|Click HERE if you like evil space Dorfs and things that brillig in the slithy toves. Gyring and gymboling optional.|
There was a rumour going around that the location of old Scruffy's Big Stash had slipped out. Little Jemmy spilt the beans to a gang of trash runners called the Ah-Ah Sisters and turned up slit from neck to nuts. Word was they were headed out to the ruins of Downtown Truro, and word spreads quick amongst runners...
|Cooties is a real and present threat in the wastelands of the future. No way are the boys going to go near those girls.|
There was a gutteral noise behind the pair, and Gus turned to see their third man, Lajon, checking his automatic and pulling a long blade from his boot sheath.
"Stay cool man," whispered Gus harshly, but Lajon was not a patient man.
"We don't act, they walk with the stash" Lajon whispered back, and he crouched low, advancing up to the porta-barrier next to Gus. "I'ma give 'em some lead, see if they don't run. Sisters are all talk, they won't do shit." Gus shook his head, but it was too late.
|"This looks like a fine spot for a dirt nap."|
Gus moved up closer, trying to catch a glimpse of where Lajon was lying in a pool of his own blood. He poked the barrel of his own machinegun through the rusty porta-barrier and fired half a clip at the fleeting sight of the blue-haired slayer, but his shots ricocheted harmlessly off the old ruins. He squinted hard and fired again, and this time was rewarded by the sight of the Sister clutching at her guts and ducking down low - he had landed a few shots, but not enough to take her down. Terry moved up to support him but wasn't able to get a clear line of sight to any of the Sisters.
Angelica winced, her side burning where the bullets had clipped her. She hunkered down, fumbling for another clip to reload her weapon. Behind her, Ramona, leader of the Ah-Ah Sisters, crept closer to scope out the clearing in the ruins. The stash had to be there, somewhere in the mess of busted up crates and boxes. There was signs of a fresh dig, which worried her. They had come too far and risked too much to go home empty handed. She waited for her moment to move.
Angelica rammed a fresh clip into the EK-84 and took aim at the runner she had downed. She wanted to make sure he stayed down for good. Easy... easy.... she fired off a burst of shots which tore into the prone body, the head coming apart like an overripe fruit. He wasn't getting up again.
|Games of Marco Polo have high stakes in Outland.|
|Radioactive green gloop is the bubblewrap of the future. Try some today!|
Fatima tip-toed through the ruined bank, her gun held at the ready, moving so quietly that noone had noticed her. She reached a ruined window, unaware of the runner worming his way on his belly behind her. She hauled herself up onto the sturdy stone sill, and peeked around to see Gus unloading his weapon at the fleeing Ramona. Pulling out her knife, Fatima jumped and slid down a pile of rubble and skree, ready to gut the filthy runner or die trying to save her leader. She ran forward, taking the filth by surprise. Gus grunted as she slashed at him, dodging each thrust and flick. He pulled out his own brutal axe and swung it hard, breaking through her defence and hurling the shrieking girl backwards. Terry, hearing the scuffle and seeing few alternatives, hurried back to see what the hell was going on.
|Recycling is tiring business.|
Terry rounded the corner and saw a pink-haired girl curled up with pain on the ground, a knife in one hand, an automatic in the other. He raised his shotgun and hit her with a blast at close range. She stopped moving.
"Wait!" yelled Gus, as Terry aimed at the girl's head, intending to avenge Lajon, "Don't kill her. We'll take her to town and sell her to the Green Man."
"They killed Lajon... we should kill her now!"
"Hold... your... FIRE!"
Terry lowered his shotgun with a sullen gaze.
In the distance, Ramona and Angelica retreated, carrying the lump of wood between them. "We have to go back Ramona!" screamed Angelica, looking over her shoulder.
Ramona eyes were hard as steel. She said nothing, but kept on running till the clearing and the runner trash were far behind them...
New Penryn barely qualified as a town, it was more of an outpost, but it was significant enough to warrant the protection of the Enforcers, who had a garrison on the main strip. They policed it rigorously, under the watchful eye of Chief Warner, who fancied himself a paragon of justice and morality in a morally bankrupt world. Ironic though it was, New Penryn had a reputation for being a smuggler's rest and a hotbed for the slaver's racket, and business lately had been good...
|Witness the bustling Metropolis of New Penryn.|
Boss Gus held the captured Fatima close. She was wounded and beaten but she hadn't lost all hope yet. The threat of Gus' knife at her back kept her from making a break for it but she eyed the Enforcers closely all the same.
