Battle at the Loft

I'm back in the streets
The fight never ends
I was born with a gun in my hand
Manowar, Bloodshed and Violence

I fight the world and take all they can give
There are times my heart hangs low
Born to walk against the wind
Born to hear my name
No matter where I stand I'm alone
Manowar, Heart of Steel

After the gunfire dies, the cool female voice says, "Do another sweep of upstairs and the lab–we can't afford to miss anything!" Footsteps coming toward you. You like to choose your battles and 6 to one is not a good idea when you've just got a pistol. Making your way back to the office you take the plunge, landing running. Damn, you gotta love these things.

A few minutes down the road, you watch as a sleek dark blue limo pulls out of the driveway. So… what the hell happened here? They piss off their other boss too? And what was that, "I'll always find you" shit after they were offed? Looking at the paper, you see it is the lease, well, a copy, for a loft. It matches the address you were given for the folks' daughter, some kid named Willow. Maybe using the kid to stash things? Besides, you're a little curious.

The loft is in the university district, but even it's quiet at this time of night. But something… something here is making the hairs on the back of your neck stand up. A glance shows nothing, but still… You enter the building, taking the stairs two at a time. This door is a little more secure, but you got in. It's a large place, pretty chaotic, with all sorts of artsy crap, paintings and sculpts, some finished, some in the works, laying around. It smells like paint. Stepping down the hall, you pass a darkened door leading into the bathroom. There is a feeling of muggy heat from there, the faucet dripping… recent shower? Looking over your shoulder you see someone lunge out from the cover of the door, swinging something at your head!

The toilet lid shatters against your arm. You feel it as a increased tingling for a split second. Reaching out, you grab the punk's arm. A guy, no shirt. Looks like slim little pretty boy, dark hair. "Stop." he looks at you whne you speak, then his eyes look over your shoulder. Must be- Something slams into your side from behind, hard. You feel maybe a rib give way.

For a second your eyes meet the guy's. There is a look of such malevolence in them that it startles you, then a white hot knife cuts into your brains. Biting back a scream, you lash out at the one behind you, hearing a girlish cry and a thud after you connect.

Shoving the guy away, you slam him inro wall. He grunts sharply, and you stumble back toward the lving room. The pain has dulled some now. Shit, you never felt anything like this… like your brain was being stabbed with an icepick. Feelling over yourself shows you nothing. No blare of pain and little feeling in you metal hands to find blood or tears. You do feel your mind is on fire and heart trying to crawl out through your throat.

The guy takes off back down the hallway before you can get to him. The girl moans on the floor, blood trickling from her mouth. She's tall but slim, wispy as the guy is, dressed only a towel, now hanging loosely about her. You need her. Questions and cover from her boyfriend. Moving into you the room you grab her up, perhaps a little hard but… there is a crash from the living room. Looking over your shoulder you see smoke billowing out from a small metal container on the floor. A gas grenade!

The girl struggles against you, trying to pull away, her eyes wide and frightened as a deer's. Something about her even tugs at you, she looks so haunted and afraid. One of her lashing hands catches you across the cheek, scratching you.

Let go of me! she screams… but her mouth doesn't move… it's in your mind, her voice is echoing in your skull, what the hell?! Behind you hear the sound of shattering plaster, the soft hiss of silenced bullets.

"You're in grave danger. They are outside right now, and they will kill you and your friend without hesitation. Do you want my help… or would you rather me open the door and show them inside?"

The girl looks at then stares at the door as if seeing someone there. When you glance you look up in time to see the guy barrel into you, slamming the both of you to the ground.

The girl shouts something about taking off your coat and tattoos… What the fuck is she talking about? you think, grappling with the guy and shoving him away. He does snag your coat, pulling it partially from you and revealing your little secret. That seems to shut both of them up for a second, enough for you to speak.

"If you persist in delaying our escape from being slaughtered, I will kill you right now. And you will have doomed her as well." After saying that you pull out his pistol. Then turning back towards the girl, "Is there another way out of here?" He takes his shirt and pulls it up over his mouth before the gas starts spreading to where they are.

"Sorry, no can do, Chief," another figure says, stepping into to the doorway. A big guy, dressed in black fatigues, under a grey flak vest and web-belt. His face is covered by goggles and a gas mask, making his voice hollow and deeper than its already bass rumble. He holds a long assault rifle almost casually the barrel pointed in your and the wispy guy's direction. "Little girl's coming with us." He lifts the gun and pauses for split second, his eyes meeting the metal armed man. The voice sounds familar.

"Go with the metal armed man…" the girl says, slumping to the floor as you lunge at the gunman. He fires, the muzzle climbs, dragged up by recoil. Bullets ping and spark off of your legs, some hot tears into your side, then you hit him, barreling him back into the door frame with a solid thud. Behind the goggles, his eyes go wide.

"Shit… hit you!?" His knee slams into your groin. Pain explodes like a sun in your groin and gut. He goes to smash with the rifle butt. Gathering yourself you block his swing and slam your fist into his stomach. The air leaves him in a whoosh. He falls back, dazed. There are more coming. Time to ghost! Smoke stinging your eyes, you leap through the window and to the street below. Lover boy is there already, he came down the fire escape, most likely.