Originally written and published on September 26, 2014, on the forums of the Direwolf Starship Brigade.
(( I originally had a lot more planned for this, but my desire to keep the story flowing in time with the music that inspired it forced me to dumb it down. I hope you all like it though, regardless! ))
Thyssen would never admit it, but the time that he had spent inside the Void had changed him. Time there flowed differently than it did in the corporeal world. He had only been gone, what, a week? Nearly two weeks? But to him it may as well have been a handful of years. Dreams of unfathomable oddity plagued him nightly, giving him glimpses of a life forged but forgotten and of horrors the likes of which existed only in the darkest depths of one's twisted, guilty conscience.
After leaving Charlie's asteroid nearly a week before, it became clear to the man that he needed to blow off some steam. But how? Despite his libido he would never hire an escort, nor was he the type to simply pick up a random partner at some random bar, use them and then discard them the next morning. Starting a brawl in a similar location was out of the question as well, since he knew better than to get on the bad side of FCON or, stars forbid, the Black Hoods. But that was only within Exile controlled territory. What about something beyond their borders? Yeah. Yeah, that would work nicely! (Besides, he needed a new set of mag pistols anyway.)
It took Thyssen nearly two days worth of searching to locate the ideal location. Fairly large, two stories tall, advertising that all forms of Marauders were welcome and, best yet, in the middle of f*cking nowhere; it was perfect. 'I wonder what Sindra would think if she saw me now?' Thyssen mused to himself with a half-grin. In the Legion of Bloom he had always been the goodiest of goody two-shoes, and it was for that very reason that he had ultimately come to the decision to break away from them. And yet here he was now, about to commit ultra-violence the likes of which he hadn't subjected himself to since the Murder Dome.
The sound of the double doors crashing open caused all activity within the saloon to come to a halt. Marauders from all circles of life in all senses of the word turned as one to gaze, some in slack-jawed wonder, as Thyssen sauntered into the joint without a care in the galaxy. His body language made it abundantly clear what he was there to do, and the patrons were more than happy to oblige. Chairs scraped and wood creaked as the den of scum and villainy converged on the lone wolf.
(Music at 00:28.) Once he felt that the tension had reached a boiling point, Thyssen reacted. His hands shot out, grabbed the outstretched arm of the Marauder closest to him, and simultaneously pushed and pulled. There was a sickening snap and a scream as the Oghra's arm all but separated. Bone tore itself free of flesh, only to vanish into the forehead of the Oghra as Thyssen shoved it there.
The hand cannon that the Marauder had been holding fell neatly into Thyssen's grasp as he himself fell backward in a twitching heap. Not sparing a beat, Thyssen ejected four of the weapon's six slugs into the gathered crowd, consequently generating four more bodies in the process.
And now the maelstrom hit. Bullets, laser bolts, miniature missiles and even the occasional spell all flew toward Thyssen in a fury. The man's personal shields took much of the retaliatory strike, while his arcane defenses absorbed much of the rest. Still, he wasn't just going to stand there and take it. (He was dumb but not suicidal!)
Cuts, scrapes and even a couple of bloody holes appeared on his person as he launched himself sideways behind a table that he quickly upturned. The last two slugs in his confiscated sidearm were blind-fired over the lip. The shots hit nothing. Shit. Thinking fast, Thyssen Gated the ammo belt off the dead Oghra over to him and hastily set about reloading the weapon - all the while his makeshift barricade disintegrated around him in a shower of sparks and splinters.
Three quick glances through the largest hole in the table told Thyssen that there was a massive weakness that he was capable of exploiting, but he had to be precise to a tee. Using one of the smaller bullet holes as a peep hole, Thyssen emptied several more shots into a pile of flammable material that had been propped up next to the bar. Nothing exploded, but Thyssen was at least pleased to see several rivulets of amber liquid leaking down onto the sawdust strewn floor. But how...
The disturbance in the air caused Thyssen to turn and react out of reflex. Two in the chest, one in the head and goddamn if that other Spellslinger weren't nice an' dead. Without even really thinking, Thyssen caught the two revolver-like "Casters" that fell out of the man's grasp. They were heavier than what he was used to, and much larger, but he would worry about that later. Thyssen shot the supports out of the next closest table, and then transferred himself behind it just as a series of direct hits reduced his last hiding spot to smithereens.
