One-Shot - Tangent 1 - Capital Wasteland

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Re: One-Shot - Tangent 1 - Capital Wasteland

Postby Scarlet » Fri Jan 16, 2009 2:45 am

Susan's father had been a Marine. Or, rather, a descendant of one. He had never seemed to know the difference. He had never seemed to believe there was a difference, really. He'd brought his daughter up in the Vault the same way his father and grandfather before him had been brought up. Living their entire lives in such a cramped, miniature speck of the world had made her father and his ancestors obsessed with two things: Marines and guns.
Because of this, Susan held no real love for her father. She had never in her life been the focus of his attention, never meant much to him, really. That was okay by her. His death hadn't torn her up or given her much pause; she simply moved on. By then, they had been outside the Vault. She had no trouble at all adjusting to life outside alone, since she had spent most of her life alone inside.

But also because of this, it meant Susan had a rule. The rule went like this: Hope for the best, but plan for the worst. It had been bred and bled into her. So, right at that moment, she was doing exactly that. She'd seen the rest of the Talon Company come out of the Vault. That was unexpected. She had been hoping for more time, to get to a better location and to set herself up properly. Maybe get rid of the two guards at the door. She hadn't been able to do that, but that was okay. She would simply adjust to the situation.

There were exactly fifteen of them, she now saw. Susan was a lot closer than she had originally planned on being. Dangerously close. But she was still above them and they still hadn't seen her. Both very crucial points. She was crouching in a strained position, holding the rifle with the scope up to her eyes. She was in a spot-weld, knees up, holding the rifle steady, bone to rifle and fingertip to trigger. She wasn't planning on shooting just yet; she only wanted to scout them out. She had no field glasses, no other way to get a closer look at them without being physically nearer.

She thought she spotted their commanding officer, or chief, or whatever the hell they called their higher-ups. Tall guy. Looked strong and fit, real short hair, unshaved face. He had a sidearm in a holster on his right thigh and an assault rifle tied to a strap hanging on his shoulder. Looked a lot like most Talon in those respects. But it was the way the people around him seemed to defer to him instinctively that gave it away. Like he was emitting some sort of aura, one that demanded obedience. That and the fact that, currently, he looked as though he was giving out orders. She could have taken him out, no problem at all. There was only a light breeze and her rifle was zeroed to shoot accurately at a far longer range than this. But she wasn't looking for the commander.

Susan found her target quickly enough. She had hoped she wouldn't have to use the rifle first, but she couldn't avoid doing so now that she'd found him. There was only one, at least. Most of the mercenaries here had assault rifles and other assorted automatic weaponry. One had what looked like a vintage sniper rifle, but it had no scope, so he didn't worry her. Besides that, he also had a shotgun, the kind that looked like an old-fashioned submachine gun, with a drum magazine. A serious weapon. A weapon like that either identified the man as a trusted officer or his commander as a fool. He also had what looked like a sort of helm, though it only covered one side of his head, the side she couldn't get a good view of. Odd guy. Still not her target, though. The man she'd tracked had a scoped rifle. She thought maybe it was a Remington, in what looked to be good condition. Hoping for the best while planning for the worst, Susan had figured their marksmen to be her most dangerous adversaries. Here was the only one. This was the first shot; she had to make it count. After this, they would know she was there.

Susan waited until her heartbeats were nice and slow, her breathing normal. It wasn't a long shot, but this was how she had trained herself to shoot, to be as steady as she possibly could. She would have to speed up the process later, no doubt about that. But for now she waited until the rhythm of her heart's beating was slow, steady, one-two, one-two. Despite the awkward position, Susan was so still she might have been mistaken for a statue, had anyone been looking at her. She fired between heartbeats.

It took maybe five hundredths of a second for the bullet to reach its target. The bubble of gas that exploded from the powder in the cartridge hurtled the bullet down the barrel, forged ahead of it, heating the oxygen in the air so much that the air caught fire. The bullet behind it was playing catch-up as it spun out of the rifling grooves. It flew straight and true through the distance between its starting point and final destination, a big .300 200-grain bullet, looked like a small artillery shell. Heavy, almost four inches of shell, powder and bullet. The effect was terrifying. It looked as though the man's head had burst from the inside. Like someone had taken a big hammer and just smashed right out of there. Susan could see chunks of brain and curved bone shards flying outward.

