A Cold Dish -(R)

Post your Battletech stories and read & rate the tales of others!

Moderators: AVA MANGO TWO, Ravion Hawk, Typhoon, trboturtle

Rayo Azul
BTU Rank
BTU Rank
Posts: 1071
Joined: Thu May 14, 2009 3:31 pm
Location: Madrid, Spain
Contact:

Post by Rayo Azul » Mon Sep 14, 2009 5:49 am

Thanks guys

This is one of the stories I am thinking of self-publishing, but or now I'll keep posting, bit by bit :wink:

Cheers

Rayo

Rayo Azul
BTU Rank
BTU Rank
Posts: 1071
Joined: Thu May 14, 2009 3:31 pm
Location: Madrid, Spain
Contact:

Post by Rayo Azul » Mon Sep 14, 2009 7:33 am

Chapter Ten


The bell jingled and Isabella laid her sewing down next to her. Diego was taking a nap, more and more he needed his daily siesta. At this time business was slow, especially after the recent events in the city. It also gave her a little quiet time. Today she had been happy to lose herself in the calming monotony of her repairs. She pulled back the bead curtain and entered with a smile of greeting.

“Your Grace.”

Confusion reigned as she saw her visitor. No Church official had ever entered their shop before and, even with his guards in tow, the barrio was unsafe.

“How can I help you?”

The Cardinal ignored her, his be-ringed fingers stroking various bolts of cloth stacked to one side of her. It was a decadent, lascivious gesture, unbecoming of a High Churchman. He brushed past her, his boredom apparent and it was not until he had opened distance between him that he spoke.

“Take her.”

She screamed as the guards seized her, struggled as they dragged her unwilling form towards the exit, and called for the one man she could rely on. The beads clashed together as Diego burst from the back room, a kitchen knife in his hand. Isabella called to him in supplication and he rushed, as best he could, to her defence. With a callous disdain, one of the guards pulled free his pistol and shot the old man, twice. The force of the impacting rounds drove him back against the wood of the counter, the knife spinning free. He struck and slumped to the floor.

“Grandfather!”

Her struggles were rewarded and she raced to his side, cradling the old man’s head. He clutched his chest, blood staining his shirt with a steady finality.

“What have they done?” she asked, no answer expected.

“Made another mistake.”

She leaned closer, unsure whether she had heard correctly. One hand snaked forward, slippery with blood.

“Come closer, my Dear.”

His voice was fading, waxing in step with his life. She bent her ear to his mouth, determined to capture every word.

“He ... will ... come ...”

With his last strength he clutched at her, his fingers catching on the chain which had fallen from beneath her blouse. He gripped the small medallion and squeezed tightly. It was the last thing he did.

A hand grasped her shoulder and she spun, her palm connecting with a meaty slap against the Cardinal’s cheek. There was a squeal of pain, and then the guards once more caught her.

“Hold her!”

The words were hissed, the vicious intent obvious. Mendoza balled his fist and punched her full in the face. Her nose crunched under the coward’s blow. Another followed to her stomach and one more to the top of her head. This one brought a curse of pain, as the Cardinal’s soft fingers cracked against her skull.

“Enough.” said Isabella, tears of pain and sorrow blinding her eyes. “I will come.”

“You have no choice, girl. The Church has judged you guilty of heresy.”

There was no mercy in the Cardinal’s tone, no option for appeal. Isabella knew that this was a sentence of death. One of the guards released her arm and moved to open the door for his Master. With her free hand, Isabella caught at the medallion and raised it to her lips in a final kiss of farewell. She was surprised at the electric thrill she felt. The thing was warm and hummed against her mouth. What had her Grandfather said? “He will come.” Who?

One last glance at Diego was possible, the image held tightly, before she was bundled into the waiting vehicle. She was surprised to see a smile on the old man’s face.

*

It was a day of being dragged, bruised and belittled. They had arrived at the Cathedral without pomp and circumstance, the Guards pulling a wailing Isabella from the vehicle. She was casually bounced up the steps, scraped past the ornate double doors and held against one of the columns. Cardinal Mendoza ignored her, apart from the shove which pushed her aside.

“You will wait here ... for my pleasure.”

His staged leering lost most of its impact, her blood covered the front of his robe and he cradled one painful hand in the other. It appeared he had done himself some injury with his cowardly attempt at a beating. Isabella hoped he had broken at least his fingers, if not his whole hand. He waddled off down the main aisle, his gait unbalanced with the need to protect his more delicate appendage.

A harsh laugh from one of the Guards turned her away from the pathetic priest.

He winked at her, “Well, my girl. You’ve certainly cooled His Grace’s ardour. That is until he gets his pinkies seen to.”

His companion cackled at the humour, but his eyes remained cold and professional. There would be no sympathy nor succour from either of these men. The only hope she had, was held on a chain, nestled between her breasts. That, of course, and the faith in a dead man’s word.

*

The sub-cutaneous implant nestled against his jaw hummed. It was annoying that now, of all times, the call had come. There was no possible denial of the summons. Its job was to alert him to the subject’s danger and insist on his presence. In that, it functioned perfectly. His little sideshow would have to wait.

He bundled the cloak in his backpack, hiding some of his weapons nearby and with those few simple actions, El Angel disappeared and once more Juan Escola walked the daylight streets. This irritating transmitter drew him swiftly towards the centre of the city, the vibrations lessened as he picked up the trail. Only when he strayed to avoid some inconvenient stall or building, did it resume its angry buzzing. It was a remnant of his previous life, of the Order and duty. Something he had put aside when he had joined Ortega in the family business, but obviously not forgotten.

As far as he knew there had been only two operatives in the city and only one package. This meant a detour and he gritted his teeth in anticipation at the pain to come. It must be done though.

