Thursday, 28 April 2011

Atmosphere Chapter Fifteen

Chapter Fifteen

Taking to the field

The mob dragged them back across the ruins of what was once The Bronx, back towards Macombs Dam Park beneath the baseball stadium. It's massive roof sealed shut long ago and all the exits and gaps in the building barricaded up in a haphazard fashion. A single bullet or even a well-placed kick could knock it all down and all the poisoned air would just spill in. Barricades and spikes lined the streets, attempts to stop the Armalities which they frequently fought around the Bronx, and a massive banner hung from the outside of the stadiums, a massive white NY in the middle.

Deep beneath one of the stadiums, in some cold desolate concrete place the tribals dragged their two prizes, tying their hands and leaving them in the corner of some room, what looked like it was once a locker room, a couple of dead bodies in the other corner – other prisoners they couldn't be bothered to feed-. Still unconscious and bloodied and bruised from the battle at the north of the Armalities' land.

The Yankee that had captured them making sure they weren't going to die on him before quickly leaving the room and informing the two guards outside to watch them with their lives. He hurried along the long corridors that ran beneath the thousands of seats where excited fans once sat during the baseball games above. The walls of the place adorned with the various memorabilia of the team from the old world as well as 'prizes' the tribe had collected, mostly just skulls of anyone foolish enough to venture into The Bronx. The man had his gas mask off again, the air in the stadium barely any better than that outside – the tribals only have the very basic knowledge of air filters and even less of water purifiers. They were lucky to live past the age of 30 before dying of any number of infections.

He reached a gap in the corridor, a stairwell going up. It led up to the bleachers and the field in the centre stadium where the returning tribal army was now resting and preparing a feast in their victory. He continued up further though, beyond the bleachers and to the observation room where premium ticket holders could sit – and now a throne room. The captain sat atop a large ornate chair which had been dragged there from some near by museum. All gold trimmings and velvet covers. Dressed in a white pin-striped shirt and pants that stopped half-way below the knee before long black socks covered the rest of his legs down to his cleated shoes. A black military cap atop his head with the NY badge where the US flag would be normally and a pair of aviator sunglasses covering his eyes, a black balaclava around his neck that he only wore up during combat. His two bodyguards standing either side, dressed similarly except for the heavy police riot vest over their chests and with catcher's masks on their heads.

The man that had lead the Yankee's assault entered through the door to the throne room, slowing down to a walk and standing before the captain, the other higher-ups of the tribe in the room all stopping to look to him.

“Sir. We have captured an Armalite minister, and the man they believe to be their God

The captain stood slowly from his throne, standing maybe a head-taller than the warrior, slowly walking towards him and drawing the ceremonial blade from the sheath at his hip and grabbed the warrior's shoulder and shoved the dagger into his gut.

“You know the price for being caught by them.” He whispered, drawing the blade out again and wiping it on the sheath. The warrior stood motionless, mouth agape as he stared at the captain, any hope of his failure being corrected by the victory immediately vanishing.

“The great Ruth and DiMaggio spit on you” He sheathed the dagger again and turned back to his throne as the man crumpled to the floor.

“Their God?” One of the other men in the room asked, the two bodyguards dragging the failed warrior out of the room.

“Yes. Some... Blackwell” The captain said retaking his seat over looking the stadium “They believe he is the one that made their oh so precious guns and was the one who made our world. Obviously he is not. He is just a man. But the Armalitie fools will give us anything for his safe return” He brought his hands together under his chin “Hell.. they would give us anything just for the minister. But him, we could bring them to their knees if 'Blackwell' is in our possession.”

“Then, was what you just did necessary? If that warrior had brought us so-” The man immediately stopped as the Captain turned his head sharply and looked to him, standing up and his hand hovering over the dagger.

“By Ruth! I am sorry sir!.. I did not mean to question your judgement”

Daniel groaned and opened his eyes as something shook him, feeling the most terrible head-ache he'd ever felt. He tried to work out just how many times he had fallen unconscious not of his own accord this week when he saw the other person beside him and jumped.

“Daniel? Are you okay?” Jennings asked, her nose bloodied and most probably broken from when the baseball smashed into her.

“Fine.. sort of. You?”

“Been better”

“Where are we Jennings?”

