The increased bounty on Demons from Vesper has been getting some interest. Any number of tails, ears, other sorts of appendages and certified recordings have been turned in over the last few days but it doesn’t seem to be making much of a difference. Them thar hills seem to be a seething cauldron of demon spawn. Well, alright, demons…
There’s a town just to the West of Vesper called Clearwater, which is not far from the old site of Lynchburg – not that many denizons of RIFTS Earth would really know that. The town has been hit quite heavily over the last few weeks and they’ve called in reinforcements. Ardul Trasinger has answered the call, a relative newcomer to Rifts Earth she’s still finding her feet and the chance to earn decent income isn’t one to be missed.
“Heads up. Here they come.” The tall blonde in gleaming silver armour with glowing blue energy sword calls to the group. They’re arrayed just on the border of the town and the sun set an hour or so ago. “Just as they did last night.” And the night before, and the one before that. “Hunter, what are your sensors telling you?”
The darkness ahead of them roils as unearthly shrieks rend the night. There’s got to be a dozen in that group. Maybe more. And they’re intent on taking this position… so the defenders better not fall.Clancy Drover, the ‘Clever Man’ from Down Under, chews upon a root of some kind that is supposed to serve some medicinal purpose — in truth, he just wants the ‘mana rush’ from eating a magical herb.
The man’s usual mount — a giant kangaroo-looking creature called an ‘Ooroo’ — is not here, so instead Clancy rides upon a certain friend’s truck.
Alas, he is not in the front passenger’s seat as that privilege has gone to… a pair of ghostly thylacines (Tasmanian Tigers), one rust-red, the other gold, each with its head hanging out the window.
At the sight of the demons in the rolling dark ahead, Clancy spits out the root (not in the truck though), and drinks a small potion from his belt-pouch…
Immediately, his hands and arms turn to bark and sprout new shoots and leaves. “Alroight mates,” says he in an obvious Aussie accent. “I’m gonna add a little green to the terrain ahead — with any luck it’ll trip up some demons and give the rest o’ ya some clear shots!”
With that said, he extends a hand out of the vehicle and murmurs something in his native dialect — followed by: “Gonna root ya bastards.”
While they’re waiting to find a suitable mount for Teddy in Vesper so they can make their escape to the wilds for awhile, Megana has decided here might be a chance to earn them some extra cash, or credits. She’s not picky. Her Guardian is safely medicated in a specially warded room un threat of being hobbled by his ass hair if he leaves! so the Shifter is feeling… well not entirely okay at the thought of leaving him but hey, she’s here.
Here and ready to do.. something. First she wants to know why the demons are attacking. Are they hungry? bored? being controlled by someone/thing? Often knowing the reason can make the difference between winning, losing or just living to get the fuckers later. In the dark. While they sleep. She’s currently crouched to the side of the road, looking over her shoulder to see what the noise of the truck is all about.This is what Bridge gets for rolling her eyes at the call for demon-hunters she heard the other day. She’s now acting as Clancy’s chariot driver while he does … whatever he’s doing. The Thylacines are, well, at least they’re not likely to puke on the truck’s upholstery. The passenger she’s most worried about is Elpida. The kid’s kind of new to everything, and now she’s got a nearly front row seat to the entire mess.
“El, you doing okay?” She did offer the kid one of her two laser rifles to use out of the truck’s window, she’s just not sure if she accepted or not. If she did, she’d better be a crack shot. Or else they’re going to be demon-lunch.“They’re telling me that I should have brought more railgun ammunition.” Hunter radios back. From the city – after having stopped to reload – is stomping a twenty six foot tall gunmetal grey wolf-thing. Well, wolf-bot. It’s bristling with weapons on every surface. A monster killer.
“I’ve got another wave twenty six hundred meters out. It’s going to be another big one. Brace yourselves.”
Looking down blankly at the laser rifle clasped in ehr hands, the Gorgon that is Elpida is just sort of unsure what to do with it. “Point and pull the trigger, I guess?” she queries Bridger, “And I’m not a kid, you know,” though the humor in her tone indicates she’s not overly bothered by it. “I’m fine. I’ve seen the demons before up in the moutains when I arrived,” she adds. Still ,though, there’s tension in her. Palpable tension. She’s got her hood back up on over the writhing mass of snakes that makes up her hair for the moment. “I can handle this.” Dark eyes close for a moment s she draws in a deep breath.
