It's Now or Never

From the Story Arc: The Death of CCCP

Previous Story in the Arc: Don't Be Cruel by Red Saviour (Sunday, March 20, 2005)

Next Story in the Arc: Are You Lonesome Tonight? by Red Saviour (Thursday, March 24, 2005)

(posted Sunday, March 20, 2005)

Propping up the limp form of her lover Mosca, Red Saviour’s legs screamed with protest at every step down the hotel’s corridor towards the elevator. The lavish decorations of the luxury hotel belied the danger they faced.

Doors opened before and behind them. Guests stepped out, some still wearing business suits, others changed into unfortunate Hawaiian shirts. Children let go of their mothers’ hands to pound fists into palms.

“Sorry, lady,” a nine-year old girl said. “My mommy says we have to hurt you now.”

“Now is horosho time for you to wake up, Santi,” she said into his ear. “I didn’t blast you that hard. Davay davay davay, come on, I need you now.”

Natalya estimated the corridor to be four meters wide; large enough to be surrounded. At least twenty guests lived on this floor. Amerikantskii, true, and so fat and clumsy. But a mob could bear her down with their decadent weight, and they were, after all, innocent victims.

Had the parents of the nine year old understood Russian, the curse she uttered would have sent them scrambling to hire the little girl a therapist.

Hypno-Sister and Romanov could not be far behind, and Romanov still had a gun, and probably extra ammunition. To make matters even worse, Natalya’s bladder was bursting with a pain she hadn’t felt before. How humiliating to die because a supervillain kept her from peeing too long.

A black man, interrupted in the process of donning a tuxedo, swung an unplugged iron at her. She parried the man’s arm with her free one and kneed him in the crotch. “Izvinit, comrade,” she said, stepping on him as she pulled Mosca into the man’s room. She slammed the door shut and wedged a wooden chair under the door knob. The door shuddered with the pounding of the mob.

Without hesitating, she dashed into the bathroom, cursed the raised toilet seat, and urinated. It was, she thought, the most gratifying release she’d ever experienced. The pain in her abdomen subsided at once.

“Thank Lenin I do nyet wear powered armor,” she yelled to Mosca. “Now wake up, dum dum. Situation is bad.”

As she spoke, a fire extinguisher crashed through the wooden paneling of the door. Angry faces peered in.

“She’s blocked the door!”

“Stand back, folks. I was an offensive lineman for Texas A & M,” a man’s voice drawled.

Red Saviour hitched up her tights, cursing. If she survived this day, her report would need so much spinning that Moscow would be dizzy from reading it. She grabbed the former occupant’s mouthwash.

The door gave way to a single rush from the massive, cowboy hat wearing Texan. The chair snapped in half and fell in Mosca’s lap. The former footballer led the way, looking satisfied. Half a dozen tourists followed him.

“I see the spic, down on the floor. Now, where is that little Rooskie chick?”

Without a word she splashed the mouthwash into the man’s eyes. He screamed and fell to his knees. His wide form temporarily blocked the others from reaching her.

“In Moscow we use this to clean motorcycle parts,” she said, dropping the bottle. She took a defensive stance over Mosca. “Now, who am I hurting next?”

With a single roar, the crowd trampled the Texan in a rush to get Red Saviour. Knowing she was too weak to blast them away, and loathe to use her powers on innocents, she reached back for all of the martial arts training she’d received over the years. When the first man reached her, brandishing the fire extinguisher, she seized his arm as he brought the canister down on her head. With a twist, she guided him past her and into the room, where he crashed into an ironing board. Her next assailant she stunned with a blow to the solar plexus. He lost his balance and the crowd surged over him.

Throws, she thought. Use their energy, since I’m running out of my own.

It was almost comical: they charged her, she threw them into the room. They recovered and charged her from the room, she threw them back into the arms of the crowd in the hall. She kept it up for five minutes, which seemed like an eternity. Then the Texan stood, bellowed like a steer, and smashed his way through the others to seize her by the throat. She backpedaled, nearly lifted off her feet. The man was at least three hundred pounds.

His grip tightened on her throat; lights flashed in her eyes. Desperate and scared, Natalya thrust her legs between his, while ramming her palm up into his nose. It was a potentially lethal attack, but she had only seconds of consciousness left.

His head snapped back, but the momentum he’d built up sent him flying through the air, towards the glass doors to the balcony.

“Oh, nyet,” Red Saviour breathed.

The Texan shattered the glass doors and kept going. The frame absorbed some of the impact, and the railing the rest. He collapsed against it. Had he hit the rail a foot higher, he would have fallen five floors to his death.

The five men she’d thrown into the room pounced on her while she was off-balance. They bore her to the carpet and beat her with their fists, howling like primates. She balled up; she couldn’t maneuver at all. She wasn’t even sure she could summon up mystic energy to blast them off.

Their bodies cut off the light, but the darkness creeping towards her was unconsciousness. Two days of the standoff had left her body weak. Even these men were enough to hurt her, kill her.

She heard the sound of wood breaking from somewhere above her. The howls of anger turned to pain. She reached out and grabbed someone’s crotch, and squeezed. He fell away from the pile-up, giving her a chance to roll out from the press of bodies.

Mosca stood over them with the remains of the chair in his hands and a look of absolute fury. It was the face of a jungle fighter who was ready to kill for revenge.

“Darlink,” she croaked. “Finally.”

“Mi Natya. Bueno, now I am letting these fools live.” He snapped a chair leg in two over the head of one man, making Natalya wonder how serious the last statement was.

“They are hypnotized. We cannot hurt them, darlink.”

“How do we avoid hurting them?”

“Fine. But we cannot kill them.” Still wobbly, she took an opportunity to punch a man escaping from Mosca in the face.

The two backed up against the television. Tourists blocked the window and the door. At least a dozen had pushed into the room, and still more called for blood out in the hall.

“You are ready for fight, darlink?”

Mosca hefted a chair leg. “Not at all, my sweetest cupcake. I was up for two days with you, and your energies, they pack the kick of a mule. A fifty-foot mule.”

“Izvinit. I am so sorry I had to do that.”

“You saved my life. You did the impossible, Natya. I will survive a few bruises and cracked ribs.”

Natya tapped his foot with her own. “We fight towards hallway. I cannot fly in this condition.”

“Agreed.”

The tourists began to close in, ready to follow their mistress’ orders even if it meant their own deaths…or the deaths of Red Saviour and Mosca.