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z-Coyote-Mad Scientist

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August 15, 2007

The metallic sound echoed through the warehouse, and Karrie froze, listening. She would have said that it was Bandito poking around, but he’d been wrestled into a crate earlier and was at the vet’s with Dad and Mike. Spickle was in the house. It could have been one of the cats, but Karrie’s instincts doubted that possibility. No, her instincts were telling her that she wasn’t alone, and she wasn’t in friendly company.

The wrench was the largest she had, and it fit in her hand so well. With near-perfect silence, she kicked her shoes off, feeling the dust floor of the tin-sided building settle between her toes. Balancing on the balls of her feet, she crept forward, her dark eyes searching the corners. She’d had no intention of remaining in the small warehouse; she was creeping for the exit when she caught the sudden movement from above.

She’d often thought that the top of the cabinet would make a great ambush spot, but she’d never expected that someone else would see that and use it against her. But they did, leaning out over the edge and bringing something down on her; she’d ducked, but not enough, and it landed over her shoulders, knocking her down and driving the wind out of her body.

“Hey, Jake… we got a squaw here!” a voice called, and Karrie tried to think, to recognize the voice. But her brain had decided that breathing was more important at the moment, and the desperate attempts to draw in air were taking all of her concentration.

“Damn it, Sammy… you said there’d be no one here,” the other voice complained, coming out from behind the rusty baler that she’d been harvesting for parts. “We don’t need this hassle.”

“We’ll take her with us,” Sammy answered, nudging her with a foot. A red face leaned over, coming into her vision, and Karrie recognized him. Sam Nez. And his brother Jake. They lived up the road, and sometimes did work for her uncle. They'd been around before. They weren't smart, but the were strong, and had a kind of zip cleverness that made them dangerous. Karrie had heard that they'd been involved in criminal acts, but she never dreamed they'd be dumb enough to rob her. I guess they're hubristic as well as stupid.

“Sammy… we can’t take Karen with us. She has to stay here, and you have to make sure she’s not a problem,” Jake ordered before walking away from them, his eyes going to the shelves. “Wow… this looks like a movie set. There’s some weird shit here.”

“I told you, dude,” Sammy said, “she’s a brainiac but she’s weak. It was no problem to take her down, right? Am I right?”

“Just… fix her, ok?” Jake said distracted by a vaguely gun-like device he had picked up. “This is all so weird. It's got to be worth something... to someone.”

Sammy grabbed her and flipped her onto her back, and Karrie let him, giving herself time to breathe again. The wrench was hot in her hands, and her grip felt slick and sweaty, but she had it. But do I have it by the right end? He knelt over her and brandished a long knife. “Look, squaw. We just want some of these toys, and if you’re willing to play along, we’ll be willing to take what we want,” Sammy said, his dark eyes glinting at her with a mixture of excitement and cruelty. “Of course, you’ll need to forget you saw us, and if you talk… well, we’ll know, and we’ll be back.”

“Oh, that’s convincing,” Jake growled. “Just fucking rape her, beat her, break her spirit, whatever. And find me some bags or something to carry things in.”

Sammy glared at his bossy older brother before turning his attention to Karrie again. “Did you hear that, Plain Pocahontas?” Sammy whispered. “I’m gonna break you.” He pressed the knife a little harder. “What do you have to say about that?”

“Someone’s compensating,” Karrie hissed, swinging the wrench. The second she started the swing, she knew that she had the right end; the wrench almost flew through the air on its own power. The torque amplifier had originally been designed to increase her strength when twisting the wrench around a bolt; now, it aided her own muscle power and smashed into Sammy’s head much harder than she could have alone.

Sammy kept his hair short, unlike many of the citizens of the Reservation. There was no cushioning for his skull or ear. Blood flashed in the air, raining down her. Thankfully, Sammy slid to the side, off her body and freeing her. Karrie rolled to her hands and knees, ignoring the pain that racked her body as she scanned for Jake.

He kicked her in the head, turning her attempt to rise to her feet into a sprawling fall. Karrie moaned as her head began to throb, but that was the least of her worries; she heard the click of a gun. Without thought, she rolled sideways, away from Jake and his unknown firearm.

The gunshot was loud in the tin building – Minimal ringing in my ears, small caliber something – but Karrie didn’t look; she hit one of her cabinets. Her roll arrested, she looked back at Jake and was staring down the barrel of a gun. Blindly, she fumbled for something out of her cabinet-

The next shot was not as loud, not over the ringing already in her ears. Heat lanced through her side, followed by cold. Torso. Serious wound. Timer’s counting down. Panting, Karrie’s hand closed around a butt of something.

