Author: Kayasuri-n PM
Six months can change a man's destiny. Dax was too late in rescuing Jak, and now the whole world needs to deal with the fallout. Please see noteRated: Fiction T - English - Adventure/Romance - Jak M. & Daxter - Chapters: 23 - Words: 57,846 - Reviews: 176 - Favs: 81 - Follows: 110 - Updated: 01-13-13 - Published: 02-02-12 - id: 7800241
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Arc the First: Rescue
Week two, and Dax had yet to get bored out of his mind.
It helped that he was watching the palace. There was an entirely different caliber of Guards in this area, not the least of which was Erol.
Considering Erol was, first, commander of the guard, and second, dating Keira, Dax figured it was his sworn duty to watch the guy as much as possible.
Argument or not, Keira's still family, or good as. And that asshole's nowhere near good enough. There weren't many Dax figured was good enough for his favorite gadget-wench. Jak was one, and- actually, yeah, Jak was pretty much the only guy he could see putting up with Keira. Sure, he'd messed things up for them a few times, but if they were going to kiss, they might as well do it somewhere Samos wasn't. Seriously. Sure, they'd saved the world, but Samos had been right there and he'd looked... funny.
Last time he'd looked funny like that, Dax had spent three afternoons in a row copying pages in Samos' herb book. He'd probably do something worse to the guy that kissed his daughter.
Heh. Maybe part of his lack of boredom had something to do with imagining what would happen when Samos found out about his little girl's suitor. It wouldn't be pleasant. Dax would back Samos against anyone, any day of the week.
Fifteen feet over and easily as many feet down, the palace doors slammed open, a double line of twenty KG marching down the stairs.
Hel-lo, what have we here? Something interesting at last. Dax pricked his ears forward and strained his eyes. Yup, there was Erol. And- he glanced up- a descending transport, bigger than any zoomer-car in existence, armor plated and everything. The engines were a bone-rattling roar, even at this distance.
It looked a little like the procession he'd seen a few weeks earlier, with the large number of Guards, Erol, the transport, and- the box.
However hard he strained his ears, he couldn't hear any snarling. And the box was a slightly different one, bigger- maybe a foot higher- with narrow slits Dax couldn't have fit through along the top. So- they were transporting something. And considering Jinx's information two weeks ago, it was a pretty safe bet that they were transporting the 'monster'.
The only monsters in this place have a human face. Ugh. Sure, metal-heads were nasty, but they weren't even as smart as croco-dogs. Their terrible deeds were all due to instinct. Humans just went and got creative.
Dax reached over and flicked on his comm. It only had the one frequency programmed in, which at least meant Dax didn't have to memorize any codes. The thing rang maybe one and a half times before Sig picked it up.
Fortunately, Dax didn't have to say anything. The transport was revving its engines as the box finished loading and all twenty Guards-plus-Erol piled into the back. The hatch closed, Sig turned off the comm., and Dax scrambled out of his hiding place, the better to watch where the transport was heading.
He pressed his lips together, but went back to his spot- up on a ledge, beneath a gargoyle's sheltering wing- to get his comm. No need to leave that sort of thing behind.
Sig was there within fifteen minutes, and barely paused long enough for Dax to jump down onto his shoulder. He tucked the comm. away in a pocket, and made tracks.
Some places weren't safe for even a Wastelander to walk.
"Where?" Sig asked.
"East, at speed."
Dax tilted an ear.
"Used to be behind the walls, but the metal-heads overran it. Praxis gave it up, an' a lot of Guards died for nothing."
Ah, yes. Praxis' lovely idea of tactics. Dax rolled his eyes and looked east.
"Should we take a zoomer?"
Sig shook his head. "Hate those things, never any traction when you need it." Instead, he picked up his pace from a quick walk to a steady jog.
Dax crouched down on Sig's shoulder, and held on.
The scream started low, then jerked up high, and went on, and on, and on.
Oh yeah, Dax thought, fur prickling, I'd say that's something scary.
Not necessarily a monster. He'd heard animals make worse noises, once upon a time.
Granted, animal noises never made his fur prickle and stand on end like this, but hey. Something new every day, right?
Sig kept crouched low, even as he scuttled over to the next scrap of cover. "What was that?" he murmured.
"No clue. There's a- something, twisted metal- five feet up and two over."
It was slow going, but the place didn't have much in the way of solid ground paired with shelter. If Sig wanted to risk wading in no-doubt toxic sludge, then there was plenty of shelter. If he wanted to chance being spotted and shot at, there was plenty of solid ground.
The scream stopped, then started up all over again. This time, Dax picked up on the sound of tearing metal, the rapid fire of Guard weapons on full power.
"Sounds like one hell of a firefight," he muttered.
Sig grunted, and bolted for the next available patch of shelter. Unfortunately, it was several dozen feet away, and close to the screaming. A lot closer than Dax actually wanted to get, now that he thought about it.
At least the sound of the screams was something to focus on. Something wasn't right, and there was more in the air than just eco crackling back and forth over the sand and fallen structures. The wrong-ness tugged at the corners of his eyes, as if he could turn and look and see-
No. That was crazy. Time to pay attention to the present, Dax, before he lost his future.
There was a pause, just as Sig reached the best vantage point for the fight, and they both peered around the crumbling wall.
There were a lot of metal-head bodies, Dax noticed. And a lot of guards. Erol wasn't anywhere to be seen- probably still with the transport, left hovering even further back. Ironic, that in order to get anywhere Sig'd had to go a good distance around, until the Guards stood between them and Haven's walls.
Actually, no, not ironic. Annoying.
And between them and the guards- metal-heads. Lots and lots of metal-heads.
Sig sucked in a breath, but Dax wasn't sure if it was because of the metal-head numbers, or because of what- who- stood between the metal-heads and the guards.
There was something off, something even more off than just this Dead Town place. The guy was dressed in prison togs, but they'd seen better days years and years ago. They were ragged, covering enough skin for decency, but not much else.
Then the guy looked up, and all the wrong feelings snapped into place.
That was Jak's face.
Only it wasn't.
"Jak," Dax whispered.
Sig glanced over, opened his mouth- and that's when things went to hell.
One of the metal-heads must've had better ears than the rest, because it turned and spotted Sig. It screeched, loud and high and Precursors!
Dax realized he was collapsed on Sig's shoulder just as said shoulder disappeared from under him. He hit the sand hard, but was up and with a crumbling wall at his back in seconds. Street instincts saved his life yet again.
Sig shot, reloaded, and shot. Metal-heads screeched, about a third going after Sig, two-thirds after Jak.
The Guard was shooting, but their aim was crap. Dax flattened his ears against his head, the better to dull the skull-piercing noises, and crouched down.
What could he do? Not much. Sig was- well, getting over there would be suicide, at best. Getting over to Jak- was that Jak? He'd been sure a minute ago- would be even harder. And the Guards? Pfft! Hah!
Sig was managing fine. The big guy seemed to be having fun, even, face all twisted up in a death-mask parody of a grin, kicking and punching and shooting any damn thing that moved.
And Jak- Jak...
It was a good thing Dax wasn't involved in the fight. If he hadn't fallen off Sig's shoulder already, seeing his best buddy cutting loose would've... yeah. Woah.
Jak was a whirling dervish of metal-head blood and violence. Every movement was controlled, as smooth as silk and always ending in spraying gore. He kicked out to the side- and a metal-head fell to the sand, head twisted back on a snapped neck.
That's... What did they do to him? I'll kill 'em!
Beautiful, violent, deadly. Those weren't words Dax should use about his best friend- not ever.
Erol. That's who was responsible. Dax narrowed his eyes, curled his upper lip. He'd need something good- maybe cyanide. Everyone used it as a rat poison, wouldn't be too hard to gather enough up to drop a man. And the prison was protected a hell of a lot better than the guard barracks...
Bonus points, Erol would then be out of Keira's life. What was wrong with that?
Dax forced his attention back to the fight, which seemed to be dying down. Okay, scramble back onto Sig's shoulder, then Sig could grab Jak and they'd lose the Guard in the mess of Dead Town, then get back into the city and-
The Guard opened fire on Jak.
Dax's eyes bugged out. His best buddy arched back, a pained screech quickly morphing to an enraged bellow. He spun in place, hands raised and fingers crooked into claws.
"What the?" Sig loaded another round into his Peacemaker. "Dax?"
No need to ask twice. Dax jumped over a metal-head's death throes and was on Sig's shoulder in seconds. Sig didn't even wait, just lunged forward in a half-run, half-fall that brought them towards the Guard at a high rate of speed.
"That your friend?"
Jak was already dealing with the guard. So to speak. Dax winced, and Sig ducked a dismembered arm.
The Guard was still shooting, though one or two seemed to have finally noticed Sig bearing down on them. The guns seemed to have been switched from bullets to blue eco charges. Bullets had a longer range, but blue charges weren't stopped by armor.
Sig went down to one knee, but sure as hell wasn't stopped. He swept the Peacemaker in an arc at knee height. Three guards stumbled, one fell, and the shooting stopped briefly as the Guard struggled to adjust.
They never had the chance. Jak fell on the confused soldiers, in a fury of fists and feet and eco.
Dax gasped, and pushed himself up onto all fours on Sig's shoulder. That was- and Jak!
This close, the familiar arrangement of Jak's face couldn't hide the rest of it.
Tangled, white and dirt colored hair framed a face that was much, much too thin. A ragged goatee tipped Jak's chin, and whatever color it was had been hidden by dirt and other things. His eyes were black, from corner to corner, and there sure as hell wasn't any sanity there.
Dax swallowed once, hard, and stood up. "Jak?"
Those eerie black eyes focused on him. Cracked and bitten lips peeled back from sharp teeth- fangs. Holy crap, Jak had fangs.
"Hey, buddy." He sounded like he'd been hit with a couple dozen volts of blue eco. Well, he had. "Hey. It's me, Jak. Your old pal Daxter. Remember?"
Still no sign of recognition. That wasn't good.
Behind Jak, the transport vehicle's engines began to throb and hum. Jak snarled, and fell into a half crouch, turning only enough to peer over his shoulder.
Sig cursed, too quiet for even Dax to make out the words, and then lunged.
He hit Jak square in the chest, and brought them all down to the bloody sand. Dax opened his mouth to yell, felt the wind of a bullet passing over his head, and whimpered instead.
"Okay, time to go." Sig scrambled to his feet, gun up, and pulled the trigger. The Peacemaker jerked in the Wastelander's grip, but the dark eco charged bullet hit home. The transport began to smoke, and the steady throb of the engine began to splutter.
Jak remained on the ground, gasping. Dax hopped down off Sig's shoulder, but his aim was off. Instead of beside Jak, he landed on his friend's stomach. That sure didn't help Jak's breathing problems any.
"Sorry, sorry- Okay Jak, time to go. This train has officially left the station!"
"He's stunned." Sig reached down and hauled Jak up with one arm. Dax maneuvered himself up onto Jak's shoulder.
"Well, yeah, you must weigh like three hundred pounds!"
"That too." Sig seemed to be giving serious thought to just slinging Jak over his shoulder and running, but another shot from the transport- it missed- knocked Jak back into the land of the aware and enraged.
"No clawing Sig," Dax said, about two seconds after Jak lifted his hands to do just that. "C'mon, let's go!"
Sig grunted, and pulled. Jak stumbled, but kept up. The transport attempted to follow, but whatever Sig's shot had done to it was interfering with its speed and maneuverability.
Haven's wall was up ahead, complete with door to safety. Dax gasped, and crouched down, as if that would influence anything.
Running, Jak seemed fine. It was only when they stopped that he sagged. Sig's grip around his back kept him upright, that and pure, one hundred percent Jak stubborn, but it was clearly a close race there. Dax pressed a hand to Jak's temple, and watched the door.
It opened. They scrambled through. It closed, and they were safe inside Haven.
Jak chose that exact moment to collapse. Dax squawked, pressed a hand to Jak's throat, and relaxed at the pulse, throbbing too damn fast for comfort.
"Alright," Sig said. "You two are going to hole up in my apartment, and stay there."
Dax transferred himself from Jak's shoulder to Sig's. "Oh? And what're you going to do?"
Sig hoisted Jak up a little more. The shoulder spikes kept him from slinging the young man in a fireman's carry, but it was clear he'd given serious thought to it. "Somewhere we can hide him but good," he said. "It's a rough and tumble place."
Dax looked over at the Baron's palace, visible even down here in the slums. "You know what? I'm cool with that."
Thus ends the first Arc, Rescue. Aren't you glad Jak's no longer a prisoner? Next Arc, Healing, will be posted on the 21st. We're almost catching up, with what I've written and what's being posted. Quiet drama isn't my strength. Oh, well.
For anyone interested- I don't yet have a full time job, but I've had an interview. The choice is between me- more flexibility, lower salary, and less experiance- and another applicant- less flexible, higher salary, more experiance. I'll hopefully know when I post next, because whether I get the job or not will affect my writing schedule. Also, anyone seen the Avengers (or Avengers Assembled, if you're in the UK) movie yet? If you haven't, go. It's awesome.