|Wild Arms Neo
Author: Deltoran Merchant PM
In a prosperous, technological Filgaia a boy sheriff sets out after his town is destroyed. He soon finds himself embroiled in adventure after adventure while he seeks to understand the forces behind his town's destruction. READ and REVIEW please.Rated: Fiction T - English - Sci-Fi/Fantasy - Chapters: 5 - Words: 19,866 - Reviews: 2 - Favs: 1 - Follows: 1 - Updated: 09-12-11 - Published: 05-18-11 - id: 7002216
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Wild Arms Neo
"You're the sheriff?" a woman said as Elliot sat at the counter in the saloon, leaning against it. Elliot wasn't surprised with her disappointed tone; most people who came through Raven Gulch were surprised to learn its sheriff was a twelve year old. He was quite fit for his age, and over his tan shirt and blue jeans he wore a specially tailored duster, dark brown in colour, with a gold sheriff badge attached to the chest. He wore a cowboy hat over his sandy blond hair, a blue bandana tied around his neck and leather boots to finish off his outfit and a shotgun casing could be seen on his back under the coat, and blue eyes glimmered in his face,
"Well hello there beautiful," Elliot flirted. "I am indeed the sheriff of this here town. Don't let my age fool you." The woman in front of him was perhaps in her early twenties with blonde hair and wearing a turquoise leather corset and dark olive green denim short shorts with twin pistol holsters hanging from her belt. She wore stockings of similar colour on her legs and around her arms and the bare midriff and ample cleavage she showed was drawing more eyes in the saloon besides Elliot's. "So, should I buy you a drink?"
"No thank you, I'm not dating a child," the woman said. "I came to you for the bounty on Bandit Cliff."
"Really? Did you shoot him or did you just ravish him with your stunning beauty?" Elliot asked.
"If you're going to keep flirting with me then maybe I'll show you what happened."
"Alright, alright, don't get yerself in a tizzy," Elliot said, downing his sasparilla. "Well the notice required you to bring in proof of defeat."
"Here," the woman said, tossing something to him. He caught it and saw it was a large, round belt buckle made of silver with a skull design, studded with onyx for the eyes. Elliot looked it over several time and pocketed it.
"Yup, it's genuine. Okay, come on down to my office," Elliot said, hopping off his seat and tossing a couple coins onto the counter before heading out the door, the bounty hunter close in tow.
"I have to ask: why is a child the sheriff?" the woman asked.
"Because I'm awesome," Elliot answered.
"I see. So you're not going to give me a proper answer?"
"You want to know why?" Elliot asked. In a flash he whipped out his shotgun and fired it behind him, not even looking back. There was a groan and thump as a rotting, animated corpse collapsed to the sand, its head in tatters. "That's why," Elliot finished, blowing across the top of his gun and holstering it again.
"You might just have managed to impress me," the bounty hunter said as they arrived at the Sheriff's Office.
"Raven Gulch can handle a few undead," Elliot said, rummaging in his desk and pulling out a checkbook, which he quickly signed. "And there ya go," he finished, handing it to her. "Pleasure doin' business with one as gorgeous as you."
"Didn't I tell you to stop that?" the woman said, taking the check.
"I had to throw one more at you before you left town."
"Then you'll have to refrain from doing so, because I don't think I'm ready to leave."
"Wha- really?" Elliot asked with surprise. "Nobody wants to stay in Raven Gulch, as you saw we have a bit of an undead problem. It's not really healthy for visitors."
"Do I look like your normal visitor?"
"No, you're far more fetching than the normal visitors."
"You're pushing your luck kid."
"Well what's your name?"
"Well then Lyla, stay as long as you want, but don't complain to me if the zombies prove too much for you." Elliot stood again and strolled towards the door. "Now if you feel like joinin' me on my patrol, then it'd be appreciated."
"Since zombie slaying is why I'm staying then yes, I'll join you on patrol," Lyla said. "But try to flirt with me again and you can find out what sand tastes like."
"I reckon you got sand somewhere," Elliot muttered cheekily, and dodged a pistol whip from Lyla who had heard him.
"Now I think about it, that saloon was rather empty. In fact I think the whole town is pretty empty."
"Well of course, we had to evacuate as many people as we could. Only the stubborn and hardy have stayed behind. Since the mayor also left, I'm the only leader of this town now." He led Lyla up a ramp onto a wooden wall that surrounded the small town, everything was enclosed in it and it served as defence against outsiders and as a good vantage point for finding undead.
