OoC: I know what you're thinking right now. You're thinking: "Really, Chad, another fic? What about the other ones that you started writing, why don't I get to finish those?" Well Mr/Ms/Mrs doubting Debby, this is what happens to me when I hit writer's block, I just write whatever I feel doesn't entirely suck. I have half finished chapters for my other fics, and I'll get to them soon I hope. In the mean time, enjoy this chapter of this fic! BiC: The Sun was beating down on the expansive wasteland that was the vast desert. Nearly devoid of life, various weeds and creatures adapted to the harsh environment the only things that showed life. This is where Tyr Jensen found himself wandering, endlessly trekking with nothing in sight for hours. Without water he would soon die, and yet he still carried a lit cigarette in his mouth, the faint trail of smoke disappearing into the wisps of sand blowing in the desert breeze. His swallowtail coat slung over his shoulder and his white dress shirt’s sleeves were rolled up to his elbows. His normally immaculate wardrobe sullied by the desert winds, even his ribbon necktie had been undone to try and allow himself to cool off. “It’s got to be around here somewhere,” he breathed heavily as he kept walking, “otherwise I may not make it.” He stopped walking for a moment and placed his hands on top of his head in a rather comical pose, “why did I decide to come out here in the first place!?” He complained, scratching his head and stamping off awkwardly. On the horizon a silhouette appeared in the dust clouds, Tyr could make out several shapes that looked like buildings. He had found the little backwater town he had been looking for way out in the middle of nowhere. He started to tear up, “it’s about time I found it I seriously thought I was going to die out here in the middle of nowhere,” he whined in one long sentence, not stopping to breathe or even enunciate separate words. He wandered into a town and fell in the dirt, laughing gleefully as he looked up at the town, “I’m so glad I’m not going to die,” he said softly to himself, and then he decided to shout, “life is truly a wonderful gift that isn’t to be wasted!” Loud enough for everyone in the town to hear. He wandered happily into the closest, and only, bar in town. The town was so lost and alone, the word Saloon was still used to describe the establishment; it was even complete with swinging doors. He took the time to fix his ribbon necktie, roll down his sleeves and pull his coat on, shifting his hat a little closer to his eyes. He liked to look presentable when he entered an establishment, after all. He took his place in an empty seat at the bar and ordering a beer and lighting up a cigarette; releasing a big puff of smoke into the air. After walking sixty miles through the desert, even the uncomfortable bar stool was a luxury; and the liquid that ran down his throat was like nectar from heaven. Even if water would have been the more appropriate choice of beverage. While he was so engrossed in his alcohol and the magic of sitting, he overheard a conversation at a table nearby. A heavy-set man was sitting with a wiry, jumpy looking fellow, and they both talked in excited whispers; as if discussing some sort of conspiracy. “Didja hear?” Asked the heavy man, scratching his neck where brown stubble grew unkempt, “they say that Valkyrie the Sky Splitter was seen not even sixty miles from here.” Wow, news sure travels fast. Faster than I did, anyway. Tyr sighed, taking another big gulp of his beer and exhaling triumphantly with a satisfied chuckle. He signaled the bartender for another beer and a shot of whiskey. The second man nodded, breathing quickly. He may have been hyperventilating, or perhaps his breathing was more attuned to the rodent that he resembled. “Yeah, yeah. They say that Greco was completely blown away in another unprovoked attack. They say that Valkyrie is the ferryman to Hell, since there are never any survivors.” Tyr choked a bit on his beer, coughing to clear the liquid from his throat and taking another drag of his cigarette. Now that’s just a grotesque exaggeration. “Why do you think they call it the Sky Splitter? It falls from the heavens and splits the sky in two, raining death upon everyone wherever it decides to strike. I hear the pilot of the beast is the devil ‘imself.” Tyr listened a bit more intently, lighting another cigarette from his pack. “Yeah, I heard that he breathes out smoke with every breath,” the wiry