“Right, so, to recap,” said Ash. “We’ve got… what, about a hundred or so vampires?”
“Give or take,” said Felipe.
“Right, that, about to blow open our door,” Ash continued. “And we’ve got… what is it we’ve got again?”
“We’ve got a couple dozen scrappy people with all the training you guys could cram into about two days,” said Tanya.
Ash sighed. “And we have the museum. I’d say. If they want to come in. We should let them in.”
“Not that we have much of a choice in the matter,” said Felipe. He looked around. “Is this where we say our famous last words?”
“Nope,” said Jayna, cracking her knuckles. “Because I’m not dying here.”
“Now, we need to get into the boiler room. Is it still open?”
“No reason for anyone to go in there, nothing works,” said Felipe. “But help yourself.”
Ash smiled. “Well, as long as they know that too, then we’ll be golden. Get everyone packed up. Anyone too small or too weak to do much running I want on the bus. Anyone who is good at hauling ass can stay here.” he said, and then motioned for Luisa to follow him down.
“It’ll never work,” said Tanya. “They’ll swarm the bus as soon as we bring it out. It’s not that fast.”
“We’ll give them something more pressing to worry about,” said Ash.
It was rather hard to get a look at what was going on outside. But what they could hear was telling. And what they heard was a voice faintly shouting “fire in the hole”.
The vampires–the smart ones, at least–probably expected that the survivors would be easy pickings once their crude fertilizer bombs blew the doors to the museum wide open.
What they probably had not been expecting was the surprise on the other side of the door. The air was full of noise as the bombs went off. Their crude fertilizer bombs were low-yield, but they were enough to break through the doors.
Or at least, they were supposed to have been low-yield.
The stone doors shattered, blasting into the hall of museum and taking out the long disused donation box. As soon as the box broke apart, something slightly higher-yield exploded back at them,sending the first dozen or so vampires flying backwards aflame.
“See?” said Tanya, as she surveyed the carnage by the light of burning vampire. “I told you there was a good reason to save all that old cooking oil.”
After a few moments, a lone vampire crawled out of the rubble. It was a feral one by the looks of it.
This one didn’t seem to care particularly much that its clothing was still smoldering. It cared a bit more when its skull was caved in by a marble bust.
“Pull back!” said Jayna, dusting her hands off. “More of ’em are coming! We need to bottleneck them!”
Ash pushed a button. Now these were low-yield explosives. Just enough to push two marble statues against each other, blocking out the top half of the doorway.
Ash looked up. “Let’s hope that was a big enough signal for Zane,” he said, as he joined the others in pulling back.
Some sixth sense made him freeze in his tracks. “DUCK!” he shouted, and everyone did so, just as several gunshots rang out.
Ash swore, looking over the railing to see Jayna rising up from behind the statue, unharmed. He let out a sigh of relief, and watched as vampires, laden with pistols, sidearms, revolvers, shotguns and rifles all swarmed into the foyer.
The one with the megaphone from before leered up at them with a toothy smile.
“What?” she called. “Did you expect us all to just do the whole slavering, mindless horde thing?”
“It would’ve been nice,” Ash said under his breath as he got to his feet. “Luisa–pull the switch, they’re in now!”
At the same time, Mari whistled. Those on the third floor who had the most training with weapons began to open fire on the vampires infesting the museum below.
The ferals took the brunt of the gunfire, and many of them went down. But most of them kept coming despite their wounds, forming a wall in front of the leaders.
“You’re only making this harder on yourselves!” called one of them, as they pressed forward like the tide coming in.
As soon as the first vampire hit the stairwell, a bell rang and water began to pour from the ceilings, as if pipes had burst all over the museum. It was rare to see a water-based extinguishing system. It was a lucky break.
The feral vampires stopped in their tracks, looking confused. The smarts looked… similar, actually.
“Y’all do know we can cross running water, right?” said one of them, stepping forward through the watery onslaught. “Or, don’t tell me, you got somebody to bless it. Classy, real classy.”
Ash smiled. It was nice to be able to surprise them somewhat. “Lights!”
From overhead, four huge UV lamps hummed into life.
A lot of the vampires started to scream and hiss, as the falling water droplets reflected the lights all around.
One of them, even as her skin was reddening, brought a shotgun to bear and shot the UV lights out, one after another, showering the room with glass and sparks.
“This is all very cute,” she said, pointing the gun at Ash. “But you forget. We’re not mindless monsters. We’ve got every advantage over you, and you’ve got dumb tricks.”
