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Fic-O-Pedia: Fics of November, 2022

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Spotlight On:"The Macaque: Demons of Helheim," by mrmonster
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Fact-O-Pedia: Oddity Ark, by Sundown89

Supplemental Page For:
Legacy Page For:
Introduction

November 23, 2022: Sundown89 worked with Imp' (Elouise Clayton), and is continuing Impurest's Guide to Animals as Oddity Ark. Sun' said this in his first installment of Oddity Ark:

While many here know her as a writer, I knew Elouise as a teacher, during my work placement at the firm she worked for she taught me a lot, and then helped me get a paying job the year after. That was in 2017 and... Elouise asked me to do three things in case she was gone.

...The one that pertains here is to continue teaching what she had taught me. I wondered if I should continue this under Impurest’s Guide to Animals, but decided that I’m not Impurest Cheese, it would be wrong to do so. I have somewhat preserved the numbering hence the ‘1/181’ in the title.

I will endeavour to get this series to ‘??/200’ if I can and then take it from there. I hope you all enjoy it, and most of all I hope you learn something, it would be what Elouise would want.

Well, Sun' has done exactly what he set out to do. With Oddity Ark at #21, and putting IGTA's legacy numbering past #200, I think it's time it got its own page in the Fact-O-Pedia. Sundown89 has shown just as much passion for the natural world as Imp' did, and if you like animals, insects, and plant life at all, you will love taking a voyage on the Oddity Ark. I have dearly loved getting to see this series, and I hope you like it as much as I have. Enjoy. -FOP/cbishop

Oddity Ark (Non-Fiction series on animals)

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Fic-O-Pedia: Fics of October, 2022

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Spotlight On:NON-Fiction: "The Evolution of Vampires: From Folklore and Mythology to Modern Literature," by Sundown89
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Fic-O-Pedia: Fics of September, 2022

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Spotlight On:"Tales of Survival - The Heart," by Sundown89
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Fic-O-Pedia: Necrotic_Lycanthrope

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Fic-O-Pedia: Sundown89

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Fic-O-Pedia: Fics of August, 2022

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Spotlight On:"Chen Li: Origin of an Assassin (A Jennifer Bryan Spinoff)," by mrmonster
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Danika Sedova, by ImpurestCheese

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Introuduction

I've been putting this collected edition off, because figuring out what to include was driving me nuts. Finally settled on this: The first appearance of Danika was actually considered Patron Saint of Crime #12.5, and she continues in PSOC through #16, and into the two-issue Siwang: PSOC series, before getting her own series in Valhalla Can Wait. After VCW, she's in the ten-issue El Paso: The Mean Streets, again crossing over somewhat with PSOC. Then back to her own titular series, and then into Destiny which is unfinished.

That was another reason I put this collection off. Imp' only put out two of the six planned issues of Destiny, but in other places, she references things regarding The Wishing Demon that I'm sure were supposed to happen in the mini-series, but we didn't actually get to see. It's not completely clear to me, and I have yet to find any info in other stories that will let me piece it together better. Part of it might be in Prelude to the Amazons- I still need to read that thoroughly.

Since there is so much overlap with PSOC, I just put in a notation with a link for the PSOC and El Paso issues, rather than trying to fit all those stories in this collection. Sorry for the back-and-forth, but I hope you enjoy it anyway. -cbishop/FicOPedia

Danika Sedova: Bounty Hunter Babe (20 May, 2014)

Thaliana Broadcasting Studios, Los Angeles, California

“I wish you could remember this as much as I will…” The platinum blonde holding the revolver purred, “…but I'm afraid that you be doing all your thinking in Country for the next ten to life.” She stated as her sidekick, a short man with a fish hook through his lip handcuffed the blonde man lying unconscious on the floor.

“Turn that off will you.” A voice groaned as the credits rolled over the image of the blonde escorting the man outside to the waiting police car. Turning to look down the table, the scrawny man wearing aviators with purple lenses and a business suit removed a cigar from his jacket pocket, lit it and took a deep breath. “Danika darling I love the show but your ratings are down, people like when you're hunting down criminals but you make it look too easy.”

“What do you mean?” The blonde haired woman at the end of the table asked in a Ukrainian accent as she smoothed out the crop-top she wore, the front emblazoned with the logo ‘Danika Sedova: Bounty Hunter Babe’. “You told me ratings were good Mr. Mc Kellum yes?”

“They have been better, have you thought about appealing to the ‘Avengers Generation?” Mc Kellum suggested as he looked over the assorted people sitting at the table.

“I am not wearing anything more skimpy then I already do on air.” Danika hissed. “And I’m not going to start call myself something like Huntress or Blond Bombshell.”

“I don't know I like the sound of Fishook.” The man with the hook in his lip stated as he ran thick fingers over his bald head. “And Tabby could be Gimble while Maurice could be Chaser.”

“No Brian I will not be some kind of show pony for the teenage demographic. I started this show to reassure the public that somebody could reach the criminals the law couldn’t. You now have me chasing after bail jumpers and jaywalkers, I need a challenge.”

“Babe listen your big now, plus you're good looking. “ Mc Kellum told her. “We're not going to risk sending you after the bad guys, there is a certain profit we get from you looking like a supermodel.” As he finished his words were met by the scrape of chair legs as Danika and her film crew got to their feet. “Where are you going babe?”

“We've just decided to go independent.” Danika purred. “You remember my escape clause in the contract I signed for Thaliana Broadcasting, well I'm invoking it unless you can find me a better class of criminal to hunt.”

“Not going to happen babe. Without us your revenue dries up. I give it a week and you'll be crawling back to old Mckellum for your spotlight back.” Mckellum snorted as Danika left the office. “Dames all alike.” He said as he coughed on the cigar before turning the TV back on. “Nice rack though.” He commented as Danika turned and blew a kiss to the camera at the end of the credits.

**

Casa Sedova, Beverly Hills, California

Danika poured herself an iced tea as she sat by the side of the pool at her Beverly Hills estate. While she loved the house she hated what it represented, and while she had no idea what the rest of her crew felt about what had happened she was glad they had gone with her. Between Brian ‘the Hook’ Baldwin, her underworld contact, Tabitha Taylor, her camera woman, and Maurice Cartier, her expert getaway and pursuit driver, they were a force to be reckoned with. Unfortunately Hollywood didn't see it that way.

“Hey Danika you've got a visitor.” Tabby yelled from the kitchen. “It’s the man from Texas we met a while back.” She added as a well built man wearing a pair of jeans and a leather jerkin walked in.

“Well if it isn't the little girl from the frontier.” The man sneered.

“Huh takes a walking scarecrow to know one.” Danika hissed as she got to her feet and met the man half way across the floor, the pair of them bumping fists. “You look awful Kenneth.”

“And you look like you've been enjoying the weather too much.” Ken replied as the pair sat at the ornate metal work table beside the pool. “Been catching up on the re-runs by the way. Don't tell me you're happy being eye candy for some studio executive.”

“I never was but up until recently I thought I was doing a public good.” Danika sighed. “Still what have you been up to? Still the nightmare of the cartels down on the border?”

“No, I’ve been in a chemically induced coma for the last few weeks.” Ken answered before removing a box and sliding it across the table to Danika. “Take a look at this; they pulled it out of me. Apparently everyone else died from the toxicity of the weapon but you know what they say.”

“You can't bulls**t a bulls****r.” Danika purred. “What does this have to do with me?”

“I need help; I'm man enough to admit it especially after being out of the game for a while.” Ken answered. “And you, despite what the jealous types are saying, are the best in the business.”

“What’s the profit margin?” Danika asked. “And what do we know about this guy?”

“Girl, the shooter is female.” Ken announced. “We don't know much, but from the E-Fit El Paso Police Department is circulating we know she’s Asian and in her mid to late twenties. As for the reward; the Drug Enforcement Agency, Federal Aviation Authority. EPPD, FBI and Homeland Security are offering a million each, either for her capture or corpse.”

“And you’re really chasing down this woman?” Danika asked as she removed a black crossbow bolt from the book Ken had given her. “This is crazy even for you Zimmermann.”

“I know what that means.” Ken said with a wide smile as he took

Remove his hip flask from his belt “To partnership.” He toasted as Danika broke the bolt in two.

“And to breaking the woman whose death is our next pay check.” Danika added as she clinked her glass against Ken’s flask. “Now let’s go hunting.”

Before reading Valhalla Can Wait...
...you want to read: Patron Saint of Crime #13-16, and Siwang: PSOC #1-2.
Companion Guide to Valhalla Can Wait (10 Mar, 2015)

Valhalla can wait is, the spiritual successor of my first real attempt at an OC series named the Patron Saint of Crime. While it never had a large following, it was mildly popular, and was very different to the other stuff I was writing at the time. Unfortunately the series was linked to the original Writer’s Guild and once that got into trouble with poor turnout, the Patron Saint of Crime died with it. And while the main characters were never forgotten, a variant of Siwang, the titular Patron Saint of Crime, appeared in 5th Column alongside an unreleased character named Stallion, the tiny universe created around this character was never brought back in earnest.

Recently however I got into the mindset that the series or at least the characters were worth saving, and after a month and a half of planning wrote the first issue of Huntress and Valkyrie, a title referring to Siwang’s new role as a protector working alongside long time foe Danika Sedova. In the end it felt forced and Siwang was removed, if only temporarily from the equation leaving Danika to take on the challenges of liberating El Paso from the criminal occupation alone.

The title was the next thing to change, and went through three different names including; Danika Sedova: Bounty Hunter Babe, Valkyrie and Last Days of the Valkyrie before becoming the current title Valhalla Can Wait. While a few of the characters appeared in the original Patron Saint of Crime title, it has been some time since they appeared and long time follower cbishop rose the point of a character guide, something I agreed possibly was required.

So as such this blog will act as library*, character guide and anything else required for this title. Hope you guys enjoy. [*library links removed, because the stories are here in this collected edition -FOP]

Impurest Cheese

Character Guide

Protagonists

Danika Sedova - Alias: Valkyrie

A Ukrainian national, Danika Sedova or Danni to her friends, is an international mercenary who worked for a time as an Interpol agent. After a particularly nasty case she found herself fired, and became a bounty hunter for hire in California, even landing a reality TV show, although she personally disliked being simple ‘eye candy’ and preferred the thrill of the chase. That came in the form of fellow bounty hunter Kenneth Zimmerman the 3rd, who had a vendetta against the Patron Saint of Crime. The pair teamed up but failed in their first attempt, with the gung-ho Zimmerman being arrested, and Sedova being hired by Jena Johansson as a field test pilot for project Valkyrie.

Johansson’s backers wanted the Patron Saint of Crime captured, and sent Sedova in the Valkyrie power armour after her. In battle Sedova had the edge, but ultimately was defeated when the nano-fibre cable in her suit burnt through the thigh armour, with the accident almost costing Sedova her legs. Hospitalized Sedova would later return to El Paso after Boccanegra, the local crime lord, was assassinated, once again using the name Valkyrie. Dedicated to cleaning the now war-torn streets, Sedova teamed up with Vance Chambers, a former police technician, and started investigating the sale of high-tech military grade hardware on the streets.

Vance Chambers

Born in El Paso, Vance followed in his father’s footsteps and became a police officer, but was wounded within a year, and gratefully took a desk-job where he homed his computer skills. This, and his clean record, didn’t go unnoticed by James Grady, who was planning a rico case against local crime lord Boccanegra, and was approached to join an undercover unit. Vance agreed and was ‘killed’ by the operative known as the Patron Saint of Crime, in reality Grady’s adopted sister Maya.

After aiding Maya in gathering data, Vance was told to leave the unit after the Patron Saint of Crime had a nervous breakdown. Out on the now war torn streets, Vance was approached by Danika Sedova, who was looking for technical support to aid in tackling the influx of dangerous crime brought on after Bocanegra’s death.

Antagonists

Dr Jena Johansson - Alias: Black Box

A gifted scientist, Johansson works for Raido Computer Consulting, a branch of a shadowy consortium with loose ethics. She was paid to bring the Valkyrie Power Armour to El Paso by the Weaver, and later chose Danika Sedova to be the first test pilot. After Sedova’s defeat, Johansson was demoted, but apparently has enough influence to bid on a unique piece of hardware known as ‘The Chisel’.

‘Smithy Weston’ - Alias: Gunsmith

An independent arms dealer who only occasionally dealt with the cartels, and often supplied high tech weapons to third parties. One such group was Danika Sedova and Kenneth Zimmerman, who brought weapons, explosives and a drone from his base in Truth and Consequences. Zimmerman rapid Weston for his services, by shooting him through the skull, and leaving him for dead.

This apparently didn't stop him however, as Weston reappeared auctioning off ‘The Chisel’ in his base at City Hall. At least three men resembling Weston were seen at the auction; with two bearing surgical scars, thus throwing suspicion on whether Zimmerman killed the original Smithy Weston, or if he was just a facsimile of the real man.

Soko - Alias: Falcon

An aged Serbian sniper, the man known only as Soko is wanted for war crimes committed in the Kosovo Crisis and the collapse of Yugoslavia. In particular was his torture of children, using a painful venom housed in a ad-hoc knuckle duster. Decades later he arrived in El Paso looking for someone to perform a mercy killing after he was diagnosed with cancer. Angering Boccanegra after killing two of the crime lords drug dealers, he crossed paths with the Patron Saint of Crime, a fight that cost him his son Svareck, after he was shot with a curare tipped bolt.

Soko recently returned to bid on the weapon known as ‘The Chisel’. The current status of his cancer is unknown.

Weaver

A Chinese enforcer working for a gang boss, known as the Dragon Eel, based in Macau, the Weaver arrived in El Paso, after paying a debt to his master, and was in return allowed to see his child again. He attempted to capture the Patron Saint of Crime, hiring Jena Johansson and by extension Danika Sedova to complete the task. Sometime later he promised to stay out of the city but returned, possibly under the instructions of the Dragon Eel, to bid on ‘The Chisel’

Valhalla Can Wait #1 (14 Feb, 2015)

Cross of Grace Church, El Paso, Texas

Father Robbins was well aware of the situation outside, that the death of the crime lord Bochanegra just a few days earlier had plunged El Paso into hell. And while he truly admired the efforts of the police and the National Guard to take control of the city there was only one cure for the madness, and that was to penitently kneel before the lord. Some already knew this and had fled to the church looking for sanctuary but he had turned them away. Salvation was one thing but Robbins remembered the last time lawlessness had clutched the city, that and the constant reminder from the rifle round that still rattled around his hip. As such the sudden knocking wasn’t a surprise to him and he ignored the sound and went back to his prayers. All of a sudden the sound of an engine replaced the knocking and an up-armoured Ford 550 came barrelling through the doors before slamming into Robbins.

“Set up, if we’re lucky that Saint Chick will show up and help us out.” The passenger in the front seat stated as he slid out and walked over to Robbins, his silhouette dark against the backdrop of a city on fire behind him. Dressed in a grey boiler suit covered with a bandolier of grenades and a gas mask over his face the man bent down and touched the priest’s cheek. “Forgive me for this Father.” He lamented before removing one of the grenades and stuffing it down the man’s throat.

“Laurence, Morris, Norbert I don’t want that tin plated b***h getting in here you understand!!” He bellowed to the men dressed almost identically to him save for their lack of bandoliers. “Shoot on sight, do you underst….” The rest of his words were lost in a hail of automatic fire as the three gang members opened fire at the hole created by the Ford’s forced entry into the church. One standing to the left of the Ford was taken down as their target returned fire, a pistol round slashing into his leg and sending him toppling to the floor.

“Pete what should we do?” One of the thugs asked as he slipped behind one of the Ford’s open doors.

“It’s Willy Peters not Pete!!” The leader boomed as he removed another pair of grenades. “Now let’s see how she deals these!!” He yelled before pitching both of the grenades over the vehicle, their casings cracking open and releasing a smokescreen of thick white fog. “Now get back out there Morris or I’ll shove one of these up you’re a**!!” He ordered whilst giving ‘Morris’ a swift kick in the rear. Seconds late a trio of pistol shots could be heard and Morris came barrelling past, his gun dropped and his arm bleeding from two well placed bullets.

“Okay missy you want to come after me, fine but you’re going to find out there are going to be consequences.” Pete snorted as he removed a detonator from his pocket and held it up for his attacker to see. “Take your shot but if you do the priest gets sent to hell aflame! Now drop your weapons and come out with your hands up.” His answer came moments later as a pistol came skidding across the floor towards his feet followed by a pair of stylised throwing axes.

“She’s…she’s giving up…” Morris gasped from where he lay bleeding out.

“Oh shut it you maggot!” Pete snapped back at him as he peered into the fog. “Now come out Missy or the priest gets it.” He ordered before seeing something glint in the fog. Before he could even depress the tiger something red hot lanced through his hands right down to the bone before they dropped to the floor, trigger still held tightly be the severed limb.

“By the way,” A female voice announced as a blonde haired woman dressed in red and gold ballistic armour, a respirator clamped over her mouth connected to a small canister on her back, “the name is Danni not ‘Missy’ but you can call me Valkyrie just like all the rest of your kind.” She added before retracting the length of nano fibre cable back into her gauntlet. "That stings I know, a certain saint used it to burn the muscle on my legs, took me a year to heal but I have the feeling it may take you a bit longer."

“I’m gonna kill you missy, I swear me and my boys are going to rip your head off and stuff enough high grade explosives down your neck hole that…”

“That what?” Danni asked as she pulled the grenade out of Father Robbins mouth. “You are armless, and very soon you’ll be in jail.” She added before removing four sets of handcuffs and chaining Pete’s thugs to the door of their vehicle. Pausing she shot Pete a smile before slamming him head first into the bonnet of the Ford. “Call 911 and tell them you have a Class C Felon contained here.” Danni instructed Robbins before walking back towards the hole in the wall.

“Wait thank you, and may God bless you miss.” Robbins called after her. Turning he looked at Pete and shook his head before heading for the phone in the back. Once the police had removed these criminals he vowed never to turn anyone away again, he owed his angelic saviour that much at least.”

**

‘The Abby’, Floor 11 Texas Tower, El Paso

The former apartment in the Texas Tower was loaded with computer equipment and thick cables that snaked across the floor to every available outlet not to mention a portable generator sitting in the bathroom. Flopping down onto the bed Danni pulled off her breastplate and inspected the myriad of bullet slashes that had scarred the titanium plate.

“Rough night?” A voice came from the balcony as a dark skinned man dressed in jeans and a t-shirt overlaid with a bullet-proof vest asked.

“No more then usual Vance.” Danni replied as he sat down next to her and inspected the breastplate. “Still I took down William Peters AKA Private Phosphorus tonight.”

“I know Officer West sent me a text saying they picked him up a few minutes ago. She did want to know why you felt you had to go as far as to cut off his hands.” Vance asked as one of the computers beeped twice.

“It was the only way to take him down before he killed the hostage.” Danni explained as she removed one of her throwing axes from her belt and threw it into the air before expertly catching it head first. “And to be honest he deserved a lot worse with what he’s done in the last week alone. Speaking of worse, how is May, have you heard from her since…”

“Since she went psycho and kicked us out of our operation’s centre forcing us to move from safehouse to safehouse? No, I haven’t and there has been no sightings in the past twenty four hours.” Vance announced as he checked the alert the computer had sent him. “It seems Siwang’s last kill is going to be herself though, I can feel it in my marrow.”

“Can you blame her; she lost everything in the space of forty minutes. Her brother, her lover, her mission, her integrity and her sister were all taken away from her the day Bochanegra was assassinated.” Danni answered as she reached into the bedside cabinet and pulled out a bottle of water. “But that aside it looks like we have something.”

“You remember Smithy Weston?” Vance asked before brining up a mug shot. “Calls himself the Gun Smith, well looks like he’s holding a private auction in city hall.”

“Wait didn’t I kill him?” Danni asked a confused look spreading across her face. “No fair why can’t dead guys just stay dead.”

“Well his resurrection aside the auction is for something called the XC-280 ‘Chisel’, a project so secret that I can’t find a lick of information on it. That said we don’t want it out on the streets whatever it is, hence why we, and by that I mean you, will be visiting them tomorrow evening.” Vance explained before turning to Danni. “That’s if you feel that you’re up for it?”

“Well the Valkyrie armour needs some retooling to keep it combat ready but it should handle it alright.” Danni answered before running a gauntlet finger over the opposite hand.

“Oh you won’t need it.” Vance stated with a smirk.

“And why’s that?”

“It’s black tie only.” Vance answered. “You’re going to have to be civil and charming for once in your life.”

“Pft I am very charming and very civil.” Danni replied with a smirk.

“Yeah right.” Vance deadpanned. “I’ll believe it when I see it.”

ValhallaCan Wait #2 (4 Mar, 2015)

‘The Abbey’, Floor 11 Texas Tower, El Paso

“How do I look?” Danni purred as she leaned against the door-frame, a light blue dress hugging her curves, whilst a sapphire pendant graced her neck. “If you like it, take a picture, because you won't see me wear this ever again.” She added as she walked over to the chair Vance was reclining in.

“Don’t need to, this whole place is bugged,” Vance answered smugly, “including the showers.” He added. Rolling her eyes Danni slapped him on the back of the head, before walking over to the window. “You’re ride called; they’ll be here in ten minutes.” He announced as he rubbed the place where he had been hit.

“Who’s supplying the cash for the auction?” Danni asked as Vance walked over to the main bank of computers. “Because between us, we only have about a hundred dollars.”

“US Government, not that I'd trust them with whatever the thing the Gun Smith is selling.” Vance answered. “It’s a masked auction to boot, so it'll be a little harder to ID the other bidders.” He added as he reached under the desk and pulled out a pink carrier bag. Slipping her hand inside, Danni pulled out a silver framed headband with an attached face guard and long sweeping stylized wings, which ran back across her hair. “See those lenses across the eyes; those relay data back here to the Abbey, not to mention they let you see across the majority of the electromagnetic spectrum.

“If only I had one of these for the winter formal three years ago.” Danni stated sarcastically, “Hmm do you know you have an arrow head stuck between you fourth and fifth ribs by the way?”

“I wondered where Siwang put that.” Vance replied in an equally sarcastic voice. “Oh heads up, looks like your ride is here.” He added as he flicked through the camera feeds, until he got the one he wanted the screen showing a battered Casspir APC pull up outside the tower. “You know it’s bad out, if they send a mine protected vehicle to take you on a nine minute journey, to your destination.”

“Well maybe if we take ‘the Chisel’ off the streets things will get better.” Danni suggested, as she grabbed her mask and a purse, before slipping into a pair of high heels. “Wish me luck and keep in contact. This could turn ugly very quickly.”

**

City Hall, DowntownEl Paso

City Hall was remarkably intact, despite sitting in the middle of a war-zone. And while the guards, and hastily erected sentry towers had something to do with it, most of it was down to the reputation of the man running the auction. As she tottered up the steps, Danni mused on her one and only meeting with the man known as Smithy Weston AKA the Gun Smith, and how she had left him bleeding out on the floor. She wasn't proud of that moment, or those that followed, but now wasn't the time to fixate on past events.

“Miss, we need to check your bag.” A guard announced, shocking Danni out of her memories. Nodding she handed him the purse, and watched as the guard swept a scanner over the item. After a single beep, he opened up the bag and removed a handgun and two clips of ammunition. “Weapons are not allowed into the auction room; you can check them here or leave.” The guard explained as he slipped the pistol back into the purse.

“I expect them back once bidding is done.” Danni told him as a second guard joined the second and took the bag. “This is your slip,” the guard told her, as he handed Danni a pink slip of paper, “don’t loose it or your gun becomes Mr Weston’s property.” Danni nodded before slipping the paper into her bra, as she walked towards the full body scanner standing before the door, a trio of guards armed with assault weapons waiting for her.

“Step through and wait on the other side.” The first guard announced. “Any action other then that, will be considered hostile.” Calmly Danni stepped through the scanner and came to a stop on the other side.

“She’s clean, no concealed weaponry.” One of the guards stated. “Head inside and pick up your paddle.” He ordered as the other security agents lowered their weapons. Taking a deep breath Danni continued inside, wordlessly taking in the row of security cameras tracking her every step. She was so focused on the security that she almost bumped into a man dressed in a suit, who was waiting at the end of the corridor.

“Number Four I presume.” The man announced in a classic Texan accent. “Welcome to my auction.”

“Mr Weston?” Danni spluttered as she took in the man’s features, ones that were uncannily similar to the man she had seen executed over a year earlier. “I was expecting…”

“Take your paddle, mingle and have something to eat.” Weston told her, “The auction begins in half an hour.” He added, before flashing her a smile, one that made Danni even more uneasy, than she already was. Walking down the stairs into the main room didn't help, there were seven people already in the room, all wearing masks as well as two more men who looked identical to Weston.

“Tell me you saw that?” Danni whispered as she headed to the buffet table, her eyes fixed on one of the hosts.

“Yep, I saw all three of them.” Vance answered. “Images match the man found dead in Truth and Consequences a while back. Well almost, two of them had scarring constant with plastic surgery.”

”I didn't see that.” Danni stated as she shot one of the Weston's a quick glance

“Zoom filters in the mask caught it, anyway forget about him, and look towards the back of the room.” Vance instructed, just as Danni picked up a salmon sandwich and twisted her head to look over the shoulder. “Okay see those gimbals on the ceiling,” Vance asked, “they are connected to a remote operated .30 calibre machine gun.”

“Yes I can see. The thermal reading gives it away.” Danni announced as the lenses flashed red. “The guards both have a sidearm as well; none of the other occupants, whoever they are, seem to be armed however.”

“Relax, I’m filtering audio and running the voices against Interpol, the FBI and just about every other database on earth.” Vance told her as Danni took a bite out of the sandwich. “As soon as I get something I’ll let you know.” He added as a well built man, dressed in a white suit and wearing a black mask with a fanged mouth guard, walked over.

“I wouldn't bother with the food.” He purred in Greek accented English. “Finally looks like someone half decent turned up.”

“Half decent? You're making some presumptions Mr…,” She stopped and looked at the marker he was carrying, “Paddle Number Five.” Danni replied, a half smile forming under her mask. “So Mr Five, what’s wrong with the food.”

”It’s been out for an hour.” ‘Mr Five’ replied. “And I presume that while cooked, it may have picked up trace amounts of the other bidders spit and bile on it, from their time over her.”

“And you’re over here why?” Danni asked cheekily. “Surely the food is too filthy for you?” She asked, her words causing a massive grin to spread across ‘Mr Five’s’ face.

“I’m clean in clean situation,” He announced as he came in close, “and filthy in dirty ones. And why I’m here, well predators always target those who stray from the herd.”

“True but you made a mistake. I’m not the prey, I’m the predator and you isolated yourself.” Danni whispered before pushing the man away. “Have fun bidding, if you’re lucky you may just come in second.” She added, before striding away, a massive grin on her face.

“He may well be.” Vance told her. “I've got an ID on him; a one Jase Sallas AKA the Manticore. He’s currently on retainer for the FSB and most likely bidding for them too. He’s is likely one of two bidders who could match us; the other is the woman dressed in ocean blue, she’s an old associate of yours, a Ms Jena Johansson AKA the Black Box.” Vance told her as Danni fixed eyes on the other blonde woman, nervously sipping a glass of champagne.

“She’ll be bidding for herself most likely.” Danni answered. “How about the others?”

“Two international terrorist; Itopa AKA 1 Death from the Sons of Montezuma, and David Rubio AKA the Ibex from the Free Catalan Movement, both are wanted by Interpol.” Vance told her as Danni watched the two men in suits with a skull and goat mask size each other up. “Guy in the gold silk covering is the Weaver; I doubt I need to introduce him or his employer the Dragon Eel to you.”

“No, although I’m surprised he’s here after the promise he made Maya, after she found out he was her father.” Danni whispered as a woman dressed in a forest green dress walked past, her face covered in a porcelain mask, followed by a man walking with a cane, his dress uniform contrasting with the feathered mask he wore.

“The other two are known, but their affiliation is not. The older gentleman is a former Serbian officer known only as Soko AKA the Falcon. The woman is…oh you’re not going to believe this.” He gasped before the line exploded into static, just as Weston emerged from the back room flanked by a pair of guards, the men grunting as they carried in a large crate decorated with radiation warning stickers.

“Bidding will start shortly.” Weston told the assembled criminals and mercenaries. “But of course you’ll want to see if your money is being well spent, as such a demonstration will be held in five minutes, and can be viewed from the balcony.”

“Excuse me Senor Weston.” The Ibex announced as he looked up at the box. “My link to my commanders has been severed, I demand an explanation!!”

“Yes I have doubt they have, and I apologise for that.” Weston announced, his face displaying anything but sorrow at this development, “The weapon you are about to see scrambles local electronics when in close proximity to them when fully charged. I assure you when bidding starts your connection will be re-established. But until then…” He stopped and looked at the other two Weston’s in the room and smiled at then. “…you are all in this alone.”

ValhallaCan Wait #3 (31 Mar, 2015)

The main courtyard, of what had been city hall, was now occupied by a row of seven battered APCs, their paint rusted, and headlights cracked. Despite that, Danni knew they were all still serviceable, still viable to carry troops to and from battle. So as she and the other bidders stood on the balcony, she wondered just what exactly Mr. Weston was about to show them. In addition part of her wished Vance was still linked in; she could use his analysis on whatever was about to happen, right about now.

“Ladies and Gentlemen,” Smithy stated, “the tank is an integral part of any nation’s war machine. And from that one design that rumbled over the fields of Flanders a myriad of designs have sprung forth, as well as an equal amount of weapons for the grunt of the field to deal with them. Well tonight,” he announced, as a man walked into the courtyard, a bulky looking canon slung over his shoulders, the weapon’s barrel lined with blue lights, “I announce the extinction of the tank!!” He yelled as the man fired a burst of light and the sound of screeching metal emanating from the courtyard as a shell smashed through the line of APCs and the perimeter wall, into the building over the street. As the light faded, the sound of applause filled the air, and Danni found herself the only one not clapping, a worried look on her face as she imagined what the weapon would be like, in the hands of any of the others around her.

“Bidding will commence in five minutes.” Weston stated, “So take the time to tell your backers what you’ve just witnessed.”

**

Danni sat in the woman’s restroom, as the transceivers in her mask linked back to the Abbey at a painfully slow rate. “Vance are you there?” Danni asked, as she heard someone else enter the bathroom.

“Thank God, I completely lost you for a few minutes.” Vance sighed, relief flooding his voice. “Listen I have an ID…”

“It can wait, I just saw the ‘Chisel’ in action.” Danni spluttered, as she peaked out through the door to see the unknown woman standing outside, her phone clamped to her ear. “It’s some kind of rail-gun, one that’s man portable and fires a shell strong enough to cleave through a column of tanks.”

“Are you sure? I’m bringing up some satellite images of city hall now…oh my, those husks were…”

“Yes they were, do you know of anything like this outside of science fiction?” Danni asked, as the woman outside left, the door slamming behind her.

“The US and British Navy are using an electromagnetic catapult to launch aircraft, and there is talk about large scale canons for ship defence, both are viable but there have been teething problems. It is after all a new technology.” Vance replied, “Cost and overheating are the major problems, but in a hand hold weapon there is also the issue of powering the weapon. My guess is that the ‘Chisel’ is using a neodymium magnet to fire the shell.”

“Neodymium, that’s a rare mineral right? And I’m guessing that charging the magnet does structural damage?” Danni asked, as she stood up and left the stall.

“It’s possible, new technology goes through all kinds of problems.” Vance answered, as Danni stopped as she saw a briefcase left under the sink. Bending down, Danni ran her hand along the top of the case, before backing up. Heading for the door, she felt something impact on her back, its tip digging into her skin. Spinning round she saw the attacker, holding the walking stick like a rifle, smoke billowing from the end.

“Soko?!” Danni asked, as the old man advanced on her, his feathered mask making his face look inhumanly menacing. Without saying a word, he took a swipe at her, with his gun cane, his target only just blocking before she slipped under his guard, and delivered a punch to the face. Staggering backwards, Soko threw his cane away, and held his hands up in a defensive stance, before lashing out, the blow slamming into Danni’s throat. Wheezing she doubled over, before receiving a knife chop to the back of her neck.