man said. Tyr stopped mid-drag and stamped out the cigarette; inconspicuously exhaling the smoke in tiny wisps. “And his eyes are two different colors, like a wolf.” Added the heavy man. Tyr caught a glimpse of himself in the mirror behind the bar, a blue eye and a hazel-brown eye staring back at him from his own face. He pulled his hat a bit lower, covering his right eye; the blue one. “He’s got long black hair and dresses like a fella at the altar; duded up in a proper tuxedo, he’s even got himself a swallowtail coat.” “Weirdy if yer askin’ me.” Tyr was holding his breath now, holding his beer up to his lips but not drinking. News really did travel fast, and he was starting to feel less and less secure. He looked down at his clothes, trying hard to take his coat off without moving at all. Movement would draw attention. “Lastly, he’s got some sort of contraption that’s supposed to be a sword and a gun at the same time. It’s impossible to miss, hangin’ at his side.” Tyr was seriously regretting his decision to get a drink. If he had gone straight to his room, he probably would have had better luck. Or there would have been a bomb waiting for him on his bed. His luck seemed to work like that. He glanced down at the sword hanging from his side, the hilt of which was the grip of a Colt 1851 Navy revolver. The man couldn’t quite figure out a way to conceal the weapon. As it turns out, he didn’t need to figure it out. A man approached from his left and place a foot up on the stool beside Tyr, leaning on his knee toward the man. “That’s not all, gentlemen,” he said with a smile to the two who had been speaking of the deadly pilot, “he’s also got a bounty of one million US dollars on his head.” He turned back toward Tyr, “ain’t that right?” Tyr laughed nervously, “I’m afraid I wouldn’t know much about that,” he waved off the question with both arms practically flailing. “I just stopped in for a drink.” As the man picked up his mug of beer, a shot rang out in the saloon, and Tyr was left holding a shattered glass in his hand; beer spilling out all over the table. “Save it. I know it’s you, ya fancy dressin’ bastard. Now make this easy, and get up nice and slow. You’ll be coming with me to the nearest police station where I’ll be collecting a nice bounty.” The tuxedoed wanderer sighed, a sad smile creeping across his lips. “And here I thought that with this town so far from any others in the middle of a desert, I may be able to get a few days of rest.” Tyr shook his head, “I just can’t get a break.” “Hey, fella, did you hear me? Get up, or I’ll blow your head off. You’re worth more alive, but you’re worth enough dead.” Tyr looked at the bar in front of him; his untouched shot of whiskey sat on the counter in a puddle of beer. In a flash he grabbed the glass and flung the drink into the man’s eyes. As he stood up he moved the man’s hand as he pulled the trigger, firing the gun instinctively. Tyr hit the gun out of his hand, threw a left hook followed by a knee to the man’s stomach to buy some space between them. Then he thrust out with a kick to the chest, sending the poor attacker across the entire room and crashing into a table at the other end of the bar. Tyr stood like a statue, still in the position he had kicked the man from, and took a deep breath. He was entirely serious now; the smile that had played across his lips and the laughter that he would normally be broadcasting were nowhere to be seen on his face. “I’m more than content with leaving the town, I don’t want any trouble. All I ask is that I get two canteens of water so that I can continue west, then I will not trouble you any further.” He was speaking to the rest of the patrons who were debating whether to jump him all together or run away. The rest of the saloon patrons looked from Tyr to the man he had kicked fifteen feet across the room, and they nodded in unison, making a path for him to walk through. A man slid him two canteens from a safe distance away. “Thank you, sir. I’ll go now. Thank you for your kindness.” He stepped out into the dirt street and placed another cigarette in his mouth, lighting it and puffing away as he headed to the western exit of the town. However, his luck wasn’t about to get any better. “Hey there,” a boy called from behind him, “I don’t care if the rest of this town is too scared shitless to stop you. What you did in there, to Tom, I’m gonna make you pay for that.” “Oh God, he’s not dead, is he?” Tyr asked, biting his fingernails