Greek Tragedy I

From the Story Arc: Pictures at an Exhibition

Previous Story in the Arc: In Memoriam by Strela (Monday, July 17, 2006)

Next Story in the Arc: Greek Tragedy II by Strela (Monday, July 17, 2006)

(posted Monday, July 17, 2006)

< Edvard Grieg: Peer Gynt Suite #1 "Morgenstimmung (Morning Mood" >

The rays of dawn shone through the grimy windowpanes of an apartment block on Striga Island. Inside, the light crept across a pair of naked figured entwined on the rumpled bed they had been sharing. Among the discarded clothes littering the carpet, a pair of leather jackets with the head of a Greek hoplite embroidered on the back showed their membership in one of the most feared gangs in Paragon City, the Warriors.

A Greek Tragedy-Prologue "Starcross'd Lovers"

The man entangled himself from the clutches of his smaller companion. Coffee colored skin shifted across a taut, muscular body as he began to dress. While he had the chiseled physique that would be seen by many weightlifters and models, the crisscrossing scars showed that he worked out for other reasons than to sell his appearance. Finally shrugging into his jacket, he grasped the sword belt on the floor next to it and buckled it on with the ease of long practice. As he did so, his female companion stirred and opened her almond shaped blue eyes.

"Heracles, you gotta go now? Thought you could spend time with me..." She trailed off with a sultry pout.

"Sorry Cly, gotta go to tha warehouse now. Gotta big shipment in last night, lotsa Greek stuff from some Russkie city. Good stuff, some real powerful pieces in there." He rumbled in a gravelly bass voice.

As he turned to walk away, his nude female companion grabbed his arm. "Herc, I gotta tell ya somethin'," she went on in a low alto, "I'm gonna have a kid, YOUR kid."

"What! How long have ya known...?!?"

"Just found out. Herc, I'm scared about us, about the baby...."

Clytemnestra's worries were silenced by a deep and passionate kiss. ""Don't worry, Cly. You're one of us, the Warriors look after our own."

As Clytemnestra began to dress, she bit her lower lip. She remembered growing up in a fatherless house, watching her Korean mother try to raise her in an alien and foreign land after her father had left Kim Byoong Lee for another woman. She remembered all the sleepless nights crying over a father that had abandoned her, the anger and rage that had come from her pain, and the fights that were the only way that she could express those feelings....

The Warriors had taken her in, had given her a home...and more than a home, she thought with a sultry smile. Memories of last night danced behind her eyes as she pulled her jacket on and headed for the door. Perhaps she should visit the warehouse and maybe get in a quickie with Heracles....

Outside the warehouse, another pair of figures was perched on a rooftop, observing the movement of guard patrols around the dock and warehouse. The female of the pair finally lowered her binoculars and turned to her blonde male companion. She spoke in Russian to him: "It appears Stephanie Peebles' information was accurate. I count eight patrols on the grounds and electronic locks on the doors, Siberius."

"Indeed, Strela. Clearly this warehouse is of great importance to these 'Warrior' hooligans." Her companion replied. He rose to his feet, displaying an impressive physique, made even more striking by the black and gray of a CCCP dress uniform. With great care he withdrew a lead-weighted glove from his belt and slipped it over his right hand. The metal of his robotic left arm gleamed as he did so.

As he did this, Strela also rose to her feet. Where he was muscular and chiseled, she was whipcord lean and slender. She in turn strapped a quiver bristling with arrows to her back and then picked up a longbow made of forged steel from the shingles by her feet. Finally she swept the area one more time with her binoculars.

"No change...wait, a young girl wearing warriors colors just entered the warehouse...Roof is clear now."

With that, Strela twisted the circular disc in the center of her belt, as it began to emit a low hum, she answered her partner's unasked question. "It is a piece of alien technology, antigravity generator. Comrade Petrograd assures me he has the bugs worked out for my field test."

As she ignored his muttered comment about that being what he was afraid of, Strela stepped behind her comrade and grabbed him around the waist. With a push of her long slender legs, the two bounced a near impossible distance in the air, to land dead center in the skylight she had targeted for their entry point. As the glass shattered under her landing, she let go of Siberius and drew her bow.

Clytemnestra hurried through the aisles of the warehouse, intent on finding Heracles. She had an itch that she needed scratched. Her clothing, from the fishnet thigh high stockings and micro-miniskirt that barely covered her black lace panties to the halter-top she wore under her Warrior's jacket screamed this fact. Unfortunately, her timing was not the best as she finally arrived at his side in the security office overlooking the secure storage area....

"Dammit, those commie capes are heading this way!" Heracles growled into the intercom pickup. "Get your squad down there and STOP them, Epimetheus!" In the monitor in front of him a grainy black and white television set showed a pair of heroes thrashing five times their numbers of Warriors. While the male fought with swift and lethal punches and kicks, his companion hung back and fired arrow after arrow to immobilize, blind or stun the Warriors that swarmed them both.

To Clytemnestra's soft question, Heracles responded: "Siberius and Strela, a couple Commie Heroes from the CCCP. They been causin' trouble for us in Talos and Striga the past few weeks. Siberius is the fighter, he's some kinda commie super soldier project. Strela's a archer. Has a lotta special arrows she uses to screw with people."

