New Friends, New Enemies
By Chris Van Deelen
Slowly, like climbing out of a deep, dark pit, the woman known as Gitana claws her way back to consciousness. She doesnt move a muscle, knowing that if her captives found out that she was awake, the horrors of the past few hours may start over again. She isn't sure if she could survive what happened to her.
As she lays on the cold hard floor she takes inventory of herself. She is hurting from head to toe, but its a minor annoyance compared to the burning agony she feels between her legs. The rapists took her every way imaginable. She can feel the dried blood coating the inside of her thighs and between the cleft of her rear. Pendejos, she screams silently in her mind. They didn't even give me back my cloths. Where ever she is, it's very cold, the temperature hovering just above freezing.
She opens her amber eyes just a crack. It's quite dark in the room, and she is quite certain that she is indeed alone. She risks sitting up, and is rewarded by a sharp pain, almost as if someone shoved a white-hot poker deep within her most private areas. She is unable to contain the gasp of pain. Moving at a snails pace, she props herself against the cold wall of the room.
Finally she opens her eyes completely. Having been closed for so long, there is no adjustment period and she can see fairly well in the gloom. The room is only about twenty feet by fifteen feet. A single door is located directly opposite of where she sits, faint light coming in from the gap between the door and the floor. The room is totally barren of furniture, but she does see two things that grab hold of her attention, the way a Stickie would grab hold of a norms face.
The first is a pair of large wooden buckets sitting just to the side of the door. One probably contains water, the other should be empty for her to do natures bidding.
Lying in a ungainly heap is a person. That was the other thing that caught her attention. She can't make out any details, but it is clear that it is probably a male, and a heavily built male. She recoils from the other figure at first, fearing that it may be a guard that has been waiting silently for her to wake up. But she then realizes that her reaction was totally stupid as a guard wouldn't be lying in such an uncomfortable position, and she notices that the male is just as naked as she is. Even in the gloom she can see that his body is covered in dark patches. The male shifts and his face turns towards her. She can just make out the heavy scars that cross his once handsome features.
She ignores the pain and crawls up to the male. It's the same man who tried to help her earlier that day. Somehow he survived the three rounds that hit him. It saddens her greatly to see what they did to him. There is a fresh pool of blood congealing below his shoulder where he had been hit by the first round. The slavers didn't even bother to try and close it. The round seems to have burst open another wound, one that was just about fully healed.
His body is a mass of cuts, small burns and massive bruises. Its a miracle that they didn't kill him. One eye is so swollen that it would be nearly impossible for him to open it. As she inspects his injuries it is a miracle that his nose wasn't crushed. Through bleeding and puffy lips she listens carefully to his breathing. It is shallow but steady, He is in need of medical attention, but should survive.
Slowly she makes her way to the buckets. Just as she figured, one is filled with water, and the other empty. At least they had the decency to leave a small cloth in the first bucket. Hefting the water filled bucket, she drags it over to the man. A soft look of compassion crosses her face as she whispers. "Amigo, this may hurt, forgive me." She dips her hands into the ice cold water and pours it over massive wound on his shoulder.
The ice water works wonders. The mans one good eye snaps open and he tries to pull away from her, struggling weakly. Even in the darkness she can see the fear in his eye.
With a feather light touch, she places her hand on the side of his cheek. "Easy Amigo...you are safe...for the moment. We are here alone." She speaks in a soft, soothing voice. "I need to know if you are in much pain. There isn't a hell of a lot but we need to get you healed quickly before those fucking pieces of dreck come back."
He tries to lick his lips but is unable to. She takes another handful of water, and using her fingers, she gently brushes the cold liquid across his lips. He opens his mouth slightly and she carefully dribbles the water into it. It takes two more handfuls before he is able to speak. "Th th . Thanks. Yeah, I'm in a hell of a lot of pain. Asking me if I'm in much pain is like asking a Stickie if it likes fires .. " His voice sounds as if he had been using glass to gargle with.
With great care she washes the wound on his shoulder. Now that the crusted blood is gone, she can see the damage, even in the poor light. The round entered the shoulder, just below the ball joint. It must have hit the bone and angled off, because there is a four inch long tear along the shoulder blade itself. Gently, she lifts his head and shoulders off the floor in order to examine the wound more closely. Her eyes widen and she clamps her hand over her mouth to smother a gasp of shock. It's not the bullet wound that surprised her. It is the mass of scars, covering his back. She knows without a shadow of a doubt that he had been whipped within an inch of his life sometime in the past.
"I know, not pretty is it?" He chuckles, a sound that conveys absolutely no humour.
"Muy Dios! What did you do to deserve that?" Like the wings of a butterfly touching a petal, she traces several of the scars with her finger. If the light was better, she would be able to count the scars. Even though, she is quite certain that he has suffered at least twenty lashes.
His body is racked by a terrible coughing fit. He eventually spits up a wad of blood speckled phlegm. "Long story. Got the facial scars at the same time."
She helps him sit up against the wall of the chamber. "Well amigo, we are not going anywhere for some time, so it appears. Would you care to share it with me?"
"No. It's not something I want to talk about." A shudder runs through his beaten and battered body, and its not from the cold. The very mention of the scars brings the terrible memories flooding back. A night of terror and pain. Blood flowing freely, so many chilled. He isn't sure if he'll ever be able to speak about it. So many times he woke up in the deep hours of the night, his body shaking with fear, his clothing soaked with sweat.
"Ok. So, would my would be rescuer at least tell me his name?"
Gitana leans forward and gently brushes her lips across his. "Pleased to meet you Brett. I am called Gitana. And that was for your attempt to rescue me from these Pendejos slavers." Try as she might, she is unable to keep the pain of her rape from showing. She slowly sits back down on the floor. Her face is an open book to him.
"Nice name, Gitana. Hey, don't worry about me. I've had a hell of a lot worse. Why don't you take care of yourself first? I promise not to watch." Closing his good eye, he leans his head back to rest on the wall. "You Mex?"
