right on it. Also, get things ready for a trip within the next 48 hours.' Absentmindedly, he went back to work.

In a nearby office, the young electronics specialist named Rogers looked up at the two men sitting across from him. 'Mr. Hammer, The Chief is sending you another memo about the Asia thing, and he's getting ready to leave within 48 hours.' Magnus Hammer, Deputy Chief of Operations for Department M, looked at his companion, James Hutton, who was Deputy Chief of Intelligence. Both had been meeting for weeks, and knew that the time was fast approaching for action to be taken. Hammer spoke first.

'Well, James, it would appear that the old man has no idea of what we're up to, if he's still sending me these pointless Asia assignments. I'm guessing he's leaving to supervise the Mexico operation.' His clipped British accent had a hint of irony to it. Hutton nodded.

'It would most certainly appear that way, Magnus,' he said, the colorings of his Atlanta upbringing clearly in his speech patterns. 'I think we should wait until his plane is in the air, and that's when we should begin the operation.' Hammer nodded.

'I agree wholeheartedly.' He turned to the tech. 'Robert, start sending the signals intelligence out to our approved list. Tell them to wait for the go signal. When they receive it, follow their orders and then report in.' Rogers nodded, and he turned back to Hutton. 'Now, let's hope Operation Mongoose has a chance to succeed.'

Hutton's expression was placid as he replied. 'You know what they say, Magnus. Two snakes in the hand, is worth one Mr. Bush.'

The semi-cold water....


.....Cascaded across Paladin, he couldn't remember the last time he had, had a real shower. He was sobering up now, the memories from the previous night fading fast. 'I can't just keep pushing this to the back of my mind...' he thought aloud. 'that could make a person go mad.' he ended, shutting off the water.

Paladin dressed in a fresh pair of jeans and a white sleeveless shirt, topped off by the flight vest. Paladin pulled a tattered map out of his Duffle, it was a tattered Bland-McNully road atlas that you get at any gas station or truck stop. Inside he had marked the location of every single Vigilante and creeper hideout, marked in red and blue. He was paying more attention to the green marks that littered the map, those were his personal safe houses and hiding spots. ' ok, so the Ransom is hidden out near shelf-life, NM.' the muttered to himself, scanning the map with his finger. ' What the hell did I hide at Artesia?, I think i would remember, I was just there, #73 lets see...' he flipped to the back cover were he had inventoried the contents of his spots. ' ok here it is # 73: '70 'Rhana & $10,000...' his hands were trembling as he closed the atlas. ' of all the cars i have.....it has to be that one....Shit..
Paladin slipped out of the back door of Johnny's house, setting beside the garage was an old.......

......motorcycle?, Where's my motorcycle? Johnny asked walking around from beside the house. Bish, Pike, and Mofo all gave an equally puzzled stare. Where's Paladin?, maybe he knows....

The Fiery Brilliance of the morning sun cast an amber glow across paladin and the Old Marley-Robinson chopper as Paladin reached the out skirts of Artesia. His hands trembled again as he unlocked the doors of the cargo box that was buried in the hillside. Inside he flipped a switch, the Generator coughed to life after two years of setting dormant. The black smoke fumed up the chimney pipe and out of the hill top. The triple florescent lights intensified the brilliance of the perfect neon green paint that caressed the armor clad '70 'Rhana. the green was contrasted by black stripes and hood, and the yellow name plate pinstriped right above the drivers door 'Hustler... haven't heard that in forever..' he mumbled to himself as he wheeled the Marley into the box. Paladin was shaking as he slid behind the wheel of the 'rhana. 'Sometimes you gotta face your fears." he thought to himself as he turned the key. Reassurance rumbled to life, knocking various items off the shelves......the Reassurance of 595 cubic inches of Mo'par Big Block, the Reassurance of unlimited horsepower at the touch of the pedal, as he pulled the car into the daylight.

"WHERE IS THAT SUMBITCH!!, I'M GONNA RIP HIM APART!!.' Johnny was screaming as he and Bish, and Pike, and Mofo waited at the entrance to the res. A flash of green lighting appeared on the horizon, followed by a rumble that shook the ground ' there's that Sumbitch!' Mofo replied grinning from ear to ear. ' GOOD GOD HE'S GONNA RAM US!!' the on-duty guard said as he dashed out of the guard shack. ' HERE IT COMES!' Mofo screamed in his usual Lunatic tone, as the 'rhana reached the crest of the hill just before the guard shack. Paladin let out a crazed yell as the car launched into the air, clearing the guard shack. The car slammed to a stop a good 250' from the shack. ' WOOHOO' paladin screamed as he exited the car. ' WHERE THE PFUCK IS MY BIKE YOU SUMBITCH!!' Johnny yelled charging at Paladin ' its safe.' Paladin said tossing a wad of bills to the sand. 'That's for the Loan, I'll get the bike back to you when this is over...' 'You could have asked first..' Johnny was cooling down now. ' I couldn't let you guys know where I went...'
' There's at least $10,000 here!' Johnny said thumbing through the bills. 'that's for Insurance..'. ' where'd you get that kind of money ole buddy ole Pal-adin?' Mofo asked inquisitively ' what? you think I blew all the money I made selling choppers!, hell half of that was the money YOU spent on your Helicopter!'. ' Helicopter!, I thought you said that was a drug Mofo?!' Bishop exclaimed, by then Mofo had disappeared. ' That man has changed!, what's he hiding anyways?!' Paladin Inquired.

