Lead vs Fantasy 1-4

1-4 Cleaning house is a good euphemism.


After fifteen minutes of waiting for Edge and Cauliflower to return, Champ turned back to the rover and opened the cooler.  Retrieving a beer, he thoughtfully regarded the bottle’s peeling blue label.  The first half of a beer always made him think about… well, the second half was designed to make him forget, so why bring it up?

Popping off the cap on the side of the rover, Champ was bringing the cool glass to his lips.  Then, suddenly, it was yanked from his hands so fast that he almost punched himself in the nose.  Looking at the culprit, Champ found Lotus glaring down at him.

“No drinking and shooting.”  She chided.

“I was only gonna have one.”  He complained, staring wistfully at the confiscated goods.

“For such an obnoxious man, you’re a surprisingly terrible drinker.”  Lotus held the bottle over the rover’s railing and turned it upside down.  As Champ’s liquid happiness flowed onto the dirt, she continued.  “Only one beer and suddenly your precision goes to hell.  Might as well just piss on the monsters.”

“And If I don’t have my beer, how will I have the piss?”

Lotus narrowed her eyes scornfully.  “Someday I really will shoot you.”

With those unsociable words, Lotus turned to the cooler and retrieved a small vile of silver-grey liquid.  She grimaced at the substance for a moment.  Then she gently leapt off the rover and went to stare into the woods with the others.  Champ looked at the still open cooler for a moment.  Then he sighed and closed it.  She was right.  He just had nothing better to do than drink.  The only alternative he had was to field strip his weapon for no reason.

After Champ had put together his assault rifle for the fourth time, there was some rustling in the woods at the front of the rover.  Before anyone could point their weapons, Edge’s voice called out, “Back.”  Then he emerged from the forest with Cauliflower following close behind.

“Find anything useful?” The Captain asked as the two approached.

“We found something, but…”  Edge began and then hesitated.

“But what?” Champ asked as he dismounted the rover and moved to join the group.

“But I don’t think you’ll believe me.” Edge answered quickly.  Then he shrugged.  “We found what happened.  A band of lizard men attacked the village.  Still seem to be occupying it now.”

“Lizard men?  Here?” Lotus asked incredulously.  “It freezes here.  What the hell are lizard men doing this far north?”

“My guess, slaughtering a town,” Cauliflower answered innocently.  Then, when she saw everyone looking at her, she added, “I’m not one hundred percent on that… but probably.”

The Captain shook his head.  “Did you see them?  What’s their battle potential?”

Edge shrugged again.  “We only saw one of them.  He had blue scales if that helps.  I don’t know a lot about their different tribes and things.  After SOMEONE tipped off the first guy, we had to leave.  Can’t really deal with anything clad in scales using the silent method.”  As Edge finished, he stared at his feet contemplatively.  After a few seconds, he snapped his fingers and added.  “They didn’t seem to have a shaman, though.  We got pretty close and no wards went off or anything.”

“Also there was something weird,” Cauliflower chimed in helpfully.

“Right.  Cauliflower said there was something weird about the stronghold.”  Edge supplemented.  Then he furrowed his brow and looked down.  “I don’t know what that means.”

“Neither do I,” Cauliflower added with a smile.

“So helpful,” Champ couldn’t help but say as he looked at her expression of false innocence.

The Captain just pulled at his lips thoughtfully for a while.  Then he asked, “How well armed was it?”

“Just a bronze sword,” Edge answered quickly.

“So either they don’t have enough guns for everyone, or they don’t care to use them, or…”

“Or unknown third option,” Champ cut in to finish The Captain’s thought.

The Captain nodded and then looked across his team.  “A lot of unknowns here.  At this point there might even be survivors in the village.”

“Or there might not be,” Cauliflower observed.  “All depends on the whims of the lizard men’s leader.”

Edge stared at The Captain’s conflicted face and then declared, “If we leave at this point, we’ll have to cancel the contract.  We haven’t confirmed the survival or death of the villagers.  That was priority one.  Any lizard men group small enough to make it this far north without being notice shouldn’t be a problem for us.  Even if they have the settler’s guns.”

