NOTHING SO BOLD AS A MAN IN LOVE WITH HIS GUN
"We won't be able to hold out much longer."
Garrison didn't answer Bax, but kept his eyes locked on the door through the scope of his rifle. He loved his gun. His gun was the only thing, besides Jacks, that had never let him down. He patted her now and waited for the alien on the other side of the door to try to get through.
"Marz is hurt."
Garrison did look up then, and Villiar shook his head where he leaned over the prone form of their medic.
"He's seizing or something." The crimson-skinned Threxian had something akin to panic in his deep voice. He held down the smaller man, his eyes wide with worry.
Garrison knelt beside the Phanger, hoping his sub-par field medic's training might be of some use. The usually pale Phanger was in the throes of some kind of fit, his head and neck stiff as his arms flailed wildly. White foam dripped from his mouth as he tossed and turned in Villiar's grip.
"Don't let him choke on his tongue." Garrison dug in his pouch, pulling out a wrapped package of bullets. He looked at it uncertainly for a moment, and then shrugged. What the fuck? Chewing on a bullet would be better than biting off his own damned tongue. He pressed the pack between Marz's lips, and his teeth clamped down on it hard, nearly taking off Garrison's finger in the process.
"Any idea what's causing this?" he asked the others. Bax and Villiar looked at each other and shook their heads. Phanger physiology was similar to human, but they weren't that familiar with the specifics. Garrison took the medical scanner from Marz's belt and ran it over the alien, and all it showed was that nearly every one of his body's systems was out of whack.
"Aren't Phangers really sensitive to energy fields?" Bax asked, and Garrison nodded. He seemed to recall having to replace a few of the Blade's shield sensors when Marz had first joined the crew, because they caused the man to have headaches. “Odd, though, since he never had a problem with J, and he puts off a hell of a blast."
"Must be the machine." Garrison looked at Villiar as the pounding started up again on the other side of the door. "Keep him still as best you can. The only thing we can hope for is that J can get this over with quick."
Villiar nodded as Bax and Garrison took positions in front of the door, guns aimed at the opening.
"If he breaks through then you move back and keep him off the others." Garrison instructed Bax, kneeling and taking up his firing position. With his rifle in his hands he was 99.9% sure he could stop the monster banging on the door, but there was always that .1% chance he'd fail.
"What about you? If I move back that puts you in my line of fire." Bax shook his head at his friend. "I don't like that plan."
"Only plan we've got." Garrison said, a grin lighting up his face. "So don't fuck it up."
Bax grumbled, hefting his big shotgun in his arms. The pounding got louder, the scrape of the monster against the metal of the door nearly unbearable. Garrison gritted his teeth, but half his mind was with Jacks. That was his best friend in there, and he was going to do something ballsy and try to save the whole universe from this thing.
Garrison had seen what it did to Lia, and knew that Verhagnis had to be stopped. He just wished it was anyone else, anybody but Jacks. Hell, didn't the man do enough? Sure, he sold his exorcisms, but he put millions of the dead to rest. Gave families peace and moved on whole fucking civilizations. Now he was going to kill a monster, maybe die, and it wasn't fair. For once in his life Jacks had been given a gift, a woman who got him on every level. It didn't take a genius to see the spark between them from the moment they'd walked into that conference room together. Considering Jacks hadn't shown interest in any woman for more than a year that was saying something. Now, knowing what he knew about Lia and Jacks, Garrison understood that the woman was literally built for Jacks. The thing he'd been looking for his whole life, even if he never said it out loud, and now he might die.
They all looked at him but he shook his head and squared his shoulders. The only way that fucking beast was getting past him was if it took his head off his shoulders, and it had better move faster than a bullet because he had a whole clip loaded and ready for it.
The thing outside the door howled, some crazy sound like wind through a peephole and they looked at each other.
"I think we pissed him off." Villiar said in his deadpan way.
As usual, Garrison and Bax cracked up, laughing even when the shit wasn't funny. Even the staunch Villiar cracked a smile, and Marz had quieted.
"Guard your minds, gentlemen." Garrison shook his head, already feeling the scrape of the bastard against his mind. He knew what it was, that spider on his skin feeling that made his brain shudder inside his skull. "He's going to try to mess with us."
"He must not know who he's messing with." Marz's voice was weak, but when Garrison looked at him he was pale and grinning.
"No." Garrison smiled, and it wasn't a pleasant have-a-nice-day smile. It was a I'm-gonna-fuck-him-up-and-like-it smile. "He doesn't."