Status Quo - Chapter 46

Written by: Paullell

 Lana stares in surprise at him as his anger becomes apparent.  She hides a giddy grin of relief; she had almost expected her resistance to result immediately in the mental meltdown that he threatened her with, and yet instead with his rising anger he seems to have stopped pushing his thoughts into her.  At Daray’s continual aggression Lana reaches out and smacks at her ankle, the only part of her she can reach from her prone position on the floor.  The swat is out of pure fear and frustration; she has no doubt of Turin’s sincerity in his threats. “Stop it Daray!” If that doesn’t work she will grab a hold of her and pull her back physically. Lana pushes herself back up to a sitting position. She raises her eyes to meet his again as she brushes the tears from her cheeks.  “Everyone will be ready before seven.  And thank you Turin.  If you kill her I would much rather be a mindless puppet than live on with her loss.”  As she looks at him its not that she grows less frightened; she just gets angrier.  The threat to have Daray raped sparking a fury that even the threat against their lives could not have caused.  A sliver of pride grows inside her for resisting this powerful madman.  Somehow she has to make Daray wake up.  Lana pushes herself the rest of the way to her feet.  She brushes off her skirt and her tail before running a hand through her hair.  She bows her head to Turin, speaking sweetly.  “Excuse me Turin.  I must begin the women’s preparations.”  She turns to the two that are standing just inside the door way.  “You there, assemble all of the women here so that I can begin to relay their instructions.”  ______________________________________________________________________________ At the smack on her ankle, Daray immediately backs down. She looks at Lana with a pained expression, as if she’s just been scolded for an hour straight. If she had a tail, it would certainly be between her legs as she turned to face Lana, but she still keeps herself between her friend and Turin. “Very well. See that they are.” Turin responds. Casting Daray a scornful look. “I’ll expect you for dinner at five sharp.” The woman Lana speaks to bows her head instantly and turns to leave the room, waiting for Turin to use the door first. As he steps over the threshold, an explosion rocks the house. The whole structure shakes as if it’s on some kind of gimbal, and valuables rain from the walls, creating an instant debris field, both Turin and the women in the en pointe boots, stumble to the ground in the quake and Daray turns almost instantly, leaping across the room and landing on Turin, her feet squarely on his chest, the palm of her left hand on his forehead, and her right hand cocked back, claws unsheathed and a loud growl emanating from deep in her chest. The sound of shouting can be heard form downstairs, along with booted feet charging up the stairs. Within seconds there is the sound of weapon’s firing coming form the entryway and it is clear that someone is storming the house. _____________________________________________________________________________ Somehow Lana remains on her feet, although she is shocked at the sound of the explosion.  When Daray leaps forward she starts to reach out to stop her but when she successfully  pins him down Lana changes her mind.  She dashes forward and slips her fingers into Daray’s hair.  “Daray.  She says soothingly, as though she is going to clam her, hoping that Turin will assume that is what she is doing.  In actuality she reaches for the hidden vial.  She pulls it out and attempts to jab it into the first available bit of flesh she can find on him.   If Alina warned her it would hurt her because she was mildly psychic Lana is hoping it will incapacitate Turin.  The invaders may be responding to her message on the bed sheets and she can’t miss the opportunity to get Daray to safety. “You shouldn’t have threatened Daray.”  Lana whispers. ______________________________________________________________________________ Turin’s face is a mask of panic as Daray settles on his chest, claws held ready to strike, he starts mumbling incoherently and Lana can feel waves of unease coming off of him in fits and starts. When she puts her hand on Daray, fingers searching out the hypo filled with that anti-psionic drug, Daray immediately relaxes, her raised hand dropping slightly. When she pulls the hypo from Daray’s hair and brandishes it in front of him, Turin’s eyes go wide for a second as the realization of what it is settles on him. “Don’t you dare!” He screams at her, a pulse of true, terrified self-concern pulsing from him. As she reaches for him with the device, he narrows his eyes and pushes against her mind with his, the sheer force of the attack is staggering. Don’t do it. You need the shot. The shot is to protect yourself. Whether she somehow senses what is going on or just feels the need, Daray pulls up on his forehead with her left hand and then slams the back of his head into the floor with a growl, breaking the link between Turin and Lana’s minds and allowing her to jam the hypo into his neck. The reaction is instant and startling. Turin lets out a scream of agony and jerks his body so hard that he actually dislodges Daray from his chest. His eyes go wide, veins turning red before Lana’s eyes. A wave of psychic energy pulses out from him, physically rocking the women struggling to find their feet near him. The sounds of boots approaching them grows louder, and several shouts of, “His injured!” And, “Secure Turin before they get in this far!” can be heard over the weapon fire echoing up and down the stone surfaces of the entryway. Daray rolls back to her hands and feet, casting a look at Lana to make sure she is safe, then leaps out of sight down the hallway where the sounds of combat can be heard almost immediately. “Holy shit! Isn’t that the bitch form the basement?!” “Shoot her!” “Look out!” “Fuck man, she’s on the ceiling, look out!” The sounds of crunching armor, gunfire, and bodies hitting walls and floor can be heard as Lana watches Turin writhe on the floor, fingers clutching at the smooth surface of the floor futilely and eyes open wide in pain and horror. _____________________________________________________________________________ At his instant reaction Lana tries to draw away but is too slow.  