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Thevshi

Merchants of Death (IC)

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Southside, Freedom City, New Jersey
Friday April 4, 2014
11:31 PM

The weeks since Foreshadow had encountered some of the shadowy mystery man's men and Sureshot in Southside had been busy for the costumed crime fighter. The continued disruption of the status quo in areas of the neighborhood had kept him busy, trying to help curb the violence that was erupting between displaced gangs and other criminal elements. Some of his time had also been spent in trying to track down leads on Doctor Zero, the former Soviet superspy that had evaded capture during the incident at the Winter Olympics.

There had been a few more brushes with the mystery man's men, who were well trained and equipped in comparison to those being displaced. But none had brought Foreshadow any closer to their boss than the prior ones, the crime fighter's normally reliable post-cognitive abilities continuing to fall short. And so he had needed to continue to focus on the more traditional methods of investigation to try to make some headway. Foreshadow had managed to track down the source of the military grade weapons the mystery man's men were using, Grigory Salnikov, an arms dealer with strong ties to military units in several of the breakaway Russian states.

But knowing that Salnikov was providing the arms and ammunition was one thing, actually finding Salnikov himself proved to be yet another difficult task. But persistence and determination eventually paid off for the costumed vigilante, and he had learned that Salnikov was attending a show at an underground nightclub in the area of Southside that bordered the Boardwalk.

And so Foreshadow sat on a rooftop a couple of blocks from the site of the underground show. The building was an old, multi-story warehouse. Most of the windows had been boarded up or painted over, making it hard to see what might be going on inside. The event could be using any one of the many floors, or maybe even a good number of them. A small crowd was gathered around what had once been the back loading dock for the warehouse, with several large bouncers there to control when people were able to get in. Foreshadow could see a number of other security personnel on the rooftop and at one of the corners of the building he could see from where he was.

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Rooftop security.  Nowadays, everyone with something to hide has rooftop security.  Foreshadow eyed the building carefully.  Salnikov's methodology was nothing if not careful.  As evident by how hard it was to get eyes on him in the first place.  He could probably sneak into the underground club easily enough theoretically. 

 

Foreshadow estimated that the roof was still the obvious point of entry for sneaking into the underground club without causing a stir.  Only if sight unseen, which Foreshadow held he could theoretically accomplish.  Grigory Salnikov's former military contacts likely meant his guards were well trained.  That doesn't mean they would be a challenge.

 

For all his cockiness Foreshadow had a history of showing that he could back up his mouth.  However, his precognitive chess game had him doubting his own moves.  The last time he tried to sneak in roof side there was a motion detecting spotlight of the gun smuggler's associate.  The loading dock might've been an option if he came as Erick Sloane instead.  

 

The nagging weight of the increasing doubt was hard to shake off.  But, he couldn't afford to second guess himself when he was getting so close to getting his hands around the mysterious man.  Readying his grapnel line, Foreshadow would begin his approach.  He was going to sneak in from the roof entrance and work his way down into the underground club.

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Foreshadow had watched the group of men on the rooftop of the old warehouse long enough to determine there was no pattern to their movements around the edges of the rooftop.  So, the costumed crime fighter just waited until the security guards on the rooftop had moved away from where he intended to arrive, before he swung across the dark space between the buildings.  As his luck would have it, the rooftop guards kept their attentions focused on areas away from the part of the night sky Foreshadow was swinging through, although it was questionable whether they would have been able to spot him in any event.

 

After a few tense moments as he soared through the night air, Foreshadow landed quietly on the ledge of the old warehouse.  The two security personnel were about halfway toward the other side of the rooftop, their backs still to the costumed crime fighter.  So far, there was no sign of any floodlights set up to trip at his arrival.

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It was tempting to throw his escrima sticks towards the back of the guards heads.  He had the prime opportunity while both men were unaware of his presence.  But, that was the concern for another plan talking.  Instead, he stepped lightly.  Edging forward in a bid to try and sneak into the warehouse proper.

