Billy Jo had finally located his pants when he heard shouting in the distance. He couldn’t make it out, but it sounded like it was coming from the other side of the village. He grabbed his boar spear he kept leaning up against the wall near the bunk.
Harfreder was just waking up and inquired groggily “Billy Jo, What’s going on?”
“Something bad.” He said as he made his way to the door and outside without waiting for her. He was sure she’d be right behind him in a moment. It was still predawn and dark out, but the far side of the village was lit by eerie blue glow. It was on the other side of the longhouse, so he couldn’t see what the glow was coming from.
He was running down the longhouse when he caught his first glimpse of the invaders. The first thought that came to mind was gator people. The gator people were dressed in some type of uniform carrying weapons. He could see some of them had long swords and one had an axe that glowed with a same neon blue light that was coming from the far side of the village. He ran full tilt down the longhouse at the closest Gator Trooper. His speed and strength propelled his spear through the gator’s man chest with such force that even the lugs penetrated into its chest cavity. The momentum of the impact continued, propelling the gator man back several feet off the end of Billy Jo spear.
Apparently the gator men hadn’t expected speed and ferocity of the Billy Jo’s attack. They glanced down at their dead companion and then back up at Billy Jo with a look shock on their reptilian faces. They hesitated for a second and then took a step towards him their weapons readied. Behind them the villagers were pouring out of the longhouses armed with weapons of their own. Billy Jo stabbed with his spear, dealing a deep wound to the stomach of one of the gator men in front of him. It fell over clutching the fountain of blood pouring from its entrails. The other gator man turned to face the group of villagers that had come up behind him. The two to his right were back a few paces out of range of his spear. He saw two reds dots on his chest from the laser pointers on their weapons as they took aim. Uh oh.
One of the blasts from the energy weapons hit him in the shoulder and the other in the chest. It reminded him of the time he had tested the Taser on himself. There was a shock, but it wasn’t nearly as bad as he had expected. Actually it was pretty mild compared to the taser which had left him twitching the floor for several seconds. He wanted to shout “Dude get a real weapon,” instead took a few steps forward ramming his spear in the throat of the nearest gator man. Damn, he was on fire. He was decent in a fight, but he was mowing these guys down like nobody’s business.
He heard the gator man in front of him mutter under his breath. “Take them alive, fuck that.” The gator man adjusted the settings on his weapon and it began to hum ominously. He took aim at Billy Jo and pushed the button on the handle. “Oh shit!” was the last thing that went through Billy Jo’s mind as the yellow pulse from the rifle hit him in the chest. The stunning force of the blast threw him backwards and he was vaguely aware that he had landed on the villagers behind him. His chest felt like it was being burned by an arc welder, a sensation he had hoped never to experience again and his head was spinning. He could feel the villagers under him moving and the chaotic sounds the fight all around him. The only voice he could make out clearly was Harfreder. He heard her say his name quickly followed by a battle cry as she charged pass him towards the gator men.
He was still groggy and barely able to stand, but the villagers were helping him to his feet. Harfreder had engaged one of the gator men armed with a sword with the assistance of several of the other villagers. Billy Jo focused his attention on the one that had shot him, that bastard was going to pay. Billy Jo charged again. He was still feeling the effects of the blast and the burn on his chest looked serious, but it barely slowed him as he got up to the gator man that had shot him. The gator man tried to dodge, but it was futile as the spear took him in the rib cage with a bone jarring impact. The gator man’s eyes rolled up into his head as he collapsed.
Ahead of him through the fray Billy Jo could see another group of gator men assaulting one of the longhouses. There was ship that looked like something out of Star Wars hovering nearby. The bottom was casting out the neon blue light he had been seeing. To his left he caught a glimpse of Harfreder stabbing the last of the gator men from the group he had originally charged. It was surrounded by villagers and one of them caught it in the back with a hunting knife. That gator was done for.
Behind the crowd of villagers he saw Cyan. She was trapped by two of the gator men between one of the longhouses and a supply shed that was now on fire. Billy Jo charged through the villagers and struck the gator man that was facing Cyan in the back with his spear. It was a glancing blow, but it sent the gator man sprawling to ground face first. Donovan came down out of nowhere with a spear taking the other gator man down. Billy Jo had no idea why Donovan had been on the roof of the longhouse, but the attack from above had been effective. He turned and saw that the floating ship had landed and a couple of gator men were heading towards it. The gator man at his feet was trying to get back up; he stabbed with his spear as he ran and leapt onto the deck of the ship.
There were two gator men trying to board the ship from the other side. He was feeling pretty cocky and he tried to take them both out with quick thrusts before they could bring their weapons to bear. They were actually pretty fast for gator people and the first one ducked under his spear and he hit the rail of the ship. Damn. He should have just stuck with gutting them one at a time. Before he could take another stab at them the ship began to rise. There was a raised platform on the ship about ten feet up with a gator man that he assumed was the pilot. Apparently the pilot had decided discretion was the better part of valor and was taking off without his buddies. He saw the forlorn look of two gator men that had been trying to board as they attempted to jump and grab a hold of the ship, but it was too late the ship was already out of reach.