' Hiding?!' Pike and Bish said in unison.

*****************
Although one could accuse Jacob Sincere of many things-The Prosperous oil baron was a cheat, thief, liar, and murderer in his day-None could accuse him of not having a sense of humor. He was rumored to have died after a rambunctious day in the sack with his brand new 21 year old trophy wife-he was 87 at the time-and, during the reading of his will, it was stated that if, for any reason, his wife was pregnant at the time of his passing, then any subsequent children were to be named, if a boy, Lee, and if a girl, Esta. Well, he must have been positively rolling in his grave, for nine months later, in 1944, his wife bore healthy twins, a boy and a girl. His wife duly followed his orders and named the children. As the youngest of the family-Sincere had 8 children from 3 previous marriages, the oldest being 54 at the time of Jacobs death-Lee and Esta were excluded from the running of Sincere Gas, and instead spent their time indulging in the lives of dilettantes. Lee joined the army after college in 1966, a young Lieutenant who was sent to the killing fields of Vietnam. Esta became a well known photojournalist, taking famous photos in Africa, Eastern Europe, and Asia. When both turned 25, they were allowed access to their trust fund, which was then close to 6 or 7 hundred million dollars. Lee was honorably discharged, and soon found himself wandering the deserts of the southwest. Esta did an award winning photo essay for National Geographic called ?The New West?, taking photos of such well known vigilantes as Stampede, Vixen, Radiator Mother, The Wolf Raiders, and others.

In 1977, Lee settled down on a small 10000 acre ranch near the SangreCristo Mountains in New Mexico to begin work on a personal project of his. He had always been fascinated by the stories of early aviators, and the wonderful machines that had begun multiplying like mad. His favorite images had always been the Zeppelins, and the idea of cruising above the ocean in comfort and style had appealed to him in a way that he had discounted as the folly of youth. So he was more surprised than many who knew him when he found himself planning out the task of restoring a zeppelin to its former glory. He started running into all sorts of problems, but soon found that his fathers name was enough to not only procure the parts he needed, but also get them discounted and sometimes even free. His sister had come to visit him and been so fascinated with the process that she had written an article and taken pictures for National Geographic again, which had resulted in even more support and assistance.
As the project had gone into its second year, early in 1979, a group of fellow aviation enthusiasts had come to him to request permission to work on their vintage aircraft at the ranch as well. Sincere had agreed enthusiastically, and soon there was a little collective of pilots, mechanics, and engineers on the ranch, which became known far and wide as Icarus Air Ranch, for Lee's call sign. As 1979 became 1980, the ranks of aircraft and pilots swelled, until now, in August, there were nearly 100 aircraft of varying types and close to 1000 men and women who had taken up residence on the ranch. To protect their now precious possessions, Sincere had hired close to 40 Vigilantes to protect the land.

'Okay, how are the tanks coming?' Lee was standing by his head engineer, a man named Charlie. Charlie was looking at the readouts, and a few seconds passed before he responded.

'Almost done, Lee, maybe 10 minutes left.' he glanced over his shoulder, at the pilots and crew members who had started coming over when they had begun the task almost 8 hours before. They were hushed, realizing now that what they were witnessing was quite possibly a piece of history. 'You might wanna go say something to the troops, they're getting a little anxious, I think.' Lee looked, then nodded.
'I suppose you're right, Charlie. This is a great day.' He turned and started towards the crowd. The last 5 days they had been working around the clock, realizing just how close they were to finishing the project. He had slept in short stints, and he rubbed his hand along his jaw, feeling the stubble he had left untended these last few days. The crowd grew silent as he walked up.


'Well, folks, here we are. I guess we're not waiting for a baseball game.' The crowd laughed, and after it subsided he continued again. 'Well, we're almost done. A few more minutes and she'll be ready to go. And there she stands. I want all of you to take a look at her, take a good long look.' They did, and a collective gasp went across the crowd. It was as though they were seeing her for the first time, seeing her as the majestic and elegant craft she was, and not just the big project they had all been working on for the past few years. He smiled as he began speaking again. 'Everyone has erroneously referred to her as mine. That's untrue. She's OURS. Everyone here had something to do with rebuilding her. She belongs just as much to you as she does to myself. The effort and sacrifices you have made these past few years have paid off, because now she's about to go on her first flight in almost 50 years. So for everyone who's come up and said thank you to me, who's wanted to tell me about how glad they have been to work on this project. All I have to say to that is, take a look around you. Don't thank me, thank yourselves. You were the people who really made this possible. So thank YOU.' There was a moment of silence, and then near the back, someone started clapping. The applause was picked up, and spread quickly through the crowd, until all were joined in uproarious applause. It lasted for what seemed like forever, and Lee was unashamed of the tears of happiness that streamed down his cheeks. Then, it seemed that the cheering swelled even more, and he turned around to see Charlie and his team disconnecting the tanks, and the zeppelin Holiday, re-named for his favorite singer, was floating free on the mooring tower. He turned back to the crowd, and motioned for their attention. after a few moments they quieted down.
'Okay, folks. I have an idea. Everyone get to your vehicles, and get ready for a little excursion. Folks, lets make these machines SING.' Another cheer went up from the crowd, and they quickly dispersed to their craft.


