New Allies

Watching Crystal shoot three arrows Samuel saw the arrows explode as they hit the target. Pieces of the monsters splattered around them. Though she was already calculating the odds and without the dragons they would lose this fight. “we have to retreat we can’t fight all of them without are dragons.” Crystal said.

Samuel stepped out to her left and fired. The Predator shotgun fired rapidly as the Frag-12 A4 rounds hit their targets the Dual-Purpose Improved Conventional Munition blew large parts off one of the monsters. Samuel knew the rounds could punch through 2 inches of armor and had a blast radius of a meter. “You can’t always depend on the dragons. Some things you just have to do yourself.” He said as he stepped back. “besides I am here what could go wrong?” he said jokingly.

It was then that a massive abomination erupted from the snow. A hulking behemoth, bloated and twisted by Lanstrom's science. One arm had become a massive club of hardened chitinous skin and bone. It bellowed and charged at the four.

"I think Crystal's right." Jhonen said as he took down another, lesser, Living Failure. "We need to retreat! Head to the residential district! I'll cover you both!" He switched to the grenade launcher on his rifle and fired a round at the behemoth. It seemed to stun it for a moment, long enough for Crystal and Samuel to start retreating towards the residential district. Syn opted to help Jhonen cover their retreat.

Jhonen put down a couple more failures as he covered the rear. The behemoth was stunned for the moment, but he could see it healing the damage the grenade had inflicted upon it. Syn gunned down a number of approaching failures with a robotic efficiency that was down right entertaining to watch.

Moving further into the colony it seemed that the living failures were having a hard time keeping up with the trio. Especially with them all laying down suppressing fire to keep the horde at bay. However, Jhonen noted movement on the rooftops that he figured were the true Uplifted maintaining a visual on them.

"We need to get off the streets." He said to Crystal and Samuel. "We're being watched."

The behemoth suddenly burst through from the alley they had just left, roaring and lumbering at them with renewed speed and vigor. Jhonen tried firing another grenade at it but it seemed to shrug this one off more than the first one. He cursed and switched to dragon's bane, this seemed to slow it somewhat, but it had an impressive healing factor. Even with Syn's aid it still kept coming.

Then a rocket went sailing over the trio's head. It struck the behemoth in the face, blowing its head to smithereens. It sank into the snow, its blood staining it with red.

The trio looked to see who had fired the rocket and saw a lone man wearing an armored stealth suit with Crimson Kingdom patches. His armor was broken and torn in places, his face, a handsome face with light brown hair and brown eyes, had some fresh gashes and scratches and looked disheveled.

He leered at the dragoon, Jhonen in particular then lowered the rocket launcher. "So Cross came for his prey it seems... I'm Beck. Member of the Crimson Kingdom's league of assassins. And I am fucking glad to see you made it to our winter party..."

Jhonen regarded the assassin with a cold gaze. "I take it you're here in response to Lanstrom's betrayal?"

"Nothing gets by you, no wonder the boss is so hot for you." Beck chuckled. "Yes. My team was here for Lanstrom, but we got jumped. We're holed up in one of the older housing modules, tough-made colonist shit seems to hold up well against these fuckers..." Beck sighed. "You're welcome to hold up with me and my guys... We could use the help, actually... After all... we have a common enemy..."

Jhonen simply stared at Beck. He knew that, as a Crimson Kingdom agent, he was sworn to not harm Jhonen and jeopardize Lilith's Game. Yet this was an instance where the Game had been thrown into question. Lanstrom had offered Jhonen the key to ending it all once and for all.

Yet he didn't take it. A part of him had wanted to. He knew, however, he couldn't let Lanstrom roam free. He'd done enough horrible things, all for his daughter, but he still had a line. At least that's what he told himself. He leveled his rifle on Beck. "You know me well enough to know what I'm thinking right now..."

Beck nodded. "I do. And honestly I can't blame you for thinking it. But there are only two of us, the others in my squad bit the dust. And six against all these monsters is better than three..."

"Ten..." Jhonen said. "You think I'm dumb enough to assume you don't know about my second squad?"

Beck smirked. "Heh, just a test. Figured if you did lie about the other team I could at least take that into account."

Jhonen remained silent.

"Cross." Syn chimed in. "Judging from my knowledge on Crimson Kingdom agents, as well as his body language and heartrate, I predict a 78.009% chance that this individual will betray us."

"Only 78 percent?" Beck put his hand over his chest in a mock-pained gesture. "You wound me good robot."

Jhonen sighed. "He is right though, the enemy of my enemy is my friend... For now..."

Beck smirked. "At the very least, it'll be nice to see The Demon Hunter of Jericho in action... Come on. Our hidey-hole is this way..."

Beck led the group to one of the older districts and to the housing module in question. He knocked on the door in a specific pattern. There was a sound that indicated the locking mechanism was released and the door opened revealing an equally disheveled brick of a man in similar gear to Beck's. He was, however, far larger, with darker skin, and no hair to speak of. He regarded the dragoon with suspicion.

"Beck? The fuck is this?" The man asked. His eyes widened in horror as the fell on Jhonen. "Is that Jhonen Cross???"

"Yep, we're saved, Ayers." Beck flashed a triumphant smile. "We've got an agreement. We work together to bring down the Holy Bitch and maybe we live through this mess..."

"Cross will kill us the first chance he gets. You know that." Ayers said.

"Or he'll toss us in a dragon-infested dungeon." Beck said with a shrug. "I'd prefer that over dying today. It's better than nothin' Ayers. You really wanna go back to The Queen after we failed? You know she'll kill us on the spot."

Ayers shrugged. "Fine, fuck it, I still think we're dead anyways..."

They all shuffled inside and Ayers locked the door again. Jhonen turned to look at the group and sighed. "So now we need to figure out our next step... We need to get to Lanstrom... Any ideas?"

...

Anna opened fire on the group of mutant freaks that had erupted from the snow. Some of them weren't going down fast enough. She looked to Jack and Joanna. "Stay close! We've gotta find cover!" She looked to Ink. "We can't stay out in the open like this!"

More and more of them were continuing to erupt from the snow or crawl through maintenance ducts that led outside or from small nooks in the buildings. It was a nightmarish horde. And Anna could feel that their odds of getting out of this alive were dwindling.

And then an alarm sounded in the distance. A klaxon that caught the attention of the living failures. Suddenly, lights came on in the direction of the entertainment district. Music and neon signs lit up. Without thinking, the living failures were drawn to the new distraction while the few Uplifted regarded the sight with confusion before they were swiftly gunned down by the dragoon.

"Who the hell did that?" Anna asked as the living failures started to rush towards the entertainment district leaving the group alone in the blood stained snow. She looked to the others in confusion.

And then her tac-link went off, a burst transmission inside the colony, from an unknown frequency. She answered it. "Who is this?"

(Enter Aurora...)

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