|Una Salus Victic|
|What: Desperate times call for desperate measures. One phones in for backup after getting pinned down in an abandoned building.
WARNING: Violence, Language
Bzz-bzz-bzz. BZZZZ-BZZZZ-BZZZZ. Bzz-bzz-bzz.
Bzz-bzz-bzz. BZZZZ-BZZZZ-BZZZZ. Bzz-bzz-bzz.
Selina's transmitter vibrates the same series of pulses over and over. It's an SOS. This signal has never been used before, but it's been prearranged. After ten cycles, there will be an audio message.
If One were a bear, this small army of aggressive men clad in dark jumpsuits and armored vests would be a pack of hounds. They've brought him to bay in an abandoned meat packing plant. This is the spot he's chosen to make his stand. For now, he holds a dozen of them off near one of the entrances by alternating fire between his revolver and his trench broom. Never before seen, he's attached a bayonet to the old WWI-era shotgun.
It's lucky he didn't wear his favorite jacket today, for his coat was one of the first things he lost in the running fight that brought him here. His armored vest has already taken two slugs and some shrapnel. His t-shirt and work denims are scorched from coming too close to an incendiary grenade. A piece of broken glass has torn a deep furrow across the back of his arm. Curiously, though the wound is large and hasn't clotted, neither is it bleeding. It doesn't seem to be slowing him down, either. He slams rounds into the cylinder of his Webley, shoves shells into his battered shotgun, and adjusts the various other bits of equipment and weaponry that are hanging thickly on his person. A hand is wrapped around his own transmitter, waiting for that tenth set of vibrations.
It is totally unexpected and at first the buzzing confuses Selina who is currently in the process of feeding Isis, the feline royalty not one to be kept waiting. She finally recalls what they've set up and just waits for the message to kick on even as she goes to get dressed.
The catsuit is pulled from its place in her closet and slipped on as are her boots and cowl, the goggles left in hand as are her whip and belt, her expression tightening. "What the hell," she whispers, worried. One wouldn't just use this means of getting her attention unless something was horribly wrong and she finds herself growing scared. "Come on, you damn message. Hurry up and play."
Isis is knelt by after her bowl's finally filled and a saucer of cream's set before it, that being her way of apologizing for making Her Majesty wait. "Looks like I might be needed. Hold down the fort for me if I am." The cat mews as if in understanding.
SNAP. POP. Carefully conserving his ammo, One fires two shots and curses when he only downs a single enemy. Like the proverbial hydra, two more spring up to take its place. Now there are thirteen of them.
"Thank Christ," the doctor mumbles when the tenth set of vibrations begins. As soon as his voice will register, he starts speaking into his transmitter. "Taking fire, need assistance. Repeat, I am taking fire and need assistance. My location is Weischel Carcass House in the Theater District." There's a pause as he swings his shotgun around in a one-handed grip. Timed perfectly, the bayonet skewers a soldier who'd snuck up on him and attempted to pounce at close range.
Now One has to raise his voice to be heard above the dying man's screams. Still, he sounds calm considering the circumstances. "I am low on ammunition and vastly outnumbered. Please acknowledge."
There's the booming report of his Webley, then then transmission cuts off.
It takes a bit for Selina to arrive but soon the roar of a motorcycle fills the neighborhood, there being no attempt made to hide the fact that she's here. The bike's powered down and the kickstand swiftly lowered in place, her helmet allowed to sit on the seat. "Alright... let's see..."
Almost immediately she finds a small firescape that runs along side of the building, more than good enough to serve her needs, the metal ladder lowered and scaled in no time flat. Instead of climbing it all the way she breaks a window on the second floor and lets herself in, those who have chased One here not yet seen which is worrisome. That means she's probably going to walk into a shitstorm pretty soon.
The way he got into touch with her is replayed in her mind as she goes on the prowl, now choosing stealth over hurrying. She does not want to screw this up and get One (or herself) killed.
One cracks open his Webley, automatically ejecting six spent casings from the big revolver. Those were the last of his handgun rounds, so he stows the weapon in its shoulder rig, sighs, and checks over his gear.
His shotgun has three shells left in the tube, plus the bayonet. He has his cavalry saber strapped to his back. A flash grenade and a high explosive grenade, both homemade. One claymore mine, military surplus. His leather surgical case. A small roll of double-wide duct tape. A quart of gasoline packed in a flat flask. Some matches. As an afterthought, he picks up the fallen soldier's assault rifle and checks the clip. Half full.
