Don't Ask Me That II

  I awoke to the sound of gun fire, distant explosions, and warping metal.

  The transport helicopter appeared mostly intact, which was more than I could say for my memory, which actually started when the crash itself jarred me from my slumber. I lean forward only to have my side and left shoulder protest vehemently. I ease back into my seat, and try to take in the situation. We were somewhere in the desert. I could sense the Colonel, but I couldnt see or hear him. From the dark, oily smoke and my watery eyes, I confirm that the copter is burning, and only the Creator knows how long I have until it explodes. But kudos to the pilot for a decent crash landing, but as I glance near the front of the aircraft, the conspicuous hole where the pilot's face should be suggests that my praise would fall upon deaf ears.

  Shit. What happened? I reach down for my seat belt and find a pool of blood in my lap -- I'm guessing it is mine. Damn. That is not good. No wonder I am so light headed and woozy. I had hoped that it was a small concussion from the crash, but it seems more likely that I reopened my wound from the Washington Monument, and from the throbing in my shoulder, added a few more just for safe measure.

  The metal frame of the copter creaked. I needed to move and fast. If anything the Colonel said was true, then this attack was for my benefit, and with the Colonel AWOL, I was a stranger in a strange land. Okay, getting nervous, but still, not yet time to panic.

  And then I hear something that gives me ample reason to panic, assault rifles clinking against full clips, as a group of men move, no run, toward me from my 6 o'clock. I try to get up, but my body decides to stay put. Damn. And then a wave of dizziness, followed by darkness, again.

  An instant later, I am on the dreamscape, and now I can see the Colonel clearly, and he's got problems, TWO BIG problems actually. I glance up and see something that I had not witnessed in a long time -- a pair of yaksha. Clearly angry and ready to go. Not many beings could summon such creatures, even on the dreamscape.

  I sigh. The Zion never did do anything small, even when it came to making enemies. If he started some shit, it was always with the some motherfucka that you didnt want to fuck with. It was always the biggest guy in the room, or at a minimum, the toughest. The First Elder must want me to help get the Zion out of this mess.

 Fuckkkkkk ... I hope he doesnt ask me for that ...

  "Boy! What the hell is wrong with you! Gunshots?! Explosions?! People wanting to kill you?!?! Move your arse and get over here, NOW!"

  Still between worlds, I barely perceive the Colonel's tirade, but I gather the gist, and slowly pull myself together and stumble towards him.

  I glance at the Colonel, who, seeing the lack of clarity in my eyes, grabs me by the shoulder and throws me behind a nearby barricade.

  "Son of a homeless dog, you are hurt bad. We gotta get you out of this dream and to Masada."

  I slowly nod and point at my shoulder and side.

  "Yeah, I knew about the side wound. You had that before the crash. So your shoulder is hurt too?. My luck keeps getting shittier, and now these two yaksha are bearing down on us. I may need your help here Champion."

  The ground shakes as the summoning spell completes, and the yaksha take their first thundering steps. I clear my mind, and Wrath and Justice materialize at my side. Their appearance startles the Colonel but he quickly regains his composure. "I heard about those damn things, but I never thought I'd be happy to see them. You sure you can handle the giants?"

  I nod. "Leave it to me," I mutter. Wrath and Justice shatter, and the Colonel closes and opens his fist, ordering his troops to fall back.

  It had been a long time since I was in straits this dire. Crystalline shards whirl about me. I needed to move. "Armor of Pain". I forgot how much that shit hurts. But the pain clears my mind. I continue my slow march toward the giants. I ignore the enemy soldiers, letting the shards of Wrath and Justice rip them to bloody shreds of astral flesh. My only concern - the two massive yakshas, unsheathing giant magical blades. They will kill us all if they are felled soon. While the two yakshas were strong, and nigh invulnerable, they were also large and very heavy. Luckily, I know a thing or two about gravity. I focus on the area around the yakshas. Suddenly, the faces of the yakshas contort horribly as they cease their destructive march, and are unable to move. Their golden blades, now too heavy for even the demons to carry, clang to the ground with a sickening thud.

  No time to celebrate though, because the problem with a yaksha had never been the giant itself, but its master -- who usually appeared at this juncture ...

  "Well, well, well. I knew the First Elder had an ace up his sleeve, but this, this I did not expect. The legendary Dark Champion that no one has seen or heard from in over 20 years. Until now, and here he stands before us, a little the worse for wear no doubt, but after stopping my friends, still formidble nonetheless, eh, brother?"

  "Yes. definitely not one to be trifled with, he neutralized your yakshas without so much as breaking a sweat." Then, stringing his bow, the Archer looks at his brother.

  I know these two, but I cannot place either. Although the floating little monk seems really familar.

  "He does not recognize us brother. Should we be offended?" the Archer asks.

  The Monk responds, "No. The Dark Champion is wounded. And hasn't been on the dreamscape in sometime. As a show of respect, brother, let us retreat." And then turning to me, "Oh Great and Terrible Dark Champion, when you are better, come see us. If the First Elder so compels you and you required to meddle in this little war, then I expect that you will want to hear both sides. As I am sure that the First Elder will neglect to fully inform you of what all transpired in your lengthy absence."

  The Monk and the Archer then turn and begin to walk away. Suddenly, the Colonel appears from nowhere and lets loose a volley of ki laced lead. "Die you fucking bastards!"

  Shockingly, the Monk and the Archer do not even turn around, and the bullets all fall harmlessly to the ground. Laughing, the Monks laughs and shouts "Toodles Colonel!" over his shoulder.

  Holy shit, they could have easily killed us all! Well, maybe not me, but the others were definitely toast. The Zion and the First Elder were in some very deep shit. Real deep. Those two meant business, and seemed to be elite class fighters to say the least.

  The Colonel holsters his gun and just stares at me. "Well? What the fuck are you waiting for?" And right on cue, the Colonel catches me with a vicious right hook, and I fall into darkness yet again.

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