“A fairly bold statement for a six man team,” Champ observed.  He didn’t exactly disagree with Edge, but some things can’t go unsaid.

“Have you ever seen a lizard man fire a gun?”  Lotus jumped in.  “It’s a sad sight.  Those big, scaly fingers can barely operate the triggers.  If they don’t have a shaman, they shouldn’t be a problem.  I don’t even know why we’re talking about this.”

“So we go in guns blazing?”  Champ asked, more curious than derisive.

“Not exactly,” Edge answered, steepling his fingers.  “But, yes.”

From there it took them around thirty minutes to plot out a good assault plan.  When they had, they got their equipment together and hiked to the toppled electric fence.  Then, Cauliflower and Lotus left to find a vantage point.  The other four snuck across the broken field one at a time.  When they were hiding in the shadow of one of the huts, they checked their weapons one last time.  Then they waited for a signal from the girls.

When their ear pieces were finally filled with the sound of Cauliflower giving the affirmative, Champ and Knot broke away to move towards the center of the wooden huts.  At the same time, Edge and The Captain headed for the concrete stronghold.

When Champ had reached what could be thought of as the town square, he scanned the area for enemies.  He found nothing, however.  It seemed that they hadn’t been noticed yet.  He looked to the side and gave a nod towards Knot, who was holding up his sleek, black shotgun.  Then he looked behind himself to find Edge and The Captain waiting on either side of the open stronghold doorway.

Then The Captain’s voice came over the radio.  “Lotus, you have eyes on anything?”

“Got one at a window of a hut on the south side.” Lotus’s voice quickly answered, devoid of any strong emotion.

“Start us off whenever you’re ready, then.”

“Roger,” was Lotus’s only response.

A few seconds later, a loud boom filled the clearing.  Then, a series of urgent hisses and clicks could be heard from the surrounding huts.  In the next few moments, scaly figures started to emerge from the assembled doorways in front of Champ.  Their bodies were generally long and thin, but they still exuded an intimidating strength.  As they hissed to each other, they tasted the air and looked towards the source of the earlier shot.

“I don’t suppose any of you are inclined to drop your weapons and surrender, are you?”  The sound of Champ’s voice turned all the lizard’s heads at once.  They looked at him for a second, let out a deep hiss, and charged.

“You might as well have said goo goo gaa gaa for all they understand,” Knot observed as he held his weapon and waited for the lizards to get close enough to use it.

“I think they got the gist,” Champ observed, sighting down his rifle.

There were six lizards in the first charge.  Champ aimed at the closest.  A tall… lizardy… lizard man who held a warped sword coated in dried blood over its head.  Champ pulled the trigger.  He felt four ripples of recoil flow through his body.  Then he released the trigger.  The lizard man collapsed onto the ground, its head missing a few vital pieces.

Champ immediately shifted his attention to the next lizard and released another burst.  This time, however, he was only able to leave a scratch on its cheek.  That was the problem with going for head shots.  It was easy to miss.  It’d be better to go for its center of mass, but that wasn’t how he was trained.  There were a lot of things that wouldn’t even be slowed down by hitting the center of mass.

The lizard men were certainly fast.  After the second burst, they had already reached Champ and Knot.  Knot was all about close quarters.  An obvious consequence of his affinity.  Champ, however, was not.  Mid-range was his forte.

As soon as the enemy got close, Knot started blaming away with his shotgun.  He was good with the thing and the three lizards who headed for him couldn’t even complete an attack.  However, the penetrating power wasn’t quite enough.  Mostly, his shots knocked the lizards over.  Unless he was at basically point blank, he couldn’t finish them.

At the same time, Champ back stepped furiously while shooting at his pair of targets to slow them down.  It didn’t take long before he couldn’t back up any further, however.  There was still the stronghold battle to his rear.  He was a professional, he couldn’t get in Edge and The Captain’s way while trying to deal with two lizard men.  It’d be too embarrassing.

Champ stood his ground and once again took aim at the lizard man he’d scratched before.  This time, he pointed his muzzle towards the thing’s chest.  Then he fired.  Before he could pull the trigger, however, the lizard jumped to the left.  None of his bullets struck home.  He didn’t mind it.  He didn’t release the trigger and followed the monster’s trajectory.  When the lizard landed, it didn’t falter for a moment.  It recovered its balance and immediately started running around him.

