Very special thanks goes to TheCrimsonRisk, who basically contributed at least half if not more of the ideas that went into this story. I may have written the thing, but I kind of feel like he wrote some of this too, due to the sheer amount of stuff he came up with to go in here. ______ "That's the last of it!" Paul Phoenix called out. Julia, Paul and Xiaoyu had finished hanging the last of the Halloween decorations in the compound mess hall. All the tables had been moved out of the way to the sides, set up along either side of the room. All that was left was a night of fun and games... and then of course the cleanup. "Not a moment too soon!" exclaimed Xiaoyu. "We're really cutting it close, it's only an hour to start time! We still have to get into our costumes and everything." "Thanks for all your help, you two! I really appreciate it" said Julia. "Okay, time to change, fast!" _____ Julia came back downstairs from her room, in costume. She was dressed as Pocahontas. "I really wish I coulda thought of something better than this" she mumbled to herself. "Seems a little bit cliche." 50 minutes to fun time. The DJ was getting set up. Julia lounged around in one of the plastic chairs. Then she heard a familiar voice. "Oh come on! Is that ALL you could think of??" Julia grinned and rolled her eyes. "Christie, don't make me send a smoke signal up your butt." Then she saw her. "Hey! That's really awesome, you play the part well!" Christie had her brown hair tied back into a ponytail. She had on brown shorts, a blue sleeveless shirt, and boots. Fake pistols were holstered to her side. "Any tombs around here I can raid?" She pulled out one of the guns, aimed it at Julia and pulled the trigger. A foam dart shot out and bounced off Julia's forehead. "Direct hit!" shouted Christie. "Hey, you're supposed to be dead, I shot you!" "You're about to be dead when I get my hands on you!" Julia got up and chased Christie around the room for a bit, but gave up when Christie's capoeira training helped her vault over tables that Julia couldn't leap as easily. "Alright screw it, you win" Julia said, and plopped back down in her chair. "I'll admit I'm a good fighter but I'm not a table jumper." Christie raised her foam blaster in the air. "Another victory for the raider!" Julia couldn't help but laugh. They heard the front door. "Be careful with that! It's expensive, you fool!" The two looked at each other. "Oh God... here we go." They braced for the worst as the new partygoer came through the door. Her white dress and blonde hair flowed elegantly. "For the love of God, what a pretentious bitch!" Christie started. "She didn't even get dressed up for th-" then Julia and Christie began to howl with laughter as the newcomer turned around. "Do you like my costume? I dressed up as the ugliest, scariest monster I could think of!" Through tears of laughter, Julia said "That is incredible! Asuka, that is the funniest thing I think I've seen in a long time! Oh man. I didn't even notice your hair was so much shorter than hers is, I just saw the outfit!" Julia wiped her eyes. "Oh jeez, my stomach hurts." She kept laughing. Christie wiped away similar tears. "I honestly thought you were Lili... that's awesome!" "Thanks guys!" Asuka said with a huge smile. "Christie, you look just like Lara! Julia, um..." "Yeah yeah I know! I couldn't think of anything really great! Hey, at least the boots match." "Anybody seen Xiao yet?" "No, she's still upstairs." "Well, there's still 40 minutes to go, but she better get down here soon... it'll start without her. "I think I better check on her." Christie took off upstairs, flipping and cartwheeling over tables as if she were Lara Croft. "Quit showing off damn it!" Julia yelled after her, smiling. Christie laughed. "So where the hell did you get that dress? Did you swipe hers?" "Yeah, I sneaked into her room and plucked it out of her closet! It's great. It's a bit big though. She's a lot taller than I am! The hemline goes like, almost to my knees. At least I don't have to be afraid of bending over wearing this thing, it's like a sleeping bag on me." Paul and Law were the next to arrive, chatting away. They were dressed as Guile and Fei-Long. "Hey guys, glad you came out!" Julia called out. "Awesome costumes!" "Hey, thanks!" replied Paul. "Yours is