For The Good Of Mankind, Part One
Posted By: Kellen Squire<firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: 17 May 2004, 7:27 PM
The peasant man stayed crouched in the shadows. The alley he was in was cold, dark, and wet. The musty smell of urine and rotting food filled the air around him. A light mist of fog hung heavy in the air. There were almost no lanterns in this area of town, which created a perfect hiding place for him to observe anyone that might come along the street in front of him.
As he looked out of his niche, shadows seemed to move within the fog, creating forms that danced around, swirling with the gentle breeze. It was quiet... the only sounds to be heard were those of water dripping from a ledge, and rats scurrying around somewhere past his feet. One rat got a little too close and was rewarded with a silent kick in the head. It scurried away, chittering quietly to itself.
The peasant man kept looking into the mist, as if waiting for someone... or something... to appear.
But nothing did- at least, not yet. The peasant man looked around. The alley he hid in was barely wide enough to walk down sideways, and barely deserved it's name. It was more of a trash can for the people living in the stone houses on either side of him than anything else- a trash can and a toilet, he noticed with some dismay. He began to inch forward, to get away from the-
Suddenly, the peasant man froze. Something was not right. An eerie feeling, an evil feeling, had just filled the air... one he'd never felt before.
The evil seemed to be radiating from the fog... it saturated the air, and brought fear to the heart of the peasant man like none he'd ever felt before.
Then he heard it. Foot steps. They came from the fog, and echoed loudly in the alley. They were steady and sure... confident, in fact. As he peered into the fog he saw the form approaching. It was walking towards his hiding spot.
The fog seemed to envelop the figure, as if the figure was producing the fog itself. At first, it appeared to be only a shadow, a trick of light, an optical illusion, a figment of the peasant man's imagination. He set himself more into the shadows, so as not to be seen- that was imperative right now.
But, finally, the form stepped into the lit area of the street. It was a man. A taller than average man, with blond hair and rugged, set, almost Slavic facial features. He wore a tan trenchcoat with something large obviously concealed beneath it. The blond man stopped, and looked around.
For a moment, his gaze settled on the alley the peasant man's was hiding in. An ice-cold hand gripped the peasant man's heart. If he thought he'd know what fear was before, he was wrong. But if the man in the trenchcoat had known there was someone watching him, he hadn't let on to the fact. He merely continued to look around, leisurely.
The peasant man contemplated changing his mind, to turn from this evil and run until the last vestiges of it left his mind, but at that moment he heard other foot steps. These were more eerie than the blond man's. These were very heavy steps, which echoed loudly in the alley. They were confident... and somehow foreboding.
Suddenly, something *clank*ed against the road and began to screech. A blade was being dragged. The wailing sound it produced made him wince.
The blond man had, of course, noticed this as well. He held himself slightly higher, broadened his chest and shoulders, and turned to face in the direction the sound was coming from.
The fog seemed to whirl... it parted, seemingly at command, like a curtain. Out of the parting fog stepped a dark robed figure, holding a sword tip to the ground. The sword looked to be a modified Japanese Katana sword. The blade gleamed with an unnatural luster, hinting it was made out of a very rare metal. The hilt was made of jet-black carved and polished ivory. Her brown hair flowed onto her shoulders, and she walked... no... she sauntered towards the blond man who was watching his adversary carefully.
The brown-haired woman stopped, a bare ten meters away from where the blond man stood. Then, with a simple wave of her hand, she motioned for the blond-haired man to come at her.
She wanted a battle.
The peasant man in the shadows smiled to himself. This is what he'd come to see.
The blond man shrugged his trenchcoat off of his shoulders. He was clad in a form-fitting leather suit, as black as the darkest night. In his hands now was a Claymore- a true, full-sized Scottish claid'hai'more, a meter and a half long from the tip of the blade to the end of the grip.
"Today seems like a good day to die, no?," said the blond man, a hint of an almost-Russian accent seeping into voice. "I hope you are ready." A smile curled onto his lips. The brown-haired woman returned the smile.
"Little cocky, aren'tcha?" she asked. Her accent was sing-song, the diphthongs of her speech suggesting the American south. Her hand clutched her katana's leather handle, fingering the 16th century Japanese characters engraved onto the handle. She was eager, but patient, waiting for the blond man to make the first move. Strangely, though, she left the end of her blade sitting on the ground, instead of hoisting it into a defensive position, which left her wide open to attack.
Certainly she's not that na´ve, is she? the peasant man thought to himself, watching things unfold with equal parts awe, excitement, and anxiety.
The blond man held his sword a few inches off the ground, and walked slowly towards the woman, matching her earlier pace. Both combatants had their gazes locked so fiercely that it seemed as if the first to break it would forfeit the fight.
The distance between the two slowly closed until they were both easily within striking range of each other.
