The Temptress and The Hunter: Part 7-The Rescue
Sunday, December 17, 2006

Dorm, Blake and Kosuke attempt to rescue Pat, Rachel and Siph but run into complications when some unexpected guests show up. Dorm questions the value of his job and his methods, while some immense savagery takes place.


The trail began to peter out as the jungle thinned, slowly giving way to a large, dilapidated building of wood and stone.

Blake held up a hand and Dorm stopped behind him. The bandit leader clenched his fist and raised two fingers, then pointed upwards without saying a word. Dorm nodded silently; he and Kosuke needed to climb trees to get a better view of the place. The boy appeared behind them and scampered up a tree like a monkey his agile body moving with lightning speed. Dorm followed up an adjoining tree at a more sedate pace, his limbs still stiff from the battle on the track and the sprinted pursuit through the jungle.

He reached a point in the tree where he could rest comfortably and watch The Marauders base. Smoke rose from the building’s chimneys and from inside he could hear shouts of greeting and running feet.

“Ta ma duh!” he cursed under his breath. If only they had been a bit faster through the jungle they would have caught the ambushing party. He could have had Saffron in his grasp already. If only they had been a bit faster.

Ok he needed to look at the layout, he needed to asses the situation if they where going to attempt a rescue mission. He could see two sentries spaced out below him in no recognizable pattern. Further across there was another two but they were sitting down together sharing a cigarette.

How many entrances? There was a large double doors out the front and what looked like the top of a small door frame on the far corner. On Dorm’s side there was some kind of stable, but it had long since fallen into disrepair sat rooting, its roof bowed under the weight of the plant-life atop it. That was what they could use, that was their way in. From those stables they could climb onto the roof and perhaps work a window open. If all else failed the roof didn’t look exactly strong; breaking a hole in it would probably be fairly easy, albeit noisy.

He slid slowly down the tree, careful not to make any noise. Kosuke was down already and he and Blake were crouched in the undergrowth talking quietly.

“OK Rendell, what have you got?” asked Blake softly.

“I counted four sentries on our side, all lookin’ relaxed. They aren’t expectin’ any sort of attack. Shouldn’t be to hard to take out if we do it quiet like. Also I’ve got an entry point over the top of the stables on this side and onto the roof.”

Blake nodded “That’s good. Kosuke says he saw ground level windows towards the back which means basement or holding cells. It’s probably the cells. This place used to be a ranger station and supply depo but it was abandoned during the war, when the government called in security forces from the country.”

Dorm nodded in understanding. He already knew that; he’d studied enough maps of the area to know that there where abandoned building’s all through the jungle but Dorm Rendell wasn’t supposed to know that.

Blake continued, “The Murauders must have moved in not very long ago. This place was empty two months back. They’re a tricky bunch, this lot. Big outfit too. Got at least fifty scum in their ranks and they don’t balk at anything. They snatch people off the streets sell ‘em for terraforming crews, into whoring work in the cities, drug mules. And now they have my Siph! And Rachel and Pat!”

“What’s the plan then? When do we go in?”

“Well first I’ve got to contact the others. We’re gonna need back-up if we’re taking these guys.” Blake started to take the com device out of his pocket.

Dorm twitched, this could screw up his entire plan, he needed just Blake and Kosuke to go in with him, that way he could make the trade with The Marauders, those two for Saffron and leave with the threat of his being a Federal Agent hanging over their heads to dissuade any treachery or pursuit.

“Wait, Blake. We can do it. Just the three of us. We can get her out. It just takes a little stealth that’s all. We can’t wait here for the others, Siph could have been sold to slavers by then!”

Blake stared at him. “Hell no Rendell. The others will be here in a few hours and The Maruaders won’t make a move until tomorrow at least. I ain’t taking any risks on this. I want her back so badly it hurts but I ain’t gonna jeopardize that by rushing in and gettin’ myself killed.” He took out the com and turned it on. “Hell, you’re gonna have to curb that heroic streak o’ yours, Rendell it could get-.”

A blood-curdling howl split the air and the three men froze. Kosuke flipped knives into his hands and stood, brushing the air out of his eyes.

“Ta ma duh! Hwai, hwai, hwai! Nee ta ma duh. Tyen-shia suo-yo duh run doh gai si.. You know what that is?” Blake yelped, his huge frame gone still.

The howl came again closer and louder this time.

Blake nodded, a lump in his throat. “Degens.”

Blake turned his head this way and that, “We have to get out of here, we have to get away.” He looked up, “The trees, we need to get up the trees.”

Dorm stared at him. “We’ll be trapped up there. You think those things can’t climb trees?”

“I know they can but if we stay down here we die, no question ‘bout it. We go up there we might have a chance.”

Dorm didn’t have time to think of a better plan, so he dashed towards the nearest tree, climbing it at double speed. Blake and Kosuke were just as fast, disappearing into the canopy as though all the demons of hell were after them. And in a way some of those demons were.

