Dark Fate 8 — Did you think I’d forgotten?

*FIRST AND VERY IMPORTANTLY, THIS IS NOT CANON.  THIS IS COMPLETELY UNSANCTIONED (okay, not completely.  Larry said I could do this for you guys without his ripping my head off) MHI FANFIC.
Good, now that we got that out of the way, why am I doing this?  Both Grant and Fado Negro (Portuguese Monster Hunters) have minuscule parts in Guardian, the MHI book I’m collaborating with Larry Correia on.  However, obviously the Portugal of Monster Hunter is not the real Portugal (Really, no arcane creatures come stumbling out of the undergrowth there.  If there were arcane creatures, the country would be chock-a-block in them, when you take in account the continuous human occupation since… well, forever.)  And this story gives me more of an opportunity to firm the worldbuilding.  (Yes, it would be MUCH easier to do this with a notebook and noting things down, but that’s not how my mind works, d*mn it.)
Okay, that’s the rational excuse.  The real reason is that d*mn Grant Jefferson won’t leave me alone.  (Always had a thing for men from Patrician New England families.  Ask my husband.)  So I’m torturing him.  Also Guardian won’t come out until I do this more or less at same time (I’ll be sending first chapter of that to Larry soon.)
Will this ever be a book?  Don’t know.  First Guardian will get delivered.  Then, this being finished, I throw it at Larry.  And then it’s his SOLE DECISION. (Which means, don’t you monkeys hassle him.)  It’s his world and his character.  I’m just grateful he lets me play in it in Guardian and here for your amusement.*

For those who have no idea what this is, Dark Fate starts

First chapter is here.

Second Chapter is here

Third Chapter is here

Fourth Chapter is here

Chapter 5 is here.

Chapter 6 is here.

Last episode is HERE.

Dark Fate 8

Silvia, the dark, curly haired Portuguese hunter who had been giving me the tour, turned and said something.  I didn’t know the word, though it sounded like a latinized version of “stupor.”  I wondered if it was some kind of incantation.  It had the tone of a swearword, but the meaning didn’t fit.

She grabbed my arm, “Come on.  I’ll tell you the story as we go.  We are needed, and you’re going to get a sense of what monster hunting is like around here.  And of what we’ve been facing.  And we get to see how you fight.”  She gave me a smile.  I just want to say it wasn’t entirely pleasant.  People always seem to underestimate my fighting abilities, partly, I think, because I’m too handsome, but surely with bruises all over my face I didn’t look that handsome anymore?

No, an internal voice said.  It looks like you get beat up a lot!

She’d pulled me back into the big main room.  People were grabbing weapons and guitars from the wall, and I wanted to say that I’d take a flute, though there was none in sight,just to mess with them.  Seriously, what kind of monster hunt called for guitars, of all things?  Were they going to scare the monster away with their singing?

But I had no time to say anything, because Silvia was also grabbing stuff off the wall, and turned to me and said, “what do you shoot?”

I stopped myself just short of saying “monsters” because the meaning penetrated.  “I have a Glock,” I said.

She snorted.  What in hell?

“Not a little pistol,” she said.  “You’re going to need a real gun.”  She handed me this thing that looked like a world war II rifle had a baby with a machine gun.  “You have no idea what sirens can do if you think that you can take them on with anything short of automatic fire.”

“But…”  I looked at the gun.  I still didn’t know what it was.  Did they make their guns in backyard forges?  “Aren’t sirens just really seductive creatures that steal your soul in the… in the act?”

“Stupid,” she said.  “Not that kind.”  Then she frowned.  Around us the other people were packing up weapons and slinging guitar cases, and leaving.  I could hear the elevator shriek out in the hall.  “Now I think about it, she said, our sirens might be different.  Portugal has always been a seafaring country, and we attract different kinds of sea monsters.  You know the sirens who tried to sink Ulysses?”

I had a vague memory from my high school classes, so I nodded.  She said, “Yeah, these would be sort of like that, except their singing not only can control humans, but it can command all the people that drowned in the sea in that area.  And old ships.”  She shuddered.  “You need a high rate of fire.”

“You mean it’s a zombie sea-apocalypse?”

