Reap The Whirlwind

From the Story Arc: Battle Stations!

Previous Story in the Arc: Darkness Falls From The Air by Waitron9000 (Wednesday, April 05, 2006)

Next Story in the Arc: Stand And Deliver by Belladonna Aura (Friday, April 07, 2006)

(posted Thursday, April 06, 2006)

Anthony Garvey ---"Heavy Brother"--- was busy fixing himself a sandwich in the CCCP soup kitchen. It'd been a rowdy night last night, and he needed something to settle his stomach. Work hard, party harder He'd had fun, but he was paying for it now.

He was in the middle of slathering on the last of the mayo when the klaxons went off. The entire building shook once, then another time. There was a resounding boom, and it was coming from the main entrance. Only clad in a faded grey t-shirt and some workout shorts, Heavy Brother ran for the front of the base, using his control over gravity to increase his own mass.

He rounded the corner at the end of the hallway, but skidded in his tracks. The entire front security door was gone, with even the wall around it torn inward. A huddle of Council troops stood over a still form, with the one closest to Anthony shouting orders to the rest.

"A brother don't stand for that shit, mother*******!" Heavy Brother bounded forward, smashing into the lead Council officer before any of his subordinates could raise their weapons. There was very little left of the man to crash into several mech-men striding through the ruined entrance. He expanded his gravitational field, bending it around himself, and just in time. Bullets reflected and curved around him, Council fire flying past him and into the wall behind. He shouted in rage, slamming Council troops into the walls, floor, and ceiling.

The pair of mech-men separated, locking their aiming lasers onto Heavy Brother. Not missing a beat, he leapt at the automatons to his left. His fists plunged deep into its armored chest, tearing out vital circuitry and mechanics. Finishing it off, he turned on the second one in time for it to fire a rocket directly at him. It impacted the ground in front of Anthony, pulverizing everything around him and vaporizing the upper half of Free Radical's body. He was slammed into already splintered furniture, but came up running.

He crossed the distance in less than a second, connecting with the Mech-man before it could swing its clawed fist at him. Heavy Brother ran through the machine, tearing it messily in half. His gaze turned to more ground troops pouring into the base. Let those murdering bastards come. Their guns issued deafening reports as they fired at him. Pain shot through his left shoulder; a bullet, then another had gone through his gravitational shields, leaving ragged holes in his shirt and flesh.

Dammit. Dammit to hell. He could feel it now, feel his powers, the powers that were granted to him, fading again. They'd done it before....

But now was possibly the worst time ever for them to do it again. He gritted his teeth as he felt the last of his control over the fields slip away. The soldiers were about to open up with another volley, ready to overwhelm him.

Only one thing for it. He'd been a Black Panther before he'd been a hero. He could by God be a Black Panther again. He dove and rolled, coming up with one of the fallen trooper's assault rifles, still fully loaded.

He let loose with measured bursts, moving to cover behind Free Radical's ruined desk as he fired. The soldiers crumpled under the barrage, with those few left standing wounded enough to make them think twice about charging him. He continued to pour fire through the opening, suppressing any advances the Council were trying to make. "Ain't so fun when your targets shoot back, is it you mofo honkies!" He shouted, reloading his rifle with a fresh magazine from one of the downed troopers.

Heavy Brother barely had time to ready the rifle's action before the remaining troops stormed in, taking advantage of the lull in the firefight. Two Warwolves, followed by a hulking Warcry robot. The gunfire he peppered them with hardly had any effect. Scrambling with the rifle, Heavy Brother switched on the RPG attachment, and loosed a single high-explosive round right in the center of their formation. The Warwolves were taken out of the fight, done in by the explosion and the shrapnel. The Warcry limped forward; its trunk had been torn up, with a its right leg blackened and twisted beneath it.

The struggling robot snapped off a laser blast, caving in the wall behind Anthony. Molten flecks of concrete and metal rained down on him, burning more holes into his skin and shirt. He kept firing, lobbing grenades and bullets until he ran out. The Warcry finally toppled, smoking and riddled with bullet holes.

Heavy Brother slumped down against the wall, breathing hard. "Gawddamn...damn them all." He looked up over the desk at the sound of more marching boots and stomping paws. More of them. A lot more. He looked around; he'd used all of the magazines and ammo from the dead or dying Council soldiers near him. He might be able to retreat, make it back to the They were already starting to come through the smoldering entrance.

