Tweet of the Day: SF Obscure: Alien Nation
On a barge on the river Ífingr
A single moment crystallized the madness of our mission to sever the alliance between the giants and our enemies. Thousands of baying, braying, howling, barking mad beast-things crawled over on the deck of wooden river barge the length of a ocean liner straight of the ancient Nile, but with a dragons head at the bow and a Venetian gondola for a stern. They bit, snarled, they slashed with broken nails, and punched with dirty fists. The horde scrambled aboard in an undying tied of insanity.
Excalibur sang as it sliced through the air, somewhere behind me another dark blade with red glowing runes sang a countertenor to Excalibur. Its owner was a tall wiry albino with sad red eyes full of purpose. Beside him fought two other men, one with embedded black gem on his forehead and the other with an artificial arm and eye.
“Fistan, Firbolg, Firebolt, Fire stand? I’m sure it is a very useful spell, would help greatly if-” said a tall old man with a flowing white beard and a blue conical hat with the tip bent to the side. He and his exact twin dodged attacks from all direction.
His twin shouted, “It’s fireball you forgetful twit!”
“Oh yes, of course, FIREBALL!” said the first and a bright orange explosion set dozens of man-beast alight, their terror-filled screams mingled with the shouts of their fellows.
Two figures blurred past me. One of them was Owen, who was everywhere at once, his twin daggers slashed at hamstrings and exposed necks. The other popped into view between flashes of blue light. I caught a glimpse of a woman, not older than me, with emerald eyes, as white haired as the albino and a large red scar on her freckled left cheek. She left a trail of beheaded bodies in her wake. A man in a duster fired a pair of large revolvers at a speed to rival a machine gun. He reloaded so fast that they singed his hands. Each burst of fire took down dozens of borders as they clambered of the side of the barge.
A beast-man tackled me to the ground. Its fetid beak snapped a my face.
“Get off me you mad parrot,” I said. A push of Air freed me from its grasp. A dog face beast-man rushed to take its place. One of a half a dozen of Owens stabbed him on the neck and moved on. “Thanks honey,” I said.
“You’re welcome,” said all the copies around me.
A black haired woman with raven feathers on her shoulders and strips of red cloth to cover her chest held her hand out to me, “The floor is no place for one such as yourself.”
“Thanks,” I said.
She smiled and transformed into a giant spider that pounced on a group of enemies.
“Remind me never to get on her bad side, whoever she is,” I said to no one in particular.
A shot sounded somewhere to my left. A tall pale figure in clown makeup, with long ears, red hair and Cheshire smile leveled a shotgun with his left hand on an enemy while he cut down another with the rapier on his right hand. He smiled at me and proceeded to wade deep into a gaggle of goat-men. But another tide of enemies rolled in.
“Owen, I need an opening!” I shouted.
“PYROFUEGO!” shouted someone to my left.
I summoned a sheath of Air and Water around my skin fractions of a second before a wall of flame incinerated everything before me. Wisps of smoke emanated from my clothes where the heat met my protective barrier.
“Sorry,” said a dark haired man with a beat up duster and a staff covered in glowing runes. Beside him ran two shorter women. The one with the neon pink and blue hair weaved a series of dazzling lights around her while the blond carried a glowing sword that hummed at the same tenor as Excalibur. Another man, somewhat shorter than the first but with an uncanny family resemblance winked at me as he ran past. My heart skipped a couple of beats after that.
Wait… where was I? Yes stopping the demonic beast horde from overwhelming us. Right!
I ran to the port side and pointed Excalibur at the river shore. Air and Water merged. Ice spread across the water. The sheet of ice trapped some beast-men under the water. Other slipped on the slick surface. Spikes of clear ice impaled a few more. Fireballs crisscrossed the sky and landed on the opposite riverbank. A giant translucent fish smashed into a group of pig face beast-men. Their squeals nearly drowned the sound of crunching bones. Two gigantic white gorillas stepped out of a large dark oval. The massive beasts charged up and down the deck, knocking beast-men left and right. As the sun rose the attackers retreated. Dead bodies melted into noxious fumes in the morning light. The other passengers faded into the light.
The ship moved to the shore and a plank extended to land. As I looked around there was no one around except one very tired Owen.
“Our stop then,” he said with as shrug.