Soon everything was a flurry of activity again, and Lee was in the pilots cabin of the Holiday going over a final checklist when Charlie came in and tapped him on the shoulder. Lee looked at him, a half smile on his face, which slipped away when he saw the look of concern etched into Charlie's forehead.

'What's up, Charlie? Something wrong?' Charlie nodded.

'Yeah. Something's happening with the Vigs, they look like they're all cutting out.' Charlie pointed out the window, and Lee turned to look. In the distance, he could see 15 or 20 cars rushing away at high speeds. He turned back to Charlie.

'Okay, find out if Monk has cut out yet. If so, find me one of the other guys-' Charlie held up his hands then jabbed a thumb over his shoulder.

'Monk is outside and wants to talk to you. He wouldn't tell me what's up, said he wanted to talk to you.' Lee nodded, turning back to the panel.

'Send him in then.' Charlie nodded back, then turned and waved to one of the engineers standing by the doorway. The woman turned and waved Monk in. Monk entered quickly, removing the narrow-brimmed fedora he always wore. He walked up to Lee.

'Mr. Sincere, I'm sorry, but my team has to go. There's some kind of emergency going on south of here, and every single Vigilante in the southwest has been requested to assist....we'll be back as soon as it gets resolved, but we need to go.' Lee nodded, not even looking up from the panel. 'So if it's alright with you, we'd like to get going.'

'It seems to me, Monk, you guys are going anyway, whether I say its okay or not. What is it, anyway? Some kind of big barbecue or something?' Monk shook his head, and his next words carried a bit more then he wanted.


'No, Mr. Sincere. It's looking like there might be an invasion of the United States kicking off into New Mexico.' With this statement, every other man and woman working in the cabin stopped, and Lee looked up at him sharply.
'WHAT!?!? Are you serious?' Monk nodded.

'Yes sir. We got the transmission late last night, we've been debating what to do, and we decided that they're going to need all the help they can get.' Lee stared at Monk for a moment, lost in thought. after a few seconds, he nodded.

'Okay, Monk. Here's what I'm going ask you to do. Wait for 1/2 an hour before you leave. Can you do that?' Monk nodded. 'Char-LIE!' The engineer rushed up. 'Get all the crew chiefs, pilots, and 'squadron leaders' in The Holiday and into the boardroom in 10 minutes. Go, now! RUN!' Charlie took off at a sprint, and Lee started out of the cabin. 'Okay, Monk, come with me.' Monk followed after him.

*****

The assembled group was close to 50 people, and they all sat in silence as Monk finished telling them what had happened. As one, they all turned to look at Lee. He gazed back at them, and their eyes told him all he needed to know. He looked over at Monk.

'So, do you think the AVA could use some air support and maybe an airborne command station?' Monk was taken aback, and then a slow smile crawled across his face.

******

Tesla was looking over some maps with other AVA officials when Gus, one of the radio operators, came over and tapped her on the shoulder. She glanced back at him impatiently ready to snap, but his face softened her words somewhat.

'What is it, Gus? I'm kinda busy right now....' He handed her a sheet of paper.

'This just came in from The Underdogs, a vigilante group that's been doing some private security work for Lee Sincere in New Mexico. They apparently want to add some assets to this operation.' Tesla took the paper and glanced at it, ready to tell him off for interrupting her. The words she saw written took a few seconds to sink in. After reading and re-reading the paper, she looked up at Gus slowly.

'Is this for real?' Gus nodded.

'Yes, ma'am, I think it is. They want confirmation that we'll accept their assistance.' Tesla started nodding slowly, then faster.

'Hell, yes! Get on it right away, Gus!' With a nod, he went back to the radio room. Tesla looked at the rest of the group, who were looking back at her. 'You guys aren't going to believe this...'

*******************

John?s arms were sore, and the tanks he carried seemed heavier than they had a few miles ago. He?d filled the two five gallon gas containers as high as he dared, just high enough that the gentle motion of a fifteen-mile walk wouldn?t spill them. At the prices gas was going for in rural Mexico these days, a spill could cost him a few weeks of worknormal work, at least. Johnor Johnny, depending how and when you know him, didn?t do normal work though. The sun continued to beat down mercilessly as he crested another rise, the twenty-third on his way back home. Only three more to go.