pretty good too! But you're hanging out with Lili?" Asuka turned around. "Oh!" exclaimed Paul, and then he and Law began laughing too. "Sorry if I insulted you there Asuka! That's the most hilarious thing I have seen in a while." More and more people began to show up, the party almost officially underway. The usual groups were gathering. "Xiao's still not here?" Asuka asked. "We're pretty much rolling here. Wait, someone's coming..." It wasn't Xiaoyu, but Alisa. "Wow!" exclaimed Asuka. "Julia, how much programming did you do with her on the finer points of human quirks?" "Why, what do you mean?" Then she saw Alisa. She had dropped her perennial two-tone purple for a vibrant red and yellow look, and had even recoloured and detailed her battle gear, wisely choosing not to activate the chainsaw blades. "Holy shit!" exclaimed Julia. "I vote you best costume already. Sorry Asuka." "Believe me, she deserves it! Damn, how much work did you put into that?" Alisa had changed her colour scheme into that of Iron Man. "I have been planning this for a week. Being that I don't need to rest, I was able to work on it pretty much nonstop." "HULK SMASH!!" "What the hell was that?" Julia asked. Then the door slammed open, and Marduk burst through it, holding a large plastic toy car above his head. He was wearing shorts but the rest of him was clad in green body paint. Marduk roared and threw the car down in the middle of the floor, breaking it and startling everyone. "RAAARR!!" Everyone just looked for a moment. He got compliments on his outfit. "You know you're gonna have to clean that up, right?" Paul asked. "Yeah... yeah I know... it was fun though." He picked up the pieces and threw them away. The party continued on after that little interruption. _________ Christie knocked on Xiaoyu's door. "Hey, Xiao? Are you okay? The party's starting! Everyone's there except you!" "I don't feel good," she replied from the other side of the door. "I think I'll just lay down tonight." "Are you alright?" asked Christie. "Is there anything I can do to help?" "No, no, I'm.. uh, I'll be fine..." Christie knew something was up. "You're not sick at all are you?" Xiaoyu sighed. "I just... I... I didn't think this outfit would look this way when I saw it! I should have tried it on first! I wouldn't have picked it up! I shouldn't have done this in a rush... Christie, I can't go down there wearing this!" "What, what is it? Is it that bad?" "Well, I... I wanted something that nobody would expect, and it's like the complete opposite of who I am, which, you know, I was looking for... but I don't think I can go through with it. It's just... look, I'm embarrassed, okay?" "Can I see it? It can't be that bad." "You better not laugh or I swear, friends or not I will kick your ass! I'm serious too." "Okay, I won't laugh! Just open the door. Come on, everyone's downstairs." Xiaoyu steeled her nerves, and opened the door. Christie was completely unprepared for what she saw. "Holy crap, Xiao! I would never have expected this from you! I don't think this is even the last outfit I would have expected, I would never have thought of this at all!" Xiaoyu was clad in black tight fitting leather, with thigh high boots. "So I wanted something different but I am not sure anymore!" "Come on, it isn't that bad. Besides, it's Halloween night. Nobody's going to care. And it's not like it's immodest or anything, I mean it's not got holes cut into it to show things off or anything. Come on down! Blow everyone's minds, seriously who would expect that? The only thing that'll happen is we'll probably give you a little good natured ribbing over it, but really, nobody is even gonna bat an eye. It's not as revealing as you think it is, it's really all in your mind because you feel so different. That's all!" Xiaoyu collected her nerves. "Alright, fine! For one night though. Let's go." They went back downstairs together, with the party in full swing. Everyone had shown up by this point. Xiaoyu was amazed at some of the costumes she saw. "Wow! Some people have really gone all out with this!" "Yeah, I came up here to get you and it was just Asuka, Julia and myself. I'm pretty impressed by a lot of these!" "Oh man, Lili didn't even dress up? What a jerk!" Christie tried not to snicker. She would see... "Yeah, she was talking shit