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Drag racer killed during jet dragster exhibition run at Sebring. Popular up-and-coming racer was 24; authorities looking for fans in attendance who recorded Moller’s run . Top Alcohol is just one notch below drag racing's ferocious 8000-hp Top Fuel class, where these rails rip to 100 mph in less than a second and at least one has turned the quarter-mile at 335 mph ... How to Use a Pallet to Drag Weeds. Wooden pallets look similar to a drag device commonly used loosen and level soil, particularly when preparing a field for sports, so you can convert a pallet to ... US race car driver and television personality Jessi Combs has been killed in a crash while attempting to set a new land speed record. ... Combs was trying to beat that speed and the absolute women ... Teen killed while drag racing near Lander ... Fremont County Sheriff's Detective Sgt. Ryan Lee said two vehicles with youths were drag racing just before Robinson's car left the roadway and rolled ... New Drag Strip Being Built On Former Mining Land In West Virginia By Andrew Wolf May 09, 2016 When it comes to the business of operating drag strips in today’s economy, the news seems to lean toward the negative more often than the positive, as at least a couple of tracks around the country close each and every year. Fastest Woman on Four Wheels killed in record breaking attempt. In 2013, Jessi Combs set a land speed record in her custom built North American Eagle Supersonic Speed Challenger. The record stood at 398mph. Discover 3,130 listings of land for sale by owner (FSBO). Easily find property by owner in the United States and beyond including acreage, rural property, vacant land, hunting land, recreational land, and investment property at CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) - Neighbors say multiple cars were drag racing before a deadly hit-and-skip that killed a 58-year-old man on East 57th and Chester Avenue Sunday evening. Soldiers dragged Benue warlord, Gana, out of govt convoy before he was killed – Community leader Published September 10, 2020 September 10, 2020 Kindly Share This Story

[H] Steam games [W] Amazon/Eshop/Best Buy/Walmart/Gamestop

2020.09.25 06:30 OneEyedTurkey [H] Steam games [W] Amazon/Eshop/Best Buy/Walmart/Gamestop

NEW: , DOOM 2016 or Doom (2016) steam key, 911 Operator, Star Wars Rebellion™, NBA 2K20 / NBA2k20 (EU region) steam key, Brutal Legend, Grip: Combat Racing, The Bard's Tale IV: Director's Cut. (includes The Bard's Tale Trilogy), Endless Space® - Collection or Endless Space Collection, Apocalipsis, Dragon and Weed: Origins Episode 1, Katamari Damacy Reroll, Dragon's Dogma: Dark Arisen or Dragon's Dogma Dark Arisen, World of Goo, BLACKHOLE: Complete Edition, Jurassic World Evolution, Jurassic World Evolution - Deluxe Dinosaur Pack, Psychonauts in the Rhombus of Ruin, Two Worlds II, Sonic and SEGA All Stars Racing, Pathologic Classic HD, Aarklash: Legacy, Morphite, Tyranny - Standard Edition, Resident Evil Revelations 2 - Episode 1: Penal Colony, Resident Evil: Revelations 2 - Complete Season EU, Hellblade: Senua's Sacrifice/ Hellblade Senua's Sacrifice
NIntendo Switch games (North America region): Feather, Freedom Finger, and Dirt Trackin 2
Steam Gifts
HB links
Action Henk:
AI War: Fleet Command
Arma X: Anniversary Edition
Ashes of the Singularity: Escalation
Carrier Command: Gaea Mission
Empress of the Deep[Indiagala gift link]:
Fairy Tale About Father Frost, Ivan and Nastya
Fidel - Dungeon Rescue
Shoppe Keep
Take On Helicopters
Take On Mars
Tiny Echo
The Flame in the Flood
Train Valley
Western Press
Western Press Mk Cans II Character DLC
Redeemed gift link by me but code not revealed
Aurion: Legacy of the Kori-Odan
Binary Domain
Broken Age
Deponia Doomsday
Dreadout + Soundtrack and DLC
Dusty Revenge: Co-Op Edition
Dungeons 3
Epistory – Typing Chronicles
Five Nights at Freddy’s: Sister Location
Freedom Force
Freedom Planet
Galactic Civilization III
Grid(removed from steam store)
Grid 2 Drift Pack
Grid Autosport Drag Pack
Hitman 2: Silent Assassin
I’m Not a Monster x2
Jurassic Park: The Game
Last Day of June
lethal League
Love is Dead
Mages of Mystralia
Monster Loves You(x2)
No Time to Explain Remastered
Punch Club
Road to Ballhalla
Saints Row 2
Satellite Reign
Seasons After Fall
Secret of the Magic Crystals Complete
Sid Meier's Civilization® V: Gods and Kings DLC(Not available in: AM AZ BR BY CU GE IR KG KP KZ MD MM RU SY TJ TM UA UZ)
Sins of a Solar Empire: Trinity®
Sir You are Being Hunted
Snake Pass
Sonic Lost World
Sonic the Hedgehog 4 - Episode I
Sonic the Hedgehog 4 - Episode II
Space Run Galaxy
STRIDER™ / ストライダー飛竜®
Super Rude Bear Resurrection
System Shock Pack
Tempest: Pirate Action RPG
The Dream Machine: Chapter 1 & 2
The Dream Machine: Chapter 3
The Dream Machine: Chapter 4
Hidden Folks:
Offworld Trading Company base game
Offworld Trading Company: Jupiter's Forge Expansion Pack
The Swapper
The Turing Test
Toki Tori 2+
Tomb Raider(2013)
TransOcean: The Shipping Company
Wolf Among Us
Steam Keys
11-11 Memories Retold
12 is better than 6
7 Wonders: Magical Mystery Tour
Absconding Zatwor + Break Into Zatwor + Fiends of Imprisonment
Abyss Odyssey:
Acceleration of Suguri 2
Aegis Defenders
AER Memories of Old
Agatha Christie - The ABC Murders:
Age of Wonders III:
Air Conflicts: Secret Wars:
Alien Breed: Impact
alien Soldier
Anomaly Warzone Earth Mobile Campaign
Ara Fell: Enhanced Edition
Asdivine Hearts:
Ascent - The Space
Avalanche 2: Super Avalanche:
Aurion: Legacy of the Kori-Odan
Badland Game of the Year:
Battlerite Magic Moonlight Carpet DLC
Battlerite Deathstalker Scorpion Mount
Battlerite’s Ashka Champion
Better late than dead:
Binary Domain:
Blackguards 2:
Blake Stone: Planet Strike
Borderlands GOTY Enhanced or Borderlands Game of the Year Enhanced (North America region so ROW)
Brain in my Head
Capitalism 2
Car Simulator 2014:
Choice Chamber:
Chroma Squad
Club Manager 2016
Comic Zone
Company of Heroes 2
company of heroes 2 - Southern Fronts DLC
Cook, Serve, Delicious!
Cortex Command(x2):
Cubicle Quest:
The Darkness II
Dangerous High School Girls in Trouble
Dawn of War II Retribution - Ultramarines DLC
Deadly Profits:
Death's Gambit
Deponia Doomsday:
Dirt Rally
DiRT 3: Complete Edition
Distant Worlds: Universe($60) steam key
Don't Let go!
Dreadout Collection[DreadOut: Keepers of The Dark, Dreadout, and DreadOut Soundtrack & Manga DLC]
Dusty Revenge:Co-Op Edition
Endless Legend - Echoes of Auriga Add-on
Endless Space - Collection
Elegy for a Dead World:
Else heart.break()
Epic Battle Fantasy 4:
Expansion - Crusader Kings II: The Old Gods
F.E.X (Forced Evolution Experiment)
F1 2015
F1 2018
Flame in the Flood
Flat heroes:
Four Kings One War
Four Kings One War - Virtual Reality
Freedom Force vs Third Reich:
Freedom Force:
Galactic Civilizations II: Ultimate Edition
Go Go Electric Samurai
golden Axe II
Goocublets 2
Goodbye Deponia
Grave Prosperity: Redux- part 1
Gravity Badgers:
Guacamelee Gold:
Gunmetal Arcadia Zero
Guns of Icarus base game only
Guns of Icarus Online + Costume Pack + Soundtrack
Guns of Icarus Online Soundtrack
Guns of Icarus Online Costume Pack
Guns of Icarus: alliance
Guns of Icarus Alliance Costume Pack
Hacknet Deluxe( BAse game + OST)
Heli Heroes
Hitman 2: silent assassin
Hitman: the Complete First Season
IBomber Defense Pacific:
Interplanetary: Enhanced Edition
Invisigun heroes
Ion Assault:
Iron Sky: Invasion
JQ Dogs & Cats
Kathy Rain
Kero Blaster
Killer is Dead - Nightmare Edition:
Killing Floor 2
Kingdom: Classic
Kingdom: Classic
Knights and Merchants
Knives and Troops 2 Knifpocalypse
Labyronia RPG
Layers of Fear
Layers of Fear - Soundtrack
Lead and Gold: Gangs of the Wild West
Legrand LEGACY: Tale of the Fatebounds
Lego: Lord of the Rings or LEGO® The Lord of the Rings™
LEGO® The Hobbit™ or Lego the Hobbit
Lethal League
Let’s Draw:
Luna’s Wandering Star
Luxor 3:
Manual Samuel
Mars or Die!
Majesty 2 Collection
Massive Chalice:
Men of War: Assault Squad GOTY
Merchants of Kaidan:
Millennium- A New Hope:
Miner Wars 2081
Miner Wars Arena
Mini Ninjas
Mini Submarine Attack:
momodora: Reverie Under the Moonlight
Monster Slayers
Moto Racer 4
Murdered Soul Suspect
Mushroom 11:
Night of the Rabbit
No Time TO explain Remastered!
Offroad Mania
One Finger Death Punch
Orwell: Keeping an Eye On You
Paper Monster Recut:
Pixel Puzzles 2: Anime
Project Hovercraft
Punch Club
Puzzle Agent 2:
Puzzle Agent:
Q.U.B.E. Director’s Cut
Rage Parking Simulator 2016:
Railroad Tycoon 3:
Ravensword: Shadowlands:
Rebel Galaxy:
Regions of Ruin
Rising Storm Game of the Year
Road to Ballhalla
Room's Main building:
Rush Bros:
Rush for Glory!:
Sam & Max: Devil's Playhouse
SanctuaryRPG: Black Edition(x2)
Sanctum 2
Saturday morning RPG
Savage Lands:
Serial Cleaner
Septerra Core
Shadow Warrior Special Edition
Shadowrun Returns:
Shadowrun Returns Deluxe
Shadows: Price for Our Sins Bonus Edition:
Shiness: The Lightning Kingdom
Shining Force
shogun 2 Blood Pack
Sins of a Solar Empire: Rebellion
Sir You are Being Hunted
Sonic Adventure DX
Sonic CD
Sorcerer King: rivals
Space Ops VR
Space Run Galaxy
Sparkle 2
Sparkle 2 Evo:
Spec Ops: The Line
STAR WARS™ Empire at War - Gold Pack or Star Wars Empire at War Gold pack
STAR WARS™ Jedi Knight - Jedi Academy™
Starward Rogue:
Street Racing Syndicate
Streets of Red: Devil's Dare Deluxe
Superfrog HD
Survive in Space:
Sweet Candy Mahjong
Syberia 1
Syberia 1
Take on Helicopters:
Teleglitch: Die More Edition
The Blue Flamingo
The Bureau: XCOM Declassified
The Dream Machine Chapter 1-4[Redeemed gift link by me but unredeemed code]
The Guild II Collection:
The Red Solstice:
The Silent Age
The Swapper:
The Walking Dead: Michonne Epic key
Time Recoil
Total War Attila: blood and burning
Total War Rome II: Blood and Gore
Tower of Guns
Trash TV:
Turok 2: Seeds of Evil
Two Worlds + Strategy Guide
Two Worlds II Castle Defense:
Vera Swings
Vertiginous golf
Violett Remastered
Warhammer 40,000: Space Marine
Way of Redemption
Western Press + Western Press Mk Cans II Character DLC
Winged Knights:
Witch's Prank: Frog's Fortune Collectors Edition
Wurm unlimited:
Xcom UFO Defense:
Z(the game):
Zombie Bowl O Rama:
Duelyst Addons cosmetics and 20 orbs
Far Cry 3 Blood Dragon Uplay


Amazon gift cards
Nintendo eshop
Best Buy
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2020.09.25 04:33 WD_Stevenson The Story of the Hunter. Chapter 4: Breathing Fire (Part 2)

