Pebble's Pledge: Chapter 6: "Cherry Nightmare":

By P.S.J.W.

In the gym, people were becoming more and more worried. Thankfully it had not burst into a sudden all out panic, not yet at least. Bread peered around the corner as she came out of the bathroom hallway, wondering where Pebble had got to. Not seeing her, Bread decided that she must've decided to ditch her wheel chair on one of the upper floors and patrol, as she'd termed it. "The Jennies have all but failed and she's out chasing Keller's ghost. Maybe she's hanging with Casper and their having a nice civil tea." Bread muttered as she walked into the crowded gym's proper. The retarded kids were yelling, and causing a fuss as they usually did. Bread's street people were keeping their distance from the Perkins School For The Blind crowd, aside from Dave in the like. Bread had told Jo and the others that they were okay to be around. But to trust nobody else. The others pull hair. Bread had learned this when a chubby ten year had yanked her pony tail nearly off of her skull. The kid had yelled Mamma, and Bread had yelled asshole. The Staff had gotten involved, as they always did, and Bread had bounced. Bread walked up to Attea, whom was adjusting some of the emergency lamps piled up in one corner of the gym, and tapped on the shoulder. Attea turned and smiled, as she finally got one of the ungainly things to stand up on it's flimsy base properly. It fell with a crash, glass smashing everywhere. Worf came over to help with the clean up, and the rest of the stupid things. "Have you seen Pebbs around?" Bread felt a sense of unease. She knew it in the ache of her muscles, she was becoming weaker.

"Damn! I hate these things!" Attea said, juggling her vox box into her right hand and depressing the small button so she could buzz speak grumpily. "She said something about establishing patrols around the building just in case somebody unsavory gets in to cause a bunch of trouble."

"Where's Solvig? And Tara?"

"With Jo and the others. Denise is keeping an eye out with Jo. Why?"

"Crowd's a bitch. Needed to know, couldn't find them. Need toilet paper for the bathrooms down here. Be back when I can."

"Going to check on Pebble too huh?"

"She can keep after herself right enough, as Dave would say.

"Guessing she said the same about the patrols huh? Those weren't your words." Bread said, helping Attea with the next lamp.

Attea shook her head. "No. they weren't and she told me to tell you not to go looking for her. She knows the dark better than, and this blackout-"

"Gonna anyway. Keep the toilet paper thing in mind. Don't need you coming after us. I know how to find her in the dark by now." Bread smiled.

"Oh! Okay. Think I'd better stay and help down here anyway." They got the rest of the lamps set up just as Dave walked over meds in hand.

"We're reaching dangerous levels in capacity."

"Gym's not nearly full." Attea protested politely.

"Not via the amount of humanity, but with the supplies. We are beginning to run low."

"Well, fucking flying fucking fuck weasels." Bread muttered. "I'll get whatever we need."

"Can't. I cannot allow you to unlock the safety case which contain the meds, not qualified you see. Only a Houseparent can do that. Thank you though. No. I must go to the cottage and get them via the tunnels. I shall return when I can. Worf, would you please help me?"

"Sure." Worf shrugged.

"Good, those doors can be a pain to breach during weather like this." Dave muttered they left a few minutes later. They discovered the broken hinges to one of the main outside door which lead into the basement of the Howe building. "Oh, bloody hell. We have a break in now?!"

"Dave, calm down. Waving you arms around isn't going to help anything." Worf said, studying the broken door which lay on it's side in the doorway. "sledgehammer..." Worf muttered as she combed over the scene with an expert's eye. "I don't know why, but they really wanted in. And from the tracks...there are, five? No, no. Half a dozen of them. There was a lookout. Maybe just desperate homeless people."

"But you don't believe that?"

"No. It's an attack force, of some kind."

"Dear Lord."

"Lord won't help anybody if we can't find the people behind this. They are inside, some place." They looked at each other. "You know who-"

"Know who could have done this? Obviously not." Dave fluttered his hand impatiently.

"Or...well, why?"

"If I don't know who, how would I know why?" Dave snipped shortly.

"Since we have a kid with asmah, we have got to get those meds. Then...well, we deal with this mess. Agreed?" Dave was already nodding.

"Of course." They moved on into the blistering cold of the evening as one, watching out for possible undesirables of who knew what description?

Attea had decided that she would, after all, not go after Bread. If a fight did break out, there would be no getting past Pebble and Bread even if they were both outnumbered six to one. Pebble was well versed in martial arts and a vicious wrestler. She could handle sever all on her own, and Bread was all over the place. Nobody ever knew where she would come from at any given moment. Vast unorthodox. No. If they did get past Pebble, and Bread then she would need to stay here and help defend the people down here. Denise was skilled too. Attea tried not to think about the fact that if people got past Bread, and Pebble it would be because they were both dead. Attea shook herself stiffly. She couldn't think of that. She needed to help, to move and not think. "Okay Solvig?" She asked as she past the Russian girl. Solvig hugged Attea tightly. Attea smiled. "She'll be back." Attea moved onward to the others in the crowded gym. battling thoughts.

