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The Mercenaries’ Tale – 3.03 Mad Dog at the Monkey’s Jewel

Blaise and her colleagues engaged Mad Dog, his thugs and the more enthusiastic restaurant patrons in melee combat. As Annie and the slim man were acting as a blockade, they were first to meet resistance. Annie deftly refolded her fan as she lurched forward to intercept the first thug and used it to slap him in the face before launching herself into a corkscrew kick to take out the next thug to close the gap between the two groups. The slim man was on the move, anticipating Annie’s actions perfectly as he ducked underneath her so that he could remove the sheath of his cane-blade in such a way that it would strike the first thug in the gut.

As Annie and the slim man were divided by their new sparring partners, the way became clear for the rest of Mad Dog’s gang to proceed with their attack. Blaise quickly drew both pistols, barrels in palms in order to utilise the thick pistol grips as effective coshes. A thug drove his fist towards her and she gingerly weaved out of the way, awaiting an opening so that she could slam a weapon into the side of his head. He staggered away from her, spat at the floor in frustration and tried again. He swiped high, Blaise bobbed low, he lashed out, she twirled aside and rammed the butt of a pistol into the back of his head. He growled out a slur and the process started over again, the thug becoming more frustrated with each and every dodge. Blaise was like an angry militant ballerina, nimbly dodging thrown punches and replying via the medium of pistol grip.

Her colleagues were just as able. Annie and Harper were at home with a spot of street fighting, with Annie showing off her adept kickboxing prowess with high-flying kicks. Jessie preferred a more subdued style consisting of punches and the odd flair of a wrestling move. Harper also wasn’t afraid to utilise her surroundings, grabbing a chair to bash a gang member across the chest with. The intended recipient never received it, however, as one of the eager patrons grabbed it mid-swing and attempted to prise it away. Harper resisted at first, entering a tug-of-war with the man only to suddenly let go, the man being sent flying backwards into a group of his fellows. She began to laugh only for the intended recipient of the chair to tackle her around the waist. She yelled out in surprise as they fell towards the floor, Harper lashing out and managing to hook her fingers into his nostrils. She yanked his head up and began laying into it with a fist as they hit the floor, the man struggling to unhook himself now that he’d inadvertently placed himself into a headlock, Harper lying across his trapped arms, the pair a tangled mess.

The quiet Parkinson had taken up a defensive stance, and was keeping his cool while redirecting attackers into walls and furniture.  He was stood at the back of the melee, only really contributing if anyone strayed too close to him. He was a sniper by trade, hand-to-hand being something he preferred to avoid. Most of the brawlers left him be purely because of the perceived greater danger of the others. Occasionally Parker would grab an abandoned plate from one of the tables and launch it at an opponent like a Frisbee, each throw hitting its target in the face precisely between the eyes, often covering the target in greasy leftovers.

The only other person not occupied with the fight was Tupper, who was walking around the intermingling groups of brawlers and chuckling at the fracas. Every time a thug went towards him, he’d reveal a detonator in one hand wired to his bandolier of grenades, wave the index finger at them using his other hand and then proceed to tut at them. He’d take their moment of hesitation as opportunity to sucker-punch them.

The slim man had managed to bump into the one thug in Mad Dog’s gang with a penchant for bladed combat, the thug having produced a machete. The thug brandished the blade, slashing and thrusting in the direction of the mercenary. The slim man expertly avoided them like a master fencer, one arm folded behind his back, grasping the sheath of his blade whilst the other steered the cane-sword, slapping the larger weapon off-course when it veered too close for comfort. When the thug left a gap in his defence, the slim man would flick the blade towards the thug and cheekily slice off an item from the thug’s person; bits of his leather vest, his belt, bits of t-shirt and even a chunk of boot. Eventually the thug tired of being made a mockery of and decided to chuck the machete right at the slim man’s head. The slim man easily dodged it but hadn’t expected the thug to utilise the distraction by body slamming the merc into the restaurant’s bar. The slim man tried to swing the blade at his aggressor only for the thug to grab his wrist with one large hand, the other reaching around to grind the slim man’s face into the bar. The slim man spat in the eye of the man restraining him and snarled to “get your filthy plebeian hands off of me”.

This didn’t go unnoticed, Annie mid-way through using one thug’s chest as a springboard in order to launch into a flip to leap over a patron wielding a knife pinched from one of the dining tables. She landed on her feet, grabbed the arm of her attacker and dragged it towards her, the owner being dragged along with it and receiving a knee to the abdomen. Annie tossed him aside as she laid eyes on the commotion at the bar.