The fight had just begun.

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Re: One-Shot - Tangent 1 - Capital Wasteland

Postby Kaome Sky Deathand » Fri Jan 16, 2009 5:33 pm

The sound of the air cracking under the pressure of a large caliber rifle was almost deafening at the close range.
Hector had barely time to flinch before the heat wave came, then the sound of a liquid pop. The back of his neck was covered in a warm embrace and a shard of passing matter slashed a small nick into his right cheek as he tried to turn towards the source. By then a strong arm, maybe Red, or Vince, had pushed him downward. Hector fell to one knee and braced his left arm against the sandy ground. His rifle was still shouldered, so Hector unslung his .44 from it's rig, recalled he had spent two shots and with a guttural roar aimed somewhere up to his left and cracked off a shot.
"SUPPRESSIVE FIRE!"

Scopes body had just hit the ground by the time the rest of the Talon Mercs snapped into action.
None of them had seen where the shot came from, but all figured they had. Automatic and semi-automatic fire sprang forth with a series of muzzle flashes that peppered the rocky outcrops surrounding them, filling the air with the smell of gun powder and cloaking it with a light film of smoke and sand as the rocks cracked under the impact of bullets.

Hector knew they had to get out of the canyon.
The entrance was no more than a few meters away and to go back into the Vault risked getting bogged down. He couldn't afford to be stuck in the bolt hole, not with the merchandise he was currently carrying. He risked a glance over to a man called Dag, taking comfort that the small box was still attached to the mans pack. Satisfied it wasn't compromised, Hector cracked off another shot, then snug himself against the canyon wall.
"ADVANCE! SINGLE COVER! SINGLE COVER!"
He turned back to Vince and snarled "Get me a G*d damned lock on that shooter."
Cruor Vult

Hope, it is the quintessential human delusion,
simultaneously the source of our greatest strength, and our greatest weakness.

Soon we shall be One...joined in the Word.

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Re: One-Shot - Tangent 1 - Capital Wasteland

Postby Hydrolisk » Sat Jan 17, 2009 2:16 am

Percipe emerged from the stairwell on cue, as the three Talon mercenaries that were there opened fire. But even their rifles could not penetrate a body and another layer of armour. At once, the rogue shot, his first bullet striking wherever the Hell it wanted. The second, he took aim and began to shoot for the Talon mercenaries' heads. The first went down quickly enough, and then Percipe's hostage died in his arms. At once, the body slumped and Percipe was carrying a dead weight towards the remaining two mercenaries. He knew his plan was risky, but if he had to continue carrying the body like the way he was, he would tire out too quickly and die from Hell knows what. And then, a stray bullet decided to grave his shin, breaking all concentration even though the bullet wound was shallow.
. Acting on the moment, Percipe knelt down and pulled the hostage's corpse back and set it down at the top of the stairs, careful to keep his head down. Then, he allowed himself to lay perpendicular to the horizontal corpse, hiding behind his makeshift barricade. He stuck his arm just above the body and began firing haphazardly in the direction of the Common room.
. For a few seconds, bullets whizzed by overhead, ricocheting off the walls around Percipe. He could have sworn that the shrapnel would have killed him, if he had not been wearing his body armour. But then, the bullets stopped. Percipe peaked over the corpse and saw that the hallway was clear. Of course, the Talon mercenaries were probably intelligent enough to back up into the Common room and get into an advantageous position so as to ambush him, so he wasn't just about to run in and flee. But he didn't seem to have anything else to be able to distract them, especially since there had only been one other prisoner besides himself. He couldn't keep tugging around the body either; his lower leg had only been grazed, but it was still painful enough to render his concentration null. Percipe wondered for how long.
. Percipe swore under his breath, unable to come up with a solution. He then dragged the body down to the prison, and took off the bloodied and slightly ripped trench coat and put it on himself. He looked around for anything that could be of use. He then walked over to the prison guard's desk, searching around for something that he could use; anything...
. On top of the desk was a bottle of half-finished turpentine and a few tin cans that held various meats, fruits, and vegetables. There was a Nuka-Cola Quantum in one of the drawers. Inside a nearby cabinet was a mop and some Abraxo cleaner, not to mention a few hammers, pliers, wrenches, and an assortment of other tools. Perhaps Percipe could throw tools at the Talon mercenaries... It would bound to annoy the sh*t out of the damn maggots. Nonetheless, they were still dangerous.
. With all hope lost, Percipe decided he would simply wait it all out. Maybe pop out of the cabinet like a boogie monster of some crap like that. He swore again and took the Nuka-Cola Quantum roughly from the drawer, and he made sure to slam the damn drawer back in. He was deciding whether to drink the turpentine or Quantum first, when he remembered a childhood myth. It went something along the lines of, "Sprites and Cola Quantums will blow out your stomach!" He still wasn't sure what to do though.
. "God f*cking damn this," hissed Percipe. He sat himself down heavily on the tiny guardsman's stool and unscrewed the bottlecap and a single hand's twist. He took a swig from the light blue bottle, hoping to drown his misery and anger.
. As soon as the saccharine liquid reached his stomach, a brilliant idea came to him.