about you, you should go over there and give her a smack." Xiaoyu walked up to her and slapped her in the back of the head. "Hey stupid! What's the big idea running your..." She froze as Asuka turned around, with a quizzical look on her face. Christie started laughing. "hahaha! I'm sorry Asuka, she thought you were Lili and I told her Lili was talking shit and she came up and just whacked you. Blame me, I put her up to it!" "Asuka! I'm sorry about that, I thought..." Asuka laughed. "haha! Don't worry about it, that's how I know it's a good costume! As for you Christie, I'll smack you later." She stuck her tongue out. Turning back to Xiaoyu, she said "Hey, I just noticed your costume! That's quite different, isn't it?" Xiaoyu stammered. "Yeah, well I, I.. I got it in a hurry and I.." "She's just a little gun-shy about it", said Christie. "Seriously, Xiao, I've seen more immodest things on clothing store mannequins. It's all in your mind." "Hey guys" said Asuka. "Did you see Alisa's costume yet? It's jaw-dropping. Check it out. Hey Alisa!" Asuka called out. She motioned her over. "Hello, Asuka. What would you like?" "Xiaoyu and Christie haven't seen your costume yet." They looked puzzled. "I... I don't get it" said Christie. "Perhaps this will clear things up, then." Alisa flicked her wrist, and activated her battle mode. Her short metallic wing-like structure unfolded. Christie and Xiaoyu were blown away. "It's Iron Man!" Xiaoyu finally managed to get out. "That's amazing. If we have a best costume prize, that is what I nominate." Christie agreed. "For sure. There is no way you can't win this." "Hey, Lili is here after all," Julia said. Nodding, she added "Over there. In the Little Red Riding Hood costume." "She's talking to someone? How often does that happen?" "Well, it's Anna Williams. Anna talks to everybody." "That's kind of a cliche costume, but it at least suits her personality", said Asuka, of her "sexy devil" outfit. "Damn it, sometimes I wish I had a body like that" said Julia. "But no, I'm built like a tree... oh well. If I looked like that people would think I looked ill." "Wow, that is actually a pretty good costume Lili has. She's got the picnic basket and everything." said Asuka. They would find out later just exactly what was in that basket... ______ Christie stifled a burp as she finished her supper. "Oh, pardon me... that was great! Any chance we can hire these guys on to cater in the compound instead of the team we have now?" Julia pushed her plate away. "I agree, that was fantastic. Who hired these guys? They need to be full time." "Phew, just in time, too!" said Asuka. "They're starting Bobbing for Apples! Who wants to go?" They watched some of the others try for apples. Some got one, some did not. Lili went up to the tub for her turn. "Ready... GO!" They watched Lili try to come up with an apple. Then they saw Asuka shaking slightly, stifling a laugh. "What, what's so funny?" Christie asked with a grin. "You find something funny! Spill it." "Yeah, this!" Asuka went up behind Lili and grabbed her skirt, then yanked it downwards around her ankles, exposing her matching red underpants. Lili yelped in surprise and quickly pulled it back up, to everyone's laughter. She spun around to confront who did it, and upon seeing Asuka dressed like her, nearly blew a gasket. She was red in the face, but only half due to embarrassment. She was mad. "You bitch! How dare you humiliate me like that, and what the hell are you doing in MYYY CLOTHES??! YOU BITCH! Did you steal my clothes??!" Asuka couldn't do much besides laugh. "Yeah! haha.. yeah I did! hahaha!! This thing is huge on me too, damn, you're a giant!" Lili did tower about five inches over Asuka. She drew herself up her full height, trying to intimidate Asuka. "You better apologize right now!" This only made Asuka laugh harder. "I don't care how tall you are, you don't scare me!" she said through tears of laughter. "Although if you want it again..." she reached for Lili's skirt again. "NO!" she yelled out and darted away. "I'll get you for this, you know! Sooner than you think!" She stomped away, fuming. The game continued on. Julia held Christie's hair while she took her turn. Five seconds later, she came back up with one. "That was fast!" remarked Xiaoyu. "Yeah, I've been told I have