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Pisky's ATS Story

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posted on Mar, 14 2004 @ 07:44 PM
As promised, here's the first chapter of the story. Its based loosely on those of DE, Ranger and TDH, although its set in the UK.

Chapter One - Anarchy in the UK

It had started to rain. Pisky muttered a curse under his breath and pulled his hood over his head. He was seriously pissed off with the whole thing but since it was his idea to come here in the first place, he couldn't really complain. His three companions however were muttering imprecations and calling down the wrath of the heavens upon him at every opportunity. The ditch that they were crouching in was damp and reeked of decaying vegetation and Pisky's arse was wet from where he had slipped when he was clambering down. The rain didn't help.

To Pisky's left, Loki was fiddling with a small remote control unit, flipping it from hand to hand in an attempt to assuage the boredom. Not the type to just sit around, Loki found this whole buiness tedious and was seriously considering calling a halt to this 'mission' irrespective of Pisky's opinion. "Bugger it", Loki thought, they would stay for another hour and if nothing happened, if the truck didn't turn up, then he would suggest that they leave. From the squirming coming from his right, he didn't think that Pisky would complain too much.

Loki dropped the remote. It landed at his feet in a muddy puddle. Grimacing, he picked it up, cleaned it off and made sure the batteries hadn't become dislodged. Beside him, Pantha rolled her eyes and wished she was elsewhere. She wasn't your archetypal 'freedom fighter', in fact her occupation - before the # had hit the fan - was as manager of a clothes shop. Her fashion sense was impeccable and she kept an orderly and well patronised shop. That was then. Now she was dressed like the others, in green military fatigues, covered in mud and altogether miserable.

Benjj on the other hand was enjoying this immensely. A financial trader by trade, he nevertheless found time to indulge in countryside pursuits. A crack shot, he was often to be seen on a grouse shoot and never returned home with less than a brace. Now his skills as a hunter were highly prized, with his only serious competition being from Pisky, who came from a long line of poachers.

This time though, they were hunting human prey.

It was Pantha who first heard the engine. A single truck moving along the road and heading towards their positions. Benjj looked over his shotgun, nodded his head and crouched lower in the ditch. Beside him, Pantha tensed and readied her own weapon, an SA80 taken from the corpse of a poor squaddie some weeks ago. Loki placed the remote on the side of the ditch and flipped the safety of his Uzi. He was well known for his uncanny ability to discover whatever the group needed, including somewhat unusual weaponry for this part of the world. Picking up the remote once again, he took a deep breath and grinned.
Pisky was the only team member not to have a gun. To be truthful, he did have a pistol but rarely used it, preferring his composite bow with armour piercing arrows. Pisky had designed the arrowheads himself, basing them on those used in the Middle Ages to despatch armoured knights on the field of battle, and they had proved just as effective against modern body armour.

Pisky removed an arrow from its quiver on his back and scrambled up the ditch to quickly survey the ground. Directly in front of him was the road itself, winding through the hilly woodlands. Just to his right a tree lay across the road, blocking it entirely. An old ruse but effective enough, Pisky thought as he motioned to the rest to follow his lead. As one, they pulled themselves to the top of the ditch and lay flat, allowing the ferns to block them from view. Loki held the remote, aiming it at something hidden in the bushes across the road. Pantha shivered. She hated this kind of thing. Especially this kind of thing. She brushed away an errant strand of curly brown hair and prepared herself for what was to come.