Her light laughter sounds wonderful to him. "No, but I believe that at least one of my parents came from there. I grew up mainly in the south of the Deathlands. Arizona, New Mexico, and Texas. I was part of a nomad band. You?"
"Grew up in Montana. My family were members of a communal Ranch. I couldn't imagine spending the rest of my life punching cows all day, so I signed up with Trader a few years back when he and his convoy stopped by."
Her eyes widen. "You rode with the legendary Trader? I heard he was dead!"
"He is. He'd been suffering from rad cancer for years. A few months back we were in the ville of Mocsin. Cort Strasser and his sec men nerved the convoy. The boobies blew on the wags, all except for war wag one." He can hear as she dips her hands into the water and begins to clean herself off. "Anyhow, the few of us still alive managed to get out of the ville and we made our way deep into the darks. We heard that there was a hidden redoubt somewhere in those hills. One night we stopped to make camp. A gunner, man named Abe, was the last to see Trader as he took his last walk into the forest. Trader gave Abe a note for his two war captains, Ryan Cawdor and J.B. Dix."
"So no one actually saw him die?" She is unable to prevent her voice from shaking, obvious that the very act of washing herself is causing her nearly unbearable pain.
He knows that the best thing for him to do is to keep talking, as the sound of his voice will give the both of them something other than the pain they feel to concentrate on. "No, but before he left he was coughing up blood, and he'd lost a lot of weight. He once said that it felt like a rabid weasel was trying to eat its way out of his guts. He wasn't far from taking the last train from the coast."
Gitana nods her head in understanding. During her twenty-five years of life she has seen the deadly effects of rad cancer many, times. The features of an old lover comes appear in her minds eye. They had grown up together and the wanderlust bug had bitten him, like it had with her, at an early age. Several years ago, he packed up his meagre belongings and headed west towards the ruins of California. He had been a strong, robust man, far more muscle on his large frame than fat. But when he finally crawled his way back into the camp, he had wasted away to a mere shadow of his former self. During his exploration of the island chain that had once been Los Angeles, he contracted radiation poisoning and rad cancer invaded his body. His hair as well as his teeth and fingernails had fallen out. He had gone from a hearty weight of nearly two hundred pounds to a featherweight of only eighty pounds. The cancer killed him only hours later.
"Yes. The desgracia of the skydark. I've lost to it also." She gives her head a powerful shake, trying to dislodge the image of the skeleton that had been her first love." How did you end up here then?"
"Well, after Trader took his last walk, we went deep into the darks on the orders of his war captain Ryan Cawdor. Eventually the road became impassable, so Ryan and J.B. Dix decided to head the rest of the way on foot. They took off with eight other survivors of the Mocsin Massacre and left Cohn in charge. We stuck around for one hundred hours, waiting for them to return. When they didn't, we figured that they were either dead, or found this gateway that they heard rumours about."
Yeah. Before the skydark the government built hidden redoubts all over the country. I've been in quite a few of them over the years, as that is how Trader got his goods." Closing his eye he stops, his throat sore from the talking. She senses his need and cups her hands in the water, then places it to his lips. "Thanks Gitana. Anyhow, this 'gateway' they heard about was supposed to be a way out of the Deathlands to a better place. I know exactly what it is now."
A gateway out of the Deathlands? Is such a thing possible? Where would it lead? She doesn't voice her questions, choosing to let the scarred man continue his story. "How did you find out?"
"About ten days ago Cohn and the rest stopped at a cache Trader set up in Michigan. Well, we were attacked by a group of triple strange muties and I got separated from the rest. The muties chased me deep into the woods where I stumbled upon a entrance to a redoubt by sheer accident." He spends the next few minutes explaining what he found inside the redoubt, the fight with the mutants, and the eventual discovery of Gedoena, the mutant girl he has been travelling with. He even goes to relate her story.
She listens to his story, her face impassive. Inwardly, the thought of finding such a marvellous place fills her heart with wonder. To see the preserved remains of an entire military base, not just the scattered ruined buildings that dot the landscape. But the whole idea of time trawling, sleeping for one hundred years, seems insane to her. "So, this Gedo ."
"So, this Gedoena is a mutant taken from now, and brought back in time by a top secret government project just before the skydark, then she was put to sleep for nearly a century and you woke her up. And these gateways are a way to travel from one spot to another spot instantly. That's the story?"
He nods his head.
She hugs herself, trying to ward off the cold, but not succeeding. "I have a triple hard time believing that you know. Sounds loco to me. How hard did they hit you?"
For the first time since his capture and beating he laughs, though it brings on a wracking cough, forcing him to clutch at his ribs. Finally it subsides. "I know what your thinking. Yeah, I do sound like some stupe on a bad jolt trip. But it's true. Why would I lie about it?" He notices her shivering and wants to ask her to sit beside him, so they can share body heat. But knowing what she has been through, he figures that it wouldn't be the best idea at the time.
Ignoring her own pain she places her hands on his rib cage and feels it, her hands soft and warm gently caressing his cold, battered flesh. He is unable to stifle a yelp of pain. Where she is touching it feels as if someone is sticking a red-hot poker into his ribs. "Just as I figured. At least one of your ribs is broken, and I'm willing to lay good jack down on the fact that you might at least one more.
"Ok, I'll believe you on this one, but it does sound loco to me. So, why didn't you bother to use the gateway in the redoubt to get her home? After all, you mentioned that she knew the code to get her home, right?"
"I wish it was that easy. The fireblasted gateway was down for repairs when the skydark occurred. I guess it will never be fixed, as all those with knowledge of the gateways died in the megaculling."
"Just don't seem to have much luck do you amigo?" She laughs lightly, feeling a whole lot better. "So, what about this mutie girl then?"
"If she was smart? She should be heading west towards her home. She's got my pack, two of my blasters, and she's a real blood drinker when it comes to a firefight. I saw her tear one of those muties apart with her bare hands."
"And if she's a stupe?"
"Then she's probably going to try and rescue me."
"Ace on the line then! We've got a hideout up our sleeve!"
He shakes his head slowly. "No fucking way. She's not trained for this sort of thing."
