Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Dreams of Stars Part 14

Long section coming up.  Hope it makes up for last week.

            The farm yard was littered with trees which helped cover L’lorne in her approach to the farm house.  Closing in, the roar of the truck's engine continued echo throughout the farm yard, yet it hardly disturbed the owners who were just now settled into a long and what they had hoped would be an uneventful night.  No such luck.

            She stopped behind a small cart that had been left in the yard and hid there as the truck pulled up in front of the house.  L’lorne looked back towards the barn and Deborah therein and gave her a little wave.  The girl responded, likely having found how to get the zoom feature to work some time ago.  She learns very quickly, hopefully not too quickly.  That thought only nagged on L’lorne's mind for a moment as she returned to the task at hand when the troops climbed out of the truck.

            Ten of them, heavily armed, lead by a man who while not a grizzled old veteran, wasn't some wet behind the ears kid either.  In an almost polite manner, he stepped calmly up to the door and knock, while his men surrounded the entrance, their weapons aimed right for the door knob.

            No response.  L’lorne looked up through the upper floor window, and past the curtains to find both farmer and wife soundly sleeping.  Their bodies moving with the steady beat of age, their minds simply not responding to the outside stimulus.  Even the dog that slept at the end of the bed seemed undisturbed.

            The squad leader, however, was most disturbed, and ordered the men to break down the door.  There was enthusiasm as they leapt to this act of destruction and power, knocking the door down with one fresh kick to the door.  They filed in, guns moving along each wall, studying it for threats while the squad leader settled down on the porch swing in the front and put on a calm, but ready face and manner.  It would be a shame to kill him.

            Killing them all was necessary, L’lorne had concluded.  She looked back to the barn and sighed.  Deborah would be a problem.  Simply killing them for no apparent reason would ruin the relationship that had so far been built.  There would come a time to tear down the wall, but this incident, right now, wasn't that time.  If she could present them as a direct threat to her, maybe she could justify it.

            Of course, she would have to assume Deborah had figured out how hear what was being said.  Delphi had long ago set up blocks to prevent L’lorne from tracking the glasses and what Deborah had learned about them, part of their agreement over the girl’s place in L’lorne’s plan.  At this point, they were too far along to alter that plan greatly, not that any of it would come to fruition until they found Ritch ‘arrd.

            She couldn’t simply goad them into attacking her; it would put too much work at risk.  L’lorne thought only for a moment, then came up with the best solution, one that would not only endear her more to Deborah, but would also remove the threat.  Plus, it would be fun.

            The soldiers came back out, dragging the old farmer and his wife, still dressed in their night clothes, out the front door, the dog following, barking all the way.  "What the hell is all this?"  The farmer was livid, and glared at the squad leader as they moved out on to the porch, lit only by the truck's headlamps.

            "Terribly sorry sir," the squad leader replied calmly.  "I was afraid that something might have happened to you when you didn't respond to my knocking."  He stood up and stuck out his hand.  "I am Captain Mervin George.  I'm hoping you can help us out."

            "Damn fool thin' to be dragin' a man n' his wife out in the middle o the night.  Better be a damn good reason or I'll stick my foot so far up your ass. . ."

            Captain George pulled his hand back, partially because the farmer obviously wasn't going to return the gesture, but mostly because he was afraid he'd never get it back if he did.  "As I said, I am sorry.  A pair of fugitives escaped from the capital last night, and we're attempting to track them down."

            "So what?"

            The Captain frowned in disgust, and lied.  "They've committed some serious crimes, and are considered very, very dangerous.  I need only know if you've seen them."

            "I ain't seen nothin.'"

            "Please sir," Captain George reached into his pocket to pull a couple of cards out.  "If you take a moment to listen to their description, perhaps you did see them, but didn't know."

            "I tell you. . ."

            "Steven, just listen to the man already," the farmer's wife said, a fine tone of fear in her voice.  He glared at her and nodded finally, in an irritated way.

            "Thank you ma'am.  We're looking for two women. . ."

            "You mean one," L’lorne stood up from behind the cart, her hands slightly raised.  The guns spun around and leveled right at her, but L’lorne ignored them and kept walking, slowly, confidently.  She really didn't have a thing to fear.  "You see, the other one was busy while the terrible crime was being committed.  I did that, all by my lonesome."

            "Stay right there!" one of the soldiers yelled, his gun safety already off.  Anxious, fearful, L’lorne could only figure they had been fully briefed.  Good move, better to know all what the enemy was actually capable of then be in the dark.  Almost something he would order done.

