The four quad bikes roared into the darkening countryside. Tobias had warned them that once they reached the area of Chetwynd they had to be on high
alert. It was, at least when he was there last, a supply base. A large area covered with hangars of various descriptions and storage huts. They had a
large turnover of men and equipment, with trucks constantly entering and leaving the compound. Tobias believed that getting into the place wouldn't
be too difficult. Leaving, however, could be a different thing altogether.
After an hour, they stopped to check their position and to evacuate their bladders.
"Do you know what we look like ?", asked Loki, looking down at his military fatigues complete with green waterproof hoods.
"SAS ?" asked Benjj, checking that his shotgun was safely holstered on the side of his bike.
"Fecking pixies", came Loki's reply.
"And what's wrong with Pixies ?", asked Pisky, settling his bow and making sure that his backpack was balanced properly.
"Nothing", came the reply, "I just didn't think that pixies were very ... well, martial".
Pisky mounted his quadbike. "Feck that". Pisky replied, "They aren't those 'tinkerbell' faeries", he said,"actually, according to the old
legends, they fought the Roman legions two thousand years ago - and stopped them from conquering their country"
"Well bugger me", replied Loki, "We learn new things every day"
"I posted it in an ATS thread before everything went to #". said Pisky.
Do you know". interrupted Benjj, "We really should have some kind of code name like the Americans have - 'Deus' Devils' I think they are called.
Apparently Deus Ex and his group have been kicking serious corporate arse".
"Thats true", said Loki, "Arthur told me about that earlier on - He got it from the net. The corporates arent very pleased, apparently Deus Ex's
group have shot down a couple of their helicopters".
"Feck the corporate bastards". spat Tobias, "They're a waste of space. Good look to Deus' Devils I say".
"And the same to 'Strike force Pixy !", said Pisky, having decided on the groups name without any kind of democratic ballot.
"Fair enough", replied Tobias, who just wanted this thing over with. And at that, he gunned his quad bike and rode off into the darkness, quickly
followed by his companions in battle.
They rode for most of the night, avoiding obvious roads and any area that could be patrolled by the corporate militia. Tobias was unsure as to exactly
what relationship these hired mercenaries had with the British armed forces, but knew from first hand experience that quite a few squaddies had balked
at firing on unamed civilians. Some, like Tobias himself, even went as far as to turn their weapons upon the black garbed mercenaries rather than
follow their murderous orders.
It was the hour before dawn, supposedly the darkest time of the night, when they reached the hills just above Chetwynd. Killing the engines, they hid
the quad bikes in a small gully before climbing to the top of the nearest hill to survey the base. Tobias pointed to a small sentry hut at the right
side of the compound. Beside it was a barrier which currently was lifted to allow a black lorry to enter. "They have at least three men in there",
Tobias whispered, "The barrier is pretty strong. One arsehole got drunk and tried to crash through it with a lorry", He grimaced at the memory,
"The barrier bent a bit but held. The driver ended up in the glasshouse. If we get noticed, we'll try to get back the way we came in - ramming our
way out is out of the question".
"What about explosives ?", asked Loki, eager to try out his new experimental grenade.
"Lets see if we can get out without making too much of a ruckus first", Tobias said seriously. "The medical supplies were kept in that white cabin
over there", he continued, gesturing in the direction of a small building with a generator built into the back. "Its refrigerated so the antitoxins
keep, but once we take the stuff we have to get it back to the castle before it has a chance to ..."
"# !!! Look over there". Benjj gestured dramatically towards the back of the compound.
On a bare patch of concrete beyond the small supply hangars stood one of the black helicopters. "Definite corporate presence then", Pisky said,
breaking wind. "That's what I think of those bastards".
"Your arse is a fecking biological hazard !", complained Loki, wafting away the offensive odour.
"Sorry, Vindaloo for dinner". Pisky grinned evily. "Followed by four pints of Guinness".
"What ?", Loki asked, astounded, "No 'Best Pixyland' ?".
"Not this time - it doesn't have the same entertainment value".
"Not true", Loki replied, a look of concentration on his face. He let rip one of his own, grimacing as what felt like superheated gases burst
"OK" Tobias ordered, "lets get going before Terrence and Philip over there give away our position". That said, he rolled over the top of the hill
and began sliding carefully down the opposite side, heading towards the back of the compound.