“This pain is going to be intense, but you will survive assuming my employer wins the lot.” Soko told Danni, as he slammed a two clawed knuckle duster into his victim’s neck. “If he doesn’t get what he wants, you won’t leave this bathroom.” He added, as Danni screamed in pain, before receiving a kick to the chest. “Fight the venom all you want, only one has ever resisted for more then a minute and you aren’t her.”

**

Danni grunted in pain as she opened her eyes, and looked up at the high ceiling before sitting up in the bed she found herself in. Looking to her left she saw her mask and wig lying on the bedside cabinet, and placed the later on her head.

“You have cancer.” A Greek accented voice stated, causing Danni to look over to the right where Jase Sallas AKA the Manticore was sitting, his mask off to reveal forest green eyes, tanned skin and a goatee.

“It’s in remission.” Danni answered, “Why are you here?”

“I declined to bid.”

“Let me guess Moscow did a cost-benefit analysis on that thing, and found it wasn’t worth the amount Weston wants for it.” Danni announced, as she checked her mask. “At least tell me they booted Soko for attacking me.”

“He’s still in there.” Sallas answered, “The two terrorists left early when they couldn’t afford the price, they were fools, this Gun-Smith knows his weapon is a white elephant.”

“So there’s something else.” Danni whispered, “Do you have any idea what it is?”

“No, but the nano-trancievers I seeded on everyone picked up mention of a second lot for auction.” Sallas answered, before removing a coin sized disc from his suit pocket. “It’s also how I found you.”

“Great security picked up my pistol, but everyone else managed to get weapons into this place.” Danni complained, before fitting her mask back onto her face. “So what do we do about this second lot?”

“We find it.” Sallas stated, as he got to his feet and placed his own mask on his face. “And when we do we access what to do with it.”

“How do I know you won’t betray me?” Danni asked, as she covertly opened the communications link in her mask.

“I could ask you the same thing.” Sallas answered her.

“You lead, I’ll follow.” Danni announced, “We will need to find this weapon first. Once we have, then we can discuss our agendas, and go from there.”

Before reading A Ukranian in Mexico...
...you want to read El Paso: The Mean Streets #1-10.
A Ukrainian in Mexico (23 Jan, 2016)

Safehouse, Villa Ahumunda, Mexico

A shot sounded as the gang of men stormed the building on the other side of the plaza, before emerging a few minutes later dragging a young couple onto the street. The man was slung into the bed of a pick-up truck, the majority of the invaders jumping on as it pulled away leaving two men alone with the young woman. The first beat her with the pistol he was holding, as his comrade pulled down his pants, before falling forward, a ragged hole drilled through his chest. Spinning round the remaining gunman spent a few long seconds looking for the shooter before being felled by a bullet himself.

“That was stupid Senora Sedova.” The Hispanic man sitting on the bed, dressed in a T-Shirt and jeans snorted as the blonde haired woman dressed in urban camo trousers and ballistic vest closed the window and stood the FN FAL against the wall. “She is El Aquila just like I was, she will send her hermanos to investigate.”

“Maybe you should have thought about that before you decided to ask for amnesty from the US Government Jose. And maybe you should have asked last time you were in the States.” Sedova announced, her accent tinged with a Ukrainian accent, as she checked the clock on the table. “The Federal Police escort the ambassador negotiated is late.” She mused, as she removed a pair of handguns from her holsters and checked the ammunition levels. “We may have to move to the secondary extraction plan if they don’t show.”

“It is amusing how you gringos rely on the police for your safety.” Jose sneered as he shot a look at the FAL in the next room. “They can be bought just like anyone else.” He added, as Sedova removed a pair of water bottles from the small fridge and placed them in a rucksack. Packing more supplies the sound of sirens began to grow louder until a pair of police cars tore into the square followed by a pick-up truck full of armed men dressed in street clothes, an eagle painted on the flanks of the vehicle.

“These aren’t federal units.” Sedova sighed, as four officers got out of the car, their handguns drawn and at the ready whilst the men from the truck headed round the back of the building. “They are municipal police.” She added, as she threw a towel over the FAL and walked to the door, just as heavy fists pounded on the door. Opening it, Sedova shot the officers a smile. “Can I help you officers?” She asked in Spanish.

“You are under arrest on suspicion of murder Senora.” The lead officer stated, as he pushed Sedova back to allow his men into the room. “Place your hands on the wall.” He ordered, as two officers dragged Jose out of the bedroom and pushed him to the floor. “You Senor are a very popular man with El Aquila, he requests that you speak to him about the theft of some data about his operations.” He added, as Sedova tapped her foot on the floor, an explosion of light and sound erupted from the tiles. Whirling around Sedova slammed the Captain in the gut, before tackling the officer in the door way and wrenching his pistol away. As the light faded the two officers guarding Jose opened fire although the flashbang grenades detonation had thrown off their arm. Retuning fire Sedova shot both officers in the arm, the pain shooting through them causing them to drop their guns.

“I told you.” Jose hissed, as Sedova holstered her pistol and picked up the FAL before shouldering the rucksack.

“Just get ready to move.” Sedova ordered, as she headed down the steps into the building’s basement, Jose hot on her heels as the pair of them arrived in the garage. Moving to open the door Sedova stopped as she heard banging on the garage door. “Your hermanos?” She asked Jose, as he crouched behind some boxes. Not waiting for an answer she flipped an IR sensor connected to the FAL open, the pad showing six men standing on the other side of the door. Rolling her eyes Sedova opened fire, the bullets chewing through the flimsy wooden garage door into the men outside. Pushing the door open Sedova scanned the area before removing the ammunition from her FAL and tossed the gun away.

“What are you doing?” Jose asked, as Sedova pulled an MP7 Machine Pistol from her bag and headed out into the side street. “Why did you throw it away?”

“It’s a little obvious even for this lawless town.” Sedova answered, as Jose chased after her, the pair of them arriving in a street lined with shops, restaurants and garages. “I have a vehicle rented from El Paso stored in a local garage.” She added, as the pair of them mingled with the crowd of shoppers going about their business in the late afternoon. Crossing the street, the pair of them entered one of the roadside garages filled with vehicles, mechanics working on them. “Senor where is the car I left here?” She asked the nearest worker.

“I will get the keys and bring it round front Senorita.” The mechanic stated, as he put down the welding torch he was using, and headed into the office.

“You are a fool gringo, this isn’t a garage it’s a chop-shop.” Jose whispered as he made sure his arms were covered. “Do you not see the tattoos on these men, they are part of El Tarantula, the enemies to El Aquilla.”

“El Tarantula, you mean they work for Boccanegra?” Sedova asked as a pair of blacked-out Cadillacs pulled up on the other side of the street. Looking up at the office, she saw the mechanic talking to a man dressed in a suit, the second man handing him an old fashioned bolt-action rifle. “Head through the shop, stay low and keep your head down.” She ordered, as she pulled the MP7 out of her holster and opened fire up at the office, buying time for Jose to dash towards the back of the garage. Heading for the back of the garage herself, Sedova fired one last burst as a few of the mechanics drew their pistols and returned fire just as the men from over the road got out of their cars and came running.

Emerging from the chop-shop, Sedova and Jose emerged in a junkyard pull of car-parts waiting to be sold or scrapped. “What made you think you could trust those men?” Jose snapped, as the pair of them weaved through the piles of junk and rusting sheet metal towards the chain-link fence on the far side of the compound.

“Gutierrez my contact in the Federal Police recommended them. Between that and their website I felt almost secure leaving the car there, almost.” She added, as they reached the fence and the locked gate. “There are wire cutters in the pack, make a hole while I buy us some time.” She ordered, as she replaced the ammo clip in her MP7 and pulled a grenade launcher and case from the bag before handing it to Jose. Turning to cut the wire Jose heard an explosion and turned to see an avalanche of car parts fall across the path and Sedova packing the grenade launcher back into the bag. Shaking his head he tore the wire away, before ducking through to the other side of the fence, his protector following him dragging her bag through.

“So what now? We have no federal escort, no car and we’re in the middle of a war-zone. I knew the US Marshall’s office shouldn’t have sent some bimbo actress to pick me…” He stopped as Sedova shot him an angry look before walking down the street towards the road intersection, her hands unbuttoning her jacket. Striking a pose it became evident what she was doing when a car came to a stop. Rolling his eyes Jose watched as his escort got into the car, before the horn sounded and the body of the driver slumped onto the pavement unconscious.

“Get my jacket and get in!” Sedova ordered, as she shifted into the driver’s seat. Nodding his head, Jose grabbed the jacket and rucksack before climbing into the back of the car. Gunning the engine Sedova headed north along the backstreets towards the main highway that lead up to the border. “For your information I was trained in Special Operations Sevastopol during my National Service back home, after that I worked for Interpol for a period, then I did that TV show before going back to my mercenary roots so I am not a bimbo actress.”

“You left our escape vehicle with a cartel chop-shop!” Jose snapped as a police car sped past the other way.

“I left it there because that was the plan, why would anyone bring a high end Mercades into Mexico. The answer, because I wanted it to end up in Cartel hands, a car like that will go to some high ranking enforcer in the United States.” Sedova explained.

“Ci, as a former driver for one of El Aquila’s lieutenants I know this.” Jose answered, as the car pulled onto the main highway behind a Ford Taurus with an eagle painted in white on the rear of the car.

“I had the car modified, there’s a tracker in one of the seats and a remote immobilizer in the engine.” Sedova answered, as they headed out Villa Ahumunda. “No lengthy police chase, no easy escape for the cartel boss inside.” She added, as the Taurus slowed down to join the queue of traffic leaving town. “Hand me my jacket and the thing that looks like a laptop from my bag, I have a feeling we have a roadblock up ahead.” She added, as the traffic crawled slowly forward. Her suspicions were confirmed by the pair of State Police Cars parked up-ahead as well as a pick-up truck, its flanks emblazoned with the mark of El Aquila.

Slowing down Sedova wound down the window and smiled at the police officer, before flicking the switch on the side of the laptop and throwing it out of the window and slamming her foot down on the accelerator and pulling away. Peering out the back window Jose watched as the State Police Cars pulled away before slowing down and crashed into each other while the men on the ground hunched over and started vomiting or even just falling to their knees holding their heads. “What was that?” He asked, as a few of the officers pulled their weapons from their holsters and fired a few shots, their bullets going wide.

“Non-Lethal Disorientation Device, it’s a little thing I picked up last time I was in Europe. The flashing lights cause headaches, vomiting and imbalance in anyone in the radius of effect. They will be in no state to continue pursuit for at least half an hour.” Sedova stated, as she accelerated, the Ford Taurus matching pace and keeping just ahead of the stolen car. “The problem isn’t behind us, it’s ahead of us, that Taurus is a pace car phoning in our position to the rest of their gang.”

“Ci I have done this before, there is a bridge up ahead where we would heard El Tarantula vehicles towards. When they passed the hermanos with rocket launchers would take them out.” Jose sighed, as he looked in the rucksack. “I don’t suppose you have anything for that?”

“Not on me. Tell me if we pull over will the pace car stop?” Sedova asked, as she rested a hand on the pistol holstered on her belt.

“Not usually but they may to make sure we don’t double back.” Jose told her. “Why do you ask?”

“I need to send a text to Gutierrez. It’s clear he’s taking handouts from the El Tarantula Cartel, and that he sent them to grab you. And while the enemy of my enemy isn’t always my friend, it’s always the enemy to my enemy.” She stated, as she flicked the hazard warning lights on and pulled into a lay-by on the side of the road, the pace car pulling onto the side of the highway seconds later. Removing her phone, Sedova slipped out of the car and typed in a number before placing the phone to her ear, her free hand resting on the sidearm. Mumbling to herself she paced up and down, before walking towards the pace car and knocking on the driver-side window, the man inside winding it down to look at her. “Howdy,” Sedova said in a mock Texan accent, “My car is broken down, I don’t suppose you boys could drive me to a garage?” She asked sweetly, the four men inside looking at one another.

“Get in.” The driver ordered, as the passenger whispered something into the phone before switching it off. Smiling Sedova squeezed onto the back seat before resting her hand on his holster, before elbowing the man to the right and drew her pistol and fired three shots into the men around her. The man in the seat to her right shook himself and reached for her throat only for his ‘victim’ to elbow him again and draw a knife, the blade cutting through his throat. Kicking the bodies out of the car Sedova gestured for Jose to come running over.

“I’ll drive, you yell down at the phone at you ‘hermanos’.” Sedova stated as she sent two texts on her phone before climbing into the front seat and putting her foot down, the Ford Taurus idling down the highway.

“Senora there is a lot of product back here.” Jose stated as he looked in the back of the car. “There is also a box of gunsights marked ‘CS’ as well.” He added as an old Cadillac and an equally rundown pick-up truck came thundering towards them, their sides emblazoned with spiders. A few minutes later the three vehicles reached a bridge, a few gang members armed with RPG Launchers already waiting for them. Dashing through Sedova watched in the rear-screen mirror as the pursuit vehicles were bombarded with rockets. As the smoke cleared from the wreckage several of the bridge-top ambush team raced to a pair of pick-ups parked just off the road and started driving after the fleeing Ford Taurus. “We still have a problem on our tail, and it just got larger!!”

“Huh?” Sedova stated as she checked the rear view mirror to see a heavily armoured truck come thundering down the road, the top mounted machinegun opening fire indiscriminately on all three vehicles. “Great Narco-Tank!” She hissed, as one of the pursuit vehicles spun off the road, as the Narco-Tank gained ground on the Ford Taurus, as the men in the second pick-up truck opened fire only for the rounds to bounce off the armoured flanks of the vehicle. “Change of plan, you drive and I’ll shoot.” She ordered, as she switched on the cruise control and slipped into the back of the car, as seconds later Jose took his place. Pulling the grenade launcher from her rucksack and one of the gunsights and slotted the former into the later and aimed the weapon out the window and fired, the grenade slamming into the remaining pick-up truck and exploding in a burning fireball.

“Senora you need to hurry!” Jose called as the Narco-Tank slammed into the rear of the Taurus, the force of the impact causing her to drop the launcher out the window.

“Slow down and get behind them!” Sedova ordered as the Narco-Tank opened fire, the machine gun bullets arching past them as Jose swerved into the left hand carriage-way and slowed down bringing the Taurus out of the line of fire. Pulling behind the Narco-Tank, Sedova and Jose watched as the back of the ‘tank’ opened and a pair of gunmen opened fire with their assault rifles, the rounds slashing off the hardened bonnet of the Ford Taurus.

“This is better!” Jose sneered, as Sedova picked up a bundle of hemp from the boot of the car and a blowtorch from her bag, lit it, and then flung it into the back of the Narco-Tank, the noxious fumes causing the ad-hoc armoured vehicle shaking before careering off the road. “How are we getting to the border with all my hermanos hunting me!”

“Oh don’t worry about that, we’re getting out very soon. Pull over here.” Sedova stated as Jose pulled the car over, before passing a sign reading ‘Casa Sedova’. “We were never heading to the border.” She added as Jose stopped the car before a wall of police cars. “I wasn’t a bimbo cop by the way, I was a professional bounty hunter, while you are responsible for the murders of two dozen people, including at least three children. The US government is refusing to give you amnesty as a favour to the Federal Police. Enjoy your time in prison.” She added, as a police officer walked over and handcuffed Jose to the wheel. “You’re going to be there for a while.”

Danika Sedova: Bounty Hunter Babe #1 (29 Mar, 2016)

Marina, Los Gigantes, Tenerife

The camera lens flashed as the blonde haired woman took a photograph of the marina and the numerous private yachts moored within the harbour walls. Taking more photos as she meandered through the crowd to the restaurant at the end of the harbour she saw a shadow loom over her, turning she came face to face with a massive man dressed in a suit, his bald head and crossed arms working together to paint an imposing picture of an angry man.

"Your camera seinorita." He rumbled as he wrenched the camera from the woman's hands, the strap around her neck biting into her flesh as he ripped the memory card out of the machine and crushed it. "No photography permitted." He stated, as he let go of the camera with enough force that the woman tumbled onto the concrete. "Have a nice day." He finished, as he stalked towards one of the jetties leading out to the yachts. Getting to her feet the woman sprinted off, bumping into numerous tourists as she fled the marina.

"As you can see the pleasure yacht of Senior Rohas is the jewel of the marina here when it's docked." A local man told the group of tourists as they checked for their wallets and phones after being bumped.

"Uhm is it meant to be doing that?" One of the tourists asked as a salvo of flares lit up the early evening sky. Seconds later an explosion rocked the yacht as multiple crewmembers jumped over the side in an attempt to flee the flames now engulfing the boat.

"No it's not!" The guide replied, as team of security men ran against the tide of fleeing bodies, their weapons aimed at a figure clinging to the railings. "This never happens..."

**

Dressed in a striped T-shirt, jeans and shades, the platinum haired woman finished clipping the repelling lines to the side of the yacht, before flipping her body over so it was orientated head first as she abseiled down, her free hand attached to a pistol as she opened fire on the incoming security team. In the five seconds it took to reach the floor, all six of the initial attackers were dead on the floor. Righting herself, before removing the harness and reloading, the woman sprinted towards the harbour, just as the yacht behind her exploded in a brilliant orange fireball.

"Black Box we have confirmation on the destruction of the chemical weapons on board the Manos de Feugo, moving to extraction point, Sedova out." The woman stated, as a four man team mounted on quadbikes came skidding along the harbour front towards her. Rolling her eyes Sedova took a pair of shots at the first vehicle, the rounds puncturing the front tyres sending the vehicle skidding into the harbour, as the passenger on the second quadbike opened fire with a machine pistol, his target leaping down onto one of the burning boats in the marina. Leaping from boat to boat Sedova quickly moved out of range of the quadbike, the men cursing at her as a matte black RHIB boat crewed by six men launched from the marina to intercept her.

"You on the boat stand down now!" One of the men called using a bullhorn, only for the tool to be shot out of his hand as the RHIB began to run parallel to Sedova's path across the moored boats. "So be it," He sighed, "Shoot her!" He snarled as the men in the boat drew their handguns and opened fire, forcing Sedova to take refuge in one of the yachts she had been sprinting across, her repelling harness dropping to the deck as she took cover. "Go up and get her!" The commander ordered, as the clank of grappling hooks landing on the yachts railings sounded, followed by the wheezing of two men climbing the ropes. Reaching the deck, the first assailant was immediately struck down by a gunshot, his fall giving his comrade the chance to open fire with the Skorpion SMG he was carrying, the hail of shots chipping wood off the deck of the sailboat he was standing on. Ducking into the hold Sedova waited by the entrance for her attacker to wander close before activating her trap, the auto-ascender on her repelling harness dragging him across the deck and into the railings he'd just ascended.

"What goes up..." Sedova purred as she sprinted over to the boat's anchor, the men in the RHIB taking a few off target shots up at her, "...must go down." She finished as she threw the anchor over the side, the weighted chain smashing into the RHIB forcing it under the surface, its occupants flailing as they tried to avoid being sucked under. As Sedova walked across the deck towards the jetty, a pair of shots rang out as another RHIB came thundering towards her location. Sprinting along the jetty Sedova reached the end of the floating pier just as the second RHIB pulled alongside, the two passengers training their SMGs on her.

"Drop your weapons!" One ordered, as Sedova placed her pistol on the floor, before removing the back-up piece strapped to her ankle. "Knife too!" The gunman growled, just as Sedova removed her blade and stabbed it blade first into the jetty she was standing on. "Is that everything?"

"Well there is my Sentry." Sedova answered cutely as she removed the lip-stick sized stun gun and threw it at the gunmen. "Cute huh?" She asked as the second gunmen picked it up, only for his body to convulse rapidly as the weapon discharged three million volts into him. Not wasting any time Sedova leapt into the boat, tackling the first gunmen to the deck in the moment of surprise the sentry had brought her. “It’s also voice activated" She added, as the pilot turned and rushed her, a nasty looking saw edged knife in his hand.

"I kill you American!" The boatman yelled in a broken English as he brought the knife down, only for Sedova to grab him by the wrist with one hand before delivering a knee to the groin, the man wincing in pain as he fell to the deck.

"I'm Ukrainian." Sedova sighed as the survivors from the first RHIB came running along the jetty towards her. "And you guys don't care." She added, as she removed the knife and threw it towards the oncoming assailants, the ad hoc projectile stabbing into the chest of the man leading the charge. Grabbing the Skorpion, Sedova got to her feet and fired a burst down into the RHIB, the rounds deflating the boat as she dived under the water, just as the three remaining men reached the end of the jetty. Jumping onto the RHIB the first man didn't realise his mistake until the boat sunk under his weight.

"She's gone!" One of the goons yelled, as Sedova kicked her way along the bottom and out through the harbour opening.

"Dead more like it, she's been down for too long." Another thug grunted, as Danika surfaced outside the marina before diving underwater again as she headed for the beach. "When we tell the boss, we tell him it was commandos, lots of them, one woman couldn't have done all this." He added, as Danika surface again, before hauling herself onto the black sand. Walking for a mile along the shore, Sedova stopped as she reached a hunk of volcanic stone sunk into the sand.

"That should put a dent in the Cinquo Rohas Cartels smuggling operations." Sedova yawned as she lifted the top off the rock and removed a red sundress from the hollowed stone. "Thanks for tipping me off Black Box." She added, as she closed the rock and dug it out of the sand. "Anything else happening I should know about?"

"I'll let you know when I have something Danika." A female Asian accented voice announced over the rock's internal speakers. "Send my love to Tag when you get back to San Francisco, tell her I miss her, Black Box out."

"I will Maya." Sedova sighed, as she picked the rock up and headed towards town. "I always do."

Danika Sedova: Bounty Hunter Babe #2 (11 May, 2016)

Danika awoke from her sleep with a gasp and tried to sit up, only for a pain to race up her spine. Grunting she reached over to the bedside table and fumbled around until she found an injector and jabbed it into her arm, before dropping it, the empty casing falling to the floor. Taking a few long breaths she gingerly sat up and painfully swung herself so that her feet were hanging over the edge of the bed, where a pair of crutches were propped next to the cabinet. Groaning she slipped her hands into the cuffs and walked out of the downstairs bedroom into the kitchen, before sitting down at the table where her laptop was sitting on charge.

Flipping the lid open, Danika activated her skype account before clicking on the active contact bar, the face of a young woman filling the screen, her eyes glinting in the evening sun, as did her dark brown hair. "Morning Auntie Danni," She chirped, her voice occasionally breaking into a random flat tone, "How are the Canary Isles?"

"Relaxing Trisha" Danika answered, "How are things back home?"

"They're really great, I managed to land an internship with the SFPD to support my medical degree, I still can't believe it, even though I start next week!" Trisha stated, her happy grin almost filling the entire screen. "I only wish my sister was here to see it."

"So do I 'Tag', I miss her too." Danika answered. "Still when I get home tomorrow we'll go out and celebrate I promise."

"As much as I love you Auntie Danni, we both know that may not happen." Trisha replied sadly. "You're so busy saving the world that you don't have time to save yourself. You've done enough, you had a cancer scare three years ago and you promised to take it easy."

"Compared to the old times I am." Danika answered, her tone even and unrevealing of what she'd actually been up to. "I'm just a military adviser these days, I don't fight unless I have to."

"I've seen the news!" Trisha yelled. "There was a bombing in a harbour near your hotel! I know you would have been involved, you are always involved Auntie Danni. I already lost my sister in El Paso and now you're throwing you're life away. You're spine's playing up again, I can tell, by that look on your face. If ever there was an indication to stop that would be it!"

"I'll stop when I'm ready, I'm only thirty, I'm not ready to retire." Danika replied.

"That's the point, you never will, one of these days you are going to be killed!" Trisha yelled before terminating the Skype link. Placing her head in her hands Danika took a deep breath, before opening her calendar, her eyes running across the multiple 'Flight Home - Cancelled' entries, before taping on today's date and typing 'Flight to Heathrow, JFK, Home' into the space. Seconds later and the laptop chimed, and her email provider opened her inbox, the new window overlaying the calendar. "Hmm interesting." Danika purred before deleting the entry and typing 'Flight to Barcelona, Miami, Nassau - Work (Leviathan Heavy Marine Salvage' instead before whispering, "Sorry 'Tag' but I have to do this...one last time."

**

The Proteus, Leviathan Heavy Marine Salvage Ship, Off the Coast of the Bahamas

The Proteus loomed like some extinct marine monster floating on the ocean surface as the helicopter emblazoned with the whale tail logo of Leviathan Heavy Marine Salvage flew towards it. Danika had to admit that the Proteus was impressive but she had seen it before, having a number of stock options in the company, and had done a number of jobs for the company’s head of security Dietrich Stein, the man who had emailed her a few days ago. As the chopper landed on the ship's helipad, the man in question was already waiting for her, his sunburnt bald head clashing with the pale chinos and pale blue checked shirt.

"Danni, good to see you, how was the flight in?" Stein asked, as Danni, dressed in a royal blue one piece swimsuit and yellow sarong, slipped out of the helicopter and walked over to him.

"It's good to see you too Stein, as for the flight there wasn't any trouble, now what is the problem you seem to be having?" Danni asked as the pair of them walked up the ramp past a pair of heavy duty cranes and into the Proteus's command centre, the few people inside keeping an eye on the local weather patterns including a menacing looking storm front whirling out in the Mid-Atlantic.

"A Brazilian registered car transporter, the King of the Orinoco, sunk on the way to Miami not far from where we are now. We were contacted to recover the vehicles on board, but first we needed to do the initial survey, and hired local divers to help locate the bulk of the cargo." Stein explained as schematics of the King of the Orinoco appeared on one of the screens. "They were all killed alongside two of our own operatives on the wreck twenty minutes into the exploration phase of the dive. All we got were a few photographs of inconsistences in the hull."

"Do you have any idea who killed them?" Danni asked, as a photograph of a ragged series of holes in the hull of the King of the Orinoco.

"There was no other boats in the area so it wasn't rival salvagers or pirates." Stein replied. "Those holes aren't torpedo impacts, there was no damage inside the hull. Personally I think that this is the work of a 'ship welder' like the one we use, but there is a problem, the entry points are too jagged and would take too long to cut through."

"I assume you want to send an armed team down onto the wreck?" Danni asked as Stein brought up a few more pictures of the King of the Orinoco, including one showing an estimate of the depth of the ship wreck. "That's a twenty eight meter dive, that's a nine stop ascent in a potential fire fight, it's almost suicide."

"The Proteus can offer fire support to aid in any open water combat situations." Stein announced. "Not to brag but we have some of the best ROV operates in the civilian sector, and while sending them into the holds of the King of the Orinoco is almost impossible they can operate in open water without fearing nitrogen sickness."

"Then when do we start?" Danni asked.

**

The shark proof diving suit clinked slightly as Danni slipped the SCUBA tank over her shoulders, before slipping the regulator into her mouth. Checking the Prototype Amphibious Rifle, Powehead and Acetylene Torch strapped to her body, Danni shuffled over to where Stein and his men were gathered ready to drop into the ocean, a weighted depth line already pushed over the side of the Proteus's dive platform.

When we get down there stay in your assigned pairs and remember if one of you wants to bug out, both of you bug out!'' Stein ordered, as the pairs of divers, all heavily armed dropped over the side. "Three minutes per stop understand, I don't need anyone getting the bends on this mission, we are not having a replay of Thailand today."

"We didn't have the entire arsenal at our disposal in Thailand." Danni answered, a cheeky smile behind her mask, before she dropped over the side into the water, Stein following her down the red and white depth line, the change in colour marked in three meter intervals to aid the diver's in their descent down to the wreck of the King of the Orinoco. After numerous stops the sunken ship came into view, and the pairs of divers split up to cover the massive ship. Slipping through the holes drilled into the hull, Danni and Stein made their way through the lower car deck, the multiple vehicles sitting like brightly coloured corral boulders in an artificial marine cave. The only thing missing from the reef was a lack of life, besides a few small fish nothing moved in the gloom.

Climbing up one of the stairwells the pair of explorers headed for the bridge, no sign of the former crew or signs of an attack. The former was probably due to sharks, Danni mused, they and the other marine biota had probably started feeding on the bodies. Her suspicion was soon validated, as they rounded the corner to find the corpse of an immature tiger shark drifting along the body, its muscle and fat wasted away, possibly from the series of puncture marks running along its striped flanks. Swimming past the dead shark Danni and Stein drifted into the King of the Orinoco’s bridge, the broken windows giving an unobstructed view across the hull of the ship, not to mention two of the diving team emerging from a hole bored into the deck. Looking across the deck, Danni caught a glimpse of something metallic shaped like a large wing dart past the end of the King of the Orinoco’s deck, her finger pointing out the unknown contact.

Nodding Stein unholstered the amphibious rifle he was armed with and tracked the contact as it swung around and propelled itself straight at the divers on the deck, their own weapons flashing as they opened fire on their attacker in vain, as the machine slammed into one of them, his body disintegrating as it drilled through him. Ducking down into the hole he'd ascended through, the second diver fired up against the assailant as it spun round and zeroed in on him, the pair of them vanishing into the upper car deck. Gasping Danni gripped onto the edge of the windows, only to dart back as a second 'aquatic wing' shot off the deck and swam towards the bridge of the King of the Orinoco.

Ducking back into the ship Stein and Danni swam through the bowels of the ship, the amphibious wing following down the corridors after them. Swimming into a door marked 'Rec', the pair of divers desperately closed the door, plunging the already ill light room into darkness, the only light coming through a small broken window. Watching Stein breathed a sigh as their pursuer failed to follow, its rigid design preventing it from turning enough to drill into the door. Drifting away Danni felt something brush her, causing her hand to move to her acetylene torch, the cutting tool illuminating the room to reveal the bodies of the crew, all of them drained of their muscle and fat.

Looking around the room both divers looked around for an exit that didn't lead back out into the path of the drone's drilling apparatus, just as the sound of scuttling claws sounded from the ceiling. Looking up, the pair of divers saw a swarm of metallic canisters mounted on long robotic legs, tiny red photoreceptors gleaming above a metal drill tipped syringe. Lining up a shot, Stein blinked just as the acetylene torch ran out of fuel, the sparks extinguished by the ocean around them plunging the room into complete darkness.

Danika Sedova: Bounty Hunter Babe #3 (31 May, 2016)

Wreck of the King of the Orinoco, Off the Coast of the Bahamas

Backs against the door, fingers on the triggers of their amphibious rifles Danika and Stein opened fire, thick flachettes scything through the water up at the spider like drones scuttling on the ceiling of the Rec Room, metallic bodies drifting down from the ceiling like a metallic hailstorm. After what felt like an age, the sound of scuttling stopped and both the mercenary divers took a deep sigh of relief, before a piercing scream sounded as the 'flying wing' drone from earlier attacked the door, it's silhouette blocking out the light of the window and plunging the rec room into darkness. Aiming his rifle at the door, Stein felt Danika tug his hand down, as she fiddled with something in the darkness. Releasing the hand moments later she swum to the door and twisted the top of her acetylene torch, sparks lighting up the room for a brief second as she stabbed the tool into revolving drill mechanism of the attacking drone, hot sparks spitting around the room for one long moment before, with a thud the drone drifted down to the deck.

Now trapped in the Rec Room, Stein and Sedova searched around the walls for another escape route, and eventually came across a metal hatch that led into the ship's galley. Unholstering his Powerhead, Stein placed the gun's barrel against the blockage and opened fire, the exploding gas cartridge blowing the doors open, dim light know filling the room. Squeezing through the hatch, Danika removed her diving knife and eased the damaged hinges off the hatch thus allowing Stein to follow her into the kitchen. Their path was clear from there, with the main door to the galley blown off their hinges.

"That's not the work of these drones." Danika whispered as the pair of them swam out into the hallway, before crawling back towards the middle car deck only to find the pedestrian doors welded shut. "Somebody attacked this ship before sinking it."

