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Quote of the Week: "A great civilization is not conquered from without until it has destroyed itself from within." - Will Durant, American historian (1885-1981)

New Blood (multi-series fusion)

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Academia Nut
PostPosted: 2011-03-27 04:09pm 

Sith Devotee

Joined: 2005-08-23 10:44pm
Posts: 2598
Location: Edmonton, Alberta
Chandler Jackson was not a nice man. In fact, he was basically the antithesis of the human conception of ‘nice man’ and he had over the years come to accept this fact and the negative impact it had on his life. He was also not a good man either, but neither was he a bad man. Instead he straddled the razor thin tightrope of evil, the line between thinking his actions were morally justified and he could do no wrong and the equally damning conception that he was truly evil and redemption was impossible. No, his actions were all done with purpose, all done with direction and intent. He had none of the comfort of justification, only cold reason. He did horrible things because the consequences of not doing them were too terrible to contemplate, but he could not in good conscience call them right or proper.

Every morning he stared at his reflection in the mirror for at least ten minutes, trying to grasp his own face, and every day it slowly became the face of a stranger. The stress of his actions was transforming his hair from the black he was born with to a steel grey decades before the warranty on the pigment was due to expire. His skin was losing its elasticity and plastically deforming, buckling into wrinkles like the tectonic strain of the world were targeting him specifically. His eyes permanently had just a hint of bloodshot exhaustion to them from long nights, the white sclera slowly yellowing at the edges from the cocktail of medication that kept him functioning somewhat like a human being.

Chandler knew the words for what he was experiencing, but he did not want to dredge up the excessively Greek and Latin terminology. He had some form of dissociative disorder, his mind actively rebelling against what he did every day, trying to distance him from the horror. All his subconscious was doing was making it harder for him to deal with things, mandating ever more frequent visits to the counsellors and therapists, requiring ever higher dosages of medication, and forcing him to exert ever more pressure on his all-too-fragile psyche to do the things that were necessary.

Looking at the stranger’s face in the mirror, Chandler forced his features to assume the shape they needed. Sculpting a mask from his face that would conform to the role he needed to play, he moved himself away from the nightmares of the world. Slowly, millimetre by millimetre, he ceased to be Chandler Jackson, human being, and became Chandler Jackson, boogeyman of the Office of Internal Security. The human part of him grew increasingly distant each day as the mask became easier to build. The rest of him wondered if he would be required to shoot himself on the day when he no longer heard that human part screaming at the insanity of it all. He was not sure if any answer he could come up with to that question engendered positive emotion.

It was time to leave the house.

Far away by the measure of human walking distance but less than a day’s travel by the standards of modern technology and a few microseconds of communication, even if no one went there anymore, another person stared into a mirror and contemplated what was seen in the reflection. More than simple introspection bound him to Mr. Jackson, for the threads of fate were already drawing them into a snare that neither was destined to be happy about. Like Chandler, the image in the mirror was not one of a nice man, but unlike him there was no question about good or evil, necessary or otherwise. The face in the mirror was evil of the most unnecessary sort.

After seventy-six years of bloodshed and lies, little humanity remained in the haggard eyes set in the all-too-human face in the mirror. Still, after seventy-six years, he could almost come to terms with the face that stared back at him. After seventy-six years, if he gazed into those haunted, hungry eyes for hours on end, he could almost find some measure of peace; find some dimming of the chorus of blood choked screams that echoed in his mind.

However, despite this deep pondering, this internal quest for absolution, nothing could ever change the motivation behind those eyes; nothing could change the basic drives that governed him. Mixed in with the basest instincts of hunger and survival was hatred beyond what any mortal, not even madmen, could hold. Seething and raw, like a flare star boiling away its atmosphere to expose its raw core to the universe out of spite, his hatred flickered in his eyes like a distant point of light if one dared hold his gaze long enough. Only the man in the mirror ever dared to hold his eyes that long.

He looked into his own eyes and could see that hatred burning there, and he knew that like a blue super giant reaching the end of its lifespan, one day that little spark would destroy him. It was all he had, and it would destroy him. The circumstances of his birth had imbued him with that limitless capacity for hatred, an unquenchable thirst for revenge, and yet even those savage first few weeks paled in comparison to that which drove him forward now.

He had an ocean of innocent blood on his hands. He had torn apart those who stood as a shield for the weak because they were in his way. He slew lesser monsters because they had dared intrude into his territory. He had slain his mother upon her dread throne and taken her crown before burning her kingdom because he could. His very moment of birth had been an act of spite that murdered his maker. Yet for all that destruction, for all the revenge he had taken, it all paled to the moment fifty years later.

For fifty years he had run, for fifty years he had been chased by men like Chandler Jackson, and he had been chased by men like him since. He had run and fought for so long he could not think of a moment of true peace he had ever experienced. Yet he had run and fought so hard not just for his own survival, but for the survival of those of like blood. For a being of such hatred things like love were alien to him, yet affection beyond mere biological imperative compelled him to protect his strange, distant family. For fifty years he had run to keep them safe from all their enemies on the Earth, and then forces from beyond it arrived and made all his efforts for naught.

He had forgotten what it meant to cry, having never truly done it himself, yet as the ash began to rain down upon his face, grey snowflakes that had once been a city and people and most of all, his sister and the family she had made, he had truly wept for the first and thus far only time in his life. He remembered the limitless depths of hatred he could express from the time surrounding his birth, and this time he turned that towards the heavens above. He declared war not upon an organization or a nation, but upon an entire species. In no time before or since had he skirted so dangerously close to rebuilding his mother’s kingdom in his quest for revenge, and only the thought of horror on his sister’s face if he did such a thing stayed his hand.

In time he was forced to amend his hatred slight, although not a single soul aboard the ship that had fired the killing shot on the suburb of Los Angeles twenty-six years ago had survived his wrath. Now though his private little war was against those who could move planets and twist human beings in ways that only he could mimic, and for all his strength and monstrosity, he had to hide from them, all while running, hiding, and fighting off the human hunters who remembered the endless litany of crimes he had committed against them during his too long life.

For now though, he contemplated his reflection in the mirror, his mind stewing in philosophy while he tried to reset his mind. He could only answer the question of what to do next when staring into his own eyes, when confronting the monster that he was. What was more important to him? To hunt and kill in revenge like he always had, or to chase after the faint possibility he had just discovered that somewhere there might be someone who was related to him?

After hours of soul searching, he finally had his answer, and in an instant the mirror was hurled aside, to shatter against the nearest sturdy surface. In the end, he would do what he had always done. He would risk it all for the sake of family, such as it was. Not even his hatred was stronger than that.

It was time to leave Russia.

Somewhere between the web of monsters physically, the only innocent player in the game of fate being woven looked into her mirror not to try to keep her sanity from slipping away or to gain some measure of control over her soul, but because she wanted her hair to look right. Born and raised on the fringes of society, out in the ruins of past societies left to moulder after war had swept through them and it declared more economical to build anew rather than repair what was damage, she found herself outside the normal rhythm of human society. Not quite an outcast, but certainly not welcome, she lived in the cracks of civilization, not in the underworld, but still invisible to those that did not go turning over rocks. Yet still she wanted to look right.

Admittedly, the look she was aiming for was more a practical one than one meant to impress. One of her female ancestors on her father’s side must have had absolutely incredible hair, because she had absolutely gorgeous hair that was naturally silky and strong and it had always seemed a shame to cut it, especially since her mother always lamented how short and spiky her own hair got. The problem was that such long, beautiful hair tended to get in the way when exploring the ruins of Old London, hence why she had to spend time in the morning braiding it to put it into a form that was easier to control.

Of course, it was also genetics that put her in the uncomfortable position of needing to scavenge from the ruins of Old London in the first place. Her mother had been deathly afraid of the blood screenings required to get into the arcologies or get on flights all her life, so they had been trapped in the ruins of Great Britain. What a wonderfully dysfunctional family they had been: a man suffering from post traumatic amnesia and social anxiety disorders, a woman terrified of the government for ill-defined reasons who somehow managed to crack the man’s defences, and the daughter they had conceived, all living in the bombed out shells of lower class apartment buildings.

The act of braiding her hair interrupted by such dark thoughts, Elizabeth Doe regarded her own reflection and could see her mother’s eyes and her father’s smile upon her face, the genetic echoes bringing tears to her eyes. The worst thing was that she had been old enough to understand the true extent of the damage done to her parents just before everything came crashing down. Both of them were brilliant, their talents wasted picking at the garbage of society because their mental scars isolated them. Her mother had likely forgotten more about genetics than most universities knew, and her father had a talent for languages that continually surprised even him.

Then one terrible day two years ago… Ellie wiped away her tears. She had to move on from that. She had to survive, which required money, which required she work at the only thing she knew she could do well enough to pay the bills. Twenty-six years ago the world had plunged into chaos and much had been left behind that was still valuable, if you knew where to look. Even avoiding the illegal and questionable work, there were always people looking for hard copies and back-ups of important documents, old family heirlooms, or rare artefacts, and it made good money when successful.

Finishing up the braid in her hair, Ellie picked up the map for her latest job. There was an old, pre-unification government bunker filled with records that an anonymous client wanted a few files from. While the contract smelled a little fishy, anything important enough to have remained classified for so long would have already been cleaned up, and the money being offered was rather impressive. In all likelihood all that was in there were some old British military files that were only valuable to a historian who did not want his peers usurping his sources before he could publish. Things like that had happened before.

It was time to leave for work.

Physically close but still temporally distant from the centre of the skein of fated bloodshed, madness, and destruction that was the final major player in the game. Still sleeping, she had no mirror to consider, but if she did there would have been no introspection. Not because she was particularly shallow, but the opposite in fact. She had come to accept who she was long ago, and no nightmares haunted her dreams. It could even be said that her dreams haunted nightmares.

Somewhere in the darkness, she smiled. It was time to begin.


A reboot and rework of a previous project.
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PostPosted: 2011-03-27 05:57pm 

Padawan Learner

Joined: 2009-06-27 12:00pm
Posts: 220
Oh my, oh my. Good to see this one back.
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PostPosted: 2011-03-27 08:06pm 

White Mage

Joined: 2003-02-12 11:59pm
Posts: 17928
Location: Tahalshia Manor
Is this the Thulu-tech & Van Helsing story? *hopehope*
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PostPosted: 2011-03-28 05:52am 

Sith Acolyte

Joined: 2002-07-16 06:12am
Posts: 6205
Location: Western Australia
Thulu-tech & Van Helsing story, and Hobo-shoggoths!
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PostPosted: 2011-03-28 06:21am 

Padawan Learner

Joined: 2008-09-25 02:54pm
Posts: 209
Location: London
LadyTevar wrote:
Is this the Thulu-tech & Van Helsing story? *hopehope*

Indeed, it is.

Well... one might call it more of a rebuild of the original one, but it's still the same thing, apparently, and it has Ms Doe back.
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Academia Nut
PostPosted: 2011-03-29 07:05pm 

Sith Devotee

Joined: 2005-08-23 10:44pm
Posts: 2598
Location: Edmonton, Alberta
Information was power, and its gathering and dissemination was the ultimate tool on the battlefield. Those that controlled the information could strike where their enemies were blind while concealing their own weak points. In the complex battlefield that was the Caspian Zone, where three terrible armies met and clashed, information was king. All three forces were bitter foes, and truces and alliances were impossible. Failure to read the battlefield correctly meant that while fighting one foe the third participant would take advantage of a weakened front elsewhere. Thus far the forces of the Migou and their slaves had the advantage, able to skilfully keep their enemies in the dark while applying their own force exactly where needed.

There were numerous reasons for this superiority, beyond just the simple fact that Migou information warfare technology was fundamentally superior to the equipment used by humans. One of the more unsettling reasons, at least from a mortal perspective, was the existence of Blank analysts. Their brains rewired with alien technology, they felt no fatigue, stress or boredom while they monitored the computer systems that oversaw the flow of data. Refined and perfected, they were utterly loyal and completely suited to the task of overseeing and communicating what the computers reported. To the Migou, they were a useful redundancy system for their own superior processing hardware, and an excellent use of enslaved humans.

