Chose your own adventure: Ranger’s Battle

Decked out in safety gear and wielding pickaxes, your parents looked a bit better than they did before in their pajamas. They’ve never really shown off how athletic they are, so you don’t know what will happen if you start fighting the enemy.

“I’ll watch over them,” Ranger says. “Don’t worry about them, you’re the one who we need to worry about the most.”

Creaking open the door, Ranger leads the way into the sewer. Your watch is still projecting the path toward the exit with its little arrows swimming upstream. The party takes a right turn down a dark passage and you find yourself looking at another locked maintenance door.

The laser blasters shorted out back in the room, so you can’t melt through the lock this time.

“I can handle this,” your dad says lining up his pickaxe with the lock. He swings. He misses. He swings. He slams the pickaxe on the wall. He swings. He breaks the pickaxe’s handle. Ranger pushes him out of the way.

With her superior strength, Ranger is the best bet to open it up with the pickaxe. She tells you to take a step back as she lines up the hit like a major league batter.

The lock doesn’t fall off with the first hit. The door hinges buckle and the door falls through the jamb. Ranger ushers your family through.

“I loosed up the hinges for her,” your dad says as he walks past you.

Another ten minutes in the sewers and you’re just about to reach the processing center that leads to the surface. Ranger slowly takes a peek into the next hallway. “We’re looking at about ten with claws, big teeth.” She rounds the pickaxe in her hands. “Let me handle this. If I need help I’ll call for you.”

With an inhuman yell, Ranger runs toward the demons with her pickaxe swinging. The first seven go down easy, but the last three jump her bringing her down to the ground. You watch as they begin to tear into her suit.

Before you can run out, your mother runs forward. She slams a pickaxe into the head of one of the monsters as your father grabs one of them from behind catching it in a German suplex. Ranger catches the third in a clutched fist and breaks it neck.

The demons are dispatched. Ranger leans against the tunnel wall wincing from the pain of her wounds. Her wounds being to steam at the sites of the damage and you watch as the wounds seal themselves with dark scabs.

She grabs you by the shoulder. “I’ll be ok,” she says coughing. “There are nano machines in my blood that take care of small wounds like this, but I don’t know if I’m going to be able to make it out of the tunnel.”

You look down at her leg and a large part of her calf is missing. She winces.

“The nano machines are good for cuts, not for damage like this,” she says. “I’m going to be too heavy to carry, so I’m telling you to keep moving down the sewer. They know you’re coming, so you’ll be taken care of to begin the resistance, but you’ll have to do it without me.”

An demonic scream fills the tunnel. The demons are coming.

Ranger grabs you by the collar and shoves you through the maintenance door. She grabs your parents and throws them through with a little more tenderness. Seeing her like this, you start to realize that this really is goodbye.

She slams the door shut and you hear as she shoves a pickaxe into it to shunt it locked.

Wiping a stray tear from your eye, you turn your back on the door and start walking.

A hand reaches out to you as you reach the surface. A man twice the size of anyone else around lifts you out of the sewer. His brow furrows, but he seems to realize who you are. He places you back on the ground and takes a knee on the ground.

“Ranger?” he asks.

“She didn’t make it,” your dad says.

The man sighs and stands up. “The name’s Bruiser, we’ll fight in her memory and bring this invasion to an end.”

The End.

— Page 18 —

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