"They're hiding something too." Stein answered, as he swam back towards the galley before swimming down around the ship's portside exterior hull plating, Danika following his wake until they reached the front of the ship, the vehicle ramp to the middle car deck locket tight save for a hole drilled into the steel plates. Keeping their amphibious rifles to hand, the pair of divers swum through the hole and straight into the car deck, the vehicles on board swarming with multiple spider like maintenance drones, each one fixated with either draining the fuel from the cars or ripping metal parts off the cargo. Occasionally one of the drones would scuttle over to a massive structure lined with thick silver canisters, bubbles streaming from the central chimney like structure. Sitting next to the device were four of the 'flying wings' all resting on the deck, seemingly powered down.

Swimming over Danika ran her hand over the disabled drone, before being swarmed by a trio of the spider drones, the gawky little arachnids pushing her away as a fourth drone scuttled over to the machine, removed a canister and carried it over to the drone, before its compatriots flipped open a rear compartment on the drone and slotted in the canister. Shuddering the 'flying wing' surged forward before lazily swung round to the exit hole, and slipped back out into the open ocean.

"Some kind of recharging system." Danika whispered, as a few of the drones deposited the fuel they had stockpiled in their own tanks into the central structure. "If we destroy that then these things die when their on-board batteries run out."

"Got just the thing." Stein replied, as he brought out a bandolier filled with acetylene torch fuel cells. "Slot those into the vacant battery slots." He ordered as Danika took a fistful of fuel cells and quickly slotted them into the slots before swimming to a hole in the floor where Stein was waiting, his hands on his amphibious rifle before taking a few shots, the cell sparking before exploding, triggering the nearest batteries and fuel cells to explode until a chain reaction engulfed the recharging station, the pair of saboteurs dropping down into the relative safety of the lower car deck.

Darting out of the lower car deck, Danika and Stein swam out towards the depth line, their amphibious rifles held close to them despite the surrounding ocean being devoid of the 'flying wing' drones. Clipping onto the line the pair of divers ascended to the bottom of the nearest segment just as a deep thud rocked the King of the Orinoco, and part of the superstructure collapsed in on itself, crushing the repair and refuel station that had been concealed in the bowls of the ship. For a moment everything was silent, but then multiple spider like maintenance drones came swarming out of the ship and towards the depth line.

Pointing upwards Danika watched as Stein tapped his diving watch before opening fire on the approaching swarm, the dart like rounds slashing through the drones, thick clouds of siphoned petrol and dissolved human fat leaking out of the ones he hit. Despite the damage, those drones that remained intact kept on coming, before climbing up the depth line towards the two fleeing divers. Just as the first few drones reached them Stein pointed upwards and swam up the next marker on the dive line. Pursuing them the drones continued to fall as both divers repelled the scuttling invasion.

Suddenly a shadow passed overhead stealing the divers focus away from the drones, as one of the ray like 'flying wings' veered round to get a clean run on its targets. Swimming towards them, the drone almost reached them, only to be blindsided by one of the Proteus's ROVs, the tiny submarines clawed arms pushing the attacking drone down toward the sea bed. Turning their focus back down to the creeping maintenance drones, Stein screamed in pain as one of the spider like crawlers drilled into his leg, the muscle and fat draining from his leg as the drone sucked the chemicals out to refill its internal fuel supply. Dropping down slightly Danika removed the Powerhead from her holster and placed the weapon against the fuel tank and fired, the expanding gas blowing the robot to pieces.

"Go!" Stein ordered as he took the Powehead from Danika before handing her a few spare amphibious rifle clips. "I can barely move, I'll hold the line as long as I can."

"I'm come back for you." Danika whispered as she ascended the depth line as Stein opened fire with the Powerhead, the drones splattering as they were mowed down by her comrade. Stopping at the next point Danika looked up just in time to see another 'flying wing' soaring towards her, its drill apparatus already churning ready for the kill. Firing a few shots Danika watched as all but one of the rounds bounced off, the on target shot hitting the port control surface sending the drone into a spin, straight into the depth line, the thickened cable tangling in the drill before it and everything attached to it was dragged back down towards the wreck of the King of the Orinoco.

Hitting the deck, it took Danika a few seconds to push herself off the bottom, her joints aching as she did so. Swimming upwards she scanned the immediate area for Stein, the hostile drones, the friendly ROV or anything moving in the sediment strewn water, but nothing stirred. Checking her air supply Danika headed upwards, her mind on edge just in case any of the drones returned for another attack, each stop increasing the level of adrenaline in her blood stream so that, when she emerged at the surface, her entire body was buzzing and for good reason too, a fishing trawler had pulled alongside the Proteus, the two vessels connected by a boarding ramp.

Shucking her air tank and checking the ammunition in her amphibious rifle Danika dived under the water and swum under the trawler towards a makeshift dive platform mounted on the rear. Poking her head above the surface Danika took note of the old soviet AA gun mounted on the back of the boat and the three pirates dressed in board shorts and t-shirts smoking next to the ammunition supply, their MP5 SMGs slung over the shoulder. These men were at rest, they must have already pacified the crew of the Proteus and were waiting on orders. Those orders weren't coming, Danika thought, as she opened fire, thick darts stabbing into the men, their bodies hitting the deck with a loud clatter. Not wasting any time, Danika climbed onto the deck, pausing only to grab one of the dropped SMGs and kick off her fins, before walking over to the boarding ramp.

Ascending the ramp, Danika reached the top with only the occasional cink of her shark-suit threatening to reveal her position. Walking over to one of the cranes, Danika slipped under the maintenance platform before letting out a short whistle. Seconds later a pirate armed with a shotgun emerged from the door to the bridge, his gun swivelling as he looked for the source of a sound he'd never find, a quick hail of darts bringing him to the floor. Three whistles later brought three more pirates up from below decks each one falling as Danika emptied the last clip of her amphibious rifle. Dropping the weapon she drew her dive knife and knocked on the door, before stepping to the side, blade raised to stab down into the pirate's skull as he emerged.

The unfortunate victim struggled for a bit, but put up no resistance to her attack, however his gear was streets ahead of the men who'd emerged before him. His assault rifle alone was more advanced than the shotguns and SMGs the other pirates had wielded, and Danika recognised the camera feed scope and uplink helmet he wore from the few times she'd used such equipment. Slipping the helmet on, she breathed a sigh of relief when she saw that the helmet feed hadn't been synched to any other matching pieces of headwear the pirate crew may have brought on-board. Opening up the link, half of the optics showed the inside of the bridge, the captain on his knees as a tall dark skinned man dressed in military fatigues and a shark toothed bandana pointed a rifle with a wide flat barrel at the bloodied and bruised man.

"Tell me Captain Webber, who was it you hired to aid in the exploration of the King of the Orinoco’s wreck?" The pirate captain asked, as the mercenary wearing the helmet turned to look out the window, before focusing back on the action.

"Someone better than you Andreas!" Webber snarled before spitting on the man he'd just named boot. Danika knew the name, most sailors and mercenaries did, Henri Andreas, a former resident of the land-locked nation Luxembourg was on Interpol's most wanted list for multiple accounts of piracy and mass murder. He was certainly a dangerous foe, one who was laughing at Webber's resistance.

"Fair enough Captain, from one sailor to another I respect your gumption. May you rest in peace." He sighed, before pulling the trigger, hundreds of rounds slashing through Webber, his body vaporizing in a thin mist of blood. "Call the men back, we are scuttling this ship by the hours end. Get the drones ready, I'll deal with the specialist myself, now move, we're on a schedule, anyone who falls behind will be left behind on a one way trip to the depths!!"

Danika Sedova: Bounty Hunter Babe #4 (22 Sep, 2016)

Skidding down the staircase, Danika heard the feet of the pirates above her and loaded the armour piercing rounds she’d taken off one of the dead men into the TAR-21 she’d policed off of one of Anders lieutenants and opened fire, the rounds boring through the floor above her, the sound of ricochets joined by screams of pain from the borders. Without hesitating Danika headed lower into the bowls of the ship into the engineering section, the engines inside had been stalled and the room itself had been abandoned save for the bodies of the dead crew and the spider like maintenance drones already attending to the matter of draining the corpses of all their fat and muscle.

“She went down here!” A voice called from the hallway, one that forced Danika to postpone lamenting the dead and instead hurried her into the salvage storage bay. The few times she’d been on ships like the Proteus before, this area had usually been full of salvage liberated from the wrecks of doomed vessels ready to be returned to their owners. Today however, there was nothing aboard, no cover save for the magnetic cradles used to store vehicles and other items prone to slipping about when the ship was tossed by the rolling waves. Checking her ammunition, Danika realised that this phased retreat wasn’t going to leave her with either the time or bullets to liberate the remaining crew tethered to the bomb in the rear salvage bay. Ducking into one of the cradles, she pulled out her knife and her remaining white phosphorus grenade and waited, her hands wrapping the pull trigger of the explosive round the blade of the driving knife.

“Next room is empty.” A voice with a native accent called as four men entered the room, three of them were locals, most likely hired from Haiti to act as guns for hire for Anders full time crew. Their poor state of dress and scavenged weapons were in sharp contrast to the fourth man dressed in urban camouflage and holding a state of the art assault rifle linked to the same headset Danika had taken from the man she’d lured outside.

“It’s empty when I say it’s empty.” The professional soldier replied in a South African accent. “Go back into engineering and cover the exits, I don’t want that little b***h flanking me from behind.” He added as the Haitian muscle returned to the next room. Cautiously the man walked to the first cradle, unaware that Danika was hiding inside the structure, knife poised ready to strike. Reaching the edge of the structure, the man had second to strike before his prey struck, the knife stabbing into his chest before he had a chance to let off a shot or shout a warning. Quietly Danika levered the man back towards the door and dropped the corpse thrrough into the other side before slamming the door shut, the knife clenched in her hand with the pin, minus the grenade, still wrapped around the blade.

As she did screams in French and Creole could be heard on the other side, followed by a sharp hissing sound and a muffled explosion as the bomb went off, dousing the men in the other side with a cloud of thick smoke that burnt the throats and eyes of the men trapped inside with their leaders body. Turning to the dropped rifle, Danika removed the ammo clip and counted twelve bullets contained inside. “This will have to do.”

Stalking over to the Danika activated the ‘Sync’ function on the helmet she was wearing and flicked through the feed from the three remaining active headsets until she linked with the one being worn by the soldier inside the room. Besides him there were at least twelve living members of crew and three Haitians, all patrolling the upper gantries of the storage bay as their boss locked the timer panel of the bomb with a key looped on a chain around his neck. Leaving the synced helmet stuck on the ‘active’ function, Danika placed it on the floor and knocked three times before slipping to one side. Seconds later a barked order could just be heard and one of the Haitians opened the door and looked round before starting to swear in Creole as the knife stabbed into his chest.

Darting into the room, Danika fired a single shot into another Haitian guard, the man caught midway between raising his rifle and firing so that, as he fell to the floor his gun fired a salvo of shots into the ceiling. The remaining two pirates were not caught as unaware, with the last Haitian firing a burst of panicky shots from the antique sub-machine gun he was armed with, his targeting vaulting over the side to avoid his wild shots. Turning he fired down into the pit, the hostages and the gunmen taking cover against the sides of the pit. “Stop it you fool!” The gunmen barked at the man on top in a Ukrainian accent, as he poked his head out. Seconds later a pair of shots sounded, followed by the thud of two bodies hitting the floor.

“Is every one okay?” Danika asked as she walked over to the dead gunmen and removed the key from his neck.

“They killed the rest of the crew.” One of the sailors replied as Danika unlocked the timer panel and turned the counter off. “And they took Captain Webber away to get information on you.”

“Webber is dead.” Danika sighed just as the helmet on the dead Ukrainian’s head buzzed. Walking over, Danika bent down and looked into the lens, before slotting it onto her own head. As she did she saw Andreas standing on the deck, his wide barrelled rifle slung over his shoulders as some of his men worked in the background.

“Can you hear me?” Andreas asked. “See these,” he hissed as he pulled a tarp off one of the flying wing drones Danika had encountered on the wreck of the King of the Orinoco, “you may have disarmed my scuttling charges but as soon as I toss these over the side, this ship and everyone else on-board.” Not even bothering to reply Danika picked up the dead gunmen’s assault rifle and sidearm.

“Does anyone have firearms experience?” Danika asked, to be greeted by a show of hands. “Okay take what you can find and head to the panic room. Don’t come out until you hear the fire alarm, when you come out, come out armed and head for the deck, I’ll meet you there.” She added, as she removed the ammo-clip out of the weapon she had taken from the dead mercenary and counted the remaining shots, before slotting it back in, and heading towards the deck. After a few minutes she arrived up there and peeked out of an ajar door to count how many guards Andreas had with him. Besides the pirate captain there were at least two of his own crew and about six Haitian’s he had hired as disposable muscle.

Gritting her teeth, Danika kicked the door open and fired a few shots at Andreas and the mercenary nearest to him, the later taking the shots as the pirate captain spun round and fired back at her, the multiple barrels chewing holes in the ship structure as Danika leapt out the way. Cursing and spitting, he lowered his weapon and ran his hands along the trackpad attached to his weapon, just as Danika recovered from her dodge and sprinted towards one of the drones sitting on a hard-case. She reached cover just in time, as Andreas fired, the shots whizzing over her head. Seeking an opening Danika popped out from behind cover only for a pair of Haitians to open fire on her, forcing her back behind the case.

“Men get ready, in a few seconds she won’t have anywhere to fire!” Andreas spat as he dragged his finger across the trackpad again, this time activating the lower barrels of his weapon to vaporise the cover Danika was hiding behind. Opening fire, Andreas watched as the case was blow apart only to see his target ready to open fire, Danika’s shots slashing into the wide flat micro-barrel array of his weapon and deforming it.

Throwing his weapon away in disgrace Andreas watched as Danika spun round and fired at the remaining mercenaries, the shots scattering them until her weapon clicked, the ammo spent. Dropping the weapon, Danika charged Andreas just as he unsheathed a large curved knife attached to his leg, his reactions fast as he stabbed his weapon into her shoulder. With a grunt he grabbed her by the neck and slammed her face first into the deck of the boat before dragging her over to one of the flying wing drones.

“Get the machines ready and get back to the boat!” Andreas yelled as he activated the drilling apparatus on the drone, the revolving hydraulic drill spinning up to speed within seconds. With a sneer he pushed the concussed woman towards the revolving blades, only for his victim to slam her fist into his groin, the blow staggering the pirate and forcing him to release her from his grasp. With a hiss like an angry viper Danika grabbed Andreas’s hand and slammed it into the drill, the machinery shredding flesh, muscle and bone until it got jammed in the drone’s inner workings. Getting to her feet Danika pulled the sidearm out of the Andreas’s holster and pushed the weapon against the injured man’s skull.

“Tell them to surrender.” Danika snarled.

“Never!” Andreas growled. “You won’t pull the trigger. Even if you do, you’ll be dead in seconds.”

“I don’t think so.” Danika replied, as the remaining mercenary and thugs advanced on Danika and their leader. “Leave, or get arrested alongside your leader.” She told the remaining men. “It’s your choice.” She added. Twitching slightly, the Haitian muscle looked at each other and threw down their weapons and headed for their boat leaving only one man of Andreas’s crew left on deck. Raising his rifle he kept the weapon trained on Danika in a deadly stalemate.

“Shoot her you idiot!” Andreas yelled, only for his man to lower his own weapon.

“You’ll let me go yes?” The man asked.

“Yes, if you drop your weapon.” Danika replied. Seconds later the man dropped his weapon and headed for the boat, only to spin around, his hand reaching for his sidearm. Rolling her eyes Danika fired, her shot taking the man down before he could open fire. “Now you stay here, I have questions for you, like who hired you and what were you doing here.”

Destiny #1 (of Six) (2 Jul, 2016)

The Ledger of Destiny has been recording human history since the dawn of time

So imagine what would happen if such a thing was under the control of a demon?

The Wishing Demon does, and he’ll stop at nothing to get his hands on it!

Mountain Top Cave, Bhutan

The figure dressed in silver samurai armour sat in the crystal lined cave as the tall Chinese man dressed in a green tunic and blue trousers brought a silver tray and a teapot and two cups from the nearby desk of stone. Bowing, each of the two men took a cup and poured tea into each-others cup, before both taking a long sip.

“I know why you have come to my refuge Demon, and you will find that I, like my predecessor will not fulfil your request, no matter how noble you mask your true intentions.” The Chinese man stated, as the demon in silver armour stole a glance towards the lectern carved from mammoth tusk and the massive leather tome sitting on-top of it.

“I still must ask Scribe, you know that neither the hands of a mortal nor an immortal can change the ledger, but one caught between, one such as you Xi LI, you can change the world with a single word.” The Demon hissed, as Li put down his cup and crossed his arms, a stern look spread across his face.

“And you know that it is my duty to ensure that such a thing doesn’t happen.” Li replied. “You have no power here, your wishes are no temptation to me, and your hand hasn’t enough strength to slay me. “I will tell you what I told the British, the Japanese, the Soviets and the Maoists, my answer is no.”

“There must be something you need, some little piece of luxury you required?” The Demon asked, just as a trio of house sparrows flew into the cave and landed on Li’s shoulders, their chirping song filling the air.

“I need no comfort, the knowledge that my duty serves to keep Earth in balance is all I require.” Li replied, as he held out his hand so a sparrow could hop down onto his palm. “Still…”

“Yes?”

“Still I must thank you for the conversation.” Li answered, his words causing anger to twist the face behind the demon’s mask into an even more hideous grimace. “But I must ask that once you’ve finished your tea that you leave.”

“Have a care Scribe!!” The Demon snarled, his courteous silver tongue replaced with one of pure malice. “Should I leave here without control of the ledger then you and I will be at war!!”

“Then we are at war.” Li answered calmly. “You aren’t the first to threaten me, and I’m certain you won’t be the last.” His words causing the demon to hiss and spit for a few seconds before he bowed in a mockery of a courteous gesture.

“Until we meet again.” The demon snarled in a voice that was civil but dripping with undertones of malice. Then in a puff of blue smoke the figure vanished leaving Li alone in the cave. Silently he walked over to the ledger, the sparrows that had been roosting on him flying out of the cavern leaving the scribe alone.

“This meeting has been recorded already, but then all matters regarding the Guardians of the Cornerstones of Reality are swiftly noted by the universe.” Li mumbled to himself as he looked down at the pages of the Ledger, the entries scrawled in a dead language across the page. “And for the matter to regard two of the guardians, I have never seen any such thing before on any page.” He sighed, as he walked to the mouth of the cave and looked out over the mountains of Bhutan and smiled as the early morning sunlight warmed him, before a serious look returned to his features and he walked back inside.

**

Dragon Casino, Macau

The lean oriental man dressed in a grey business suit placed the last knife in a row in front of the bound young man dressed in jeans and a ripped t-shirt, his face sneering with the same look of the moray eel tattooed round his left eye.

“You came here and lost Lou-Fan.” The tattooed man hissed, as he went to the end of the row of tools and blades before picking up what looked like a punch press strapped to the top of a mini guillotine handle. “I very politely asked your father to pay what you owed me and have heard nothing. Perhaps the senator will be more forthcoming with the riches once he’s had a little reminder of what I hold.” He added as he slipped the device round the knuckle of the young man’s index finger.

“Please my father will pay you!” The young man spluttered, his words echoed as a knock on the door sounded. Giving the two massive guards flanking the entrance a nod, the torturer removed a cloth from under the desk and placed it over his torture kits as the door opened, and a woman with cropped blonde hair dressed in olive cotton trousers and a tank top walked in.

“Mr Dragon-Eel, this woman says she’s here to escort Mr Travers out of the building back to America.” One of the guards mumbled.

“Not without his debts being payed Miss…” The Dragon-Eel stated as the young woman slowly removed a mobile phone from her pocket and showed it to the guards.

“Valentine, Sarah Valentine.” The woman purred in a New York accent before opening an app. “The Senator transferred the agreed amount into my account in five parts over the week from his various holdings. All I need is your account details and you have the equivalent of 1.2 million dollars sitting in your coffers.” She added before slipping the phone over to the Dragon-Eel, before turning to glower at the younger Travers, before turning back to the triad boss. “I will need his passport as well.”

“Of course Miss Valentine.” The Dragon-Eel replied with a half smirk as he gestured for one of his men to walk over to the chest at the back of the room. “I am curious about you however, do you work for the Senator or are you a hired hand?” He asked as he handed the phone back to Valentine.

“That is not your concern.” Valentine hissed as the guard handed her the passport before removing the device and restraints that his boss had placed on Travers. “By all means have a nice day.”

“You too Miss Valentine if that is your real name.” The Dragon-Eel announced with a smirk as Valentine lead Travers out the door. Calmly picking up the phone on his desk, the triad boss dialled a number and whispered into the hand-set before putting it back down, a wicked grimace on his face.

**

“So my father hired you to negotiate my release?” Travers yammered, as he and Valentine stepped into the lift, the mercenary jabbing the ground floor button with one of her fingers.

“No he didn’t.” Valentine replied as the life descended, the glass walls showing nothing but darkness until it descended into the gaming hall, every slot machine already occupied as hundreds of tourists and residents tested their luck against the rigged system of the casino. Reaching the fifth floor the life came to a halt and the doors slid open before the lights on the illuminated buttons went out. “Stick close and do what I say.” Valentine ordered as three men in suits stood outside the door, their hands on their holsters.

“Miss Valentine, or should I call you Miss Sedova.” A new Russian accented voice stated as a heavy-set man with long greasy hair dressed in a leather jacket and pants walked into view. “Send the boy back to the lift, the Dragon-Eel wants him back upstairs.”

“So it’s an extra pay-day then Yuri.” Valentine stated, her accent slipping from the New York style speech into a hybrid mix of Ukrainian and Californian. “I’m not surprised.” She added as she removed her phone from one of her pockets. “I’m a little surprised to see you, I thought you’d been buried alive in Nepal.”

“Drop the phone” One of the guards ordered, his voice causing Yuri to glower at him.

“No you idi…” His words were blocked out as the phone hit the floor, a high pitched screech emitting from it that forced the heavies to grasp their stomachs in pain, with more than one of them throwing up. Looking over to Sedova, Yuri watched as she slipped the buckle off her belt and throw it directly at his forehead, the projectile shocking him as it struck him.

“Come on!” Danika yelled, as she recovered the Sentry Stun Gun and stabbed it into one of the few guards still on his feet. Turning she grabbed Travers and sprinted towards the front of the casino, the aisles next to the slot machines in chaos as they spat out their entire supply of change, the gamblers and even some of the security guards scooping up everything that could get their hands on before the Dragon-Eel could regain control.

“The stairs are back there!!” Travers yelled as Danika came to a stop above the pool that sat on a fake rock face in the lobby five floors below them. Watching his eyes went wide as Danika removed a micro repelling harness and cable and piton from the inside of her belt and hammered the spike into the rock. “No please no!!” Travers yelled as his rescuer clipped herself onto the piton and leapt off the side, the fall terminated as they dropped three floors in a second. “Wait you don’t understand there are…” His words were drowned out as Danika unclipped the harness and the fair plummeted into the pool with a splosh.

“Activate Charge for Pool Party.” Danika gulped as she breached the surface, her hand clamped around Travers’s wrist. Seconds later the glass of the pool front cracked and the pair of escapees were thrown out as the water pressure did the rest, flooding the lobby leaving dirty puddles not to mention a few giant freshwater eels across the marble floor. Sprinting outside Danika pulled Travers into a waiting TV repair van and slammed the door behind them the driver pulling off with a fair bit of tyre spin.

“Who are you?!” Travers spat as he shook himself.

“The person your father hired to deal with your predicament.” Danika replied as she handed Travers his passport. “Just be glad he chose me.”

“Why?” Travers asked cautiously.

“Because there are plenty of mercenaries who are far nastier then me.” Danika replied as she laid back in the van, a slight look of sadness on her face.

**

Falstaff, Arizona

The plump Hispanic man dressed in jeans and a ripped t-shirt ran screaming into the church before slamming the doors closed behind him and placing a bar across the door, effectively barricading himself inside the abandoned 'house of god' alone in the dark, save the occasional flash of light as a car drove past. Drawing his pistol he heard a powerful knocking and scurried behind the alter preying that the block of wood would hold long enough for him to find a way out. With a snap the block cracked and the doors were flung open as a well-built man dressed in leather and carrying a five foot sledge hammer in one hand and his own pistol in the other stalked in. "Juan Caeso I know you're in here boy." The hammer wielder bellowed in a Texan accent. "Where are you, ya filthy little car jacker, you and I have a bounty to settle. One that’s long overdue.”

Taking a deep breath Juan emerged from behind the pews and fired a shot, only for the shot to miss and cause the larger man to chuckle as he fired back, the shot slashing through his targets leg, sending him crashing to the floor. “Now last time that Patron Saint of Crime interrupted, but I know for a fact that she ain’t going to interfere this time.” He added, as he raised his hammer and slammed it down onto the car-jacker’s face, the bones cracking as blood came spurting out of his ears.

“Very brutal, I like it.” A hissing voice announced causing the big man to spin round to see a figure dressed in silver and blue armour leaning against the door. “Kenneth Zimmerman right, I wonder would you be open to a job opportunity.”

“Depends on how much you plan to pay me boy.” Zimmerman snorted as he kicked Caseo’s body to make sure he was dead.

“Whatever you want, and I don’t just mean money, once the job is complete I will be able to give you anything you desire.” The man hissed, as Zimmerman raised his pistol and fired a shot at the man, the round bursting into fire as it impacted with the armour plating.

“I’m willing to take some things on faith, I mean I’ve seen cat gods, owl priests and the undead in the last few years, but I ain’t willing to work with something I don’t understand.” Zimmerman growled as he holstered his weapon. “Not for no money.”

“Oh I can organise travel expenses as well as anything else you would need. I can handle the logistics all I need you to do is kill a man on the other side of the world for me.” The man purred as he expended his hand in a mockery of friendship. “If you succeed then you will be the most powerful man in the world.” He purred as Zimmerman put his weapons down and cautiously walked over.

“Prove it and then I’ll consider.” Zimmerman snarled.

“Very well, tell me have you ever been to Tanzania before?” The man purred as he placed a hand on Zimmerman’s shoulder, the pair of them vanishing in a puff of thick blue smoke.

Destiny #2 (of Six) (9 Sep, 2016)

The action shifts to Tanzania as Danika and her new assistant go on the hunt for Zanzibar’s deadliest acid bomber

Little does she know that unseen forces are conspiring to lead her to a far more rewarding job

Meanwhile the Wishing Demon and his human associate Zimmerman retrieve a deadly artefact from the cave of the First Scribe

Zanzibar City, Zanzibar, Tanzania

Jonathan watched as Danika arranged transport to the hotel on the taxi lot outside Zanzibar International Airport. On the plane he had formed an opinion about his rescuer, he found Danika very distant and that she was carrying some-kind of sadness, one that he wasn’t willing to prise into. On the plane she had mentioned something about hunting a terrorist in the streets of Zanzibar, one who had been attacking Western tourists. After what seemed like an age, Danika found a taxi driver willing to take both of them to the hotel that had been set aside for the assorted mercenaries and hunters that had descended on the island to hunt for their illusive prey.

“So what do we do when we find this terrorist?” Jonathan asked as the cab headed towards the historical part of the city.

“She is illusive, the local government has a hotline regarding her. Once we’ve detained her we call it, the police take her and we get the bounty and leave.” Danika replied as she removed a tablet from her bag and pulled up a profile photo of a dark skinned woman wearing a pair of overalls and a pair of dark glasses over her eyes. “The government have called her ‘the Rinkhals’ after a particular nasty species of spitting cobra.” She added as she looked out of the window at the nearly abandoned streets. “Are we stopping? We’re not at the hotel yet?” She asked as the cab came to a stop.

“There is an obstruction.” The driver stated as two men wearing wide brimmed hats, cotton trousers and hunting jackets, their faces covered with bandanas walked up to the driver’s door, their hands wrapped round a pair of pistols.

“Toll please!” One of the bandits asked, as the driver wound the window down. “Since we’re here saving your city I think we deserve a little something for staying in this dump. You can refuse of course, but you might not like the consequences if you do.” He added, as Danika slipped out of the car, her exit drawing the gunmen’s attention. “Lady get back in the car or we’ll have to take a little extra toll money from you as well.”

“David and Ryan Hunter, I’m surprised you don’t know me from my reputation.” Danika sighed as the man turned his weapon on her. “We are guests here in this country, you shouldn’t be stealing the livelihood of the people who work and live here.”

“Sedova, we can recognise you from your bleeding heart!” One of the gunmen hissed as he lowered his weapon. As he did Danika delivered a snap kick to the man’s face, the blow cracking his nose. Reacting quickly, his brother went to smack her in the neck with the butt of his gun, only for his target to grab him by the arm and break it, before slamming him into the hood of the car.

“And now you can recognise me by the bruises I just gave you.” Danika replied, as she opened the back door. “Jonathan grab the bags out of the boot,” she stated as she removed a wad of cash from her bag and handed it to the driver. “This should cover our journey and a trip to the hospital.” She added, as she shouldered the bag Jonathan had removed out of the car before heading towards the interior of Stone Town. “Stick close to me Jonathan, this town is crawling with mercenaries and bounty hunters with less than honest motives.”

“Would they openly target us?” Jonathan asked as the cab-driver helped the Hunter brothers into the back of his taxi.

“Most wouldn’t, but on a big job like this one there would be a few who would try and reduce the competition.” Danika told him as a team of mechanics walked out of a nearby garage, followed by a man dressed in leather trousers and a bulletproof vest, a sledge hammer resting over his shoulder. “Of course there is always those you have a personal relationship against such as Zimmerman.” She added, as the man ran his hand over the bonnet of the jeep. “Head up to the hotel, I will meet you up there, she added as she walked over to the parked Jeep, her hands resting on the sidearm holstered on her hip. She got within fifteen meters before Zimmerman turned round, a stub nosed revolver pointed at her head, the cruel barrel overshadowed in wickedness by the smile on the big Texan’s face.

“Well looks like there’s all kind of vermin out here in Africa.” Zimmerman sneered as Danika removed her hand from her pistol. “Smart move Danni, I don’t want to have to get into a fire-fight right outside the hotel.”

“Neither do I.” Danika replied. “I’d much prefer to slip a blade between your ribs for what you did!” She hissed, malice dripping like venom from her words. “But out of professional courtesy and respect for our client I’ll refrain from doing that!”

“Your client is different to my client. I ain’t here to chase some backwoods bottle smasher.” Zimmerman replied, the revolver still trained on his former partner’s head. “And out of professional courtesy, not to mention respect for my client I ain’t telling you no more than that.” He added as the Wishing Demon stepped out of the car rental agency, a few blue sparks running up and down his arms and the sword holstered across his shoulders. “Now excuse me, we have to leave.” Zimmerman sneered as the local porters closed the back of the vehicle up and handed the big man a set of keys and a bundle of well-worn maps. Lowering his gun, Zimmerman climbed into the cab and started the engine, whilst the Wishing Demon shot Danika a look before skulking away towards the passenger seat.

“Who was that?” The Demon asked his partner as he closed the door.

“Former friend of mine, we had a falling out over a business mater.” Zimmerman replied as he checked to see where Danika was in the rear view mirror, before throwing the vehicle into reverse straight towards her, his target leaping out the way just in time, dust staining her clothes and skin. “She won’t be a problem, she’s occupied by some local matters by the sounds of it.”

“If that is what you believe then I will trust your judgment.” The Wishing Demon stated as Danika stood up and threw a stone picked up from the roar at the car, the projectile bouncing off the back window. The first missile was joined by three more, the first one striking the roof, whilst the second went long and low, bouncing off the bottom of the vehicle as Zimmerman threw the car into first and drove away.

The last fell short and Zimmerman wound down the window and sneered back at Danika, only for a fifth stone to come flying at him, the master mercenary getting inside just in time, with the rock smashing the driver’s side door mirror instead.

“You were saying?” The Demon purred, a look of amusement hidden on his face under the mask he wore.

“No more than that at least!!” Zimmerman growled as he drove towards the bridge off of Zanzibar and out towards their destination in the country.