Branches and limbs scraped against the sides of the truck and trailer as Clay forced the vehicle into the curtainous undergrowth. We'd have to be more stealthy than usual as this time our expedition wasn't exactly sanctioned. We searched for an old logging road or mine right of way, something that was semi open that we could drive down, and somewhere we could stage a trap. After several hours of pounding the woods we arrived at a geographic funnel of sorts. Older growth trees rimmed a marshy glade that was grown up with smaller saplings. It would have to do. We parked and immediately got to work, peeling loops of the cable from the spool and winding it through the larger trees. Clay used spikes, a sledgehammer, and a hand winch to tighten everything. We shoveled and compacted dirt in front of the trailer opening as a ramp. We'd essentially created a partial corral by the time we were done. I admired the trap, still having my doubts on the efficacy, but Clay swore the theory was sound. We chose the interstice beneath a willow tree for our camp, concealed from above by the drooping canopy. It was a rough camp. Bedrolls on a ground sheet, a canvas tarp stretched over the top to fend off the rain and mosquito netting hung to dissuade the incessant black flies. I'd never missed the wall tent and cot so much.
We didn't rest much those first days. When we did we slept in shifts. I generally took the first watch and Clay took the second. The monsters we were watching out for were of the human variety. Clay still had hard copies of his credentials so we hoped that if a ranger stumbled upon us we could talk our way out of it. We explored the mines and caves that pockmarked the forest and were long forgotten. The river was murky and brown, and after every crossing we stopped to scrape the leeches from our legs. Rain came and went, leaving the riparian woodland constantly damp. Each night we dried off beside a small fire and I picked Clay's brain about the contents of his book. He usually allowed a string of questions but cut them off at his discretion. When he was done talking that's all there was to it. We boiled rainwater and made pine needle tea, often propped up with a slug of bourbon that was never in short supply. We ate deer and elk jerky that he'd taken from the freezer at his home. He seemed to survive fine off of it but it left me still ravenously hungry and I picked handfuls of gooseberries and when I could them. It was exhausting work and it seemed that everyday I was tightening my belt another notch. The shotgun and pistol felt light in my hands as I'd become accustomed to the weight. Clay had filled the cat gun with home rolled incendiary rounds. He still carried the mighty Nitro double rifle, but had an AR-10 and magazines also loaded with incendiaries stashed close to camp. Fire was to be our tool. Empty bourbon bottles were filled with gasoline and shredded soap then wrapped in cordage soaked in a secretive concoction. Upon drying it resulted in a powdery film. Vials of drain cleaner high in sulfuric acid content were taped to the outside of the cocktails, which were designed to self ignite through chemical reaction. These too were stashed around the edges of our cable corral. We were as prepared as we could possibly be.
Another day came and went. I'd lost track by then of how long we'd been in that forest. Days, maybe weeks. I wasn't sure. Rations were running low to the point we'd taken to fishing with crude handlines in the early mornings and snaring rabbits to supplement our meals. We had spike camps lining the river banks to help conserve energy and not have to hike to base camp every evening if we didn't need to. I was beat. And hungry. So very hungry. Most of the time I felt hollow and drained. The lean meat didn't seem nourishing anymore and I found myself dreaming about burgers, fries, pizza, and all things greasily filling. Visions of cheese curds and fatty steaks were ballet dancing in my subconsciousness when I heard a cry. It was faint. A high pitched voice laden with agony and desperation. "!" It called. I looked around for Clay who was nowhere to be seen. "!" I heard it again. It sounded like a woman in distress. I slung the shotgun over my shoulder and took a step towards it. From nowhere a hand clamped onto my shoulder as Clay slipped soundlessly from the brush. He slowly shook his head as he looked me in the eye. The comprehension hit me as I thought back to the pages I'd read. We'd found what we were looking for, or it had found us. I wasn't sure which. Clay slipped his hand from my shoulder and cupped it to his mouth, throwing his voice and calling back. "We hear you, we're coming to help!"
We spun around and took off at a jog in the opposite direction. The creature would have honed in on us after Clay had answered the call. There was no need to pursue it. We were effectively being hunted. I found that I wasn't quite as terrified as I thought I would be. I was probably just too tired. It was by the good grace of adrenaline and peer pressure that I was able to keep pace with Clay. The calling remained a constant distance. It seemed to be moving as we were. Clay called back intermittently. We paused for breath after passing the spike camp. Clay looked at me as he wiped sweat from his face.
"It's not onto us yet. When it figures out what's going on shit is gonna get western. You got another mile or two in you?" He asked me.
"Yeah." I nodded. I didn't have much of a choice. "How are we gonna know when it catches on?"
"It's gonna come like a bat out of Hell. We just gotta hope we're near the trailer when it does."
We started beating feet again. The cries were becoming more angst ridden and desperate sounding, but also like they were getting closer. I cast glances over my shoulder as we jogged. I thought I could see a flash of movement here and there, could hear the snapping of sticks and see the swaying of the hemlocks. We hit the path we'd worn down in the foliage and had a half mile more to go when the branches parted and a towering, sickly yellow looking creature shot from the depths like it was flung from a catapult. The sound it made was was a gross mixture of torment and rage, belting through the air to slap me across the ears like a pair of wretched hands. I cringed under the pressure as it felt like the air was growing thin. I heard Clay yell "Run faster!" from ahead and I did so, facing forward and battling against the tremors that undulated beneath my skin. I could feel the monster behind me, gaining ground. It didn't move fluidly like the Dogmen had, nor with stoic purpose as did the Sasquatch. It flailed and crawled on double jointed legs, dragging and hurling itself forward with gangly yet powerful arms. The speed at which it moved should have been impossible. I saw Clay raise the big rifle and fire a single round. I heard the bullet strike that sounded like driving a blunt axe into an old hickory tree. The Wendigo faltered and shrieked. Clay and I continued to run. He was awkwardly jamming another round from his bandolier into the breech of the rifle and snapped it shut. The glade was ahead and I could see the dark hole in the trees where the open trailer waited. I felt the wind from grotesque claws swiping at my back and smelled the stench of death and decay that permeated the area like a noxious cloud. Clay whirled and fired again, over my head. My ears rang from the concussion of the rifle and the pungent smoke of burned powder instantly made my eyes water. Again the monster slowed enough that I was able to gain ground. Clay had stopped at the edge of the glade, waving me to keep going. "Remember the plan!" He yelled as he dunked two more cartridges in the Nitro. I nodded and ran as fast as I could, looking back just long enough to see the giant beast rising before Clay.
Behind my back there was a volley of fire and unrelenting, tortured roars. I dove to the ground and crawled beneath the lowest strand of cable before I turned around, raising the shotgun. Clay fired one last shot with the big rifle before he discarded it. I saw that he'd been firing at the extremities of the monster. Thick skin along thighs and shoulders were flayed and oozed a fluid I didn't recognize. It moved much slower that it had initially, but was still lightning quick as it reached out to snatch at Clay. He was in full sprint as he crossed the glade, barreling towards the open door of the trailer. The Wendigo looked only seconds from snagging him with it's wicked claws when it stopped. It milled in place and screeched. Clay had distanced himself and was attempting to catch his breath next to the cables, reaching through to grab the stashed semi auto and satchel of spare magazines. I took this as my cue and slunk around a tree at the rim of the funnel we'd created. I leveled the shotgun and clicked the safety off. I saw Clay glance over to make sure I was in place. The Wendigo spun towards Clay again who had a rifle in one hand and a bottle in the other. Clay yelled at it and moved forward, arcing the bottle high into the air so that it landed behind the creature. When it hit the ground it did so with an explosion. Fire spiraled upwards and outwards with a deep 'whoosh' that sent a shockwave of heat across the marsh. I took another cocktail into hand and did the same, sparking another burst of flame. Fire leapt and the orange glow interrupted by force the dusk that was trying to settle peacefully upon the land. I grabbed another bottle and threw it before I leveled my shotgun, firing as I advanced, belching flame like a dragon across the back of the monster to urge it forward. Clay was still acting as human bait. When the Wendigo tried to spin to face me and the wall of flame Clay peppered it with the AR to keep it's attention. It screamed, roared, and wailed against the forces we were putting on it, and in it's fury it finally focused again on Clay. Charred flesh fell like tree bark from it's body as he lunged forward, ripping and pulverizing the ground, bearing down on him. He ran again, up into the trailer, lingering on the edge of the ramp and shooting into what I supposed would pass as the monster's shins. He disappeared into the darkness as the creature fell to all fours and writhed into the trailer after him. I watched the trailer rock and sway, heard the muffled bellows and the scraping of steel. I skirted what was left of the flames and sprinted forward, grabbing the gate of the trailer with both hands to slam it shut. I latched it quickly and hoisted my shotgun as I rounded the corner. Clay was standing there, leaning against the pitching trailer, his hands on his knees. He'd made it out the access door at the front. As was the plan. We both stood there sucking air, and out of nowhere we both grinned.
"Told you it'd work." Clay said as his chest heaved.
"I never doubted you." I said, then asked. "This thing gonna hold it?"
"Yeah, for a while at least. The plating is lined with some alloy that I can't pronounce just for shit like this. Courtesy of Uncle Sam. It'll be good for as long as we need it, at least." Clay pushed himself up from the trailer side and walked back towards the scene of the battle, speaking to me over his shoulder as he did. "Work on breaking camp. Make it quick, we gonna need to get out of here pretty quick. Easy part's over with." He walked back to where he'd dropped the big double rifle and picked it up. I wondered how much harder this was going to get as I immediately set myself to the task of clean up. We had a lot to do, and likely little time to do it before the commotion would have the rangers swarming the area. That wasn't something we wanted to be around for.
Cables were unstrung and looped back around the spool, camp was hastily deconstructed and weapons were shoved beneath seats. It wasn't as neat or organized as when we'd set out, but time was of the essence, and it was good enough. The glade was wet enough that the fire was already burning itself out, leaving blackened scars behind. There were tracks along the narrow openings of the side slats of the trailer and Clay dodged clawed fingers as he slid heavy deadeners into them and pinned them into place. They greatly muffled the unholy sounds that the Wendigo emitted and I found that comforting. Once everything was done the truck bucked and pitched back through the woods and after an hour or better we were on a paved road that stretched the length of the river valley. We'd gone perhaps thirty winding miles when Clay eased the rig to a stop, and it shook as the monster in the trailer thrashed. Clay ignored it as he looked out the window into the night.
"This isn't far from that cluster of mines we found on foot the other day. I think this is where we need to set up. I guarantee Golden Boy has satellite imaging of the area, so he'll know they're there. Makes the whole thing believable."
"So how do we do this?" I asked as I leaned forward in my seat.
"We'll stash the trailer and chain it down so dipshit back there doesn't flip it over, then drive into town. You're gonna make a phone call to the field office in Bloomington and cry about getting attacked by a monster. Most people call the local sheriff but we're cutting out the middle man. Lay it on thick, tell'em you got a kid or a wife or something still out there and you're going back out presently to try to find them. I'd guess within a day or two the troops are gonna roll in. Golden Boy doesn't work alone, he'll have his lackeys with him but that's actually gonna work in our favor." Clay explained all of this as we dove off into the trees again. We didn't have to go very deep before we were concealed.
"I can do it, just got one requirement." I said decisively.
"We're gonna stop somewhere and eat in town. I'm sick of jerky and need something greasy."
The closest town according to the map was Crane Lake, and we immediately pointed the front bumper of the truck in the appropriate direction. Our precious cargo had been secured with cables and chains amid audible protests. Clay said that if we ran across any road kill deer we'd bring back what we could to somewhat pacify the monster before it did manage to break free of our ad hoc mobile cryptid prison. As was usual Clay didn't so much drive down the road as weave between the lanes as he was more focused on writing down the phone number I'd need on an old fuel receipt. It was late and I'd likely end up leaving a message, but that was good enough. The word would spread at the beginning of the next work day. The only bar and grill in town would suffice perfectly for our purposes. The truck clattered into silence in the parking lot. The charisma possessed between the two of us was overwhelmingly stacked on my side so Clay volunteered me to go in first. He'd follow after a bit. The place was relatively quiet. I placed a drink order and asked for a menu as I jammed a crinkled twenty dollar bill into the tip jar as obviously as I could without also looking arrogant. I bemoaned a story about my lost cellphone, and would they please let me use their landline quickly. The hostess was accommodating. I did as Clay had asked of me, leaving a message at the director's extension. It wasn't hard to sound exhausted and frantic, it was only hard to do it loud enough to be believable but quiet enough so that everyone in the bar didn't think I was insane. I felt as though I'd accomplished my mission and as if on cue as I hung up the phone Clay walked in. I saw his eyes dart around and he kept his head down, skirting the room. There was a single camera over the cash register and he was making sure to avoid it. He selected a table by the wall and faced towards the door. I thought about joining him, but decided to keep up the charade of traveling solo while we were here. I flirted with the bartender, ate copious amounts of assorted fried food, and drank beer until last call. I felt somewhat normal again. When I rose to leave I noticed that Clay had already gone.
I walked outside, buzzing and obscenely full. The air was crisp and chilly. I'd talked the bartender into selling me a six pack to go and dropped the tailgate of the pickup. I hopped up and sat on it, drank my beer, only partially wondering where he'd run off to. I wasn't exactly in a hurry to get back to the woods and our vengeful captive. Rested against a gear box and swung my feet as they dangled, basking in the blue and orange lamp light of the parking lot like some kind of half drunk nocturnal lizard. I waved to the bartender and assured her I wasn't up to anything nefarious as she locked up the establishment and headed to her car. She left me to my transient dereliction without fuss. Her brake lights flashed as she backed up and turned out of the parking lot. Her headlights swept briefly over a walking figure before she disappeared down the street. It was Clay, walking back towards the truck at a steady clip. I was glad to see his return, mainly because I was down to my last beer and would have hated to sit there much longer without one. He hit a button on his key fob and I heard the doors of the truck unlock. We both entered the cab and settled into our seats as he fired the vehicle up.
"I booked you a room at the hotel lodge down the road." He said unexpectedly.
"Uh..thanks. Why?" I replied, confused. Clay shrugged.
"You been working hard. Earned some downtime. All we're doing now is waiting so take a breather."
"You're staying too, aren't you?" I asked.
"Nah. Not much of a hotel guy." He handed me a key card in an envelope with a phone number written on it. "They got food, booze, the whole nine. Go crazy. That's the number to the burner if you need to get ahold of me." He told me as we pulled up to the front of the lodge. It was definitely higher end than I had expected. Two single story wings stretched out from a center lobby that was made of polished log, plate glass, and marble. A bronze statue of a moose was prominently displayed in front. Clay had spared no expense as he kicked me out of the truck and drove away. I carried my things inside and nodded to the receptionist who offered a polite smile. My room was on the end of the east wing next to a wide pair of heavy one way doors that led to the outside. I swiped my key and entered, flipping the lights on and immediately scanning for the location of a complimentary minibar. The rest of the night was a blur.
