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Old 03-17-2017, 10:52 AM   #108
Icelander
 
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Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: Iceland*
Default Black Snake Moan

The stairwell in D Wing does not have full indoor lighting, as the D Wing of Manhanock Asylum is supposed to be abandoned in these days of outpatient care, budget cutbacks and reduced public tolerance for unethical experiments on unwilling subjects, but the ‘Exit’ signs and red emergency lighting there still work, probably because it was only abandoned within the last few years, as opposed to almost two decades, as is the case with the laboratories down in the tunnels.

While Taylor doesn’t need nearly this much light to see clearly, Cherry Bell’s senses, while sharp, are still within human norms. After a long period of dark adaptation in the tunnels, however, she finds this meagre illumination more than sufficient to enable her to follow Taylor up the stairs, taking them two at a time after Taylor stops talking and turns away from Dr. Anderson.

Warden Tyrrell [radio only audible to Taylor]: “…meet him, consider him armed and highly dangerous. Do not…”

Taylor is flashing a series of complicated hand signals at Cherry Bell. She’s smart enough and her memories of the year 1999 are pretty vivid, but her basic training was in 1998, she didn’t get any infantry or room clearing instruction and while Taylor and others among the SFQC trainees at Project Jade Serenity may have taught her some basic signals for fun, she really can’t follow these. Something about ‘Stack up’ and then an instruction for her area of responsibility, which is… somewhere Chase isn’t aiming, probably.

Warden Tyrrell [clearly audible only to Taylor]: “…under any circumstances shoot at or otherwise risk the Queen. Just contain them, call in and wait for us. If that redneck bastard speaks with anyone, make sure you tell him what I said.”

Not that Cherry Bell is worried that she isn’t sure what she’s supposed to be doing. Chase’s fault for thinking she’s just an obedient little soldier he can order around when he wants to and ignore the rest of the time. Serves him right if he screws up trying to play GI Joe and she has to save him with her mad powerz. Again. Which would really teach stupid bossy Chase who should be doing the planning and giving the orders, thank you very much! Though maybe playing GI Joe with fancy guns and tactical gear isn’t entirely dumb, because: This is so much fun!

Warden Tyrrell [radio close enough for Bell to hear indistinctly]: “Are you listening, you backwoods, backward, cotton-picking, grit-sucking, roadkill-eating Confederate-loving traitor? This is King Tyrrell. I’ve got your friends. Yeah, that’s right! What’s your lazy-ass swamp drawl comeback to that, you rebel son of a bitch?”

Taylor pushes open the door to the ground floor of D Wing, entering with his M16A2 rifle at the ready, covering to the left, which happens to be a corridor heading north-east, into the rear central building of Manhanock Asylum. Cherry Bell covers an open door to her front, which leads to the rest of D Wing, ignoring several potential hiding places to her right as they move forward, but if she missed anything of importance, it doesn’t seem to threaten their life in the next few seconds.

Warden Tyrrell [over radio less than 40’ away]: “If you don’t give yourself up in fifteen minutes, I’ll start killing them. I’ll shoot one every five minutes after that. Do you hear me, rebel scum? They’re dead, unless you walk up to the next guard and give up!”

Taylor and Bell stalk down the northeast-bound corridor. They can see a T-intersection up ahead, with the radio located in the right side corridor off it, the one leading to the east-southeast, further into the rear central building of Manhanock Asylum. Taylor can hear the same message on other radios further off, including two on the floor above him and he’s also pretty sure that there are more people walking around up there.

Warden Tyrrell [over radio]: “Don’t ----ing think I won’t do it! She’s mine! You’re just a passing whim for her. She’s just using you to make me jealous. She doesn’t want you! If she gives up too and admits that, maybe I’ll even let you live. Come back, Cherry! You’re my Queen! What can that hillbilly offer you? This isn’t a time to play games, Cherry! I need you!”

Taylor sneaks a peek around the corner of the T-intersection, spotting a lone guard standing some 25’ along the corridor. There are doors on both sides of the corridor, three on the left and two on the right, before the stairs which lead to the second floor. The corridor continues after the stairs, with several more doors. Taylor recalls that Dr. Anderson said that the kitchen and main staff dining hall were located at the back of the rear central building and that back before 2000, at least, there also used to be a fairly nice bakery there.

