Chapter 1: Between a rock and a hard place.


Chapter 1: Between a rock and a hard place.

Chapter 1: Between a rock and a hard place.

        "You are listening to K-98, number one radio station here on Mars. We would like to welcome all our new listeners near Valhalla Point, one of the last remaining battle sites of the great war between our now good friends, the United Earth's Government. And speaking of the Earth, we are going to celebrate the treaty between our grand worlds which was signed a hundred years ago this weeken...shhhhhhhhh!!"

        The newly built communication tower out on Valhalla Point was obliterated by an unexpected explosion. The blast of the inferno nightmare shook the planet side with a fiery roar that could have been seen from space. Out from the raging fire came a truck fleeing from the horrendous explosion. It barely missed the cavernous ravine as it brutally landed onto the cold rocky surface. The body of the truck fishtailed to the right, nearly tipping itself over. Fire from the explosion had crept onto the sides of the truck, eating its away through the brakes. The female driver barely kept it under control, but the cabin of the truck was nearly engulfed by the smoke and seconds away from impacting with a nearby boulder. With no other choice, she gave up the struggle to save the truck. A single kick to the to door, she scarcely dove out of the way before the right side of the vehicle hit an inclined part of the ground. From the combination of the trucks speed and the force from the explosion, the truck twisted into the air like a newly lit roman candle going off into the night sky. The driver rolled out of harm’s way as the truck slammed into the mountain side.  She turned around to look at the fiery wreckage. With no expression on her face, she watched her truck burn as if she was used to this situation.

       When the driver took off her helmet, long flowing red hair tumbled out and protruding ears popped out.
      "Well, there goes my lead. Damn, Chief is going to be mad about this. That is the third truck this week."
      As she turned around to walk away from the flames, the truck exploded for the second time. The woman neither flinched from the sound, nor from the force of the explosion. She just continued to walk away, until one of the burning tires from her truck had landed in front of her feet. Looking down at the burning rubber, she tightly held onto her helmet. As the smell of burning rubber reminded her of the bad luck she just had, the woman driver twirled around and tossed the helmet into the fiery wreckage. She slowly gazed up into the starry night as the twin moons of Mars prevailed over the plush red landscape. She sat down to watched the last of the flickering flames on the desert’s surface. The communication unit on her ear was beeping ever since the explosion of the truck.
      "Anna, are you there?"
      "Yeah, Sarge, I am here."
      "..Shsss..We can't get a fix on you. What is your...shssss."
     "Damn, this Mickey mouse piece of shit, it's dead.. Just great! They had to take out the only freaking communication tower out here," said Anna as she lost contact with her commanding officer. She was stranded in an unfriendly area. Even if she made a fire, it wouldn't last long in this low oxygen environment. The police wouldn't be able find her until morning. Anna got back up and dusted off the dirt from her pant legs. She couldn't afford to wait here any longer. Reluctantly, she started down the only road through Valhalla Point.

      On her way down the lonely road, Anna noticed a makeshift sign made up of old armaments. The sign was an old Earth’s Regulation billboard that had words spray painted on it, "Welcome to the Badlands, population, minus 1500."
        "Badlands, huh."
       She grinned at the joke and started to walk away from the sign. The remains of her truck started to slide down from the mountain side. Another tire popped off and rolled right in front of her. Again, with a blank expression on her face, she watched the tire roll past her. The tire hit the sign. Anna shook her head and walked by.
       "Christ, I need a drink."
      The dusty winds gently blew across the Mar's cold landscape. Anna continued her way down the isolated road, and came up to a part that was forked into two directions. Puzzled by which way to go, she stopped in the middle of the road to figure it out. The moons of Mars now raced across the skyline giving the surface an eerie red radiance. She noticed a vehicle that stood on top of a hill, not too far from her position. She wondered if she should she go up there and ask for help. Instead, she took the road that led to the right, going away from the vehicle. It seemed strange to see someone just sitting on top of the hill, especially after the explosion. This reminded her about the debriefing back at the police station before she had left. It was now obvious who it was. But just in case it wasn’t who she thought it was, Anna decided to allow them the first move.
         Up on the hill were two gang members, who were waiting for her. Both of them were asleep at the time. The smaller of the two who was in the driver's seat happened to awake. He noticed someone was walking down the road and pulled out his binoculars to see if it was who they were waiting for. With delight in his eyes, he saw Anna walking way in the distance. The driver bashed onto the steering wheel with glee and woke up the other gang member.
       "Hey wake up. She's here."
        "What? Oh, finally. Damn, we set that bomb up hours ago and now she shows up."
       "It's only been twenty minutes and it went off. If you weren’t sleeping you would’ve noticed."
          "Hey, you were sleeping too.”