I didn't feel much of a need to leave my room the next morning. The sunlight peaked around the blackout curtains and felt like sand in my eyes. My head acutely throbbed and I grunted as I sat up. I'd never welcomed a hangover more in my life. My spirits were recharged and the long shower helped to alleviate the worst of the pounding. I'd slept breakfast away but an early lunch was within the realm of possibility. I got dressed and opened my door, taking a hard right to walk down the hall towards the dining area by the lobby. Everything was modernly rustic and spotless. The photos on the wall displayed decades worth of fishermen and other outdoor enthusiasts who seemed to come from all over the country to enjoy their recreational pursuits in the area. It made sense. The scenery was gorgeous, and the fishing superb. I turned my attention back to my quest for lunch and settled at a corner booth out of habit. The waiter was quick to take my order and bring me both water and a breakfast beer. Hair of the dog and whatnot. I felt a bit strange sitting there with no phone, no computer and no company. I was detached. It was strange and liberating. Left alone with my own thoughts and a journal to write them down in the old fashioned way. I scrawled passages and revisited others until my food arrived. I didn't dive in as I had the night before. I ate distractedly as I focused primarily on my writings, reaching to take a bite without ever looking up and at a very slow pace. It was the parade of heavy boots falling upon the marble floors of the lobby and in turn on the hardwood of the dining hall that caused me to glance up. I knew then why Clay had chosen this hotel, and why he'd staged me in it.
There were five in all. They dressed in black as one would think a cryptic paramilitary fire team would. I reckoned that there was a reason for the stereotype after all. They weren't exactly subtle and four of them gathered around a table not far from my booth. I kept my head down and my ears open. I caught snippets of various subjects. Mainly they bitched about the all night drive it had taken to get there. Their voices lowered and they leaned in. I strained to eavesdrop but they fell silent as the fifth man strode towards the table. They all looked towards him with reverence. He wore the same black ACU's as the rest of the team but with gold insignia above the left breast pocket that I couldn't read. The rest of the table addressed him as 'sir'. That had to be him. The infamous Golden Boy that Clay so deeply despised. I must've stared for a bit too long because his eyes caught mine and he glared harshly. I looked away and sank into my booth, forcing myself to focus on my plate without looking even more suspicious than I already was. When the man spoke it was in a gravely voice with a prominent northeastern accent that I couldn't readily place. He left the men at the table and turned on heel to walk out. When he rounded the corner of the dining room I counted to fifteen in my head, then got up and followed. I snuck a glance out of the corner of my eye at the subordinates, they were ignoring me. I stepped up my pace as casually as I could and swerved around corner to see Golden Boy disappear into a room down the same hallway as mine. I made a mental note and kept walking forward, out the front door and into the parking lot. I stretched my back and looked around. It was a beautiful afternoon. The line of three jet black SUVs with government tags backed neatly into parking spots near the door was the only thing that seemed out of place. I wonder what lies they'd come up with the justify their presence. The whole thing was a game of lies. At least Clay had some integrity. I almost felt dirty to be in the same hotel as the group. But, alas, it was part of a plan. Evidently Clay needed a pair of eyes in town and chose to let me believe I was getting a mini vacation out of the goodness of his heart. I tried to be mad about it but wasn't. I walked back to my room and flopped down on the bed. I drug the phone off of the nightstand and punched in the number to Clay's burner. He picked up on the third ring.
"They're here, dickhead." I said.
"Ok. Stay close to the phone. I'll call you tonight." I'm fairly certain he was in the process of hanging up before the last word was completely out of his mouth. I sighed and dropped the phone on a pillow. I closed my eyes and encouraged a nap to ambush me.
I woke up a couple hours later feeling much better. The hangover was all but completely gone. I explored the dresser drawers of my suite. Complimentary gym shorts and a white t-shirt. That meant there was a gym. I changed and walked out, looking for the facilities. It was small, consisting of a couple of treadmills, a few cable machines, and a pitiful looking rack of rubber dumbbells. It would do. I stretched and climbed onto a treadmill, jogging at an easy pace to warm up. I wasn't alone for long, however. Golden Boy showed up. Naturally. I averted my gaze and hit the incline button, my socked feet slapping against the belt as I increased my speed enough to drown out any effort he might have considered putting forth to talk. I felt his sharp gaze crawling over me like the legs of a spider. I ventured the briefest of glances and gave in return the flash of the friendliest smile I could muster. He looked away, annoyed, but didn't seem suspicious. The tension that hung about us broke and he focused on piling all of the dumbbells onto his lap and proceeded to do an infinite amount of tricep dips facing away from me. I continued to run until the meter read three miles. Good enough. I was ready to get out of there.
I slipped out of the little gym and wiped sweat from my eyes, making a beeline towards my room. I heard laughter from the dining area and paused to look through the archway as I passed. The other four men were there, drinking and joking, looking decidedly happy and approachable. I looked back towards the gym and saw the bouncing shadow of Golden Boy against the opposite wall. He'd likely be in there for awhile. With confidence born of stupidity I walked to the bar and planted myself on a stool next to the men. I flashed another wide smile, ordered a water and a bourbon, and when there was a lull in their conversation I interjected my way into it.
"You fella's the new game wardens?" Play dumb and friendly, I thought. And drunk. Drunk people are always curious and uninhibited. I hoped they were drunker than I.
"No. SWAT, here on a training exercise with the Sheriff's office. Helping them out." The answer finally came from the one who sat farthest from me. The other three had fallen silent and eyed me, but he seemed jovial. They had rehearsed their story. I scoffed on the inside, but nodded deeply and tried to seem fascinated.
"Well, in that case, the next round is on me, I appreciate what you do." I hailed the bartender and motioned for him to bring on another tray of beers and had him add shots of whiskey. The expressions of the men softened and a couple of them grinned. I lifted my glass in salute and took a drink. They did the same. Before long it was like we were old friends. They lied to me about who they were and what they were doing, albeit poorly. These men were young and green. I have no doubt they'd cut their teeth on distant clandestine battlefields, but they didn't seem like hunters. They seemed like soldiers. They hadn't seen the things Clay had seen. Or likely even the things I'd seen. It made me feel sorry for them. Still, I matched their lies with my own and concocted a story about being a recreational fisherman escaping the throes of a nasty divorce that they believed more and more with every shot of whiskey and tequila I slid in front of them. They warmed up to me rather quickly. Being stateside in a hotel had their guard was low. Our conversation was cut short by the bartender who beckoned me near, cupping his hand over the receiver of a phone. He asked me if I was a 'Mr. Stray'. It took a moment for the recognition to set in and I answered in the affirmative. He held the phone out to me and I took it, hunching over in the corner to speak quietly.
"I told you to stay near the goddamn phone. Getting the bar extension was like pulling teeth." Clay said from the other side.
"Yeah, sorry about that. What's up?" I asked as I heard the voices fall silent and felt the crawling gaze again. Golden Boy was rounding his team up behind me and herding them to their rooms with gruff commands.
"Prop the door open at the end of the hallway next to your room and go inside. I'll be there shortly."
He hung up before I could say anything else. I was annoyed but handed the phone back to the bartender with a nod of thanks and tabbed out, leaving a generous tip that would be charged to whatever prepaid card Clay had on file with the desk. I reached down and quickly swiped a doorstop on my way out of the dining area and wandered back down the hall towards my room. I looked over my shoulder before nudging the big glass door open a crack and wedging the doorstop in it. I swiped the keycard and entered my room, bolting the door behind me. I changed out of the gym clothing and back into my normal hiking clothes that I'd washed in the sink and let dry over the shower rack. Still damp, but tolerable. As an after thought I opened my travel bag and pulled out my chest rig and revolver and ducked into it, adjusting it and I settled on the edge of my bed, waiting for Clay to knock on my door.
I thought I could faintly hear the rumble of a diesel engine but wasn't quite sure. It stopped and idled. I watched the door. I heard the pin on the large exterior door jiggle and expected to hear my name called. It wasn't. The engine spooled up and faded away. I reached for the phone and was halfway through dialing the burner number when I felt an impact that shook the entire wing. The crash was deafening. I could hear the shatter of glass and the ripping of steel and concrete. Lights flickered on and off. I jumped up from the bed and put a hand on my pistol. Then came the roar. The primeval bellowing of hatred and rage. It resonated through the walls and I could feel it in my entire body. It was acrimony and violence of the purest form. I was nearly overcome by delirium as the monster swept through the hall. The human shouts and screams paled in comparison as they wound through the palpable fog of animosity. I almost didn't hear the window breaking behind me. I whirled around and had my pistol halfway out of my holster when I saw Clay fling the curtains to the side, clutching a tire iron in one hand. He looked at me and I ran across the room towards him.
"What room is he in?" He asked before I could utter a word. The look on his face was callous and calm.
"What the fuck did you do, Clay?" I screamed as he shot a hand out and grasped my neck. He hauled me towards the window, looking into my eyes.
"What room?" He growled again. That was the first time I'd ever been afraid of him.
"Uh..uh..104. Six rooms down.." I stammered. Clay released me and vanished from the window. The last thing I heard him say before he sprinted through the perfectly landscaped flowerbeds that lined the edge of the building was simple and haunting.
"Get as many out as you can."
The gunfire had begun. I didn't dare open the door and venture into the madness that lay beyond. I grabbed my travel bag and draped it over my shoulder before vaulting out of the broken window. I didn't follow Clay, I instead advanced around the front of the building towards the lobby doors. There was a string of people in the parking lot, scattering into the night as they made their escape. Luckily it was off season and there weren't many guests or staff, but there were still some. I felt ill at the prospect of innocent bystanders getting caught up in this invisible war. I flung the main door open and kicked a rock in front of it before ducking inside. Golden Boy's team was doing a semi satisfactory job of keeping the Wendigo hemmed up in the hallway, but they were falling back clumsily. I regretted buying them the drinks. The bartender and receptionist were cowering behind the front desk and dodging the debris with their hands over their heads. I shouted at them to run to me, but they couldn't hear. I sucked in a deep breath and ran across the lobby sliding to them. I motioned for them to follow me as I peaked around the corner. I watched the monster soaking up bullet after bullet and witnessed as it drove a clawed hand into the chest of the soldier who had been first to speak to me only an hour before. He was instantly eviscerated and the beast scooped handfuls of his innards to it's maw and greedily inhaled them. I led the pair across the floor and to the relative safety of the parking lot.
"Who else is in there?" I demanded to know.
"No one. Cleaners got out the side doors and the only other guests were down the west wing. They got out when it started. What is that thing?" The bartender had gathered up the fortitude to speak on behalf of the two of them.
"It's a figment of your fucking imagination. You two get out of here." They didn't need to be told twice.
The truck and trailer was clanging and banging as it rounded the hotel parking lot. Rubber tires squelched against the asphalt and the trailer rocked up on to wheels as it barreled towards the front. Clay locked up the brakes with a screech and jumped out with the AR-10 and a heavy duffelbag that caused him to grunt in exertion to heft it into his shoulder. He walked with purpose past me, looking like a man possessed. I started to follow and he yelled for me to get in the truck. It was not up for discussion. He walked into the mouth of the Hell he'd created when he crossed the threshold of the lobby and was soon swallowed by the accumulating smoke.
I could hear concentrated fire and saw bright flashes of yellow, orange, and blue. The creature roared but it seemed to be in pain rather than fury. Windows blew out as fire lashed against the glass and the walls. The smoke was thick and acrid, billowing upwards into the night sky and concealing the moon and stars. There was only one rifle barking in the chaos by then. When it ceased I felt anxiety grip me like cold fingers. A lone figure came running out breathing heavily with a suspended rifle bouncing against his hip. Clay gathered himself as he swung around the grille of the truck and clawed his way into the drivers seat. He shoved the truck into gear and we peeled away with the entire rig fishtailing before the tires were able to find firm purchase upon the street. In the mirrors I saw the glow. A series of explosions illuminated the trees until settling into a wreath of fire. By the morning the lodge would be nothing more than a pile of ash.
The flashing reds and blues flew by us with sirens wailing. We were already on our way out of town. Any trace of our ever being there was being eaten away piece by piece by the fire. We drove for the rest of the night in absolute silence. I didn't speak to Clay, and couldn't bring myself to look at him. I folded my arms across my chest and looked out the window. We'd gone a few hundred miles before the sun started threatening to peak over the eastern horizon. Clay spotted a gas station that wasn't open yet and devoid of life. He pulled into it to fuel. He swiped his card and began pumping diesel. I got out to stretch my legs. Eventually I couldn't take it anymore. I walked around the truck and looked at him.
"What the fuck, man?" Roiling emotions didn't allow me to say anything other than that.
"What?" His eyes snapped up to me.
"Fuck you mean, 'what' let a fucking Wendigo loose in a hotel." I was exasperated and I screamed in his face. "That wasn't the plan! The plan was to do that in the mines!"
"Plans change. Had to flush them out. It was a four man fire team made up of SF operators and their commander against us, Adam. What did you expect?" He leveled his words with an unsettling calmness devoid of remorse that made me want to strike him.
"I..I don't know. Maybe not burn down half the town. What did you even do? You kill them? Did you kill Golden Boy?" I put a hand on the truck and leaned into it, trying to gather myself as the diesel pump clicked off.
"No. Them boys were dead when I got in there. And I didn't kill Golden Boy." Clay said as he hung the pump up. I didn't believe him. Not this time. In my heart and soul I knew he was the one who ended them. I'd never have proof but it didn't matter. I watched as he walked to the back of the trailer and pressed one of the tail lights that was hanging by a wire back into place. I said as much too, when I joined him at the back.
"I don't believe you did all that and didn't kill them. You're fucking crazy, man." Clay eyed me. Like he was considering ripping me apart. I flinched as his hand shot out and he grasped the latch of the trailer gate. He snatched it up and outward, swinging the door open. I recoiled reflexively as he did so. He jerked his head towards the trailer. I looked in. Laying on the floor, bound with rope, zip ties, and duct tape was Golden Boy. He looked like he'd had the brakes beaten off of him but he was very much alive. His muffled yells leaked around the dirty rag that was shoved into his mouth and taped in place. Clay slammed the trailer door shut.
"Can't get intel from a corpse." He said as he turned on heel and walked back to the drivers side door.
I shook my head and rubbed my face. My feet felt heavy as I trudged back towards my side of the truck. I had to drag them and carefully consider every step. When I sat down I leaned back with a sigh and said the only thing I could think of.
"Nope..I suppose you can't.."
submitted by WD_Stevenson to DrCreepensVault [link] [comments]

