[AC] Bush43 Daily Week Eight

Jason Kenney jasonkenney at gmail.com
Tue Jul 25 14:35:32 PDT 2006

Artifice Comics - http://www.artificecomics.com/

BUSH43 #56
By Jason Kenney


I turned to my right and ran toward the cops, leaping hard and up and
over some of them and their squad cars, landing on the other side among
a group of officers on the radio and a few EMT personnel waiting for
things to get ugly.

"Pardon me," I said, pushing past them and running down the street,
looking to the rooftops, trying to gauge a jump.

One building half a block down was the shortest, looked to be about
eight stories, and it'd have to do, as I heard a hard hit behind me, as
something tore into the pavement, but I wasn't about to stop and look.

I tightened my grip on the trashcan and jumped.  I was high enough and
almost there when something collided into my back, tossing me forward
and onto the rooftop face first, the trashcan jarring from my grip and
hitting the roof, the sound of glass shattering clear as day.  The can
rolled across the roof, coming to a stop against a satellite dish, the
trash bag half out.

I scrambled to my feet and leapt to the side, as an invisible punch
tore into where I had been.


I sidestepped another swing and felt it brush past me, close enough for
me to reach out and grab, and I did, kicking out at where I assumed its
body was and hitting it hard.  I felt it go back but kept a hold on its
harm, pulling it toward me and into another kick, but then it grabbed
my leg and swept me off the ground, tossing me into the air.

And, right when I reached the peak of my arc, the air shivered and
broke, and I saw the visage that had been dogging me in my sleep for

The Siege Engine pointed at me with a cannon of an arm and opened fire,
bullets catching me, as I came down, pelting me, tearing at my clothes
and mask.

I bounced off the roof of the building next door and came to rest on my
back, breathing hard, trying to figure out what the hell to do.

When the fuck did Lorrington get a Siege Engine?

I rolled out of the way of a claw that grabbed for my head and was
almost to my feet when a punch caught me in the side and sent me
stumbling away.

Richmond did this.  He had to have.

My body screamed, as I tried to step back, put some distance between me
and the machine, tried to give myself room to maneuver and time to

I wasn't ready for this.  Even if I hadn't already been fighting since
sundown, I wouldn't have been ready.

I'm invulnerable, I told myself.  Invulnerable.  And strong.  Really,
really strong.

It came at me quick, charging recklessly, and I planted my feet and
swung out with one hell of a punch into the thing's head.  It grabbed
at me, as I moved aside, and it staggered and fell, hitting the roof
and skidding to a stop a few feet away.

I didn't give it time to move, leaping onto its back and punching hard
into the thing, hammering my fists into it, trying to find a weak spot.

Its arms reached around and grabbed me by the shoulders and flipped me
off of it.  I almost went off the edge of the roof but caught myself on
the ledge.

I pulled myself up a bit and saw the Engine staggering to its feet.  It
seemed to be having trouble, and I can't say I was sorry to see that.
I pulled myself onto the roof and ran at the thing, ducking low and
hitting it right in its midsection, tackling it to the ground and
straddling it, sitting up and hammering my fists into its chest, coming
down again and again.

"Break, you bastard!" I shouted, as I noticed a seam and grabbed at it.

On of the Engine's arms came up, and it grabbed at my head, wrapping a
claw around my face and trying to pull me off, but I had a hold on the
thing and wasn't about to let go.

Then, there was a bright flash, and my eyes felt like they were on

My instant reaction was to swipe at the arm with one hand, and I hit it
as hard as I could, felt it not just give but rip away entirely, my
hand tearing right through.

My other hand held onto the seam and pulled hard, removing some plate
from the thing's chest.

I shouted for joy right before the thing's other hand grabbed at my
head.  I dug my hands into the Engine's exposed chest and grabbed
whatever I could get my hands on.

The Siege Engine tossed me aside by my head.  I hit the roof hard and
tumbled across, over the edge, and fell to the alley below, landing on
my back and having all the wind knocked out of me.

I lay there, trying to catch my breath, trying to clear my head and my
vision, trying to pull myself together.

I held up my hands, my fists, and smiled at the wires and parts that
hung from between my fingers.

God, I hope that hurt it.

I groaned, as I pushed myself to my feet and jumped up to the landing
of the fire escape, scrambling up as quickly as I could, trying to
ignore my body's protests.