Benjj secured his kit and followed suit, with Loki and Pisky close behind.
Reaching the chain link fence, Tobias removed a set of bolt cutters from his kit and deftly snipped away. Within seconds he had cut away enough of the
fence to allow him to squeeze through. Once in, he took up covering position while first Benjj then Pisky followed.
Loki was just forcing himself through the hole when Tobias' whispered voice carried over.
"Stay still". Loki froze. Voices were coming from the other side of the small supply hangar to their right. Pisky slowly took his bow from his
shoulder and readied an arrow. Two militia guards came around the corner. Arrogant to the core, they obviously did not expect an attack while actually
inside their own compound. For their pains, one received an arrow in the throat while Tobias grabbed the head of the other, twisted violently and
broke his neck.
Muttering abuse, Loki finished scrambling through the fence and joined the others.
Pisky retrieved his arrow, while Tobias dragged the corpse of his own victim behind the hangar. Once done, he did the same with the other as Pisky
cleaned the arrow and placed it back into its quiver.
"It won't be long before those feckers are missed", Loki said, glaring at the dead militia.
"Enough for us to get what we need though". Benjj took the safety off his shotgun and scanned the area, while Tobias sprinted across the gap between
two of the hangars and dropped to a crouch. Soon enough, he waved them on. First Benjj, then Loki and finally Pisky followed, another arrow fitted to
his bow in case of corporate interference.
The sound of the generator beside the medical stores masked the sound of their footsteps as they reached their objective. With his back against the
wall, Tobias leaned out and carefully looked towards the door. Nothing. This was going easier that he expected. Quickly he crept alongside the side
wall to the door. Pisky covered him as he scanned right and left before opening the white painted door and slipping inside. Hearing nothing untoward,
Pisky followed him inside, with Benjj and Loki close behind.
They were in a small antechamber with a door to the left. A coded lock with a glass panel gleamed beside the door. Pisky walked over to it and
investigated; "Feck knows what this is", he said, "I've never seen a lock like this". He put his hand on the panel and a green light scanned his
palm. A small display flashed above the palm scanner - "No ID", said Pisky.
"Bollocks to this", Loki said, "Time for the maestro to go to work". So saying, he removed a little package from his pocket, peeled away some tape
and stuck it to the panel. Lighting a match, he placed the flame to a small piece of detonator cord and quickly moved away.
With a rather loud 'crack', the explosive detonated, shattering the panel and causing the display above to show the blue screen of death. Grinning,
Loki pushed the door, which opened without a sound.
Tobias yelled, firing round after round through the open door and into the bodies of the corporate merceneries stationed within the room. Pisky let
loose an arrow, the shaft of which impaled one of the guards, pinning him to the wall. Benjj blew another's head clean off while Loki scrambled on
the floor where he had dropped upon hearing Tobias's yell.
It was a massacre. The guards didn't expect to be attacked and had no chance to draw their own weapons before being sent to Hades with fleas in their
ears. Tobias quickly checked the room. Apart from the smell of cordite and the sound of blood dripping from Pisky's impaled victim, all was still.
But Tobias knew it couldn't last. He rushed towards a refrigerator unit, pulled open the door and began rummaging through, calling to the others to
do the same with the remaining units. With fear lending speed to their hands, they dragged trays and trays of antitoxin from the shelves and stuffed
the contents into the bags brought specifically for the task. Each phial was labelled, but they hadn't the time to check each one. Hopefully the ones
they needed were kept here. Benjj finished with his unit and looked around, glancing at a small desk to the back of the room. He checked it over,
opening the drawers. There was little of interest, other than an old Windows 98 manual, a pornographic magazine and a CD with a numeric code written
on it, followed by the previous days date. Benjj ingored the manual and magazine but took the CD and rammed it into his pocket before returning to
help Loki with his antitoxin trays.