a big mouth, I didn't know we meant literally! No but seriously, there's a trick to it, and I know it. Looks like I'm going to win this game!" Christie said with a big smirk. Sure enough, nobody else could do it as fast as Christie did, if at all, and they announced her as having the fastest time. "Christie is the big winner! Come on up and claim your prize!" "Oh there were prizes? Even better! I love winning stuff!" Christie went up to collect it and Paul, the emcee of the event, presented her with the $100 prize for winning. "Nice!" Christie said. "Looks like our next pizza night is on me!" As they went back to their table while the tub of water was emptied and everything cleaned up, they saw Lili speaking to Anna again. "Hmm. She's been awfully social tonight, for someone who hates everybody." said Asuka. Anna nodded and got up, leaving Lili at the table. Christie took a minute to go to her room and put her money away. The night wore on. Games were played, prizes were won. There was some karaoke. Lili got up to sing a song. As she sang, Christie watched her. "I think she's lip-syncing that.." she said. She got up and made her way over to the wall outlet it was plugged in to, and knocked it loose. The music stopped. Lili looked around and noticed Christie. She just grinned. "Nice try, Christie, but watch this." She then carried on the song she was singing, beautifully. Everybody was in shock. "I... I had no idea she could sing like that!" Julia said. "Yeah. Total backfire on that one!" said Christie. "Damn! Looks like I was wrong. How in the world...?" When Lili finished, she received a thunderous round of applause. Paul got back on the microphone. "Ladies and gentlemen, since we're having a pool party later tonight, we are going to get the Best Costume award out of the way now! A panel of judges will all score the costumes out of ten. If you think you have a great costume, come on up!" Asuka and Christie got up to go. "You guys coming?" Asuka asked. "No" said Julia. "My costume isn't really anything special... like I said, I couldn't think of anything, but I wasn't going to NOT dress up." "Yeah, it looks like No Fun Nina took that road! She could really do with having a little fun every now and again." "There is NO way I am going up there dressed like this." said Xiaoyu. "I think I've been getting leered at all night!" She was right. Some refused to look at her out of being uncomfortable. Others tried not to stare. "I've been down here, I had my fun. I'm gonna go up and change! Hey, um... has anybody seen that stupid riding crop? The last I remember having it was when we went for supper..." Unbeknownst to them, Lili had swiped it and stuffed it into her picnic basket after the Bobbing for Apples skirt fiasco. "Oh well, I'm sure it will turn up. In the meantime, I'm gonna go change into my normal clothes!" She darted off before anyone could try to convince her otherwise. The contestants all lined up on the stage. "Alright, it's time for the judges to score each of the contestants. Who will win Best Costume?" The contestants milled around on the stage, posing and showing off in general. Xiaoyu rejoined Julia at the table. "So, did Alisa win yet?" "Not yet, but she's got to. She's got clearly the best costume up there. Hey, your costume of "ordinary person" is pretty great!" Xiaoyu laughed. "Yeah, well, I feel a LOT better now!" "I have to admit" said Julia, "that as annoying as Lili is, she really did put a lot into that costume of hers. It's pretty good. She's even got the picnic basket that goes with it." "Okay!" said Paul over the microphone. "The judges' decisions are in! The winner of the third place, $1000 prize... Is Christie Monteiro, as Lara Croft!" he presented her with her check. "The runner up, second place $2500 winner is... Craig Marduk, as the Hulk!" Craig smiled a broad smile as he accepted his check. "Thanks, bro! I'm gonna have a big night out on the town with this next week." "And the $5000 first place winner, and the one with the best costume of the night is... Alisa Bosconovich, as Iron Man! Congratulations to Alisa! That concludes the night's event, everyone, but feel free to lounge around by the pool on the roof level!" "Drat!" said Asuka, only half seriously. "And here I thought I was a shoe-in. Oh well, if I'm gonna lose to