"Get any funny ideas, girl," whispered Gus menacingly, "and you'll be dead before you hit the ground, I promise."
|The Enforcers have a strict dress code, which includes highly polished body armour. REALLY highly polished. GLEAMING in fact.|
Up the main street of New Penryn, several shops and an Enforcer station were the only real intact structures. A lanky scavenger with a long rifle skulked against a wall. More officers patrolled the other end of the street. From somewhere, a strange sea shanty seemed to be echoing about the streets.
|Benny the Pirate and Smooth Stenbore chill in the ruins, drinking rum and singing bawdy songs. They will not appear again in this story.|
|There are a lot of pirates and short people in this town. Must be something in the water. Something piratey.|
On the other side of town, a roadblock made of rubbish had been erected to block the road and a small gang of miscreant mutants were running a little shakedown racket. Captain Hookbeard and his associates Rodney the Runt and Gary the Ghoul had seen little action, and their faces lit up when two battered and tired women showed up out of the wastes right before their eyes.
|Pictured: The makings of the greatest street party of all time.|
"Allo love," sneered Hookbeard, sizing up the two girls. "Show us some coin or hand over the guns, simple aye?"
Ramona was tired and pissed off and this little green mutant was the last thing she wanted to deal with. Hefting her brutal-looking automatic, she stared down the little gang with utter contempt.
"You know what's simple?" Ramona asked, darkly. "I see three of you, and I see two of us. We have two whole clips of ammunition with enough bullets to kill you all three times over, and you have a hook, a rock and... is that runt holding a bow and arrow?"
Hookbeard gulped a little and tried to muster his bravado. "Now ye look here girl..." he began weakly. Angelica pulled back the priming lever on her EK-84 and let it go again with a spring-loaded click. Her point was well made.
"Now now, let's not go gettin' all bent out o' shape. 'Ow can old Hookbeard and his crew be of service... m'ladies?"
Ramona leaned close, her battle-hardened face sporting a grim smile. "Tell me how to get to the merchant."
Hookbeard glanced from side to side, sweating a little. "That's easy love, he's right on the main street. Can't miss 'im".
"Good," replied Ramona, "now go over to those nice enforcers and start a .... disturbance. We don't want to be seen coming into town if we can help it."
Hookbeard gulped. "Now come on love, let's not..."
Hookbeard looked frantically at his cronies. "You heard her lads, let's go distract some coppers!"
Boss Gus was waiting in the shade of a ramshackle building with his prisoner held close. From his vantage point he could see Terry talking to the scavenger about something, but they were out of earshot. Fatima was waiting in sullen silence, hatred and fear practically radiating from her.
Terry, after a few minutes of banter, had managed to coax the location of the local slaver racket out of the scavenger, as well as convincing him to climb to the top of a nearby ruined apartment block and cover him with his long rifle. The promise of loot a-plenty once they had sold the girl had likely played a role. As the scavenger reached his perch, Terry rounded the corner past a couple of aloof Enforcers, only to see Hookbeard and his minions swaggering down the street towards him. In the near distance, Terry spotted the two Ah-Ah Sisters lurking behind the barricade. He stopped dead, wide-eyed. The ruffians ambled up, spoiling for a fight.
|Open manhole covers are a sign of terrible OH&S practises. Someone should call the Enforcers!|
"Ere lads, look at this one eh?" leered Hookbeard, sensing an easy target in Terry. Rodney sniggered. Gary made a sort of groaning gurgling noise. Gary doesn't talk much.
Terry looked down at his boots briefly, then looked back up at Hookbeard with a glare that made the green pirate mutant quiver in his hat. "I. DO NOT. HAVE TIME. FOR YOU. UGLY."
Hookbeard backed off, his minions did likewise. They looked at each other fearfully. Unbeknownst to them, the Ah-Ah Sisters had crept up behind them and they made their presence known with a fierce jab in the back with their rifle barrels.
"DON'T forget who has all the bullets around here..." Ramona whispered harshly. Caught between a rock and a dead place, Hookbeard did what had to be done.
"Gary..." he murmured through the corner of his mouth, "Gary... Rock 'im Gary, ROCK 'im!"
|We will rock you.|
Events happened very quickly. Gary the Ghoul hit Terry with a rock, sending him flying backwards with the force. A shot rang out from the rooftop of the shattered apartment, and Gary was knocked to the floor by the impact of the scavenger's sniper shot. The Enforcers on the corner, alerted by the noise of the gunshot, span around to see what the hell was going on. The closest Enforcer ran forwards, combat shotgun at the ready, and shoved it into Hookbeard's face.
