This was probably the middle of his journy. It contrasted Jim’s, which was likely ending soon. Even thought he was physically able, he couldn’t defeat the years forever. Angel figured Jim had a few more years left before some critical part of his body gave out, whether it be his heart, liver or, god forbid, his mind. Jim already had some crazy, wild-assed ideas, Angel couldn’t imagine what kind of shit a legitimately crazy Jim would throw out.
He’d grown to trust Jim, and to make the building, and the bar, part of what he considered home. This place wasn’t an outpost where he traded goods for other goods, this was where he set down to relax when he wasn’t flying, this was a place worth flying for.
It was tricky for Angel to trade in water with other outposts. Keeping his source a secret was paramount so he never routed his runs the same. He wanted people to think he was just picking up water for other goods along the way. At the same time, per Jim’s intentions, he wanted to get the water out there to people that needed it. Jim envisioned that someday one of the nearby wells would fill up again and that would signal to everyone that the world was recovering a little bit. The idea would be that the masses, or what was left of them, wouldn’t experience the sense of desperation. They’d be less likely to ransack any one source of available water because other nearby sources would be easier, safer to attain. Once water was at least regionally everywhere the people would grow powerful again, eventually becoming strong enough to take on The Dragon, and certainly strong enough to dissuade their recruits.
Of course, defeating The Dragon was not paramount. There have always been, and will always be those who yearn for the end times, for civilation to fall completely and for humanity to become extinct. They think the world would be better off without the silly, little species with the big brains. To them, humans were not doing their job of tending the garden that was mother earth. Instead they raped it, and spread across the planet like a scourge, a tenacious animal that kills and eats and destroys everything it touches. Humans knew they were doing this and were powerless to stop themselves. Like an addict they made up games to justify their destructive habit, making money being the best of them. With money the humans amplified their devouring by enrolling more humans in the process. They either paid humans to devour, or collected money from humans to make the devouring more efficient. If there was one thing that humans loved to praise themselves for, it was devouring at scale. They even had competitions to see which group of them could devour more, faster.
The Dragon was born of the antithesis of the devouring. They survived, thrived in scarcity, and destroyed the wasted humans too blind to see the ill of their ways. On Tynon had put enough thought into their purpose to fully understand it, but he conveyed enough to his subordinates to enroll them in the mission. Even Tynon’s predecessors didn’t quite see it. They came close. With Tynon at the healm there was the definitive purpose of the beast that devoured men for the sake of the planet.
Angel never quite bought into Tynon’s bullshit completely, and Tynon knew it. He saw the skeptic in the pilot and stopped trying to sway him over. Why he never killed him was simply a practical matter – no one else had a helicopter and those things can come in handy from time to time. Tynon saw a future opporutnity where the flying machine could further his agenda in some large, magnificient way. Unfortunately for him, he never got to follow through on that vision. Exiling the women was as much service as he saw from Angel, and even that ended poorly in part. Even in its failing, however, Tynon managed to figure out a way to have it serve him. It brought his men together around a common enemy, one who had killed fellow members. In a way, it actaully ended perfectly for Tynon because all the doubters, the critics, the ones who liked the old way of The Dragon were now silent. They couldn’t speak against Tynon or the mission for fear of being called a traitor to their fallen comrades.
For the Dragon a living Angel was probably more useful than a dead one. He was always out there, driving the hunt, pushing them to go further, kill more, take down more of humanity. If anyone doubted the mission to end humanity, they could lean on the secondary mission to find Angel instead. It was more straight forward and would, given the nature of the way The Dragon do business, accomplish the primary mission anyway.
Of course, they would try to catch him, and they would definitely kill him when they did. It’s quite a miracle that he didn’t die that night after the crash. Had Hope and Cindy been with them, altogehter they would have died at once. If Tynon needed a living Angel, he could just suppress the information until he found a new enemy to keep himself in power and keep The Dragon on task. Angel, Hope and Cindy were just filling that role for him and there was nothing they could do about it save for destroying The Dragon completely, or perhaps just killing Tynon.
* * *
Hope and Angel finally realized that they were very likeminded. Both had dealt with The Dragon, rather than trying to confront them head on. Hope maneuvered herself to become a concubine with the leader at the time. It was the path of least discomfort in the state of captivity shared by every other woman who had been taken by them. In a similar way, Angel had cut a deal with The Dragon to be left alone in exchange for providing occassional courier services. They didn’t kill him, or break his stuff. He knew what they did, but had not the power to stop it. The best he could do was to cut a deal that kept him flying and alive.