John stepped off the road, and onto the gravel path that led home. As his boots crunched onto the stones, he heard the sound of running feet, and a distant growl. Quickly, the gas cans were put down, out of reach; so that they wouldn?t be knocked over in what he was sure would be a scuffle. He wiped the sweat off his brow and put his sunglasses in his pocket just as the source of the noise cleared the top of the rise, the sun at it?s back. It leaped through the air, and landed in a heap against John?s chest. As the wind was knocked out of him, and he hit the ground, John rolled, and came immediately to hit feet, in a fighting crouch. His face was mere inches from Paco?s. Paco was a Great Dane.
?Why can?t I have a Chihuahua like normal people.? John muttered, just as the beast knocked him over again, this time pinning him with it?s front paws. ?Oye! Dios mio! Get the hell off me? Paco danced away as John got back to hit feet, dusting off his fatigue pants. With a loud ?woof? Paco took off down the path, towards home. John picked up the cans and followed. Within a few minutes, he crested the last hill and was in full view of the Caba?a Diablo; the Devil?s House, as the locals called itJohn called it home.
From a distance of less than a mile, the place looked like nothing more than a dilapidated old capilla, a church dating back at least a hundred years. There were a few signs of life, the well out front was clean, footsteps and tire tracks lead towards the place, and an old World War II motorcycle leaned against the wall near the front door. But as one walked closer, as Johnny did now, it took on a more sinister aspect. Lines of aged graffiti marred the walls and doors. The few windows that were not completely broken were riddled with holes. Above the gaping frames char rose, as if the building had been set aflame time and time again, but refused to burn. Rumor had it that it was at one time cursed by the devil himself. The locals avoided it like the plague, which suited John just finehe preferred the peace and quiet anyway.
By the time John was within earshot of the place, Paco was already lying on the front steps, his tongue lolling out of his mouth. ?Eh! Pequito!? John shouted towards the house, ?I got the goods, pull her out!?
After a few seconds, the dull roar of a 318 engine cut through the still air. Paco darted away from the doors to the capilla just before they nudged open. The grille of John?s ?73 Dover Lightning peeked through and emerged at a slow walk. The front tires edged down the three aged steps towards the dirt path, and the figure behind the wheel turned so that the car rolled, slowly, towards where Johnny was standing. The car rolled to a stop after several more feet, and a small figure leapt out of the driver side door.
?HolaJuan elradioes?
?Speak English, Ricky,? John laughed, ?I can?t understand you at all when you get excited.?
The boy stood up to his full height, and breathed in, ?The radio, J.W. There is this, a message. It says that there is this code! A code for the Vigilante des Auto?
?Calm down, little manwhat code??
?Is a code five!? The boy looked exasperated, ?It sounds like a big one! What?s a code 5 mean??
John swore, and threw the gas tanks into the back of the car. ?I?ve got no idea, Vato, but I don?t think I like it. Take the bike, get the ramp upLooks like I?m heading back home for a while.?
Ricky jumped on the old motorbike and took off across the scrub desert. John climbed into the front seat of the Dover, and gunned the engine back to life. Placing his sunglasses on his nose, he pulled out onto the dirt road. He proceeded at a slow pace at first, but when he came in site of the gorge, and Ricky standing next to the ramp waving him the all?s clear signal, he gunned it. The car shot forward on the gravel, spitting stones all over the road. Slowly the speedometer climbed towards 70mph, the speed he needed to clear ?the Scar?the gorge that separated Bastardo Mexico, from Southern Texas.
The speedometer shot up towards 80 as John slammed the car into fifth. He hit the ramp dead on, and soared into the air. The last thing he heard before crossing the national border was ?Adios, Senor!?.
The Lightning hit square on the packed earth of the Texas side of the Scar.
?No problems,? Muttered John. He rifled through his jacket for a cigarette, lit it from his zippo, and breathed out a plume of smoke. ?Welcome to Texas.? He sighed, as he reached for the CB.
?Breaker, Oh-One-Niner, this is Johnny Wildfire responding to an A.V.A. code Five, anybody with their ears on??
***********************

MofoFunk struggled with himself inside the bright orange Bushmaster. Let Wing'
be killed, or blow his and Wing's cover and inform the others not to fire?
Moments seemed to turn into eternity as the black streaking aircraft approached
and Lydia announced she had a radar lock and would fire. Everything slowed as
MoFo looked at what would possibly be the last he would see of an old friend
before being obliterated in a fireball and shower of aircraft parts.

Time suddenly popped back into full motion when the CB squealed loudly and a
tired voice broke through.

"Reservation forces, hold fire. Aircraft is friendly and attempting to land.
Dark Horse out."

MoFo released a huge pent up breath as Johnny and Lydia cursed the pilot of the
raven black fighter for keeping silent so long. MoFo silently did the same.
Wing' could have been killed or had his cover blown.

The darting Mustang skimmed quickly over the six cars and raised a huge cloud of
dust as it churned the dry ground with prop wash and its own motion. Tires
kissed desert floor in a perfect three-point landing. Almost immediately the
aircraft stopped, slowed by rough ground and loose dirt. The six cars had
reversed course, Johnny and Lydia in the lead, both seething at the intrusion.
The vehicles slid to a dusty halt as a grizzled figure extracted itself from the
cockpit, pulling hoses and cords off from various places of its body. Johnny
jumped from his car as if his pants were on fire.

"What the hell do you think you're doing!? You could have got yourself killed!
No radio contact until you were almost on the ground, no warning you were
coming, nothing! Just who the hell are you!?"