"Pebble's instincts were ablaze with pin pricks of awareness. She had left her wheelchair downstairs in the S.M.I supply closet next to the stairwell across from the window of the snack bar, student lounge, and however you'd cared to term the place. After doing this, she'd walked up the stairs and to the left, by her point of view, past eight east, and seven east classrooms. She walked past the bathroom and to the left, where she stood now next to the metal map of Watertown. She was on a crusade of security. What had made her stop was the slightest of sounds. She knew not to call out, in case it was intruder. What if it was just a mouse? That couldn't be. It had been a soft clicking sound. The other end of this corridor gave way to a set of six steps leading to the upper level of the museum area on the left, and the large Teacher's lounge on the right. Pebble took a tentative step forward. She thought she could sense somebody on the other end of the corridor. There were twelve rooms on the right, and windows on the left. All the office doors had a pane of glass set into them. They were all closed. She was sure of it. She didn't have to be scared, for she had authority here. "Speak!" There came no answer to her summons. She walked down to the other end of the corridor. Nothing. Then she backed up,into a man.

Rolland strode down the west corridor downstairs. His remaining men had been assigned to other parts of the building, which they'd been scouting out now for the past month. Rolland and five of his men had followed the street rats into the basement of this building, whatever it was. Judging by the tower outside, it was a large school campus church. He scratched his chin as he looked around in the offices. Why had they come here? Then, he'd gotten a report from the gym, and one of his men posing as a spy, that the Fighter was here. His orders had been crystal clear. "Find the Fighter, and bring it to me alive. This is a snatch and run mission." Now the operation had commenced. He held a flashlight in his left hand, his sledgehammer was slung across his right shoulder. Somebody came into the corridor. It was a slight figure with red hair. They had to do this quietly. Any and all potential witnesses had to be neutralized silently. He dove for the figure but the figure began to whistle the theme of the Andy Grifith show. The whistling echoed loudly off of the walls.

"Hi, Rolly! Before you ask, no. I'm not dead. In fact, I'm feeling as chipper as a chubby chipmunk!"

Rolland winced, for he knew that voice. "Bread." He snarled wickedly.

"Hi! I'm in the middle of something important, namely killing your men. You're next. See ya when you're dead!" She spun and vanished up a stairwell which stood a few feet behind her. Bread had to act fast. She knew this stairwell, it lead to the east most upper levels. "Oh, Alfred! Hey, Charles Ingals! John Walton! The drama is coming, the drama is coming! Do ya hear me? Welcome to the Birds, bitch! Yahoo!"

Swearing, Rolland dove up the stairs just to his left. He deduced that taking this stairwell would mean that he could cut Bread off, he missed. She had run by so fast that, by the time he had charged up the stairs, she'd already ran past. The girl moved like wind borne smoke. To be fair, more like a wind borne flame, due to her hair color. He swore some more, and dove after her. This mission had to be aborted. Rolland skidded to a halt. He ran back down the stairs he'd ran up, and went to look for the rest of his men. They had to escape.

Travers swore venomously. So, he'd not listened to him after all. He had all but forbade Rolland from moving on the tunnels. Now, Travers had to go after him, which he was doing now. He and five of his men trooped through the tunnels where Travers had seen Rolland vanish with five of his men. He didn't have to take this. He was White's son, carrying the maiden name of his now dead Mother, Travers. They finally reached a large door, which had been breached via a sledgehammer. Rolland's work. The six of them moved into the building's basement. They found a way up to the building itself. The door they used opened onto a stairwell, leading upward. They were here. Travers would get Rolland, and get out. They would wait to ambush the Fighter, and that would be the end of it. They searched on until they heard somebody whistling. By the time they found where the sound came from, Rolland was charging down a stairwell. Rolland slammed into Travers, knocking him sprawling across the tiled floor. Travers men were on Rolland at once. They took him down in short order, with Travers's help. Travers placed a sleeper's hold onto Rolland and they lugged him back to Southie.

"Damn you, Rolland." Travers said, once they'd reached White manner. "You were supposed to wait." They placed him into a chair in Travers's office.

"Fuck your orders, Travers. I had a better plan."

"Lets see what White has to say, about this, and about the men we've lost because of you."