The truck hove into view. It was black, with no number plates. The windows were tinted.
A typical prisoner transport vehicle, it was large enough to hold eight prisoners and two guards, not including the driver and possibly one more passenger riding shotgun.
It disappeared from view as the road dipped slightly, and when it next appeared it was almost upon them. Soon enough, the driver saw the fallen tree and reacted instantly. He hit the brakes, the wheels slipping slightly on the damp road. Pisky watched as the truck stopped, then just stood there with its engine idling. A minute. Two. Then the passenger side door opened and a figure got out. Dressed completely in black, with body armour and a black-visored helmet, he was obviously a member of the Corporate militia. Cautiously he scanned the area before walking to the tree. It was far too heavy for one man. Waving to the driver, he strode to the back of the truck and knocked on the door. It opened and after a hasty conversation, he was joined by another similarly garbed and armed corporate thug.
That left one inside and the driver, thought Pisky as he watched the two soldiers pull the tree away from the road. Turning to Loki, Pisky nodded his head. Loki tightened his grip on the remote and pressed 'Play'

I am an antichrist !!!
I am an anarciste !!!

The two soldiers spun towards the sound as Loki's remote controlled boom box blared out. The sound of the Sex Pistols calling for anarchy reverberated through the trees. Pisky stood, followed by Benjj. Seeing the sudden movement, one of the soldiers turned, weapon raised, and received an arrow in the throat. Benjj aimed, pulled the trigger and sent the other corporate mercenary straight to Hell.

Don't know what I want
But I know how to get it
I wanna destroy the passer by

The door opened and a helmeted head looked out. "Not very well trained for Elite forces are they ?" Loki thought sardonically as he opened fire. The mercenary fell out of the truck, his head blown apart.

'Cause I wanna beeee Anarchy

The truck began to move. The driver gunned the accelerator and headed straight for the tree which his two companions had managed to shift slightly to one side. Gaining speed, the truck clipped the end of the tree, slamming it completely off the road. Pisky cursed and leaping across the ditch, began running through the small copse at the other side. The road curved ahead and he knew that there was a small chance that he could intercept the truck by cutting across the field just beyond the copse. Leaving the treeline, He saw their four horses standing quietly at the edge of the field. Leaping onto his own steed, he urged the horse onwards as he fitted an arrow to his bow. Swearing foully, Pisky watched the truck move along the road. It was almost at the curve now and Pisky pushed the stallion ever harder in an attempt to intercept the vehicle. He knew well what would happen if the driver escaped to make his report to his superiors and didn't fancy trying to outrun one of the black helicopters.

As the truck sped along the road, Pisky knew he wasn't going to make it. Swearing, he pulled the horse to a stop and leaped down, bow in hand. Flexing his fingers, he notched an arrow and pulled the string taught. He took a deep breath, aimed, compensated for the wind and let fly. There was a slight 'tink' as the arrow went through the side window of the truck. Pisky reached for another arrow, but it obviously wasn't needed as the vehicle slewed across the road, coming to a stop in an overgrown field. "Feck me !", said Pisky to himself, "I wouldn't be able to do that again if I tried".

Pisky turned as he heard a rumbling sound behind him. Taking hold of his horse's reins, he watched as Benjj and Pantha cantered towards him. Loki was rummaging through the fallen mercenaries' belongings for anything of use. He would then dump them unceremoniously in the ditch before setting fire to their corpses.

Benjj dismounted, followed by Pantha. Hobbling the horses, the trio walked carefully towards the now idling truck. There was no other movement. The only sounds were the engine and the cry of a crow far above. Reaching the cabin, Benjj confirmed that the driver was now stoking the furnaces in the underworld, before moving to join his companions at the rear of the truck. With Benjj and Pantha covering him, Pisky reached out and grasped the handle of the door. Taking a deep breath, he pulled and the door opened, the locking mechanism obviously damaged earlier by Loki's gunfire. His caution was unnecessary given that the only occupants of the truck were three dishevelled looking figures securely chained to the bulkheads.

A tall, bald black man sat glaring at them, his hands tense as if expecting a fight. Seeing that they were not Corporate mercenaries, he relaxed and smiled. "John Tobias", he said, gesturing to himself as Benjj climbed into the truck. Beside him was a thin woman of about twenty five who looked as if she was about to pass out at any moment, while across from her could be seen a grey haired old man in the garb of a Catholic priest. "I'm Father Fingal O'Flaherty", he said, his lilt betraying his origins in the Emerald isle, "I don't know who this poor girl is though" he continued, gesturing as best he could at the white faced woman opposite, "she hasn't said a word since we were put in this box". Benjj nodded, quickly taking out out the bolt cutters brought along for just this reason, and effortlessly snipped the chains.