Billy Jo ran around to the back of the raised deck where the pilot was and started climbing the ladder there. As he reached the top he saw Donovan descended from above and stop in midair hovering in front of the gator man pilot with his spear ready to strike. What the fuck?!? Billy Jo made it up the ladder behind the gator man who was staring at Donovan in awe and caught him by surprise with side kick. He had just meant to stun the gator man in case they needed him to fly this thing, but the kick sent the gator man over the rail of the top deck. Billy Jo heard a crack as the gator man hit the rail of the lower deck and then slid off the side of the ship followed by a thump when he hit the ground. Damn, sucks to be him.
Donovan landed on the ship and began fooling with the controls. He was a pilot, he could probably fly this thing. It soon became apparent that Donovan didn’t know what he was doing. “Did you try the blue button?” Billy Jo added helpfully.
"Backseat driver," Donovan muttered distractedly.
The ship was drifting slowly forward. Soon it made it to the edge of the forest. Billy Jo grabbed onto a branch which kept the ship from moving forward, but it was still about twenty feet of the ground. Donovan told him “Stay here and hold on to the branch, I’ll get Marcus.” Donovan whooshed away in a blur towards the village. Damn. Donovan can fly.
Billy Jo waited. He heard some explosions off in the distance that sounded like they came from the village. The fight looked like it was pretty much wrapped up by the time he jumped on to ship and he wondered what was going on back there. And what the heck was taking Donovan so long. Down on the ground he saw Edward and some Hunting People approaching. Maybe they had some rope or something; he was starting to get tired of holding onto the branch. Edward leapt up onto the deck of the ship.
“What the hell is the deal with all the flying people suddenly.”
Edward replied, “It’s an anime leap.” He had no idea what the hell that was.
Edward started fiddling with the controls. Donovan hadn’t been able to figure it out and he was a pilot, he seriously doubted Edward was going to have much luck. After a couple of minutes it was apparent that he was right. After trying all the buttons, Edward had been reduced to closing his eyes with his hand on the controls and he was concentrating like he was trying to control it with his mind or something. Donovan suddenly reappeared followed by a gust of wind carrying Marcus.
Marcus began taking a panel on the ship apart. Donovan politely pointed out that maybe he should land the ship before he disassembled it. In no time at all Marcus was piloting the ship back to the village. The village did not look good. A couple of the longhouses were on fire and the villagers were busy putting the fires out. Donovan suggested they land outside the village to prevent a panic.
Once they go back inside the village Billy Jo was struck by the full impact of the assault. There were bodies everywhere. He recognized Vakr, one of the cat men he had hunted with. The faces of the others looked familiar, but he couldn’t place a name with them. The wounded had all been gathered and Cyan and Mother Gytha where taking care of them, but no one had time to deal with the dead yet.
Harfreder. Where was she? He started searching for her frantically and finally found her on the other side of the village which had been spared from the assault. Relief flooded him. Aside some blood, which didn’t look like it was hers, and some soot, she looked fine. She held a sobbing Gyda in her arms. He got a sick feeling in his gut. Harfreder had been crying, but looked relieved to see him.
“Sorry, I got stuck on the ship and didn’t know how to land it. Your brother?” He said motioning to Gyda. She just looked down at Gyda sobbing in her arms. “Gyda’s mother?” Herfreder shook her head. He was furious and wanted to hurt something, but there were no gator men left. War is hell. He heard that in a movie once, but never understood it until now. Except this wasn’t even war, this was soldiers attacking in the middle of the night killing unarmed women and children. God damn it, he just couldn’t understand how they could do something like that. He touched Harfrder on the arm. “I have to do something.” She nodded in understanding.
He helped out where he could. He carried buckets of water to put out the fires, helped Cyan care for the wounded, carried gator men outside the village to be burned. They could rot as far as he was concerned. He worked non-stop until dark nearly twelve hours later, but it wasn’t enough. It would never be enough. It was frustrating. Give him a house to fix or someone to hit and he was good, but he didn’t know what to do in this kind of situation. How do you fix something like this?
He returned to Harfreder’s quarters. The place was crowded with many new occupants from the longhouses that had burned. They all nodded their heads to him as he made his way to Harfreder’s bunk. He knew it was a sign of respect, but he didn’t know why they were doing it to him. Harfreder was still awake. She lay on the bunk with Gyda and was gently petting the sleeping girl’s hair. Billy Jo laid down next Harfreder and put his arm around her, careful not to disturb Gyda. Harfreder started to cry silently. Billy Jo joined her.
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