9-4761-808-3 watched his screen with the sort of mechanical intensity that had his blinks be carefully timed for maximum efficiency. Battlefield reports and statistics rolled down in front of him, pattern recognition software collating and compiling the often confused and confusing data into a coherent whole. It was 9-4761-808-3’s function to ensure the system was running correctly and to look for higher level patterns that required attention beyond the merely automated.

Already a pattern was forming, a subtle one that was difficult to spot outside of a holistic context. The relentless animals of the Rapine Storm had not let up an assault for a full week, and the forces of the New Earth Government had taken advantage of this distraction to launch a strike further to the north of the Storm front. Thus far the NEG spearhead had been stalled and blunted, but at a high cost to the Blank levies. The forces of the Rapine Storm on the other hand had inflicted few casualties and suffered many, the Migou forces for the most part sitting back and blasting them from well fortified defensive positions. The issue emerging was that the NEG forces were almost to the breaking point, while despite the horrific casualties inflicted the Rapine Storm forces still had plenty more monsters and troops to force into the meat grinder. The Migou and Blank forces on the Storm front needed resources more badly than those on the NEG front.

With a few deft keystrokes, 9-4761-808-3 flagged a reallocation of resources. The computers processed the request and then began to disseminate the order through the entire battle network. It was agreed that fresh supplies would be moved to the appropriate frontlines in anticipation of future need. Orders were issued and received, and the entire decision making loop took but a few minutes. Unlike the NEG, which had a decision making loop on the logistical scale on the order of hours or the Rapine Storm that was essentially a tribal anarchy that only worked because they had the personal backing of an Old One, the Migou war machine functioned smoothly and efficiently. All components operated as a cohesive whole, nothing out of place because of emotional considerations or infiltration. It was in fact impossible to work with the equipment unless one bore active Blank hardware or was Migou.

9-4761-808-3 worked for three more hours, managing the logistical concerns of moving supplies to the frontlines. Already requests were coming in from the Storm front for fresh expendables as stocks were running low, and thus messages were sent telling them that their requests had already been fulfilled in advance anticipation and giving them ETAs for the arrival of what they needed. The system was perfect, and the soldiers on the frontlines could focus entirely upon the task of fighting.

Then 9-4761-808-1 arrived and 9-4761-808-3 was relieved of duty, sent on a rest cycle. With the computers doing the majority of the work, it took less than a minute for the new analyst to get up to speed. 9-4761-808-3 left his post and joined in behind a line of Nazzadi Loyalist Elite marching through the base, falling in mechanical step as they travelled in the same direction.

For another hour the situation continued as normal, although 9-4761-808-1 noted an abnormally large number of requests from the Storm front for additional supplies despite the fact that the network was reporting that they had received adequate resupply already. A request was sent to investigate why the field commanders were reporting empty munitions stocks when the system reported them full. Then at one hour and thirteen minutes into her shift, 9-4761-808-1 witnessed the Storm front totally collapse. It took less time for the Rapine storm to rip apart the defenders and start pushing north-east along the coast-line of the Caspian Sea than it did for the origin of the problem to be discovered.

The system was supposed to be perfect, with multiple layers of redundancies, all built around the assumptions that it was impossible for a Blank to actually be capable of betraying the Migou and it was impossible for anyone to actually understand the computer architecture on a deep enough level to perform sabotage without being caught. Somehow terminal 808 was sending out falsified reports, the tracking tags for the munitions needed on the Storm front having been switched with medical supplies for the NEG front, and then false shipment received reports had been generated. The system was evidently not perfect, for while it was damage tolerant and highly infiltration resistant, it was now revealed it was also incredibly fragile once successfully infiltrated.

With their last non-sabotaged logistical data at least four hours old, the Migou forces could only watch as the Storm shredded the rearguard troops caught off guard by the sudden and unexpected collapse of the frontline, their numbers thinned to deal with the NEG. Redeployment of troops was necessary, but none were available from the Caspian Sea theatre, and the nearest reserves that could be mustered were six hours away. Calculations were run, and in all scenarios the forward command base would be overrun and destroyed by either the Storm or the NEG by then.

The withdrawal order was given at the same time that security determined 9-4761-808-3 as the most likely culprit. A full sweep of the base was given, but no sign of the impossible traitor could be found. Security footage was reviewed and it was noted that the last time the Blank had been seen was nearly two hours prior, marching behind a troop of Nazzadi Loyalists on their way to one of the mecha bays near his quarters. He stepped out of one frame, and then never appeared in the next, having somehow disappeared into a blind spot less than two metres wide. Why this had not been flagged as cause for an immediate security alert was not immediately known, but the best guess was further sabotage of the computer networks.

Out on the battlefield, the sleek and deadly units of a Loyalist Elite unit were shocked and dismayed when the order was given that they would have to withdraw from their current fight with NEG forces to act as a rearguard covering the retreat of their forces to the next stable position nearly two hundred kilometres north. A proud bunch they were not happy about losing three months of territorial gain so quickly, but they moved to perform their orders without question.

Well, everyone except for the pilot of the Zinabi Mk. III, who shoved his charge beam into the ingress/egress hatch of the squadron commander’s mech and pulled the trigger; instantly reducing the man inside to scattered ionized gas. Even unemotional Blanks and Migou would have blinked at such unexpected and brutal betrayal, and the Loyalists, granted extra psychological freedom for their unwavering fidelity, took an extra second to comprehend what just happened.

The Loyalist Elite were the best of the best, given enhancements, the best equipment, and uninhibited neural plasticity to make them the best possible mortal soldiers. They thrived on war, and were terrors of the battlefield, easily capable of handling twice their number in lesser mecha. The traitor on the other hand was on a completely different level. His Zinabi moved in impossible ways, fluid and fast that made the agile Nazzadi mecha seem to stand still. Weaving amongst them, he played with claws, charge beam, lightning gun, and missiles like an artist plays with colours on a brush. To the Loyalists, they knew only two things. The first was that whatever was piloting the mech slaughtering them was not their comrade, because he was not that good. The second was that whatever had control of that Zinabi had more experience with modern combat mecha than should theoretically exist.

Despite the surprise, the traitor mech was still outnumbered eleven-to-one, and the weight of numbers soon overwhelmed superior skill. Repeated lightning gun blasts caught enough glancing blows to slow the machine down enough for missile barrages to pummel it into submission. Staggering back as explosions ripped apart smooth, almost organic armour, the traitor did not have time to take another step before a trio of charge beams slammed into it, drilling holes straight through and out the other side. Slumping forward, the now thoroughly destroyed mech collapsed into four separate chunks.

The remains of the now combat ineffective Loyalist Elite squadron stalked forward, intent on ensuring that the treasonous pilot was dead, only for their target acquisition warning gear to start lighting up. They had lingered long enough on the battlefield dealing with the betrayal and now the NEG had caught up with them. Already Nazzadi forces that had thrown their lot in with humanity were accelerating toward the Loyalists, intent on blood against their kin. With missile stocks depleted and electrical alarms blaring from all the lightning gun fire, the Loyalists had the choice to fight and die or run and maybe survive. They ran. It did them little good.

Patrols of light infantry scouts with powered armour support moved in amongst the wreckage of the Loyalist mecha, looking for survivors for interrogation purposes, although the results were grim as the traitor in their midst was vicious and had a knack for being able to place his shot directly in the cockpits. Just as their sweep was finishing up, a quartet of shots rang out from the rear of the formation. A segment of the formation moved to investigate while the rest stood on overwatch.

Lying next to one of the downed mecha, one of the infantry scouts clutched at his chest and the cluster of four points of shattered armour there while he struggled to get his sealing cement deployed. In an in instant his comrades were next to him, helping him to restore the NaNBC seal of his armour while the squad medic assessed the damage.

“Your armour caught the worst of it Rodriquez. You’re going to have some cracked ribs and we’ll have to pull the bullets out of your skin, but they didn’t penetrate very deep. You’ll live,” the medic reported after a few seconds with his diagnostic gear.

“Good to know Stan,” Rodriquez grunted before he pointed to the north-west, “I think the bastard went that way.”

“We’re sweeping for him now. Don’t worry though, we’ll get you back to base in no time,” the medic told him reassuringly while hooking up a feed of painkillers through the armour’s medical interface port. Rodriquez shuddered for a moment before relaxing.

“Charles, Kimball, I want you two to get Rodriquez back to base,” the squad leader announced, and the two immediately nodded, helping to get the wounded man up on his feet between them.

“Bastard probably shot to wound intentionally to reduce the number of men tracking him,” Stan, the medic, noted sourly as the three men retreated across the battlefield towards the nearest medical transport craft.

The squad leader grunted in irritated agreement. He was not a fan of such tactics even if he had to admit their efficacy. Especially since the NEG was one of the few groups that actually recovered and tended to it’s wounded.

Somewhere behind NEG lines but short of the forward base, the medical transport suffered a Horizon Event, its D-Engine somehow massively breached, thus allowing energy from higher dimensions to flood down. Of the crew and passengers, nothing remained, while only shredded and corrupted bits of fuselage scattered about what had once been a farm field let anyone know that the vehicle had ever existed. In the shifting fronts of the Caspian Zone, the wreckage would be forgotten within a week.

For the NEG, reports on some anomalous happenings were filled and began to filter through the various intelligence branches for analysis, but were mostly forgotten. The Migou on the other hand took two major betrayal events in the same day with dead seriousness, although the loss of all original evidence with the destruction of the base severely hindered their investigation. To be safe they performed tests on all Blanks from the same batch as 9-4761-808-3, in total executing over four thousand of them, just to be on the safe side, even though they detected no way betrayal should have been possible. They also purged the entire genetic line of the traitorous Nazzadi pilot, again just to be sure. Finally, they went over their entire computer architecture with a fine toothed comb, trying to figure out how 9-4761-808-3 had done what he did. The loss in combat efficiency for the next month was quite considerable and numerous fronts stalled or even suffered retreat, but the Migou tolerated no rebellion within their ranks, not after the disaster that was the first batch of Nazzadi.

It never occurred to them that this might have been an intentionally provoked response.
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PostPosted: 2011-03-29 08:37pm 

White Mage

Joined: 2003-02-12 11:59pm
Posts: 17928
Location: Tahalshia Manor
Now that is a slick operator. I love it.
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PostPosted: 2011-03-30 03:41am 

Sith Acolyte

Joined: 2002-07-16 06:12am
Posts: 6205
Location: Western Australia
In Prototype, Blackwatch got extremely lucky that they caught Alex Mercer on tape consuming someone followed by adopting his form and opening a base with a code only that person Alex just consumed knew.

character quote
Here's what's known: the subject can shift its body structure to an unknown degree. It can fashion portions of its body into a weapon, change its facial features and perhaps even imitate voices and mannerisms. Long and short: it's a security nightmare.

Besides tell-tale viral residue (which requires sensors accurate to 10 parts per million and only works within a few dozen metres of Alex), Mercer can replicate someone completely. Voice, mannerisms, genetics and all.
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Academia Nut
PostPosted: 2011-03-31 02:37am 

Sith Devotee

Joined: 2005-08-23 10:44pm
Posts: 2598
Location: Edmonton, Alberta
Ellie was upping her price for this job, if she even decided to go through with it at all. The job request had stated the possibility of radioactive or colour variant contamination, which was not that unusual when dealing with military structures damaged in the First Arcanotech War. The Americans fondness for tactical nuclear weapons from the First Cold War had been revived for the Second and when the Nazzadi had first invaded the NUN had an inordinate number of sub-kiloton warheads available, which had been put to absolutely vicious use, much to the chagrin of the invaders.

However, while most of the weapons had been detonated as air bursts in close proximity to bases under the threat of being overrun, Ellie’s current target had clearly taken a direct hit. The fact that one of the buildings had clearly been touched directly by the fireball and survived – as evidenced by the obliquely spherical chunk bitten out of the structure – was rather impressive, but that meant that even after nearly thirty years this place would be hot. Ellie’s exploratory gear was aluminium lined and was thus proof against beta radiation, but most fission products generated gamma radiation somewhere in their decay chain.