She didn’t look to see what she pulled out; she pointed it and blindly fired. The recoil from the gun threw her backwards, rocking her against the metal shelves, and Karrie cried out with new pain. But Jake’s scream was louder.

She looked past the blunt, awkward cannon of her gun, staring at the icy mask that was now Jake’s face. She watched as he worked his flash-frozen jaw, shattering it off his face. His resulting scream was racking and wordless as his hands felt at the frozen wound. He turned, trying to stumble out of the building, and Karrie shot him again, freezing a leg. He fell to the ground, sprawling like she just had second ago. Still he struggled for the door, trying to escape.

Karrie dragged herself upright and dropped the Cold-Cannon. It only had one more shot; having more rounds than three was the big reason she’d never developed the gun further. Instead, she dragged out the spike gun she’d designed. Limping, she moved to stand over him; without a flicker of expression on her face, she shot him in his foot and hands, pinning him to the floor, screaming. “Stay. Good Jake,” she grunted, dropping the spike gun and pulling out her phone.

Her body had so many pains that she couldn’t figure out which was worse, and she finally pressed a hand to her gunshot wound on the theory that guns were worse than blunt trauma. Dialing with her other hand, she fought the dizziness that tried to knock her down. She had to erase the number twice, but finally she pressed send, and hoped that he’d be available.

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The chopper screeched to a halt at a red light that Primal almost made it through. “Sunova…” He grumbled giving the stoplight the bird, which prompted an old man to leer at him from his drivers seat. “Fuck you lookin’ at?” He shot at the old man while looking at his car. “Nice wheels pops, scoring some booty with that ain’tcha?”

He offered the uptight citizen a toothy smile, which displayed prominent feral fangs. When his op-phone began buzzing he gave his new friend a surprised look and reached for it. “Man, booty calls never stop.” Glancing at the driver in the car next to him. “Yeah, you know how it is. I can tell.” Primal nodded, he knew the old man was a closet pimp, he had to be… he had a primer splotched Gremlin.

With a flick of his thumb he flipped up the screen. “Hold that thought pops, I gotta take this.” The light changed and the old man sped off like the devil himself was nipping his heels.

Primal stayed right where he was as the motorists lined up behind him. “Yo, dis Primal. What’s up kid?”

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"Remember that time you told me that if I needed help, I could call you?" Karrie laughed, her voice strained and a slightly self-mocking. "And how I said I'd call you for sure if I got in over my head, but that it was completely unlikely that it would happen unless I got in trouble doing something for you? Well, I was wrong.

"I'm barely on my feet-" Karrie felt her knees start to give, "correction. I just sat down. I've been shot and bludgeoned, and I have two intruders that need disappearin'. Do you have any one near Back-Ass, Arizona who can give me a hand?" She hoped he would come; she'd never admit it (didn't want to stroke his already massive ego), but he made her feel incredibly safe. She was pretty sure even Death himself wouldn't tangle with Primal. She was weak enough to suggest, "Or someone who would be willing to come up here and help me?"

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"Remember that time you told me that if I needed help, I could call you?" Karrie laughed, her voice strained and a slightly self-mocking.


"And how I said I'd call you for sure if I got in over my head, but that it was completely unlikely that it would happen unless I got in trouble doing something for you?"


"Well, I was wrong."

"The point Karrie! Does this call have a damn point to it?"

"I'm barely on my feet... correction. I just sat down. I've been shot and bludgeoned, and I have two intruders that need disappearin'. Do you have any one near Back-Ass, Arizona who can give me a hand? Or someone who would be willing to come up here and help me?"

"Woah. That's a helluva point kid. Way to go." Primal got off his bike and with a slight bend of his knees launched himself into the air where he landed on the roof top of nearby building. "Sorry bout that, horns were buggin' the shit out of me. Okay, Karrie listen to me. I'ma make a call, you just sit tight."

For a moment the young girl on the other end of the line thought the phone was handed to someone else. The tone was purely compassionate and almost caring. "You're going to be okay kid."

Back-Ass Arizona... two minutes later...

The air rippled and shifted as two figures stepped through a 'portal'. One was Primal, the other was a Terat known as 'Warpt', a spatial manipulator whose body and perceptions could be co-located in several different places at once. His evolution had caused all the bones in his body to liquefy, granting all his limbs incredible elasticity. Although still closely humanoid his form would wobble and slither from place to place.

"Sorry Mrs. Karrie, we would have been here sooner but Mr. Primal couldn't find 'Back Ass' on the GPS." He said as he walked over to her like Mr. Fantastic on a severe opium high; limbs stretched everywhere.

