Welcome to the space where I experiment, my weekly serial. It is written raw, not edited at all, and mostly unplanned.
The world is partly based on the background of an unpublished Steampunk game that I worked on with a few friends, which has grown in my mind over the last couple of years. The story is a take on those ultra-violent revenge epics of the eighties where a man’s family is abused and killed, but he survives and seeks vengeance. Needless to say it is a grim, bloody tale, that deals with bad people doing bad things, so be warned.
Rose runs and the bleedwarpt berserker thunders after her.
As fast as she is, Rose knows that she cannot stay ahead of it for long in a straight up sprint. She chooses her path accordingly, pacing herself and taking the measure of her quarry as it follows.
Red bleedwarpt generally fall into two categories, hunters and berserkers. This one is the later she is certain; it is big and powerful and easily goaded. Such a creature can rip her in half it gets a hold of her,
They reach what looks like a dead end for her, with a ten foot wall dividing the tunnel into upper and lower halves. Rose pumps a little red serum into her blood through injectors in her mechanical arm and speeds up, sprinting straight at the wall. The beast bellows and runs after her.
A pace from the rock wall Rose jumps, her spiked boots catching the rock. Such is her agility that it appears that she runs right up the rock face. The berserker roars and grabs at her leg as she vanishes over the ledge. Rose rolls out of reach, gains her feet, and keeps running as the beast pulls itself up into the tunnel behind her.
Once, such mad determination would have scared her, but now Rose sees it as a weakness to be exploited. The berserker is intent on her, even as she tries to draw it into a trap.
This one is particularly fast, catching up to her quickly. At least it has not exhibited any other abilities. Reds rarely did, but some could spit flames or had acid blood. Mostly berserkers relied on strength, whatever their form.
It was close now, Rose could feel it looming over her. A rumbling growl sounded and she its felt hot breath on her neck. Up ahead she sees the tunnel split in two, as she knew it would. She had hoped to have more space between herself and the beast still, but the split presents a good opportunity to regain some distance.
A little jolt of The Red quickens her step. She reaches the split and turns down the left tunnel. The beast, a blur in the corner of her eye, moves to intercept, leaping, almost pouncing like a hunting cat. Rose, however, is faking her intent. She stops, turns back, and runs into the rightward tunnel. The berserker flies past her, its massive bulk slamming into the wall, a grasping claw slicing the air behind her.
Rose did not waste time looking back, sprinting as fast as she could. This one was too fast for comfort and the rest of the way left no room for her to gain ground. Soon enough she heard it behind her, heavy tread steadily getting closer and closer and…
Then up ahead she saw the opening that led into the chamber. The bleedwarpt was too close behind her for a graceful entrance. She ran. It followed. Rose reached the edge of the tunnel that led into the chamber where the rest of her team lurked. She shouted and jumped up toward the ceiling instead of down, catching a crevasse and lifting her legs up as the beast’s hand snapped shut inches away from her.
It falls twenty feet, landing with a thud on the chamber floor. Rose watches as a dozen men slip out of side tunnels and alcoves, attacking the bleedwarpt from all directions. The plan had been to lure it into chasing her past Green Jim and Cackles, but it was simply been too fast.
Geb comes at it from the front, all loud and aggressive, drawing its attention. The berserker’s eyes fix on him and it swing a massive arm. Geb blocks with his shield, but the blow sends him sprawling. Two of the other men run in, jabbing long needle-spears into its right side. The beast rears up and slammed down toward them, but they both jump away. As soon as it turns Cackles and Scarab hit it with nets.
The nets hit and wrap, turning the beast into a writhing ball of anger, briefly at least. It is then that Green Jim bring his Steamlance to bear. He chargeds in, expertly ramming the metal point into the berserker’s torso as it pulls the nets, barbs and all, from its body.
The Steamlance is a weapon designed to kill the most monstrous of Bleedwarpt. It consists of a metal lance with a secondary tip that is fired upon impact by an explosive charge. The steam created by the liquid explosive is directed into the gap created by the secondary tip, creating an enormous wound.
Green Jim strikes well. The lance fires with a distinct rapport. The secondary tip rips through the berserker’s back and it falls into two pieces in an eruption of steam and flesh.