Percipe screwed the bottlecap back on to the glass bottle, and almost threw it onto the table in excitement. Like a whirlwind he picked up a number of hand tools and the Abraxo Cleaner and set it down onto the desk. He cleared his workspace away with a sweep of his arm, but made sure to keep a single tin can and the turpentine on the desk.
. Then, he slaved away at his escape.
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Re: One-Shot - Tangent 1 - Capital Wasteland

Postby Scarlet » Sun Jan 18, 2009 12:29 am

A second after Susan had fired her rifle, long before the corpse of the struck man had fallen to the ground, Susan had begun to move. She had been hoping the Talon wouldn't be very experienced. She'd been hoping for them to panic after the rifle went off and one of their companions' heads started spraying flesh and bone and blood.
But they hadn't. They had responded expertly and efficiently. They'd sprung for the cover of the nearby rocks much faster than she had expected. She'd seen one of the Mercenaries drag the man she had been sure was their commander to the ground and place himself next to him, guarding his commander with his own life. Seconds after, they had begun firing in her general direction. Not a good sign. Not a good sign at all. She had been hoping for amateurs. They looked like they were anything but.

That was okay. She had been planning for anything but amateurs. Wasn't much of a plan, really. Her survival depended on two things. First, the fact that she had the higher ground. The terrain favored her. It had been the deciding factor in her contemplation over whether or not to fight. Second, the Talon Mercenaries had no information at all on their opponent. They had no idea who they were fighting against. No real indication of how many they were fighting against or how well equipped they might be. So far, Susan had only fired one shot. The illusion of many would be crucial. She had to keep both of these advantages for as long as possible.

There was only one fast way for the Talon to get on a level plane with her. The sheer rock cliffs all along the north and east walls of the canyon would not provide an easy climb up. But there was a sort of slope, a decline, along the northern wall. It was about two hundred yards from her current position. Not far at all from where most of the Talon were. She planned on keeping that in sight. It was critical.
Susan stopped. Risked a glance from her current position. The Talon had begun to move along the canyon wall, keeping close to it while they advanced in a basic single file. They weren't exactly clustered together, but this could work for her.

She reached into her pack for grenades. These little things were absurd. Homemade. Not very powerful at all. She had acquired them in a trade with a Wastelander. He had crowned himself king of a battered old see-saw. Insane. She had known then they would be unreliable at best, but he had only wanted a few molerat whiskers for ten of them. Susan only had two left. She knew from experience that they were untrustworthy. The See-Saw King had decreed that they would detonate after four seconds. What he had really meant was that they had anywhere between a two-second and a six-second fuse.

Susan pulled the pin out of the first one and quickly banged the housing against a nearby stone, the striker flying to the fuse, lighting it. She held it for a second before throwing it over. Repeated the process for the second grenade. Heard the first detonate. She didn't dare hold on to the second one, just hurled it after priming it, which had been a sound decision. An instant after she had tossed it over, it detonated, spraying her with stone and grit.

After that, Susan began to move again. She thought maybe she had heard a cry drowned out by one of the explosions.

