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What, was "Rudy" on cable last night?

. . . Yes.

Eliot Spencer vdistinctive
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A secondary sim within the matrix, Friday
"What in fucking tarnation is going on out here?" Eliot had stepped out to go find the doctor and see about procuring some headache powder, or anything else (anything else that wasn't an opiate, which, well, good fucking luck) that might help Kathy with what was sure to be a fucking tremendous hangover (Eliot's was no joke, so hers had to be terrible). Only to find the street in utter chaos as wagons and men on horseback rushed every which way. Someone fired a rifle in the air, and everyone on the street screamed and started looking around -- not for the shooter, but towards the hills in the distance outside of the camp. An enterprising gentleman who normally sold "soap with a prize!" was offering discount boards and "genuINE injin dream frighteners, guaranteed to keep the red man from entering your domicile or place of business!" Eliot had to resist the urge to strangle the man then and there.

"Ain't you been payin attention?" Swearengen, who was observing the whole show from the door of his saloon, stepped up next to Eliot. "The Sioux were spotted this morning circulatin' around the fucking camp. We're about to get raided by savages."

Eliot scowled. "The hell we are. First off, the Sioux are too fucking smart to try and come into town where every white cocksucker and whore's got themselves a peashooter at fucking minimum. And second, natives aren't fucking savages, you son of a goat-fucker. We're the invading fucking aliens in this narrative and what's more every thinkin' man in this camp knows that for a goddamn fucking fact."

"'Invading aliens!'" Swearengen gave him a startled and amused look. "More of that Jules Verne crap you been peddling since you first fucking showed up here, huh? I were you I'd keep that sort of talk close to your chest, Spencer, if you don't wanna get stripped of that nice shiny piece of tin and run out of town on a rail with that piece of sideways pussy of yours to face those dirt-worshipping cocksuckers you love so much. See how noble and fucking sweet they seem when they're scalping those gorgeous locks from your fucking heads."

Eliot's response was cut off by a fucking Hollywood war whoop echoing through the hills around the camp, sending the townspeople into even more of a tizzy. By the time he managed to make sure he wasn't going to get swept up in the resulting panicked stampede, Swearengen had gone again, probably to go figure out how to turn a fucking "Indian raid" into a profit.

[ooc: open for anyone who wants to come play cowboys and indians.
Content note: really blatant old school racism. Like, I feel dirty typing it. Here there be stereotypes (and even more cursing).]

More of the horrifyingly cliche "Indians" had invaded the camp, as evidenced by the silhouettes of single feathers standing straight upright from the tops of walls and around the sides of buildings. "That's great, darlin', how's about you fucking bounce somewhere that ain't about to become --"

The end of his sentence got lost when the street erupted into gunfire.

Kathy flung herself off the railing, hitting first the floor and then bouncing up to the ceiling, clinging tightly to the beams. "This is fucking ridiculous," she yelped. "Are we really shooting bullets and arrows at one another? For no reason?! Other than stupidity and bigotry and--what are we gonna fuckin do about this, Eliot? We can't just let it stand!"

"We're two people in the middle of two armies, Kathy," Eliot said grimly. He backed towards the door to his shop. A shot ricocheted off the sign above him and he ducked reflexively. "All we can do by now is get the fuck out of the cocksuckers' way."

"But people are going to die!" Kathy protested, swinging into the building after him. She might have forgotten it was just a sim. "For no reason! They'll just die!"

"I know," Eliot ground out through clenched teeth. He wanted nothing more than to throw himself out there and start throwing punches, disarming people left and right -- but all that would do would be to get him shot as a traitor. Or worse. So instead he just closed the door behind her and looked for something to bar it with. "The history of the goddamn world is people dying for no fucking reason, Kathy. You gotta choose your battles if you want to survive it."

The glass in window shattered, and a clay pot full of nails sitting next to it exploded.

Kathy shrieked and ducked away from the window. "This is fucking insane!" she shouted, covering her head with her arms. "We're supposed to stop this! I don't fuckin care what the rest of the world is like or not like! This is wrong! I thought your whole job is to stop things like this!"