 

Lowering his head so as to keep his hood draped forward Foreshadow presented a natural silhouette under the cover of night.  He had spent enough time stalking the area from afar.  It was time to pounce.  But the security was not this creature of the night's prey.  At least not yet.  The night was still young.

 

Y'know most rich twenty somethings spend their evenings walking into clubs the traditional way.  They're losing out.

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It took Foreshadow only a few moments to spot the rooftop entrance to the warehouse below. It was midway between him and the far side of the rooftop, and away from where the two guards currently were. Crouching down to better take advantage of the shadows, the costumed crime fighter started to make his way quietly across the rooftop, keeping a close eye on the two guards.

But the guards continued on their path toward the far side of the roof, eventually reaching the edge and stopping for a few moments to look out at the street below. By that point, Foreshadow had already reached the door, and he took the time provided to slowly and quietly open the door and slip inside, shutting the door behind him once more.

The stairway beyond was dark, but that provided not problems to Foreshadow thanks to his costume's mask. The floor vibrated slightly from the beat of music somewhere below, and the muted sound of base echoed up through the stairwell as well.

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Foreshadow silently strode down the stairs.  The music provided adequate cover so he did not have to work quite as hard to hide his presence.  But, he was nothing if not thorough.  Even when trading in his trademark penchant for flash for a more ninjalike suduedness.  After all he never traded in substance for that bit of flash.

 

So as Foreshadow made it down the stairwell he'd look for the doorway or entrance that seemed to be closest to the sound of the music.  While Salnikov was equally likely to be in the quietest part of the building instead.  One didn't throw a party without making an appearance.  No matter how clandestine this arms dealer was.  There was a certain etiquette to be followed if one wanted to be a proper host.

 

Which is what Foreshadow was counting on.

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Foreshadow made his way down the dark stairs, not as worried about making some noise as he might otherwise, which allowed him to move quicker than he might otherwise. He reached a landing for the first floor beneath the roof, but the drumming base of the music was clearly coming from further down, so he continued down the next flight.

The echoing music was getting louder, and as Foreshadow reached the next floor, he could hear the music echoing both from the door on this floor, and coming up from down below.

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For someone else a guessing game was just that.  For Foreshadow, there was a sense of professional pride in not guessing incorrectly.  After all, he could see the future.  Listening closely Foreshadow was at a crossroad.  To descend or not to?  Leaning forward he would try and slowly open the door.  Aiming to peek inside.

 

Descending was an easier task than ascending.  Especially if there was a bumping crowd.  So, Foreshadow played it conservatively.  Picking the doorway as the path to explore rather than going down further.  Part of him was still admittedly tickled with thought of another possibility.  Perhaps someone decided to go as far as using both meanings of 'underground' in an underground club.

 

I might just be a sucker for wordplay in hoping that.

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As Foreshadow pushed the doorway slightly open, the music became louder, no longer even partially muffled by the heavy door. The space beyond had more light than the stairwell, but only by a little. There were dim neon lights spaced about what looked like a balcony area overlooking what would have been the main warehouse floor below. Other lights occasionally flashed along the wall Foreshadow could see, likely from strobes and other dance floor lights randomly flashing about.

In the small part of the area that Foreshadow could see, there were a number of tables set up, some set back near the wall in booths. A number of people were gathered around each of the tables, drinking, smoking, and otherwise seeming to be enjoying the evening. There were a number of others up on their feet, standing around what appeared to be a railing looking out over the level below.

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Foreshadow casually strode forward.  He would have preferred to remain a watchful eye in the darkness a little longer.   I he was going to reveal his presence he did rather it be on the balcony than the dance floor.  Tempering his expectations to the normal response in a secret celebration when he a guy in a cape showed up out of the blue, Foreshadow made sure he could cut off the avenues of escape as best as possible.