**

Danika was in a terrible mood as the pair of them walked through the market, her eyes glowering as she went from stall to stall. As he’d waited for her at the hotel Jonathan had googled Zimmerman and found a long list of captures that the bounty hunter had brought in not to mention a few mentions of teaming up with Danika, whatever had gone down between them hadn’t been revealed but he assumed that it was something unpleasant. Walking past a stall full of knock of mobile phones, his gaze gravitated to a cheap model and pulled out a handful of shillings and handed them to the vendor.

“What are you doing?” Danika called as she glowered at him.

“Blending in and getting a few things I need.” Jonathan replied as he took the change from the vendor before having the phone taken from him.

“Not now.” Danika replied as the vendor removed a handgun from behind the stall and opened fire, the acid filled pellets spraying across the street causing the master mercenary and her assistant to hit the deck as their attacker, vaulted over the stall and got ready to deliver an execution strike. Reacting quickly, Danika swung her feet upwards and pulled the assassin down onto the floor, before struggling to her feet. “Speed Dial Eight!” Danika ordered as she kicked her bag towards Jonathan. “Hurry!” She added, as Rinkhals removed a stave strapped to the leg of her overalls and swiped at her opponent, as both women got to their feet.

“I’ll be seeing you.” Rinkhals hissed as she took a stab at Danika, the thick head of the weapon exploding as her target parried the blow sending the strike into the store, the wood and plastic of the stall bubbling as the materials were eaten away by the acid.

“I don’t think so.” Danika snarled as he landed a kick into the assassin’s chest, the blow staggering her.

“I agree,” A voice replied as a hail of mercy bullets streaked across the street, several of the rounds striking Danika with enough force to leave a series of welts across her body. Shooting her a look and then glowering up at the mystery shooter, Rinkhals bolted heading deeper into the old city. Groaning Danika turned to Jonathan to see him typing a number into her phone.

“No!” Danika snarled, as she snatched the phone from him.

“I don’t know why you are so concerned!!” Jonathan snapped, “I want to go home, I don’t want to be shanghaied by some Russian b***h!! I want to see my family, I don’t want to work with you, I want to go home!”

“You can’t go home!” Danika snarled. “Your father wanted you killed, he didn’t want me to rescue you he wanted me to execute you. You call him up and he will send someone to do the job I wouldn’t do!”

“I don’t believe you!” Jonathan hissed.

“I can prove it.” Danika told him as she dialled the number he had inputted, the phone ringing once, twice before the person on the other end picked up. “Senator Ian Travers,” Danika asked in the New-York accent she had used in the Dragon Casino back in Macau, “it’s done.” She continued as she tapped the speakerphone on.

“Where did you leave him?” The man on the other end asked.

“You don’t want to know, let’s just say he’s six-foot under and will never see the light again.” Danika told him. “I’d like the other half of the money you promised for completing the contract.”

“It will be sent to you Miss Valentine, now don’t call me again, I have no desire to be connected to common assassins such as you.” The man replied before switching the phone off. Turning to look at Jonathan, Danika saw a look of horror and disgust on her assistant’s face. “I don’t think we need to stay here any longer then we have to.”

**

Storyteller Cave, 8km North of Tanga City, Tanzania

The Tanzanian dig team at the site known locally as ‘Storyteller’s Cave’ stopped their excavations as a 4x4 vehicle pulled up at the edge of the main excavation pit and two men exited the vehicle. The leader of the excavation walked over to meet them, and while the man dressed in leather was intimidating, the man in the samurai armour was worse on some base level, he exuded power and hatred in equal amounts.

“Nice dirt pit you have here.” Zimmerman mused as he looked at the partially excavated skeletons that the dig team were working on.

“This site is closed, you shouldn’t be here.” The excavation leader replied. “These bodies are a find of national importance.” He added, as the Wishing Demon drew his sword, the gesture silencing the man.

“What happened here was a tragedy.” The Wishing Demon stated. “Do you know what happened here?” He asked the man before him. “Do you wish you could?” He added the, excavation leader nodding, his gesture causing a wicked smile to form on the demon’s face. With a chant of some guttural language he sunk his blade into the earth, fingers of energy surging through the earth, clutching each member of the excavation team and seemingly vapouring them.

“With a light show like that why do you need me hoss?” Zimmerman asked as the Wishing Demon headed into the pit towards the entrance of Storyteller’s Cave.

“Because what I want is effected by no power other than its own.” The Wishing Demon answered as the pair of men stepped into the cave past countless imaged painted on the walls. Stopping at one, the Wishing Demon smiled. “Does he look familiar?” He asked Zimmerman, the big man peering at the image of a man dressed in modern clothes being hacked apart by a figure dressed like an ancient Egyptian. “They wanted to know about the remains unaware that they were their own.” He stated, as he placed his hand on part of the wall. “The Ledger that I seek was created here and moved by the second of thirteen.”

“Right, so you want me to kill this man.” Zimmerman asked.

“No he’s dead, the latest man to guard the ledger is another story. To be honest you couldn’t achieve victory against him even at his weakest.” The Wishing Demon hissed, as he stabbed his blade into the rock face, the stone wall shuddering under the demonic energy pouring into the structure. “But there is a way to defeat him, twelve ways in-fact.” He added, as the rock face crumbled to reveal twelve weapons, ranging from axes and daggers to antique pistols and rifles, suspended in an energy field. “Each weapon has killed one of these ‘scribes’, their prowess and that of any wielder are heightened to the level of our target.”

“Hmm.” Zimmerman grumbled as he removed a massive Visigoth war-hammer from the energy field, his touch causing all the other weapons to blink out of reality. With a roar he turned and slammed the weapon into the cave floor, the blow causing the earth to shake. With another growl, he slammed his fist into the wall of the cave, the stone cracking on contact.

“Satisfied?” The Demon asked as Zimmerman slotted his new weapon next to his original hammer.

“Where to next hoss?” Zimmerman asked.

“The Kingdom of Bhutan and our destiny.” The Wishing Demon hissed, malice radiating off of his voice as the pair of them headed out of the cave.

Impurest Edition, by Batkevin74 (9 Jul, 2022) [Fan-Fic from CCC #122]

“Good evening, I am Eloise Cheese for Impurest Edition, the hardest hitting investigative show in the UK. Tonight, we have an expose on the reality crime show Danika Sedova: Bounty Hunter Babe. The flimsy premise, poorly shot, doco-reality show that sends a supermodel after low level criminals with a team miscreants!

Images of the opening credits of the show roll. The leggy platinum blonde rolls over a car bonnet, followed by her slamming a suspect into a chain link fence, Danika firing shots at a target, some cars racing shot in the style of a Mikael Bey film, followed by a headshot of the stunning supermodel looking over her aviators and winking as the credits hit the screen.

“This show is borderline for what passes for entertainment, with only Stefan Saygull, the 90’s quasi martial arts movie star, being a worse program. But I digress, I’m not here tonight to eviscerate a TV show that North Korea uses to torture its citizens, but to show what happened to cause an international incident! Roll the footage!”

The grainy Pro-Go film showed Danika Sedova sitting at a poorly lit table, possibly in a warehouse. Next to her was Brian "The Hook" Baldwin, and beside him Maurice Cartier. She sat elbows on the table, fists scrunched awkwardly into her nose and mouth.

“This won’t be a team; it’ll just be me.” Danika muttered.

“Danika, I know you’re angry b…”

“They’ve raised a bounty, Tabby,” Danika starred straight into the camera. “I’m a bounty hunter. It also helps that this arrogant warmonger has invaded my homeland! Putin gets a bullet.”

“I can get us in,” Brian said tapping the papers in the centre of the table.

“I can get us out…well I think I can,” Maurice shrugged. “But it won’t be pretty.”

“I can probably cobble up something cool because he’s bound to have a super powered Cossack in his entourage.”

“Excellent,” Danika stood up. “Let’s go kill Putin.”

The bounty hunter walks off and the image freezes in an odd sideways blur.

“For those of you unfamiliar with global events, Russia invaded the Ukraine in 2014 taking large chunks of Crimea in a blatant ruse and then in February 2022, he launched a full military assault in the Donetsk and Luhansk regions under a paper-thin disguise of peace keeping, even making an attack on the Ukrainian capital, Kyiv. Despite superior numbers and technology, the Ukrainians have held out clinging to life and territory like pitbulls! This situation could’ve gone on for potentially two years.

Ukrainian by birth, Danika Sedova, took it upon herself to assassinate the Russian head of state Vladimir Putin. Fans of the show will know I’m not Putin’s friend, but I don’t want him dead either. Roll the tape.”

Soundless lime green head-cam footage of a plane door, two slender black gloved hands holding the open door frame. The footage rolls like a washing machine into blackness with several pinholes of light appearing into view. The footage corrects shortly after several spins, and it shows the ground rushing up.

“This is where Danika illegally entered Russia via a HALO or High-Altitude Low Opening maneuver. Though the night vision is hard to see you can make out the Moskva River and Red Square. She landed in Zaryaydye Park just east of the Kremlin”

Next is jumpy vision, possibly running, as the camera operator heads towards Red Square. Several people are seen in passing, several untranslated and/or muffled Russian phrases are said. The footage is quite boring but intense as the POV of a stroll through Moscow at 2 am continues.

“The building ahead is Novo-Ogaryevo, Putin’s official residence since 2000. Now, I must warn you that several people die in the next few minutes. There is gunfire, knife play, even an explosion. We’ll go to commercial to allow YOU to think about it and for our sponsors to ply you with ads.”

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“Welcome back, I’m Eloise Cheese and this is Impurest Edition. What you’re about to see is several people being murdered in cold blood. Viewer discretion is advised.”

A muzzle flash lights up the night vision as a man falls against a wall leaving a dark wet stain as he slides down. Another man is stabbed in the back of the skull with a shiny blade that catches the light. The footage plays out almost like a computer game walk through. Then explosions erupt around the camera as bullets make sparks around her. Fire is returned and the film can’t keep up with the action. It’s rough and jumpy and when it suddenly clears, Vladimir Putin is looking up from a kneeling position looking into camera, nose gushing blood.

“Now we apologize, as we have managed to translate most of what is said but there could be some errors since very few people on the Impurest Edition staff speak Russian, but we made do.”

A hand streaks out and slaps the Russian President in the face.

{What do you have to (garbled)?}

{Who are you?}

SLAP! {Why should I let you live? Why shouldn’t I end your (garbled) the war?”

{Ukraine is Russian, we take what is ours!}

SLAP {You’re a sick dog that (garbled)

{Russia will never b…}

SLAP {Enough! Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin, President of Russia, and all round (garbled) I sentence you to a face to face meeting with the mayor of Kyiv, the man who paid most my bounty, Vitali Klitschko. He’s a professional boxer and he’ll be really glad to see (garbled). This is a beacon teleporter. It’ll send you to wherever the other beacon is. I wanted it set to Iron Bottom Sound in the Solomon Islands or somewhere on the moon, but my team couldn’t get (garbled). So, Kyiv it was. Have a nice time being beaten to death by a very large, very angry Ukrainian. Dasvidaniya!}

“And you know the rest. Mayor Klitschko beat Putin to death with his bare hands yesterday when the Russian President dropped onto the steps of Gorodetsky House. Russia ceased its activities in Ukraine, pulling out just before Ukraine formally signed with NATO. Newly appointment Russian President Sergei Ivanov has engaged in peace talks with Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskyy, but he has also issued a huge bounty upon the head of Danika Sedova who has gone on the run, not surprisingly.

Am I happy Putin’s dead, no. Am I happy the Ukraine war is over, yes. But will this lead to more trouble? What happens next when say the US invades a country will this stunningly angry woman take blood money from a cadre of republicans to off President Colleen Petra? My money that while this has won a war, it’s created a whole new battle. I’m Eloise Cheese, good night”

Notes

Eloise Cheese, name for Impurestcheese

Impurest Edition, see above

Mikael Bey and Stefan Saygull, movie actors and directors in this universe based on our world counterparts

Pro-Go, this universes version of personal head/hand mounted cameras

Nemacyst, named after an Impurestcheese story/ship Nemacyst

Wave Walker, from Impurestcheese’s Crime Inc #1

Vitali Klitschko, is/was the mayor of Kyiv and a professional boxer 45 wins, 2 losses, has an 87% knockout percentage

Iron Bottom Sound in the Solomon Islands, from another IC story

Sergei Ivanov, is the Special Representative of the President of Russia on the Issues of Environmental Activities, Ecology and Transport in 2022

Colleen Petra, name taken from Impurestcheese’s Five Star series

Hadrien Gere, by Sundown89 (22 Jul, 2022) [Fan-Fic from CCC#122]

Danika Sedova: Bounty Hunter Babe faces her most reclusive quarry to date; a wicked force that works from the shadows preying on the weak and helpless. Will she bring this mysterious menace to justice? Or is this one foe too devious for even her skills to capture?

Monterey, California

The refrigerated warehouse was quiet as the woman dressed in a black jumpsuit with a matte black bandolier slung over her shoulder slinked up to the perimeter wall topped with razor wire. Removing a knife from her belt, the woman edged along the wall to where the security camera aimed at the locked gate was positioned. Reaching up she cut the sheath of the wire of the camera, before taking a clip from the bandolier slung over her shoulder and snapping it onto the cable.

“Taking control of the cameras in 3...2…1, we have eyes.” A voice whispered over the earpiece the woman was working. “Setting record transfer pattern and stage is set ready for action.” She added as the woman walked over to the gate and removed a hand crossbow loaded with a blunt wide headed bolt.

“Is the target inside?” The woman asked as she lined up a shot on the big security light on the edge of the factory. Taking her shot, the bolt smashed through the lens and bulb, plunging the yard into darkness.

“It’s there, one car transporter loaded with four of the SandCat’s stolen from the Mexican Army.” The advisor announced as the woman holstered the crossbow and began to climb up the gate, vaulting over the razor wire before landing on the other side. “Be careful Danika, there are multiple Myrmidons on site, all of them armed, all of them fuelled up.”

Nodding and removing a silenced pistol, Danika headed across the yard towards a pair of trucks, the backs down almost as if they were ready to be loaded. Skirting between them Danika stopped as a figure pushing s cart loaded with two-gun metal grey reinforced crates. The figure wore a black boiler suit accented with a red chevron over the stomach, a fuel tank on his back that led up to a breather mask, and attached goggles. Flattening herself against the truck, Danika heard the figure head into the truck, before attempting to sneak past him, only for the door of the warehouse to swing open and a second figure to emerge pushing a similar cart.

The reaction of both figures was immediate, with Danika opening fire with her pistol, the mercy rounds bludgeoning the figure into submission, as they pulled their own weapon to bare. The crack of gunshots drew the figure in the truck’s attention and they added a staccato blast from their assault rifle joining the cacophony, forcing Danika to drop behind the cart from the second guard. As the blast of gunshots died down, a screech sounded from the truck as the guard ran towards Danika, his finger still thumbing the trigger to no avail. Raising up from behind her cover Danika vaulted over the cart and landed a blow to the man’s chest, before performing a leg sweep and knocking him to the ground.

“Status on the rest of the hive?” Danika whispered as she removed the mask of the man to reveal acid-burnt skin around the mouth and half-melted teeth.

“Unaware, the Myrmidons are not the smartest mercenaries around.” The advisor told Danika, as she turned and opened the cases being wheeled out to reveal anti-tank launchers and heavy machine guns. “But then they are all addicted to ‘Aroma’, to the point where they are constantly inhaling the raw uncut form.”

“Aroma needs cold temperatures to remain as a liquid, is it possible that this is a synthesis lab in addition to a stockpile for their stolen goods?” Danika asked as the doors opened, causing her to bolt into the shadows as another Myrmidon exited the warehouse, passing their unconscious hive members. Sneaking inside, Danika ducked into a staircase, heading up onto the gantry that ran around the warehouse, the four SandCat armoured cars parked in the centre of the structure.

Sneaking towards the site office, Danika slipped inside the room where two women lay, completely passed out, drooling an acidic saliva down their cheeks. Stepping over the addicts, Danika pushed the chair out the way and turned the computer on, slotting a USB key into the drive slot.

“Blackroot infestation spreading out, all the files are being submitted to the remote drive.” The advisor whispered, as Danika watched a charging bar crawl across the screen. “Once it’s complete we can head on out.”

“I want the lab dismantled before I leave,” Danika whispered as removed a pair of collapsible stun batons from the bandolier as buzzing grunts sounded from outside the office. Edging towards the door, Danika got ready for an ambush as the door opened and a woman dressed in a guard’s jumpsuit with the same tank and breathing apparatus walked in, her hair brunt off the scalp by the acidic by-products of ‘Aroma’. Buzzing and grunting the woman turned out of the room leaving the door open behind her. Sighing slightly, Danika walked over and removed the USB key, and turned the computer off before heading back to the gantry.

“Where’s the lab?” Danika whispered as she slipped along close to the wall as two of the Myrmidons stood on the SandCat armored cars, buzzing at each other, seemingly engaged in an intense conversation.

“Refrigeration room, other end of the warehouse.” The advisor told her as a shutter opened beneath Danika and two more Myrmidons collapsed out of the room, choking and coughing as they spasmed on the floor. Their plight drew the attention of the Myrmidons on the SandCats, causing them to look up and scream drawing weapons and opening fire wildly, giving Danika the time to drop off the gantry to the ground, landing hard next to the now deceased guards. Out of ammunition, the Myrmidon’s dropped down and swung their weapons at her, their blows powerful but clumsy, allowing Danika to dance between them, stabbing them with her batons, electricity arching across them causing one of the attackers to convulse and drop to the floor. The remaining attacker landed a lucky hit on Danika, the blow causing the bounty hunter's stab to go wide and hit the fuel tank, sparks running through the apparatus, as the ‘Aroma’ ignited and shot up to the ventilator burning the skin of the Myrmidon.

Not that is mattered, the Myrmidon kept on striking even as her skin charcoalising until she was knocked out by a blow that sent her smashing into the side of one of the SandCats. As the Myrmidon went down the door to the yard swung open and another six Myrmidon’s entered, their numbers including the pair that Danika had previously knocked out, their guns swiveling as they looked for the intruder to their hive. Looking at the returning guards and then the room where the two dead guards had stumbled out of Danika ducked into the shuttered room and immediately began to wretch as she took a step inside, a thick black fog billowing from a broken canister. Staggering out, Danika collapsed next to the dead guards even as the Myrmidons advanced on her.

**

Danika opened her eyes blinking in the half-light as the stills pumped a thick pink liquid through tubes into the fuel canisters the Myrmidon’s wore while on duty. Struggling, Danika realized she was bound to a chair bolted to the ground and unable to move. Now awake she saw a pale-skinned woman dressed in a yellow jumpsuit, her face uncovered by the breathing apparatus the other Myrmidons wore, a mobile phone clamped in her hand.

“Yes, yes I understand.” The woman buzzed as she paced back and forth past the stills and the two Myrmidon guards that had their weapons aimed at the chair. “We had a minor leak; I’ve sent drones to clean up the mess. It wasn’t my fault we had a personnel problem.” She stopped and looked at Danika, horror, and anger etched on her features, “We…we will get it under control.” She gulped as she closed the phone and walked up to Danika, looming over her. “You have cost my operation thousands of dollars and hours of time we already didn’t have! Now, who are you?” The woman asked as she placed a dagger against Danika’s cheek.

“Please I am Sonia, a good girl from Russia, I look for Aroma.” Danika gulped, leaning on her accent to make her sell the lie. “Please I work for Aroma, you let me go.”

“An addict?” The woman asked as she slipped one of the ventilator’s off of the fuel tanks and brought it close to Danika’s face. “When I’m done with you, you certainly will be.” She continued as she clamped the mask onto Danika’s face. “Do you really think I’m an idiot, I’m Lady Invictia, I know that you are no addict.” She spat before turning to her Myrmidon’s. “Get her ready and make her presentable. And bring out another volunteer to test the next batch, our benefactor is not too happy about the discharge…” she stopped and turned to look at Danika, the young woman’s eyes flickering as the effects of the ‘Aroma’ took hold, “…and I don’t wish to risk their wrath again.”

**

Danika opened her eyes once again, groaning as she tried to sit up, the short red dress she was wearing shifting over her knees. Looking around she saw two tanks, their ventilators undeployed and ready for the Myrmidon’s who were addicted to them to start inhaling the mixture. While her hands were bound, Danika could still reach one of the ventilators and broke the locking mechanism, the acidic Aroma leaking onto the plastic cable ties and melting them away.

Getting to her feet Danika looked at the lab around her as the Myrmidon’s mixed a thick smoking black liquid from a tank marked Xiphos Biotechnology ETR-909 with the pink sugary syrup that was the main ingredient of the narcotic Aroma. While the Myrmidons were fixated on the lab work, Lady Invictia was pacing back and forth with a gas spectrometer clamped in her hand as she waited for the chemical to be completed. All parties seemed to be unaware of Danika being roused, even as she silently confiscated one of her pistols lying on the desk.

“Keep the pressure of the fume cupboards down.” Lady Invicta ordered as she turned to face her Myrmidons and the work, they were engrossed in. “The moment we hit the threshold we need to flood the chamber with refrigerant.” She continued, as the dial on the fume cupboard began to climb, the Myrmidon working on the synthesis reaching for a spigot with insulation around the pipe. Reaching out to twist the spigot, the Myrmidon recoiled as Danika opened fire, the rounds smashed through the glass of the fume cupboard, a sticky stinking smoke leaking out of the breach.

“You!!” Lady Invicta snapped seconds before the fume cupboard was ripped open, thick black smoke flooding out, swallowing up the Myrmidons, their skin erupting into burns and boils, the shockwave of the chemical reaction knocking Lady Invicta to the floor.

“Me.” Danika stated as she loomed over the prone chemist, “I wish you could remember this moment as much as I will.” Danika stated before taking one last shot, the body of Lady Invicta falling, blood pooling from her forehead. Not wasting any time, Danika bolted to the stairs up to the main warehouse, only for a figure to tackle her from behind.

“I plan to.” Lady Invicta hissed as she slammed Danika face first into the stairs. Struggling Danika threw the chemist back, before delivering a kick to her opponent's face, the blow causing Lady Invicta’s teeth to rattle, black smoke erupting from her mouth, and her eyes bleeding from the chemical exposure.

“What is this?” Danika asked as she began backing up the steps.

“It’s the death…death…of the Gods.” Lady Invictia coughed as he skin began to erupt into painful red blisters that began to harden. “The Universal…” the words were lost replaced by a buzzing shriek as she lunged towards Danika, only to be repulsed with a full clip of bullets unloaded into her. Not bothering to check on her, Danika dashed up into the warehouse, as the lab began to collapse, the remaining canisters of Aroma detonating into pink toxic clouds.

**

“And there we have it, the new reboot of Danika Sedova: Bounty Hunter Babe.” The tall pale-skinned man stated as he turned the screen off, before looking at the woman dressed in jeans and a tank top, her platinum blonde hair pulled into a loose ponytail who sat before him. “Far more edgy, far sexier, and a lot more dangerous than the last series that you were part of.”

“I’m sorry Mr Gere, I have to refuse the offer.” Danika stated as she got up from the chair she had been sitting in.

“Can I ask why?” Gere asked as he looked up at Danika, only to see her holding a pair of handcuffs in one hand, a small arm-mounted camera pointing at him.

“I don’t work with pedophiles,” Danika told him as Gere got ready to stand only for Danika to trip sending him crashing into the sofa in his office. “I’ve seen the footage; you really shouldn’t have perused this venture it gave me everything I needed to bring you to justice.” Danika purred as she stood over the man, even as he tried to get back to his feet.

“You think you can do this to me!” Gere roared seemingly unphased with the situation he was quickly falling into. “I’ll make sure you get deported you bitch! You’ll remember this when you are dying penniless in some despotic third-world country!”

“Oh, I plan to remember this moment as much as you,” Danika replied, before turning the camera to face her, blowing a kiss towards the lens.

Hadrien Gere was arrested for seven counts of indecent exposure with a minor thanks to the investigation by Danika Sedova and Tahlliana Entertainment. All information that led to his arrest was submitted to the FBI to assist with the pending trial. Please don’t emulate anything you have seen in this episode, Danika Sedova is a trained martial artist and investigator, as well as a licensed bounty hunter.

Please join us next week as Danika hunts down the so-called ‘Bow Hunter of El Paso’ in the shocking hunt for a serial cop killer.

Danika Sedova: Bounty Hunter Babe - S2:E3: Oilbird, by Cbishop (24 Jul, 2022) [Fan-Fic from CCC#122]*
*While this was written as fan-fic of Danika Sedova for CCC #122, Cbishop inherited the character, and this particular story is canon for his version of her.

Danni walks into the briefing room, and lets a half-inch thick folder slap the team's table. "I'm not happy," she snaps. "We almost had City Slicker. How did he manage to get away?"

"He just... slipped between our fingers," Maurice Cartier says with a grin.

She glowers. "Do I look like I'm in the mood to joke right now?"

"Boss, you were there," says Tabby. "He literally slipped between our fingers."

"Which tells me we didn't have the right tools for the job," Danny says tersely. "Why is that, Tabby?"

Tabby Taylor looked down at the table. "Our intel said he was weak to fire. We thought the flamethrowers would be enough."

"That clearly wasn't so," says Danni, "and now our only lead is to chase down his girlfriend. Oilbird has all the same powers. How do we catch her if we couldn't catch City Slicker?"

"We're taking a small tanker truck with us for containment this time," answers Brian Baldwin, briefly sliding the fishhook piercing his lip back-and-forth with his thumb and forefinger. "The small kind used for home heating oil deliveries."

"How do we get her into the tanker?" Danni asks, looking back to Tabby.

"Wet vac," Tabby answers. "Back-mounted- enough suction to pull a golfball through a garden hose. We'll all have one, and the four of them can hold her until we get her into the tanker."

Danny looked doubtful. "You want to split her into four different containers? Can we do that without killing her?"

"She's survived worse," says Brian. "It won't kill her, but it'll probably hurt like blue blazes. It will definitely keep her weak enough to get her into the truck without resistance."

"Fine," says Danni. "Maurice?"

Maurice shrugs, and grins confidently. "I'm driving the truck of course. Once she's in, we take her to the El Dorado Superhuman Containment Facility, and pump her into a holding tank."

Brian winced slightly, and looked to Danni. "The Golden Gulag, boss?"

"It's our best bet for holding her," says Maurice. "Back up plan is the nearest Spiffy Lube."

"Still not in the mood for that right now," says Danni. She snatches the folder off the table, and uses it to wave the three of them towards the door. "Let's get it done!"

***

There's a brief montage of sped-up shots showing the team packing their gear, and loading it into the back of a black SUV. Danni and Brian hop into the SUV, and Maurice and Tabby climb into the small tanker truck. The vehicles speed off from their base, and the camera cuts to them pulling up to an abandoned oil field. The camera slows to normal speed as the team piles out, and gathers at the back of the SUV.

***

As they unload the wet vacs, Brian asks, "We're supposed to find her here?"

Checking the straps of his wet vac, Maurice chuckles, somewhat nervous. "Yeah, Danni. This could be like trying to find Clouded Tiger in a fog bank."

No Caption Provided

Unzipping a duffel bag, and handing out a device to each of them, Tabby says, "That's why you'll have these. Unidirectional microphones. These are the kind spies would use to pick up conversations in the next building. Like Clouded Tiger, Oilbird still has a heartbeat, and she can't disguise that. If you pick up its sound, you signal, and the rest of us converge on her until we can use the vacs."

Brian unzipped another duffel bag, and pulled out more gear. "I recommend wearing these. Tyvek suits with built-in face shields."

"Are you nuts," balked Danni. "It's a hundred and twelve out here today."

Tabby was already pulling hers on. "You wanna get soaked again, like we did with City Slicker? I still haven't gotten all of him out of my hair yet."

"We're gonna roast in those things," Sedova said a bit perturbed.

About to pull the hood over his head, Maurice said, "Then boss, I guess we better do this quick."

Danni sighed, and pulled hers on too.

Pulling the wet vacs over their shoulders, and picking up their mics, they spread out about seven meters from each other, and started moving across the oil field.

"I feel like a Ghostbuster in this getup," said Maurice.

"Shut up and let the mics do their job," replied Danni.

No Caption Provided

Music played as the team walked the field in a grid pattern, the camera cutting about every ten seconds to another view, skipping ahead in their thus far fruitless search. Finally, cutting to Tabby's view, the volume bars jump on her microphone's electronic display. "I've got her. Next drilling rig in front of me."

The team converges on her position as they approach the well, and as they get about five meters from it, there's a sudden violent rumble, and oil explodes the full height of the derrick, spraying everything.

Tabby moves in first, flipping the switch on her vac, and the other three follow suit. Their suits covered in oil, they press in towards the Kelly, letting their equipment do its job until the oil stops flowing. They use a lower setting to get the oil off of their Tyvek suits, and then happily strip them off, sweating profusely.

"Never thought one-twelve would be a welcome change," said Danni.

"Do we need to vac up any of the oil that's on the ground?" asks Maurice.

Aiming her mic at each wet vac, Tabby says, "No, her heartbeat's in Brian's tank. She can lose oil the same way we shed skin. If there's not enough in the tanks, she can be given more to replenish her volume once she's at El Dorado."

***

There's another sped-up montage of the team unloading the contents of the vacs to the tanker truck, packing up the equipment, getting back in the vehicles, taking off, and making their way to El Dorado. The facility's personnel unload the tanker, the camera pans along some pipes, and then cuts inside where the oil fills up a large containment tube about halfway. Once the tube seals, Oilbird takes her human form, and the camera slows back to normal speed.

***

Danni takes the lead. "We need you tell us where City Slicker is, Oilbird."

"Oh, gif it up, luv. I ain't tellin' you nuffin'," she sneers.

"You will," Danni assures her, "because your other options are being reduced by a blast furnace, or being sectioned off into drums, and shipped out to various Spiffy Lubes."

Maurice glances sideways at Sedova, and she grins back. "I got that idea from you," she says with a wink.

"You woul'nt," Oilbird says, unsure.

Danni just looks at her with a blank expression.

***

The narrator talks over the credits, and says, "With the information obtained from Oilbird, the team was able to track down City Slicker, and apprehend him in the same manner. Both are currently incarcerated at the El Dorado Superhuman Containment Facility, awaiting trial."

The credits wrap up, and the camera cuts to a shot of Danni in the signature red dress she wears for the show's promotions. She's looking into the camera with a smile, and she winks, and blows a kiss to the audience.

**********

Notes: Danni, Tabby, Brian, Maurice, City Slicker, and the show Danika Sedova: Bounty Hunter Babe were created by ImpurestCheese, and inherited by me.

Oilbird, Clouded Tiger, Spiffy Lube, and the El Dorado Superhuman Containment Facility (AKA The Golden Gulag) created by me. Oilbird and Clouded Tiger names were inspired by entries from Impurest's Guide to Animals.

Tyvek is a trademark of DuPont, and Ghostbusters belong to Columbia Pictures Ghost Corps (Sony Pictures).

Story and original characters owned by Chris Bishop, copyright 2022.

Want more? Read Prelude to the Amazons.

Thanks for reading! :^D

10 Comments

Hawker, by ImpurestCheese

No Caption Provided
Introduction

Imp' would reuse character names, reinventing what came before. I think the one she reinvented/reused most was Black Box (and I'm including her one-shot here), but the next best example has to be Hawker.

The original Hawker is Eleanor (or Elanor- depends on where you look) King (or Clayton- also depends on where you look)- a character Imp' invented for an Injustice: Gods Among Us fan-fic group. Imp' noted in her Patronverse Wikia that Eleanor's armor is canon, so she could eventually show up in Patronverse.

She eventually did in Hawker vs. Sharpshot, and that story is full Patronverse canon according to Imp's notes. Very cool extra: the series is a sanctioned crossover with TommytheHitman's character.

There is also an Elton Hawker that appears in Drakaina '96 #1. His Patronverse Wikia entry notes that his power armor is inspired by Eleanor's. I've included his PW entry here rather than with the Drakaina collected edition just to keep all of the Hawker stuff together.

