Yesterday, I learned what a Drone is.
Not the president's personal kill-machines. I'm not talking about those kinds of drones. I mean like bees. Well... not really. I mean those who, for reasons I cannot quite fathom, have decided to throw their lot in with the Intrusion. I'm talking about the kind of thing that Mad Ricky is.
I was looking for this Jack character. I'm still looking for that Jack character. But my search took me into a tunnel. It was a passage through the mountains, for cars, but the road was old and disused. I don't think anyone used it. I from asking around the nearby town that there was a sort of homeless community in the tunnels, and that a well dressed old man with glove on one hand had been sighted there a number of times over the past month.
Sounded like our guy. So, naturally, I want to investigate.
It was... really, it was what you'd expect. It was a long, dark, wet, muddy tunnel. Trash and junk and broken things were scattered all about the place. As I walked, I didn't see any signs of actual people though... well, until I noticed the light in the distance. Orange glow. Flickering. It was a fire.
As I approached, I found it was one of those trash can fires. A woman was standing near it. She was dressed in rags and dirt, and her hair was clumped together and so full of filth I couldn't even tell what color it was. She had her hands stretched out toward the fire, warming.
"Excuse me?" I asked.
She gasped and jumped back, and looked at me with big, frightened eyes.
"I'm sorry," I told her. "I'm just looking for someone you see. His name's Jack. He usually has a glove over his right hand. Carries a flask of alcohol. Have you seen him?"
She didn't say anything. She just shook her head.
"Well, thank you anyway," I said. I began walking past her.
As enticing as the thought of possessing some mud for a few years is, you really should turn around, Judas' voice suddenly rang out in my head.
I turned around, back toward the woman. She was standing right behind me. I hadn't even heard her move. Her mouth opened, and these two... things came out. They were vaguely golden and fleshy... their shape, like limbs. They came from her mouth and moved apart from one another, stretching out her cheeks and lips. It took me a moment before I realized what they were.
Mandibles. Like on a bug.
The woman hissed and rushed at me. I threw her aside and began to run back to the entrance.
It was at that point that I heard a buzzing noise above me. I looked up. There were three more people clinging to the ceiling. One wasn't wearing a shirt, and a pair of translucent wings had grown from his back. They were vibrating, quickly. Buzzing.
I rolled away just as they jumped from the ceiling.
The winged one fell closest to me, and some weird spear thing suddenly lunged out of his mouth at me. I jumped back, avoided its reach, and it receded back into his body. Another one, a woman, suddenly leaped from behind him. How could she jump so high? I didn't even get a chance to move before I felt something like a fucking boulder slam into my shoulder.
I fell down. Heard a crack. The woman was standing above me, holding her left arm out. It had... a claw. Like one a lobster or a scorpion or a crab or something. She reached down and tried to grab me with it.
I rolled away, and screamed as I felt pressure on my shoulder. OK. No more rolling then. I scrambled to my feet, trying to ignore the pain in my right shoulder.
I pulled out my gun and fired.
Five shots rang out in that tunnel. Two hit one of my assailants. The woman with the claw fell to the ground, blood and pus pouring from the wound in her throat. And then the winged man and the third ceiling drone-- a man with two extra arms-- rushed at me.
I fired again and again and again. Taking a step back with each pull of the trigger, screaming in pain and defiance and terror. I fired as the winged man fell. I fired as the woman with the mandibles rushed at me. I fired until I was empty, and the drones all lay dead in the tunnel.
I headed back to town. It was a hard journey on foot. My right arm could barely move without sending a jolt of pain through me. I eventually got back, hid my gun in my hotel and checked into the hospital. Told them I was hiking and a rock fell on me. I think they bought it. Not sure.
So those are what drones are. What they really are.
I hope, even if I realize it's a vain hope, that I never have to face things like that again.