It’s a new beautiful day in this shitty line of work.
Today started out pretty normal. Well, if you can call being woken up at six in the morning by an angry, nagging bitch normal, that is.
Turns out Sandra needed my help once again. It was to set up all the new tech and sort through all the new equipment she’d ordered.
Within a couple of hours, she’d transformed our barren living room into a nerd’s wet dream. She’d set up a server, two state-of-the-art PCs, and a row of monitors. This would allow her to be in direct contact with headquarters at all times, but also to analyze any signature we’d stumble upon. Why we needed all that shit? I’ve got no clue.
And of course, I didn’t get to play with those new shiny toys. No, I was tasked with sorting through and storing away all the new gadgets, equipment, books, tools and God knows what else she had delivered here.
I’d just put away another box full of flasks containing a strange purplish liquid when Sandra called out to me.
“Exterminator 7D11087, we’ve got a new signature. It’s a C-class, beast type. Get ready, we’re leaving ASAP.”
I walked up to her and had a look at the monitors. The signature was located near the outskirts of town in an industrial area. There was nothing there except factories and old warehouses.
“We’ve got ourselves a beast type out there?”
She hit a few keys, changed the camera position and zoomed in on a patch of forest to the east of the industrial area.
“It’s likely that a forest animal got exposed to some external influences and mutated,” Sandra explained.
“Is it moving? Any idea if it has attacked anyone yet?”
“Can’t get any detailed information on the creature, so I assume it must hide somewhere, most likely underground. However, that might not be the case for much longer.”
I nodded and started to get ready. Ten minutes later we were on our merry way.
The moment we’d made it to the area, Sandra stopped me.
“All right, exterminator 7D11087, this time I don’t want to see any unnecessary actions. You will follow my order and we’ll do things by the book, understood?”
“Sure thing,” I answered. As I looked at her though, I saw she wasn’t carrying any weapons. Hell, she wasn’t carrying any equipment at all. This time, however, I knew better than to say anything.
Finally, she nodded.
“Good. Once we make contact, you’re on standby. Today, I’m going to handle the extermination. It’s simpler and more efficient, considering your lack of… finesse.”
When I heard that, I couldn’t keep my mouth shut any longer.
“All right, lady, and how in the hell are you going to do that? You’re not even carrying any weapons!”
“I know how to handle myself,” she said, giving me the slightest hint of a smug smile.
I was about to go on, but by now, I didn’t even care anymore. If the bitch wanted to get herself killed, then so be it.
“Let’s scout the area. The signature indicates that the creature is somewhere near the northern edge of those factory grounds here. No sudden actions or anything. We’re just two normal civilians.”
“You want me to hold your hand? Maybe we could pretend to be a couple. Might work better than just-“
The angry glare she threw my way made me drop the subject, but I couldn’t help but grin to myself a little.
As we made our way past the factory grounds, Sandra’s eyes were glued to one of her new shiny scanners. We were getting closer, but so far we saw nothing resembling a hiding place.
“As I assumed, the signature indicates that the creature is underground, most likely in an old maintenance tunnel or an underground parking lot.”
“Well, what are we waiting for? Let’s take care of the fucker.”
Sandra sighed. “Since I’m in charge, we’ll not do anything reckless like that.”
“Well, what are you suggesting we do?”
“We’re going to cause a distraction that will get everyone out of the area. Once that’s done, we’re going to lure the creature to this abandoned warehouse nearby.”
With that, she held up the scanner and pointed to a location to the north of the factory grounds.”
I listened, but I couldn’t help but be annoyed by her up-stuck attitude.
“Sure thing, what sort of distraction you have in mind? You want me to just walk up to people and-“
“We’ll raise the fire alarm. That way we’ll get everyone to evacuate the area for the time being. You’ll be in charge of that. In the meantime, I’ll confirm the creature’s current location.”
“Jesus Christ, why do you have to make everything so goddamn complicated? Can’t we just go and-“
“Exterminator 7D11087, you’ve caused enough trouble over the past months already. My analysis of your work shows that you’re prone to anger issues, using excessive firepower and causing unnecessary damage, to both, your surroundings and headquarters equipment. Your general cost of operation exceeds that of other, more professional exterminators by-“
“All right, fuck, I get it! So I hit the fucking fire alarm and you go find the freaking creature, that it?”