2020.09.25 02:32 Infernecrosis Wisdom Heckers: Origin

This is the story I'm working on for my English class. It's nowhere near done yet, but I'd thought I'd share it.
Prologue: Emergence
Once, there was a man in the wall. The man loved the wall, but then he found out that the wall was counterfeit! It was a floor! He was so mad, so he kindled up a fire inside of his fake wall, so hot that it was like the sun. The smoke from the fire turned the air noxious, so he exited from the fake wall.
He found himself in the house of none other than the Great Jape J. Heckington. Jape saw him and told him “Get out”, but Wall Chillin Man decided to give him the gift of knowledge. “Abrasive means coarse, rough, or harsh” said Wall Chillin Man. “Wow, that is so awesome, man!” said Jape as he pointed his fully automatic AA-12 shotgun loaded with dragon’s breath rounds. Wall Chillin Man abhorred him. “I hate you!” said Wall Chillin Man. “Then hate no more my mate.” said Jape. BAM! BAM! BAM! BAM! BAM! BAM! BAM! BAM! BAM! BAM! BAM! BAM! BAM! BAM! BAM! BAM! BAM! BAM! BAM! BAM! BAM! BAM! BAM! BAM! BAM! BAM! BAM! BAM! BAM! BAM! BAM! BAM! Jape unloaded his entire drum of ammo at Wall Chillin Man. Inflamed but not fazed, Wall Chillin Man released a vocal so loud that leveled a 57 mile radius around him, and disincarnated all signs of life within that radius. He then became placid.
“I’m so hungry I could eat eight whole care engines” said Wall Chillin Man. He was a rhinoceros, charging to the nearest cafe in his vicinity. All of a sudden, a door flew at him. It shattered on impact. There, standing next to a pipe factory, was Wall Chillin Man’s arch nemesis, Loud Clock Slumber Hecker. A powerful entity, enhanced by his Talisman (the renowned Pulse Candy.
“Why are you here Loud Clock Slumber Hecker?! Leave us!” said Wall Chillin Man. Loud Clock Slumber Hecker isn’t actually sentient, so his only response was to create a supercluster of piping and to slam it into Wall Chillin Man. Wall Chillin Man blocked the pipes with a wall of pure cyanide. Loud Clock Slumber Hecker then started sliding across the ground towards Wall Chillin Man. Before it could reach him, Wall Chillin Man astral projected, and assumed control of Loud Clock Slumber Hecker. With a surge of pure willpower, Loud Clock Slumber Hecker evicted Wall Chillin Man’s astral body before he could cause any damage. LCSH generated an interdimensional sonar that located WCM’s astral form. LCSH forced WCM to look straight into a pipe (a very bad omen). This empowered LCSH, causing him to levitate into the air and release a frequency perfectly designed to prevent WCM’s synapses from firing. Having paralyzed WCM, LCSH molded all piping within the factory into a labyrinth, entrapping WCM. WCM then spoke his final words for the next 57 million years.
“game.Workspace.SQMhecker001:Remove()”. (A SQZMhecker is an ultra-powerful entity that has ultra-powerful attributes, like the ability to create pocket dimensions. The SQZMhecker was no more.
Chapter 1: The Awakening of the Headache Hecker
These events awakened one of the oldest creatures to roam the multiverse, Mr. Headache Man Floorboard Kid, along with his slave 50. Caliber Doorshield Man. KABOOM! MHMFK eradicated WCM’s origin wall. Fueled by rage evoked by these past events, he warped over to the city in which WCM and LCSH battled. He hecked the factory, he hecked the buildings, he hecked the city. He hecked and checked the whole continent.
After he finished obliterating everything due to his fury, he landed down in a swamp. He realized that he didn’t know where Doorshield Man went, so he decided to search around. He walked around and flew around and teleported around. There was no sign of DM. Then, bubbling out of the swamp was Unicum Legjobb, a SQZMhecker, one of if not the most powerful entity in the entire dimension.
“Why hath you done this” said Unicum. “Done what my good mate?” replied MHMFK. “You legit just destroyed all of North-Western Africa! There’s not even supposed to be a swamp here!! What the heck did you do!?”
In an attempt to halt a fight before it had begun, MHMFK hurled a particle of asbestos so fast that it heated the atoms around it to their maximum wavelength, creating a black hole. Unicum used telekinetic abilities to morph the black hole into an interdimensional rift, sucking both of them into an alternate dimension. MHMFK tried to pop Unicum, but Unicum grabbed him and suplexed him into a dying neutron star. Having incapacitated MHMFK, Unicum flooded the entire dimension with Hungarian liquor, turned that universe inside out, and then used the force of the liquor to cause space and time to collapse in on itself, lacerating the essence of MHMFK. ARE WE DONE GETTING HECKEDFOR TODAY MY HECKING MATE?! If there was even a response, it wouldn’t have been heard because sound was completely broken.
Unicum decided to return to his pocket dimension. Suddenly, a dark creature crawled out of the ceiling. “Who the heck are you?” said Unicum. “Haha! It is I! 50. Caliber DoorShield Man! Slave to MHMFK!”. “Why did you crawl out of my ceiling?” “I’m going to heck and wreck your entire pocket dimension!” “No you won’t, you’re actually stupid. SQZM won’t allow this.” said Unicum. “SQZM doesn’t even care, dude!” said Doorshield Man.
Out of nowhere, SQZM manifested a script that read:
game.Players.”50. Caliber Doorshield Man.”.Femur.Position=57,57888888,8. Haha! You fool! I have no femur! Your script is void! Doorshield Man created a wormhole, bringing MHMFK into the pocket dimension with him. “YOU IDIOT! WHY WOULD YOU BRING ME HERE WITH THAT THING! Said MHMFK as he pointed at Unicum. MHMFK slammed Doorshield Man back through the ceiling and into the dimension that Unicum messed up. “It’s just you and I now.” said MHMFK to Unicum. “False, it’s you, me, SQZM, and the script SQZM is making is about to join in too!” MHMFK slapped Unicum, but Uncium feels no pain. In response, Unicum grabbed a window and slammed it into MHMFK. SQZM finished his new script now.
game.Players."Mr. Headache Man Floorboard Kid"=Entity008
if Entity008.Hecked=false
then Entity007.Humanoid.Spine:Destroy()
game.Players."Mr Headache Man Floorboard Kid ".Humanoid.Brain.Cells:InsertObject(Chromosome)
print(Get absolutely hecked.)
game.Workspace.Part.Name="The Hecked Zone"
game.Players."Mr Headache Man Floorboard Kid".Humanoid.Femur.Position=57,57888888,8
The script of SQZM was so powerful, that MHMFK’s femur would become a new entity, a wisdom hecker (basically a ghost) “I’m a wisdom hecker now! HECK YEAH! I WILL LIVE ON!”
Chapter 2: Apple Juice Koolaid
It was 2:21 AM at the Apple Juice Koolaid factory. Apple Juice Koolaid was the number one corporation of all time. It’s owner Jape J. Heckington had gone, along with the rest of Eastern Africa. Without the C.E.O. the entire corporation was under threat from opposing forces such as the Interpol trying to shut down the business due to dumb copyright claims and health code violations. Not only that, but there were fractures within the multiverse that were causing floods of Hungarian liquor as well as dark entities seeping through the cracks. The factory manager, Air Conditioner Poison Man was installing AA turrets on top of the factory. All of a sudden, shots were heard outside of the factory. It was the new but infamous gang, The Heckers. They was an octillion dollar reward for destroying the Apple Juice Koolaid factory, but The Heckers didn’t care. They were just there to heck.
Looking outside, Air Conditioner Poison Man saw hundreds of them, all armed to the teeth. “Y’all better have brought more people than that, or your stupid gang is about to lose 500 men, and gain 600 bodies melted into the floor! There was no response. They stood there and stared at him. BOOM! BOOM! BOOM! BOOM! BOOM! An AA turret engaged onto the gang. Out of the crowd, so many flashbang grenades were thrown at the factory that the photons emitted from them were enough to ignite several tanks of Apple Juice Koolaid. The acidity of the concoction melted a hole straight into the bowels of the earth, to which ACPM dragged a gang member into. Armed with dual flamethrowers, ACPM charged into the crowd. The bullets were breaking apart upon impact. The Heckers called for reinforcements.
In rolled an Imperator SQZMatic Tank, the only one in existence, stolen from another realm by the heckers. The sheer sight of the tank disintegrated ACPM’s flamethrowers. “YOU THINK THAT’LL BE ENOUGH YOU WANNABE HECKERS?!” “HAHA!” “Drink and get flayed, Apple Juice Koolaid…” ACPM pushed the factory over creating a flash flood of Apple Juice Koolaid. The botulinum toxin inside of the mixture killed the entire ecosphere of the near vicinity, while the acid was enough to melt opposing forces and break the SQZMatic Tank. “Anyone else want to become as dead as every single unique species to this area right now?!”
Then, a wisdom hecker appeared, the new entity created by Loud Clock Slumber Hecker. “If you don’t switch dimensions soon, you’ll be fighting the Saudi Arabian military as well as some unclassified creatures entering through another dimension” said the wisdom hecker. “Let them come, they will never destroy Apple Juice Koolaid, or get the formula for it!” “We will team up and destroy them!”. “Oh ok.” Said the wisdom hecker.
submitted by Infernecrosis to stories [link] [comments]

2020.09.25 01:50 Cryptidette 33 [F4M] Looking for creative longterm Rp partner

I'm looking for a longterm rp, all the rp are romance based. I can maybe do double rp if you ask.
don't contact me if you are about to ghost. Also, I'm more comfortable with people around my age 18+ since I'm a adult.
If the rp are on the long run I might do illustration of it
Also all my rp's are in the third person.

1. Perfect cell x my human female Oc
I'll play the little daughter of Gero and lost daughter of the former president of the red ribbon army. She was abandonned at a orphanage by her mother before she was killed and it was make-up as a suicide. My oc would had a rough past, but become a apprentice of Bulma.
The rp can start when she found the research about her grandfather and start to change about the Zteam. Gero didn't died totaly, he left a bit of his personality into a AI who brainwash my Oc and she decide to follow his step against the humanity, even if she is still unsure and a bit naive, it lead her to the creature during her quest.
2. Cooler x my human character
My Oc is the same, but the Au start when goku lose his fight with Cooler. The tyran decides to send his henchmen to captures useful scientists, engineers, etc...
in this AU Frieza and Cold can be alive (your choice) if it's the case we can go into the rivality between the heir (frieza) and cooler about the territories and family stuff. And for the romance between Cooler and my Oc, I think she could tame the cold alien.
maybe she can see behind his cold mask he is upset about his family problem and listen to him and help his army with her knowledge in making androids, and creatures.

1. Rocket male Oc (your oc) x my trainer female oc
I'll play a woman that have a grudge against the TR and try to make them pay for the lost of her farm. She can capture your Oc to drag him to the police.
2. Rocket male Oc (your oc) x my trainer female oc
Same character but my Oc was caught during a raid and the TR scientist did a lot of experience on her to make her a first pokemorph it meant that she can turn into a pokemon as a ditto. Their idea is to make human-pokemon for the armies and won money with this. But she escape and your Oc is send to capture her with a "rocket ball".

Tokyo ghoul :
1 - Tsukiyama Shû x woman human (my Oc):
My OC is a woman, a French geek called Suzette. She is a woman with night terror and a lot of phobias. In this plot Suzette is the friend penpal of Shuu and they will met each others in true for the first time. My Oc do a travel to Japan for take some vacations in Shuu house . She didn't speak Japanese so the knowledge of Shuu with French is a great help. (of course she don't know he is a ghoul)
You can play hims as a 'yandere' who can use her lack of knowledge for trap her or just a nice friend as he get interest in the french people and his friend. It's up to you.
2 - Koutarou Amon x woman human (my Oc):
When Amon was younger he went to study (during a linguistic exchange) at the French CCG and met Suzette with whom he spent the holidays before going back to Japan. They could have had unconfessed feelings (That's why he would have been so hesitant with Akira). With the years they were lost of sight but my character could decide to go to Japan for some vacations with her friends who are ghouls. Suzette secretly runs an association that protects and helps foreign ghouls. She also helps ghouls to travel from one country to another, being in contact with others associations in foreign countries. Amon learns that his first love Suzette is suspected by the CCG in Japan and get the order to watch her and maybe arrest her, strange and hurtful reunion for him.
3 - Triangle - Tsukiyama Shû x Human woman x Amon : I have two ideas for this plot
a). Same plot than the first idea but there Amon could met the woman and help her (if you decide to play Shuu as a yandere) or for investigate on the foreigner.
b) There is a mixed plot between the idea 1 and 2. Shuu and Suzette are penpal and friends and they spend their vacations together but Suzette met Amon by chance when they are in town and Shuu became jealous. Amon have the order to monitor the woman because the CCG but can't believe she is related to ghoul or else.

Attack on titan :
  1. Levi x my female Oc or the triangle Erwin, Levi and my female Oc:
This is an alternate universe. The story change from the mangas.
The origin of the titans here is a disease, and the town of Eren is not on an island but its localisation is at the end of a continent. It is a small country surrounded by mountains. It's the origin of the disease comes from this fortified city but nobody knows where it comes from or when it started.
The disease starts with a delusional fever, then the person reacts like a zombie biting people and infecting them. The body ends up mutated into a giant monster called titans after a few days. The people were obliged to make a fortified town and threw the sick people out of their town to survive.
It's one of the reason why the rest of the world has cut off contact with this city, for hundreds of years, containing the disease behind the mountains. People living in the city don't know whether the rest of the world survived or not they are not even aware how the world evolved. This is why the expeditions aim to seek healthy land.
The rp can start when cases of disease are declared suddenly on the other side of the mountains and the first titans appear destroying modern cities / countries.
My female character might run into an expedition as she fled with a group to find refuge.

Zelda BOTW
1. Hylian woman ( my Oc) x Zora male (your Oc)
After Link calms Vah'Ruta, the hyliens return to visit the place. She can not swim and could in her trip fall into the river Zora and be saved by your character.
2. Hylian woman (my Oc) x Rito male ( Your Oc)
My character travels and is attacked by monsters, your character could save her and they would travel together.
3. Hylian woman ( My Oc) x Yigas male ( your oc)
After the defeat of Kogha, the clan is a little scattered to find the hero and revenge. My character might find your wounded, and heal him without knowing it's a Yigas. For this plot, it's very much based on humor, the yigas are pretty funny with their obsession with bananas and their eccentric ways.

