They exited from the back of the building, to avoid having to circle the building. Doing so brought them out into an alley way with a few stray zombies. Mike let Nikki take them out as he tried to back doors to the shops that exited out onto the street they wanted.
Not finding any of them unlocked Mike selected one at random and making full use of his new martial art knowledge, he kicked it inwards, making the lock explode through the wooden frame.
The store he’d chosen was empty except for several dozen racks of clothes. Mike instantly recognized the shop as the big and tall man’s specialty store. He’d shopped there a few times.
Before the bloodline had altered his body, he hadn’t needed to shop there specifically. He’d just liked his clothes to fit a little looser than strictly necessary. Since he’d already been at the biggest end of what normal shops carried, the specialty shop had been his only option for bigger.
Now, outside the system, the hole in the wall shop was one of the only places he’d be able to find clothes to fit his new size. Momentarily distracted he snapped out of it when Nikki asked him what he was doing.
“This is the only place in town I know of that sells clothes big enough to fit me,” He said by way of excuse for zoning out.
Nikki shrugged, like she could care less, “You’ve got that bag of holding thing right? If you want the clothes, take them. I doubt anybody is going to argue with you for them.”
The sheer obviousness of her solution made Mike want to smack himself upside the head. Making a quick once over of the racks he grabbed a dozen or so shirts within his size range. Without trying them on he wasn’t sure how big he was now. He knew his loose fitting clothes we no longer loose though so he grabbed some a bit bigger just in case he grew again.
Then grabbing some pants, jeans, sweats and a couple pairs of shorts, he unloaded the underwear rack and socks into his bag. Giving everything a once over he added three belts, a pair of sneakers, a pair of work boots, and some moccasin style house shoes.
Finally he was done.
He joined Nikki at the front of the store, where she was crouched behind a display, observing the men in fatigues across the street.
“I thought you said we could trust the military,” Mike said, keeping his voice low to emphasize that she was acting all secretive.
Nikki humphed as she answered, “You guys were all so paranoid that I got a little worried too.”
“Life isn’t a movie, Nikki,” Mike said, just barely suppressing a laugh as she elbowed him. He was immediately glad he’d picked on her. somehow he’d felt closer to her the second she retaliated.
“Seriously though, watching them like this only makes us the suspicious ones. I think we should walk up to them openly, hands away from weapons and introduce ourselves like we think they just saved our lives.”
“Why? Isn’t that suspicious too?”
“Probably from their point of view. Even more so when se stay vague about how we were surviving out there alone. We should make it seem like after we became players we mostly hid. No sense making them see us as threats if we don’t have to. I don’t mind you making it sound like I protected you, so that I’m the only threat though if you don’t think they’ll buy the other way around.”
Nikki thought for a second.
“I think if you want their guards down quickly then the more believable the story the better. You being a pacifist is hard to believe, and I don’t think you could pull off coward any better.”
Mike felt a rush of appreciation for Nikki for her complements. She was more or less saying you look too much like a bad ass to trick these guys into believing you’re a mouse.But Mike didn’t interrupt her, especially since she wasn’t the type to acknowledge she’d complemented him in the first place.
“So we go with the hiding story, but we make it so that after Oscar died and my gun ran out of bullets, I relied on you to keep me safe. I’m not a weak woman. I was just unable to cope with this whole new world situation.”
“You sure that plays?” Mike asked, adding with a gesture to her uniform, “I get what you’re saying, you being the weak one is less suspicious than me. But you are in uniform. Cops aren’t supposed to be weak.”
“Just a second ago you wanted us both to act weak. Make up your mind” She said with an exasperated eye roll.
“You’re right, you’re right. But I was thinking based on my old appreanceand your size. My mind forgot to take into account I’m half orc now and you’re a trained professional. I guess we drop the weak act and come forward. I hate to do it but let’s use the fact we lost Oscar and Brandan, and I lost a few before I met you. We can’t take the weak people dying anymore. It’s a more believable story anyway.”
Nikki agreed they were more likely to buy that version of events better and they exited the store front by way of smashing the glass and walking out with their hands up.
Mike made a point of carrying his ax and laying it out on the ground, so they didn’t need to search him for weapons and find his bag of holding. He reasoned that magic was still new enough it was likely to get past an initial check, and he had weapons inside in case they needed new ones in a hurry.
Soldiers surrounded them instantly, guns out and ready for use. Mike didn’t notice any of them having obvious bloodlines or system type weapons. Just standard military issue automatic weapons, combat knives, and when the guy in charge came forward, a side arm.
Mike had no idea about military ranks, or what was normal. back at the hotel he’d asked Nikki and she hadn’t either. So neither of them knew if the men they were seeing were doing things by the book or not.
There were ten of them all told, at least one a corporal, one a sergeant, and the man with the side arm was called the lieutenant. Mike wasn’t sure if it was a normal distribution of men and ranks or not. He forgot abotu the question in the next moment as the LT stepped forward though.
The man was huge, like even with his new size increase, Mike’s forehead was at his nose level. He had thick curly hair and an easy smile. Mike knew instantly, without reason, that he didn’t trust him.
“I’m Dirk Bartens. or the Lieutenant if you prefer,” he said extending his hand out for Mike to shake.
Mike took it and his jaw almost dropped at the force he felt in Bartens grip. The man wasn’t just big, he was strong too. The big man let go of his hand and stepped back, giving the situation a quizzical look before going into action.
“Everybody put your guns down, that’s no way to treat survivors,” he said to his men making grand gestures with his hands.
“I’m sorry about that guys, you’re safe now,” He said, and Nikki thanked him with tears in the corners of her eyes.
Mike didn’t know if the tears were real or fake but he forced himself to sound grateful too as they were led to the humvees and sandwiched in the back seat of the command vehicle, the one without a gunner.
Dirk was still with them, sitting up front. As he turned around to look them in the eyes, he said, “We have orders to bring back anyone we find outside the perimeter. The higher ups want information, and we want to keep everyone safe. You guys comfortable back there? Need anything? We have some food and drinks.”
Mike and Nikki both agreed they were fine.
Bartens smiled, “Good,” he said and from one instant to the next his eyes turned cold.
“Do it,” he said.
One of his men, the Corporal, moved, his hands crackling with electricity as he leaned over and touched both Mike and Nikki on the chest.
Nikki flailed like she’d been tasered and passed out.
Mike’s Body twice as tough as the normal person’s. The corporal apparently had been holding back, trying not to hurt them, only make them pass out. It hadn’t been enough for Mike who without hesitation, slammed his forehead forward into the corporal’s nose, crushing it.
He reached for the door handle, intending to grab Nikki and roll out, hoping they wanted them alive enough that he had an actual shot at getting away. Otherwise they’d just shoot him in the back, which didn’t sound so pleasant.
Bartens reacted just as quickly. Mike’s hand never made it to the door before a massive fist collided with the side of his head. His lights went dark instantly as his body went limp.
“Get us back,” Bartens said, then looking at the corporal he added, “hit the infirmary when we get home. I’ll have someone else take them to lockup.”
The humvees never stopped moving.
First things first, I should thank the donors. Or since I’ve implemented sponsored chapters should I wait to thank them all at once? Oh well, worse case they get two thank yous. So thanks Carmel J and Nicholas S for the support. As for a normal author’s note, I don’t really have one. I mean I’m offering an extra chapter a week through sponsored chapters but the info is already up elsewhere in the site.
It feels weird to always be talking about money. I won’t pretend I don’t want to make money as a writer, that’s like this viking’s dream, but I think I’ll try to tone it down for the next little while.
Author : The Steve