TO DIE FOR: LIKE WATER FOR ADRIC (Part 2)
"They should have all our new equipment installed by tomorrow, but it
may be a few days before they can get all the bullet holes patched."
Doug winced. "So, we have to drive around with the words 'bite me' on
the side of our truck?"
"Afraid so," Diane replied. "Unless you want to keep hoofing it."
Doug shook his head. "No thanks. This walk is quite enough for me.
It's funny, but This Time Round doesn't seem all that far out of town
until you try walking the whole way."
"Aww, it's not that far," Diane said brightly. "You're just out of
shape, is all."
The two strode across the parking lot, and around the crater, taking in
all the odd vehicles. A trio of police-box TARDISes occupied one space,
while a sleek Sontaran Raider had shouldered in between a UNIT jeep and
a Crinnothian shuttle.
"Hey, Doug. I've never seen that here before." Diane was pointing at a
big, gray Dodge pickup truck that was parked away from the other
vehicles. "Hmm... Alabama license plate. Any idea who that might be?"
"Don't know," Doug replied. "Let's have a look."
The two walked over to the truck, and Doug chuckled a little. "Check it
out. A gunrack that actually has guns in it. It's somebody from
Alabama, all right."
"What have we got here?" Diane muttered to herself. "Let's see...
Confederate flag on the front bumper, National Rifle Association decal
on the window, an AK-47 and a Lee-Enfield in the gunrack, pack of
Marlboros on the dash..." She tapered off, her eyes wide.
"Marlboros. AK. Doug, I think we've found our Cigarette-Smoking
Number One was in a familiar situation, crouched in ambush. This time,
though, things were a bit different. He was lurking in the bushes just
a few feet from This Time Round's front door, instead of lying out in
the woods somewhere. And this time, he was armed with a small plastic
bucket instead of a rifle. Oh, he still had his .357 on in case of
unforeseen problems, but that was just a backup.
His plan, like all good plans, was exceedingly simple:
Step One - Hide in the bushes until Adric came up to begin his shift.
Step Two - Jump out and throw the bucket of Jusenkyou water on Adric,
transforming him into a piglet.
Step Three - Run away during the confusion.
For backup, he had posted the four WANKERs on the pub's roof, with one
watching in each direction for signs of the Adric Defense Force or other
possible problems. All they had to do was watch, and yell if someone
came up. Number One was confident that this was within the Wondrous and
Adorable Nyssa's Knights-Errant Regim- ent's sphere of competency.
David was bored. Bored bored bored bored bored bored. He and the
others had been up here for twenty whole minutes, and nothing had
happened. And, they were going to have to go back down that scary
fire-escape again to get down. Working for that Number One guy sure did
David peeked over the edge of the wall, down into the open area be- hind
the pub. Was that someone walking down there? He trained his
binoculars on the figure.
Suddenly, his heart leapt like a salmon in his chest. It was _her_! The
petite, curly-haired light of his life! He almost fainted from joy.
Apparently, the little Trakenite had seen the movie 'Ladyhawke'
recently, because she was carrying a two-shot crossbow like the one
Rutger Hauer's character uses in that picture. As David raptly watched
her every move, she made some notations on a device of some sort, then
set out a small, man-shaped target. She turned and paced off about 50
meters, stopped, then suddenly turned and shot two bolts directly
through the target's head.
"Ah, my little warrior-goddess," David sighed. "Hey, guys!" he hissed
over his shoulder. "You've _got_ to see this..."
Nyssa was re-cocking the crossbow when she began to get one of those
crawly feelings like someone reading over her shoulder. As casually as
she could, she scanned the treeline for the telltale glim- mer of a
rifle scope. Nothing. Frowning, she slipped a pair of bolts into place
and concentrated on the feeling. It came from behind, and close.
Abruptly, she spun to face the building, bringing the crossbow into
firing position as she did.
"I know you're there," she said loudly. "I'm giving you just three
seconds to show yourself, then I shoot. One..."
"Whoa! It's _her_!" Darren whispered. "Good call, David."
Tyson frowned. "What's she doing with that crossbow?"
No one answered as the four watched the object of their devotion take
aim at something down below.
"I'm coming out! Hold your fire!" Nyssa tensed as a figure emerged
from the shadows, then relaxed a little. It wasn't Adric or one of his
weird fanatics. It was just a little old man, no more than three feet
tall and carrying a huge sack on his back. One of the things in-
grained in the Traken psyche is a respect for age, and the wizened
little man looked so old and shrivelled that she was moved to pity.
"Don't fear, Elder," she said, setting aside the crossbow. "I thought
you were someone else. I apologize if I frightened you."