Brow furrowed and eyes clouded with pain, he approached the old man’s shop. Diego had been one of his contacts, his shop a drop-point in Juan’s other life. It did not take long to realise that it was not Diego pleading for help; his blueing body and rictus grin could be seen from the street. Passers-by joined the flies which buzzed around his bloody corpse, their dance just as obnoxious. No, it must be the package.

His journey was swift. There was no doubt where the trail led: the Cathedral. The Church had once more taken a hand in things which did not concern it. Juan was unsure whether the sequestering of the package was deliberate or whether it was just some unhappy coincidence. It did not really matter, the reddened scene in Diego’s shop spoke of violence and that was something that Juan understood only too well.

The early morning penitents made their way up the steps and Juan joined them. Not, though, before he had relieved one of them of their rough-spun cloak as they passed his alleyway. His plan was simple; enter, get the package and kill anyone who stood in his way. Definition of a plan was always important.

*

“Halt!”

The guards randomly stopped the faithful, groped women, roughed up men and cuffed children. They also confiscated suspicious items and Juan knew his luck had just run out.

“You!”

Ignorance seemed his only defence and a slim one at that. A guard grabbed his arm and spun him round, causing his cloak to flare open.

“Frak!” screamed the guard, as armour and weapons were revealed. He back-pedalled, clawed franticly for his pistol, and died.

“Oh dear,” said Juan, his right hand grasping his combat knife, “curiosity is such a terminal thing.”

His blade sank deep into the guard’s throat and with a flick, it was free again. Juan was already on the move. He transferred the weapon to his left hand and pulled free a throwing knife which whistled as it flew through the air. A dull thud announced the end of its journey as it did of the guard, in whose right eye nestled the steel sliver.

Cries of horror and protest rose as blood droplets sprayed indiscriminately over the penitents.

“Enough!”

The response was instant and with a nod, Juan passed through the open doors, into cool shadow.

Rollingdrafter
BTU Rank
BTU Rank
Posts: 424
Joined: Tue May 23, 2006 4:33 pm
Location: Missouri

Post by Rollingdrafter » Wed Sep 16, 2009 2:19 pm

excellent can't wait for more.... :D

Rayo Azul
BTU Rank
BTU Rank
Posts: 1071
Joined: Thu May 14, 2009 3:31 pm
Location: Madrid, Spain
Contact:

Post by Rayo Azul » Tue Sep 22, 2009 2:20 pm

Rollingdrafter wrote:excellent can't wait for more.... :D
Sorry, you'll have to wait :oops:

(See my post on the Talon thread :wink: )

Cheers

Rayo

tannim
BTU Rank
BTU Rank
Posts: 5
Joined: Thu Sep 17, 2009 8:30 am

Post by tannim » Tue Sep 22, 2009 3:45 pm

this is getting very interesting. good work, as usual.

Rayo Azul
BTU Rank
BTU Rank
Posts: 1071
Joined: Thu May 14, 2009 3:31 pm
Location: Madrid, Spain
Contact:

Post by Rayo Azul » Sun Oct 04, 2009 8:04 am

tannim wrote:this is getting very interesting. good work, as usual.
I will post another six chapters of this novel. Not on my own PC, so when I get back I will start again.

Cheers

Rayo

Rayo Azul
BTU Rank
BTU Rank
Posts: 1071
Joined: Thu May 14, 2009 3:31 pm
Location: Madrid, Spain
Contact:

Post by Rayo Azul » Sun Oct 04, 2009 9:36 am

Chapter Eleven

Something ricocheted off the column by her ear and stung her cheek. Her eyes jerked open and she screamed. Below her was the half-open skull of the cold-eyed guard. It sank in time with her, the body realising life had departed. An exploratory hand revealed yet another open wound, this time with a sharp object sticking out. Isabella concentrated on the fragment’s removal, she could not think further than that. Bile rose in her throat as she saw that the offending article was a shard of bone and she tossed it away. She wiped her hands on her skirt and looked around, just in time to see the shadowy figure rise behind her remaining captor.

Black eyes stared through her. She knew those eyes! Then a wrench, a snap and a corpse was made.

The man glided towards her and all the pieces clicked into place.

“El Angel ...”

“You rang?” the smile on his face transformed him and Isabella gladly accepted the courtesy.

*

Cardinal Mendoza looked one last time in the mirror. His voluminous robe hid all of his obvious faults and surely the rough sling would generate a sympathy he could use. He practiced his face of suffering, picked his teeth and let himself savour the upcoming interrogation. There was so much he could do; remove nails, break fingers and toes, selective burning and the ultimate: the rack. In spite of technological advances, the Church stuck by tried and tested methods.

The mood of self-congratulation lasted half-way through his stately parade. He had reached the start of the fluted columns when his foot slipped away and he found himself once more dumped onto his biggest asset. A sticky substance coated his hands, they had stopped his head from slamming into the marble floor. Wetness seeped through to his under-tunics and for a moment, he thought that he had soiled his image further. Liquid soaked inward though, not outward. Screams began and two of the faithful helped him to his feet. He batted their hands away, desperate to preserve his dignity. It was to no avail.

Vomit spattered his shoes as his stomach caught up with his brain and recognised the head. The part of it that was still recognisable, as the top half of the skull had exploded all over the surrounding area. A second body lay slumped in repose, less shocking but still stomach-churning.

“Where is the girl?” His question went unanswered.

“Where is the GIRL?”

A squad of guards approached, their search revealing little, except a trail of bloody footprints. Mendoza raced as fast as he could for the door, where he threw up what little he had left. She was gone and there was only one person who could have done this.

Hurried prayers consigned the souls of the dead to the Great One’s bosom and, followed by his guards, he headed straight for the Prancing Lion. It was time Javi Venta earned his money.

