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Sravan Shanker

Action Thriller


Sravan Shanker

Action Thriller

Case XW-789

Case XW-789

8 mins 182 8 mins 182

The glowing plasma sword in my hand seemed puny in comparison to the humongous castle. The glowing armor I wore seemed flimsy. The machine gun strapped to my back seemed to be a kid’s toy. The shadows cast by the flames that licked the kerosene coated ground seemed to scream to me to run back, run, and never return. I silently wished I could. The creature's deep breath echoed on the stone walls, filling the walls with loud booms every few seconds. I walk with silent footsteps, careful not to wake the giant beast when my ear pod vibrated.

I slightly touch it and a voice rings, “we got her, chief.”

I let out a sigh of relief. “Put her on,” I say.

 A bunch of hustles later, a raspy voice spat out- “what ?”

I take a deep breath. “What is this, X? This abomination.”

She laughs. “Why, that’s my cutie pet.”

 I take another look at the “pet.” Easily 50 meters from its long rough snout to its smooth, shiny tail’s triangular end. Pitch black in color with red eyes. Two huge swaths of flesh with a hard rigid skeleton formed its gargantuan wings. A creature very much resembling a dragon.

“Tell me how to kill it.” I’m basically fuming.

 “You can’t” she laughs. “My beauty is too good.”

 A bang. A woman screams. Thud. “Sir, we got the info, the slight bulge on its head, that’s its brain. A good stab with your sword should kill it.”

 Muffled laughter. Words. Argument. Another shot. The laughter ends.

 “Never liked her anyway.”

I turned to face the beast. Sleeping like a baby. I play out my options. walking to it as slow as possible is the only way. Jetpack-too loud, running-too loud. I set my plasma sword to max. Its glow basks the castle. I slowly tiptoe, making sure that the beast does not hear, smell, or feel me.

 When I’m about 15 feet away, I make my mistake. A stray rock makes my step echo through the castle. The dragon stirs. It ears twitch in all directions and then finds the source. Its eyes fly open and contract, locking on to me. As if a football field was waking up. It realizes what I’m up to. A violent roar.

 The very foundations of the castle shake as it stands up on its mighty pillars of feet. It turns to face me, its snout flaring up in anger. Smoke pours out from him. Turning to face me, it opens its mouth and I notice its throat, red hot. As if in movies, I realize X had really created a dragon. Almost by instinct, I throw up one of my plasma shields, just as flames envelop me.

The heat is too great, I feel like I’m being cooked by the world’s largest blowtorch. Blisters pop all about and my suit tries it's very best to counteract the flame. Its cooling gel burns black and oozes out of the suit. Thermal warnings flash all over. The coolant system fails.

After what seems like an eternity, the flame ends and along with it, the battery of my plasma shield. Five more seconds and I would have become a human steak. Turning to face the dragon, I launch a volley of bullets that ricochet of its metal-like skin. It lets out a roar and recoil, curling into a ball. Seizing my opportunity, I run to the back of a pillar, I get the scientist on my ear pod and lets out a stream of profanities.

“It produces a flammable liquid,” he hastily explains. “The heat from its body causes the liquid to catch fire. The liquid and the fire are then hurdled toward the target. Fire blowers used a similar technique during the 20th and 21st centuries.”

“You could have told me” I’m screaming.

“Sorry boss.”

 I let out a sigh. Scientists. 

I quickly unhook my machine gun and released the safety trigger. Expert hands pulling levers, adjusting knobs. I want to see how many bullets you can put in a dragon. Set mode to lethal. Max power, disregard silence. Taking a deep breath, I turn around and fire almost 20 rounds when I realized that there was nothing there. I was firing into thin air.

Swinging my gun around, I searched the entire room, finding it empty. How did a 50-something-foot long dragon just disappear? My hands move to my pod when my screen lets out a warning- a sudden movement from the right. I turned around to see the dragon’s head, jaws closing in on me.

Unknowingly- shots rain. I empty about a quarter of my bullet supply when the beast, recoiling in pain, suddenly disappears. Vanishes into thin air.

My ear pod rings out and Mr. Scientist says in a panicked voice. “This lady is a monster, that creature has the DNA of chameleon spliced into it, its scale can change color. Amazing camo.”

“So, I can’t see it,” I say, swinging my gun around in all directions. Straining for a voice.