She said.  “It’s revenants, mostly, not really zombies, but it’s… They can make skeletons that no longer have flesh take flesh of anything around.  Oh, yeah.”  She had already grabbed a gun similar to mine, but now she grabbed a bright, plastic water gun.  “Holy water helps.  At least agains the Catholic dead.  It can overcome the command of the sirens.”

“Silvia, are you coming or not?” A guy who hadn’t gone with the others was standing by the door scowling at us. He had a phone to his ear.  “The van has to leave. Anibal says that if we don’t come they’ll go without us.”

“You go,” she said.  “I’ll take my car, so I can brief the American task force.”  I’d got what he said, even though he was speaking in Portuguese, but she answered him in English, and I tried to tell myself there wasn’t dripping sarcasm in the words “American task force.”

Unfortunately I understood what the guy muttered, as he walked away.  Something about how I was supposed to help and not be a baby needing babysitting.  My face burned with a blush.  Silvia turned to me.  “Now, do you need anything else?”

“I don’t think so,” I said.  I heard the groaning of the elevator outside, indicating that the guy was going down, leaving me alone with Silvia.  Which wouldn’t be so bad, if I didn’t have the impression she was mocking me.  “I don’t play guitar.”

There was an expression of confusion, but then she laughed.  “Yeah, this is why I need to brief you.”  She put a black cloak over her shoulders, hiding the weapon slung at her shoulder, and then made a mmmm sound, looking me over.  Not like she was appreciating me, more like she was trying to figure out something.  She sighed, ducked into the room where I’d seen the woman ironing shirts, and came back with a black cloak.  I was still holding the rifle-machine gun- thing and hadn’t done anything with it.  Silvia took it as if I were a toddler, and slug it over my shoulder on its strap, then put the cloak on me.  It was shorter on me than on the rest of the guys, but as she tied it around my neck, I realized that it did indeed hide my weapon.

“What kind of gun is that?” I asked.  “I’ve never seen–”

“It’s an FBP,” she said, and to my blank look, “You mean you never heard of FBPs in America?  It’s only one of the best submachine guns ever built.  Never mind.  I’ll tell you in the car.”

She walked out into the elevator, waited till I was in — I tried not to show I was shaking — closed the door.  Then she looked upwards and shouted, “Tareco, take us down.”

We started moving much more steadily than I had when I was in the elevator by myself.  I looked up, and could see the same panorama of chain, cobwebs and rust as before, but now in the middle of it, there was a very large, blue, clawed hand, pulling at the chain.

“Tareco?” I said, my voice faltering.

“There’s nothing to worry about.  He’s harmless.  We only let him out when the soccer club wins, because people then think he’s a balloon.”

“WHAT?”

“Oh, he’s a dragon,” she said.  She fished for a packet of cigarettes from her jacket pocket, lit a cigarette and took a puff.  “We captured him some years ago.  Well, in my grandmother’s time.  But really, he’s harmless.  He was holed up in a cave, scared of everyone.  So we took him in.  He’s okay.  Like a big, giant cat.  Hence, Tareco.”

“Oh,” I said.  Monster hunter also had monsters working for them, but a dragon seemed like a large risk to be taking.

“He’s our first level of security.  If you’d been unauthorized, he’d have burned you to a crisp when you left the elevator.”

Harmless my butt.  Anything that can make you crispy and might think you’re good with ketchup isn’t harmless.  I kept a very careful eye on the creature up there, and if I’d had the slightest notion if there were any special tricks to firing this FBP thing, I’d have shot it, just on principle.

But the elevator ride was much smoother, and no one made any comments as we exited via the tunnel, the office and the deli.

Her car was a Renaut so tiny that I sat with my knees almost at my chest, even though she put it back as much as possible.  Well, not their fault I was outsized even in America.

She drove like monster hunters tend to drive: when you risk your life ten times a day it doesn’t seem worth it to drive like a grandmother.

Only here everyone drove like that.  I’d driven in Italy once, and thought it was crazy.  Now I longed for the restraint and careful respect for human life the Italians had shown.

We drove against the traffic in what I was sure was a one-way street, plunged down an alley where I was sure there wouldn’t be enough room between two rows of parked cars, but through which Silvia seemed to maneuver us, unscathed, with minor movements of the wheel.

As we emerged into a crowded city street that I was sure was designed for two lanes but supported six at the moment, Silvia relaxed, turned to me and said, “Now, some History.  It all started with King D. Manuel.”