I reached the rooftop and poked my head up, trying to see if the Engine
was still there and waiting.  And, it was there all right.  Right where
I had left it.

Not moving a bit.

I flung myself onto the roof with a laugh.

"Is that the best you've got?!!" I shouted to no one in particular, as
I laughed again.

I'd done it.

I'd beaten the Siege Engine.

I reared my head back and laughed.

I'd won.

Then there was a sound that caught my attention, and I lowered my head
and looked around.

The Engine was still down, still not moving.

But, there was the sound again.  In a different spot.

No, not the same sound.  A different sound.  A different source.

There was another sound behind me, scrape, step, metal on gravel roof,
heavy, approaching.

It started as a snicker and then a sneer.  Then, I smiled and started
to laugh again--but not of joy, not this time.

Of frustration.

Of anger.

Of pain.

The air split.  And split.  And, I'm sure it split once more behind me.

Metal figures stood around me, the moonlight reflecting off of their
dark, faceless heads, arms reaching, pointing, aiming.

I laughed, as the three Siege Engines came at me at once.

And then, there was a flash of light.  Then oblivion, eternal darkness,
and I felt as if my eyes were being torn from my head, like my mind was
being stretched.  Suddenly, the world came back, a mess of colors, a
blur of existence that slowly came to focus.

And, I was on the rooftop of City Hall in Pacific City.

I collapsed to my hands and knees and tore the mask off my head just in
time to throw up.

"That's what happens when you keep your eyes open," I heard Johann
Weisz say.

"You son of a bitch," I said, as I spat vomit out of my mouth.  "I
didn't have the drugs."

"You mean these?"

I looked up to see Eldritch holding a black trash bag much like the one
that had been in the trashcan I'd stolen, liquid dripping from the

I was speechless.

"I'll take that as a yes," Eldritch said with a smirk, and I fell to my
side to avoid the puddle of vomit on the roof, rolling onto my back and
staring at the sky, as I took deep breaths.

I closed my eyes and brought my hands to my face, rubbing a bit and
running my fingers through my hair.

"Oh, thank God," I said, and I smiled.

"God had nothing to do with it," said Weisz, as he and Eldritch stepped
next to me.

Eldritch reached out her free hand, and I took it, as she helped me to
my feet.

"Thank you, Johann," I said without looking to him.

"Hell, I didn't do this for you, buddy," he said, as he turned away and
started walking away.  "I only did it so Estella wouldn't start holding
out on me."

"Estella?" I asked, as I looked to Eldritch who was glaring in Weisz's

"You two lovebirds behave," Weisz said, and then he was gone.


"They need to know we're on their side, right?" Eldritch said, as I
transferred the remaining bottles out of the trashbag and into a box
stuffed with newspapers.

Most came through all right, Frank Sign's being the only one with fewer
than twenty-five bottles.  Well, next to me.

My bottle survived.

"Sure," I said, looking up to where she sat on the otherside of my
desk. "But, he might not like the idea of other science folks being

"Are we on the same side or not?"

"Yes," I said, as I put the last couple bottles in the box and folded
the top shut. "But, he barely trust me as it is, let alone any of the
rest of you."

"I'm going with you."

"Fine," I said, picking up the one bottle left, the one with my alter
ego's name on it and looking at it.

"What are you going to do with that?" Eldritch asked, as she pushed
herself to her feet.

"Not sure yet," I said, as I pocketed it. "But, I'll figure something
out.  Let's get moving; he'll probably be off for work soon."

The sun had been up for thirty minutes by the time we made it to Self's
balcony, and I had no clue whether or not he'd be home, let alone

I knocked on his sliding glass door and waited with no response.

"See if it's unlocked," Eldritch said from where she was pearched on
the railing.

"I'm not going to just waltz on into his apartment."

"Then, we may be here a while."

"Can't you send your ghost dog in?"

"How's that any different from one of us going in there?"

"Well...  It's just different."

Eldritch got to her feet and pushed me aside, grabbing the handle to
the sliding glass door and pulling it open.

"Tah dah," she said with a smile, as she walked right in.


"Officer Self?" she called out, as I stepped in behind her.

"Stay back," I whispered to Eldritch, as I put myself between her and
the rest of the room.  "Let me do this, okay?"

"Do what?"