Heavy Brother thought back to the 60's. His family, his friends. Everything he fought for. And everything he was still fighting for. Now, he'd fight one last time for his comrades.

Anthony Garvey--- the Heavy Brother--- grabbed his rifle by its still smoking barrel. He waited for the Council troopers to get closer; let them think that he had retreated back into the base. They came within feet of him before he jumped from his cover, a savage battle cry ringing in the air. Swinging the rifle like a club, he waded into the Council, fighting until he was no more.

Another set of lifesigns went down. This time Waitron did not even bother the retrieval; she'd set the code to tell her when...the unthinkable became unmistakable.

The Council--she knew now it was Council, enough cameras survived long enough to give her identifying shots--had issued a kill-order.

Just like Red Saviour’s. Sow the wind and reap the whirlwind.

And the Council had come for its harvest.

Professor Tempest had never heard the alarms before, and at first he thought it was a fire alarm. There were only two of his pupils in the classroom at the moment, Shen Fai-long and...the...

Did he really believe the thing was a dragon? It claimed it was a dragon. It looked rather like a dragon....

That very thought was passing through his mind as the klaxons sounded, and he looked at his pupils, both of whom could fly, one of whom controlled fire, and it occurred to him that they weren't exactly in any danger--

Fool boy! said the voice in his head. That is NOT a fire alarm!

Do be quiet, father, I think I know a--

And then the voice of the fem-bot sounded over the harsh wails through the tinny intercom speakers.

"This is not a drill! This is not a drill! All personnel retreat to the safe room! All personnel retreat to the safe room! The HQ is under assault! This is not a drill!"

"-eh--" was all Tempest had a chance to get out, before Shen was over the desks and shoving him towards the door. A peal of gunfire reverberated through the halls, and was followed by more.

"The safe room, teacher!" Shen shouted. "We must get to the safe room!"

"But where--"

"Save the teacher!" The dragon shouted excitedly. "I will guard the hall! I will be fierce! I will bite them!"

Tempest found himself being hauled along the corridor by the young Chinese boy, while behind him there was a roar of igniting flames.

And the building shook.

Oksana was busy at work, polishing her Soviet Buffalo Gun before she had to go out on patrol again. A few others were in the barracks room, going about their own business: the odd Detkapena, Biohazard Boy, and Callignous Storm. "The" Propaganda Machine was busy at work modifying some part of his chassis at the corner desk. Or maybe he was printing up something. It was hard to tell which.

Oksana blew some air through the ejection port of her rifle, just finishing her job of cleaning it when the klaxons blared into life. Everyone in the recruits' quarters looked up, bathed in red light and confusion.

"What's dat stuff?" Biohazard Boy was scratching his head, looking to the other heroes for answers.

"Whatever it is, it sounds like trouble." Oksana dropped her cleaning rag, snatching a fresh and loaded magazine for her Buffalo Gun, slamming it home in the magazine well. The others got up, some trying to use their comm units fruitlessly.

The robot Waitron9000 came in over the intercom, warning them all to the danger. Everyone looked to each other, wondering what to do next. Commie Cowgirl broke the klaxon-filled vacuum.

"Well, you heard her you consarn cayuses! Get moving to the stockade!" Oksana shouted orders as her comrades rushed out of the barracks. There were several explosions, close by. Dust fell from the rafters as the roof shook above them. Tarnation! We really are gettin' bushwhacked!

Biohazard Boy hadn't the sense God gave a goose, Callignous Storm had never seen war on his own turf, Detkapena was...well, no telling. And Propaganda Machine wasn't quite prepared for a range-war neither. Oksana grabbed them and shoved them at the door. Well, all but the Turnip Girl. She could take care of herself. Anyone thinkin' they had an easy mark was gonna get a surprise.

She shoved them ahead of her in the corridor; fortunately she knew what the safe-room was, even if they didn't. The comm room, where the comms stuff, the computers and the generators were. Hardened, with its own filtered ventilation system, and as safe as paranoid Soviets could make it. All part of the renovations and improvements that Petro, John Murdock, and Five Year Plan had been putting in. All off the official Paragon City books, of course. When you did things like this, you didn't go out and advertise them to every Tom, Dick and Hairy-assed varmint that could get plans from City Hall.

