A Tale of The Monsterpocalypse
Fiction by A.G.M.
THE DIRTY CREW
There were four of the vehicles. Four Trucks, each two stories high, capable of occupying four lanes on an average street. Each of their titanic wheels was taller than a man and could crush an SUV underfoot like nothing. They were the kind of haulers used in mining to transport ore for processing, but at forty tons each, had been heavily modified for additional engine power, speed and carrying capacity. Each of the monster trucks had similar features: a spiked plow in front of their grills for high-speed, punishing collisions; four swivel-mounted M60’s controlled remotely by the drivers, in case someone tried to board the vehicles; a hood-mounted flame thrower for those persistent hitchhikers and a massive, turret-mounted weapon’s system at the back of the hauler area of three of the vehicles and reinforced armor with bulletproof glass. One had a rack of rocket launchers and had Fox JAW -FTE stenciled on the side. The second truck had fuel tanks and four gigantic spray nozzles capable of spewing fiery, liquid death several hundred meters away and had ‘Gypsy Sunbeam’ written in flowery, psychedelic letters. The third had what could be only described as a massive ray cannon like those shown in old science fiction movies with Gear Jammer-BTO written on its side. All these were 16-wheelers while the last truck had 18-wheels and no turret-mounted weapons. It carried the deadliest weapon of All in the form of what initially appeared to be a massive Egg, secured to its back by crane and huge braces. It was Cletus Abramson’s Rolling Ranch, the head vehicle of the fleet.
Escorting them were a series of smaller vehicles, the largest being a six-wheeled APC Dragoon Riot-Control police vehicle, similarly modified as its larger cousins for increased armor, speed and weight, and it acted as the Crew’s scout and support vehicle.
The other vehicles were variants of a model of van, modified for increased armor and armed with a top-mounted 30mm cannon. These acted as escorts for the larger trucks and a semi truck trailer forming a train with two containers in tow. This last was the column’s baggage train, and carried spare parts and fuel for the vans and trucks.
At the moment, the column was halted 12-hour’s drive from Waurika, formed into a protective circle around the gigantic egg and Baggage Trailer. Around the circle milled herds of Terrasaur reptiles, placidly grazing on prairie tallgrass.
Within the circle vehicles, in an open space around the colossal ‘egg’, the nine caravan leaders argued amongst themselves. The one everyone seemed to defer most to was an elderly man best described as an aging country music star, clad in a red cloth bandana on his head, abundant white beard covering his ample belly and sunglasses covering his eyes. This was the Crew’s leader, Cletus Abramson, formerly owner of the world’s first Dinosaur Ranch before part of Florida became immersed in the Gulf of Mexico during a Triton attack. At his side is what can only be described as a bronzed, blonde, curvy supermodel, wearing cutoffs, boots and tank top with the traditional Crew thinking cap holding down her glorious tresses. The bronze arms crossed against her full chest were cut like a body builder’s and all who knew of Cletus’ Niece, Amy Sterling, understood that iron musculature rippled beneath her smooth curves. And she had to be in order to handle a 40-ton rig like the Gypsy Sunbeam. At her side was a slim girl in camo pants, boots and sleeveless sweat shirt. She had an elfin face, lovely chestnut hair and crystal, almost-white, glittering eyes and was the Sunbeam’s newest co-driver, Olivia Ballantyne and sister to the Ballantyne in Waurika.
A devilishly handsome, brown-skinned, whip-thin man in jeans and white shirt plus the usual cap was the only man in the crew to hold a Ph.D., Professor Pavel Ancha Yarur, master of the Gear Jammer with his temporary co-driver and permanent lover, the Crew’s paramedic Hannah Morgan. She was a pretty redhead affecting a perpetual smile and an archaic Goth style of dress, complete with tattoos, black nail paint, spiked necklace and tons of buckles and leather. The Gear Jammer’s regular co-driver, Keith De Rose was also currently playing amateur spy and novice saboteur in Waurika.