"We wouldn't have lost them if it weren't for you-"

Travers's uppercut drove all other protests out of Rolland. "I am White's heir. You'll obey me. If you don't, you disobey White. Not wise, Winters." Time passed as the two men glared at one another. Eventually, White entered the room, looking rumpled, and angry. "Hello, Father."

"Son, what is this?"

Travers told his Father what happened. "That be why I went for em, Father." Travers finished.

"Dennis, my Son. I told Rolland to gain intelligence on the Fighter, not you. You have more important work. Guarding Southie." Rolland smiled smugly.

"I felt the task was being handled improperly. I thought that it might be better to wait, ambush it, and get it to tell us who it is."

A dangerous look came over the visage of White. "You will both work on this task. You will find a way to coexist. We are family in this. Understood?"

"Understood." They both nodded.

"Return for the men whom you both left behind now." They both glared hotly, and took four men, and left as one. "Damn it all." White swore sourly.

"I supposed we both have to obey now, eh?"

"I'll knock your block off if you get anymore smug, and be damn to our orders." Travers snapped. They retuend to the building in thirty minutes, via Rolland's car. It was slow going due to the storm, but they made the trip in half an hour. They had to speed some of the way.

"What is that?" Dave asked Worf as they went into Fisher cottage, via Dave's Houseparent powers, which just meant his ring of keys.

"A car."

"Who would that be now?"

"I don't know. Somebody in a car? A bit odd for them to come in with their lights off. Lets get going. We have people loose in the Howe building."

"I know, I know. We must move quickly. Got it." They stepped into the cottage, just as their came a pounding on the back door of Fisher.

"Power company!" A deep male muffled voice called out.

"Dave, don't open that door. There's something wrong here." Worf cautioned. It was too late. Dave opened the door...

Arms, strong arms, reached around Pebble's chest, and throat. The man growled sinisterly into her right ear. "Don't make a sound, bitch."

"Go fuck yourself." Pebble grunted. She struggled mightily against the man's grip. He was much shorter than she, but very strong. She bent her head downward and tor a chunk of flesh from his hand with her teeth. That's when he made the mistake of trying to let go to punch her in the side of the head. She grabbed his arm, and wrenched it back at a painful angle, into a hammerlock. She then shoved his head through the window in the office door. Glass shattered with explosive force. The man yelled, swearing in pain, and rage. Pebble was, always had been, a silent fighter. She shoved the man back against the wall so he was now in front of her with the still closed door behind her. Then, she did the seemingly impossible. She under hooked the man under each of his arm pits, and toss him over her own head. It was a move called the German release suplex, or German throw. This meant that Pebble had to fall, and was on her ass when the man gained his feet. Son of a bitch was tough but she knew, and she waited for him to attempt to kick her in the spine. She caught him in the back of the knee with a brutal chop and hamstrung him. Once they were both on the ground, Pebble silenced him. She drove her elbow into his throat six times fast and sharp. The man burbled blood, then moved no more. Somebody screamed.

"Yee-hah!" Bread screamed as she spun into the men, the blades of her knives glinting off of yellow light of the men's flashlights.

Another man slammed into Pebble's back, slamming her head into the mop board of the hallway. She could only deduce that he was another of the assassins looking for her, and he'd heard the crash of the door when Pebble had tossed the first man through it via the suplex.

"You're going to die, you going to die! Hi-ho the dario! You're going to die!" Bread sang as she took out those flashlights with well placed strokes of her managed to snatch her. She got a leg free, kicked one of the men in the balls and stabbed the other in the nose. "Got the birdy in the beak!" She shrieked. She dove down the hallway that she knew would take her to where Pebble was fighting.

Pebble broke the man, whom had grabbed her around the waist in a desperate bid to keep hold of her, by driving her head back with rabid force. There was a loud cracking sound and the man yelled, swearing, as Pebble took off toward what she knew to be the Staff lounge.

"come for me, if you have the billiards!" Bread screamed as she dove up a short flight of steps. She took a left not a right. Left was the lounge.

Pebble knew the upper level of the museum area to be on her left, she took a right. The screams were getting closer to her, she was close to them.

"I told Queen that if you come to my room at midnight, I will blow you like a candle in the wind!" Bread sang, mimicking Elton John's voice.

Nobody would say that accept for Bread so, she must be coming as well. But the damn echos are confusing. Where is she? Pebble thought frustratedly. Pebble ran across the Teacher's lounge just as somebody else was doing the same thing. Was it yet another attacker?

Carver had his orders. He was the Lawyer for White, and his men, and Roland had told him to search the basement. He'd come upon a gymnasium.

"Now, I must ask you to leave, as we are for all intent and purposes close for the duration of the storm." Dave said reasonably.

"We're looking for somebody." The tallest man of the bunch said bluntly.