"GET DOWN ON THE GROUND, NOW!" roared the Enforcer.
"You don't scare me copper!" Hookbeard sneered, staring down the muzzle of the powerful weapon.
|The long arm of the law is pointing at the blue building, for some reason.|
Content that their distraction was well underway, the two Ah-Ah Sisters made their way through the back lanes of the town to find themselves emerging onto the main street just over the road from the merchant's store, where the local Enforcers were scrambling to get to the affray at the end of the block. There they spotted Gus hiding in the alley, and with him was their lost Sister, Fatima. Seeing them, and all the Enforcers running to and fro, gave Fatima all the courage she needed to attempt an escape. She wrenched free from Gus, who could only look on in horror at what was transpiring, and the captured girl ran across the street to her comrades, who were utterly shocked and elated to find her still alive. Gus cursed. This was not going to plan at all.
|The boys all assume the position. Except Gary. He assumes nothing, because assumptions make an ass out of you, and umption.|
The arrival of two more Enforcers to the scene takes the wind out of Hookbeard's sails considerably. Forced to the ground along with Rodney, he is cuffed and read his rights, with the occasional boot laid in for good measure. Noone notices Gary the Ghoul rising from the gutter, his beady eyes watching his friends get beat up. Gary like friends. Gary no like Enforcers...
|"Yo yo every body get down and... actually, just get down."|
Gary charges forward with a hideous snarl and smashes his rock into an Enforcer's head, buckling the tough helmet with the impact. In all the commotion, Terry gets up from where he had fallen and runs for the cover of some sickly brown vegetation.
|Gary scored a touchdown in the last few minutes. The crowd goes wild.|
The other two Enforcers, seeing the prone body of their fellow officer flying past them, turn and blast Gary at point-blank range with their shotguns, ending his sad, misunderstood life (Gary just wanted to be loved).
Gus watched the girl run across the street towards her friends. The world seemed to be running in slow motion. The Enforcers were yelling but he couldn't make out the words. The Sisters were just standing there, watching impassively as their lost sheep came home.
Gus watched the dust kick from her heels. He saw the sun gleam off of unnaturally burnished Enforcer armour. He couldn't let things stand like this. They killed Lajon in cold blood.
Gus raised his automatic weapon in the middle of the now crowded street and aimed at the fleeing girl, pulling the trigger and opening fire on the whole filthy gang of them.
Bullets tore up the ground around the girl's feet. The Enforcer chief span on the spot, a look of anger and alarm on his face. Gus swung the gun, sending bullets whizzing past the next Sister in line, who ducked in surprise at the sudden, bold, stupid move.
The Sisters broke and ran for cover in a nearby hovel, as Chief Warner of the Enforcers bellowed with rage and began charging at Gus. Terry broke cover behind the Enforcer and began running to the hut that the girls were disappearing into. Gus, faced with the angry shotgun of the LAW, went down on his knees with his hands behind his head. He had missed with all his shots, and failed to avenge their fallen. He was roughly cuffed and his face was shoved into the dirt.
|Transparent roofs are all the rage in the dystopian future.|
Seeing his chance to avenge his friend, Terry chased the fleeing Fatima as she ran through a techno-artisan's workshop. Lining her up through the door, he gave her both barrels right in the back, knocking the girl to the floor unconscious.
|"You have the right to remain... dead."|
Seeing the man gun down an unarmed woman in cold blood, the remaining Enforcers decided to make do without due process and gunned Terry down from behind with two shotgun blasts. Terry died instantly, his blood seeping into the rough floor of the artisan's hut.
|The ladies tell the merchant where to go. Out back, apparently.|
The Ah-Ah Sisters managed to find the merchant after all that trouble, and bartered a good deal for the wood, stocking up on supplies and gaining an important new contact.
Boss Gus, the last member of his gang of trash runners left alive, was consigned to the lock-up, and an uncertain fate...
|The enigmatic Green Man never did get his slave. But the Green Man is patient.|
Thanks for reading vaqueros, and stay tuned for the next exciting episode of FACTIOUS WASTE.
*The Funky Wenis Rodeo assumes no responsibility for readers not not looking at wood the same way again.