l1ttle_billy: (pythona)
[personal profile] l1ttle_billy

Among the surprises awaiting Billy in the days since he'd arrived on Nilbog Island with his kids, by far the most pleasant was that the Baroness (in disguise of course) had taken up residence in town, working in the daycare.

“That's somewhat terrifying.” he'd joked. “You in charge of a bunch of kids.”

Still, when he'd learned of his father's escape, it'd been a load off his mind to have someone he could trust to look after Ana and Tommy while he was at work. And besides the kids needed quality time with their mother and half brother. (who still called Tommy 'play dough')

He'd also found that being paranoid about his father was like riding a bike. You never forgot how to keep an eye out for assassins. It just meant being a tad more suspicious of strangers than the average parent. Heck, at least he knew precisely what to look for.

He and Gail had gotten closer, since moving here. Close enough that she'd noticed him suddenly on edge. His relationship to Cobra Commander was still classified, so he'd rolled out the old cover story about being in witness protection due to his late father's enemies. Almost immediately he'd second guessed himself, but decided that if Gail wasn't to be trusted in that regard, the damage would probably have been done a while ago.

Yesterday she and Helen had taken Billy and Ana on a tour of the dig site, and explained what they knew so far. She was a natural story-teller it seemed.

Nilbog itself had been founded in the early 1800's as a port town and trading post. The settlers had not been put off by the natives shunning of the place. In fact it had been a bonus. If the natives didn't want it there'd be no confrontations. And despite the tales, there'd been no problems.

What sort of tales? Ana had wanted to know. Billy assured Gail that Ana could handle it. She ate up ghost stories, as long as they weren't too horrifying.

It seemed that local folklore told of a race of Demons that had lived on the island long ago. They had been there when the Natives had first arrived, but had been driven into the sea (or wiped out, it depended on who was telling the story). But even though they were gone, the island was considered tainted by the natives, and it was believed that occasionally the Demons returned. So it had been vacant, unwanted property.

“And you think this place was where the 'Demons' lived?” Billy asked.

“It's one of the oldest settlements ever discovered.” Gail said. “I don't know if they were literally Demons, but you know how stories get exaggerated over time.”

“Don't read anything out loud.” Ana advised.

*****

Sunday night was warm, quiet, and clear. Billy put Ana to bed, checked on Tommy, and then stepped out onto the back porch. Gail, Helen, and Dr. Keillor were already out there.

“All right Cap'n Bill,” Keillor smirked. “Vacations just about over. You ready to get to work tomorrow?”

“Cap'n Bill?” Helen snickered.

“College nick-name.” Billy shrugged. “And yes sir I am.” Tomorrow he'd be heading out with the rest of the Mariners as they'd been nicknamed for the first of many dives to the wrecks scattered across the seabed off the coast.

Billy looked out over the water, idly noting an incoming fog bank. “All those ships that went down, anyone ever try laying the blame on the local bogeymen?”

“Oh all the time.” Dr. Keillor said. “Every time a ship went down, there was at least one person who brought up the old stories.”

*****

Deputy Kelton of the Nilbog Sheriff's Department parked his cruiser at the docks and sighed. The quiet little picturesque town he'd grown up in had gotten a bit less quiet in recent months. Once upon a time the most ruckus one could expect was during tourist season when the occasional brawl would break out between locals and visitors.

But someone had to go and take the old tales seriously enough to go digging around and actually find something. And so the north of the island had been taken over by archaeologists. Granted they'd been very nice and hadn't really caused any problems. But it did add another stop on his rounds.

The real worry now, that was the feds. From what he'd been told, a dangerous criminal had escaped custody and they had reason to believe he'd head in this direction. An out of the way place to steal a boat and flee the country? And it'd been his lot to get assigned as the liaison with the federal agents who'd shown up on the island to keep an eye out.

And what was worse, was the obvious fact that there was more to all this than they were telling. He half wished they would stop with the 'sure everything's fine' routine and yell 'holy shit he's here! Hide the women!' Or whatever they'd need to hide from him. That was one of the things they wouldn't tell. Just what this guy had done.