         “Oh, who cares. She's here, right?"
         Their gang had been paid a lot of money to bomb the communication tower for unknown reasons. Their benefactor has given them the perfect opportunity to lure Anna out. Because of her, one of their leaders was in prison. The trap had been sprung and revenge was in sight.
        "She will pay for taking out our brothers in the southern district."
        "Yeah! This is our chance to get even with her. Do it brother."
The other gang member rose up and clenched the front of the dash board
with excitement. Their time was now and for him there is nothing better than to slaughtering his victims from behind.
       "Yeah and we are getting paid to boot! The boss was wise to chose us to be his avenging angels of pain. Ha, ha, ha!"
        The driver laughed as he started the truck’s custom built engine. As spikes came out from the front bumper, armor plating formed around the front side of the hood that resembled a plow. On the front of the plow was a picture of a red skull. It was specifically designed to take down anything in its way. The roar from the engine caught Anna's attention. But she did nothing about it, just continued her way down the road.

         The vehicle began its rage down the hill. With the squealing of the truck’s tires, Anna realized the danger was bona fide and not a low oxygen hallucination. She turned to face the glaring were coming toward her. Anna shielded her eyes and was able to see a glimpse of the crimson skull.
         "The Red Skulls, why am I not surprised? I was wondering when they would make their move on me."
          The truck ripped up the two lane road as it came for her. The headlights shone brightly onto Anna, marking their intent. With an irritated look on her face, she softly said to herself, "Let's hit her with a truck. Gees, these guys have no imagination and no originality. I guess I am going to teach them a little lesson."
         The truck raced over the hill like a lion chasing after a prey through a wheat field. The gang members were able to see Anna's back facing toward them. The driver started laughing as he thought that this would be an easy kill while she looked so helplessly in their path of destruction.
         "Ha! Brother, we caught her off guard. Get ready to attack if she dodges me."
       "Right, I am on my way."
The other member jumped out of the truck to get ready for his part of the plan. The truck made its final stretch to Anna, she could feel the heat bearing down on her. When the truck was a few inches away, she spun around and propped one hand to the hood of the truck and jumped. She twisted around and landed on top of the hood of the truck facing the gang member. The driver nearly lost control as Anna crouched down and tapped onto the glass with her gun. The driver trembled in fear as he stomped on the brakes. He hoped that this would take her off guard so the other gang member could make his move.

