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<  FAN SECTION  ~  Respect - a Pulp City short story

PostPosted: Tue Feb 09, 2010 12:38 pm
User avatarGuardian of PulpPosts: 4526Location: House of Jade LanternsJoined: Thu Aug 09, 2007 11:16 am
I have been working on a few writing projects in the past year or so, and this idea came about during that time. The core story arc was clear, and the story is a very simple premise that I approached with a view to technical aspects of the construction of the piece.

Please have a read of it and any feedback, comments or critique are all welcome.

PM me if you would like it in .pdf or .doc or .docx format to read through, thanks (I was unable to add these attachments).

The story is called 'Respect' and is in the following post.


Last edited by pulpcitizen on Tue Feb 09, 2010 12:41 pm, edited 1 time in total.


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PostPosted: Tue Feb 09, 2010 12:40 pm
User avatarGuardian of PulpPosts: 4526Location: House of Jade LanternsJoined: Thu Aug 09, 2007 11:16 am
Respect

Harrier banked though the darkened sky of Pulp City, drifting carefully across thermals created by the urban canyon through which she weaved her path. Glancing sideways she could see clouds gathering, their hues reminding her of venous blood.
Below her the crumbling tenements of Newport were never welcoming for outsiders, yet for Harrier it was simply part of the cityscape she called home. As Harriet Henderson she had lost so much ? brutally losing her family, and her very identity, coupled with the truth of the source of her amazing abilities revealed, that now she was something less and something more ? Harrier. In that persona she had found a certain sense of acceptance in Pulp City and amongst the tenants of Newport, and she would be damned if she wasn?t going to fight for it.
In the distance she could hear the sounds of Supreme battle, as conflict raged across several points of combat. The fog of urban war had overcome both factions. Both sides had seen their forces divided and separated, and so Harrier was now alone, performing an ad hoc reconnaissance of the perimeter of the battle-zone as she pursued her quarry.
Harrier reflected on the separation as she flew swooping, banking, twisting and turning through the air with grace, her short cape whipped by the breeze and her own momentum. Her dark attire was sparse, to maximize freedom of movement, but she wasn?t cold as she flew through the night sky. She found herself turning into streets at the periphery of the battle zone. Some of her current allies were downright creepy, and although she had worked alongside most of them before ? Trail, Red Riding Hoodoo and her undead wolf ?pet?, Six Feet Under, the crazed hellishly-empowered gravedigger, and worst of all Kitty Cheshire, whose motives were often suspect to say the least ? Harrier nonetheless was content to be scouting ahead on her own this time.
Harrier had been called to action earlier in the day by the mysterious Trail. The enigmatic master of minds had learned through his contacts that a group of villains planned a job in Newport that very night. Trail had been as annoying and in control as ever ? only telling those heroes he summoned what he wanted them to know, no more and no less. Harrier of course knew that there was more than he was saying, but Trail always kept some things back for his own arcane reasons.
So it was that as a disparate group of shadowy heroes entered the dimly lit streets of Newport, Harrier flew cautiously ahead of the main group. They were urged by Trail to intercept a group of villains determined to either steal or make use of some innocuous seeming statuary. It was a strange criminal enterprise no doubt. The statuary was somewhat baroque and gothic perhaps, but innocuous nonetheless. Or so Harrier thought. She never understood some of the stranger mysteries of the Supreme world.
The statues formed the rooftop ornamentation of several of the grandest buildings in the neighborhood, grand being relative in Newport. They were grotesque and richly detailed gargoyles adorning those edifices. The villains had in mind some nefarious goal that required control or capture of those statues. The heroes were determined to stop the criminal Supremes from achieving their intended agenda. In times past Harrier had found herself on the wrong side of such conflicts, swayed as she could be by the promise of rich rewards or resources to help in her own long-term ambitions of revenge against the man who callously dispatched her parents, but not this day, not this night.

