Sunday, August 5, 2012

Shining Armor, Part VII: The Rescue

7-28 YC114 0430

Ibura System
Planet II Orbital Platform

Ryven soared silently through the vacuum of space, the massive sphere of the planet and the small orbital facility the only objects in view. He had left out a special hatch in his Manticore-class bomber and fired a short burst of his EVA suit's thrusters. He had only three kilometers of distance to cover. He was aiming for a cluster of antennae at the top of the platform.  Despite the rage boiling and surging through his every fiber, he was a study in precision.  He landed two meters shy and crawled to the cluster, placing a demolitions charge before crawling another 200 meters to the platform's airlock. He eased open the airlock's control panel and pressed the button to open it, knowing full well any personnel inside would be immediately aware. He would have twenty seconds to ovveride the internal control to gain access to the facility. It took him twelve, his every motion a channel for his fury, his body a weapon, his rage the fuel.  As the airlock's interior door swung slowly open, Ryven dropped a smoke grenade that quickly filled the platform's entryway with thick white smoke.  Ryven pulled off his helmet quickly, allowing for less impeded vision.  His usual sunglasses adorned his face, and he pressed a small button on the frame of the right lens, activating the infrared detection filter.  They couldn't see him.  He could see them.  There were approximately twelve men, all aiming where they expected him to be.  He needed to move, and fast.

Ryven was a purist.  He didn't use any cybernetic enhancements on his body.  However, his brain was hardwired with multiple implants.  His reflexes, his senses, his neural processes were all accelerated.  He rolled to the right and out of the airlock into the main entryway, a large rectangular room with little to no cover for at least five meters before there was a barricade in front of a wide corridor and a large glass-windowed room that was obviously the security station for this airlock.  Ryven needed to get to that room.

Ryven propelled himself rapidly the three meters to the nearest attacker.  All twelve were now firing at the airlock where he had just been crouching.  He took the first attacker unawares, thrusting his fist up under the man's chin and driving his elbow into the man's throat.  He wrenched the man's assault rifle from his arms and flipped over in air and caught it, firing two shots into the man's brain, before crouching and rolling to bring the sights up to the second attacker.  The sights lined up as the attackers all started to become aware he was no longer in the airlock and began searching for him.  He squeezed the trigger gently, a burst of three rounds exploding through the second man's face, a cloud of pink and grey spreading out in their wake.

Ryven winced as one of the enemy's shots found home and tore through his lower abdomen on the left side.  His suit was only lightly armored and couldn't stop these high-caliber rounds.  He grunted and forced himself to ignore the pain and quickly dispatched another three of the orbital platform's security personnel.  He was only twenty meters away from the security booth.  Seven attackers remained.  His smoke screen would begin to clear very soon.  With his left hand, he drew his personal pistol from the holster on the small of his back.  Relying on his heightened senses, he aimed blindly and began firing as he began to run, firing the assault rifle in short bursts and the pistol sporadically.  As he closed the distance to the remaining armed men, he dropped and slid on his knees across the smooth metal floor of the room, firing as he went.  His slide took him all the way to the doorway of the security booth, which was, thankfully, wide open.  A man sat there in a chair, a headset on his head, his face one of sheer surprise and terror, his mouth agape.  Ryven's face was covered in blood, his expression macabre, a divine nightmare visited upon them.  The man in the chair died before he could say a word, riddled with a burst of automatic fire.

He slowly stood and surveyed the carnage.  The smoke hung in a haze, low and now only a thin veil, only enhancing the horror.  Twelve men lay dead, blood spreading in pools, the walls spackled with gore and pocked with bullet impacts.  Ryven would have smiled, but the bloodlust was high in him.  He could only stare at it, in awe at the surge of euphoria.  It felt good.  But, then he felt the pain.  They had gotten another lucky shot or two in.  His leg was tender and it was weakening under his weight.  He looked down and could see that he had been shot in his right shin, the bone most likely broken.  The wound in his abdomen was slowly oozing blood as well.  Ryven swore to himself and forced himself to continue through the facility.  Somewhere on this small platform, Leela was being held.  Somewhere on this platform, there was a man in desperate need of killing.

Ryven stalked the corridors of the ship, killing indiscriminately.  The blood on his face had coagulated and was beginning to turn black.  His black EVA suit, black, shades,  and blood streaked face created a striking image, an angel of death, an executioner.  His lips turned up in a grin. The old feelings were coming back.  The Haijikioten blood was reviving.

Ryven was still high on his bloodlust when he finally found Leela.  The door to the chamber slid open with a quiet hiss and his eyes found her in the center of the room, suspended spread eagle by wrist and ankle chains attached to solid metal columns that ran floor to ceiling.  There was a drain below her in the floor and it showed him proof of what was not readily visible to him when he first entered.  The drain was clogged and a puddle of blood and human waste had formed.  As he approached her, his rage increased with every step until it turned cold.  Her hair was matted with blood.  Her right eye was swollen shut and surrounded by a sickly colored bruise.  Her lip was split, and blood trickled out the corners of her mouth and stained her teeth.  Her clothing was torn and clung to her in rags.  He could see evidence of recent and repeated rapes.  His mind was consumed with a swirl of emotions: rage, horror, and a profound guilt at not better protecting her.  This was his fault.  His teeth clenched so tightly he thought they might snap.

Leela choked out a small whimper, her voice unintelligible.  Her one good eye was pleading with him.  Blood-red tears streaked her face and she strained against her chains.  She was trying desperately to tell him something.  "What is it?  What?" He shouted, her every pain felt in the pain in his heart.