“Yankee Stadium. Last place on Earth you'd ever want to be.”

“Are they going to kill us?”

“But... Lord, can you die?”

“...Yes. This is... just my earthly body. It can still be destroyed” He lied, trying to remember anything he could about Christianity, not particularly the church going type back in 2050.

“They will not kill us. We are far too valuable. They can get too much in exchange for out return to the Armalities. That doesn't mean they can't take a finger or two. Or an arm one time... poor Thomas

“How do we get out?”

“...I don't know” The female soldier said quietly, exasperated and defeated.

“Elijah! We can't possibly. We barely even know how to use them” The Armalities lieutenant shouted down to him.

“Dammit, they have Blackwell and Jennings. We'll just have to learn quick” Looking up at the soldiers clambering over the M3A3 Bradley infantry-fighting vehicle. Behind him the entire Church of Armalities, let into the storage facility for the first time in their lives so they could get everything they'd need to assault the Yankee Stadium. The storage facility had been there for millennia, the last major additions were a few centuries ago, this would be the only generation of Armalities for possibly another millennium that would be allowed inside. They stared in awe at the millions of weapons and vehicles, their faith only growing stronger by seeing all this.

The lieutenant hopped from from the turret and snatched the thick operating manual from one of his comrades and flicked through it, stopping on a page and tapping at something.

“Larson! Bridges! Find us some 25mm autocannon ammunition. James, go find us some 7.62 mm M240 bullets, four or five hundred will do, and Preston-” He chucked the book back to the man he just snatched it from who barely caught it without falling over from the weight “-Learn to drive this thing. You got thirty minutes”

He walked up beside Minister Elijah who was watched over the other Armalities as they took weapons from the racks and looked them over, arming themselves and taking as much ammunition as they'd need.

“Do you really think we can get them back minister?”

“We've never had to assault the stadium before.” He let out a sigh and scratched his head “But then again, I've never seen the tribals attack the compound with such ferocity before “Every fight we've ever had with the Yankees was in the ruins of The Bronx. Maybe it is time we began fighting differently... began taking the offensive and stop hiding in our compound.”

“Lieutenant Danson!” Suddenly came from somewhere in the rows of shelves, one of the Armalities return with a huge chain of ammo draped round his shoulders “We found some 30mm autocannon bullets will those do?”

“No!” He slapped the man who somehow felt it even though his gas mask “Those are for the Apache! All this time reading the scriptures and you don't know that? We need tank ammunition not helicopter.” The man nodded, rubbing his cheek with a hand and running back off between the shelves.

“So uh, just who do the Yankees think they are exactly?” Daniel asked, trying to avoid looking at the two dead bodies in the room with them, captured Armalities.

“They believe that the Yankees were a team of warriors from the Old World. And this was their arena where they fought pitched battles against teams of other warriors from across the land. But they seemed to fight and hate some warriors from a place called Boston the most, 'Red Socks' I think they call them”

If his hands weren't tied behind his back he'd have buried his head in them at hearing that. The door to the cell opened up and Daniel and Jennings quickly went quiet and glanced over. A pale Yankee with a spear and shield across his back entered and looked to them “The Captain wants to see you” Two huge tribals appeared behind him, covered in armour and wearing helmets. They roughly grabbed the two prisoners and dragged them out the room and down a long corridor to the stairs. The oxygen tasted funny and the smell of blood hung in the air, the two huge guards constantly jabbed their backs with their fists the moment either two slowed just slightly. Up the stairs they got a brief glimpse of the field in the middle of the stadium, all the tribals jeering and shouting obscenities before they passed out of view and into the upper levels.

They stopped one level from the top, a pair of big fancy doors visible above, instead though heading through a wooden door with staff only on it, appearing in a long hall which had once been used by camera crews and commentators. It was split into two-levels, the right side they just entered on slightly raised and with a large window running along it, showing the field down below, the other side going down to a group of ancient computers, terminals and transmitting equipment which was in all manner of disarray. A few dozen of the tribals were stood in the room, highly equipped and probably the elites of the tribe if they had any. They all stopped and looked to the two prisoners being led in before walking to the long window and watching down at something.