Similar to the way Imp' canonized Eleanor's armor (and eventually the lady herself), she also canonized the original Black Box, saying that her story happened, except that she wasn't a G.I. Joe (the theme of the contest that spawned that story being to create a new Joe character). She's not really connected to Hawker, but I just thought this would be a good place to include the one-shot. Enjoy. -cbishop/FicOPedia

Injustice: Gods Among Us Character Profile: Hawker (9 Sep, 2013)

Character: Hawker

Voice Actor: Amber Benson

Classification: Tech/Firearm Character

Biography: Born in Botswana; Eleanor King discovered her love of hunting when she was eighteen when she chased down and murdered a notorious poacher. Joining a South African mercenary group Eleanor became the Hawker and was outfitted with various firearms, an armoured flight suit with attached Mylar wings that mimic a dragonflies and a pair of Lamygyar UCAVs affectionately nicknamed Sterk and Vinnig.

Equipment: - Stabilised SS-77 Light Machine Gun, Duel BXP Sub-Machine Guns, Improvised Wing Blades, Milkor MGL w/ Caltrop Rounds

Intro: Hawker fires a warning shot before landing on the battle field and cocks her head before tensing up.

Character Trait: Airborne - Hawker activates her wings and saturates the area with Caltrop rounds that cause her foes to stagger when moving on the ground.

Super Move: Lazes a target to Sterk and Vinnig for a combat flyby, the first fires dumbfire rockets and flies off while the second does two passes whilst showering the target with streams of Napalm

Clash Animation: Hawker charges her suit and flies at maximum speed, the blades thrusting forward as she nears the target.

Clash Quotes:

Hawker and Superman:

Hawker: Time to take down this Locomotive

Superman: Many have tried

Superman and Hawker:

Superman: The price is too high...

Hawker: Then I'll take it from your dead body

Hawker and Solomon Grundy:

Hawker: Dead Men tell no tales

Solomon Grundy: &amp;amp;amp;amp;lt;Monstrous Roar&amp;amp;amp;amp;gt;

Solomon Grundy and Hawker:

Solomon Grundy: Solomon Grundy' Born on a Monday

Hawker: Good thing it's a Saturday Night

Ares and Hawker:

Ares: You are but a servant of warfare, I am it's Lord

Hawker: War's a Woman's Sport

Hawker and Ares:

Hawker: You think you can hook me up with the Silver Swan?

Ares: Passion and War are Sisters. Use that to your advantage mortal

Hawker and Wonder Woman:

Hawker: All it takes is one shot...

Wonder Woman: Then why haven't you taken it yet?

Wonder Woman and Hawker:

Wonder Woman: So much promise wasted

Hawker: Only in your eyes

Hawker and Psycho

Hawker: The forest is my hunting ground.

Psycho: Not anymore

Psycho and Hawker

Psycho: You will pay for your treachery

Hawker: Ivy paid better.

Hawker and Sharpshot

Hawker: Take the shot, you'll miss

Sharpshot: I doubt it Jet Jockey

Sharpshot and Hawker

Sharpshot: Hey gorgeous give me your number

Hawker: Lesbian, look it up idiot

Hawker and Doomhound

Hawker: Your a new kind of prey

Doomhound: You'll fail. They all do.

Doomhound and Hawker

Doomhound: Your suit is a pale shadow when compared to mine

Hawker: Then I'll take it for myself once your dead

Hawker and Killer Rabbit

Hawker: You've jumped straight into the insane column

Killer Rabbit: Flattery will get you nowhere

Killer Rabbit and Hawker

Killer Rabbit: Oh your suit has pixie wings. Maybe I should call the Tooth Fairy.

Hawker: That's it your dead.

Hawker and Joygirl

Hawker: You are a psychotic maniac

Joygirl: If you can't beat them...join me

Joygirl and Hawker

Joygirl: Man your fickle

Hawker: Yesterdays Lover, Today's Contract. It's a dynamic business

Simian Vengeance and Hawker

Simian Vengeance: The hunter must learn her place is at the feet of Grodd

Hawker: Slegs wanneer ek dood

Hawker and Simian Vengeance

Hawker: Don't make me do this...

Simian Vengeance: I need no mercy from you fell huntress

Outro: Hawker places her boot on her fallen foe and executes them with a pistol shot to the head before turning and walking away as Vinning flies past and incinerates the corpse.

Ending: The toppling of a tyrant means good employment for assassins, thieves and saboteurs. With a new set of contracts Hawker continues her work in the hope of participating in the ultimate hunt. She also may or may not have hooked up with Silver Swan but that is another story. ;-)

Injustice: Gods Among Us - Lady Killers #1 (15 Sep, 2013)
No Caption Provided

“Everything is fine.” The dark skinned man dressed in military fatigues yelled down the phone over the sound of mortars crashing down in the city that surrounded the presidential palace. I assure you that we have the situation well in hand.” He added as an RPG streaked past the window and smashed into the masonry of the west wing. “Hello, hello…” He asked before slamming the phone down. While most days had fighting in and around the ruins of Gorilla City the last few hours had been particularly fierce and Major Johnson knew that he was on thin ice with his superiors back in the states to keep the city in regime friendly hands and out of the opportunistic rebels who were looking to get their hands on salvage left behind after the fall of Solovar at the hands of his one time ally Kal El, the leader of three quarters of the planet.

“There must be a problem up the trunk line.” Johnson mumbled as he went to the window and looked out at the firestorm of armoured vehicles, gunships and soldiers all fighting to hold the line. And even though he could scarcely believe it, in Johnson’s eyes they appeared to be breaking as more and more rebels came surging forward.“What is going on? The Insurrection has never been this aggressive or this organized?” Johnson asked.

“Your about to be commander of a ghost town.” A woman’s voice stated causing Johnson to spin around and face the figure clad in matte black armour from head to toe complete with what appeared to be a standard air-force helmet apart from the violet visor. “Right now some of my girls are whipping the rebels into a frenzy while the rest take inventory of the remaining tech left behind by its former owners.”

“You are not permitted to be here.” Johnson bellowed, “This command centre is off limit to anyone without a proper ID card.”

“That’s what you’re focusing on.” The armoured mercenary spluttered,“Not that there is a fully armed and armoured mercenary in my residence who is in a good position to not only put a bullet through my head but also do me a favour. I can make your problem disappear in just over two minutes.”

“I’m not authorized to hire mercenaries.” Johnson replied regretfully, “Only someone higher up on the chain of command can do that. I can’t even call to make a proposal since the phone lines are down”

No Caption Provided

“Luckily my cyber warfare expert was able to get through to a King Faraday, he just deposited thirty grand into my organizations account in Andorra.” The mercenary announced before tapping the left side of her helmet. “Hunter Five activate the first wave.” She ordered before gesturing for Johnson to come to the window overlooking the battle for the main plaza. Several rebel fighters had made it into the area and were savagely charging right into the machine gun fire of the tanks parked outside, most of them seemingly oblivious of the storm of lead slamming into their bodies.

“The rebels paid for us to give them strength enhancing surgery, enough to throw your men around like ragdolls, unfortunately for them we decided to insert something extra inside as well.” She added waving her hand over the scene and the tide of insurrectionists storming up the road to join the front runners. It was then that the first of them began to shiver before their skin begun flaking off and their muscles incinerated leaving behind charred skeletons. Within a minute the whole rebel army was nothing more then a blazing pile of bone and dropped weapons.

“Impressive hundreds dead in two minutes and twelve seconds.” Johnson stated before pressing his pistol against the mercenaries head. “Now on your knees, if you hadn’t blabbed about supporting the rebels you may have walked away.”

“I still will.” The mercenary answered as telescopic blades sprang from her back through Johnson and out the other side. “But you won’t." she added as she retracted the blades again letting Johnson fall to the floor. “Hunter Five activate the second wave.” She ordered as she propped the dying major against the wall and looked him in the eye. “Ever wonder what nasty disease the mosquitoes in these parts were carrying? Let’s just say your men will have pain like they can’t imagine for the last two minutes of their lives.” She added as Johnson watched the skin of his hand turn ash white before flaking off. “Oh and the name is Hawker not that it will do much good for you.” she finished before walking to the window and flaring her wings again, thin sheets of Mylar extending from the blades before they started beating furiously, propelling the pilot through the window and up away from the sea of dying men below her.

“This is Hunter Lead.” Hawker stated over the radio, “I need confirmation that all Hunter units have returned to Wyvern Actual.”

No Caption Provided

“Affirmative.” A voice replied, “Sending you intercept coordinates now.” Hawker looked up and saw a battered Tupolev 114 come thundering out of the cloud layer. Increasing the rotary motors in her wings she accelerated up towards the plane and headed to the rear before watching as the tail ramp dropped allowing her to land in the cargo bay. “Hunter Lead has landed, rerouting Wyvern Actual to Somalia for the hand over, someone contact the ugly man and tell him his new technology will be landing in a few hours.”

“You think Intergang will really keep up their end of the bargain?” A voice over the PA system announced.

“They’d better Thorn unless they want to end up like Johnson.” Hawker answered, “I’ll be up soon, tell the others to break out the champagne, we have just become very rich women.”

“How rich?” Thorn asked as Hawker retracted her wings and took off her helmet to reveal an olive skinned face with hazel eyes framed by long ebony locks. Walking up the stairs and into the crew corridor she heard a loud whistle come over the PA system. It was well founded; Intergang had paid forty thousand for the salvage attempt, the insurrection had paid a further twenty thousand and the Superman regime had topped their fee off with another thirty thousand, a good payment even when split six ways. Slipping into the galley Hawker was not surprised to see her teammates already pouring the expensive champagne (stolen from a French Château last mission) into six plastic glasses.

“Nice of you to join us Hawk.” A woman with stunning platinum blonde hair purred as she occasionally beat her beautiful white feathered wings. “I was thinking I would have to retire for the night without seeing our stemmed leader.”

No Caption Provided

“Well I’m here Silver.” Hawker replied, “A toast to the continent’s best mercenaries.” She added raising her glass, the others following suit and clinking them together. “And to some of the best people I know.” She added, a cheer replying to her toast.

“I have to go.” Silver announced, “I’ll see you tomorrow.”

“Night Helena.” Hawker called as the Silver Swan ducked out of the galley and headed towards one of the converted rooms that served as make shift suites when the team was in the air. “If you need anything…”

“I know I’ll call you.” Helena answered. Turning back to her remaining teammates Hawker took a sip before turning to the woman dressed in gold armour, tiny red LED’s glowing through her mask as she tapped on the laptop. “Doc how long till we land?” She asked.

“Three hours.” Doc replied, “Looks like we got out just in time, the regime are sending in Hawkman clones into the ruins to aid in securing the area.”

No Caption Provided

“Are we far enough away from ground zero?” Hawker asked as she watched Doc’s eyes run across the visor from end to end as she processed the data.

“Just about, as far as they know we are a commercial cargo hauler moving along a well traversed flight path.” Doc answered, “If we do have problems we can always activate the third wave pathogen.”

“Hmm Menagerie are we close enough to remotely activate the remaining vector units from here?” Hawker asked.

“We could be in Beijing and I could still awaken the hive.” The pale green skinned woman answered, the occasional ripple moving across her flesh. “I’m assuming you would rather I simply put them on standby rather then released them straight away.”

“Do neither.” Hawker ordered, “We don’t need to advertise that we are responsible for the deaths of their Marine Expeditionary Force.”

“Got it.” Menagerie answered trying and failing to hide the disappointment in her voice. “If you change your mind let me know.” She added as Hawker drained her champagne and got up before giving a nod at Thorn as she poured a second round and held out her glass.

No Caption Provided

“I’m going to get some sleep.” Hawker announced, “Wake me in two hours.” She added before leaving the room.

“So who gets the joy of waking up our esteemed leader?” Thorn asked as she took a long sip from her glass.

“She won’t sleep.” Doc told her, “She never does, not after missions like this.”

“What do you mean?” The last mercenary, dressed in a blue leotard with a silver crescent tattooed on her cheek.

“Because she feels guilt.” Doc answered, “Not for the people she killed but for the ones she failed to save.”

Injustice: Gods Among Us - Lady Killers #2 (21 Sep, 2013)

Hawker sat on the bed and fished the cassette tape from underneath the pillow and slotted it into the walkman and pressed play."

"Message recorded at 13:31 on the 16/05/12." A harsh female voice announced before becoming more masculine with a South African accent. "Hey Hawk it's X-Ray, listen we have a situation in Jo'burg. Normally I would call in the rest of Unit 11 but there in Nigeria and are too far away to respond. I need you to back me up." Hawker looked up from the bed and saw a wave of flame rolling towards her. Leaping off the bed she hit her head on a cabinet and watched as the carpet morphed into the tiled floor and looked around to see that the cabin had been replaced into a terminal building.

No Caption Provided

"X-Ray it's Hawker the operation is fragged, Lynns reached the suit and I don't have the fire power to deal with him." Hawker stated down the team radio link. Dressed in an airport security uniform and armed only with a Mamba handgun Hawker knew she was outclassed by Firefly's armoured suit long range flamethrower.

"We are outnumbered." X-Ray answered, the sound of gunfire echoing around him. "Atomic Skull and Shrapnel are pushing me back towards the departures lounge but we have another problem. We know that Doctor Cyber is running the rest of the Secret Society from the air-traffic control tower and locking long range communications. At current they are keeping planes in the air but sooner or later one of them is going to drop out of the sky."

"I'm in security just off baggage reclaim." Hawker answered as Firefly fired a wave of incendiary bombs down the hallway. "I just need to remove Firefly from the exit I can get to my armour and take down Cyber."

No Caption Provided

"Well you'd better do it quick because we are running out of time in more ways then one." X-Ray told her. "Damm it Multiplex just broke off and is heading your way." With a sigh Hawker leapt through the remains of the security shutter and slipped behind a column as a jet of fire lanced across the floor to where she had just been.

"We wanted one of Superman's jack booted thugs." Firefly sneered. "To ransom one of his people for our safety but unfortunately you turned up and we had to turn up the heat." Slipping out from cover Hawker fired three shots before ducking back as Firefly shifted and blasted the column with his flamethrower causing the support to melt. With a hiss Hawker charged him, emptying her magazine into Firefly as the villain jetted backwards in an attempt to gain more distance. It was that action that allowed a lucky last shot to clip his fuel tank sending him spiralling away before crashing into a line of trolleys.

"X-Ray baggage claim is clear, ETA to the Hawker Huntress Armour is five minutes." Hawker announced as she sprinted for the door to arrivals only for the glass to shatter around her as multiple figures arrived and charged her. Slotting in a fresh magazine Hawker opened fire and shot the first wave only to see more Multiplex bodies charged in. Eyeing the baggage carousel Hawker ran across the room and slid through the open hole down into the baggage handling area and hit the ground running as the Multiplex duplicates followed just as she slipped out onto the tarmac and the parked Eurocopter Super Puma where her armour was stored.

No Caption Provided

As she reached the chopper the terminal building behind her exploded as a lance of energy stabbed down from the sky. Stumbling Hawker watcher in horror as the building burned. "X-Ray, X-Ray come in. Thomas talk to me."

"He can't hear you." A cold voice announced causing Hawker to spin round, her finger on the trigger as she looked up at the man dressed in black segmented armour with a red cape, a massive 'S' emblazoned on his chest. "You have just done me a favour and proved that local law-enforcement can't handle such things."

"We were given Intel that only Firefly was coming through." Hawker coughed.

"I know, I had my intelligence officers leak information about the Secret Society's plan so I could take control of the world's security." Superman told her. "This tragedy is just what I needed."

No Caption Provided

"So you set this up and sent X-Ray and me in to get slaughtered." Hawker snarled. ''The deaths of everyone inside is on your head."

"No it's on yours." Superman replied. "You killed hundreds today with your impulsiveness. Not that you have to worry, as the last piece of evidence about my involvement you need to be destroyed." With a grunt Hawker opened her eyes and picked herself off the floor and rubbed her forehead before throwing the walkman against the wall.

"Eleanor it's Doc." A voice called over the PA system. "We are preparing for descent for the Intergang meet, Silver Swan nominated herself to be your back-up."

"Okay thanks Doc." Hawker answered. "I will be down in the cargo hold in five minutes." She added before opening up her hip mounted tactical hard-case and pulled out a folded piece of paper and cautiously opened it. With a deep sigh she refolded it and put it back in the case, grabbed her helmet and headed for the door.

**

After a ten minute drive Hawker parked the rented GAZ Tiger 6A outside a waterfront cafe followed by Helena, the dowdy woman wearing a ballistic vest and eyeing the locals with nervous glances. Despite making an effort to fight crime in the hopes of gaining Superman's approval the corruption of organised crime still lurked under the gleaming surface and there was very little the local authorities were willing to do about it.

"So who are we waiting for?" Helena asked as Hawker snagged a pair of beers from a passing waitress.

No Caption Provided

"Bruno Mannheim." Hawker answered as she removed a survival knife from her belt that glowed with amber energy before she sliced through the tops of the bottles, the glass cauterising leaving a smooth surface around the exposed top. "Lighten up Helena, it's just a simple hand off."

"I know I just feel, well you know."

"Nope what is it?" Hawker asked

"It's just I met someone online and I'm afraid he might not like me because well you know."

"What because you don't have supermodel looks." Hawker answered.

"Yeah, I mean you obviously don't have that problem."

"Not really dating these days Hel." Hawker told her. "My last girlfriend Jasmine is now running a sadistic cult, one that I thought Doc and I had shut down. Before that the love of my life just vanished without a trace."

"You like girls?" Helena gasped, "But I'm sure I saw you...you know."

"Doc and a hologram." Hawker answered. "And what matters is the beauty inside." Helena didn't answer as a pair of figures dressed in black armour walked up behind them.

No Caption Provided

"I think you're in our seats." The first growled causing Hawker to turn around. "Black Manta and a crony, beat it we were here."

"My first mate Devil Ray and I have business here so get lost." Manta hissed as Hawker reached for her holstered BXP and flicked the safety off.

''Now ladies, gentlemen could you please refrain from killing each other before we conclude our transaction." A man dressed in a cotton shirt and cargo pants announced. "Especially since I get a cut from bringing you two cats together."

"Your late Manheim." Devil Ray snapped, "And don't assume you and the Captain are friends just because you offered to get our equipment."

No Caption Provided

"Men huh, you know what I'm saying ladies." Manheim asked Hawker.

"My time costs money." Hawker told him.

"Of course." Manheim snorted before clicking his fingers at the waitress. "More chairs and some water that didn't come from a sewer." He ordered. "Now let's talk money my 'friends'."

With an angry sigh the waitress headed into the cafe and dialled a number at the bar phone. "Hello Meta Control I would like to report a sighting of a known meta human criminal."

Injustice: Gods Among Us - Lady Killers #3 (21 Sep, 2013)

"And that brings us to the cloaking field control nodes." Black Manta announced as he watched a few of the local trigger-men Manheim had hired to aid in the sale.

"A little corrosion on the PV array on the third node." Hawker answered as Devil Ray directed some of the hired help as they unloaded the technology from the UAZ.

"I'm willing to pay twelve thousand for them in their damaged state." Black Manta hissed.

"We agreed fifteen thousand no less. " Manheim replied as the trigger-men place the stealth field generator nodes on a pallet. "It's bad enough that the 'help' is asking for more money."

No Caption Provided

"You've made three hundred grand and we are only a third of the way through the inventory." Hawker stated. "You can afford to pay more or I'll sell the rest of the tech directly to Manta for the reduced price."

"You can't do that." Manheim growled as Devil Ray loaded a harpoon in his arm mounted launcher.

"I can." Hawker replied smugly. "What do you think Manta?"

"I have no problem with that." Manta answered as Helena double tapped the ear piece she was wearing.

"Boss we have a problem." Helena whispered, "The regime has launched a pair of shuttles from an airbase on the edge of town. They will be here in ten minutes but someone is flying up front, something with bracelets."

"Okay." Hawker sighed. "Gentlemen and I use that term lightly, I have decided to fold my interest, we will take the money and leave. I'm even willing to throw the keys in for the truck."

No Caption Provided

"Why the sudden change of heart?" Manheim asked as Hawker threw Devil Ray the truck keys. "What do you know that we don't?" As he finished a red thunderbolt landed feet first into the UAZ, the gas tank detonating as she stepped out of the truck's pyre.

"Black Manta, Bruno 'Ugly' Manheim and Silver Swan. Well imagine that, I come to discuss economic development with the President and I get three wanted criminals waiting to be arrested." The figure dressed in a red leotard with a golden breastplate and belt, her hands wrapped around a broadsword and shield an obvious sign that she was ready for battle. Standing before the assorted criminals was Wonder Woman and it was clear from the expression on her face that she was going to enjoy this.

"You'll pay for trashing our haul." Devil Ray yelled opening fire with his harpoon guns only to see his projectiles bounce off Wonder Woman's gauntlets. Moments later she delivered a blow to the face with enough force to crack his mask and knock him into a rusted pickup parked outside the cafe.

"Ten thousand if you cover me while I escape." Manheim yelled at Hawker.

"The same price for the same thing." Black Manta added as Helena exploded in a corona of white light to reveal the gleaming form of the Silver Swan as Manheim and Manta headed for the docks. Wonder Woman got ready to pursue when she was hit by a blast of sonic energy, the Silver Swan slamming feet first into her. With a snort of content Wonder Woman took off and body slammed the Swan into the ground leaving Hawker to face her alone.

No Caption Provided

"So much for your attempts at security." Wonder Woman said with a smirk on her face as Hawker pulled her helmet on and fired her BXP, the bullets reflecting off her foe's bracelets as she advanced on the armoured mercenary. Taking to the air Hawker reloaded and gained altitude as Wonder Woman closed the gap and slammed her fists into Hawker's fore-wings and ripped them off before watching the mercenary spiral down to the ground.

"That will cost you." Hawker growled as she got to her feet as Wonder Woman came thundering towards her. At the last moment she spun out the way and aimed a kick at the Amazon's back only for Wonder Woman to twist around and throw her back, Hawker's 'flight' terminating with a hand spring before she landed, a slimline 38mm Milkor Stopper already drawn. With a coy half smile Wonder Woman charged towards her as Hawker fired the Stopper, an adhesive grenade exploded around the Amazon's legs causing her to collapse onto the floor.

"That is not enough." Wonder Woman snarled as she ripped the adhesive gel off her legs.

No Caption Provided

"Then try this." Silver Swan yelled as she slammed a pickup onto Wonder Woman before watching as the truck was flung away. With an ear ripping scream she fired a high frequency blast of scream that caused Diana's ears to bleed as she tried to get a bead on her airborne attacker. Extending a set of elongated hypodermic needles from over her fingers Hawker flared her remaining pair of wings and covered the fifty feet in a single bound, her wings beating franticly assisting her leap, and sunk the syringes into the Amazon's right breast before being shaken off the syringes snapping with the tips staying in Wonder Woman's chest.

"So much potential wasted." Wonder Woman snorted

"Only in your eyes. But you don't look so good," Hawker replied, "maybe because I dosed you with Immobilin. In five minutes you won't be able to stand let alone fight." With a scream Silver Swan made another pass before Wonder Woman grabbed her by the wings and threw her in the harbour before turning to deal with Hawker. With a hiss the mercenary opened fire from an shoulder mounted launcher, the fat darts whizzing past Wonder Woman before she slammed her armoured foe with a haymaker.

"You missed." Wonder Woman stated as she looped her lasso around Hawker's neck. "What were you trying to accomplish?"

"A wide spread of magnetic ascension pitons." Hawker answered as the bullet casings, street trash and shards of burning UAZ rocked and flew towards the pitons, the majority smashing into Wonder Woman allowing Hawker to wiggle away as the Amazon fought off wave after wave of overzealous magnetised metal.

No Caption Provided

"If that didn't do the thing for you try this." She added as the chin mounted lights on her helmet lit up while Wonder Woman shook herself and staggered towards her. As she got halfway a pair of delta winged UACVs dropped out of the cloud layer and opened fire with rockets and auto canons, the later ricocheting off the energy draining blocks Wonder Woman threw up as the rockets exploded around her creating a burning haze around her body.

Un-holstering her Mamba sidearm Hawker counted to five before Wonder Woman stumbled out of the impact zone, spittle flying as she half charged half limped towards her armoured prey. Even suffering from her dose of tranquilliser Wonder Woman was still a deadly opponent and closed the gap in seconds, her foe getting off two shots before she had to block blows from her enraged foe, the first few cracking the outer shell and reverberating through the impact gel down to Hawker's skin and bone. With a yell of pain and anger Wonder Woman landed a final blow that cracked open Hawker's helmet before collapsing to the floor.

Cocking her pistol Hawker trained her gun on her rapidly fading foe before resetting the safety. "Not like this." She wheezed as the adrenaline died down and the pain began to kick in. "I'm not going to do it like this.

No Caption Provided

Whilst mostly intact her armour had been damaged; the helmet was beyond repair and her wings were badly mangled whilst the chest plate was slightly concaved from Wonder Woman's repeated final assault. Turning she saw the Silver Swan pull herself out of the harbour, her wings soaked, her face displaying a look of hunger and malicious intent.

"You might not be able to finish her." The Swan called as she picked up one of Hawker's broken wing-blades off the floor. "But I can." Angrily Hawker fired a shot past the Swan's ear causing her anger to bubble up to the surface, her beautiful face twisted into a cruel visage.

"Not today." Hawker ordered. "It's time to leave."

"It really isn't." The Swan hissed. "If you want to stand between me and my destiny then you will die at my hand too."

Injustice: Gods Among Us - Lady Killers #4 (3 Oct, 2013)

With a scream Silver Swan slammed the blade down towards Wonder Woman only to feel it cut into something rigid before getting stuck in the shoulder guard of Hawker's armour. With a look of shock she saw her former employer remove her survival knife from her belt and slash back, the blade cutting through the Swan's cheek and burning a two inch scar up from her mouth. Staggering back the Silver Swan watched as Hawker stood over Wonder Woman and disengaged the whole right arm of her suit complete with the blade still inside to reveal a cut in her dark flesh that rapidly sealed itself with a thick orange coagulant.

"That's enough Helena." Hawker ordered. "Just walk away before someone gets hurt."

"You dared to defile me." The Swan cried. "You will pay for spoiling this gleaming image of beauty."

No Caption Provided

"Oh grow up." Hawker answered before firing a grenade from her 38mm Milkor Stopper, the projectile exploding into a thick wall of choking smoke. With a few beats of her wings Silver Swan cleared the fog from the waterfront only to see Hawker had fled, and that she had taken Wonder Woman with her. Even worse a pair of Regime Shuttles had arrived and were getting ready to deploy boots on the ground. Her anger welling up inside she let loose an earth shattering scream; one that ripped the first shuttle apart, the debris and bodies smashing into the second and causing it to spiral downwards into the now mercifully empty café.

"I won't be beaten by you Hawker." Swan screamed, "You're a bitter old dyke trying to be the big girl on campus. Well guess what your time as the QB is over." She shrieked as she took to the air, unaware of the surviving troopers crawling out of the wreckage, ready and eager to join the hunt.

**

Hawker elbowed the button for the lift before putting Wonder Woman down on the floor as the grate closed behind them and the car climbed up the Rao Financial Centres framework to the third floor. All the construction workers had dropped tools and run back when the first round of the all Female Death Match had kicked off. "Doc I'm at the secondary rally point." Hawker whispered as the lift stopped and she got off. "Lock down the lift and give me positions on all the players." She added as she dragged Wonder Woman into the middle of the room.

No Caption Provided

"Okay, Helena is flying a standard grid pattern around a mile radius of the waterfront. At the moment the squad of troopers a block east of your position are of more pressing concern. They must have locked onto some kind of tracking device or energy signature because they appear to know you are inside."

"What am I dealing with and what are they packing?" Hawker asked.

"Ten soldiers, six with AN94 Assault Rifles, Two with SPAS 15 Shotguns and two with MP5 SMGs. All have light ballistic armour with joint camera feeds on their helmets allowing them to sync up and share visual information. The majority have M9 Handguns as their sidearm but I can see two G18s as well." Doc informed. "You have four with repelling harnesses forming up on the East corner, the others are waiting for the lift."

"Okay Doc." Hawker sighed before walking over to an automated forklift. "I'm connecting you to a Saracen class Robot Forklift. Go nuts."

"Protocol Thelma and Louise?" Doc asked with glee as the forklift shuddered to life and rumbled to the East Corner before toppling over the edge, the crash preceded by screams. "Two no three hostiles taken out. The others have given up on the lift and are hitting the stairs. Four of them are heading up the south stairs and are disembarking on the second floor. The others are coming up from the north and are hearing straight to your position."

"Lock down the security shutters and separate them." Hawker ordered as she slinked over to the stairs. Twenty seconds later a trooper wandered past before turning as the metal shutter slammed down behind him. Silently Hawker grabbed him and quickly despatched him with her survival knife before removing the helmet and placing it over her head. "Okay Doc let's see what our enemies can see." She stated.

No Caption Provided

"Not much but the open link is useful." Doc replied. "But I have swapped your IFF tag with that of a regime soldier. That should help." As she finished gunfire from the floor below sounded followed by cursing and yelling. "Hmm looks like the rest are heading straight up, standard flanking formation probably."

"I can work that." Hawker stated before tapping a button on her breastplate, the armoured breast moulds opening up and deploying a pair of metal orbs that shattered on contact with the floor to reveal a pair of cybernetic insects, their red eyes gleaming in the darkness before they scuttled away and fixed themselves to the wall. "That's another two down as soon as they walk past." She announced before slotting the last clip into her BXP and slipping behind the forklifts charging base.

Minutes later the remaining troopers walked up the stairs and split into three groups. The drones on the walls went unseen until they exploded, the blast ripping the two unlucky victims apart and stunning the others just as Hawker popped out and quickly dropped the soldiers.

"I must thank Menagerie for those bugs." Hawker stated before spinning round and emptying the clip into the soldier who had climbed the outside of the building. "You need to try better then that to sneak up on me." She added. "That's all ten'" She sighed "now where's the...urgh." She grunted as the Silver Swan flew into her feet first and kicked Hawker out of the building onto the foreman's office below.

No Caption Provided

"Eleanor you must get up." Doc yelled over the radio. "Get up now." With a grunt of pain Hawker stood up and heard her leg crack. Looking up at the building she fired a set of magnetic pitons at the section of scaffolding.

"Doc magnetise my left gauntlet and right boot." Hawker grunted, "And cycle the suits adrenal boosters I'm taking the quick way up." She added before reaching up towards the piton and felt the magnetic force pull her up before clambering up and reaching out for the next piton, the repelling field on her boot propelling her up to the next ledge. As she reached the third floor she saw Silver Swan train one of the soldiers pistols at Wonder Woman.

Turning the Swan saw Hawker climbing over the edge and took a deep breath for a sonic scream, one that became a yell of pain as her former boss fired a piton straight into her eye. Throwing the pistol away the Swan charged forward, swatting the flying fuel drums away, thick diesel oil drenching her as she grabbed Hawker by the neck and wrestled her into a headlock. "All it takes is a single twist. And I'm standing out of your wing radius so don't try any tricks." The Swan ordered. "I know them all."

"You don't know this one." Hawker replied as she ejected her suit's supply of flares, the heat igniting the Silver Swan causing her to drop Hawker just as her captive extended and flared her wings, the blades twisting and slashing up and cutting through the Swan's wings. As her former employee burned Hawker limped away and picked Wonder Woman up.

"Doc unlock the lift." She yelled as the Silver Swan emerged, her pearl white skin charred black. "And do it quick." She added as she fired a piton at the lift and let the magnetic field pull her and her hostage into the car. As the gate closed the Silver Swan leapt at the lift but missed as the lift headed up causing her to fall down the shaft. Reaching the roof Hawker collapsed and dumped Wonder Woman onto the roof top.

No Caption Provided

"Doc I need a pickup from the roof." Hawker grunted. "And tell the regime to pick up the princess."

"On your six." Doc yelled over the radio. Hawker turned to see the Silver Swan climb over the edge snarling and spitting in Greek. With a wicked smile she advanced just as Hawker tapped her arm and activated a visual spectrum laser, the beam striking the Swan's good eye causing her to flinch.

"That won't stop me." She screeched as a UAV dropped out of the clouds and fired a pair of rocket propelled darts. The projectiles embedding in the Swan's chest causing her to look at Hawker with disgust and surprise before the darts detonated, the blast vaporising her leaving nothing but a burnt skeleton lying on the roof.