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Re: One-Shot - Tangent 1 - Capital Wasteland

Postby Rising_Dusk » Mon Jan 19, 2009 12:49 am

Scopes had fallen and they were now moving against the rock face. The enemy had taken out the obvious sniper, which meant that if he had been carrying his Dragunov unslung he might've been the target. Like he always said, everything happens for a reason.

"Get me a G*d damned lock on that shooter."

The Commander's call rang true, and he tried. As they advanced, he had flicked on the IR ports, trying to single out the targets, wherever and however many there were --

"GRENA--"
Jax screamed out before he was utterly incinerated by an explosion. He couldn't tell who else was hit, but someone else on the team was now missing the upper half of their torso. Vincent ducked behind a rock, barely missing a chunk of a shrapnel to the uncovered side of his face. That damned grenade must've had no fuse at all, it didn't even reach the ground before detonating.

His IR sensors flicked a bit from the shockwave and then steadied, they had a lock -- One target?
"Commander, we've got only one bogey showing! Watch my trace!"

He kept himself behind the boulder and wrapped his shotgun to safety and around his hip. Unpinning his Dragunov, he set it on the backside of the boulder where it would be least noticed and tried to get a fix. The commander would be following his lock and redirecting the squad on his lock. The target was behind the rock face, but whenever he poked his head out from his natural defenses Vincent would only have split seconds to take him out. He set behind the unscoped rifle and lined his headset up with its barrel. His scope and aim traced the target's head through its IR reading on the other side of the barriers, waiting for an opening...
"I'll come to Florida one day and make you look like a damn princess." ~Hep

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Re: One-Shot - Tangent 1 - Capital Wasteland

Postby Kaome Sky Deathand » Mon Jan 19, 2009 2:29 pm

Hector recoiled from the dual explosion, feeling the shrapnel of the first impact into his armor.
A glance was enough to confirm that Jax had taken the majority of the explosion, whether out of sheer bad luck or noble sacrifice it was the same. Everyone nearby had minor damage to their combat armor, armor designed to stop the shrapnel from grenades. Growling Hector snapped out the chamber for his .44 rig, spared the unspent bullets in hand, and reloaded the mechanism in a few heartbeats. The jingle of spent casings and the whirr of a spinning rig as it was snapped back into place was his entire world for a moment before he took out a small scope and snapped it into place with deft motions.

"Commander, we've got only one bogey showing! Watch my trace!"
Just one? Hector dismissed it. Vince knew what he was doing. If there was only one, then there was only one. With three sharp hand motions four members of the Talon Company advanced ahead of the rest and unlatched grenades. Setting good primers, they threw them over the cliff edge, hoping to over throw their quarry and lure them out for a confirmed kill in the sights of a waiting gunman.

Hector crouched just behind Vince and to the mans right.
He was using the sniper rifle as a point of target for his own smaller scope. It was a very blunt thing, just glass and a cross hair, but it was better than nothing. Hector watched his members toss grenades and then tunneled his vision. All that mattered was a small piece of rock face...his breathing grew calm...his eyes sharp...his finger on the trigger...squeezing...
Cruor Vult

Hope, it is the quintessential human delusion,
simultaneously the source of our greatest strength, and our greatest weakness.

Soon we shall be One...joined in the Word.

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Re: One-Shot - Tangent 1 - Capital Wasteland

Postby Scarlet » Tue Jan 20, 2009 9:40 pm

It wasn't about justice. Not really. She wasn't trying to bring order to a lawless land or cleanse evil from the Capital Wasteland. She knew things weren't as black and white as some made them out to be. The Regulators were not all goodhearted people with a noble, righteous outlook on life; the Talon Mercenaries were not all ruthless scumbags out to pillage the Wastes. It wasn't about vengeance, either, though that was probably as close as you could get to describing it with just one word. The Talon had, after all, killed her father. But she had no idea just who it had been, not then or now. No way of finding out. It had been too dark to see faces. She had only managed to make out the insignia, white against black. On top of that, she had never truly cared for her father. He had been cold, impersonal, almost heartless to her, his only child. He'd merely taught her all he knew, and nothing he knew had ever held any semblance of affection. She hadn't actively sought out members of the Talon Company during her time alone in the Wastes because of that. The few she had come across were either deemed too dangerous or killed outright.
What it was about was family. Duty. She had been brought up believing that she had to defend her family - her unit - at all costs. That was how things worked. She knew no other way. When her father died, she hadn't had much of a cause left and no real way of avenging his death. So she did what she felt was right when the opportunity presented itself, but not much else beyond that. An aimless life, but it was all she knew.