*

The bike had been found. Venta made sure all but he left the area. This time there would be no amateur snooping, no careless treatment of the mountain man. After a short search, he found both the primary and secondary explosive devices and left them where they were. He felt certain there were more. Escola was far too professional to leave anything to chance.

From his pack he removed his own booby-traps, placing one across the door, its trip-wire obvious. Another was cunningly dug into the earth nearby, its pressure switch disguised by the half-swept detritus. His masterpiece he connected to the electronic ignition, taking a long time in his work. Now he would see how good Escola was.

With the floor swept back in chaos and the retaining pins removed, he retired to a two-storey office building, with an uninterrupted view on three sides. McBride’s men took the fourth, his entrance invitation.

*

“Change of plans ...?”

“Isabella.”

He nodded and checked his time- piece.

“Isabella, we need to leave the city, right now.”

“Why?” she shook her head. Yesterday, was it only yesterday, she had tried to leave, but now...

“McBride wants me dead. The Church wants you dead and who knows what other parties we’ll piss off before we leave. You are far too important.”

“Why?” Juan smiled. Isabella reminded him of his youngest, Iban. He thrust the pain away. That was someone else’s life. His reply was curt, cold.

“Because I say so!”

The pack was now open and he drew forth his cloak. Juan was no more, El Angel had returned.

*


McBride heard the first explosion. Saw the screaming penitents racing from the church and knew Escola was alive. Only he could cause men to take a flight of such terror. Sirens wound up in alarm, their wailing adding a fine counterpoint to the voices in the street below.

“Bring my car,” he muttered curtly. His father might well refuse his plea, but his office was far too obvious a target. If even half he heard about Escola was true, he was a dead man. That was not part of McBride’s future, at least in his own mind.

The car took an age, McBride sweating nervously as each eternity passed. When it did arrive, he ran to meet it, jumping into the rear seats and screaming for his driver to leave immediately. In his haste, he left three of his usual guards behind. With a mad scramble, they commandeered a second car and raced after him.

*

“Where are we going? At least answer me that, if you won’t talk of anything else.”

Juan smiled at her. She supposed that it could be classified as a smile, although it hardly reached the corners of his mouth. It certainly did not reach his eyes. They were black fathomless yet empty. If they were indeed the mirror of the soul, this man was lost.

“I have already told you...away from here. There was a little job I had to finish, but that can wait. Who knows, perhaps there will a mutual convergence?”

His voice was flat too. It rasped slightly, no it creaked. That was it, it sounded like an old wooden door, warped with age and weather. Where had she heard it before? Isabella shivered and wrapped her thin dress round her, more for comfort than effectiveness. When they had buried Grandma Hernandez, closed the lid on her final resting place, the wood had creaked with protest and then resignation, just like the sounds emanating from the hard slash which was this man’s mouth.

She stumbled and would have fallen if he had not caught her. With a shake, she tried to pull clear. Juan held her tight.

“Be still!” he hissed, pulling the hood of his cloak over his head. He melted from view, a black and deadly figure.

Escola was no fool. Javi Venta had missed at least two of his tell-tale markers. No doubt someone had returned the explosive favour and after searching the area, Juan pulled back into the shadows again.

Those watching, saw nothing. Maybe the better of them thought that a darker shadow momentarily flitted across his vision. Then again, perhaps not. None of the three men left on guard heard the soft footfall, nor the swish of a cloak. No breath rasped that was not their own. Sighs there were, but they were only the final exhalation of death, as El Angel left his own message.

Isabella jumped as her protector appeared suddenly. There was a strange metallic smell which accompanied him. Placing a finger to his lips, he motioned her to follow. She would not argue, the darker stain on the digit’s cautioned her to obedience.


*

Cardinal Mendoza waited a long time in the Prancing Lion; three glasses of wine and a plate of food in his current state of agitation tasked him. His men stood facing out, scanning the crowd and protecting their Master from the gaze of the curious. Normally dapper, his rumpled and stained robes spoke loudly of his fear and haste. A serving girl, who had offered to wash the worst of the stains way, had been cuffed brutally. None spoke to him again, they simply did his bidding.

When Javi Venta at last deigned to appear, he did so with a radiant smile, whistling a jaunty air. His lip curled once as he passed the Cardinal’s guards, but his good nature returned as he called for ale.

“Well,” he said, wiping the creamy foam from his top lip, “to what do I owe this great pleasure?”

“Enough of your tomfoolery!” snapped Mendoza, brushing aside the remains of his meal with a sour expression. “The Holy places have been desecrated! There is evil in our midst!”

Venta put down his mug and began to clap slowly, “Bravo, my fat friend,” he laughed, “a piece of art, your acting, oh yes indeed.”

The Cardinal made as if to swipe the mug from Venta’s hand as he raised it again, but the chilling look of invitation made him think twice.

“That’s better,” said Venta, leaning forwards, “now my Holy confederate, tell me your sad tale. Leave absolutely nothing out.”

Rayo Azul
BTU Rank
BTU Rank
Posts: 1071
Joined: Thu May 14, 2009 3:31 pm
Location: Madrid, Spain
Contact:

Post by Rayo Azul » Tue Oct 06, 2009 8:43 am

Chapter Twelve


Isabella was lost. She thought she knew the Merchant’s District, but Juan had shown her new twists and turns. Dark streets and even darker alleys seemed to welcome him in. After a final torturous twisting, they stood before a non-descript wooden door. It was like the rest of the area; run-down, weather and time-beaten, with just a hint of past opulence.

“Where are we?” she asked, a note of fear trembling her voice.

“The Merchant District.”

Anger flamed within her; this had already been the worst day of her life, flippant responses aside.

Juan smiled as he once more saw spirit in the girl’s face, and she winced in return. How easy it had been to tweak her offended dignity.

