Iria was on her feet when Cara suggested that they get out of there. Drea was one more glass away from alcohol poisoning, and Gloria struggled to control the pull that playing God had given her. Olivia was amicable enough, but that was down to a mild case of future shock. It might as well have been Heaven or Hell, for how disparate and alien it all was.
Iria had already been extensively modified before she started and joined The Church of The Leviathan. She came from a point in history where modifications were as mundane as piercings or tattoos. Before she left, the average teenager on the street had laser pointers grown in the ocular tissue, or one of those biological grafts onto their vocal chords that let them make hyena or gorilla noises. Which was great fun when you were having an orgasm, to start hooting like a silver back gorilla defending their offspring. Iria thought it was an amusing extrapolation. She had gone for the combat modifications, at first, then once she knew that she would be exploring deep space, basic survival modifications such as having a stack of bacteria in lieu of a stomach, oxygenated clay in the lungs to produce slow releases of oxygen and the solar wings that were housed in hollow apertures under her armpits, which extended to twenty feet either side of her, powerful enough to see her through the journey that led her, in an indirect way to here.
She raised her left hand, pulling her hand backwards as the skin around her wrist split open and a small creamy dart flew out with a wet spitting sound.
Cara did not hear it, but Drea staggering next to her, turned and plucked at something from the air with a nonchalance borne from equal parts earned bravado and awe-inspiring drunkenness. She turned it over, and Cara went to scream for them to drop but Iria had never been one to allow an opponent any time to act at all.
She emptied the reservoir of ammunition housed in her forearm, generated from the weird carbons that infested her bones, hollowed out to include a clip of custom ammunition loaded with a toxin that served to give a humanoid physiology an instant and lethal dose of rhabdomyolysis, which gives a cardiac arrest reserved for the perfect storm of viagra, elderly millionaires and escorts who can ride a man into Valhalla and chew gum at the same time. Either way, it was clean and quick so long as it entered the bloodstream.
Rather than being pinched between Drea’s callused fingers, which was what was happening. Not just once, but repeatedly and all of it done with an expression of bemusement as Drea set them down on the table next to her as though she were puzzling over a complicated knitting pattern.
Olivia had pointed her right hand towards Iria. She frowned and turned her right hand outwards, activating a secondary weapons system that had been evolved from jellyfish, specifically the cynidocytes, cells that produced the venom that made them such effective predators. Iria gave a thin smile which faded when she saw the gun that had appeared in Olivia’s hands, shining and eager to go about its work.
Iria raised her hand to whip the tentacle forth, aiming for the soft skin of the woman’s throat when she felt the air shudder around her, then looked and realised that she was not in the bar anymore. She looked down at the mud, churned and bloodied with whatever had occurred here. Then she raised her head, staring into the faces of bearded, vicious warriors with pitted, black metal blades that were pointed at her.
‘Halt, in the name of the Crow King.’
She whipped the tentacle around, its length slicing at the faces of the men before her, leaving deep cuts that flayed skin back to bone and left a payload of agonising poison wherever it struck. Too little reward for too much effort, she thought and used her enhanced senses to search for the four women that were her targets.
Nothing. She saw the stone building, read the inscription and grimaced with frustration as she saw that there were more men hidden behind the walls, and they would be as welcoming as the dead men at her feet were.
She sighed and started to walk towards them. A woman’s work was never done.
Olivia slid Walter back into the pocket of nothingness and adjusted the brim of her hat.
Cara stared at the three of them in awe.
‘Holy shit, that was amazing. We’ve had one montage and you were all just -‘
She made vaudeville kung fu moves and screwed her face up.
‘Think it’s a bit of shell shock?’ Gloria said to Drea.
Drea nodded and looked at the small shells on the table. She picked one up, the dental texture of each made her uncomfortable with how slick and warm they were.
‘I didn’t have time to freak out. Which is probably for the best, considering.’
Gloria pressed her fingertips to her eyelids and winced.
‘Think I can take these out for a while? They’re starting to burn.’
Cara nodded, and gestured to the bar for a drink.
‘Yes, I’m guessing you did something to put her, erm, not here?’
Gloria pinched the lenses off her eyes in turn then set them back into the case. She sighed with relief and rubbed her eyes before plucking off the nails and replacing them alongside the lenses.
‘Yes, she’s now in my second act climax. Not sure who long it will hold her, but it was the best I could do in a pinch.’
Cara laughed and applauded.
‘That was fucking brilliant. I won’t ever be angry with a bit of improv now and again.’
Olivia glanced over the three of them, lower lip trembling and eyes damp with confusion.
‘Is there anyone who’s going to explain what that was about?’
Cara took in a deep breath and gestured around her.
‘No, which is probably not doing wonders for your confidence right now. It’s definitely not doing anything for mine.’
TO BE CONTINUED