Outside, Dice said in a loud voice (to make sure that anybody who was asleep would be up), "Hiya, gents. I guess ‘dis is the night ta’ be out admirin' the moon. What's with the rods?"
The Mountain Man didn't like the looks of this. He walked over to his truck, keeping the vehicle between him and where the men were coming from, and pulled his hunting rifle out from behind the seats. He kept the rifle low and out of sight and ducked behind the cab so he would be somewhat difficult to see.
Back inside, Silver Scorpion woke up at Alpha-Woman’s prodding. "Hmmm?....Trouble?!" Silver Scorpion exclaimed as she woke and leapt from the bed. "Just give me a sec to get back into this jumpsuit!" She slipped into her outfit at a terrific speed before moving to the window for a peek. She then took her cue from Alpha-Woman and rushed out to the interior hallway that connected their rooms to go rouse the others.
Having been alerted by Dice's loud greeting, the Daoist needed neither Silver Scorpion nor Alpha-Woman pounding on his door to wake him. He rolled out of bed and peered through his window at the scene outside. Americans were a strange people, but even for them such a late night visit by armed men could not be a good sign. He stole out the back of the inn and attempted to circle around behind the gunmen.
Back outside, Dice Morgan confronted the mob of eight alone.
"He's okay," one of the hunter-looking guys said, pointing at Dice. "We'll come back for you and your friends in the morning still. It's the two women and the guy that came with them we're supposed to take now."
"Don't forget the Chinaman," said another.
"Shut up, Earl," a third man said to the second man.
"No, you shut up," Earl said. "You think I'm going to want some slanty-eyed Asian sitting next to me when I'm saying my prayers to the rooster god? Do any of you? I say we take him along too."
The Mountain Man had hard cover and had not been spotted yet. Sewer Rat had slunk off somewhere and was nowhere to be seen.
Back inside, Alpha-Woman and Silver Scorpion managed to rouse only Gandor the Great. "A mob? At this hour?" Gandor asked. "How uncivilized. Sigh...give me a minute to dress."
At first, Alpha-Woman and Silver Scorpion were unaware that The Daoist was already awake and kept trying to rouse him. After finally realizing that the Daoist was not in his room, Silver Scorpion checked out the window again from the dark bedroom to see what is going on. Both women were ready to spring into action if it looked like Dice could not handle these guys.
The Daoist, as he circled wide around the stand-off, heard himself being discussed. He was angered by the stranger's slur, but continued to flank the men in silence for now. If given the chance, however, he intended to belt the man in one of his big round eyes.
The Mountain Man leaned out from where he had been listening and spoke up. "The Chinaman snuck off and we ain't sure where he went. He does that sometimes, but I'll vouch for him. The rest of these newcomers are folks we worked with down south. We thought they might be coming but weren't sure."
Dice Morgan and The Mountain Man had made the best case they could to avoid a violent confrontation, but the small mob simply called back that "Orders are orders!" and advanced on the modest motel. Dice and the Mountain Man balk at the four-to-one odds in case no one else joined in to support them and simply chose to follow instead, interfering with and stalling the mob as best they could without stopping them.
The mob was met at the front door by Jason Tenner, the burly motel's keeper. "Glad you boys got here so soon," Jason said to them.
"Orders from the temple are to take the three new people with us," Jason was told.
Jason responded with a nod, saying, "They're in rooms three and four."
Moving swiftly to rooms three and four on the upper floor, but the only person the mob encountered was Gandor the Great, sitting fully dressed in his room, who asked coolly, "Am I missing a welcoming party?"
Meanwhile, Alpha-Woman and Silver Scorpion dropped out of the second floor window and snuck around through the front door to deliver the first blow from behind, but the outdoorsman at the rear heard the floorboards creak at her approach and turned around in time to block a punch that would have struck the back of his head.
"Crazy dame!" he yelled as he struggled to hit her with the butt of his rifle. Alpha-Woman was much stronger than he suspected and she shrugged the attack off. While they grappled over the rifle, though, the rifle went off, making a thunderous noise that everyone inside and out heard and put a nice hole in the ceiling. Some plaster and dust rained down on the man's hunting cap.
Silver Scorpion saw the melee starting and saw that the rest of the intruders were still upstairs. Seeing only a moment’s opportunity to finish off this one before the others arrived to reinforce him, she lunged across the room and crashed the pommel of one of her silver knives right into the side of the man’s head, seriously injuring him. In horrible pain and thrown off-balance, the man let go of his rifle and Alpha-Woman took possession of it.
In response, a second man, unarmed, appeared at the top of the stairs.
Man Thing by Jim Cheung
19 hours ago