“Captain will have his fun with you in a minute, so just sit tight” One of the brutes sneered before kicking Daniel in the ribs and walking off with the over huge armoured brute. Daniel picked himself off the floor as best he could without the use of his hands, sitting back up on his knees and glancing to Jennings before to all the Yankees who were watching out the window a few metres away. A loud voice could be heard from below in the field giving some sort of speech, inter cut with cheers from the tribals, including the ones in the room.

“I can get us out of here” The female Armalities suddenly whispered, nudging Daniel

“What? How?” He whispered back and looked to her, Jennings fiddling with her hands behind her back and making a face as she tried to concentrate.

“I can take 'em. I'll fight them and you run”

“There's gotta be twenty of them at least and your hands are behind y-” He trailed off as the soldier brought her untied hands forward, shaking them and trying to get the numbness out. She hopped up onto her legs, still in a crouching position and glanced across at the back of the Yankee warriors in front.

“Jennings, no!” He whispered as loud as he could without alerting the tribals.

She looked back and only nodded at what she had to do, sheer determination in her eyes, she pulled the hood of her cloak up over her head and slowly crept towards the nearest Yankee without making a sound. Just as the line of tribals raised their arms and cheered again Jennings pulled the sword from the nearest one's sheath and wrapped her other arm around his neck, pulling him close and burying the sword into his back up to the hilt as he let out a blood curdling sheik. The others jumped and turned towards her, going for their weapons but she had already thrown the dead tribal aside and grabbed the sword out another's hand, almost snapping his wrist off in the process as she slashed the blade across him. Daniel sat motionless and staring on -trying to figure out just what he was meant to do or where to go- diving to the side as a body flew down from the raised up area. The female Armalities soldier lost the sword as it jammed in between a Yankee's ribs and wouldn't budge, but quickly forgot about it, turning and grabbing a spear thrust at her with both hands, yanking it out of the warrior's hands and smashing his jaw with, spinning the weapon round the other way as he stumbled back and buried it through his neck. She moved almost effortlessly, dodging another sword slash and smashing her elbow into one's neck, shoving her whole body against him and sending him tumbling out the window, only to quickly grab his weapon and slash it across another tribal's body within seconds. A dagger cut across her hip but it looked as if she barely felt it, bringing the sword down on another Yankee then another, another with a spear lunging into the mass of flailing arms and weapons. She turned her body just in time, the front of the cloak ripping as the spear narrowly missed her stomach. Grabbing it with one hand she yanked the tribal towards her, making him land on the sword in her other. Another blade hit her across the back and she stumbled this time, falling to her knees as another Yankee in front raised his dagger to finish her. She raised her hand and stopped the warrior's hand, clenching her other and smashing it into his groin, the dagger dropping beside her as she wrapped her arms around his waist and stood back up, throwing him over her back and landing on the one who slashed her. Picking the dagger up she quickly spun on her heel and slammed it into the two flailing tribals, piercing straight through one's back and into the chest of the one below, pinning them both to the ground.

Daniel fiddled with the ropes binding his hands desperately, continuing to watch the Armalitie dispatch the elites with ease, probably not blinking once since she killed the first one. He opened his mouth to shout to her as a small javelin appeared arcing through the air but it was already too late – slamming into her and burying itself deep into her lower back. She let out a scream and stumbled to her knees before amazingly struggling back to her feet and turning to face the final Yankee, blood running from her mouth. The tribal picked a sword from one of his fallen brethren and lunged toward her with a loud shriek. Jennings grabbed his arm with both her hands, visibly straining and shaking to keep his arm from bearing down on her as she bled severely from her back, her cloak stained with her blood and that of everyone in the room except Daniel. She brought her knee up and slammed it between the warrior's legs, the Yankee flinching and gritting his teeth but still slowly edging closer with the sword, pushing the Armalitie backwards until she up against the wall, the javelin in her back pressed up against it and pushed further into her. The tribal pushed her further against the wall until she was pressed against it, the javelin bursting through her stomach, the Armalitie screaming out and coughing up blood, losing all her strength as the Yankee brought the sword down and sliced it into her shoulder until it got stuck against her collar bone. With her last shred of life she wrapped her arms shakingly around the tribal's back, pulling him close and impaling him on the weapon sticking out of her. The Yankee stumbled back again, his mouth agape and feeling at his chest as she crumpled to his knees and fell backwards, the Armalitie slowly sliding down the wall until she slumped at the bottom, moving her head towards Daniel slowly and panting heavily, opening her mouth and speaking with her last with breath as the last specks of adrenaline that kept her going faded away.