That was why the killing didn't bother her. The man she had shot through the head less than two minutes ago? She had felt nothing for him. No compassion, no remorse, no regret. Same went for any other Talon she had ever ended.

The mercenaries below her threw grenades right back after some time. She had been expecting that. What she hadn't been expecting was the grenades being so close to her. How had they tracked her so easily? She had kept low and moved quickly, quietly. Was it possible they were better equipped than she had thought? No time to dwell on it. She didn't have to worry much about any one grenade, really, since the boulders all around her would block the force of the concussion easily enough as long as she stood behind one of them. But they had not thrown just one. Susan didn't have time to think, not in the normal sense. She reacted on reflex, the ancient, lizard part of her brain taking over. She moved with urgency but not in a panicked, frenzied sort of urgency. Her movements were all efficient and measured, professional. She jammed her thumbs into her ears to save her eardrums and was moving even as she fully extended herself from her crouched position, getting ready to sprint out of range of the explosions. Susan managed about six long strides, enough to be relatively safe from the blasts, when the shot came.

She could feel the blood drenched all over her chest. There was so much of it. Warm, like urine. So damn much.
She wasn't sure when she had gotten to the ground but there she was, sprawled on the dry, dusty earth like a piece of meat. Her limbs were limp and her head seemed to be moving of its own accord, lolling, turning first to the corpse of the Yao Guai still only a few hundred yards out beyond the rocks and then to her rifle, which had somehow found its way off her back and onto the floor next to her. She was lying there in shock. She had only taken a direct hit once before and she felt much the same now as she had then: lots of hate and pain but, for the most part, rage. Not at her enemies but at her own stupidity. How had she not realized they had only used grenades to lure her out for the kill? Stupid girl. They'd screwed her, screwed her bad, and she had let it happen. Stupid, stubborn, simple girl.

Things were winding down fast now. Her systems were shutting down. The hydrostatic shock wave that had blown through her along with the bullet had churned down on her organs. Her breathing was coming in rough and slow. She thought maybe she could feel blood in her lungs. She was going to bleed out. She felt as though she were slipping away. It was a queer sensation. All the things she'd ever cared for were nothing but blurs, not exactly in her line of sight yet still there, visible, almost tangible. She thought maybe she saw her father there, too. Old and sad, exhausted but unused, hopeless yet proud.
Something in her cracked.
No!
You're not going to let it happen
Not like this
You've been shot before
You fight through it
You be a Marine


Susan inhaled deeply. In the surge of rage and pride that flooded through her, she found something that could pass for energy. Without really meaning to, she sat up and with strange, determined movements, managed to drag herself to a rock. Leaned against it heavily. She had no idea why she was still alive. The bullet had gone right through her. Perhaps she had simply gotten lucky and been shot by something meant to penetrate far bulkier targets? She wasn't wearing any body armor. A hard-nose round, blowing right through her, missing major organs and not taking any arteries with it? It was possible. But she knew she still had to stop the bleeding. Susan took off her shirt, reached into her pack and took out a roll of medical paper. Common enough in the Wastes. Not many people saw the need for paper when they could just use a Stimpak to heal what ailed them, though. She was naked from the waist up so she had to lean away from the rough rock digging at her back. She unrolled a thick wad of it and bunched it into a ball, stuffed it into the entrance wound where the bleeding was so bad. Unrolled some more and wrapped it around herself thrice over. Put her shirt back on and stuffed the paper back into her pack. She wanted to get back into the fight before the Talon thought to come at her. But she couldn't.

