Protecting Bedlam: Fall of the Neon Nero Part 1

Previously on the latest tale of Cassidy & Lloyd.

(If you want, buy their previous rampages for $2 by clicking on the covers below.)

Cover by Jon Hunsinger

Cover by Jon Hunsinger











The Las Vegas strip is peppered by explosions and gunfire as Johnathan Custer’s soldiers try to get the city under control. Moving throughout the streets, the men and women are confused as to who is attacking them. The only people they find are residents and indebted tourists, who are desperately trying to stay out of danger. Every time things begin to settle down, a new explosion revives the chaos and causes the soldiers to spread out even further than before. Embers drift through the air and ignite various water displays that have been tainted with oil, the spouts of flames causing those in the area to panic. With a stampeding populace and several buildings ablaze, the local forces give up following their original orders to find the attackers and do whatever they can to prevent Las Vegas from burning to the ground.

Standing in front of Johnathan Custer’s skyscraper, a lone guard yawns and enjoys being out of the action. To stay awake, he wanders from the doors to the curb and back again. He stops to watch a tank cross a distant intersection, the powerful vehicle running over the cars that have been left in its path. The guard takes a small water bottle out of his pocket and sips at it, his mouth dry from the Nevada heat. Satisfied that he has spent enough time checking the streets for danger, the black-haired man turns on his toes and heads back to his post. He has only taken a single step when a jeep comes around a nearby corner and barrels toward the skyscraper. The guard runs to hit the alarm, but the familiar vehicle hops the curb and runs him over before he can reach the door.

“Bet that guy was wishing he stayed home,” Lloyd jokes as he gets out of the passenger side. Noticing a nametag in the tire tread, he picks it up and chuckles at the name. “Ha! This is Reuben. Kept wondering if we’d run into him. Though we technically ran him over. Why are you still in the jeep, kid?”

“I’m finishing the beef and broccoli,” Cassidy replies, waving for him to get back into the vehicle. Once he sits down, she revs the engine and wolfs down the last of her meal. “The traps and bang bombs will keep most of the soldiers busy. Probably still a lot inside, so it’s best that we go in with some protection. At least until we clear out some of the assholes and you can sneak out to get the stabbing out of your system.”

“Fine, but I’m eating the rest of the kung po chicken while you rack up roadkill points.”

“Told you a frying pan on the engine block would make it last.”

“And that’s why I let you finish off the spicy tofu. That and I still think it smelled like feet.”

Wiping her mouth clean, Cassidy backs the jeep into the street and aims for the frosted glass doors. She smiles when the entrance opens a crack and suddenly closes, the person on the other side spotting the danger. Driving the gas pedal to the floor, she drives into the lobby and feels the telltale bumps of running over a person. Careening through the front desk, Cassidy and Lloyd see at least thirty guards still trying to get in position. Snipers and machine-gunners are preparing their weapons on the balconies that are covered in gold-painted ivy. Turning at the base of the large stairs, the back of the jeep knocks over the statue of a naked goddess and heads toward a group of four enemies. Hitting two of them, Cassidy opens a hole in her door to take two shots at the survivors, but misses completely. Cursing under her breath, the mercenary crashes through the outer windows and makes a wide turn to come back into the lobby on the other side. Bullets bounce off the jeep, which continues to run over those on the ground floor who have yet to find cover.

“Can you think of any way to get up there?” Cassidy asks while sideswiping two guards into the wall. Looking at the passenger seat, she sees that it is empty, but the door is still closed. “I don’t know if I should be worried or impressed. Well, I did say to get out after we killed some of them.”

Skidding to a stop in the middle of the lobby, Cassidy turns on the defense system and jumps on the insulated backseat. Putting on rubber gloves, she grabs the ceiling-mounted machineguns and fires through the dome slots. She ignores those foolish enough to touch the jeep, the electricity knocking them back every time. Her focus is on those hiding behind the desks, statues, and slot machines, which are swiftly destroyed by her precise bursts. Cassidy bites her lower lip when her targets start running around the room, her weapons lacking the range of movement to keep up. More often than not, she tags soldiers in the limbs when they run across her area of attack, but she manages to kill a few when she gets used to their patterns. Needing to reload all four guns, the mercenary switches to grenades that she fires with two built-in launchers that she has no way of aiming. The explosives are easily avoided by the soldiers, but the destruction causes two of the balconies to collapse.

The shattering of glass on the second level causes the enemies to stop firing, giving Cassidy a chance to turn off the defense system. Dropping to the floor, she gets the extra clips for the machineguns and hops back onto the seat before anybody notices that they can safely touch the jeep. Looking through the dome, she watches as Lloyd pounces on one of the snipers and uses the man’s upper half as a shield. Paintballs splatter against the large machineguns on the other side of the room, the superglue inside making an irritating mess. It is not enough to stop the weapons from being used, so the soldiers unload on the balcony. The tattered remains of the dead sniper fall to the floor, revealing that Lloyd has already disappeared. Cassidy spots her partner crawling around a corner, so she sends a burst at the opposite side of the room to make the machine-gunners think one of them found the target. The ruse works for a minute, but the serial killer is spotted when he tackles another sniper. He has vanished again before the gutted soldier stops breathing, the alcoves and slot machines giving him plenty of cover.

