8

Posted by ValorB, Mar.21, 2015, under Angry Fox, Articles, Comics, Comments (0)

Ladies, Gentleman, Donnie, May I present to you

Bottom of the Barrel

Chapter 9) Battle Plans and Headaches.

Rina offered a soft 'gah' as she slowly regain conscious yet again. Her eyes lulled left to right, noting that they were in a carriage of some sort.

Then she noted the 'they' bit in the assessment and realized after quickly focusing on the blurred image before her, that it was another bird.

Well; an Avian. Or whatever. She's a Phoenix!

Regardless, despite the winching throb through her temples, she counted at least nineteen others crammed into the wagon, their hands chained to the wooden walls. There was a bit of sea salt wafting from their myriad colors of feathers. Some where bare chested while others were bare bottom.

All of them were male.

Another, a dark fathered fellow had an eye patch and a smile on his face as he regarded Rina. “There we go love, awake and conscious, just in time for your execution.”

“Bollocks to that.” Rina returned, cursing lightly as the wagon rocked once more, causing her head to spin. “As soon as the world stops moving up, down and side ways, I'm going to drop kick the first braggard I come across in his-.”

“Now now, for a moment I thought my lads and I were in the presence of a lady.” the Dark feathered Hawk noted. “Language like that marks you as someone of less reputable standing.”

“Your lads?”

“Aye, lot of filthy dregs we are. Pirates of the Empire they call us. Little more then traders blown off course.” the Hawk shrugged. “Names Scorn. I'd shake your feathers but I seem to be tied up a bit.”

Some of the other Avian's laughed, others smiled.

“Cheery lot aren't you?” Rina noted.

“Got to stay cheery miss, or they'll just get what they want. They want you scared. Properly terrorized they do.” Scorn continued. “Me, I knew what was what when the Heartless came across my bow on the Horizon. Couldn't out run her so we surrendered.”

“The Heartless?” Rina asked, frowning in thought. “Why does that name sound familiar?” she asked. The Phoenix knew the name, but her head was still twisting in painful ways.

“Scourge of the Sea that ship is. Boarded us and took us captive. Declared us heretics of the Empire and dragged us all the way back to this accursed city to be executed for simply having feathers.”

“We were going to get a bit of a reprieve, lot that were escorting us were complaining about a witch of some sort, losing her outside the city.” spoke another.

“They found her.” Rina grunted. “Though I prefer the word Vice President of the Emerald Coast.” she looked around at the hay strewn, bouncing cell they shared. “But I can be, at times, a witch.”

“Pretty witch you be.” Scorn commented. “Shame we didn't meet under better circumstances, I'd wine and dine you to tell me where you've been hiding most of my life.” Scorn laughed lightly. “Never seen your species before.”

“I'm a rare sort.” Rina grimaced as she took stock of those around her. “Tell me Captain Scorn, how many are in your crew.”

“Told you the number already lass, about fifty. All of them made it to the tower a'fore us, we be the last bit right here.” Scorn offered. “Why are you curious about the crew?”

“If escape is arranged, could you see to having six passengers to the Western Continent?”

Scorn laughed, as did others around him. Even the few who did not find much mirth in what was suggested. “And how do you figure that?” Scorn asked.

“Chains keep the lot of us who can cast a wee bit of spellcraft from actually castin' spells. There has to be a least a thousand man-at-arms between us at the dock, and even then if we manage to get a ship we'd have the Heartless on our feathery behind. Nothing outruns the Heartless.”

Rina rolled her eyes, and turned on the charm with a smile, the best one she could manage considering it hurt to even have her eyes open at the moment. “Dear Captain, if I asked for an explanation of the situation I would have asked for that instead. I asked if you can get us there.”

Scorn shrugged. “Sure, why not?”

>---<

The Thief Guild Hideout was only a few streets over from a Tavern that had been, 'originally', set ablaze to cover their escape.

Jerry like to set fires it seemed.

Jerry also liked to establish himself in a manner that made the Leader of the Local Chapter of the Thieves Guild so petrified that the simply sat at a table and kept their eyes forward and mouth shut.

Cobb however, was doing all the talking.

“See, this is the tower.” the young Rat indicated by using a knife. They pointed at a part of the map that was obviously a perfect circle fortification, surrounded by several other circles, with one being very dark. “There be two gates going in and out of it. West Gates the East Gate, West Gate isn't as used as much so they don't have the same sort of defense. East Gate has a small fort, like a gate house yeah? Barracks, Powder room with their own set of cannon on the top of their own set of battlements.”

As Cobb spoke, the eleven year old then pointed out tower itself. “Dungeons are underneath. Your friend there its going to be hard to break'em out. Been done before though. Stories and all. Some Hedgehog and his mates busted out, though they became servants of the Empire.”

“How'd they get out?”

“They fought out.” Cobb shrugged. “The Hedgehog himself is said to be unkillable.”

“Lucky we have someone like that.” Vger noted, patting Akhmin's head as the Anubis sat crouched next to him.

“Your not proposing a straight on attack are you?” Mortimor questioned. He was still a tad pale, killing someone for their first time seemed to have that effect on everyone. Well the normal Mobuins. Only sick, twisted and demented individuals enjoyed killing for a sport.

“I'm up for that!” Jerry, a sick twisted and demented individual who enjoyed killing for sport grinned at the proposition.

“Oh you would.” Mortimor said in disgust, and turned away from the map.

“Actually, I think what we are going to do is propose that they release her, before I unleash my minions on them at point blank range.” Vger noted. “Tell me, Mr. Cobb, how fast can we get to the docks from the tower without having to worry about the guards?”

