A dome of black obsidian reached for the gloomy clouds above like the world’s meanest boil.
From the scars, burn marks, and holes in its structure a fool could see that the place had recently been under siege by a very pissed off force. Most likely Godzilla’s ex-wife.
On closer inspection, most of the damage was not due to any catapult or flaming arrow. Gruesome flesh from some large, monstrous abomination was sewn into the eastern wall’s surface like a bad tumour.
Teeth and claws were still embedded into the dome’s hard skin, they did not come from any animal that had been allowed to walk this world.
This created place had seen a war that few could imagine, and had miraculously stood.
Across the green lands hundreds of armed Silth stood in tight formations.
Commanders like Lieutenant Kollkie there amassing forces to hold back this latest threat. She and others like her had been preparing for the day the Techs betrayed them, they had not been ready for an assault on a separate front.
On the north-eastern side of the dome a large door opened up and Un Neill was never the same again.
“You’ve really done it now.” Jessy said in English as he rode on the passenger seat on a cart which Lez had borrowed for the cause. The cause still yet unknown.
“What in the void am I doing?” Lez asked as he tried to control the cart.
He sounded scared and Jessy didn’t think it was because of the the speed in which they were riding towards trouble or the mud. That was fine. Jessy was scared as well.
The stupid son of a bitch had really done it this time.
“I’m paying you to get me to that fucking thing.” Jessy said looking at the group of small figures who were quickly exiting the burning dome.
“Are those… Are those centaurs?” Lez shouted.
Jessy had an extreme lack of elven eyes or military grade optic implants, so he had to rely heavily on Lez’s natural abilities. But at that moment if Lez had said if a dog version of Elvis down there speaking to Spiderman, he would have believed it.
Anything was possible where his boss was concerned.
“What is that?” Lez asked looking at the dome.
“I don’t know.” Jessy said.
The structure had appeared from nowhere so Jessy guessed that it had travelled through dimensions and realities. It seemed to be a theme around here. And judging from how scratched up it was, he guessed that the game division passed through some pretty rough neighbourhoods to get here.
Jessy took out his phone and used the camera function to zoom in on the mob exiting the dome.
Lez was right, there were half-horse half-people down there galloping away from the building.
“Incredible.” Lez said looking over Jessy’s shoulder at his phone.
Jessy ignored him and the sound of hooves approaching, he could see elves down there. Wood and Dark elves, along with humanoids that must have come from some fantasy novel.
Jessy had only seen Dark Elf once and that had been video. These ones looked different.
Sure they had blue grey skin, and their ears looked like spines had been pasted onto severed bat wings, but there was something different about these ones.
They were like something out of…
Jessy closed his eyes and opened them again.
Nope. They still looked like they had came straight out of the sixties. Flowers on dresses, dreadlocks; Jessy swore he saw one carrying a tambourine.
Unlike the D&D world, Dark Elves or Älfar as they were called were more pirate evil than evil evil.
Oh, he had no doubt that there were some real assholes in the community, but as Jessy had yet to meet one in person, he was open minded. But hippy Dark Elves?
There were others down there, humans, what looked like vampires; a menagerie of D&D rejects all of them trying to flee the dome like it was about to exp…
No. Jessy didn’t want to jinx it.
As they drew closer a voice from behind called out “Halt, or we will fire upon you.” from the tone Jessy didn’t think they were lying.
Jessy turned his head back, “Fuck me.” he moaned to himself in English as he saw Chief Exorcist Huebsch and twenty of her clique riding on what looked like deer, following the pair.
Jessy cursed again. They must have listed him as an important target to watch for. Just like in Techscope, the moment Jessy walked out of his room a hundred flags must have been raised.
“Will they shoot?” Jessy asked Lez.
“Yes.” Lez said.
“Yes.” Huebsch called out.
To illustrate the point a single arrow shot straight through the backboard of the seat, millimetres from where Jess was sitting and lodged itself in the muddy earth.
To Jessy, the arrow passing was like being on a subway station and feeling a train pass by. The force behind it must have been monstrous.
“Shit.” Jessy called out.
After the missile had nearly taken his shoulder off, Lez made the wise choice, He stopped the cart not looking happy as he did so.
He had wanted to learn more about what was happening. Being an investigator and one of some renown he wanted to be out there gathering information, instead it appeared that he was going to be carted back at sword point to some hold. By his own people if it made things more humiliating.
The silth and their steeds surrounded the cart; bows and spears trained on both Jessy and Lez.
Huebsch stayed in the back, watching the people escape into her world.
One she-elf in expensive leather armour approached Jessy’s side of the cart, her amour was littered with scars and showed signs of regular repairs and patch jobs.
Jessy really didn’t like his chances if this bitch was given the order to put him in the ground. Those scars on her armour looked to be earned from battle, and though he had experience in simulations, he had almost no actual experience when it came to fighting.
