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Kail
Do reploids go to a neon heaven?
Tue Mar 23, 2010 12:38am
70.249.243.98

The icy water felt like needles all over Cocker's skin. Under one arm he held the unconscious body of Lina. Minutes ago he'd have given anything to put his arm around her waist and hold her tightly against him. Now all he could think about was the freezing water, the burning in his lungs, the agony of his straining limbs, and the bottomless pit of darkness beckoning to them from below.

Though Cocker was a light Ranger-model reploid, and Lina's lithe form was designed for pleasure, the combined weight of the two machines made the swim upwards unassailable. It is to Cocker's credit that they made any progress at all rather than simply sinking like a stone, but he knew that the situation was hopeless.

Sure the merc could have dropped the girl and gotten himself to the surface, but instead he clung to her tightly. Even when spots swam across his vision and the world grew faint, the valiant ranger refused to let go.

"Sorry, Lina..." Cocker half dreamed, and wondered if reploids go to a neon heaven.

The ranger was so numb that he didn't even feel it when a strong hand clasped his and pulled the two half frozen mercs out of the water. It was a full minute until his systems began functioning again as they ought, and Cocker opened his eyes to find the exquisite face of a young woman above his looking down at him with strange cat-like eyes. Her hair was still wet from fishing the two of them out of the pool, and her skin was tattooed with incomprehensible writing.

"Good." she said upon seeing that Cocker was alive. There was a sincerity in her voice that made the ranger beleive that she truly was relieved.

With great effort he managed to hoarsely whisper the word "Who...?"

Shade appeared behind the woman and smiled.

"It's okay, kid. She's the one who saved you."

-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-

Back at the beach, Axel lost no time in setting up a slapdash defensive parameter around the damaged Albatross. He had several formidable mercs on hand such as Zeo Grey and Cylecks, but Maq had taken advantage of her rank of captain to form an impromptu Mystic Squad and led Demios, Kaze and several others off into the jungle on an unplanned rescue mission to reclaim their loved ones. The third captain, Kail, was nowhere to be found.

"Bad news, Cap." Jim Sikorsky grumbled to Axel as soon as the Russian stopped barking orders long enough to get a word in edgewise. "Those blockheads pounded the 'tross something awful. It'll take a lot of doing to fix the holes in the fuselage, not to mention the dozen others things we probably can't see."

The pilot was so afflicted by the damage to his plane that he looked as though the living statues had been beating on him instead. It only adding to the contrast between the two comrades. Axel towered over the human, having been physically designed to resemble the model Russian super soldier right down to the cleft in his chin. And in a swimsuit on the tropical beach he looked like a short-haired Tarzan.

Cossack glanced at the battered transport, saying "I'll put every techie and grease monkey we have on it when the sun comes up. Right now we need to secure this parameter."

The conversation was ended abruptly by urgent shouts for help nearby. Axel instantly ordered Vier and Trigger to "Follow me!" and jogged to the other side of the Albatross. Once there they saw something that caused Vier to exclaim something in German that the Captain could only guess was an expletive.

Sion Laiken clawed helplessly at loose sand as a cloud of black smoke dragged him off the beach and into the jungle. Gazing in that direction, the mercs could see the eerie red glow of lava flowing from the island's volcano.

-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-

Dan Crasher proudly walked in front of a tight formation of newly emancipated mercs like Moses leading the Hebrews out of Egyptian bondage. But when Maq tried to give him a playful slap on the back of the head Dan dodged it, gave her a raspberry and ran ahead into the jungle.

"Get back here you pervert!" his daughter shouted, then started chasing him through the undergrowth and low hanging branches.

It wasn't much of a chase considering she caught him standing motionless after only about thirty feet. He didn't try to avoid her this time, as his attention was focused on another figure standing there in the moonlight. It was dressed in ancient feudal Japanese battle armor and looked very much out of place in the jungle.

In an uncharacteristically serious voice Dan quietly but forcefully commanded his daughter to "Get the others and go the other way."

"What?" Maq scoffed. "Are you forgetting that I outrank you?"

"Do as I tell you!" he whispered. By that time the rest of the mercs had caught up to them and Dan said as loudly and confidently as he could to the mysterious figure "We don't have any business with you, pilgrim. Stand aside."

From behind the armor's demon mask a distant voice resonated "Intruding defilers. You have trespassed here and are now my prisoners. You will come with me, for the master of this island commands your presence."

"No deal, stranger. We're going back to our transport and then we're gunna get out of here. We don't want to fight about it, but that's the way it is."

The mysterious figure remained so still that Maq wondered if anyone were in the armor at all. The voice certainly seemed to be coming from it when it said "Fight? I have not unsheathed my sword in more than a generation, and you are not worthy of that honor."

When Dan felt a surge of cosmic energy he shouted for all the others to "Cover your eyes!"

Something behind the demon mask began to glow. It grew brighter until in a matter of seconds light poured from the mouth and eye holes shining many times stronger than the sun. It temporarily blinded the humans and overloaded the optical sensors of the reploids.

-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-

NRP: Remember, we're trying to get the characters to the volcano.

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