through his fingerless gloves. “Not yet, but you gave him a real beating. Now I’m going to give him your head as a souvenir.” The boy drew a pistol, aiming it in Tyr’s general direction. “You’ll never hit me like that,” Tyr smiled, offering legitimate advice despite the threats, “your hand is shaking too much. You’ll never be accurate enough from that far away.” “Shut up! Don’t try and act innocent. Now draw. At least make it a fair fight.” “If I draw, you’ll die.” Again the friendliness draining from his words and the carefree look melting from his face. He hated when this happened. He didn’t care to fight people who hadn’t done anything wrong; these were the type of people he was trying to help. Glaring into the boy’s eyes and trying to will him not to fire, Tyr stepped forward. “Back off! I said back off!” The boy was shaking worse now; he’d probably never even held a gun before, let alone killed a man. “No one has to get hurt, your friend is going to be fine; I made sure of it.” “I can’t let you get away with making my brother look weak.” Tyr was taken aback. “Brother?” “He’s…” tears rolled down the boy’s face, “he’s not my real brother. But he’s always taken care of me. Since I can remember.” Tyr took a deep breath, exhaling slowly. “I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to hurt him; I just didn’t want to be arrested, or shot.” He added with a nervous laugh, especially since he was in danger of being shot again. “There’s something I need to do.” Tyr stepped forward again; the boy stared straight into his eyes. “Now just relax--” a gunshot rang out. The sound echoed off of the old wooden buildings. The boy collapsed, blood soaked into the sand and Tyr’s eyes went wide. At the end of the street stood a man holding a smoking pistol. He was well tanned and wore a sleeveless, pink shirt. His hair was brown on the sides and blonde on the top, cut in a flattop. He wore board shorts and ugly golden shoes. His appearance was straight out of a terrible eighties movie. “Damn thing shoulda been strong enough to pass through the boy and hit you. Must need a cleaning.” He shouted to Tyr with a sadistic grin stretching across his face. “So, you’re Tyr the Devil, eh?” The man asked, using Tyr’s newest media given nickname. Tyr hated all the nicknames he’d been given, but that one just made him sound pure nasty. At least Tyr the Fury or Tyr the Storm weren’t entirely horrible. Well, they were horrible, but they didn’t make him sound too bad. But at the moment, Tyr didn’t care much about nicknames. His eyes burned at the sight of the boy dead in the street. “He didn’t have to die. He didn’t!” He shouted at the man, clenching his fists. “I’m the one you want, right? So why did you have to kill him!?” He reached across with his right arm and drew his gunblade, aiming it at the man. “Don’t bother, the whole shithole town is surrounded by my gang. You take me down, you’ll be so full of holes they won’t even be able to identify your body. Well, they have to if I want the reward, maybe we’ll just cut your head off and then pump your body fulla lead, just to make an example of ya.” He grinned again, but Tyr didn’t lower his weapon. “They may get me,” Tyr growled, “but not before I get you. I’ll kill you before anything can happen to me. You want to try it anyway, be my guest.” He aimed at the man’s head, “because at the slightest movement from you, I’ll drop your ass.” The man raised an eyebrow. He’d heard the stories, that Tyr wasn’t one to be trifled with. He knew that there was a very real threat behind his words. So he had planned for it. The signal for his men to open fire was exactly what he expected Tyr to do next. “Drop your gun and I’ll let you out of here alive.” The man had to try hard not to smile. The second his own gun hit the ground, his gang would open fire and kill Tyr the Devil. Then the reward would be all his. So he dropped his gun. What he didn’t plan on was Tyr’s speed. As soon as the gun left his hand, Tyr sprinted forward, the men shooting at the spot he had been standing, none of them expecting any movement from him. He reached the other end of the street in an instant, grabbing the leader and dragging him into the nearest building. He heard the gang moving around outside, trying to get into new positions. He didn’t care at the moment. His gaze felt as though it were burning into the man’s eyes. “Remember how I said I’d let you live?” Tyr asking, pinning the man up against the wall, several inches off of