The pilot jumped down off of the wing of the plane and straightened himself. A
day's growth was on his face and he smelled horrible from ten feet away.

"Name's Stu Dukane. Heard somethin' about a little mess up here and decided to
have a look-see." A heavy Texas drawl accented nearly every word. The man was
short, slim and slight. The gear he wore seemed to weigh heavily upon him. An
oxygen mask hung by an elasticized cord around his neck, a broad brimmed felt
hat was balled up underneath a set of heavy headphones, cord dangling, large
leather gauntlets that went halfway up the forearms...all this combined with a
loud checked shirt, dusty worn jeans, cowboy boots and an eye patch over the
man's left eye. He looked for all the world like a rancher that had taken a
joyride on a whim at an air show.

Johnny reeled back and looked as if he was about to punch the man into next
week. Instead, he yelled.

"Have a goddamn look-see!? We're in the middle of what looks like a war and you
wanted to have a LOOK-SEE!?"

Bishop took a few step forward and put his hand on Johnny's shoulder.

"Johnny, look at the guy's plane. That thing's a flying Courcheval Manta. We
could use his help..." Bishop's voice trailed off. He stood transfixed, staring
at the pilot's midsection. A silver eagle's head glittered in the early morning

sunlight, holding the man's belt together. Bishop looked the pilot square in the
face, jaw slightly open from surprise. "That is...of course...if he wants to
help?"

"Stu" grinned and winked.

"That's pretty much the idea, pard. Remember the Alamo, y'know?"

"Yeah."

Johnny groaned and turned to Bishop.

"I'm not gonna let every stinking rancher turned fighter pilot screw up my
operation, Bish. You want this guy to hang around, you're on your own. I can't
afford to have some sort of loose cannon wandering around goofing things up.
You want his help, take it, but get out of here." Johnny had put a particular
emphasis on the word stinking.

"Now hold on just a minute, I got some assets to offer that go father than just
some big toothy bird." Stu drawled. He walked over to the fuselage of the
black machine and pointed at an access panel.

"Now, bee-hind that little door there is a great big camera. I used that to
shoot some purty pictures last night. Seems down south in Meh-heeco some word's
makin' the go-round that these doggone crazy folks are sittin' pretty up in some
fort on a mountain with a big ole army gettin' ready to stomp its way 'cross the
U.S. border and put a big hurt on us. Well, I wouldn't have none ah that, so I
fired up Dark Horse here and took sum pho-toes for the fine folks at the A - Vee
- A to look at. Unfortunately, I done run plumb outta gas on my little way to
Phoenix and had to set down somewheres afore I made a pretty-looking crater in
the ground." Stu gave the plane a hearty thump as the spoke.

Johnny gave the man a sideways look.

"You've got photos of a mountaintop fortress that is holding an invasion force?"

"You bet your sweet ass ah do!"

*******
Johnny raised his eyebrows. This was unexpected. These kind of photos would
give a hefty advantage to the AVA and the defensive bands that had cropped up.
Johnny made a decision.

"We just happen to have a photo lab that one of our braves set up here on the
reservation. If you're willing to allow us to develop and use them, you can
stay on."

Stu grinned broadly.

"Great! lemme grab mah stuff and I'll get y'all that film just as soon as it's
rewound." He jumped up onto the wing of the plane and reached into the cockpit.
One leg went up into the air as the pilot leaned way over to grab something.
Grunting and groaning echoed through the now-silent aluminum bird. Stu yelled
and yanked a huge duffle bag out of the cockpit and let it fall onto the wing

next to him.

"Well, that's all ah need 'ceptin' for that film." He grabbed the bag and
dragged it after him off of the wing. As he walked, he fumbled in his pocket
and withdrew a small odd-looking tool. He stopped next to the access panel in
the fuselage and stuck one end of the tool into the slot of what appeared to be
one of several very large flat-topped screws holding the panel in place. A
quick twist made a popping sound, and the panel pulled away a bit from the rest
of the aircraft's sheet metal. Several pops later, the panel swung downward on a
hinge and Stu stuck the upper portion of his body into the hole. Bangs and
clicks sounded, then a metallic whirr started. Stu pulled himself out and
turned to face six very curious looking individuals.

"It's rewinding. Give it some time." He grinned.

Johnny pointed at the bag on the ground.

"What's in there that's so important?"

Stu looked surprised.

"Jus' some extra clothes and such..."

"Mind if I have a look?"

"Well, hell, yes, I mind! I don't want some stranger rootin' his way through
mah personal belongin's!"

"I'm sorry, Mr. Dukane..."

"Please, call me Stu."

"Stu, I just want to make sure there's nothing dangerous in that bag. For all
we know you're here to sabotage things."

"Well, ah'm sorry, mister, but a man's privacy is a man's privacy. Ah don't want
you lookin' in there."

MoFo spoke up.

"Let him go, Johnny, he could have blown the hell out of the whole reservation
if he was here to do any damage."

Johnny nodded.

"All right. I'm sorry, Stu, but I have to be careful..."

"No problem. Whoops, film's done. Pard'n me." Stu stuck himself back into the
hole. Bishop couldn't help but laugh at how ridiculous his friend looked.
Johnny snickered despite the whole situation.

