Title: Paradigm Shift
Author: Harper Kingsley
Genre: mm sci-fi, mpreg
The sounds of fighting drew closer and away from the water tank. Gregor couldn’t tell what was going on, but it sounded worrisome.
Then there was a sharp pain in his shoulder, sudden and deep. He bit back his shocked cry and was glad when the blade was swiftly withdrawn. There was the sound of water gurgling out through the hole in the water tank.
Gregor pressed his hand against his shoulder, hoping the pressure would alleviate some of the pain. The stab wouldn’t kill him, but it was a sharp ache. He wondered if the blade had chipped the bone.
Fish flopped against him as the water level dropped. It took a moment for their brains to process that they needed to go deeper. That or they were drinking in the taste of his blood, he didn’t know.
There was a pained shout from outside the tank, muffled through the layers. Still, Gregor knew that voice, though he’d never heard it sound so agonized.
Instinct urged him to remain in the safety of the tank, but he was more than a need to survive. Besides, how safe was he really when he’d already been stabbed?
Gregor waded through the water, ducking beneath the mesh net and climbed out of the tank. His breath was quiet and the only sound he made was the drip-drip of water coming off his clothes.
There were bodies in the room, their heads unrecognizable splashes of blood and brain. He followed the angles and spotted the helmets of two Law Officers in the rafters. He made sure they clearly saw him, not wanting to be shot by mistake.
Gripping his metal rod in his fist, he followed the sound of fists hitting flesh to the other side of the room. The large standing tanks blocked the guns of the Officers, otherwise they would have had a clear shot at the back of Hanson’s head where he knelt on the chest of the weakly struggling Park, methodically strangling the life out of him.
Day after day, week after week, month after month for years, ever since he was old enough to toddle into position, the Morning Prayer had burned itself into Gregor’s muscle memory, becoming a part of him. When he was little it was a game he played as he copied his mother’s graceful elegance with his own childish clumsiness. It was years later that he’d realized the Morning Prayer comprised the basic positions of a deadly martial art. By that time he was already able to break boards with his fists and chip old-world concrete with his kicks.
He’d grown up knowing that every person was dangerous. A young child could kill an adult if they struck correctly, so every person was worthy of respect. Because no matter how strong the First or resilient the Third, the human body was remarkably breakable.
Gregor’s body flowed with the naturalness of water–two swift kicks to Hanson’s solar plexus were just enough to get the man off Park, then he spun the rod in his hands and let it punch forward into Hanson’s throat.
There was such a look of surprise on Hanson’s face that Gregor was tempted to laugh. Except that look didn’t last long, quickly transforming into vengeful rage.
Gregor backpedaled, jerking the rod out of Hanson’s throat with a disturbingly thick trickle of blood. “Now Virgil, don’t let your tempter get away from you.”
Hanson let loose with a breathy howl of rage and lunged at Gregor. Blood poured from his neck wound, but he ignored it as he kicked out sharply toward Gregor’s head.
It was nerve-racking to avoid Hanson’s blows and Gregor knew his luck wasn’t going to last long. When it came down to it, they were at entirely different levels of skill.
Gregor dodged a kick aimed at his head and cracked the metal rod against Hanson’s shin with a sharp impact. He danced back barely in time to avoid having the rod taken away–he tightened his grip to the point of his fingers hurting to keep the piece of metal.
His heart was thudding loudly. He needed to change the setting or Hanson would be taking him apart.
Hanson slashed his knife toward him and Gregor hissed at the sharp pain across his chest. His right arm instinctively tried to hug the pain away, but he realized his mistake in time to avoid another slash, this one strong enough it likely would have carved bone.
Gregor feared he was going to lose his balance at any moment as he danced backward across the water slick floor. His shoes slipped and skidded when his heel landed wrong. There was a heart stopping moment when he felt himself going down, his arms pinwheeling helplessly. It was a fierce wake up call.
He desperately caught his balance and adrenaline still flooded his limbs when he leapt backward to put some distance between himself and Hanson. He kept the rod ready in his hands–he may have been wary of attacking with it, but he felt better for having something to defend himself with. A flimsy weapon was much better than no weapon at all.
Gregor used all of his skill to stay out of Hanson’s reach. He felt like he was being toyed with, but he was hoping to have the last laugh.
Once he sensed the warm-water tank close behind him, he let himself be a little hopeful that things were going to work out in his favor.
The warm-water tank was soon beside him, then in front of him. He nearly shouted with triumph, but yelled “Shoot him!” instead.
Hanson’s expression changed to angry realization and his shoulders hunched in preparation for being shot. Other than that, nothing happened.
Gregor risked a quick glance and wanted to curse. The Law Officers were gone out of the rafters.
He was dealing with S-Class criminal Virgil Hanson alone. It was starting to seem that he was destined to die young.