With that, he grabbed his broadsword from a rack by the door. Gathering the other Warriors around him, he headed to the main floor of the warehouse. Clytemnestra grabbed a crossbow and headed after her man. After all, Warriors always stuck together...

< Mortal Kombat-Main theme >

As they reached the ground floor, the floor to ceiling door between the secure storage room with its contents of illegal artifacts and the rest of the warehouse suddenly shivered. Tendrils of ice formed around the edges of the door with incredible speed, as the water in the air froze. Several seconds later, the inch thick steel door exploded in jagged shards of ice and metal as a Soviet Army issue size 16 boot impacted it with the force of a sledgehammer. As the rubble of the door pattered down, a pair of figures were revealed in the hole where the door once stood.

For a brief moment, all was still as the two dozen Warriors faced the two communist heroes. The silence was finally snapped by Heracles' barked command to "Get 'em!".

The first Warriors to charge the heroes began to scatter as they saw an arrow come their way. When it disintegrated in a cloud of white vapor, they resumed their charge...straight into a cloud of poison ivy distillate. As they began to frantically scratch and claw at their exposed skin, a second arrow landed in their midst. The knockout gas capsule it released upon impact soon stopped their agony as their consciousness winked out.

Meanwhile Siberius was equally busy. Warrior after Warrior fell to his precise and powerful strikes with his fists and feet. Clytemnestra was no novice in martial arts and could tell easily that he was more skilled than she was. With that realization, she began to circle the fight, keeping to cover as she did. After all, all the skill in the world is useless if you get shot in the back...

As she ducked behind another crate, she felt it shake as the flying body of Pericles, one of the squad leaders, impacted it with enough force to shatter the plywood. Pieces of jewelry and assorted small items spilled out across the floor, but Clytemnestra paid them no mind as she began to line up her shot at Siberius as he and Heracles finally engaged each other. She spared a brief moment to admire the martial skills displayed as Heracles' sword met a metal arm, and in turn the Warrior leader backflipped over a foot sweep. Then her concentration returned to lining up her crossbow with the blonde head of Siberius.

A soft chuckle sounded in her ear as she began to squeeze the trigger. "Nyet, hooligan, we cannot have that." As she spun to face Strela, her crossbow bolt flew harmlessly past Siberius. With horror she watched the Soviet superheroine standing behind her fire the arrow pointed at her heart. As it impacted her jacket, she felt a sudden chill envelop her body. Ice formed around her torso, immobilizing her in such a way that all she could do was watch helplessly as the fight continued.

The fight turned, as such things often do, upon the smallest of events. As he ducked under a crescent kick, Heracles noticed his girlfriend and the mother of his baby trapped in a block of ice with Strela standing next to her. Instinctively, he took a step in that direction letting his concentration lapse and his defenses falter for that one crucial moment of distraction.

With a sudden crack of splintering bone, Siberius' boot impacted Heracles in the middle of the chest. The Warrior leader flew backward as if shot from a cannon, only to crash into the metal shelves supporting the crates of smuggled goods. One shelf caught the Warrior squarely in the lower spine, shattering bone with a sickening crunch and paralyzing him from the waist down.

As Cly watched with stunned horror, Heracles attempted to rise to his feet to continue the fight, but flopped around like a beached fish, betrayed by his damaged body. Strela walked slowly over to Siberius, her ash blonde ponytail snapping like a flag behind her as she reached him. The two heroes scanned the room, eventually noticing the pile of crates near the doors marked with Russian letters.

"Those are the artifacts stolen from Hermitage!" Strela exclaimed. "Da. For this, we can send Warriors here to Gulag for life, none of those sissy Western jails!" Siberius replied as he narrowed his ice blue eyes. "We must notify militia and CCCP headquarters of this development immediately, Strela."

As the two turned to leave, Clytemnestra finally felt the ice shift under her straining muscles as part of it cracked enough for her to get her left arm free. Helplessly, she reached for Heracles' outstretched hand. Twenty feet separated them, a short walk for them normally, but an eternity now as their eyes locked one last time before Heracles fainted from shock.

Clytemnestra frantically clawed her ice covered body closer to Heracles. Her desperately reaching hand pushing antique Greek jewelry aside...until it touched one of a pair of gold and jet bracelets lying side by side on the floor. She froze as if she had grabbed a high voltage line. A cold voice echoed in her head: "Betrayal and loss forged me. A broken heart created me. For Vengeance I was forged. I offer Vengeance but there will be a price, Young One. Will you pay it?"

Clytemnestra sobbed "Yes" from the floor. As the word left her lips, she felt a sudden surge of strength through her body. She also felt a gnawing hunger in the pit of her soul, as if something dark and empty had begun to feast on it. The bracelet she grasped writhed like a serpent as it crawled up her arm to settle around her wrist. The ice trapping her other arm cracked and unbidden her right hand grasped the other bracelet, which also crawled up to settle around her other wrist. As the bracelets locked into place, the ebon gems studding them gleamed darkly, almost sinisterly. Clytemnestra heard the voice again echo in her mind:

"Bargain made, Bargain Kept. A life for me, I shall accept." As those words formed Clytemnestra felt her insides clench and she knew that her unborn child, would now never be born...alive.