And finally, there was the Master of the Fox JAW, Gordon Craghill, a man who in spite of his resemblance to a huge, long-haired, lumberjack spoke in the cultured tones of a well-read, college professor. Anachronistic in a man wearing steel-shod, knee-guarded biker boots, sleeveless red, square shirt with huge-kevlar-lined gloves covering his massive hands. At his side, a 900-lb sapient ape in goggles, pocket bandolier, and gloved hands and feet called by the Crew Le Sauvage. That was Craghill’s co-driver and chief of the Ape Commandos who now rode with the Crew as protection to the drivers.
Rounding up the cast were a cool, raven-haired beauty with haunted, green eyes who rode the scout vehicle called Avonelle ‘Avie’ Wing and the Crew’s chief mechanic, a powerful, African American in yellow jumpsuit and blue coveralls by the name Carl Zimmer. Zimmer was currently acting Co-driver in the Rolling Ranch, but usually rode in the scout with his lover, Wing.
Standing on the periphery of the of the arguing Crew members were the Baggage Rig’s driver, a Native American in jeans ad square shirt, but affecting traditional warpaint, turquoise and silver belt and feathers from the Chiricahua Apache called by his Christian name, Gerardo Matanzas. The other was a solid, wild-haired Latin American woman and Green Fury activist, Almaira Plata. She was the nominal leader of the combat vans. Carefully neutral, they watched as the Crew battled out their differences, unaware that that was how the Crew usually ironed out their plans.
It was the first time anyone had ever seen Cletus angry at Craghill, though. The Old Man just could not get over and idea proposed by Craghill. “Leave it?! Leave all the way out here?! You’re a smart boy Gordon, and I usually go along your harebrained schemes, but this one is just plain daft!”
Craghill in turn was having a hard time getting through The Old Man. “We have to. We can’t just drag it into combat. Its just too heavy, and we could damage it in the fight!”
“Then we don’t fight! Simple as that!”
Craghill sighed theatrically. “We’ve already been through this. We can’t afford any big Company setting up shop near the city.”
“You mean Ellie can’t afford it. I could just pack tomorrow and let her deal with it along with Nature’s Champs over there!” He said pointing at Matanzas and Plata, who in turn only grinned at the Old Man’s outburst. This only infuriated Cletus even more.
Craghill tried another tract. “Nothing’s going to happen to the specimen anyway. With all the critters out here, no one will dare approach. Besides, we will be minutes away if anything goes wrong. It would take four cargo choppers just to lift off the ground, or a specially modified like Rolling Ranch to move, and as far as we know we might have the only functioning models in whole country that can handle such a payload! Besides, the trigger might not even work. For all we know, what happened was only a fluke and what we have there is not a viable animal, but a burnt out nugget!”
At this, Yarur leapt into the fray. “No! It’s not dead! I personally supervised the studies. The Creature is in some sort of dormant state!”
“Yeah,” countered Craghill, “But you have never explained adequately how it went from a twenty-ton, fifteen-meter egg to a 90-meter, 80,000-ton beast in the blink of an eye and back again into… THIS!” he gestured grandly at the ovoid, wrinkled, shape spiked with bits of emerald crystal. “We don’t even know if it can turn back into the Big Guy again!”
“Evidence suggests it has plastic properties we do not yet understand, and that the proper environmental factors will stimulate it into an active state again!”
“Well-ll-ll,” said Craghill uncertainly, “there you have it. Its play dough, so everything will… work out! Maybe. I guess. I hope.”
“Oh knock it off, Gordon! You’re just pissed off ’cause your girl friend went Mata-Hari for Pezuto and you haven’t gotten laid!”
“Hey! Watch it Mister! That’s my sister out there!” cried Ballantyne’s sister, Olivia.
“And that’s my Co-Driver with her! At Gordon’s request no less!” shot back Yarur.