"Pickup has arrived." Doc stated as the drone landed and Hawker crawled on. "You've got a bruised sternum, three broken ribs, a shoulder laceration and a ripped tendon. Sounds like a rough day?" She added as the drone rocketed away.

"It is." Hawker grunted as she looked down at the Silver Swan's burnt skeleton. "They all are."

Injustice - Hawker #1: Green Vengeance (11 Dec, 2013)
Disclaimer
All characters apart from Hawker (ImpurestCheese) and Simian Vengeance (SpideyIvyDaredevilFan26) are owned by DC Comics

Eleanor Monroe ran her hand along the reinforced bench loaded with weapons as the Tu-114 shuddered slightly as it the plane hit a pocket of turbulence. Last night she had been contacted by Vandal Savage, the Superman Regime’s head mercenary captain, to take out a dangerous high value target hidden in the rainforest of Indonesia. As such she was just running through her armory before she deployed, the internal countdown shown on her HUD counting down rapidly as the Hawker Huntress Armour ran through its usual system diagnostics. Her usual armament of twin BXP Sub-Machine Guns, 38mm Milkor Stopper Grenade Launcher and Mamba Handgun had been enhanced by a pair of MAG-7 micro shotguns loaded with incendiary rounds. As the countdown flashed thirty, she walked to the deployment door and tapped her helmet twice.

“Doc this is Hawker, doing a radio check in the blind do you read me?” Hawker asked as the door slid open.

“I read you Hawker Actual, will paint areas of high concentrations of fluoride compounds for investigation.” Doctor Cyber replied, “I also took the liberty to fill the tanks of your UCAVs with a concentrated herbicide, should you need them.”

No Caption Provided

“Hopefully not.” Eleanor answered as the door opened. “It would be a shame to damage the forest.” She added as she dropped off the edge and plummeted down into the pouring rain, the suit automatically heating her visor and on-board cameras to keep the rain from pooling on the hardened plastic. As she neared the canopy she flared her wings, the blades extending to there full length and beating hard to slow her descent until she touched down on the top of a massive Kapok tree. Dropping to the floor she locked onto a glowing green spot that was painted on the left side of her visor before stalking slowly into the forest interior.

“Hawker scan left.” Doc whispered over the radio link. Moving her head slightly she caught sight of a wooden stake, a half decomposed skeleton slung across the attached yard arm. “It’s been dead for a week or two.” Doc added as Hawker touched the skeleton’s rib cage feeling the shotgun wound that had blown the man open. “This wasn't Ivy, not directly at least.” Hawker answered as she zoomed her visor onto the wound, “Sending you a visual for analysis.”

“Running it.” Doc stated, “This was put here as a warning.”

“I know, maybe it was meant to scare people away from Poison Ivy’s lab; that would explain the increased decomposition.” Hawker mused, “I've seen such thing before in Louisiana when Naomi was murdered a year ago. Her body had been rotted when she was still alive. All because she had a car accident and crashed into a tree. I plan to ask Ivy if she knows the psycho responsible for that before I complete the contract.”

“Wound Analysis Complete.” Doc stated as Hawker turned away from the corpse and continued towards the area marked on her HUD. “The wound came from a Leone 12 Gage Shotgun. I ran the weapon against mercenaries known to operate in this part of the world and came up with a match. A man known as Simian Vengeance was seen in Jakarta a month ago looking for topographical maps of the area you are currently in.”

“I know his reputation.” Hawker answered as she passed another pair of skeletons hung on stake. “He was Grodd’s assassin before Superman killed his master. There are rumors that Ivy has him on retainer as personnel security, his presence is a complication but one that can be calculated and rectified.” She added as she switched her visor back to its normal optical range and removed one of her ammo clips mounted on her belt before placing it on the ground.

No Caption Provided

Taking to the air she tinted her armor to a dark green and landed on a thick tree branch before firing a magnetic piton into a tree twenty meters away. On the floor the bullets shuddered before flying out of the clip and magnetizing to the projectile, each impact sapping the magnet’s power until all thirty two rounds dropped to the floor with a distinctive clink that echoed around the trees. “Outline humanoid thermal silhouettes.” Hawker whispered to Doc, “Let’s see if the rumors are true and Simian Vengeance is working for Poison Ivy.”

**

Five minutes later a man dressed in combats emerged from the undergrowth, his shotgun ready as he swung it around before coming to a stop where the dropped ammo case was. With a snarl he picked it up and shook it before throwing the clip away and walking over to the pile of dropped bullets before leaning on the tree. “Ivy somebody is here just like you said. I found a discarded weapon clip. Whoever came here is careless leaving clues behind for us to find.”

“Well make sure you do!” A voice boomed from the surrounding forest. “Intruders are not welcome. Remember what I pay you for you drooling troglodyte”

“Got it.” Simian Vengeance snorted. “Listen whoever you are, I can’t kill Ivy not without repercussions so I’m taking my anger out on you instead DO YOU HEAR ME?!” He roared, the force causing the trees to shake, the force dislodging a canister from the canopy that landed at Simian Vengeance’s feet. “Huh?” he grunted before picking up the canister. “Oh Shi…” He begun to swear as the device exploded into a burning flash of light and wave of ear crushing sound. “Grr show yourself coward.” He roared as he shook his head to clear his vision.

As he did he saw a flash from up in the trees and lunged into the undergrowth as bullets slashed into the foliage where he had been standing. From his position he pumped his shotgun and returned fire, the shells ripping through the canopies boughs as a figure flew through the foliage into a new position, the angle of enemy fire re-adjusting forcing him to roll under the shade of a tree and out of the line of fire.

“What’s going on there?” Ivy’s voice boomed from the ferns that surrounded him. Simian rolled his eyes and stomped on the plants as a grenade bounced off the adjacent tree and into his ‘shelter’. With a roar Simian’s form rippled and he went from a well built man to an orange furred gorilla, before leaping up into the tree as the flash-bang detonated behind him. Scaling the tree he heard the click of an ammo clip being replaced and caught sight of a human silhouette, and with a roar of anger Simian jumped across the gap and slammed into the branch, his increased weight causing the wood to split and send both him and his target to crash to the forest floor.

Staggering to his feet Simian watched as the intruder righted herself with a flare of the blade like wings on her back and reached for her pistol. With a snort he fired a round from his shotgun, the force biting into the woman's armored hand and knocking the handgun away as he advanced on her. “Now let’s see what’s under that mask.” Simian growled as he advanced on Hawker, the woman balling her fists as he punched her in the chest before grabbing her by the head and pulled her neck back. Arms flailing Hawker stabbed a set of elongated hypodermics into his arms before flaring her wings and shooting forward into the nearest tree, the impact of hitting the tree causing Simian to let go of her.

No Caption Provided

“Settle down I’m here for Ivy not you.” Hawker hissed as Simian attempted to get to his feet before slipping and falling flat on his face.

“I can’t let you touch Ivy. She may treat me like crap but if I fail to keep her safe Psycho will rip me in two.” Simian snarled as he attempted to stagger towards his dropped shotgun. “Just like I will with you.”

“The Conantokin-L in your blood stream begs to differ.” Hawker answered him as he collapsed into a sleep like state. “As I said I’m not here for you.” She added as she took his 12 gauge shotgun and reclaimed her dropped BXPs. “Doc I need an amour update and Ivy’s location stat. No way she didn't here me and the big ape’s firefight.” Hawker stated as she holstered her BXP and drew the MAG-7 instead, the box magazine etched with a stylized flame.

No Caption Provided

“Breastplate is compromised, the impact gel layer is the only thing keeping your chest from being crushed, however that is secondary compared to the damage to your neck bracer. I suggest ejection, the next time you take a hit to that area it would likely sever your head. In addition your left gauntlet is locked due to the damage from the shotgun blast” Doc announced as Hawker reached up and tore off the displaced neck bracer, flecks of blood merging with the orange impact gel leaking out of the damaged component. “Good to know, now where is Ivy?” Hawker asked as she shot a look at Simian Vengeance snoring on the forest floor.

“Right behind you.” A voice hissed before the floor shook and a nest of vines snaked up Hawker’s body before pulling her and Simian Vengeance down into a massive pitcher plant that was growing rapidly from the earth. Looking up Hawker saw Ivy standing on the edge looking down at the pair with a malicious almost child like look on her face. “Welcome to the Jungle.” She purred. “And your tomb.”

Injustice - Hawker #2: Green Vengeance (12 Dec, 2013)
Disclaimer
All characters apart from Hawker (ImpurestCheese) and Simian Vengeance (SpideyIvyDaredevilFan26) are owned by DC Comics

Simian Vengeance coughed before opening his eyes as an eye watering stench filled his nostrils. Blinking twice he saw a black armored breastplate lying across his chest, lines of blue energy running across the surface to a central point before shocking him, the pain causing him to shudder and grunt before he ripped the plate off and threw it away.

“You know I’m going to have to bill you for that right?” A woman’s voice announced as he caught the slight flicker of a flame somewhere off to his right. Turning he saw the speaker sitting by a campfire wrapped in a thick blanket sitting next to a very recognizable helmet.

No Caption Provided

“You, you came to kill Ivy.” He growled before wobbling to his feet and walking up to the woman, "You tried to kill me.”

“I saved your hide you ungrateful Bravo Kilo.” Hawker spat. “Ivy turned on you, we were being digested until I cut our way out and even after that it was touch and go until I found the river. After that your heart rate dropped, maybe due to an allergic reaction to the cone shell venom I dosed you with. I guess in your ape form your immune system could compromise the effect but as you’re now human…”

“And the breastplate?” Simian Vengeance snorted as he eyed his shotgun propped against a tree on the other side of the clearing.

“Automatic defibrillator kept your cardiac rate stable until your heart could take over.” Hawker answered as she got up and went to a large black canister sitting next to the stockpiled weapons before pulling out a two liter sealed bottle of water before wincing as she walked back to where she had been sitting. “You need to re-hydrate your body.” She added handing him the bottle. Running his hand across the seal Simian ripped the top off and took a long swig before sitting down opposite the woman.

“You saved me?” He grunted, “I find that hard to believe.” He snorted as Hawker ran an olive skinned hand across her chest. “Why?”

“Because you are not my enemy.” Hawker stated, “Damm stitches have come loose again. Doc this is Hawker Actual as soon as I’m finished we need to rebind my mastectomy scars again.”

“Mastectomy? You got cancer or something?” Simian asked before taking another swig of water.

No Caption Provided

“Two years ago I was contracted alongside a mercenary named Yasemin to bring down a cult that worshiped Nekron. They called themselves the Circle of the Obsidian Knife, a blade used by the devil himself to carve a ring capable of raising the dead.” Hawker explained, “Yasemin and l went in and she became an initiate, learnt who was inside and what they did. I took another route, to sell her deception I became her ‘primus victor’, her way of gaining entry. That basically involved her torturing me for two months, in between the gladiatorial death matches against the other victims that is. Let’s just say after that she and I are no longer lovers or even friends anymore.”

“Sounds nasty.” Simian grunted, “Doesn't answer my question; why did you save me?”

“Because if I can help it I don’t leave people to die.” Hawker answered him, “And those I do, I avenge if I can. I have too many ghosts haunting me to add anyone else to my personal graveyard.”

“You have a code.” Simian grunted, “Not too many people in our line of work have one. I used to have one until Grodd died, now I’m in it to make as many people in this world suffer like I do.”

“Your code what was it?” Hawker asked as she threw a bar of chocolate at him. “That’s to replenish your sugar levels.” She added as she removed a tactical hard case from her thigh before pulling out a vial of indigo blue liquid.

No Caption Provided

“I used to run a cult, one that would elevate Grodd to a God.” Simian explained, “Huh rhyme. My idea was to reinforce Grodd as strong by taking the weakest of society and indoctrinating them to the belief system I wanted them to have, to give them the strength they deserved. After Grodd died my ambition dried up, I forgot his legacy, forgot who I was, until when I looked in the mirror I could no longer see the frightened son of a missionary who risked everything for the creatures he loved, nor Simian Vengeance; the deliverer of Grodd’s Legacy. All I saw was a feral attack dog who had lost his way, forced to do mercenary work for madmen like Ivy.”

“It gets better.” Hawker stated as she reached down her top and rubbed the blue liquid over the open stitches, the wound closing up thanks to the advanced anti coagulant. “At least that’s what my mother taught me, and if it doesn't it is up to you to make it happen.”

“Your mother sounds like she had her head on straight?” Simian announced as he bit into the chocolate bar. “Do you see her often?”

“Only in my nightmares.” Hawker sighed, “She was killed by a man called the Black Tusk after she was called out to attend to one of his injured men. But first he dragged her away into the bush before…” She stopped and put her head in her hands, “he butchered her, cut her limbs off with a rusty machete, I got there too late to save her, but just at the right time to put a rifle round in his head. I've regretted pulling the trigger for the rest of my life; it has led to nothing but pain and haunted dreams.”

“So why do you want to kill Ivy?” Simian asked changing the subject as best he could. “My guess is it’s not solely about the money.”

No Caption Provided

“No a while ago I was hired as a bodyguard for a rich family in the States. They were dirty, I knew that but their daughter was an innocent and at the time I believed that no child should pay for their parents sins.” Hawker explained, “Her name was Naomi, a talented dancer but shy as well, I remember watching her practice at school for her role as the Sugarplum Fairy in the Nutcracker. After a while it was clear she saw me as more of a mother then the woman who gave birth to her. That was a mistake; someone hired a mercenary team to take us out including someone with the ability to manipulate plant life. I caught up with Black Spider pretty quickly, but he swore that only Scandal Savage knew everyone else’s details. When I caught up with her she said the same thing, but only replaced her name with somebody called Harvest, I’m still looking for her but the MO screams Poison Ivy. Hell I spent three days fighting to reclaim her body against the people responsible and yet I still only know the names of two of the mercenaries involved.”

“So you just want to ask Ivy a question?” Simian snorted. “And once you’re done…then what?”

No Caption Provided

“I kill her like I was paid to. What you and Ivy have done here is inexcusable but luckily as the hired help you get a free pass.” Hawker said before walking to her discarded breastplate and fitting it to the armored back brace she wore.

“Do you know who I am?” Simian Vengeance roared, “I am meant to be Grodd’s heir not some lackey! I have no more loyalty to Ivy then I have to anyone. I am not some henchman paid to stand around and take orders like some mewling dog.”

“So what are you going to do about it?” Hawker asked as she walked back to the canister and dialed up a pass code that caused a secret door to slide open.

“I’m going to make Ivy regret meeting me.” Simian roared, his rage echoing around the firebombed forest the pair were standing in.

No Caption Provided

“Good, I secured replacements for our weapons after they were damaged by the plants digestive acids.” Hawker purred as she tossed some weapons at Simian Vengeance, “One Remington 970 loaded with Dragon Breath rounds and one L16 81mm Mortar complete with seven thermobaric shells. Give me a circle of flame around Ivy’s encampment and I’ll make sure to give her your regards.”

“What’s your name?” Simian asked as Hawker holstered a new 38mm Milkor Stopper and a second pair of MAG-7 Shotguns.

“Hawker but you can call me Eleanor.” Hawker answered as she went to the pile of acid damaged weapons and fished out her Mamba Pistol and slipped it into an armored leg holster. “Now let’s go hunting.”

Injustice - Hawker #3: Green Vengeance (13 Dec, 2013)
Disclaimer
All characters apart from Hawker (ImpurestCheese) and Simian Vengeance (SpideyIvyDaredevilFan26) are owned by DC Comics

Poison Ivy sat surrounded by flowers in the glade reaching out to the plant life all around her, marshaling them into a deadly defensive force. As she stretched her control out further she found ‘a sore’ of burnt forest that sent shivers of pain down her back. She had seen the aircraft fire volley after volley of rockets down into the forest only an hour before yet feeling the open wound in the canopy caused her more then just passive disgust, it made her feel vengeful. She didn't know who was responsible, at least not by name, but once the assassin was dealt with she would stretch her domain across the entire island, the natives be dammed. In this place she was a goddess and nothing would stand up against her coming righteous onslaught. Getting to her feet she felt a shudder rippled through ‘the Green’ and for a second she swore something was watching her. Shaking her head she turned to the epicenter of the forest’s distress and saw a wave of fire so strong it knocked down the trees form on the west flank of her glade.

No Caption Provided

“What, who is responsible for…” Her words were cut off as another section of forest on the North flank collapsed to be replaced by a burning wall of waste ground. Narrowing her eyes Ivy caught a glimpse of a shell flying overhead before landing to the South, the once pristine rain-forest shooting up into flame, the screams of the dying plants causing her to join in their chorus as her last line of escape was cut off. “Who is responsible for this!?” She bellowed as she summoned the remaining plant-life in the glade to cluster around her. “Who would take on the hand of Mother Nature?”

“Anyone if they are paid enough.” A voice announced from the fire raging to the East. Squinting at the burning haze Ivy watched as the armored figure of Hawker walked through the flames. “You have killed innocent people here Ivy; that alone is enough reason to kill you.”

“And what of the acres of forest you had destroyed?” Ivy hissed as she sent a wave of vines crawling towards Hawker. “Who would protect them from monsters like you?”

”They wouldn't be destroyed if you hadn't attacked the local population.” Hawker answered as she opened fire with her MAG-7, the blasts of incendiary ammunition burning ragged holes in the vanguard of Ivy’s vines. “Nobody would have known you were here.” She added as the ground shook and foot wide Venus Flytraps emerged littering the ground like a field of bear traps, each one ready to spring shut at a moments notice. Activating her wings Hawker watched as the first few beats sliced through the nearest ‘traps’ before sending her hovering above the battlefield.

No Caption Provided

“Run, Fight you can’t beat me, not here in my own garden!” Ivy screamed as vines erupted from beside the flytraps, all of them taking swatting strikes at Hawker, the majority being scythed down by her wing blades or blasts from her shotguns as she dodged through the rapidly re-growing forest. Reaching Ivy she felt something impact on her armor and instantly gagged as the smell of rotting fruit wafted through the helmet filter. The culprit, a bulbous headed overgrown spitting cucumber, once again opened fire, this time the spray impacted with her back, the thick mucus rapidly hardening causing her wings to stall. Falling Hawker landed back-first into one of the open traps, the jaws closing shut immediately and binding her arms against her sides.

“Looks like you failed assassin.” Ivy purred as she removed Hawker’s helmet and threw it over her shoulder. “Soon you will understand what I am doing here.”

“No need I've seen this before Harvest.” Hawker spat. Poison Ivy tilted her head slightly but it was clear from her eye movements that the name had power. “That’s right; you’ll pay for what you did in Louisiana.” She continued. “Once Hawker locks onto you there is no escape.” She added as Ivy took a step back and laughed a feminine cackle before turning her fingers into five inch thorns.

“I don’t know what you’re talking about,” Ivy lied, “the only thing you are going to lock onto is your own death.”

“Don’t play dumb, you know what I’m talking about Harvest.” Hawker continued as Ivy looked around nervously before slamming the thorns into Eleanor’s face, the barbs scratching open her nose, lip and left cheek.

No Caption Provided

“You think to scare me with the name of that Demon?” Poison Ivy asked as she licked a drop of blood off her fingers, unaware of the sound of jet engines roaring on the horizon. “That abomination is dead; nobody apposes Pamela Isley and lives. If you want to now so much about Harvest why don’t you talk to it directly,” She snarled as the flytrap opened, “in the afterlife.” She screeched as she sunk her talon like fingers into Hawker’s chest.

“You first.” Hawker answered as she grabbed Ivy and pulled her close as a UCAV flew overhead, waves of herbicide falling over the glade, concentrated drops of poison washing over the plants that caused them to wilt. With a scream of pure rage Ivy ripped off Hawker’s breastplate and threw her across the battlefield before growing a wrist mounted crossbow out of bark on her right arm, the tip of the bolt stinking of curare poison.

“You murdered them all! You committed genocide and now I will show you that justice and vengeance is the same thing!” Poison Ivy hissed as she placed her boot on Hawker’s neck. “Any last words?”

“You tried to kill me!” A voice roared as a massive orange ape thundered through the fire, his shotgun blasting through the layers of withered plant life that lay before him. “And then you forgot me!” Simian Vengeance roared as Ivy turned and fired, the bolt biting into his shoulder doing nothing to slow down Grodd’s legacy. “I serve no one anymore.” He roared as he body slammed Ivy off of Hawker and into the dead forest floor. Seconds later he was thrown back as Poison Ivy lashed out with vine tendrils growing directly from her skin.

“You I should have killed you the moment my lab was set up here.” Ivy hissed before Simian Vengeance swung his shotgun into her chest causing her to double over in pain.

“And I should have done that when you first hired me.” Simian snorted as Ivy stabbed her bark talons into his leg before a vine lashed out and pulled his shotgun away. With a venomous hiss Ivy began to constrict Simian with thick branched briers, the thorns digging into his skin as he tried to brake free. With a roar of pain he ripped his left hand free and punched Ivy in the face, the blow causing her to stagger backwards, the briers ripping chunks of their victim as they were dragged backwards. Screaming in anger Ivy recovered first and slammed an open palm into Simian’s face, the blow enhanced by a wave of biting spores that entered his eyes, blinding him as his feet and arms were bound with thick vines.

“Now for you.” Ivy hissed as Hawker got to her feet, her acid damaged Mamba Pistol in her hand. “Anymore clever tricks?”

“Just one.” Hawker answered as she fired the handgun, an acid tipped bullet smacking into Ivy’s stomach before falling to the ground.

No Caption Provided

“That it?” Ivy asked as her skin rippled around the gunshot wound. “That was pathet…urgh.” She lurched forward as the flare grenade ripped through her acid damaged chest and ignited, dense purple flames spreading across her body as Hawker holstered the 38mm Stopper hidden under her arm.

“And that’s how we deal with weeds in Botswana.” She grumbled as Simian got to his feet and spat on the burning corpse of Poison Ivy.

“Good Riddance.” He groaned as he pulled the bolt out of his shoulder. “We good here?” He asked Hawker as she picked her helmet off the ground.

“Yeah we’re good.” Hawker answered as she extended her wings. “You need a lift anywhere; the nearest bar, a strip club maybe a level 1 trauma center.”

No Caption Provided

“You going near Gotham?” Simian asked as he shifted back into his human form.

“Maybe.” Hawker replied smiling under her helmet as she waved at the UCAV flying overhead. “Doc file a flight plan to the states and tell Savage I want my money.” She said tapping the radio up-link in her helmet as she and Simian walked away from Ivy’s ashen corpse unaware of the tiny shoot covertly withdrawing into the soil. There was much it had to tell its master, and it knew he wouldn't be happy about it.

Injustice - Hawker #4: The Red Dawn (6 Jan, 2014)
Disclaimer
All characters apart from Hawker (ImpurestCheese) are owned by DC Comics

Mount Hood, Oregon, United Stated

“ID checks out.” The soldier at the gate stated blankly, “Please proceed for a full body search Dr. Minerva.” He added as the woman dressed in a hooded arctic parker nodded and staggered along the cold concrete floor on the pair of crutches she used. Ducking inside the corrugated iron hut the woman blinked as a man dressed in a black parker and a woman with blue skin moved to intercept. She knew both of them; Sonar had been offered a cash incentive to aid in the One Earth’s indoctrination programme and Killer Frost was a victim of Sonar's manipulations, both were potentially deadly enemies.

“Really Dr Cyber you think you could get in here without us knowing?” Sonar stated as security forces stalked up behind Minerva and pushed an assault rifle in her back. “You are number twenty nine on Superman’s thirty most wanted.”

“I came for Hamilton.” ‘Minerva’ stated as she flicked the hood back to reveal a dark skinned face with sparkling hazel eyes and a beautiful half smile on her face. “You have any questions, comments or stupidly regrettable actions you want to do now before I leave.”

No Caption Provided

“That’s…that’s not Doctor Cyber!” Sonar spat, “Who the hell is that?”

“Have you heard of Hawker?” ‘Minerva’ asked as she leaned on the crutches. “You must have right?”

“Isn’t that the woman who was bitch-slapped across Metropolis by that Doomhound thing a few weeks ago?” Killer Frost asked. “Was that you?”

“A little to your left.” Hawker answered, “And yes that was me hence the crutches.”

“Your orders Mr. Walden?” One of the soldiers asked as Sonar levelled a sonic blaster at Hawker before narrowing his eyes. “Is it worth putting the control chips in this one or not?” Sonar was about to reply when a shot rang out and a bullet slashed through the wall of the hut before flying through Sonar’s head and Killer Frost’s chest before exiting through the opposite wall. Stunned the troops tensed up for a minute before opening fire only to see Hawker spin round armed with a bo-staff hidden in her crutches before being swiftly disarmed.

“Hawker Actual this is Hawker One.” Hawker said as she smacked a staggering Killer Frost around the head with her staff. “Security is disabled, head to exfil point while I acquire the package.”

No Caption Provided

“Roger that Hawker One.” Hawker Actual replied “Got my sights on the T120 Cargo Transporter Train parked in the station. While you rescue Hamilton I’ll weaponize it ready for our escape.”

“Roger that.” Hawker answered as she sprinted across the snow covered concrete to a second corrugated iron hut, a blur of metal and ceramic catching the corner of her eye as Hawker Actual flew towards the station located at the far end of the base. Barrelling through the door Hawker neutralised the shaking guard before walking over to the bespectacled man in a lab coat tied to the bed. “Doctor Hamilton I’m here to rescue you.” She stated as she cut the bounds with a combat knife tapped to her leg.

“Aren’Aren't you a little short,” Hamilton gasped, “to be one of Kal-El’s stormtroopers?”

“Don’t worry about that.” Hawker answered before lifting Hamilton to his feet before he walked over to the workstation and pulled a brief case with attached handcuffs before slapping them over his wrist, a time lock appearing on the case in big red letters. “I’d wager that this is more important to your client then I am. Now please get me out of here before more security shows up. Hawker nodded and policed the unconscious guards M21 before peeking out the door and looking over to the flat bed carriages in the station. “Okay go I’ll be right behind you.” She ordered before pushing Hamilton out into the open before following him out just as an alarm started blaring. “And you may want to run.” She added as troops emerged from the huts and underground guard posts only to be met with pinpoint gunfire that cut them down swiftly as she and Hamilton climbed onto the railed flatbed cars of the train.

“Jesus what is that?” Hamilton swore as an armoured figure strode forward holding an Y3 AGL Grenade Launcher as the train lurched forward.

“You enjoying yourself Doc?” Hawker asked as she pushed Hamilton under cover before leaning on the 23mm AA gun mounted on the carriage.

“Now I know why you where this thing.” Doc answered, “It’s like being plugged into both nature and the World Wide Web, the data streaming feature alone helped me to enhance our journey to Metropolis.”

“Good for you.” Hawker answered as the train rounded a bend and ran parallel along the access road to the base. “I assume everything is wirelessly networked using my awesome suit?”

No Caption Provided

“You reckon?” Doc answered as a pair of Jackal patrol vehicles drew level with them. With a flick of her wrist she lased the first vehicle and the AA guns opened fire, ripping the Jackal to pieces as the second opened fire with its machine guns. Springing behind cover both Doc and Hawker watched as the Jackal stopped and the driver got out and lased the train itself.

“There trying to zero in their artillery.” Doc said as the AA guns ripped the side of the road to pieces. “Not a problem.” She added as she threw Hawker a detonator which the merc squeezed before discarding. “That should scramble them.” She added as the train neared a station carved into the mountain wall bustling with troops and a parked Jackal patrol vehicle. Almost immediately the train stopped and the guards opened fire forcing the pair of mercenaries to the other side of the carriage as the AA guns returned fire.

“Can we avoid stopping please?” Hawker asked as she shot Hamilton a look as he sat huddled up in the engine cab before throwing the M21 away and removed her SS-77 Vektor Machine Gun and suppressed the gunners on the Jackal. “And now we have unwelcome boarders.” She sighed as Doc launched a round of grenades onto the platform behind them.

“First carriage go.” Doc ordered as she dropped the Y3 and followed Hawker to the front of the train before uncoupling the second carriage. “Okay one rock slide incoming.” She added removing a second detonator and squeezing it as the train pulled away from the station, the remaining carriages exploding behind them. “While you were playing babysitter I was busy.” She added as the mountain shook and a set of flying rocks hovered alongside, all loaded with troopers.

“Geomancer crud.” Hamilton swore, “I thought he was out of commission.” He added as a man dressed in black leapt off the piece of flying stone and onto the tracks in front of the train a wall of rock holding onto the engine as the troops on the rocks opened fire. “Do something Kal El must not find out what we were working on and for whom.” He added as a rocket took out the AA turret.

“Any ideas?” Doc asked Hawker as she removed a radio beacon strapped to her arm.

“Just one.” She added, “Grab Hamilton and get out of here.” She ordered, “While you were picking a good sniper perch I was busy.” She finished as Doc flared the Hawker Huntress’s wings, grabbed Hamilton and leapt off the side of the mountain. “Hey Geomancer I’m here to rock your world.” She purred before pressing the ‘send’ button on the beacon before following Doc down. Confused Geomancer felt the earth tremble before seeing an avalanche of falling rock head towards the train at a velocity that was impossible to stop. Shifting focus he trained his thoughts on the rockslide before creating a bubble of safety around him as his men fell to their deaths.

No Caption Provided

“Control the thieves leapt to their deaths.” Geomancer stated blankly. “Heading back now.” He added as he flew back to the prison base on the mountain plateau. As he left he saw a slight movement but ignored what it might be. Perched on a ledge thanks to her magnetized boots and the series of pitons drilled into the rock Hawker smiled as Doc landed in the cave behind her and removed the camouflage sheeting to reveal a regime gunship stored away.

“Easy day.” She snorted as Hamilton snuck inside the armoured helicopter. “Next stop Denver, then Smallville, Gotham and finally Metropolis.”

“Day’s not over.” Hawker added, “Something stinks about all this; the mystery client, that case and the timer. Let’s just hope we get to Denver for starters, and hope our presence remains unnoticed.”

Injustice - Hawker #5: The Red Dawn (14 Mar, 2014)
Disclaimer

All characters apart from Hawker (ImpurestCheese) and Killer Rabbit (Wildvine) are owned by DC Comics

A big thankyou to Wildvine for helping me get the character of the Killer Rabbit right.

Gotham City, United States

Oh man I hate going to this place.” One of a large group of thugs moaned as they entered the water gate of the old shipping warehouse. “Can’t believe we got orders from Harley to see her.”

“Quiet man she might here you.” Another hissed as they loaded the first of three massive crates off of the barge. “She’s got them big ears and s**t.”

“Wow, even for a fanfic this starts with, well boredom.” A voice echoed from the shadows. “Maybe a wicked groovy fight scene will change anything if the writer can be bothered to write one.”

“Hey lady the boss wanted… well she wanted to hire you.” The lead thug stated.

“Can’t. Too busy playing Tetris. I'm having my murder-some-idiots break.” The voice answered. “With you being the idiots in question.”

No Caption Provided

“She… she wants you to steal a case in the possession of… of Hawker.” The thug continued, his words met with an outburst of laughter.

“Pff Hawker, can we say pandering. Black, lesbian, Beetle rip off and oh that conflicted concourse, what are we trying to be well rounded? I guess it’s that hack Impurest Cheese writing this and not the other one.” The voice snickered.

“Uh sure. Listen the boss is willing to give you your weight in Oreos and alcohol up front and the same amount when the job is done.” The thug whimpered before he and the others backed up towards their boat.

“What do you say brain? Shall we take them up on their offer? What? No? Well I never listen to you anyway. One case of mysterious origins coming right up.”

“Don’t open it. The boss has strict instructions about the contents.” The lead thug warned as the last two crates were unloaded.

“Really, danger is my middle name, well actually its Rhonda but not really see.” The shadowy figure announced before removing a knife from her leg and throwing it against the control switch for the water gate, the metal shutter slashing down and cutting the barge in half. “What I told you it was my idiot killing break. Now if only I can get the piece shaped like a cross in the hole…”

**

Denver, Colorado, United States

The stolen gunship touched down at the airbase littered with broken regime machinery, an army of salvagers working over the trucks and planes looking for parts to be reused. Stepping out Hawker beckoned for Emil to stay close to Doc as she walked up to a man sitting in a hovering chair.