            "No problem," she said.  "Now stop pestering those people and let them get some sleep."

            Mervin George stepped off the porch, his eyes scanning the black haired woman up and down, studying her carefully.  When he was within arm's reach, a very dangerous position but he seemed not to care about that, he finally spoke.  "You don't look like much."  He paused and took a step back.  "But then, they say never judge a book by the cover.  I take it you'll be coming along quietly?"


            "Good.  After what you did, watching my boys dump a few hundred rounds into your pretty little body will be most satisfying."

            L’lorne did her confidence chuckle, which was so close to a simple hum that it might actually be mistaken for one.  "You didn't let me finish.  No, I won't go quietly, not yet anyway."  She looked over at the soldiers that had taken up a kind of reverse semicircle around her, ready to turn and gun her down whichever way she ran, even right at them.  "You seem to have a lot of confidence in your men, so perhaps we can make a deal."

            "I don't make deals," he said flatly and turned away from her, retreating behind the line of fire.

            "A challenge then.  If you win, I go quietly, I'll even tell you where your other 'fugitive' is, lead you right to her.  If I win, you leave and pretend that you never saw me."

            The Captain was behind his line now and gave his own version of the confidence chuckle.  "And what kind of challenge would that be?"

            L’lorne pointed down to the pouch on her hip.  "I'm going to remove something from my belt.  It is a weapon, but it is strictly for this challenge."  As she finished, she slowly reached down and undid the little metal button that held the pouch closed.  The guns moved up slightly as the soldiers got a better grip for whatever was to happen, but only watched as a black axe head fell into her hand.

            She held it up for them to see, her palm placed between the lip of the blade and a short stub of a handle that lay on the one side.  Even then, it didn't seem more than twice the size of her hand, such a small object that some of the men relaxed, while the Captain reached down to his own weapon and readied to raise it up.  Her wrist moved slightly, like she was squeezing the metal, and a second blade swung out from inside the first, locking neatly into place, forming the head of a double bitted axe.  Another twitch of the wrist, and the stub seemed to grow, shooting out from its barely six inch proto self to a full four feet, all of it as black as the head of the axe.

            "Relax," L’lorne grabbed the handle with her free hand and swung the head down towards the ground.  "It's only dangerous if provoked."  The tip of one of the bits locked into the dirt, slowly carving out a long, flat line, some six feet in length in front of her.  "The challenge," L’lorne said as she finished the line.  "Is for me to stop every bullet you fire at me before it crosses this line."

            Captain George merely raised an eyebrow, almost amused at the action.  "You realize, if you fail, you'll be dead."

            "That's possible.  Not a problem for you, is it?"

            "Sir," one of the soldiers spoke up.  "We can't really shoot her, can we?"  He looked from officer to L’lorne and back again.  Something about the confident look on both of their faces confused the young man, and he desperately needed clarification.

            "Well," Mervin kept his eyes glued to L’lorne.  "She is quite dangerous, is now armed and has made it clear that she will not come quietly."  A smile riddled its way onto his face.  "I feel we have no choice.  Take aim!"

            The young soldier's gun snapped up into an even stronger firing position.  The line flattened out and aimed quite clearly at the woman before them, weapons up and ready, safeties off, fire controls shifted to full automatic.  There would be no escape.  L’lorne took on a relaxed look, positioning the axe in front of her in readiness.  The challenge was set, shame the soldiers never had a chance.


            The guns fired off, roaring in rapid succession.  Most of the rifles fired in short bursts, the result of constant training, while the two larger guns fired almost continuously, all aimed at one target.

            She had already decided not to rush this, no real reason after all.  There was plenty of time between each shot to prepare for the next one.  The worst part was waiting for the first few shots as they traveled the short distance between the porch and the cart where L’lorne stood.  The bursting fire, three shots in rapid succession, meant that there would often be a long break between busy movements of the axe.  At least the two heavy weapons would provide a more or less constant diversion.

            She struck the first bullet with the flat of the axe head, about right in the middle of one of the bits.  The force of the bullet should have knocked the axe clear out of the way, but all the kinetic energy was absorbed like water to a sponge, rippling from the head, down the handle and finally into L’lorne's arm, where it was put into something useful, namely the next movement of the axe.  As the bullet fell straight down as if its will to move forward had been completely removed, the axe moved ever so slightly to catch the next bullet to execute that poor piece of lead's will in a similar fashion.