someone, I'm glad it's someone with such an awesome costume." Alisa joined Julia's group. "I have no need for this, Julia, so I want to give it to you to split with your friends. I may as well let someone who can use it have it." She handed over the check. "Wow! Are you sure?" asked Julia. "I have no need for money. I know that you can use it, however. Please accept it." "Wow. Thanks so much! That's great. I really appreciate that! I'm gonna go put this away, I'll meet you guys up there. Are we gonna change into swimsuits?" "Maybe afterwards" said Christie. "I don't want all the guys staring at us!" "Now you know how I felt!" said Xiaoyu. When Julia got to the roof, she quickly located her partners in crime. She waved over at them to get their attention. When they saw her, she slinked her way over to Lili, who was just finishing an ice cream cone. She grabbed Lili by the neck of her top and her skirt and with one motion, wheeled around and slung her into the pool. She screeched in alarm and then landed heavily, like a cannonball, splashing water all over the place. Everybody laughed again. She treaded water, resurfacing, shaking her head and wiping the water out of her eyes. She was so angry that she couldn't even express it, and was outwardly very calm. "Aw, well that's no fun" said Julia, sitting with her friends on beach chairs. "She didn't even get mad. She looks pretty calm actually! That sucked." Lili got out of the pool, dripping water all over the place, clothes and hair plastered to her body. She was seeing red. She left the poolside area. Lili changed out of her wet costume into her casual wear of jeans, sneakers and strapless top. She dried her hair, and then dialed her phone. "Hello, Fletcher. I've had a talk with Anna about this possibility, and it looks like we will need to exercise it. Bring the bag. I'll be waiting. Everyone else is upstairs, so don't worry too much about us being seen." He was there half an hour later with the heavy gym bag Lili requested. She took it from him, shouldering it with some difficulty. "Thank you. Here's my credit card. Go and buy yourself something nice for a job well done." "Why... thank you, Miss Lili! That is remarkably generous of you." Yeah, well, I'm in a generous mood. As a matter of fact, I'm about to give four people exactly what they deserve..." _____ Nina and Anna were sitting at one of the tables of the now-deserted mess hall the night's activities had just concluded in, quietly conversing. WHAM. Something heavy landed on the floor and skidded to a stop, bumping against their legs. Nina as usual looked disinterested. Anna was the more animated one. She looked and saw someone approaching them. "You have some nerve, don't you? What is the meaning of-" "You are businesswomen, yes? I know what you do, and I know you do it for hire. I want to hire you for the night." Anna's demeanor softened slightly. "I see. And what would you have us do, little one?" Lili shrugged off the barb. "I do not believe you will be calling me that after you see what it is in that bag. Please forgive my... uncouthness toward such fine ladies as yourselves. I'm just not in a terrific mood. Yet. I will be though." Anna picked up the bag, using two hands. "Oof. This is heavy." She set it on the table with a thud. "What is in here?" "Your payment." said Lili. "For the job I want from you two tonight." Anna opened the bag, and her eyes went wide. "Holy crap" she said, her formal business demeanor slipping. "Nina, look at this." Emotion even played across Nina's face. "Wow", she said. "This is retirement-style money." "It's a million dollars, in cash. There are nineteen more like it where that came from. And it's all yours, if you do something for me. I'm not even looking for something difficult, or a murder, just something I really want. And when I want something... I get it. Anna's eyes lit up. "We're listening..." ________ Everything had officially wrapped up by 1 AM. After everyone had left for the night, they made their way back down the stairs. "So now that the guys are gone and there's nobody to stare at us, who wants to go swimming? Let's grab our stuff and meet back here." Lili, Nina and Anna hid around a corner listening. Once the group was gone, they stole their way upstairs. Going through the door led them