“Gearhead, I assume you have the device we require.” Hawker asked as the man gestured with his head for a grubby looking child to approach the mercenary, a thermos sized cylinder in his hands.

“Yeah I got it. Transport too.” He added as Doc and Emil slid out of the gunship and took the cylinder. “One old supply truck, the regime wants it taken to a breakers yard in Topeka. You drive it to Smallville, leave it at the station and my assistant will take it the rest of the way.”

No Caption Provided

“You’re taking an awful risk helping us.” Doc stated as Emil removed a glowing blue core from the case and replaced it with a red one from the cylinder, the time lock resetting itself as the core was locked in.

“Yeah well somebody has to stand up to bullies.” Gearhead answered. “Superman’s a worse villain people like us ever were.”

“Uh not to intrude but can we leave.” Emil stammered. “We are on a deadline; the next core is being deposited in a locker at Smallville station as we speak. The longer we leave it the more change the regime discovers what this device is.

“He’s got a point.” Doc announced. “Thank you for helping us.”

“Sure whatever.” Gearhead snorted as he pointed towards a beat up armoured 6x6 truck, a former drone launching platform attached to the back. “Good luck.” He added as the mercenaries climbed in. “You’re going to need it.”

**

Outskirts of Smallville, Kansas

“How much time left on the lock?” Hawker asked Emil as she powered down the main highway towards the centre of town, casually nodding at the perimeter guards at the civilian security checkpoints. While it had once been a small farming community Smallville was now a military bastion that defended the only approach to the war torn streets of Gotham.

“Twenty minutes, assuming that we don't have any delays we should make it with time to spare.” Emil answered as he watched the clock count down.

“Eleanor the case has doubled in radioactivity over the last ten minutes.” Doc whispered, “The Geiger counter keeps trying to deny it but it appears to be primarily red-sun radiation.”

“Why would Superman’s own R&D teams create such a thing?” Hawker answered as they reached the town centre. “Do I a favour when we pick up the next core make sure you get a radioactivity reading on both the core and case.”

No Caption Provided

“No, no, no!!” Emil yelled as he pointed to the line of traffic stalled behind barricades arranged around the station. “This can't be happening!!”

“Calm down.” Hawker ordered before tapping the radio, “Let’s see what’s going on.”

“We have a Code Black in progress at Smallville station.” A voice buzzed over the radio, “Blockbuster is loose I repeat Blockbuster is loose. All troops move to contain; meta human assistance is incoming soon.”

“Seems convenient huh.” Hawker hissed. “Station is half a mile away, easily reachable on foot.” She added before turning off the cab and slipping out the truck. “Doc get Emil on that train, if comes down to it I'll run interference.”

“Let’s hop it doesn't” Doc replied as she pulled Emil from the truck. “Already working on breaking through the plasma barricade.” She added as the Hawker scooped up Emil in her arms and ran towards the barricade, the shields dissipating allowing them to leap through.

“I don’t see Blockbuster anywhere.” Hawker gasped, “No signs of battle.”

“Maybe he’s round the other side?” Doc suggested. “Satellite feed shows him in the area as does radio signals unless…they are sending out fake signals. This whole thing is a trap!”

<“Got it in one.”>* A female voice announced as the plasma shield sealed behind them and the area around the mercenary team shimmered to reveal a dozen foot soldiers all armed and ready. “<You really think Superman didn't know what you were doing with Solaris, Dr Hamilton. What you and the tyrant sun had created?”>

*Translated from Japanese

“I was kind of hoping he’d come himself! Still you are just as good an example Hoshi.” Emil hissed as he removed the handcuffs and dropped the case. “Disengage safeties.”

“Are you serious that will make cause the core to detonate!!” Doc yelled as red light leaked out of the case.

“I am the Red Son!!” A voice bellowed from the case. “I hunger!!”

No Caption Provided

<“That…that isn't what the records Luthor provided us for Project Torch.”> Hoshi gasped.

“Ma’am communications just went offline.” One of the troopers announced as the plasma shields began to flicker. “You’re orders.”

“Contain that thing!” Hoshi yelled in accented English as Hawker and Doc started running towards the station.

“But the couriers…” The trooper asked before a flash of light consumed the area, radiating out and draining the energy from the surrounding area before imploding outwards throwing debris all over the place followed by a concussive wave of force that smashed through the station.

“Doc forgive me.” Hawker stated before pushing her partner backwards out of the station as masonry collapsed around her. “This one’s all up to you now.”

Hawker vs Sharpshot #1 (11 Oct, 2015)
Disclaimer
All characters are original characters owned by Impurest Cheese...except for Sharpshot. he's owned by TommytheHitman. This tale occurs in the Patronverse unlike the original series, hope you guys enjoy.

Le Pelagic Shipping Headquarters, La Rochelle, France

The Le Pelagic building was, by any standard an amazing feat of engineering, not due to height or outward appearance, but by the incredible 200m tall aquarium tank that ran up the middle of the building. The company’s CEO Juan de Mere, was well known for his appreciation of marine life which was why his freighters used a myriad of green technology, and while Le Pelagic was largely clean, de Mere wasn’t, with ties to a number of undesirables connected to global crime whispered throughout the ports of the world. The tank itself was stocked with a myriad of creatures, but the star of this unique feature of engineering was a 5m long Great Hammerhead, the king of all it surveyed but today the way the shark swam, the way it was staying at the top of the tank suggested that something had changed.

“Something off in there.” One of the guards on the top floor stated, as he rounded the tank, the hammerhead slowly swimming in the opposite way before coming to a stop at the section under the hatch used for feeding and maintenance. “If something is wrong with it de Mere will kill us.” He added, before he and his partner climbed up the ladder and onto the roof of the tank. Opening the hatch the guard looked down into the water, before gasping in terror as the shark launched itself out of the water, ripping his arm off, the man collapsing to the floor.

“What the hell this thing is crazy!!” The other guard yelled as he sunk three bullets into the sharks head.

“You now recognize that those that say this is a crazed animal that acted out and bit down maliciously– they want to prove the theorem that captivity makes animals crazy...” A voice announced from the tank as a man dressed in a wet suit emerged as he stabbed a knife into the guard’s chest, “…because no one likes being put in a cage!!” He added, as he removed the hood, face guard and respirator he wore to reveal strawberry blonde hair, piercing blue eyes and an ‘x’ shaped scar on his cheek before sliding a replacement mask down over his face.

Sliding down the ladder he half stalked, half limped to the main office and looking through the frosted glass at the three guards standing in-front of the desk. With a crooked smile he drew his pistols and opened fire, the glass vaporising as a wave of plasma lanced out and struck down the men standing guard, as well as destroying the files and glass sculptures that had been arranged on top of it. “Now to grab the thingy from the safe.” He stated as he walked in and took a picture of one of Pelagic’s solar powered freighters off the wall to reveal a safe. “Someone once said Carpe Diem, seize the days boys,” He mummed as he powered up the weapon attached to his wrist, “I just say seize whatever you want and make sure you don’t get caught.” He added as a cable wrapped round his arm and dragged him off his feet.

“It’s just a shame you got caught.” A voice announced in an antipodean accent. “Now tell me your name thief, so I can send my condolences to your loved ones.”

“The name’s Sharpshot.” The man on the floor announced as he looked at his attacker dressed in a suit that barely covered the mass of rippling layer of muscle underneath. “Any chance I can have yours so I can tell your widow when I console her.” He sneered, as the man with the whip withdrew it, before slashing down, the stingray barb on the tip stabbing into Sharpshot’s shoulder.

“The name is Whip Ray, you’re not worthy to know more than that.” The guard snarled, as he pulled the whip back away, before slashing down again, only for Sharpshot to roll left, the blade shattering on the floor. Getting to his feet Sharpshot levelled his weapon at Whip Ray and smiled before pulling the trigger, only for his weapon to spark and hiss as it overheated. Swearing to himself he went to grab the second weapon, only for the whip to wrap around his throat before being pulled forward into the corridor. “You idiot, you couldn’t even bring enough ammunition to see your pathetic little heist through. Honestly I feel I deserve more of a challenge.”

“And I deserve better villains.” Sharpshot wheezed, as he reached for the button blinking red on his wrist. “But I have to settle for you.” He coughed, as he opened fire with the wrist lance, the focused laser slashing through the whip and into the floor. Removing the remains of the whip, he went for his second gun, only for a bone dagger to come flying through the air, its flight ending as it stabbed through his hand and into his weapon. “Oh come on those weapons are expensive!!”

“Too bad, but where you are going you don’t have to worry about the price of bullets.” Whip Ray stated as something moved in the office behind him. “What are you looking at?!”

“The safe in the office, the one that’s about to walk off.” Sharpshot stated, as a black armoured figure appeared in the doorway, the safe mounted on its shoulder. Turning Whip Ray had enough time to see this mystery thief before the safe came flying towards him, the metal case slamming into him and knocking him to the floor.

“You brought a partner, maybe I misjudged your level of idiocy, especially considering who that was.” Whip Ray grunted, as he shoved the safe off of him, the contents emptying onto the floor. “Where the hell were those?!!” He gasped, as Sharpshot stood before him, his hands wrapped around a new pair of pistols.

“Up the shark’s ass and I don’t have a partner.” Sharpshot replied as he shot Whip Ray a smile, “Now throw over the shipping schedule for the Freighter Le Delphin Rouge.” He ordered.

“Good luck, your partner stole it.” Whip Ray replied, as he started to place the displaced contents back into the safe, “I’m surprised though, Hawker has a reputation of playing fair with her partners. You must have done something really bad to get her to cut you out of the haul, not that it matters, that schedule is available on request from Le Pelagic’s website, not to mention from the harbour masters of a dozen ports throughout Europe and North Africa.”

“I don’t have a partner!!” Sharpshot snapped. “I’m about to be as mad as hell and I’m not going to take it, now you have a choice to make; get busy living, or get busy dying!” He stated, as Whip Ray stopped putting the contents back into the safe and put his hands up in a sign of surrender. “Thought so, I would end you if I didn’t have to sink enough plasma into whoever this Hawker is to turn her flesh to glass.” He stated before walking past Whip Ray and into the office, before staring out at the rapidly shrinking dot heading out over the city.

“You should have ended me.” Whip Ray whispered, as he threw a pair of daggers, the first stabbing into Sharpshot’s leg, the other bouncing off his shoulder with enough force to knock the wannabe thief out of the window before walking into the room himself and looking down out of the broken window. Sneering he turned away, only to see a pair of grenades lying on the remains of the desk. “Oh son of a…” He hissed as the bombs exploded, sending him flailing out the window down towards the ground past where Sharpshot was hanging from the building from his grapple gun. As he fell past he watched Sharpshot aim his pistol down before pulling the trigger, an orb of ionised plasma incinerating his skin, turning him into a flailing fireball.

“Sorry Whip Ray, but I changed my mind.” Sharpshot stated as he watched the security guard hit the ground. “Don’t worry though, I’ll be sending Hawker to join you very soon.”

Hawker vs Sharpshot #2 (29 Oct, 2015)
Disclaimer
All characters are original characters owned by Impurest Cheese...except for Sharpshot. he's owned by TommytheHitman.

Interpol Building, Lyon, France

The mocha skinned woman dressed in a female business suit sat at the desk, her hazel eyes boring into the elderly French man with grey thinning hair and scarred face as he flicked through the data on his computer.

"Mademoiselle King, these records are most troubling indeed." The agent stated, "Most troubling indeed. There are six ports in North Africa and Central America that are not listed on the public manifest."

"I noticed Inspector Bertrand." King replied, "I also believe there are several allegations from security forces in Mexico, Algeria and Dominica that Le Pelagic vessels have been involved in illicit trade."

"And it seems like someone else knew as well." Bertrand sighed, as brought up a set of still images of the men killed in the office. "As per our usual agreement that's a hundred thousand Euro deduction per head from your fee."

"I'm more than willing to take that reduction as long as you can get me an ID for the merc who was already there when I arrived." King stated. "My Hawker Huntress armor was able to capture half a dozen still images before I completed the data retrieval and exfil."

"I'd hardly call him a mercenary." Bertrand spat, as he typed a series of commands into his computer. "His name is Callum Hawke, although he is more commonly known by his handle Sharpshot. He has somewhat of a reputation of being a mad-dog, someone who only knows how to kill."

"So whoever hired him was really taking a gamble that he would get the job done." King suggested, as she looked at the file listing a number of Sharpshot's vital attributes and past crimes. "He was packing some exotic weaponry, that narrows down his supplier to six, maybe seven people. Should you need me to I could track him down in forty-eight hours." She added, before noticing the look of worry creeping onto Inspector Bertrand's face. "What is it? What don't I know about Mister Hawke?"

"Misour Hawke has a habit of taking his missions personally. We have a record of one of these...'habits'. Sharpshot was hired by the Colombian Government to take out a notorious drug baron based in the jungle. Rumor has it just a few hours before the attack the Baron died of a heart-attack, most mercenaries would be relieved but not Misour Hawke." Bertrand stated, pausing only to take a deep breath. "Feeling cheated Hawke killed the Baron's men, his main smuggling contact, three informants in three different cities in South America and a cafe full of people who had bought the drugs in Amsterdam."

"All because he didn't get to kill his target?" King gasped, as she took another hard look at Sharpshot's rap-sheet.

"Yes." Bertrand answered grimly, before getting to his feet. "You're fee will be wired to your account Madame King. As for Hawke...my suggestion is to pray he doesn't find you, but prepare for when he does."

"Thank you Inspector Bertrand." King answered as she shook the agent's hand as she got out of her chair. "Please keep me informed about the case and I'll be in touch should I hear anything on my end about Pelagic's activities ."

"Wait aren't you worried about this Sharpshot character Mademoiselle?" Bertrand asked.

"Of course." King answered. "It would be unprofessional not to be."

**

Volos, Greece

The three identical representatives of the Gun-Smith stared glassy eyed at the naked Greek girl sitting at the table, an uncomfortable look on her face, her graze drifting to the naked man, save for a mask over his face rummaging through the fridge.

"Tell me again why 'Attack of the Clones' over there didn't pay me in full!" Sharpshot snapped, a bottle of champagne clutched in his hand.

"You...you Didn't provide document." The girl answered in broken English, her body shaking as Sharpshot walked up to the table.

"Ah of cause, well if Hawker hadn't snatched that schedule from me maybe they wouldn't be dead!!" Sharpshot snorted. "You know whoever said If life brings you troubles, drink some Champagne, then your problems will just become bubbles was talking a load of bulls**t because my problem still looks like a thieving vulture dressed in armor." He added smashing the bottle over a wine glass, chips of glass and expensive wine raining down onto the table.

"Perhaps you should be angry somewhere else. I can find someone to talk to online about it." The girl suggested, her words causing Sharpshot's eyes to light up, as inspiration struck him.

"I got it!" Sharpshot yelled."If I Google the phrase 'class-A b***h' she should come up..." He continued as he pulled out his phone and started typing, "...and Bingo I find nothing. Jeez Melinda do you have any other stupid ideas?"

"Maybe Google Hawker?" Melinda suggested, as she looked over at the gun sitting between the three dead men and her.

"Uh uh Sadness stay in your circle." Sharpshot ordered. "Oh okay so Hawker has a Merced-In profile and she's ranked in the top ten mercenaries in the world. Not as good as me of course with my ranking of...ninety seventh?!" He threw the phone to the floor in disgust. "How can I be ninety seventh? This is an injustice indeed!" He spat as he turned to see Melinda scoop up the gun and aim it at his chest.

"Let me go I'm begging you." She gasped, as she edged towards the door of the villa.

"I was, I'm not King Kong you know." Sharpshot stammered as he reached for his own weapon taped to the underside of the table. "And you know beauty isn't gonna kill the beast this time because A I'm hot, we all know it and B..." He stopped as he saw Melinda exited the villa. "Jeez wait a go guys, you couldn't just do the whole Weekend at Bernie's shtick." He snapped at the pile of corpses.

Walking back to the fridge Sharpshot looked at his reflection in the ice. "Of course I'm hot." He murmured as he removed another bottle of champagne and smashed it over a second wine glass. "Here's to us babe," He sighed, as he picked up his phone and looked at Hawker's profile picture, "tonight I drink, tomorrow you die."

Hawker vs. Sharpshot #3 (17 Nov, 2015)
Disclaimer
All characters are original characters owned by Impurest Cheese...except for Sharpshot. he's owned by TommytheHitman.

Cargo Plane, Somewhere over the Central African Republic

Sharpshot reclined on the only row of seats in the cargo plane, a can of cheap beer and a bag of peanuts sitting in the bucket next to him. After a few choice words, not to mention the promise of a lot of cash on arrival in Botswana, the ivory smugglers whose plane he was currently in had agreed to fly him to his destination right under the noses of customs and immigration.

"Mr er Sharpshot," The plane's engineer, a man of Algerian descent dressed in cotton trousers, a blue T-Shirt and a tool belt stammered, "As per your request we will inform you when we reach Botswanan airspace. I assume you will want to contact your people on the ground."

" I'm going to level with you all. But what's most important now is that you remain calm because guess what I brought a bomb on board." Sharpshot snickered, as the engineer narrowed his eyes.

"Surely you are joking Mr. Sharpshot?" The engineer asked, his hand moving towards the screwdriver on his belt.

"Don't call me Shirley!" Sharpshot cried, "But seriously that always makes me feel better. I'm kind of a nervous flier, hence why I brought the bucket." He added, tapping the bucket with his fingers. Shaking his head the engineer stalked back to the cockpit whilst muttering curse words in Arabic under his breath.

Snickering to himself Sharpshot removed a holdall from under the seat, unzipped the top and pulled out a laptop. Cracking his knuckles he opened up a saved MyVideo search and shot a smile to the three men shooting him odd looks from the cockpit. "Yeah I know research is nerdy but it's the digital age, nerds are in." He muttered before clicking on a video titled, 'Big Timber: A 21st Century Villain - Scare Tactics'. "Let's see what apparently makes you so special Hawker."

**

Rainforest Commission Conservation Base, Amazon Rainforest, Brazil - 2009

Young men and women ran across the camp screaming as the 40ft tall array of saws came slashing through the prefab building, sparks flying as the building was cut in two. Retracting it's blades, the helicopter gained some altitude and swung around, the pilot zeroing in on some of the fleeing researchers and chasing them with his improvised weapon.

"What is that?" His co-pilot asked in Portuguese as what looked like a humanoid matte black dragonfly flew towards them.

"I do not know, just get rid of it so we can do another pass!" The pilot ordered, before handing the co-pilot an MP5, the man opening fire almost immediately, the majority of the rounds going wide, although a few hit their target with tiny flashes of sparks as metal collided with ceramic armour.

"It is some kind of aircraft!" The co-pilot yelled as he hastily reloaded the MP5, his headset crackling as he opened up long range communications. "Jose we need support, send the other chopper to the commission base, we are under attack from an unknown...argh." Before he could finish a gunshot sounded and he reached for his arm, the MP5 slipping out the helicopter and into the revolving saw blades.

"Do we retreat?" The pilot asked, as he shot a look at the cargo bay and the shadowy figure standing back there.

"No, I will deal with our guest." The figure announced, as the armoured interloper kept pace with the helicopter. Gauging the distance to his target, the figure leapt from the helicopter, his armoured body tackling the harassing airborne activist, and knocking her to the floor, the pair of them rolling away from each other.

Groaning the woman got to her feet first, a handgun aimed at her attacker. "Bruno Vargas, you are under arrest for multiple counts of murder, attempted murder, possession of illegal narcotics, environmental offences and ties to organised crime"

"Please it's Bucksaw when I am working mocinha. You are the mercenary known as Hawker right?" Vargas asked, his words slightly muffled by the face mask he wore. "I can pay you a lot of money if you leave now."

"You and your 'Timber Mafia' have an appointment with the International Criminal Court Vargas." Hawker answered as the helicopter headed towards her, the lowest saw blades chewing up dirt as they spun. "I'm here to make sure you keep that..." Hawker stopped and sprang right to avoid the tower of saw blades heading towards her.

"You were saying?" Vargas asked, as he covered the gap between them in the few seconds the helicopter had provided, his green breastplate and gauntlets stained with kicked up mud and dust from the nearby churning blades. "You had the chance to make a profit from this mocinha, but instead you decided that today is the day you die!!" He roared as sections of his gauntlets were jettisoned to reveal a revolving chain - blade, one that was slammed down into Hawker's armour, the jagged teeth scratching away at the ceramic coating.

With a groan Hawker retaliated, levering Vargas back with her feet before rolling out of range of the chain gauntlets before quickly getting to her feet. Taking a deep breath, she removed a retractable stave complete with weighted ends, twirling it with ease before dropping into a defensive stance.

"You kidding me?" Vargas cackled, as he revved up his gauntlets. "I'm going to rip through you mocinha, and then I'll rip through all these hippies and tree huggers all because you brought a...urgh." As he charged in Vargas saw his target sidestep him before feeling a sharp blow to the back of the head followed by a swipe to the leg, one that sent him slamming to the ground. Turning over he was just in time to see the stave jab into his chest, and reacted, his gauntlet blades cutting through the rod with ease.

Taking a silent step back, Hawker shot him a glance before tilting her head to one side, her eyes fixed on the cut off stave stuck to Vargas's armour. Roaring with anger, Vargas once more took to the offensive, swiping at Hawker and forcing her to dodge to the side right into the path of the helicopter, the mercenary only just dodging the row of saws by inches, before throwing her stave into one of the oversized buzz-saws half way up the chain.

"Well look at you, undefended ready for carving." Vargas snarled, as Hawker pulled a trigger from her belt, a coy smile on her face as she pressed the button, the weighted ends of the stave detonating sending Vargas flying backwards, his chest-plate cracked by the explosive force. The helicopter had fared a lot worse however, as the explosion vaporised the buzz-saws sending razor sharp molten shrapnel into the helicopters rotors and engine causing the aircraft to spiral down to earth aflame.

"Stand down Vargas." Hawker ordered, as her opponent tried to rev up his blades, only to be greeted by a thick cloud of black smoke rising from his gauntlets.

"Never!!" He bellowed as he pulled a handgun from his belt, a jet of flame erupting from the barrel and engulfing Hawker in a burning corona. Snorting with content, Vargas powered up his chain gauntlets, the blades spinning up eventually just as Hawker burst out of the flames, wings flaring before slamming the man hard into one of the bisected buildings. "You may have beaten me," He sneered as the sound of rotor blades filled the sky, "but this ain't over yet!"

Sighing Hawker too to the air, as a second helicopter with attached saw blades came flying towards her, the pilots both wearing wicked grins on their faces as they headed for the mercenary. Without so much as a word Hawker fired off a pair of metallic projectiles from the concealed flechette launchers on her shoulders, both of them hitting the helicopter under the cockpit. Almost immediately the saws vibrated, before being pulled upwards into the belly of the helicopter, the pilots bailing out seconds before the aircraft exploded.

Landing Hawker looked around at the crowd of onlookers, many of whom stood there mouths agape at what had just happened. "Is anyone injured?" She called, as she removed her helmet, her dark skin and cropped hair dripping with sweat.

"Only you!" Vargas yelled, as he rushed at her, a knife in his hands. Rolling her eyes Hawker flicked her wings out, the bladed edges stabbing into her would be attackers shoulders, the pain and surprise of the attack forcing him to drop his knife.

"Anyone else?" She asked, before retracting the blades. "I'm sorry you had to go through that," She told the crowd, before binding Vargas's hands, "Rest assured that he will face justice for his crimes." She added, before picking Vargas up and taking to the air. "Every single one."

**

Cargo Plane, Somewhere over Botswana

"Mr Sharpshot as per your request I'm here to notify you that we have just entered Botswanan airspace." The engineer stated, as he entered the cargo hold.

"Finally." Sharpshot sighed. "I have had it with these mother - licking bombs in this mother - licking plane!" He yelled, as he removed the beer can from the bucket and pulled the tab, before throwing it into the cockpit, thick grey smoke belching from the canister, the pilots coughing and choking. Walking into the cockpit, the bag of peanuts in his hand, before tearing the top open and dumping out the nuts to reveal a metallic bean. Cracking it open, he stabbed it into the flight computer, information spiralling on the screen before settling on a single location in the Botswanan countryside.

Walking back into the cargo bay Sharpshot picked up his holdall and removed his wrist lance before slapping it on his wrist. "I'm heading out lads," he told the smoking cockpit as he slipped a parachute over his costume. "I may be gone for some time so take care of my bombs and remember when you get to Hawker's," He hissed as he blasted open the door, "have a blast."

Hawker vs. Sharpshot #4 (19 Dec, 2015)
Disclaimer
All characters are original characters owned by Impurest Cheese...except for Sharpshot. he's owned by TommytheHitman.

North-West District, Botswana, Africa

The Landrover Defender turned off the main road onto a private track, with Hawker at the wheel dressed in cargo pants and a white cotton blouse, her arm draped out the window.

"So how was France Eleanor?" A female Afrikans accented voice asked over the car's built in phone. "I see that your account is a little lighter than the agreed fee."

"People died Nicola, I took responsibility for their fates." Hawker answered. "If it's any consolation I'm working on aquiring a contract with the Nigerian government for some long range reconnaissance work they want completed."

"It wouldn't have anything to do with a man named Hawke would it? I've been managing your Merced-In profile and a user named Sharpshot has decided to take a hit on you." Nicola announced over the phone as Hawker swerved round a group of oryx standing on the road. "He's then invited everyone on site to party with him."

"He did what?!" Hawker spat, as she accelerated towards the ranch a few miles down the veldt road.

"There's more," Nicola added. "He's just posted that it's 'plane sailing' from here." She stated, as a black speck on the horizon grew larger and larger. "I'm not sure what he's referring to." She added, as Hawker pulled the car over, and pulled a pair of binoculars out of the globe box and focused on the dot.

"Nicola get out of there now." Hawker hissed, as the plane dropped towards the ranch house. "Head to the security point, I'm coming to get you." She added, as she put the binoculars on the seat and revved the engine, the Defender kicking up dust as it thundered down the road, towards the ranch house.

**

Minutes later the car came to a stop and Hawker jumped out, the door left open as she sprinted up the stairs and into the house. Heading directly to the security room, she was relieved to see Nicola dressed in a t-shirt and cargo pants, standing by the computer, her fingers flaring as finished typing a set of commands on the keyboard.

"Done, server date has been transferred to alternate caches." Nicola told her, as she blew a strand of dirty blonde hair out of her eyes. "Hey Elle where's the fire..." She moaned as Hawker grabbed her hand and ran for the door as the sound of an incoming airplane grew louder and louder.

Reaching the door just in time the pair of women were thrown to the floor as the cargo plane slammed into the house, the impact setting off the parked Defender's alarm. Getting to her feet silently Hawker turned to look at her destroyed home, before being knocked off her feet, as Nicola tackled her to the floor. Seconds later a lance of energy slashed out, a fused line of glass formed from the dust where the beam had struck.

"He's here!" Hawker snarled through gritted teeth, as the pair of women slid behind the Landrover. "His position is poor though, although that's because this country is completely flat, not due to any tactical failure of his." She added, as a barrage of plasma shots sounded, the majority falling short of their mark.

"Where's your armour?" Nicola asked Hawker as she pulled up the driver's side armrest and removed a PS90 from the compartment underneath.

"In the back along with the other weapons." Hawker answered, as she threw the PS90 to Nicola, before drawing the pistol from her holster. "Not enough cover to get through the electronic lock and get dressed before being shot." She added, as she leaned round the window and popped a few shots off as Sharpshot reached the perimeter fence of the King Estate.

"Any idea on how we beat him then?" Nicola asked, as Hawker ducked back behind cover as Sharpshot melted a gap in the formally electrified defensive fence.

"Head back to the house, we can create redoubts that work in our favour, as well as accessing the armoury if it's intact." Hawker answered, as Nicola opened fire, the stream of rounds causing Sharpshot to leap behind a thorn bush, before returning fire.

"Go I'll cover you!" Nicola yelled, as Hawker ran to the house, her run terminating into a slide into a crack that lead into the ranch's wine cellar. Moments later she heard the PS90 stop firing, the sound of running footsteps and then a body hitting the floor.

"Nicola?" She asked, before hearing a second set of footsteps approaching the house.

"Ah man I hit the blonde." Sharpshot moaned from outside. "Guess she won't have any 'more fun' in this life. Now where did that Hawker get to?" He asked, as the Hawker in question reloaded her Mamba pistol, and headed for the door at the back of the room, the door jarring slightly as she pulled it open.

"Ah there you are." Sharpshot chirped as he peered down the hole Hawker had slid into. "Here have some grenades," He added, as he removed two grenades from his belt and dropped them into the hole, "now stand there and maximise..." His words were cut off by an explosion, glass shrapnel from the stored wine bottles ricocheting around the room.

Sliding down into the cellar, Sharpshot saw the door slam from the other side and shook his head before powering up his wrist laser, the beam of energy lancing through the door and through the other side. "Hawker you dead man?" Sharpshot called, as he opened the door, only to see the smoking body of a top of the range Palsan Sandcat LAV waiting for him in the underground garage. "Oh mother..."

**

Hawker emerged from the crawlspace, into the ruined first floor of her home just as the Sandcat below her exploded, the hole above it collapsing as more masonry and plane wreckage shifted. Cautiously Hawker crawled under a section of wing and into the ruins of the indoor pool, a fine layer of dust coating the water, the large bay windows into the central courtyard buckled under the buildings increasing structural instability.

Getting to her feet she walked into the courtyard and looked around at the blazing rooftops all around her. "My home..." She gasped, as a volly of plasma shots emerged from behind her, as Sharpshot emerged from the steps that led to the pool's underwater viewing gallery. Returning fire Hawker landed three of her shots, the first two striking the torso and the later the side of the face, only for Sharpshot's suit to prevent the rounds from penetrating the skin.

"You call that a gun!?" Sharpshot cackled, as he charged up his wrist laser, just as Hawker disengaged, heading into the wing on the right. "This is a...hey!!" He snapped, as the beam powered down. "Do you know how much it costs to fire this thing?" He asked, as pursued his quary inside.

**

Darting left into Nicola's lab, Hawker slammed the door behind her, before knocking the tanks containing the test cobras for an anti-venom tria, from the shelf, the ungrateful serpents hissing with disgust at being released in such a way.

Heading to the cracked door on the other side, Hawker slammed the security shutter down by hand, just as Sharpshot opened the door and shut it again, as an angry Cape Cobra lunged at him. Not waiting for a response Hawker darted into the south wing, and through the burning atrium into auxiliary security room.

Spluttering from the excess smoke, she reloaded her Mamba Handgun, and then went to the safe, the outer layer blackened by smoke damage and keyed in the password to the electronic lock, the door swinging open to reveal a pair if clunky gauntlets, each supporting a pair of hollow tubes over the index fingers. Slipping them on Hawker left the room, just as a secondary explosion in the north wing armoury rocked the house.

"Oh Hawker..." Sharpshot called, as he walked into the courtyard, and looked around the two tier levelled walkway that ran along the south wing edge. Smiling beneath his mask, Sharpshot fired a few shots at the walkway, the plasma rounds re-igniting the charred tiled flooring. "Seriously I'm bored of this cat and mouse shtick." He added, as he powered up his wrist lance. "Fight me I'm right here!"He yelled, as Hawker opened fire from the South entrance, the rounds of her handgun smashing through the lance, with the tool exploding with enough force to breach the armour below and char Sharpshot's skin.

"You made a mistake coming here murderer!" Hawker snapped, as Sharpshot held his injured arm in pain. "And you will pay for what you did to Nicola!" She added, as she kicked Sharpshot's pistols out of reach.

"What are you going to do, kill me?" Sharpshot cackled, as he lashed out, the unexpected blow stunning Hawker long enough for him to knock the pistol out of her hand. "Oh that's right you are too much of a looser to take pleasure in the kill. Any last words?" He asked.