She can't hide the disappointment in her voice. "But you said that she was a real blood drinker! What do you mean that she's not trained for this sort of thing?"
Maverick sighs and closes his eye again. "She may be a real chiller but that's not going to do a fireblasted thing to help us. Sure, she can chill a mess of the slavers, but before she gets within a mile of us the slavers will take her down. What we need is someone who can sneak around and take down the slaver sec men silently."
"Ah, I see your point amigo." She doesn't bother to tell him that she is exactly what he described. But the simple fact that they are both badly beaten and stark naked, so she can't do a thing. She feels a small tremor of fear run through her body as Maverick begins to shiver, nearly uncontrollably. Without a word, she moves to sit next to his good shoulder and places her arm around his waist, pulling him in close. "You're freezing amigo."
Despite the pain of his busted rib and shoulder he pulls her in closer, until she is nearly in his lap. "So are you Gitana. This way we can conserve a little body heat and help keep each other a little warmer."
Both sit together, lost in his or her thoughts. Neither speak for nearly an hour. Finally, Maverick breaks the silence. "Gitana, you want to come with us when we get out of this?"
She jumps slightly, having slipped into a natural sleep sitting in his arms. "Huh? What did you say Maverick?"
He cringes, her movement having rubbed the two ends of the busted rib together, but he keeps from crying out. A sheen of perspiration covers his forehead and he turns white as the underbelly of a maggot. "Do you want to come with us when we get out of here?" Its amazing to his own ears that he kept the pain out of his voice.
"If we get out of this, yes. I think I would like that. After all, if you didn't try to rescue me from these rad fire fucking slavers, you wouldn't be here right now. I owe you for trying."
Maverick cringes. She sees it and takes it as a sign that he is in pain, but what really caused it is the fact that he wasn't trying to rescue her. He was trying to use her as a distraction to steal the slavers wag. He doesn't have the heart to tell the small, dark skinned beauty the truth. "We'll get out."
How do you know this? You a doomie?"
He smiles and laughs, ignoring the pain it causes. "Dark night, No! I learned a simple fact from Trader. A man who gives up hope might as well dig himself a deep six, as he is ready to take the last train to the coast."
"You got a plan to get us out then?"
"Nope. But something is bound to come up. A man who has my kind of triple bad luck deserves a break once in a while."
She snuggles in closer to him. "I believe you Maverick."
* * *
For several minutes Gedoena is unable to do a thing, she is crying so hard. Why is it that every time she begins to care for someone they leave her? To her credit, she doesn't make a sound despite the racking sobs shaking her body. Looking through red rimmed, tear streaked eyes she looks down at the scene far below. The slavers are still savagely raping the woman who Maverick tried to save. Unable to contain herself, she is violently ill, spewing her morning meal all over the forest floor.
Pulling out a red bandanna, she wipes the bitter bile from her mouth and dries her swollen eyes. But it is to no avail. The tears come once again.
She is not sure how much time has passed before she finally stops. When she looks down, the first thing that she notices is the rape is over and that the slavers are piling into the truck. She then spots a group of slavers surrounding a form lying on the ground. With her keen sight she notices right away that it is Maverick. A pair of the slavers reach down and pull his form upright. He is fully awake, but looks hurt. From her vantage she can see him exchanging words with the leader of the slavers, but cannot make out what they are saying. Maverick spits into the slavers face and is rewarded with a double fisted blow, savagely smashing into his face.
The leader steps back and laughs. He issues orders, and his men strip him. Try as he might, Maverick is unable to resist, though he is able to land several bone jarring hits as he struggles with them. Finally, naked as the day he was born, Maverick waits. With a swipe of his hand the head slaver signals his men to begin beating the living hell out of the Maverick. Gedoena winces as each blow lands, her heart filling with something totally alien to her.
Pure, poisonous, hatred.
A black pit opens in her very soul, spreading like a cancer. The tears begin anew, but this time it's from rage, not sorrow. Silently she swears to herself and to Maverick that she will do everything she can to help the both of them escape, and take out as many of the slavers as she can.
As if in slow motion, she watches a savage kick to his face nearly destroy his right eye. Another slaver takes savage glee landing blow after blow against the bullet wound on his left shoulder. The woman she noticed steps back and brings her knee right up into Mavericks groin. He doubles over, nearly falling from the hands of the slavers holding him. His morning meal reappears. The projectile vomit hits her, coating her chest and stomach. The other slavers roar with laughter at the spectacle. It's obvious that she is enraged. As he is doubled over, she delivers a horrifying blow to his chest. She can nearly hear the ribs crack from her hiding spot.
The leader grabs her shoulder and pulls her away. His men let Maverick drop to the ground where he lands, curling up into a tight ball, trying to prevent anymore blows from reaching his vulnerable, beaten body.
They pick him up and toss him into the back of the wag. Several of the surviving slavers climb in after him and drop the canvas covering. Three other slavers go around to the corpses and strip off their clothing and weapons. Gedoena is disgusted, but not surprised by the fact that the slavers don't even have the decency to bury their dead.
The area is cleared within a matter of fifteen minutes. The leader walks up to the wag and climbs in the cab, all the while holding Mavericks SPAS 15 shotgun. The wag turns towards the hill and slowly climbs it. At the summit, the slaver wag is only a few yards from Gedoena's current position. It passes quickly gathering speed.
She waits for several minutes to make sure that there are no stragglers. Picking up both packs, she hugs the tree line and follows the stench of poorly refined gasoline. She has no idea how far the slavers are travelling, but is determined to pursue them right to the gates of hell to get Maverick back.
* * *
The sun is well past the horizon as Gedoena finally reaches the slavers main camp. In the fading light she waits, studying the encampment. The slavers seem to have taken over the ruins of an old gas station, restaurant and hotel complex. The old restaurant was destroyed by fire at some point in the far past, but the other buildings seem relatively intact. It seems as if this location is a permanent encampment, as there are several wags of intermediate build parked around the old pumps. She watches as they fill the truck using one of the pumps.