the ground, with one arm. The man nodded in response. “I was lying.” The gunblade thrust forward, to impale the man through the stomach, but the door behind them flew open, followed immediately by gunfire. Tyr dove behind a desk, the gang leader running for the door, terrified. “Get my mech! He’s not human!” Tyr heard him shouting. “Great,” Tyr moaned, “a mech pilot.” A bullet flew over his head, narrowly missing his hat. He flipped the desk, firing from the gap that opened up between it and the floor. The man who had been firing from the doorframe fell back, a new, bloody hole open on his forehead. Outside of town, Tyr heard the sound of heavy footfalls. The leader of the gang was returning in his mech. He twirled the gunblade in his hand, twisting his wrist and firing up into the air. Only instead of a normal shot, nothing fired from the barrel of the gunblade. Meanwhile, directly above Tyr in a low orbit around the planet, his own mech was receiving the transmission from the gunblade, engaging thrusters and falling toward the earth below. “This town is gonna get blown away unless you come out here right now!” The man blared from his mech’s comm. system. Tyr obliged and stepped into the dusty street, holding his hat on his head with one hand and smoking a cigarette with the other. The people of the town were fleeing in the other direction, straight into the desert. They didn’t care, they needed to get away. Tyr couldn’t agree with them more. “I can’t believe you’d come out here and face your death just to protect some people you’ve never met before! You are one stupid motherfucker.” The man laughed into the comm. His confidence had returned now that he had Tyr outgunned. Tyr didn’t respond, he stared straight at the mech. It was about twenty-five feet tall, brown, and made of rounded metal parts all put together. Instead of bipedal legs it had two treads, like a tank. Two cannons stuck forward from its shoulders and a minigun protruded from its chest. In its hands it held two pistol like weapons, though obviously scaled to the mech’s size. The mech loomed over the town, its shadow covering half the length of the street. “The bounty is more with you alive, but I think that, to be safe, I’ll just kill you now.” Again the man laughed as he made the mech fire the twin pistols. Had he been looking up, he would have been as awestruck as all of his men currently were, standing behind their boss’s robotic weapon. Before the bullets could hit Tyr, his own mech landed in front of him, blocking the shots with a deployable shield on its left arm. The robot was thirty feet tall, bipedal and painted black. There were spots of white on the sides, and the backs of its legs, as well as two upside down triangles where its “eyes” were. On its back were two swords crossing in an X. “Valkyrie,” the man gasped, “the Sky Splitter.” Tyr stepped between the mech’s legs and leapt up into the cockpit; the controls only awaiting the master key before they would begin responding to Tyr’s commands. Tyr spun his gunblade and inserted the blade into a slot in the main console. He twisted the blade and shoved downward, the weapon disappearing into the board and then the commands lit up. Tyr’s face was completely devoid of emotion, he stared at the screen that displayed what Valkyrie was seeing. Currently it showed the opponent’s mech, but Tyr turned the head, looking back at the boy on the street. He was just trying to take care of someone he cared about. Tyr was shaking with rage. Though it wasn’t directed toward the man in the mech, it was at himself. If I had never come to town. If I had just stayed away. None of it would have happened. Trouble had a way of following Tyr. No matter where he went he found himself in these sorts of situations. He didn’t usually come up against mechs, but sometimes that was the case. Regardless, something bad always happened. People would get hurt; despite the fact that all he wanted to do was help people. All he wanted was to atone for his mistake. To protect people everywhere to make up for the one person who he couldn’t protect. He looked back at the man and drew the swords on the mech’s back. “Enough blood has been spilled.” He said solemnly, raising his swords to the ready, “if you leave now, I will let you live. I mean it this time.” A pause, to allow the man to see the first option clearly, then he continued with the second. “However, if you decide to do this; you will die.” “I’m really scared, asshole. Just try