Southside Protector: Chapter 4

Daniel Carter had been the Southside Protector for 19 years. In that time, he had never had to ask for help from any of the other 4 zones in Cincington. There had been some times that he needed to help them, but those were few and far between. Normally, he only saw the other 4 Protectors during regularly scheduled training or intelligence sharing meetings. Looking up at what was pinning him to the ground, he knew that he was going to have to break that streak. He just hoped he lived long enough for them to come to his rescue.
The dragon had him almost completely immobilized. His arms were trapped by his sides. Luckily, the techs who built the Protectors’ armor had built in contingency systems for situations such as this. There were two buttons, one on each of his hips, that would sound the alarm to have the others come running. There were also two more on his back that did the same thing, should his hands ever be bound behind him. Hitting only one of these buttons at a time did nothing. Both of them had to be hit at the same time.
Daniel had hit them both repeatedly for the last few seconds. It was like the button for an elevator. Hitting the button multiple times didn’t make it move any faster, but people did it anyway. If nothing else, Daniel hoped that the numerous amount of presses would indicate the urgency of his request.
The dragon’s head snaked down so it was face to face with Daniel. “For a mortal, you fought well. It will be an honor to kill you,” it said.
“I’d feel more honored if you didn’t kill me.”
The dragon’s mouth widened in what Daniel thought was a smile. Then, it opened, revealing its deadly teeth. Daniel closed his eyes. Its foul smelling breath hit him like a punch in the face. He waited for the killing stroke to come, but after a few seconds, it never did. Daniel peeked out through a half opened eyelid and saw that the dragon was not looking at him anymore. It was looking straight ahead. He twisted his head around to see what had caught the dragon’s attention.
Calrian stood there, around fifteen feet away, a look of indifference on his face. “Boss,” he said calmly, “you’ve got a dragon on top of you.”
“You think?” His Collector appeared to be about to reply when Daniel cut him off. “Shoot the fucking thing!”
Calrian brought his laser weapon up and shot. At this close range, it was all but impossible to miss the dragon. The way his luck had been so far that day, Daniel expected the impossible miss to happen, but it didn’t. The laser hit the dragon directly below its left eye. Its roar of anger was cut off when two more shots hit it in almost the exact same spot. If he survived this, he promised to praise his Collector’s training methods. With a grouping of shots that close together, Calrian had definitely been putting in the time
The dragon roared again. This time, Daniel thought he detected traces of pain among the anger. He started to shout for Calrian to keep up the barrage, but found that he didn’t need to. When he saw that three direct hits to the face wasn’t bringing the dragon down, the Collector opened fire once more. Calrian kept pulling the trigger.
Shot after shot hit the dragon. Sometimes in the chest, but mostly they hit its face. The dragon started drawing in its breath. You didn’t have to be an expert to know what was coming next. It was about to hurl its fiery breath at his apprentice. That was something that Daniel wasn’t going to allow. Especially now that the intake of breath, along with Calrian’s attacks, had caused the dragon to loosen its hold on him.
Daniel freed the arm that held his laser weapon, pointed it straight up, switched it to rapid fire mode, and pulled the trigger. Rapid fire shots weren’t as powerful as the regular ones, but they still were strong at point blank range. These shots hit the dragon right in the throat. Its intake of breath ceased as it picked its claw up and swatted Daniel away. Something very hard stopped his flight. He wasn’t sure what it was because his vision had darkened and was swimming.
“It is time to end this farce,” he heard the dragon say. “You and your squire have proven yourselves to be capable, but you are no match for me, human. Your life ends here.”
At that point, he didn’t care. Over half of Cincington’s Protectors had died in the line of duty. It was something he had come to terms with long ago. What he couldn’t handle was that Calrian might die here today. That wasn’t how it worked. Calrian was his Collector. Calrian was supposed to take over for him once he died. Calrian was supposed to be the next Southside Protector. If the dragon killed them both, the future that should be would never come to pass.
Daniel had no control of that, though. He couldn’t focus his vision. He couldn’t move his body easily. It took all he had to turn his head towards the booming voice of the mythical beast. His eyes tried to process the face of the dragon as it stalked towards him, the ground shaking with each step. He hoped Calrian was running away. A massive foot took up his entire view. Daniel waited for it to crush the life out of him.
Instead, he heard the dragon scream.
Two familiar voices came from opposite sides of him. He knew that those voices belonged to other Protectors, but his mind was a jumble and he couldn’t place them. They were yelling at the dragon. They were encouraging him to fight back. They were telling Calrian to get clear of the area. It all happened so fast that his addled mind couldn’t keep up with it.
His leg got stung by something and he knew that he had just been hit by an injection dart. He wasn’t crushed yet, so the others had obviously distracted it enough to keep it from killing him, the second time in the last few minutes someone had saved him from the dragon. All of the sudden, his veins felt like they were on fire. The dart had been filled with adrenaline. Daniel knew it wouldn’t last long, but it was enough to clear his head and give him a chance to help his fellow Protectors take the beast out. His eyes opened and his vision straightened out.
Two figures in Protector armor were dashing on the right and left of the dragon, firing their laser weapons at it. When the dragon got close enough to one, the other would intensify their attack to divert its attention. Their strategy was working, but the laser weapons weren’t doing enough damage. They were hurting the great beast, but it seemed like it would be some time before there would be any serious harm done to it.
If laser attacks don’t hurt it, Daniel thought, I’ll have to try a physical one. He ran to the closest car and, with a heave, tipped it on its side. His mind raced as he tried to put a plan together. It wasn’t going well. All he could think of to do was grab the most solid piece of metal on the car and use it as a weapon. So, he yanked the largest bit of steel from it and turned towards the dragon. The beast was still focused on the other two Protectors. It probably assumed that Daniel was out of the fight.
He was going to show it how wrong it was.
Daniel took off in a quick run and launched himself up in the air with a powerful leap. He aimed his piece of steel at the back of the dragon’s head. His body twisted, putting every ounce of his weight and momentum onto the steel. He prayed that it would be enough to break through the dragon’s thick hide. Just as he was about to connect, the dragon somehow spotted him. It didn’t have the time to move out of the way, but it did bring up its wing to block.
The steel punched a hole through the leathery membrane of the dragon’s wing. It let out a shriek of pain and rage. With a flick of its injured wing, it sent Daniel flying again. This time, he didn’t hit against a hard surface. Something broke his fall. He looked back and saw that the other two Protectors had finally shown up. They had caught him.
Then, they unceremoniously dumped him on the ground and opened fire with their laser weapons.
The dragon was now getting hit by four different weapons from three different sides. It took a quick breath in and exhaled a short burst of fire from its mouth. The flames didn’t reach very far because of the shortness of the breath, but it forced the Protectors to jump back from the heat. Using the small window of opportunity, the dragon leapt into the air and started flying away.
“We shall meet again, Protectors,” it called out over its shoulder as it flew away, drifting slightly to its right from favoring its injured wing.
Daniel climbed to his feet. “You better run,” he shouted after the dragon. “If I see you again, I’ll kick your ass again!” He found the other four Protectors had gathered around him and were looking at him funny. “What?”
Any answer they might have given was lost as Daniel felt the world around him spin quicker than a tornado. His brain had just enough time to tell him that the adrenaline had worn off before he fell to the ground in a heap.

7 comments on “Southside Protector: Chapter 4

  1. djmatticus says:

    Yeah, well, they should see the other guy. Or something like that.

  2. 1jaded1 says:

    And off they go to their respective corners.

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