       The second gang member sprung into action as soon as the truck stopped. From out of the corner of her eye, she noticed movement to the left. Anna was fully aware of his position and jumped up, above him. She reacted so quickly, the gang member didn't realized what had happened. He punched straight through the windshield and hit the driver in the face. Suddenly realizing that he did not hit Anna, the gang member on top of the truck grabbed the driver's shirt collar in anger and strung him through what was left of the windshield,
        "Where is she?"
The throbbing pain caused by a fist which was connected to the seven foot cyborg, the driver opened his right eye only to see a shadowy figure coming up from above them.
         "Behind you, you freaking idiot!" screamed the driver. As soon as he turned to look up, Anna was on her way down with a dropkick. Both of her feet smacked him right in the face. The strong impact slammed his head straight through the broken window, knocking the driver to his seat. Anna had a smile on her face, as she placed a foot on top of the head of the bigger gang member. She pointed her gun to his head, as he looked on,
       "Now, now, boys, we can do this the easy way or the hard way, and I really hope you choose the hard way."
       Anna hopped down from the truck and quickly tided the big gang member’s hands with the metal bars that were on the hood of the truck. The driver slowly stumbled out of the truck. Anna walked up to him in a condescended way. She tightly gripped the back of his neck and forced it over to the front bumper of the truck.
      "Now where do you think you’re going, skull boy?"
      "My name is the Razor if you must know."
      "Razor? Let me guess the other smuck over there is Shaver."
       "How dare you mock us! You bit...*"
        She shoved his face onto the hood of the truck, "Aw, what's the matter? The big bad Red Skulls can't take a joke?"
        "Joke all you want, lady. But when he wakes up you will be in trouble. Do you know who he is?"
        "Nope and personally I don't care about your silly little names. But I do care about the reason why you bombed that tower out here."
         As Anna handcuffed Razor, she found a big knife in the back pocket of his pant leg. A foot and a half long with ridges running down the blade side, she took it out of its leather cover.
        "Nice knife," said Anna as she twirled it in her hand. Once he looked up at her in disgust, she stabbed the hood of the truck right in front the Razor's eyes.
        "Okay, I am only going to ask you this one time. Why did your gang bomb that communication tower?"
        The other gang member woke up and over heard her.
        "Ha, pig we know our rights. You can't interrogate us without a lawyer present. This is police brutally. You won't get away with this. I am the Great Bone Crusher and you..."
        Anna paid no attention to him as she walked to the other side of the truck. She looked toward the desert landscape and said to herself, "This is going to be a long night for me."
           Bone Crusher screamed out in anger, "Hey, are you listing to me?"
           Anna looked back toward him, "I thought that I gagged you."
Anna made Razor sit on the opposite side of other gang member. Bone Crusher stared at Anna with the utmost hate as she passed by, "They won't come for. You will die first and I will enjoy every last minute of.."
         Again, Anna ignored him. She didn't care to notice his reaction as she strolled back to the truck. Bone Crusher's right eye twitched as he gritted his teeth with anger.
       "That's it, I am getting the hell out of here, and I'll be back to finish you off, little miss bad ass. Then you will pay attention to me. Oh yes, you will!"
Razor over heard his mumbling. "Are you crazy? Wait for our gang to get here."
Bone Crusher struggled with his bindings and was able to loosen his legs, "You can wait, but when she gets into that truck, I am out of here."
        Anna hopped onto the truck's driver seat and tried to hot wire it to start. As she bent down to take a hold of the wires under the steering column, Bone Crusher broke free of his legs cuffs and quickly jumped to his feet. Razor smiled,  "All right brother come over here and help.."
Bone Crusher didn't say anything. He just ran into the desert.

         "What?..... No, you son of a Bitch!"
          Anna heard the outburst and popped her head out of the truck. She spotted the bigger gang member making his escape into the war ridden desert. Anna walked up to Razor and momentary glanced at him, "No loyalties, huh? Do you think he can get away?"
         Razor looked at Anna with disgust and mumbled. Anna came around him to tighten the ropes on his legs. She smiled with out a care in the world and said,
        "Now I'll be back for you, so don't get any idea on escaping, okay? Because then I'll have to do this the hard way."
          Her eyes glowed with an intense shade of blue, getting the message across that she wasn't joking. He looked back with fear on his face and he closed his eyes as he nodded to comply. He opened his eyes and saw that he was alone. Razor thought about what she said and screamed, "You mean this was the easy way?"
          Anna went over the hill and down through the caverns after Bone Crusher, until they opened up to a narrow valley. Anna had caught up with the gang member, but he did not hear her foot steps. He stopped to turn around and see if she was following him and sighed in relief; he was alone. Anna was above him on a ledge and she jumped up when he turned around. She was only a few feet away from him.

       “Ha, Ha, Ha, I did it! I got away from her. There’s no…”

         He paused as he saw the faint shadow that stood in front of him. Someone was up on top of the rocks watching him. His eyes widened in fear and whipped around to see if it was her. But it was only the rock face that resembled a human figure. As he turned back around and focused his eyes forward, Anna was in front of him. Bone Crusher doubled back to the rocky caves, but she was there too. She was two fast for him.