The aforementioned Loki however, heard a sound from the door and spun around to see the shocked face of a corporate scientist within a few feet of his
"# !", Loki dropped the tray he was holding and scrambled for his pistol. The scientist, realising what was happening, turned to run but was grabbed
by the back of his white coat by Benjj, who dragged him into the room. Tobias stood up from where he had been unceremoniously stuffing a tray into
his backpack. The scientist gasped at seeing Tobias and started squirming in Benjj's hands. Tobias merely grinned nastily and drew his sidearm,
pointing it towards the scientist whose face had now turned as white as his lab coat. The scientist gibbered unintelligibly, his hands shaking as he
dropped to his knees. Tobias levelled his pistol at the mans head while Pisky pushed the last tray into his own rucksack and stood to leave, watching
the scene unfolding before him. By now the scientist was rocking forwards and backwards on his knees, begging for mercy. Tobias closed his eyes for a
second; "Show some dignity, doctor", he said, and pulled the trigger. Benjj leaped away as the scientist's head exploded, the body slowly sliding
to the floor, blood pooling from the wound. Tobias growled and reholstered his weapon. "Out!", he said coldly, "Now !". Loki needed no second
bidding and, firstly checking the doorway, quickly slipped out of the cabin. Pisky went next, followed by an incredulous Benjj. Tobias left next, not
sparing a glance for the man he had gunned down in cold blood.
"Throw down your weapons and lie on the ground !"
Searchlights speared the night, illumining the ground and making the white cabin shine like new. A group of coroporate militia, resplendant in black
armour, stood not twenty feet from the exit. Loki had been the first to leave, backpeddalling rapidly as the bullhorn blared out the orders to disarm.
"Bollocks on a stick !" Loki ranted as he pushed the rest back through the antechamber and into the refrigeration room. There was no way out. No
other door nor windows. "I hope you've got something in your bag of tricks, Loki", Tobias said, leaning out the doorway to guage the closeness of
the militia thugs. "Of course", Loki said, grinning. "cover me,and push the fridges over. We're going to need some protection". With a curse,
Tobias pushed over the first unit, while Loki grabbed something shiny from his bag and started fiddling with it.
"They're here !!!" yelled Benjj, blasting through the open doorway at the first soldier to enter the antechamber. The soldier flew back, his helmet
shattered, while the ones behind shifted position and began a concentrated fire. Benjj leaped back, the stock of his shotgun shattered by a high
velocity round. "That was a fooking Purdey !!!", he ranted as he ducked back behind the door. Loki whistled, jumped over the fridges and,
accompanied by his three companions, ducked. A fiery explosion shook the room courtesy of Loki's incendiary device, and the back wall erupted in a
sheet of flame. Tobias swore, clambered over the now scorched refrigeration unit and kicked at the blackened wall. It turned into ash, leaving the way
"Fook faced pile of old #e !" ranted Pisky as the first of the corporate thugs elbowed his way into the room, weapon levelled. Unfortunately for
him, he was rapidly disembowelled as Pisky's new Pictish sword took its first victim. The screaming mercenary slammed into the doorway, desperately
trying to hold his guts in and effectively blocking the way in for his companions. Pisky sheathed his sword, leaped over the overturned fridge and
followed the others into the compound.
By now the place was in uproar. Militia mercenaries mixed with the occasional British Army squaddie milled around looking for something or someone to
shoot. Tobias dragged the group into a nearby hangar and looked around. He saw what he was looking for - a black jeep emblazoned with the insignia of
the Corporate Militia. Throwing his bag into the vehicle, he called to the others to do the same and started the engine. With Pisky yelling abuse from
the back of the jeep and Loki shouting that he had found something, Tobias gunned the engine and the vehicle screamed into action. Careening around
crates marked 'Ammunition', Tobias skillfully drove the car out of the hangar and into the compound proper. "# !", he muttered as he remembered
the strength of the industrial steel barrier at the base's entrance. He was about to heave the jeep back the way they had come when Loki caught his
eye and waved his new toy. "Look what I found !".
Tobias grinned. "I hope you know how to use that", he said, "Because we've only got one chance". And with that, he drove the vehicle right at the
"Shift over, Benjj", Loki said, squeezing between Benjj and Tobias and aiming what looked like a green pipe with a sighting mechanism on the top.