“There is nothing to fear, for now,” stated Juan, his fingers feeling the door frame. There was a slight click, followed by the movement of a concealed panel. He stared into the exposed lens and then entered a numeric code into the pad below. After a short wait, the door swung out on deceptively quiet hinges.

“We can go in now,” he said, indicating that Isabella preceded him.

“What is this place?”

She was determined to receive an answer. At least one. Juan simply stared at her. There was an uncomfortable silence, broken by the sound of Isabella’s indignant foot. As she passed him, Juan grinned, studied the street one last time and finally followed.


*

The entrance hall contrasted starkly with the external facade. It was clean, well-lit and new. At its end was another door, which opened onto a series of rooms. Each was stark and functional, yet out-of-place within Isabella’s world. Screens flickered to life, data units began to chirp and whirr, and machinery moved.

“You asked what this place was...?” Juan was more garrulous now, sliding into yet another personality, “This belongs to the Order. It is a haven for displaced operatives. We will be safe here.”

For Isabella, the few short words struggled from Juan’s mouth. It was the most she had ever heard him speak in all of their time together. Not an opportunity to waste.

“The Order?” she queried.

“Did not your Grandfather mention anything to you of his purpose here?”

“Why,” Isabella snapped, “do you always answer a question, with another question?”

“Habit,” muttered Juan.

“So, you’re a monk, are you?”

Her attempt at humour had struck much closer to the mark, than she had intended. The Order was a branch of the Church, but one which had not descended to the base depths of the general ecclesiarchy. It had been formed with a specific purpose; to protect the original Church teachings and protect the heir. Whatever means that were required, were employed. El Angel was evidence enough of that.

“In a way,” he replied, “and you can visualise this as one of our Chapter Houses, if it makes you more comfortable.”

“You are aligned with the Church?” her fright was obvious, Cardinal Mendoza having shaken her belief.

“Yes and no,” he ignored her discomfort, busying himself with resetting the house’s defences, “Cardinal Mendoza and I have a very different opinion on what constitutes religion.”

He laughed, or that at least was how she interpreted the sound which hissed from his lips, and turned to face her.

“I had a higher calling, once,” he said, finally removing his cowl, “and at times I am reminded of it. Your need is a specific example.”

Isabella did not know what to think. El Angel had saved her, yet death hung ever-present around his shoulders. For now, there was nothing else she could do, but wait.


*

Cardinal Mendoza sipped wine from his crystal goblet. He had returned to his study within the Cathedral with a sour taste in his mouth, that the wine did little to remove. A call to his superiors had clarified little and his only option, however distasteful, appeared to reside in the doubtful virtue of Javi Venta.

McBride had disappeared, the Cardinal’s spies pointing to reconciliation with his father, which caused certain discomfort. Robert McBride was no friend to the Church in general, and the Cardinal in particular. The idiot son could well have destroyed everything with his vicious plans of empire building.

A file lay open on his desk nearby, detailing all that was known of El Angel. The Churchman did not like what he had read there. It spoke of efficient determination, death and destruction. He only hoped that Venta was a match for him. If not, then the Cardinal would have to deal with McBride senior, a task he was not looking forward to.

MechRat
BTU Rank
BTU Rank
Posts: 897
Joined: Thu Jun 01, 2006 10:19 am
Location: CT, USA
Contact:

Post by MechRat » Tue Oct 06, 2009 10:19 am

The plot gets deeper and more complicated. Can't wait to read more, Rayo! :thumleft:
Image
(avatar by Knightmare)

Image

"Beware the quiet ones, for you know not what they think." - me

OurBattleTech - A place for Alternate Universes to call home

Rayo Azul
BTU Rank
BTU Rank
Posts: 1071
Joined: Thu May 14, 2009 3:31 pm
Location: Madrid, Spain
Contact:

Post by Rayo Azul » Wed Oct 07, 2009 5:52 am

Chapter Thirteen


Robert McBride lived as his God intended. Irreligious in the extreme, he craved only one thing; power. He worshiped not only the idea, but practiced faithfully his unshakeable belief in its attainment. Once, he had thought that perhaps his son would follow in his footsteps, and in his own way he had. The thing that jarred, was the boy’s inherent stupidity.
McBride senior saw himself as an intelligent man, cruel and cunning perhaps, but he could never be accused of idiocy. Unlike his son.

“So,” he said flatly, “you crawl here with your tail between your legs?”

James’ resentment flared, colour suffusing his cheeks.

“Always the same,” he sneered, “caution and criticism in equal measure.”

“Oh, I don’t think so,” said Robert, as he sipped from the cold glass of water in front of him, “my methods are a little more subtle than yours, and much more effective.”

“What exactly have you done recently?” asked James, “You sit here in your little kingdom, divorced from the real world, whilst it burns merrily around you.”

The older man laughed, a short dismissive sound. He reached for a small bell, which tinkled gaily as he flicked his wrist. In answer to his summons, the door opened and James McBride started with surprise and not a little fear. There, like some venomous spider, stood Javi Venta.

“I believe you have met?” said Robert cooly.

James slumped back into his seat. It seemed that he had underestimated his father again. What was the vindictive old man up to?

*

Juan woke early, checking the house’s systems routinely, before preparing breakfast. Isabella slept on; the poor girl’s body reacting to a clamorous need for rest and forgetfulness. Escola was a pragmatic man, whose personal vengeance had now been superseded. It was obvious to him that Cardinal Mendoza had somehow found out about her identity, his lascivious nature could not explain fully his recent actions.

The coincident act was not something Juan believed in; the strike against
Ortega and his family could be explained by McBride’s avarice, but not the move against Isabella. When all things were considered, Juan saw the sticky fingers of the Church itself in this. He did not though see that such an action would be directly sanctioned by the Prelate’s office itself. No, there was something or someone else at work here.

Diego Vasquez had played his part well, although the fact that the girl had been kept in the dark over her true nature was a problem. She was wilful and took unacceptable risks. That would have to change. How to tell her though, and in such a way that she would trust him?

