Monday, October 5, 2015

Day Nine-Hundred-Nineteen: I need to save someone

Dragomir tossed his speech away as a harpoon came whistling towards him. He did it with a deep sense of regret, because he’d spent so much time on it, only to have more than half of the thing wasted by Kierkegaard’s actions. Success was good, obviously, but… it had been such a good speech.

I expected more of a confrontation, he mused, mind working surprisingly fast as he considered the situation. I figured we would debate this shit. Oh well. Leave it to the gods-damned penguin to screw up something else in my life. I hate that guy so much.

The harpoon slammed into the ground where Dragomir had been standing, leaving a deep scar in the dirt. Dragomir leaped nimbly to one side, his skinny legs carrying him almost twenty feet away. He was keenly aware of eyes on him from all sides, watching his every move despite the danger from above. He was fine with that. He wanted that. These people needed to see the possibilities.

The Nothings rumbled in from both flanks, moving slowly but steadily, their massive, mechanized feet leaving deep craters in the earth with each step. The Imperium’s defensive line turned their attention to the nearest Nothing, unleashing a barrage of firepower that battered its blackened hull and drove away much of the liquid darkness amassed on its ‘face’. The Nothing replied with a flurry of screams -

- but the distraction was enough for the Non. Rising to the challenge, the tired-but-not-tired-enough Non army converged on the Nothing, focusing their efforts on the nearest leg. Eight enormous Non Titans grappled with the foot, using their bulging muscles to lift it a foot into the air, several feet, ten feet, twenty. The Nothing tottered dangerously, and the liquid coursing along its surface tried to track left to take out the Non, but it was soon too late. The great machine pitched to one side, shaking the ground with such violence that almost everyone within a kilometre’s distance struggled to keep their own footing. Smaller Non fell upon the Nothing in a torrent, tearing at its thick hull with relentless determination.

This did not much reduce the Nothing’s threat level. It continued to attack, and before it went down it skewered dozens of Non, humans, orcs, and snake people. Dragomir winced at every fallen body, for once feeling blessed by his own wily frame. The harpoons were still swift, but he felt almost secure in his ability to dodge out of the way.

Weaving between a veritable hailstorm of whistling projectiles, Dragomir pounced his way towards Titan Blue and Plato. Plato had his glowing green scythe at the ready, though he looked far too scared to emerge from Blue’s shadow. The larger Non was fighting off harpoon fire from the second Nothing, using the flats of her palms to knock harpoons off course. Her accuracy was surprising, especially given that she’d been so recently hurt by Doc’s ungodly forces, and Dragomir appreciated that she was, specifically, keeping the harpoons away from -

Dragomir’s line of thought broke off as he spotted a problem-in-progress. To his left he spotted an incoming harpoon, centred on a cluster of soldiers. It was well out of Blue’s range, and the soldiers, apparently dumbfounded by the situation, were simply watching as the harpoon prepared to take their lives.

Aw, fuck, was all Dragomir managed to think. And while the old Dragomir would have avoided the situation with all his might, the current Dragomir went for it.

Patting his helmet for good luck, Dragomir hurtled himself towards the harpoon, not immediately sure what the hell he was doing. Extending his arms and legs to their full height, he planted himself in the ground beneath the harpoon’s trajectory and shoved his hands upwards, gritting his teeth. The harpoon screamed - 

- and flew off-course as Dragomir’s thin fingers pushed into its underside. For the briefest second Dragomir felt the sear of its razor-sharp tips biting into his Non skin, and he screamed, activating the Catastrophe in a fit of panic. The pain redirected itself to his forehead, and he screamed for a different reason, blood dribbling out of his ears. The Catastrophe disintegrated the liquid spear tip in a bright, green flash, and Dragomir fell to his knees, staring at his burnt hands and trembling fiercely.

The soldiers stared at him. One broke from his trance and ran; he was, clearly, the smart one, because a second harpoon quickly followed on the path of the first. Dragomir caught only the sound, because his eyes were blurry from a sudden fit of shallow breathing.

“Get… fucking… get out of…” Dragomir struggled, trying to tell the soldiers to run. 

“But - “ one of the soldiers began, holding a hand out to Dragomir.

It was one of the shorter conversations in Dragomir’s life. Mercifully, too, because Dragomir wanted to call the man a dumbass, and that was no way to engender good relations in a tense situation. His secret weapon saved Dragomir from such verbal abuse.

Eve appeared in the path of the harpoon like a ghost, a wicked scimitar in one hand. Whirling around the projectile she cut into its shaft, kicking the business end free and high into the air. It lost cohesion and changed into a splotch of black, showering troops everywhere with harmless droplets. Eve continued to slice into the shaft as it retracted back to the Nothing, depriving the machine of its ranged attacks bit by bit -

- and when she reached the Nothing, Eve promptly leaped onto its hull and began to kick through the metal. The Nothing immediately redirected its attacks to counter the new threat, but Eve was far faster than her father, and she casually danced through the rain of harpoons that vainly tracked her movements and exploded into the sky. Each fresh kick from Eve left a deeper dent in the Nothing, and soon there was a sizeable hole in the sphere, exposing its innards to the light of day. Eve plunged inside.

That’s my girl, Dragomir thought, offering Eve a vague thumbs-up. He assumed she didn’t see it.

Dragomir struggled to stand, clutching at his temples. The pain was incredibly intense, and he felt the urge to vomit, but he settled for a good old fashioned spit instead. The soldiers he’d saved watched him from a distance, all still clutching their weapons, and they gasped as Dragomir changed back into a human. It was difficult, and Dragomir had to fight to reassert his soft, pink skin, but soon he looked every inch the guardsman he’d been four years prior.

As the Nothing buckled under Eve’s internal assault, Dragomir offered the soldiers a shaky thumbs-up. “Same team, now… now, guys. Same… same team.”

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