Clancy’s spell is slow to take effect, but take effect it most certainly does. Roots and undergrowth sprout, growing slowly at first and then picking up … tendrils snaking out to heed and impede the oncoming herd. Megana’s attempts are met with some interesting results – they’re angry, furious, even… but the anger doesn’t //seem// to be on the city. She might need to dig deeper – if she gets the chance. And she might not, because out of the gloom just ahead of her a massive beast, running on six legs with face that looks like its met the back of truck appears, it leaps right at the Shifter as she crouches there … fangs gleaming in what light there is.
Even slowed as this first dozen Demons are by Clancy’s rooting (ahem), they descend on the line enmasse. Stella’s truck gets the bulk of the attention … large batwinged creatures following six legged things.
“Two waves.” Ardul shakes her head, the flexing of her wings the only indication of her agitation. “It’s bigger tonight.” There’s a grunt as a batwinged creature drops out of the sky and a //voooom// as her blade scythes … “Can you thin the herd, Hunter? We’ve got engagement.”“Bugger me…”
That was Clancy. No, he is not //quite// serious. The twin Thylacines are already snarling and howling at the oncoming horde, and their master sets them loose.
“Grasper! Keeper! Sic ’em! Stay clear o’ the big ones!” he calls out, more worried Hunter’s giant gunwolf mech will shoot down the Aussie’s spirit-animals. The Thylacines leap out of the truck, making for some of the smaller demons. Grasper (the red) goes high; Keeper (the gold) goes low. The attacks are well-coordinated…
For all the good it’ll do them, surrounded as they are, even with the roots hampering the demons’ movement. Clancy glances aside at Elpida and grins. “You’ll do fine, luv. Exhale when ya pull the trigger.” He does not appear bothered by the hissing hair. The man goes back to chanting, funnelling magic as well as directions to his marsupial companions.
Megana watches the six legged demon fly through the air towards her. She’s crouched at the edge of a large and hastily inscribed demon-trap on the road. She’s not a total idiot. Of course if she didn’t get anything wrong and the trap is actually working she’ll only be able to hold the one in there but the Shifter wasn’t about to just sit in the dark where anything could eat her tasty little ass.
Besides, sounds like there’s more joining the fight and she could use a little help if there are that many demons out there. It certainly “feels” that way to her. “So. I was wrong haha. Great.” Granted its near Vesper and usually they know what they’re on about but.. when it comes to demons Megana has found people often overestimate or exaggerate their numbers just because they are so frightened. An angry horde is usually like, three or something. This… this.. is not that.
GAME: Ardul has set the pose order to Ardul, Clancy, Megana, Bridge, Hunter, ElpidaShit. Here they come. Bridge hits a couple of buttons on the truck’s dashboard as she yells loudly enough for Clancy to hear, “Hang on!” And then executes a hand brake turn that would make Jacob Vale and his two usual cohorts swoon. Or something. She’s now glad that Clancy is here. She doesn’t have the time or the bandwidth to instruct Elpida on how to fire that rifle.
Here they come indeed.
Elpida looks down at the advanced rifle she’s holding far beyond anything she’s ever used before herself, and then up.
She gives her head a shake.
And instead, she tries to stare the demons down.
Because she can sort of do that to more of them than she can probably shoot. “Let’s see if this works,” she murmurs.At two thousand meters, the Gunwolf opens up. It’s still far enough behind everyone else that it’s size is not immediately evident. The noise it makes, though, that can’t be missed. The twin rotary railguns on the left arm spin up and wreak a swath of destruction as the slew back and forth that looks like a supernaturally horrific hailstorm and sounds like one continuous, violent explosion.
At fifteen hundred meters a volley of cola-can sized missiles streaks overhead and detonates, throwing up dirt, rock and demon ichor. At twelve hundred meters the ion gun on the left arm opens up, picking off individual demons with precision accuracy.