She had barely reached the door to the stairwell that led to the second floor when she heard boots trampling along behind her. A lotta boots. She whirled, and her jaw tightened at what she saw. There was a whole mess of Council troops that had just come into the hallway alongside the barracks. She raised her rifle and planted two high-caliber bullets squarely into the chest of the first two goons running after her. Oksana turned into the doorway just in time to avoid a hail of bullets that screamed through where she was just standing.

She slammed the door behind her, and then mashed the switch that should have locked the door from the inside, buying them maybe a little more time to get to the safe room. Nothing happened. Criminitly! Consarned gollywaggin piece of crap! Another broken piece of junk. She didn't bother with it, instead opting to run down a flight of the stairs after the rest of her comrades. It didn't take but a scarce few seconds for the door to come flying off its hinges, blasted inward by a Council explosive. Oksana took up a firing position down the next set of steps; she wouldn't give as much of a profile for the attackers to shoot at this way, while still being able to get a good sight on them.

The first, second, third and fourth troopers to step through the doorway were blown back out just as fast. Oksana retreated down another flight, not wanting to stick around for them to get smart and start lobbing grenades before they tried to make a push. Another bout of shooting, this time exchanging shots with the Council soldiers, and she was at the first floor. She rushed through the door, and chanced using the locking mechanism again. It worked, this time; the invaders wouldn't have as easy of a go getting through this door. She ran down the corridor leading to the C&C or Command and Control room. Her bunch from the barracks, along with Spinning Joe, Philanthrope, and Pint Man were clustered behind Waitron.

Waitron had the HQ map up now, and all the tell-tales from those who were still in the base. Oksana spotted it as she barreled in, up on the Big Screen that was, more often than not, used to show movies for the bored folks stuck in the comm room. She saw a huddle of little green lights there, all in one room, as Waitron trigged the blast door behind her.

"Wait just a cotton-pickin' minute there. Tin Can!" Oksana said, spotting two more green lights not in the safe room. She pointed. "Who's that?"

"Petrograd and Felix," Waitron replied. "Felix has reported to me. They are secure for the moment. Council has passed both of them by, thinking they are pieces of discarded tech in the workshop."

"And those?" There were three more lights, heading for the safe room. And a swarm of red dots in between that Oksana assumed were Council.

"Professor Tempest, Shen Fai-long and Draken--"

"Open that there damned door!" Oksana shouted. "I'ma goin' after 'em!"

She didn't wait for Waitron to respond. She slapped the trigger herself, and bailed out as soon as the door was open just enough for her to squeak through. She didn't have to run far before she found some Council troops. Two of them were facing a shattered door, firing into it repeatedly. Oksana reached up to tap one on the shoulder, waiting for him to turn to face her before decking him. He went down cold. His partner didn't have a chance to show his dissatisfaction for his partner's treatment; a rifle butt to the side of his helmet made sure enough of that.

Oksana walked up to the door that the troops had been firing at with her rifle at the ready, making sure not to cross into the line of sight of anyone that might be inside. There were sounds of fighting, along with---growls? She took off her cowboy hat and peered around the corner. There! Drakenaur, the young dragon that had recently been inducted, was holding off several Council troopers at the other doorway into what used to be the main CCCP kitchen. Shen Fai-Long and Professor Tempest were firing around the dragon when they saw targets of opportunity. From the damage done to the room ---scorch marks, bullet holes, overturned cooking counters, scattered pots and pans--- it looked like Oksana was just in time. Tempest whirled from where Drake was fighting to face Oksana, ready to send a blast of his mystical energy at a potential foe. His features sagged with relief upon recognizing her.

"Cowgirl!" Tempest paused long enough to utter an incantation, summoning his ghostly helpers before turning back to her. "What is--"

"Council, pard," replied Oksana. "Which I reckon you saw. But I also reckon this's a range war, a real feudin' thing. See, afore you got here, Saviour had a dust-up with these varmints, and....wall, she...she made it a hangin' thing. I reckon they waited 'till she was gone t'come collect some scalps."