There were two agents patrolling the docks that night. Agents Whathername and Hey it's that guy. Or as Kelton thought of them Thing One, and Thing Two. The meeting went as per usual. Anything going on? Nothing. Any word on the guy who did the thing? None. Did they need any extra help patrolling? Nope. All right then. At least they weren't condescending.

As he headed back to his cruiser, Kelton noted the fog bank closing in. It was moving pretty fast it seemed. Odd that there wasn't that much wind.

*****

Agent Nora Bean strode the docks, noting all the changes in the 'inventory'. She and her partner Agent Hillary Jones, had been selected for this particular assignment because of their quick thinking and attention to detail. With tourist season starting there were boats coming and going all the time, and it was quite a job keeping track of them all along with the occupants.

She was concentrating so hard on checking the list against the reality that she wasn't aware of it at first. The song was quiet, unobtrusive, insidious. It snuck up on her and by the time she could register it consciously it was too late.

Agent Jones heard the shot, drew her sidearm with one hand, and clicked on her radio with the other. “Shot fired at the docks! I need backup! Nora are you alright?” There was no answer. In the rising fog it was getting harder to see, which forced her to slow as she made her way to where she'd last seen her partner. There was a splash behind her but before she could turn to check what it was someone emerged from the fog before her.

Whoever it was was wearing a long black cloak that hid their features. And they were singing. Jones was barely aware of what she was doing as she raised her gun to her own head. For just a brief moment, she hesitated, fighting against it, and then pulled the trigger.

*****

The foundation had rented several of the tourist cottages. While this put a crimp in the tourist trade, housing was being constructed closer to the dig. When it was completed most of the team would be moving there. But for the moment she and Gail were sharing a place with some of the other team members in town.

When they'd left the house Billy and his kids were staying in (along with some of the more responsible team members) Gail had gone home, but Helen had headed for the garage. The more boisterous students were in that house as well, and Helen preferred to come in when the nightly party was ended.

It was easier to kill time when there was something to fix, but tonight everything was in order, so she decided to walk back to the house. By the time she got back it should be quiet, and she could always catch a ride in the morning.

The fog was thick when she left the building.

“Jesus, that came on fast.” she muttered. Despite herself, she was a little spooked. It almost looked like figures were moving past, just out of sight. “Hello?” she called out, just in case. Didn't want to scare anyone right?

She headed off in the direction of home as a dark, hulking figure loomed out of the fog behind her.

*****

Kelton hit the brakes as the call for backup came in over the radio. “Well shit.” he said, switching on the siren. “I didn't actually mean it when I thought I'd prefer something to happen.”

Then someone slammed against the door.

*****

Always a light sleeper, and not quite asleep yet anyway, Billy flew out of bed the moment he heard the hammering at the front door.

The Baroness was on the porch, holding a gun on a young deputy. The name tag proclaimed him to be Kelton.

“Ana what-”

“He's here.” she hissed, wasting no time. “I don't know how, and I don't know how many are with him, but he's here.”

Billy looked at the bewildered deputy.

“He's here.” the man said, shrugging.

“We have to get the children to safety.” The Baroness said. “I've scouted a safehouse but we have to leave now.”

“Can I ask-” Kelton started to say, but the Baroness clubbed him with her pistol, knocking him out. Billy was already moving. He'd worry about the cop later.

“Where's Eugene?”

“He's in the car, I have to get back to him. Can you handle...” She trailed off, seeing that Billy was already carrying a sleeping Tommy in one arm, a bug-out bag in the other, and ushering a sleepy Ana before him. Clearly he'd been expecting trouble. Nice to see that he'd not lost his edge.

*****

The safe-house the Baroness had prepared was a small, seldom used cabin set away from town, and with it's own dock. She tied her hair in a quick bun and donned Kelton's jacket. Once everyone was in the cruiser, she drove unhurriedly away from the approaching fog. By the time they got to their destination the fog had caught up.