Is it anyone’s imagination or did Hunter just floor it? That thing is moving awful fast.
The Thylacines attack hit one of the six legged beasts, dragging it down and stopping its momentum. Well, almost. It’s tail whips round aiming for Grasper who’s on its back, sporting cruel barbs with a fluid secreting from them. That’s when Keeper tears its throat out, leaving the thing twitching on the ground. There’s at least three more beasties bearing down though.
Megs trap flares as the demon enters it, stopping it solidly in its tracks. Which good but she’s going to have to deal with the other one that’s right on its tail … and shooting quills of hardened hide at her. Those quills are solid and hard and if they hit her ….
As Bridges truck spins in a nicely executed handbrakey, it gives Elpida a good ‘look’ at another three. One is instantly frozen in place, turned to stone but the other two hit the truck … both on the hood growling and slathering through the windshield as they raise cruelly taloned hands to try and smash the glass.
Hunter and his bot rain down terror on the back lines and the second incoming wave. Whilst it doesn’t stop this first group, it’s slowing what’s coming behind. Out of the sky though, two winged hellions appear not too from the stompy wolf-bot and they don’t stop, coming head on to the Wolfen and his reign of death. It’s almost like their driven.
Arduls blade flashes in the night, the glow of blue energy can be seen – if anyones got the time to notice it. With another grunt, the winged warrior knowcks her assailant back and leaps into the air, wings beating down powerfully. This is going to be aerial.With Elpida’s decision to rely on her looks rather than the hardware lying around in the truck, the irrepressible Aussie, Clancy, reaches for the high powered rifle and checks the ammo-cartridge.
“//Now// this is starting to feel like ‘old times’, huh luv?” he exclaims to Bridger. “Alroight — pull a stunt like ya did against the Jameson Brothers. I’m goin’ huntin’.”
Clancy leans out of the window, and takes aim at the three demons bearing down on his Thylacines. Before firing, the man whistles very shrilly. Both Grasper and Keeper cease their feasting upon their first kill and — rather than attack the demons directly — begin a series of zig-zagging across the battlefield…
With every intention of running demons into one another, if they’re not careful. “That’s it, mates…” Clancy murmurs to himself. “Come ta Papa…”
And he opens fire. “Oh there once was a man from Down Under…” he hums. “Who could fire and fart like the thunder…”
“Man, what happened to your face??” Megana asked her trapped demon. It looks as if someone hit it with a truck full of guns. She only hesitates a second before ducking in front of the demon so that its companion will shoot it instead. At least she hopes. “Ohh Teddy is gonna kill me. There’s more demons here than a pimp has bitches. Or was it whore has britches?” THe shifter puzzles over the sayings she doesn’t really understand anyway as she looks around for something to… wait.
Is she helping or hurting? Or helping by hurting or.. “Fuck. Uh.” Huh. That truck looks familiar. Megana jumps up on Pony and heads toward it at a run. Only Pony is in camaflauge mode and so it looks like she’s sitting astride…air. “You ain’t my papa!” She hollers at Clancy as she rides past, looking for whatsherface with the attitude.“Oh HELL no.” Even as she’s gunning the truck to put a little more distance between them and the demons, Bridge pulls a pistol and fires it outthe window with her left hand. It would seem like she’s taking hasty snap shots at the demons accosting her truck, but her hand is steady despite everything. “Shut up, Drover, and let me drive.” She is SO making him pay for the repairs to her truck.
“…good to see SOME things are still the same. People still make fart jokes at the weirdest times.”
Elpida shrieked, she did, when the two slathering, hungry looking demons hit the hood and she was more than happy to let the two others take care of them for the moment.
After all, having /statue/ on the hood of her truck, stuck to it, might be a problem. In any case, she’s readying herself for what happens next, grabbing hold of her seat with her hands. Her snakes, more agitated than before, begin a round of even louder hisses. All that movement can be a serious distraction.Now that Gunwolf is very near, not letting up the continual barrage of fire. It’s going quite nearly as fast as Stella’s truck is at the moment. It’s not faster in a straight line, no… but through the corners… or in the crowds of demons…
The twenty six foot tall bot slams into the largest demon Hunter can find. He jams the blades at the end of the rotating barrels into it, hard. The effect is a lot like having a pair of blenders shoved into your side. Blade first. Even without firing, it makes a mess of things. He’s conting on his momentem to carry him right through this one and into the next.
