Let me know if you love or hate it. It's not going to make me stop either way, but at least I'll know. As before, it's after the break to keep the page from being too cluttered up.
“Why do you want-” Tilda shook her head, cutting herself off. “You know, I don't care. Fine. I'll open it.” She slid the closet door open. The closet was full of old boxes, most of which Tilda had never even bothered unpacking. Her father had probably not even bothered looking through them when he had been the one to get them from her grandfather.
“Hm. There's something very interesting in here...” Arma looked over the boxes.
“No, there isn't. It's all nicknacks and shit. Probably a lot of old clothing.”
“That box, there!” Arma pointed to her grandfather's old army trunk. It was heavy, made to last, and was probably bulletproof. If the padlock was anything to go by, it hadn't been opened since the Collapse. Tilda just wanted the crazy woman out of her house. If that meant giving her a box full of junk, that was a small price to pay.
“Fine. Take it and leave.” She pulled the box out, leaving it in the middle of the floor. Arma knelt down to look at it.
“Yes... this must be it...” Arma ran a hand over the lock. It popped by itself. Tilda blinked. This was starting to look like it was way over her head. How did she even do that? Arma opened the trunk, rust flaking from the hinges as it squealed open. A musty smell filled the air.
Tilda couldn't help but be curious about just what was inside. Arma removed moth-eaten clothing and a moldy blanket. Then she smiled widely. She had uncovered something that looked like an old radio. It was about the size of a thick paperback book, made of metal and something Tilda couldn't quite identify. But the design... a silver eagle dominated the front, made of harsh and strongly-defined lines. Even after more than five decades, its significance was obvious.
“What the hell is that?” Tilda asked. “That's a Nazi eagle!”
“It's vintage, but... still quite impressive.”Arma smiled and ran a hand along it. “It was the greatest weapon human ever developed. Really quite impressive, even if they did steal the underlying technology.” She stood up, leaving the device in the box and looking at Tilda.
“So what the heck is it?” Tilda looked at it, unsure of what to think.
“Kreig,” Arma said. “It's yours. After all this time, I finally found it” Arma gasped, happily. “This is it! I knew I was drawn to you for a reason!”
It had all ended in a flash of blue. It was supposed to just be a test, and it had all gone wrong, just because they had chosen the wrong man. He was supposed to be reliable, supposed to have been indoctrinated and safe. But now it was all falling apart.
Colonel Zachary stumbled through a burning hallway. Smoke burned his throat and eyes. He had been overseeing the first activation test of the repaired Nazi weapon, but now he was just trying to get to the secondary control room. There was only one chance to stop Krieg before he brought it all down and destroyed what they had been working for.
Zach stumbled over something. He looked down. A broken man in a black uniform. His gasmask was torn away, and Zach couldn't make out a face behind the red gore that replaced it. Zach had to swallow back a surge of vomit. The smoke cleared for a moment, and he could see the hallway was filled with those broken bodies. His men had staged a last stand here, and had paid the price to try and keep Krieg from escaping.
There was a scream from somewhere in the base. Zach turned. It had come from behind him. Krieg must have doubled back. Maybe he was even looking for Zach himself. Zach quickened his pace. There was no time to lose. He stepped on a body that might have groaned in pain, and ignored it. They'd all be dead soon enough anyway.
He rounded the corner, and saw blue eyes glowing in the dark. He ran the other direction. He had to make it to the secondary control room. He had to activate the fail-safe. The stench of blood and ozone filled the air as he put the fire behind him. He could almost feel the demon clawing at his back. One way or the other, it would be over soon.
Zach panted for breath, getting more smoke than air, as he got into the control room. It had already been torn apart, and loose wiring and the dead littered the room. Zach knew where he needed to go, though. He wiped blood from a screen and quickly input his confirmation code.
An error. The base's communication equipment wasn't functioning. No one would know why the failsafe was activated. It would just look like a nuclear attack on the base. With the high tensions, even the directives of the secret masters wouldn't be enough to keep people from fighting amongst each other. The automatic retaliation would leave millions dead in atomic holocaust.
The thought almost made him hesitate. Millions of human lives weren't very important compared to what they'd lose if Krieg ran free. He input his code. A panel opened. He took the key from around his neck, inserted it in the safety, and unlocked it. The final safety released. Zach set the silent countdown for ten seconds. There was no point in dragging things out.
A blue glow from the doorway. Zach turned. A hulking figure, armored like a tank. Big glowing eyes stared at him. Zach laughed. At least he knew Krieg would be here when the bomb went off. An arm raised, a massive cannon pointing at Zach. The darkness inside the gun looked like an infinite abyss.
The silent count ran down. A pure white light consumed Zach.
