At the south end of the gardens, the Daoist was almost up to the level of the men in the watchtower and was able to hear them speak.
"Who are those bozos?" one of them asked. "And what's that guy yelling?"
"Who cares?" asked another. "They're dead anyway." And with that, the Daoist heard a rifle shot.
All saw the flash of the muzzle as a bullet whizzed past Dice Morgan, followed by the crack of the rifle shot.
The Daoist could not clamber up to the platform fast enough to stop the rifle from being fired, but he vaulted over the side right afterwards and did a fearsome impersonation of a kill-crazed orangutan. He saw only two guards, each holding Browning automatic rifles. He saw which one held the smoking rifle, but before that man could bring his rifle to bear, a trap door opened below his feet and threw him off-balance. Sewer Rat poked his head out from underneath it.
"For the love of Mike!" the other gunman said as he did bring his rifle to bear on the Daoist and fired at point blank range. The Daoist lunged to the side and was only grazed by the bullet.
At the sound of gunfire, the searchlight in the east tower also blazed to life. But Capt. Liberty was aiming at the west tower and let his rooster fly. Sadly, he misjudged the aerodynamics of half-dead 40-lb. roosters and his improvised weapon fell short, landing right in front of the watchtower with a sickening thud.
Dice Morgan crumpled to the ground and uttered in his best Edward G. Robinson voice, “Mother of Mercy. Is this the end of Dice?" Then he opened his eyes and realized that he was not hit. "Oh. Uhhh... guess not."
Back in the west watchtower, the Daoist swungs a long hairy arm at the gunman who shot at him, grabbed him, and rent his foe, but the Minnesotan in his grip has the blood of Vikings in his veins and seemed not licked yet.
Sewer Rat climbed out of the trapdoor, rose to his feet, and swung a lead pipe at the other gunman, delivering a solid blow to his foe's shoulder.
Alpha-Woman was thinking, Man, these watch towers are in the opposite direction we need to be going. She snuck up much closer to the fortress-like temple, using the trees for cover as she passed the pond and came within 30 feet of the gatehouse in the north end of the fence. She could see two men moving back and forth behind the gate, but it was too dark to make out anything else from there.
The Mountain Man pulled his own rifle off his shoulder and took aim at the far spotlight, hoping to knock it out before it could spot anyone. His aim was hasty, but his shot was true, striking the east spotlight and shattering the glass. The light went out as fast as it had lit up.
Dice scampered to his feet and did the only thing he could really do at that point. Well, not really, but what felt right doing. He grabbed a dead fowl and hefted it like the Captain. "Heh. Just like ‘dat time in Vegas wit' ‘dat crazy albino Russian an' the bathtub vodka." Dice had once seen one of those college types doing track & field and this thing called the hammer toss. Using the same technique, you now picked spun the dying rooster around and around before releasing. The 30+ lb. rooster spun end over end, but the arc of its flight only cleared 40 feet, coming up about 20 feet short of the west tower.
The orangutan-Daoist shrieked in the face of the gunmen, wanting to give him a chance to flee with no further violence, before clubbing him in the face if he insisted on continuing the fight.
Silver Scorpion sighed with relief, having taken a moment’s breather after finishing off that rooster. Looking up and seeing the other Heroes at the west tower, Silver Scorpion sprinted for the east tower instead, leaping up as high as she was able to speed her ascent. Her running high jump, indeed, surprised everyone as she vaulted 18 feet into the air, allowing her to grab the ledge of the platform.
Captain Liberty looked around for more big things to throw and picked up another rooster, but had not decided yet who to throw it at.
Up in the west tower, the two watchmen had a choice between a crazy guy with a lead pipe and a crazier orangutan and opted for jumping off the platform instead. They both leapt out the southeast corner of the tower, plunging into the pond below. The Daoist relaxed back to his human form long enough to advice Sewer Rat to switch off the searchlight, which he did.
Alpha-Woman thought about how to get the guys out of her way to make her entrance. She threw a foot-long stick and then ran away from where she threw it, hoping they would come out to investigate where it came from so she could sneak behind them. And avoid having a battle, like all her ‘comrades’ busy with the tower guards.
With a mighty heave, Silver Scorpion pulled herself up, but refrained from jumping into the tower just yet. She crouched on the outside ledge, waiting to see if one of the guards would lean out to investigate, or at least move around enough inside for her to hear.
Silver Scorpion heard a knock and a familiar voice coming from underneath the platform saying, "Hey, let me up!"
It sounded like a trapdoor was opened and someone climbed up a ladder into the watchtower and brushed off his coat.
"Who are you?" someone else says. "What's going on out there?"
"Ah," Gandor the Great said, "I'm afraid tonight's special entertainment for the boys on watch has somewhat gone awry. We're having technical difficulties with some of our equipment."
"It sounded like gunshots," said another man.
"Gunpowder," Gandor said. "It was to be a surprise pyrotechnic display. A fireworks show. A clumsy assistant exploded some. I'm afraid your searchlight was damaged by some flying debris. Anyway, we're alerting you and your fellows in the other tower so you won't be alarmed."
"Well...that sounds all right to me..." said the first guard.
"Don't listen to him!" said the second guard. "That didn't sound like any fireworks I've ever seen. They were gunshots. And what about that shouting and the loud splash from the other tower? And I've never seen you before. You'd better come up with better answers, Mister, or..."
Silver Scorpion then heard a scuffle ensue.
Alpha-Woman's stratagem mostly failed. The two guards at the gate started to raise the portcullis, argued about it, and then stopped the electric winch with only three feet of clearance off the ground. There was space for her to charge and roll under the gate, but doing so unnoticed would be practically impossible. But she tried it anyway.
Silver Scorpion peeked into the watchtower and saw Gandor the Great go down from a rifle butt to the head. She grabbed the nearer of the two guards, pulled him over the side of the tower, and watched him fall to the ground unconscious. But when she looked back, she saw the man who took down Gandor swinging his rifle around towards her.
The Mountain Man started moving through the shadows towards the gate, keeping his gun ready.
"Nuts to this namby-pamby good guy jazz!" Dice yelled as he drew a throwing knife from his boot and took aim at the gunman menacing Silver Scorpion.
Hardboiled Space Detectives!
19 hours ago