It was quite unnerving how quickly it had moved, and just how thick it was. Almost as if it was being directed somehow.

The plan was simple. First, they would hope that they'd been unnoticed on their way up here. Secondly, that whoever the Joes had sent here would be able to deal with the situation. Failing that, the house could be defended, and there was an escape route in the way of the boat at the dock.

Neither of them anticipated that their plan would be anticipated. Billy realized someone was inside the moment he entered the house. He ducked instinctively as a black cloaked figure launched itself at him.

While Anastasia engaged their mysterious adversary, Billy found himself looking into the eyes of his father. Cobra Commander was wearing a new, black duster with the Cobra sigil emblazoned in green of all colors, on the front. His cowl was likewise adorned.

“Well you made good time.” he gloated.

*****

The cloak fell away in the course of the fight and the Baroness was able to get a good look at her opponent. She was wearing a purple wetsuit, which made the greenish tinge to her skin stand out. Her scalp was absent of hair save for a single long lock sprouting from the back of her skull. And her slit-pupiled eyes seemed to glow.

The woman was unarmed, but her nails were long and sharp, and served perfectly well as weapons. She appeared to be relishing the combat, grinning as the fight went on, with neither of them gaining any ground. Then Anastasia heard the children scream, and realized that this was just a diversion.

She knocked the woman back and headed for the cruiser only to freeze in horror. The creatures surrounding the car were clearly not human.

Billy's father was brilliant and ruthless, but he was unaccustomed to physical confrontations, and he wasn't as young as he used to be. So he was perfectly willing to let his new allies take care of Billy. He idly wondered if his son would have killed him if one of the creatures hadn't lunged for the young man first.

While the Baroness hadn't been prepared for the monstrous appearance of their attackers, Billy had attended Fandom High and was barely phased. He dodged the initial lunge and drew his sword from his bag. In one smooth motion she skewered the off balance Demon, and turned back towards his father.

But the Commander just laughed and pointed to the cruiser where at least five of the things had surrounded it and were attempting to break in to get at the screaming children.

The woman fighting the Baroness dove for cover as Billy opened fire. Two went down, and the other three scattered. Baroness went after the purple suited woman while Billy ran for the car.

“Pythona this is taking too long!” Cobra Commander ordered.

Pythona hissed in frustration, but couldn't disagree. She'd have much rather proved her mettle against the Baroness, but would have to cheat if they were to keep to the schedule. She grabbed her cloack, reaching into one of the interior pockets. Her hand closed around a circular object just as she felt a hand grab hold of her ponytail, and a gun barrel press against her neck.

Pythona twisted, panic briefly taking hold, but she forced it down. She flung the object in her hand into the face of The Baroness and rolled free.

The mollusk-like creature seized the Baroness' head, covering her entire face, and sealing her nose and mouth.

With the Baroness out of the fight, Pythona could turn her attention to the Commander's son. And she began to sing.

*****

Billy's mind seemed to shut down when the song reached his ears. He was only dimly aware of his hand releasing his gun and closing on the hilt of his sword. As the Siren sang, he reversed his grip and thrust down towards his stomach. A tire-iron flew through the air, knocking the sword out of his hand.

*****

When he came to, Billy looked up into the grim, blood spattered face of Helen Day. His head clearing, he saw that not far off Gail was checking the Baroness. She was unconscious but breathing. The thing that had attached itself to her was lying in pieces beside her.

Then he heard the crying. “The kids.” he gasped.

“Tommy and his friend aren't hurt.” Helen said. “But-”

“Where's Ana?”

“She's gone. They took her.”

“Will what the hell is going on?” Gail demanded.

Billy fought down the rage and panic that threatened to overwhelm him. “If I had to guess, my father met up with those demons the locals were talking about, and came after me and the kids.”

“Your father? You told me your father was dead.”

“Yeah well, wishful thinking on my part.”

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William Kessler

June 2017

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