"Shut up, Rolland." A shorter man snapped, kicking the big man in the shin as he walked right up to Dave. "Could you please direct us to the large building with the tower? More specifically, how to get around inside of it?" Rolland, and the other men looked determined to proceed.

"No." Worf said softly, readying himself for the fight. "I will show the door if you can't find it on you own." His hazel eyes frowned threateningly.

"Let us attempt to avoid violence, if we could please, Worf." Dave said over his shoulder. "He is correct however. It would be best if you left."

"Come back if you go blind." Worf all but growled.

"Eh?" One of the other men asked, confused.

"Some of our men are inside of the building. We are going to retrieve them." There was an intense expression bestowed upon Travers by the big man. That big quiet man seemed as large as Rolland himself. If a fight broke out, they might be caught. He couldn't afford that now. They could get out of it, but he'd rather not have to deal with this pain in the ass. The big man seemed well balanced, well trained.

"Oh!", Dave smiled, "Oh, so your men are the one's whom broke into the Howe building. They are most likely severely injured, or dead now."

"what are you talking about?!" Rolland roared.

"Pebble went off after them."

"Who?" Rolland snarled.

One of our students. This is a blind school. She is rather nasty when the time calls for it." Dave said, relaxed.

"There is no way that some brainless blind bitch could take our men out. They the best of the best." Rolland bellowed. Rolland went for his knife, and violence exploded into a tense tableau. Worf reached out almost casually and broke the wrist which held the wicked knife blade. To spite Rolland having his wrist broken, he managed to slam the other big man into the wall. He went for a smiting blow. "Fuck off!"

"Nah. I don't listen to bullies." Worf responded calmly, ducking the looping blow smoothly. The knife clattered to the tile floor as the big man slammed his broken wrist fist into the plaster of the wall. Worf could hear the other man's fingers popping out of place. After kicking the knife aside, he leg swept the man. The other big cman rashed to the floor. He came after Worf again, and Worf met him with a fireman's carry. When the other big man came up again, Worf ended the fight with a sleep hold. The other big man slumped to the floor insensibly.

They collided. Pebble slammed into Bread and, knowing it was Bread thanks to the screams, Pebble folded Bread into a hug and let the momentum take them both away. They slid across the too well polished hard wood floor boards in a wide arc, they fetched up against the bottom of a great looming china cabinet, snapping both of it's front legs. Pebble only just barely scrambled out of the way, taking Bread with her, before the whole thing came tumbling down to the floor with such a din that Pebble knew it to be axiomatic that all of their pressureres had heard the vociferous din. That only had a few moments before they found this room, all four of them. "Dam it, Bread."

"Hey! You bull in the china shopped me!" Bread squawked indignantly. "I didn't even get to dig a hole. Though I wouldn't dig one to China. Perhaps Peru."

"Oh, we have not the time for this." Pebble groaned. "I swear, Bread. If you start that holes song, or the Peru rant again-"

"They're in here!"

"Hie, got em now!"

"Fuck! There here. Bread-"

"Do it like the Rolling Stoners, got it, Pebbs." The men burst into the room nearly in concert. That was a funny phrase. Bread half expected four separate one man's bands. "You had your two, I had mine. Didn't know we were sharing this shit. I am geared up. Lets fight."

Attea stopped mid stride when she saw the man in the three piece suit walk into the smaller gym which contained the wrestling mats. "Hello?"

"Good evening, young lady...I wonder...could you direct me to the Champion? They will be rather large in stature and well skilled in combat."

"Uh...who?"

"Elvis was a rolling stoner. He died fat, and bloated on the toilet full of drugs, if the tracks up and down the length of his arms were any indication."

"Bread, help or leave." Pebble snapped as the men moved into the cavernous room, accompanied by their lethal intent. Bread was singing.

"Checkmate." James told Strider this as she, and Bruce, Brice, Ranger, and himself, sat at the six seater table, though there were five of them.

"Aw...damn it all, Strider." Ranger groaned. This earned him a coldly corrosive grey eyed glare over the black and white chess pieces. "Sorry."

The candle orange, and yellow light created reflective pools within all of their eyes, the occasional draft blowing through the window frames made the isolated flames dance their crackling dances of protest. Powerful icy winds buffeted the large old brick apartment building, in which James dwelt. They had all agreed, through numerous telephone calls, they would all hunker down in James's apartment during the duration of the large powerful ice storm, now ravaging New England. "You're up, Ranger, beat me and end our mini tournament." James said brightly, collecting Strider's money, twenty pounds, with a wink and a smile. She glared harder. The phone rang. Oh, I wonder whom that could be. I shall return, and you shall receive your trouncing after I do. Please excuse me." He rose to answer.