Pulling out a hazard scanner while pulling up her hood and attaching a filter mask, Ellie frowned at the readings displayed on her AR glasses as she approached the abandoned structure on a roundabout route, away from the parts that had been hit directly. She was detecting a fair number of beta and alpha emitters, which would only require some exterior suit scrubbing later, but her counter was detecting almost no gamma emissions. Then Ellie noticed the unusually high quantities of deuterium and helium-3 she was sampling.

Ellie paused in her tracks, looked up at the imposing ruins, and then muttered, “Well fuck.”

She had read the manuals and knew what elevated quantities of those isotopes along with low a low gamma count ratio meant. These were all the characteristic signs of a colour-catalyzed fission event. The pre-unification nuclear powers had been toying around with such insanity because colour contaminated isotopes tended to produce neutron-like variant gamma radiation that enhanced fission reactions while also being ‘cleaner’ in that the fission products tended to undergo very rapid decay. Of course, this decay also produced enormous amounts of colour-variant radiation, which was why such weapons were no longer used.

Retreating until she felt she was at a safe distance, Ellie pulled up all the information she could find on those sorts of weapons, and after a few minutes of reading let out a sigh of relief. The half-lives for the v-isotopes were all under a year, so after twenty-six years everything should be all back down to cosmic background standards, but she could suddenly understand why no one had ever intruded on this place before. The first few years after the bomb had gone off nothing could have lived within a kilometre of this place without crumbling to ash. The fact that it was already an asphalt and concrete wasteland had only concealed that fact from a distance.

The fact that there were no warning signs up and that the NEG had never come in to clean the place up was extremely odd. In all likelihood by the time they were capable of paying attention to such things the base was already mostly cool and they had bigger issues to deal with, something that Ellie had seen before, but it was still extremely unusual when it did happen. This was the sort of place that people preferred to simply forget, which always got the hairs along the back of Ellie’s neck to raise.

Ellie considered her options. Now that she could actually see the complex, she could see that the building she needed to go was far on the opposite side of where the bomb had gone off and was supposed to be underground in an environmentally sealed storage chamber. The fact that the fireball had touched one of the buildings was bad news from a contamination perspective, but the fact that the entire complex had not been flattened meant that whoever had built had built it with the intent to survive a nuclear apocalypse in mind, so the structure was likely in good condition. She was going move into the place carefully, and if any alarms went off or if she saw anything from outside the normal human spectrum she was bugging out and suing for this bullshit. If she actually pulled this job off then she was tripling the price for this bullshit.

Taking an extra hour to circle about the base despite the fact that it was probably a ten minute walk if she took a straight line path, Ellie watched the radiological counter in the corner of her AR display with great interest, but nothing capable of penetrating her environmental suit registered on the detectors. Approaching one of the doors, she firmly pressed on it despite the fact that it was clearly a pull door. When the heavy door did not crumble to dust, she then went for the handle and found that every moving part was probably rusted solid.

Pulling out an aerosol can of NL-40, Ellie liberally sprayed it over every crack she could find. The hinges were concealed within the frame, but the motile nano lubricant excelled at finding corrosion and breaking it down into slippery micro-ball bearings. After a few minutes of waiting, her eye still on the radiation alarms, Ellie tried the door again and found that it opened far easier than she had expected. Examining the inside of the door while waving her hazard scanner inside the atrium on the other side of the door, Ellie noted that the lock was just a passive deadbolt and had been left in the open position.

Ellie considered the data she was getting for a minute before she decided that the fact that this building did not have fail-closed electromagnetic locks as a good sign. It meant that no one cared if the door was left open in the event of a nuclear explosion killing everyone on the base. That meant that unless the builders were completely insane there was nothing in here that people would have regretted if it got out.

Ellie considered the ‘sanity’ part in the light of the fact that someone had actually built and used a colour-catalyzed fission warhead. Even colour-catalyzed fusion warheads made most people nervous despite the fact that they burned out their colour a few seconds after initiation. People could do suicidally crazy or stupid things at times.

Finding the interior of the building no worse than the exterior for hazards to health and sanity, Ellie moved inside. Her well developed scavenger’s intuition told her that this place was probably built sometime in the 2020s or 2030s, post New United Nations but pre-Second Cold War. The place would have been brightly lit in its day, with lots of smooth plastic surfaces, but now the only remains of the old styling were the marble tiles for flooring and the piles of powdery ash that had at one point been organic materials. Ellie tried not to consider the bits of metal sticking out of particularly large piles of dust too hard.

Her feet stirring dust that had lain undisturbed for decades, Ellie moved through the halls, attempting to navigate by the map on her AR display, but soon finding that there were subtle differences from the publicly available schematics. Eventually she managed to find a corridor where bare concrete walls were the norm rather than a colour induced renovation and paint where the main chemical constituents were heavy enough to have survived relatively intact.

Running her fingers over the pre-Reformation English lettering, Ellie sounded out the words, “PALADIN Intelligence – Records Department”. Checking the work contract, Ellie noted that that had been given as one of the possible names where the desired documents might be found. Following the arrow on the wall, Ellie descended deeper into the structure, only her helmet illuminator and hand torch for light, the beams reach visible in the dust in the air.

It disturbed Ellie on a fundamental level how dry it was in this place. Something should have cracked long before and let the English weather inside, yet somehow everything was dry as the Sahara in here. It took her a few minutes to consciously place what was giving her the creeps so badly. For the most part facilities designed to keep the weather out decades after they were abandoned were designed that way because they wanted to make sure that nothing could get out.

Ellie nearly turned and ran then and there, but the fact that she was only looking for records kept her from bolting. Unless the records room was some sort of NaNBC storage facility, it should be safe enough to look into that, and if it were such a facility then it would be obvious well before she got anywhere dangerous. Thinking about it further, the fact that the structure was in such remarkably good condition indicated that whoever had built it was at least sane enough to have built additional layers of security around anything truly dangerous.

Following the signs deeper and deeper inside, Ellie finally reached her destination, a good ten metres below the ground if her inertial tracking system was correct. In bold letters embossed into a heavy metal vault door were the words “PALADIN Intelligence – Records Department”. Ellie gulped at the imposing metal frame, and nearly ran, but while there were warnings about how it was treason to the British Crown to open the vault without permission engraved on the door, there were no hazard warnings.

Putting a finger on the massive wheel, Ellie found that it turned easily. Putting more pressure on it, she found it rotated as smoothly as if it had just been installed just long enough for any kinks to be worked out while still being new, with a fresh batch of lubricant for good measure. It was nearly terrifying how well preserved the door was. What were they storing in there?

A hiss of escaping air nearly had her run for the nearest public decontamination terminal as quickly as her legs would carry her, but then the massive door swung open smoothly and anticlimactically revealed a massive chamber filled with row on row of shelves stocked with containers. Playing her lights across them, Ellie blinked a few times when she realized that the containers were plastic. How could they have… she blinked again when she noted the thickness of the metal door. If they entire chamber was lined with sufficient thickness of metal then this deep down it could have been shielded from the colour.

There was a dead look-up terminal and desk at the front of the chamber, and Ellie recoiled when she discovered a mummified skeleton dressed in a NATO combat uniform, but everything else about this place was more terrifying than a simple skeleton. Looking a little closer, she noticed that the body was still clutching a pistol in one hand and the top of the skull was blown out. The story was as simple as it was horrifying. The poor sod had probably been working down here when the bombs fell. With the door sealed, he was safe from the otherworldly radiation bathing the exterior in what basically amounted to death rays, but he would probably have suffocated after a few hours and definitely would have run out of water long before he could escape this tomb. Ellie shuddered at the thought but kept going.

Proceeding deeper into the room, Ellie examined each row of shelves carefully, thankful that they were kept in some semblance of order. The contract said that what she was looking for was stored under the super group heading of ‘Project Olympic Telescope’, a name that made her eyes roll at the bombastic silliness. It took a few false starts before she realized that the shelf for the project was found in the ‘T’ section with a bunch of other ‘Telescope’ projects.

Once in the right section, she found a huge section of it appeared to be unoccupied, like there had once been boxes there, but they had all been removed. There was one near the beginning labelled ‘Subject Ouranos’, but whatever had once been in there had long since crumbled to pulp dust, leaving just a picture of a man in an archaic military uniform standing in front of one of the first primitive planes. Continuing her search, Ellie found that there were labelled positions for where boxes were supposed to have gone, but most of them had been crudely scratched out, almost in a panic. Near the bottom there was a remaining label for a ‘Subject Eros’ even though there was no box for it.

Finally, Ellie found what she had been sent here for. Next to the missing ‘Subject Eros’ there was a box still there labelled ‘Subject Psyche’. Opening it, Ellie found it full of old storage drives, notes on plastipaper, and several hardcopies of digital photos. The photos were of a woman, clearly taken over a period of a few decades. She was pretty enough, in a conventional sort of way. She looked like she might be Anglo-Hispanic or maybe have some African genes mixed in with European ones a few generations back. Ellie thought that maybe there was something familiar about her appearance, but she brushed it off.

The real meat of the contract was everything in the box labelled ‘Subject Hedone’. Everything else from ‘Olympic Telescope’ was worth a minor bonus, but the big payoff was all in that box. Pulling it out, Ellie found a similar collection as to what was in the ‘Psyche’ box. Then she pulled out a photo.

Then she fell over.

Then she put the picture back in the box and sealed it up with trembling hands.

Then she picked up the box and marched out of the base.

Then once she was far enough away from the base that she could take her filter mask off, she opened the box again.

The picture was the same as the first time she had looked at it.

Ellie screamed at the ghost staring back at her.

Ellie screamed at the picture of her mother.
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Academia Nut
PostPosted: 2011-04-03 02:56am 

Sith Devotee

Joined: 2005-08-23 10:44pm
Posts: 2598
Location: Edmonton, Alberta
Alex Mercer sat on the patio of a boutique café just outside the London arcology. In a previous era it might have been called an internet café, but these days it just another place that sold coffee and confections while offering particularly nice public terminals and a good connection space. Of course, Alex still liked to think of it like an internet café, and he brought a rare touch of the old fashioned to the place in that he was the only one here who was anonymous. There were people who made posts under screen names or no given name, but the NEG knew what all of their citizens did on their networks.

They knew everything that happened except for what Alex did. When Blackwatch gave him the name Zeus they had not realized just how well he would grow into that name. He was the closest thing to a god this side of the Great Old Ones, and there was no system designed by humans that he could not infiltrate. He knew more about the security systems the NEG used than they did, by way of having consumed enough computer specialists over the years that if he were to mount his qualification on a wall, he would need a stadium just for that field.

While on the surface he looked like he was just someone with rather dark, brooding eyes examining a few online forums and games, he was actually revealing a number of Migou pipelines into the NEG networks, notably the ones he had used to keep tabs on what was going on in the rest of the world. He had a few other lines between the two that would remain intact, but he was making sure his tracks were covered, and having the OIS flamethrower the cyber-trail would go a long way towards keeping the Migou from figuring out what was going on. The utterly predictable bastards were also going to end up purging tens of thousands of Blanks in a further quest to figure out what was going on with their security networks.

Every once in a while, when the rare optimistic mood struck him, Alex wondered how much damage he could do to the Migou if he worked with the NEG. While still a bundle of rage that preferred his vengeance to occur at clawing distance, his mind had been evolving with each new screaming, terrified voice he added to his collective. He had consumed doctors, scientists, technicians, soldiers, generals, and statesmen over the years. Give him a laboratory and he could revolutionize whatever fields he chose to work in within a week. Give him an army of conscripts and he could cut down Loyalist Elite units within a month. Give him a support network for espionage activity and all Migou ground operations would be over within a year.

The problem of course was that he was a monster. He had long ago learned to avoid the reckless open activity he had indulged in shortly after his birth and come to accept that his greatest weapons were not his blades but his mind and stealth, but the need to consume and destroy was always there. He would never be content sitting back in a command post clinically directing forces, he needed to be in the thick of things where he could part flesh with claws and tentacles, to feed and consume amongst the carnage and blood. Worse yet, he also knew that if he revealed his presence, he would never again be able to hide, and when the NEG had driven away the last of the alien invaders, there would be one more monster left to put down.