Together they were survivors and with Jacko’s attack they watched each other survive in dramatic fashion. Their bitterness toward each other turned into a mutual respect and trust, and something more. With their simple, basic desires well understood they began to anticipate each others’ thoughts and actions. They didn’t even need to exchange winks and nods. It was truly unspoken.
So when the day came to exile the four prisoners, their orders were to take them as far west as possible, to the edge of the cauldron if they could find an outpost that far out. The plains between Chicago and the cauldren were barren and, by all accounts impossible to cross — unless you have a helicopter. Angel was to have loaded up with extra fuel to make the journey. With the bird fully loaded with the four prisoners and Hope in the copilot seat he set an initial course to the west. Once they lost sight of all but the sliver of light carving into the sky, the laser light’s plasma shield, he rerouted eastward, toward Buffalo. Hope said nothing, she knew the plan already, even without talking about it in advance.
The extra bodies would flesh out parts of the message that, on some level, were a little blurry being spelled out with only 17 dead Dragon. The E in particular benefited greatly from another human figure. That’s where they landed, just off the E. They discussed the details breifly, but then went to work on the first man.
Angel’s soldier’s discipline kicked in the moment he grabbed Zeb’s arm. There was no talking, just doing. He was off the helicopter and into the sand. Angel paused to shut the door. They dragged him away from the bird so as not to have a pile of bodies to drag subsequent men over. Angel removed the gag before the hood, it’s easier to remove the gag when the victim is not tempted to look around. Also, once the hood came off the victim generally would get the sense that they were about to die and start to panic. He only let Zeb look for a few seconds, just long enough to let his eyes adjust and for the terror to set in at the sight of 17 dead Dragon strewn out across the sand. Angel knew Hope wanted to see their faces when she killed them, she wanted it to be intimate. This didn’t bother Angel, in fact by the second man, Badger, he started to get a little charge out of her pleasure.
She was corrupting him, if taking joy out of killing an enemy could be considered a corrupt attribute. He wasn’t doing the stabbing, and the pleasure he got from it was not a direct result of the killing, but rather of her pleasure. No attempts were made to reconcile his feelings on the matter, he didn’t care to analyze it, to see if it was right or wrong. It was bringing some joy and satisfaction and that was something he hadn’t experienced with a woman in many years. There was no romance to accompany the sensation, it was more like — lust, and not necessarily for her, just for her pleasure. Where he became complicite was when he wanted more.
With the next man, Weed, he let him look around a bit longer. His horror intensified Hope’s expression and amplified everything. Angel’s breaths grew heavy and his muscles tensed with each hole she put into Weed’s body. He held him up as long as he could, and she stabbed until he passed out, falling to the sand in a heap.
Clip was to be the perfected execution. He was their new leader and should have felt the greatest terror and horror at what had happened to his men and was about to happen to him. Like Weed, Angel forced him to look around. He did not respond like the other men, though. Instead he seemed to accept his fate. So Angel pointed his head toward his own belly so that he would have to watch Hope let the blood out one hole at a time. He just nodded at her. She hated it, there was no joy in killing this man. He practically wanted to die. Enraged, she gutted him and the sight of his innards exploding out of his belly brought her back to where she wanted to be. She sighed and smiled with satisfaction, and Angel followed suit.
* * *
They were both fully charged when they got the view of their work from the sky. The cockpit was thick with their electricity. With time to kill, figuratively this time, Angel flew them back to his new hanger. Once again without words, they acted on their mutual instincts and were fucking in the back of the bird before the blades had stopped spinning. There was no kissing, there was no romance. They didn’t feel romantic toward each other, in fact they felt as close as siblings, perhaps twins even. The connection was nearly psychic and with every grind and thrust they relived kill after kill. Hope with her stabbing, gutting, pounding of deadening meat, and Angel taking exquisit pleasure in her passion for it.
Her body quivered over and over again as he fulfilled the contract of each of her kills. After she reached her capacity for him, she grabbed him by the throat, pressing his head against the metal floor of his machine, and ground on top of him until she had finished him.
Breathing grew easy with her laying on top of him, their bodies still coupled. They would lay for hours together, holding each other until their limbs grew sore from the stillness. The pleasure fulfilled her bloodlust for the time, and his satisfaction and being a part of her climax squelched any feeling of guilt that might have tried to emerge. They were, in that moment, utterly satisfied and complete.