"Not for you!" Hawker hissed, as she struck Sharpshot in the jaw, before following up with a quick elbow blow to the neck. Grunting Sharpshot staggered backwards, before readying himself as Hawker threw another punch, his fingers wrapping around her arm as his foe's fist impacted with his chest.

"Okay Million Dollar Baby, let me give you some advice, next time you punch someone make sure they aren't wearing body armour." Sharpshot sneered, as Hawker opened her hand, one of the tubes on her gauntlets detonating with an defining bang.

"Noted." Hawker answered, as she wrenched her arm free to reveal an inch long spike protruding from Sharpshot's chest. Going for another punch, she watched as Sharpshot decided to dodge the blow rather than risk taking another blow.

"You perforated my edges?!" Sharpshot screamed, as he delivered a knife chop to Hawker's exposed shoulder, before pushing her to the ground. "Nobody perforates my edges!" He snarled, as Hawker landed a kick to his groin, before flipping to a standing position. As he staggered back, she aimed a punch at his face, his arm catching the blow, only for the other fist to slam into his mouth, the fist opening sending another spike into his body.

"Maybe that will shut you up." Hawker hissed, as Sharpshot removed the nail, his armour ripping away, his lips bloody. "There are few people in this world I hate," She snarled, as Sharpshot lunged at her, his tackle forcing her onto her knees, "but you may be one of them!!" She added,as she collapsed under his blow. "Why did you come here? A missed trophy? A fee you didn't receive?" She cried, as Sharpshot lashed out, his boot connecting with her back. "Are such things worth taking away a person I love?"

"Yes, the fact she died hurts you more than if I snapped your neck." Sharpshot hissed, as he grabbed her fist and slammed it into his grenade belt, before removing a knife with his other hand and stabbing the blade into her palm. With a crack, the nail was released, causing a thick cloud of smoke to slide out into the field. "See you at your loved ones funerals." He added, as he retreated. Getting to her feet Hawker ran from the house and out to where Nicola's body lay.

"I'm sorry Nikki." Hawker sobbed, as she removed her gauntlets and cradled the dead woman's head in her arms. "I'm sorry I couldn't save you." She added, as she closed the dead woman's eyes. "I'm sorry that I'm being driven to murder in your name, but if I don't, all our friends will die too."

Black Box (23 Aug, 2013)

Macau Dragon Casino, Macau

The two identical well built oriental men in suits cracked their knuckles before one of the enforcers punched the bound blonde woman dressed in an orange tank top and kaki trousers complete with a matching hunting jacket in the face to even up the already black eyes with a broken nose. Bound to the chair the woman grunted and screamed in pain at the impact before hanging her head in a sign of exhaustion and apparent defeat.

"Look at me." A Portuguese accented voice ordered, "Look at me JOE." The woman kept staring at the floor so the voice asked again. "Look at me Valkyrie." The woman looked up to see an oriental man with a lean, hard edged face, the left cheek baring a slithering snarling moray eel wrapped around the Mandarin Chinese character 'Siwang', a potent symbol that backed the man's nasty attitude and aggressive features. "Do you think I'm an idiot Valkyrie?" The man asked, "You come into the Dragon Eel's Casino and blatantly blurt out your codename on a phone. Our cell snipers can track and decrypt the coded messages Beijing sends to the local government, your phone was like breaking into a child's puzzle box, an easy task for my network and that of our COBRA clients.

"Begynn opptak." The woman cried in Norwegian before the Dragon Eel slapped her round the face, the blow causing her to scream in pain.

"Speak in a language that is spoken here." The Dragon Eel commanded, "Mandarin, Cantonese, Portuguese, Malay even English I don't care which you chose but speak."

No Caption Provided

"My name is Jena Johansson I work for Raido Computer Consulting; I just came to upgrade the casino's computers." Jena whimpered. The Dragon Eel smiled to reveal filed canine teeth before clicking his fingers to signal the heavies to continue beating his captive. "Why are you doing this?" She cried between blows to the chest and face.

"Because JOE, a COBRA agent Firefly recently stole sensitive data regarding current and future operations against several locations held around the world by their organization." The Dragon Eel hissed as the thugs stopped beating their captive and backed off. "They are having some trouble decoding some files and set a trap to lure an agent here in the hopes that you will cooperate with their project."

"I can't break your codes." Jena replied through gasps. "My name isn't Jo and the Valkyrie thing is just an in company joke."

"Enough lies my men saw and heard you." The Dragon Eel announced angrily, getting to his feet and slamming the table with both hands. "Now tell me what is the unlock code for the files marked Black Box?"

"I don't know." Jena answered before a knock on the door sounded and one of the thugs went to open it. As he did a man clad in amber ballistic armour decorated with black spider webs stepped inside carrying a black briefcase and an MP7 Machine Pistol, the later being placed on the table in front of Jena, the mere sight of the weapon causing her to panic even more frantically then she had.

"Ah Weaver I trust the data is secure in COBRA's Stealth Ship just outside of Chinese Waters?" The Dragon Eel asked the new arrival.

"Delivered it myself." Weaver answered, "The thing is shielded against radar, can encrypt outgoing transmissions and has enough ordinance to level Macau. Factor in the brigade of elite troops and the remote sentry turrets Bocanegra sent over from the US and any JOE going in is not coming back out."

"Good, I have another matter to attend to." The Dragon Eel hissed, "All I need you to do is to break this JOE grunt and get the access code. When she's talked dispose of her and burn all of her effects. Use the apartment block the Five Houses bought for redevelopment, I will smooth over the damage with the other heads of the families."

No Caption Provided

"Anything you need help with?" Weaver asked.

"No one of my escorts was caught selling her daughter to an American man called Grady. Their family owes me a debt and she and her little girl were good money earners but alas they have outlived their usefulness." The Dragon Eel announced as he left the room. Weaver turned to look at Jena and flipped open the case to reveal an array of knives and other sharpened metal object. Fishing through the case Weaver brought out a gold mask featuring a horrifying face surrounded by tentacles and showed it to Jena.

No Caption Provided

"What do you think?" He asked her, "I got this from some Peruvian art dealer. He claims it was cursed with a Moche death hex that would release the Sea God. Personally I think the guy was looking for a better sale so I killed him, but first I did to him what I am going to do to you." He added pulling out a plastic tub with a ventilated lid that wobbled ominously as the animal inside moved around. Reaching in he pulled out a twenty centimetre long orange and black centipede, the oversized invertebrate aggressively trying to coil round his hand. "I also picked this up." Weaver announced, "The venom causes extreme pain in humans. The particular species of Scolopede is aggressive and nervous and will bite on the slightest hint of danger. As soon as you tell me what I need to know then I will release her from your arm and you from your pain. Do we have an accord?"

Jena nodded and braced herself for the coming pain that Weaver had promised. In his office the Dragon Eel watched as a nerdy Japanese man tapped the copies of the files they had removed from Jena's computer. "Takamoto do we have anything on Black Box files yet?" The Dragon Eel asked as he took a quick puff on the cigarette he was smoking.

"Not yet sir." Takamoto answered, "But I found Raido Computer Consultancy and checked their employee files. There is a Jena Johansson working for them and it appears the female staff members consider themselves techno Valkaries as some kind of in joke since Raido is the Norse Rune for the future. Wait we're in." He added excitedly as a video popped up on screen with a cat flying through the sky leaving a rainbow contrail behind it.

"What is this?" The Dragon Eel asked angrily.

"Nyan Cat." Takamoto answered, "Wait there's more." he gulped as letters flew up one by one to read the following; BLACK BOX TROJAN ACTIVATED. FILE TRANSFER COMPLETE. DELETING STORED MEMORY AND REMOTE HARDRIVE DATA.

"Black Box isn't a file it's a person." The Dragon Eel roared before turning to the security monitors only to see hissing static. With a roar of anger he left the room and ran down the stairs cursing angrily in the local Macau dialect and pushing unfortunate employees away before reaching the back room. Cautiously he opened the door to see his two enforcers dead the bullet wounds in their chests causing artistic smears across the wall while Weaver laid face up on the floor, the bullet holes in his visor currently filled by a massive centipede attempting to squirm inside his helmet. "Find her." The Dragon Eel yelled. "Bring me her head."

________________________________________________________________________________

No Caption Provided

Jena staggered outside of the Macau Dragon Casino past the guards. She knew they had seen people in worse states emerge, usually cheating gamblers and battered prostitutes, so they did nothing to stop her. After clearing a block she removed her right shoe, swivelled the heel open and removed a disposable mobile phone. After a few seconds the device chimed and she accepted the call.

"Duke it's Black Box. Did the data transmit?" Jena asked.

"Got it loud and clear." The man on the other end of the line answered. "We are down at the docks working on the guidance system to the Patrol Boat Weaver was using thanks to the data the Trojan recovered."

"Good, I also managed to recover a stolen Pre Columbian Face Plate." Jena added removing the Moche mask from under her jacket. I'm sure somebody is looking for it."

"Good Work." The second agent told her. "Head back to regional control and we'll go pay Firefly a visit. That git won't escape this time."

"Go JOE." Jena answered before turning the phone off and looking out to the harbour before throwing the mobile onto the street to the mercy of the traffic and sticking her hand out to hail a cab.

Images are From:
1 (Moche Mask) - http://www.peruviantimes.com/04/history-of-peru-series-part-9-metallurgy-jewelry-and-gold/12114/

2 (Scolopede) - www.arkive.org

Want more? Read Prelude to the Amazons.

Thanks for reading! :^D

3 Comments

Nemacyst, by ImpurestCheese

No Caption Provided
Introduction

Nemacyst was introduced in CCC #31 in October of 2014, and was followed by a two-issue series. I was going to combine this with something else, but decided that she really does need her own collected edition. Enjoy. -cbishop/FicOPedia

The Capture of Nemacyst (8 Oct, 2014)

The Sea of Cortez, West Coast of Mexico

“It looks like the captain is in a bad mood.” The sailor dressed in shorts and a baseball cap stated as the man dressed in ballistic armour stomped past, a long barbed bullwhip trailing behind him.

“Well a lot worse than usual Mr Crook.” His friend dressed in a Mexicam Football shirt and jeans replied. “And I don't like that he’s sending us out to the Devil’s Rock.”

“Stow your talk Mr Crook, Mr Arenberg.” The Captain barked. “I go to this spit of land in the hopes for salvation. The Jaguar is coming for me and mine. But I Stephano Flores, Captain of the Nemacyst will not be killed by some creature of the old religion, raised up by devil craft and vengeance.”

“Captain we're over the reef!” A crewman yelled from the helm, “What are your orders?”

“Weigh anchor and ready yourselves men, first we must lure the creature to us, then we must capture it.” The Captain ordered. “Mr Arenberg, to the crane and ready the cargo crate for deployment, the bait inside will draw the monsters from the depth.”

”Aye aye sir!” Mr Arenberg barked as he sprinted to the crane and climbed in, the hooked end looping around the cargo crate and dragging it over the side. Smiling the captain removed a detonator cap from his belt and pressed the button, the doors of the crate bursting open and spilling its contents into the water.

“Mr Crook make sure none of them climb back aboard!” The Captain roared as Mr Crook removed a pistol from his belt and aimed it at the flailing oriental men and women in the water.

“But sir, Bocanegra will kill us for wasting this shipment like this.” Mr Crook whimpered as he fired a warning shot at a man swimming towards the ladder.

“He won’t be in any shape to do so if we fail!” The Captain snapped as a pair of crewmen dragged out a long hose from under the wheelhouse and lit the pilot light under the nozzle. “And now we wait, Mr Crook, Mr Arenberg watch for El Diablo Rohas, when they appear our quarry is sure to be close behind.”

Looking over the edge Crook and Arenberg watched as two of the immigrants were pulled underwater and the flash of red moved under the shoal of floundering victims. The few that came to the surface revealed that they had long hooked arms on the end of torpedo shaped bodies that flashed red and white as they fed. “Humboldt Squid sighted on the port side sir.” Mr Arenberg announced, “May god have mercy on those poor sods souls.”

Ripped apart by monsters from the deep!” Mr Crook whimpered. “That’s a terrible way to die.”

“Aye and you will face worse if you don't back away from the edge.” The Captain roared as a flash of blue darted under the boat, just under the water’s surface. Its mere presence causing the Humboldt Squid to dart away as it swam past.

“What terrifies a man eater?” Mr Crook gasped as an entire row of immigrants sunk under the surface.

“Something I encountered a long time ago.” The Captain mused. “There are more wonders in Heaven and Earth then you can imagine. Now prepare yourself, we only need one of these charming beasts.” He added as a blue skinned woman pulled herself onto the deck of the ship, her head lined with long stinging tentacles in the place of hair whilst long venomous spines sprouted from her back. With a snarl she sprung towards Crook only for a crack from the Captains whip to slash through her hand, the force causing her to real backwards in pain. “Okay lads ready the net, grab it before another one crawls onboard!” The Captain ordered as the creature leapt at Crook, her venomous tentacles wrapping around his body, the man convulsing until the weighted hook of the crane knocked her flying.

“Crook!” Arenberg yelled. “Crook for gods sake what are we dealing with her Captain?!” He asked as the marine monster recovered.

“Science don’t have a name for them.” The Captain stated as a pair of crewmen through a weighted net over the marine woman. “But that my lads, is the closest any of you will be to seeing an honest to goodness mermaid. Only these ladies are loaded with toxins for paralyzing their prey and have a taste for the flesh of honest sailors like us.”

“More coming!!” The crewman in the bridge yelled. “Six no seven coming aboard.”

“You Mr Arenberg, remove the mermaid from the deck so we can ready the fire siphon and tell Jorge to ready the bellows.” The Captain snarled as he cracked his whip against the closest approaching creature, the tip cutting through its neck and sending it convulsing to the floor.

“But what about Crook?” Arenberg asked as he refused to leave his fallen comrades side.

“Leave him be and do as I order, or you will be in a worse state than him!!” The Captain spit as a crewman raked the deck with fire from a submachine gun the bullets striking the invaders and slowing their advance. Crossing himself Arenberg dragged the woman below decks as more of her fellows climbed aboard, all of them hissing in anger as they advanced. “Deck clear boys, burn these sea devils out!!” The Captain roared as the men manning the hose squeezed the trigger, a jet of flame lancing out and burning the entire approaching horde of mermaids.

”What of Crook?” The man at the helm stated as the charred remains of the mermaids fell to the deck.

“Leave him; the creature’s venom has an odd effect on humans.” The Captain ordered as he headed below decks. “He’ll either die or be reborn stronger, I pray for the former though, the later causes unimaginable pain.” He added as he walked to the glass cylinder and the bound woman inserted inside. “Leave us Mr Arenberg.” He ordered as the sailor nodded and headed back upstairs.

“So human, you finally have caught one of our number.” The mermaid hissed. “But no man can hold onto an Oceanid for long, misfortune will fall on you and your ship of slaves.”

“Ah yes the gift of tongues. Maybe I should have caught a mermaid who is less chatty.” The Captain mused as he tapped on the wall of the tank, the vibrations causing his captive to flinch in pain. “As for misfortune, well it flows both ways. I’m almost certain that I whipped out your entire species only moments ago, what with your people being endangered.”

“Monster, you will pay when the Jaguar comes for you!” The mermaid screeched.

“That’s why I have you, as we speak my men are laying a trail of chemical mines along the reef bottom.” The captain purred, a cruel smile spreading across his face. “Just to get any of your people who didn't participate on your raid. So unless you want me to detonate them, you will do as I say.”

“I will not risk my people.” The mermaid hissed as she bowed her head. “I am yours to command until your demise.”

“As I thought, welcome to the Nemacyst Miss.” The Captain announced. “As part of the ship you will answer to that name. Now rest and regain your strength, Itzel’s Daughter comes soon and you will stop her, or your entire race dies.”

From Imp'

Eagle eyed readers will note the mention of the Jaguar. That is indeed Onca from a past Character Creation Contest

Mr Crook and Mr Arenberg are homages to the actors who played Pintel and Ragetti in Pirates of the Caribbean

Humboldt Squid are indeed ferocious predators often called Red Devils off the coast of Mexico. There deadliness is often debated and will be discussed in Impurest's Guide to Animals #39

The Captain (Stephano Flores) is the character mentioned as Whiplash in the same issue as Onca's first appearance.

Also Boccanegra is mentioned since Patron Saint of Crime and Onca are set in the same universe.

Nemacyst #1 (8 Jul, 2016)

Iron Bottom Sound, Solomon Islands

The Leviathan Heavy Marine Salvage Ship known as the Wave Cutter anchored off the coast of the Solomon Islands, the choppy seas and lashing rain causing torrents of water to wash across the deck. Emerging from the bridge the captain, a heavily built dark skinned man with a greying beard stepped out, his Hawaiian shirt and board shorts covered by a thick yellow jacket, which despite the heavy layer of waterproofing was still letting water through to his skin.

“We’ve reached the co-ordinates Captain Lynch.” One of the crewmen called, as he shivered as he was splashed by the unusually cold water. “Sonar scans show multiple ships down there, no way that we can pick out the Hiei from all the other hulks down there.”

“We’re not diving until the weather clears, I’m not risking lives, and I’m not even going to risk machinery in these conditions.” Lynch ordered, as he looked up just as a flash of lightning struck the tallest point of the Wave Cutter. “I’ve got a terrible feeling in my bones about this storm, there is something unnatural about it.” He added, as a sailor emerged from the bridge behind him, a worried look on her face.

“Sir we have a disturbance on the seabed, we think it might be a sea-quake.” The woman stated, causing Lynch to head back inside and race to the monitor, the depth readings fluctuating as if the seabed was rising and lowering, the derelict ships resting on the ocean floor slipping and sliding with every shudder.

“Haul anchor, if the sea-bed collapses then it will drag us down with it.” Lynch ordered, as a chunk of sea-bed rose at an exponential rate. Looking out the portside window, Lynch and the rest of the crew of the Wave Cutter watched as a rusted 1940s torpedo boat was flung out of the water and slammed into the deck, the sheer impact causing the ship to shudder. “Damage Report NOW!!” Lynch yelled, as he headed back out onto deck, the front end of the ship buckled at the torpedo boats impact site.

“New contact sir!!” The sonar operator yelled, as something large impacted with the Wave Cutter, a metal prow slashing through the Wave Cutter’s hull and up into the deck, the faint name Hiei emblazoned on the intruding ship. “Captain?!” She called as the Wave Cutter was dragged down in an instant, the water pressure crashing through the reinforced windows and flooding the hull in an instant. In the brief moment his eyes could still make sense of shapes in the turbulent waters Lynch saw something massive move in the depths, the rusted hulks of World War Two era battleships and submarines slipping off the leviathans back as it headed westwards into the vast expanse of the Pacific Ocean.

**

Stern-Illing Marine Research, Washington State, USA

Bailey Winters slipped the last of the sonar monitoring gear onto the Zodiac tied up outside the Stern-Illing Marine Research station, before lowering herself into the raft. Well known, but not respected, for her work on the Cetacean Sentience programme, Bailey preferred to be out on the water alone, but for safety's sake she had grabbed a life vest and signed the lone worker registry as she left the institute after a rushed breakfast. Gunning the raft's engine, she smiled before heading southwards down the Washington Coast, red hair streaked with grey flying in the morning breeze.

"Today's the day I get the recordings that prove dolphin society has a developed culture and is capable of true sentient thought." Baily stated into the recorder slotted into the pocket of the waterproof coat she wore under the lift vest. "In addition Doctor Ross has also asked me to check the location of the stationery octopus traps he put out last month. After last night's sea-quake in the Solomon Islands we had an exceptionally high tide across the Eastern Pacific." She added as the Zodiac slipped round the edge of the bay into the next, the sound of gulls crying out as hundreds of the birds circled over the rocky shore, their eyes focused on the tide-line. Letting the raft idle for a few seconds Bailey opened a box of equipment and pulled out a pair of binoculars, the desert camouflage casing making the tool stand out against the grey of the ocean and the lush green of the forest.

"What the hell?" Bailey swore as she dropped the binoculars and started the engine again, this time heading for the beach rather than the open ocean. After a few minutes powering through the tide the Zodiac beached itself and Bailey leapt out, before slipping medical gloves and a face mask on, her eyes still showing surprise at what she was seeing stranded on the shore.

There were at least five of the figures, each one supporting light blue skin and feminine curves that gave the bodies the appearance of hypothermia sufferers, something their scantily dressed bodies seemed to collaborate. In fact had one not looked a little closer, it would be quite easy to dismiss the bodies as those of human swimmers who had tragically lost their lives at sea. Despite this however, Bailey could tell that the bodies were not human at all, and suddenly as she came to this conclusion every tale of mermaids, atlanteans and fish folk came rushing to the for front of her mind. Things became a lot clearer as she approached the closest corpse’s head, with the trailing mass of scalp tentacles and the row of spines running down the bodies back shattering the illusion that these bodies had once been human.

"This is fascinating, they are some kind of Homo pelagius or sea people." Bailey gasped as she took in the open sores and wounds on the bodies, likely from the screaming mass of gulls voicing their indignation about being driven from their dinner. "I need to take samples before..." She stopped as one of the corpses shifted slightly and then opened its eyes to reveal big black soulless eyes. "Oh my god are you alright!" Bailey asked as she sprinted over to the woman, only for the former corpse to hiss demonically at her and lash out with a primitive harpoon forged from whale bones and shark teeth. As aggressive as the strike had been, the strength of the attacker was drained, and even if the weapon had contacted with its target, very little damage would have been done.

"Finish it you ape butcherer." The figure hissed weakly, as she dropped the harpoon. "Your species relishes in extinction and I want to join my sisters. Kill me and we both get what we want!"

"You...you can talk." Bailey gasped as she removed her gloves and face mask. "And I can't kill you, I've never killed anyone and I'm not starting with you."

"You callous monkey, you would leave me to desecrate and be eaten alive." The injured creature hissed as Bailey removed a flask hidden in her coat pocket and unscrewed the top before pouring it over the woman, her body shuddering for a moment as the cool water washed all over her.

"I can help you get better, I'm a doctor." Bailey told the woman, before offering her hand in a show of friendship, only for her 'friend' to swipe at it with long clawed nails.

"I don't trust traitors, I would kill the entire human race in retribution for your extermination of the daughters of Oceanus." The woman snarled as Bailey looked at the slash marks along her arm and then at the face of defiance on the injured creature's face.

"Find be that way, I'll put you back in the ocean and be done with you!" Bailey snapped, her patience finally at an end. "You promise not to slash me or sting me or drown me and I'll let you go. Deal?!" She asked as she grabbed the ocean dweller by the leg and dragged her towards the tide line.

"No wait!" The woman hissed. "Please, if you honestly were sincere in your offer of clemency and promise to treat my sister’s remains with respect then I will go with you."

"Why the change of heart?" Bailey asked as she let go of the squirming creature’s leg. "And what should I call you?"

"Names are not part of my people's culture, but when I was held captive by your fetid kind they called me Nemacyst, last princess of the Oceanids." The woman spat as she glowered up at Bailey, hate and disgust evident on her inhuman face. "We will continue over land to your sanctuary she-ape, you may carry me or provide a vehicle, I am not fussy about which you provide."

"If you want to be carried you stop with the insults, my name is Bailey not 'She-Ape'." Bailey stated as she headed towards the Zodiac beached on the shore. "The institute is just round the next bay, even fighting against the current it shouldn't take us too long to get you help." She added, as she moved a few items before coming back and lifting Nemacyst off the beach and into the boat.

"But the sea is no longer safe even for those born of it." Nemacyst whispered as she looked back at the beach, her words drowned out by the roar of the Zodiac's engine, the small raft spinning round as it headed out to sea. Rocketing out of the bay Bailey pondered on the words that Nemacyst had just mumbled, before taking one long last look at the beach, only to realise that something had changed on the shore. Slowing down she picked the binoculars up and took one long look before removing them. Somehow the four remaining corpses on the beach had been moved, more overly moved in the three minutes it had taken the Zodiac to reach the edge of the bay.

"You're sisters are gone." Bailey gasped as Nemacyst shot her a look of fear before leaping forward in a vain attempt to reach the outboard motor and restart it. As she did something swam under the boat, causing it to rock violently, the streamlined outline of their attacker darting out to the edge of the bay before turning round ready for another ramming attempt. This time the impact was enough to partially cause the boat to collapse, the sudden change of pressure causing both Nemacyst and Bailey to go rolling into the cold waters of the Pacific. Bobbing at the surface Bailey flinched as Nemacyst surfaced, her wounds bleeding from her earlier attack by the gulls.

"What was that!?" Bailey asked as something brushed up against her leg, the contact leaving behind a sharp stinging sensation.

"My sister’s aura have entered death but their bodies were not claimed by the abyss." Nemacyst hissed as the water between the pair of them bubbled. "Instead the Necromancer has taken control of sinew and bone." She gasped as a figure broke the surface, its grey skin glistening in the early morning sun.

While the figure between them was clearly one of the corpses from the beach, the features were morphed beyond their base predatory state into something monstrous. The cold black eyes had rotted away making the face even more fearful, whilst the talons on the fingers had become longer and more foul. But it was the teeth that unnerved Bailey the most, while she had caught flashes of them when Nemacyst spoke, she had not realised how predatory they actually were until now. Stabbing out the bottom jaw and dripping with blood, the corpse’s features showcased the full range of inhuman features the Oceanids possessed.

"You mean they're..." Bailey spluttered as the other three undead Oceanids surfaced in a loose perimeter around their living prey.

"Yes!" Nemacyst hissed as the undead Oceanids surged towards them. "They're hungry for the flesh of the living. Defend me and yourself 'She Ape' lest we join my sisters as slaves of the Necromancer!"

Nemacyst #2 (29 Sep, 2016)

Stern-Illing Institute, Oregon

The attack came, not from the sides as Bailey had suspected, but from underneath as Nemacyst tugged her underwater just as their un-dead attackers surged forwards, rotting flesh and bone clattering against flesh and bone. Spinning round quickly Nemacyst slashed and gutted one of her sisters, the rotting flesh making it easier to inflict great amount of damage on her attacker. Almost immediately another Oceanid swam forward, her long needle like teeth biting through her former sisters arm. Surfacing through the blood and gore Bailey blinked once before grabbing hold of the sinking raft and a canister with a flammable warning sticker.

“Nemacyst get ready!!” Bailey yelled as she removed a flare-gun, slotted a cartridge inside and fired, the flare stabbing into the zombie Oceanid’s eye and engulfing the creature. Slipping out of her enemies grasp, Nemacyst took the chance to rip her captor in two, before floating up to the surface, her body bleeding and broken. Despite this the remaining three attackers retreated, perhaps called back by whatever had raised them from eternal slaughter or maybe the body of their finally defeated companion in un-death. Paddling over to her ally, Bailey ripped off the sleeve of her shirt and wrapped it round Nemacyst’s arm.

“You should have stuck to the shore She-Ape.” Nemacyst hissed, as Bailey grabbed her under the arm and paddled towards the dock of the Stern-Illing Institute. Reaching the wooden structure, Bailey hauled Nemacyst onto the dock, the Oceanid hissing in anger and pain about being thrown onto land like a prize catch ready for the fish-market.

“Oh be quiet. Would you rather remain in the water with them?” Bailey asked as she climbed out of the water and shook herself. Picking up Nemacyst, Bailey carried her to the door before placing her on the floor. Trying the handle she cursed as it didn’t budge, the lock remaining shut. Turning she sprinted across the deck to the end where a set of oars were kept for a spare raft, her hands wrapped round the tools just as an Oceanid leapt onto the deck, its jaws snapping as it lunged for her. With a scream Bailey slammed the oar she was holding into the chest of her attacker, the blow sending the creature sprawling back into the ocean, claws scratching long ragged grooves along the deck.

Swinging the remaining oar at the necrotic Oceanid as it attempted to crawl onto the deck, the blow fracturing the creature’s jaws, splinters of teeth shattering onto the wooden jetty. With a swift kick Bailey knocked the creature back into the water just as another attacker smashed through the wooden boards behind her and made a grab at her legs. Spinning round Bailey slammed the oar threw the creatures neck, the weakened bone and muscle giving way and severing the monstrosities spinal cord. As the body slid back into the water, lifeless and finally dead, the head kept snapping, the opening of its jaw propelling the head towards its prey’s exposed legs.

“She Ape, be on guard, the foe is not yet defeated.” Nemacyst called from her position prone on the deck, blood trickling down from the bite wound to her arm. Heading her ‘allies advice, Bailey swung the oar down and knocked the head back into the water. Leaping over the hole in the water to where Nemacyst was lying, the clawed hand of an Oceanid reached out to grab her.

“How would you stop this, I mean culturally what rituals prevent dead Oceanids from stalking the living?” Bailey asked, as she picked Nemacyst up and staggered to the supply gate for the institute.

“The abyss claims them, we don’t know what happens to them after that.” Nemacyst replied bitterly as Bailey placed her down next to a container labelled formaldehyde. “Don’t touch that, it’s dangerous to living flesh, we use it to keep dead specimens fresh for study.” She told the Oceanid, as she pushed herself up into a sitting position.

“Ape poison, I’m not surprised, such things were a constant danger to my people.” Nemacyst spat, as Bailey looked down at the tub, and then to the two remaining Oceanid’s scrambling onto the jetty.

“Good thinking.” She replied, as she lifted the tub of the Formaldehyde off, the smell causing her to cough and splutter. “Ape poison for killing stuck up fish.” She added, as she picked up Nemacyst and took a step back from the tub. As she did the first Oceanid reached the vat, took a sniff and recoiled, the remains of the flesh on its face corroding at the airborne fumes. With a hiss it dived back into the water, its decaying sister following suit, before both figures shot off out of the bay and headed south.

“The poison, stop the poison.” Nemacyst hissed, the skin on her body bubbling from the airborne vapour released from the vat of chemicals. Rushing forward Bailey slammed the lid back onto the tub, before slamming the oar into the lock as she tried to leave the door open, her strength now racing against the very thing that had saved her only second before. With a crack, the door opened and with a violent kick, Bailey kicked open the door.

Panting, she picked up Nemacyst and staggered towards her lab hoping that nobody would stop her on the way to save Nemacyst’s life. Skidding into the room, she raced over to an empty cylindrical acrylic tank. While she didn’t know much about Oceanid biology she knew enough about poisons to take an educated guess about what she had to do. Placing Nemacyst inside, she connected a filtration system up to the tank and started pumping fresh-water into the tank, the current circulating it up towards the gills and mouth. “Hopefully this will be enough to save you, I don’t need another zombie Oceanid to deal with.”

**

Maui, Hawaii Island Chain

“If we’re lucky we may even see some humpback whales today, they come to this area to give birth.” The tour guide in the floral-shirt and short pants stated through his megaphone as the whale-watching boat cut through the waves towards a volcanic stack sitting out in the open water just off the coast of the island. “There, I think I can see one, it looks like she’s sitting out on the surface ready to calf. If we are lucky we may even see a baby whale take its first breath.” He continued as the boat came to a stop with a bump.

“What is that?” One of the tourists asked as something smacked into the side of the boat. Looking down the people on-board saw the bloated corpse of a bull humpback whale, a ragged bite taken out of its chest. As the people on-board suddenly started screaming as they realised what was going on. All around the boat people started screaming and children started crying as multiple half-eaten dead whale corpses surfaced, the waves cloudy with blood and offal.

“What could do this?” One tourist asked.

“Maybe it was one of those Mega Dons.” Another stated.

“Megalodon and their extinct idiot!” A third snapped as something large accompanied by a booming shockwave that whipped up the waves moved under the boat.

“Turn the boat round, we have to get out of here.” The tour-guide stated, his voice magnified by the megaphone. As he did the massive shadow surfaced, robust jaws clamping round the female whale and dragging her under, chunks of gore floating to the surface. Turning the boat round, the tour-guide turned round to see the stack of volcanic rock shudder and topple, almost as if it had been felled with a hammer, the stack crashing down and causing a wave that sent the boat capsizing into the water.

“Everyone stick together!” The captain of the boat called, as something massive moved underneath them before diving, the suction caused by the sheer volume of the water that had been displaced sucking the tourists and crew down into the icy crushing depths of the ocean.

Want more? Read Prelude to the Amazons.

Thanks for reading! :^D

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