"I'm going back to the ranch house...I need some sleep." Pike spoke as he
walked back to his Palomino, obviously losing interest. Joe turned and walked
back to his Piranha. "Same here, wake me up when that stuff gets developed."

Johnny turned to Lydia.

"They could use your help back at the house more than we need you here."

Lydia would normally have bristled at such a statement, but Johnny was right.
She nodded and turned toward her car without a word, but raised an eyebrow
toward the character banging around inside the fuselage of the plane as she
walked away. Johnny wordlessly acknowledged her.

Stu yelled, "Got it!" from inside the plane, then yanked himself out bodily and
brandished a small metallic container. "Right there."

Johnny held his hand out. "Let's get that to Reed." Stu handed over the
container. "Who's Reed?"

"Blowing Reed is our resident genius. Young kid about 20 years old...into
photography, electronics, so forth. Lots of help when it comes to tracking
systems, fixing our cars, many other things that we'd otherwise still be behind
in along with other tribes on reservations. Reed opened us up to using outside
technology to better ourselves. He's indispensable. You'll like him. He'll
have a lot of questions, though, especially about your plane and your camera.
Don't let him talk too much. You'll never get him stopped." Johnny spoke as he
walked toward Bishop's Hermes. Bishop, MoFo and 'Stu' followed him.

"Bishop, Stu will ride in your car. You'll follow me. I'm going to Reed's
shack, and we'll leave MoFo there to keep an eye on Stu. Just a precaution, of
course."

Stu nodded. MoFo seemed strangely at peace with this, as did Bishop.

Bishop opened the door for Stu. As Stu shoved the bag into the Hermes' back
seat, Bishop whispered clenched through teeth.

"Reed's a nice ten minute drive away. That's plenty of time to tell me what the
hell is going on."

Wing' looked surprised...and worried.

**************

The two men eyed each other as the cars started up for the drive back to the Reservation. Wing-Stu, Bishop thought to himself, I don't want to break his cover-stared out the window, a pensive look still on his face. Bishop cleared his throat.

"So, STU, how funny you should pop up now. I was sure you would have bugged out for a nice quiet South American Country by now, where you could have some nice senoritas fanning your face with palm fronds and keeping you in cheap beer and cigars." Wing fixed Bishop with a baleful glare.

"Oh, Yeah, Bish, you know me. Turn tail and run at the first sign of trouble. Come on, give me a little credit." Bishop shook his head and smiled, reaching into his pocket for his erstwhile pack of cigarettes.

"I dunno, you're the guy I blame for sending that guy Mofofunk out to help me....man, that dude is several candy bars short of a Gas'n Go. Where did you dig that guy up?" Wing shrugged.


"Trust me, Bish, if you're out here long enough, you meet everyone, eventually. Which reminds me...I got a phone call two nights ago. I don't even know how she got my number, but...." Bishop groaned.

"Oh no....please tell me it wasn't...?" Wing just nodded.

"Yeah. Sabrina asked me what was going on with you. What's this about you haven't talked to her since June?" Bishop shrugged.

"Look, Wing, you of all people should know where I stand on her. I mean, you saw it! Some of it, anyway," he mumbled around his cigarette. He sighed. "So, did you tell her what was up?" It was Wings turn to shrug.

"Well, you know how she is, the subject sort of came up. I figured with her new Vegas gig and all, she would be too busy to break free." Bishop gave Wing a hard stare.

"Oh, you didn't...." Wing gave a half smile.

"Look here, Bish. Just because she hasn't fallen for your attempts to get her in the sack, doesn't mean she doesn't have your back. Remember Casablanca? She coulda left you, hell, that's what we were all told. But she didn't, did she?" Bishop could only nod in silence, remembering the operation from 5 years before.

The Department had sent them to try and infiltrate a top secret meeting of OPEC in the Morrocan city. The infiltration had been compromised, with two of the team members-Alan Marsh and Stu Dukane, he remembered with a jolt, eyeing Wing once again-being executed. Bishop had submitted, and the OPEC men had turned them over to their bodyguards, who had discoursed at length about their abilities in the field of torture and how long Bishop would live before he finally succumbed to the injuries they would inflict. He had been cursing the fact that he had neglected to put the cyanide pill in his mouth in time, and wondering how he would get through the situation, when Sabrina had come strolling into the room, a pair of silenced pistols in her hands and an Uzi on her back. The bodyguards had fallen like 10-pins, and then she was untying him and handing the Uzi over to him as she reloaded the pistols. The rest of it-A dizzying escape from the compound, the wild motorcycle ride through the city, the last minute leap onto the executive jet Wing had "procured" for their escape-he preferred not to think about. He looked at Wing again.

"Look, I know she's competent. Hell, she's better at this kind of thing then you and I put together, and we both know that. But Sabrina is also free from the constraints of having a conscience when it comes to this sort of thing. I Wouldn't want her to lose sight of the issues. Plus, there's Thane." Wing looked at Bishop as though he were crazy.

