Squaring off with the Flayer, Remy brought up her guns as the creature shook itself, spitting bright green droplets of acid from its pores. It growled low, fuming and expanding its torso in and out, the sensory bulb where its eyes should be locked on to her position.
Carried by the breezes, sand and dust wafted between them.
The Flayer’s growl changed into a hacking, guttural staccato of unnatural noise as its stance shifted, subtly. Its maw opened in a flash of sizzling drool and rows of shifting razor-teeth that seemed to burn in the setting blood-red desert sun.
Remy didn’t need a translator to understand being marked for death.
She released the safeties and emptied both SMGs into the beast, moving forward, concentrating the fire on its upper body. Knowing the bullets wouldn’t make a dent in the Flayer’s exoskeleton, she was merely buying a few seconds in order to gain the upper hand.
The beast hissed defiantly, spraying weak acid in front of it as it stood to absorb the shock of 900 rounds per minute. The acid arced through the air in little streams, splashing on Remy’s forcefield harmlessly.
It was the much stronger acid, inside the thing’s… stomach(?) …that worried her.
Close enough to close in, she dropped her guns right as they spent their clips, gathering forward momentum, hands dipping for the hip-sling that held her wakizashi & tomahawk.
The Flayer had other plans, it seemed.
Forcing the side of its right appendage to split open, the beast disconnected some of its own tendons. Remy’s lip curled to the sound of organic twisting and cracking as the tendons emerged and snaked into the air, weaving together and then apart. It, too, was buying time- trying to find a weakness. If it wrapped one around her tight enough, exo-forcefield or not, it could pull her in and attempt a killing bite, flooding her insides with caustic juices.
The crimson sunset deepened as a coyote’s howl pierced the desert gloaming.
A stuttering snarl escaped the Flayer’s seething maw as the tendons launched out towards her approach, splitting in disparate directions, searching for a hold.
Swiftly, abandoning caution, Remy exposed herself fully to the front, shifting all energy to her feet in a wave of centrifugal propulsion, bursting forward in a rising spin, using the momentum to help her draw her axe. Dust and rock kicked and spun out behind and to the sides in puffs of red.
Its prey having closed in much too quickly for the tendons to be effective, the Flayer shot its head forward to bite, bracing its frame for the fight.
Its head came in to meet the end of Remy’s dance perfectly. The axehead cracked exoskeleton just to the side and rear on the neck, biting through into the strange flesh below as she concentrated all the Rig’s energy into her blades. She could feel the shock- and purpose directed at her -from the Flayer’s sensory bulb as it fought between the opposing objectives of pulling free and sinking its razor-teeth deep into its prey.
The fight paused for a moment. Just long enough.
Redirecting energy to her trailing foot, she slammed it into one of the creature’s lower appendages, throwing its balance forward.
Flowing the energy back to the blades, she pulled down hard with the axe, drawing her shortsword out and up in one fluid motion. Remy snarled in defiance as the blade pierced through the upper maw and straight inside the sensory bulb.
Her face came to within inches of the creature’s.
Its life brought to a sudden end, the Flayer stiffened in ancient reflex, falling backwards as Remy’s growl heightened to a piercing cry. She yanked the blades out to a spray of internal liquids, kicking her foe down violently as she did so. It smacked into the dust as the crown of the red sun descended below the distant mountaintops.
Remy stood over the body, watching the desert drink up green acid and dark purple fluid, wondering not for the first time what would happen if these things existed- or came through -in greater numbers.
Sensing eyes on her, she turned to see Cordell standing some distance off, his grip relaxing on his gunsword. He hadn’t figured on testing her patience again by butting in, but just in case…
Havoc came trotting up around a patch of scrub, back from running down a smaller scout-beast, and sat next to Cordell. His eyes darted from Remy to the body of the Flayer and back. Remy watched Cordell radio Hector’s backup perch, confirming a final sweep and cleanup.
Little eddies of dust moved between them in the coming dark, and in the last vestiges of clear light Cordell saw Remy silhouetted in burning crimson, her eyes afire from the kill, her body bathed in battle.
Never taking her eyes from Cordell, she distributed her energy evenly, shunting a light propulsive blast outwards in all directions, cleansing herself of acid and blood in a hellish mist that caught the long and final rays of the setting sun.
Cordell nodded, he and Havoc turning to walk the distance back to the truck.
Night came on quietly, slowly turning to a moonish twilight as Remy followed them. She stopped only to mark another small notch near the base of her axe handle.