“Ah’m comin’ sugah!” she called, preparing to sprint to the slim man’s rescue. This proved easier said than done as three different men jumped her at once. One came from behind, grabbing her arms and pinning them behind her back as the other two approached.

“Let’s see you hop around now!” proclaimed a particular thug who resembled a lumberjack, right down to the beard and plaid shirt. Annie responded by leaning forward and then propelling herself backwards, using the man grabbing her as a leverage as she kicked the lumberjack in the face. The man holding the Texan found himself staggering backwards as her centre of gravity changed, the force of the kick tipping him over. They fell to the floor but he still held on, one of his mates leaping on Annie to try and hold down her legs. The lumberjack righted himself, inspected his now weeping nose and grabbed a bottle, breaking it against a table. He inspected the now broken glass, showing it off for the enraged Annie.

“I think it’s time we taught you a lesson, miss!” he growled.

“I’ve got a lesson for you!” Tupper’s voice chimed in, drawing the group’s attention. He was stood behind them, his outstretched arm displaying the detonator while the other gestured at the grenades strapped to his chest. The lumberjack eyed them up before noticing the detonator. There was something off about the scrap of silver in the scarred man’s hand.

“…That’s just a packet of mints,” the Lumberjack observed. There was a pause, Tupper opening up his palm to check its contents. The detonator was, indeed, actually a packet of mints.

“Want one? Here, take ‘em!” Tupper threw the mints at the lumberjack’s head. The lumberjack easily caught them and replied by placing two fingers in his mouth and sharply whistling, drawing the attention of more of the patrons.

“Get him! I bet those aren’t even real explosives!” he yelled, Tupper suddenly aware that he was in a lot of trouble as he quickly became surrounded by brawlers that had previously been too afraid to touch him. He tried slinging a blow at the nearest one only for someone behind him to hit him with a chair. The chair broke on impact, stunning Tupper long enough for several patrons to tackle him to the floor all at once.

Parkinson was also aware of their changing fortunes. Now that his friends were mostly subdued, Mad Dog’s thugs were growing more interested in him. One thug tried to grab him, Parkinson nimbly sidestepping, sweeping a plate off of the table as he moved and smashing it against the thug’s head. The thug backed off to pick china shards out of his face, two more thugs taking his place. They stepped around the table separating them from their quarry, leaping at him the moment he was in range. Parkinson slid across the table to escape – the two thugs comically crashing into one another – and bumped into Mad Dog himself. Delgado sneered down at him. Parkinson, aware that Delgado wasn’t about to simply let him go, flung a fist forward. Mad Dog caught it and lifted Parkinson off of the floor.

“Nice try,” he informed the merc, flinging the sniper back across the table from whence he came. Parkinson bounced across the wooden surface of the table and landed roughly at the feet of the two thugs he had just escaped. As the two thugs laid into the prone sniper, Mad Dog turned his attention to Blaise.

Blaise and her aggressor had been joined by a group of patrons. Dodging one slow-witted thug was one thing but five was difficult. Blaise was an agile thing though, and she tried using their lack of coordination against them, manoeuvring between brawlers and diving aside in time for them to accidentally attack each other. A thug threw a punch at her, she leapt into a roll and the thug connected with a patron’s face. The patron responded by decking the thug.

Blaise landed on her feet, spun and jumped out of the way of an incoming left hook. She smashed a pistol into the attacker’s jaw and tried to sidestep around them in time to avoid the swipes of another patron. He managed to grab a sleeve, pulling her close. Blaise rewarded him with a swift kick to the crotch followed swiftly by a blow to the back of the head as he doubled over. He fell to the floor. The five thugs were now down to just two, the first two having become more interested in throttling each other than capturing Blaise.

She waited for one to make a move. One was short and aggressive, the other stocky and wielding a chain. Shorty charged, hoping to tackle Blaise to the floor. Blaise slid to the left, foot stuck out to trip him as he ran past, the short one succumbing to gravity and hitting his chin hard on a table as he fell.

Shorty’s stockier friend shook his head in exasperation before proceeding to lash out at Blaise with the chain. It flicked through the air like a whip, coming dangerously close to Blaise’s head. She tried to keep her distance, jumping backwards, dipping low and leaping to avoid the flying links of metal. She tried not to think about what would happen if it actually hit her, instead focusing on the fingers grasping the chain.