"What? Just cos' she fucked the guy once, you think that's gonna cloud her judgment? Yeah, maybe, it might...if she has him in her crosshairs, she might shoot him in the throat instead of quickly through the brain." Bishop nodded again. "Look, its done. I told her what was up, she said something about kicking your ass, confirmed I was still in Hell, and then the line went dead. She might show, she might not. Deal with it when it comes up."

"Speaking of which, why Stu Dukane? I knew Stu, after all, and he was a Harvard educated man, not this rube that you're hiding out as. What's that all about, AJ? Scared the reputation of The Wingnut might convince some of these people to put a bullet in you?" Wing's plaintive stare was enough to answer that question. Bishop gave him a quizzical glance. "Is it really that bad?"


"Bish, since my days in The Department, I've kinda gone up and down. Mostly down. There were some hard times for a while, I did some fucked up things to people who might or might not have deserved it. And you know how it is, you work in the same business long enough, eventually you work up a rep. Good or bad, it's there. Hells Finest have done their share of dirty work in their day, but of course some of the stuff attributed to me and my gang has been way on the other side of heinous." Bishop nodded.

"like this story Pike was telling us the other day..." he went on to relate the story of how Pike had met Pete Samms. Wing looked sufficiently horrified at the fate of the town. "That's the kind of stuff people say about your gang?" Wing nodded.

"Yeah, and I'll tell you right now, while we've been responsible for raising our own share of Hell," he smiled at the pun, "That kind of shit is beyond reproach. We actually wiped out another gang called the Bastard Coyotes who had been doing that kind of shit. Gang." He snorted. "More like a bunch of high school dropouts with too much money and not enough common sense." Bishop smiled grimly.

"I see your point. Now you're worried that these guys might decide to take care of one of the Hells Finest because he's vulnerable." Wing nodded again, slowly. Bishop cracked a grin. "Well, don't worry about it, Wing. By fate or design, I seem to somehow have ended up in command of this crazy group, so if I vouch for you, you'll be okay. Just don't do anything stupid like try and kill the people on our side, okay? Also, Johnny might request some sort of formal agreement between you and the Mescalero's. You know, that neither you, or any other member of HF, will infringe upon the sovereign lands or peoples of any Reservations in the Southwest, yadda yadda yadda....know what I mean?"

"I could handle that. You sure about this?" Bishop gave him a wide grin. "Sure, I'm positive. Trust me!" Wing nodded.

*******************

"Now, Johnny, drop the gun, man! This is NOT the way we want to resolve this situation, okay?" This was not what bishop had had in mind. When they had returned to the Reservation, Bishop had called together the principals-Pike, Mofo, Johnny, Paladin, Mary, and Lydia-to explain who "Stu Dukane" was and what he was doing there. All had taken it fairly calmly, with Pike giving the only initial semi-hostile reaction, simply telling Wing to "Stay the hell out of my way" before he went off to supervise the film development. Johnny had walked up, smiling, saying that all was well, and then quick as could be grabbing Wing by the throat and pulling his pistol out, intending to execute him then and there. Bishop had dropped back with his hand on his pistol, and was trying to talk Johnny down. Mary, strangely enough, was simply standing and watching, as though she didn't know what to do, or worse, didn't care. Wing looked calm, but Bishop could tell he was getting antsy, and Wing getting antsy was always a bad thing. He cleared his throat, and gave Bishop a dirty look. Johnny looked calm as a summer lake as he gave Bishop a cold stare.

"Bishop, I know and respect you and your judgment, but this man is scum. He is responsible for the deaths of many of my people, not to mention countless innocents who had the misfortune to wander into this godforsaken lawless land. I will be doing everyone a favor." Bishop shook his head.

"Not everyone, Johnny. This man saved my life," and a light suddenly went on over Bishops head, "and YOUR life, too." Johnny gave him a quizzical stare.

"What do you mean by that? Don't try and trick me, Bish. I've seen you put the con on before, and while you're good, I'm ready for your lies." Bishop looked at Wing.


"Wing." Wing looked at Bishop. "When you were working for The Department, did you ever do any work in Vienna?" Wing nodded, as best he could.

"Yeah. There was some kind of op going on with a trade conference. I never heard the details, but some guy got wasted, and the team had to bust out of there pronto. I remember I had to do the pickup on a postage sized airfield outside the city, and because of the cover story that the team was Russian, I was flying a modified Bear, which needs at least 3 postage stamps to take off and land. So I dropped it onto the tarmac, skidded to a halt just shy of the tower, and then the team was loaded up and I had to boogie out of there. I remember you telling me that there were holes in the airplane from where the security forces had tried to shoot us down. Which wasn't near as bad as landing that thing in the Black Forest 2 hours later, but that's not really important." He eyed Johnny carefully. Johnny looked at Bishop, then down at Wing.

"This was that pilot, huh?" Bishop nodded. Johnny thought for a moment. "Okay. fair enough." he released him and holstered his pistol, starting to walk off. He got partway to his house, then turned and stopped. "One last thing...."
Wing tried his best to look calm.

"Yes?" In a smooth motion, Johnny pulled his pistol and fired it at Wings head. The silly hat he had been wearing flew off to the side.

