Training had not prepared her for this. Her entire team had been wiped out in less than thirty minutes. A goddamn cybermanc had pounced on them from a floor above. Three ARC soldiers – good soldiers – reduced to screaming, howling, green goo in seconds. Kelly, Rodriguez, and Alistair. Karren was next. Her head taken off by a damn imp. Even though the rest of the team took it out, imps never travel alone. Seven more of the bastards hit them. Kidder didn't survive. Bailey and Barstone were reduced to chopped meat when a dread knight came down on them. The rest were also decimated when a tyrant appeared. The only way she got out of there was because she ran as fast as she could.
Liu had always been a fast runner. Track and field were her specialty, and if she was going anywhere, she was running. Lighting Liu: she loved to run.
Now, she hated herself for it. She threw down her plasma rifle and cried. She was all alone and all she had was her will and her legs. They had gotten her far in life and now they had gotten her into a war-zone – no, worse, a meat-grinder. She was the last bit of fat on the hamburger, and that crank was still turning.
Looking up at the burning sky, wondering where God was, she cried more.
A terrible thought then occurred to her. 'Can they sense my suffering? Is that how they work? The more pain and agony, the more keen their smell, or sight… whatever?'
Picking up her rifle, she had to keep moving. Looking at the gore nest staring her down, winding up what use to be Big Ben, a sharp, gigantic eye where the face use to be, scanned the battlefield. London had been turned into a city of gib. The streets were lined with guts, the houses and flats painted maroon with the blood of innocence.
Trying to stay out of sight, Liu ducked under an awning of an empty cafe. Blood soaked tables and seats lined the little place. She entered through a shattered glass door as a few demons headed down the street. More dread knights, three of them, with their glowing blades ready to tear into more flesh.
Liu hid behind the cafe counter, but met an unexpected variable. Another ARC solider was there, clinging to his rifle. His helmet was gone and his eyes were wide with exhaustion, anxiety, and fear. He grabbed Liu by her chest plate and exclaimed in a paranoid voice, "They want our souls!"
"Whoa, hang on there, mate! What, what's your name and rank?"
He pulled her in tighter. "Did you hear what I said?! I've seen!" His eyes were wide open and on the lunatic fringe. "I've seen!" A cackle followed. "They, they want our souls. This giant machine-work in Hell. They strip the soul for energy." Another cackle, this one more heavy and frightened. "The angels too! All of Heaven and Hell wants our souls, they want to carry on this war eternally! It's the only way they get power!"
Liu tried to sneak a cautious look over the counter top, but the crazed soldier pulled her back. "Don't you get it?! You and me… we're nothing to them! Just fodder, bloody fodder!"
"You're going to get us killed, you git!"
"You don't die!" the soldier manically informed her. "You… you get stripped, your soul taken, and then turned into a demon. You become one of them! I've heard, I've seen!" He pulled Liu in to where their noses were almost touching and she could smell his breath. "We're… their… lifeforce. We… are all damned!"
Finally, Liu tried to pull free. "Let me go!"
He finally let her go and threw his rifle at her as she ran out of the cafe.
The tyrant was back and had charged through the wall into the cafe. It stood above the psychotic soldier. He just outstretched his arms and smiled, "I'm ready, God! God, my God!" The tyrant stepped on him, splattering him under its mechanical hoof.
Meanwhile Liu was on the run. Running faster than she felt she had ever ran before. She threw her own rife down so her arms were free to move and ran even faster. Several cacodemons formed into formation and went after her. There were at least eight of them, fireballs blasting all around Liu as she ran, sliding through alleyways and hopping fences, guardrails, and signage. A fading roar came from her side as a few gargoyles now joined the cacodemon squadron. Green plasma fell to her sides, cacodemon vomit comets came at her, destroying debris around her. She would not stop, she would not slow. Her heart raced in her ears, her blood pumped through her veins, she watched as burning buildings, charred furniture, and Hell creep passed her by. She would not stop.
Unless something stopped her. A cybermancubus exploded out of a building and pointed its two cannons at her. She went to turn but to her left was a concrete wall, to her right was a collapsed road to dark-red infinity. She was trapped, she was dead.
Not bothering to stop, it crossed her mind if she could outrun the shot. Could she use the demon's head as a catapult? If she couldn't avoid the thing, she would jump over it. The cannons glowed a bright green. In less than a second she would be ooze. No, she couldn't make it. She was fast, so fast, but not that fast. Death was upon her.
Not in the way she expected though. One of the cannons on the cybermancubus blew into fiery bits. It growled at its lost appendage and then tried to fire the other, but that one too disappeared in a blast. It growled again at something above Liu.