There are several cooking fires spread out around the clearing. Located beside the hotel are two trailers, one attached to a rig. The trailers appear to have started life as cattle trailers, but have since been converted into carrying people, as she can see forms moving listlessly behind the walls. There are two guards stationed at the double doors of each trailer.
Several women are chained together, watched over by another pair of guards. They are busy preparing a large meal. Behind them, hanging from a tree are several deer carcasses, obviously the food for the slavers. The women appear to be either drugged, or have given up all hope of ever escaping. A dark cloud of despair and defeat hang over them.
The main body of the slavers are hanging out around the hotel. Several smaller wags, two wheel wags are parked out front. Tied to a tree are several horses, saddled and ready to travel. It's quite possible that they are used for patrolling the camps perimeter. There is no electricity, but a watery yellow and red light emits from several of the building's windows.
The remains of the gas station appear to be the 'office' of the slavers. The huge pane window disappeared years before and is now covered by a rough canvas. Despite the rapidly falling temperature, the canvas is thrown back and she can see the slaver leader, the female, and several other slavers gathered around a desk, deep in a heated discussion. Once again, she is unable to make out what they are saying, but it appears they are quite angry about something. She smiles to herself, hoping that it's because of the loss of manpower Maverick inflicted on them.
Carefully, she hides the packs on the ground, covering both up with dead leaves and branches. She may be quite naive to the ways of the world, but even she knows that the slavers must have a guard patrol around the perimeter of the encampment. She double-checks the magazine capacity of both the Desert Eagle and the HK PDW submachine gun. Each weapon is fully loaded to her satisfaction, and she has several fully loaded magazines stuffed in the pockets of her jacket.
After nearly half an hour her fears are answered as a four man patrol pass within ten yards of where she is hiding in the trees, her skin colour and dark clothing blending in perfectly with the surrounding forest. During that time she is able to count no less than forty men and she figures about ten women. How many more may be inside the various buildings, or out on patrol she doesn't know. It's going to be exceedingly difficult for her to help Maverick escape.
The temperature seems to drop by the minute and she is forced to cover her mouth with a scarf to try and hide the tell tale white cloud. But luckily for her, it is fully dark by this time. The temperature hovering at the freezing mark. Her stomach growls, but she ignores it, knowing that if the opportunity arises for her to attempt to locate and rescue Maverick she can take it.
The leader of the slavers, as well as several men head out of the gas station and cross the encampment to the tractor trailer. The walk around to the back and talk to the guards. As she watches, the guards open the doors, which are locked up with a simple pad lock and key. The other slavers stand away from the door, their AR 15's held at hip level, Barrels directed towards the opening. Several bedraggled men are brought out and the trailer is locked up once again. The three men are taken away at gunpoint.
The slaver leader and his small entourage walk up to the hotel and enter the main entrance. Several minutes pass before they re-emerge. The black clad female and a single guard emerge. The female they captured is with them, fully clothed. They lead her off towards the trailers. Nearly five minutes pass before four more people come out of the building. Two guards are carrying a badly battered Maverick between them while a third walks a few feet behind, a blaster aimed at Mavericks back. Unlike the woman, he is still naked. They half drag him across the compound to a huge tree. There, they tie him to it, spread eagle. She winces, feeling the tears pool in her eyes. Her heart reaches out to her friend. "Dont worry Brett, I'll think of something. I promise."
The temperature has now dropped to nearly freezing and a light drizzle begins to fall. Gedoena knows that she doesnt have much time to act, because if she waits too long, she fears that Maverick will freeze to death. If it was just the cold alone, he'd probably last the night, but with the drizzle, he'll soon become soaked to the bone and the water will leech his body heat faster than a ghoul stripping a corpse of choice morsels.
* * *
The sounds of heavy footfalls rouse Maverick out of a fitful sleep. His arm is still wrapped around the small form of Gitana, the two sharing each others body heat. He didn't think it was possible for someone to hurt as much as he does at this time. The combination of the broken ribs, pulped shoulder and other injuries add up to him feeling like something that a scabbie hawked up. The only good thing is that the cold seems to have caused the swelling to go down.
Gitana's eyes snap open. "Shit. Here they come."
Maverick can hear the underlying fear in her voice. He untangles himself from the small woman and painfully climbs to his feet. Gitana is only seconds behind him. They stand close, but not touching as the bolts are thrown back and the door opened. Two men armed with carbines step into the room, weapons aimed at the captives.
"Make one move outlander and your chilled."
Maverick manages to smile. "Try and fight you? Fuck! I couldn't go a single round with a day old kitten and expect to come out on top."
Two more guards step into the room and take position on either side of the doorway. As with the first two, they keep their guns aimed at the freezing, naked prisoners. The next person to enter is Marty. She is dressed from head to toe in black. Black jeans, a black lined leather jacket, and a black T-shirt. Her long auburn hair is tied up in a single long ponytail that hangs nearly all the way down to her rear. She is carrying a whip, which bounces, against her hip with every step, as well as a heavy-duty cattle prod. On her right hip rests a well-worn holster. She stands just in front of the two guards beside the door. Finally, Jim Greaves steps into the small chamber.
"Well, well, well. What do we have hear?" He says, his voice sounding quite amused. "A prime piece of pussy and her would be rescuer. What a fucking joke the both of you are!"
"We're still breathing while a whole mess of your triple stupe guards are worm food asshole." Hisses Maverick through clenched teeth. He regrets it immediately as one of the guards standing before him drives the butt of the AR 15 into his stomach. The combination of the blow and the previous injury's cause him to lose consciousness instantly. He collapses in a heap.
"Someone wake him up."
The two guards flanking the door step forward. One flips Maverick over onto his back and the other picks up the bucket of water. He throws it into Mavericks face, waking him instantly. Coughing and sputtering, he slowly climbs to his feet.
"Alright Maverick, you finished?" Jim growls.
His hands holding his stomach, Maverick simply nods. He curses himself silently for mouthing off. He's always had a real hard time with letting his mouth fly off the handle without thinking first. Considering all the scars he has from fights that it got him into, he figures that he should have learned the lesson by now.
"Good. Now, because you chilled so many of my men, you are going to pay the blood price."
