17 | DRAGONSLAYER
DECK 04, MENDEL STATION | 0720 HOURS ZULU
The talishar roared at Gordon, flexing its massive body and rippling muscles that far out massed the Sergeant Major that was past his prime. Yet the talishar, far all of its predator instincts, over powering muscles, and natural combat weapons, was not prepared for a marine who was willing to do anything to win and keep his squad alive.
Though the talishar thought like an animal that was hungry after over a hundred years of sleep, it couldn’t see past the blood and flesh that was standing foolishly in front of it. It took a step forward to end the fight before it could begin and Gordon kicked it squarely between the legs with his steel toed boot.
It did not have the desired effect he had hoped for. The talishar merely paused for a moment and Gordon frowned at the fact that the dragon’s anatomy was apparently more different than he thought. It lashed out with a backhand that caught Gordon in the shoulder and sent him stumbling across the platform into the wall.
Pain raced through his shoulder from the blow, but he could still move his arm thankfully and quickly redirected the next blow that would have clawed his face off with shift in his body and a palm strike to the dragon’s forearm that drove its clawed fist into the wall.
It was easy for Gordon to tell that a strength on strength fight would only result in his death as the talishar was much stronger than he was. Thankfully, the Confederation did not make dumb marines and spent millions of credits to ensure that the best was trained as such.
Spec Op marines were trained in a variety means of combat from weapons to hand to hand combat. Gordon had taken a liking to the various martial arts that were available to him to learn during long voyages onboard a ship with little to do. He had spent years studying and learning various fighting styles so they in the event that he was forced to fight hand to hand, he would be able to call upon his vast knowledge of martial arts to keep himself alive. It was that knowledge that he tapped into now that he was facing the greatest melee combatant known to man. Since most focused martial arts were designed to be used against human targets, some were more flexible and adaptable to his particular situation and the one that stood out the most was hapkido. It also happened to be his favorite.
Hapkido was a martial art that had been developed hundreds of years ago back on Earth that focused on join locks, throws and quick devastating strikes. The style had been practiced by his family for generations and had been drilled into him since childhood by his father Jack Gordon, a retired Special Forces marine. At first, Gordon complained about the long hours of practice like any child would, but over the years, he found the style to be beautiful in its grace and terrifying in its ferocity. It was a style that had served him well as a marine and saved his ass more than once in a tight spot. The fight he was now in against the talishar would prove to be his most difficult fight yet.
The talishar moved its head in to try and quickly bit at Gordon’s face, but he ducked under its extended arm and made two rapid palm strikes against the dragon’s flank. The body blows did little to injury the dragon, but they were more to try to distract and move the hulking brute in the way that he wanted.
The dragon obliged him and turned its big body around to try and swipe at him with its claws. Gordon ducked under the swipe while bringing up his hands to grab onto the dragon’s wrist. He then twisted his hips and shifted the strength of the swipe away from the talishar and towards the ground. The dragon’s own strength worked against it and it came crashing to the ground with a roar of frustration.
Gordon moved quickly while the dragon was on the ground, twisted its arm, pinned it to its back, and held it in place with his knee. He then took hold of the talishar’s head and pulled back with all of his strength. The surge of adrenaline helped him pull, but he wasn’t strong enough to break the creature’s neck on the initial pull.
It also distracted him from the talishar’s tail that whipped up and across the back of his head. The force of the blow threw Gordon off the dragon’s back and across the floor. He rolled across the floor and came to a stop at the far wall.
The dragon roared in anger as it pulled itself off the floor onto all fours and turned to face Gordon who was also trying to get back up to his feet. It dug its claws into the metal floor and charged at him full force, plowing its shoulder into his gut. It then stood up at the end of the charge and picked him up off the ground. With its clawed hands it grabbed him by the hips, pinned him against the wall, and brought its mouth to bear.
Gordon was racked with pain all over his body, but flirting the line with death helped him push the pain away and focus on the task of staying alive. He growled himself as he brought his hands up and began punching and clawing at the dragon’s face as it tried to bite him. It’s teeth bit deep into his shoulder, but brought its face close enough for him to gain some much needed leverage. With his free hand he jabbed his fingers into the right eye of the talishar and pushed as hard as he could.
For all of the armored scales and superior strength that the dragon had over him, its eyes were just as delicate as a human’s was. Gordon screamed as the dragon bit down harder on his shoulder that only drove him to push harder on the talishar’s eye until he heard a squishy pop and then a gush of blood flow out from its eye. The dragon immediately let go of the bite and backed away as he brought its hands up to its face.