"Dear me," said the little old man, clutching his chest. "I thought I
was a goner for sure." His eyes were wide and staring, and his lips
trembled a bit.
Nyssa walked over and patted him on the shoulder. "There, there. It's
okay. Just a misunderstanding. I won't hurt you."
"Ah, to be touched by such a vision of loveliness," he sighed and
wriggled happily at her touch.
Nyssa blushed decorously. "What brings you here, Elder?" she ask- ed,
trying to change the subject. "Are you lost?"
"Hmm? Lost? Oh, yes! Yes, I'm terribly lost, my dear." He pulled a
map from some inner pocket and held it up to her. "Could you please
show me where I am?"
Nyssa looked at the map. She couldn't hardly make heads or tails of it,
and the symbology was pretty unusual. She started to give it back, when
she felt something on her thigh.
The little man had his hand up her skirt, and a lecherous grin on his
face. Before she could react, he made a sudden lunge and then bolted
away at surprising speed, something flapping in his hand.
Nyssa's face went from the pale white of shock to the brick red of
maniacal rage in a fraction of a second. She paused only long en- ough
to snatch up the crossbow before charging after the old pervert.
"You little freak! Give me back my panties!"
"That little bastard!" hissed Darren. "Come on! Let's get him!"
Tyson hung back as the other three headed for the fire escape. "Wait
up, guys! What about Number One's plan?"
"He stole her _panties_," Darren replied. "We can't let him get away
with that. Now come on. Number One can take care of himself."
With a sigh, Tyson followed the others. "I've got a bad feeling about
"'Bite me', huh?"
Number One felt the cold muzzle of a pistol against the back of his
neck, and tensed up. "Ah. You'd be with the ADF, then?" he asked the
unseen gunman behind him.
"Uh-huh," was the snarled response.
Several things passed through Number One's mind at once. Upper- most
was self-disgust at having been taken by surprise. Following on the
heels of that thought was curiosity over the fate of his sentries, then
a plan to turn the tables on his assailant. This took only a frac- tion
of a second.
"Well," he said, "if you're an ADF man, there's something that I real-
ly need to tell you, before this goes any further."
"What's that?" the gunman growled, nudging him with the gun barrel.
"Well, I just need to tell you--" Number One suddenly dropped the
bucket, turned, and drew his Magnum, all in a single fluid motion. As he
rose and turned, he stepped into the man behind him, getting inside his
gunhand, then grabbed it with his left hand as he brought his own pistol
up under the other's chin. "--to bite me!" he finished, grinning.
Suddenly, he went still as another muzzle was pressed to his side.
"--to bite me!"
Diane was caught totally off-guard by the sudden turn of events. The
crouching man, presumably their Cigarette-Smoking Bastard, had moved
with the speed of a striking cobra and had a gun under Doug's chin
before her friend could react.
Despite her surprise, Diane was far from slow. She had her own pis- tol
out and in the man's ribs a half-second later. When he froze, Doug used
his own free hand to pull his other pistol and put it to the man's gut.
"Drop it, buddy. _Now_," she ordered. The stranger responded with a
"I don't think so, ma'am," he said lightly.
"Do it or we'll blow you away," Doug said, careful not to move his jaws
too much with the muzzle of a revolver right under them.
"That wouldn't be real bright," the other man replied easily. "This
.357 of mine has a three-pound trigger, and I've got about two-and-
a-half on there now. You shoot me, you get some radical dental
"Well, you shoot _me_, and you'll get a 9 millimeter hernia," Doug
replied, glaring into the mirrored lenses of the shorter man's sun-
"Hmmmm. It looks to me like, no matter who shoots first, you die," the
"So will you," Doug replied just as coolly.
Their adversary appeared to contemplate the two pistol barrels for a
moment. "You have a point there. Still, I can't just give up when I've
got the drop on you, now can I?"
"Well _I've_ got the drop on _you_, so I'm sure as Hell not giving up,"
"Somebody better give up," muttered Diane, "because I'm getting really
tired of standing here."
The Cigarette-Smoking Bastard perked up suddenly. "I've got an idea.
Why don't we count to three, then we all pull our triggers?"
Doug arched an eyebrow. "We'll both die," he said flatly.
The other shrugged. "It looks like we both die no matter how we work
this. You won't give up. I won't give up. What else do we do?"
"Okay, you've got a point." Doug was not about to let this sawed- off
little bastard outcool or outmacho him. "You want to do the count, or
"Let's have the lady do it. I'd rather the last words I hear come from
the mouth of a beautiful woman."
Diane blushed a little at the compliment, even coming from an en- emy.
And in that slow Southern drawl! She almost hated to shoot him.
Then, inspiration hit. "Look, you two," she said. "If we do this, both
of you end up dead, right?"