Clancy’s efforts, aided ably by his Thylacines, confuse the demons and run them together, right into Clancys’ rifle fire. //Splat// //Splat// //Splat// … there won’t be any left.
Megs demon-shield works wonders and the trapped demon takes the barrage… immediately developing oozing blisters and spasming. Meg might wonder what would happen if she had been hit by those.
Bridges efforts result in a head shot, that explodes the nearest demons head sending ick and gore splattering over the //still intact// windshield. The second demon is still there though and it’s keening as Stella drives, gripping the hood to keep its purchase. With Clancy busy, Elpida or Bridge might need to do something.
Hunters bot eviscerates the nearest demon and the next one. There’s one more bearing down on him… The rest? Either dead in the backlines or retreating. Not that there were many left to run away.
In the air there’s a soulrending howl and the sky lights up … outlining Ardul and her combatant for a moment. In that instant, if anyone is watching, her blade glows even more brightly and swings at the creatures head. Then its dark again … and there’s no contact from the winged warrior.
Oohh, the cleaning bill.
Can’t think about that now.
The Clever Man whistles again, summoning his spirit-animals back to the truck — while sparing a look at a woman who’d been riding on… air? out in the battlefield. “Cripes…gotta lay off the mana,” says he to himself.
Grasper and Keeper each attack the demon clinging to the front of Bridger’s pride and joy (the truck, that is). The red and gold Thylaclines open their maws impossibly wide and clamp down on a different leg of the demon.
Behold, the ‘ragdoll doggies’.
However the demon kicks and thrashes about, the spirit-beasts do not let go. Clancy leans out again — almost //falling// out the window entirely — and takes aim at the demon for a timed shot with whatever Stella and Elpida do as well.
“Let the bloody hell go, ya muck-luvin’, piss-weak ankle-biter!” he shouts at the demon (he speaks fluent Bullshit).
Megana is simply glad the quills didn’t get her. Looks like it woulda hurt worse than the time she accidently fell on the porcupine. And that hurt. A lot. “Hey you!” The Shifter grins at Stella, having forgotten her name. “Oooh. That’s a really dangerous, really beautiful lady back there.” She says in reference to Elpida. Oh she wants to look at the hairsnakes. She wants to look so bad. So very bad. But it’s such a terrible idea. But.. maybe… Megana knocks on the gore encrusted window. “Hey if we live through this can I pet you??” What? There’s never a bad time for petting!
Pony doesn’t really do anything to help with the fight aside from keep Megana at the drivers side window of the truck. Oh, streaks of golden light finally appear giving the thing some semblence of a horse at least. The shifter holds tight with her legs and uses her voice and hands to open a small rift up ahead midair. Just long enough for one or two of those winged little bitches to fly through, or even partway through and disappear. The third one loses half it’s body as the Rift closes and falls shrieking and smoking to the ground. Megana sighs. “Sorry little bitch. But when someone tells you to stop! Effin stoaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaahhhhhgggh!!” Gore from the demon Clancy shot at covers her. She glances down, at the demon, at Clancy, then down again. Then leans over Pony’s side and pukes in the road. “Unnnggghhh. It got in my mouth. I’m gonna kill… Not my papa!”“Brakes!” Bridge snaps at the others in the truck, then, as she just warned, she SLAMS on the truck’s brakes. Now, it’s just too big a vehicle to stop on a dime, but it sure TRIES. And hopefully, that’s enough to dislodge the demon from the hood. A quick swipe with the windshield wipers, and she’s taking another apparent snap shot at this other demon. Because you do NOT mess with the truck. The gunwolf half twists and Hunter flips on his thermal vision. Getting hard to make out anything on visual. He glances at his internal heat gages. Oh… well… this might be kind of unpleasant.
They call it an ‘alpha strike’ when a pilot fires everything at once. That Hunter does now. His bot errupts in railgun rounds, explosives, lasers and ionized particles. And then his heat baffles engage and the bot starts venting into the open air.