Warden Tyrrell [radio, calmer]: “My Knights, I know we’ve taken heavy blows. We are facing our greatest challenge and our Queen is missing.”

The first door on the right is closed, but behind it, Taylor can hear multiple people breathing. He guesses that most of them are sleeping, from the slow breathing, but of course they could be really patient ambushers. There is a loud knocking coming from the third door on the left, as someone beats and kicks at the door while shouting in a female voice to let her go!

Warden Tyrrell: “But we will get her back. And we will be victorious. These imposters are not the Coast Guard! They are just Shadow Government assassins who’ve gotten their hands on our gear.”

Taylor knows that the corridor they are entering goes straight on in the other direction, too, over to the main building of Manhanock Asylum. There are stairs at the front entrance there, which means that they might not be immediately apparent to anyone standing outside, but anyone who walks up those few steps to actually enter the building will be able to see them well enough over the 150-200’ length of this corridor. This is not a place to linger.

Warden Tyrrell [radio]: “We have hostages that are valuable to the Shadow Government. We have important agents of the lizard people to trade. They won’t dare assault us here, in our stronghold!”

The lone guard is walking slowly down the corridor, heading in the direction of the kitchen or dining hall. He looks kind of familiar, but Taylor can’t see his face and doesn’t have time to try to figure out if he’s seen him before. Maybe he was at the gate when they arrived, the dining hall when they had clam chowder and meatloaf or maybe he’s one of the guys Taylor has already tied up, now released by his compatriots. Taylor dismisses the thought and taps Bell’s shoulder, pointing at the guard and making a Jedi mind-trick gesture. She nods eagerly as Taylor races ahead to reach the guard.

Warden Tyrrell [radio]: “We’ve just got to stay strong.”

Before Taylor reaches the walking guard, the sentry gives a terrified screech as he stares at a door in front of him. Taylor cannot see anything, but what Cherry Bell is showing the sentry is all the lights cutting out, the door opening and a tall and slender humanoid being with scales and shining predatory eyes emerging from the perfect darkness in there. Snakelike jaws open impossibly wide as a fanged mouth lunges for the lone sentry. He jumps back, right into Taylor’s swing of the rifle stock, a perfect pugil-stick sideways smash to the lower back, one hard enough to knock anyone down.

Warden Tyrrell [radio]: “Fear nothing.”

The guard was so lost to terror that when the blow hits him in the kidney, he doesn’t even recognise he’s being attacked. He went limp with fear and would probably have lost bowel control, but he doesn’t have the time before the massive smash to his kidneys paralyzes him with pain and causes his insides to clench up. Taylor had meant to pull his blow slightly, but the backward step the guard took means that he didn’t manage it. The transmitted shock through the rifle hurts Taylor’s right hand and he feels his heart sink as he imagines what the rifle stock has done to the bones and organs in the lower back of the poor guard. Still operating on combat instinct, Taylor catches the guard in a choke hold using his rifle before the paralyzed body hits the floor.

Warden Tyrrell [radio]: “Believe in our final victory, as we are the Champions of Humanity, the Knights of Justice and the Servants of the True King.”

Taylor can recognise the guard now. It’s Lamb, one of the ones who were in the dining hall when the sprinklers were on and Taylor tried to talk them down. Lamb had been stubborn, ended up being punched out by one of the others, Randall, but it looked like Lamb was more afraid of the consequences of failing Warden Tyrrell than he was truly loyal to the man’s insane vision. And now I might have killed him or at least crippled him for life.

As Taylor is making sure that Lamb is unconscious, he can feel a familiar warmth at his back as Cherry Bell jumps up to hug him. He hears her rifle clatter to the floor behind her and then, to his shocked surprise, feels her right hand slide down his stomach, ending up fondling him in a vulgar, overtly sexualised way that neither of them had quite proceeded to during a few minutes of making out in the guard’s dining hall earlier. When she speaks, her voice is husky, hungry, raw with sexuality.

Cherry Bell: “Goddamn, you’re sexy when you let your beast out, hon.
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Last edited by Icelander; 03-18-2017 at 06:15 AM.
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