The hammers were also something that Thyssen was going to need to get used to. His previous weapons had been modeled off of semi-automatic handguns, and thus could always be relied on to deliver quick and accurate strikes. These "mag-volvers," on the other hand, were slower on the draw unless one remembered to pull the hammer back first. This caused Thyssen's next series of shots to either miss or hit where he didn't originally intend to. Still, there was no denying the raw power that coursed through the things. He had no idea what the cores were made out of, but his old guns weren't capable of the carnage that these were. Limbs and other extremities popped like balloons filled with too much water as the mag-volvers kicked in Thyssen's grasp with every pull of the trigger.
Soon the masses scattered, and Thyssen was left with a clear shot at the mountain of hooch that he had primed earlier. But just as he was about to ignite the proverbial powder keg, a shout from above made him remember that there was a whole other floor of bastards that he had to deal with!
Within seconds he was backed into a corner. Literally. The continuous stream of fire from the dozens of Marauders was too much for him to handle. Grasping the table, he had inched himself backward behind the corner of the bar closest to him. He nearly lost consciousness when a missile from a hostile Bot shattered his concentration and dropped his arcane shield. A Grund, thinking he could get the drop on Thyssen, leapt from the landing above with the intent of bringing his locked fists down upon his head. Thyssen responded by opening up a Gate that found the Grund materializing outside, twenty feet above the saloon. The Grund's scream could be heard, high pitched and terrified, before it it was impaled upon the building's wrought iron weathervane.
(Music at 01:42.) Shit. Thyssen swayed, and fought back the urge to vomit. He had overextended himself once again, with most of his stamina having been spent making certain that his magical shield didn't fail. And to make matters worse, following the most unfortunate departure of their Grund companion, the Marauders had resumed their blitz! But Thyssen put an end to this by suddenly standing up, arms held high above his head.
"Whoa," he shouted. "Whoa, whoa, whoa! Okay! Stop - just stop! I'm sorry!"
These words caught the entire group off guard; so much so that they lowered their weapons. The Marauders nearest to Thyssen bustled over and grabbed him by the arms, making certain that he couldn't get to the mag-volvers that he had haphazardly tucked into his waistband just prior to surrendering.
A ratty little Eeklu that had been playing cards just prior to Thyssen's arrival floated up to eye-level. If looks could kill, then Thyssen surely would've found himself skinned alive at that very instant. "Who do you think you are," demands the rodent-like alien, "bargin' in here and gunnin' us up like this?!"
Thyssen's shoulders bunched up in a shrug. "Just a guy lookin' for a good time," he says by way of reply.
This surprisingly got a chuckle out of some of the other Marauders, and a lopsided smirk from the Eeklu, who said, "Any last words?"
"Actually, can I bum a smoke?"
The Eeklu sighed but relented. He jerked his head toward Thyssen, and a fellow human trudged forward to place a cigarette into his mouth. But when he offered a lighter, Thyssen shook his head. "No thanks," he said. "I got my own. May I?"
'Please,' he thought to himself. 'Please let them be as dumb as I hope they are.'
They were. The Marauder holding Thyssen's right arm let go. Thyssen thanked him, then snapped his fingers in order to produce a flame. While inhaling the noxious fumes, he shook his hand vigorously as one might do when putting out a match. This little gesture, for the most part, went unnoticed. The spark, on the other hand, did not. All eyes seemed to follow the tiny glowing ball of flame as it detached itself from Thyssen's fingertip. It soared gracefully, in an arc, before landing in the puddle of amber liquid that had gathered around the base of the bar.
"Oh no," squeaked the Eeklu.
(Music at 01:54.) With a loud boom, two-thirds of the saloon exploded outward as all of the alcohol inside simultaneously ignited. Like any true action star, Thyssen soon strolled out from the gaping hole wearing a smug grin. He did look back, however, as the Eeklu from before was crushed by the body of the Grund, just as he had been attempting to literally stab Thyssen in the back. Thyssen winced. A minute later, the wayward chef of the Direwolf Brigade was back on his Grinder and riding off into the sunset. He would have to lay low for a while, that was obvious. But, hey, as far as he was concerned? He deserved a vacation.