The Petersburg Barrens typically looks like any other blight in a metroplex, far from the shining brick, steel, and glass buildings of downtown Richmond. The people living here lead simple lives sometimes avoiding illegal activities or, perhaps, engaging in such activity, In any event, P-Berg is quiet on Sunday mornings with few venturing out. While a cloudless, beautiful day, the din of the battle could be heard for miles, breaking the calm. Lazarus, Grummish, Katai, the Maiden, Perfect, Detective Moriarty, Jazz, and M_Dragon once again were fighting the forces of… evil? Horrible spirits in contorted bodies with limbs of tentacles, insect-like articulated arms, and unnatural human like appendages surrounded a much larger manifested spirit. A spirit who consumed the life force of others so that he may stay and further degrade this place turning the ruins into breeding grounds of chaos.
Earlier in the day, the great spirit captured Mortis, perhaps one of the deadliest shots in all the world. Taken through the combined firepower of the truly experienced operators of the team. The spirit paid the price, being driven off by the team, but not before Mortis was firmly in the grip of the beast. Now it was only a matter of time before Mortis would be forced to give up any information he knows, including memories he long ago forgot.
Just another day, just another hour, thought Lazarus to himself, trying to steady himself in the face of the horrible abomination of the spirit itself. Lazarus woke in the van enroute to the next safehouse and the supplies of ammunition, weapons, and armor to continue the fight. Magic may have healed him, but he feels certain that a chunk of his skull didn’t come back. Once again, in a similar building and in a similar fight. Please don’t let me relive my namesake again, Lazarus thought. The ringing in his ears cleared, his fear swallowed, and he could focus on the battle on hand.
Through the much enlarged opening in the wall of the building, Lazarus could survey the group. Grummish stood in front of the beast, slicing off portions of the tentacles, but unable to stop the remaining tentacles. Within a split second, Grummish was picked up and thrown 30 feet, impacting in the brick and mortar wall of the row house, creating a man-sized crater in the center. After impacting the wall, Grummish fell thirty feet to the ground.
Three drones buzzed around overhead, focusing their heavy weapons onto the master spirit, the large caliber bullets tore through the spirit’s manifested form. The monster’s response is to grab one of the drones and crushed it within the grip of the beast’s tentacles. Jazz could be heard immediately after the drone’s destruction. “Grr…,” Jazz groaned over the radio, with the two remaining drones moved further away. “Ow that stings… Lost another drone. We’re running out of drones, if anyone cares.”
Moriarty dropped to the ground surrounding both he and Grummish, the faint blue shimmering effect barely noticeable during the day. Having seen this tactic before, the spirit adjusts its attack, and via the use of magic, pulls down the entire brick facing of the front of the row house down onto Moriarty and Grummish, taking them both out of the fight, buried in a ton of bricks and mortar.
Surprising the monster, Katai kicked open the door of a dilapidated row house across the street, unleashing his Panther Assault Cannon on the… back? How can a creature with so many human eyes on stalks sticking out of its body have a back, asked Katai to himself. With loud shrieks, the creature reaches out to a man hiding across the street bringing the hapless victim to the gaping maw, losing a chunk of his shoulder from long, serrated teeth piercing completely through the meat and bone.
“Damn bystanders,” Lazarus curses under his breath. He quickly changes targets and fills the poor man with bullets, killing him. “Can’t let that thing restore his energy by turning the dude to a human raisin,” Lazarus says to himself in an effort to alleviate any guilt at killing some innocent guy just watching the carnage. The spirit roars in anger, and after taking far more damage from the drones and Katai, it vanishes. For now.
“Target has left the area,” Lazarus announces over the radio.
“We can’t keep this up!” calls Jazz over the radio. “This thing is all over the news. People are calling Richmond another Chicago, which is bringing in so called experts and researchers to gawk at the thing. More people just means more fuel for that thing. Set that aside, stores of weapons, ammunition, drones,… everything, is running low. And, if no one’s counting, this finishes round nine! Mortis is missing, Perfect is unconscious…”
“We will keep this up, using your colloquialism, for as long as we live. If necessary. There is no other choice.” Grummish’s words sounded tired and yet galvanizing. Everyone could tell from his tone he planned to go the distance, whatever it took. “Dragon, how is our progress to the next drop zone for supplies?”
M_Dragon’s voice could be heard over the radio. “We’re out of heavy security armor, so we’re going to have to find some armor of a more legal variety. Panther Assault Cannon rounds are a no go for the next drop, but we do have grenades.”
“That will have to do,” answered Grummish.
“Look, I get the consequences, but I ain’t dying here in the filthy street for the cause,” says Moriarty over the radio with a grunt. The shifting of the bricks from Grummish’s effort to dislodge the two of them was gaining some success.
“You will die,” states Grummish flatly, “if that is what it takes.”
“Nice pep talk, big guy,” scoffs Jazz. “I’ll see what I can dig up in the way of equipment and keep you posted. Good luck guys.”