So he hid, and played his little shadow war against the Migou. He had no love for the NEG, but neither did he have a particular hatred for them beyond his antipathy for those that would hunt him. He would let them succeed or fail without his intervention outside his goal to destroy the Migou. And if it looked like humanity might fall, Alex still had one last trump card he could play. Alex still had Mother and all her powers. All he needed to do was will it so and he could start the infection, start the process of turning innocent human beings into monsters. But where Mother had been a girl when she built her army, Mercer was the greatest general on the planet, and his vast knowledge of biology meant he could keep his victims more intact. An army numbering in the millions of super strong and tough monsters that felt no fear or pain or hesitation while still being capable of using tools, all coordinated in a hive mind lead by Mercer.

Mercer smirked in a way that spooked the Nazzadi waitress as he ordered another of the nice meat buns they baked here. While having very little dietary value for him, he still had a sense of taste, and appearing normal went a long way towards keeping the focus of attention off him. His smile slowly died into a bitter glower though, for he still hated infection with such an intense passion that it still stayed his hand. The earliest voices, the ones so intensely hurt by the original Alex Mercer’s actions, had worn a deep groove into him on that regard.

The tipping point would be the results of this latest chase after any surviving family members. If all of Dana’s descendents had perished, then Mercer had no ties left to humanity. The NEG would have a year, maybe two, to show signs that they could win this war before Alex decided that it was time to finally fulfill the prophecies Blackwatch had feared about him. It would be the extinction of humanity, the coming of an age of monsters. Who knew? Maybe one day, millions of years from now, some young species would whisper the tongue twistingly difficult name of Alex Mercer amongst the catalogue of alien gods who wandered the stars, thirsty for conquest and slaughter. He had the knowledge, drive, and power to potentially pull it off if he just had the will.

But… but if on the other hand just one of Dana’s children or grandchildren had somehow miraculously survived… if there was still something in humanity worth saving… then Alex had no idea what he would do. He was the first to point out that he was not a touchy-feely sort of person – unless one including feeding tentacles – and he was in fact the platonic ideal of the antithesis of cuddly. He owed too much to Dana to ever let her children or her children’s children suffer, to harm a hair on their heads, but it was not like he could just go up to them.

The voices all calmed for a brief, crystal clear moment as a memory rose to the surface. He remembered a moment half a decade after he had arranged for the Marines to find Ragland and Dana, after his sister had met the man who could be the hero she needed that Alex could not. He remembered her at the window to the hospital he refused to enter, for he was an unclean thing. He remembered their eyes meeting as she acknowledged his presence. And finally, he remembered her holding up the bundle of cloth that held her daughter, untouched by infection. Then Alex had smiled and walked away.

The moment passed and Alex realized that he needed to kill something, badly. Dana and her family had been his peace, and the Migou had vaporized them in their genocidal campaign against humanity. They hated humans for being young and stupid and ambitious. He was walking proof of why they should not play around with things they barely understood, yet Dana and her daughter had been proof enough that the species was worthy of survival. Their unfair deaths were reason enough for the extermination of every last Migou in the cosmos.

Alex’s quiet raging was interrupted by his PCPU informing him that he had a message from the retrieval expert he had hired. A low key freelancer living on the edge of society, she did good work while avoiding any NEG scrutiny, and most of all, no one would notice if she went missing at the end of the job. Mercer in particular thought that the fact that behind the screen names she used her actual name was Elizabeth was particularly ironic. Opening the message, Alex had to quirk an eyebrow up at the contents.

“Who the fuck are you?”

Well that was certainly unexpected. He quickly sent off a message that dryly stated, “I take it from the response that you found the files I requested.”

While he waited for a reply, he began to send out a few tracker programs to figure out where the girl was physically. He was somewhat surprised when her reply came back before the trackers finished their job, although they were slower than normal to make sure that they did not leave tracks. Elizabeth’s statement read, “I found the files practically at the bottom of a colour-nuke crater. Thanks for the warning asshole.”

Alex’s lips twitched. That at least explained why she was in a medical clinic. He sent a soothing reply of, “Apologies. I had no idea that the damage was that bad. I will gladly increase your fee for the unexpected hazard.” It was not like he particularly cared about money, since his hacking skills let him quite adroitly siphon nearly unlimited funds out of the megacorporations, and if necessary, no payment would be needed.

The response to that made Alex pause. He had to reread the statement several times to figure it out. She said, “Unless you tell me who you are, you’re never seeing those files.”

Mercer blinked. The various bits and pieces of the British intelligence community – along with every other global agency – had kept an eye on Dana after Manhattan, but a few well placed disappearances and mysterious orders had removed the majority of the data. All that was likely to remain were a few photos from nearly thirty years ago and some information on last known whereabouts which was all that Alex wanted. He had found a report in the ruined Russian archives that one of Dana’s granddaughters had been spotted in LAX a day before the Nazzadi surprise strike on the city. The only reason the girl would care about thirty year old pictures was if… if…

The only reason Elizabeth would care would be if she recognized who was in the photos.

Alex felt something almost close to panic grip him. What mocking fate was this? He scrambled, slicing through layers of security to pull up all the data he could on Elizabeth. Living on the fringes of society like she did, there was precious little, not even an official genetic survey report, which was a damn hard thing to do what with the presence of Deep One infiltrators. You had to go out of your way to avoid giving one without being hauled in for breaking the law. Finally he found a picture, and stared at it for ten seconds before he realized that she had Dana’s eyes. For some reason, that trait had been passed on undiluted to her descendents.

Hacking into the systems of the clinic where Elizabeth was currently waiting, he gazed at her through the security cameras projecting onto his AR glasses. It was distant, but he could see little touches of Dana within her. His heart fluttered with panic and sorrow and longing. If only he had found her picture sooner… if only… if only she hadn’t gone to a clinic! Dana had been exposed to both Blacklight and Redlight – the former giving her something of an inoculation against the latter – and Ragland and he had managed to force the warring viral strains into an inert state, rousing her from her coma… but her descendents all carried the passive virus within their genomes. If you did not known what you were looking for it would probably just be noise, but Alex knew that was an enormous risk to take.

Ghosting into the clinic’s systems, Alex found the reports and immediately searched for Elizabeth’s file. She had requested an ancestry test. Alex casually crushed a cup of coffee made from diamond in one hand. She must have panicked when she saw that picture and wanted to know why her mother’s picture was in a government facility that had been bombed into abandonment nearly thirty years ago, delving into her family history. Fortunately while the report had finished compiling, the various branches of the NEG had not been sent the results yet. All Alex had to do was…

Alex double checked the logs. There had been a report sent to Johannesburg and he could see an order for a dummy report to be generated for dissemination to the NEG. Sweet tentacled Buddha, the clinic was run by a Chrysalis Corp subsidy, and while he had barely had any contact with them he knew that a megacorporation getting their greedy paws on Elizabeth was not something he would allow. The report was already away with a high interest flag on it, and by the time he could hack into the main Chrysalis network someone in the company would already know. Fuck! He had to buy time and get Elizabeth out of there.

Getting up from his table so fast he knocked a his chair over and bumped one of the other patrons rather hard, Alex ignored the outcries of protest and instead focused his attention on moving as quickly as he could without drawing attention while he simultaneously started crashing the clinic’s incoming ports. That would buy him maybe an extra ten minutes while the IT staff worked to be able to get word in from the outside world, less if someone used a personal network to contact them. Pulling up Elizabeth’s contact information, he sent her a call directly.

After a few rings, he heard an annoyed, “Hello. This is Ellie. Who is this?” She sounded nothing like Dana, having grown up so far in time and space, but Alex could see through the security cameras that it was her, so his heart practically leapt into his throat.

After choking and sputtering for a few moments over the fact that he was terrible at interpersonal communication, Alex finally growled out, “I’m… I’m an ally.”

“An ally? Who the fuck says that?” Ellie asked, incredulously. “And why aren’t I getting an ID or a video feed?”

Fuck. Scrambling for a response, Mercer said, “Because I have those disabled by default.”

“Are you that fuck from online?” Elizabeth asked furiously.

“Your going for a gene test alerted dangerous people to your presence. I’m trying to protect you,” Alex stated.

He could hear Elizabeth’s voice catch and she asked, “Is… is that why mum… why?”

“What happened to your mother?” Alex demanded.

“She… she stepped in front of a train… rather… rather than submit to a gene scan. It was ruled a… a… accident, but I know… I know her,” Ellie practically whimpered.

Fuck. Fuck. Fuck. FUCK. FUCK. FUCK! Alex growled, “She had a lot of powerful enemies that she was trying to hide from, but… I need to protect you all the more now. You… you need to get out of that clinic.” Alex cut off what he was going to say as he noted one of the nurses approaching Elizabeth.

“How… how do I know any of what you’re saying is true?” Elizabeth asked.

Think! Think! “I’m sending you the ancestry report now. The clinic won’t give it to you, they’ll try to stall and delay you inside, probably ask for more tests,” Alex replied while he sent off the files.

Through the camera feed Elizabeth tilted her head to the side as the files were received by her PCPU and she began to go over them. Alex went over them too for a few seconds before he said, “Your father’s family was British nobility. They… you… still possess an estate. Go there. I will meet you there.”

“I… excuse me… you need to run more tests?” The nurse had approached Elizabeth and interrupted the conversation.

Mercer went for broke and remotely triggered the clinic’s fire alarm. Klaxons and bells went off, alerting the patients and staff to an emergency situation and inspiring more than a little panic. Elizabeth immediately broke away from the nurse and went for the nearest emergency exit, and thus missed the look of anger that crossed the woman’s face. She immediately went to grab Elizabeth, but ended up on her ass clutching a waterfall of blood from the elbow to the face.

Alex smiled. The stupid bitch had just put Elizabeth’s trust firmly in him. He repeated, “Get out of there.”

Getting to the bottom of the stairs, Elizabeth asked over the phone, “Was that you with the alarm?”

“I just need you to get somewhere safe. They will find your house quickly enough, but they won’t expect you to have the ancestry report. Make sure you’re not followed and go to the estate I mentioned. I will meet you there and we can talk more freely,” Alex told her while he got aboard a train that would take him in the necessary direction. Fortunately the estate was amongst a ruined quarter where various legal complications kept the NEG from redeveloping. Once off the train there would be few witnesses and Alex could run the rest of the way.

Alex could hear the strain over the phone before Elizabeth finally said, “I’ve got a ‘fuck-off and die monsters’ gun for when I go exploring, and it’s on me right now, so don’t think about trying any shit.”

“I wouldn’t dream of it,” Alex replied honestly.
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PostPosted: 2011-04-03 11:03pm 

White Mage

Joined: 2003-02-12 11:59pm
Posts: 17928
Location: Tahalshia Manor
Where is Alex from? He's not Alucard, obviously.
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PostPosted: 2011-04-03 11:27pm 

Padawan Learner

Joined: 2009-03-03 02:41am
Posts: 286
Location: Edmonton
He is the protagonist of [Prototype] for the PS3. Has earned the affectionate nick-name of the 'hobo-shuggoth' for his dresscode and capacities.
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Academia Nut
PostPosted: 2011-04-04 12:10am 

Sith Devotee

Joined: 2005-08-23 10:44pm
Posts: 2598
Location: Edmonton, Alberta
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Academia Nut
PostPosted: 2011-04-04 01:41am 

Sith Devotee

Joined: 2005-08-23 10:44pm
Posts: 2598
Location: Edmonton, Alberta
Ellie was running scared. She did not trust the voice on the phone, but the fact that the nurse had tried to detain her after a fire alarm went off meant that she was willing to take what was said at face value, at least for now. She was not happy, but at least the voice seemed to have her best interests in mind. Of course, as she moved deeper into the eerily abandoned area where she was told to rendezvous with the mysterious voice, her doubts grew deeper and deeper. At least on her bike she could outrun most things long enough to get into properly patrolled territory.

Finally reaching the gates to the specified estate, Ellie looked over the brooding old manor. Like the last ruin she had visited, it had clearly been damaged in the First Arcanotech War and never reclaimed. The big difference being that while Ellie could see where the ruins of mecha had once lain, they actual machines had long ago been hauled away. Also, comfortingly, while the ancient trees that lined the estate had been cut down by weapons fire, a new generation of trees had sprung up and a riot weeds grew out of control. Humans had not been here in many years, but life still remained, healthy and hale.

