I don't exactly know what a handheld mass driver from the Republic of Wyoming is, but whatever it is, it's a sweet weapon. No recoil. No bang; just a loud hum. Best of all, it's accurate as hell. A three round burst went down range and slammed into the charon. She was blown clean off her feet and sent tumbling at least twenty feet across the pavement.
Then, I swung the pistol up at Taug. Except, he wasn't where he'd been a half second before and this burst went into a hapless fairy, blowing off its arm and sending the screaming fay careening backward to smash into a building. The creatures in the air scattered and I could see Taug almost at the corner of the street, banking left to fly behind a building. I fired the pistol as quickly as I could, trying to fill the sky into which he was turning. His left wing shredded, but momentum carried him behind the building and that was immediately followed by a loud crash.
I looked around. A few hundred goblins and the trolls were all frozen in place, staring at me. I raised the pistol in front of me. "Alright you primitive screwheads! Listen up! This is my . . ."
Apparently, goblins don't care for monologuing any more than I do, because they charged as one giant, ravenous horde.
For my part, I took one look at that mob and I ran. I went right, which was where the fewest goblins were and started using the pistol more like a water hose, firing it at an arc to clear the area in front of me. I was trying to make it to the first ogre cage, in the hope that I could climb into the cage where that mob couldn't get me. I could see that the cages were only latched closed. Things were pelting off the shield as I held it between me and as much of the mob as I could. Some of them had gotten around behind me and I felt things hitting my back as well. Then something well and truly rang my bell.
I stumbled, but didn't fall, and on pure instinct kept running for the cage. A couple seconds later, when my brain kicked back in, I realized that I'd run to the wrong place. Instinctively, I'd run to the ogre chained to the front of the cage, but the entrance was on the side and the goblin swarm was already there. In fact, the swarm had closed around me although it seemed cautious about coming closer. They formed a half circle around me and I backed up to the bars of the cage. I wasn't sure what was keeping them at bay, but I was fresh out of ideas.
I raised the shield and pointed the pistol at the goblin directly in front of me - which meant I was totally unprepared when one rushed me from the left. He moved fast and I tried to catch him with the shield.
Then a massive ogre body slammed up into the other side of the bars and two giant fungus colored arms reached over me to crush the goblin's head between them. The goblins all stepped back. Apparently the idea of facing me and the superpistol which had already taken dozens - perhaps scores - of their lives wasn't too much of a problem, but coming within arms reach of a chained ogre who might kill one or two was a terrifying prospect.
Wait a second Chains. That was it! I yelled to the ogre pressed up to my body through the bars. "Hold your arms out and as far apart as you can!"
She did it and the two massive hands had silver manacles at their wrists bound together by a thin silver chain about four inches long. It wasn't much, but it didn't need to be considering an ogre’s total inability to break silver chains. However, my pistol had no such problem and it made short work of two or three of the links.
Her hands pulled back into the cage and I could hear her removing the gag. A gravely voice came from behind me. "Thanks, monkey boy." Then the voice changed to a roar.
"It's time to kill vermin!"
The voice echoed off the surrounding buildings and at least half the goblins broke. They lit out like proverbial cats with tails a'fire. The other half swarmed the gate to the cage. The smarter ones tried to keep her from reaching through the bars and opening the latch. They delayed her for about ten seconds as she swatted away several and crushed the one which had curled its body around the latch. Once the latch was loose, she slammed the gate open causing a dozen goblins to fly back and crushing at least half that many when the door swung fully open against the side of the cage.
Then she was in amongst them. They were all over her, literally climbing her body as they attempted to stab, claw, and bite her. The ones that weren't climbing on her were shooting their pistols at her. They were hitting their own kind more than the ogre and even the shots which got through were ricocheting off her skin back into the goblins surrounding her. As for the ogre, she was crushing the skull of any goblin she got her hands on and stomping any she could get beneath her feet.
Me? I was getting totally ignored. Not that this was a bad thing. There was an indicator on the side of the pistol which said I had ninety-two rounds in it. That was up seven from when I'd shot my last goblin. If I had to start firing again I was pretty sure the thing would run dry long before I ran out of supernaturals to shoot.
Then the ogre turned and started walking toward the second cage. Her voice came back to me. "Move it, monkey boy. I need you to get the others free."
I didn't exactly follow her. Actually, I went around the other side of the first cage and made sure I kept a good distance from her and the suicidal goblins surrounding her. When we got to the second cage, she went to the gate and fought through another group of goblins to get it open. Approaching the cage from the other side, I shot a few goblins and found the second ogre with her body already crushed against the side of the cage and her arms extended. I knelt under her arms and shot through the links on her chains. She didn't even bother taking the gag out of her mouth before she charged out of the cage and started slaughtering goblins.
The goblins broke entirely this time. Every single one of them who could run away did and the last few still fighting were finished off within seconds. Then the three of us walked over to the third cage.
On the way, the second ogre pulled off her gag. "That's the last time I trust a man with anything kinky."
Ogre one chuckled. "That how they got you, sweetie?"
"Yeah. Met the guy at a bar. He had one of those cool foreign accents. 'C'mon luv. It will be a jolly good time for all.' I figured what the hell, if he gets too weird I can change and take care of him. Didn't realize the chains were silver until he had them on me. The gag had silver thread in it too. But you know the worst thing?"
Ogre one shrugged and the second continued. "He didn't do anything. Up to that point he was all into it. The moment he had me trussed up he stopped, turned on the light, straightened his tie, and made a call on his cell. 'She's in room six twenty-two; ready for pickup.' And then he just walked out. Only thing I can figure, the guy must have been gay."
The first ogre was trying so hard not to laugh that she was shaking and the second snapped at her. "So, how did you get here?"
"Oh, I was betrayed by my partner. And he's going to hear about it when I get back to New England. But I am not going to fill in the details in front of Officer Friendly here." She hooked a thumb at me.
I shot the manacles off the third ogre and she came out of her cage.
I looked her over. "Margaret Terrel?"
"You know damn well who I am Corporal Dixon." The frost in that voice could have frozen the Ohio River. "And I want to know what you are going to do about them." She pointed behind me and the other ogres and we turned to look.
The old woman was back at the flap of the Army tent still holding her hands up as if to keep a door closed. I was impressed. I'd seen the rounds from this pistol go through four or five goblins per shot. Nevertheless, she was on her feet. I could see a huge bruise forming on her neck and she appeared to be straining hard at whatever she was doing, but she was on her feet.
Standing beside her were the three trolls, about twenty goblins with rifles, and Taug. His left wing was dragging on the ground behind him, but he was there.
"Congrats." Taug said. "Good fight." He looked around at the carnage. "I think you may have singlehandedly solved the goblin overpopulation problem in Ohio. It'll be hard for them to spawn more since you've killed more than half their females. And, of course, their failure here today means that I’ve destroyed all their incubation nurseries and in the process killed every goblin under the age of twelve. The only ones left are the spawn of these ladies here." He motioned toward the twenty goblins with rifles. “And they are willing to die to keep their spawn alive."
“And in case you don’t know . . .”
This guy is never going to learn to stop monologuing. I raised my pistol and shot the old woman.