"She's trying to tell you, it's a trap." A quiet voice, filled with mirth, came from behind him.  Ryven could've kicked himself.  What a noob mistake.  You always check corners.  His muscles tensed and he spun, leveling his rifle as he did.

The sharpened point of a long, slender, barbed spear tore through his chest and drove itself into the floor, pinning him there.  His rifle dropped from his right hand, his right side now numb.  He choked and coughed up a large glob of bright crimson.  The spear had driven itself through his right lung, and bubbles of pink began to ooze out the corners of his mouth.  His body was wracked with the pain and shock of such sudden and unexpected trauma and he fought to maintain consciousness as his mind tried to cope with this onslaught and massive damage.  He closed his eyes and gritted his teeth and managed to slow his gasping ragged breaths.  After staving off the dark vice of shock, he opened his eyes and glared at his third target, Matteo Nantes, a slender Gallente man with dark hair and eyes and the wild gaze of a man who took much pleasure from inflicting pain. 

"Well played, Nantes." Ryven coughed the words, more blood spilling from his mouth. "But, why set a trap for me?"

Nantes was flanked on both sides by two armed gunmen.  He carried the long silver spear-gun that had been used to pin him so deftly to the floor.  Ryven was on his knees, the shaft of the spear angled down and out his back, the blood from the exit wound running down the length of it to the floor.  The spear was a good two and a half meters long.  The gun from which it was fired was nearly three quarters of that size.  Nantes began to laugh the cold laughter of a true sadist.

"That's what I was paid to do, Mr. Krennel.  Or should I call you by your real name?  Mr. Haijikioten, wasn't it?"  Matteo's eyes gleamed.

Ryven seethed at the mention of his birth name.  What the fuck could this asshole know about any of that?  Further, it wasn't even relevant.  His brain shut it out.  It was a distraction.  His autonomous nervous system began funneling massive amounts of adrenaline into his system.  The pain was beginning to subside.  Implants hardwired into his brain began feeding endorphines and stimulants into appropriate portions of his body and a reserve of nanites began to repair nerve damage.  His body was slowly restoring itself to functionality.  Ryven was not aware of the minutia, but he knew he had only to keep this man talking for a few more minutes and he could find out what he needed to know, and then orchestrate his exit plan.  He finally replied. "Names are irrelevant."

"Ah.  You are correct, of course."  He glanced over at Leela, savoring her agony. "See, I was hired by the man you know as Query.  He specified that I needed to capture both of you.  Using Leela as bait was also his idea." He smiled. "It worked wonderfully."

Ryven nodded. It had worked quite perfectly, hadn't it.  Aside from the assertion that he was even remotely trapped.  Ryven's breathing was becoming less labored, but he feigned difficulty. He gasped his next words. "So..I...have...a...question."

Nantes looked amused. "Oh, this should be good.  Of course, let's hear it."

"" He paused, gasping for breath. "Fluid routers....flash...clone activation?"

Nantes smiled even wider. "Jammed.  The communications cluster atop this facility has an inward antenna array that broadcasts a signal that effectively cancels fluid router traffic.  If you are killed here, I'm afraid clone reactivation will be severely difficult, if possible at all.  The likelihood of a successful clone activation without some sort of permanent neurological damage is just about zero."

Ryven was nearly ready. " of facility?" He gasped.

Nantes smiled. "That's what I said."

Ryven returned the smile. "Good.  That's where I planted my first set of explosives."  He used his left arm to press the detonator button on the left side of his belt.

Nantes' smile disappeared as he heard the sudden roar of a massive explosion from above them.  The whole facility shook and the lights flickered in the chamber.  Both gunmen and Nantes were rocked off balance.  Ryven used this moment to grasp the tail end of the spear impaling him and pull himself upward till he slid off the end.  Blood flowed rapidly from the large wound, but, he ignored it and sprung at unthinkable speed toward the three men.  He slammed the first gunman's head into the bulkhead, smashing his face into an unrecognizable mess.  The he swept the feet out from under the second gunman and stomped his neck with his boot, the bones crushed to powder with the force of his unbridled and unrestrained fury.  He reached out and grasped Nantes by the throat, his fingers pincers, digging into the man's flesh.  Nantes's eyes were filled with fear, delicious fear, and feral Ryven relished it, drank it in, every moment nourishing a darkness in his soul.  He loved it.  He quickly drug Nantes face over to the flat end of the spear that had only moments before been impaling Ryven to the floor.

"Say goodbye, Nantes." Ryven said, his voice the deep cold of pure malice.  Without waiting for any reply, he shifted his grip to the back of Nantes' head and drove his face onto the butt end of the spear, driving the shaft up through his eye socket and into his brain cavity.  Target three was dead.  Ryven dropped to his knees, the reality of the violence, the rage, the emotional turmoil of the last few moments too much for him to bear.  A deep moan escaped from within him.  The world went white.  Only the memory, the tugging sensation of one last mission to accomplish kept him from succumbing to it.  He made himself stand.  He walked, as a man possessed, over to Leela, releasing her restraints.  She collapsed onto him, and they both fell to the floor, thudding and smacking into the puddle of blood and excrement below her.  Neither cared. 

Leela simply whimpered in agony as Ryven held her, rocking both of them back and forth.  He pulled a second detonator from his pocket. "Time to go home, Leela." He whispered, as his thumb depressed the detonator, and the entire facility burst into a ball of white hot debris.

They both awoke in Egghelende.

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