            The act would be repeated again and again, each bullet losing its will to move forward as soon as it came in contact with the axe.  Sometimes it would come with the strike at the head, or the handle, even the very edge of the blade.  The bullet would then fall straight down, the force of gravity doing its part even if the bullet refused.  Each fell with a slight thud, forming a little crater of dust, right in front of the line L’lorne had drawn.

            All this passed in a blink of an eye for everyone who was not L’lorne.  While she contemplated various ideas and their possible results, they saw only a blur as the axe flashed back and forth in a whirling motion only ever matched by electric fans and spinning propellers.  Eventually, even with the large clips and gung ho attitude, the guns fell silent as they ran out of ammunition, even the mighty heavy machine guns died for lack of that precious lead.  As the final shots sound, the movement of the axe slows, moving slow enough that the blur is now gone, but the speed is still prevalent.  Then there are no more shots, and an eerie calm settles for a moment.

            One final shot rings out.  The soldiers are stunned by the sound and would have turned around to see their captain, his side arm drawn and held steady, aiming at the woman that still stood before him, they would have turned if they hadn't seen the axe shoot up and stop the bullet dead center.  The piece of lead held itself in the air for a moment, the tip pressed only slightly against the axe itself, and then it fell with a slight poof onto the ground below.

            "Well then," L’lorne said as she shifted the axe out of her way.  "I guess that means I win."

            Captain George lowered his weapon, staring down at it as he did.  It had failed him, and he considered his options, finally electing to holster it once more.  "I guess you did."  He stood tall and looked right at L’lorne, glared at her eyes, and took a deep breath.  "Everyone into the truck."

            "But sir."

            He didn't even change the direction of his glare, only that of his voice.  "I said in the truck, NOW!"  His men complied and piled back into the truck while he stood and continued to stare at L’lorne.  They both knew there was no way he wasn't going to report this, he had to, it was his job.  Did he know he still had to die?  It was hard to say, but perhaps he did.  Without answering the question in any real way, he turned around, boarded the truck, and ordered the driver to return them to base.

            The farmer was excited, his wife amazed, and they said so, repeatedly, congratulating her on something that was so small it was really barely worth mentioning.  Still, she accepted their accolades, and finally broke away from them after promising to come in for breakfast as it was far too late for dinner.  The axe returned to its pouch, folding up much as it had before, and she returned to the barn and met Deborah who sat on her bed of hey and blanket.

            "You stopped every one?"

            "Are you surprised?"

            Deborah shook her head.  "No, but that was still pretty neat.  Where'd you learn to do that?"

            An explanation of that nature would take a long time, and L’lorne wasn't in the mood to go into many details.  "A good friend of mine, actually.  He's helped me out a lot recently."  The count was almost finished.  Only a handful of seconds remained.  The truck was out of sight now and far enough away that the sound wouldn't be heard for what it really was.  L’lorne decided to drag out the conversation a bit; a few details wouldn't be that bad after all.  "He's actually much better with the axe than I am.  Truthfully, he invented the entirety of its use, though he didn't create it."  Times up, wait for it.

            "Really?  What's his name?"  Before L’lorne could reply, a loud bang rattled off from the distance.  "What was that?"

            "Hmm?"  L’lorne looked out the loft door, a look of confusion covering her knowledge of the source.  "I didn't hear anything."

            "I could have sworn," Deborah paused her thought, and then decided to discontinue it.  "It was probably nothing."

            "Probably."  It was something alright, an explosion of decent sized proportions.  At its center sat the truck and its ten passengers.  Most were killed outright when the gas tank mysteriously exploded, but those in the cab lingered for a bit, their bodies impaled by flying debris, their heads slammed into the windshield, steering wheel and dash board.  Amongst them is Captain Mervin George, a man whose last thoughts, as he lies bleeding to death on the verge of unconsciousness and death is how in the hell that woman managed to plant a bomb on the truck.  L’lorne only smiled.  "We should get some sleep, we've been asked over for breakfast, and I know they'll want to have it early."

            "Sounds good."  Deborah wrapped herself in the blanket and closed her eyes briefly.  "Oh wait," she sat up.  "What's his name?"

            "Who?"  Beat.  "Oh, him, his name is Quinn.  Maybe you'll meet him some day."

            Deborah yawned a half hearted agreement and bid L’lorne good night.



1. What kind of person is Lcorn Llorne? What does she look like (in your mind)?
2. What kind of person is the Deborah Ignigus? What does she look like (in your mind)?
3. Does the setting seem fitting? Would you like to know more?
4. Does the entire sequence with the axe make sense?  Was it as nifty as I think it is?

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