Maybe it’s because he had just been so completely connected to her mind in his attempt to stop her, maybe it was triggered by the psychic wave that erupts from him or maybe the pain of the injection is just that strong.  Whatever the reason, her own empathic abilities activate more strongly than they ever have before.  Her mind explodes with the same pain he is writhing with.  Her vision turns blood red with it and she collapses on top of him when Daray goes scampering off. She doesn’t scream; it’s more of a pained gargle as the multitudes of pain-filled shrieks get lodged in her throat. She breathes through the headache forcing the barriers in her mind to close themselves against the onslaught of agony from him.  Slowly she crawls down the hallway that Daray has dashed until she comes to one of the guard’s dropped guns.  It is one she is not familiar with, big and bulky.  She lifts it to her chest, cradling it in one arm and slowly, painfully crawls back towards where Turin lays.  She puts barrel of the gun against his chest and uses it as additional leverage to push herself up to her knees.  She opens her eyes and they are bright with tears just beginning to fall. She whispers, “You are the dangerous animal Turin.  You’ve gone mad and for the safety of every woman everywhere you must be put down.”  With that Lana closes her eyes.  Tears stream down her cheek and drip onto his chest, caused by the horror in her heart for what she is about to do.  She pulls the trigger. ______________________________________________________________________________ As the trigger depresses, a heavy force slams into Lana’s chest at the same time the weapon begins to belch white-hot death toward the writhing man’s chest. The weapon jerks in her hand, spewing bullets across the room as Lana is driven to the floor by the impact of the object with her chest, and then her back with the floor. When she opens her eyes, after the weapon stops firing, her eyes meet Daray’s cobalt pools, the smaller woman having body-checked her away from Turin’s prone form. The look on Daray’s face is one of pain, disbelief even as she reaches across Lana’s body and jerks the bulky rifle from her hand. She snarls as she looks at the thing, then locks eyes with Lana again and slowly shakes her head ‘no’. Pointing toward the door by way of explanation. In the hallway, Lana can see the women there, trying to orient themselves. They are having trouble standing, as if the en pointe ankle boots are suddenly beyond their ability to balance in, and their eyes and faces are confused and scared. One of the women is clutching her arms across her nakedness, tears streaming down her cheeks as if she has just awoken in a strange place after having had a terrible nightmare. That’s when it hits home, they are actually making noise. Little mewling sounds, scared sobs, even quiet exclamations of, “it doesn’t matter where we are, we have to get out of this fight…” as one of them tries to help the others by taking charge, directing them in some way. Daray looks back at the rifle, then gives it a great heave, launching it through one of the large windows in the bedroom and nodding her head toward the now-open portal. Between the pair, and the scared women, Turin still writhes in pain. The psychic pulses have stopped emanating form him quite abruptly, and now he is clutching at his right shoulder where Lana can see a patch of wet, dark liquid slowly spreading across the breast of his fine suit from the two bullet holes in his shoulder. He is nearly in tears as he tries to decide wether he should be trying to staunch the flow of his life’s blood, or lamenting the loss of his powers. Either way his immense pain is apparent. The sounds of conflict from downstairs in the entryway are beginning to fall off, and the voices of the attacking force can be heard spreading through the house. They sound as if they are all wearing heavy armor and move as a well-practiced unit, covering their advance and moving in teams to clear out any resistance as they press into the house. Daray turns to face the door, growling loudly and backing into Lana. Making sure she is squarely between her friend and the door. _____________________________________________________________________________ Lana sobs with relief and worry.  She hadn’t wanted to take a life.  Even the idea of it had caused her pain but she is terrified he will come after them again.  She nods her head as Daray looks at her.  She couldn’t do it again.  She wasn’t even sure how she had come to that decision in the first place. Lana smiles with joy at seeing the other women coming to themselves.  She climbs to her feet again, her chest aching from the force of Daray’s impact.  She is surprised when Daray get between her and the doorway and can only assume that means that the people who are coming are not friendly to them.  She staggers over to the broken window and looks out of it.  They are on the second story but there is a wide ledge directly underneath it that leads to what looks like a fire escape.  