Gordon slumped to the ground and groaned as blood ran freely from his shoulder. The mix of black and red colored the floor, viewable for only a few moments as the lights flickered off and on for a moment. In that moment of clarity with the lights, Gordon spotted his broken carbine next to him and the vibroblade attachment still on and intact.
He slumped over, reached for the blade, and pulled it over to his lap. He tried to reach over with his left arm, but found that it wasn’t willing to cooperate very well or quickly. He growled and fumbled with the attachment to try to get it free from the carbine. As he did so, he spared a glance at the dragon as it backed all the way up to the far side wall of the stairwell. At that point, it had recovered enough from the pain that it stopped moving and looked to Gordon with its one good eye.
Worry crept into the back of Gordon’s mind as he continued to fight with the vibroblade attachment that wouldn’t come loose from the twisted carbine.
The talishar roared and then pounced into the air with its claws extended right at him just as the attachment clicked free of the carbine. Gordon pitched forward into a roll and sliced out with the vibroblade as the dragon sailed over him and landed in the spot he was just sitting at.
A gush of black blood hit the floor from the gaping wound the blade left on the dragon’s leg. Gordon rolled back gracefully onto his feet and brought the blade up in a defensive position in front of him. The dragon whirled around to face him, seemingly not fazed by the large cut on its leg. It then charged forward, swiping with both claws at Gordon who dodged to the right and into the dragon’s blind spot. He drew the blade across the dragon’s midsection and spilled more black blood onto the ground as it bit deeply into the dragon’s flesh.
The multiple cuts and the loss of an eye was starting to push the talishar over the edge as it quickly began to succumb to battle lust and pain. It lashed out with its arm for Gordon who ducked underneath and made a quick slash across the underarm. The blade opened more flesh and nearly severed the arm completely off; instead, it just flopped down to its side useless.
Instinct took over the talishar at this point as it quickly tried to grab Gordon with its good arm, but only grabbed air as the smaller human once again ducked out of the way and behind it. He thrust the blade into the small of the back and then flicked his wrist upward. The vibroblade cut neatly at a diagonal through scale, flesh, and bone and ended at the talishar’s spine, severing it in two.
The dragon dropped to the ground as it lost all control of the lower half of its body. It’s roars of anger and pain turned to just whimpers as it saw its death rapidly approaching. Gordon turned to face the dragon fully and then drove the vibroblade into the dragon’s forehead. It’s tail twitched for a few more seconds as it was unaware that the body had died before coming to a stop.
Gordon gave a thankful sigh as he had survived the fight. Yet, his respite lasted only a few seconds as the sounds of more growls from hybrids came from the hallway.
“Out of the pan and into the god damn fire.” Gordon swore and forced his beaten body to get up and stumble its way up the stairs.
At the top of the stairs, he found McAdams holding onto Daniels as Yamoto had the control panel off the wall and was working with the wires behind it.
“What the hell happen down there?” Karzarian asked he looked over the very bloodied Gordon.
“Dragon.” was all he could muster between breaths.
Karzarian blinked in amazement, “You fought a fucking dragon? Are you insane?”
“Yeah, but he hit like a bitch.” Gordon replied with a weak chuckle.
“Incredible.” Karzarian shook his head.
“You got any stardust left?” Gordon asked.
Karzarian nodded, “Just one.”
“Hybrids inbound.” Gordon said and moved up the stairs to Yamoto and the control panel.
Karzarian groaned, “Of course, cause why would they leave us alone now?” he said and pulled out his last stardust grenade and dialed down the ignition to three seconds and waited. Once he saw the slightest hint of movement at the broken doorway next to the dead talishar, he tossed the grenade with his good arm and then backed up.
The explosion from the grenade rocked the stairwell, causing the marines to have to reach out and grab onto the railing or the wall to keep from falling over. The screams of the dying hybrids was a welcome sound the echoed through the stairwell.
“Rikichi, I need that door open.” Gordon said between winces of pain.
“Almost there…” he said without looking away.
“Uh guys…” Karzarian said as he peeked back around to the deck below them. “We got a problem!” he then raised his carbine and snapped off several shots into a hybrid’s head as it tried to go through the doorway.
“Get that thing open!” Gordon yelled and then grabbed the spare R-92 carbine that was hanging off Daniel’s back. He made his way down the stairs to join Karzarian as he fired off another burst at a second hybrid.
“Almost…” Yamoto said absently as he was completely absorbed in his work trying to open the door.
“So close.” Gordon said quietly as he joined Karzarian in dropping a third hybrid. Even as its body hit the ground, another two took its place in the door with even more behind them.
“Yeah.” Karzarian agreed, acknowledging the fact that they were trapped.
“I got it!” Yamoto screamed as the door to deck three swooshed open to reveal a hybrid with its mouth open ready to strike.