Lizard men aren’t god-class enemies that can dodge bullets.  However, they could apparently run faster than Champ could move his arms.  He soon gave up on even firing at the lizard.  He just tracked the monster as it ran a spiral around him.

As Champ tried to come up with a solution to the spiraling lizard, he heard a thump in the grass behind him.  Without any other input, his instincts told him to jump to the side.  So he did.  He mustered as much strength as he could in his legs and leapt.  When he landed, he felt a breeze fluttering his rolled up sleeves and cooling his left arm.  Then he looked down to see a heavy blade resting on the ground next to his foot.

Seeing that, he decided he couldn’t make it in time with his rifle.  He moved his left hand to his thigh and withdrew his sidearm.  Then he spun on his heel, holding his gun out, to face his opponent.  His spin was stopped suddenly, however, when his hand ran into something soft, warm, and wet.

Confused, Champ tried to understand the sensation.  His left hand was pushing against something elastic.  If he focused, he could feel faint pin-pricks on his wrist.  As soon as he understood that, Champ reflexively yanked his arm away while simultaneously pulling the trigger on his handgun.  When the gun clicked empty, he looked down to see a new lizard man on the ground.  There were several new holes in the back of its head.

Champ shook some of the disgustingly viscous saliva off his hand.  Then he pressed the magazine release on his sidearm as he shifted his attention to the still spiraling lizard man in front of him.  The thing let out a series of shrill clicks at the death of its comrade, but it didn’t change its movements.

The Lizard was still spiraling ever closer to Champ.  However, his tracking of it had gotten even farther behind.  During his confrontation, the lizard man had almost lapped him.  Now Champ found his gun barrel slowly traveling in front of the beast.

Noticing this, Champ immediately reversed his direction of rotation.  When his gun crossed the path of his target, he let fly a small fan of bullets.  They should’ve given the lizard some new lead decorations.  However, the lizard noticed Champ’s movements and ducked forward as the gun started firing.  It rolled under the bullets, sustaining only another scrape.  This one on its scaly back.

When the lizard came out of its roll, it dug its left foot hard into the soil and lunged toward Champ.  Champ immediately tried to fire at it, but his rifle had expended its last rounds in the previous burst.  He hurriedly removed the magazine and hurled it at the incoming lizard’s face.

The lizard man wasn’t slowed down at all, however.  It just batted the magazine out of the air with the flat of its blade.  Then it readied itself to cut Champ in two.  Champ grabbed an extra mag from where it hung from his back.  Then he lowered his stance and focused on the enemy before him.  After about half a second, his body started to grow comfortably warm.

Then Champ leapt to the right.  With a familiar, yet still stomach wrenching, sensation, Champ’s jump unnaturally orbited the approaching lizard.  While he moved, he put his hands to work loading the new magazine and chambering a round.  Champ’s path followed a half-circle around the lizard until he ended crouching behind it.  As the lizard searched for its quarry, Champ sighted on it calmly.  He pulled the trigger once again.  This time, the lizard finally fell.

Champ gave his victory a satisfied nod.  Then he turned to check on the other’s progress.  As he did so, his vision was eclipsed by a mosaic of blue.  Looking up, he saw a raptorial face looking down on him.  Above that, he saw a rough, bronze blade delivering its judgement upon him.

Champ instinctually pulled up his assault rifle and tried to focus his mind, but he knew he’d be too late.  Then, before death could take him, it took his enemy instead.  There was a loud boom that filled the clearing.  Then, a mass of blood and bone fragments shot from the lizard man’s head.

Looking into the woods on his left, Champ gave an appreciative nod.  Then he turned back towards Knot.  It seemed that the second wave of lizards had arrived.  Champ didn’t know where they came from, but it was time to be helpful.


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2 thoughts on “Lead vs Fantasy 1-4

  1. Pingback: Lead vs Fantasy 1-3 | Dakotah Sicking Web Novels

  2. Pingback: Lead vs Fantasy 1-5 | Dakotah Sicking Web Novels

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