it!” The man fired one of the cannons at Valkyrie, in turn Valkyrie responded by twisting its wrist and firing a machine gun at the missile; causing it to explode between the two mechs. “You’ve made your choice.” Valkyrie twirled its swords, as if it were holding two propellers, and rushed forward. The brown mech fired both cannons this time. Valkyrie leapt up, thrusters on its feet firing to give it enough lift. The gangster responded by aiming the minigun and the pistols upward. “Try dodging in midair!” And he opened fire. Valkyrie spun the sword in its left hand, bullets harmlessly being diverted away. The sword in its right hand pierced through the mech’s head, and proceeded to halve the mechanical beast. Then it placed its foot at its base and kicked up, sending the mech upward where it detonated like a bomb in the air above the town, raining debris and smoke. With their leader gone, his mech destroyed as though it were nothing but a child’s plaything, the rest of the gang members fled the town in every direction; the bounty not worth losing their lives to the legendary Valkyrie. The cockpit hissed open in Valkyrie’s chest and Tyr emerged, a cigarette already in his mouth as he leapt to the ground. “Thanks, Valkyrie.” He smiled, “return to orbit.” And the mech blasted off, straight into the sky again. He surveyed the situation. Chunks of burning metal had rained down on the town, but most of them were too small to do any real damage. A few holes in a few roofs, but at least the town was still standing for the most part. Tyr exhaled in a high pitched sigh that was the result of filling his lungs and expelling all the air at once, “man! Kicking that mech up into the air was a good idea! I’m glad that the idea came to me at the last second, otherwise this town may have been blown away.” He laughed for a long time; an obnoxious laugh belonging to someone who counted himself incredibly lucky. He heard the townsfolk returning, having seen the result of the battle from the outskirts of the town. He turned with a smile that was immediately wiped off his face for him. “You! This is all your fault!” An elderly man shouted at him as he approached. Several others, including the man called Tom, crouched down by the boy who had been shot. Tyr closed his eyes to endure the rest of the abuse; it was no less than he deserved. Another person he had failed to protect. He was surprised they didn’t put a bullet in his head. “If you hadn’t come here, that boy would still be alive!” “Stop it!” The shout caught Tyr by surprise; he opened his eyes to see Tom face to face with the elderly gentleman. He then approached Tyr and placed a hand on his shoulder, before turning to face the rest of the town again. “It’s nobody’s fault but mine that he was shot. Yes, the men followed Tyr here, but if I hadn’t tried to pick a fight, the boy wouldn’t have thought that he needed to stand up for me.” He shook some tears from his eyes, “if Tyr hadn’t been here… we would all be dead! That gang was following his route and they would have found our town all on their own. Tyr saved us all.” He turned around and extended a hand toward Tyr, surprised to see a few tears in the legendary pilot’s eyes. Tyr took his hand and shook it with a smile, a smile that quickly faded. “The boy,” he said looking past Tom and to the boy’s body, now covered by a sheet and being carted to the morgue, “what was his name?” Tom looked back over his shoulder, “Robby. His name was Robby.” “I’m sorry for your loss. I truly am.” Tom wiped his eyes with his sleeve and laughed, “thank you, for fighting for him, I mean. Robby was all alone, his whole life. Nobody but me had ever fought for him before. But you fought for him better than I ever could have.” Tom had seen the ferocity on Tyr’s face when he faced Robby’s killer. He knew that the battle had been to make the man pay for Robby’s death. “C’mon, let me buy you a drink.” “I’ve caused you enough trouble,” Tyr said shaking his head, “I’m heading west, toward California. Not much farther now.” He stared off into the sunset, and then he started to walk toward it. “One second, you told Robby that you have something you’ve got to do. What is it?” Tyr looked up into the sky, and replied without turning around. “There’s a sin I must atone for. And a score I have to settle.” And without another word, the mysterious man walked away into the setting sun, dust clouds turning his figure into an obscured silhouette, and then it disappeared entirely.