And yes, it’s really hot in the cockpit now. His fur’s getting all matted.
Bridge is shooting, but Elpida can sure try her own shtick again: she locks her gaze on the clingy demon, or atl east she tries to again invoke that wonderful petrifying magic that she’s learning to manipulate.
“Okay, okay, okay, okay,” she repeats over and over again. Becasue, honestly, she’s more than a little traumitized just yet.
One might think ‘poor demon’ for the way that one on Stella’s hood is treated. Except, you know, Demon. Chomped on by spirit animals, hit by Clancy’s weapon fire, thrown clear as Bridge breaks … just as Elpida’s gaze turns it to stone …
It shatters into a million pieces as it lands on the ground.
What’s left around Hunter is a steaming mass of … bits. Some drips from trees and the rest is strewn along the ground. And the air smells like something roasting – if someone didn’t know how to cook. There’s nothing left around the gunwolf.
Well, almost nothing. From the sky, a body falls … it’s descent slowed, but not by much, by massive grey wings. Landing heavily to the side of the gunwolf and taking a knee is Ardul. Breathing heavily, her armour no longer gleaming and her wings tattered and one held at a funny angle. “What’s the report, Hunter?” she asks, taking a moment to straighten before she turns and looks at the truck and all its people. “Any casualties?”Clancy drops the rifle inside the truck, hops out through the window and hits the ground in a forward roll…
Which brings the man face to face with the disemboweled belly of a demon in all its gory. (pun intended). “I…” says the man, a hand covering his mouth. “I think I’m gonna…”
Clancy pukes on top of the carcass.
“Mates…” says he, wiping his mouth on the back of his hand. “Mates?” he goes looking for the Thylacines. “N — hey! Those’re trophies, not chew-toys!” Grasper and Keeper are happily munching on bits of demonflesh — until they start competing for the same ear.
“That’s it. Unless ya start fetchin’ me trophies ‘n bringin’ ’em back ‘ere, yer both goin’ back in the tattoos! No — no, don’t take ’em to Bridge! That’s mine, ya bastards! Hey — hey!”
It is no use. Keeper (the gold one), soon followed by Grasper, trots over to Stella’s window at the truck… and drops a mawful of demon ears in the Transporter’s lap, and then stays there, tongue lolling out gleefully.
Clancy staggers over to the winged warrior, Ardul. “Hey, you injured, luv?”
Megana brings Pony up to the truck. It got ahead of her while she was busy being sick. Despite that, she doesn’t seem fazed or bothered at all by all the gore, or Clancy’s own bout of illness. She snickers as he passes her again. “Now we’re even.” “Wow. She turned that whole thing. Lookit Pony.” The horse-thing ambles forward obediently and ducks its head to “stare” at the demon rocks. Megana starts sorting them, looking for a good one to bring back and show Teddy. Maybe she can find an eye…. The shifter picks up a round pieces of stone. “…I…I don’t think this was its eye…” She tosses it aside and keeps looking.
It doesn’t occur to her for several moments to think to check if everyone else is okay. This along with all the other prime examples of ‘holy fuck lady what the hell is wrong with you?!’ she’s given tonight are Megana isn’t usually doing this kinda job alone. “Shit. Hey people. Are you all like, okay? No one’s dying or anything right?” Oh where’d that other lady go. The one with the awesome hair…Bridge manages to NOT gag at the ears suddenly dropped in her lap by the Thylacines, but it’s a close thing. “Uh, thanks.” She hastily reaches for a waterproof sack and uses it to get the ears out of her lap. EW. Then she piles out of the truck as well to both wash off the windshield and take stock of the damage to the vehicle’s front end.
“I’m fine, and Clancy’s, well, he’s his usual,” Stells tells Megana. “El, you okay?” Maybe the very odd young woman can go check on Ardul and Stompy Dog.“Just them.” Hunter says over his radio. He’s still venting heat, which in this air is coming off in hot steam. His bot is practically swimming in it. And it gives the now blood streaked machine a somewhat otherworldly and menacing aspect. As if it needed more of that. “Nothing else on scope. We should RTB.”
