The Battle of Charmelle: The Vhaen Project | 14

Rottger joined her when the deed was done, what was left of four guards lay in the dim lights of the entry way. Luthiem stood wiping the blood from her gauntlet, dashed with speckles of what could have passed for red paint. The edge of the blade met her tongue and she smiled at Rottger.


“I’ve wanted to do that to someone for days.” She whispered enthusiastically.


Rottger only nervously laughed a little bit and motioned to the doors the guards had been posted to. With little effort the hunched man pressed the door open and revealed their next path. The interior of the building was expansive and dimly lit by halogen lamps that likely needed replacement.


Within were hundreds of bunks, all askew with the signs of disturbed sleep and scrambling bodies.


“Oh! Bed time!” Rottger took off with excitement. Even he in his strangely inhuman state grew tired, and with hours gapping from his last meal, his energy was wearing thin.


“No Rottger! Not bed-” Luthiem stopped eyeing a large coin purse set upon a bunk beside her. Gingerly she recovered it and looked about with a sly smile. “I’ll tell you what Rottger, find all the coins and trinkets you can…and I’ll have Fox make your favorite when we get back on board the Isabela.”


“Tacos?!” his response was enthusiastic and immediate. His companion nodded and with that the pair began to pillage the bunker for all they could find. The room seemed to stretch on for ages.  Luthiem had taken to filling an accommodated pillowcase with loot and valuables from the orderlies’ bedsides and mattresses.


Ocelot and Kitty were also in a pair by themselves, and glimpsed the first pair slipping into a large set of buildings.


“They will have that area covered…” the surgeon grumbled to his partner.


“Looks like they already had a little fun…” She eyed the pavement with a measure of interest despite not really being hungry “Let’s see if we can find a way into the large courtyard we saw when we crashed.”


Together the pair wandered through a few back passages between the buildings watching anxious and highly alert orderlies unassigned to the ships scramble about yards and attempt to cover open entrances and exits. So far it seemed that no one was aware they were even there.


“The moving earth bit has them really, really shaken. And all these soldiers look really young.”


“That just makes our jobs easier.” The young man smiled a little bit as they rounded a corner. A platoon of females stood at the ready, nervous like all the rest, but rifles in hand before a large gate.


Kitty could see the shiver of excitement run up John’s frame as he looked.


“Ocelot! Stand down.” the captain came up behind them bringing Javert and Amarante in tow. “We’re here to recover my wife, not for a playdate.


John’s head listed to the side as he peered back at his commanding officer. “Your wife or the ship?” he whispered back brazenly. Cedric just gave a cold look and motioned to Kitty. “Get them out of here.”


Kitty nodded and went skipping towards the women in huddled under the light. Her short skirts and tights  made her look  as innocent as was to be expected. When the women gathered at the gate noticed her, very few stood at attention, or even paid mind to draw their weapons. That was part of the Livingston’s  charm. The group stood entranced by the out of place young girl, and her cute demeanor, only within moments to be terrified.  Screams echoing through the hallways and the sound of boots carrying them out of the halls.


Kitty looked up from her catch, face discolored in the odd lighting. She wiped her face with the back of her sleeve and came to join the others.


When met with glances at the others she replied, “not hungry.”


“Well, if they didn’t know we were here, they do now.” Amarante nodded.


“They better. “ the captain stated. “I want those responsible. These fools in uniforms have been a joke so far.”


Cedric passed them and motioned to Javert to help him unbolt the gate. With little effort the doors creaked in their hinges opening upon a series of smaller arched doorless gateways, and just beyond them the brightness of a well lit area.


“That will be the Isabella.”


Gunshots echoed overhead. “And that would be the welcoming party.”


They ducked within the darkened arches and returned fire, soldiers dropping before them like flies.


“Picking off these newbies almost feels wrong!” Ocelot called over the gunfire.


“They’re sending out the worst they have first! Ammunition and strength sponges! keep your ammo, get to the ship!” Cedric called back. “Javert! Open a path!”As the order was given, a mass of heavily armed soldiers moved into the lit yard, and bullets began to hail from automated weapons.


The first officer was quick to respond, turning into the dark passages and covering the group as they moved through them ever closer to the lit courtyard beyond them. The rifle echoed in the enclosed stone architecture as a soldiers spun and collapsed onto the cobblestones sans the upper portion of their skulls.Yet, as each dropped others filled the gaps in between the arches guns at the ready. Soldiers hiding in the darkness of the alcoves began to appear in cloak and dagger maneuvers. Amarante turned to look up just as a showed hand reached up towards Javert. She would have none of that. The body of the atttacker violently fell as he was tossed into the empty spaces between the arches. Blood sprayed in a cloud as the bullets of the attackers companions left him lifeless upon the floor. The rifle thundered again several more times before the return fire became too much to handle.


They ducked in again. crouching behind pillars and walls not meant to withstand fire. Order soldiers pressed into the areas from  both sides, pinching the group into what they hoped would be an inescapable trap. Cedric lowered himself down on the brick face behind him, running his tongue over his teeth, preparing for the next moment outside this temporary cover. Something caught his eye, a shape…no, a figure. The outline of a body in the dark. The captain was furious. The pounding of his pulse was in his ears, and here was another one of these thieves, looming in the shadows attempting to harm his family once again.


The pistol in his hands found the body so quickly there was no time to register. “Make one more move and I’ll blow your head off.”


There was a brief pause, “Or you could just marry me.”


The muscles responded almost immediately. Arms relaxing, the pistols in his hands dropping to the floor as quickly as he could manage it.  His feet pressed him forward into an embrace that the crew could only just make out. It lasted briefly, and only the shadow around them was privy to the words spoken between them. The sentiment however, was seen by all,  as his hands remained clasped around her arms as he turned. A soft green lantern light appeared from behind and below Amelia’s feet accompanied by the face of an elderly man. Bullets struck above them.  The captain ducked and covered Amelia’s head reflexively, Amarante stood up from her place and looked at Cedric for orders.


A hand signal was all she got in response. A round motion above the head and a reflexive pointing to a small light in the floor was all she needed.


“Wrap it up, Javert, We’re blowing smoke!”


He nodded slightly, never removing the rifle from his face. the bullets returned three to the earth before he moved again. Kitty came running back to the group from the shadows carrying a severed arm with her which she hurled into an oncoming attacker. The soldiers were growing more and more bold making their way ever closer.


Three of the bravest came rushing for them, followed by the host of their peers. Amarante turned, running on behind Javert, tossing small casings to the floor behind her as they dashed from their attackers.

Smoke filled the room as the orbs were crushed underfoot giving the small group just enough cover to escape into the hatch below them.


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