A bicycle skimmed through the darkened street. Its rider was late and not really watching where he was going. He never saw the line strung across the road until it caught him across the throat. The bike continued without him, wobbling for half a block before falling over. The bike rider kicked, trying to free himself from the trap he had walked into.
His hand frantically grabbed at the line around his neck. He couldn't get away. He tried to get his fingers around it, to get himself some extra breathing space. There was something wrong. It wasn't a rope. It was something else, silky and wet and sticky. He couldn't pull his hands away now. They were already caught, and he could feel his legs going numb.
The streetlights blinked out as something shook the street. The rider saw a shadowy shape crawl down the face of a building, something the size of a man but horribly twisted. Everything started to go dark as the bike rider's vision dimmed. All he could see now were a few details. Steel plates. Long fangs. A cannon, pointed right at him.
Tilda rolled her eyes and pointed at the door. “If you want the damn thing so badly, you can have it. Just take it and get out of my house.”
“I don't want to take it,” Arma said. She stepped back from the trunk. “I want you to. This was meant for you.” The strange woman motioned to the odd device.
“Look, I don't even know what that thing is supposed to-” The single electric light in the room flickered. It wasn't that unusual. The local electric plant sometimes switched off one of their generators for maintenance. But then she heard the shot. “What- that wasn't a shotgun. And it's not hunting season.”
“It was a cannon,” Arma said. She tilted her head. “About 100 millimeters. I don't suppose you're staging a tank battle anywhere around here.”
“A tank- No!” Tilde snapped. “Of course not! There aren't any tanks around here!”
“Well there's at least one,” Arma corrected her. Tilda ran over to the window, looking.
“I can't see anything. It was probably just some kind of accident or something.” There was a flash of fire and smoke in the streets, and that sound again, like distant thunder.
“It looks like the Grand Melee is starting earlier than I thought. And here I was hoping to get an early start.” Arma sighed and stepped over to the window with Tilda. “I suppose I'm going to have to step up my game.”
“What the hell do you mean? You know what's going on?”
“Well of course I do.” Arma put her hands on her hips. “I'm here to take advantage of this. It's been a while, but it's nice to be back.” She sighed and motioned out the window at the town. “Of course, if the others aren't stopped, there isn't going to be anything left for me.”
“What do you mean by-”
“Well, they're going to kill everyone,” Arma said, offhandedly. “It's unfortunate for you, I suppose.”
The police car skidded to a halt. Officer Barthlowe got out, his eyes wide. In the light of the streetlights, he could see a massive web reaching across the street, strung between two buildings. There were a handful of wrapped bundles, weakly struggling, hanging in it.
“The hell is this supposed to be?” He pulled out his sidearm and walked up to the web slowly. He reached down to his belt and grabbed his walkie-talkie. “This is Officer Barthlowe. We got somethin' strange goin' on here down on main, over.”
“We read you, Barthlowe. Can you describe, over?” Barthlowe swallowed. He looked around.
“There's some kinda... web thing here. No sign of anything that mighta caused the explosion that was reported, over.” He walked over to the web and looked at it closely. He couldn't tell what it was made of. Didn't look like rope. “Prolly some prank by the college kids...” he muttered to himself.
“Is it causing a road hazard, over?”
“Yeah. Goes right across the road. I'm going to try to take it down, over.” The kids had really outdone themselves. He couldn't imagine how they'd managed to get it all the way across the road, or up so high on the buildings. Barthlowe put the gun back on his belt and grabbed the web. He figured he'd start by tearing it off the one building, then he'd move on to the other-
His hand was stuck. He tried to pull away. The sticky coating held his hand like superglue. He pulled hard, trying to break the web, but it just stretched slightly and then stopped. It was as strong as steel. The web vibrated in his hands. He looked up. Something was crawling down the web, something like a man and a spider and a tank all at once.
Barthlowe dropped his walkie and pulled his gun out again. “Stop right there! Identify yourself!” He thumbed the safety off. The thing creeped closer. “If you don't stop now I'll open fire!” Something dripped from the thing's face, a mess of eyes and fangs. It landed on the ground and hissed, sizzling.
Barthlowe lost his nerve and fired. The rounds simply rebounded from the dark green armor plating the thing sported, sparking like they had hit steel. A turret turned and tilted, training itself on Barthlowe's car. There was a crash of thunder, deafening this close to the source, and the car exploded into flames and shrapnel, a shell driving a crater into the road as it slammed through the car.
“Oh shit!” Barthlowe emptied the rest of his clip, all to no effect. He dropped the gun and tried to reach the radio. He tripped, his leg getting stuck in the web. The radio was out of his reach. The spider-tank thing crawled closer.