With those on the second floor focused on Lloyd, those in the lobby are on their own against Cassidy. They stay behind what little cover they can find, none of them sure if they have to avoid gunfire or grenades. It takes a few minutes for them to realize that the mercenary has been quiet for a long time, so two of the soldiers dare to get closer. There is no obvious movement inside the vehicle, but all of the doors are shut and the security system is active. Shrugging to their friends, the men jump back when the jeep roars to life and speeds toward the remains of the central desk. Those hiding in the wreckage are crushed and zapped by the electrified car, which makes wide turns and bounces off the walls. A woman jumps on the roof and tries to hang on while she is electrocuted, but she falls off when the jeep bashes through a balcony’s support column. The stone falls along with one of the machine-gunners, those below get a brief sight of Lloyd jumping over the hole and stabbing a confused sniper.

“I’d love to know if I’m done killing people!” Cassidy yells since she is unable to see out of the windows. Using wooden blocks on her feet to hit the pedals and trash pickers to move the wheel, she lies back on the reclined seat. “This is hurting my arms and legs. They aren’t protecting me entirely from the zaps, but it’s only an annoying tickle. Can somebody give me a reason to stop?”

“Only crazy people talk to themselves,” Lloyd replies from above. The last machine-gunner is tossed off the balcony, the woman tearing at her eyes that are red from the cayenne pepper paintball. “How about you make this fight easier for yourself and turn off the electricity? You’re wasting battery power. Surprised the poor thing hasn’t died already. I’ve got one more sniper up here, so I’ll be down there in a bit. It’s cute how this one thinks I don’t see him. Especially since I could just reach out and pinch his butt.”

Taking Lloyd’s advice, Cassidy turns off the security system and gets back into the dome to find that the soldiers are retreating. She considers shooting at their feet to make sure they stay away, but the thought of wasting ammunition makes her shiver. Grabbing her pistols and a new assault rifle, the mercenary gets out of the jeep in time to see the last sniper’s head come bouncing down the stairs. Lloyd dances down the steps and ends the display by sliding across the floor to one of the dead machine-gunners. Plucking his combat knife out of the man’s side, the serial killer wipes it off on the body and flips it back into the sheath. Cassidy clears her throat to get his attention and jerks her thumb at the stairs.

“The elevator is moving, so we need to get out of here,” the mercenary says as she hurries up the stairs. Worried about her precious jeep, she stops to hit a button on her keychain and waits for the telltale hum of her security system. “We’ll get a new battery before we leave. Right now, we have to get out of here before more soldiers show up. If they’re anything like the cultists then they’ll stop fighting once their leaders are dead. So, come on and stop wasting time. What are you looking at?”

“The numbers stopped on the fifth floor,” Lloyd points out, scratching his head. The hair on the back of his neck stands up, but he has no idea what has him excited. “I’m pretty sure it’s nothing. Maybe an electrical problem. Be a real shame if we didn’t take a peek and make sure it isn’t important. There could be a mini-boss there or maybe an old friend that’s been behind it all along. I haven’t seen Commodus for a while. Not to mention all of the enemies we have that could have joined Custer and given him secret information on us. Just think of the possibilities that require us to check out the mystery.”

With a roll of her eyes, Cassidy continues up the stairs and kicks at whatever small pieces of debris are in her path. “All I want to do is kill the princesses at the top of this tower and get back to my real job. Going to need a decent vacation after all of this. Just me, a bar, and maybe that cute waitress I met in Iowa. Then again, I can finally go back to Long Island and see if Neddy has any special gear for my baby. Are you still standing in the lobby, Lloyd? Fine, we’ll take a quick look at the fifth floor. I swear, you’re such an idiot. Probably nothing more than a trap since the signs say that’s the main casino floor. You know, this is how people get killed during a raid.”

“Thanks. I owe you one and promise to-”

“Just get in the stairwell, dumbass.”

“Your beauty is dwarfed only by your assertiveness.”

“Uh, thanks?”

“Also, I can see that you’re wearing the silver bikini under the-”

“Please shut the fuck up, Lloyd.”

About Charles Yallowitz

Charles E. Yallowitz was born, raised, and educated in New York. Then he spent a few years in Florida, realized his fear of alligators, and moved back to the Empire State. When he isn't working hard on his epic fantasy stories, Charles can be found cooking or going on whatever adventure his son has planned for the day. 'Legends of Windemere' is his first series, but it certainly won't be his last.
This entry was posted in Bedlam Series, Protecting Bedlam and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

11 Responses to Protecting Bedlam: Fall of the Neon Nero Part 1

  1. L. Marie says:

    “I’d love to know if I’m done killing people!”–This made me laugh out loud.
    Spicy tofu–ugh.
    Cassidy and Lloyd are always entertaining. Especially when they’re heading to a trap (undoubtedly).


  2. Enjoyed this episode. I like it when the Jeep gets a real workout.


  3. Pingback: Protecting Bedlam: Fall of the Neon Nero Part 2 | Legends of Windemere

  4. That jeep must have great armor, but shouldn’t the tires have blow out or gone flat?
    Great story though, I’m finally catching up again.


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