The Simpsons :
The mafia gang x my female character
Prompt 1:
I will playing a French woman coming to live in Springfield. She is a geeky hacker who work for the globex corporation. Her name is Suzette She could have arrived at the moment when Anna Maria had her accident, and call the emergency then wait for help with the dying woman. As she has not yet found an apartment, Tony would offer her a room and since she is an empathetic woman she would become his confidante during his mourning. The godfather would ask his men to be her bodyguard but they act more like babysitter so it could be funny. She would like to leave but strangely, people are too scared to give her an apartment. She could make life hard for her 'babysitters' and try to sneak out without being constantly watched on.
Prompt 2:
Same character, but she is in vacation here with her grandmother who was a lover of Burns. The two old couple get the wrong idea to marry her to Tony (after the loss of his wife) / so a arranged marriage. It can be fun to see her reject the don the first time and get closer to his goons. Even if the first time she try to escape.
Prompt 3:
She is still a hacker and a cousin of Marge, she is invited to spend the vacations here as she is in trouble with her mom who want her to take the family business ( horse farm). But she want open a video game shop. She can hide her hacker side and walk on the territory of the mafia when she is on the simpson house. So they can try to hunt the hacker and kidnap her. So she work for them in exchange of her life. The first time can be hard, but she get closer of Louie who is a cutie and as he is the one of the mafia always putten down they can become close. Tony is like on the first prompt mourning so he can get her comfort and is confused first of taking a like of the hacker with time. I can see Johnny get in charge to watch on her as the other two mobster are always with Tony and so he get attached first without show it and get possessive. It can add some comedy.
Prompt 4:
I'm playing Marge's cousin. She is a french hacker that go live with the simpsons for the summer holidays. Her mother asked Marge to make her less a geek and open a bit to the others. She don't know her daughter is a dangerous hacker on the net. Since Homer get in trouble with the mafia - again. She decides to help and hack the Calabresi for stole their money and send it to the D'Amicos for pay the debt of Homer. But she find some secret about the dead of Tony wife, it was not a accident the Calabresi killed her. She decided to use this as a joker for help the simpsons but don't know that the Calabresi know she infiltrate their folders and try to make her disappear before she can contact the D'Amicos. Their relentlessness on a stranger could intrigue Tony and approach her
FF VII remake
The Turks males x my female character oc
My character is the adoptive daughter of the chocobo relay owner. She is a famous jockey at GS and live outside Midgard to hide the fact she is a half cetra half something else. She could visit her father once and get drunk into the Honey bar so she use her power and it attract the attention of the Turks
Contact me if you are into one of those prompt and are motivated and want know the rules and more :)
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2020.09.25 00:53 pm_justintrudeau Gameplay changes with latest patch

I main GS and do duels mostly, plat 4, and I still have so much to learn about this game. Keep in mind that I only play GS, so maybe the following only applies to that weapon...
The latest patch feels really weird to me. I thought I could adapt quickly, but there's a feeling I can't seem to shake off. I don't mind the lunge and general speed nerfs, but something feels off about accels, drags, and parrying. I feel like combat is slowed down, and while turncaps seem ok although restricting, I can't find my own pace and feel like I'm in control of what I'm doing anymore. It's kind of like the feeling you get in nightmares when you can't move normally? lol idk if anyone else can relate... Even weirder is that I've been killing players many tiers above me that I couldn't even land a hit on before, and that feels even more wrong. I even started feeling a tad dizzy, something I hadn't experienced at all before by playing Mordhau. Some strikes seem to be registering after a short delay, and parrying seems to be working at random at times. The whole thing feels pretty wonky, sluggish, weightless... Nothing in the patch notes seems to explain the cause of all this.
Anyhow, I was wondering if I was the only one to feel this way? What is your experience regarding combat with the latest update? How are you dealing with the changes?
submitted by pm_justintrudeau to Mordhau [link] [comments]

2020.09.24 22:53 hgtv_neighbor The worst yard in the neighborhood was cleaned up for cult activity. Only Karen was strong enough to save us...

In every little slice of suburbia, quietly tucked away in those “cute neighborhoods” referenced in the real estate pamphlets, there is always THAT house. You know the one. The “shit show.”
Welcome to Saddle Downs. At one time the best neighborhood in town, but now amongst the perfectly manicured lawns and driveways with nary a spot of oil leakage, an unholy abomination that looks like an episode of Hoarders made sweet love to Fred Sanford’s bread and butter elicits sighs and dramatic eye rolling from all who reside here. They wonder out loud “how someone who can afford to buy here could live in that kind of mess. Of all the damned nerve!”
Standing in the driveway--garden hose in hand and meticulously rinsing my yard tools, I surveyed my crab grass outbreak with disdain and BOILED under the surface about what he’s done to this once beautiful collection of domiciles. I know the property values here have completely gone to shit. How could they not? And it’s ME who has to live DIRECTLY ACROSS THE STREET from him.
The trash. The junk. The 1989 Geo Metro with no hood. The kiddie pool full of slime and frogs. FFS, he has three VCR’s stacked beside the mailbox. Yes…I said VCR’s
And is it so damned hard to cut your grass on Tuesdays like the rest of us?? I want to try the new edger I picked up during a July 4th sale (40 volt, top of the line), but as of right now I haven’t even seen the point. My yard will look like shit no matter what, because of HIM.
The neighborhood association won’t help. If it’s anything other than potholes or barbeques, they have a “hands off” approach to governance. I plan to run for president in the spring.
Anyway…I could feel my blood pressure going through the roof that night, and the plant-based diet I switched to wasn’t doing shit to help bring it down. Something HAD to be done about him…
Ladies and gentlemen, meet Allen.
Mid 50’s, twice married and twice divorced, he works as an I.T. contractor for the state. Being stuck at home because of Covid, I hadn’t seen him outside in months. Who needs to go outside when you have GrubHub and your lawn mower is lying next to the house in 100 pieces? He had made a perfect hermit’s life, intrinsically safe from those of us who only asked for a little bit of respect for the neighborhood.
So, imagine my surprise when at 6pm last Friday evening, he suddenly stumbles out the front door, down the steps, and begins cleaning up his yard. I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. I was so stunned that I forgot the hose was still on until it soaked my favorite pair of Duluth Trading khakis.
I blinked a few times to confirm what I was seeing. Allen was actually cleaning!
I quickly gathered my tools and hung them in their outlined spots on the pegboard my wife, Karen, got me for Father’s Day. Her essential oils business has really taken off lately and she’s starting to spoil me. It’s amazing what people will do for some of her concoctions. She’s got proven anecdotal evidence of the efficacy of her blends. She’s healed everything from spider bites to yeast infections with those little bottles of miracle juice.
I practically sprinted into the house to let her know what Allen was up to. Making sure to sit by the window the rest of the evening, I continued to peek out at my new favorite neighbor during commercial breaks in the Sean Hannity show. I wanted so very badly to go talk to him about it, but I was terrified that interrupting his task would jinx my good fortune.
When I went to bed around 9:30, Allen was still hard at it and showed no signs of slowing.
The next morning at 6:15 I heard the familiar beeps that signal a large vehicle moving in reverse. I nearly fell over trying to slip into my Crocs to get to the porch and have a look. A massive flatbed truck was dropping a 30 foot long dumpster in the yard. Allen was really getting serious!
I couldn’t take it any longer. I had planned to spend the day applying epoxy to my garage floor, but it was Allen’s project I was truly excited about now.
I had to go over there.
Quickly putting on some work quality clothes, I calmly made my way down the driveway and across the street. The yard was already looking better, but it really did have a long way to go. Allen was working like a madman.
He’s about 5’6 and half as wide as he is tall. What remained of his light brown hair was shaggy and unkempt, and he always wore the same outfit; dark gray suit pants, worn out loafers, and one of those silky, short sleeve dress shirts with vertical stripes that were popular in the early 1980’s.
Despite the less than ideal attire for the task at hand, Allen was working his ass off…and so would I. It was clear that absolutely nothing in the yard would escape the dumpster’s insatiable appetite, so without a word I fell in beside him and set to work.
It was a beautiful free-for-all and I was having the time of my life. I practically pranced around the yard, grabbing up anything I felt capable of getting over the side of the giant trash receptacle. Toys, scrap metal, fast food trash, some ugly ass yard ornaments Allen’s ex-wife had set out back in the late 90’s. Plastic frogs and flamingoes, bleached and dried brittle by 20 plus years of sun and weather cycles.
It was the most fun I’ve since the free resort weekend I scored just for attending a time share seminar and buying a share of a sweet villa in Branson, Missouri.
Oddly enough though, after a solid half hour of work Allen hadn’t said a word, or even acknowledged my presence for that matter. I finally broke the ice.
“Hey buddy! Just thought I’d come out here and give you some help. You’ve got a BIG job on your hands here, but it’ll be totally worth the effort. I even have a perfect grass seed blend for you. I came up with it myself after a long battle with clover. You won’t believe how good it’ll look in a few weeks!”
Allen never acknowledged my presence. He just continued, pushing himself harder and harder. His hair was all over the place and sweat had soaked through his clothes from head to toe.
A thought suddenly hit me.
I lightly grabbed him by the upper arm and said “Hey Allen. Did you ever stop last night?”
I pressed further “You didn’t come in at all? You’ve just been out here nonstop?”
It was killing me. I risked ruining everything, but I had to ask.
“Hey man…Why are you suddenly cleaning up after 20 years of neglecting your yard and ignoring everyone who has ever asked you to do something about it?”
Under labored breath, still without slowing even a step or glancing my direction, he said
“They’re coming.”
I inquired further.
“Who’s coming? You having a family get together? Pampered Chef party? Jehovah’s Witnesses stopping by to check on your soul?”
Allen suddenly snapped up, lunged at me and screamed directly in my face.
He abruptly turned and went right back to picking up a large chunk of a broken toilet covered in wet leaves, heaving it into the dumpster and waddling to the other side of the driveway to begin unearthing an old riding mower covered in the remnants of a splintered water bed frame.
I was a bit caught off guard by the aggression. Regardless, I was so happy to see Allen’s grass for the first time since April 22nd, 2001 that I was willing to overlook his anger. Still, though, at that point I felt it best to just go on back home.
I went ahead and started on my garage floor project. I backed my RAV-4 out into the driveway. I didn’t have to deal with Karen’s Volvo because she had an early appointment at the hair salon, then planned to return some things at a department store she felt were dishonestly presented by the salesperson…I think she planned on giving that manager a piece of her mind.
After a few more days of cleaning outside, inside, and having a huge fence built around the yard, Allen’s place was looking great. I decided I would go shake the hands of whatever visitors he was having that had motivated him to take on this glorious project.
As it turned out, I was given the opportunity to do so sooner than expected. Allen’s guests arrived the very next day.
It was an interesting looking bunch that piled out of a few of those monster passenger vans. Upon closer inspection I saw the side of them said “ZIP-LIFE HOLISTICS.” Everyone looked to be under 40 or so, and some of them couldn’t have been much past their high school years. Athletic wear—more specifically, track suits—was the prevailing choice in attire for every single one of them. Each of them wore a different color, though, and when they got out of the vans it was like someone dumped a bag of skittles onto the driveway.
Their energy was boundless. Running, jumping, and shouting loudly with the same enthusiasm I feel when my grass finally reaches the 4.5 inch mark and I get to fire up the Cub Cadet. God I love that mower.
Everyone congregated in the front yard, surrounding Allen and giving him endless handshakes and pats on the back. Allen looked exhausted, but he had put on his best smile for the greeting.
Behind that big smile though, terror filled his eyes.
The next morning at 7:00 on the dot, the cheers began.
They did this OVER and OVER and OVER for a solid 15 minutes, stopping only to cheer and clap.
Finally, they shut it down and bounded off to the van where a woman was handing out leaflets of some sort. They began to sprint off throughout the neighborhood, so after all of them were gone I sauntered over to talk to Allen. He was alone in the yard, dressed in a lime green track suit and doing jumping jacks.
I feigned enthusiasm.
“Hey buddy. How’s it going with the visitors? They’re sure an energetic bunch!”
His attitude had turned a complete 180 degrees. “Oh, hey Brad! Yeah, they’re stupendous! What a great bunch of people. They’re gonna change the life of everyone in this neighborhood. Just you wait and see!”
Despite Allen’s zeal, I was skeptical and still a touch unnerved by the arrival of these health ambassadors. I mean…maybe they could help the neighborhood get back on track. Quarantine had really taken its toll on the midsection and hind quarters of just about everyone in Saddle Downs. Working from home was awesome, but the cafeteria choices were endless now. Eating had become a sport for me by that point.
I figured I could try and get on board. It was just a bunch of over-zealous kids, right?
“Well Allen, I suppose all of us could use some guidance right now…and maybe they’ve got some techniques to help us avoid Covid, right?”
“Oh, most definitely brad. Most definitely. You’ll see.”
That was enough for me for the moment. As I started back to my own yard, I turned back and asked Allen how he got involved with these people.
“I met them on the Internet playing an ORPG game called Second Life!”
I had no idea what that was, but the answer was good enough for me.
I cruised back over to the house, figuring Karen had my kale shake ready to go, along with a little avocado and falafel on toast that would likely NOT hit the spot.
As the day wore on, I kept an eye on things out on the streets of Saddle Downs.
The Lifers, as I’ll refer to them, were going door-to-door with their flyers. Some successfully gained entry to make what I presumed was their sales pitch, while others maintained that huge smile and boundless enthusiasm after being turned away at the door. They did, however, leave a small yellow sticker on the mailbox on the way out.
Allen continued to exercise, with one of the Zip-Life zealots cheering him on.
Eventually a couple of them were on my doorstep. Ugh. It was the first time I had seen any of them up close, and the only way I can describe them accurately is to say…
They dazzled.
The startlingly attractive young man and woman before me had perfectly straight, shockingly white teeth. Their aroma was fantastic, like some perfect blend of sugar cookies and Tide Pods. Clean, and sweet. It was intoxicating.
Their eyes were big, bright and full of life, reminding me of those things that endlessly swirl and put you into a daze while the hypnotist snatches your wallet. The whites were white enough to make me squint, and their irises were vivid in color and matched their track suits. The young man’s orange irises didn’t have that fake look you see with color contacts, either. I think they were legit, which for a split second sent a chill down my spine.
As the young man began his pitch, perfectly straight, blindingly white teeth opened to a mouth that said “Hello sir! I’m Tanner and this is Kylee. We’re friends of your neighbor, Allen Randall, and are representatives of the world’s number one door-to-door health and wellness company, Zip-Life Holistics!”
I have no idea what he said after that. All I remember is smiling dreamily, looking back and forth between their mesmerizing eyes, skin that appeared to have disco balls embedded in its pores, and feeling compelled to only breathe through my nose. I found my feet shifting below me as I pushed open the storm door and welcomed them into my home. Floating in sheer ecstasy, I led them to the couch, where they sat down and produced a flyer for me to read.
At that moment, all I could think of was how much I wanted to please these strangers. How I would do absolutely anything for Taylor and Kylee.
Yes, I’ll sign those forms. Yes, I’ll be ready at 10pm on Friday. Sure, I’ll be eating nothing but raw, organic foods until then. I’ll do everything just as you wish. I just want to be well, for YOU. Thank you for saving me.”
Thank God for Karen. She had been in the Kitchen, live streaming one of her “Super Coupon” videos (she has 152 subscribers…not too shabby, right?) and hadn’t noticed Tanner and Kylee’s entrance until the smell hit her.
“Who’s here? That’s not Gain. That’s Tide. That shit is expensive! Someone needs a coupon lesson!”
She stopped dead in her tracks when she saw me starting to sign papers.
“Don’t you sign anything Brad! They’re probably gonna hit your credit card for a hundred bucks a month or something.”
“You kids skedaddle. Didn’t you see the magnet on my car? I blend ESSENTIAL OILS. Do you know what that means? It means get the heck out of my house with your worthless pills, or whatever other malarkey you’re peddling. It ain’t happenin’! Not on my watch!”
The two beautiful, amazing smelling Lifers smiled, thanked me for my time, and gave Karen a little death stare as they made for the door. Karen followed them into the yard, yelling the whole way.
“Don’t you make a face at me! I’ve got your leaflet in the house and don’t you think for a second that I won’t call your manager about these shady tactics you’re using!”
I exhaled sharply and ran my hands across my face to wake up a bit. When I looked back up they were gone…and one of those little yellow stickers adorned our mailbox.
Karen gave me a bit of a scolding after she came back inside, but I did deserve it. It didn’t last too long, though, because she had to get to work on a big batch of potato salad to take to a party at my office. Those people love her recipe.
The rest of the Lifers eventually congregated back at Allen’s house. It looked like they were camping in the back yard, which is probably why Allen had that absurdly high fence installed.
Around 7pm, things got…weird.
Firstly, there was more cheering.
After the noise subsided I could hear a lot of grunting and groaning, and eventually curiosity got the best of me. I grabbed a ladder and made my way up to the roof. Our houses are more diagonally lined up, so with a bit of height I got a pretty clear view of Allen’s back yard.
It looked like they were performing feats of strength.
Some of them began picking up landscaping rocks the size of watermelons, followed by each taking a turn throwing theirs across the yard as far as possible. The best throw was about 15 feet, which was REALLY far for a rock that I would guess weighs around 200lbs.
The winner? Kylee, all 5’2 and 120lbs of her.
After that, some of the men locked arms and legs, building upon each other for some kind of creation. Bodies twisted and contorted, eventually taking the shape of a wheel…complete with human spokes.
One of the women gave them a push, and off they went, rolling across the yard. It was an impressive feat of strength and flexibility…and just a touch unsettling. The wheel made it back around the yard, and several more of the men stood on others’ shoulders on both sides of the “wheel,” eventually revealing themselves to be posts. The entire contraption together became a freaky Ferris wheel. Someone gave it a push, and off it went, slowly rotating on an axis made of the backs of their brethren.
That was both mesmerizing AND freaky, but a big group of the women, however, really pushed the envelope. The men began to chant.
It took a few minutes for it all to come together, but after everyone was in position I was looking at all 20 of the women bent into impossible positions and exercising body control that would require the strength of a herd of elephants. Arms bent backward, shoulders dislocated and twisted in ways that would paralyze any normal person. I felt bile rise in my throat, even viewing it from over 100 feet away.
All the disgusting contortions came together, and suddenly I was looking at a 10 foot tall spider with the entire body and 8 legs made of people who should have been dead from their positioning alone.
And it wasn’t unstable. It wasn’t about to collapse like one of those shitty popsicle stick houses we made in kindergarten. Had it not been so terrifying, it would have been nothing short of magnificent.
And then that spider WALKED…
And then it RAN…
Their bodies were in perfect harmony as “it” ran across the back yard.
More chanting.
Continuing to run with absolute accuracy, they began to emit a clicking sound that I can only describe as “how a spider sounds in a movie.”
My skin was crawling at this point.
Then, as if the situation couldn’t get any more bizarre and terrifying, I watched as that human spider crawled right up the back wall of Allen’s three story house and onto the roof. And when it stopped I realized that before it crawled up the house, several of the men had jumped on and stacked themselves close on the front of the spider body. Their heads were packed tightly together, and their eyes became the spider’s eyes.
And they blinked in unison.
Then it shifted a bit. The legs, the body, and those eyes, rotating around while a few dozen mouths emitted that “tick-a tick-a tick-a” sound. In a side profile stance, facing off in the distance it stood.
It felt as if everything around me had gone silent. This wasn’t just funny, or creepy anymore. It was downright scary. And as I soaked it all in and began to wonder what the hell I was really witnessing, I watched, horrified as every Lifer on that hideous creation turned their head toward me.
And they smiled…
I slept like absolute shit that night. After the spider spent a few minutes twitching around on the roof and looking at me, it/they crawled back down to the yard and disassembled. Eventually everyone settled down and I didn’t hear anything else until early morning when the daily cheering began again.
I must admit, the spider really scared me. When I said those girls got into impossible positions I was NOT exaggerating. I was looking at fully dislocated shoulders and hips, spines twisted up like paper clips, and heads that twisted completely around. These were not normal people.
This routine continued for the rest of the week.
-Wake up and cheer
-Work the neighborhood
-Cheer some more
-Do weird shit in the back yard until dark, including but not limited to
-Relay races (on their hands)
-Professional-style wrestling (without padding)
-Duck, Duck, Goose and Red Rover (with tackling)
-Forming a human snake 50 feet long and slithering around the house for 45 straight minutes, with everyone making a “sssssssssssssssssssssss” sound and flicking their tongues. Then every few minutes coiling up and striking at imaginary things.
They did try to make their pitch to us once each day, becoming more persistent as the week progressed, but Karen always shooed them off. On their Friday afternoon visit she even sprayed them with lavender oil. Tanner looked PISSED about it, too. As the days wore on, though, I noticed the little yellow stickers eventually being removed, and figured my weak minded neighbors were finally giving in and agreeing to the presentation. Not Karen, though. She’s hardcore about this kind of thing.
Four days into this adventure, I noticed something. I had never seen them eating, drinking, or going into the house to use the bathroom. I did see twice a day they were given a shot glass worth of some kind of liquid, which I presumed was whatever product they must be selling
Despite it all, the neighborhood was still running normally. People came and went, cars were washed, and dogs were walked. Mrs. Bush down the street was in her front yard, drunk and arguing with her adult son, who was also drunk, about his chronic unemployment and wasting his government money on “cheap women.”
Friday night, Karen and I were sipping some of our favorite craft beer on the porch when we noticed an abnormally large number of people heading down the street. I recognized some of the faces and others were foreign to me, but they all turned in to Allen’s driveway and formed a line that extended a ways down the street. I suddenly recalled something on Tanner and Kylee’s pamphlet about “being there” on Friday at 10pm. A quick check of my watch confirmed that it was, in-fact, 10pm. Now I was REALLY interested to see what was going down.
I moved from the porch to the living room to watch one of these quarantine MLB games, which was almost as weird as watching the Lifers do their thing. I kept a constant eye on the goings-on at Allen’s though and as the evening wore on the traffic really picked up. For hours I sat there watching neighbors get in line, looking completely happy and relaxed—no doubt enjoying the Scent of sugar cookies and eye candy the Lifers provided—waiting their turn to go behind the gate. Several of the Lifers looked to almost be standing guard there, with more standing along the street in front of the house.
All night long, the cycle was the same.
-Person goes through the gate on one side of the house, followed by a few minutes of silence.
-Horrific screaming, followed by the Lifers clapping and cheering.
-Then the person shuffled out of the gate on the other side of the house, and very slowly shuffled home.
By 2am, I couldn’t stand it anymore. I had to get a look behind that house again, even if it WAS a shitty angle.
I was headed for the roof again.
I grabbed my ladder and began my ascent. As I reached the top rung and my head cleared the roof line, I heard a voice coming from below—accompanied by the very faint smell of sugar cookies.
It was Tanner.
“Hey Brad! Whatcha doin’ up there?” He gave the ladder a little shake.
“I don’t think it’s safe to be up on the roof this late. Why don’t you come on down and go back in the house? Kylee said Karen looks pretty lonely in the bed.”
They were watching Karen sleep??
Now I was angry. I felt a surge of adrenaline, and it was finally time to tell this asshole what I really thought of him and his stupid Lifer friends.
“Tanner, why don’t YOU get the FUCK out of my yard and go back to your weird-ass cult across the street before I call the cops!”
Tanner chuckled and said “Braaaaaaad. YOUR NEIGHBOR, the chief of police is in line at Allen’s right this minute. You know that.”
And then he literally jumped straight up the 30 feet to my roof.
Tanner crouched directly in front of me, grabbed my ladder and tipped me a foot back from the edge, literally holding my life in his right hand.
His orange eyes glowed like two big fireflies in the darkness.
“Brad. Everything is fine over there. It would REALLY be in your best interest to climb back down this VERY unstable ladder and get “the FUCK” back in your house.”
I nodded, scared shitless. My adrenaline surged again as I gripped that ladder with every ounce of strength I had. There was no exit plan here if he let me go, and I am not ashamed to admit that I wet my pants.
“Ok, Tanner. I’ll go back inside. Please, PLEASE move my ladder back and let me climb down.”
And just like that, he returned the ladder to a safe angle, got in a high-dive position and did a gainer off the roof, landing perfectly on his feet.
When I stepped off, he was directly in my face. He did NOT smell like cookies and Tide now. He smelled musty, like an old museum. The glimmer in his skin came and went like static on a TV, and his eyes no longer dazzled. He looked tired, as if he’d used up every ounce of his normally boundless energy.
That’s the last thing I remember.

