First Blood


7/9/20233 min read

The night air was heavy with anticipation as Ravager strode forward, the gravel crunching under his boots the only sound in the eerily quiet street. "You the one who took the boy's hand?" His voice was steely and cold, a reflection of his hardened resolve.

Cartwright merely smiled, the smugness in his expression a cruel parody of amusement. "Yeah, I did," he admitted, turning to share a laugh with his fellow Marauders. "Didn't realize he was a boy though with all that... " His sentence cut short as Ravager's pistol rang out, a sudden deafening blast against the quiet backdrop of the night. The infamous Cartwright, the fastest quickdraw in the galaxy known for his swagger, crumpled to the ground lifeless, an empty smoking hole now between his eyes.

Pandemonium erupted in the wake of Cartwright's fall. The remaining Marauders, shocked into action, dove for cover, their guns blazing in a lethal symphony of resistance. Ravager, drawing upon his experience as a former pirate captain, engaged three of them, his movements a dance of deadly precision amidst the chaos.

Out of the corner of my eye, I noticed the fourth Marauder, the youngest of them all, slipping away into the labyrinth of buildings, presumably to summon reinforcements. My instincts snapped into action and I found myself giving chase, my heart pounding in my chest as I darted through the remnants of what used to be a peaceful town.

The pursuit was a blur of frantic action. We crashed through narrow alleyways, tore through deserted shops, vaulted over toppled tables, and scaled low walls. As I closed in on him, he turned abruptly, a wicked knife glinting ominously in his hand. My fingers clenched around my Vortex-6, but an invisible weight seemed to hold down my trigger finger. I had hesitated and I was going to pay for it.

Without warning, he lunged. Our world became a whirl of savage struggle and raw survival instinct. Pain seared through my chest as his knife found its mark with a wide slash. A brief moment of shock passed, and then it was a desperate scramble on the ground, his weight pressing down on me, his knife driving relentlessly towards my exposed throat. I resisted, every sinew in my body straining against his lethal intent.

Time seemed to stretch into an infinite chasm. The cold steel of the knife hovered inches from my skin when I managed to kick my Vortex-6 up towards my trembling hand. With a guttural cry, I shifted sideways, the knife plunging into my shoulder with agonizing force. But the pain was a distant sensation as my finger curled around the trigger and I pulled. My world contracted to the shocked expression on his face before he fell away, lifeless.

Reality crashed down like a wave. I lay on the cold ground, gasping for breath, the coppery taste of blood in my mouth, the weight of my actions a crushing presence. I was alive, but at the cost of another's life. I had killed a man, taken a life that I wasn't sure was mine to take.

The distant sounds of gunfire echoed through the night, a grim reminder that the battle was far from over. The adrenaline in my veins muted the throbbing pain in my shoulder, urging me to get up, to fight, to survive. I forced myself to my feet, my grip on the Vortex-6 unyielding.

The echoes of the Marauders' laughter still hung in the air, a chilling reminder of the brutal world I was now a part of. I had killed a man. I would do it again if it meant protecting those I cared about. I found a sense of grim resolve in that thought, a cold acceptance of the path I had chosen.

With renewed determination, I broke into a run, the sounds of gunfire guiding me through the darkened streets. The once peaceful evening had descended into a night of bloodshed and conflict, and I was right in the heart of it, ready to face whatever came my way.