"Range war? Scalps?" Tempest was about to say more when a roar from Drake signaled the arrival of more Council, and his ghostly protectors sprang into the fray.

"Time to hightail it!" Oksana yelled. Shen continued to fire, heedless of Oksana. She yanked on his collar and took his place. "Git!" She fired four shots in quick succession, all of them finding their marks. Drake started to back track, flames still blazing as he fought off any Council soldier or automaton that got too close.

The Professors ghosts vanished under a wash of fire from Council flamethrowers. Drake roared again and smashed one of the soldiers to the ground. Tempest sagged, his energy sapped away by the effort of his spells. Oksana shoved him towards the safe room.

"Go, go, go!" she yelled. She plastered the doorway for the kitchen, discouraging anyone from poking their heads out. Shen helped the Professor, almost dragging him back towards the hallway that would take them to the safe room.

"Fireball! You an' me hold 'em off, then we leapfrog back ourselves!" she shouted.

"HURRRR?" The roar had a question sound to it.

"I fall back, then you fall back!" A pair of concussion grenades rolled through the kitchen door, punctuating her command.

"ARRRR!" That was an affirmative if ever she heard one.

Oksana nodded, running back to her first point of cover; a small alcove that housed a water fountain. Taking aim, she shouted, "Move it!" Drakenaur started to move, and she started firing. The Council were already pouring through what little remained of the kitchen doorway; it was more of a hole now, than any sort of reasonable opening.

Drake fell back behind her, taking up a position just on the other side of the doorway. As soon as he was in place, Oksana called out again. "Moving!" She fired a pair of shots as she rose, then turned and started looking for another spot. Next good place was inside the door to the hallway that'd lead to safety. She dashed inside, slamming her shoulder into the left side of the frame; she'd be able to shoot without so much of her poking out to be shot at, since she was right-handed.

"RRRRRAHHHHHH!" Drake roared, shooting out s tongue of flame past her just as she nipped by, and getting the attention of the Council in no uncertain terms. She let him fry a few more before shouting again, "MOVE IT!"

Oksana covered his retreat to her position, picking off Council troops as fast as she could. She was trying for gut shots now and then; hearing their buddies screaming might put a few of them off from being bold. He slipped past her again. A couple more of these jumps and they'd be at the safe room.

Only one little problem. There was only one good spot of cover before you got to that door.

Allus wanted to th' Alamo, she thought with grim glee. By damn she'd be Davy Crocket or maybe Jim Bowie. "Cover me! Moving!" She sprinted full tilt for the last bit of cover; a small outcropping of concrete, jutting from the wall. She settled down, getting several fresh clips lined up next to her boot; she'd need them out and ready once this really got bad. "Run for it, pardner!" Drake dashed to Oksana, who was firing from the moment he turned. There were a lot of Council outside the hallway; ricochets and lasers tore up the walls and ground around them.

Oksana stole a glance behind her when she saw that Drake wasn't moving. "Git!" She hit the release on her rifle, dropping a spent magazine to the floor before picking up another and slamming it home. She was so practiced at this, that the entire operation happened in the blink of an eye.

Confusion and dismay were raging over Drakenaur's face. "But, you---!"

"You wanna have noodles with that li'l coolie gal again? GIT!" she yelled. She didn't look at him but once more; her gaze settled on the young dragon, and she smiled. It was gone as fast as it was there. She was back to firing round after round from her Buffalo Gun, putting down Council.

Drake only hesitated a moment longer. With a mighty roar filled with both anger and sorrow, he charged towards the safe-room. Rockets and bullets struck everything around him, sometimes hitting his tough hide. He stomped into the command and control room, glancing at the wild faces and worried expressions around him.

"Close it!" Oksana yelled over the din of gunfire.

Waitron obeyed. It was several minutes before the explosions and gunfire died down. Several very long minutes. But it did end.

And then the Council started their gruesome work again; They began to pound the blast doors.

With the calm that only disabling her emotion-chip could bring, Waitron opened a severely encrypted channel she had not used in a very long time. This comm transmitter did not need an external antennae. It was tightband, and limited to only one other receiver in all of Paragon City.

"This is Waitron9000 calling Ein Stein. This is a Code Alpha emergency. The CCCP Headquarters has been overrun and we need your help."