Not much, but it'll have to do. He slams the door to the packing plant, bars it, and casts around for more supplies. It only takes him a few seconds to come up with a wicked array of slaughtering and butchering tools. These are strapped to the claymore using liberal amounts of duct tape. Then, grinning, One hooks the mine's tripwire to the doorknob.
Good thing Selina opted to use a window. When he spots her, he lifts a hand in a brief salute. "Thanks for showing. No matter how many of these bastards I take out, they just keep coming. They tailed me all the way from a shithole safehouse in Queens. They're well armed--" he brandishes the assault rifle. "--and they seem highly motivated. I've rigged the door with explosives, but this is going to get worse before it gets better."
A quick glance towards the door assures Selina that she did the right thing in not going through it, in possession of more than enough smarts to have figured out that One's preferred method of securing entry ways is by attaching a weapon of one kind of another to it. "So I see," she murmurs when warned, her smirk wry.
The first thing she does is find a place to sit, needing to think this through before the other men find a way to get inside which will make wrapping her brains about what she needs to do verus what she can do impossible. "You do know you're the only one who carries guns and the like, yes?" The only other weapons she has besides the length of braided leather is the claws that are currenly retracted, but those are hardly lethal. "So unless you have more friends coming to save your bacon..." She doesn't out right say it but he should pick up on what goes unspoken. They'll be screwed.
"Nope. Just you and me, and I'm almost out of ammo. We'd better get back," One advises. "These guys are persistent, but they don't seem very smart."
As if to prove his point, someone starts jiggling the doorknob, then there's the sound of heavy bodies being thrown against the barrier.
"See what I mean?" Shaking his head, the clone retreats into the facility with Selina in tow. When he reaches the next doorway, he uncaps his flask of gasoline and squirts it directly onto the floor. While the puddle spreads, he pulls a book of matches and a pack of cigarettes from an inside pocket. A cigarette is lit, then tucked into the matchbook so that all of the matches will flare up simultaneously when the cigarette burns down. This assembly is held above the pool of gasoline using a thin piece of twine scavenged from a butcher's rack.
"Time bomb," One explains. "The fag sets off the matches, they burn through the string and drop into the petrol. In theory. I'm normally opposed to burning people alive, but these guys are really starting to piss me off. So we'll set traps for them. I'll shoot some of them. And when I run out of tricks, I'll make my stand. You don't have to stay if you're not up for it, but I'm tired of running."
BOOM. As promised, the claymore goes off when the front door is forced open. With so much extra fragmentation strapped to the casing, the results are... dramatic.
When One moves so does Selina. No need to tow her as she's just about keeping pace with him. By the time he stops to set up more traps she is removing her goggles and pushing the cowl off of her forehead a bit so she can wipe off a little bit of sweat that has beaded upon it. "You're a regular one man Anarchist's Cookbook," she breathlessly says, that no joke and all compliment for the medic-soldier.
When told she can leave if she's unable to stand up to the foes with him Selina glares openly, that not an option in her book. "I will stand or fall with you. I will not leave you to fa..." The explosion happens just as she is about to really lit into One for even suggesting that and her arms come up instinctively, done to protect her face from any debris the mine might have kicked up despite not being anywhere near it. "Holy crap! Glad we're on the same side."
One had counted on his first trap slowing the enemy down. Forcing them to be cautious as they swept each room, searching for more dangerous pitfalls. Instead, they just seem angry. Despite having shredded many men with the explosion, a great deal more remain. They're moving quickly. Too quickly.
"Me too. I'd hate to do to you what I'm about to do to these sons of bitches. Back-back-back!" One calls, waving Selina away from the pool of gas. He tosses her the flash grenade, but keeps the explosive for himself. Then he readies his scavenged rifle.
His first shot misses, but it brings the troopers to a halt as they take cover. One takes a deep breath, sighs out half of it, and squeezes off another round. This time it flies true, clipping through the twine that holds the burning cigarette above his firetrap. When the fuel ignites, several soldiers shriek as boots, pants, and equipment catch fire. A spare magazine kept in a cargo pocket is set off by the heat, spraying bullets in all directions and causing two more casualties.
And still they come. The point man fires his weapon at One, who takes the shot to center mass, right in the middle of his vest at close range. The sound of ribs breaking is audible throughout the entire room. Responding in kind, the doctor fires back at anything that moves until his own rifle produces nothing but an empty-sounding CLICK-CLICK-CLICK.
