Round 6 - DNash
Immediately Roxton was moving again. "Help me get this damn thing out of the way!" he ordered. He and Challenger worked to shift the auto-washing tub from the elevator. In its half-in/half-out state, the auto-washing tub had jammed in the entrance, making the elevator inoperable.
Veronica shot an angry glare at their visitor and hurried to the window. Below and just outside the fence she spotted Malone and Marguerite. The cry of pain had been Ned's. He was the ground again; she couldn't tell if he'd been hurt anew or had simply fallen. She saw him fumble with his good hand for his pistol and guessed the latter. Meantime, Marguerite was standing her ground, firing at the approaching figures.
"Dammit!" Veronica cursed. "More of those zombie lizardmen! Roxton!" She turned and caught the hunter's eye. He and Challenger were still fighting with the tub.
Roxton looked at Tribune. "I don't suppose you'd care to help?" he snarled.
Tribune smiled. "And pass up the chance to watch you two try it? Really, there are so few opportunities to enjoy quality entertainment." He sat back on the make-shift sofa and made himself comfortable.
On the ground, Marguerite and Malone were nearly surrounded. Ned was still struggling to keep upright, hold his gun steady, and not move his injured arm.
"Malone, get up!" spat the heiress, her fear making her even more snappish than usual. "I'm running out of bullets." She aimed and pulled the trigger once more.
"Correction." She holstered the weapon and grabbed Malone's out of his hand.
The reporter cried out as the sudden jerk caused him to lose his balance and fall back against the hard ground, jarring his elbow further. He bit his tongue to keep from cursing the dark-haired woman. Instead he decided he'd forget all about apologizing for his earlier behavior.
The heiress managed to fell two or three more of the decaying lizardmen before Ned's pistol, too, was empty. She shoved the weapon into her belt and turned to pull Malone to his feet.
A loud shot rang out from overhead. The nearest lizardman paused and slowly fell.
"Move!" shouted Roxton from above, bringing his rifle to bear on another target.
"Come on, Malone," said Marguerite. She'd gotten him to his feet and draped his good arm over her shoulders, but that was all she could do. The young man was failing fast, overcome by the pain shooting through his injured arm. He stumbled and fell, taking the heiress down with him.
"Ned!" shouted Veronica. She turned and glared at Challenger. "Haven't you got that thing out of the way yet?"
"If we couldn't do it with two men " the inventor began. It didn't stop him from trying on his own, however.
Veronica hurried over to offer what help she could. "Sorry, Challenger," she grunted as they tried to shift the heavy machine.
Roxton quickly reloaded his rifle. Despite his best effort, the corpses were nearly on top of Marguerite and Malone.
"Oh this is too, too amusing!" exclaimed Tribune with glee. His smile faded when Roxton turned his rifle on him.
"Help them. Now," he ordered with a nod of his head toward his struggling companions in the lift.
"You lot are so tiresome," sighed the lizardman, rising. "I don't know why I continue to aid you when all I ever get in return is threats and contempt. Move aside." He brushed Veronica aside and grabbed the tub. It was the work of seconds for him and Challenger to remove it from the elevator. Veronica quickly moved in and prepped the lift to descend.
Challenger grabbed a rifle and was only a step behind her when Roxton spoke.
"It's too late. They've got them."
"All the more reason to go after them now!" insisted Veronica. "Are you coming?"
"If I may interject a word?" Tribune had resumed his place on the sofa, long, scaled arms stretched across its back.
"What?" snapped the blonde angrily.
"I simply thought you would be interested in knowing what you're facing."
"You know what those things were?"
"So do you. They're dead lizardmen that have been reanimated, just as you suspect."
Challenger's eyes widened, but he quickly controlled his reaction. He didn't want the others to see his surprise or belief. "So you say," he replied, careful to keep a tone of skepticism in his voice. "What else can you tell us about them?"
"They're only the vanguard of a new army being created by my replacement." Tribune spoke the last word distastefully. He was once again the deposed leader of the lizardmen, and he didn't like anything reminding him of it. "I have a plan to stop him."