Lana calls out to the woman who looks to have gained the most charge of the others.  “Help me!”  She grabs one side of the massive comforter on the bed and starts pulling it over to the broken window, intending to lay it over the glass edges so that the women can climb out. _____________________________________________________________________________ The woman Lana addresses nods to her briefly as she claws at the fasteners securing the torturous en pointe shoes to her feet. Finally she manages to wrench them off of her, and then drags the other two women into the room with her, wincing and scowling at every step, and eventually moving to walk on the balls of her feet. The other women start to get hold of themselves, and working at the straps of their own shoes as the first one helps Lana haul the overly-heavy comforter over to the window. “Do I even want to know what the hell os going on, or where I am?” She croaks out, her voice is hoarse from lack of use and her look imploring as she sets her eyes on Lana across the comforter. In the mean-time, Daray scampers across the room, careful to step on turin and elicit a gasp of pain as she goes, and peaks out the door. Without so much as a glance back over her shoulder, she leaps through the door and over the banister rail into the entryway. Within seconds the sounds of shouting and gunfire can be heard starting up again. “What the hell is that? Bravo, watch your six, there’s something behind you!” “Is that a girl?” “Jesus! She just tore open Bravo’s armor like a ration pack! Open fire!” “Behind you!” “She’s on the wall. To your left Sigma!” “Get down!” The loud thump of another explosion can be heard, and more debris rains down from the walls and ceiling, followed by more gunfire and the sounds of booted feet chasing through the entryway and into the dining room. “Get her! That little bitch killed Bravo with her bare hands!” The women with Lana are completely disoriented, and basically naked. They are sluggish to respond to any form of interaction aside from physical pushing and pulling, and none of them seem to be able to put their weight on their feet for more than a few seconds, even when standing on the balls, as high as they can get. There is no telling how long they had been forced to wear the cruel en pointe footwear, but it has obviously had a detrimental effect on their feet and calves. Once she herds them out the window onto the roof of the porch, Lana can see a large, black hover vehicle has been backed up almost completely against the front door. There don’t seem to be any people around the outside, most likely having all gone through the front door with the assault. There are no markings on the vehicle at all and nothing else seems to be going on outside the home, although more gunfire can be heard echoing through the house from the rear portions. The escape is off to the left of the house, and is in the form of a metal ladder tucked back up against the corner of the house, partially overgrown by some kind of climbing vine that looks like it may offer some measure of cover from anyone who may still be in the vehicle. _____________________________________________________________________________ Lana is disappointed that the black hover vehicle is not a police car.  She had still held out hope that it was a friendly rescue.  In answer to the woman’s question she jerks her head at Turin.  “He’s a very powerful psychic with a ton of money and connections and an unfortunate lack of morals.  He’s taken us all as personal slaves.  I got here today.  I’m afraid the chances are very good that you all may have been here for much longer.” Once the blanket is draped as well as they can get it, Lana reaches for one of the women who are crawling.  “We have to go.”  She tells her urgently.  “Crawl if you have to but this may be our only chance for escape.”  Lana grabs her arm and tries to haul her up high enough that the other woman can throw her leg over the window ledge. She could have been out the window and down trellis faster than any of the other women but she isn’t about to leave Daray behind in the building, especially not with the disturbing chatter of the soldiers making their way closer to their room. _____________________________________________________________________________ The three women work together in getting out the window and making their way toward the ladder. One of them crawls along the roof up against the wall of the second story while the other two step gingerly on tippy-toes, supporting one-another as they move, and trying not to be too concerned about their physical state. The emergency seems to have overridden any sense of modesty they have under normal circumstances. The sounds of approaching soldiers seems to have receded into the house somewhere, with the report of weapon fire still echoing around the huge building from time to time. The shots still sound a bit wild, as if they are trying to spray whole walls in hopes of hitting their target. Returning her attention to the bedroom door, Lana sees a pool of blood, with a trail leading out the door and around the corner, where Turin had been on the floor moments ago. Moving to the door and peeking around the corner, she can just see his foot disappearing into the next room down the hall, and the door closing behind him. An instant later, another round of gun fire sounds, this time close enough that Lana can hear the bullets impacting the first floor wall just below where she’s standing. Mere seconds after that, Daray bounds out of a room across the entryway, skidding to a stop in the middle of the room, facing back the way she’d come from. She growls into the dark room, crouching down low and gripping the floor with