I woke up on the couch around 7:00. My drool-covered shirt was turned halfway around my torso and one of my socks was missing in action. I felt absolutely awful. Every muscle ached to some degree and my feet felt like they were made of lead. I was completely exhausted, and my back felt like it was on fire. I made it to the kitchen and tried to get my head together. Out of nowhere, I was suddenly ready to MURDER someone for some bacon…or sausage…or a bagel with Lox…or some Lay’s potato chips…or a big glass of sea water. I threw my middle finger in the air and turned in a circle to let ALL the components of Karen’s stupid plant-based diet know what I thought of them. Dr. Ornish could eat a dick…actually I guess he wouldn’t, though.
I practically DRAGGED myself to the window to see what the Lifers were up to.
They were gone.
I was startled as Karen emerged from the hallway, tripped, and fell flat on her face, sending half a dozen essential oil vials flying across the room. I was too tired to even try to help her up.
Groaning, she pushed herself up on her elbows.
“What the hell happened last night, Brad? The last thing I remember is that Kylee girl standing beside my bed speaking in another language. There were bits of English mixed in there. She said something like ‘we are ancient…older than death himself…’ and then something about cows and pigs no longer being sufficient?”
I looked at her like she had three eyes. Not only was I in tremendous pain…I was feeling a little combative.
“What? Are you drunk? Did you put too much lemongrass and ylang-ylang in your tea again last night??”
When Karen is pissed, her voice gets really nasal and her A’s are literally enough to bust eardrums. After my smartass comment, I really had it coming, though.
“NOOOOOOO BRAAAAD! She said it! She said that shit, and the last thing of it I recall is her rolling me over onto my stomach and saying “Thanks bitch. I’ll fill you back up with Marjoram.”
She had managed to stand again, but doubled over in pain and hit the floor once more.
“Ughhhhhh…Damn-it Brad, why does my back hurt SOOOOO BAAAAD???”
I looked down at her exposed back. It was swollen and red, and she had a tiny hole or needle mark just above each kidney. I had the same. What the heck was up there?
Trying to look at my own back, I began turning in circles like a dog trying to sniff its own butt.
“Karen, look at these holes in my back. What’s in that spot?”
She had spent a few years in nursing school back in the day before quitting to sell door-to-door cosmetics, and god only knows what other flavor of the week MLMs that came about.
She thought about it for a moment. “I think it’s the adrenal gland. What the…did they steal our adrenaline???!!!
I helped Karen to her feet, we plopped ourselves down at the kitchen table, and I blacked out.
Three hours later I woke up, my cheek smashed down on the table. Surrounding me was remnants of a bag of beef jerky, a jar of pickles with no juice, and my mouth was caked in what tasted like feta cheese. Karen was on the floor, blocking the doorway threshold and mumbling something in her sleep about not needing a receipt. Peeking out from under the edge of her robe was what was left of the block of feta.
I shuffled my way to the bathroom, stripped off my disheveled and urine stained clothes, and let a hot shower take me away to paradise. God I was thirsty. Karen says the chlorine and fluoride in city water is bad for me, but I didn’t care. I drank it right out of the faucet.
After getting cleaned up, I stepped out on the patio for some fresh air. Many of my neighbors were out and about, moving like they were 100 years old but trying to do the normal stuff--taking walks, washing cars, etc. I gingerly made my way next door to speak with my buddy Mike. He had been out of town most of the week, but I saw him in line last night. I caught up to him as he was checking his mail.
“Yo Mike. How’s it going?”
He looked terrible. “Hey Brad. Man I feel like complete shit. I don’t know what the hell happened to me last night. I haven’t felt this bad since I got completely plastered at your Super bowl party.”
I vividly remember that event. Mike, the 50 year old accountant, attempted a backflip on a dare and landed on his face.
I looked at him quizzically. “You mean you don’t remember being at Allen’s? Going behind the fence for the Zip-Life product demonstration?”
He closed the mailbox and looked back up at me.
“The what? Zip Who? I haven’t spoken with Allen in months. I’d like to kiss him right on the mouth though, for finally cleaning up his property. I wish I had been here to see it. Damn, dude. My back is killing me!”
He turned and raised his shirt, and sure enough… the same swelling and holes in his back.
I told him what I suspected had happened to us, but he had absolutely no recollection of the Lifers ever having set foot in Saddle Downs. I was too tired to press the issue, and Mike didn’t seem to care about the holes in his back. It’s like his memory and even his sense of self-preservation was just…absent.
I ended the conversation and made my way a couple houses down, intercepting a lady named Sandra as she VERY slowly made her way through the morning walk she’s taken every single day for 23 years. We had the same conversation. She had the same marks, and like Mike, had no memory of the night before.
I tried several others and got more of the same. Finally I headed for Allen’s house, banging HARD on the door. When he answered, it was clear that I had woken him up. He was wearing nothing but a pair of old, very undersized boxers.
“Uhhh…hey Brad. What’s up?”
“Allen, I’ve had enough of this shit. What the hell did those people do to everyone last night??”
He looked completely confused. “What? What are you talking about? Who?”
I roared with every ounce of strength I had left.
All of a sudden it was like the light bulb went off. Allen’s eyes nearly popped out of his skull. I exhaled sharply, relieved that SOMEONE could finally shed some light on all of this.
Allen jumped through the door, darting back and forth across the porch, giving evil stares to everyone he could see.
As he flew by me for the third time I caught a look at his shirtless back…
There was nothing.
No holes. No swelling. Just a nice, plump back with enough hair on it to sculpt a mowhawk.
And as he ran out into the street with murder in his eyes, naked aside from the underwear hanging halfway down his ass, I knew the story had ended. I wasn’t going to get my answer, because I knew what the next words out of his mouth would be.
Wild-eyed, and practically foaming at the mouth with rage, he said…