"To prevent them!" Eliot shouted back. More bullets riddled the front of the shop, and a few arrows flew in through the holes. It was as if they'd all teamed up to come at Eliot and Kathy specifically. "You can't stop a train by yourself, Kathy, the best you can do is fucking damage control! And right now that means I'm fucking focused on keepin' us alive!"

"How are bullets and fucking arrows coming in here?" Kathy snapped. "They've got, like, the worst aim in fucking history."

She glared out the remains of the window, pulling her hair back. Eliot might be willing to let this go but she was not. She was a fucking superhero. There had to be a way.

She traced a route over the rooftops, ducking behind posts and hiding under eaves. She could do this. She could stop this.

Eliot knew that look. He'd worn it too often himself not to.

"Kathy, would you goddamn listen to me for once?!" He tried to get in her way without showing his back to the broken windows. "This ain't a fucking mugging! That out there is a fucking war!"

"You're right, this isn't just a fucking mugging!" Kathy snapped. "There are people out there who are gonna fucking die!"

She glared at him for a moment, then turned around and flounced towards the back.

Where there was a back door and an easily accessible rooftop.

"Goddammit, child!" Eliot roared. "I am trying to keep you safe!"

"That's exactly what I'm trying to do for everyone else!" Kathy yelled over her shoulder. "It's what I have to do! Or what the fuck kind of superhero would I be if I didn't at least fucking try!"

She might not have her speed or agility back, but she wasn't completely powerless anymore! That had to count for something.

Opening the back door, she stepped outside, blinking in the bright sunlight. She squinted, raised her hand up to the sky, a perfect silhouette in the doorway.

"Don't worry, Eliot," she said, half-turning back towards him to give him a victory sign. "I'll find a way to keep every last one of these assholes safe."

"Like hell you will." Eliot moved to rush after her, determined to tie her to a chair if that was what it took to keep her from doing something so suicidally stupid. "Dammit, child, you got the survival instincts of a goddamn --"

There was a thunk. Kathy looked down at her chest that had suddenly sprouted feathers with an expression closer to disbelief than actual pain. It wasn't until she coughed and blood spattered on her lips that she realized something was truly wrong.

"Eliot," she choked out. "I--"

She took a step. And then another step. The crack of gunfire was louder than thunder, louder even than the pulse beating in her ears. A line of bullets ripped through the doorway, gouging wood to her immediate left and right.

Gouging flesh where there was not wood.

She looked at him, shocked and frightened. "You...blood..." she croaked, pointing at his face.

Then she toppled over. Her body hit the floor, bounced, and then lay flat. A moment of distortion when it was like the entire world glitched out for a second or two and when the world righted itself, the doorway was empty.

"Kathy." Eliot had seen a lot of fucked up things in his day, enough that it took a lot to freeze him in his tracks. He'd gone around the bend and back on not caring about the casualties, but caring never stopped him from acting. He couldn't let it.

When he saw the arrow in Kathy's chest, he froze. Just long enough for the gunfire. Just long enough to watch her get torn apart and collapse --

"KATHY!" The world seemed to have shifted into slow-motion (and let's be honest, it probably had, not that Eliot was in any shape to realize that). When he finally reached her -- she'd vanished.

Eliot knelt on the floor, his palms flat on the boards where she'd laid. The world had gone silent but for the roar in his ears. Nothing moved. Nothing exploded through the windows or doors. The sunlight had shifted, mid-morning already gone to dusk. Eliot had no idea how long he stayed there before he rose back to his feet and rushed the door with a roar.

At first he thought the streets were empty. The camp had developed a particular sort of silence he instinctively recognized; his blood would have gone cold if it weren't already ice. Just past the boardwalk (the front boardwalk -- which door had he run through?) the road through town was littered with bodies, a few in chaps or skirts, most wearing buckskin and paint.

"Well fuck me sideways," Al Swearengen said, from where he leaned against the exterior of Eliot's shop. "Looks like we fucking won." He looked at Eliot and smiled. "You do not want to be a dirt-worshipping heathen from this fucking point forward."

Eliot punched him in the face.