"So, basically, each killing cancels out the other, then. Right?"
"I... guess so," Doug said, not seeing where this was heading, while the
stranger merely nodded.
"So, when this is over, statistically, nothing has changed. Both sides
are down by one, so our relative net strengths are unchanged. Right?"
"Yeah, that's true," Doug said uneasily.
The stranger made a face. "Kind of makes you wonder what the point
would be, don't it?"
"Exactly," said Diane triumphantly. "So, why don't we just _assume_
that the two of you shot each other and call a truce instead?"
"We _could_," muttered the stranger. "But how do I know the two of
y'all won't gang up on me once I stand down?"
Diane shook her head ruefully. "With a draw like yours, are you kidding
me?" You never knew when a little flattery might smoothe the way.
Doug smiled. "It makes sense to me. I swear on the honor of the Adric
Defense Force that I'll honor a truce with you."
"I swear, too," said Diane. "Will you swear on WANKER's honor?"
The man scowled fiercely. "I'll swear _at_ WANKER, and its honor, too.
I am _not_ part of that pack of fools. However, I swear by Nyssa's Holy
Name that I'll honor a truce as well. Say, for the next hour?"
"Done," said Doug.
"One condition, though," Diane added. "We all have to have a drink
"I thought you'd never ask..."
"Sorry we didn't have what you wanted."
"No problem. Maybe next time." Adric exited the store with nothing but
a sigh to show for his trouble. He had known that picking out a present
for Nyssa would be difficult, but had no idea it would be turn out to be
such a chore.
"Don't see why I'm bothering. She won't like it anyway," he growled to
himself. "I might as well not bother." But, even as he said this, he
knew that he _would_ bother. He would find just the right gift, one
that she couldn't help but like. It was a challenge, now.
"It's not that I _care_, or anything," he told himself. "It's just the
principle of the thing. That's all. I'm just proving a point..."
He stopped in front of a jewelry store window. "Just proving a point.
This is all just to get the others off my back. I'll get her something,
and they'll all see... Hey! That necklace matches her eyes! Or those
He dashed into the store. Just to prove a point, of course.
"Now, Number One, don't think that, just because we're having a drink
together, that I'll go any easier on you afterwards."
Number One shook his head solemnly. "Wouldn't dream of it. That would
The other patrons in This Time Round watched the trio nervously, as
anyone with sense would. All three were armed, and the ADF had a
well-earned reputation for property damage. Then there was the matter
of the strange man with them, who looked like the sort of person who
spends a lot of time in places like truck stops and pool rooms and
"Damn right," agreed Diane. She raised her glass in a toast. "Here's
to us professionals."
Doug and Number One raised their own and promptly drained them, like the
professionals they were.
"WOOHOO!! AHAHAHAHAHA!! Oh! I could go on like this for- ever!"
Happosai bounded down the street, whooping and laughing at the top of
his lungs. "Oh, this is the life!"
He ducked slightly to his left just as a crossbow bolt hissed past his
head, then jumped as a second one came at his legs. "You'll have to do
better than that, Cutie-pie!" he called over his shoulder, then turned
and headed down a side-street.
Nyssa dashed up a mere second behind him, trying awkwardly to run and
cock the crossbow at the same time. "Damn it!" she shouted, a bit
out-of-character, perhaps, but understandable given the circum- stances.
"Come back with my panties, you old goat!" She took a moment to
reload, then charged down the side-street in pursuit.
"...so the leprechaun says to the other, 'See, Patrick. I told ya you
was screwing a penguin!'"
Doug roared laughter and pounded on the table, while Diane battled
unsuccessfully with a giggling fit and tears rolled down her cheeks.
"Oh man! That's classic!" she blurted.
Number One smiled. "Thanks. I've got hundreds of 'em."
Doug settled a bit and slapped Number One on the shoulder. "You know,"
he said, "to be the villain of this series, you're not such a bad guy."
Number One looked surprised. "Villain? I'm not the villain. Y'all
"Nonono," said Diane, shaking her head emphatically. "_You_ are
definitely the villain."
"No way. You're putting me on."
"Seriously," said Doug. "We're the good guys, and you're the vill-
Number One waved his finger. "Wrong wrong wrong. Nyssa's the heroine,
so that makes y'all the bad guys."
Doug barked a laugh. "Oh come off it! You know very well that _Adric_
is the hero of this series, so that makes _us_ the good guys and you the
"Adric? The hero? Shit, you _know_ that's a lie. It's Nyssa."
"WABBIT SEASON!" shouted Diane happily.
The two men turned to stare at her, then all three collapsed in laugh-
--to be continued
Part One - Part Three - Part Four - Part Five