outside, and then the concrete stairs led upwards in a sort of tunnel-like fashion, leading to the upper deck at the top. Lili had the picnic basket from earlier. She opened it up, and took out a pipe. Dipping back into the basket, she withdrew the riding crop she had stolen from Xiaoyu. She gave that to Anna. "I'm sure you will be able to use this effectively" she said. She drew a taser from the now-empty basket and handed it to Nina, then tossed the wicker basket aside. "And now... we wait." Ten minutes later, they were coming back with their swim gear in tow. "I thought I'd change up there just on the off chance someone sees me walking around, it won't be in this thing!" Julia said. Julia ran up the stairs ahead of the group. "Come on guys, last one up is a rotten - unh!" Julia grunted and fell to the side, as Lili swung the crowbar at her, blindsiding her. She had been aiming for Julia's head, but slipped slightly, and the crowbar bounced off her jaw. It was enough to knock her momentarily senseless. "Julia?" Christie called up the stairs. "What happened? Are you okay?" They dropped the bags containing their swim gear and took off up the stairs. They were summarily attacked, caught off guard as Julia was. Nina threw a hard knee that doubled Christie over, then using the taser as a clubbing weapon, she brought it down over Christie's head, knocking her to the pool deck and stunning her. Anna landed a roundhouse kick to Xiaoyu's stomach. When Xiaoyu groaned in pain, Anna grabbed her in a guillotine choke hold. Wrapping her legs around Xiaoyu's waist, she hooked her neck up with her arms and began to squeeze like a vice. Xiaoyu tried to punch her way out of it, but Anna tightened her stomach muscles, absorbing the blows. Asuka was less fortunate, and suffered a crowbar shot to the ribs. Wincing and grunting in pain, she fell to her knees holding her ribs, where Lili got behind her with the crowbar, and put her in a full nelson submission hold, but she leveraged the crowbar in her arms, so that when she was pressing on the back of Asuka's head, it was forcing her throat into the crowbar, turning it into a dangerous choke hold. She shook Asuka back and forth in the hold, robbing her of oxygen. "You think it's funny, do you?" she shouted. "You think dressing like me is funny? You want to embarrass me, pull my skirt down, eh? You think I was just going to let that slide, did you? I told you I would you get you for that!" She directed her rage into physical strength, choking Asuka tightly with the crowbar. Spots formed in front of Asuka's eyes, and she gagged and spit. She began to fade, her flailing weakening. Lili released her from the choke hold, unlocking the crowbar from her neck. Asuka sucked wind heavily on her hands and knees, suffering another crowbar blow to the back, knocking her down. "Ugghhh!" she groaned, holding her back. "Yeah that's right, you really thought that'd be the end of this? Oh, I'm just getting started..." Lili surveyed the scene. She saw Julia starting to get up. They had the element of surprise, but they were still outnumbered. She left Asuka breathing heavily and sunk the crowbar into Julia's stomach. Julia retched once and jackknifed forward in pain. Nina pushed on the back of Julia's knees to force her down, then hammerlocked her left arm. Holding her there, she snaked her other arm around Julia's neck and yanked, trapping her in a combination hammerlock and Dragon sleeper choke. As Nina viciously choked Julia, Lili swung the crowbar into her stomach again. Julia's instinct was to double forward and hold her stomach, but Nina held her locked firmly in place. Lili smiled cruelly and hammered Julia in the stomach again. Julia's struggles were quickly fading. A third stomach blow triggered a coughing fit. Lili motioned for Nina to stop the choke. Nine let her go, and Julia fell to her hands and knees, coughing hard. Lili stomped down hard on Julia's back, knocking her down. Anna had released her choke hold on Xiaoyu, and was now smacking her around with the riding crop. Every sharp slap of leather on skin drew a shriek of pain from Xiaoyu. Anna pulled Xiaoyu's shirt over her head and hit her in the back with it, drawing a loud crack and a drawn out squeal of pain. "Nina! Get Christie!" she pointed. Christie was shaking off the