For awhile they simply stood there, gazes locked. The silence once again returned. The peasant man watched, curiously. What would happen next? The two combatants stood there, staring the other down, for what seemed to be an incredibly long amount of time.
The blond man was the one to break the silence. He raised his Claymore, more quickly then the peasant man thought was possible, high above his head. It made a sharp whistling sound traveling through the air at such a speed. The sword then stopped in midair- without wavering, which proved the blond man's strength- and then began to curve downwards towards the brown-haired woman's head.
Horror flashed across the peasant man's mind. She would be cut in two!
At the last possible nanosecond, the brown-haired woman brought her katana up with a speed that exceeded her opponent's. The two swords CLANGED loudly as they struck each other, and hovered together for a few moments, both combatants trying to use their upper-body strength to get the upper hand. Finally, the brown-haired woman, realizing she would be unable to hold out much longer against her stronger opponent, disengaged and twirled backwards a few meters, raising her sword into a defensive position. As the blond man staggered forward slightly from her sudden withdrawal, it became devastatingly clear that he had underestimated the girl.
The look that crossed the blond man's face showed he would not make the same mistake twice. As such, he was not deterred for long. He lunged at his opponent with vicious blows, jabbing and slicing through the air as he drove the brown-haired woman back. But she blocked each one of his advances easily, and seemingly with little effort. The combatants moved further down the street. The echoes of the blades meeting rang out like shots in the street, the noise deafening.
The peasant man left his hiding place and followed them cautiously, keeping to the shadows as he moved down the street.
The combatants were locked in an equal battle. When one jabbed, the other parried perfectly. The change from offensive to defensive changed from second-to-second, and many times within seconds.
The brown-haired woman did a quick back-flip, but gained almost no quarter as the blond man charged. The katana was raised to meet the Claymore barely in time, the resulting blow loud enough one would think that the blades had shattered. The blond man quickly brought his blade back and tried to slice for his opponent's legs, only to have the brown-haired woman sail up into the air, curving her katana downwards, aiming for the blond man. The blond man rolled out of the way, barely in time.
The blond man rolled and hopped back up onto his feet, facing away from his opponent. He then leapt into a flip, landing softly behind the brown-haired woman. He swiped at her legs. He missed flesh by a few millimeters, instead cutting the bottom of the brown-haired woman's robes almost completely off.
The woman shed her robes to reveal a simple form-fitting jumpsuit, made out of an unknown fabric.
Both combatants exchanged glances and charged each other again. They continued to exchange blows, their blades clashing and clanging together in a terrible cacophony of metal-on-metal. For awhile, it seemed as if the blond man had the upper hand.
"You old woman!" the blond man gloated, trying to goad his opponent, "You can't fight at all!"
The brown-hair woman suddenly went into a flurry of moves, his hand and sword a blur. The blond man's face quickly sagged, and set in a grimace. He could barely keep up with this girl! Suddenly the brown-haired woman was back in charge, pushing the blond man back down the way they came from. The peasant man backpedaled furiously, trying to keep out of their sight.
The blond man managed to lunge again, but this was easily deflected, and once more was forced into full defense, now just trying to survive. The blows continued unabated. The blond man's face grew beet red. Another *CLANG* filled the air, and the combatants' swords were locked together, inches from the other's face. Both fighters clenched their teeth and pushed against the other as hard as they could.
Suddenly, the woman sidestepped, sending the blond man sprawling forward, landing on the ground with an *Ompf!*, his Claymore clattering to the ground beside him. He grabbed for it wildly, but she quickly kicked his blade away, and put one foot on his chest, sticking the point of her sword into his throat.
The peasant man watched with a mix of fascination and horror.
The blond man started to struggle, but stopped suddenly as the brown-haired woman pressed the point of her Katana forward a fraction of an inch. A speck of blood appeared beside the sword, and began to slowly seep down the blond man's neck.
The blond man's manner suddenly turned from confusion and helplessness to utter contempt. His eyes raged with a hatred that burned so intensely the peasant man knew the image would be seared into his consciousness for the rest of his life. The blond man's lips curled into a sneer.
"Do it!" His accent had thickened considerably under stress. "Just do it!" He swore in rapid-fire Russian, expletives pouring out like water. "Bliad! Just do it! You know you want to! Poshol nahuj! Poshol nahuj! WHY DON'T YOU JUST KILL ME?"
Suddenly, a flash of light- and the dilapidated village began to inexplicably fade into nothingness, revealing a nondescript room with three figures clad in gray, form-fitting jumpsuits. The ear-splitting noise of an alarm klaxon filled the air, soon followed by a completely emotionless voice.
"General quarters, general quarters. All hands, man your battle stations. All hands, man your battle stations. Prepare for sudden maneuvering. Prepare for zero gravity. Prepare for decompression. I repeat..."
To Be Continued...