My favorite neighbor
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2020.09.24 19:44 E696968696969 OlMap and faction

The title is messed up. Meant for it to say "Ocean map and units"
I tagged it discussion because I dont think Landfall should add this, it's just fun theorizing.
Unit 1) Pirate ship. A very unique unit, one of the pirate ships on pirate one except scaled down about 50 percent. You can place units on it, and it moves to the closest ship, and then stops moving once it's in a certain range of them. (Range of a musket) It stops so that way you can make naval battles that dont just include two boats ramming into each other and sinking. When it dies it will be set on fire and it will sink to the bottom of the ocean, or below the map depending on how deep the water is. Most likely the units on top with burn to death or drown.
Health: about the health of an da vinci tank
Cost: 2500
Speed: very slow, about the speed a jarl would go on land.
Attacks and cooldowns: No attacks, all depends on the units that are riding it.
Sink speed: stays on fire for 6 seconds, and then slowly sinks. Takes another 6 seconds before it finally is at the bottom of the ocean.
Unit 2) Viking ship. Size of a normal viking longship carried by the boat throwers. You can place units on it. It rams full speed into other ships and units, then holds still. Short ranged and melee units will climb up the front of the longship onto the enemy boat. After the enemy boat is sunk, the longship will leave and attack a new boat. It also wont stop to retrieve the units that boarded the enemy boat, it let's them drown to death. When sunken it wont burst into flames, but will instead just tip forward and sink silently.
Health: Health of a king, has viking roundshields on its sides that block arrows.
Cost: 1250
Speed: Speed of a raptor on land.
Attacks and cooldowns: The ram does the damage of a cannonball shot, and has a small area of affect which wont effect allied units. Has a 30 seconds cooldown.
Sink speed: Takes about 4 seconds for it to reach the bottom of the ocean.
Unit 3) Carthigian Ram Ship. A massive boat, slightly larger then the pirate ship. It has many oars sticking out its sides and has 3 sails. It rams into enemy boats with an underwater wooden hook, and then allows units to board the enemy ship. The oars damage any unit in the water, and it comes equip with 5 units already on the deck, 3 of them wielding crossbows that fire one shot, and two of them wielding a sword and a hoplite shield. It attacks by circling around the enemy boat for about 10 seconds, and then rams into it. When sunken, it ignites and instead of sinking, breaks into many burning parts. You can also place units on the ship. The fire on the burning parts go out after 5 seconds.
Health: Same as a tree giant. Melee units on deck have the health of halberds, ranged units have the health of archers.
Cost: 4500
Speed: Speed of a wobbly horse on land
Attacks and cooldowns: Ram attack, does the damage of a ballista bolt, has a 30 second cooldown. Oars. The oars do damage to any unit the ship drives over. Does the same damage as a squire sword. The melee units on top do the same damage of a squire sword, and the ranged ones do the same damage of a spear.
Sink speed: Doesnt sink, burns for 10 seconds before breaking into small pieces that burn for another 5 seconds.
Unit 4) Atlantean. Weilds a trident, and can safely survive under water. He has dark green armor that's encrusted in barnacles. He has 4 visible teeth like the vampire, two coming from his lower jaw and two from his upper jaw. He attacks by swimming close to units and boats and stabbing them with his trident, and has a special attack in which he jumps out of the water, and dives onto a unit. The unit is about the size of a halberd. When killed his armor will fall off and sink, but his body will float. Dies on land.
Health: Same as a harvester.
Cost: 650
Speed: Same as a raptor on land.
Attacks and cooldowns: Standard melee attack. Stabs like a pike with his trident. Trident is about the size of a sarrisa spear. Does the damage of a throwing spear. Cooldown of the attack is 2 seconds. Special attack. Jumps out of the water and dives onto a unit. Does the same damage as a cannonball. Cooldown for the attack is 15 seconds.
Unit 5) Deep One (H.P. Lovecraft monster). A massive creature slightly taller then a minotaur. Has Brady green eyes that are not googly, and an open mouth full of teeth. Has moss growing down it's back, and a dorsal fin on the top of its head. It has spines running down it's back and gills on its chest. Flippers for hands and feet. Cant survive on land for more than 10 seconds. It attacks by leaping from the water and biting a unit, then dragging it into the deep and drowning it. If the unit is costs more than 2000, it cant drag it under, and will instead bite onto it and not let go, doing overtime damage. The Deep One wont let go until either its victim is dead or it is.
Health: Same as a king
Cost: 5000.
Speed: Same as a headbutter on land.
Attacks and cooldowns: Bite and drag. Does the same damage as a poacher arrow when it bites, but when it drags the unit it let's the water do all the work. Cooldown for this attack is 3 seconds . Bite and hold. When the unit is to powerful to drag, it bites onto it doing the same damage as a cannonball, and does the damage of a spear thrower every 1 seconds. Cooldown is 3 seconds.
Unit 6) Harpee. Will sit on floating rocks and sing a tune, attracting boats and units to it, damaging the boats and units when they touch the rocks. Rocks sink when the Harpee dies.
Health: Same as cupid.
Cost: 800.
Speed: None, it sits stationary on its rocks.
Attacks and cooldowns: The Harpee doesnt do anything, but the rocks do the damage of a catapult rock whenever something touches them. 3 second cooldown before it damages again.
7) Kraken. One of the boss units of this faction. Has 8 arms, which grab boats and units. It sits underneath the sea and attacks when units get to close. In order to kill it you have to damage the tentacles. It's a big orange squid with barnacles and plant life growing off it, and it has glowing green eyes. It's actual body is the size of an ice giant, while its tentacles are as thick as a jouster horse and dmtwo times longer then the ice giants arms.
Health: Each tentacle has the health of a king, every tentacle has to die for the kraken to die.
Cost: 10000
Speed: The main body is stationary, the tentacles move at the speed a chariot horse would when freed from its chariot.
Attacks and cooldowns. Tentacle grab. It does the damage of a cannonball when it grabs, and then let's the water do the rest when it pulls the unit below the water. If the unit does drown within 2 and a half seconds the kraken let's go of it. It has a 4 second cooldown. Each tentacle can attack and different times.
Unit 8) Dagon, second boss unit of the faction (it's another lovecraft reference). It looks like a normal deep one, except it's the size of a tree giant. It moves faster, attacks more viciously, and has more health. When it dies its body sinks.
Health: Same as an ice giant.
Cost: 12000
Speed: Slightly faster then a normal deep one.
Attacks and cooldowns. Bite. It will jump from the water and bite a unit, dealing the damage of a ballista. Cooldown is 7 seconds. The second attack is a grab and bite. It will pick up a unit, dealing the damage of a spear, and if it's still alive Dagon will bite it, doing the damage of a cannonball. Cooldown is 3 seconds. The third attack is a throw. It picks up a unit and throws it into the water, letting it drown. Cant pick up units that cost more than 2000. 4 second cooldown. Special attack, it summons a monument from the bottom of the sea, and grabs hold of it, summoning many hybrid children, small units the size of squires, but look like deep ones. They have the health of squires and the damage of squires swords. They attack by jumping on a unit and biting it. Their bite cooldown is 2 seconds. Dagon summons 5 of them, the cooldown for the special attack is 20 seconds.
9th unit) Attack boat, another boss unit. A military boat with an AA turret on the front. Has armor that's immune to arrows, but can be penetrated by ballista, muskets, so on. Its armor is steel, and it has a small area for a captain, who wears military kevlar like the tank riders. if the captain dies the ship stalls and stops moving, but doesnt die. The pilot room has one opening on the front behind the AA turret. Other units cannot be placed on this boat.
Health: Same as a king.
Speed: slightly faster then a chariot horse freed from the chariot.
Cost: 5000
Attacks and cooldowns. AA turret, the turret shoots 5 bullets (same bullets that come from dead eye), that do the damage of an arrow. It has the range of a musket. 1 and a half second cooldown before it fires again. If the captain dies the AA turret continues to shoot.
Secret Units:
Unit 1) Clam. Sits on land and shoots pearls at units. The clam has an arrow proof shell. The clam is about the size of a da Vinci tank
Health: Same as a king.
Speed: Doesnt move
Cost: 2500
Attacks and cooldowns. Pearl spit. Shoots a pearl with the range of an archer. Does the damage of a poacher arrow. Cooldown: 1 second.
Where to find: In the water just chilling somewhere.
Unit 2) Scuba diver. A normal tabs unit is a yellow wetsuit and has a grey oxygen tank on it's back. Basically looks like a scuba diver. Can survive on land and in water. It's pretty much the standard cannon fotter unit of the sea.
Health: Same as a blunderbuss.
Cost: 175
Speed: Same as a headbutter in the water, same as a jarl on land.
Attacks and cooldowns: Knife. Has a diving knife that does the damage of a poacher arrow and is very small, but it has the short cooldown of half a second.
Where to find, on an island there is a diving tank and flippers on a table.
Unit 3) Hybird child. Summoned by Dagon. Same stats as I described it earlier up above in the Dagon attacks and cooldowns bit.
Cost: 230.
Not gonna describe its stats again.
Where to find: Below the sea there is a broken monolith depicting dagon wrestling with whales, there is a skull of a hybrid child.
Now time to describe the map: Mostly water, with one island in the corner. The island is divided by a river that runs along the line that separates red and blue. The river runs into the ocean. On the island there is also a small hill where the river starts at. Most of the island is sandy, but on the hill there are palm trees and grass. This is also where you find the table holding the scuba gear. The island isn't that big, about the size of an ice giant if you were to lay it on it's back.
The map is about the size of ancient sandbox, only slightly bigger. Strewn about in the water there are small patches of rock that you can fit a few units on.
Below the water there is a small coral reef area near the island that has waters so shallow units can safely walk in. However there is a slight current, so the units may sometimes trip and get dragged deeper into sea.
In the center of the map there is the sunken city of Atlantis. It's about the size of the town in ancient 1, and has similar architecture, just it's broken down and features more arches.
In a corner of the map directly opposite of the island is a tide pool. It's a rocky area you can place land units on, but every 20 to 40 seconds the tide will come in and swipe units off their feet and drag them into the deep sea, only the heaviest of units can withstand it. There are also many crevices and such that units can fall into and get stuck. Once the tide comes they will most likely just drown.
On the left corner of the map there is the sunken city of R'leyh. It's a massive city, bigger then the one in ancient 1, featuring grand stone buildings that have stood the test of time. There are statues of totems dedicated to Cthulhu and Dagon.
Finally in the right corner of the map there is a cliff, with a steep dropoff. The dropoff is massive, high enough to kill any standard cannon fotter unit. Below that dropoff there is a small bit of beach, about the size of 3 squires stretched out lengthwise. Before the dropoff, there is a small bit of grass land, about the size of a tree giant laying on it's back.
The ocean is deepest in the center, about as deep as an ice giant and a king stacked on top of each other. From the coral reef, tide pools, and the beach near the cliff, there is an underwater dropoff to the deep, similar to real oceans. Once a unit gets pulled into the deep, its over for it, as the water is to deep to walk in and the unit wont be able to climb the dropoff fast enough.
You can place units on the surface of the water, but unless they are a boat, they will just sink, or unless it's a unit that can swim. The kraken and stationary units will sink. If you try and place a clam on the water surface it floats, but loses all ability to attack.
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2020.09.24 19:20 Zithero Book 1: Chapter 32: The Reckoning