First things first, they needed a ride off this planet and the only safe way was via the Order. Juan sighed. Bureaucracy gave him a headache. With reticent fingers, he sent his message. The response would not be long in coming. Isabella was far too important.

*

“It seems as though I have missed something,” said James, staring into his father’s eyes, “you orchestrated this whole thing? Played me for a fool?”

“Yes and no,” replied Robert, “I did not need to play you, your own greed took care of that.”

He held his hand up as James made as if to speak.

“I have not finished, and you would do well to listen.”

James nodded, shrinking involuntarily as he felt Javi’s hand push him firmly back into the chair.

“There is more at stake here than you know. The Cardinal is but following orders, my orders in fact. He believes that the girl, Isabella Vasquez, is some kind of heretic-in-hiding, which in a way she is. As a good officer of the Church he was only doing his duty, and who could blame him for trying to get a little something for himself out of it?”

“Old man Vasquez’s daughter, what has she got to do with this...and where does Ortega fit in?” interrupted James, unable to contain himself.

The hand reappeared on his shoulder, this time digging into a bundle of nerves and causing him to yelp in pain.

“Be quiet!” snapped his father, “Juan Escola was the target, not the petty crime lord Ortega!”

Venta looked up in surprise, his eyes narrowing. Robert McBride saw the gesture and smiled cruelly.

“My apologies, Javi,” he said, no petition for forgiveness in his voice, “that was my mistake. I believed information as to his ineffectiveness was correct. It appears not to be so. The man who erred has already been chastised.

Juan Escola is El Angel De La Muerte. He is not a myth, nor a horror story to frighten misbehaving children. Unfortunately, he is very real, and as a senior operative of the Order, deadly. We have already seen evidence of that fact.”

Javi’s face was now cold, calculating and McBride senior nodded in agreement.

“Yes my friend,” he said, “a worthy adversary and one you must find and eliminate. The Cardinal, and even the Church itself if it comes that, I can deal with. For El Angel, we will need to take advantage of your own special skills. This must be done quickly.”

He reached into a drawer of the desk behind which he sat, removing a folded piece of paper.

“This is the address of where he and the girl are hiding. Kill him, but do not harm a hair on the child’s head. Do I make myself clear?”

James looked over his shoulder at his ex-assassin, his mouth opening in astonishment. There was briefly a thing in Venta’s eyes he had never ever expected to see; fear. It was not for his task, nor his encounter with El Angel. No, this cold-blooded fiend was terrified of one man, and that was Robert McBride; his father.

Rayo Azul
BTU Rank
BTU Rank
Posts: 1071
Joined: Thu May 14, 2009 3:31 pm
Location: Madrid, Spain
Contact:

Post by Rayo Azul » Thu Oct 08, 2009 8:03 am

Chapter Fourteen



“What’s that?”

Isabella had paused, a forkful of food halfway to her mouth. She had recently woken, her hair dishevelled and sleep hung heavy around her.

“Someone’s knocking,” replied Juan, rising slowly from the seat opposite her.

“I thought you said that this was a safe house? Isn’t it supposed to be secret”

Juan smiled, “Not quite as safe as I expected. Finish your breakfast, I’ll go and see what they want.”

In spite of his calm exterior, Juan was concerned. Finding this house was difficult, and no-one would be just casually seeking entrance. It took him but a moment to reach the central data screen. He activated the exterior cameras and studied the darkened street. One man pounded on the door, but there were are at least three others. Again the door was struck and Juan ignored the persistent action, taking his time.

“No-one’s answering!” It was a petulant dismissive. The man turned and stomped up the alley towards another man who remained in the shadows.

“This is ridiculous! If he’s in there, he is not going to answer. Let’s stop..agh!”

The body crumpled to the floor and light flashed on an exposed blade.

“Is there anyone else who wishes to question my methods?” the hidden figure hissed.

Silence greeted his words. More men appeared and he waved them on, the weight of their satchels obvious as they grunted with the effort required. Whoever this was, he commanded both fear and respect, and Juan was starting to worry exactly what was in the bags they carried. It was a minor preoccupation at present, the entrance door and walls were heavily reinforced and it would need something special to force an entry.

“Sh*t!” he cursed, as they began to pull pieces of equipment out. They definitely meant business. His fingers flew over the keyboard, activating the defences and setting up a routine which would give himself and Isabella at least a small start.

The last action was to zoom in on the mysterious figure; light enhancing software picked out the face, the machine by his side depositing a photo in his hand. A face to remember. Juan rose and made his way back to Isabella. He did not hurry; the house would buy them some time.

*

Javi Venta watched his minions work. Deliberately he stayed out of the way. This Escola had proven himself no fool and it was a certainty that he would take the offensive. At last they were finished; bolted onto a sturdy frame was the unmistakably deadly profile of a light cannon. One of the men used an explosive tool to fire four bolts into the ground, fixing the lightweight artillery piece into place. It fired Sabot rounds, designed specifically to penetrate armour. Venta was in no doubt that the door and surrounding wall were reinforced against direct attack.

At last they were ready and he made as if to give the command to fire. Before he could complete his order, bright pencil-like beams of light speared out from the building’s facade. Each of the men serving the gun were hit, the smell of burning flesh testifying to the fierceness of the energy weapons employed. Javi grinned. Just as he had thought.

He removed his data pad from his pocket and checked that the weapon was ready. The fools had done their jobs. One finger tapped the screen and the gun barked, its automatic firing sequence engaged. There was a five shot magazine, but Javi did not expect to need more than two.

The door resisted the first round, although the wooden exterior was smashed away and the metal beneath twisted by the heavy impact. Venta was right; the second round did the job, punching a gaping hole in the resistant structure. With a smug smile, Javi sauntered forward, removing a slim pistol from an inside pocket.