Looking up, behind herself, Liu saw a large, armored man standing on a precipice of a destroyed street. He was holding a ballista. Firing it a third time, he hit the cybermancubus in the chest and blew all of its armor off, leaving just an angered, fat demon. Liu said, disbelievingly, "The Slayer!"
By this time, the cacodemons and gargoyles that had followed Liu now focused in on The Slayer. Quickly, he changed the ballista, charged it, and fired. A swath of red energy sliced through the cacodemons and gargoyles, turning most of them into red and blue paste. Most of their gibs fell to the ground in ghoulish hail. Only two cacodemons were left and one gargoyle. Next, he grabbed his shotgun and launched his hook, tearing into the defenseless, fat, cyber-less mancubus. The chain was on fire as he flew into the demon and shot, blowing the menace to pieces. He did the same for the cacodemons and the last gargoyle he tore its head off with his hands.
Coming to a stop, standing in front of Liu, he looked at her as she took a step back, saying, "I, uh, I, I didn't think you were real there, mate."
No movement except for a flex of his fingers on his left hand.
"Do you, do you not talk?"
He looked off into the distance and then back at her.
"Well, that's okay. Listen, my um, my entire unit is, eh, totally dead. I've got nowhere else to go. Can I, I mean, not to impose or anything, but is there anyway I can stick with you for awhile?"
The Slayer marched up to her and pointed at her, then himself, and then made a clenched fist.
Liu tried to figure out his sign language and said, "Yeah, I'll stick with ya, fella. I'm pretty fast."
The Slayer twisted his head upward and looked at her sideways. Suddenly, he was nearly ten feet from her and all she saw was a green blur. She gasped out, "Bloody hell!"
He turned and looked at her over his shoulder, patting his back.
"Yeah right, as best as I can, Slayer," she said doubtfully.
He was off. He had already gotten back up to where he was and Liu tried desperately to keep up. True, she was nowhere near as fast as him, and had lost track of him a couple of times, but, if she didn't know any better, she'd guess he waited for her if she fell out of sight. Along the way there wasn't much demonic opposition. She assumed that the bulk of demons were staying away from The Slayer's course. Almost like he had herded them towards her unknowingly.
She knew better than to blame The Slayer. If he was as good as what the stories purposed then no way was she going to blame him of funneling them towards her unit. It still hurt that her team was gone though, and that they had not met The Slayer earlier.
They met a few gargoyles and a pinky. The gargoyles where blown away by his shotgun, a rocket, and the pinky met its end at the metal teeth of The Slayer's chainsaw.
"Hey, I got a question," Liu said, following the Slayer.
The Slayer did not stop.
"Why not just mount that chainsaw where your blade is?"
The Slayer stopped. He seemed to be thinking and looked back at her.
Liu stood there. "It was just a question."
He continued on, racing through the hellscape of London, and this was when Liu noticed she was going around in a circle. She didn't ask why though. After the last question, she dare not push her luck a second time.
Before she knew it, they were both looking up at the Big Ben gore nest. That hellish eye gazed down at them and both heard a voice come from the gore nest. "Slayer!" It oozed evil and rumbled with malcontent. "So terrible to see you. And you brought a pet."
"Listen here, you disembodied git, I –"
The Slayer stopped her, glaring at her through his HUD.
Liu took a step back with a groan.
Looking back at the gore nest, The Slayer walked up to the front door and tried to open it, but it told him with a soft, female voice, "Access denied. Security yellow required."
The Slayer equipped his rocket launcher and blasted the door to pieces. Stepping inside along with Liu, they heard the demonic voice say, "That – that's not fair!"
Inside, they were met with a large force of demons. On the first floor several pain elementals came at them, while ten or more imps launched fireballs. Three pinkys then charged with a cybermancubus entering the fight from a broken elevator. Liu took cover behind a steel wall as The Doom Slayer went to work. The imps were easy, ripping and tearing them by the handfuls. The pain elementals were different. One of them The Slayer grabbed a hurled lost soul and threw it right back at the round, horned beast, chucking it down its gullet. A blast from the flame-belch and a rocket later, the thing fell to the ground in burning heaps. The other was punched into submission and pierced through its jaw and eyeball. Next came the cybermancubus. The ballista made short work of the armored monster. This was when three, new, armored monsters showed up. Two dread knights and a whiplash. It slithered on the ground as the two brutes stormed The Slayer. He rushed back towards the steel wall Liu was hiding behind and unleashed the mobile turret. The eighteen-barrel, blazing machine laid down a barrage of bullets and sprayed brass all along the ground. It's roar reverberated through the small room, shaking the tower with its cacophonous thunder. Liu covered her ears.