"You so much as make me think you've sold us out, and next time, your head will still be in the hat." He holstered the pistol, then turned and walked into the house. Bishop smiled at Wing.

"See? I told you, no problem!" Wing gave him a glare that could peel paint. Before he could respond, however, Louise came rushing out of the house onto the porch.

"Guys, you're not going to believe this. Tune in the vig frequency, right now!" The group all rushed over to Bishop's car, where he turned on the radio. It was another repeating message, but this one had a bit more information, including a cryptic encoded message. Bishop fumbled with a pad of paper and pen, writing everything down as fats a she could. As he finished, he went over it silently, then looked up at Wing with a smile on his face.

"And I thought we would have to find you another crappy ass car." He handed the paper over to Wing, who read it, re-read it, and then looked up at Bishop in surprise. "The Sincere Air Force? Almost a hundred planes and a, a ZEPPELIN?! I have only one thing to say to THAT." Bishop lifted an eyebrow.

"Oh? What's that?" Wing smiled.

"WOOBWOOBWOOB!!!!!" The laughter that carried across the late morning air was hearty indeed.

MofoFunk
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wow

Postby MofoFunk » Wed Dec 14, 2005 6:41 pm

Wow! Thanks Paladin and 'Fox... I never thought I'd get to see/read BUTS again! I just finished copying all the text into a Word document. I formatted the layout and ran spellcheck throughout the entire thing and got some of the obvious grammer/spelling errors taken care of.

I would love to revise and possibly finish the story, that is, if we could get in touch with the rest of the writers and set up some sort of idea of how we want to do that.

I know I would definitely love to revise my parts considering it was my first experience in writing fiction and the fact that I was probably 17-18 or so when I was writing BUTS.

I haven't even read any of it yet or caught up, but I will over Christmas and New Years. Then I'll try to format it and get rid of rest of the obvious grammer mistakes as best I can, and I'll upload a Word or PDF document that we'll all be able to download and have.

Thanks again!
MofoFunk

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The Wingnut
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Postby The Wingnut » Sun Apr 23, 2006 2:58 pm

Good lord...

I'm sitting in a library in Texas right now.

...on a U.S. Air Force base.

...'cuz, y'know, I joined up. Shock of the century, huh? Graduated basic training on the 14th of April, top 8% of my class. I was made for this, just never had the guts to do it.

I'm in tech school training until late July(they're turning me into a KC-135 crew chief). Emails have been passed around (actually, they were fired off just a few days before I shipped out to basic training) about reviving this tome and re-writing the whole dang thing (in our copious amounts of spare time, of course!). Should prove interesting, even if we don't finish.

That picture up there is my handiwork...anyone remember 'Spirit of '76', the faceless individual that created all of the AVA promotional material? Yeeeah, that was me...I coined the phrase 'Legends Never Die' in relation to I'76, too...there was another image of the desert with an abandoned uranium refirery and a gathering thunderstorm in the background, and a rather heartfelt bit of writing about how we once were kings. A hard drive crash ate most of my I'76 related material long ago. Shame, really, those were some moments of great inspiration.

Looking forward to playing around with the interstate a little more. It's never really died in me, I've owned nothing but old cars, starting with a '68 Plymouth Fury, a '72 Fury (former patrol car), the current set of wheels is a '74 Datsun 260 Z with a transplanted 2.8 and a 5-speed. She's getting a whole new lease on life while my life gets transformed, as well. When I get out of tech shcool I'll have a new car and a rather bright future in aviation.

Check yer six!

- WOOB!
Killed 12 - 27- 83...but that was my 8th life.

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KIV 6051 [SH]
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Postby KIV 6051 [SH] » Sun Apr 23, 2006 6:40 pm

The Wingnut wrote:I'm sitting in a library in Texas right now.

...on a U.S. Air Force base.

. . . I thought you were British.
Where at in Texas? Fort Hood?

MofoFunk
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Postby MofoFunk » Sun Apr 23, 2006 8:54 pm

Hahaha, "British..."

Wing' is galiant and a gentleman but anything but...

...That's funny though, come Sept. I'll be out to London for 2-3 years. Got into the Slade School of Fine Art at the University of London. Be getting my Masters of Fine Art.

The world she is small and we all turn with her.

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KIV 6051 [SH]
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Postby KIV 6051 [SH] » Mon Apr 24, 2006 6:15 pm

Righto!

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The Wingnut
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Postby The Wingnut » Sun Apr 30, 2006 6:42 am

. . . I thought you were British.
Where at in Texas? Fort Hood?


...er. No. Mostly Californian, although it can be argued I'm an adopted Texan. Currently at Sheppard AFB, ('Fort' anything is an Army or Marines installation) in technical training. Spent most of March and part of April at Lackland AFB, getting my arse handed to me by instructors in basic training.
Killed 12 - 27- 83...but that was my 8th life.

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Lightfoot
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Yup...

Postby Lightfoot » Sun Apr 30, 2006 8:02 am

Image
-Lightfoot
If only you could see what I've seen...

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Wing Nut OOA
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Postby Wing Nut OOA » Wed May 03, 2006 10:12 am

:cry: i'm gonna need a moment...




:D okay all better


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