*

“Here!” said Juan, tossing a small bag to Isabella. He turned and began to pull things from another hold-all he carried himself.

“Are we in danger?” she asked breathlessly.

“Always,” replied Juan bending to his task. From his bag he took two small metallic cubes and a roll of monofilament fibre. The cubes he fixed to either side of the door, depressing a button on each of them which caused four metallic claws to snap outwards. To these he fixed a roll of the fibre, taking extreme care. With a grunt of satisfaction he stood, flicked a small switch on the back of each of the cubes and moved cautiously back.

“Let’s go!” he said flatly, taking the protesting girl’s arm and shepherding her towards the sleeping quarters.

“There’s nothing back here,” she whined, “we’re going to die!”

Juan slapped her sharply across the face and dragged her along with him. She was crying now and he ignored her. Quickly he found the concealed exit and entered the code. With a whoosh of air, a panel slid back. He bundled Isabella inside and took a final look around the room, before he followed her, the door closing behind him.

“I hate you!” snapped Isabella.

“Tell someone who cares,” the coldness in his voice halting her histrionics, “we are not here to be friends. I will keep you alive, whether you want me to or not.”

In silence she followed, holding her resentment inside until she heard the first explosion. When the second came close after, she gripped Juan’s arm tightly and allowed him to pull her forward.

*

The smile remained on Venta’s face as he stalked his prey. Four quick shots had disabled the point defences and he paused when he saw the data screen. A quick inspection showed at least two booby traps which he disarmed, ignoring the potential for others which were not in his immediate path. Excitement coloured his judgement; he was close, he could feel it. Two of his surviving men crept along behind him, allowing him to blaze the trail. Finally satisfied, he moved on.

No scanning devices would have picked up the cubes. They were mechanical devices, finely engineered but devoid of any electrical signature. The switches which Juan had engaged caused a single fibre to be fired into the frame opposite. Tenuously they held onto the wood fully tensioned and expectant.

It was Javi’s lead foot which caused the left hand thread to lose its grip, a contact he never felt, but which registered inside the equisite mechanism. The four claws began to spin under the impulse of the tiny gears inside. Monofilament fibre, razor thin, shot outwards, slicing through flesh and bone as though it had never existed. Javi screamed once as his ankle sheared away, his body continuing to move and tripping the second cube. This time, the target was bigger

MechRat
BTU Rank
BTU Rank
Posts: 897
Joined: Thu Jun 01, 2006 10:19 am
Location: CT, USA
Contact:

Post by MechRat » Thu Oct 08, 2009 8:54 am

Blinded by arrogance, I love it! :twisted: I wonder if he can stop the bleeding in time...

Thanks for the updates, Rayo!
Image
(avatar by Knightmare)

Image

"Beware the quiet ones, for you know not what they think." - me

OurBattleTech - A place for Alternate Universes to call home

Rayo Azul
BTU Rank
BTU Rank
Posts: 1071
Joined: Thu May 14, 2009 3:31 pm
Location: Madrid, Spain
Contact:

Post by Rayo Azul » Thu Oct 08, 2009 12:18 pm

MechRat wrote:Blinded by arrogance, I love it! :twisted: I wonder if he can stop the bleeding in time...

Thanks for the updates, Rayo!
No problems :wink: Did you ever get the short on your e-mail?

Cheers

Rayo

MechRat
BTU Rank
BTU Rank
Posts: 897
Joined: Thu Jun 01, 2006 10:19 am
Location: CT, USA
Contact:

Post by MechRat » Thu Oct 08, 2009 12:48 pm

Yes, I did. I will be giving you feedback on that soon.
Image
(avatar by Knightmare)

Image

"Beware the quiet ones, for you know not what they think." - me

OurBattleTech - A place for Alternate Universes to call home

Rayo Azul
BTU Rank
BTU Rank
Posts: 1071
Joined: Thu May 14, 2009 3:31 pm
Location: Madrid, Spain
Contact:

Post by Rayo Azul » Tue Oct 13, 2009 5:26 am

Chapter Fifteen


The entrance to the Cathedral was well lit, guards scurrying to and fro in a state of mild agitation. An air car hovered overhead, its searchlight sweeping majestically over the men below. A rough barricade had been constructed in front of the main entrance, the snout of a heavy cannon betraying the armoured vehicle laired behind.

“Quiet!” hissed Juan, as Isabella scraped her hold all against the wall behind which they were hiding.

“I can’t help...”

“I said quiet!”

His voice was cold and Isabella was suddenly reminded of who stood by her side. She gulped, lost more in the fear of the moment, than in any prospective threat.

A sudden commotion in front of the rough guard post drew Juan’s attention. With a squeal of brakes, a flat bed pulled up and three men exited, moving to the rear of the vehicle and pulling a blood-soaked tarpaulin clear. Juan grinned; it seemed more than a good gues, that the contents held at least part of their erstwhile pursuer.

Red robes fluttered in the mild night breeze, their movement caused more by the haste of their wearer than any vagary of the weather. It was the Cardinal himself who tripped in his haste on the last three steps, losing his balance and impacting onto the cloth coloured corpse. There was an ironic humour here; the red robes which were supposed to represent the blood of martyrdom, would at last be stained with that of one of their less than pious followers.

“Sh*t!”

The rather unsaintly imprecation could be heard at great distance. One Cardinal at least would have to repent tomorrow.

“Come,” commanded Juan, moving back behind the wall, “it’s not the diversion I was thinking of, but it will do.”

He led Isabella towards the rear of the imposing building, towards the plaza in which stood n imposing statue of the Prelate himself. Making sure they were unseen, he approached the rear of the smiling figure; the prayer to his greatness ran round all four sides of the giant plinth, but Juan was looking for something in particular.