Freed, Tobias jumped out of the truck and scanned the horizon while Benjj and Pantha helped the others to climb down. Pisky, meanwhile, raided the cabin for whatever he could find, grimacing as he removed his arrow from the deceased driver's eye socket. This done, he followed the others to where the horses were tethered, wanting to get as far away from this place as possible. Fuller introductions would have to wait for now.

The horses were strong, each easily able to carry two people, although that meant that speed would be sacrificed. There was no helping that though, and Pisky knew a safe place to camp before returning in the morning to the castle. Pisky thought of the castle, where others of his breed - the enemies of the New World Order - lived an almost mediaeval existance. Actually, it wasn't truly a castle, more of a fortified manor house, but it was perfect for what they needed and far enough from the major towns as to escape the notice of the Corporate merceneries who had replaced the police and army in these troubled times.

Loki rode up. Through the trees a plume of greasy smoke showed where the corpses were burning. He dismounted and walked to the truck. Pantha shook her head as she watched Loki fiddling with the petrol tank. She knew what was coming and was not surprised when Loki came running full tilt towards them just before the truck burst into flames. "I am the Lord of Fire, after all", he said, grinning wickedly.

Loki took up his position on his horse with Tobias behind him, while the Priest sat behind Benjj. The nameless girl sat in front of Pantha, who would be able to catch her if she should fall from her saddle. Only Pisky rode alone. Taking point, he led them across the fields.

It stopped raining. Pisky smiled.

posted on Mar, 14 2004 @ 07:55 PM
Wellcome to the story Pisky, I look forward to hearing your side of the story.

posted on Mar, 15 2004 @ 02:18 AM
I really like the first installment pisky and I can't wait to see what your story has planned for me.

posted on Mar, 15 2004 @ 02:20 AM
I loved it too, time to open up a sixer of whoopass!

posted on Mar, 15 2004 @ 05:53 PM
It's just

Good job on this one, mate. I'm looking forward to seeing the rest of the story.

Kudos for the gasoline trick. one of my all-time favorites.

posted on Mar, 15 2004 @ 06:18 PM
great!! well written story. makes an excellent addition to the collection

posted on Mar, 15 2004 @ 10:50 PM
Thanks for all of your kind comments

The next chapter should be ready in a couple of days.

posted on Mar, 15 2004 @ 11:13 PM
As should mine also

posted on Mar, 16 2004 @ 03:14 AM
I'm looking forward to it

posted on Mar, 17 2004 @ 03:26 PM
Pisky you've set up a great beginning here. It'll definitely be very cool to see how things are happening on the other side fo the pond. Keep up the good work!

posted on Mar, 17 2004 @ 03:41 PM
Very nice Pisky. Looking forward to your next installment. Are we looking at the ATS SAS?

posted on Mar, 18 2004 @ 08:44 PM
OK - here's the second instalment. There's a labelled picture in the middle which I hope will be of use, plus a link at the bottom with actual pix.

Chapter 2 - Arthur of Camelot

Pantha woke slowly, her head aching, back stiff after a night spent leaning against a particularly rough-barked tree. Silhouetted against the rising sun she saw Tobias and Benjj talking animatedly while Loki poked a small fire into animation. The young girl still slept, her head in Pantha's lap, occasionally moaning in her sleep. Pantha lay her hand on the girl's forehead. It was burning. Whatever those corporate thugs had done to her was serious. She hadn't said a word all night, just lay in Pantha's lap in a state of stupor. Pisky was missing, although Pantha vaguely remembered him leaving just before dawn, for what reason, she didn't know. He had his bow with him but left on foot, his horse still tethered with the others in the trees to her right. The old priest was still snoring happily away, possibly as the result of Pisky's 'Original Pixyland Scrumpy'. This was also the reason for Pantha's headache, for which she planned to berate the errant prodigal upon his return.