The town was pretty simple, a main street running up the middle from the gate and splitting into two roads which looped back to near the gate with a number of alleys leading between the three 'sections'. Elliot sighed; he remembered when his town bustled with people and visitors, including his friends. Now they were all evacuated and he was alone with his job and people twice his age. "Man what I wouldn't give to get out in the world," he mused. "But I gotta look after the town."
"I would sure say it's the strangest town I've seen; surrounded by a wall and overrun by undead with barely a soul left and a kid as sheriff," Lyla surmised.
"About right," Elliot affirmed as they strode along the wall. Everything seemed calm today; that was good, he liked it when things were calm. "Why'd you decide to stay in Raven Gulch anyways?"
"The prospect of zombie killing seemed tantalizing."
"In other words you're working overtime," Elliot finished. "As long as you don't have any ARMs on you, feel free to stay as long as you want. I'm not guaranteeing pay for zombie killing though."
"Just because I'm a bounty hunter, doesn't mean I only help for money. I do happen to be a nice lady," she explained, "So what's your issue against ARMs?"
"ARMs cause trouble, and we have enough of that already." Abruptly Elliot hopped off the wall and onto a nearby roof.
"Where... how?" Lyla stuttered. The distance Elliot had jumped was far more than he should've been able to, hell more than any human should be able to.
"Case in point," Elliot finished, hopping down from the roof and firing at a zombie on the ground. "You gonna stand there all day Ms. Lyla!" he called back. All around him undead crawled to the surface, rotten corpses that barely resembled humans anymore and with their fingers elongated into claws. They had him surrounded as they crawled out from the ground.
"I can't jump that far," Lyla called from the wall. "No human can."
"Just climb down then," Elliot replied. He looked around at the undead as they shambled towards him, claws ready to tear him apart. He wasn't scared though, this had happened before. "You think you got me do ya?" he said confidently. In a flash he swung out a burning whip of energy. He whirled it through the zombies, cutting through them with ease and bringing it back to rest on the ground. "See; who got who?" he finished with a confident smirk, turning off the whip.
"You didn't save any for me?" Lyla said as she ran up to him.
"Oh don't worry, there'll be plenty more." Elliot grinned as hands reached up through the ground, only to be shot off by himself and Lyla.
"Where do they come from?"
"Mines," Elliot said simply. "There's a mine nearby, it's how the town makes its living. The infection started in there, took all the miners with it. We had to seal it up and no human can go inside without being infected." As he spoke he shot or whipped at zombies that emerged from the ground, tunnelling up from the mine tunnels below.
"Wouldn't you have destroyed them all if they only have the miners?" Lyla asked, firing away at the rotting, walking corpses.
"They can repair and reanimate zombies I've beaten, and they grow artificial ones too," Elliot explained. "Can't reanimate those, but they sure can make a lot of them." He jumped up onto a rooftop, surprising Lyla again with his abilities. From his new vantage point he could see the zombies crawling out of the ground, and despite their numbers they seemed to be slowing down. He held out his hand and gestured, sand and earth suddenly reaching up in the shape of hands, under his control entirely.
Lyla jumped out of the way as the hands of earth grabbed onto the zombies, crushing them and dragging them back into the ground. "Are you doing that?" she called up.
"Yeah," Elliot replied, his voice strained as he focused his power. When the last of the zombies had been destroyed the hands collapsed back into the ground and Elliot let out a big breath, feeling exhausted. No more undead appeared and Elliot hopped off the roof, landing smoothly on the ground below. "And that's why I'm sheriff," he said after a few moments of rest.
"What are you?" Lyla asked at last.
"I'm human if that's what you mean," Elliot said, "Just a little powered up."
"A little? You jumped from a town wall to a house rooftop, you're a better shot than any kid could possibly be, and you just controlled sand," Lyla pressed. "Normally I don't get involved in my client's lives, but it seems we've become partners. So in the interest of our partnership, please tell me more."
"You sure need to learn how to relax," Elliot commented, taking a seat on the front deck of a nearby house. He pulled off his hat, showing to Lyla his neck length dirty-blond hair and allowing her to see his clear blue eyes much more easily. "Well it's like this; about two years ago I was just an ordinary kid, livin' with my old man, my ma went off to work in some city. My uncle was the sheriff at the time and my old man was a miner.
"So one day my pa decides to bring me down to the mines, seeing how I asked him. He was leading me 'round the mines when I saw this strange glow coming from behind some rocks. I grabbed a pick from nearby while my dad went to deal with something and started clearing a path around this glow.
"So I find this lit tunnel leading to a metal door and the door was ajar, which is where most of the glow was coming from. Inside was this round metal room, barely larger than a shed with a sort of glowing plasma sphere in this round container in the middle of the room and a bunch of other things. It's where I found this here whip.