“Planning on leaving us Mr Emperor?” Cobb asked, frowning as he glanced to Jerry. “Taking Uncle Jay with you?”

“Your Uncle is needed to save the World.” Vger said, leaning back to give Jerry a very disapproving stare. “Though I quiet imagine the impression he left behind will be felt long after he is gone.”

Jerry just shrugged, not overly concerned of Vger's discontent.

Vger did not like the idea that Jerry had meddled in Local Affairs. They had left a sizable imprint in their wake and now they were going to do so again. The Guards are scrambling. People are dead. Buildings were on fire.. So much for keeping a low profile.

Still. It worked in their favor. Not only has Jerry secured them funds and resources, he gave them an edge in breaking Rina out. He also rescued a few children from a harsh life, which is always a feel good moment in itself, considering by proxy it was Vger's fault for not keeping Jerry on a tight leash.

With Jerry, its always a double edged sword.

“Regardless, I have a plan for rescuing Rina. We just need to get a message to her to sit tight until we arrive.”

“Oh a message to the lass be easy.” Cobb said, “Long as its a short one. As for the Docks? Less then ten minutes at a brisk run.”

“Good, thank you Mr Cobb you have been most helpful, a promotion to management would fit someone of your talents, would you not agree?” Vger asked the Chapter Leader.

The Chapter Leader was still staring blankly ahead, before Jerry gnashed his teeth near their ear. “Agree!” they squeaked. “Totally agree, absolutely!” they looked around wildly. “Wait what am I agreeing too?” they questioned meekly.

“On to the plan then.” Vger said, pointed to the gate house at the Eastern Gate. “How many people are in side that place?”

“Bout ten to twenty.” came Cobbs response.

“Pity.” Vger frowned, and leaned back to look up at John. “Mr Bluefox, Akhmin and I will arrange a meeting with whomever is in charge. Considering it will be close quarters if we have to fight, John here has an overwhelming advantage.”

“Akhmin's healing skills might have to come into play. Knowing Rina, she will not want to leave any soul behind in that place, and we may have to protect and evacuate an entire Dungeon of weakened Mobiuns.” Vger said, patting Akhmin's head once more. The Anubis leaned into it and kept a goofy, if not creepy grin on his face.

“Mortimor, your going to assist in the distractions, are you alright to engage in battle?”

“Yeah. I'll be good.”

“Are you sure? There is a good chance we will fail, but there will be more deaths.”

“I said I'll be good. I'll be fine. Its what I trained for yeah?” Mortimor asked. “Like a video game, just really really good graphics.”

Vger offered a grim nod before slowly looking to Jerry.

“Jerry.” Vger grimaced as he spoke to the Blood Red Fox. “What I am asking you does not come easily for me because I know exactly what you will do when given this specific set of instructions.”

Jerry tilted his head to the side, but remained silent.

“If the time comes, your going to have to find a way inside the Keep. To do so we will have to preemptively strike in a manner that will give us advantageous position. In conclusion, the Gate House on the East has to be quietly sterilized.”

A very sick looking smile spread across Jerry's face. It was like he was just given something he has begging for Christmas, early.

“What do you mean by sterilized?” Mortimor asked, dreading the answer.

“It means everyone inside that Gate House is going to die.” Jerry said in a matter of fact tone. The certainty of his success was written all over his face. There was absolutely no doubt in his tone, or his body language.

That meant this was not the first time he has ever killed that many Mobiuns in a surprise attack.

Mortimor was even more queasy then before.

“After.” Vger continued. “You will need to arrange a distraction when a signal is given. Something big. Then you and Mortimor need to keep the Guards Occupied in a running battle.”

“What?” Mortimor asked, balking. “Me and Sir Kill Everything that moves against how many guards?”

“Bout three hundred. With Rifles.” Cobb offered without thinking.

“Two on three hundred?!” Mortimor nearly shouted. “With Rifles?!” Suddenly helping with the distractions did not seem to be a good idea.

“Well if you want be lazy about it.” Jerry said with a smile. “I can take the two hundred on the left; you can do the hundred on the right.”

“Jerry.” Vger started to chastise him.

“What?” Jerry asked, legitimately confused on Vger's immediate issue with him this time.

“It will be five on three hundred.” Vger shook his head. “But we're not going to stay for a dragged out battle. Its an escape. All you got to do is distract the Guards. Don't get into an open fight with them.”

Mortimor simply shook his head, his shoulders slumping slightly.

“Meh, number only matters if you let it bother you.” Jerry shrugged. “I've fought such numbers and odds before.”

“Did you win?” Mortimor asked hopefully.

“Nope.” Jerry grinned. “But Gods, it was fun.”

“Jerry!” Vger snapped.

“What?”

Vger shook his head. “Regardless. Mortimor. If you don't feel up to it-.”

“No. I'm up for it.” Mortimor reassured them again. “They are the bad guys right? And we're the heroes yeah? We got to save Rina. Everything depends on that right?”

“No one left behind.” John said in the first, real, lucid statement that actually made sense.

“Or no one goes home.” Jerry added, the mirth draining from his face as his expression turned cold. Jerry stretched out and offered John the bronze covered fist. John reached over the small span between them and they connected. It was a show of solidarity of their belief.

They, despite their obvious differences in appearance and nature, were soldiers first and foremost.

Mortimor nodded as he looked to Vger, gesturing between the two veterans. “See. Thats what we soldiers are trained to do. Never leave a comrade behind. I got to fight. I got to pull my weight.”

“Unfortunately we will be snuffing out more lives before the dawn comes.” Vger noted, his expression remaining thoughtful as his eyes turned once more towards the map. ”Most of them on my conscious. Jerry? Why are you still here?”

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