As if to accentuate the point, a particularly large raven cawed at her from the dead branches of a fire charred tree, the rest of the flock watching her with a strange intensity. Ellie stared up at the birds for a moment while she slowly moved her bike down the long drive way of the estate, towards the front doors. She felt like she should be intimidated by the stares of the carrion eaters, but they seemed to welcome her. Did they know that this was her property, or did they just recognize a fellow scavenger?

Pulling up to the front door of the mansion, Ellie double checked that the weight of the large pistol was still there on her right outer thigh. She had left it behind when she went into the clinic, secured in the locked box on her bike, but once she felt she was far enough away from the clinic she had stopped and strapped the weapon back to where it was in easy reach. The weapon was satisfyingly heavy on her side, and despite a long list of manufacture disclaimers she knew that it was big enough to put anything human sized on its ass, especially if she double tapped.

With the electric engine of her bike quietly humming in idle while she straddled the machine, ready for a quick escape, Ellie carefully scanned her surroundings and found no one waiting for her. Trying to call back the mysterious voice, she found her efforts continually stymied by the fact that the account apparently did not exist. She would wait for another ten minutes before she left this place and found some quiet hole to hide in for a few days. Everything was spinning out of control.

“Elizabeth?” A voice quietly, almost desperately asked, causing her to whip her head about.

Emerging from the shadow of a stand of trees where nothing had been there before was a most peculiar man. Wearing battered clothing at least two decades out of fashion, he was of average or below average height and an unassuming scrawny build. With his hood up and his head in a perpetual tilt, his face was obscured by shadow and his bangs. Under normal circumstances Ellie would have let her gaze slip over him without a second thought, but she could see his eyes, and how they bore into her. Those eyes were so terrible, burning with such fierce, predatory hatred that she could not help but recoil, yet somehow she maintained her gaze with him.

A grin broke across his face like over stressed glass and he said, “I… I… you have no idea how long…”

Leaning back as far as she dared while balancing her bike, Ellie gripped the pistol at her side and demanded, “Wh-who the fuck are you?”

“An ally,” the man stated, repeating his words from earlier.

“Why?” Ellie demanded.

The man considered the question for a moment before he said, “I knew your mother.”

“How?” Ellie asked.

Taking a step forward, the man said, “Look, that isn’t important right now, what…”

He paused, a look somewhere between amusement and annoyance crossing over his face as he stared at the 15mm pistol pointed at his chest. Ellie barked, “Back the fuck off! You’re not getting any closer until I get some answers.”

The man sized her up like a hunter sizing up a particularly feisty buck and then he responded, “Nice draw and stance. Been practicing?”

“I said back the fuck off!” Ellie screamed. “Do I look like I’m fucking kidding?”

The man snorted and said, “I would chide you on your language, but your mother had quite the mouth on her too when she was your age.”

“You’re looking good for someone who has to at least be in his forties,” Ellie commented, her finger drifting from the trigger guard to the trigger itself.

The man snorted and said, “Then I recommend you save your ammunition.”

“Who are you?” Ellie ground out one last time.

“Your great-great uncle,” the man admitted.

Ellie lifted her finger from the trigger, but kept it at the ready. She stated, “Then you look really good for your age.”

“It runs in the family,” the man stated.

Ellie felt her knees go weak, and she sank into the seat of her bike, letting the kickstand support her weight, her gun faltering. Her mouth opened and closed a few times like a gasping fish before she asked weakly, “I… what… me?”

The man opened his mouth to say something, but instead he just cocked his head to the side like a dog listening to the wind and then stated, “Fuck.”

“What?” Ellie asked, but before she could respond he was next to her, grabbing her with rough, callused hands, pulling her off her bike and up the front steps of the mansion. She tried to struggle, but his strength was so vastly greater than hers that it was like trying to shake a steel structural pillar. Her gun was also pinned to her side, so she was more likely to shoot herself in the leg than hit him.

Ellie’s initial shriek was quickly drowned out by another wail, that of ducted electric fans generating an enormous amount of thrust. Turning her head to the side, she saw a combat hovercraft popping up over the low wall that surrounded the estate, its stealth systems deactivating as its side doors opened to disgorge troops on fast ropes. She also saw the nose mounted machine gun tracking towards them.

Then the world exploded into thunder as the war machine started spitting hypervelocity rounds at Ellie and the strange man. Stonework exploded all around her, spraying her with shrapnel that cut burning lines across the flesh of her exposed face. She screamed in terror even as she was violently hurled through the air, landing hard on marble tiles. Still screaming and thrashing about in a panic even after the weapons fire died down, she found much to her surprise a few seconds later that she had all her limbs and no sucking chest wounds.

Then she looked up and found the stranger standing over her, his body riddled with pock marks from the anti-material rounds that had slammed into him. However, despite the horrific wounds, not a single shot penetrated, and his eyes still burned with inhuman malice. His face twisted into the sort of demented grin that went perfectly with monsters while his flesh rippled and regenerated. He said with a far too delighted tone, “Hide. Uncle will take care of them.”

Ellie did not need prompting to scramble away from him and the men in the attack ship. More fire lanced in from the machine gun, but as the man turned with malevolent slowness the impacts on his flesh changed from wet thumps to harsh metallic clangs. The last Ellie saw of him was his skin breaking down, replaced by dark black plates of some unwholesome chitinous material, before she was running into the interior of the mansion, seeking shelter as much from the soldiers as from her supposed saviour.

Running on enough adrenaline to warrant a malpractice suit if it had been applied intravenously, Ellie put all her experience with exploring old buildings to best use as she searched for some place where she could hide without trapping herself. She kicked open a door that lead to a long hall set with tall windows that had lost their panes many years ago and immediately turned around, seeing that path as being far too exposed. Her decision was proved right a few seconds later when the combat transport crashed through the empty frames, one of its thrusters sheared off by an impact that left an incredible amount of blood across its shattered frame.

Moving deeper into the manor, navigating by instinct and bits of light that leaked out through the holes that had been eaten in the structure by the forces of entropy, Ellie rounded a corner to find a creature that looked like someone had made a cobra the size of a gorilla and then gave it arms. The beast opened its fanged maw impossibly wide, every muscle tensing at once.

Ellie did not even hesitate, her gun already in her hands from when she had drawn it earlier. She had spent many long hours practicing with her weapon, getting comfortable with the oversized pistol. In a single fluid act she brought it up into a two handed grip, centered on the wonderfully large target presented by the creature’s open mouth, and fired two rounds in quick succession. The heavy pistol boomed twice and blew the creature’s skull off, splattering it over the rotten paintings that lined this hall.

Ellie did not escape the encounter unscratched though, for in the second before it died the strange monstrosity had spat a number of needles at her, ripping into her toughened environment suit along her left side. Within a second Ellie could feel her vision swim as strange toxins worked through her bloodstream, but despite the pain and nausea she managed to keep going.

Finding a door that had been smashed off its hinges ages ago, Ellie peered down into the darkness and nearly immediately rejected the option of running down there, but her equilibrium was still off from the poison running through her body and found her balance giving out at the worst possible time. The trip down the stone flight of stairs hurt incredibly, but by some miracle when she reached the bottom she found her body still intact, if now bruised, battered, and more than a little sprained in places.

Finding the will to get her legs beneath her, Ellie first crawled, and then limped forward into the darkness. She could hear explosions above her, and the sound of heavy feet pounding on weakened but still sturdy flooring. She had to keep moving, she had to…

All other thoughts and considers were put on hold as light flooded into the dungeon-like basement as the ceiling above gave out under the weight of a full suit of powered armour being subject to a pile driver by a man sized mass of black chitin, burying the head of the three metre tall war machine into the hard stone beneath. The humanoid abomination morphed its right arm into a blade and then slashed out through the torso, parting heavy armour like butter. Blood sprayed out from the violence of the strike, the pilot within torn apart like a can of tomato paste caught in hydraulic shears.

The monster looked at her with all too human eyes even as it removed the laser cannon from the grasp of the ruined powered armour. Ellie screamed and ran for the nearest doorway. Shoving aside the wooden door that had fractured from the structural damage inflicted by the powered armour smashing through the building, Ellie did not see what tripped her in the chaotically shifting shadows.

She did however see the chains that criss-crossed the room like a demented spider web as the red sigils she activated with her presence started to glow ominously. The light also illuminated the bundle bound tightly in chains at the centre of the room that was starting to stir.

Military force trying to kill her. Monsters trying to kill her. Walking nightmare claiming to be a relative supposedly trying to protect her. Evil looking magical spell flaring to life in the room where she currently found herself trapped. Probable bound Outsider at the centre of said spell. Ellie said the only thing that could sum up her life at the moment.

“Oh bollocks.”
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PostPosted: 2011-04-05 07:55am 

White Mage

Joined: 2003-02-12 11:59pm
Posts: 17928
Location: Tahalshia Manor
So... Prototype, CthuluTech, and what now?
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PostPosted: 2011-04-05 08:34am 

Sith Acolyte

Joined: 2002-07-16 06:12am
Posts: 6205
Location: Western Australia
Unless he has added more; the crosses/fusions are; Prototype(PC Game), CthuluTech(RPG) &
[Reveal] Spoiler:
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Academia Nut
PostPosted: 2011-04-10 05:42pm 

Sith Devotee

Joined: 2005-08-23 10:44pm
Posts: 2598
Location: Edmonton, Alberta
Despite the danger that mecha scale weapons posed and the even worse danger of revealing his abilities, Alex had to admit that he had not had this much fun in decades. Picking up a combat trooper and hurling him hard enough to shear off and engine mount was particularly hilarious, especially when the other men on the ground started to run like little bitches after that. The Blackwatch troopers sneered and the Marines gave a contemptuous ‘Oorah!’, although all admitted that running when confronted with Alex Mercer was probably an intelligent decision. Of course, the field out front of the estate had quickly filled with tendrils that ripped men to shreds to keep them from getting away to spill the secret.

Then the transport loaded with powered armour showed up and Alex indulged in his favourite activity: skyjacking. There was no joy quite like reeling himself up on to an aircraft that thought itself safe from him, to see the shock and terror on the pilot’s face as he ripped open the cockpit hatch like a farmer husking corn just before he was hurled screaming into the air. The panic that followed from the co-pilot as he realized that he had a murder machine sitting where a former comrade had been was like a fine wine to wash it all down just before plunging in the feeder tendrils. Even the endless choir of screaming voices found the experience kind of funny, even if a large number of them had been on the receiving end at one point.

His joyride did not last terribly long, even though he managed to blow two of the power armour suits already on the ground to scrap with the nose mounted cannons of the transport, as the powered armour responded to his attack with a sustained volley of laser and plasma fire that caused his aircraft to quite literally melt. Bailing out, Alex found that he was not the only survivor from the fiery wreckage, for a suit of powered armour that had still been in the transport was also tumbling through the air. Unable to grin but inordinately pleased with himself, Alex shot out a tentacle so that he could grab on to the falling war machine.

Alex could guess from intimate experience the thoughts going through the pilot’s head as he latched on to the powered armour around the waist and flipped it over so that it was pointed head down. Altering his mass in physics defying ways while opening up flight panels, Alex shot out a stream of highly pressurized blood that propelled him and the armour straight down. Punching through numerous floors and into the basement, Alex delivered an absolutely beautiful and impossible pile driver. Not one to take chances, Alex morphed his arm into an anti-armour blade and neatly killed the pilot.

Glancing about, he saw Elizabeth wide eyed and panicked near him, looking rather worse for wear but still more or less intact. He could tell that she was going into psychological shock, but there would be time for treatment later. His priority right now was to keep her safe and that meant neutralizing the power armour. Once that was taken care of he could get her out of here to a safe place before going through the messy task of eliminating anyone who knew about him. A task that would be considerably easier now that he had mecha grade weapons to steal.

“Such wonderful toys,” Alex stated with glee as he picked up the enormous weapon with the adroit skill of a mortal handling an assault rifle.