Denise heard Attea, whom had gone into the smaller gym to gather some blankets for the younger students to bed down on, talking to somebody. "Tay?" She asked, going to investigate. There was a man standing in the doorway of the smaller gym. Denise hope it would be Bread, and Pebble back from where ever they had vanished to. Denise backed into the larger gym when she saw the man, he looked loose, and confident, trained. He had to have been well trained in the martial arts but those cold brown eyes were like looking down twin gun barrels. Deciding not to shout out, Denise went instead to the phone to dial the number the woman in black had given her, an invitation.

"Hello?" James asked into the beige receiver as the others subtly tensed. They all knew that there would be no reason for anybody to telephone.

"It's Brent, James. You might already know but..."

"What is it?" James not only tensed, he stiffened. He was dreading this news. "I was just in the middle of giving my guests a thorough trouncing."

"Code lion, code lion." Brent whispered. "Watch out, watch out! Don't let him stick her fingers onto that heater, hun." Brent told his Wife.

"The lions have been loosed, apparently." James mouthed to the others. He mouthed this in case there were bugs in the phone.

"Tif stop playing with Daddy's Irish whiskey." He hung up.

"It's the Irish." James said hanging up the phone, and turning to the table where four Cowl members sat, ready for action. "Strider, you go."

"And why's that again then?" Brice asked.

"Because she is the most capable out us all. She is not only exceptional in combative endeavors, but also a fair diplomatic tactician."

"I get it." Strider said. She was almost always quiet. She was a firm believer in the classic silent is deadly principle. It was, simple pragmatic practicality. Beyond that, she had nothing to say. She scoffed at all of the men, mostly men, whom boasted about being in a war. Then again, the term, war, was only a label which rich, bloated, dull minded politicians slapped onto a large scale fit for the purpose of, vote for me, propaganda. If only people could speak more about solving their differences, and focused less on quibbling about whom let gas in what crowded elevator, or whom slept with who's Wife, if could be that some change might be had for the paupers of the human condition. Strider stood, fished the car keys out James's abandoned jacket pocket, hanging on a peg next to the door, and left silently.

Denise frowned down at the gym's office phone, she'd hit a busy signal. "Damn it." She muttered, and she tried again.

Just as James was about to re-seat himself at the table, the phone rang again. "Well, okay then." He muttered. "Hello?" James asked, concernedly.

"Do you have insurance?"

James scowled he knew that voice. "Everything is fine but thank you." He hung up on Boss. It was a check in call. He hung up again, it rang.

Denise was becoming frustrated. "Fuck!" She hissed to herself. Just as she was wondering if the woman gave her a dud, finally, she got through.

"Hello?" James asked.

"It's De, J." Denise said, they had said that the phones may be tapped. This meant that they had to converse through a code. "Something's happening. I do not know, but this movie is really bad. Kinda like the bad guy is never the bad in Dragon Ball Z. You know, J?"

That last part James had not an iota of a clue about however, he did understand that somebody wrong had shown up at the school. "Oh, continue."

"Dunno if I want to...I mean...it is really bad."

"Trust me, De. Continue. Ten to fifteen minutes." A blonde head flashed past the window set into the office's door, Kristen. She was heading toward the small gym where Attea, and the strange dangerous man were standing. Every instinct told Denise to grab her. "Bye, J." Leaving the phone dangling off of the edge of the desk, Denise ran after Kristen. It turned out that she was running after a young Student.

"Jimmy, come back here! No one is supposed to go out of the big gym." Kristen yelled. "Grab him please, Tay." Attea ushered the wayward boy back to the big gym while keeping an eye to the man, whom stood there blandly, patiently. He was waiting for Attea's answer.

"Well, young lady?"

"Stay in here, both of you." Denise said to Kristen, and Jimmy. "Everybody stay in this room. I am using my powers of being a police officer."

"What's wrong?" Kristen asked, chivying Jimmy along.

"Nobody goes beyond these doors for the next little while." Denise said to the room at large. Bemused people milled about. "Just stay here, Kristen. It will be alright but please, let me handle this." Denise said in a gentle tone. Gentle, but insistent. She turned toward the double doors leading to the smaller gym, and closed them. After closing the other set of doors at the other end, she went into the small gym.

"Damn." Kristen muttered as Jimmy began to ball forlornly. "What is it?" She asked in a calm tone, though she didn't feel calm. She was tired.

"F-fluffy's gone." Jimmy sniffled.

His bear. That soiled on bear. "Fine, Jimmy. I'll let Denise know." Kristen turned to go out of the big gym. Her Daughters walked up to her then.

"Denise said you shouldn't, Mom."