blow to the head, but thanks to Lili's timely warning, Nina was there to cut her off. She threw a sharp kick into Christie's ribs. "Hold her!" Lili shouted. Nina held Christie's arms behind her. "I may hate Asuka the most, but you... I've always taken some kind of terrible pleasure in beating that nice hard stomach of yours. I love the feeling of overcoming those muscles. It's like pounding rock into gravel. I think I'll take some of that pleasure right... now..." She swung the crowbar hard into Christie's stomach. Christie, for her part, tried to fend off the blow by flexing her muscles, which only served to please Lili. "That's right, hold out as long as you can..." A second stomach blow. Christie exhaled sharply, but refused to show any other sign of pain. "Don't be silly, stupid. I know it hurts." She slowly drew back the crowbar for a third swing, making Christie think about what was coming. When it finally did, Christie groaned on the impact. "That's right... rock into gravel!" Lili drilled a fourth blow into Christie's stomach. Now she reacted in pain, crying out and trying to fold up in pain, but Nina forced her back to a standing position. Then Lili hit her again, like she was swinging an axe into a tree. Christie cried out and gurgled. Lili took over for Nina, holding up Christie. "Lara Croft, eh? Tomb Raider? Hah. Well then, see you later, raider!" Lili spun and flung Christie down the flight of stairs. Christie smacked off of and bounced down the stairs, at one point sickeningly cracking her skull off one of the stairs and then the wall leaving a splatter of blood, falling limply the rest of the way down. She came to rest at the bottom of the stairs, unmoving. With Christie out of the equation, they were free to concentrate on the rest of them. Anna had let Xiaoyu out of the hold she was in, and Xiaoyu was too busy whimpering and holding her arm to do much. Christie was out of the equation, and Julia was still face down from her stomach being pounded on. The three of them focused on Asuka. Nina and Anna held up Asuka by her arms. Asuka's eyes were glassy looking and half open. They held her up while Lili taunted her. "Come on, you want to hit me? Go on, take a swing. Go on... lemme have it. Go onnnnn.... let's have it!" Lili got up close, nose to nose. "I bet you're sorry you stole from me and embarrassed me, aren't you? You'll think twice before you do that again, won't y- AUGH!" Lili's speech was cut short by a sudden headbutt from Asuka. Asuka whipped her head backwards and collided it with Anna's face, knocking her loose. She swung a leg backward, kicking Nina in the crotch and causing her to fall down in pain. Xiaoyu was struggling to get up. Lili got up holding her face. She took her hand away, and saw a small amount of blood, which had come out of her nose. "Damn it, you bitch!" Lili started a counterattack but then noticed Xiaoyu. Thinking quickly, she saw Xiaoyu launch a superkick. She grabbed Asuka's dress and pulled her in the way. Xiaoyu ended up laying out Asuka with a kick in the jaw, knocking her face-forward to the ground. Xiaoyu's hands went to her head in shock. Xiaoyu got an angry look on her face and threw another kick at Lili. Lili caught Xiaoyu's kick, and then grinned wickedly. She brought the crowbar down on Xiaoyu's shin, breaking her leg. Xiaoyu screamed out in agony, falling down and holding her leg. "Oh God! Oh God, it's broken, oh God... it hurts.. ow, ow, ow... owwww... oh my God..." Meanwhile, Christie had come to. She shook her head trying to clear the cobwebs. "Unnnnff.. what.. where am I? Ow... oh God, what happened? ohhh..." she was about to let unconsciousness overtake her again when her brain processed the sounds she was hearing. Her friends were being beaten down and she had to help. Christie gasped in realization. "I've... got to.. help.." She slowly and painfully began to drag herself up the stone stairs. They concentrated their efforts back to Julia. Julia staggered painfully to her feet. When she turned around, Nina was there to meet her. She flicked the power switch on the taser, and it crackled to life. She rammed it into Julia's chest. She put an arm around Julia to hold her in place, so she wouldn't collapse. The electric zapping of the taser was a hideous sound. Julia's body jerked and convulsed