“Thermal still works,” he replies.

“Fair enough,” I cut the phone. Lowering my eyepiece, I set it to thermal when my entire screen goes red. I’m confused for a moment, then realizing, I use my second shield. Just when its deployed, something crashes into it, causing it to glitch for a moment. The invisible force, I’m sure, is the beast’s mouth.

The jaws crush the shield, the plasma struggling against the sheer force. Its camo wears away, revealing a red-eye staring right at me. The battery is flashing. The plasma shield fails, and I can see the jaws about to crush me when I barely jump aside, avoiding certain death. The place where I stood a moment before is completely enclosed within the creature’s mouth. Recoiling from the force of its own jaw crashing onto himself, it stumbles for a moment, temporarily stunned.

I can see the bulge. Fell it within my reach. I grab my sword and run to it. Barely, just there. I jump into the air, momentarily blinded by hope when the beast stands and knocks me aside with his snout.

 I smash into the pillar and I can feel my back being smashed. A few vertebrae threw off for sure. The armor did what it can, but I still lay there for a good thirty or so seconds. It took me a flashing screen to realize that there was a dragon trying to kill me. Scampering, I prop myself against a pillar and switch to thermal view. A huge block of red in one of the corners. Shapes emerge from it, wings. The wings begin to violently flap, and the block slowly lifts into the air. Moving towards me. Quickly. I barely push thermal aside when my eyes can only see the black under the hood of the dragon. Scales glistening. The flaps of the wings. I stood there like a deer in headlights when the claw smashed into my chest.

I feel my breath go out, ribs definitely were broken. I struggle but to no avail. I try to push it apart, but it’s like trying to push a mountain away, unmoving. The heat causes sweat to break out. The face, I can see it now. The orange glow. In a panic, I feel my hands wrap around a sphere the size of a tennis ball. I use my last shield.

The heat of the plasma burns the “heat-resistant” skin of the large lizard. Howling in pain, it shoots a beam of fire into the ceiling, causing the stone to fall down in a rain of huge chunks of granite. The plasma (much to its credit) still holds up, though it's being challenged. The beast isn’t so lucky.

 A huge swath of granite hits it square in the head. It bellows, its roars are so loud that it would probably be heard miles away. Sinking into the ground, I could see some of its scales from the head rain down, leaving its skull exposed.

When the beeps mark the end of the shield, I run towards the skull. One quick strike is all I need. The head is in my sight. The sword is lifted above my head and I prepare to bring it down. Next thing I know, a huge tail slams into my torso.

The tail moves around like a whip, but I somehow manage to hold on to it. Barely. He tries to shake me off for a good minute. I still hang on and when the tail finally comes to a rest just for a moment, I clamber aboard. I am running through the spine of the creature when it violently moves. I quickly lose balance, landing on my crotch, thanking the stars that I was wearing armor. Scrambling, I crawl to the top like a caterpillar. The beast is angry, spewing fire in all directions.

When I reach the neck, I withdraw the sword and reach for the skull. There, almost. Flames are covering the place but thankfully can’t reach me. Just a bit of luck strikes when, counterintuitively, the creature lurches forward. The plasma sword is pushed into its brain.

A final roar. And the beast falls. With such a huge thud, my 23rd creature meets its fate. A majestic creature to it was. A liquid flows out its mouth and its scales begin to drop off. I know the liquid but scoop it up and tests its viscosity anyway. Yes, ether. X’s magical substance. Proof of what I already knew. The dragon is dead. Case XW-789 closed.

I sit on the dragon for quite a while. Feeling its scales as they drop off. Within half an hour, the body is rigid and I walk out of the castle. The retrieval quadcopters already surround the palace. Medics rush to me, checking me for injuries. Seeing my bones, they take me to a mobile hospital where they patch it up. No missions for three weeks.

My ear pod rings. “Good job, agent. Case XW-789 closed,” the robotic monotone drawled. “This has been added to your missions completed. You are given leave for three months. We expect you back soon. Over & out.”

The dragon is being brought out, a huge beast, lifted by electromagnetic carriers. This will not be the last creature I ever fight, will ever see. Out of the public eye, we will still fight. These DNA-mutts will still roam and till all are finally destroyed, we will still be here. Watching, fighting, possibly dying. But still here. No other choice.

Over and Out indeed.                                         

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