"It'll be fine. I'll be back. Go get read for bed, it is nearly ten." They went reluctantly. Kristen walked up to Denise whom had her back to Kristen, as she was standing shoulder to shoulder with Attea now."Denise, Fluffy the purple bear is M.I.A.. Oh, you have him. Thank you."

The man picked up the soggy purple teddy bear off of the floor. "Once mere, and done. Where is the Champion?" Carver asked calmly yet threateningly. No one moved, no one spoke. In response, Carver tore off the head of the bear in one swift motion. He let fly the shuriken.

Nobody seemed to be on the roads. Strider guided the small V.W bug into a parking space at Perkins School For The Blind. She walked toward the school, slipping here and there on the persistent ice cover, and found the large building known as the main building. She could not find a way in, for all the doors were locked tightly. She picked her way through the storm to another large building and knocked on a door.

"I had a phone shaped like a donkey once. I wondered how people could tell what I was saying to the people with whom I was conversing on the other line. I then realized that my ass had gotten tapped sans my acquiescence. Talk about getting phone raped." Bread over one of the men's questions. The man tried again, Pebble remained silent await her chance to strike. Bread was posing as a distraction.

Nobody answered the door on which she knocked. Strider walked over to the final door she had not tried as of yet. She walked up to it, knocked.

There came a knock upon the front door of Fisher this time everybody froze. "I'll get it." Dave said, which felt surreal as it was normally unlocked. He bonked off of the thin partition dividing the foyer from the main room of the cottage. He pushed the door open. It was a figure, hooded, and shivering, standing there in the frozen waterfall that was the night. "May I help you?" The tall hooded figure nodded. "How?"

"Car trouble. May I use your phone?" It was overused, even for a cliche, but she could not think of anything else. Obviously the Brit agreed.

"I'd rather not let in anybody else. We already have too man visitors and...if I could be perfectly candid with you...I am not certain I trust you."

She stiffened slightly. Now what was she to do? It would be dicey if she forced her way in with physical persuasion. That was nearly always lethal. What good would it do if she killed everybody she was trying to save? No good at all. She went for broke, and guilt. "Fine. I shall return to my car and wait to sleep the coma of cold until I die." She turned to go, relying upon the spark of decency she'd seen in the man's bespectacled eyes. She didn't like doing this, but it was a must. She needed to enter the large tower adorned building. "Good evening."

"Wait." Dave said, feeling as if he was being played like a Stradivarius. Well, there was Worf, and he'd taken that large fellow down with little effort. This woman, for the voice was feminine, was alone and smaller by far than Worf. What possible unsafe challenge could she pose?

Dave returned after speaking to somebody at the door, the cold wind blowing into the cottage and making them all shiver. "Everything alright?"

"Oh, yes, Worf." Dave said as he came back into the room. The female followed him. "What is your name by the way, Ms?" Dave asked.

"Strider."

Worf blinked in surprise. He knew that this was a deadly situation, with the Irish Occupation representatives stand here and all. "Hello, Strider."

"She's in trouble. Where can I find the tower?" Strider asked, nearly seeming desperate. Wrof could see that Strider could see the whole spectrum of the pit of hell of which they were all currently residing. She seemed to calculate the weight of it all. Then she contemplated what to do about it. This was a trained member of the Order Of The Cowl, of which he, and Denise were also now members. "Hello, Strider. Downwards, in the basement. I will show you." Downwards meant that there might be a problem, as Worf never spoke that way.

"Show me then." Leaving a nervous Dave behind, with the men, they went to the basement, just off the large kitchen, lit by Worf's flashlight.

The Irish Occupation stayed where they were, thanks to a glare by Worf. "Just go through this door, and follow the tunnel until you come to a blue door. Enter." Worf tried not to think about the implications arrayed behind the fact that one of the deadliest individuals in the Order Of The Cowl was here. Here for God's sake. Why? He tried not to think about it as he went back to Dave, and the Irish invaders.

"How will I be able to see blue in this blackness?" Strider called.

Worf walked back and gave Strider his flashlight. After doing this, he had to listen to Dave's many protests.

"Every time some one has a damn canoe race in Whales, the lady of the lake has a stroke. For that matter, every time some one breaks out a paddle device of some kind. So, you see? What's the point of you ass gypsies being where we stand this night?" Bread asked conversationally. The men just made for Bread. Pebble had shut her mouth and stepped back. Bread was Pebble's one ring. "Well?"

Blood flung itself into the air as Kristen's jugular was rent from the weight of the shuriken's blade. The throwing star bounced behind Attea. "No!" Attea couldn't even speak without her vox box. She could only gasp. This is what Attea did as she fell to her knees. "Kristen!"