the claws in her fingers and toes as four armored soldiers with rifles pile out of the room and form a semi-circle around her. Lana can see several bullet holes in Daray’s body rapidly closing themselves, one fresh enough that she actually sees the bullet pop out of the bloody channel and drop to the floor with a clatter. “What the hell is that Sarge?” One of them asks, motioning toward Daray with their rifle. “Fuck if I know Alpha. But it’s about to be a fine red mist.” Another of them responds, taking a second to slip a large silver canister into a wide-bore barrel beneath the main barrel of their weapon, then raising it to point at Daray. “Shit Sarge! Don’t you think an anti-matter charge is a bit much for one little girl?” One of the other soldiers takes a step back from Daray, as if to get a head start on running from the blast. “Can it Delta. You saw what she did to the rest of our unit. The boss wants the target alive and we ain’t got time to fuck with this thing. Conglomerate’ll be here any minute now and we ain’t even seen Fredrick’s daughter yet.” “Uh Sarge?” A female voice chimes in. “What Theta?” He responds, leveling his weapon at Daray, who growls and hunkers down lower, getting ready to pounce again. “Up there Sarge. On the balcony.” The female voice says again, the fourth gender-neutral armor-clad figure points its weapon directly at Lana, and the other three of them follow her line and all come to rest on Lana. “Shit that’s her! Alpha! Delta! Get up those stairs and secure the target. Theta, you’re with me on the cat-woman!” He pulls his rifle in tight against his shoulder, the woman following suit with her own, as the other two break off and start moving toward the stairs at a dead run. ______________________________________________________________________________ Lana had been trying to keep herself as small and unobtrusive as she could until she heard mention of the anti-matter charge.  She wasn’t sure exactly what it was but it sounded dangerous and she didn’t think Daray could dodge again at such close range.  She begins running towards the group.  “Nooooo!  Daray, RUN!” She screams.  She hears a voice in her head reminding her that every time Daray regenerates from a death she stands less of a chance coming back.  She doesn’t even hear the comment about her mother’s name.  She sees two of them start towards her but she just puts her head down and tries to barrel over the lighter looking of the two soldiers.  She has to get to Daray! ______________________________________________________________________________ All four of the soldiers seem to be taken off guard by Lana’s auctions, particularly the two bounding up the stairs. Lana tucks her head down, raising a shoulder as she charges them, and catches one of the armored figures in the sternum as he moves up a stair. The hard armor slams harshly into her shoulder, its oblique angles, designed to deflect gunfire, cutting through her flimsy clothing in several locations as her weight carries into the man’s, throwing him off balance and toppling his body over backward. The pair of them tumble down the stairs, Lana somehow managing to avoid breaking her neck, and at the same time, tumbling off the armored form when he comes to a stop on the floor at the bottom of the stairs, and launches head-over-heels into the Sergeant with the anti-matter grenade launcher. He also tumbles over sideways, his rifle slipping from his grip and clattering to the floor. Daray reacts the instant Lana strikes the first man on the stairs, when all of their attention turns toward the commotion, she leaps forward, planting hands and feet on the female soldier’s chest and driving her to the ground with a cacophony of grunts and metal armor-against-stone sounds. Her shriek of surprise is cut off suddenly, turning to a wheezing gasp as Daray hooks her claws into the metal composite helmet and twists around, breaking the woman’s neck with a growl. When Lana comes to rest on the Sergeant, the other soldier on the stairs turns around, training his gun on them. Daray twists around and leaps up the stairs, covering the distance in one bound. She slams into the man’s legs, wrapping her arms around them, then heaves him up and around, throwing him off the stairs. He flails his arms wildly as he soars through the air and lands fully atop the discarded grenade launcher-equipped rifle, which somehow triggers the weapon and fires the grenade. The tiny explosive fires through the destroyed front door of the home, slamming into the inside front wall of the hover truck and explodes with enough force that the vehicle nearly evaporates in the first two seconds of the blast. Using the truck as a focus (before its walls fail under the stress), a large portion of the blast is directed back through the front doors into the entryway where it nearly evaporates the man who landed on the rifle, then rips to shreds the lower half of the staircase on both sides of the dining room. Lana and the Sergeant are out of the main focus of the blast, barely, and the house shudders so severely that plaster and stone starts raining down all over, creating a thick fog of chalky material in the air that makes it impossible to see anything clearly. Daray is thrown up the stairs by the blast, slamming into the wall at the top, and sliding down to the floor, dazed by the concussion, coughing and sputtering in the dusty air, and unable to see, or possibly understand given her mental state, that the huge, crystal chandelier hanging in the center of the room is giving every indication that it is about to break free of its anchor and crash to the floor where Lana and the Sergeant are.

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