There was a brief pause as the humans waited for him to continue.
Finally, the lizardman sighed like a long-suffering martyr. "Must I say it?"
"Yes," said Roxton.
"Come, come, John. Your friends' lives are at stake. Do you really want to waste precious time by forcing me to beg?"
Veronica made the decision for them all. "No. We'll help you. Now tell us what you know."
"Malone?" It was a harsh whisper. "Malone?" Marguerite tried again.
The reporter groaned.
"Good. You're awake. Can you sit up?" She put a hand under his good arm, trying to lever him into a sitting position.
"Aagh!" he exclaimed. He immediately cradled his damaged elbow with the opposite arm. Marguerite steadied him, allowing him to lean on her in order to remain upright. Malone sucked in air through his teeth, fighting the blackness that ringed his vision. "God, that hurts."
"I know. Here." She eased him back against the stone wall. "I'll see if there's anything here I can use to splint your arm."
It was dim in the cell, the only light coming from small, barred windows high in one wall. She shifted through the straw and other rubbish that cluttered the ground. Her pawing about stirred up a small nest of mice that ran skittering for a grate in the far corner. The heiress stifled a startled gasp and continued her search.
"Where are we?" asked Malone. He didn't really care, but it was something to keep his mind off the pain.
"I'm not sure. Those things knocked us both out. Well, they knocked me out. You were already out cold."
Malone was sure there was some biting response he could have made to the heiress's sarcastic remark, but he couldn't think of one. "How long have we been here?"
"It was light when they grabbed us, and it's light now. Not too long, I'd guess."
"Unless we were unconscious all night."
She shot him a glare he didn't see. Marguerite was actually glad. The young man looked awful. He was sitting up against the wall, his legs out in front of him and his arm cradled against his belly. His eyes were shut and ringed with dark circles made prominent by his pallor.
"Here," she said more gently. "I found some sticks. We can make a splint." She brought the sticks over and set them next to him. He didn't move. "Malone? Malone?" Ned started. "Stay awake."
Marguerite was unbuckling her belt. Again Malone felt like he was missing an opportunity to comment, but he couldn't focus enough to come up with the words. She reached out and laid a gentle hand on his arm. It was swollen and felt hot to the touch. That can't be good, she thought. "Can you straighten it?"
Ned shook his head.
"Great," the heiress said acidly.
"I didn't do this on purpose," the reporter argued weakly. He was trying hard to stay focused, stay awake, but the pain was numbing every other sense and he just wanted to fall into the blackness to escape it.
Marguerite's features softened. "I know." She glared at the sticks she'd found. "I don't think these are going to help. I don't know as much about this sort of thing as Challenger, but I think you've broken your elbow." She thought quickly. "Here." She removed both her belt and her gun belt; the guns were long gone, taken by the zombies that had brought them here. She slipped the holster off, then buckled one to the other.
"What are you doing?"
"Making a sling. Lean forward. Come on, just a little will do." Ned leaned forward from the wall. He gritted his teeth against the pain as the heiress slipped the belt behind him and over his good shoulder. "Lean back carefully," she ordered.
Marguerite wrapped one end of the doubled belt around the wrist of his injured arm, then brought the end together with the second buckle. "Almost done," she informed the reporter with unusual compassion. Next she reached for his own belt and undid it.
This time, Ned was hurting enough it didn't even occur to him he was missing yet another golden opportunity.
"Lean forward again," Marguerite ordered.
"Isn't there an easier way to do this?"
"Probably, but I can't think of one." She removed his belt then reached around him, buckling it around his chest and upper arm to secure the injured limb against his torso.
It was an awkward maneuver getting it around his back and over the injured arm while keeping the sling and his good arm free. Malone was sweating by the end of it. He strained to keep from screaming or passing out. He briefly considered doing both. Finally, she was done, and he leaned back once more. He took a deep breath, carefully let it out. "Thanks," he said.
Marguerite was eyeing the door. Shadows moved in the crack of light at its base. "Don't thank me yet."