Saturday, 24 March 2012

Action Sue: Chapter 4

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Ugh, I hate when that happens.

Well, I dunno. I guess it was kinda sexy from an outsider's perspective, but think about it from my point of view. There's this crazy-ass ninja chick who's trying to at least seriously maim me if not outright kill me, and then she starts talking about sex and violence and tries to make out with me. It's jarring to say the least, though I'd probably say something more like 'really disturbing'.

But that's part of the whole Mary Sue package. Like I said before, there's no one way to perfectly identify a Sue, since we're all a bit different; but one of the most common Mary Sue traits (and by common, I mean every Sue I've seen so far) is that they're well-liked by the general community. Not that everyone will automatically get on their knees and worship them - there's always gotta be some antagonism to keep things interesting - but it seems like, no matter what they do or where they go, they'll always have someone who's willing to stand up and defend them.

I've called it "unnatural charisma" in the past, but it might be better described as "everyone wants to bone them". For the most part, male Sues tend to have plenty of willing female paramours (occasionally at the same time), while female Sues have lots of men lusting after them. In more extreme cases, they become completely fixated on the Sue, to the point that they lose every other personality trait and replace it with blind devotion.

But, at least in my experience, other Sues seem to be immune, or at least resistant, to each other. I've found a couple of Sues in the latter category, where their entire social group is just a drooling harem for their personal uses. It's kind of sad, you know? They're basically being forced into it against their will, and it's not even malicious or anything - for the Sue, it's just normal, and they don't realize the implications.

I guess that says something about me, though. It takes about eight hours of small talk and an intense fight for my own Sue charisma to take hold, to the degree that a crazy ninja chick would stop trying to give me death and instead... give me a little death. Okay, sorry, that was terrible.

I mean, I consider myself straight, I'm not really attracted to women or anything, but what does it say about me that my Sue charisma works on men and women? Not just here, but in high school, too - there was that incident with E-Jen at that party, and I always kinda suspected that a few of my female friends were really into me, even though they all had boyfriends anyways. Maybe I'm just denying it to myself?

A kunai whizzes by my ear, and I conveniently remember that I'm still in a ninja fortress, and it's not exactly a good time to be expositing to myself. A couple of ninjas jump out of more hidden panels in the wall, and with their friend who came from upstairs, they all charge at me.

Yeah, really stealthy there, guys. I throw a couple of explosive fireballs at their feet; they all flail wildly as they're thrown into the air, landing hard on their stomachs. One of the ninjas snaps at his friends, who are both groaning and clutching their feet. I think I broke their ankles or something. To be fair, they stuck swords through my legs, so I feel justified.

"What the heck was that?" the ninja complains to me. "You threw fireballs at us!"

"And?" I say.

"You can't do that!" The ninja gets up and draws his sword. "We've done our research. Your magic power shouldn't be nearly up to that level!"

"Oh, but it is." I grin at the ninja, showing off my pearly whites. Being a Sue comes with plenty of little perks too, like eternally-clean teeth. "I just prefer using my physical skills."

It's true, though. I like adding magic to my punches and kicks, and I'm not above using it to increase my range, but I generally don't like to just chuck fireballs at people. The only reason I'm doing it now is because of my injured shoulder; I've put a patch of ice over it, stopping the bleeding and numbing the pain, but it still really hurts. And I don't particularly want to hurt it more by punching people with it.

The ninja snickers at my mention of 'physical skills'. Yeah, that was probably a poor choice of words. Whatever, I never claimed I was good at one-liners.

"But I am good at kicking ass!" I shout aloud. The ninja stops in his tracks and gives me a funny look; I make that first part literal by crouching and throwing a blast of ice at his feet, freezing them in place. He takes his sword and starts chipping away at the ice, which I would call an incredibly bad idea, but hey, it works for him. The other two ninjas are still incapacitated, so I just run past them.

My god, this fortress is bland. White walls with wooden floors, with red-and-gold banners decorated with kanji hung all over the place. It's like they took a generic ninja fortress out of a movie and reconstructed it or something. The floors are all set up the same too; they're all set up around a square central pillar, with the stairs at opposite corners. I assume that this is the central tower, and there's more diverse houses and whatever outside, but I might be wrong.

I hear gunfire on the floor above me as I run up the stairs. A dead ninja falls down the stairwell and almost on top of me, but I lean against the wall and evade the falling corpse. Two of the burly Savior soldiers walk over to the stairs and point their ludicrously-oversized guns at me.

"Boss! There's a girl here!" one of the men says. Unlike the sexy French accent that one of the other guys had, he sounds like he's from the good ole South.

"Huh?" Garson, the huge black guy from before, walks over and peers over their shoulders. He's still noticeably taller than these guys, and these guys must both be around 6 and a half feet tall. "Oh, it's you. Don't worry, she's not with the ninjas. Go secure the next floor, I'll catch up with you."

The two soldiers salute him, and they run ahead. I step up on to the main floor, feeling rather uncomfortable under Garson's glare; he looks extremely stern, though not exactly angry.

"I thought I told you to stay in the dungeon." he says. "What happened? And where's Johnny?"

"Sorry, but I have a bone to pick with the Ninja King. I can't let you guys hog all of the glory." I say. "And Johnny was killed by the ninjas."

"I see." Garson mutters. "I appreciate the thought, but we don't need help. Get out of here before you get hurt."

I don't like his tone. "Okay, listen. Even though I'm not a 7-foot 300-pound bodybuilder with a gun, I'm more than capable of handling myself. Ever heard of Erick the Mad, or Doctor Sorcerer? Guess who took them down single-handedly?"

"You?" he notes, sounding rather amused. "Then how did you end up captured in a dungeon?"

"These... they're ninjas! Whatever, I'll show you first-hand that I can handle this. Let's go" I brush past Garson, but I wince in pain as his huge hand closes around my shoulder; though to be fair, he eases up on the pressure when he realizes it's injured.

"You're hurt." he notes.

"I'm fine." I push his hand off of me. "Come on, let's go."

"You're a civilian. I can't in good conscience let you keep going."

What, does this guy have a hero complex or something? Or maybe he's just a huge misogynist. Either way, I don't need to take his crap. I just keep walking, and he follows behind; some more ninjas pop out of the wall, but before he can whip out his gun, I blast them with fireballs without even looking.

"Fireballs?" he says. "You're a mage?"

"Not really." I say. "I just dabble a bit here and there."

"I see." he mutters. "Who did you learn magic from?"

"A wizard who lives in the Feylands. Named Rafael, though I doubt you've heard of him."

"...The Feylands?" I look back at him; he seems to be almost a bit afraid of me. I guess I can't blame him. The Feylands are some sort of alternate dimension where all of the mages live, but it's also a source of various magical beasts. Most of them can't survive in the real world, but those who do escape tend to be pretty hard to beat down. I'm speaking from experience here, and I'm thinking that he's encountered a couple too.

"I was born here, though. I only trained there for a couple of months." I say.

"Ah." He seems a bit reassured. "The only reason I bring it up is because the Saviors are looking for experienced mages. Do you think he would be interested in working for us?"

"Nah, probably not." I say. He was pretty private; the only reason he agreed to train me is because I used my probability manipulation combined with my Sue charisma to coerce him, and even then, I don't think it worked; he just realized that I had a unique ability, and he wanted to help me train it. "So who exactly are you guys anyways? Johnny said you were basically like GI Joes."

"GI Joe? I've never seen it." he says. "We're a global paramilitary force. We step in when other countries are unwilling or unable to intervene, such as supervillain plots."

"I've done my fair share of that too, and I've never heard of you guys. Are you some sort of secret service or something?"

"We don't exactly advertise our services. It gives everyone else plausible deniability."

"Makes sense." The fact that I haven't heard of these guys is something that probably shouldn't worry me as much as it does. It almost seems like they just kinda popped into existence yesterday. Did I...? "So what brought you here?"

"We received a tip about these ninjas. They're planning something big."

Garson takes the lead as we climb another staircase, but no ninjas pop out and attack us. The two guys from before have taken care of the floor above us, but it looks like one of them is injured.

"Boss! Jackal's down and fading fast!" one of the soldiers says, cradling the other in his masculine arms. The soldier named Jackal has a huge gaping chest wound, and I can hear his shallow gasps from over here.

"Shit!" Garson runs over to the wounded soldier and kneels down. "Er... sorry, I didn't catch your name, but do you know any healing magic?"

"It's Luk. And I'm sorry, but I really don't." I thought I told him my name before? He's probably too concerned about his friend to remember, though. I'll let it slide. I walk over to Jackal, and he looks up at me. I've seen that look before. It's... it's the look of a person who knows they're going to die.

I... "Let me try something." I place my hands on the wounded soldier, and I invoke my probability manipulation. Heal this soldier. Give him regeneration powers, or give me healing hands, or something.


"Boss..." Jackal sputters. "I'm... sorry, Boss." He gives one last gasp as he dies. Garson closes the man's eyelids, and he gets up, wiping the tears from his eyes.

"Boss." The other soldier sets the corpse down. "Those ninjas are gonna pay."

"Yeah." Garson takes the assault rifle from his back, which must be held in place with magnets or something since I don't see any straps. "Come on, Dirk. Let's go. Luk, stay here."

"No." I say defiantly.

"Then stay out of our way." Garson and Dirk calmly walk forward as around two dozen ninjas come out of various hiding spots, surrounding the three of us. Say what you will about these ninjas, but at least they have excellent timing.

Without even a manly scream of rage or anything, Garson and Dirk gun down half of the ninjas in barely a few seconds. Actually, it's kind of unnerving to see them so eerily quiet - but their body language tells me everything I need to know. Their muscles are tense, their expressions grim, and they're focused on one thing only: killing ninjas.

I take care of the ninjas behind us with a few well-placed fireballs, but my magic power's running out fast. I need to conserve as much as I can for the boss battle up ahead. We run forward, but even more ninjas jump out all around us; Dick takes care of the ones in front, but Garson's gun jams as he tries to take out the rest. So he just chucks it to the side and runs at the ninjas, using his bare hands to fling the ninjas all over the place.

Okay, why do I keep getting shown up by everyone? I'm the goddamn main character! A few ninjas manage to sneak through Garson's charge, but I blast them with a low-voltage wave of electricity; they all remain on their feet, but they're stunned for a few second. Perfect. I run up and roundhouse kick one right in the face and hit another one in the jaw with my other leg on the backswing. The other two ninjas slash at me, and even though I use probability manipulation to make them miss, one of them leaves another shallow cut near my kidney.

I pick up one of the fallen ninja's swords. I'm not too familiar with swords, but I don't think it's much harder than "insert pointy end into fleshy bits here". Wait, didn't I already make that joke? Whatever. Both ninjas slash at me again, but with a bit of luck, I block both slashes with the sword, and follow up by creating a sheet of ice on the floor and doing a sliding kick that bowls both of them over. For good measure, I slice the ninjas in the back, though only enough to cut their clothes and the first couple layers of skin underneath.

Garson chucks another ninja in my general direction, and I crane-kick him so hard that he hits the ceiling, which is at least twenty feet up or so. Dick abandons his gun as well and charges into the ninjas like a bull, snapping at least a few arms and legs with his massive bulk.

Yet more ninjas appear to replace their fallen comrades. Based on this, I'd guess that we're almost at the Ninja King, and this is their last stand of sorts. Which either means that the Ninja King is a lot weaker than I suspected, or he's so badass that his minions will die in swarms so that he doesn't have to get his hands dirty. It really doesn't matter which, since I'll be seeing his combat skills shortly.

More kunai fly at me, and I only dodge all of them with luck and by catching a couple with my bad arm. Oddly enough, it feels better now than it did before, but maybe it's just numb. I chuck the kunai back, but the strain just hurts my arm and my aim, plus the ninjas dodge them anyways. I hold up my sword and run at them, but Garson comes outta nowhere and suplexes a ninja in each hand, probably breaking their necks.

