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|Central City Station Part 2|
Book 1: Escape
May 27, 2013
The Confrontation at Central City Station escalates beyond John's control.
Kyle walked about the interior of Central City Station, admiring the work that went into the building. He paused to study a painting before he turned his attention to the hostages that sat on a bench, bound and gagged.
"You bunch are pathetic. Had you been benders, you could have escaped from this situation unharmed. And there is the possibility that you still will, provided that Amon surrenders. And knowing his kind that may not happen so that means lucky me," he said.
"Sir, there is a large numbered force approaching," reported one of the riflemen that hurried inside.
"Good! Have all hands report to the courtyard," Kyle replied. He looked at the frightened hostages again before grinning and drawing his revolver.
"Time to kill me a Rider," he said.
The evening fog had enveloped this portion of the city as the column of Refugees approached the line of police that surrounded the Station. Lin Beifong stood watching the column as it approached with her arms crossed. The line came to a halt as John came trotting up with a shotgun slung over his shoulder. His breath was visible in the crisp fall air.
"Just passin' through here chief, this is a matter we have to handle," he said.
"This is under the jurisdiction of the police here Rider, all of you can be arrested for interfering," she replied.
"I know your a stickler for the rules Lin, but trust me, unless you want to attend a hundred funerals of your officers, you'll let us handle it." The two remained in silence for a moment before Lin finally motioned for her officers to make a gap for the Refugees.
"Just don't take too long," she said. John nodded his head in thanks before he turned and whistled. Instantly, the column began to march again. The city beyond the barricade was deserted thanks to the police evacuating the area.
"Collins' brigade has all filled into the main courtyard around the statue," Leon said as appeared next to John.
"Give them the option to surrender. If they don't and open fire, cut them down before they can retreat into the station," John replied. Slowly the column filed out into the square surrounding the courtyard before they raced to cut off any means of escape. Kyle and his followers stood in a crowd rather than organized lines.
John slid the shotgun from his shoulder and racked a shell into the chamber as he took a place on the firing line next to his comrades. On the other end of the spectrum, Kyle was racing to file his followers in to some form of organized firing line.
"Make ready!" came Leon's shout over the courtyard. The Refugees moved their rifles from their shoulders to being at the ready in their hands.
"Lay down your arms and surrender! Any person who does so will be treated with dignity and not tortured in any way!" John shouted. A silence fell across the courtyard as his words sank into the unorganized lines of Collins' followers.
But Kyle walked out before his lines, holding his revolver in his hand. He laughed like a madman as he looked back and forth between the two groups. He then cocked his revolver and held it aloft with his arm at a ninety degree angle.
"Surrender is not in our creed Rider! Your father proved that at the Great Library!" he shouted back. John's heart sank when he realized what Kyle was intending too do.
"It will be a bloodbath Collins, mine are ready to fight to the death, are yours?" he shouted back.
"For Knowledge, For Wisdom, For Peace!" came the reply from Collins' lines. Every single person in this courtyard on this night was prepared to fight and die for what they believed in. John slowly drew in a breath. He knew that bloodshed was now unavoidable, despite his best efforts. Time seemed to slow as Kyle lowered his revolver and lined up a shot on the opposite line.
"Fire!" he shouted. Instantly, the organized lines fired their weapons, filling the courtyard with a chorus of thunder. The screams of the wounded filled the air as bodies fell to the ground. Without hesitation, John took aim with his shotgun.
"Take Aim, Fire!" came Leon's shout from somewhere down the line. The Refugees took aim with their rifles and returned fire, answering the previous chorus of thunder with one of their own. Unlike the disorganization within Collins' lines, they were disciplined and had taken careful aim. So when they fired, over half of the opposing force fell to the ground.
The screams of the wounded and dying reached up into the night sky, but neither side was willing to back down. Kyle himself stood amongst the bodies of his own followers, but he still grinned like a madman. What was left of his line fired another unorganized volley. A small number of the Refugees fell from this assault, but they remained unfazed as they readied themselves for another volley. John could see Kyle's eyes widen on horror as it finally sank in as to what he had gotten himself into. But it made no difference when he gave the order.
"Fire!" The thunder of the guns rang out again and all but five men, including Kyle, fell to the ground with their wounded. With that, all but Kyle turned and began to run back for the safety of the station.
"Advance and Fire at Will!" came Leon's shout. Many of the Refugees began to walk forward into the carnage, firing their weapons as they saw fit. The fleeing remains of Collins' followers were cut down in a hail of gunfire before they could reach the doors of the station, making for a gruesome last stand.
John walked forward as well, hanging his shotgun on the fence that ran around the base of the statue of Fire Lord Zuko. He drew one of his pistols as he advanced, making a bee line for Kyle. The waterbender was the last man standing amongst his followers. When he noticed John advancing, he raised his revolver, and John did the same. They both fired at each other until their weapons clicked empty. It was only when he looked down to reload did Kyle realize that he had been shot three times during the exchange with John. He slowly sank to his knees as the pain from the wounds began to overtake him.
"Hurry up and finish it, Rider," Kyle panted as he looked up. John slid a new clip into his Colt before he looked the wounded man in the eyes.
"Death would be to easy for you. I want you to see what your actions brought down upon us tonight," he said. The courtyard was strewn with bodies, and the street was turning red with blood.
"Save who we can, prepare a burial for the rest!" he called out over the scene. The Refugees were either consoling the dying, or searching the station.
"We found some non bender hostages inside the station sir," said Leon as he approached, taking great care to step over the bodies.
"Take them out a different exit, its best they don't see what happened here," he replied. Turning away, John began to search the bodies for any survivors. But as he went, he found fewer and fewer living amongst the dead.
"Sir?" came a croak next to his boot. John looked down and found himself staring at a boy younger than him with blood leaking from his mouth.
"Did you want this sir?" the boy croaked. He knelt and took the boy's hand in his.
"I never wanted any other this," he replied. As he watched the life fade from the boy's eyes, he felt tears fill his own. And there, amongst the bodies of fifty eight dead or dying men and women, John Rider, the last member of the Rider Family, wept over the bodies of his fallen friends.
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