“There you are,” he muttered to himself, depressing three distinct letters four separate times, never repeating the pattern. With a groan, a small portal opened, the darkness inside unwelcoming.

“If you think that I am going in there ...”

Losing his patience, Juan grabbed her by her belt and the rear of her dress tossing her inside. Any shriek of protest was lost in the depths as she slid away. He activated a small light and cautiously followed, closing the door behind him.

*

Cardinal Mendoza needed three glasses of wine to calm his shattered nerves; the sight of Javi Venta’s mutilated corpse had unmanned him. No doubt many would have questioned the description, but in all regards he had lain on the reddened floor, his arms and legs flailing like those of a recalcitrant child. It had needed two of his soldiers to carry him out of the public eye and allow him the possibility of regaining a little of his vaunted dignity.

The puzzling thing for him had been the description of both the weapons employed and the dead men by his side. They wore the clothing of Robert McBride’s House and not the thug affected robes of the son. Mendoza was an arrogant fool, but even he could sense that all was not as it seemed.
His attempts to contact his superiors had been blocked, as had any off-world traffic. Something which could only have been done by the Governor, or at least his representative.

Just as he started upon the fourth glass of wine, he was interrupted by shouting, gunfire and the bark of a cannon. He smiled. His men had been told to make an example of anyone who disturbed his meditations this evening.

This smug contemplation ended abruptly, as the doors to his private sanctum blew away from their hinges and the searing blast of hellfire, caressed his pale flesh.

*

The Church was not the first to learn of Venta’s demise. McBride had been in constant contact with his henchman and the abrupt termination of the link had been enough confirmation. Even so, he had sent an observer who witnessed the sloppy removal of the shredded corpse.

“I warned him!”

His anger was emphasised by the crystal goblet which destroyed itself against the wall, its inanimate nature giving it no option when impelled by such force.

James McBride smirked. Even his great and illustrious father was human after all.

“Do not take pleasure from this, boy!” roared the older man, “this is a disaster!”

“If you would only explain to me why,” cajoled James, “perhaps I could help?”

“Bah,” sneered Robert, “you are hardly capable of intelligent thought. What real use would you be? McManus!”

His cry brought a beetle-browed servant scurrying.

“It is time,” he said, the man’s evil smile boding ill for someone, “make the call.”

BeoWolf
BTU Rank
BTU Rank
Posts: 270
Joined: Sat Jan 15, 2005 9:58 am
Location: South Africa

Post by BeoWolf » Tue Oct 13, 2009 4:21 pm

Very nice. The plot is getting very interesting
Stay true to the dream of the Kerensky's, now and always.

Rayo Azul
BTU Rank
BTU Rank
Posts: 1071
Joined: Thu May 14, 2009 3:31 pm
Location: Madrid, Spain
Contact:

Post by Rayo Azul » Mon Feb 14, 2011 3:41 pm

BeoWolf wrote:Very nice. The plot is getting very interesting
Do you know that I'm rewriting this? I am now on Chapter Twenty and I'm on a roll. Interested? :twisted:

BlackHornet
BTU Rank
BTU Rank
Posts: 2419
Joined: Tue Oct 04, 2005 9:34 am
Location: Berwick, Pa
Contact:

Post by BlackHornet » Tue Feb 15, 2011 5:15 pm

Of course
Image
BlackHawk01-"Everyone knows a cool BattleBuggy needs a bitchin' set of pipes..."

Rayo Azul
BTU Rank
BTU Rank
Posts: 1071
Joined: Thu May 14, 2009 3:31 pm
Location: Madrid, Spain
Contact:

Post by Rayo Azul » Wed Feb 16, 2011 12:56 pm

BlackHornet wrote:Of course
Glad to hear it :D

Rayo Azul
BTU Rank
BTU Rank
Posts: 1071
Joined: Thu May 14, 2009 3:31 pm
Location: Madrid, Spain
Contact:

Post by Rayo Azul » Thu Nov 03, 2011 3:05 pm

Okay, we need this before the next chapter...

Inside the Cathedral seven hooded figures worked quickly; bodies would be taken, ferried silently away from the scene of the crime. They could do nothing to erase the blast damage, rather they laboured to change its appearance. No-one must know who had been here today.

“Ready.”

There was no need for any further words and the men left, one figure remaining to glance over their handiwork. Satisfied, he turned away, his robe flaring briefly to reveal a strange seven-pointed star embroidered on the tunic beneath. Light played briefly across his face, highlighting the tattoo of a stylised wing under his left eye, which he touched as his lips moved in silent prayer. This was not His work, yet evil must be rooted out wherever it was found.

A low whistle called him away. There was no time for pious reflection, work still needed to be done.

Rayo Azul
BTU Rank
BTU Rank
Posts: 1071
Joined: Thu May 14, 2009 3:31 pm
Location: Madrid, Spain
Contact:

Post by Rayo Azul » Sun Dec 11, 2011 12:22 pm

Chapter Sixteen

The ramp was steep, but short. Isabella slid to an abrupt halt, feet slamming into a sponge-like barrier.

“Move!”

She instinctively obeyed Juan, history had proven him right, and rolled aside. Faint light illuminated his arrival, a muted torch attached to his front shining dully. His flexed knees took the shock and he was rapidly afoot. Juan moved with knowledge of purpose, strip-lights flicking into existence with practiced ease. She gasped.

“How is it possible?”

Hand-crafted stone columns held up an elaborately painted roof. Religious iconography detailed the birth of a great hero, his rise to power, and treacherous death. It belonged in a lavish Protectorate cathedral, not a hole in the ground.

“Not everything is as it seems,” muttered Juan self-consciously, “there are still people who truly believe.”

Isabella stared at him, “You did this?”

Juan blushed, nodded and walked to a nearby console.

“I had many years to pass in solitude,” he continued, “before I met my wife...”