Maverick doesn't say a word. Everyone has to die someday, and it looks to him as if he has finally reached the end of his road. "Lets get it over with then."
The big slaver throws his head back and roars with laughter. "Oh man Maverick, that's rich! You never did learn to keep your big mouth shut did you?" Shaking his head he steps up to the battered man. "Oh no, it's not going to be that easy. You're going to be chilled first thing tomorrow, right after dawn." He roughly grabs Mavericks wounded shoulder, smiling as he grunts in pain.
Gitana reaches out and grabs Greaves jacket. "No, please, don't! If you let him live, I'll do anything you want, and willingly."
Marty slams her hand down on Gitana's wrist, forcing her to let go. "That wasn't very smart outlander..." She raises the cattle prod and aims it at the dark mound of pubic hair. She's about to ram it home when a single voice stops her.
"No. Don't even think about doing that."
Marty turns and stares at Greaves, unable to conceal her surprise. "What?"
"You heard me." He shoulders his way past her, totally ignoring her surprised look. "You meant what you said?"
"Yes. You let Maverick live and I'll willingly fuck you. I'll do anything you ask."
Greaves stares down at the tiny woman before him. He remembers how she felt as he took her. It was everything he hoped it would be. He makes his decision. "Get her some cloths and put her in the truck with the other slaves."
"Sir!" One of the two flanking guards slips out the doorway and heads out.
"I don't fucking believe I'm hearing this!" Marty practically screams in his ear as she grabs his shoulder and spins him around to face her. "Your actually going to do what this little outlander slut asked?"
"Lovers spat?" Maverick snickers. He clamps his mouth shut as they both glare at him. One of the guards raises his blaster, butt first to land another blow. Me and my big mouth he thinks.
With the speed of a striking cobra Greaves grabs Marty's throat in his beefy fist, literally lifting her six inches off the floor. "Let me remind you Marty, I am the leader of this little group, not you. Don't you ever undermine my authority again. If you do, I'll do to you what I did to her, and you'll find yourself on the auction block with the rest of the slaves." He opens his fist and allows the woman to fall to the floor, where she sits, rubbing her bruised throat. "You know I'll do it, as I have in the past."
"Sorry." She keeps her eyes downcast, not daring to look Greaves in the eye because she knows if he sees the hatred there, he will carry out his threat.
"Gitana, don't do this." Maverick pleads.
"Gitana, don't do this." Greaves mocks, making his voice sound high and squeaky. "Do yourself a favour and keep your yap shut. She just saved your life." He turns away from Gitana and steps up to Maverick once again. "I am quite curious. Just what were you doing out in the middle of nowhere like that?"
"I was heading west, trying to make my way to the coast, looking to hire myself as a mercie."
"So, you came across my little convoy and decided to help yourself to my wag." He leans forward until his face is literally only three inches from Mavericks. "Am I right?"
Greaves breath is truly foul, the stench of raw liquor washing over his face. He manages to keep his face totally neutral. "Yeah, that pretty much covers it. Can you blame me? You know the rules of the Deathlands. If you hold it, its yours. If I hold it, its mine."
"Ok smartass, if thats the case, why didn't you simply turn the other direction and make a clean getaway?"
"Because I couldn't just stand and watch you animals rape the girl. Thats why. Unable to control himself, Maverick automatically tightens his stomach, waiting for the blow to land.
To his surprise, Greaves bursts out roaring in laughter. "So. You decided to play the handsome hero that rescued the gaudy! " He shakes his head, still chuckling. "Well Maverick, look where it got you.
Before he can reply the sec man returns, a small bundle of clothing under one arm. He tosses it to Gitana. She catches it and begins to get dressed. Simple slave clothing. A pair of brown cotton pants, a brown cotton shirt and sandals. Nothing else. The shirt has no buttons, so she is forced to cross the front by tucking it into the pants.
"Marty, you and Curt take her to the trailer and put her in with the other prisoners." The woman in black nods her head and moves to leave, when Jim reaches out and grabs her arm, pulling her close. "Not a mark, you got me? I don't want to see or hear of you laying a finger on her, or I'll do what I promised."
With a savage jerk, she wrenches her arm free, glaring at Greaves. "Don't worry. Your precious outlander slut won't be harmed." She turns and walks out of the room. The sec man name curt waits for Gitana to step out then follows.
Greaves begins to pace back and forth before the badly beaten man, holding his chin in his hand as if deep in thought. Maverick doesn't take his eyes off the slaver, not for a second.
After several dozen heartbeats he finally stops. "So, just how are we going to do this?"
Maverick isn't at all surprised when he hears it. In the Deathlands one of the cardinal rules is the only good enemy is a dead enemy. He'd heard Trader and his two war captains say that exact same phrase time and time again. "I knew you were lying to her. How do you expect to keep her from learning you chilled me?"
"Oh, I don't intend to keep her in the dark about that. In fact, after I take her again a few times tonight, I'll make sure she has a front row seat for your chilling at dawn."
Maverick considers launching a attack, but dismisses the idea as not only insane, but totally pointless. Even if there is the tiniest chance he might be able to break free, he has to be ready to take it, even in the condition he is in.
"Ok, take this would be hero outside and tie him to the hanging tree. Let him freeze his ass off all night. It's cold, but not cold enough to chill him outright.
Two of the remaining guards set up and grab an arm each. The third slaver guard stands to the side, his AR 15 aimed directly at Mavericks stomach. None to gently the slavers drag him out of the room and out into the cold evening air.
As soon as they are outside, Maverick begins to take in the surrounding terrain, trying to spot any possible means of escape, as well as noting where the guards were located and other important information. The two guards half drag him across the compound to a huge old Oak tree. They tie him spread eagle so there isn't anyway possible for him to try and get comfortable. The rough hemp rope bites deep into his ankles and wrists, nearly cutting off the blood flow totally. They leave him hanging, facing the compound. Two guards head back towards the main building, while the third sits down a dozen feet away from the tree, his carbine held casually across his lap.