as the muscles were forced into tightening up hard. Julia's eyes and mouth opened wide, but she made no noise. After about 20 seconds of electro-torture, Nina let her flop to the tile pool deck. Julia twitched as her muscles continued their involuntary movement. Nina and Anna picked up Julia's twitching body together. Amazingly she managed to stay on her feet, but very unsteadily. Nina and Anna egged her on to chase them. Julia put her fists up and stumbled after them. They brought her a couple steps over to the rented ice cream truck. Nina flung the door open hard, banging it off Julia's head. Julia grunted once and fell over backwards like a tree being felled. She landed heavily on the pool deck, unconscious. Christie was still working on dragging herself up the stairs. She heard all this going on, and could only think she needed to do something to help. She continued hauling herself up the cold concrete steps, only able to use her arms to do so. They turned their attention to Xiaoyu, who was still cradling her leg, and whimpering. "ow... please, no.. don't do this... NO!" she shrieked out as they each grabbed one of her legs. They then pulled in opposite directions, pulling Xiaoyu's groin muscles. Xiaoyu squealed in pain, holding her crotch. "Owwww! ow... no, no, please, no!" she began to beg as Nina took hold of her unbroken leg. Her pleas fell on deaf ears, as Nina wrenched her leg, breaking it as well. "AAAAHHHHHHHHHOOOWW!!" Xiaoyu screamed out. "OWW!! AHHHH!! AHHMMMFFFMFMFFF!! MMMFFFFFF!" her screams became muffled as Anna clamped an arm over her mouth to staunch the sound. Nina stomped down hard on Xiaoyu's broken legs. Xiaoyu continued screaming in pain, muffled by Anna. Tears began to well in her eyes from the intense, burning pain of bone cracking and splitting. Finally she passed out from the intensity of the torturous pain she was in. Looking back to Asuka, she had gotten back to her hands and knees, clearly dazed and hurt. Lili leveled her with a crowbar blow to the back, painfully knocking her back down. Lili pulled her up, and she stayed on her hands and knees. Lili backed up a few steps. Christie managed to make it to the top of the flight of stairs she was thrown down just in time to watch Lili run at Asuka and punt her in the head, like she were kicking a football. Asuka immediately went limp and was deep in unconsciousness before she could even come to rest. Christie drew herself to her knees and was horrified at what she saw. Julia was spread eagled on her back, her head lolled off to the right, and bleeding from the forehead. Xiaoyu was on her back, legs broken. Asuka was face down in a coma*. Lili saw Christie. "Well, look who came back for more. You must just love being beat on. Fortunately for you, I've decided to give you a reprieve... of sorts. I'll let gravity do most of the work on you." Lili rammed the crowbar downward, bashing Christie in the head with it and opening a cut on her forehead, dizzying her. Christie fought to stay balanced, as everything became fuzzy and unstable. She barely heard Lili's last words to her before the whole ordeal ended... "See you later... raider." Lili placed her foot on Christie's chest and shoved her backwards. Christie fell backwards down the stairs again, slamming her shoulder blades off the edge of one of the stairs. Back down she went, smacking off the stairs again, bouncing once off the stairwell wall. She lay completely motionless at the bottom of the stairs. Under her sleeveless shirt, a huge, oily, deep-tissue bruise was already darkening. The rest of her bruises would soon follow suit. Lili surveyed their handiwork. "Nicely done, ladies, they will all surely be sharing a hospital room. As soon as someone finds them. Now about your payment... Here's how you get to my mansion. I'll call ahead and have your money waiting for you. Pleasure doing business with such professionals. Enjoy your retirement, ladies." She shook their hands. They pushed Christie's unconscious body out of the way of the door, and left all four of them laying. _____ *A coma varies in definition but the one that I remember is "A period of unconsciousness lasting more than six hours in which the affected person is unable to be awakened." That would be about right, when you get your head kicked like a football.