Thursday, October 15, 2015

Action-packed excerpt from Project Revenant

... Plus a couple of videos.

First, the feature presentation, a bit of explosive action from Project Revenant. In this one, the three protagonists have engaged a combined force of a mercenary corporation and the titular cyber-zombies, while trying to protect a person of interest.

"They're right behind us," Taura said, facing the rear and staring out the window at the four approaching SUVs. She gripped her gun tighter to steady her shaking hands. "Coming up fast."
A man in armor and a helmet leaned out of the lead car's passenger-side window and aimed an assault rifle at the back of Jack's hearse.
Taura sucked in a quick breath, flopped onto her back, and threw her arms across her face a split-second before a hail of bullets drilled into the back of the car. The window exploded and showered her with tiny pieces of glass.
Jack cursed and glanced into the rearview mirror. "Taura!"
"I'm okay." She brushed the glass off, sat up, and pointed her gun at the SUV. The guy with the rifle ducked back inside. Taura growled softly and held her fire. They were surrounded by midafternoon traffic and pedestrians who could be hit by a stray shot, and the SUV very likely had armor plating and bullet-resistant windows. Even with her armor's targeting-assistance software, she didn't want to risk innocent bystanders being hit by a ricochet.
"Gotta get to an uninhabited area," Corona muttered.
"Trying," Jack grumbled.
A dozen more bullets slammed into the back of his car. He swerved into the oncoming lane and barely missed a freight van before swerving back.
Winslow moaned and gripped the back of Corona's seat.
"Who the hell are those guys?" Jack snarled.
"Private military contractors, I'd guess.” Corona glared through the blown-out window at the pursuing vehicles and bared her fangs. “You'd think they'd give a damn about hitting innocent civilians, though."
"Could be more of the Revenants," Taura said.
"Oh, fantastic." A bullet tore the rearview mirror off and Jack flinched. More bullets ripped into a nearby minivan and it veered into his path. He hit the brakes as it crossed in front of him. He shifted down and punched it. In the corner of his eye, the van got T-boned by a truck in the oncoming lane.
Winslow squeezed his eyes shut and whimpered.
"Bastards," Taura growled. Her huge muscles tensed up and she raised her gun, but hesitated again.
"Machiko," Jack said into his helmet mic, "we're gonna need ambulances and –"
"We're on it. Mickey and Hoshi are monitoring traffic cameras at your location; they saw what just happened. Fire department and ambulances are en route."
"Thanks." He spun the wheel to the left, sending the hearse through the next intersection and almost crushing the front end of a station wagon under its huge tires. "I think we're coming to a clear area."
"I'm giving them something else to shoot at." Corona threw the passenger-side door open and climbed onto the roof.
Jack gaped at her. "What the hell? Corrie!"
"Just get 'em into a place where it's safe to return fire!" She spread her wings, caught the wind, and launched.
Taura caught a glimpse of Corona gliding overhead before returning her attention to their pursuers.
"Oh, shit," Jack muttered. He whipped the car around another turn, slowing just enough to prevent it from rolling, and punched it again. "We're almost there."
Taura nodded, braced her hooves on either side of the door, and aimed out the shattered window. The driver of the lead SUV swerved, clearly expecting her to open fire.
Jack turned another corner and a few seconds later Taura noticed the houses growing more run-down and spaced farther apart. She scanned for heat signatures and found only a few small animals here and there.
Good enough. She lined up a shot on the windshield, directly in front of the driver, and squeezed the trigger. The twelve-millimeter round cracked the glass, but didn't penetrate.
The crosshairs in her HUD moved as she shifted her aim and fired again. This time, the bullet punched through the window and into the driver's face. The body slumped over and the SUV veered off to the right and plowed into a rusted-out station wagon parked on the curb.
Her stomach churned at the thought of having taken a life, but she did her best to push her feelings aside and target the next car. They're trying to kill us. We do what we have to do.
The remaining three SUVs surged ahead, as if their drivers were enraged at what had just happened. A man in a black jumpsuit leaned out the passenger-side window and aimed his rifle.
A metal ring flashed down from above and took the guy's head off. Corona's chakram, Taura realized a split-second later. She continued firing at the vehicle, finally managing to put a bullet through the driver's-side front tire.
The SUV lurched to the right and skidded. Taura unloaded the rest of her clip and blew out the other front tire. The vehicle slammed over the curb and rolled. Taura let out a long, relieved sigh.
Then she gasped and leaned forward.
The driver and another man climbed out of the vehicle. Both wore identical black jumpsuits instead of armor. The last time she'd seen someone dressed like that …
"It's the Revenants, alright." She groaned as she watched them walk over to another parked car and open its doors. "Oh, no, they're stealing someone's car!"
"Those things are starting to piss me off." Jack hit another left turn almost fast enough to flip the car over. Winslow moaned again.
"They're in a red sports car," Taura said. "Gaining fast. So are the other two SUVs." She spoke into her helmet mic. "Corona, keep away from the crashed SUV. The body inside it could blow any moment."
"Got it," Corona replied. "I hope no one is within range."
"Me, too," Taura said softly, almost whispering. Her muscles tensed up as the red car surged toward her. "Jack, they're almost –"
"Taura," Jack yelled, "get up here and hold onto something!"
"What are you doing?"
"Hurry! I've got an idea." He waited for her to take the passenger seat, then he hit the brakes and wrenched the steering wheel to the left. The car skidded and shot into an alley.
He jammed his feet down on the brakes and the car slid to a stop three car lengths into the alley.
"What the hell're you doing?" Winslow moaned.
"Hang on."
Taura braced her hands against the dashboard.
The red hotrod screeched around the corner and into the alley – and slid right under the hearse's left rear tire. Jack grinned, shoved the gear shift into reverse, and backed over the hotrod's hood. The two men bailed out just as the windshield shattered under the huge tire. They immediately charged, one on either side of his car.
Jack shifted back into first and popped the clutch before either of them could reach the doors and yank them open.
Taura glanced over her shoulder in time to see both men raise their guns and start blazing away again. She flinched as more bullets sprayed the back of the hearse.
"Those fuckers are fast." Jack grimaced and shifted up. "I was hoping I'd squish 'em before they could get out."
Taura caught a glimpse of Corona gliding over the alley as the two pursuers ran after the hearse. Taura put her crosshairs on the nearer one's head and squeezed the trigger. Her shot punched through his left eye and ripped the back of his head off.
He staggered, but remained on his feet and continued the chase.
Taura shuddered and lined up another shot.
In the distance, a pair of sharp thumps shook the ground – the zombies she and Corona had taken out, exploding and taking all the physical evidence with them.
Another SUV skidded into the alley and smashed the hotrod aside.
Corona dropped down behind the second zombie and tackled him. Taura's heart tried to jump into her throat.
Jack glanced into the rearview mirror, gasped, and stomped on the brakes.
Corona lifted her opponent, spun, and threw him into the SUV's path. He cracked the windshield and the vehicle swerved into the side of the building on the right.
A third SUV appeared at the end of the alley.
The damaged zombie turned to face Corona.
Jack hit the release on his seatbelt and threw himself out of the car. He ran full-speed toward Corona and the zombies, and Taura followed, overtaking him easily and tackling one of the Revenants as it approached Corona.
Corrie whipped her katana out and held it in her right hand while gripping her pistol in her left. She blasted a round into her zombie's head, taking the rest of it off, and her muzzle dropped open when it continued marching straight at her. She pumped four more rounds into its chest and it finally collapsed.
Taura emptied her clip into another zombie and let out a shuddering moan when it didn't fall. She backed up and shoved a fresh clip in.
A third Revenant got within Corona's reach and she swung her blade into its neck. The blade sliced clean through – until it struck the alloy-reinforced spine and stopped dead. She fired a bullet into its left eye socket, braced her foot on its chest, and pulled her sword out.
Jack punched a half-dozen shots through the one advancing on Taura, turned as it fell to its knees, and drilled the one Corrie had just tried to decapitate. "Get back to the car! I'm gonna try something."
"Not without you," both of them said.
"I'll be right behind you." He pulled a grenade from his belt. "Hurry!"
They glanced at each other and backed away slowly, keeping their guns aimed at the remaining zombies.
"Whatever you're gonna do," Corona muttered, and Jack pulled the pin before she could finish.
He chucked the grenade under the SUV that had plowed into the building and turned to face them.
They bolted back to the hearse. Taura glanced over her shoulder just as the grenade ripped the SUV apart and blew what was left of it into the air. The concussion knocked the zombies off their feet and slammed Taura into the back of the car. She shook her head quickly and pulled the back door open.
Jack climbed in and gripped the steering wheel. Corona squeezed into the shotgun seat and turned to stare out the rear window.
"I'm not sure if that high-pitched whine is the zombies' self-destruct or just my ears ringing from the explosion," Taura muttered as she pulled the door shut.
Jack popped the clutch and the hearse screeched through the alley. "We're not waiting for 'em to start going off like popcorn."
Taura glanced through the rear window as one of the zombies climbed over the wreckage of the SUV.
Seconds after Jack spoke, the first disabled Revenant blew, shredding several others and sending them tumbling across the pavement.
A second one blasted a hole in the building on the left.
Several more explosions shook the ground. Taura hadn't counted how many were still active when the first one had gone off, but all were within each other's blast radius. They had to be toast, by now.
Jack slowed to check for pedestrians and traffic before easing out of the alley and accelerating. Taura kept listening for sounds of pursuit, and finally allowed herself to relax. She sighed and slumped against the wall.
"You okay, girls?" Jack said softly.
"I'll be better when this is over," Corona muttered, "But yeah, I'm okay."
Taura took a deep breath and glanced at her shaking hands. "I'll recover." She looked at Jack.
Corona put a hand on his shoulder.
He nodded. "I'm hanging in there, I guess." He patted her hand, met Taura's gaze in the mirror and smiled, and focused on the street ahead. "Let's get to the safe house before anything else goes wrong."

Only three days left in the campaign to toss it a nomination and receive a free copy if it's picked up for publication.

Now for a couple of videos. I ended up not making one for Project Revenant because hardly anyone ever watches my videos. One of them from a few weeks ago finally hit four views, and most of them get one or two. So I realized there was no point. If I can eventually build up an audience, then it'd be worth doing, but for now, there are more effective things to spend my time on.

Such as the writing discussion video I mentioned in a recent post, which I finally managed to upload. I've got another in the same series and one in the How Not to Tell a Story series, but I still need to convert the raw files into a smaller format and do some editing before I upload them. Coming soon, though.

For now, here's the latest one I've been able to upload.

And here's the one mentioned in the previous post, which I did just for fun. After finally hitting level 120 in GTA Online and unlocking the minigun, I just had to play with my new toy for a few minutes. The audio quality is still horrible. I keep setting the volume down, but it still drowns my voice out. Maybe I'll get it right one of these days. Anyway, here's my character taking care of business with her new best friend. She calls him Edgar. XD

[Edited to actually add the video in. Forgot to do it before posting this. *headdesk*]

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