“It... was an honour.. to die for you.... Blackwell”

Daniel sat motionless, his eyes slowly scanning across the room where twenty-two people stood just a minute ago and now just one. And his hands were still tied! he never felt more useless more worthless in his entire life, watching the Armalitie give her life for him while he sat on his ass. He stood slowly, still glancing around at the aftermath of the fight, glancing to Jennings again, still barely believing she managed to take out all these tribals and began to wonder if all the Armalities were that ferocious when backed into a corner. He stepped over the bodies as carefully as he could, a dozen different weapons poking out of them which he could accidentally impale himself on. It was then he realised all these weapons sticking up could be used to his advantage, quickly crouching down next to a dead Yankee with a sword poking through his chest – the first one Jennings killed- and edged carefully back, trying to catch the rope on the blade but not his wrists. He eventually managed to get the rope against the sword and began moving his hands up and down in a sawing motion, feeling the rope getting weaker until the sword snapped through and he brought his hands forward again, letting out a sigh of relief. He stood back up and froze again immediately, a huge figure standing in the door. A behemoth of a man, dressed in the Yankees uniform and with shades on. He let out a wail and grabbed Daniel by his neck, lifting him with ease and smashing him against the nearest wall.

“Just who the fuck do you think you are?” The man -whom Daniel presumed was The Captain- shouted, covering him in spit in the process. Daniel fidgeted for only a moment in the man's grip before relaxing and glaring back at the man, narrowing his eyes and bringing his eyebrows together.

“I'm Daniel Blackwell.” He started, figuring if this was how he was going to die, at least he was going out with gusto “I am the Fire-Merhcant. The man that destroyed the world. Creator of the most horrific weapon that made whole cities slaughter each other in fear. That brought the whole world to it's knees and nearly killed every. Living. Thing. On this earth! I am the man that stood and watched from his tower as eight billion people burned to death, screaming and writhing in the fire I started! I am the destroyer of worlds. ...And I'm going to destroy yours here this day”

The Captain sneered in rage and brought his other hand back to bring into Daniels face as hard as he could. Daniel staring on unblinkingly and ready right there to die to this brute. The man brought his fist forward and screamed out, his hand centimetres from Daniel's face as the whole building suddenly shook and he stopped as debris fell from the ceiling. Another massive rumble shaking the building and the sound of unrest from down on the field.

“What was that?” The brute demanded

Daniel smirked widely, the smuggest face he had ever pulled, neither a clue what was happening either but never more relieved in his whole life.

“It has begun” He sneered back.

A massive thunderous explosion suddenly came from down below, one of the walls blocking off the stadium from the outside wall cracking and shaking, huge lines zigzagging up it as another explosion erupted. The whole wall crumpled into huge pieces and fell to the ground in a cloud of smoke as some massive metal beast burst into the stadium and ground to a halt across the muddy floor. The Captain let go of Daniel, slowly turning and walking, in a trance, back out of the room to a door on the opposite side of the entrance, leading out onto a metal walkway. He and the other tribals down beside the strange creature stared on at it in awe, all of them momentarily forgetting the fact there was a massive wall in their building and all the poisoned air was seeping in. Something atop the metal beast swung round, maybe it's head, a massive black horn in the middle which pointed straight to the nearest Yankee. The tribal slowly took a step forward, stretching his hand out and touching the horn, quickly retracting his hand as it was hot, a whirring sound followed by a loud click suddenly come from within it's head and he took a step back again.

The M3 Bradley fired a single shot at point-blank into the savage warrior who burst almost literately in to a cloud of red blood. The other Yankees screamed and dove for cover as the creature burst into life, the 25mm autocannon tearing tribals to pieces as it's co-axil 7.62 machine gun joined in, strafing across and sending searing hot lead into legs and chests. An instant later a hundred figures appeared through the smoke around the collapsed wall, a hundred Armalities in heavy United Arms armour and wielding machine guns and rifles, all firing in unison as the tribals scrabbled for cover and to get their masks on as the 'clean' air disappeared by the second. The Captain yelled in disbelief, turning to go back down stairs when he stopped in his tracks, Daniel standing right beside him, a sword in his hand which was now half buried in the brute's stomach. The man seemingly unfeeling it as he grabbed Daniel and chucked him over the side of the walkway to the bleachers four or five metres below.