“What is happening?” The priestess closet to Jessy ordered.
Jessy could tell that these women were several shades of badass. Instead of horses they were riding tamed deer. Huebsch, being the leader was riding what looked to be a fucking monster.
A week little sabretooth lion would have ran screaming from the size of the buck. It looked as if two trees were growing out of its head and instead of flat teeth the thing’s maw was filled with yellow fangs. It was easily the size of a Chevy truck.
There was going to be a lot of Santa jokes.
Jessy sighed, he thought about giving a smart ass comment and decided to go with it. Jessy made a hand gesture which told his watch to inject the pain killers into his system.
“Well. It seemed like a good day to get out of the house and take a ride through the country side. How about you ladies? Anything interesting happen?” Jessy said
The she-elf gave a non-threatening smile.
There wasn’t even a blur. One moment the silth was smiling the next Jessy thought his head was going to fly off. Silth hit hard.
Again Lez did the wise thing and kept his head down and his mouth shut. Jessy could have learnt a lot from him.
The world spun and Jessy held his head. His theory was that he had been magically transformed into a bobblehead.
“Do you know how hard it is not to punch your head off your shoulders?” Both of Jessy’s attackers said in unison. The double vision really wasn’t helping.
“I’m guessing, pretty.” Jessy said.
“Tell us what is happening.”
Being knocked out or dead probably was not going to help Jessy, so he stomached that overwhelming sense to give the brutal bitch the finger.
“Some sort of dimensional or temporal shift.” Jessy said. “Like what happened to Techscope and Cichole. My orders are to help with the evacuation of the place.”
“Where is the Cleas-Salach there?” The battlenun, or priestess, or whatever she was said firmly.
The term was unfamiliar to Jessy, “Who?” he asked.
The smile was gone from the silth’s face, “The Trickster. The Fox. The one you call Arcade. Is he in that building?”
There was a jarring explosion as part of the dome exploded outward. The people running from the dome ran that little bit faster.
“I’m going to say, yes.” Jessy said.
From the newly made hole what appeared to be some form of aircraft rose vertically upwards.
It wasn’t a helicopter as it had no spinning blades or wings, but it did have advanced thrusters which released hot blue light. Jessy thought it looked like some sort of advanced flying APC, or something out of a science fiction movie.
On the side of the aircraft, painted in red was the game department’s logo. A smiley face with triangle hair and teeth, and two spirals for eyes.
The machine rose higher and Jessy blinked as thick cables ran down to support what looked like some kind of titanic rib made out of diamond.
It was so incredulous. Like something out of the Flintstones.
“What is that?” Lez shouted.
Jessy had his phone out, glad that he was within Techscope’s hot spot. He took several pictures of the aircraft and the rib, and sent them forward to Techscope with a lot of question marks.
The elf who had slugged Jessy pulled him in close enough that her spittle splashed against his eye, “Tell us what is that thing?”
“It’s some sort of the aircraft.” Jessy pushed the elf away and concentrated on his phone. “Come on. Come on… Yes.” he read out loud the information. Just like true people of Earth the Techs were addicted to social media.
Two seconds back and already the forums were overloading with juicy gossip.
“Alright. Wow.” Jessy said looking at the text. “Its a Kamjaron class prison transport ship. The boys hijacked it and started a planet wide prison riot. Shit. This thing goes into space.”
“The ship’s carrying a tooth from a worm that lives…” Jessy railed off not entirely certain he was reading this right. “In the intestinal tract of a living moon. Yep. It’s diamond.”
The assholes had only been gone a few days and they had done some serious damage. Stealing a prison ship, visiting the extra-terrestrial tape worms. And all the while Jessy had been stuck here with these losers playing D&D and getting beaten up by a woman who seriously needed to get laid.
The silth looked one another, unsure if this was some joke.
They were scared, not of pain or dying. These people lived for hundreds of years and weathered constant raids from Vikings, Romans, and each other. Battle did not cause them to flinch away, it was the prospect of the unknown.
Something was happening and they had no clue as to what it was.
It was difficult, but Jessy managed to put his phone away. “You want to know what happened?” he said and pointed towards the group of people fleeing the dome, “Help me get the wounded out of there, and I promise you I can get you a meeting with Arcade.”
Though they didn’t look directly at Huebsch, Jessy knew that the warrior women were waiting for their superior’s orders.
The nun who had sucker punched Jessy drew her sword, “You will come with us for questioning.”
“Ahhhhhh.” Jessy screamed in frustration, this was why nobody liked the military.
As Lez was was directed at spear point back to Bellymore, Jessy was on his phone speaking. “Sec. Tell the others that I’m getting cock-blocked here by nuns. I can’t get there.”
Jessy doubted he could do anything even if he did show up. He was just in a pissy little cart, not an ambulance.