Though darkness was beginning to fall there was still enough light for Dorm to see the sentries below him. All four of them were alert now, holding their rifles in the air and peering into the jungle with nervous energy. Suddenly a black spear came flying out of the jungle and took one of the sentries in the chest, lifting him off his feet and throwing him back a good two metres. The sentry closest to him stared at the body in shock and opened fire at the jungle with a panicked scream.

The jungle came alive with black and twisted forms. Howling and cries of fury filled the air as perhaps thirty Degens rushed forward at the three hapless sentries. Guns chattered into life for a moment then went still as the dark tide washed over them. Most of the pack of Degens rushed on but small knots formed around each of the sentries as they tore their victims to pieces. Dorm felt sick. This was savagery on such a scale that he had hoped never to see again. The pack of Degens split into two groups, one rushing round the front to slam themselves against the front doors, while the other leapt onto the roof of the stables and smashed their way through the windows on the roof. Gunfire and screams filled the air as the Degens attacked tearing their way through everything and everyone. The doors cracked and then splintered and the front pack surged inside.

Dorm leant against the trunk of the tree and wept in horror like he hadn’t done since the darkest days of the war. His government had created these monsters, these horrific killing machines. The same people who gave him orders were the same people who had thought it was a good idea to do this to people. How did that make him any better than the Degens, any better than those who had become animals? But he was better he knew that. He still had the power to make choices, to be human. But did that really make him so much better. Despite the fact that Blake was a criminal and a lowlife he still had respect for the man but he had been planning to betray him and send him into slavery to further the ends of those who had created the monsters that were committing atrocities below him now. Didn’t that make him as despicable as the Degens? He raked a hand through his thinning hair. All his life he had supported the actions of his government, his superiors unconditionally. They were the government, that made any decisions they made to be right and justice. Now he wasn’t so sure. He could see now how easy it was not to break the rules if you were the ones writing them.

He shook his head. The fact that the Alliance wanted Saffron apprehended didn’t make her less of a criminal. He could make his own choices about how he operated and keep his own integrity intact, that way he could sleep well at night. Still he knew that the screams and cries he heard now would haunt him in his dreams for years to come.

It was a good half-hour before those noises ceased and night had truly fallen. Dorm stirred himself from his position on the branch and stretched his arms, taking care not to make any sudden movements that might be visible to those below. He looked back towards the former ranger station, the lights in its windows were flickering more slowly now as the fires within began to falter. Black shapes, hunched and twisted, slipped their way out of the shattered doors, loping their way back into the jungle in a loose group. Dorm breathed slowly. If one of them happened to catch sight of the three men in the trees then Blake, Kosuke and himself would suffer the same fate as those inside the building. Anxiously he watched as the Degens disappeared, one by one, into the jungle and all was silent once more. He waited for a short time, not wanting to risk attracting the attention of any straggler. Then he called out to the others, keeping his voice low.

“Hey Blake. They’re gone. We can get down now.”

There was a rustling from a tree to his left as Blake began to climb down. Dorm climbed down his own tree slowing watching the jungle floor below him as he did for any signs of waiting Degens. Blake was already there waiting for him, shaking as he massaged feeling back into his cramped arms and legs.

“Rendell. She’s dead. They all are.” His voice was a quaver as he tried to shut out the noises that still echoed in his mind. Kusoke appeared behind them, a knife in both hands, the boy’s eyes dead and cold.

“What the hell do we do now Rendell? SHE’S DEAD!!!!” Blake screamed his anger to the dark sky. Dorm flinched and scanned the area around them, expecting his yells to attract a swarm of Degens.

“Blake, wait! Just think about this for a moment. They would have been taken to holding cells yeah? That’s probably the most secure place in the whole building. They could still be all right. We have to check it out.”

Blake head snapped towards Dorm. “You really think so? Yes, yes of course, why didn’t I think of that? We have to go, go now.”

The three of them crept slowly out of the cover of the trees and towards the building trying to ignore the piles of bloody bones that was all that was left of the sentries. They came to the broken front doors, shattered in the middle where the insane savagery of the Degens had torn through the wood. Kosuke leapt across to the other side of the whole, his knives at the readywhile Dorm and Blake both had their two guns out and ready.

“On three.” Whispered Blake. “One… two… three.”

All three of them burst into the hall simultaneously and a sight of unimaginable carnage assaulted them. Blood was strewn from one end of the wide hall to the other. Body parts, pieces of flesh, of organs, of faces littered the floor like some perverse version of snow. If Dorm hadn’t seen the same sort of thing in the war more than once he would be joining Blake in throwing his gut out onto the floor. But that wasn’t the worst of it. Many of the people’s bones, many of the lumps of flesh had teeth marks in them. The people here had not just been killed, they had been eaten. The monsters had eaten their flesh in a grotesque parody of a banquet.