“Oh bollocks,” Alex heard Ellie mutter from the room she had run in to, and he turned to the door just in time to see ominous red light flare from within. Moving to investigate while covering the approaches around him with the heavy weapon, Alex arrived just in time to see a blood drenched skeleton burst out of a massive accumulation of chains, everything in the room glowing with baleful crimson light, all while Ellie watched on in terror from the floor of the room.

Alex had eaten enough occult scholars to know that this situation was a Bad Thing, and thus he did not hesitate to begin operating the firing mechanism of the laser cannon. The backscatter would probably blind Elizabeth, but there were treatments for that sort of thing where there were no treatments for being ripped apart by an Outsider. The air ripped apart as the coherent light of weapon pumped unholy amounts of energy into the room. The shadows flickered insanely and the temperature rose to dangerous levels, but Alex did not let up until the weapon was forced into an emergency cool-down cycle.

Elizabeth stared at the empty patch of air where the Outsider had once been and then looked in stunned horror at Alex. Incredibly intelligent, Alex was fast enough to note that the shadows should have not just flickered but been banished entirely by the intense light and that Elizabeth’s corneas should have burnt out. That just meant that when the darkness that had coiled about his great-great-niece leapt at him and transformed in to a young woman with her fist coming at him with a velocity measured in Mach numbers.

The uppercut she delivered would have taken his head off if he did not have his armour active, and as it was Alex found himself hurled through the air so hard he punched a new hole through the mansion with the passage of his body. Bursting out of the outer stone walls and rolling with extra momentum until he came to a stop at the feet of a brute that looked like the baby brother of a Hunter, but with only one eye.

Not even having to consider very hard on his next move, Alex grabbed the ankle of the creature and crushed down, pulping flesh and bone between his fingers. The beast screamed and tumbled even as the feeder tendrils erupted and began to punch into now much closer vital organs. Much to Alex’s delighted surprise, the creature’s flesh was mostly human so he could easily absorb and infect the biomass instead of having to actually digest it. He always hated that about most Outsiders, way too chewy and not enough nutrition.

Flipping to his feet in a fraction of a second, Alex found other fresh sacks of biomass milling about in terror, and while he did not have the time to examine the memories all that well, Alex quickly realized that he had actually just eaten one of the secondary commanders for this mission. There would be time for eliminating the riff-raff later. Right now he needed guns. Big guns.

The MV-16 Broadsword Main Battle Mech that air dropped behind Alex was probably a bit too convenient and overkill, even though he knew that it had been requested to deal with him, but he was not one to look a gift horse in the mouth. Dodging to the side as a much larger laser than the one he had previously stolen burned a neat line in the ground, turning soil to boiling clumps of glass Alex knew he had to act fast. The trouble with D-Engine combat vehicles, mecha especially, was that if you had sufficient balls you could kamikaze with a reactor overload, something that could prove fatal even for Alex. Fortunately he had left no one alive who could tell other people that if he got on to their war machines that was a death sentence, but he had made sure to keep ahead of the curve.

Flesh flowed and distorted, his right arm becoming a solid mass of muscle with oddly sculpted bones for bracing, while his hand transformed into a deadly sharp point with the same armour piercing properties as his sword. A modification of his whipfist morph, the harpoon was a very narrow purpose tool that excelled at one thing and one thing only. Dodging and weaving as the massive war machine tried to shoot and/or stomp him flat, Alex built up incredible hydraulic pressure within his arm as inhuman muscles squeezed together, pressurizing fluid in ways that it did not like. Finally, with a set of muscular releases that would have had Freud raise an eyebrow, Alex released his harpoon, sending the armour piercing projectile flying off at multiples of the speed of sound, trailing a thin but incredible strong line behind it.

Broadsword armour was amongst the toughest in the inventory of any mecha force, so by the time the harpoon reached the cockpit it was travelling at a relatively sedate thirty kilometres an hour. That meant that it was thus insufficient to kill the pilot instantly, even though getting a spike driven from his stomach through to his back was most certainly fatal. Alex knew that the giant battle machine jerking and faltering after he shot it must have devastated enemy morale, but the best was yet to come. A simple nerve impulse caused the harpoon to begin consumption of the pilot, tendrils loaded with viral assimilators spreading through the man’s body.

Then Alex reeled in the line, drawing his body to the mech, and then into it, squeezing his biomass through the hole he punched to the cockpit. In less than two heartbeats he was within the cockpit, full knowledge of all necessary codes granted to him by the pilot. Thumbing the radio control, Alex growled over the emergency broadcast channel so everyone would hear him, “Now I have a mech, ho ho ho.”

Firing up the charge beam, Alex drew a casual bead on the TACWAS gunship flying command and control two kilometres above in the air. An impossible shot, Alex still put the relativistic particle beam through the cockpit of the plane, vaporizing the mission commander and destroying the tactical network the enemy had been using to coordinate. Of course, it took a few centuries worth of experience with mecha combat to make such an insane shot look so easy, which meant that it was impossible from the perspective of someone who had not eaten enough mecha pilots to have accumulated that equivalent experience.

When Alex moved his machine, the Operator Effect had a rather unusual effect. The D-Engine wanted to create conformation between the motions of the machine to the structure of Alex’s soul, but he had no set self-image, no set body type. Instead of forcing either the machine to be humanoid or requiring efficiency damaging buffers, whenever Alex got in a D-Engine equipped machine he made it dance, made it flow like a fluid across the battlefield. The things he did with hover tanks were particularly traumatizing to those that thought mecha were hot shit. This combined with his vast collection of experiences made the fact that there were twenty suits of powered armour already deployed a completely unfair match.

Somewhat fortunately for the pilots of the powered armour, Alex was much more interested in retrieving Elizabeth from the hideously strong Outsider, and he had already left her alone for a good twenty to thirty seconds while he dealt with the morons who had started this mess in the first place. Much more unfortunate was the fact that the creature had exited the mansion from the hole Alex had made and was carrying the stolen laser cannon with the same ease Alex had. The creature targeted one of the inhuman creatures running about with this group and vaporized it with a single pull of the trigger.

Alex could swear that he heard her give out a girlish squeal of delight at the power of the weapon, so he flicked on the broadcast system and announced over his external speakers, “Mine’s bigger,” just before he bracketed her with a trio of shots from his laser cannon. Amazingly, she seemed to melt around the beams, flexing and twisting her body impossibly fast to dodge the shots.

It took Alex a second to put together her movements before he cried out, “Oh, you cheeky bitch!” It had been many decades since he had seen a Matrix reference, let alone one in combat.

“There is no spoon!” She shouted out while returning fire with her laser, which scattered off the Broadsword’s armour without doing any damage.

“Get a bigger gun!” Alex taunted while blowing apart the ground around the female creature, who responded by whipping across the battlefield faster than Alex could track the broadsword’s guns, perching on an Mk-5 Crusader armed with a plasma cannon and tearing the weapon out of the power armour’s grip so that she was now, in fact, armed with a bigger gun.

“Thanks for the advice!” The woman declared as she dual wielded the plasma and laser weapons, which was ridiculous looking even for Alex. The fact that she could fire them both simultaneously and keep them on target enough that both could pound into the same place repeatedly kept him from giving her further advice.

Fortunately, the third participant in the current fight decided that they had weapons better able to deal with the target not in the mech, so a storm of metal impacted into the inhuman girl, splattering half her body across the landscape. Instead of keeling over dead, the damage just seemed to annoy her, and amorphous shadows and blood wrapped around the plasma cannon, keeping it supported.

Blowing up an Mk-10 Centurion armed with a charge beam before it could sneak up on his rear, Alex taunted, “Your bloody arm’s off!”

“‘Tis but a scratch!” The girl replied.

“Scratch this,” Alex retorted as he leapt his Broadsword across the battlefield, next to a trio of surprised Crusaders armed with rocket pods. While firing his laser cannon to keep her pinned down he spun and kicked one of the smaller war machines in her direction. She easily sidestepped the crude projectile, but that was not Alex’s objective. His charge beam was back to full power, and his target was the powered armour tumbling through the air. His shot was true and cooked off the rockets and several other volatile systems, which also dumped the energy of the beam into the local atmosphere, turning a volume of space that included the girl into a ball of superheated plasma. A second later the D-Cells powering her weapons also overloaded, triggering secondary explosions.

In an instant, the girl was on Alex’s mech, pummelling its front plate with her fists and causing dents in the dense, strong material. Her whole body looked charred, but shadows and droplets of blood floating around her were already regenerating the damage. Somewhere in between her insanely strong punches she managed to get out. “I liked those bloody guns you ass!”

Pressing a few buttons that had rather large ‘Do Not Touch’ warnings on them, Alex prepared the sort of attack that he hoped would put this bitch down. Extending a hyper edged blade from one of the arms of his hijacked Broadsword and punched his torso with it, pinning the girl like a stuck butterfly, even though she looked more annoyed than hurt.

“Was that supposed to do anything?” She asked mockingly.

“No,” Alex replied just as he pressed two buttons simultaneously. The first was the ejector system that fired the entire cockpit out as an environmentally sealed whole. The second was the final button in the sequence that overrode all of the safety features that kept the D-Engine from overloading and triggering a Horizon Event.

Alex missed the days of internal combustion because when vehicles blew up these days they rarely caught fire afterward, but a battlefield Horizon Event was always spectacular to see. Reality twisted and buckled, alien energies pouring out from the ruptured D-Engine and converting regular matter into oddly-excited plasma that expanded through bent time in slow motion. Normal physics soon reasserted itself, but for a horrible moment the monstrosity of the cosmos was exposed for all to see in its sanity blasting glory.

Mercer could look at that sort of thing all day it was so beautiful.

Then time snapped back to normal and the Broadsword was ground zero for a rather incredible, and equally beautiful in Alex’s opinion, explosion. The overpressure wave knocked the escape pod out of the air, and had Alex been mortal he would have been killed either by the shockwave or by his pod’s impact with the ground and subsequent disintegration. Climbing out of the wreckage, his right arm morphing into a blade, he immediately advanced towards the still glowing tear in reality. Sometimes things could crawl out after a Horizon Event and the Chrysalis troops would still be on their asses so the biggest threat to Elizabeth was…

Alex paused at the edge of the crater where the girl lay sprawled on the sickly melted ground, bits and pieces of her body reassembling itself from nothing at all. Alex glared at her for a long time before he said, “Bull. Shit.”

Rising erect like a vampire from a bad movie a century ago, the girl replied, “I could say the same about that last attack.”

“What does it take to kill you?” Alex demanded.

“A lady never tells,” the girl replied as her face warped into a shark toothed smile. It took barely any time at all for her to be upon him, but Alex was quicker on foot than in a giant mech and he managed to keep up with her, his sword flashing and dancing between them, warding away her clawing strikes. Her skills were phenomenal and were backed up by strength and speed greater than his own, but the moves were very similar to his own claw attacks and he had clearly practiced them a great deal more than she had. She pushed him back, but also had to keep regenerating her fingers as he loped them off while parrying her strikes.

Finally fed up with not being able to tear him apart properly, the girl withdrew a fist and lashed out with one of her anti-material punches. Alex caught it along the flat of his sword in such a way that his entire body was braced against the blow, which sent him flying. This however was part of his plan and just before impact he tagged her with his left hand, which had morphed into a set of grasping claws set at the end of a long tentacle. Alex flew about a hundred metres, at which point the line went taut and the girl grunted as she kept her ground.

Then, like an elastic band, Alex’s tentacle snapped him back. Sword held in front of him like an executioner’s axe, he plummeted back to the girl faster than he had left, on a guided track for her. The girl had just enough time to say “Oh,” before Alex hit her like the fist of an angry god, the physical blow digging the crater deeper while his sword punched straight through her heart. The feeder tendrils came out…

…and found dead flesh. Whatever the thing was made of, she was not biomass, even as the squirming, razor sharp tentacles tried to rip her to shreds from the inside out to feed. The sensation was even more disconcerting than the first time Alex had tried to feed on a Migou and discovered just how different they were from Earth life, because he got the distinct impression that he should have been able to subvert whatever it was that she was made of.

The girl looked at him with a weird mixture of horror, annoyance, and respect before she exclaimed, “Naughty tentacle monster!” Then, instead of hurling him off, she stretched her jaws wide and wrapped her teeth around his neck, punching through his armour as she sought blood. What she got was a slurry of viral matter and fluid, which she spat out in disgust as Alex withdrew his tentacles.

