|Battle Report for Clan D'Estine|
|If time had forgotten the chapel the rats certainly hadn’t & The gang had been working their way down hive for three cycles before their leader Napoleon had called a final halt at their current location and set a piquet while he studied and searched the area. The other members of the crew had no idea for what purpose, even Louis could only guess at what it might be. One thing was sure; it had to be something special to bring them to such a dangerous sub zone and it was clear to any Delaque that they were not the only ones to have been here recently. As the team waited, Napoleon systematically worked thought the space deftly checking the floors and walls until he finally found it. With a faint creak a concealed hatch in a bulkhead swung open & stooping he stepped through the door way and descended the staircase within.|
Louis waited, the skittering rodents running across his boots, taking stock of his surroundings. They stood within a dome littered with dilapidated old industrial units which clung forlornly to the banks of a wide flowing drainage channel know as the Shame. Adjacent to this sat the building in which he stood, the focus of the religious quarter that once delivered the Emperors light to the zones inhabitants. Now it lay in near darkness, a situation he was perfectly comfortable with, yet there was now an unsettling silence to the place. Something had suddenly changed and something definately felt wrong. It was only as Napoleon remerged from the hatch, the wry grin signalling that he was satisfied, that the reason for Louis’ unease dawned on him. The rats were gone... a moment later Leon gave an urgent warning from above with two short clicks of his tongue: Contact.
With a quick series of hand signals Napoleon swiftly sent half the gang back upstream to secure the crossing that lay between the gang and home, a creaking gantry across the river that spanned the gap between two of the towering industrial plants. As the gangers moved out blending silently into the shadows malicious whoops, cries and cackles began to echo from across the water and it was to this chorus that Louis, Napoleon and the remaining juve slipped into hiding and with weapons drawn began to scan the far bank for any possible targets. Soon enough the mental images conjured by the shrieks from the opposite bank were made real. On the far side of the bridge shambling figures emerged from the gloom their clumsy stumbling gait interspersed with bursts of voracious, hunger fuelled, speed. Louis felt his pulse quickened as their situation became clearer, coffin dodgers. Bad enough in itself, yet that was just the beginning. Behind them further movements could be seen. Deformed creatures scampering from cover to cover. unlike the zumbis this movement had a chilling sentience to it and given the company they were keeping it could only be Scavies.
In silence the Delaques waited until the hostiles came witin range of their weapons. With a flexing of fingers Louis confirmed a secure grip on the slide of his shotgun and meeting the gaze of his leader, unreadable behind his dark goggles, gave him the briefest of nods. In an instant the pair were moving up the nearby ladder and onto the first floor. As they came into position at the widows overlooking the bridge wild fire erupted from the far side. Rounds kicked up masonry and sparks around them furiously but to no effect. Then, in response, the dome echoed with the synchronised racking of their two weapons, a metallic rapport, followed a moment later by the deep cough of the man stopper shells. The contrast was stark. Where the incoming fire was erratic and inaccurate their return fire turned the bridge into a killing ground. The steady disciplined salvos tore the animated corpses to pieces. The impact of the slugs on the decomposing bodies spewing fountains of plagued viscera and sending putrefied limbs arcing into the murky water.
The swarming mass on the bridge had stalled, the remaining zombies falling and slipping on their dismembered companions spread across the rockrete. Yet everywhere he looked more and more mutants were emerging. A cavorting pack of figures were scaling the ladders to the gantry where the remainder of the gang awaited them, while down stream out of range two lumbering brutes accompanied by more skittering figures could be seen crossing. Napoleon signalled the order to withdraw from the chapel and Marcel burst from the doors, leaping and tumbling away down what remained of the outer colonnade. A tap on his leaders shoulder to let him know he was moving and Louis swiftly followed the juve. As he reached the point along the row of decaying archways where Marcel had paused to give Louis' dash covering fire another quick shoulder tap sent the juve forward once more and Louis was able to take stock of the skirmish as he traded shots across the waterway.
The fighting at the gantry had become fierce and desperate. Zombies were wading into the murky sludge as the Scavies themselves began to reach the walkway above. With a whistle from the heavy the Delaque's second team moved into action.
Remy, the gang’s other new juve, skipped forward to the waters edge and, with an relaxed efficiency that took Louis by surprise, put a round straight into one zombies head followed quickly by another leaving two twitching bodies drifting in the current. The pilot light on Flambe’s burner hissed into life as the heavy sent a searing gout of flame along the walkway above. The Scavies squeals suddenly changed pitch to became ear piercing wails as they burned, spinning and dancing like fireflies. He had never thought they were in any real trouble it but it was it this moment Louis began to feel that outnumbered though they were they could actually take these fekkers down.
As that thought hit him so did the shrapnel. It burst through the archway and sent Louis crashing to the floor, hot metal peppering his left side. The world became pain and as he lay reeling the fantasy unravelled. Remy was forced to dive for cover in the supporting girders of the gangway grunting in pain just as the heavies flamer coughed, spluttered and died. Rolling over to check behind things only got worse, as around the corner of the colonnade, just meters away, emerged the slavering form of one of the undead. Pale flesh hung loosely from its bones and a black icor oozed from the sockets where its eyes once rested. Louis worked his legs, desperately wriggling away from the creature but it sniffed the air cocked its head and began to close in. He reached for his gun in vain. There was no round chambered & struggled with the pump, slamming the stock into the ground with his good arm to force a cartridge into the breech. It was too little too late, the rotting corpse took hold of his ankle and with an unnatural strength yanked him closer sending the weapon tumbling from his grasp.
Louis tried kicking out with his free leg, snapping the corpse’s neck, but this simply left is head swinging freely by the skin, giving the cadaver an inhuman lopsided grin. His vision began to blur as the pressure around his leg increased and the shrapnel continued cooking his flesh.
It was though this diosiented haze that Napoleon came into view, vaulting through one of the chapels windows. The scavies followed a short way behind him, their wild shooting tearing up the earth into clouds of dust that whipped and swirled around the trails of the leader’s jacket as he moved.
The muzzle of the leaders shotgun flared and the pressure on Louis ankle eased as the zombie stumbled back, arm severed. As it lunged again the second shot sounded & It took Louis a moment to comprehend what he then witnessed. The undead's ribcage began to glow like some sick Halloween lantern until finally the creature caught light and it careened away aflame, the heat from the hotshot having set light to the rags that draped the zombies twisted frame. Napoleon reached him in just a couple of strides and knelt at his side. He gave the injured ganger a smile while rubbing Louis bald head reassuringly in a rare show of affection and was making to pick up the injured ganger when it came: a new sound causing the leader to turn.
The faint whistle ended as abruptly as it had begun, the noise of the harpoon becoming a sharp crack as its hit. Its tip shattering a lens of his leaders goggles and emerging from the back of his skull. Napoleon's body, jerked off its feet by the force, trailed behind like a streamer and was left hanging and lifeless as the spear bruied itself deeply into the wall behind him.
From that moment on it was just a haze. It was as if it was as if he were listening to another man give the cry of grief and anguish that escaped his lips... In answer to which Leon and Remy arrived pistols spitting. Marcel's hangs dragging him from the danger and finally Flambe snapping the haft of the still quivering spear off before freeing Napoleon’s body and lifting it onto his shoulder. The big vet giving Leon the habitual tap on the shoulder before striding, implacably, toward home…