Kill ’em all, he thought. 18 of the beasts had cornered him here with all the exits blocked, and with what he’d been through, giving up was even less of an option than flight. They sure as hell wouldn’t call it quits, not while their blood—or whatever it was that oozed out when he put holes in them—still circulated, still animated the hideous frenzied urge that enthralled them to his doom.
He probably wouldn’t make it out of this, but if he did, it would be through their dismembered corpses. Their faces were like exit signs to him, showing him the way through fortified flesh that needed opening with his blaster. Point there, squeeze here, and a portal would burst open in the beast, letting him walk out through the meaty mess. The thought of myriad instant butchery provoked his hunger for killing into just the kind of madness needed to eagerly charge the deadly savagery closing in.
“Put down your weapon and reveal your empty hands!” The audacity with which the tyrannical beast voiced this demand made his stomach churn. Those sick freaks had no place using words—words are for humans, real, live, red-blooded humans! The corrupted souls of these damned creatures—whatever the hell they were–could be seen a mile away through their dead eyes. They weren’t fooling him, though they continued to try. “If you comply willingly I am authorised to adjudicate a mitigated sentence.”
The nerve. “There’s just one thing I wanna know!” He gripped his blaster tighter and became a coiled spring.
“What would you like to know?”
He’d been through hell—all 9 rings and a few extra epicycles to boot. He’d pillaged a good deal of knowledge along the way, vast booty of arcane science and occult perceptions plus the usual exoteric observations on the requirements of survival: blast whatever gets in your way, keep moving, trust only self and blaster, sleep while blasting, and if blasting doesn’t work, smash it. Don’t drop the medkit, unless you enjoy moving on perforated legs and smashing with a broken hand (he didn’t—much). Getting a new medkit takes a lot of killing.
He also knew his blaster had 88% charge. That would probably be enough, accounting for maybe 2 or 3 more unexpected complications.
And then there were all the things he thought he knew. He thought he knew the layout of this facility down to the last brimstone brick. He thought he knew that this room had access to the ventilation exhaust system. He thought he was out.
It didn’t, and he wasn’t, and now he knew that hell had a lean-to, a 10th ring, a ring for the last finger, the trigger finger. Lucky for him, he knew all about trigger fingers and his own was just itching to squeeze. As he looked at the blaster in his hand a flood of countless memories of encroaching doom upon which it had rained down a cleansing fire visited him, and he smiled fondly at the intricately printed metal and energy display and glowing, murmuring hole of death at the end.
“I wanna know what kinda slimy bile’s sloshing around insida your soulless corpses!” His brain blitzed into activity like a berserk Tesla coil, sending lightning rage through legion motor neurons to explode each harnessed muscle fibre with the motive power of undiluted centrifugally enriched bloodlust—or whatever-the-hell-lust.