"I went to inspect the container; I just wanted to see what was causing the glow, and this bolt of energy shot out and right into me. I'm still not sure what it was, but the moment it hit me this computer panel lit up and said um: Ancient to Guardian genetic alteration complete. This unit requires recharging. Subject is stable, mutations beginning. I don't really remember what happened after that, I just remember sleeping a lot for a couple days and my dad being really worried.
"Then I woke up, but this time I really woke up. I felt more awake than I ever had, and stronger, and faster; it's hard to describe the sensation. I learned my powers; I learned how to use them and how to control them. My dad was so thrilled to see me well again, and it was the happiest week of my life; especially after I defeated a bandit raid on Raven Gulch and had everyone admiring me.
"My uncle passed away the same day as the raid and his will requested I become the new sheriff. The town respected him enough not to refuse the request so they let me do it. A couple months later the undead broke out and I've been fighting them since, alongside other matters that come to my attention."
When Elliot finished his story he placed his hat back on his head and waited while Lyla took in the information. He really didn't think much about when he got his powers anymore, just that he had them and he was fighting zombies day in and day out. "You're a very tough kid aren't ya?" Lyla said at last.
"You might say that," Elliot replied, "But I just try to do what I can to protect my town. Speaking of that I need to get back to patrolling; the undead never rest and so neither can I."
"You'd make a good bounty hunter," Lyla said as they set off around the town again. Elliot laughed in response, but said nothing to it. "So how much do you know about these zombies?" Lyla asked after a time.
"Plenty. We know they spawn from people killed by an infection, and that the plague that produces them is generated by what we call Flesh Spawners; like big pulsing boils that spew out the infection and grow artificial zombies. Then there's the Flesh Golems, big ol' monsters like some of mad experiment; all stitched together like big undead gorillas. Then there's these Crawlers, like normal zombies but they crawl around on all fours and move really fast. Then finally there's the Spitters who have these tendrils that shoot gobs of goo that sting like a bitch," Elliot explained.
"Sheriff!" a man cried as they returned to the main street, he was standing outside the saloon and had evidently been waiting for him.
"Yes Jonah?" Elliot said, moving to the saloon where the man was standing.
"Sheriff, this drifter came into town; said something about warning us about something bad. Tracy gave him a drink and we've been waiting for you to get back." Elliot stepped into the saloon and saw the man in question being tended to at the counter. The man looked frazzled, with wild hair and torn clothes, but seemed better off from the drink he was downing.
"Sheriff," the man said, spotting Elliot's badge. "You really are a child... anyways that means your town is in grave danger."
"It's already besieged by undead from below, what could possibly be worse?" Elliot asked.
"The mines; one of Their minions entered them," the man said. "That place you became superhuman, it is Their target. You must get everyone out of here immediately."
The man sounded desperate and worried, but also seemed to know what he was talking about. In fact on closer inspection Elliot could see that the man's rumpled and torn clothes were lab clothes. "Who're 'they'?" Elliot asked.
"They are the ones who unleashed the plague of undeath on this town, and soon they'll unleash something much worse."
"And what would that be?" Elliot pressed. Before he could get his answer however, the ground outside rumbled and the whole saloon rushed to the entrance to see more undead rising to the surface than had ever appeared in Raven Gulch. The large Flesh Golems smashing houses, the Crawlers hunting for anything to attack, and the Spitters crawled around on tentacles and hurled their gobs of goo at building foundations. Rising slightly above the houses on tentacles were Spawners that spewed out basic zombies. "On the bright side, mobile spawners can't produce infection," Elliot muttered.
"I think that's the only bright side here," Tracy, the bartender, said from the back of the crowd.
"Look at the sky!" Jonah cried. Over the town were the darkest clouds Elliot had ever seen, and they were crackling with purple lightning. He cried out in surprise and slight pain as he felt a surge of energy pulse through him and saw his hands spark with the same energy, but it didn't last long.
"Sheriff!" one of the men cried.
"I'm okay," Elliot assured. As quickly as it had come, it had left, but the sky was still crackling ominously.
"What do we do sheriff?" another one of the men asked and several others echoed him as the undead wandered around, and so far had yet to notice them. Elliot knew exactly what he had to do, but he didn't want to do it. It had to happen though.
"Evacuate," he said at last, his tone downtrodden in defeat. "My priority is the people. I want you all to get to your speeders and go. Take only what you can carry."
"But we'll never make it past all those," Jonah said, pointing to the undead.
"That's where me and Ms. Lyla come in," Elliot said. "We'll cover you while you get to safety. Besides you're all good fighters, you can chip in as you leave."