"That definitely hurt," One admits, holding a hand over his chest as he ducks behind a crate. "Toss that flasher, will you? It'll give 'em something to think about while I catch my breath."
"Thanks for the consideration," is shouted just as she does as ordered, there being no way in hell that she's going to procrastinate in getting getting herself out of the range of whatever pyrotechnics might occur once it goes off. A crate is found and she crouches, frowning as she hears scream after scream along with the sound of ammo firing off without the use of a gun or rifle. "Yeah," she grunts to herself, "thanks for not wanting to do that to me..."
There's no sight of her until she hears the unmistakeable crunching of bones, that getting her to peek up over the box just in time to see One stumble to where he can take cover himself. "Stop getting hurt," she grits out as that grenade's taken. The pin is pulled and then the item thrown, her eyes closing tight as soon as she feels it leave her hand.
After fighting and fleeing for so long, One had thought his adrenaline supply was depleted. In short, he had already run out of gas when he found this place. Now the sickening pain in his chest provides new motivation. What starts in his belly as a low, feral rumble emerges as a full-throated roar.
The hounds have nipped and pecked at the bear, and now it's time for the bear to strike back directly. There's no more subterfuge. BOOM. BOOM. BOOM. Three blasts from One's shotgun take down four of the enemy as they try to force their way through the door or cross between cover points. Disorganized and disoriented by the flashbang, they're vulnerable. Very vulnerable.
Charging directly at them, One thrusts his bayonet through the man who shot him and gives it a vicious twist. Then the body itself is used as a weapon, picked up and hurled into the advancing crowd. The doctor follows closely behind, now holding his saber in one hand and a bonesaw in the other. He's fast. So, so fast, even while wounded and winded. He's like a wrecking ball, only less subtle and with sharp edges. "This is the Alamo!" he shouts to Selina. "I'm drawing the line here! This far, no farther!"
She loves working with One but he puts her through such moral conflict, his willingness to kill if necessary clashing heavily with her own code, the 'do not kill' self-directed policy Batman inspired making it so difficult to watch all the blood shed. But the realization that it is ther One and her or the bad guys causes the mental anguish to flee. This is the Alamo, Selina. Time to, as the saying goes, cowboy up and face adversity full on.
Leather hisses as it rubs against each other, a sound One should recognize as it being the whip sliding away from her body and being dragged behind her, her expression grim. "Time to pay the ferryman," she mouths before rushing past her partner and into the fray, her whip slung out to try and catch one man around the neck, getting him to fall flat on his face when it's tugged upon. Caught flat footed, the bastard falls on his face, his nose breaking from the impact with a crunch not unlike the one One's ribs made when they cracked.
Four's approach is thoughtful and stealthy. It's as if he staged this entire Napoleonic attack as a massive distraction.
And it worked. One is so caught up in tearing through the nameless soldiers that his brother-clone is able to snare him in a neat chokehold with almost no effort at all.
"Shhh," Four murmurs. "Quiet, brother. It's time to come home." He gives his remaining soldiers a nod, who immediately converge on Selina's position.
"Thanks... But no thanks." One hisses, his breath rattling in his throat. Then he pulls the pin on the grenade that's attached to his chest, spins around, and gives Four a big hug.
Selina's not one who is trained in warfare but she can hold her own, dammit and she has faced much worse odds than four against one and come out on top. She fights them with whip and claw, slashing one in the face before taking him out with a well-placed kick between his legs while the next who gets with in range of her gets his nose almost sent up into his brain with the heel of her hand. The last two are dispatched with a bit more effort but soon they two are unconscious. Heaving a sigh, she smiles and turns around.
Whatever instinct there is to celebrate her victory is blown to hell when she turns around and sees One, with grenade in hand, move into action of his own, the realization of what he's about to do causing her to scream. "ONE! NOOOOOOOOOOOO!"
All One has to do is hold his brother in place while the grenade's fuse burns down, then let physics take over. Five seconds.
It might as well be an eternity. Ribs broken, one arm laid open to the bone, suffering from shrapnel wounds and concussive effects. He's spent and Four is fresh. This is exactly what Four has been counting on. What neither of them anticipated is how badly One would want his brother dead after the night he's been through. He won't let go. He won't be bucked, loosened, or dislodged. "Una salus victis," he growls.
"No," Four protests, realizing the immensity of his predicament. "No, no, no!"
When the grenade goes off, it's far from a pleasant experience for One. What intact ribs he had are shattered. His vest is shredded and the skin beneath is badly lacerated. He's scorched from his nose to his knees. Probability of internal injuries: high.