She squirmed around, trying to get rid of the cramp that threatened her legs, the movement inadvertantly waking the girl who moaned softly and opened her eyes. "Good morning", Pantha said, looking for some kind of recognition, but the eyes that started back at her were dull, almost as if the soul inside had fled. The girl tried to sit up, but failed and slipped sideways, giving Pantha the opportunity to ease her aching back while ostensibly helping the girl into a better position. Suddenly, she grimaced in pain, her eyes wide with shock, breath coming in short bursts. She gave a little groan and went limp in Pantha's arms.
"Benjj !!!!", she shouted, alarmed at the girl's predicament. Benjj rushed over, put down his shotgun and crouched beside the stricken young woman. "We've got to get her to the castle", Pantha said, "QUICKLY ! ... this is serious !".
Benjj lay his hand on the girl's forehead. "Fever", he said. "Wait there - I'll get it sorted". Rapidly, Benjj woke the priest, at the same time calling to Loki and Tobias to prepare to leave. They would leave Pisky's horse - when he got back, he would know they had had to leave rapidly, and would make his own way to the castle.
Muttering, Loki put out the fire and untethered the horses. Pantha mounted, and once settled, received the unconscious girl from Benjj. Loki and Tobias shared a horse as they had yesterday, while the half-drunken priest swayed behind Benjj, occasionally letting out a rather impious belch.

Benjj led the way, riding through fields and woodlands, crossing the occasional road and every now and then passing deserted farmhouses and cattle barns. Usually these places would be worth checking out, but not now. Now time was of the essence. The horses were already slowed by having to carry extra weight and they couldn't afford to waste a second. By now everyone in the group was aware that the young woman's life hung in the balance. They also knew that her only chance was for them to get her to the castle - and the sooner the better.

They had been riding for just over two hours when Benjj turned to check on his charges and saw Pisky galloping towards them from the direction they had just came. Across the back of his horse hung a deer, obviously slain by one of Pisky's arrows. "I promised Arthur some venison", he gasped, pulling up alongside Benjj. "What happened ?"
Benjj explained the girl's predicament while Pisky did a quick calculation. "We've got about half an hour to go", he said once Benjj had finished, "I'll carry on ahead and warn KayEm to get ready". With a quick wave to the others, Pisky pulled on his reins and galloped into the distance.

Benjj rode across to where Pantha was looking down at the girl with concern. "She's having difficulty breathing", she said, "I don't know what else to do".
"You've done all you can", Benjj said sympathetically, "We're going to get her to the castle and then its up to KayEm". Pantha nodded in agreement, tears brimming in her eyes.
"I hate this", she said suddenly. "All this pain, all this death ... its all so ... wrong".
"I know"
"I'm sorry", Pantha continued, "I know I must sound selfish. At least we're alive. My kids are safe. Not like so many others".
"Not selfish", Benjj said, sadness in his voice now too, "just human. Tired and human"

Loki was the first to see the castle in the distance. In fairness, Stokesay wasn't a castle at all, but a fortified manor house built in the Marches after Edward I's defeat of the Welsh prince Llywelyn. Built by Lawrence de Ludlow in the late 1200's, it had changed little, save for the addition of a more expansive gatehouse. Other than that, and the addition of a toilet block for the visitors, Stokesay had stayed the same over the centuries. Of course, there were no visitors now. There were few people left at all after the mixture of plague and rioting that accompanied the Corporate takeover. Most of the cities were under martial law and the closest town to Stokesay, Craven Arms, was a ghost town. The corporate thugs working as replacements for the police and Armed forces were somewhat stretched as things stood; No doubt they would get out here one day, but until then, things were peaceful in this part of the world.