 

Regardless of what his visual scan told him in regards to that possibility he cleared his throat.  As good as announcing he was there to those who had their eyes elsewhere like a plate or the dance bowl.  The next part of his message was kept short and sweet.  Aiming to waste not time in his search.  "Where is Salinov?"

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Pushing the door open and moving through it, Foreshadow now had a better view of more of the balcony area nearest him. It spread out along the entire side of the building, ending along the left hand wall, but wrapping around the right hand side of the building to connect with another balcony on the opposite side across a wide open space that looked down at the lower level below. There were more tables to the left as well, as well as more people spaced along the balcony's railing. Foreshadow thought he could see the top of some stairs toward the right, past several tables and people.

At first no one seemed to spot him, but as he moved into the nearest glow of blue neon light, a number of people spotted him. As would be expected, many had a very strong reaction. Several dropped their drinks, freezing in place unable to move. Others turned and started trying to force their way through the crowds to get away from the dark clad crime fighter. Still others stayed where they were, not quite frozen with fear, but still cautiously watching the hero.

As Foreshadow moved up to the nearest table and made his demand, the occupants at the table all seemed frozen with indecision, but then two large men that were part of the nearby crowd that had chosen not to flee moved forward, coming at the crime fighter with clenched fists, clearly ready for a fight.

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The first man came charging at Foreshadow like a bull in a china shop.  Swinging wildly the large man pressed forward as Foreshadow casually backed off and redirected his blows.  Kicking the man's leg out from under him foreshadow would wrench back on the man's arm making sure the audience heard his screams.  Finally, he sent a knee directly to his opponent's face.  Knocking him out in one quick motion.

 

Unfortunately, the second man had flanked him in the interim.  Grasping hold of the psychic detective the muscled out thug locked in a sleeper hold.  The hold was tight, but not tight enough to prevent Foreshadow from sending an errant series of elbows backwards into the man's abdomen.  Then following up by using a nearby table as a launching point to flip over the man and roll  off his back.  Landing back on his Foreshadow jumped forward and grabbed the large man by the back of his head slamming it directly onto the table in front of him.

 

"I do rather hope that little demonstration means we can keep the discourse civil from now on.  Or else well...I don't think I need to say anything to make my point further."  Foreshadow lowered the hood of his mantle as he addressed those still in attendance.

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A number of other people now started to make a break for it now that Foreshadow's the additional commotion had made more of the crowd alert to the crime fighter's presence. A couple of other men had been getting to their feet to assist the first two, but the easy at which Foreshadow had dealt with the certainly seemed to dissuade them from acting and further. Several even sat back down, doing their best to act as if they were not planning on attacking the costumed crime fighter.

One things Foreshadow did note, was that none of those present appeared to be going for any weapons. Whatever else Salinov might be, clearly he did not want a lot hidden weapons around him during this event, even if they were his own merchandise.

The group Foreshadow had initially addressed were all still sitting, though clearly wishing there was some way they could try to make a break for it without having to pass by the vigilante. Two of them glanced at each other, then the two down men before one looked back up at Foreshadow. "Salinov is over on the opposite balcony." The man stated, pointing out over Foreshadow's shoulder and toward the other balcony.

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Foreshadow walked back to the edge of the balcony.  Reaching for his multi-purpose escrima sticks he would twirl both staves in each of his hands.  "Thanks for being so helpful.  And remember going forward in the Southside Foreshadow is always watching."  With that he leaped off the balcony aiming grapnel line to the point opposite his own.  Intending to swing above the party patrons below and completely bridging the gap smoothly.

 

He hadn't even chosen to wait and confirm if Salinov was truly on the other side.  If he had made his point thoroughly enough the group should have feared him adequately enough to tell the truth to the best of their ability.  If they had lied, it just meant Salinov's reputation was that vicious.  He had an entire night to change that.

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Most of the crowd still around Foreshadow watched him as he moved toward the edge of the balcony, some edging away as he drew close. A few more on the outskirts of the crowd took the chance to try to flee as well, but the majority just remained rooted in place.

The costumed crime fighter's grappling hook in his escrima stick carried him across the open space to the main floor below. A mass of figures crowded that floor, pressed together on the makeshift dance floor as the heavy bass beat of the dance music echoed through the old warehouse.

As Foreshadow drew closer to the opposite side, the crowd of people gathered along that opposite balcony spotted him, ducking down as he swung overhead, landing in an open area beyond them.

The costumed crime fighters sudden arrival once again created quite a bit of surprise, as people began to scatter, and others froze in place. Back against the opposite wall, in a large booth, was a group of several men and women that instantly focused on Foreshadow's arrival. Most of the women let out cries of panic, moving to duck down under the table or hide as best they could. Most of the men stood up, and several were rather large bodyguard types.

One however remained in a partially reclined position, a half smile on his face. Grigory Salnikov. "Well, the infamous Foreshadow. To what do I owe the pleasure?"

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"Salinov.  There's no need to be coy.  We both know why I'm here.  You've been providing let's say specialized equipment for the sake of politeness to some very questionable clientele."  Foreshadow re-holstered his Escrima sticks.  Showing no outward show of aggression.  He didn't need to jump into finding how long he could hoist Salinov.

 

No, that part of the conversation was best saved for politely asking the man left his city.  And not to return.  That was in the cards.  But, Foreshadow always started with the charm.  It was just as much a weapon as fear.  If anything in his opinion it was more reliable weapon.

 

Especially as it didn't quite lean to racking up the body count of Salinov's wares.

Edited by HG Morrison

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"Ah, well, that is a problem." Salinov began. "I do have a number of questionable clientele, but regardless, I do not make it a point to discuss my clients. Bad for business, as I am sure you can appreciate." The arms dealer replied with a casual wave of his hand. His expression then became much more serious as he focused back on Foreshadow fully.

"So it would seem that you will need to try to be more persuasive. Something I am sure I will not enjoy. But it will not be as easy as that I am afraid." Salinov stated firmly. "Widowmaker, I believe I am paying you for protection."

At that comment, a large, blond haired man took a step forward, placing himself between Foreshadow and Salinov, cracking his knuckles as he did so. The man was solidly built, but the crime fighter had faced plenty of similarly built opponents.

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"I should warn you.  This is probably going to be painful for one of us."  Foreshadow  reached for his escrima sticks once more.  Twirling them in both his hands calmly before smiling.  Sometimes you just have to beat a guy.  Gotta love the hired punching bags.

 

Running forward, Foreshadow performed a front flip towards Widowmaker.  Bringing his leg downwards in midair into an axe kick Foreshadow's motion was practically telegraphed.  So telegraphed that Foreshadow could predict how the Widowmaker would avoid it by leaning backwards.  Therefore opening himself up to Foreshadow's real assault.

 

While he was still leaning back Foreshadow had already launched back into the air from the kneeling position he had taken to upon landing.  The first blow struck Widowmaker in the face.  The second as Foreshadow came back down in the chest.  And finally a third one directly to the side of the man's right rib cage.  None so much as elicited a groan.  

 

"Yeah, okay.  One of those nights it is then."

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Widowmaker took the hits with seemingly little effect, a smile coming to his face as he looked down at Foreshadow. "Indeed it will be little man." He said with an accent that sounded Midwestern. The large blond then took a swing at the agile crime fighter, his right hand shooting out in an excellent right cross. But as well executed as the right cross was, it took a bit more to connect with Foreshadow, as the former gymnast easily ducked underneath, having been given warning of the incoming blow a split second before Widowmaker had even thrown it.

The large man frowned slightly as he reset, turning to square off with Foreshadow once more. "You are fast. But it will only take one hit." He boasted.

The crowd around the two combatants spread out, giving them a bit more room. Foreshadow could see a couple of other men near Salinov that looked like additional bodyguards. They had moved in close to their boss, but had not drawn any weapons, at least not yet. Salinov was watching the unfolding flight with interest, still reclining back in his seat. Several of the women that had been with him and his group were now visible again, although still not completely sure about what was going to happen.

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Foreshadow slammed both escrima sticks together combining them into one unit.  Extending them outwards he would apply pressure to an indentation on the side.  Two prongs would pop out from the end opposite the side the grapnel line was fired out of.  Keeping a firm grip, Foreshadow had to be careful as the entire staff was charged with an electrical current.

 

"Better than you have tried to land that hit."  Sometimes it didn't pay to try to match power with power.  Foreshadow had given the man a decently vicious assault to no effect.  He could switch to the full length of his staff to strike with more force.  But, Foreshadow suspected that would be a lengthy road to go down.

 

Stabbing downwards towards Widowmaker's foot with the end of his staff, Foreshadow attempted to use his stun rod.  In a show of capable footwork., Widowmaker pulled his foot back before contact was made.  Let's see who can land the big one first.

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While Widowmaker managed some fast footwork to avoid Foreshadow's attack, the hulking figure failed to translate that into his follow up attack.  Once again telegraphing his attack badly, Widowmaker lunged forward, swinging a left hook this time.  Once again Foreshadow ducked underneath, and Widowmaker was so off balance with the attack that when he failed to connect, he stumbled forward a few steps, as Foreshadow slipped past, putting a bit of distance between them.

 

As the bodyguard turned back to face the costumed crime fighter once more, the loud thumping music that echoed through the old warehouse was interrupted by a loud *BOOM* from above.

 

A section of the roof above the dance floor exploded, raining debris down below, and before the cloud of dust and plaster had even started to clear, half a dozen figures came repelling down from the rooftop.  They were dressed in black fatigues, with black masks over their faces, each with an assault rifle slung so they could fire it one handed as they repelled.  They came to a halt just about equal level with the balcony, red lasers cutting through the smoke and dust filled air, as they began sweeping the balcony, clearly looking to identify targets.

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Even as Foreshadow took stock of the new arrivals, a seventh figure descended down from the rooftop. This one did not rappel straight down however, instead it dove out away from the balcony Foreshadow was standing on. That was until the rope the figure was holding went taunt, causing him to swing back toward the balcony. About midway there, the figure, which Foreshadow could not make out as a man, released the rope, flipping through the air with an acrobat's grace.

The man's path arched him toward the railing of the balcony, which he caught with one hand, swinging himself over with ease, before he somersaulted once more time, to land on his feet in a half crouch. Foreshadow could see now that he was a little over six feet tall, wearing a primarily navy blue costume. A wide red triangular stripe ran down his chest to his belt, and his full face mask was red as well, with silver goggles over his eyes. His boots were silver as well, as were the bracers he wore on each forearm, each having an unusual teardrop shaped profile along the outside of the forearms. At either hip was a large combat knife in a red sheath.

The man quickly focused in on Salnikov. "Sorry friend, but your time is up." He stated, as he raised his left arm, aiming it at the arm dealer as five objects launched out of a small barrel like opening in the teardrop shaped section of the bracer on that arm.

The small blades sped towards Salnikov, but then in a flash of light, one of the women that was part of his entourage vanished, reappearing next to the arms dealer before they both vanished in another brief flash of light a split second before the blades arrived. The five small blades buried themselves in the cushions of the booth, right where Salnikov's throat and heart would have been.

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Foreshadow turned around calmly making his way towards Salinov's booth.  A few scant Russian swears escaped his breath before turning around.  "Do me a favor, and keep him busy Widowmaker.  You and I are on pause."  After his ceasefire declaration Foreshadow took off.  Sprinting in a haze of speed he would take flight with a prodigious leap.  Soaring through the air like a bird dancing in the wind.

 

Jumping was at its core the most basic example of gymnastics.  For that brief moment in which man dares to defy gravity.  And in turn gravity dares to forget man's existence.  Foreshadow's leap was a testament to hours he put into building up his leg strength.  And he was doing it with a cape to boot.

 

In mid air the costumed vigilante split his escrima stick into separate halves.  Swinging them in towards the nearest gunman's face he smacked him on the side of the head knocking him out of commission immediately.  Stretching his arm out Foreshadow barely managed to grab hold of the man's bindings to support himself stopping himself from descending to the floor.  "I don't like this guy's posse as much as the next guy.  But, fun times with bullets comes to an end now."

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As Foreshadow quickly took out one of their number, and their primary target disappeared, the other gunmen began adjusting.  One briefly aimed his assault rifle at Foreshadow, and then decided not to take the risk of hitting his unconscious comrade by accident.  So instead the man got himself swinging forward as he swung up and tried to kick Foreshadow.  The kick was incredibly awkward, and Foreshadow hardly needed to move to avoid it.  The man's grip on his rope fumbled, and if it was not for the locking mechanism on the harness, he likely would have fallen down the now empty dance floor below.  Instead, the man ended up swinging back away from Foreshadow, spinning a bit out of control as he did.

 

Another gunman had swung around, scanning for where Salnikov might have been teleported to.  He stopped as he turned toward the other balcony, spotting the arms dealer and the female bodyguard.  "Hey over..." the gunman began, only to be cut off as the woman sent an number of small throwing blades through the air, several burying themselves into the man as he jerked slightly and then went limp.  In another flash of light, the woman and Salnikov disappeared once more.

 

The three remaining gunman selected alternate targets and began to open fire.  One targeted Widowmaker, hitting the large blond man squarely in the chest.  But the bullet had no better luck harming the man than Foreshadow's escrima had, and the bullet bounced harmlessly off.  The other two opened fire at two of Salnikov's other bodyguards, but both targets ducked down behind cover and the bursts struck furniture and the wall but otherwise caused no other harm.

 

Widowmaker did not exactly seem to have been quite so ready to give Foreshadow a truce, but the large man still turned to focus on Dagger.  Charging forward, Widowmaker reached out with both arms, trying to grab the would-be assassin in a bear hug.  But Dagger proved far to elusive, ducking back into a roll as he put some distance between himself and the hulking figure. 

 

Salnikov's other bodyguards popped back up from their cover, aiming pistols at the two gunmen that had shot at them and opening fire.  Each of the two gunmen were struck once, both injured by the hits, one severely so.

 

From further along the balcony, another disguised bodyguard appeared, an average looking man that had taken cover behind a column.  Stepping back out, he raised one hand up toward the gunman that had shot Widowmaker, sending a burst of flame the man's way.  The jet of flame struck the gunman, causing him to scream in pain and panic as parts of his clothing caught fire.  There was a brief moment where the gunman flailed about, inadvertently releasing the stop on his harness, causing him to plunge down to the floor below.

 

Over on the balcony, Dagger brought his right arm up as he fired one large blade from the bracer on his right arm at Widowmaker before leaping into the air and flipping easily over the large blond bodyguard to land behind him.  The blade buried itself in Widowmaker's stomach, causing him to double over in pain as he fell to his knees, hurt and dazed, but not completely out of the fight.

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Pursuing Salnikov had to wait.  The costumed vigilante couldn't leave it on his conscious to leave the thugs around him fighting one another with firearms.  A body count would have been unavoidable.  Foreshadow climbed up the man he was clutching on to.  A task made more difficult by having to keep a firm grip on his escrima sticks while doing so.  Clasping both staves together the man combined them into a single bo staff.  

 

Balancing himself on his foe's unconscious body Foreshadow began to rock back and forth on the cable line he was attached to.  As body surfing took on a new meaning he swung forwards towards another gunman.  Smacking him across the face with the full force of his weapon.  The gunman's unconscious body spun around as the harness twisted about.

 

"So, boys and gal.  Let's keep one thing in mind.  I know that me screaming no killing would be laughed off.  But, let me just make one thing clear.  No one's going to the hospital alone.  So careful shooting."

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