Elpida /does/ gag at the sight of the ears, however, and her snakes look agitated again because she IS gagging. Swallowing back the bile, she too takes a moment to get out of the truck and heave for little bit off to the side. She does recover swiftly, thoiugh.
There’s at least that much. The snakes droop out of her hood while she’s busy going ‘herk herk herk’ though.
“Good to hear and good work, Hunter.” There’s a ‘ring’ to Ardul voice. Like she’s used to this type of work – coordinating and fighting. Her grey eyes land on Clancy as he staggers to her “Winged. You could say. And my armour will need charging.” The wing is still held at a funny angle. It’s possibly more than ‘winged’. “Probably no more injured than you look though.” she tells the clever man.
Megana and Elpida emptying their stomachs causes her to frown and shake her head. “Good work Bridge. Clancy. And … you two.” that’s Meg and Elpida. Hunters suggestion gets a nod of agreement. If she needs seeing to, they can do it back at base. Out here … is still dangerous. “Everyone return to base. We’ll submit the recordings and you’ll get your bounties.” With the number they just killed … it will be significant.
“I’ll walk, Hunter, unless you’ll let me perch on your shoulder.” The authoritarian tone is slowly abating, to a lightly teasing one. Stella’s truck looks like it’s going to have a full house.
Megana notices Ardul’s look. “What? He shot it into my mouth! It was gross!!!” The Shifter is suddenly near Elpida, making soothing noises and trying desperately hard not to reach up to touch any of the snakes. Or look at them. She *wants* to. SO much. Pony is moving about the battlefield, collecting bits and pieces and dropping them into a pile so they get paid and occasionally sparing a.. well. It’s possible that it’s looking in the others individual directions but since at the moment it lacks “eyeshapes” it’s kinda hard to tell.The Clever Man gives Ardul a nod of his head, and pulls out another sprig of some plant from his pouch — and sticks it in his mouth. “Good fer nausea,” he says to no one in particular.
Walking back to the truck, he finds Grasper and Keeper leaving more trophies either in the vehicle or just outside it, and he laughs. “Alroight, that’s enough! Blimey, what IS that?? — that’s not an ear!” The man frowns, taking a step forward, only to balk at the sight with his hands upraised warningly. “That’s not even a finger — what the bloody hell IS it?! GRASPER!!”
Clancy turns away, not daring to look at Bridger given what the ‘hounds’ have gifted her with, and arches his back — eyes closed. “I am so in fer it. So bloody in fer it. Never mind, Bridge!” he calls over his shoulder. “We’ll… walk h
home!” Thus, the Clever Man summons his spirit-animals straight back into the tattoos on his arms, invoking their power — and starts running away. Fast. Very fast.
“Drover, don’t think I won’t track you down about repairing my truck,” she yells after the fleeing Clever Man.
“Whoa it’s raining dicks!” Megana watches the offending bit fly past as Clancy runs. “Maybe he never saw one before? But then, that’d be kinda hard to miss if you’re a guy, right?” The Shifter shrugs. It certainly turned into a lot more interesting of an evening than she expected. Also, she didn’t die. So that’s a plus too. “Nice to see youall again.” Megana waves at Ardul and Hunter before turning to take off her cloak and use it as a make shift sack. Yes, she totally collects the offending trophy too. Cause why not? “See you soon probably!” She jumps back up on her horse and rides into the night. Perhaps suspiciously after the Clever Man.
For her part, Elpida does notice Megana’s approach. She holds a hand up, swallowing back her bile before spitting on the ground a few times. “Bleh! Pflegh!” She coughs a couple times.
“I’m okay, really.” She managed to NOT throw up. It helps that she hasn’t eaten too much lately. The snakes droop and starts tucking them back up around her neck and shoulders and underneath her hood. A look is given towards when she shous that it’s ‘raining dicks’. “…somehow, I woiuldn’t be surprised if dick-rain was possible,” she mutters to herself, “Like a living Oglaf strip. Least nobody’s made ‘snake tits’ jokes yet.”
Clearwater is under attack from demons. Contractors respond.
January 09, 2410