Loki waved at the two men standing on the battlements of the South Tower. The recently added drawbridge was down, spanning the moat - also recently dug and filled with water from the pond close by. The original moat was merely for show. This one was real. Eight feet deep, it looked peaceful enough, but appearences could be deceptive. Anyone falling into the moat was likely to be impaled on one of the many sharpened stakes embedded in the bottom and hidden by the placid water.

Loki led the group across the drawbridge and into the courtyard. Inside, Pisky was talking to a large bearded man dressed somewhat oddly as a Templar Knight, while standing beside them was a tall red-headed woman holding a map. Various other people worked nearby, with a fully functioning smithy beside the main entrance to the castle proper. Benjj leaped from his horse, handing the reins to the startled priest. Thrusting the map into Pisky's hand, KayEm rushed over to where Pantha's horse stood. A quick glance told her that the situation was dire. "Bring her in", she said to Benjj, then quickly rushed off towards the makeshift infirmary at the bottom of the North Tower.

Benjj took the now moaning girl from Pantha and carried her carefully into the hall. Turning right through an old oak doorway he entered the infirmary where KayEm had prepared a bed. Softly he placed the girl onto it and stood away as the nurse began her examination. The young woman was shaking now, her face in a rictus of agony, sweat pouring from her as KayEm checked her temperature and prepared something to help with the pain. KayEm looked across at Benjj. "You don't have to stay", she said in her Californian accent, "I'll call you if I need you". Benjj needed no second bidding and left KayEm to her work, striding through the cavernous hall back out into the courtyard.

Benjj joined the others near the stables. Self-appointed stable hands took the horses and made them comfortable, leaving their riders to stretch their aching limbs and follow Loki over to where Pisky and the erstwhile Templar were leaning against an outside table.

"Right then Pisky, you old bastard", the 'knight' said in a gruff, friendly West country voice as the group approached, "Who've you bought for us now ?" Benjj smiled, as did Pantha. They both liked the old druid who styled himself 'King Arthur' despite his propensity for drink and his insistance that they keep up with him in the quaffing stakes.
"This is John Tobias", Pisky replied, gesturing towards the tall black man. Arthur stuck out his hand "Arthur of Camelot", he said, as Tobias took it in his own much larger hand. "And this", he continued, motioning around the courtyard, "Is Camelot". Tobias smiled.
"I thought it was Stokesay", Pantha said, grinning.
"I renamed it", Arthur said with a shrug. "Last night. I reckoned that as King Arthur, I really ought to have a castle with an appropriate name ... Here, have a swig of this". And so saying, he produced a large bottle of scrumpy which he thrust into Tobias' hands.
Arthur grinned as the drink brought tears to Tobias's eyes, before turning to the old priest. "Good day, Father", he said, in mock reverance, "Not here to convert the heathens I hope ?"
"Not a chance of that in this den of iniquity", Father Fingal replied with a glint of amusement in his eye. "Not that that'll stop me from doing my priestly duty, of course", he continued, "I do love a challenge".

Once the introductions were completed, and with Father Fingal ensconced with his own bottle of 'Best Pixyland', Loki made his excuses and returned to his laboratory to continue with his latest experiment. The fact that most of his ventures involved the element of fire resulted in his being banished to the stone-built South Tower. The logic being that if one of his tests resulted in more error than trial, it was unlikely that the castle would suffer too much damage. So far he had got away with it. God only knew what would happen if he ever got his hands on plutonium.

Pisky unfolded the map he had been holding since the group arrived, and placed it on the table. It was a map of the general area and was used in planning the various 'tasks' required in order to keep 'Camelot' up to speed. That included the earlier raid, and others in which assorted pieces of equipment had been collected.