Suddenly, Susan's body betrayed her. The adrenaline or whatever it was that had just fueled her was gone as if it had never been there. She tried to reach for her pistol but could barely move her arms. Wouldn't have the strength to pick the damn thing up even if she managed to get to the holster. Her body was pressed against the rock again, though she had never told it to lay back. All her limbs refused to move. She realized then that she had lost too much blood and was now sinking into unconsciousness. It was almost enough to make her laugh. The Talon would come up from the site of the ambush and see her there, half dead, and they would kill her. She would be able to do nothing because of simple blood loss. She didn't doubt for a second that she would die. The mercenaries were too professional to simply leave. Maybe they wouldn't even use a gun, just to save a bullet. Maybe they'd just beat her until she was dead. Or break her legs and leave her there for the Wasteland to claim. The slain Yao Guai's mate might make an appearance, if that was to be the case. Maybe they'd keep her alive for a few hours and torture her as a way of avenging their companions. She didn't really care. Either way, she was dead. The last thing to cross her mind before the world turned black was the commander of the Talon Company.

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Re: One-Shot - Tangent 1 - Capital Wasteland

Postby Rising_Dusk » Wed Jan 21, 2009 1:29 am

The barrel sizzled.
The target had been moving too quick to make the shot anywhere that it might put him down for good, but that definitely pierced the chest. The dragunov was an old weapon, not designed for causing explosive damage to the body, but rather for precise, swift, and deadly blows to key areas.

"Commander, I've struck the target. It appears to be immobile and disarmed."
His sensors adjusted themselves, scanning all wavelengths to substantiate his claim.
"Shall we investigate, or let him be? I doubt that man will last a few hours out here in his condition."

He paused and lifted his head from the warm rifle muzzle, awaiting his commander's decree.
"I'll come to Florida one day and make you look like a damn princess." ~Hep

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Re: One-Shot - Tangent 1 - Capital Wasteland

Postby Kaome Sky Deathand » Wed Jan 21, 2009 2:43 am

"Damn....." Hector whispered as the shot was made.
He considered himself a good shot, a crack shot even, but he didn't even get more than a flash of the target. That Vince had seen AND punched a hole in it was testament to why Hector paid him such a good stipend to stay on his company. Hector let out a long breath and gave a quick pat on Vince's shoulder as the Talon Commander got to his feet.
"Confirm the kill comrade." He said in a low tone before addressing the others.

"FORM UP! DOUBLE COVER TO THE CLIFFS!"
Hector signaled a man named Ox to take point.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Hector rested the cold point of his .44 against her fevered head.
Her body twitched, a small sigh escaped her, but she lay still once more. The Talon Commander slowly placed the gun back by his side. Vince's words spoke true as Hector squatted down to take a look at her wound. Two fingers through the thin veil of clothing and into the staunched and blood soaked paper was enough to let him know she was only an hour or so away from fading. Even sooner if the scent of her blood went on the wind and found a waiting predator. He wiped her life fluid off on the edge of his armor and stood once more.
The gun was still in his hand....

"Needles..."
The woman flinched at her name, due to surprise no doubt.
Without a word she dropped a satchel down next to the crumpled woman and withdrew a Stimpak and a Sedative. With expert motions she distributed both to the woman before her and tossed the used things aside. Hector often wondered if Needles was an addict or former addict...her skill with distributing such things often pondering her former life. He returned his attention to the human laying on the ground in front of him and with seeming reluctance, holstered his weapon.

"Jukes, Nails...carry her and don't forget her gear."
They said nothing, but did as instructed.
"She comes with us?" Red asked, others grimaced that she would, but her service and skill allowed her to be one of the few to question the commander. Hector looked at her and slowly nodded.
"One girl takes out a guy no sweat and then pulls a number on us with some homemade explosives..."
Hector glanced over at Vince. The sniper nodded.
"...I sure as hell want to know what makes her tick."

The two assigned to carry her did so very gently.
Hector looked up at the sky and then off to the west.
"It's two hours to the Tor, I think we'll make camp there and move on to the Scar by tomorrow."
Unslinging his AR, Hector motioned for half the team to take point. He himself walked next to Red and Vince, the woman having the item in hand, the sniper his rifle resting on one shoulder. Just behind them the form of the girl bouncing in the arms of her impromptu saviors.

When she woke up...she'd better have one hell of a story... Hector mused.
Sand shifted under the weight of heavy boots.
The wind carried the sound of gunfighting.
Another day America...

End Tangent
Cruor Vult

Hope, it is the quintessential human delusion,
simultaneously the source of our greatest strength, and our greatest weakness.

Soon we shall be One...joined in the Word.


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