Blaise adjusted the pistol in her right hand so that she could grasp the grip, the barrel swinging around to face her attacker. There was a loud bang, a bullet being fired and obliterating the man’s knuckles. He dropped the chain and doubled over, grasping his injured hand in dismay. The patter of footsteps drew his attention back to Blaise, the man looking up just in time for her other pistol to collide with the bridge of his nose, the impact sending him toppling over into unconsciousness.

Blaise allowed herself a pride-filled smile. It was short-lived as she became aware of something big travelling towards her at great speed. It was Mad Dog, with murderous intent behind his scowl. Blaise attempted to leap aside as he came barrelling towards her but he was surprisingly fast for someone so big. He managed to grab a fistful of coat, giving it a good strong yank. Blaise was wrenched from her feet, a startled cry escaping her lips as Mad Dog spun on his heel and sent her flying across the room. Blaise skimmed across the floor like a pebble across water, eventually crashing painfully into the restaurant’s dessert display case. The glass cracked and splintered as Blaise hit it, the gunslinger bouncing off and landing in a heap on the floor.

She wasn’t allowed a reprieve, the floor quaking as Delgado gave chase. A nasty twinge in her back slowed her as she tried to force herself up to escape whatever he was about to dish out. Too slow. A meaty hand grasped her ankle before she could get away, Mad Dog dragging her back towards him.  Blaise launched her other foot into his face. This only prompted him to laugh at her.

“Ya gotta doo better than tha’!” he sneered as he loomed over her. She responded by trying to slam a pistol into his ugly mug. He caught her wrist, twisting it painfully, prompting her to gasp in pain. This made him grin harder, the gang leader lifting her off of the floor and smashing her onto the nearest table top. It creaked from the force, Blaise’s spine reverberating in agony from the impact.

Mad Dog took hold of her throat, the brute leaning close as his grip tightened, making it hard for Blaise to breathe.

Mad Dog and Blaise

“Now let’s try this again. Your mage pal, where is he?” Delgado asked. Blaise twisted, flinging a leg into his side. If he felt it, he didn’t show it. His scowl simply darkened and he punched her so hard in the head it made her ears ring and vision temporarily blur. He lifted her a few inches and then slammed her back onto the table, her vision refocusing on his hairy face.

“Wheeere’s the magic man?” growled Mad Dog more persistently, spittle pattering on Blaise’s face.

“Ta-daaaa!” a voice cried out, the saloon doors of the restaurant slamming open as Doug McCracken elbowed them out of the way. He took one look around the room and quickly totted up the number of faces around him, ignoring that he was now the centre of attention.

This fight’s musical accompaniment: “Communication Breakdown” by Led Zeppelin. Because most situations involving Doug McCracken involve a breakdown in communication at some point! -Sean.

“He ain’t da mage, kick his arse!” snapped Mad Dog. Two of his thugs ran at Doug, who grinned widely and chuckled. His bionic arm whirring as he manoeuvred it, he wrenched a thin water pipe off of the wall like it hadn’t even been attached to anything and hefted it in both hands like a baseball bat. Striding forward, he caught the first thug across the cheekbone and sent him skidding across the floor, with the backswing he caught the second under the chin and sent him flying.

The other mercs took the opportunity of Doug’s distraction to re-engage the thugs restraining them, and the moment of victory quickly reverted to an active fight. Harper managed to roll over so that she was now on top and slammed her aggressor’s head into the floor until he lost consciousness. She then deftly swiped a bottle as she ran towards the struggling Annie, threw the bottle at the face of the guy holding down the Texan’s legs and jump-kicked the guy holding on to Annie’s arms. Annie flipped herself onto her feet, grabbed the pool cue from earlier and used it to smack aside some of the thugs laying into Tupper, giving the bomber enough breathing room to throw off the remaining brawlers. The two mercs glanced Harper’s way, the scouse giving them a thumbs up and a cheeky grin. Annie responded with an appreciative nod before she and Tupper rejoined the fray in order to rescue their friends.