“Got time for one more dumb trick?” came Luisa’s voice. The vampires turned around and saw her, sitting on top of a replica sarcophagus. She was holding up her portable UV lantern, which was now lit, its beam bright and shining… and very, very small. The smart vampires started to laugh.
So did Luisa. “Yeah, I know,” she said. “Could never quite get this thing to do what it was supposed to. Draws way too much power. But, y’know… this weirdo spacer told me something that I took to heart.”
She stood up, pushing against the lid of the sarcophagus. It opened up, and the generator that her lamp was plugged into tumbled out, splashing into the growing puddle that a lot of vampires were now standing in.
“Limitations foster creativity,” she said, and turned the device up to high. As the generator tried to give it the juice it needed to go, it sputtered and sparked… and started to short out.
Throughout the museum, screams began to echo throughout the museum. Luisa watched as the stripped wires began to turn live, and electricity snaked and coiled throughout the floor of the museum.
It was unclear how many of the vampires were down for the count and how many were just stunned. Various survivors, hopped from display to display, doing their best to stay out of the water and pick off the ferals they were uncertain about.
“Remember, if you can’t hit between the eyes keep moving!” Ash said, getting out of his position and pulling people up and to the second floor.
“Zane, check in–how are you doing?”
The only reply he got was a burst of static. The most likely reason for that was that he was so close to the plant that it was interfering with their signals.
He didn’t want to consider any other reasons.
Ash sighed. “Okay people, let’s move it!!” Ash said, looking down at the museum floor, looking for the smarts. “Come on, come on…”
Hopefully, Luisa’s little surprise had taken down at least some of them. He caught up with Tanya, who was nursing a bullet wound in the shoulder.
“Any word from crazy-eyes?” she said, as she tried her best to bandage herself up.
“Not yet. But we stick to the plan anyway. We knew they were going to get inside,” Ash said. “Once we get in the bus, I’ll have Mari patch you up.”
Tanya shook her head. “Other people who need it more. We lost one too,” she said with a sigh. “Hopefully that’ll keep the rest of them busy.”
Ash nodded, checking his weapon. Only a few bullets left, and he wasn’t Zane. He couldn’t guarantee that each one would translate to a dead vampire.
“Where’s Jayna?” he asked.
Tanya frowned. “I thought she went up your way? You didn’t see her?” she asked, and then she started hurrying towards the back entrance. “Maybe she beat us to the bus!”
“Wherever she is, I’m more scared for whoever she ran into,” said a voice from behind Ash, causing him to yelp. He turned around and saw Luisa.
“How’d you get back here?” he said.
“I told you. I’m quick. Anyway, that generator’s just about out of juice,” she said. “Light show’s about to be over. We’d better move.”
It turned out they were some of the last ones on the bus.
Bus was an antiquated term for what the vehicle was that was parked and running outside. Most of the time that Ash had spent here while they were under siege had been getting this thing ready to go under heavy attack. It was bright green in color and had tourism slogans all down its sides. They’d be seen from a mile away, but it would have to do. It was easy enough to get it to run. Armor on a vehicle that size was not doable, but he turned some old sheet metal into a crude plow strapped to the front. That would make some vampires think twice, at least.
Almost everyone had made it out–there were a couple people Mari was already tending to in the back, making do with what she had grabbed from their ship and the minimal first aid supplies they had left. But Ash was surprised to see that Jayna wasn’t on board. He turned back around to Tanya, who was shaking her head. “We can’t go back in there, any vampires that lived through the onslaught are right behind us.”
Ash nodded. “Jayna would be telling me to go if she were here,” he said. “But… Luisa was right. If she’s still in there, pity the bloodsuckers.” He looked over to the driver’s seat, where Felipe was seated, primed and ready. He looked back at Ash. Ash nodded.
Felipe nodded, shutting the doors. The armored door dropped against it, and they started heading for the drop zone.
The garage that the bus was kept in had long been welded shut. Vampires couldn’t get through it. But a bus going at full speed could. And did. Swarming vampires scattered as the bus burst through.
The plow on the front sent the ferals who were too dumb to move out of the way were sent flying.
“Hang on tight!” said Felipe, as he pushed forward. “There’s no seatbelts on this thing!”
In the distance, there was a flash that briefly illuminated the sky, followed by a sound like an immense thunderclap.