Danny Ortega was a professional, a model professional in fact, something he knew about himself without needing self-reassurance or expressed affirmation. It took professionalism to rise above the sucking mire of miserable life that was Newport, probably the worst district in Pulp City. The irony that he fought so hard to exit his old life in Newport yet so often found himself working in and around the area was not lost on Ortega.
Professionalism was his watchword, and so formed the basis of his own personal code of operations. Not a moral code, as he felt ethics were for others to judge upon, unnecessary and superfluous for him in his chosen line of work.
So it was that Danny Ortega had embarked on a life as an admittedly criminal professional ? a gun for hire and possibly the best hit-man that Pulp City had ever seen. He had almost unparalleled skill with firearms, a determined ambition that had seen the demise of more than one recognizable Supreme, and he had made some particularly savvy tech investments that he subsequently reaped the benefits of in maximizing his unique skill-set. Thus, Danny Ortega had become known and feared as the Gentleman ? Supreme assassin.
Despite his own adherence to doing a job ?the right way?, and his clear code of operations, the Gentleman knew that few others in his line of criminal work shared those same traits. There were some he liked working with such as that Tangent chica, but too many of them were unprofessional or too wrapped up in their own weird motives. Especially the spooky ones.
The Gentleman had found himself partnered up on this job with Tangent, and a few others ? the strange reptile-man Francis Gator, the screaming dead-freak Mourn, and Boreas. The last one gave him real chills. There was little that truly scared the Gentleman, but Boreas did just that. Gentleman knew that the man in the suit whom he met when they gathered was just a host, a human husk to which the bloody demon-wind godling Boreas was anchored. The human host was simply a victim, one of countless many to the hate-filled creature.
It wasn?t a job he could turn down, that was made clear to him. More importantly his reputation mattered, so it was always an issue of balancing the jobs he wanted against those he did not. Not based on some ethical code, but more for how he would be affected in the long term. If nothing else, he liked to plan ahead.
How Necroplane, Coven and Forgotten aligned Supremes had come to be working together he just couldn?t say, but he knew it boded ill for someone. They were strange bedfellows sharing a degree of natural or possibly even supernatural enmity. What the Gentleman was certain of was that a job was going down and he would get a cut of the action. He didn?t always act out of material greed, of course; in fact during the last Ulthar invasion he had attained a folk hero status among many Pulp citizens for his sharp shooting as he sniped at alien foot soldiers from atop City Hall. But that situation was about self-preservation - he knew then that his own interests were best served in joining the defense efforts to repel the invaders so he could return to regular business as soon as possible.
Now the Gentleman found himself on a Newport rooftop looking out for any heroes who might try and interfere with his latest contract. He and Tangent had been hired to provide some deterrent while the other three did whatever they were planning. The Gentleman knew it involved some kind of mystic ritual and that it would be focused on some strange gargoyles fixed to the tops of the tallest building in Newport. He wished he had picked up some extra muscle, some hired guns, but ?needs as needs must?, and so the only support that had been recruited was deployed elsewhere at the heart of matters. He knew something bad would be coming, but he didn?t care what it was along as he got paid. He was a professional, after all.