I turned to see Michael Self standing in the doorway to what I assumed
was his bedroom, gun out and pointing at me.

"Well, breaking and entering for one," I said.

"Looks like you've succeeded there," Self said, lowering his gun.  "So,
what else do you want?"

"I've got something for you," I said, as I held the box out.

"What is it?"

"Power suppressing drugs," I said, as I stepped forward and set the box
on his coffee table.

Self walked toward me and sat down on the couch, rubbing his eyes with
one hand, while he set his gun on the coffee table and went to open the

"Where did you get this?"

"This wasn't our first bout of B&E on the night," said Eldritch,
getting Self's attention.

He looked from her to me.

"What's she doing here?"

"She's helping," I said, as I squatted down across the coffee table
from Self.

"With everything?"

"Yes," I said.

He looked to her again and then to the now opened box, reaching in and
pulling out one of the bottles.

"How much did you get?"

"Fifteen for Sign, about twenty-eight or so for Thompson and Cooper,
and a little over thirty for Williams.  How long will that last you?"

"A bottle goes for three days, four if we're willing to risk it."

"So, we're good for a little while?"

"We're good for now," Self said, setting the bottle back in and looking
to me.  "Where did you get these?"

"We took a field trip, and I'll leave it at that."

"Did you steal these?"

"Does it matter?"

"Shit," he said with a sigh and shook his head, looking back to the
box.  "Do you realize what kind of shit this is going to cause?"

"It had to be done."

"It wouldn't have to be done like this if it wasn't for the goddamn
Mayor," said Self, glaring at me.

I nodded.  Couldn't argue with that.

"It's going to be about two to four weeks for the other stuff," I said,
standing up.  "I'll keep you posted."

"You do realize that you may have just escalated things," said Self.
"If you went out of Pacific City to get this, Canberra's not going to
be happy."

"Canberra's already not happy."

"We're talking act of war here, Bush."

"We are an Australian city," I said. "And, taking necessary measures to
protect Australian citizens.  They chose not to work with us on this.
They forced our hand."

"The Mayor forced theirs."

We just stared at each other for a couple moments.

"Look," Self said, as he stood up. "You have to realize that everything
you're trying to do here is for nothing if the army comes knocking on
our door.  And, stunts like this..." he said, gesturing to the box.
"Well, you're just asking for it."

"So, what do you suggest we do then, Self?"

"As long as the Mayor is in power..."

"The Mayor will remain in power as long as he needs to be," I said.
"And, I will take no part in anything that will remove him."

"But, you'll help the police?"

"Are you going after Mayor Romanov?"

Self's silence spoke volumes.

"The Mayor is here to stay, Officer Self," I said.  "And, it is in the
best interest of the people that City Hall and the police work closely
together in order to ensure the protection of this city.  If you or the
police make any moves to threaten that protection, I cannot promise you

"Do you want to help us or not?"

"I want to help you do your job, and that is to protect the people of
Pacific City, not go after the Mayor."

"And, if the Mayor is putting the people of Pacific City at risk?"

"Then, we'll take care of him," said Eldritch, getting our attention

"If it gets to that point," she said after a moment of silence, "then
you leave them to us."

Self snickered and shook his head.

"Yeah," he said. "Sure.  And, while the science freaks of this city
beat the crap out of each other, you wipe out the city while you're at
it.  Thanks."

"There are your drugs, Self," I said, pointing to the box.  "Just do
your job to make sure Cooper and the others stay down and keep this
city safe."

"How about you let us do our jobs to keep this city safe?"

"Christ, Self, I'm doing what I can..."

"Gentlemen," said Eldritch.  "How about we agree to disagree on this
point and get a move on?  Some of us have places to be."

Self and I stared at each other for a couple moments before I nodded
and turned away.

"I'll keep you posted on the rest of that stuff, Self," I said, as
Eldritch stepped out on the balcony, and I was about to follow.

But, I stopped, as I stuck a hand in my pocket and found the bottle
with my name on it.

I pulled it out and looked at it, studied it, thought to reconsider,
and figured I needed to do this.

"Here," I said, turning to Self and tossing the bottle to him.  He
caught it and held it up to look at it.  "I'm trusting you on this,
Self.  I'm trusting you with that.  Try and return the favor sometime."

I stepped out onto the balcony.

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