Stepping away from each other, the girl spitting in disgust while Alex shook out his tentacles in a manner only describable via a metaphor that induces ocular bleeding in humans, they both could tell that neither would be trying to eat the other again anytime soon. They both asked in unison, “What are you?”

“Ahem, if I might interrupt?” A voice over a speaker said, and both Alex and the girl turned their head to find a suit of power armour pointing a plasma cannon at Elizabeth’s head.

“Mistress!” The girl cried out, but she did not move.

“Wait what?” Alex demanded, snapping his head back around to the girl. He saw the look on her face and then said, “Cease fire?”

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White Haven
PostPosted: 2011-04-11 08:24am 

Sith Acolyte

Joined: 2004-05-17 03:14pm
Posts: 6252
Location: Richmond, Virginia: The Capitol of Treason
*...begins to giggle. Slowly at first, but then with rising hysteria* That was just...*dissolves into giggling and mad cackling again*

Great stuff, AN, I think I woke up the neighbors reading that last night right before I went to bed.
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PostPosted: 2011-04-11 07:05pm 

White Mage

Joined: 2003-02-12 11:59pm
Posts: 17928
Location: Tahalshia Manor
Oh you cheeky bitch.... *mwhahahahahaahha*

Yes, now that we got the totally awesome Alex/Sera fight out of the way, let us get on with the Saving of the Mistress :)
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PostPosted: 2011-04-12 12:43pm 


Joined: 2010-07-20 08:35am
Posts: 91
Location: San Antonio, TX
Hmmmm. Swordfight with one regenerating severed fingers. Inspired by the movie Blade (first one) I bet.
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Academia Nut
PostPosted: 2011-04-14 01:59am 

Sith Devotee

Joined: 2005-08-23 10:44pm
Posts: 2598
Location: Edmonton, Alberta
Some days Chandler really hated his job.

Sometimes he hated his job because he had to watch as someone guilty only of the crime of stupidity or of being in the wrong place at the wrong time stared up at him with terrified, innocent eyes as he slowly broke them apart piece by piece. Sometimes he hated his job because the bad guys got away to bring further ruin and devastation to humanity, despite his best efforts. Most of the time when he hated his job, it was because of politics, usually because they caused both of the prior situations to happen.

Today was a day of politics. Today was in fact a day of political bullshit, as redundant as that phrase was. Today was in fact a day of political bullshit piled higher than at a cattle yard suffering from a dysentery epidemic.

Chandler was thus not having a good day.

Within the armoured hold of a command transport, Chandler could barely contain his rage as he practically spit at the orders being given to him by his superior officers. Gritting his teeth, he asked, “You want me to what?”

“Turn back to base. The situation is under control,” the voice of OIS London Sub-Director Derek Klein replied calmly over the radio. Chandler was glad he had the visual component deactivated to save on bandwidth because he probably would have lost it if he had to look at the smug bastard’s face.

“Sir, a military grade gunship outfitted for TACWAS work crashed in an Old London suburb and our instruments detected a Horizon Event. Any situation involving either of those, let alone both, cannot in any way be construed of as being under control. In fact, the Horizon Event alone requires OIS involvement,” Chandler pointed out.

“Not if it occurs on corporate property and they do not invite us in or if containment spills off corporate property,” Klein countered calmly.

Chandler mimed choking someone, because that was what he wanted to do right now, and he was not sure if he wanted to choke Klein or the departed Agent Paul Robertson more. That bastard Robertson had really wrecked things for NEG security twenty years ago when he decided to loot the C-Corp confidential files during an official investigation of a Horizon Event. If it hadn’t been for that and the subsequent Robertson v. Chrysalis Corporation ruling the megacorps would not be able to trounce the law as thoroughly as they did.

Gritting his teeth so hard he knew he was going to have to see the dentist for regeneration therapy again soon, Chandler replied, “Very well sir, I will get us turned around right away.”

“Did I hear that right?” Kana, Chandler’s Nazzadi second in command asked incredulously.

“Yes. Chrysalis evidently has the situation ‘under control’ and has asked the OIS to let them clean up the mess,” Chandler stated while he punched in the recall codes for the task force.

“And we agreed?” Kana asked with his dark features twisted up in shock and disgust.

“The Sub-Director agreed,” Chandler clarified with loathing. He then added on, “The fact that the London VP of Chrysalis goes to the same country club probably has nothing to do with that fact.”

“Fucking sitazza!” Kana swore. “There’s only one thing worse than dressing up when there’s no party, and that’s dressing up for the party and getting turned away at the door.”

The rapidly brewing session of angry stewing was interrupted by the team’s field analyst speaking up, “Sir, you’re going to want to look at this!”

“Yes Catherine?” Chandler asked.

“I… holy shit this is big. I’m transferring the data to your PCPU because you’re going to need to look at this. The Horizon Event didn’t take place on Chrysalis property,” Catherine stated rather worriedly.

“What?” Chandler and Kana both stated at once, perking up like dogs that had just gone from being yelled at to being offered treats. Both immediately brought the transferred files up onto their AR displays.

“The property in question, one Hellsing Manor, has been in trust since the First Arcanotech War. Last week Chrysalis Land Development purchased the land and manor… only they didn’t because they forged the time stamp to the transaction that went through forty-five minutes ago,” Catherine explained, linking in to the network to show the relevant data.

“That’s ten minutes before the Horizon Event!” Kana cried in outrage.

“Is this legit?” Chandler demanded.

“It will hold up in court legit,” Catherine stated confidently.

“The courts will take two weeks to rule in our favour and slap Chrysalis on the wrist,” Chandler stated, growling in frustration.

“There’s more. There’s also a legitimate claimant to the property,” Catherine stated. “Someone just posted a gene profile of one Elizabeth Doe showing that she is the only known relative of the family that originally owned the place. Whoever her legal advisor is, he’s both good and mad.”

“If there’s an heir…” Chandler said before his eyes lit up and he immediately patched in to the pilot, “Cancel the recall order!”

“Sir?” The man in the cockpit asked over the radio.

“Turn us back around, now! I’ll deal with the rest,” Chandler stated excitedly while nodding to Kana, who just grinned to show off his sharp incisors.

Feeling the smooth tilt as the craft banked, Chandler watched in the corner of his AR display as the rest of the task force moved to follow. It only took a second before Sub-Director Klein sent a conversation request. Opening the channel with glee, Chandler waited for Klein to speak first. Irritation filled Klein’s voice as he said, “Chandler, I just a message saying that you cancelled the recall. What the hell do you think you’re doing?”

“The Horizon Event did not occur on corporate property, thus it is my duty as the closest OIS agent to respond and investigate,” Chandler stated smugly.

“I have the documents opened right in front of me, and that is corporate land,” Klein stated angrily. He then added on, “And I’m seeing this supposed evidence of forgery and its bullshit.”

“There is an heir and the property went into trust less than thirty years ago. They have five years from the date of sale to come forward and block the transfer of property from the holding company to any third party or seek compensation. A motion to block with a valid genome transcript was just posted,” Chandler explained, unable to keep the shit eating grin off his face.

“That will never hold up in court,” Klein blustered.

“Maybe. But it will have to go to court. Until then the property is considered held by the state on behalf of both parties. The Hellsing Manor is legally government land and a Horizon Event just occurred there. I have to investigate with my team,” Chandler stated smugly.

“I… what… Chandler, I order you to stop harassing Chrysalis and return to base immediately!” Klein roared.

“Please keep speaking into the recorders sir, if you would like to issue a few more illegal orders I’m sure the disciplinary committee would love to hear them as well. I am the closest OIS representative with adequate resources, so unless you can convene a session of the New Earth Government Parliament within the next two minutes and get them to change the law, you cannot order me not to respond,” Chandler stated, having to restrain himself from adding on a number of choice insults at the end.

The sound on the other end of the channel was like an old steam boiler springing a leak, but Chandler gleefully shut it before his superior officer could begin ranting again. He then switched over to combat communication protocols so that the worm would not be able to pester him. Chandler shared Kana’s grin and then said, “Chrysalis lied about buying the property a week ago, so assume a cover up. We go in hot.”

His second in command nodded while he began to relay instructions to the teams in other combat transports. Chandler then pulled up the external sensor network. Cloud cover had obscured the manor, but they were already getting thermal contacts indicative of fires and radiation from energy weapon discharges on metal. Energy weapons meant combat mecha, which meant a massive fight had gone down.

Passing over a stand of trees, the manor came into view and the signs of battle were evident everywhere. The wreckage of vehicles was everywhere, and dozens of fires burned or smouldered and bits and pieces of bodies were scattered across the landscape, including a rather ominous crater that had to have been the source of the Horizon Event. The worst thing though was the suit of power armour that had been peeled like an orange so that a still twitching corpse could be impaled and crucified by the main structural members of the armour.

“Mother of fuck,” Chandler breathed at the devastation, and the sentiment was repeated on the faces of all those around him.

Still a minute from arrival, Chandler was unsurprised when he received an urgent communications request originating from the compound. Smiling, he accepted and immediately got an angry, “OIS forces, you are trespassing on Chrysalis property. Turn back now or we will use force to defend our rights.”

“Chrysalis forces, you are on land held by the government until such a time as the legal ownership can be sort out. You are hereby ordered to stand down and submit to inspection. Any action other than compliance will be met with lethal force,” Chandler stated authoritatively.

“This is an outrage! Y-” The line was cut short by the static wash of a plasma round from one of the assault gunships targeting the source of the transmission.

“Thank you Captain Many,” Chandler stated to the pilot of the gunship responsible. He then switched to the external broadcast speakers and general broadcast channels, “All forces on the ground are to immediately stop what they are doing, lay down arms, and surrender or you will be shot.”

The trio of power armoured units on station immediately broke formation, two of them shooting at the task force with lasers and charge beams while the third ran for a fat bellied transport. Chandler ordered, “Take out the Crusader first!” With satisfying thoroughness the power armour was shot to pieces before it could get within a metre of the transport, its flamethrower igniting into a brilliant white fireball from the barrage of hypersonic slugs, plasma, and relativistic particle beams. The other two tiny mecha were quickly also overwhelmed and reduced to scrap.

“Why target the Crusader sir?” Catherine asked.

“Because it had a flamethrower and it wasn’t seeking cover,” Kana answered for Chandler just before he began to coordinate the deployment of the ground teams.

Chandler nodded and said, “Precisely. I want to know what was important enough to burn in that transport.”

His transport circling about the compound as men in heavy armour deployed from the troop transports and gunships and powered armour provided overwatch, Chandler examined the data the battle network was feeding him. His eyes went wide when the LAI analysis systems indicated that the crater from the Horizon Event had to have come from something in the size of a main battle mech. Major corporations were permitted powered armour for the purposes of cleaning up industrial accidents, but full sized mecha were heavily restricted. Plus to have something take out a Broadsword or Storm…

“Sir… we’ve got… we’ve got some major fucking shit down here,” Sergeant Cassidy declared. Patching in to the helmet relay, Chandler gazed in on the hold of the transport the powered armour had tried to purge and saw dozens of bodies and partial bodies in Chrysalis uniforms, and none of them were human.

Chandler looked over everything and grinned. Some days he really loved his job.
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PostPosted: 2011-04-15 03:12am 


Joined: 2008-10-19 08:31pm
Posts: 67
Heh heh... Chyrsalis you got som 'splain to do :D
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Academia Nut
PostPosted: 2011-04-16 06:21pm 

Sith Devotee

Joined: 2005-08-23 10:44pm
Posts: 2598
Location: Edmonton, Alberta
Ellie was denying the past twenty minutes with an intensity normally reserved for politicians caught with their pants down next to a dead hooker. There were a few highlights her mind kept going over like the tongue running across a wound in the cheek, keeping it from healing, but she refused to acknowledge the entirety of what happened. She knew that she had suffered first degree flash burns across her face from a plasma cannon going off right next to it, but she was refusing to properly acknowledge everything else that had happened around her.