Harrier?s airborne recon took her deeper into Newport?s labyrinthine streets. She knew that this night, like any other, all types of criminality would be underway in the warehouses, seedy bars and rundown apartment buildings beneath her. She guessed that in the shadowy alleyways deals would be done as drugs, weapons, and all sorts of illicit goods would exchange hands. Bloody handed violence in the underground fighting arenas would no doubt see grubby tainted money pass from one hand to another as wagers were placed, bets taken. All manner of dishonest actions and lack of respect for basic human decency could be happening almost within her reach, yet tonight she had to ignore all of that.
Harrier took a circular path towards the anticipated target area. She glided over roofs before diving into a narrow alleyway. She suspected that the criminal Supremes would have an outlier somewhere, so she opted to minimize the risk of long-range targeting. She effortlessly twisted her body through ninety degrees to avoid collision with an old iron fire escape as she flew on towards her destination.
As she rushed on, unfettered by the chains of gravity, Harrier thought about her current allies. She found them to an individual to be disconcerting, even amid the strangeness of life as a Supreme. However she had respect for their abilities and talents, despite their individual foibles. As infuriating as she found Trail to be, he was usually right and so she knew she had to help out when asked. The Heavy Metal guys may be more business-like than her current colleagues she thought, but she also reflected that these guys all wanted the best outcome and were better suited to arcane endeavors.
Knowing pain and loss at the hand of an evil man, Harrier respected that five disparate individuals could unite to try and defeat a rising darkness. She just hoped they were successful due to the grave warning that Trail had offered. His warning was ominous, and while she suspected a certain degree of theatricality of the man, she also believed his sincerity when he stated that should they prove unsuccessful that dreadful consequences would result. They had put aside individual loyalties to different teams in some cases, coming together with a singular purpose to achieve a critically important task, all mindful and therefore respectful of the need to act.
So Harrier sped forwards, exiting into a wider street, a more open area. She was instinctively aware of the risk she took in more open terrain, that she could be vulnerable to some kind of sneak attack.

The Gentleman surveyed the zone surrounding his chosen roof-top vantage, his diligent gaze cast across all visible areas, his eyes hidden behind dark glasses despite the moon-lit darkness.
His sniper rifle was held in one hand and resting on his shoulder as he idly thumbed the material of his dark blue pinstripe suit. The suit was a recent acquisition. Business had taken him to Europe, acting on behalf of Royal Investments. The job had gone well, as he had been able to work with an outfit of top quality criminals that he recruited from across that continent pretty quickly, guys who had experience in the military and knew how to do a job properly.
Once he had completed his European assignment, Ortega had allowed himself a few days off to visit London. He wasn?t too interested in seeing the sights or visiting the tourist attractions, instead he had much more specific intents. He visited a couple or highly recommended Savile Row tailors and had several suits made to order. They were artifacts of incredible workmanship, a sign of professional care and attention to detail and fit that he admired. They were not his more usual designer labels, but they signified a timeless sense of style and quality for him. He had chosen one tonight, possibly for the tentative reassurance of the workmanship that had been employed to make them, facing as he did uncertain allies in those grotesques he was currently working alongside. He didn?t envy Tangent who was operating in closer proximity to them than he was. In that she had his respect. He couldn?t offer much respect to his other allies except for the blunt efficiency they brought to bear in carrying out their oft woeful deeds.
He placed one foot firmly on the low rising wall that formed the perimeter of the roof, the foot adorned with an expensive hand-made Italian shoe. He suspected that none of his temporary team-mates would recognize or respect the quality of handiwork that had gone into making his shoes. He thought that such a lack of attention to detail in them was part of what marked them out as little more than bestial monsters instead of consummate professionals.
The Gentleman?s accomplished eye scanned streets and roof tops, looking for surreptitious movement or a careless glint or gleam of a reflective surface or light source that would reveal a foe. He methodically looked from street side to roof side, his gaze coolly traversing upwards and across, downwards and across, quickly and precisely, leaving no blanks spots unlooked at. He maintained this pattern continuously, his gaze moving methodically over and over until he saw?something.

Harrier?s flight took her from the relative safety of an alley between two tenement buildings, into one of the main streets serving Newport. At this time of night traffic was light, for Newport was certainly not the heart of the city?s nightlife, at least not for those honest individuals not seeking the illicit or immoral. The sounds of Supremes in battle were closer now. She thought she could make out a roaring sound which she suspected was the devastating winds of Boreas. Her compatriots had surely encountered those they were seeking to stop, and if Boreas was there, she knew she would have to move carefully. Blood-red storm clouds gathering in the distance confirmed her apprehension.
She banked once more, slicing upwards in a graceful arc as she altered course, redirecting herself towards the flanks of the battle that she estimated was probably a block or so ahead. As she did so a shot rang out, loudly piercing the relative calm that she was in. She felt a hot slicing pain in her left shoulder. Harrier caught a glimpse of brick wall to her left splintered around a small impact, and could see a bloody streaked wound where she had been grazed by a bullet. She dove downwards, jaw clenched as she tried to ignore the burning pain from her shoulder injury.

The Gentleman was stunned ? he had his shot lined up and still he missed a stopping hit. He recognized his target straight away as Harrier. A pretty little chica, he had no real desire to kill her unless he had too. They had worked together once or twice when the price was right, something they probably both kept quiet from their usual associates. That said, business was business and he had a job to. He had a reputation to maintain.
He thought through his options quickly. He would do best to try and keep her at a distance, pick her off or at least deter her by sniping at her. Now however she had flown near to the ground and was hugging what cover she could, so things were suddenly trickier. That was good, as he liked a challenge. A predatory smile crept across his lips.

Harrier hunkered down. She had descended to ground level to hide behind a rusting green dumpster marked Pulp City Public Works which was positioned at the mouth of an alleyway. The distant sounds of battle were dimmed in her focus as she concentrated on her surroundings and who her attacker could be. It could be that the criminal Supremes had hired some gun-hands. More likely though was a guy she had worked with before ? Gentleman. He had his own weird code of honor for sure, but Harrier didn?t doubt that while he was contracted to a job, that if she got in his way he would try and gun her down.
Harrier realized that she had to settle on a course of action quickly. If the Gentleman started sniping at her it would only be a matter of time before a shot found the mark. She leapt into the air, taking flight and rising as fast as she could, arcing higher and higher to bring her directly above the building she reasoned that he would be positioned on.

The Gentleman watched as a blurred streaking form shoot from the street below high into the darkened blood-tinged sky. Harrier moved so quickly he couldn?t draw a bead on her, no matter how good he was. She flew higher, up above cloud cover, and she avoided being silhouetted by the full moon. ?Good girl,? he thought, ?good move there chica?.
He had to think. He wouldn?t have much time to react to her next move. She would either leave the scene or try and take him on. If she did the latter, she would be coming at him as soon as possible, hard and fast. He knew her style; efficient violence was how he thought of it. He didn?t have much time to prepare, so he stole into what shadows he could find, to stand and lurk, awaiting Harrier?s assault.

Harrier inhaled deeply then dove. She dived fast, fast and hard, wind whipping her body, cape and figure-hugging clothes, as she ignored the intrusive buffeting of the city?s swirling thermals.
Harrier?s descent was straight and true, a relentless unstoppable flight downwards towards the shadows on the roof-top where her quarry waited.
At the last instant her fighting instincts took over as she leveled out her trajectory. Harrier reached out with her right hand, talons raking towards the Gentleman as she passed him by, landing several feet beyond him.

The Gentleman looked up to the sky, his eyes trying to take in as much as possible, to give him a clue from where she would strike. Unconsciously he held his breath for moments in anticipation. Close combat was never his forte.
He steadied his legs and his nerve as he saw her coming. She was beautiful for sure, but he thought at that moment she probably never looked more beautiful to him. There she was, coming directly for him, righteous fury and brutal intent in woman?s form and his first thought was how attractive he found her.
He fingered a cold metal device hidden beneath his tailored jacket. Before he could activate it the pain came, hot and searing as she slashed with her delicate and deadly talons. Blood seeped through four slashes in his shirt. He was injured but he thought he could make it. Survival instincts kicked into high gear as he threw down the flash grenade he had secreted under his jacket. He dashed sideways pulling his pistol and firing smoothly at Harrier, catching her with another winging shot, this time to he right leg. ?Not bad,? he mused to himself, ?for a guy who nearly had his guts spill out.?

Harrier realized that by putting some distance between them both, things were shifting back in the Gentleman?s favor. She had to act decisively or shift the odds. He would expect another assault or her to possible climb high and out of range, so she took a different tack.
She relaxed her posture as much as her twin injuries would allow, conjuring up her most flirtatious smile. She knew from past experience that the Gentleman had a soft spot for her, so now was time to take advantage of that. Harrier had many weapons to exploit, and she had few qualms about doing so when necessary.
?You don?t want to shoot at me again, do you?? it sounded like a question as she spoke, but she tried to make it rhetorical and enticing and provocative at the same time. Harrier knew all the strings to play with men like him. It was a gamble, but she took it anyway, for what was life without risks?

The Gentleman was stunned as he watched Harrier relax her stance. Instead of hurtling forwards for another taloned attack or fleeing as he expected, here she was flirting with him. He had always suspected this one-eyed chica was crazy, or at least crazy-beautiful, but he never thought she would pull something like this on him.
As Harrier spoke to him Gentleman found his body loosening. He lowered his hand-gun. She was there, crazy-beautiful and had just tried to disembowel him, and yet he did not and could not take the shot to put her down.
She was right, he did not want to shoot her. If he had to he would, he could coolly shoot any hero Supreme for the kudos alone, but in her case he preferred not too. If he stopped her interfering in whatever the freaks he was working with were doing then maybe that was enough to fulfill his contract. He thought briefly and decided it was. He had plenty of money and his reputation was strong, so he would not lose out this time, he was sure.

Harrier looked at Gentleman standing across the rooftop from her. As she did so she noticed calm had descended on the city district. The sounds of battle had gone, replaced with occasional sirens in the distance.
She risked a sidelong glance to where the action had been concentrated. She noted that the blood-clouds had dissipated; perhaps nature had overcome the dark intrusion of Boreas. Whatever had happened she suspected that the conflict was now over, and her mission concluded, one way or another.
She looked again at the Gentleman and suspected that realization was dawning upon him too. She smiled, not as an opportunistic distraction this time, but something more pleasurable.

The Gentleman took in the sights and sounds that had replaced those that had previously signified that Supremes were in battle. He knew it was over. He surmised that with a clearer night sky that the demon-freak Boreas was gone, and if that thing was gone, so were the rest probably. He quietly hoped their mission had failed, since he suspected something very bad would have followed. If they had failed in the execution of their task then his professional reputation remained intact.
He looked at Harrier, the crazy-beautiful chica. Maybe she was not so crazy he reflected, if they could both walk away from this, and things had turned out okay for them both.
?Looks like it?s all over, now,? He began, ?You fought well, I gotta respect that.? As he finished he slung his rifle over his shoulder, and turned his back to walk away, raising a hand to wave nonchalantly above his shoulder, smiling warmly to himself.


Characters and names copyright ? Pulp Monsters, story and text copyright ? Leon Mallett, 2010.



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PostPosted: Tue Feb 09, 2010 4:02 pm
User avatarHeraldPosts: 725Joined: Tue Jun 24, 2008 8:25 pm
nice ! Don't you have another one in stock?



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John S.'painting completion:
Dr Red 26%
Dr Mercury 100%
Seabolt 12%
Dr Tenebrous 100%
C.O.R.E. 100%

Pulp City collection (84,21% painted):
32* Supremes out of 38**
*incl. alt. Gentleman
**incl. Herald
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 09, 2010 4:04 pm
User avatarGuardian of PulpPosts: 4526Location: House of Jade LanternsJoined: Thu Aug 09, 2007 11:16 am
Thanks for reading, John. :)

There are a couple or so others I am working on, the next one to be finished will likely be a Pulp citizen POV piece.



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PostPosted: Tue Feb 16, 2010 4:24 pm
User avatarGuardian of PulpPosts: 4526Location: House of Jade LanternsJoined: Thu Aug 09, 2007 11:16 am
Any comments and criticism welcome.



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