 

 

67 responses to “Dark Fate 8 — Did you think I’d forgotten?

  1. Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

    Hope they’re feeding Tareco properly. 😉

    • I dunno knights are hard to come by and they rarely have the outer shell that makes them crispy anymore.

      • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

        Knights always were a luxury food item and were cleaned properly before eating.

        Of course, many dragons sold the armor to dwarfs for them to recycle. 😉

  2. paladin3001

    c4c….nap time and to read later. 🙂

  3. I hate to grumble about free tale, but this one is like being fed with an eyedropper.

      • Two thousand words? Bah! I sneer at two thousand words, is barely enough to occupy two minutes in a corner. And I shall note that many of those words are mere filler, words like articles, conjunctions, pronouns and prepositions, lacking any real substance.

        Plots want to be advanced, and violence needs expression. This am amble through park, looking at flowers.

      • I consume two thousand words before breakfast, most days.

  4. richardmcenroe

    TWO trips in that elevator? Grant must laugh in the face of death. And in public, for no reason at all.

    Actually, if he get a closer look at the FBP, a LITERAL bastard child of the M3 and the MP40, he’d be even more frightened.

    • Yep. I USED that visit to the military and gun museum, see…

    • I’m fictionalizing the entire factory because Fabrica do Braco de Prata is Factory of the silver arm. I think the owner will come into this…

      • Well, the Children of Mil came from Spain, and the Children of the Goddess Dana came from islands in the Atlantic. So if Nuada decided to move to Portugal along with the Wild Geese of Ireland, I am okay with that.

        • richardmcenroe

          I wonder if there’s any connection between the Tuatha de Danaan and the Daughters of Danae?

          • Christopher M. Chupik

            Could be. “Dan” or some variant is a part of several Indo-European goddess names.

            • Typically associated with water – look at the river names with “d*n” as their root – Danube (Donau), Don, Dnieper, Dniester, Dee in Wales and England.

              • Remember that the original Irish came from the peninsula, and that buried under layers of suppression, a lot of the “fairytales” are the same. In Portugal they usually involve either witches or saints, but the plot is exactly the same.

    • It looks like a Sten gun, only crappier. 9mm for monsters? Egad. Must be some pretty wussie monsters, Sarah. You couldn’t give the poor guy a G3? Or even an under-the-table FAL? Those things are almost as common as the AKs.

      • Seriously — he’ll have issues with it. Trust me.

      • Naw, for a Sten gun that would probably be on the high side of average looking. I wonder how many machined (on a lathe, etc.) parts are in it? I think a Sten had one; everything else was stamped. In contrast, the Thompson submachine gun showed it’s peace time roots as it was mostly machine made, leading to higher cost and needing a more equipped factory to make.

        It’s got the MP-40’s barrel and magazine well.

        • Seeing one in passing I’d mistake it for an MP-40, then looking closer I’d do a “no, wait, wtf?” and have to work to try and figure it out.

          STEN guns have the distinctive sideways magazine, so it’s not a STEN.

          Note I would not want to go up against anything humanity classes as a monster with something that only fires 9mm parabellum – if for some reason I was restricted to pistol calibers, I’d be asking the unit armorer if there’s a subgun that fires 44 magnum.

          • MP 3008 then… which was a Sten with a vertical magazine, for all intents

          • Terry Sanders

            Rimmed cartridges don’feed that well through auto actions. You might as well go straight to .50 AE.

    • I know what the official parentage is, but it LOOKS like there’s a Sten Gun in the woodpile.

  5. RES, that is the way it works, silly. They end a chapter at a crucial point to leave you wanting more and more…addictive. Like when a tv show has a cliffhanger?

    Very good, Sarah, I can’t wait to see what halpens next and xan’t wait for Guardian!

  6. scott2harrison

    New York cabbies? Ha! I drove a New York cabbie once in this very car. Had to take him to the asylum, he went full catatonic. New York? Ha!! This is Portugal!!!!

    • Uh. YES. After driving in Portugal, Dan doesn’t even break a sweat while driving in NYC.

    • New York cabbies are pussies. I used to intimidate the hell out of them with a crappy S-10 pickup truck. Tailgate ’em, cut them off, give them the finger, they didn’t do squat.