The pain was still too raw for him to think on it much.

“Now is not the time though,” he shrugged her adulation away, “we have a bigger riddle to solve.”

She waved her hand in a gesture of confusion.

“Who knows of this? I ask, because the last safe house was a little too well known.”

Juan grinned. She was regaining her spirit. It was time to bring her back to earth.

“Only three people knew of this place, and two of them are dead>”

“My grandfather..? she asked, tears quavering her voice.

A curt nod was his reply, he concentrated on activating the spy suite installed within the local system. This technology was not something an amateur would find in the local market. Ortega had fitted everything as a safety net for his son-in-law and his family. Now Juan would put it into use with a more aggressive purpose.

As tears rolled down the girl’s cheeks, a hardened heart melted ever so slightly.

“This room was here first. A heretical temple sat here. The placing of the Prelate’s statue was deliberate, and Ortega left no witnesses. Off-world contractors fitted it out, never knowing where they worked.”

Cold disgust took hold of him. He knew how secure this facility was. Not a single possibility of a leak existed; many bones populated the foundations of the Prelate’s statue. Much had been justified in the Heir’s protection.

“My father-in-law supervised everything. He was paranoid about the safety of his family,” Juan laughed, “unfortunately it wasn’t enough.”

She stared at him. His voice was cold, dead. El Angel had returned.

Rayo Azul
BTU Rank
BTU Rank
Posts: 1071
Joined: Thu May 14, 2009 3:31 pm
Location: Madrid, Spain
Contact:

Post by Rayo Azul » Thu Apr 12, 2012 10:25 am

In a means to stimulate some interaction on the Fan Fiction board here is the next part of A Cold Dish. :D

Cheers

Rayo

Rayo Azul
BTU Rank
BTU Rank
Posts: 1071
Joined: Thu May 14, 2009 3:31 pm
Location: Madrid, Spain
Contact:

Post by Rayo Azul » Thu Apr 12, 2012 10:27 am

Brother Vincent sent his coded message. The Order would be pleased although he himself was a little confused. A corrupt Church official was one thing, yet that did not usually generate such overkill. Then there was the Church’s implicit message...there was none. It did not make sense. His fingers caressed his cheek, lips moving in silent prayer. He would do his duty, of that there was no doubt.

The speed of reply was surprising, as was the decoded assignment. Vincent turned to his men.

“Brothers,” he said, “Our Lord comes, and he brings the Hammer Of Faith with him. We must prepare for his arrival.”

Six shrouded figures grunted their acceptance, removing already packed weapons from their travelling cases. They would not question an order from on high, rather relish the opportunity for further cleansing of this unsaintly planet.

*
“There is something wrong,” said Juan, as he decoded the intercepted message.

“In what way?” asked Isabella, unsure of what he meant.

“There are operatives from The Order here already, yet they have made no effort to contact me.”

“Full of ourselves, aren’t we?” she chided him.

“No,” he replied, “there are unbreakable rules. That though is not the worst,” his fingers flicked over the virtual keyboard, highlighting part of the message.

“...Hammer Of Faith, what’s that?” she asked.
“The Order’s main Attack Cruiser,” he said, “it has also been called The WorldEater, The Cleansing Fire...now do you understand?”

“No...” replied Isabella, an edge of fear to her voice.

“The Order are coming to purify this world...” he spoke slowly, “...and they know you are here, because I told them.”

*

The small bathroom allowed for single use only. It was one of the few places where El Angel bared the soul of the man that was Juan Escola. Leaving the powerful jets of the shower unit, he felt clean, even if it was only for a moment.

As he dried himself, he caught his reflection in the wall-mounted mirror; his lean and well-muscled body was a work of art in itself. Swathes of olive skin peeked from amid riotous colour; tattoos covered Juan from his ankles to his wrists in an almost unbroken tapestry. The only clear areas were on his neck and curling around his ribs, where the inked pinions of his darkened wings rested.

Those black and forbidding designs were the first to touch his body; a poor joke or a dare, it was all so fuzzy. He remembered the tattooist, a large-nosed and ferocious individual with metal piercings hanging from bulbous lips. His neck and face carried small and stylised angelic figures whose inkwork lacked colour but sang with detail. There was no pain, which at the time had been strange, although the priest by his side droned on in a monotone which came close. Six of his fellows stood by, The Order made a big thing of teamwork, yet none of them had seemed drunk nor taken their own turns beneath the tattoist’s needle.

After that, he had used his body as a shrine for his belief. Much as had the temple beneath the statue become a statement of faith and purpose, so too did Juan’s body. Colourful scenes, creatues and symbols were added immediately after successful missions. Perhaps, in their own way, they were a form of penance for those sins he too readily committed in The Church’s name.

With a grim smile he covered the brilliant artwork with his more drab clothes. He now knew the reality of the Church’s political purpose, as well as the religious one he himself followed. Yet he could not deny that he was El Angel, whose dark and shadowy wings brushed this world with death. They had made him that way, inking a terrible purpose onto his very skin. No, they could not complain if he was true to his nature, irrespective of the consequences.

Rayo Azul
BTU Rank
BTU Rank
Posts: 1071
Joined: Thu May 14, 2009 3:31 pm
Location: Madrid, Spain
Contact:

Post by Rayo Azul » Fri May 04, 2012 12:58 pm

Chapter Seventeen

Close Orbit
Nueva Esperanza
Second Church Protectorate
Last edited by Rayo Azul on Tue Sep 24, 2013 9:09 am, edited 1 time in total.

Rayo Azul
BTU Rank
BTU Rank
Posts: 1071
Joined: Thu May 14, 2009 3:31 pm
Location: Madrid, Spain
Contact:

Post by Rayo Azul » Fri May 04, 2012 1:00 pm

I still keep trying.... :oops: