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January 28, 2012 / milesandhisfavorites

Abandoned: Raiders

Abel wasn’t awaken kindly on the day the Sea Kings arrived.  Instead, he was rudely shaken by one of the Player guards.  He jumped up, half asleep, and shot a few choice words at the guard.  The guard raised his hands, saying “Don’t blame me!  Sham wants you over by the Ellis Island docks.  Something about a new tribe.  Your girlfriend’s already down there.”  Abel shot the guard a look, and he ran out.  Fifteen minutes later, Abel was pulling up to the rusty old immigrant train station in a random Dodge pickup.  Two dozen Players had already gathered, looking out at the horizon.  Most of them were looking through binoculars, but three were looking at a folding card table covered with pre-Virus maps of NYC.  Two of the table people were Sham and Leil.  Abel ran over, immediately asking “Anyone want to tell me what the heck is going on here?”  Sham looked up from the maps.  “Boats, Abel.  Boats.”

Abel grabbed a pair of binoculars from the table, and peered through them, looking at the waters of the Hudson.  Sure enough, several large boats were closing fast.  By Abel’s estimate, they were about ten miles away, and closing fast.  Already, a small truck driven by a Player had pulled up.  Leil ran over and opened the back.  Inside were stacks of javelins and primitive crossbows.  Weapons, in case the people manning the boats weren’t friendly.  Abel ran up to Leil, gently grabbing her wrist.  Leil looked at him, her face all serious.  The odds were good that these guys were invaders.  There was no time for jokes.  Abel asked another question: “When did these guys show up?”

“A guy in Queens saw them around five in the morning, and they should be here in roughly half an hour.  We’re already prepping for war, but we don’t know what they’re doing here.”

“How many are there?”

“Three hundred-footers, and from what we’ve seen, they each have a small boat or two.  These are either adults, or kids from someplace else who happen to be smart.”

For the next twenty minutes, Abel watched the fleet through binoculars, and tried to glean some information from Sham.  He got nowhere.  Then, when the boats were about half a mile away, everyone’s fears were confirmed-they were invaders.  A high whistling sound rang through the air, and something flew off of the largest boat’s deck.  Sham shouted “Flare!”, and everyone dove to the side.  Suddenly, there was a small explosion, and a foot-wide circle of the ground a few meters from Abel was singed.  The crew of the boat had fired a signal flare at them.  Six Players ran for the truck, grabbed crossbows, and assembled on the edge of the docks.  Sham raised one arm into the air, and the archers each nocked an arrow.  Then, Sham brought the arm down sharply, and the archers fired.

Most of the arrows bounced harmlessly off the boats’ hull, but one of them hit the largest boat’s bridge window, shattering it.  In response, each boat fired another signal flare.  Everyone ducked, trying to avoid the killer projectiles.  Sham shouted orders, and another dozen archers started firing arrows.  Out of the blue, seven kids armed with spears jumped up on the largest boat’s deck, and started firing.  All of the kids had healthy tans, and most had bleached blonde hair.  All of a sudden, a small portable radio sitting on the map desk crackled to life.  Abel, Leil, and Sham ran over, anxious to hear the transmission.  “Aggressive citizens of New York City, you are interrupting a regular pillage.  Stay back or risk the consequences.”  Sham looked at the biggest boat and shouted.  “It’s gonna take more than that to scare us!”

Then, something plum-shaped and bumpy flew onto the dock.  Abel recognized it instantly, and shouted “Grenade!  Everybody down!”  Sure enough, ten seconds later, the grenade blew.  The crowd of Players retreated into the train station, arming their crossbows for a second assault.  From behind a faded Ellis Island ferry service sign, Abel saw the ships docking.  A group of kids got off, most of which were carrying flare launchers.  The rest had knives strapped to their wrists.  Sham looked at Abel from behind a nearby sign.  “So,” Abel said.  “These are the guys we need to be worrying about?”  Sham nodded, motioning for five of the crossbow-wielding soldiers to fire.  Instantly, another skirmish erupted.

The arrows whizzed through the air, clipping several of the kids in the shoulder or arm.  It didn’t seem to have much effect on them, but they were definitely in pain.  In response, the tallest teenager brought his arm up, and then down, like Sham did.  Two flare launchers fired, and everyone scattered.  Abel found Leil in the panic, and the two scrambled into a minivan parked near the train tracks.  In the trunk was a stack of thick books.  While rifling through them, Abel shouted back to Leil “What’s going on out there?”

“Said it once, gonna say it again, Dante’s Inferno.  Most of Sham’s guys hightailed it out of there, but these sailors are turning over anything that can be turned over.”

“I’m guessing Johnny Depp and Orlando Bloom aren’t in that crowd”

“Nada, but these guys are about as piratey as you can get, minus the peglegs and parrots.”

Abel looked out the window.  What must have been the entire crew of all three ships were combing the train station, busting open car doors and walking between the train tracks.  Leil grabbed a copy of War and Peace from the trunk and grinned at Abel.  “Wanna take a shot at a few?”  Abel smiled back, tossing a couple of books into the front seat.  Leil cranked down the window, and threw a complete collection of Shakespeare at a nearby pirate.  He instantly collapsed, and the rest of the tribe began shouting, looking around for whoever had taken one of their own out.  Then, one turned his head towards the minivan.  Abel and Leil had been spotted.

Instantly, Abel hit the gas.  Luckily, the keys were still in it, and the pair raced out of the train station.  Twenty minutes later, they were back at the Toys R Us.  Inside, dozens of Players and other members of Sham’s militia were looking at photos and talking nervously.  Sham was talking with three teenagers whom Abel recognized as tribe leaders.  Abel and Leil walked over to the four leaders.  Sham was just finishing off a strategy proposal.  “So,” Leil said.  “Anything new?”  Sham answered without looking up.  “Just made radio contact ten minutes ago.  The tribe is called the Sea Kings, they’re looking to pillage NYC, they have captives-and they’re from halfway across the world.  These guys are from New Zealand.”

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