Camelot was basically self-sufficient. A generator supplied electricity, with a battery backup in case of failure. KayEm had a fully stocked infirmary, and there was enough food and water to supply the whole contigent for three months. There were two wells, one in the courtyard and the other just off the infirmary. A nearby apple orchard provided enough apples for Arthur to make his famous scrumpy which he brewed in the hall, following nineteenth century tradition. The hall also contained various supplies, with the area below the solar set aside as living accomodation. The gatehouse was occupied by Arthur and some of his camp followers, who had chosen this prime site due to the fact that this building was the only part of the castle that had windows. The hall and towers were open to the elements, with only shutters as defense against capricious weather. Pisky and KayEm occupied the Solar, which also contained the computer systems that Loki had recently connected to the internet via a line wired to a forgotten BT public phonebox. Benjj and Pantha lived in rooms on the top story of the North Tower and Loki the top level of the South Castle for the reasons of expediency. Tobias had been allocated space in the hall and Fingal had taken up residence nearby, although he planned to relocate to the adjacent disused church as soon as possible.

Arthur leaned over the table and tapped at a point on the map about 35 miles from their current position. "As I was telling Pisky before you arrived", he said, suddenly no longer jovial, "Boscobel's been taken. It was on the net this morning".
"It's amazing it lasted as long as it did", Pisky replied, "Too close to Wolverhampton. Anything that close to a city is bound to be noticed. What about Newstead ? - Are they still holding out ?"
"Fook knows", came the reply, "At least they have Sherwood to run to if they get raided - Boscabel had sod all". Arthur took another draught of cider before passing around the group.
"They're getting more organised every day", he said, "One day they'll be coming for us, the same as they went after that ATS group over the pond. They're still holding but they lost good people on the last raid. I hope they've got some aces up their sleeves, 'cause I doubt the Corporations are going to be very happy when they find out two of their choppers got shot down"

Benjj was about to reply until he noticed KayEm come running out of the hall. Reaching the group, she took a gulp of air and looked furtively around to make sure no one else was listening, before quietly announcing her news to the group.

"The girl you brought in earlier - It's worse than I thought".

"Meaning what ?"

"She's got the plague !"

Stokesay Castle

[Edited on 16-5-2004 by Pisky]

posted on Mar, 18 2004 @ 08:49 PM
Good stuff, mate. I'm still loving how you're capturing the slightly insane/slightly sadist nature of my favorite character.

posted on Mar, 18 2004 @ 10:14 PM
It's nice to see real pictures, the story is good too, keep it up!

posted on Mar, 19 2004 @ 02:43 AM
First class work my friend, I shall raise a glass of perry to you tonight at the festive board!

posted on Mar, 19 2004 @ 03:10 AM
excellent! I really like the use of illustration and scrumpy mmmmmmmmm

keep up the good work, I can't wait to find out what's gonna happen next.

posted on Mar, 19 2004 @ 09:28 AM
I'm lovin it Pisky. Looks like our friends have stepped in it. You might need a holy grail. Is there going to be specific days for your installments? When do we look for them? Soon I hope.

posted on Mar, 19 2004 @ 11:45 AM
wow awesome story pisky, i am really looking forward to the rest of the installments, keep it up

posted on Mar, 23 2004 @ 04:44 PM
Chapter Three - Ring a Ring O'Roses

"The plague ? You've got to be fecking kidding !" Pisky looked into KayEm's brown eyes and realised that she wasn't.
"Bollocks !"
"How far along is she ?" Arthur asked, knowing the answer before it was given.
KayEm shook her head. "Unless we get some kind of miracle, she'll be gone within the hour"
Pisky looked at the sky, muttering imprecations under his breath, while Benjj and Pantha stood stock still, not knowing what to do or say.

This wasn't something that they could fight with guns and bows, nor with Loki's arsenal of death-dealing fire-based weaponry. This was the hellish enemy that wiped out two-thirds of the population of 'once great' Britain. The unnatural genetic plague virus created by man and designed to 'defend' the country from the terrorist attacks by infiltrating their very cell structures and utterly wiping them out. Designed to target only those with a certain genetic makeup, the plague, code named DNA666 was a genocidal maniac's dream. Of course, the corporate scientists had said, it would also wipe out most of the terrorist's racial gene pool, but that was the price of safety. And if it worked, they could sell it to the Israeli Government to help with the Palestinian 'problem'. These corporate biotech-barons took their cue from Josef Mengele, the Nazi angel of death, in planning to wipe out a whole race in the name of 'Defence'. However, in their rush to complete this act of corporate genocide, they neglected to realise - or maybe they knew all along - that all people come from the same original stock.

Once released, it struck quickly and quietly. People would wake in the morning hale and hearty and by evening would be stinking blackening corpses. Those were the lucky ones - most lingered in a half-dead state for two or three days before shuffling off the mortal coil. Yes, there was an antidote - there always is - but only the 'Elite' and their Corporate thugs were fortunate to recieve it. Two thirds of the country fell within a month, the rest, somehow immune, carried on their lives as best they could under the auspices of the Corporate New World Order and its sheepdogs.

"That # killed twelve of my people". Arthur said, rubbing his eyes to push away the memory,"Just before we came here".
"I remember", KayEm replied quietly. It was just after she and Pisky had first reached the castle. They arrived to find the place in uproar and Arthur rushing around trying to call the worried contigent to order. These people had left the towns in order to avoid the plague, and now it was in the midst of them. KayEm had taken control of the limited medical supplies and managed to nurse three of the afflicted back to health. The other twelve had died - There was nothing else to be done. Then, as quickly as it had appeared, DNA666 was gone. After a week without any new outbreaks KayEm thought it was over, but she watched carefully for another month just to be certain.

Now it was back. KayEm knew that some people were immune, but without proper laboratory equipment, she couldn't tell who. It was like a lottery of death. Two men would be sitting in a pub, one would die, one would live. A woman would board a bus. By the end of her journey she would have infected twenty of the twenty two passengers. Of those twenty, nineteen would die. KayEm held her hands together to keep them from shaking, then turned and walked back to the infirmary.

"Do we keep it quiet or what ?", BenJJ asked, his mouth dry.
"I don't know" was all Arthur said.
Pisky leaned against the table, then reached over and picked up the cider bottle. He took a drink, then passed the bottle to Benjj. "If we tell them, we'll scare the # out of them", he said, looking around the courtyard at the people working to keep 'Camelot' functioning. "But if we don't say anything, it'll make us as bad as those corporate bastards".
"Is there anything we can do ?" Pantha looked around, her face white, "I mean, isn't there a place we can get an antidote or something. The militia must have been given antiviral shots or they'd have died at the same rate as the people."
Arthur sighed. They had been through this before, during the first outbreak. There was a military base at Chetwynd, the other side of Shropshire, but it was classified as 'unspecified', meaning it could be anything from a training barracks to a full fledged UK version of Area 51. At that point their total armoury had consisted of a couple of shotguns, a pistol, Pisky's bow and Arthur's sword, which of course was called 'Excalibur'. An attack on the base would have been suicide. Now, they had a considerable armoury, decent training and Loki's unerring ability to convert matter into ash by judicious use of fire. But they were still lacking intelligence about what to expect. Surveillance would need to be implemented, and by the time enough info was available, the plague could have spread like wildfire.

"I can get us in"
Pisky spun around to face Tobias who nodded his head.
"I can get us in", Tobias repeated, "I was in Chetwynd for a month last year. Seconded by REME to fix a few things - just before I found out what was happening and buggered off".
"You're Army ?", Benjj asked, "I thought so"
"Royal Engineers", Tobias replied, taking the bottle and finishing off the last of the cider. "Then things went to pot, I saw a few things I didn't like - kicked the arse of some Corporate thug and buggered off AWOL"
"Well fook me with a fishook !", Arthur said, regaining some of his early joviality, "If you can get us in, we never know what fun we can have"
"Its not going to be a walk in the park though", Tobias said seriously, "I'll need three people - can't risk a bigger group - and the horses won't be any good if we have to leave rapidly." He eyed the four quadbikes parked at the side of the toilet block. "Do they work?"
"Three do, the fourth's fooked - the petrol can got hit. Lucky it didn't go up or Pisky'd have lost his balls". Pisky grimaced at the thought.
"I can fix that OK", Tobias said, "Give me an hour. I assume the smithy has tools ?"
Arthur nodded and Tobias strode over to where the blacksmith was working. Pisky looked at the quad bikes; "Personally, I prefer the horses."