      I can only imagine how my crew cab would be received. They’d pee their pants while running away to hide.

    • For really scary cab drivers, go to Italy south of Rome. Or so my parents aver. Although “Boris” in San Francisco was quite something. And then there was Ivan in Vienna, who kept turning to look at us, as if he’d never seen live Americans in his taxi before. This while moving through Vienna traffic.

      • BobtheRegisterredFool

        I think I remember reading something once about a man retired from a Russian intelligence service working as a cabbie.

        What passes for my muse says that I should use something like that in a project whose worldbuilding may not permit it.

      • Crud, yes, that was what made me nervous about my Moscow cabbie. He kept turning around to talk to me. Yes, Columbus drivers are pretty mellow, but sheesh!

      • Tuk Tuk cab driver in Bangkok. While threading traffic @ 30 km/hr he took his hands off the controls and made a full wai to an ornate structure by the side of the street. Apparently our route took us past his ancestral shrine,

      • Oh, man. Cabbies in Seoul are nuts. Another of those cities that takes a normal 4 lane road (2 each way) and turns it into 12 lanes outside of rush hour. Right of way? Well, they subscribe to “might makes right” traffic rules. Explains why the GIs loved taking the 5 ton trucks through the city during rush hour.

        After that, my time in NYC didn’t faze me.

        • Dad still complains about the Iranian cabbies. My parents were guests of the Shah, Dad ran a paleontology digsite there. Apparently physics didn’t apply, only Allah’s will, so things like gas, backing up several blocks, driving in the lane nominally assigned to the opposite direction, and so on, were perfectly valid driving choices.

          Dad’s been complaining about those cabbies ever since.

          • trailing wife

            Mr. Wife spent almost the entirety of six months in Cairo in 1986-7. Hiring a taxi by the week was both cheaper and safer than renting a car; the driver knew his travel schedule better than I did, and helped him practice his Arabic.

            Not long after he came back for the last time, we went into downtown Cincinnati for the evening. Mr. Wife was baffled as to why I pointed out extremely calmly that he was driving the wrong way up an unlighted one-way street. “After all,” he said, “I have my l lights on, and there is only one car coming the other way.”

            In Cairo they were accustomed to driving with or against traffic as
            most suited the needs of the moment — with the lights off at night to save the battery. Insh’allah, it is Allah’s whim whether one lives or dies, and taking precautions will not change it.

    • Moscow cabbie in Columbus, Ohio is scary. For all the other cars, mostly.

  7. I remember being 16 driving on I-85 going to a wedding in High Point, NC. Sheer terror, but I survived.

    • I live in the Piedmont of NC and am familiar with the area. Were you approaching High Point from the north or south? Was this before the I-85 by-pass was built or after the most recent upgrade to the by-pass to accommodate the addition of I-73?

      I think that the old I-40 through Winston-Salem before they straightened out Hawthorne curve was even worse. I-40 (now business) in Winston-Salem is one of the oldest remaining original sections Interstate highway system. They finally finished the upgraded rebuilding of the western half and have begun on the second half.)

      • For a bit of perspective on the age of that section of highway, I recently saw in a railroad magazine a photo of some of its overpass columns going in. The train was being pulled by a steam locomotive.

      • From Raleigh, which would be north I guess. I think it was 1979.

        You scared me for a second there, CACS. I thought at first that you were saying that I-85 was no longer under construction, which would be (as is well-known in these parts) a sign of the end of the world.

        • I recall when the section of 85 coming through Greensboro, where I-40 split off to go West toward the Blue Ridge mountains was known throughout the East Coast as “Death Valley.” It seems to me that by the time you approached High Point you were past the worst of it.

        • No, no, that would be if I-25 in Trinidad CO was ever officially declared finished and they took down all the signs and orange stuff. I’ve been informed by folks from MN and CO that I-25 in Trinidad CO is where souls go to work to prepare them for a stay in Purgatory (theological, not skiing).

        • Oh dear me no, if that is the indicator rest assured we have a while. I go to monthly meetings in the Tidewater area of VA and am presently taking alternate routes to avoid I-85 in the northern section of the state. Having rebuilt the north bound lanes from the ground up they have now started to do the same for the south bound lanes. And, of course, there is the ongoing mess in Cabarrus County north of Charlotte.