Finally, the ninjas get that we're not going to stop them, and the survivors all throw smoke bombs. The smoke dissipates quickly, and to my surprise, all of the ninjas are gone - I honestly expected them to act like actual ninjas and pull a sneak attack on us, but once again, they're not exactly the most competent shadow warriors I've ever seen. Then again, I've only fought ninjas for the first time in the past couple of days, so maybe these are just more of those trainees and the elites are hanging back for some reason.

"You guys okay?" I ask, discarding the sword.

"Yeah, I'm fine." Garson says, though his voice sounds a bit strained. I look around for him as the smoke disappears; his uniform is all cut up, exposing his scarred and cut, but freakin' ripped, chest. "Dick? How are you?"

"I've been better, Boss..." We see Dick leaning up against a wall, clutching the bleeding stump of his right arm. He also somehow lost his shirt during the battle, and he's possibly even more ripped than Garson, though he looks a bit bulkier overall.

"Damn it!" Garson swears.

"Ha ha... it's only a flesh wound." Dick chuckles. "I guess I'll be getting plenty of jokes when we get back to HQ."

"Don't worry, we'll hook you up with a replacement." Garson says. "Alright, head back to the main floor and regroup with the rest. We should be able to take care of the Ninja King."

"We?" I ask.

"I assume you want to come with me." Garson smiles slightly. "That's why you came with us, right? And I could use an extra ha- er, sorry."

Dick laughs. "No worries, Boss! You need to lighten up sometimes too. Or maybe it's just the blood loss making me loopy."

"Are you gonna be okay?" Garson asks. He's not just asking because Dick's his subordinate; I can tell that they truly care about each other. Maybe not in that way, but who knows? They're probably closer than brothers. Why did I think about it like that?

"Yeah, I'll be fine." Dick grabs the remains of his shirt and makes it both into a bandage around his stump, as well as a makeshift tourniquet. He waves to us as he limps back downstairs.

"You really care about your men, don't you?" I ask.

"Yeah. We've been through thick and thin together." He's trying to hide it, but I can see his eyes start to get all watery. "I've lost plenty of good men today, but... we all know that we could die at any time, it's just..."

I reassuringly pat his back. "I didn't know you military types were so sensitive."

"No, I'll be fine." Garson immediately stiffens up. "Come on, let's go kick the shit outta that Ninja King."

"Wow. Uh, okay."

Sure enough, the next floor up is the Ninja King's throne room, which is decorated with all sorts of golden artifacts and banners and stuff. A particularly huge banner of the Ninja King's visage is hung behind the man himself, who sits on a throne at the back of the room. He's being tended to by more ninja girls wearing basically pasties and thongs, though still with face-obscuring cowls.

"Leave." the Ninja King says. The... ninja concubines step behind the banner of the Ninja King's face and vanish from sight. He himself gets up from his throne, swishing his red mantle dramatically.

"Miyazaki Hayao, I presume." Garson says. He draws a silver handgun from a holster on his belt; I don't know exactly what it is, but in his hands, it looks almost pathetically tiny. "Garson Viche, leader of the Saviors. You're under arrest."

"You've got the wrong man. Miyazaki-san is a famous film director, as well as an alias that my operatives have used all over the world." the Ninja King says. "I know that your information network is compromised, but I at least expected your informants to get my name right."

"Compromised?" Garson asks. "By your network? Or..."

"Someone else. An old acquaintance known to all three of us." he says. "The same man also happens to have a contract with my clan, and it concerns that girl. Hand her over, and I will let you and what remains of your squad leave with your lives."

"Who is it?" Garson demands.

"I cannot tell."

"Yeah, even if you're considering it, I'm not going with him." I say to Garson.

"I wasn't planning on it." Garson says. "What about the rumours of an attack on Savior HQ? Was that a plant by your... contractor's mole as well?"

"Actually, that was true." the Ninja King says. "But we deliberately leaked it for tomorrow, whereas we scheduled it for today. At this moment, my ninjas are in your base, killing your dudes."

"Please. The Savior HQ won't fall to a mere sneak attack." Garson says confidently. "Regardless, you're still under arrest. If you cooperate with us, I'll be sure to put a good word in for you."

"I have my principles, Mr. Viche." The Ninja King draws his golden katana and points it at us, while simultaneously throwing off his mantle. "And I will not be taken alive by you or your soldiers."

The Ninja King outright vanishes right in front of us, without even a smoke bomb or anything. So either he's super-fast, or he can teleport. Either way, that means he can probably escape once he's done with us. Doesn't mean I won't take out my frustration on him first.

Probability manipulation. You'll appear behind me. I spin around and do a leg-sweep, catching the Ninja King's feet as he appears to my left side. Close enough. While he's still falling, I jump up, grabbing him while driving my head into his stomach, and I tackle him against the wall.

"Any time, Garson!" I shout as he struggles against me. Garson aims at the Ninja King's head and takes a shot, but the Ninja King vanishes out of my grip before he gets a bullet to the face. Okay, so he can teleport. That's just great.

I must have busted a blood vessel or something with that maneuver, because the wound in my bad shoulder is practically gushing blood. It doesn't hurt all that much, but my entire arm's numb and even more useless than before. Wait, it wasn't me. There's a huge gash all along my arm; by the looks of it, the Ninja King slashed me as he teleported away. This is getting even better.

"You okay?" Garson shouts. He turns to the left and takes another shot at the shadows, completely missing everything. The Ninja King appears back on his throne, sitting and everything, and taunts us.

"Do you honestly think you can keep up with me?" he says. He vanishes once more, again dodging another shot from Garson's gun.

"I don't think that's gonna work." I say.

"Yeah." He chucks the gun away, and brings his fists up to his chin. "Come on, fight me like a man. I've got a couple of friends who want to meet you."

Stop teleporting, you prick. The Ninja King stops in between us, and I hear the distinct sizzling of a shorted-out electronic device, as well as a small bit of blue smoke rising from his shoulder. More of that camouflage tech? You tricky bastard. I fire a bolt of lightning while he's surprised, making sure that I finish the job.

But the Ninja King's a bit hardier than his men, and he mostly shrugs off the electric shock. He gets right in front of me in only a couple of steps and thrusts his sword forward, but I lean to the left and duck down; he almost knees me in the face as I try to palm-strike his stomach, but our attacks collide in midair and throw us both off balance.

While we're both on the floor, Garson runs over and grabs the Ninja King around the midsection, then pile-drives him right through the floor and onto the floor below. I carefully jump down the hole; based on Garson's stunned reaction, I don't think he was expecting that either. Tsk tsk, what shoddy construction.

The Ninja King's already up and holding his sword to Garson's neck, but I land on the former's shoulders. We both topple backwards as he uselessly flails his sword at me, but I grab his right arm and freeze it from shoulder to wrist. I roll out from underneath him as Garson gets up and plants his massive boot on the Ninja King's lower right leg, audibly snapping a couple of bones.

"It's over." Garson says. "Come with us, or I'll break your other leg."

"Never." The Ninja King grabs a vial of clear liquid that's taped to the inside of his crown (Which has stayed on top of his head against all odds - it must be glued on or something), and he downs it before either of us can get it out of his grip. The Ninja King kicks Garson in the chest with his non-broken leg, and gets up as something bubbles underneath his clothing (I really not hope it's his skin, because ewwwww). He seems to grow before my eyes, gaining height and bulking up even more.

"Phoenix Tears have many uses when combined with other rare ingredients." the Ninja King growls; his voice has deepened considerably and gained a rough edge. "When downed in large quantities with the extract of a special ninja-cultivated mushroom, it causes a person to grow considerably. It is... extremely painful, but also incredibly useful."

"Why are you telling this to us?" I ask. These villains and their monologues.

"Because I will enjoy using my newfound strength to rip your spine out." The Ninja King reaches for my neck, but he's really slowed down; I easily take a few steps back before his dinner-plate hands close around my delicate neck. Hehe, delicate.

I point my bad arm at him (which is still bleeding profusely, but I don't even notice it) and throw some fire in his eyes; he grunts in pain as he's temporarily blinded. Then, I get a running start and pull off one of those awesome Matrix-style moves where I kick him multiple times in the chest in the same jump, finishing with a lightning-charged kick to the side of his head. Yeah, Chiko was right about me preferring flashy stunts over practicality, but damn if it doesn't look awesome.

Garson grabs a combat knife from his waist and stabs the hulked-out Ninja King in the shoulder blade. The Ninja King thrashes around in blind rage; Garson tries blocking, but he's too late, and he takes a backhanded slap to the ear. He falls over, though he still looks conscious.

The Ninja King goes to stomp on Garson, but I jump up on his back, grab the knife still sticking out of his shoulder and stab him a few more times. He screams as he tries to grab me, but his arms are too muscular for him to reach around. But I don't need no stinking knife. I chuck it to the side.

"Finishing Move!" I announce. I charge my good hand with lightning, and I karate-chop the Ninja King in the small of the back; I barely get out of the way as he topples over, falling on the floor with a loud thud. His limbs spasm randomly, but that's only a temporary effect.

"Luk-style! Inazuma Ken!" I put one foot on the Ninja King's stomach as I point to the sky. "Aww yeah."

"Was that necessary?" Garson asks as he gets up.

"Well, you know what they say: the bigger they are, the harder they fall. But they're harder to take down in the first place, which makes their fall all the more satisfying."

"I think you made that last part up." Garson smiles slightly. "Will he be okay?"

"Definitely. It's just a temporary stun effect." I say. "So, gonna call in backup?"

"Yeah." Garson presses a button on his wristwatch. "Garson here, requesting pickup and transport. The area is vague, repeat, the area is vague."

"'The area is vague?'" I ask.

"There might still be ninjas hanging around, and I don't want to see any more of my men die needlessly." he says.

"Yeah, speaking of that, I thought Johnny said you came in with like 40 men or something."

"Most of them took care of the outer walls and outlying areas. I came in here with 10 men to take out the high-priority target, but... I lost all of them except for Dick." Garson bows his head and mutters something that I can't hear. A prayer, I guess. "Garson here, requesting... recovery. Eight targets down."

"Seriously, you gonna be okay?" I ask again.

"Yeah. I just hate funerals."

We stand guard over the Ninja King for a couple of minutes, until five more Saviors come marching up the stairs.

"Alright, the usual pickup and transport, men. Make sure to double up on the restraints, though." Garson says. "I have urgent business back at HQ. I'll meet you back there."

"Sir, is there really eight downed targets?" one of them asks.

"...Yes." Garson says reluctantly. "Did we lose any on the walls?"

"No sir."

"I see. Keep up the good work." Garson salutes to the men as he walks off, and I follow behind.

"So we're going to check out your HQ for ninjas, huh?" I ask.

"We?" he says. "I appreciate you helping me here, but you have no stake in this."

"Yeah, but you said you were gonna take me there for debriefing anyways, right? And once some of your medics patch up my shoulder, I'll be good to go."


We exit the main gates of the ninja fortress some time later, and I see a bunch of Saviors crowded around two vehicles that I can only describe as upside-down helicopters. Instead of rotors and blades on top, these things have six huge wind turbines attached to the bottom. The vehicles themselves are somewhat wider and shorter than a regular helicopter. I guess they're... hovercrafts?

"Listen up, men!" Garson announces. "I've received word that we might have a problem up in HQ, so I'm taking one of the Hetovs. Freeman, Stalvern, Silvade, Bulzeb, Iagami! You're coming with me!"

"Sir!" Five of the soldiers march up the ramp to one of the 'Hetovs', and me and Garson follow. The turbines underneath start whirring, and we lift up into the sky, heading toward this mysterious HQ.

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