         “Ready to give up, big guy?”
        "No, no, no! This can't be happening. I am the great Bone Crusher, the strongest of the Red Skulls.”

        “Sure whatever, bub.”

        “Whatever!..... I'll show you whatever."
Bone Crusher turned around to face Anna. His hands were still tied behind his back. With a crazed look on his face he began to charge straight into her direction,
        "This time woman, I got you, HAAA!"
Easily, Anna had time to move out of the way. Instead of a simple move to the left or the right, she wanted to add more insult. Anna placed her right hand on Bone Crusher is face and as he came in front of her, she then leapfrogged over to his back. Once he had passed under her, Anna mule kicked him in the back. This caused Bone Crusher to stumble down the hill. Since his hands were still tied together, he tumbled all the way down screaming colorful metaphors about Anna until he landed on his face. Anna laughed at him, "Hey bub! I bet that hurt. So much for the Great Bone..."
         Anna stopped her laughter as she felt the wind blow forcibly down onto her body, "What the."
         Anna looked up at a big oval ship in the Martian's sky. Four wings and a mammoth sized Vulcan cannon pointed in their direction. The ship silently came down from the high altitude and hovered above them. Anna could barely make out the insignia on the side of the ship as the search lights were glaring brightly at them,
           "Earth's Security Force.. No wait a sec. What the hell are they doing out here."
         The E.S.F.'s ship opened the rest of its gun ports on the wings and turned on the secondary search lights. A voice from the ship called out to them, "Freeze! You are all violating Earth's restricted zone! You will be shot, if you do not comply!"
        Bone Crusher saw an opportunity to escape and tried to pass by Anna as her attention was on the ship. But to no success, Anna was quick to respond to his action.

        “Hey, where do you think you’re going?”

        “Damn,” he thought as he tried to run. The Earth ship cut his escape route before Anna could get to him.”

         “Last warning, do not proceed.”

          Bone Crusher was caught off guard by the swiftness of the ship’s movements and accidentally stumbled forward. A barrage of bullets tore through his head and torso. . As he fell back, his blood trickled down in front of Anna’s feet. She looked upon the crimson river that flowed around her in disbelief. Slowly she peered back up to the ship and with intense rage she yelled,
           "Hey Asshole, what the hell do you think you are doing? That was my prisoner!"
          Anna went for her badge in her back pant leg pocket. The ship began to land and transformed to fit a ground assault, the front two wings separated in two. As it crouched down like a spider, the Vulcan cannon extended out as the secondary gun ports attached it themselves to the search lights.
            "Put your hands up, now! This is your only warning."
She flicked him off and showed her badge. With authority she yelled at him,
           "That's what I say about your authority, I am the goddamn cop here! You are interfering with my invest.!"
           The voice interrupted her, "I don't care who you are! If you come any closer, you will be fired upon just like your so called prisoner!"
            The stand off between her and the E.S.F. mech continued. Anna’s patience was running thin and the last thing she wanted was to be struck here by an Earthier with an itchy finger. "Okay, no problem here. I can take on this asshole. As long as there are not more of these.." She thought to herself.

          Just before she could finish her thought, Anna started to notice little red dots were appearing all over her body. Out from the starry night, more of the E.S.F. mechs came down and hovered around them. E.S.F. troopers armed with heavy arsenal began to surround her, cutting off all escapes routes. With the firepower that they were handling, these troopers were not just ordinary guards. Anna suspicions grew as she finished her thought, "Guys.. Okay, I guess it’s still not a problem as long they don't find my other prisoner, I can finish this quickly."
Suddenly, Anna heard a distant gun fire.
              "We got another one. He tried to escape."

