Blackfish Bar: Chapter One
by Kerrin Watter
"Blackfish Bar. Tuesday. 10 oclock. Come alone."
Domino fingered the message gently, trying to place the handwriting.
I wonder .
"Hey Dom? Ready?" The voice interrupted her thoughts and she quickly tucked the note away.
Two hours later and Domino was in the lab, the paper under the microscope.
She moved it around slowly, as realisation dawned on her.
"Bridge, you old bastard."
The corner of a Government seal was just visible, and as she leant back she understood.
Their old neutral territory.
Dominos brow wrinkled as she recalled their duty rosters.
It seemed a reasonable time as any.
Domino smiled. She wouldnt think of doing it any other way.
9:45 pm, Tuesday. Blackfish Bar.
She walked slowly up to the old bar, her eyes raking the area. Not much had changed over the years. A little more wear, a little more run down . Kind of like us, hey G.W, Domino thought with grim amusement, as she entered the door and walked towards a booth in the corner. She bumped into a chair on the way, and she pondered the bruise that would be livid by the morning as she started the wait.
The car swerved violently, almost rolling as it stopped. The bloody hands hit the door handle repeatedly, fumbling, and the door finally gave way. The occupant fell into the gravel driveway, slowly choking to death.
Domino glanced around, her arm moving slightly as she scanned the room
"Damn." She growled angrily as her hand hit the glass, and the dark liquid spilled across the table, running slowly off the edge and onto the stained floor.
Her head shot up - she hadnt even heard the man approach, let alone sensed he was there. Shed been too busy paying attention to the mess shed made, and now he had the upper hand.
"Whos asking?" She took control instantly, her eyes sizing
up the man in front of her.
Early thirties, medium brown hair, dark suit, and a face that was easily forgettable. Definitely a Government man.
"Bridge. Hes out the back."
"Thats not good enough."
"He sent this."
The man threw down a battered old com link on the table, which Dom picked up gingerly. It was Bridges, no doubt about it. She tucked it into a pocket before looking around the room. Nothing felt wrong, come to think of it. Which was odd for a bar like this one, but Domino decided that it just must be a quiet night.
"Where is he?"
"In a room out the back. Ill take you there."
She eyed the man, judging height and weight.
I could take him, she thought as she stood up and followed him out of the bar. I just wonder what G.W. wants.
They walked out the back and up the stairs, heading for room 17. He gave Domino the key and stood back, watching as she slowly made her way inside.
The gravel made a crunching sound as the figure pulled itself along,
its breath coming out in gasps. The violet eyes fixed on the oaken door,
calculating the distance.
5 more metres. . . . only 5 more metres.
Each minute crept by, as inch by inch the figure got closer to its goal.
Nearly there, nearly there. Just a bit more. . .
The figure collapsed on the front steps, coughing, blood staining the concrete below.
10:15, Blackfish Bar. Room 17.
Domino stumbled as she walked inside, twisting her ankle slightly. She shook her head in annoyance - this wasnt like her! She righted herself with an annoyed sigh, almost expecting to see Bridge in the corner laughing at her. But there was no one.
"Bridge? Bridge? Where are you, you slimy bastard?"
Her eyes widened as there was no answer, and things slowly clicked into place in her mind.
Running into the chair.
Spilling her drink.
Straining her ankle.
But that would mean her powers werent working .
Domino grunted as the wire came down around her throat, and instantly cut into her trachea. She tried to slip her fingers under as the wire cut deeper, choking off her air supply, but she couldnt. Her luck wasnt working because theyd found a way to inhibit the whole bar.
Her feet scraped for purchase as her training took over. She pushed her attacker back into the wall, her hands gouging what they could, her heels crushing anything they contacted. Her sight began to blur as bright bursts of light began to flash in her head. The man with the garrotte twisted it again, hearing Domino choke as it cut deeper into her neck.
Dominos hands flew to her neck and she threw her head backwards desperately, the motion surprising her assailant. His head hit the wall, and his nose broke against her skull. His hands tightened in shock, and Dominos legs collapsed with the pain. The sudden weight caused him to let go, and she gasped, the blood streaming down her neck as she fell to the floor.
She saw the foot move, felt it connect with her ribs, as she tried to roll out of the way. One hand was pressed against her throat, trying to stop the blood, stop the pain. She staggered to her feet, trying to find something to help her fight, to put the balance in her favour.
The figure got the front door open, the palm-print register that gained her access now smeared with blood. She staggered slowly through the halls, leaning against the walls for support, leaving a thin trail of blood to mark where she had passed.
Bit by bit she came upon the med lab, stumbling through the door in a pain filed haze. She overturned a tray of equipment as she staggered in, her hands searching for something to lean on, to keep her upright.
She dropped the blood soaked towel to the floor, grabbing some new gauze from the bench. Her breath was raspy now, gurgling on the blood that was leaking down her trachea. She coughed again, not even clearing the blood. It only made the wound bleed more, and she stumbled, falling to her knees as the world slowly blackened in front of her.
10:25, Blackfish Bar. Room 17.