“Guess who’s pissed at that!” smirked Gordon maliciously.
“What’s that supposed to mean?!” demanded Yarur angrily.
“Figure it out, smart guy!” grinned Craghill, happy at getting a rise from the Professor.
“Not helping guys,” Said Sterling. She had seen these fights between the two get out of hand before, with neither man speaking to the other for weeks. “Let’s get back to the specimen. Uncle maybe if we left it further away and hid it…?”
“No good. Without stimuli of prey, movement, light and sound, it would soon wander off, and we might loose it for good. We have to quicken it just at Town’s edge.” Said the Old Man heavily. If Cletus knew anything, it was Terrasaur behavior.
“Or it could just revert to a vegetative state!” offered Yarur.
“Out here we’d loose it anyway and that’d mean loosing our trump card! The main reason we are needed back in Lawton would wander off and get lost in a cave or a ditch after reverting. Already lost family running errands for Ellie, and I don’t intend loosing my winning hand as well! We will wait to pick up Keith and Coco, then we head back to Lawton and see what happens.” Cletus turned and headed back to the campfires where dinner was being prepared.
When the old man was out of ear shot, Craghill nudged Yarur. “Nice going, dick wad!”
Yarur reacted astonished. “What? Me? You’re the one who questions the validity of my research! All the data…!”
“Means squat to the Old Man! He is holding on to the damn Specimen like Grim Death, and your babble about ‘activating’ it only makes him think he will loose the last thing besides Amy he has left. Peter and Paul’s deaths did a number on the Old Man, and now it’s no longer a game to Him!”
“This has not been a game for any of us since it started,” snapped Yarur, “except maybe for you!”
“Stop it you two!” intervened Morgan, dragging Yarur by the arm. “C’mon Pavel, I need to take a look at the Specimen.”
Sterling and Olivia did the same for Craghill, asking him to take a look at Sunbeam’s fuel line. When things were calmer, and Craghill was happily tinkering away at the truck’s fuel line, the two women finally could get a word in. “That could have gone better,” sighed Olivia in a most distracting way.
“Yeah,” said Craghill noncommittally, “Old Man’s just being cautious.
“Anyway, thanks for worrying about my sister. She’s always taking these risks…”
“I know. That’s why we get along so great. Kind of worried about her, though.” He said, finishing reattaching the fuel line.
“Keith will watch her back,” assured Sterling.
Craghill checked his watch. “It’s not that. I’d been in contact online with Keith for the last week. He’d send me at a preset hour a report on how things were going and what they’d learned, but when today’s report didn’t come in, I tried to get the Old Man to mobilize!”
Olivia was the first to react. “Why didn’t you say so from the beginning? Coco could be in trouble!”
“Or Keith!” added Sterling.
“Or both. Or maybe they both bailed early and are on their way to the Pick-Up Point. Can’t really tell until tomorrow, but I would have liked to get things moving earlier, but thanks to Pavel’s squawkings the Old Man went Cautious on us and we won’t get anything done.”
Olivia was afraid to ask, but knew it was all on their minds; “What if they don’t come at all?”
Craghill closed the hatch with a slam and began putting away his tools, “Then, with or without the Old Man’s support I am going in to get my lady and my friend.”
Olivia shook her head in amazement. “You alone are going against a Corporate stronghold, protected by an army of killer robots, trained mercenaries, computer controlled drones and android assassins?!” He only smiled at her before walking away to stop and sign-language with some Sapient Apes.
“You don’t know Gordon, do you? He never bluffs, and he always has a plan.” Smirked Amy Sterling knowingly.
Again Olivia shook her head. “I can see what Coco sees in him. No other guy she’s ever been with would even think about risking his neck for her like that.”
Sterling threw a well-muscled, bronze arm around Olivia’s supple shoulders. “Then we have to make sure he doesn’t do it alone!”
Next week: part 3 “THE MALTESE CYBERFALCON”