The electronically synthesized voice of Techscope’s secretary system spoke, the AI’s feminine voice making things incredibly clear and difficult to misinterpret, “Director Arcade said he would be very disappointed in you, if you did not join in on the evacuation.”
Jessy’s eyes went wide and he felt the cold hand of death upon him. Though he and many of the other gamers liked to piss and moan, no one who actually worked with Arcade ever wanted to disappoint him.
The last guy who disappointed Arcade ended up working for Nintendo’s complaint department, and he didn’t speak a word of Japanese.
Jessy looked at the nuns.
“He is thinking of breaking through us.” One nun said to the others aloud. “He is determined to not let down the Fox and bring shame to himself.”
Damn, they were psychic. Just a detail. Seven-hundred yards to the dome. Six-hundred metres. The house at full sprint travels at 45 miles/hour. Oh but it would either be full of holes or completely winded by the time Jessy got there.
Jessy imagined himself flying off a dead horse and having to crawl to the rescue.
“We will not shoot the horse, we will shoot you.” The psychic nun said, then the bitch actually smirked, “You do not know how to ride a horse.”
Shit. She can still read minds.
Throwing Lez onto the horse and cutting the reigns? No. Taking the horse and his chances? No. The only way he was going to get the drop on these assholes was if he didn’t think but acted. Only thing was they were stronger, faster, and had telepathy.
Hang on, how could they understand English?
Jessy looked closely at the psychic nun and thought very hard, throwing every insulting word he could at the elf. And being a gamer and preferring first-person-shooters, Jessy had a large repository of crude language to lean on.
She glanced at him but didn’t attempt to strangle him. Maybe she was made of sterner stuff than he gave her credit for.
Jessy changed gears. He pictured her naked, imaging what she would look like under her armour. Slowly he allowed his fantasies to evolve, becoming stranger and more imminent. It wasn’t difficult, Jessy was swimming in teenage hormones, a slight wind would have given him a boner.
The elf gritted the reigns of her house tighter and her eyes became hard. Was that blush on her face?
The blue-haired boy smiled. It wasn’t true mind reading. The best she got was images and empathy.
Jessy didn’t think, he acted.
He emptied his drug watch, pumping his system full of pain killers, strength enhancements; everything that would make what he was about to do that much easier.
Instead of using the cart he jumped onto the doe belonging to bitch who had nailed earlier.
She was fast and managed to hit Jessy with her elbow, but Jessy had his hands on top of her side and back. Places in which her armour had been compromised and showed weakness.
With all his might he imagined a two stiletto blades appearing from the sleeves of his jacket and running into the structural weaknesses of the nun’s armour. He gave a good x-ray view of the bitch’s internal organs getting a good jab.
Jessy was holding onto consciousness only through the painkillers, bows and spear points were on him, ready to put a few new holes in his body.
“Get me down there, or I will seriously ruin your day.” Jessy called out leaning his forehead on the elf’s back. He could taste blood.
“You will not get away with this.” The nun he was holding promised.
Get away with what. The telepath hadn’t said… Jessy bit his lip. His eyes turned to the nun who looked at him, her eyes turned to shock and then anger.
They were networked.
Jessy would worry about that later, “I want both hands on the reigns at all times. We are all going to go down there and you’re going use whatever healing you’ve got to help them.”
Jessy snorted out a glob of bloody mucus. Was his nose broken? It sounded broken.
“I am not afraid of dying.” The nun said proudly. “Chief Exorcist. Give the order to kill this whelp.”
Jessy laughed, “I’m trying to save my friends and a whole shit load of people I don’t know. You are ready to die, huh? How are you going to explain it to your fucking god that you died trying to stop a kid from saving people? Now, move before I throw up on you.”
None of the exorcist’s party moved.
Jessy groaned and spat out another glob of blood. “Huebsch. You’re going to see Arcade one way or another. Do you want it to start with how you killed me, or how you and your men bravely saved a bunch of refugees?”
The silth waited for the order. The nun who Jessy was holding squirmed but made no sudden moves.
Lez looked at the Huebsch admiringly, “I am sure that some of the Trickster’s men would be very thirsty after such an endeavour. Might even share a story or two for an ale and a wench.”
Huebsch glared down at Lez but said nothing. Without uttering a single word the two dozen armed silth turned their mounts and the cart towards the dome.
“This is not over.” The nun Jessy was clinging to warned.
Through the pain and what was probably a concussion, Jessy smiled, “Show that lovely smile, baby. I’m going to make you a hero.” Jessy squeezed the holy elf’s side. “By the way, you might want to think about watching the cakes. I think I feel a love handle here. Don’t worry, there’s just more of you to love.”
Jessy could almost taste the elf’s fury, and it was delicious.
Lez sent the horse forward all the while shaking his head, “Jessy. I have to say you have a very unique way with the fairer sex.”