Brooder was getting tired. Against all better judgment, he went back to the site of the shootout in an attempt to regain his bike. Now, he was running for his life after being spotted by one of the gangers. This was definitely not his night.
As he rounded a corner, Brooder felt the hand reach for his arm. Before he could react, he was grabbed and pulled into an alleyway. It took all of his control not to lash out at whoever had done it. But Brooder realized that if someone wanted him dead, he could have been shot running past the alley.
As Brooder calmed down and regained his breath, he looked at his would-be rescuer. What he found was an interesting sight. Crouched in front of him was a man the like of which he had never seen. Brooder was shocked by the almost whiteness of his blonde hair and the piercing quality of his blue eyes. As the man moved, Brooder could see the muscles twitch with anticipation of action. But his appearance only slightly covered the sense of power the man carried.
Strapped to the man’s waist was a sword. From his position, Brooder could only guess that it was about the size of a broadsword. Brooder could also see the handle of machine gun or rifle. But in his hands, the man held the largest hammer Brooder had ever seen. Brooder figured this would be the type of hammer Sparticus could carry without effort. And when he glanced at the man in the astral, Brooder could almost feel the power radiating from the weapon.
“Thank you,” Brooder whispered to his rescuer.
The man only held his finger to his lips. He seemed to be listening out into the street, using the alley’s shadows to hide in. It took only a moment for Brooder to realize what he was listening for.
From around the last corner Brooder took, the sounds of motorcycles tore through the street. Suddenly, scores of bikes and riders came around the corner. Every rider was hollering or yelling something. Brooder didn’t need to hear the exact words. He knew they were shouting for him.
As the bikes roared past the alley without stopping, Brooder saw the man relax. It was relaxing only in the sense of not jumping straight into battle. It allowed the man to look at Brooder.
“Going for the motorcycle was not a good idea,” the man said. “Stealing the motorcycle from a go-gang was an even worse idea.”
Brooder was shocked by the heavy accent that the man had. He couldn’t place it, but knew that he was definitely not from the UCAS.
“It wasn’t the gang’s,” Brooder replied. “It was loaned to me by someone. I wanted to be able to return it to him. And thank you.”
“Do not thank me yet,” the man said, peeking out of the alleyway. “We are still not out of trouble.”
Brooder took his turn looking around the corner and almost caught a bat in the head.
“I thought I saw you!” a go-ganger yelled as he spun his bike around on the street. “Now it’s time to die!”
Brooder’s combat sense went into full mode as the ganger made his threat. He could feel the other gangers approaching from the opposite direction, no doubt called by the errant ganger. Within moments, there would be more gangers than he and the mystery man could handle.
“I think we need to leave,” he said to his new companion.
“No,” the man replied. “We will not run from combat. A true warrior stays and fights.”
“Any idea how many gangers there are?” Brooder asked. “I do. More than we can handle. That’s how many.”
“More than you can handle, maybe. Not for me. Take care of the one on the bike. I will handle his friends.”
Brooder looked at the man. He had to be crazy to think that he could take on 20 gangers alone. But he had other things to worry about. The ganger had drawn a pistol.
“Time to die, fraghead,” the ganger said, his mouth nearly frothing with the excitement of the kill.
Brooder moved himself into a combat stance. His sense reached out in full effect, taking in everything the ganger did. As the ganger brought his pistol to bear, Brooder was already diving sideways to avoid the bullet. Knowing that he was tired and would not be able to dodge bullets forever, Brooder moved in to take the ganger down. Putting the entire output of his enhanced muscles to work, Brooder launched himself at the ganger. It was child’s play to removed the ganger from the bike. Even easier to land a punch to his temple, knocking him into the land of nod. Brooder stood up and took a deep breath. Time to help mystery man.
He turned in time to see something very different. The stranger was standing in the middle of the road, facing a group of fifteen to twenty gangers. In his right hand he was holding that hammer. In his left was a sword. It was almost as if Brooder was watching an old fashioned face off.
“Modi. Give me strength. Guide my arm.” Brooder heard the stranger almost chanting this.
From the end of the street, the ganger in the lead position screeched at the top of his lungs. His compatriots joined him, then all gunned their bikes and began to head toward the stranger. Brooder moved to assist, but stopped when he felt a surge of power ripple through the air. He watched at the stranger reeled back with the hammer, then let it fly toward the lead ganger. Brooder was shocked that the norm could throw something that large. He was even more shocked as he watched the lead ganger catch the hammer in his chest, fly off the back of his motorcycle, and take out the three gangers directly behind him.
The stranger began running toward the rest of the gangers, most of which has swerved their bikes to opposite sides of the street after seeing what had just happened to their leader and three other members. The stranger took their momentary lapse in attention to attack the front gangers on the right side of the street. Brooder watch as he moved impossible fast into melee. He seemed almost possessed has he tore into each ganger with his sword, making wide sweeping cuts.
Before Brooder could react, the stranger had finished with the one group and was making his way toward the other. By that time, most of the remaining gangers had come to their senses, both in attention and intelligence. They gunned their bikes in any direction but toward the enraged stranger. The stranger stood is ground, roaring in defiance at the cowards who were running.
As Brooder approached the stranger, the stranger turned toward him. What Brooder saw made him draw back. The strangers features had changed. His eyes had turned red and his skin was taught and white. Brooder could also see that his muscles had been bulging underneath his clothing, making him look even larger and foreboding.
The stranger looked at Brooder, his eyes not really focusing on him. A moment later, Brooder could see that the red was fading. His face was turning more normal. After another couple of moments, Brooder couldn’t tell that anything had changed.
“I apologize if I startled you,” the stranger said. “It is a side effect that I go through every time.”
“’Every time’ meaning what?” Brooder asked.
“Let me start for you at the beginning,” the stranger said, retrieving his hammer from the body of the now dead ganger. “I am Yolsen Olef. But for some reason, most people have called me Hammer. And I am a Berserker.”
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