Ducking the wild firing of the militia, Loki closed one eye, sighted along the crosshairs and pulled the trigger. A jet of compressed air shot out of
the portable rocket launcher as its projectile flew towards its target. With a massive explosion, the barricade was ripped out of its base and shot
into the air. Loki yelled in glee. Pisky swore as a bullet slammed into his seat, flicking the V's in the direction of the assailant. An army truck
was approaching the base, the driver struggling to keep control of the vehicle as it was buffered by the blast wave. With a yell of triumph, Tobias
drove the jeep over the small crater caused by the explosion and skirted the truck. Loki threw a grenade into the back, and the truck exploded,
effectively blocking any pursuit. Looking back, Pisky watched as the militia mercenaries ran to their own vehicles and gave chase, only to be blocked
by the burning truck.
But that wasn't all he saw.
In the distance saw the elite black helicopter pilots scramble. It looked as if they wouldn't be giving up very easily. "Helicopter !", he yelled
in Tobias's ear."Loki, can you hit that chopper ?". Loki shook his head and threw the rocket launcher out of the jeep. "One shot only", he said
mournfully, berating the designer who had denied him his pleasure.
The helicopter powered on, rotors spinning. A gunner sat at the left of the aircraft, preparing his weapon, a side mounted high velocity machine gun.
Pisky watched as the chopper took off and began to move rapidly towards them. "# # # !!!", Tobias said, ramming his boot onto the accellerator
pedal. Loki watched the helicopter, a thoughful look on his face. "Can you
hit that chopper ?, he asked Pisky.
"I can hit it, but I don't think a fecking arrow's going to do much good". Loki was rummaging in his pockets. "Here", he said, handing Pisky a
roll of industrial tape and something that looked like a Roman Candle. "Tape that onto an arrow and stick it in that fecking helicopter". Pisky
complied, all the time watching the aircraft as it flew gracefully towards the fleeing jeep. Closer it came - soon the side-gunner would be in
With the explosive fastened to the arrow as best as possible, Pisky took aim. Because of the bouncing of the jeep, it was all he could do to keep his
aim straight, but finally, having compensated for every variable he could think of, Pisky released the arrow. It flew true, embedding itself into the
side of one of the rotor exhausts.
"Now watch this". Loki took the remote that he had previously used for switching on his boombox, and pressed the 'Play' button.
"Fook !!!", he ranted, "Bastard batteries came loose". Quickly he removed the door of the battery compartment, replaced the 'bastard batteries'
and pressed the button yet again.
The 'Roman candle' exploded. Far from being a normal firework designed to give pleasure to children all over the world, this thing was deadly. A
small radio-controlled detonator was embedded inside a piece of C4 and it was this that gave the little 'firework' a lethal punch. Given that it was
currently fastened to an arrow embedded in the helicopter's rotor exhaust, the result was obviously going to be pretty bad for the crew. The rotors
were blown off and the helicopter plummetted to the ground while the crew were sent on a one way trip to Lucifer's kingdom.
"Yes !!!" Loki screamed in delight, "I've been waiting to try that out for ages !!!".
Without further ado, the group returned to where the quad bikes were parked. Loki set fire to the jeep and they headed west, back towards the castle.
Every now and then they would look back and see a corporate helicopter hovering around the base, but other than that they had no further problems. It
was afternoon by the time they got back, riding quickly over the drawbridge into the courtyard. Pisky stretched his bones and yawned. Benjj cursed
foully as he looked at his shotgun's shattered stock while Loki and Tobias picked up their bags and trudged over to where Fingal was waiting near the
entrance to the hall.
Tobias made to enter, when Fingal stopped him. "I hope you got what you went for", he said, looking over to Pisky and Benjj who were walking across
"Why ? ... what's happened ?"
Fingal swallowed and blew out a tense breath before continued: "Its spread", he said.
"They're in the infirmary", he said, "four so far ... and one of them is Pantha"
KayEm closed her eyes and leaned against the wall. Pisky stood nearby. Arthur looked across at the four plague victims lying in their beds at the
other side of the infirmary.
"I've given them the antitoxin", KayEm said, "and everyone else has been innoculated ... but I don't know how much of a chance they have". She
walked over to where Pantha lay unconcious and shaking. "I don't know if we were fast enough".
Since I am on somewhat of a high at this point, I've almost finished the next chapter already. You can expect it tomorrow