She stared at me in annoyance before she nodded, but handed me another one of her shiny little gadgets.
“A jammer, they are bound to have surveillance cameras. Use it when you’re about to enter the premise. We can’t risk having your activities being seen.”
I shrugged and pocketed it.
“Well then, guess I have a fire alarm to rise,” I said in an over-the-top upbeat voice and went on my way.
God, I hated that woman.
Sneaking into the factory was child’s play. You might not believe me, given what I’ve shared so far, but I’m not half bad getting into places I’m not supposed to be at.
Avoid a group of workers here, crack open a door there, and in I was. Then I dropped Sandra’s little jammer and began my search for a fire alarm.
Once that was done, I did my best to walk down the factory hall as nonchalantly as possible. Hopefully no one would bother me, but if worse came to worst, I could pretend to be some sort of customer on his way to the sales department.
Finding a fire alarm wasn’t hard, a factory’s pretty much swarming with the things. The important part was to set it off without being seen.
I made my way down a hallway and wouldn’t you know it, there was one right down at the end. A quick look back showed me that no one else was nearby. With a single swift motion, I cracked the glass and pulled.
Right away sirens went up all over the place. The added confusion of a failing surveillance system will do the trick. As quickly as I could, I made my way back outside and I could already see chaos erupting. Wouldn’t be long before someone figured out that nothing was amiss, but by then we’d most likely baited the creature to where Sandra wanted it to be.
I pulled out my phone and hit up Sandra.
“You found our little friend?”
“Get to my location. I’m transferring it as we speak. It’s hiding in an underground maintenance area.”
It took me about a minute to meet up with her. I could see the small ramp she was waiting in front and a rusty, old metal gate at its end.
The moment we got closer, I saw the gate was ajar and had been pushed open by force.
Bingo, I thought.
Sandra cross-checked her scanner once more before she nodded towards me.
She reiterated the plan once more. Then we entered.
We inched forward bit by bit, making our way past rusted boilers and giant water tanks. It wasn’t long before we found the creature.
The thing was huge, much bigger than I’d imagined. It could only mean one thing, it must’ve snuck in here while still mutating. Now it was down here, to bide its time and grow. As I stared at the dark shadow ahead of me, I guessed it was twice my size. Shit, this could get nasty, but thankfully it hadn’t noticed me yet.
All right fucker, I thought, as I pulled out my gun and pressed the trigger. If I was lucky, I might take care of things right here, right now.
The moment the bullet hit, the creature stirred and pushed itself upward. Shit, it was even bigger than I’d thought before, the size of a small bus.
I pressed the trigger again and again, but it didn’t seem to do anything.
For a moment the creature didn’t seem to understand what was going on. Then glowing, bloodshot eyes focused on me and it let out a deafening roar.
“I think we should,” I started but broke up. There was no one here. I was alone. Where the fuck had she – but I didn’t get to wonder any longer because the creature stormed into my direction.
Without looking back, I dashed towards the entrance. This goddamn bitch! She’d told me we had to lure the thing over there, so she must’ve gone there already. She’d left me here as bait!
As I ran, chaos erupted behind me. I heard the crunching of metal as the creature crashed against a boiler, then the explosion of one of the water tanks.
For a moment I pulled out my gun again, shot at the giant looming shadow, but the thing didn’t even react. Shit, what the hell were we supposed to do against something like that?
Grenades, I thought, and already closed my hand around one of them. Then I remembered where I was, right below an entire fucking factory. If I threw one of my goodies down here, chances are, I’d blow up the entire fucking complex.
Finally I’d made it to the doors, then I was on the ramp, then stormed into the direction of the abandoned warehouse. A second later the metal gate exploded outwards. There was another angry growl.
When I looked back once more, I saw how close the thing was and got a good look at what we were up against. From the body, the snout and the tusks I could assume that the bloated abomination behind me must’ve once been a wild boar.
No time to think, I thought, as the creature closed in on me. I sprinted towards the warehouse, but was stopped by a giant fence. My head darted left, then right, but there was no hint of a gate.
In an instant I jumped onto the fence, pulled myself upward and climbed. I’d made it to the top when the creature reached it and charged right into it.