         With a frown on her face she screamed as she held up her badge for the second time,
           "Alright boys, do you know what this is?"
           "I am a police officer of the New Denmark police. Again I say that you are interfering in police business. So you can do this the easy way or.."
The main mech who stopped her fired a warning shot in front of her feet. Red sand of Mar's fell on top of her head as she continued, "The hard way."
         By now troopers were pointing lazer-tip rifles and their dots were covering every part of her vital organs. With a smirk on her face, Anna looked back up to the troopers and said, "So ya'll want to do this the hard way.”
          Just before she could act upon her aggressions, Anna’s communication device in her ear began to beep suddenly which made her stop her advances. She checked it to see if it was Sergeant Simms. "Anna, please stop! Do not take them out."

          Lucky for the troopers, it was. Anna was not like most people, some of the troopers had recognized from the underground fights that she regularly visited. She was known for taking on multiple fighters and winning with out a scratch. Anna could hear some of the troopers talking about her.

         “No way that’s her.”

       “Man, I saw her fight the other day. She is the one who took down the Butcher of Denmark with one shot.”

         “Shit, I don’t think I want to do this.”

         Anna could hear the fear in their voices and tensions were wearing thin.

        “Anna, do you read me? Stand down!”
        "They killed the perpetrators that I just arrested."
         "I know Anna. We've been monitoring your situation by piggy backing the Earth security force's satellite. Since you lost contact with us we have been trying to reach you. Please Anna, don't proceed or take any action. Those guys are from the Earth's government security force. They do have the jurisdiction there. So if you do attack them, this could give them enough reason to shut us down. So please Anna, cooperate."

         Knowing that she could take them on with no problem, she decided not to take any action that could harm her fellow cops.

          "Okay boss, I won't……………. Besides they were no match anyway."
          "Sorry Anna that we couldn't give you any backup."
          "Yeah, yeah, whatever."
          She raised her hands up and surrendered. But as they handcuffed her she couldn’t help but give them a bit of an attitude. Because every time they handcuffed her, the metal of the cuffs kept on releasing her. The security forces were apprehensive as it was. She smiled and stepped into the holding truck with out making much of a scene, except for the cuffs that she threw out the window. She sat down to wait for the long ride to the Earth government holding cells. She noticed someone in the distance looking at the scene.
         As she focused her eyes on them, she could see two men standing on top
of a hill. One of the men was watching her with binoculars, slick black hair with a goatee, dressed in a long silverish gray trench coat with the emblem of the Earth on the side. His name, Lance Storm, the newly promoted Earth's chief of security for Mars. Standing right beside the car was a smaller man with a parted hair cut, dressed in a deep blue suit. He was representative and the head scientist from the C.T.C., Cyber-genetic Technology Corporation, Dr. John Lorick. Both of them were over an operation to explore a secret laboratory that was used during the war between Earth and Mars.

          Lance asked, "Who is this woman?"
         "I think, she is from the New Denmark police." John replied.
        "But she didn't know that this place was a secured zone and off limits to anyone?"
       "Maybe she was the cause of that explosion that we heard."

        "Hmmm.. Maybe."
          Lance took another look at her as she was looking through the window and thought that she was cute. He realized that Anna could see him from that distance and blushed. John opened the door and got inside. He looked at his watch. It was around six pm, Earth’s time. He secretly knew the real reason for the explosion. His own men at this time were stealing the info and technology that belonged to them during the war.

         “A perfect plan,” he thought as the car phone rang. It was from the retrieval team inside an abandoned lab. He picked up the phone, "Hello."
          "Sir, we are here and on our way down to the bottom of the lab."
John looked up to see if Lance was listening in and he wasn't. John softly said,
            "Good, once you get the main package and destroy all other evidences that can not be retrieved."
          "Will do, but what about the scientists in the upper levels?"
          "Well, you can't make an omelet with out breaking some eggs."
          "Ahh..Yes sir, I copy."
           As John hung up the phone, Lance surprised him by opening the vehicle's
          "I guess we can head back now, Dr. Lorick."
          "Yeah sure, but before we head back I would like to talk with this woman. Can we go down there first? After that we'll head back."
            ”That is fine, but not for long. I want this excavation to be over as soon as possible."
           As they traveled down to the holding truck, John again looked at his watch and smiled. Through all his arrangements and planning of this distraction, John did not know that there was a secondary unit, infiltrating that same lab who was also capitalizing on the plan disturbance.