When it stopped, and Liu stood up from cover, the three beasts were red jello on the floor. The Slayer looked at the soldier and motioned towards the broken elevator. She looked at him and risked a question. "Is that where the heart is?"
The Slayer nodded.
"Bloody hell, even in the end times, I still find myself on a lift!" The Slayer hopped on top of the elevator followed by Liu. She sarcastically said, "Express lift to Hell, going down!"
He punched the cables to junk and the elevator fell to the sub-basement. The two followed a dugout tunnel to the line. They met an archanotron along the way that The Slayer easily dealt with, blasting its gob with the super shotgun. The dirt walls became soaked in dark blue.
As they proceeded downward, The Slayer did all the work. Entering the first station, Liu took cover and hoped she could stay out of The Slayer's way. The station filled with prowlers and he eviscerated them. A train then came in and the doors opened, unleashing a torrent of zombies. Soldiers, civilians, and things in between. They came through the doors in droves. The Slayer mowed them down with his pulse rifle, and chainsawed the rest. Still, the prowlers kept coming.
This was when Liu noticed the heart above the train. It beat with a steady pulse. She tried to sneak out as The Slayer boomed with his boomstick. She ran past the hordes and jumped on the roof of the train. 'Great, now what?!' she thought, remembering she didn't have a weapon. How was she suppose to stop the gigantic heart?
Suddenly, another train smashed into the one she was on top of. Falling, grabbing onto the roof of her train, she watched as the second train was ripped apart by a tyrant. If she didn't know any better, she'd say it was even the same one she had fought earlier.
It looked at and walked out of the steel car, ripping it off like a skirt. It roared and pointed its cannon right at her. "Bollocks!" she cursed.
Rolling off the train roof, falling to the platform, the tyrant's cannon blasted the train to pieces. "Shit!" she yelled, covering her face, rolling into a group of zombies. One was an ARC zombie, armed with a pulse rifle. She grabbed it and kicked it away, blasting the zombie to death… again.
Getting to her feet, she fired at the tyrant, but her shots did little to dissuade the behemoth from stalking her. It unleashed a volley of rockets making her sprint away. One caught her back and sent her flying. Liu's armor was a smoldering mess and she had to take it off, screaming in agony. She had lost her rifle in the last explosion.
Crying, she turned around and saw several zombies heading her way with the tyrant locking on. Those three red beams joining as one on her face. Closing her eyes, turning away, she didn't want to face the inevitable. But the inevitable never came.
She turned to look and saw The Doom Slayer on the shoulders of the tyrant. He held a red glowing sword high above his head. He bent back and cut the tyrant's head off his shoulders, then hopped down and cut its torso and legs into two more pieces, turning the giant, evil creature to slabs of meat. The rest of the zombies and prowlers evacuated, or were turned into visceral carpeting by The Slayer and his chainsaw.
Turning to look at Liu, he walked over and held out his hand. It was soaked in blood and gore, but she took it nonetheless and watched him cut the ventricles of the heart. The giant thing slapped onto the rails and was surrounded in electric charges. It then exploded with a burst of blood and muscle. It soaked the white tile red and covered everything in a pool of crimson.
A quake began as debris began to fall from the ceiling. The Doom Slayer pointed at the entrance and the two quickly ran out of the underground as Big Ben itself began to fall apart. The eye above turned over white and popped with puss and blood. The hell creep separated in geysers of maroon liquid as stone, glass, metal, and viscera fell to the ground as the gore nest came apart.
Liu said sadly, "Well, there goes Ben." She shook her head, adding, "Wish we could've saved you, mate."
The Slayer waited awhile, watching the fall with her. After it was done, and Liu had sat on the ground, still looking up at the once "Tower Of London," The Slayer turned and head off. She noticed and got up. "Hey, where are you going?!"
The Slayer looked down at the road and threw her her plasma rifle.
She caught it and said, disheartened, "So what? That's it? Demons gone, job done?!"
He turned and looked out at the horizon. He started walking.
"I can still help you."
He turned and held out his hand. He pointed at her and then harshly pointed at the road.
"No, Slayer, you need help."
Slyly cocking his head, The Slayer shook it.
"You can't… you can't do it by yourself!"
He started walking again. A few steps in, Liu saw a cacodemon hunting down an escaping family. She smacked The Slayer on the arm and said, "See?! We've got some action!" She sprinted and jumped down to fight the round, flying cyclops.
The Slayer stayed put and watched her easily handle the demon. He then headed off, leaving her to do what she needed to do: clean up what was left of London.