Knowing it would be an act of futility, Maverick doesn't even attempt to engage the slaver in conversation. Just then, a light drizzle begins. "Great, just fucking great. What else is going to go wrong?" He asks out loud, being totally ignored by the guard.
* * *
"Move Bitch." Hisses Marty as she shoves Gitana, trying to make her stumble and fall. The tiny woman is quite light and agile, even with the pain from her 'encounter' earlier that day. She stumbles slightly, but doesn't fall.
Unlike Maverick, Gitana knows when to keep her mouth shut and doesn't say a word. Despite Greaves warning, she knows that the black clad woman is looking for any excuse to hit her, to hurt her.
The rest of the short walk is in silence. The guards at the trailer, upon seeing Marty, pull out a set of keys and unlock a huge pad lock attached to a chain. They take the padlock off and one of the slaver guards takes several steps back, bringing his carbine to his shoulder. His weapon covering the opening, the other guard swings the door open. Several shadowy forms can be seen moving out of the line of fire, and there are several disgruntled comments directed towards the guards, which are totally ignored.
Marty gives Gitana another shove forward towards the small stairs leading to the entrance of the trailer. She takes them one at a time, deliberately being slow. Marty is not pleased with this and she removes the whip from her belt. Just as Gitana takes the last step, Marty slips the loop of the whip under her foot so that unless she's expecting it, Gitana foot will fall right into the centre of the loop. It's obvious that she isn't expecting it.
With a powerful yank, Marty pulls Gitana's leg out from under her, causing her to fall forward. She lands hard against someone and there is a cry of surprise. Marty and the guards roar in laughter at the spectacle. With a deft flick of her wrist, Marty uncoils the whip from Gitana's foot. Before any of the prisoners can make a move and attempt to escape, Marty steps back and the slaver guards close the door, re-securing the lock.
"Be seeing you soon you mex breed bitch." Marty calls over her shoulder while throwing a middle fingered salute as she returns to the gas station,
In the darkness of the trailer, Gitana finds herself holding onto a large man. She quickly pushes herself away, still fearful of a repeat performance. The large man doesn't try to stop her. "You Ok?" A deep, friendly voice cuts its way out of the dimness.
The other inhabitants, disturbed by latest addition slowly return to their sleeping positions, everyone ignoring the newcomer.
"As fine as you can expect after being captured by these rad fire slavers." She's unable to keep the sarcasm out of her voice. "What do you want?"
"Me? Nothing. Just trying to be friendly, that's all. Lucky for you I was here to break your fall." He replies, the tone not changing still as friendly as ever.
Several of the other prisoners are still awake, watching the scene unfold before them. Not one bothers to speak, or to move to help.
From the dim firelight shining through the spaces in the bars of the trailer, she can see the man holding out his hand. She stares at it for several heartbeats then takes it. His grip is strong, but not bone crushing. The sheer power she feels in his grip belay the fact that it wouldn't be a difficult task for him to do so. "I'm called Gitana. You?"
"Joe Benett. Triple pleased to meet you." She can nearly make out the smile on his face.
She lets go of his hand and slides slowly to the floor of the trailer, using every once of her will power to keep the pain of her injuries from showing.
"So, how'd you end up in here?" They both ask at the same time, bursting out in a quite chuckle. The big man stops, waiting for her to continue.
"I'm a nomad, exploring the Deathlands. Just happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. They captured me early this morning.. You?"
"Hey outlander, shut the fuck up, we're trying to get some sleep." An annoyed voice calls out from the dimness.
He sighs heavily. Ignoring the comment. "I was a hired hand, working for a small travelling smithy. We had just finished a few stops near the ruins of Chicago when these slavers ambushed us. Too many to fight, had no choice but to give up. They have 'pressed' the smithy into service, forcing him to work on their wags. They figured I'd be better use to them as trade stock."
"So, you never even tried to escape?" She asks, disbelieving.
He chuckles mirthlessly. "When your facing a couple of dozen sec men armed with full auto blasters, running seems like the quickest way to get yourself chilled."
"That didn't stop me."
"Looks like it didn't do you any good, did it?"
She can hear the confusion in his voice. "Sorry?"
"Good point." She turns her face so she can peer outside. Her small hands griping the cold metal. "You got a plan to get out of here?"
"Nope. I'm just going to bide my time and see what comes up. I rarely miss opportunities. If one presents itself, I'll take it. Don't matter to me how long it takes." He turns his back and faces the other side of the trailer, the one facing the hotel. "Why, do you?"
"Someone told me about half an hour ago that he might have an ace up his sleeve, a friend who, according to him, if she was a stupe, would try to break into the camp and rescue him." She laughs lightly, the other man able to see that she's smiling. "I hope that he's right."
The man doesnt answer. His huge form is outlined perfectly by the firelight coming in through the bars. The barrel chested man appears to be about five ten and weighs at least one eighty five. He's dressed in simple clothing, like her. The slavers must have taken his personal belongings when they captured him. He doesn't have the sheer muscle mass that Maverick has, but would give him good odds in beating him in a wrestling match.
"'Bout fucking time .." The voice they heard earlier hisses angrly. There is the sound of flesh hitting flesh and a slight yelp. Another voice, this one deeper tells the first to keep quite, and let the outlanders talk.
They both ignore the minor distraction. Finally, Joe breaks the silence. "Where is this person you were talking with?"
"He and I were kept in a small room inside the hotel." She tries to put her hands in her pockets, only to discover that there are none on the clothing she was given.
"What does he look like?"
"He's a big man, heavy muscled. More scars than you have ever seen. Why? Do you see him?"
"I think so."
She leaps to her feet, regretting the action immediately as she can feel stabs of white-hot pain shooting through her groin. She gasps in pain and would have fallen over if it weren't for the quick reaction of Joe. He grabs out and steadies her. "Your hurt." Its a statement, not a question.
She gratefully accepts his help and stands up. "Yes, I am." Before he can push her for details she continues. "Where did you see him?" She steps up to his side of the trailer and looks outside. She eyes the entire compound, trying to spot him.
"Crossing the compound from the hotel, moving towards a huge oak tree." He indicates with his hand.
Gitana traces the path he described and spots the tree he mentioned. Sure enough, she can see Maverick. Two guards are securing him to the tree. They still haven't given him any clothing. She closes her eyes, feeling the tears coming. Try as she might, she can't prevent it. She should have known that Greaves wouldn't keep his word. A piece of nuke sucking shit like him wouldn't know honour if it fell out of the sky, landed on his face and started to wiggle. "Oh Brett. I'm so sorry."
She can feel the other man step up next to her, but she doesn't turn to look at him, shamed for some reason at the tears coursing down her face. Angrily she wipes her eyes dry with the back of her hand. Rad fire! This is not the time to get emotional she chides herself. You hardly even know the man. Tears will not help us get out of here.
"They're going to chill him just after dawn." Joe says. Its a fact, not a question.
She turns to stare at him, thankful that the dim light prevents him from seeing the tell tale redness caused by tears. "You sure about this?"
He nods his head, the few flecks of grey visible in the poor light. "Seen it happen a few times already. Some slave, too much trouble to be worth keeping. They always truss them up like a hog ripe for the chilling over night, then hang them at first light."
They both turn as they hear movement from the side. A man of average height and weight is pushing his way through the sleeping forms. Several muttered curses can be heard as their sleep is disturbed. The man walks right up to Joe and shoves a grimy finger into his barrel chest. "Listen outlander, some of us are trying to get some sleep here. You want to stay up all night jawing, fine. But keep the fucking noise down!"
Gitana easily recognises it as the voice they heard several times in the past few minutes. Spanish women are renowned for their fiery tempers, and Gitana is no exception. She unconsciously clenches her small fists, ready to strike. She doesn't get the chance. With the speed that rivals a striking cobra, Joe lashes out, grabbing the speakers hand, his fist closing over it. With a boyish smile, Joe squeezes. Even in the poor light she can see the other man turn a ghastly shade of white. Joe squeezes harder and there is the sound of bones snapping. The other man passes out from the pain and Joe lets go, letting the man fall to the floor.
Still smiling, Joe turns back. "Now that problem has been solved, we can start working on a plan to get out of this and help your friend."
The two sit down together and begin to talk. They don't even notice the light drizzle begin to fall outside.
* * *
Gedoena hunkers down, trying to protect herself from the cold drizzle. Its only been a few minutes since the guards. Her mind is racing trying to formulate a plan. The one thing that she notices for sure is that the guards are quite complacent, really slack in their duties. As she watches, the two guards outside the trailer that they threw the woman into sit down, just below the trailer itself to get out of the rain.
The guards at the slavers motor pool climb into the vehicles. Only one of the guards bother to stay outside, and it appears as if he's wearing a rain slick. Slowly, a plan formulates in her mind.
With near inhuman agility she uncoils from her crouching position. Moving like a wraith, she makes her way around the tree line, covering only a dozen yards every minute. She fears that if she moves to fast, that even the slacker guards might somehow spot her. Fifteen minutes later, she is at the trees just off to the side of the trailers.
She notices that the guards from both have taken cover beneath the trailers. The ones closet to her are engaged in a whispered conversation. Under the other trailer, one of the guards One of the two happens to be sound asleep her keen night vision painting a clear picture for her. The other is facing the main camp, the bright cherry of a cigarette visible.
Her hand slips down to the holster on her hip and she grips the cold butt of the IMI Desert Eagle. With great care, she pulls it out of the holster, deftly flicking off the safety of the weapon. The gun looks ridiculously huge in her tiny fist, but her mutant strength can easily handle the weapon.
Her unusually shaped feet are perfect for running quietly as only the very tip of her three taloned feet hit the ground. Since she is not wearing any type of footwear, so not a sound can be heard as she races across the short opening to the first trailer. The two guards are still deep in conversation. She prays to god that if any of the slaves inside the trailers happen to have seen her that they keep their mouths shut.
She comes to a stop right beside the four huge tires at the rear of the trailer. Peeking around the wheels, she can see the two guards sitting only a yard apart, facing each other. Leaning back against the wet rubber, she sighs silently, the gun held in both fists, barrel aimed at the night clouds. She has no real idea what to do. If she fires the big blaster, it's bound to alert everyone in the compound, and the odds of her helping Maverick out will be greatly against her. She has to do it silently, and quickly.
She places the blaster back in its holster and peers once again around the wheels. Closing her eyes she bows her head, trying to clear her mind of all thoughts. She doesn't want to think about what she is going to do.
With in-human speed, she throws herself out from behind the wheel. Her taloned hands fly out and clamp around the nearest guards mouth and neck, cutting off any chance of the guard crying out. The attack is so sudden that the other guard doesn't even register the fact. Her hands constrict, the bones in the neck begin to creak and groan under the pressure.
She lashes out with her leg, literally grabbing the other guards throat with the three talons, cutting off his air supply, and preventing him from crying out. With pressure that could crush rocks, she closes her talons, nearly severing his head from his shoulders. There is a sickening crunch as she sends him to meet the ferryman.
She turns to face the other guard. His eyes are beginning to protrude from their sockets, and he has turned a deep purple. He claws desperately at her iron like grip, but to no avail. Like someone letting the air out of a tire the guard's hands slump to the earth, the light going out in his terror filled eyes. His body shudders one final time and then the stillness of death enters. A blood red veil threatens to cloud her thoughts. She closes her eyes and takes several deep breaths, forcing the blood lust down. The high she feels from killing is almost sexual in nature. Now is not the time to give in to it.
Nearly a full minute passes before she finally has the blood lust under control. When she opens her eyes Gedoena glances at the other trailer. The one guard is still asleep, and the other is still facing the other direction.
Thirty yards separate the two trailers. Her greatest risk lies before her. She has to somehow cross the open ground as quickly and as silently as possible. Gedoena considers hitting the tree line once again, but with the two dead guards, time is against her. It won't be long before someone discovers their cooling bodies.
Stealing a quick glance to her left and right, she sees no sign of movement. Now is as good a time, she thinks to herself. She creeps out from beneath the trailer. As silently as she can she powers her way across the short distance. If any of the prisoners had seen or heard her, there is no indication.
She hits the smoking guard full in the back, driving him to the sodden ground. Kneeling on his back, she shoves his face into the dirt, grinding it with all her might. The hand holding the cigarette is trapped between his chest and the earth.
There is a muffled squeak of surprise as the guard tries to struggle against the night demon attacking him, but the small form holding him down is far stronger.
The guard doubles his efforts to free himself, fighting off the panic that threatens to overwhelm him. With his free hand he tries to grab the eight-inch Gerber blade from its sheath. Gedoena spots the movement. Without breaking her grip, she drives her knee into the base of the guards spine. There is the sound not unlike a large tree branch breaking as she snaps the spine. Paralysis hits instantly and his nerveless fingers fall away from the blade.
A slight grunt grabs her attention as the sleeping guard begins to stir. She eyes him, waiting to pounce if he shows any further signs of regaining consciousness. All that happens is the guard throws a beefy arm over his eyes, slipping back into sleeps warm embrace. Gedoena returns her attention to the paralysed man under her. The blow is a mortal blow, but it is taking far to long for him to slip into the waiting arms of death. She slides off his body, and with her free hand she pulls the Gerber blade out of its sheath and cuts the artery in his neck. Death comes quickly.
Since the moment she emerged from the surrounding forest, less than three minutes have passed. Creeping over to the other guard, she clamps one hand over his mouth and drives the Gerber deep into his side, puncturing the kidney and slicing through loops of intestines. The guards eyes snap open in shock as a white-hot agony shoots through his lower belly. Gedoena rips the blade upwards causing even more damage as it exits the mans body. With a deft flick of her wrist, she slams the blade home, tearing right though his heart, killing him instantly.
The smell of blood is almost to much for her to bear. She feels the bloodlust nearly taking over. With a suppressed scream, she jams her small fists against her temples, trying to fight it off. She knows that if she loses this fight, she will have signed not only her death warrant, but Mavericks as well. It takes longer this time, but finally the rage passes.
Slipping the blade into her belt, she strips the AR-15's as well as the spare magazines from the dead guards. Her search is rewarded with a small Saturday night special, nothing more than a .32, but every weapon helps, as well as another larger hunting blade.
Her breath steaming before her, she once again inspects the surrounding compound. She can see several people moving out of the hotel and she freezes. To her relief the slavers head towards the ruined gas station.
With the weapons slung over her shoulder she climbs out from underneath the trailer. A few quick steps bring her to the chained entrance. The drizzle has strengthened and is now a steady rain. She peers inside, seeing the woman talking to a large, friendly looking man. She looks away and spots the padlock securing the chain. Mentally she curses herself for forgetting to take the keys off the dead guards. But, then again, the padlock is nothing for her to worry about. She takes the chain on either side of the padlock in her talons and gives it a sharp tug. The chain separates like a hot knife cutting through butter. The noise sounds like a pistol shot in the cold night.
* * *
Gitana's head snaps at the sound. "What was that?"
Getting up, both step up to the entrance of the trailer. Gitana peers outside and gasps. "Dios!"
Joe pushes her aside and looks outside as the mutant woman slides the chain out and pulls open the door. "Hey!" He stage whispers. "You a friend of the guy tied to the tree?"
The mutant woman jumps slightly at the sound of his voice. She quickly regains her composure. "Yes. I'm Gedoena. Now, would you please be quite? I don't want you to attract the guards attention." She swings the door open about two feet, climbing the short stairs as she does.
Once inside the trailer, her night vision allows her to see clearly the fifteen people scattered around. Directly before her stand the woman Maverick tried to rescue, as well as a friendly looking man with a boyish face and barrel chest. She unlimbers the AR 15's and hands one to each of them. "Here, They're fully loaded and I got three spare magazines for each."
Joe accepts the weapon and magazines. "So, what's your plan?"
Plan? Your looking at it. She keeps her thoughts to herself. "Well, we have to figure out a way to get across the compound and free Maverick, and to top it off, we need to steal one of their wags."
The noise of the chain snapping and the door opening attract the attention of several of the other prisoners. Three pick themselves up from their positions on the floor and join the small group. A man in his late forties with thinning grey hair and a crooked nose speaks up. "Hey mutie, what about us?"
The words hurt like a slap, but Gedoena ignores the slur. "You are on your own. The other trailers guards are dead, their bodies below it. You want to take their weapons, do so. She steps aside, making the room so the other prisoners can slip out. As the man passes she bares her dagger teeth. "Don't ever call me a mutie. I just saved your outlander hide, so show a little gratitude."
The man pales slightly, a thin sheen of fear sweat appears. He audibly swallows as he pushes past and out into the rain filled night. Eleven more prisoners slip past and make their way to freedom.
"Good thinking Gedoena! Gitana exclaims, clapping her on the shoulder. The prisoners will be the perfect distraction!"
"They will?" She asks, confused, but pleased that she seems to have done the right thing.
"Damned straight lady!" Joe adds. "The slavers will be triple busy trying to round up the prisoners, that we will be able to use it to free your friend." He hefts the AR 15 and flicks off the safety, positioning the selector to burst.
"Shall we blow this Popsicle stand?" Gedoena asks, looking at the two former prisoners.
Gitana doesn't answer. Instead she steps outside into the night, Joe hot on her heels. Joe stops just long enough to make sure that Gedoena is following.
Once outside, Gedoena looks over at the other trailer. Already several of the slaves have stripped the weapons off the two dead guards. One even managed to grab the keys to the lock on the chain and is in the process of freeing the other prisoners. The excited voices are as clear as a bell in the night.
Gitana moves too quickly and slips in the mud, landing on her backside. She cries out in agony at the jarring blow. Try as she might she is unable to get up and fears that she may have torn open the wounds, causing fresh blood to flow again.
Before the others are able to react, there is a shout of surprise from the direction of the hotel. Gedoena's head snaps up and she can see a half dozen slavers racing towards their position.
"Oh shit!" She says, pulling the desert eagle out of its holster.
End of Part Two.
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