"Eat it stretch. She said Back Ass, so I looked for Back Ass." He grumbled kneeling beside the wounded girl. "Hey, kid. You still with me?" He cupped the back of her head and raised her close to him. Despite his brutish strength his touch was feather light. "Hey, Primal's here, just like I promised, eh? Open those eyes girlie."

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Karrie heard his voice, and felt his hand on her face, gentle in a way that he wasn't. She hadn't meant to doze off, but she'd been sitting, and she'd been bored. "Primal," she said with a smile. "You're here."

Of course he was here. He's Primal.

She realized she was repeating him, and with an effort, she cleared the fog from her brain. She wasn't completely successful, but she was able to say, "I think the guy I brained is already dead, but I'm not sure. I hit him pretty hard with the wrench. Jake - the staked guy - is probably still alive, though he won't be much longer. And I'm... I really kinda hurt."

Finally, she looked past Primal to say, "Oh, hey, it's Mr. Fantastic. And if it isn't, I think I need medical attention, right now."

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"Warpt, do yer thing. I'ma check the stiffs." The massive nova looked down at Karrie and winked, offering her s comforting grin. "Hang tight kid, Warpt is gonna help ya out. He ain't the best, but it'll get you back on your feet."

Primal really wasn't sure how exactly Warpt could regenerate wounds either on himself or others but it involved stuff like warping space and time into something that involved long words that made his node hurt to think about. He wasn't dumb, he just didn't have the patience for sci-fi techno babble.

"Miss Karrie, hello, how are you?" Warpt asked taking Primal's place at her side. "How are you? Sorry, dumb question, were you okay I'd not be needed hmm?" His face seemed to slip and bend and move in all manner of way, like a relative pinching his cheeks and just not stopping there. All in all, just looking at him in a healthy state would throw off someone's depth perception.

Primal's heavy boots crunched on glass and scattered sheet metal. After just moment's his massive shadow enveloped Jake, still in panic over his shattered lower jaw. Primal knelt down, resting his arm on his knee and gripping Jake's shirt in his clawed hand. "Yer a mess,” He said, his voice coarse and void of empathy. "But I'll let you in on something. You've got a whole lot more ahead of you. Cuz, you see. First I'ma pluck out yer eyes, cut out yer tongue and remove yer teeth. After that I'ma puncture yer eardrums, cauterize yer sinuses, amputate yer arms and legs, and flay the skin off from what’s left of yer torso."

He pulled Jake closer, letting him feel the heat of his breath. They were eye to eye and Jake wanted so badly to scream for help, for mom, for God... anyone to wake him the nightmare he suddenly realized he was in. "Don't cry on me yet monkey, I'm jes gettin' started. Ya see, then, we’re gonna take you to a 'special' Terat hospital where I’m gonna explain to the doctors with a wink, a nod, and an absurdly large bribe, that yer my brother and due to yer religious convictions ya don't want any sort of medical treatment other than the bare minimum required to keep you alive, nor do ya want any pain killers of any sort. You certainly don't want any sort of telepathic communication to confirm these wishes, preferring that I handle all of yer medical decisions."


The look of terror in Jake, even with only half of a face, was exactly what Primal wanted to see. "And thus you'll live, fer as long as a member of yer species can live, with no sensation other than excruciating physical pain and no communications with the outside world. Bet that makes this idea of yers sound like a really bad fuckin’ plan in retro, doesn't it?"

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Karrie eyes the twisting, shifting nova before closing her eyes tightly. "No offense," she moaned thickly, "but between vertigo and the pain, I can't focus on you or I'm going to throw up."

"No problem, Miss Karrie, I understand," Warpt sighed, not sounding completely happy but not angry either. "This is not attractive, I know."

"You're a nova," Karrie murmured, smiling a little. "You're beautiful. You can't be any other way."

"It is good of you to say," Warpt said with a chuckle. "Let's get you on your feet, Miss Karrie." His hands were warm as they brushed against her skin; she jumped a little at the unexpected contact. She felt when the power began to spill into her, and at first, it was just warm. Then it began to twist her, shift her, pull her backwards and forwards; she was everywhere and nowhere, as Warpt used time and space itself to rebuild her. Her shoulder stopped aching; her wound sealed over.

Hesitantly, Karrie stood up, feeling better now. Warpt hovered nearby, his twisting form somehow holding steady, ready to support her. She was just in time to catch the tail end of Primal's speech; with a snarl, she stumbled forward and kicked Jake in the side. "And that's from me... some more! Stupid monkey - what did you think you were going to do with my stuff? Sell it? Great idea! I'd never work the trail backwards to you, not without say... nova connections and a super genius." She swayed and nearly fell as she gave him another kick. "Moron."

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