The sun was low in the sky by the time Tobias had fixed the quad bikes' petrol tank. "I hope this thing's going to be OK", Pisky asked, inspecting the workmanship and finding nothing to complain about.
"Well", Tobias replied with a grin, "If it fries your knackers, just bring it back and I'll give you a refund".
"Marvellous", said Arthur, the obligatory bottle of 'Best Pixyland' in his hands, "Another fookin' comedian".
He took a drink; "I assume you bastards are ready to go ?"
"Loki's on the bog", Pisky said, resettling his bikes saddle bag.
"Too much cider does that to a man", Arthur explained, "Until you're use to it - which I am" He took another drink, belched loudly and slapped Pisky on the shoulder. "I forgot, Angover's got something for you".
Angover was Camelot's blacksmith. His true name, Cornish to the core, was Angove, meaning appropriately enough 'the Smith'. However his love for cider being second only to that of Arthur, he had received an additional letter 'R' at the end of his name courtesy, of course, of Pisky.
When Pisky arrived at the smithy, it was to find Angover ranting in Cornish at a young girl of about twelve years old, who seemed to find the whole thing hilarious. "Good day master Smith', said Pisky, smiling at the red faced artisan. "problems with the hired help, I see."
"She's a wilful girl, my Tamsin", Angover replied, his anger replaced by love for his daughter. "But I suppose thats to be expected. She's got her mothers looks and her father's temper". Angover stood for a while, a sad look on his face. His wife had been one of the first to succumb to the plague, and it was only because of KayEm's skill that Tamsin herself had survived. "Right Pisky", Angover walked over to the other side of the smithy, returning with an object wrapped in sackcloth.
"Here's the sword you asked for - I hope its to your liking". Angover smiled. He knew damn well that his work would be to Pisky's liking. His work was almost the equal of Wayland himself.
Pisky unwrapped the sword. It was a copy of one in the Inverness Museum once used by a Pictish warrior during the Roman occupation of England. Swords like this, wielded by the small, indigenous Picts, ensured that the Romans were unable to conquer England's Northern neighbour. And of course, it was quite possible that the stories of the Piskies - long considered to be mere legends - were factual stories of the Picts themselves transported to the West of England. Hence Pisky's interest. The sword was complete with a leather scabbard incribed with Pictish beasts and the Pictish ogham script recently rediscovered.

Thanking Angover, Pisky grinned at the mischievous Tamsin and walked back to where the adventurers were huddled around the quad bikes. KayEm was with them, talking quietly to Arthur while Pantha leaned by a table looking quite white.
Seeing Pisky walking towards them, Arthur cut him off; "The girl died", he said, licking his dry lips; "KayEm's had her body taken to the graveyard. Fingal's doing the requiem in private. We don't need to tell anyone else just yet. Hopefully you'll be back soon enough with jabs for everyone."

Pisky fastened his sword onto his belt, checked his saddlebags once again and slipped the bow into the specially made leather holster fastened to his bike. Looking around he saw his companions on this trip - Benjj, Loki and Tobias - making similar preparations. He waved to KayEm, who lifted her hand before hurrying back to the hall before Pisky could see the tears in her eyes. Reverently, Arthur lifted his jug of cider in a toast to the four as they drove through the gatehouse, across the drawbridge and into the coming dusk.

posted on Mar, 23 2004 @ 07:39 PM
absolutly awesome!!! now i can't wait for the next installment again!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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