Mad Dog tore his attention away from his attempts to question Blaise, his focus shifting to the bionically-enhanced arsehole tearing through his small army of thugs. Doug, gripping one thug by the arm tightly with his prosthetic, was laying into the man’s face with his other hand. With his victim stunned, he reverse donkey-kicked another man who was advancing on him from behind square in the balls, and then went in low on the stunned thug he’d been concentrating on. In one movement he lifted the guy around the waist off of the floor and launched him into two other thugs. He was laughing the entire time. Delgado growled in annoyance and called over the nearest member of his gang.

“Here, watch this for me,” he instructed, thrusting the dazed form of Blaise into the thug’s arms. Mad Dog stomped off, pursuing his new prey.

Doug weaved throughout the fight, a man possessed. His distinctive laugh boomed over the fighting as he dug a steel toecap into the crotch of one thug, and then gripped hold of and tossed said thug into another. Grabbing the edge of a table, he flipped it into the face of another thug, and then elbowed another in the nose with his bionic arm. With the crowd around him thinning out, he found himself face-to-face with Mad Dog, and shook his head.

“Oh, you want some too, pal?” he jeered.

“Ahm Mad Dog, buddy. I’mma gonna break yoo in two!” Mad Dog replied, equally confident.

“You’ve been a baaad booy, Mad Dog. I’m going to have to put you down. Here, boy!” yelled Doug, brimming with excitement, “Come on then, you big fat bastard!”

Mad Dog lunged, Doug side-stepped and dug his knee into the man’s gut. Mad Dog shrugged it off, landing a few blows to Doug’s chin. The merc shrugged it off as equally, and suddenly both were in a grapple, hands locked into hands. The sheer size of Mad Dog meant that Doug was on the back-foot being pushed towards the doors he had entered from, but he grinned as he allowed his bionic arm to exert a little more pressure than would normally be humanly possible. Mad Dog squealed and pulled the hand not being pulped free, attempting a few easily-avoided wide swings at the man clamped on to his other hand. Allowing Mad Dog to pull his crushed hand free, Doug gripped one of the saloon doors with his bionic hand and, with a little effort, ripped it clean off of its hinges. The door swung in an arc, guided by Doug’s hands, right on to Mad Dog’s head with such force that the wood split along its middle. The big man was momentarily stunned, the lump of timber being enough to disorientate his brains. With a long continuous howl, Doug took a run up and leapt, both his hands each gripping a leather flap on the hat on Mad Dog’s head. He pulled, and exerted the full force of his forehead into Mad Dog’s face.

The blow was a thunderclap of flesh on flesh, and the kinetic energy Doug exerted launched both him and Mad Dog across the restaurant into the salad bar. Rolling off of Mad Dog on to the floor and picking himself up, Doug ran a hand through his hair as the world realigned itself in his vision. The other occupants of the restaurant were just staring at him, a crowd of faces expressing amazement, shock, fear and wonder. Mad Dog burbled quietly as blood trickled out of his ears.

Doug nonchalantly went through his personal ritual of locating a cigarette in his jacket, finding his lighter and lighting it up. Taking a long drag, he grinned at the other occupants of the bar and theatrically pretended to crack the knuckles on his human hand1.

“Your mate here is looking a bit ruff. Dog tired, even. Who’s next?” he asked, earnestly.

In a moment of shared consensus, Mad Dog’s crew each individually decided to head for the door. The thug holding Blaise hesitated, considering how long he would stay in one piece if he continued his attempts to restrain her now that Mad Dog was out of commission. Any thoughts of continuing with the task Mad Dog had given him evaporated as Blaise turned her head to give him the iciest glare he had ever received. He let her go and ran for the door. Blaise tenderly sat down on the nearest piece of furniture that hadn’t been broken in the fight. She was soon joined by Annie and the slim man, the pair gravitating towards her whilst casting sceptical looks in Doug’s direction, the merc still enjoying his celebratory fag whilst performing his other post-fight ritual of giving a thorough examination of the fallen opponent’s wallet.

“I hope that guy’s on our side!” the man sneered, slightly unsure.

“Fortunately,” said a weary, aching Blaise, “he’s my stray.”

  1. It is quite common for people in this era who have prosthetics geared for strength to completely forget that their appendage can buckle a steel plate. It’s all too common for folks to be at the hospital because they’ve accidentally pulped their own hand while trying to crack their knuckles, or because they’ve been having a kick-around with a ball and now need a surgeon to remove it from their torso because their friend forgot that they shouldn’t kick with their bionic leg.

Post by | February 25, 2014 at 12:00 pm | The Mercenaries' Tale | No comment

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