Denise could not believe what she just saw. Attea had reached out and grasped the man's arm after he'd ripped the teddy bear. The screams began. Denise whorled to see whom the screamers were, despite her orders to stay back. It was Kristen's Daughters. They'd screamed.

London Calling The Clash was what Bread had sung. "Blustering, blundering blue bewildered blushing bananas!" Bread shouted. "Come on! I am here all by myself!", she sang this last, "One is the loneliest number!" Bread sang again. She had to dance the spears carefully here.

Pebble understood that Bread had a plan and she knew it would be folly to follow her into battle at this tentative point in time. She stayed silent.

"Baboon busting ball bags, boys! Can't you catch me?!" Bread tossed this taunt as she made her blades dance from hand to hand.

"There's another one in here. Where?!" One of the men snarled. They knew that fighting in the dark was a bad idea but, what choice was there? They had their mission. That was all. Capture the Champion and bring her back to White manner. But this blackout was not helpful.

"You haven't even bought me dinner yet, and yet, you're purposing?! No dice, folks. Let this end. I have to kill then, I have a dinner to eat. There's a rumbly in my tumbly." Bread began to sing the whinny the pooh theme. The men moved into take her, at the behest of the order of one of the men, and that was when the men came under the full realization of the bungle. "The Champion is my Sister. I will kill you before your brand of harm even gleans a glance at her. Baby birds, baby birds, baby birds! Wha-ha-ha-haaaah! I am your predator, you are my prey! I will not allow you to take her away from the world. For we need here, all of us! Now die!" Bread spun radically, widely. Here blades became as alive as she as she danced through the assassins. They were busts upon plinths, she a ruinous whirlwind.

Pebble could desperate grunts, and cries from the beleaguered attack force. Pebble could feel it just under her skin. Death live in this room this night. From the continuous utterances from bread, Pebble understood the fact that Bread was giving Pebble a platinum inlaid opportunity.

Bread ran into the small kitchen at the top of the room and back out again, grabbing one of the man's backs and skittering up his back like a spider. Before he could so much as start taking a step to run backwards into the wall, she brought her blade across the length of his throat. The blood splattered omnipresently, like a sticky, metal scented, thick, warm volcano. "Ew! Why do you people have make such a fucking mess when you die?" Bread asked rhetorically. Attempting to blink the blood of her victim out of her eyes, she darted away.

Slithering amongst the blackness, Pebble stalked the edges of the large room, only yards away from the fight. She heard suddenly one of the men begin to search the rest of the room for another life form of some sort. Pebble followed his movements. She could tell, by his laborious breathing, that it was the man whom had attacked her earlier. She waited until she was a step behind him then, like a string shadow, Pebble poised herself for the assault. That shadow struck. Pebble wrapped her arms around the man's head, and neck. She twisted. The man only had time to give voice to a muffled grunt before he died. The other men were too busy with Bread, there were yet oblivious.

It only happened for a moment. The power cam back on, though the lights in the Teacher's lounge were switched on, the hall lights gave Bread's location away, for but a moment. It was fortunate that Bread was fast for when the power went back out again, Bread did a full split to avoid the man's snatch for her. In fact, Bread thought that that the man had nearly done a prat fall. Bread could tell the man only just missed due to the way her pony tail had flittered slightly across her thin back. Bread stood up again, knife first. The man was opened from navel to duodenum. Innards disgorged themselves all around Bread. The man's intestines slapped Bread across her bloodied face. She had heard another of them fall. That made...what? Sliced throat, opened belly. Those were hers, and broken something. Pebbles. "Pebbs?" Bread asked cautiously. A man, the fourth and final, slammed Bread into the gore covered ground with a boot.

"I hope you know your vowels. Because -Y-A- -E- -I- -O- -U- an ass killing." Bread groaned before the line, hello darkness my old friend, was-

The bigger of the men, Rolland charged Worf again, hammering into the dinning room Dave tried to stop the other men from running into the dinning room and toward the basement, but he was knocked out with a well placed right uppercut from Travers. "Go! Travers shouted.

Worf noticed Dave get punched in the face by Travers, he had no choice. Worf let Rolland escape. Great. Now he had to chase after them, after he got Dave to wake up. He knelt next to Dave. "Dave! Dave!" After a few moments Dave woke up. "We have go after them."

"Oh no." Dave winced.

Strider wondered around the building for a few minutes until she heard a scream. She'd heard those screams before. She had made them herself. Those screams meant that somebody dear had just died. She streaked toward the source of the screams. To a place above a gymnasium. There were running tracks above two gymnasiums. A larger one, and a smaller. The first she came to was the smaller.

