Golden Dragon: The Quest

Chapter Ten: Two Alarm Fire
by R.W. Lander

Brimstone pulled out his shotgun and aimed it at the hole. Dragon just prepared himself. When a circle of dark glass fell in and shattered on the floor, Brimstone yelled, "Freeze!"

Their answer was a man in blue and gray armor jumping in. He was holding a large hammer in his right hand. Behind him a woman floated in, dressed in white and orange robes. They both looked plenty ready for a fight.

"Golden Dragon?" the man said, at the same time the woman said, "Brimstone?"

Brimstone put his shotgun away. "Dragon, say hello to two of our locals, Hammersmith and Fire Opal. They've got a real mad on for Xavier."

"What are the two of you doing here?" Hammersmith demanded.

"Finding out that we've been lied to. How about you?" Dragon responded.

"About the same," Fire Opal answered. "A snitch told Hammer that there would be something going on here tonight."

"One of the local snitches was trying to manipulate you into taking us out," Dragon said. "They didn't count on us knowing each other by reputation."

"Hammersmith, you know of any other warehouses Xavier owns in town? Same profile as the ones that burned?" Brimstone asked.

Hammersmith nodded. "The two that burned were weapons development facilities. We'd been trying to nail them for weeks, but they were too heavily guarded. Suddenly, the guards disappeared and the warehouses burned to the ground."

"How many others like it in town?" Brimstone prompted him.

"Oh, sorry. Three."

"We're going to check those out," Dragon said. "If you'll take our help, I suggest you and your lady check out one of them, Brimstone and Dave check out another, and me and the Teacher check out the third. If there's a situation, we can contact the other team by radio."

Hammersmith accepted the plans and gave warehouse locations. Two more were waterfront, and one was in the downtown area. Dragon volunteered for the downtown. They took the elevator down and met up with Dave and the Teacher.

Dragon flew with the Teacher to the warehouse. It was in an area with about four other warehouses. Even from the fence, Dragon could see that it was high-security. Guards were walking the perimeter, armed with blaster rifles. Suddenly, one of them screamed and fired his gun at the flaming bird that had appeared in the sky, screeching as it dove towards him. It disappeared as it caught him in its beak, and he collapsed, panting. His buddy came up to check on him, bending down to reassure him that it was okay.

"Did you do that?" Dragon asked. When there was no response, he turned to the Teacher. But he was gone.

The Teacher walked quickly across the grounds, leaving no footprints behind him. His diversion was working, and he slipped past the two guards and up to the door. He looked in the glass window.

Inside, there was a sophisticated factory manufacturing components that the Teacher couldn't recognize. There were a number of armed guards. He was about to go back to Dragon when he heard blasters being cocked behind him.

He turned around and saw the two guards. "What the hell is that?" one of them said.

The Teacher smiled and used his mind to create an image of smoke forming around him. From behind the men, he created an unearthly scream. They turned for an instant, and when they looked back, the Teacher had disappeared. He looked behind him as he ran across the grounds and chuckled as the men looked about in confusion.

Dragon was cautiously walking the perimeter. He jumped when the Teacher put his hand on his shoulder.

"This one is still secure," the Teacher said.

Dragon panted. "Did you have to sneak up like that?"

"Your enemies will not tap you on the shoulder before striking from surprise," the Teacher answered.

Across town, Dave and Brimstone were checking out another warehouse. This one wasn't as secure from the outside. They got up to the door before they ran into any problems.

Brimstone looked at the wall next to the solid steel door. There was a sophisticated key pad next to it. He just stared at it in deep thought.

"What are you doing?" Dave asked.

"Trying to remember the company that makes this lock. That'll give me a place to start decoding it."

A second later, the door started to swing inward. Brimstone grabbed Dave and ran, pulling them both around the edge of the building. They watched as one of the guards came out of the building and closed the door behind him. He stood to the side and lit up a cigarette.

They watched him finish his cigarette, not moving or even breathing. He crushed the butt out with his foot and walked up to the door. He entered the sequence on the key pad rapidly, but Brimstone was watching and he caught it easily enough.

When the door closed again, the two of them approached the door. Brimstone keyed in the entry sequence and opened the door.

Brimstone pulled the door just a little, to peek inside. He saw a manufacturing operation going on. They were building some sort of engine and what looked like a power pack. Brimstone shrugged at Dave and whispered, "Nothing here."

There was a flash of light and the warehouse was empty. The manufacturing equipment, the men, everyone was gone except for a large fat man dressed in white robes. He was balding, and had an innocent face. Around his neck was a gold chain connected to a name plate that read, "Clarence."

Brimstone opened the door all the way and pointed his shotgun at him. Dave backed him up with his pistol.

"Morning, sunshine," Brimstone said, tapping Dave's comm. "Dragon, Hammer, we've got a situation at our warehouse."

Dragon arrived first, with Hammersmith and Fire Opal showing up just seconds later. The warehouse was on fire, and there was no outward sign of Brimstone or Dave.

Dragon dove into the warehouse through one of the walls and started looking around. He saw a terrified lizard sitting next to Brimstone's shotgun and an excited puppy yapping at him. The puppy had a Wildside communicator on his collar.

Dragon grabbed the lizard and Brimstone's gun in one hand and the puppy in the other. He flew out the hole he had made, avoiding all contact with the heat. When he got outside, he set the lizard and the puppy down.

The puppy kept yapping and barking at Dragon, nipping at his heels. The lizard just started to crawl off.

"I've got a bad feeling about this," Dragon said.

The Teacher picked up the lizard and stared at him. He focused on him for a few minutes and then confirmed what Dragon was afraid of.

"This is Brimstone."

Dragon looked down at the puppy that was now happily peeing on his boot. "Then this must be Dave. You know, he must be loving this."

"Hardly," the Teacher said, "I believe that their personalities have been submerged. For all intents and purposes, they are a puppy and a lizard. I'm curious as to why the gun wasn't transformed."

"Maybe the magic negated the effect," Hammersmith offered.

"No," Dragon said. "Brimstone's magical, too. It wouldn't have affected him either."

"But Brimstone is sentient," Hammersmith argued.

Suddenly, the puppy transformed back into Dave. Happily, he was no longer peeing on Dragon's foot. Instead, he was aiming his pistol at Dragon's head. When he realized what had happened, he put his pistol away.

"Hey, Brimstone's gun is back! Last I saw, it was a snake!"

"Dave, what happened?" Dragon demanded.

"We met up with this guy named Clarence. He turned around, blasted this white light at us, and Brimstone's gun turned into a snake and bit him. When he dropped it, Clarence blasted Brimstone and he turned into a lizard. I couldn't bring myself to shoot the guy, he was just too cute. Then he blasted me. What did I turn into?"

"Dave, how come you came out of it and the gun came out of it but not Brimstone?"

The answer to Dragon's question was Brimstone returning to his original form. He snatched his gun up off the ground.

"Magic," Fire Opal said. "That is the only explanation."

"Why would Dave have been affected, then?" Dragon asked.

"Dave has a sense of magic about him," Fire Opal replied.

Dave turned and smiled at her. "You know, you're not the first woman to say that about me. Although you might be the prettiest."

Hammersmith frowned. Dave looked at his hammer and his armor and said, "Just kidding."

Police sirens sounded in the distance. Dragon took another look at the burning warehouse and said, "Let's go. Is there somewhere we can all meet?"

"Let's use my office," Brimstone suggested.

Dave called the Vagabond down and they all got on board, leaving the warehouse to burn itself out.

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