          (If you live in the Raleigh area you don’t need to be told what they are doing to I-40 there…)

      • Wait, did you say I-seventy-three—not I-77?

        (And I gotta get away from the keyboard. Ciao.)

        • And I-40 near Wilmington is among the newest, but maybe not since it’s 20 years old, I think. There was a sign right as you cleared Wilmington: Barstow, California 2,400, but I suppose too many copies got lost in the dorms of UNC-W. I wish I had a picture.

          • New Mexico used to have a Route 666 which ran more or less parallel to the Western border. For a while the state kept replacing signage, but finally gave up and changed the designation.

            I believe that the it was declared that the last section of the original proposed interstate system to be opened was I-70 through Glenwood Canyon, Colorado. It was finished later in the same year that I-40 was completed.

            (Mind you there are a few of gaps remaining, notable ones in I-95 in New Jersey and I-70 in Pennsylvania, but this is government work.)

        • I was gonna describe this boondoggle, but Wikipedia does it adequately:

          Interstate 73 (I-73) is an intrastate Interstate Highway, located within the U.S. state of North Carolina. It is part of a longer planned corridor, defined by various federal laws to run from Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, to Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan, but only the part south of West Virginia is under study as of 2012. The corridor passes through the states of South Carolina, North Carolina, Virginia, West Virginia, Ohio, and Michigan. Ohio and Michigan do not plan to build any part of the highway, as the I-73 corridor in both of these states is already served by existing freeways or 4-lane highways that will eventually be upgraded to freeways. West Virginia is building its section, mostly along U.S. Highway 52, as a four-lane divided highway, but not meeting the Interstate Highway standards. On the other hand, North Carolina and South Carolina have built sections and Virginia plans to build its part. Thus Interstate 73 will, once scheduled projects are completed, run from South Carolina to Roanoke, Virginia, where it will end at Interstate 81. Associated with these plans are those for the extension of Interstate 74 from Cincinnati to Myrtle Beach, with several highway overlaps contemplated.

          Currently, there is one continuous section of Interstate 73, traversing 82.4 miles (132.6 km) along the US 220 freeway from Ellerbe, NC to Greensboro, NC.
          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Interstate_73

          • snelson134

            I-85 is also notorious because it dead-ends abruptly at Montgomery, AL, because of the civil-rights feud between George C Wallace and the Kennedys. It was originally intended to continue across AL to Meridian MS where it would join with I-20.

            Ironically (or intentionally; Democrats were involved), by refusing to complete I-85 along that route, the people most harmed by this urinary olympiad were blacks; the route would have run straight through the “Black Belt”, through Selma, Demopolis, etc., which are 75%+ black population counties and towns.

  8. Christopher M. Chupik

    Actually, I was wondering if you had forgotten.

    Glad that you didn’t.

  9. You keep saying “MHI fanfic” like it’s bad thing —?

  10. “Now I longed for the restraint and careful respect for human life the Italians had shown.”

    Blast it, coffee on the keyboard again.

  11. Thank you! It’s awesome.

  12. BobtheRegisterredFool

    Circles can be defined as all the points on a plane of a set distance from a specific point. They can also be defined as a subset of conic sections. Conic section theory first defines a set of doubled cones described by a line rotating around an axis passing through said lines. A specific conic section is the intersection of the surface of those cones with a specific plane. (Or the intersection of those cones with a plane.) Circles are conic sections where the intersecting surface is perpendicular to the axis of rotation.

    Spheres are the one greater dimension analogue of circles. They can be defined as those points in a volume of given distance from a specific point. I have just enough spoons and math to ask, but not figure out, what the next greater dimension analogue of the conic section definition would be?

  13. BobtheRegisterredFool

    *Finally gets around to reading.* King D. Manuel “King D. Manuel”

    I know this must be some perfectly legitimate foreign usage, but I’ve got to make some sort of snarky comment about One Piece.

    I had been wondering if Ace was supposed to be Portuguese.

  14. Thank you Thank you Thank you Thank you Thank you Thank you Thank you Thank you Thank you Thank you Thank you Thank you!!!!

    I really love the Dark Fate story line. I’m really looking forward to reading Guardian when it’s ready.

  15. Pingback: Dark Fate 9 A – That’s a WHAT? | According To Hoyt