We had moved Rivet to the Cow (clinic on wheels, a converted van), the bathhouse was not really the right place for someone in his condition. This morning, he surprised me by waking up, I would have guessed that this would have taken much longer. Unfortunately, he suffers serious memory loss and thinks he has been injured during a regular boxing match. He also believes that we have 2066, so he has currently no memory of anything concerning the Rat’s Nest. I was less delicate than I could have been in telling him, but he’ll have to face the reality soon enough whatever I tell him.
We have suffered our first casualty, one of the Scrappers had been knocked unconscious by the water cannons and no-one found him until morning. He froze to death. He had a wife and three children.
I was on my way to tell his wife when shots were fired, four or five, very quickly. The target were the Hard Corps cops and four of them were lying in the middle of the street, dead or dying. My first thought was who in the Rat’s Nest would be stupid enough to do that? And speaking of stupid: Splash actually ran right towards them, whatever she was trying to do. She went down as well, it looked like she had been hit, but there were no shots. I decided that she had probably come to her senses and was playing dead. She later told me that she had been absolutely certain she had been hit twice and died. I don’t know what happened, she’s perfectly fine, although she seemed a bit dazed from the whole experience.
One of the cops, the lieutenant, was still moving. I couldn’t let him bleed to death, so I ventured out to drag him back to cover. He had been hit badly and was bleeding out. I had crossed about half the distance back to the containers when the rest of the cops came running, guns at the ready and shouting at me to drop the lieutenant and to get on the ground.
I put the lieutenant down and knelt next to him, trying to keep at least one hand on the wound, and shouted at the cops not to shoot. Next thing I knew, six cops were on top of me and all I could do was curl up while they beat the shit out of me. I got at least one good blow to the head because I lost consciousness for a while.
When I came round again, the cops were trying to fight off just about all the dogs of the Rat’s Nest plus a mob of people. I did the best I could for the lieutenant so that he wouldn’t die right there and then and I tried to calm the people down, the last thing we needed were more dead cops. It worked – the cops all were beaten badly and people took their guns, pretty much all their stuff, but they’ll all live. Good enough for me.
The lieutenant was not in great shape, but he realized that I had saved his life. We came to an agreement: the cops would keep silent about what exactly had happened and the people of the Nest would get out before Doc Wagon arrived, which would be in about 15 minutes tops. He tried to negotiate for their weapons, but even if I had been willing to get them back, there was no way anyone would have returned them.
So we left the Nest as quickly as possible. We’ll see what will be left when we get back. For now, we’re in a number of hideouts Saphira has come up with. She has also come up with an attorney, Al Goodmann, who she says is well worth the money he asks. He told me that he thinks he can get our people out of jail by tomorrow since there were a number of … irregularities with the raid, the lack of a warrant not being the least. I hope he can deliver.
Oh, and I almost forgot: a couple of our dogs (Rivet’s pug Mr Wrinkles and my Rott Jasper among them) turned up at Splash’s hiding place and pretty much wrecked it. Don’t ask me how they found her, in fact don’t ask me why they suddenly went all Baskerville on the cops who attacked me. I have no idea what’s going on there. Anyway, I took Jasper and the other dogs with me, Blaster kept one of the strays.
I’ll try to get some sleep for now, while I can.
There are some things I’m not going to write about for everyone to read. Here’s one of them:
While I was being beaten by the cops, I didn’t lose consciousness as much as I stepped out of my body. It was a freaking near death experience, complete with white light.
I found myself standing next to the cops and I felt pity for the poor guy they were busy beating, but it was all a bit distant. Maybe I was just distracted by the fact that Mr Snautz, Rivet’s Great Dane, who had been shot during the raid, was talking to me. Rip was also there and he wanted me to come with him, he said he had found a way out (through a window under one of the containers that glowed with a bright light).
I was somewhere between taking it all seriously and “you’ve got to be kidding me”. I mean, I never bought into all that spirit stuff even as a kid and now here I was, talking to a dead dog. In any case, Mr Snautz asked me whether I really wanted to go back. I did – following Rip may have been the easy way out, but I wasn’t willing to leave my friends and the people who depend on me. God (or whoever) knows I’ve been thinking about just leaving the Rat’s Nest often enough, but if there ever was a time for making a graceful exit, it’s long gone now.
So back I went. I have no idea what triggered all that, maybe really just a blow to the head. My whole body hurts when I move, but I’m not all that badly injured, nothing life-threatening in any case. Maybe it was just a way for my subconscious to kick my butt, to get me to acknowledge that I had a lot more responsibilities than just myself. If that was the case, it worked, thank you very much. Next time, how about something a bit more subtle?