She was of course ignoring the elephants in the room – the very poorly illuminated room deep underground at that – of the monsters right next to her that for some reason had decided they wanted to protect her from the monsters they had… Ellie’s mind immediately shied away from the memories of things that should not be parting like paper in a shredder. Of course, ignoring them was difficult when they were so close and kept doting on her.

Ellie found a cup of something hot pressed into her hands and found the female, the one that had been bound in chains and could peel a suit of power armour like an orange. She looked wide eyed at the nightmare given human form and then darted her eyes down to the cup, finding it full of hot cocoa. The female thing said cheerily, “You’re in shock; you need something warm in you.”

Ellie was not sure which of the two scared her more. The male was more prickly and hostile, but the female was definitely the stronger of the two and her friendliness was somehow more disturbing. Ellie wanted to see something monstrous, to see some tell that said that she was in the presence of a predator, but even the woman’s glowing red eyes had faded to be human blue around Ellie.

“She suffering from acute stress reaction and probable Aeon War Syndrome, not shock,” the male complained while he did something with his PCPU hooked into an ancient fibre optic line, a rather ugly grin spread across his face from whatever his AR glasses were telling him.

“If you’re the doctor why aren’t you treating her?” The female asked.

“Because I need to secure our escape… and there. We won’t be able to leave the British Isles for a month or two while security goes nuts, but the only people who know what we are will be suffering from a purge not seen since the days of Stalin,” the male mused. He then got up and stalked over to Ellie, glowering over her as he peered at the wound dressings that had already been applied.

Crouching down next to Ellie, opposite the female and glaring at the other monster, the male gave her a quick, clinical look before he said, “Ironically, she’ll regenerate just fine.”

“Ironically?” The female asked.

“Regenerate?” Ellie whimpered, not liking the implications of that.

“Her great-grandmother was my sister and was exposed to some rather… unfortunate… circumstances,” the man stated. “I helped neutralize the worst of it, but she and all her children had improved immune response and tissue regeneration. It’s nothing spectacular, but Elizabeth probably doesn’t have a scar on her body and those burns will be gone in a day or two.”

“That still doesn’t answer my question of ‘ironically’,” the female pointed out.

“I say ironically because the gene profile Chrysalis got completely failed to notice the markers, not surprising because they are in normally non-coding regions. They were after her because of her father’s side of the family, not her mother’s like I originally thought,” the man replied.

There was a long silence between the two of them before the man spoke up, “Well someone is going to have to break into exposition here eventually.”

The female looked at Ellie and said, “Yes, perhaps some introductions are in order. Would you like to go first, mistress?”

Ellie looked between the two monsters. The male was cold, distant, and had hate filled eyes, but even then she could see a flicker of something almost hopeful in his expression. The female was cheerful and accommodating despite the metaphorical blood on her hands. Ellie blinked and managed to squeak out, “I… I’m Ellie… uh… I mean I’m Elizabeth Doe… well, my father was a John Doe and he kept it and…”

The female put a cold hand on Ellie’s arm and said, “That’s good Ellie, but your father was from the Hellsing family. Your blood was what broke the seals to my bindings. I am Seras Victoria, loyal vassal to the family.”

“Hellsing… Hellsing… I didn’t pay much attention to it before, where had I heard that name before?” The male mused.

“The family name was Anglicized slightly when they moved from the Netherlands and married into the English nobility,” Seras stated.

The male had a curious look on his face before recognition washed over and he asked incredulously, “Van Helsing? As in Abraham van Helsing? From Dracula?”

“The novel was a cover-up of events. Any stories that leaked out would be passed off as nonsense relating to over-enthusiastic fans. Plus it spread useful tips for protecting against vampires,” Seras explained with a shrug.

“Okay, question on that: London, 1997…” the man began.

“Invasion of Nazi vampires compounded by the Catholic Church launching the 9th Crusade against Protestant England in the midst of the chaos,” Seras replied in a tone that said she had answered that question many times before.

Ellie boggled slightly more than she already had. The Night of Madness in 1997 had been the worst disaster London had ever faced up until the First Arcanotech War, and the metropolis still bore the scars from nearly a century ago. The man on the other hand just considered the statement for a moment before he asked, “Nazi vampires?”


“You were there, I suppose?” He asked.

Seras grinned, fortunately with human teeth, and said, “I shot their leader with a Flak 88.”

“Thorough,” the man conceded. He then asked, “Does the name Alex Mercer mean anything to you?”

“Hmmm… wait, I’ve got this. Wasn’t he the most wanted man by the yanks for a year or two around ’09?” Seras asked.

“For?” The man asked.

“The bloody yanks refused to let us help, but we were pretty sure he was some sort of vampire who unleashed a plague of ghouls,” Seras said.

A dark look crossed the man’s face before he said, “You know, from a personal point of view I am really glad you didn’t help as I would be a smear right about now, but from an institutional one you could have saved hundreds of thousands of people if you had shown up.”

“Mistress Integra was pretty pissed, to say the least. I take it that you were involved… in fact, are you Alex Mercer?” Seras asked.

“Sort of,” the man said with a shrug before he added on, “I prefer to go by that name though.”

“I heard you were vaporized by the nuclear warhead they wanted to use to sterilize the city,” Seras pointed out.

“Hence ‘sort of’,” Alex replied.

“Ouch,” Seras stated in sympathy.

“I was only at the periphery, and I got better,” Alex grunted.

“Point of note then. I do believe that we are in fact in opposition as I am generally opposed to killing humans… or at least humans that don’t deserve it,” Seras noted.

“It’s a complicated story involving a web of intrigue going back decades and staggering levels of incompetence at a variety of levels, but let it be safe to say that the person I am would not unleash an apocalyptic plague... sort of. I can definitively say that while I was complicit and responsible for what happened, the second and much worse phase of the outbreak was not intentional,” Alex said, meandering a bit as the subject was clearly a sore point for him.

Ellie blinked at the rather odd, disapproving look Seras gave Alex, who angrily stated, “Look, millions of people died because of me and it haunts me every moment of my life, but I made it my mission to clean up not just my own mistakes, but the mistakes that lead to the situation in the first place.”

“Killed any innocents since then?” Seras asked.

“Define ‘innocent’,” Alex replied.

“Any definition more sane than ‘only degrees of guilt’,” Seras replied.

Alex tilted his head to the side for a moment before he asked, “You played Daemonhunters, didn’t you?”

Seras grinned cheerfully and replied, “Mixed Inquisition, because no one expects them.” Alex snorted in amusement, causing Seras to add on, “You’re very good with the pop culture references.”

“I have an excellent information pool to draw from, and it has been decades since people got the references I find funny. Did you get sealed before or after they went under?” Alex said.

“They went under? Damn it! Is there anything else out there with that perfect combination of ridiculous and awesome?” Seras pouted.

Alex just shook his head sadly. He then added on, “Unfortunately living under the spectre of extinction has sucked all the fun out of humanity, and don’t even get me started on the stick the Nazzadi have up their collective asses.”

Ellie had watched the bizarre exchange between the two of the monsters nattering away like schoolchildren before she demanded, “What are you two doing?”

“Reminiscing like old pensioners about how things were better in the good old days and how the kids these days have no taste,” Alex replied in a manner indicating he wasn’t completely joking.

Glancing down at her rather generous chest, Seras stated, “You know, over the years I definitely came to appreciate being dead as these kittens would have been a massive pain once they started to sag. I’m over a hundred! Could you imagine?”

Ellie clutched her hands to her ears and said, “Not listening! Not listening!”

Alex considered the statement clinically for a moment before he said, “You know, from one amorphous killing machine to another, I must ask from a simple structural engineering perspective…”

“Telekinesis,” Seras replied with the same tone as what had happened in 1997.

“Really?” Alex asked incredulously.

“You seemed more accepting of the Nazi vampires,” Seras pointed out.

“Yeah, but that’s Nazi vampires. I’ve dealt with that kind of crap before. On the other hand I can’t tell if you’re just bullshitting me here,” Alex point out.

“This is insane! This is madness!” Ellie cried out.

Alex and Seras both lit up for a moment and faced each other with excited, expectant looks before their expressions fell and they both hung their heads, muttering, “Wouldn’t get the joke…”

“What are you two doing?” Ellie demanded.

The two looked at each other for a moment before Seras leaned in and whispered, “Bet you haven’t thought about what happened outside for a few minutes.”

The statement hit Ellie between the eyes like a half brick in a sock and she leaned back, demanding, “Wait, what?”

“I’m not sure how intentional it was on Seras’ part, but you started relaxing when we began to goof around so I played along,” Alex stated clinically with a shrug.

“You witnessed things not good for your mind. We’re two of those things, but can you imagine how your unconscious mind is going to process all this nonsense? Can you take us seriously right now?” Seras asked sweetly.

Alex casually slapped Seras upside the head and said, “Nyuk nyuk nyuk.”

Something snapped in Ellie and she just started laughing. It was so clear now. The whole universe had gone insane while she wasn’t looking and she was the only sane one left. Eventually the laughter degenerated into tears, and then bawling sobs.

Seras was waiting right there for her, putting her in a comforting hug. She was cold and dead and had the strength to crush tanks in the palm of her hand, but she was soft and still somehow human despite such superficialities. Ellie pressed her face into Seras’ shoulder and cried. She screamed and wailed, “Oh fuck! Oh fuck me! I’m dead! I’m dead!”

Seras gently patted the back of Ellie’s head and she said soothingly, “Trust me; you would know if you were dead.”

“It’s certainly a defining and memorable moment,” Alex added on.

“I’m going to get strapped to a table somewhere and vivisected!” Ellie bawled.

“You are my master, Elizabeth Doe Hellsing. I will follow you into the depths of hell itself and not even the devil will be able to harm you,” Seras reassured.

“Uh… Christianity kind of had the bat taken to it over the past two generations, so she probably doesn’t get the reference,” Alex pointed out.

“Mood killer,” Seras complained. Ellie let out a bit of a giggle before she started crying again. This was all completely insane.

“I’m just saying that fighting through Leng to punch the Ruined King in the face to get you back would be a more apt statement,” Alex pointed out.

“Don’t say its name!” Ellie shrieked in horror while looking up to see if any otherworldly horrors were crawling out of the shadows.

“I didn’t say it, and besides, if I said something like that I would mean it,” Alex stated. He then added on, “You are the last family I have left… the last thing holding me on to humanity. Without you… without that last spark of Dana… I have no hope… just rage.”

Ellie gulped at the sincerity in Alex’s voice as she looked at him. He still had something about him that spoke of unspeakable violence barely contained within a human body, but there was something desperate and lonely in his voice. He was a monster who knew that he could never find redemption, but maybe he could have acceptance, if just from one person.

“Group hug?” Ellie suggested.

A look of panic crossed over Alex’s face and he backed off while stating emphatically, “I’m not the hugging type.”

Despite his protests a tendril of shadows reached out and snatched him, dragging him in next to Seras and Ellie, whereupon he was brought into the embrace by one of the few arms strong enough to force him to do anything. For a moment the entire affair was rather awkward before Alex softened just a fraction. He was still the platonic ideal of the antithesis of cuddly, but maybe he could do hugs.

Even Ellie had to laugh at the absurdity of the situation. She was surrounded on either side by arms that could squish her like a bug, yet somehow she wasn’t scared anymore. After a weird, awkward, yet oddly sort of heart-warming minute she asked, “So… uh… what’s next?”

“Sneaking out of the London area would be a good idea,” Alex pointed out, taking the moment to break away from the hug.

“I know a good place we could hide for a little while,” Seras said after a moment. “It’s called the Index.”
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PostPosted: 2011-04-17 03:56am 

Padawan Learner

Joined: 2009-06-27 12:00pm
Posts: 220
That update was magnificent from beginning to end.
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PostPosted: 2011-04-17 09:21am 


Joined: 2008-10-19 08:31pm
Posts: 67

hmm I wonder how much the Chrysalis purge is going to set back the Directors plans.... While I suspect ol Nyar will probably keep Chryslis intact and full of Dhoanioids, he'll have to sacrifice quite a few scapegoats as 'outsider infiltrators' with the evidence OIC has from this raid....

Certainly Chryslis London branch is probably a wash and full purge.

Oh I don't want to be in the next boardroom meeting there... If they thought the Director was 'irritated' about the failure on the west coast....
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