The fence was obliterated, and I was sent flying. Somehow I was able to lend on my feet, put pain shot through my legs and I crashed to the floor.
“Over here!” I heard Sandra calling out to me.
Fucking hell, help me, you goddamn-
I didn’t get to finish my curse, the thing was right behind me. There were only a few meters, then only one, then the entire area was basked in blazing white light as the flash grenade exploded.
The thing was disoriented, screeching and growling in anger. It continued its charge blindly, barely missing me before it charged off into a different direction.
I fought myself to my feet, felt pain in my legs and knees, and knew I hadn’t come out of the fall unscathed.
I half-ran, half-limped over to where Sandra was.
“What the hell are we supposed to do against something like that?” I screamed at her.
“Can’t use any of the grenades, can we?”
In front of us, the thing was calming down. It shook its head, blinked once or twice before it had settled down.
It’s large, bloodshot eyes scanned the area. Then they grew wide when it found us. I saw muscles twitching below skin and tusks growing. Shit, the fucker was still changing, still mutating right in front of us.
There was another deafening roar. As it opened its giant mouth, I saw a gorging maw filled with brick-sized teeth. There was a disgusting black tongue and then something else pushed out from its throat.
Half a dozen huge, heavy tentacles pushed from its mouth. They were pulsating, stretching, and then they opened up and shot something through the air.
I saw a disgusting, yellowish-green liquid that came flying right into our direction.
“Watch out!” I screamed at Sandra, who still hadn’t moved a single step.
For a second I rushed forward to push her out of the way, but I felt myself propelled backwards.
When I’d pushed myself up, I saw Sandra hovering a couple of inches over the ground, her hair standing up. The liquid had crashed against an invisible wall about a meter ahead of her.
The moment it hit the ground, the concrete started oozing and bubbling. Acid, I thought.
But my eyes weren’t resting on the acid, neither were they resting on the abomination in front of us, no they rested on Sandra.
This bitch. This goddamn bitch. She was one of those damned freaks, one of those… psychomancers or whatever they called them.
The creature roared, charged forward, but came to a halt after a few steps. Its mouth opened again, the tentacles pushed out once more, but with a single wave of her hand, Sandra closed it again. I could hear the thing screeching in pain, saw the muscles of the jaw tightening before they tore apart.
The creature tried to push itself forward, pushing against Sandra’s barrier. I saw the muscles in its legs tightening, but then Sandra’s eyes grew wide.
The air filled with the sickening sound of bones breaking and flesh tearing. A moment later, the front legs of the creature gave way.
It struggled, pushed onward with its hind legs alone, but another wave of Sandra’s hand tore them apart as well.
Sandra hovered closer. There was another gesture, a final, minute wave of the hand, and I saw the thing twitching and convulsing. Acid oozed from its jaws, eating away flesh, bone and skin.
“The acid glands are gone, and it’s unable to move. Please finish the creature off exterminator 7D11087.”
For a moment I stood there, staring at her, jaw dropped. Then, as she came to a rest on the floor, I nodded.
In a trance, I stumbled toward the pitiful creature. Its eyes looked at me. I saw what remained of its jaw twitch, but nothing was working there anymore. It had all been destroyed.
I pulled out the gun and finished the thing off with a few shots right to its head.
Then I limped back to Sandra.
“So, you’re one of those psycho-“
“We prefer the term mentalist,” she cut me off with a slight smile on her face.
“All right, mentalist then. Now tell me, if you’re able to take down a C-class organism like its nothing, why the fuck was I needed here?”
“You weren’t. It was a precaution. Beast, vermin and humanoid types are no problem for a trained mentalist. There is, however, a chance that a creature has abilities similar to ours or that the extermination lasts for a prolonged amount of time.”
“The hell you’re trying to say?”
“What I’m trying to say is that even though we mentalists are far more capable than other, lower-ranking exterminators,” her eyes came to rest on me as she said this, “at times, even we can’t handle things on our own. It’s a rare exception though,” she added with a condescending smile.
As I stood there, I could only continue to stare at her. Great, so headquarters hadn’t just sent me a freaking bitch, no they’d sent me a fucking mentalist. Way to go, way to make me feel fucking useless.
You know what?
Fuck monsters and fuck mentalists.