Daniel landed on his back in a row of the plastic chairs and let out a groan, opening his eyes again and letting out a yelp as he saw The Captain volting over the walkway as well and about to land feet first onto him. He rolled off the seats onto the floor as the brute landed on them and they crumpled and bent inwards, the sword now out of his stomach and in his hands, his white Yankee's shirt stained with his blood. Daniel quickly rolled down below the next row of seats as the sword smashed down into the ground where he just lay a second ago. The seat above him groaned and suddenly ripped from it's support as The Captain tried fiercely to kill Daniel in his rage. Standing up again Daniel quickly ran down the isle to the stairs between the row seats, The Captain smashing chairs out of his way and quickly pursuing. Daniel quickly fled down the stairs towards the field as fast as his legs would take him, getting a full view of the battle between the Armalities and Yankees ahead, the APC sitting in the middle of it unscathed and firing off rounds in every direction.

It began getting hard to breathe as he continued running and the poison air flooded the stadium. He glanced over his shoulder quickly, seeing The Captain gaining on him, his waist downwards covered in his blood as he continued bleeding. Daniel came to an abrupt stop and let out a groan, looking forward and noticing the chest-high metal railing which separated the lower seating. He looked down quickly, maybe another five metre drop, he survived the last -just, he'll just have to survive this one too. Putting his hand on the railing he readied to jump over it as a hand suddenly grabbed him from behind, yanking him back and tossing him onto the floor. The Captain walked round so he stood between Daniel and the railing, looking down at him on his back and letting out a chuckle, gripping the sword tighter and bringing it up to stab him. Daniel closed his eyes and turned his head away in dead anticipation, the sword never came down though, the brute's chest suddenly exploding as a 25mm round punched through. Daniel peeked an eye open and jumped, looking up at the Captain standing over him and shaking, a visible hole straight through his chest, another loud shot rang out and everything above his waist suddenly erupting in a red cloud as the APC fired another 20mm round into him. His bodiless legs standing almost comically for a moment before falling to the floor.


Daniel turned his head to the side, seeing three soldiers in United Arms armour running towards him. It was the best armour in the world in 2050, similar to that the Militari wore but sleeker and with more features, and except for the chest-rigs draped over the top was completely white as it had adaptable camouflage which would change to its surroundings, but these three seemingly not knowing of it. They stopped beside him, one turning and firing off at some tribals below as the other two helped him back onto his feet.

“Sir! Here you are-” One of them shouted over the sounds of the battle, his voice distorted through his helmet, the soldier reaching into a large pouch and pulling out a gas mask, the same one Daniel had been given by Owen. Daniel quickly took the gas mask and nodded to the soldier, putting the mask over his face and taking a breath of fresh air.

“Let's get outta here Comrade Commisar” The other soldier shouted, before tapping the one who was firing “Spaniard, let's go!” The soldier brought his weapon down and nodded, the first one shielding Daniel as they quickly made their way back along the bleachers to the stairs down. Daniel stared at the three soldiers, thinking they couldn't possibly be who he thought they were.

Amigo, you hurt?” The third soldier asked, looking down to Daniel who only shook his head slowly in disbelief.

They get down to the field again where a squad of Armalities soldiers rushed past them and all began firing on the tribals that were coming out of every hole and door in the stadium. From the quick glimpse of the outside Daniel got it looked like the whole of The Bronx had erupted into a warzone as the Armalities made their assault here, hundreds of soldiers and tribals fighting in the streets.

“In the Bradley. Get him in the back”

They bundled into the back of the APC and sat Daniel down on one of the seats, other soldiers in United Arms armour surrounding it and banging on the side to signal them to go. The back hatch pulled up and sealed shut, the sounds of the battle becoming dull disant thuds and bangs. The three soldiers across taking off their helmets -the APC pocessing its own air filtration system (as well as full NBC protection amongst other things)- revealing Grant's, Powell's and Emanuel's faces.

“Hello again Comrade Daniel”

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