"Only ten of us," Tracy said. "Sheriff you promise to get out of here too once all ten of us have gone. No being a hero, okay?"
"Don't worry ma'am, I don't plan on dyin' today," Elliot said. "Now get goin' all of ya, and Lyla you come with me. We have to take out those spawners." They all dashed out into the town, some had their speeders nearby at the saloon, others had to head for home to get them. Elliot and Lyla meanwhile got to the rooftops, Elliot using his power over earth to create steps for Lyla, and once there they fired down at all manner of undead that blocked the path of the evacuees.
"Three left," Lyla said, keeping an eye on the gate.
"They were the ones who had their speeders nearby. Let's see, three spawners and one on each street."
"Convenient," Lyla muttered.
"Very. You keep on holding out against the little ones," Elliot ordered and hopped across the rooftops until he was near the giant pustule. Besides its ability to create zombies, the Spawners usually had no way of fighting. But the moment he landed on the closest roof to it, it let out a low moan and within seconds Crawlers had clambered up the building, or jumped from somewhere nearby. To make matters worse the Flesh Golems also began climbing up.
"Of course it would do that," Elliot said to himself, whirling his whip around him as a blazing circle of energy that cut down any who came near him. He needed just a few seconds to channel his terrakinesis, but the horde was unrelenting in its assault.
"We now have five gone," Lyla called out.
'And I'm running out of ammo,' Elliot thought as he reloaded his shotgun in the wake of his latest whip assault. Then one of the Golems finally made its way to the top of the building and Elliot had an idea.
He whipped away the Crawlers that were trying to swarm him and fired a shot right at the golem's head. It roared as it was blinded and began flailing its arms around wildly. Elliot rushed under it and grabbed one of its arms as it brought it down, stopping it dead. Then with all his superhuman strength he hurled it right into the Spawner. The force of the impact caused the giant creature to stagger and even partially rupture, spraying its acidic goo everywhere, dissolving the zombies it hit. It finally collapsed and Elliot raised a small earth spike as it did so, impaling it as it fell and killing it.
"One down!" he cried, whipping away the few Crawlers who'd not been doused with acid.
"Seven gone, we still gotta hold out a little longer."
Elliot turned and jumped across town towards the second of the giant creatures and used the shock of the loss of the first to his advantage. The flow of reinforcements had slowed and allowed him enough time to channel his powers and summon a large spike that speared right through the Spawner. It groaned and collapsed to the ground, spraying acid all around it. "And that's two," he muttered, crossing back across town.
They still crawled to the surface though, zombie after zombie, and the buildings were being torn down one by one. Any that weren't were swarmed by Crawlers and the Spitters had begun to chip in too, though a blast from Elliot's shotgun or Lyla twin pistols left the Spitters collapsed on the ground. Now Elliot had no time to channel an earth spike, and the horde seemed to have learned to keep the Golems away from him. "Running out of options," Elliot said as he and Lyla stood back to back against the Crawlers that came to their position.
"I just saw the eighth and ninth person leave," Lyla said. "What's to keep them from pursuing us?"
"They need the mines, too much distance from their hive and they collapse into dust," Elliot explained. He was relying more on his whip now, not wanting to use too much more of his diminished ammunition. "You know I might see how an ARM could be useful right now." The skies were getting darker and the purple lightning crackled almost constantly.
"There's the last one!" Lyla cried, pointing into the main street as a speeder ran the course.
"I think we should get going then," Elliot said, whipping away a swath through the zombies and jumping down to the ground. Lyla followed quickly behind as he led the way to his office again.
"To think just a few hours ago I was just coming here for my payment," Lyla mused as they arrived.
"I don't like what those clouds are doing," Elliot said, readying his speeder that he kept behind his office. They all looked mostly the same; like a ski-doo mixed with a motorcycle and with four stands for when they were turned off. "Oh and here, hold this," he added, handing Lyla his hat as he got on and started the vehicle up.
"Why?" she asked, getting onto the back seat.
"Because it's my hat and I don't want it blown away," Elliot explained quickly. He started the speeder and then they were moving, picking up speed as it sped down the main street and towards the gate. Overhead the clouds crackled further and finally exploded, a great beam of purple energy piercing down from the clouds and into the center of the town, expanding outwards and tearing apart the town around it.
"The hell is that?" Elliot asked aloud, the beam stopping at the walls.
"Whatever it is, we escaped just in time," Lyla said. "So where exactly are we off to?"
"No idea," Elliot said brightly. Despite all that had happened he couldn't help feeling a bit happy. He'd lost his home, but all of its people were safe and now he was out on an adventure. He couldn't wait to see where it would take him.