Chapter XXI: Robbing the monster

"Attaaaaaaaack!" Heavy roared.

The machine gun rounds ate away the wooden post Charlie was hiding behind.

Charlie sweared together all the nasty curses he could think of before he flinged around the corner and shot at random with the revolver Heavy had thrown into his hands. With all the mayhem that was ensuing from the ambush they had walked into, he was bound to hit something. Heavy had been yelling commands but most of his fellow splicers were pinned down and couldn't see a thing.

A deafening sound buzzed through the air as a shockwave rippled and struck the barricades the Ryanists had set up.

"Ernie?" Charlie said flabbergasted.

"Raaaaaaah! Crush kill... Sorry, I'm going to talk normal now," Ernie said as he loaded his shotgun and subsequently unloaded it into the face of the only Ryanist that was still standing after his Sonic Boom.

"Keep it up Ernie," Buck said as he held his arm in front of his eyes and saw it bulging like yellow stains ever growing bigger.

Then they bursted, releasing ghastly insectoid creatures that proceeded to gather in a cloud the size of his head and fly at any enemy that came within sight. buck had to be careful not to hit any of his fellow freedom fighters, as a red-headed woman glared at him for a moment before striking an enemy splicer with a wicked fist of lightning.

Buck shook his head as he held up the research camera and kept it fixed on Buck's targets. It printed out some data for converting the ADAM within him into gene tonics, at least that's what he theorized it did. It could produce small amounts of bonus damage ampules that they'd inject to improve their vision and reflexes to shoot people with certain varieties of common splicer cocktails more efficiently, but it couldn't produce vials of gene tonics rewards as Ernie had told him about. He needed another Brain Boost to figure it out.

"I need another guy over here," Heavy said as he braced himself to shoot another payload out of his grenade launcher.

A fiery stream of hot air passed over him as it consumed everything in its path.

"Alright Eddie, finish 'em!" Heavy said as he readied to fire.

"I'm not Eddie," Sandy said as she rubbed her bone-dry skin. Soon the black soot and white ice crystals would mix and pervert her arm and the rest of her body. She couldn't get used to the occasional shocks that sprung from her head to her goose bumps. "And maybe you should think more about ending this war than scoring kills."

"The truce meetings will begin in a few days, missy," Heavy said. "Untill then, I ain't taking any chances. They do much the same."


"What was that?" Sally asked. "They're running."

"Change operations, they're not running, they have the ultimate asset and weapon," Heavy said. "Any cowards come now or get shot if they run when I have to save their sorry a**es."

"Ay ay, H," Charlie said.

"Get ready," Heavy said as a yellow light shone from behind a holed house. The rusted armor of the Bouncer blended in with the rest of the crooked housing. The spherical shape that contained his head shone with its lights on its surroundings as it grunted at the debris that impeded its progress. He revved up his drill and barged on through, before stepping aside. A young girl came from behind him and hummed as she skipped along the corpses of the fallen Ryanists. It had to be a Little Sister, hardly a little girl at all, but Charlie couldn't judge as much from the distance he was at.

"Bring it down and maybe you'll get a piece of the pie," Heavy said. "If you get too higher ground, we can easily take it down. Get on the most stable buildings and pump it full of lead. That drill ain't gonna fly upwards, but it will to anyone on ground level."

The group did as they were told and climbed up as Heavy fired up his last grenade. It would sound off like the Fourth of July, but it wouldn't bring down the big guy on its own. That's where Sandy and the others came in.

"Fire!" Heavy yelled as he shot his payload with an astounding accuracy right in the big brute's head.

It moaned, then roared as the bioluminescent liquid in its helmet stated he was steaming hot mad. If that wouldn't become apparent precisely one second and a quarter later.

"Bruuuuuuuuuuuuaaaaaah!" the Bouncer responded to its head being punctured with all kinds of shrapnel and in its blind rage tried to find a way up to mix Heavy into a bloody pulp. And any splicer that stood in its way.

"Keep hitting it, fire away," Heavy said as he looked at his arm for a moment, then concentrated and fired a lightning bolt at the bronze Ryanist knight which confused it even more. And angered it to the truly dangerous level.

An unexpected blood splatter made Buck turn around and catch the red-headed woman, who stuttered before her gaping head wound proved to take the life out of her body.

Snipers, those Ryanists had returned to protect their gruesome little harvester. Buck looked over the roofs and saw them approaching. They had to get to cover. And weaken the Big Daddy at the same time. Charlie determinedly kept shooting it as the others around him ran for their lives.

Darren and Sandy stood side by side and unleashed an Electro Bolt each before Sally finished them off with two rapid incendiary bolts. As the two turned to a crisp and others came to take their place, Sally changed her ammo for regular, piercing bolts and shot it at an enemy, telekinetically pulling it out than throwing it through another woman's eye. Eddie lit the Bouncer on fire as Buck followed his lead and unleashed another swarm of his creatures to further blind the Bouncer. Ernie had no way of hitting it, except...

Again, a shockwave blasted through to the air and hit the Big Daddy it was still as mad as ever, but the only thing that been killed seemingly was Buck's creatures.

"Raaaaaaaaaaaaaaaooooooooough!" the Bouncer roared as it rammed into the building, repeatedly, untill it started to weaken.

The Atlas freedom fighters had to run for their lives as the building collapsed underneath them. Charlie only narrowly hung on as Sally pulled him up, semi-telekinetically. She plunged one of her last EVE hypos in her arm as she sat down. That was a close one. Determined to fix his mistake right away, Ernie dropped down before anyone could say anything and trashed the Bouncer's head before he shotgunned every single red light in its helmet untill the arm that had grabbed him lessened its grip and its drill stopped spinning.

The group had come down to rescue Ernie from what should've been a suicide mission. As the others descended, Heavy commanded: "Harvest her, before the Ryanists return. That's an order."