With their nostrils filled with the overpowering acrid stench of fresh blood the three men moved carefully through the room to the hallway at the back. Dorm led the way, trying not to slip on any of the larger pools of blood or on any of the pieces of flesh that leaked wetly on the floor. They came through the room and into the hallway where the doorway hung halfway off its hinges. Kosuke shut the door behind them as much as he could, his eyes blank of any emotion at all. Blake was panting in horror and Dorm felt little better.

A movement in the darkness caught his eyes and he brought up his guns in one smooth motion. “Are you alive?” he whispered into the darkness. Behind him Blake pulled a lightstick out of his coat pocket and cracked it, filling the hallway with a green glow. Here as well blood gleamed wetly on the walls but nothing like the amount that had been in the hall behind them. In one corner a figure was hunched, its legs splayed out at an odd angle. Blood was dripping from its mouth and hands and Dorm realised it held a severed arm in its clawed hands. With a feral snarl painted on its face the creature began to drag itself towards the three men. Blake and Dorm opened fire simultaneously Blake repeater fire throwing the creature back against the wall while Dorm’s bullet took it right between the eyes.

Dorm wiped his brow and pointed down the hallway. “The cells should be back here.” The others nodded and followed him. They came to a door that was still intact, a thing of reinforced steel that had been made to withstand the toughest of assaults. There was a long smear of blood down it as though someone had been dragged off it. Dorm decided the direct approach was best. If anyone had made it in there then they would be just glad to hear a human voice.

He knocked on the door with the handle of his gun, “Hello. Anyone alive in there?”

A voce came from the other side of the door, muffled but still Dorm could hear the quiver in the mans voice. “Yeah, its Howard. Benson, Liza, Tarry and the prisoners are in here too. Is that Cheesewick out there?”

Dorm looked back at the others and shrugged. “Yeah. It’s Cheesewick. Let me in. It’s hell out here.”

The door opened a fraction and a man’s face started to peer out. “Hey!” he said, in a thin quaver of a voice, “you’re not Cheesew-.”

Blake’s fist took the man in the forehead and he stumbled back, the door falling open. Dorm jumped through, his guns raised and ready for the other three, Kosuke right behind. The other room was small, little more than an ante room for the cells beyond, where a ragged and weary looking, Rachel, Pat and Siph now stood, staring out at the imposing figure of Blake as he strode into the room, a repeater in each hand.

Howard crawled back on the floor, the little rat-faced man cursing incessantly. The other three Marauders, two tall men who looked like brothers and an older scarred woman, inched their hands towards their guns before Blake spoke.

“Now y’all got sumthin of ours. An’ I don’t care what you do or where you go after this but if y’all don’t drop those weapons of the floor and open that cell there’s gonna be as much blood in here as there is upstairs. So do ya feel like living?”

The three against the wall let Dorm take their weapons off them and put them into his pockets. Then at Blake instruction the woman Liza unhooked a key from her belt and walked across to the cell where the three captive Blades waited expectantly. A sneering voice filled the air stopping them all.

“Liza, I’d stop right there if I was you.” It was the small man, Howard up from the floor with a pistol in his hand. “You three are gonna get in that cell as well.” He snapped his gun sideways to point at Siph through the bars of the cell. “Or I put a bullet to her.”

“Now friend” soothed Dorm holding out his hands as peaceably as the guns in them would allow, “Don’t do anything-.”

The man sneered again, his rodent like face twisting up in hate. “Do it! Get in the cell right now or I blow off her- urghhhhh.”

A shot rang off and fired into the ceiling, Howard falling back with Kosuke’s knife protruding from his throat. Blake opened fire into the man’s chest, finishing him off and swung his gun back around to the frozen Liza.

“Open the cell. Now.” As soon as the door swung open Siph jumped forward and threw her arms around Blake.

“I never thought I’d see you again.” She sobbed as she kissed him. Dorm turned back to the other two handing them the captured guns of The Marauders.

“Good to see you again Rendell,” smiled Rachel as she took her pistol. A large gash showed in her shoulder and she carried herself mostly on her left side.

Pat’s grin was just as wide as when he had played the practical joke on Dorm his first night in the Blades, despite the puncture wounds in his chest. “Never tought, I’d be seein’ ya ‘gain brother. Any of yus. You’re a right sight fa sore eyes, ugly as y’are.”

Dorm grinned back at him. He actually was happy to see Pat, despite the fact he was a criminal, he quite liked the young man.

But Saffron was his main concern. There she stood hugging Blake. Dorm could no longer use the plan he had originally conceived, not that he would have after his newfound resolution to act like the human being that he was. No, something else would have to be formulated. Saffron would not slip through his grasp again. She might have been rescued from one prison but Special Agent Dorm Harkaway intended to see her behind bars again before long.


Sunday, December 17, 2006 2:59 AM


Hey those who read this one. Just a side note-I put a small Battlestar reference in this. I'll give a grand prize of absolutly nothing to anyone who picks it up and shows me it down here.

Sunday, December 17, 2006 11:24 AM


Sadly way behind on my BSG watching, so any reference past the mini-series? Completely lost on me:(

Still...great work here, Stormwind:D



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