All this is nothing compared to what happens to his brother. Cupped against One's armored vest, the grenade acted like a shaped charge, blowing the front of Four's belly out through his back. There's no question that he's dead. The top part of him is over here and the rest is way, way over there.
Selina just stands there, frozen in place. Not broken but shocked, frightened and sickened, all she can do is watch as the sick show unfolds before her. It takes her a few seconds to realize that One will need her if he's going to survive and she rushes forth, kicking pieces of gore out of her path. "Dumb bastard," she stammers, anger replacing sadness. "Stupid..."
When she can she draws him into her arms, her fingers pressed to the pressure point at his throat. "What can I do... no..." What medical knowledge Selina possesses is first aid level at best and that's not going to be enough to fix him, the only thing she can do is try to get him to a doctor. There's Leslie but her clinic is far from here and even that might not be enough. He'll need a hospital with an ICU and state-of-the-art medical equipment, not a free clinic on the wrong side of the town. "One... One. Can you hear me?"
"Oooohh..." One groans weakly. He's not only alive, he's conscious. "Have to get up. Can't black out. I'll go on autopilot. That's bad."
Bleeding. He's bleeding, and he's specifically designed not to bleed. "Not good," he mumbles. Then he reaches up to touch his chest and immediately winces. His armor has been torn down the middle and he's trying very hard not to think about how many of his bones have been broken into how many pieces. Another wince when his fingers contact his face. He starts to shake, then turns his head to the side so that he can be sick.
"Not good," he slurs, working his hands under himself and pushing off. Nothing works right, though. Everything is injured. Much of his body has locked itself down to try and minimize blood loss. Time for a new game plan. He produces a dangerous-looking syringe from his hip pocket, which he uncaps and hands to Selina. Then he taps himself sharply, directly over his heart. "Adrenaline. Don't miss."
One is allowed as much privacy as she can give him when he's ill, her head turned away and gaze diverted so she won't make it worse on him. "I get that they need to be quelled but fuck. How stupid can you be?" Nevermind that Selina almost made a very similar sacrifice the night they hit the facility by trying to shoulder Six into range of the explosives. No, she's not being rational. One pulled the world's biggest stupid stunt ever, in her anger-idled mind.
The syringe is taken and the needle eyed before she nods, her expression grim. Her arm comes up over her head and then, after one last look to make sure of where she needs to put it, she slams it into his chest, hopefully finding the target.
The effects of an adrenaline shot are dangerous and instantaneous, but when it's what you need, nothing else will do. One's body is wracked with spasms that arch his back, then draw him into a tight ball. Operating on instinct, he pulls the spike from his chest and throws it across the room. Someone's screaming. They won't stop screaming.
Then he realizes it's him. Slowly, he starts to come back to himself. His heart is racing, which means he's bleeding out faster, but now he's mobile. "Oh God..." he mutters. "Okay. I'm okay."
He's not okay. Working as quickly as possible, he ties a tourniquet around his slashed arm, pours a packet of clotting agent over his chest, and then starts hauling himself to his feet. Once he's up and leaning on Selina, he shakes a second packet of sulfa powder out over his arm to slow the bleeding there as well. "I need to get home. I can fix this. I can."
Selina holds him to her, supported as carefully as she can while keeping him upright. "Alright. I'll get you home but you'll have to hold on to me since I got my bike." He's guided out of the body-strewn building, her eyes held straight ahead. If she doesn't she knows she'll cry. "And I'm staying with you," she adds. It's not voiced gently, it's not spoken as a request. It is an order and she will not be told no.
Once where her motorcyle is parked she'll help him on it and then get onto it herself, her helmet put on him. "Hold on as tight as you can, One. We will get you home soon."
"Wait. There's something I have to do first." Rather than dismount outside, One has Selina drive him right into the building. Once he's in, he bends painfully at the waist to pick up a submachine gun that's managed to escape the catastrophe in fairly good shape. His eyes are narrow and cold as he empties the clip into anyone who's still breathing, stitching lines across the room until his weapon runs dry.
Click-clack. The gun clatters to the floor and One hauls himself over to the largest intact piece of his brother's body. There's no emotion on his face as he tears away a false ear very similar to his own. No time for a proper extraction, so he simply grabs as much of Four's computerized brain as he can wrap his hand around and yanks it out by the roots. "I'm sorry," he whispers.
Then he stands, dusts himself off, and climbs back on the bike. "Okay," he says. "Now we can go."