Part 3: Things must change

From the Story Arc: A Sistah's Burden

Previous Story in the Arc: Part 2: Well This Looks Familiar by Gaia's Soldier (Thursday, July 21, 2005)

Next Story in the Arc: Part 4: Turn for the Worse by Gaia's Soldier (Sunday, July 24, 2005)

(posted Friday, July 22, 2005)

Gaia crouched on the massive turbine, elbows resting on her knees. The walls of the lab were a thick metal, sterile and smooth. The whole place had a rather cool feel to it, though something about it was unsettlingly familiar. The people here were terrified and showed it. Some ran about in a panic, screaming and wild eyed, while others cowered in corners. The air was thick with their fear and Gaia’s Solder had come to end it. Colleen Saramago said something about retrieving important research data before the Clocks could find it so it could be transferred to a safer locale, but to Gaia the people were the real reason she was here.

Saramago had running her ragged for days. Gaia smirked. If she melted down all the scrap metal from the Clocks she had taken down recently, she figured it all would have been enough to rebuild the Atlas statue itself. To be honest, she had to admit she couldn’t be happier. She rapidly scanned the area for any sign of clockwork. It was a tight space and well lit. They couldn’t hide for long. These things used to mess up her day but lately …

The last few days Gaia’s Solder had been at the top of her game. Far aside from her normal patrols, she found herself getting duty shift with some of the CCCP leaders and to her surprise, holding her own in battle. Not that she was as experienced warrior as they, but she seemed to have more energy to draw on these days then she ever had before. More will to stave off her enemies stun and disorientation attacks as well. Attacks that a week ago would have left her lying at her teammates feet.

In fact, she hadn’t seen the inside of a medical center in days. That was a damn record for her. Sure Gaia still had to use a stimulant patch on herself now and then in the field, but even that was not near as common as it had been. Seeing movement under a nearby catwalk she turned, braking out of her musings, and leapt from her perch dashing towards the group that had been spotted.

The Cog carrying the heavy load never saw her coming. A swift uppercut sent it into the air, and a high kick spun it there like a top. By the time the pieces hit the ground, the three Oscillators that had been nearby, were moving in. Gaia bent her knees and leapt high, pulling the first down to the ground with her own weight. A flurry of punches later and what was left of the crumpled bot became the weapon she used to beat down the other two.

Hearing a sharp scream from above, Gaia’s Solder sprinted, following the wide cable housing that snaked along the floor and past it to a ramp that led up. Down the catwalk and round the corner she found herself on an enclosed balcony where a man cowered against a far wall. Gaia kicked the Tesla unit threatening him of the side, and turned to the man in one smooth motion. “Go! Run!”

Not bothering to see if he listened, she dove feet first off the side herself and landed on a Cog below, crushing its chest casing. Sparks hit Gaia harmlessly as his power supply was demolished. The ball of electricity that hit her after was far more painful, and though she cried out she did not black out as it had intended. Grinning in dark satisfaction she reached a hand palm up towards the Tesla and drew out it energy to mend her burns. “Oh its on now!”

Several trips up the tube-like elevators, she hit what she hoped was the top floor. In better shape than she had expected, she was still growing tired and ready for this to be done. She had taken down more of the glorified blenders then she could count, and checked every data station she could find. Nothing but useless crap. Not even any files encrypted or hard to access. Made her wonder if there was anything important here to find at all.

At the end of a long hall the huge doors opened into a large open space looked be about third the size of a football field. In the center was a wide platform surrounded by immense lights like some techno industrial dance floor. In the center of the platform was the biggest robot she had ever seen. Gaia shuttered a bit when she saw the number of smaller bots surrounding it, they skittered and flew about like a swarm. “Damn,” she thought. “This is gonna hurt.”

Bracing herself Gaia’s Solder took off at full sprint out of the doorway and dove at the largest clockwork. She landed squarely on the back of it neck with a grunt and crossed her ankles for a better hold. His buddies would get clear shots maybe but the big bots short arms would never be able to reach her back here. Drawing deep from the dark power the Goddess gave her, Gaia began to pummel the head of the thing, pushing herself to her limits. She could feel the bolts from the smaller clocks hit her but she couldn’t budge if she wanted to make it at all. The pain was bad but she was used to pain, she gritted her teeth and hoped her metabolism could keep your up and heal her burns before they got too bad and she was sunk.

Gaia leapt free from the big bot as it fell, breathing hard, and whirled to face the rest. Se could hear the gears crawling out of the huge body cavity of the fallen robot and rolled her eyes. “Great, just great. Gears. Just what I need more tin cans with teeth.” She slapped on a couple med patches and crouched low as they closed in.

As she knelt on the ground panting, bleeding, and burned badly, Gaia’s Solder glanced wide eyed around at the pile of gold metal and wire that heaped around her. Either those had been some hellified patches she had gotten from HQ or something was happening to her. She had expected her power to increase a bit over time, she hoped it would anyway, but this was a bit unnerving. Gaia shook her head, must have been a good batch of patches. No one’s power pumped up that much in only a few days. Did it?

She logged into the data pad near the back wall and a grin spread across her face when the system requested an access code. Entering the one Saramago gave her the grin widened. “Bingo.” Gaia load the data onto the disc then wiped the remainder from the system. Ene though aching and tired, she felt too good to just drop the stuff off and head home. Her eyes twinkled as she heard heavy Brother voice pop up on the comm link calling out his greetings. Yep a bath and a nice change of clothes would be just the thing. She headed for the elevators down humming a bit as she slipped the disk into a pocket. Maybe she’d reward herself for a job well done by buying something new. Something special. “Yep.” She mused. “Might just do the trick.”