Domino faced the man, knowing she had only one choice left. And it wasnt that appealing, even if she had had her powers.
She pulled a knife from her clothes, and charged the man. He fended her off, as shed planned, and he swung around. Her momentum carried them forwards, and through the second floor windows that overlooked the alley.
He was under her as they fell, a shower of glass accompanying them to the bitumen below. She hit hard, and lay stunned for a minute before realising that the man wasnt moving. She slowly rolled off him, noting the interesting angle his neck was lying at with satisfaction, even as she struggled to her feet. If she didnt get out of there now, shed never make it back home again.
She unlocked the car, the glass digging deeper into her back as she sagged into the drivers seat. The commotion started behind her, and she took off, the tyres skidding on the wet road as she floored the accelerator. Her right hand grabbed a towel off the seat beside her, pressing it into her neck wound as she tried to get her breathing under control.
It was a half hour drive to the Mansion. She just had to stay alive long enough to get there.
Hank McCoy rubbed his eyes tiredly as he sat up in bed. His ears pricked up, straining for the sound that had woken him. The alarms werent sounding, and as far as the security system was concerned, all was well within the Mansion. He waited for a moment, but heard nothing more, and rolled over, going back to sleep.
"That was definitely a crash." Hank McCoy swung his legs out of bed, his mind switching onto alert. He grabbed a robe, and headed downstairs, wondering just who was causing the disturbance. Didnt they know that people were trying to sleep?
"Okay, whats going on?"
He stood in the door of the med lab, his eyes taking in the sight before him. Domino was on the ground, one hand holding her up, the other wrapped around her throat. Hank flicked the fluorescent lights on, and the glass in her back twinkled in the light. A choking sound came from the floor as Domino turned blindly to the voice, and he saw the blood oozing from her neck.
He dropped to the ground, pulling away the cover, the action causing her to cough. The blood splashed onto his fur, and he quickly lifted her onto the table.
He hunted through a draw before coming back with a small tube, syringe and a scalpel. He eyed the wound - it was deep, running just below the larynx. He quickly felt down her neck, his fingers searching for the second tracheal ring. It was below her neck wound, thankfully, and he quickly made an incision, the blood causing her to increase coughing.
"Okay Dom, I need you to breathe out when I say, and then hold
your breath. Understand?"
She nodded, her eyes panicked, as Hank pulled out a trache tube, and held it near the hole.
He pushed it in, trying to ignore the moan of pain that came from Doms lips, and finally had it in place.
"Just a little longer Dom."
He grabbed the syringe and inflated the cuff that surrounded the trache tube. It swelled, blocking her upper airway, and temporarily stopping the flow of blood down the inside of her throat.
"Okay Dom, breathe now."
She gasped, the air travelling in through the tube and into her lungs, and Hank sighed in relief. At least she was temporarily stable.
"Dom? Its going to be okay. You just relax, and Im going to scrub up. Itll be okay, Dom, I promise."
His blue furred hand ran gently over her cheek, and she shut her eyes
against the tears that were building.
Thank you, she mouthed, as Hank began to prepare to operate.
The next morning.
"How do you feel?"
She rolled her eyes at Hank, and shrugged her shoulders. Due to Hanks surgical skills and some advanced Shiar equipment, the wounds were no longer bleeding. Her throat was red raw, a dark scar wrapping its way around her neck, and her larynx was bruised, leaving her voice hoarse and strained. Her back was crossed with a myriad of tiny cuts the glass from the broken window had left in her back and shoulders.
"I know. Im your Doctor."
She didnt even try to smile, the movement was just too painful. She lay back on the pillows, one hand resting protectively on her neck.
"What happened, Dom?"
"Nothing I couldnt handle."
"Youve got to be kidding."
"You should see the other guy." She tried to chuckle, but it turned into a cough.
"I thought youd know better. To go off alone with no backup -
you were lucky to come out of it alive."
"Dont lecture me Hank - I was only meant to meet a friend for a drink."
"So what happened?"
"None of your damn business."
Hank growled under his breath, and Domino returned his glare. "
I just hope youve figured out how youre going to tell Nathan."
"He doesnt need to know. I dont want him to know. Hank, Im asking you. As a friend, and as my Doctor. Dont tell him. Keep this between us. Okay?"
His eyes were troubled as he considered her suggestion.
"What about the logs, Dom? You know the equipment needs a password
"Then think of something, Hank. Im trusting you to keep your doctor-patient confidentiality."
"But Domino - what if whoever it was comes after you again?"
"They wont. Im not going to make the same mistakes twice."
"But Dom "
He stopped, surprised. It was the first time hed ever heard her ask for something. He looked at the woman, her blue-black hair falling down her shoulders, covering the bandages around her neck. Her eyes were closed in pain, her face set in a determined look. The pleading was gone, she was now preparing for the worst.
"Okay. But you need to come up for daily treatment. It wont fix the scar but it should help to heal the inside of your larynx."
She nodded, the closest shed ever get to saying thank-you, and drifted back off to sleep.
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