Blood ran freely from Kennedy’s nose. She also had some dripping from the right side of her mouth and a cut on the left side of her forehead. That would probably be enough to keep most people out of a fight, but Protectors weren’t most people. They had training, and physical enhancements, that nobody else in the world had. Protectors could take and dish out more punishment than any other people on Earth.
That particular fact was both a blessing and a curse for Daniel Carter at this moment.
It was good because it allowed him to survive the punishment that he’d received at the hands of the dragon. Well, the legs of the dragon, he thought. Although, if Emmeline was to be believed, he reminded himself, the dragon had sat on him, so perhaps ‘the ass of the dragon’ would be more apt. The more he thought about it, however, he didn’t ever want to tell people that he’d received punishment from a dragon’s ass, so he decided to stick with ‘hands of the dragon’.
Now that he’d cleared that up in his mind, he turned to the curse part of the equation. That part was how that same Protector enhancements allowed Kennedy to recover from the beating he had given her and attack his ally Robbie. At the moment, Robbie was still alive, but he was hurt pretty badly. Kennedy stood over him with a knife. She reached down and, with the extra strength of a Protector, picked Robbie off the ground to use him as a human shield.
Daniel didn’t hesitate. Continue reading
The explosion happened closer to him than he was expecting. In fact, it probably happened the moment the RPG armed, or the millisecond after. Shrapnel pelted his armor, but not much. The blast of an RPG is designed to go in the same direction as the explosive was going. Still, the shockwave thudded in his chest and made it hard for Daniel to breathe for a few seconds.
The dragon, on the other hand, shrieked. Its body began to flail about. Daniel wondered if it was in its death throes, but the cloud of fire retardant chemicals still made it more difficult to see everything. All he saw was the vague shape of the dragon moving about erratically.
Suddenly, he found it difficult to breathe again. It wasn’t the shockwave or the chemicals that did it this time, although they didn’t help. It was the dragon leg that hit him squarely in the chest. He went flying backwards out of the cloud until he slammed into the armored vehicle. Stars appeared in his vision as he landed in a sitting position and he hoped he wouldn’t black out.
Beside him, he saw Kennedy begin to stir. That wasn’t what he needed at that moment. He was having enough trouble trying to fight the dragon. Adding Kennedy back into the mix wouldn’t do him any good. His hand reached over and grabbed a handful of Kennedy’s hair. Daniel pulled her closer to him, positioned her head under his armpit, and fell with all the weight he could muster to land on her face. Continue reading
Daniel headbutted Kennedy again. When he felt her go slack, he punched her a couple of times to ensure that she was out. Convinced that she wasn’t playing possum, he flipped her onto her stomach, pulled her hands behind her back, and reached for his restraints. That’s when he remembered that he didn’t bring them. The plan was for them to fight the dragon. Human restraints do nothing for that so they left them behind.
The roar of the dragon brought his focus back to the problem at hand. He didn’t have the time to think of an improvised solution, but the only way to be positive that Kennedy wouldn’t give them any more trouble was to kill her. As mad as he was at her for siding with the dragon, he wasn’t ready to go that far. That feeling might change if he discovered that she had indeed killed Nikki. If he found that Nikki was dead, he wouldn’t hesitate to dish out Kennedy’s punishment; the death penalty.
Daniel picked her up and dragged her over to the armored vehicle. She groaned right before he slammed her head against the metal plates three times. On a normal person, that action would have crushed their skull. On a person infused with the Protector serum, he was afraid it wasn’t enough to keep her out of the rest of the fight. It would have to do for the moment.
He looked back to see what had happened behind him while he was dealing with Kennedy. Robbie and Emmeline were still keeping the dragon occupied, though the dragon had dropped to the ground from the top of the parking and appeared to be more angry than usual. Then, he saw why. The RPG had blasted the tip of its tail off. That made him smile. That’s when the question became whether he should go after the RPG launcher or check on Nikki. Continue reading
Daniel was stunned that one of his fellow Protectors was standing at the dragon’s side. He couldn’t show that, though. Instead, he said over his shoulder, “I guess we know how the dragon knew we were tracking it. Kennedy is a traitorous bitch.”
Kennedy laughed. “Your opinion is worthless, old man. It’s almost as worthless as you are. Your time is done. It’s time for us younger people to take control and do things our way. The first thing to go is the Protector program.”
Daniel ignored her and kept talking to the teammates at his side. “Anyone know why she’s crazy now?”
Kennedy screamed that she wasn’t crazy, but he tuned it out to listen to Nikki, who answered at the same time. “She’s upset because she wants to have kids with her boyfriend.”
“You were told before you joined the Protector program that you would never be able to conceive if you joined up. They didn’t hide that from you. So, now how many people are going to be hurt by you and your friend there all because you decided to change your mind.”
“Of course I changed my mind,” Kennedy raged. “I was only fifteen years old. That’s far too young to be making decisions affecting the rest of your life.” Continue reading
“Lockdown mode active.”
The computerized voice kept repeating that sentence over and over. After a minute of it, Daniel would have openly welcomed battling the dragon again if it meant not hearing it anymore. “Can you shut that thing off?” he groaned.
“It wouldn’t be much of an alarm if it was silent, now would it?”
He looked at the speaker, shook his head, and rolled his eyes. Daniel knew that raising her with his penchant for sarcasm would eventually come back to bite him in the ass and that day had arrived a long time ago. This was just a continuation of the many years of torment his daughter had inflicted upon him. Although, if she had been talking to anyone else, he probably would have chuckled a bit. Since she hadn’t been, it was just one more annoyance to pile on top of his heap of troubles.
“Besides,” Emmeline added, “this alarm is what’s signaling the others to come here. If we turned the alarm off, they’d assume that the situation was resolved.”
Great, Daniel thought as he watched the monitor showing the thermal image of the city. It was a jumble of reds, yellows, greens, and blues. Only one thing stood out. It was a spot of bright white, which indicated a very hot spot. That was what was coming right at them.
“Are you sure it’s the dragon?” Tatiana asked. “Couldn’t it be a missile or something too?”
“Oh yeah,” Daniel said before he could stop himself, “because a missile coming at us would be so much better.” Continue reading
Daniel woke up in a panic. For a few seconds, he didn’t know where he was. He sat up to get a look at his surroundings. He’d wanted to jump all the way up, but his legs were being assholes and weren’t responding like they should have been. That might have made him panic some more, but he quickly recognized where he was. He was in the Protector Center in Central Cincington. More specifically, he was in the Protector Center’s medical facility.
The door to his room opened up and a young woman, in her mid-twenties, walked in. “You know the drill, Carter,” she said, annoying him by only calling him by his last name. “Lay back down while you’re worked on.”
“How bad is it?”
“Your spine got the worst of it. After looking at your scans, I was surprised that you were still standing at the end.”
“How many shots of Coop to fix it?”
Coop was the unofficial name that the Protectors used for the recuperative injections they received to speed up their healing process. It was a wonder drug. He’d had both his legs broken before and was back on his feet within two days. Unfortunately for everyone else in the world, Coop only worked on Protectors. It worked in conjunction with the Protector serum they were given at the start of their tenures. Lately, though, he’d noticed that it was taking more Coop to heal him than it used to. Another effect of his growing age. Continue reading
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.” Continue reading