Meanwhile, In Tampa...

Meanwhile, In Tampa:

Samson rolled down and over and came up with water pouring down on him and something heavy and squealing falling on his shoulders. Sputtering and gasping, he clawed at his face and gasped for breath, smelling oily fish scales and hearing nothing but roars and screams. It took a second for him to realize, as his vision cleared, that he’d been right next to the aquarium-wall and that the explosion, whatever it was, must have shattered that.

He stayed down, though, and pulled at the eel-like thing that had fallen on his head and flapped around, squawking and honking as it tried to get back into the water. He was soaked and breathless and needed to get this thing off of his head. In front of him, as the eel flapped, he saw:

Eel: red and yellow and finny and scalyh.

Then the man from the deli looking around blankly, his shoulder on fire.

Then more eel, as a fin drooped over his face and he continued pulling at it, thinking this thing must weigh 300 pounds. He was hampered in moving it because his other hand was digging in his coat.

As the fin lifted he saw one of the armed guards shoving the deli man out of the way and holding a rifle up only to have his head explode and the fin dropped down again.

Samson had grabbed what he needed and now pulled the small ray gun out of his coat where it had been hidden away. He also had shoved the eel off enough that he could try to sit up, only to have the fins flap up and block his view again, just as he’d seen what he thought was a horse flying down.

“Shit,” he said, as he processed that, and, thinking quickly, he ducked back down behind the eel, which continued to squeak and honk and flap, sliming him and blocking his view much of the time. But if it was what he thought it was…

It was. In between flipper-flaps, he saw the horse land and more horses land, with the Valkyries forming a protective circle, horses and spears facing outwards, shooting blasts of energy from their spears at the guards who were coming up the drive and across the forest and out of the house.

But where was God?

And how did they get here?

Samson sat below the eel and thought those things.

Two valkyries took shots from ray guns and went down, their horses moving forwards to cover them. Samson tried to blank his mind out. They would not be able to talk, here, he knew, and so would be using nothing but telepathy. And if they were looking for hostile thoughts, he would not be mask his mind from them. He doughted he could block his thoughts at all, anyway. Not with that many, and not with how his mind was racing. And not with his chip and wiring making it easy for them.

Where is God?

He watched from behind the now-slowing eel’s fins, the fluttering thick leathery substance more weakly moving up and down now as the eel suffocated, and he saw the Valkyries reorienting to take on the bulk of the guards. He saw the deli man come over to him, crawling. His shoulder was still on fire.

“Don’t you feel anything?” Samson hissed as the man got close enough for Samson to reach out and grab his collar. He pulled him closer and beat out the fire, which the man for the first time seemed to notice. “Where’s God?” Samson said, as the man was about to speak. Samson said it and shared it, the question coursing through the tiny filaments that doubled as nerve fibers, his chip picking it up and communicating it to the man’s chip. The image of God, in his sandals and sporty shirt, was transmitted, too.

The man didn’t respond but his mind was a blank and Samson got that. He also got a mixture of emotions back, a blast of confusion and fear and adrenaline and also, he noted, some anger and fear that was hidden in the background – a different kind of anger and fear than the other anger and fear, like tasting the pineapple in a pineapple-orange daiquiri.

It was aimed at him, he realized, and he looked at the man.

“No time for that,” he said, and sent shared some reassurance. “Trust me,” he said, and sent some more reassurance. At least he hoped he’d sent reassurance. It’d been a while since he’d had to do this. He looked out again at the Valkyrie-Guard battle and noticed that some of the women (and beautiful women they were, sexy and large-breasted and bare-chested in some cases and flowing hair and one of them had no pants on, either. Even in the midst of the battle Samson felt his cock harden a little at that and he tried to focus) some of the women were pointing up.

He looked up.

“What the fuck is that?” he asked.

The eel fin flapped once more and Samson missed the first glimpse. The fin lifted and he saw the second glimpse, a giant curly-haired sheepbird thing diving down at a screamingly fast speed, and screamingly was the right word for it, because the bird-thing was shrieking, squawing, so loud that the sound was like a force itself.

It was, in fact, a force, he saw in a moment, as the bird dove and the squaw got louder and the Valkyries were flattened by the sound – almost literally, as they and their horses were knocked over, falling to the ground and scrambling. The bird-sheep thing swooped low over them and through the area, drawing some ray-gun shots from the guards, too, who were uncertain whose side this thing was on and decided that if they didn’t recognize it, it wasn’t on their side even though it had just helped them.

With the Valkyries momentarily down, about ten of the guards swarmed in and began wrestling hand-to-hand with the Valkyries, who were themselves quick to get to their feet. The horses were slower but in seconds there was a battle between armored guards with electrified billy clubs and horses and six-and-a-half foot tall beautiful women holding short swords.

As Samson laid there, looking at the battle and for God, he saw one of the taller Valkyries square off against two armored guards. This was the one that had no pants – she was naked, entirely, her skin an almost-ivory, creamy white color that contrasted with the jet-black ebony flowing hair that was pulled into a ponytail but which hung to nearly her firm, round, buttocks, which Samson found almost hypnotic as they flexed and readied themselves to attack. The guards both held up their clubs, glowing blue with power, and the Valkyrie crouched, all three motionless for a split-second before she dove at them. Her sword jabbed towards the guard on her left, missing him, and missing him badly. Samson wondered how she could have been so far off but then saw: She’d jabbed but started her sword to the right, deliberately missing the blow, which had been a feint to the guard on the left in order to entice the guard on the right to attack her even as she leaped.

Which he did: the guard on the right, no coward, jumped forward himself as he saw the blade stab away from him. But he was himself a jillionth of a second too late, and the Valkyrie had already plunged her magnificent body forward enough that he missed her entirely with his down-sweeping club blow, hitting the club hard against the ground where a hair-breadth before, the Valkyrie had stood.

She, meanwhile, had moved forward while her sword arm swung back on the seemingly missed blow, and the sword arced around behind her, her right arm guiding it without the Valkyrie watching it at all.

Samson had heard stories of Valkyrie battles and he knew that they, through their telepathy, could link minds so that each Valkyrie saw the entire battlefield from the perspective of every other Valkyrie in the battle. They were impossible to sneak up on, impossible to surprise, impossible to outwit, he’d heard, and he saw why, now, as the Valkyrie’s sword, without being watched by its owner, swept around and sliced through the armor of the right-most guard, nearly cutting him in half. Samson heard the guard moan and cry out as the sword bit into him.

The left-guard, meanwhile, had only a brief moment to react, and his reaction had been one of relief as the sword-jab had missed him. His relief lasted not at all as the Valkyrie’s instantaneous, simultaneous leap had driven her into him – his body relaxed in that moment because he thought he’d been spared the sword-blow that was even now cutting his compatriot in half. His relief ended as the beautiful, sexy, deadly warrior drove into him and knocked him down underneath her powerful legs (and, Samson thought, if I was going to be stabbed in the face by a Valkyrie sword, I’d at least like it be while I had her legs wrapped around my head…).

The Valkyrie knelt there, pulling her sword up, and was about to stab down on the man’s face when the bird thing drew her attention, as it came swooping back through on another superfast, superloud pass, its squaw blowing the Valkyrie off the guard entirely and sending her sprawling again. Again, the Valkyries were knocked prone by the wave of sound as the bird thing made its run, and this time the guards were driven down, too.

Samson watched that, too, and saw, among the bodies struggling to stand and begin fighting again, one man already up, seemingly unaffected by this all but confused. God stood amidst the battle with a puzzled look on his face, staring at the receding shape of Fuzzy Bird as the bird-thing rose up to begin another turn and dive again.

Samson saw God’s mouth working, mumbling to himself, and he knew he had to act.

“Wait here,” he told the deli man, and shoved aside the fin to stand up again, hoping he could get to the middle of the scrum and back before that bird thing came back and before the Valkyries and guards began fighting again. Hoping, but certain that he couldn’t. “Don’t move a muscle,” he said. “I’m going to get God out of here.”

With that, he ran towards the middle of the battle, but was not quick enough, as two guards got up first, to be knocked down by a horse who had made it to his feet and was neighing madly. Before Samson could get there, before any more guards could get there, the naked, black-haired Valkyrie made it to her feet and grabbed God by the throat with one hand, lifting him off the ground and holding him in the air with her left hand.

With her right, she aimed her sword at God’s face.

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