Pebble slammed into the man whom was beating Bread into unconsciousness. They both careered into the large table, knocking over accompanied by a deep basso boom. Chairs flew in every direction as Pebble struggled with the final man, he was big. Finally Pebble got her hands around the man's throat. The only issue was, the man did the same. He took one of his hands away from Pebble's throat in order to use his fist as a battering ram into Pebble's jaw. Pebble gave her fierce fighter's grin, teeth on one side, lips on the other. With the identical force required for a hydraulic sledgehammer to bore it's way through a stone wall, Pebble brought her skull forward and drove the man's nose into his brain. He slumped bonelessly. Pebble tossed him off of herself with only a bit of effort. He thudded to the floor.

Finally Strider had decided to take cover in the hallway which lead to an elevator in the area leading to the gymnasium. She bagan to wait.

Pebble made to get to her feet when three events unfolded all together. The man with his insides on the outside awoke and in a final desperate flair of energy, threw something at Pebble, it just missed her leg. However, it did graze it and she felt a light headed feeling come over her almost at once. It must have a poison dart of some kind. She then heard a distant scream from what could only be in the direction of the gymnasium. Bread darted into the kitchen and smashed what sounded like an entire novelty mug tree over the man's cranium. "No pain in hell will be able to compare to the pain of your ego being kicked in the balls." Bread said. "Death by mug tree. How embarrassing." Bread must have heard Pebble's grunt of pain. Her need to get to Solvig had been set alight by that unknown scream.

The girls screamed, and screamed. "Mom?! No! Mom!"

Strider looked down over the railing which surrounded the edge of the running track, onto the action laden tableau below. Stride unsheathed her grappling hook which she kept tied to her utility belt. She affixed the metal hook to the smaller rails between floor, and rail. Below, a curvy girl in a Dragon Ball Z T-shirt, whatever that was, flung herself into an impressive battle with a man in a suit. Strider leaped.

"You're useless, Winters. When we get back the the manner, you will be on inventory duty. This was a stupid stunt. You cause a lot of damage." Travers moved towards the screams and eventually came to a gymnasium. A curvy girl was holding her own against Carver. "Fuck!"

"This way, Worf." Dave and Worf, meds grabbed at the last minute, ran back into the gym through the tunnel doorway just beyond the bathrooms.

Pebble staggered down the stairs, falling down them and taking Bread with her. "Fucking ass!" Pebble slurred. She knew it had been a tranquilizer dart the man had scratched her with, though thankfully it hadn't gone into her leg or she'd be sleeping by this point. But she felt drunkenly disconnected from the world. Everything spun dizzily. She had to regain her verticallity, had to. Had to get back to the others, To Solvig. Pebble stood only to fall, taking a bunch of the older Braillers with her. It was only then she realized, she was in the upper level of the museum area. She must have staggered in here without knowing. Bread still lay on the floor, laughing. "Bread? Lets go."

Pebble fell down the other set of stairs, bringing Bread down with her again, it was the other half of the low stairwell leading back toward East wing. "Weee!" Bread shouted as they tumbled down another set of stairs, this one was the stairwell which lead toward the general Office.

"Why did you say weee?" Pebble asked Bread, her speech still softened with a lessening slur.

"I choose to have an optimistic outlook on a pessimistic outcome, Bitch. You know that about me. I'm a bruise now." Bread said happily.

So was Pebble. They eventually made it to the gym, damn near falling down all those stairs, but Pebble held the trailing in death grip this time.

Denise barely got out of the way of another shuiken, flahing past her face. "Fuck." She hissed. Suddenly a shadow fell in front of the suited man. Attea had already engaged him. She was good. But what was that shadowy figure? could it be? Yes. That Strider arrived in spades.

Strider landed on the ground but did not engage the man in the suit. She whipped around to, instead, give resistance to a band of other men.

Dave went to give little Jimmy his meds, whom was having one of his attacks, as Worf charged into the smaller to help with the fight in there.

Travers was shocked to discover a form spinning into their group with a vengeance. "Fall back-" He was cut off when a foot folded him neatly.

Pebble charged down the steps, as steadily as she could, and into a battling group in the doorway of the gym. She grabbed the biggest, and tossed him back. Then she spun and grabbed another of the battling bodies. She lifted the man, judging by the voice, and swearing, and lifted him clear of the ground and said, "Your mission of assassination is completed." She crushed his windpipe then, tossed the corpse aside causally. She pun into the group until she same across a desperate battle going on between Attea, and somebody else. Who? It mattered not. A foe was a foe. She engaged the man, aiming to kill him, however, he was better than she'd anticipated. Or the drugs. She lost her temper. Pebble reached into the air and stimulated it, via vibration. A fire ball grew above her hand. "You will leave. Now."

"This nightmare is in cherry condition. For you cunt salads." Bread smiled sinisterly.

Chapter 7: Honor March: