Thank you to all the reviewers, I appreciate them! I've been told how creepy and scary it is, so I think it's a success as a horror fic! *rubs hands* Gee, what genre will be up next?
Everyone in the rec room had been stunned when the fight broke out between Beachhead and Covergirl. Sure, they shouted at each other like a couple of fishwives at times, but the Ranger never ever lifted a hand against her. Every man in the room rose up to protect her only to experience another wave of stunned confusion when the person they thought was Beachhead suddenly morphed into a strange malformed creature then slid back into the familiar shape of their Sergeant major. The scream that erupted was a cross between a screech of anger and the feedback from a electronic speaker and made more than a few people clamp hands over their ears.
Shipwreck stared and shook his head. "I don't think Beachhead is feeling himself tonight..." He stepped back as the face turned to glare at him. The sailor felt a finger of ice trail down his spine at the empty gaze. "Oh my barnacles..."
Clutch was closest and grabbed to restrain Beachhead. "Calm down Beach! There's no call to be hitting Covergirl like that..." He grappled briefly, trying to pin an arm down before getting flung across the room.
The creature/Beachhead screamed shrilly again. "None of you shall stand against the power of Nukpana! I will bathe in your blood! I will strangle you with your own intestines!"
Lady Jaye ducked as Alpine tumbled past, thrown bodily away with ease. Whoever this was, he didn't fight anything like Beachhead's brawling style. There was a great deal of long stroking swipes, grappling wrestling moves and sweeping kicks that the heavy Ranger never favored. He seemed unable to comprehend the punishing short punches that should be taking a quick toll on him. Instead he absorbed blows without showing much sign of pain at all. Another scream of fury made her wince.
"Nukpana will see you all kneel!" He suddenly seemed to lose his balance, snarling at nothing and she saw his limbs shudder for a moment before steadying and grappling with the next Joe attempting to contain him.
She suddenly frowned, her mind catching on the name. Nukpana... where had she heard that... She reached out to steady Shipwreck as he was knocked towards a coffeetable by a powerful kick. "Watch it... " She snatched up a lamp and swung it by the cord, tangling it around this Nukpana's legs and slowing him down for a moment. "Nukpana! That's a Hopi name!"
Shipwreck made a face. "Hokey? Well, it's not any more hokey than 'Beachhead' or 'Footloose' really..."
She sighed. "Not 'hokey', Shipwreck... 'HOPI', as in the Native American tribe." She ducked behind a table as a armchair crashed over them.
Shipwreck crawled from under the wreckage of the entertainment center. "Tribe? I thought they were Apaches?"
Jaye wished she had the time to count to ten. "Just go get Spirit!"
"Why? Is he hokey?" The sailor was already working his way towards the exit though and she couldn't spare time to throw anything at him.
Nukpana was infuriated at his inability to kill these humans. It was if they were experienced in fighting opponents trained to kill. Their fighting methods were incomprehensible and he was becoming even more frustrated as they continued to fail to die.
"You will all be defeated! Bow to me!" He snarled angrily as another of the annoying humans kicked him in the back, knocking him forward into several blows from a female wielding a spear. The shaft of the spear slammed into him several times before he intercepted it. Snatching it aside, he flipped the end over and swung the end into the side of one of his opponent's heads.
Nukpana easily ignored the pain from each blow, the byproduct of having the host's mind trapped with him. The host could feel the pain, Nukpana wouldn't be bothered. He forced the human limbs beyond their physical limits, slamming a fist into a dark-skinned man attempting to grapple him from behind. "Release me immediately!" Swinging the blade of the spear around, he sliced towards a throat, stymied when the host of the body surged up and grappled for control of his arm. The swing wobbled and missed and Nukpana was cheated out of taking yet another human life. Beating the human spirit within him down, he tried to split his attention to the battle outside of his mind.
Beach struggled to exert control over his body. Even though he could do little more than distract Nukpana, it was proving to be enough that no one else was taking much damage. As Nukpana swung his K Bar knife at Shipwreck's throat, Beach reached to take control of that arm. The blade wavered mid-swing and the sailor escaped with a light scratch on his shoulder instead of having his carotid severed.
"Hey Beach, chill out!" Shipwreck moved in slower, grabbing the knife hand and getting a toss across the room for his efforts. Nukpana was overclocking his human body, pushing it to strength it should not have had. Being able to ignore pain meant the demon was laughing off the efforts of the Joes. Their holding back in order to try not to hurt what they believed to be their teammate who had gone inexplicably crazy was hampering the attempts to stop him.
"You worms will never defeat me!" he shouted. Nukpana spent years' of build-up anger, roaring taunts and threats. The interfering human mind annoyed him but he dared not destroy it entirely. His host body needed it to survive. He snarled and shot a lash of pain inwards at it anyway as it tried to regain control again. It didn't need to be happy to exist, however.
Reeling back, Beach focused in time to watch Alpine get smashed into the floor. The near unconscious Joe was struggling to rise as Nukpana forced Beach aside to line up a killing strike.
"Stop your madness, demon!" Spirit shouted into the room. As the briefly distracted demon turned to look, Alpine crawled to safety.
"Pueblo dog," Nukpana sneered. "You think your skills are equal to the great and powerful Nukpana?! Even in this human body I will easily defeat you all!" The demon crouched and roared his fury and power at them.
Spirit shook his head, as collected as he always was. "No, foul evil. In that body you are too powerful." He suddenly tossed a small smoking bundle into the room at their feet. "Which is why I brought holy sage to force you to abandon it... or die within it."
Even as the first wisps of smoke entered the body's nostrils Nukpana felt the stirrings of fear. Leaping across the room, he searched for any exit. More small bundles landed on the floor and he recoiled in disgust. The human mind took the opportunity to try to wedge itself back into control and he crushed it away ruthlessly. He would not be defeated this way. His reign of terror had waited too long. "You will not defeat me, do not think to defy my.." He coughed violently as more of the smudge entered his lungs. "...my ...my will! You..." The demon wheezed and shuddered. "...you mortals cannot... " his words ended and he screamed loudly.
Beach felt a tearing sensation in his mind. His lungs were burning with smoke now and he could hear Spirit shouting but working out the words was too hard. Nukpana began screaming in a high pitch both with voice and inside Beach's head. The shrilling began to inch into a feedback squeal, grating on human eardrums. Suddenly the pain inside his mind popped and like a blocked ear clearing itself, the world snapped back into focus for him.
In the same instant, at least four of his teammates dogpiled on top of him. Beach would have fought them off out of sheer principle but at the moment he was still unsure if Nukpana was gone or if he would reappear. Also, his lungs were half choked and he wasn't entirely certain he was capable. His voice croaked painfully after all of the demon's screaming, "Stop me..."
"You just lie there!" Wetsuit was twisting one arm up behind him hard, leaning to keep leverage on the Ranger. "Someone has cuffs, right? Tell me someone has some freaking cuffs before he gets a second wind!" Another Joe had Beach's right leg twisted up as well and in short order he felt cuffs click tightly around his wrists. He ended up hogtied on the rec room floor, ankles secured to his wrists, wrenching his already sore back into a awkward backwards arch. He'd never been so relieved to be trussed up like a calf.
He turned his face to peer up at Spirit crouching over him. "Is it gone?"
Spirit waved a smoking bundle of herbs under his nose a few times, watching him cough weakly. "Yes, what was the focus stone? What was the demon possessing? Where is it?"
Beach jerked his chin to the side slightly. "Under the couch... what's left of the couch... it's a stone knife or arrowhead." His voice sounded a little put out. "I was gonna bring the damn thing to you cause it looks like some kinda Indian thing that you'd know about." Spirit lifted the arm of the couch and squatted down to peer carefully at the knapped volcanic glass point. "Don't touch the damn thing..."
Spirit hummed to himself. "It's definitely an ancient Hopi design. It's a spearpoint, not an arrowhead." He put his face down next to the floor, looking at the edges. "Did you shed blood with it?" He looked intensely at Beachhead. "Any blood at all? Did anyone get cut with it in the fight?"
Beach snorted. "Ain't no one bled on it but me. I cut my hand on it when I found it." He wriggled the hand from where it was cuffed behind his back. "I say let's set the fucking thing on fire."
His teammate was taking out a sheet of leather and carefully wrapping the blade. "No, I will destroy it." He smiled tightly at the Ranger. "I will crush it with a hammer, that will send the demon back to the spirit plane where it belongs."
"Don't send it somewhere!" Beach struggled slightly, making Wetsuit lean on him again. "Kill the thing!" He could barely manage to rock back and forth with the weight of three teammates on top of him. "Destroy the damned thing!"
Spirit shook his head solemnly. "I cannot. Nukpana is from another plane of existence.. he is a part of the natural universe and therefor has to be returned to his rightful place. But he will not be able to return without the focus stone."
Shipwreck hefted a small sledgehammer. "Well, he might just be getting sent back to home and all, but we can at least send him on his way with a kick, right?" He had a hopeful grin. "I mean, if he was Beachhead and beating all of us up and such, we should at least get a good whack back at him!"
Spirit sighed at his teammate, but anyone who knew the Native American would notice the slight smile of agreement. "Well it is a bit crude to take revenge..." He settled the elegantly knapped spearpoint on the tile floor. "But then... we Joes are not often noted for a great abundance of culture." He took the sledgehammer and poised it for a swing.
"Wait!" Wetsuit rushed up and handed Spirit his set of swim goggles. "Safety first... the thing is volcanic glass."
Spirit gave him a wry look. "I do not think that is needed."
Shipwreck immediately agreed with Wetsuit, probably more out of a desire to see the stoic Spirit wearing goggles rather than a wish to encourage safety. "Oh no, bits of glass flying everywhere... you should definitely wear the goggles."
Giving in, Spirit put them on. "Thank you. Now that my eyes are protected, could I please get on with banishing the ancient evil out of our world before it decides to return and possess someone else?"
"Whoa... can it do that?" Beach jerked his chin urgently. "Whack the stupid thing!"
Spirit swung the hammer and struck the delicately edged blade square on. It shattered far more spectacularly than a piece of inert volcanic glass should have. Everyone ducked as Nukpana's last fading screams sounded. Tiny bits of glass flew outwardly but then paused midair to then collapse backwards towards the epicenter, disappearing completely with a loud anticlimactic 'pop' of noise. Everyone stared at the empty spot of floor for a moment.
Shipwreck coughed lightly to draw attention to himself. "Well, I guess we could say the 'Spirit moved him' after all!" Groans and a few derisive comments made him duck away.
Jaye was checking on Covergirl. Woozily getting to her feet, the mechanic seemed to be mostly intact. She did have a spectacularly puffy eye from the massive blow the demon had landed on her face. Stepping up into the spot vacated by the fleeing sailor, Covergirl held a hand over her eye as she bent to look at the Ranger. "Well, are you uncrazy now?"
He twisted his head towards Spirit. "I guess so?" Spirit waved more smoldering herbs under his nose a bit before agreeing he was fine. Beach unbent his limbs as they removed the handcuffs and untied his ankles. "Ow... damn but y'all didn't need to go beatin' quite so hard on me." He managed to stand, wincing and trying to straighten his back. "I uhh... I'm really sorry... I mean, not that it was 'me' doing it..."
She put one hand on his shoulder. "It's okay.. it wasn't you." She gave him a light kiss on one cheek. "Don't make a habit out of picking up shiny possessed demon blades though, okay?"
He rolled his eyes at that. "Yeah, cause that's what I intended to do tonight. Go patrol, get possessed by some evil Indian that died centuries ago, beat the shit outa Flint, attack my girlfriend and get my ass handed to me by my teammates and like it." He snorted. "Of course, if it weren't for me trying to take back over my body, the whole room would be painted red with y'all's blood. You have to take a threat seriously, you can't be thinking automatically that it's a teammate when it's obviously homicidal..."
Shipwreck suddenly shook his head. "Wait wait... back up... what about Flint?"
Beachhead suddenly shut his mouth. "Uhh.. well... it wasn't 'me' you see but... well..."
Duke suddenly appeared, looked disheveled and annoyed. "Why can't these huge disturbances happen at a decent hour instead of when I'm off duty and asleep?" He automatically glared at Shipwreck who blanched and pointed at Beachhead. Duke transferred his glare to the Ranger. "What the hell happened?"
Beachhead tried to think about how to explain. "There was a … uhh... evil Indian spirit who took over my body and all. But it's gone now but not dead." He thought about that. "Well, not any more dead than he was before, I guess."
Duke sighed. "And why isn't Flint here taking care of this and what made Spirit turn evil?"
Spirit scowled. "I was not evil. The evil was Nukpana who was a Hopi demon who was imprisoned in a spearpoint which Beachhead cut himself on and thereby opened himself to be possessed." He paused, looking annoyed. "I am certain that Beachhead is fine now and Nukpana was banished and is no longer a threat."
Shipwreck helpfully spoke up. "And Beachhead beat up Flint!"
Everyone turned to stare at him and he stuttered slightly. "Well, but he did!"
Beachhead grunted. "Well, technically not me... but yeah. Someone should go drag him out of the secretarial offices and let Lifeline poke some needles into him or something. I just kicked him in the head... he's fine."
"You knocked him unconscious by kicking him in the head, he's not 'fine'." Duke directed someone to go find the warrant officer and get him medical treatment. "I want reports from everyone concerned." He held up a hand. "But I want them in the morning, after I've had some sleep." He waved a hand at the room. "Tell Dialtone he has the post until my shift." As he exited the rec room, he shot a parting comment over his shoulder. "And everyone stay out of all further trouble for the forseeable future, period!"
Beachhead snorted derisively at that. Giving Covergirl a sly glance, he spoke casually, "Yeah... there's not a ghost of a chance of that!"
His bruises didn't hurt all that much when the shower of random objects were thrown in his direction.
I hop that you liked reading it. Creepiness and all!