Jayna had felt an immense sense of relief when she had heard the bus break through the garage door. Good. She felt a little bad about ducking out, but convincing Ash that this was the right move would have taken more time than they had.
She ducked out of the area she had been hiding in, and made her way up to the top level. She needed a way out, but she also needed a bottle neck. The skylight was the best idea she could think of. And she’d had time to prepare.
She had considered grabbing a sword or something from one of the exhibits to use as a weapon, which she was certain Zane would have appreciated. But as soon as she’d grabbed one, she knew they were all just flimsy replicas. The crowbar would have to do.
Jayna hopped up quickly, and took a deep breath. As smart a play as it was. It was also really dumb. She looked over, seeing where the radio tower was knocked over, the wires snapping and crackling. Oh yeah. Really, really dumb.
She could hear movement from below. Not that she was any sort of expert, but if she had to guess, it was the sound of a number of very angry and mildly singed vampires coming to have a word with her.
Just when she was getting used to the feeling of her knuckles not being bruised. Ah well. She stepped back to clear some space. “Come on up. Blood buffet and a lot of it!” she shouted.
The first pale, bald head to pop up got a crowbar between its eyes. followed by a heavy kick to send it barreling back into its compatriots.
The next two went down just as quick, and then they seemed to wise up after that. She switched to her dagger, took a deep breath, and waited.
Another feral came by a moment later, and she lunged forward, jamming the dagger into its throat. It gurgled and went down. “Keep ’em comin’!” she shouted into the door. “I can do this all night!”
A gunshot blasted through the door.
“We both know that’s not true,” came a deep voice. “We may not be tireless, but there’s a lot more of us than you.”
Jayna laughed. “Come on,” she said with a laugh. “I can go a lot longer than you pale bastards. You’ve only got til sun up.”
Another feral plowed through the door, and Jayna leaned in to smack it back, only to have it shoved toward her instead. She stumbled to keep her footing and keep it from gnawing on her at the same time, and when she finally managed to shove it off the roof, the smart stepped forward. This one was a man, and he held a shotgun to bear on Jayna.
“That’s not for ten hours, you moron,” he said.
She grinned. “I know that,” she said. Then she moved forward. The vampire leveled the gun but Jayna had already moved, taking her dagger and stabbing directly into the vampire’s forehead, and then she grabbed the shotgun and yanked it from her grip, pulling with all of her strength.
The vampire stood and reeled for a moment, as if what had just happened to him hadn’t quite sunk in yet. Then he fell forward, landing heavily.
She knelt over the vampire looking for extra shells, and then stood up. She wasn’t as good a shot as Zane or Ash. But shotguns weren’t really about accuracy. She settled herself near the tower, and started to shoot at anyone who came up the stairs.
The concussive force sent the first five or six vampires reeling and falling back down the stairs.
More of them were coming. The smart had been right; she couldn’t last forever here.
The bus was already long gone, thankfully. Now she just needed to give the vampires something better to do than chance after it. Hopefully they didn’t have cars, too. She ran towards the skylight now. She needed it open. Any of the vampires that followed needed to try and chase her over the buildings, not on the street. Now came the running part.
She headed towards the fallen comm tower which acted as a bridge between this roof and the next one. She considered hopping on to it and following Zane’s path, but there was the question of if it would support her weight. That’s when about two dozen vampires poured out of the tiny skylight. Jayna decided she would stress test it on the way over. She hopped aboard, and, despite protests, it seemed to hold her. She leapt over the snapping wires and kept moving.
She really, really wished there was time to toss it off as she kept running. The vampires followed, swarming after her like hungry rats.
She sprinted, and finally leapt the final few feet to the next building. They were fast, but she moved faster, kicking the radio tower hard and a few vampires were hurled off the sides.
Jayna didn’t wait to see what else would be following along. She legged it into the distance. Hopefully, the bus was a safe distance away by now, but she’d let these overgrown leeches chase her until she couldn’t run anymore.
She looked over her shoulder to see how many of them were actually focused on her. Unfortunately, it wasn’t as many as she was anticipating. There were plenty of them still on the first roof, but they were distracted by something. Jayna looked up just in time to get momentarily blinded by a flash in the sky, like a lightning strike.
She let out a sigh of relief as she saw the dropship descending near to where Ash had landed Songbird.
She looked back to see that a lot of the ferals scattering, and none of the smarts anywhere to be seen, or at least, none that she could identify.
“Gotta hand it to you, Martens,” she said, to nobody but herself. “When you owe a favor, you don’t hold back.”