Rachel stood next to me in shock as I turned to Bella.
“I thought you were opening a portal for all of them!” I shouted.
Bella nodded, “I did. But only Xyphiel went in.”
I turned to the screen, dismay on my face as the monitor finally shifted from the blinding white, caused by the blast, to finally returning to our birds-eye view of the situation.
We had been monitoring the fight via a mixture of Rage’s drones and hacked satellites. But now all the drones were destroyed.
When the image came back, Rage quickly highlighted three corpses, properly outlining them and identifying them as Sofia, Tasha, and Timothy.
My heart skipped a beat and I grabbed the railing in front of me as I felt my stomach drop through the floor. “He did it? That bastard actually killed my son, Timothy?”
Rachel’s hands clutched either side of her head as she screamed in anguish. She collapsed to her knees and sobbed hysterically. “Timothy! Tasha! No! No No No!” Rachel let out a gut-wrenching wail and she rocked back and forth on her knees.
Tears welled up in my eyes but my jaw clenched tightly and I forced my tears back. I had no time to be mournful, as I watched Xyphiel waltz about on-screen, checking each body himself.
“Rage,” I announced, “when Xyphiel arrives please be sure to run the program associated with code: Acherner, Antares, Canopus, Vega, Rigel.”
“Confirm,” Rage requested.
“Rigel, Vega, Canopus, Antares, Acherner,” I repeated the command in reverse, and took a deep breath, turning to Bella. “When are you bringing him back?”
Bella shrugged nonchalantly, “Whenever he wants me to.”
I turned to the screen, watching him throw a temper tantrum of sorts in the crater that was the open plane somewhere between Afghanistan and Turkmenistan.
After a few moments, Bella grinned, “He’s coming back now.”
“Good,” I turned to Rachel, her sobbing slowing slightly. I knelt by her, and kissed her cheek, “It’s okay. I’ve got this.”
As I wiped Rachel’s face clean she looked up to me, “w-what?”
Xyphiel entered the bridge, and as he did I got to my feet.
Xyphiel had tears of his own as he dropped his gauntlet on the ground. His voice didn’t hitch or falter as he explained what happened, “I’m so sorry, Ragna, I tried to save him but he refused,” Xyphiel tried to explain.
I nodded, as I approached Xyphiel, and hugged him, “We saw. We saw everything, no need to explain yourself, brother.”
Xyphiel hugged me back, “I’m so sorry, Ragna.”
As we broke the hug, my hands moved to his shoulders, “you did try, I saw you,” I nodded my head.
Xyphiel nodded, “yes… I can’t believe he’s gone.”
“Me either,” I confessed, “I never really thought this day would come.”
“What?” Xyphiel looked to me, confused, “what day?”
“The day I would see my family would hurt me so, and I would end up losing someone who I loved so much,” I moved my hand to wipe a tear from his cheek, “and be forced to deal with this pain.”
Xyphiel sighed, “I know. I tried to go easy on him.”
“Yes,” I smiled, “I did too, I gave him so many opportunities to come back. But in the end, he turned from me and he went against my wishes.”
Xyphiel nodded, “It couldn’t be helped, sadly, he was too committed to his lost cause.”
“Yes,” I sighed softly, “I know, that lost cause was what drove him from me.”
“I did my best to bring him back,” Xyphiel confessed.
“I could tell,” I gave him a grin, “I knew you were exercising the most incredible restraint.”
“Yes,” Xyphiel seemed distant, not paying much attention to me.
“I should say, I did find something out by watching you fight Timothy, however,” I began.
“Oh?” Xyphiel looked up to me, “what is that?”
“A way to rid myself of my curse,” I nodded, smiling warmly to him, “honestly it was rather obvious. I think I just didn’t want to see the truth.”
“Well, could it work for me?” Xyphiel questioned.
“No,” I smiled widely at Xyphiel, “You see, my curse began in the Guardian Temple. When you went inside, and slaughtered the guardians? Outside I faced off with the other angels, slaughtering them until I reached their head guard, Hastapher, I believe his name was?”
“I see,” Xyphiel seemed to be getting confused as to where I was going with this, so I’d have to make it quick.
“You see, when he came out he claimed he would curse me, and that the curse would prevent me from ever being happy,” I grinned, “and now, I finally know how to remove it.”
“How?” Xyphiel questioned.
My hands grabbed Xyphile’s neck as I pressed my thumbs into his throat.
Xyphiel struggled as I lifted him up from the floor, my eyes boring into his as pure hatred fueled me. I felt power filling me once more, so much that I feared I’d burst.
My hands shook as Xyphiel’s telekinesis tried to pry my fingers from his throat, but I was not budging.
He killed my Moria, and killed my niece Tasha, he even killed my son Timothy! He tried to take Rachel from me. But worst of all, I thought as tears filled my eyes, he killed my brother Kriggary!
“That day I was cursed with the existence of Xyphiel,” I growled, “that day my brother died! And only now have I realized it!” I shouted, tears streaming down my face. “When you die, and come back to life, never ever come back here!” I pulled his bloodshot eyes and blue face closer to me, “because if you do I’ll kill you over, and over again. I don’t care how long I have to live to keep on killing you! I’ll enjoy it every single time!” I screamed.
“Need a hand, Xyphiel?” Bella was next to me now, her smile wide. Her mouth opened and shifted into her bestial maw! Before I could react, her jaws slammed down on my left forearm.
To my shock, her teeth sliced through my armor and flesh like it was butter! I staggered back, blood gushing from my wound.
Xyphiel gasped and stumbled backward.
I moved to strike but Serenity soon hit me with the very staff I designed for her, sending me sailing across the room.
“Ragna!” Rachel screamed, rushing to me.
I looked up just in time to see Xyphiel, Bella, and Serenity vanish into one of Bella’s portals.
Rachel ran to me, “Ragna! Why isn’t Rage taking you to the infirmary!”
“I disabled… the emergency health… monitoring… so I could kill him,” I gasped, going into shock as blood continued to pour from my severed forearm.
Rachel grabbed my face, screaming at me, “Did you disable Rage’s access to the emergency health monitoring or did you shut it off altogether?!” Rachel screamed, frantic.
“I…” my vision was tunneling.
“Ragna! Answer me!” Rachel shouted.
“Rage’s access…” I whispered.
Rachel’s eyes shifted into a series of bright LEDs as I heard her voice resonating through the bridge in the same monotone cadence as Rage. “Accessing the Emergency Health System. Emergency Detected: Transporting Ragna to the infirmary.”
I blacked out.

I opened my eyes to see a black-skinned man with light eyes and a Scythe standing before me.
“Ah,” I frowned, “...that’s a bad sign isn’t it?”
His hand reached out to mine, “come with me. Someone wishes to see you.”
“I am assuming,” I began, “Persphone?”
He nodded.
I felt something pulling me back.
The man with the light eyes and scythe shook his head, “Another time then?”

I sat up in a hospital bed, heaving heavy breaths as I looked around frantically.
Rachel was standing near the bed, looking over monitors. She smiled at me, her eyes normal again, “Ragna, you’re okay now.”
I frowned at Rachel, “you linked with the ship!”
“Just for a second,” Rachel defended bashfully, “and it was to save your life, after all.”
I turned to my left hand, spotting a rudimentary robotic replacement. I narrowed my eyes on it, “great. The replacements are never the same.”
“I can improve it,” Rachel offered.
“I am not going to lean on technology I don’t understand fully,” I protested.
“I resemble that remark,” Rachel teased trying to lighten my mood.
I sighed heavily and changed the subject, “Xyphiel, where is he?”
Rachel nodded, “I have removed Bella, Serenity, and Xyphiel, from the ship entirely.” Rachel leaned close to me, “Rage is a little upset about Serenity not being here anymore, so perhaps you can be a little more sensitive about that?”
I turned to Rachel, narrowing my eyes on her, “Tell me you feel something resembling emotion after merging with the ship!” I snapped.
Rachel turned from me, “Ragna… of course I do,” she turned to me, “but I had to be strong to save you.”
“You linked to the ship’s computer,” I growled, “do you know what that could have done to you?!”
Rachel’s eyes watered now as she glared at me, “You’re so damn afraid I’m going to become a machine, but damn it Ragna it’s what keeps saving you!”
My anger evaporated as Rachel’s distraught eyes focused on mine.
“You’ve been so afraid of me becoming robotic that you’ve almost completely disconnected from me!” Rachel protested, “I love you Ragna, but damn it…” she trailed off.
“What?” I asked.
“I miss you,” Rachel admitted. “I know you’re focused on conquering, and I get it, it’s how we met! But…” Rachel’s shimmering blue eyes focused on mine now, “I feel like you’re running from me.”
I reached out to her with my right hand, and heaved a sigh, “I’m afraid, okay? Afraid of losing you.”
Rachel heaved a sigh, “I wasn’t happy to hear about what you did when we were apart.”
“I wasn’t happy either,” I admitted. “It’s why I crawled into a bottle and vanished.”
Rachel climbed into the bed with me, and cuddled next to me, snuggling against the crook of my neck. “Promise me you won’t crawl into that bottle again? Even with Timothy gone? Even if, somehow, I go again?”
I turned from her, holding her close, “Rachel I-”
“I want a promise from you,” Rachel demanded.
I turned to see her eyes leaking tears.
“If you love me, you can promise me this, can’t you?” Rachel pleaded.
I kissed her forehead, and dried her eyes, “I don’t plan on crawling into any bottles.”
Zepherina’s voice soon chimed in from the doorway to my hospital room, “but do you plan on finishing what you started with Xyphiel?”
I turned to see Zepherina’s eyes had shifted. Now, rather than orbs of fire or steam, I saw a pair of watery pools. Like liquid suspended in zero gravity. “Zepherina?”
“Timothy was my brother, my commander, my friend, and my role model,” she frowned, and I could see if she was capable, she’d be crying, “I could say the same for Lady Tasha. And while you weren’t a fan of Sofia, she was strong, brave, and driven. I remember the day when she was first called by Samael. She stared into the eyes of creation and didn’t blink. She earned more than my respect when she did that, she earned my admiration!”
I gave Zepherina a solemn nod, “Timothy is my son,” I tried to hold back tears, and substitute my sorrow for anger. “Xyphiel will pay for what he’s done! As far as all of Penthesil is concerned: He is an enemy of the state,” I stated, though tears still slipped from my eyes despite my best efforts. “He is my brother no longer!”
Zepherina nodded back to me, “that’s the smartest thing you’ve said since I met you,” she heaved a sigh, “I’ll help you with the assault on the United States. But you have to promise me two things.”
“What is that?” I asked.
Zepherina held out her index finger, “One: You let me lead the assaults.”
Rachel beamed, “you know that was a given, darling.”
Zepherina lifted a second finger, “and two: we minimize casualties at all times.”
“I think that’s more than fair,” I smiled, “we cannot rule a nation if we’re seen as butchers.”
“Good,” Zepherina smiled. She actually smiled! It was almost enough to lift my heart out of the basement of my chest.
Rachel got out of my bed and rushed to Zepherina, hugging her tightly, “Oh I’m so glad you’re back baby!”
Zepherina hugged Rachel, and heaved a sigh, looking at me, “I have one more favor,” she said, her eyes on my mechanical arm.
“Go ahead,” I beamed to her.
“If we run into Bella DelAvanna,” Zepheirna narrowed her eyes, “I want to be the one to kill her.”

“Zepherina,” Mistress Ragna asked of her daughter, “why don’t you take control of the Alexandrata?”
The daughter of Mistress Ragna was a different animal than that of her mother. At least at first.
But the way she was now, standing with Zithero protectively in her blade-like wings? I knew she was a warrior.
Battle was on the horizon, and I steeled myself to this reality.
I worried now, more than ever, for Fatima and my yet unnamed child. I wished to name her Asenath, the gift of Ra, the sun-god. Fatima wanted to name her Seeta, which would mean Goddess of the land.
I was not keen on naming our daughter Seeta.
Yet now it seemed that no matter what I did, Fatima would raise her alone.
My future was now committed to a battlefield.
I looked to Ragna and Zepherina as Zepherina’s strange eyes considered her offer.
Zepherina turned to Zithero, who was in her arms, and then faced Ragna.
It was almost amusing, how small Zithero was in the massive Zepherina’s embrace. He almost looked like a child.
“Take control, how?” Zepherina asked.
Ragna motioned to the circle, “you complete their coven. They gain their Titan abilities once more, and you will be the one who commands them, controls them.”
“You want me to make them my slaves?” Zepherina gasped.
Ragna nodded, “the Alexandrata are destined to be slaves, Zepherina. They are too powerful to function of their own free will.”
“Assuming the one controlling them isn’t evil,” Zepherina snapped.
“Are you evil, Zepherina?” Ragna asked.
Zepherina frowned, “I don’t know anymore.”
“You’re not!” Zithero shouted, “not in the least!”
Zepherina turned from Zithero, “you don’t know what I’ve done.”
“Whatever it was, even if it was terrible,” Zithero smiled to her, “the very fact you regret it so much speaks volumes of your true nature.”
Zepherina turned to him and gave him a peck on the cheek.
“Zepherina,” Ragna chuckled, “don’t tell me you’re coming out as Heterosexual to me!” she joked.
Zepherina narrowed her eyes on Ragna, “not funny, and none of your business.”
Ragna held up her hands, “Zepherina, I meant no harm, and I won’t intrude or question anything about you two again,” she motioned to Zithero and Zepherina, “assuming, of course, he doesn’t hurt you.”
Zithero frowned, “what if I did?”
Ragna narrowed her eyes, “there are many sayings about women, rage, and ‘Hell hath no fury’, so you can piece together the end results for yourself, Zithero.”
Zithero’s face lost some color and he swallowed hard, hugging Zepherina tightly.
Rasper grumbled, “Yer getting shite inlaws, brotha.”
“The matter at hand,” Ragna stepped aside from the pointed star, “if you do not do this now, then Xyphiel might change his mind. If Xyphiel wants Zithero he will take him, and you won’t be happy with the end results from there.”
“Is that a threat?” Zepherina snapped.
“A warning,” Ragna confessed, “not a threat in the least.”
Rasper now spoke, “I’d rather be dead than serve under Masta Xyphiel,” he turned to Zepherina, “if I ‘ad a say in the matta, ‘aving seen you fight when I ‘ave, and ‘eard what Alexis has tol’ me of yah, I’d prefer it if yah took Ragna up on the offa.”
Alexis pouted, “she stopped me from popping people’s heads off!”
Zepherina now turned to me, and I looked to the ground to avoid her gaze.
“Well?” Zepherina asked, “what about you Syria? You seem oddly loyal to Xyphiel.”
I recalled the commendations Xyphiel gave me when I performed my tasks well. Always tackling them like a proper soldier. Always doing exactly what I was told.
My only break from it was Fatima. By the grace of Ra, Mistress Ragna had allowed me more time with her. But in recent days I’d been called to battle more times than I care to admit. Additionally, that fighting has led to Fatima’s protesting of my missions.
Zepherina would surely want me to join her on her march against the United States. The battle cry “For Theodora” was hers, and it was the rallying cry that pushed the soldiers of Penthesil to re-enlist. Troop numbers had swelled as morale shot up, and an eagerness to strike back was now a simple matter of patriotism.
I looked up to Zepherina, “I don’t believe my opinion matters.”
“That’s a lie,” Zepherina clarified, “your opinion matters.”
I looked to Rasper and Alexis, and glanced at Zithero, “I do as my master or mistress commands, I am a proper soldier. Loyal, and obedient.” I bowed, “If my Mistress wishes you to take her place then I support it.”
“Zith?” Zepherina asked.
“I guess that means that Xyphiel isn’t my emperor card after all,” Zith said, smiling.
“Emperor card?” Ragna asked Zithero.
“A prophecy,” Zithero smiled to Zepherina, “it’s fine, I trust Zeph.”
“Dat settles it then, three ta one vote,” Rasper chuckled, “though Syria is right, we don’t ‘ave much say in dis.”
Ragna moved away from her place and let Zepherina stand at the fifth point of the Pentacle on the ground.
Zithero moved to the point of earth, the southern pointing star.
This was directly across from me, on the eastern star of wind.
Rasper stood on the northern point of the star.
Alexis swayed back and forth impatient on Zithero’s left.
Between Alexis and myself, Zepherina moved to the peak point of the star.
Each point represented our elements, with the peak being the spirits themselves.
Thus where our would-be-master or mistress would stand.
Rasper turned to me, “lead her, Syria.”
“Princess,” I turned to Zepherina, “Repeat after me, please.”
Zepherina nodded.
“I, then you say your name, lay claim to these four souls, whom shall embody the elements of fire, water, earth, and air,” I explained.
I, Zepherina ‘Hera’ Hippolyte, lay claim to these four souls, whom shall embody the elements of fire, water,” she smiled to Zithero, “earth, and air.”
I sighed, “I seal this pact, as set forth by the Goddess Dionysus, to grant the power of Titans, whose wrath the Goddess was reborn from, to these four souls standing upon this Pentacle.”
I seal this pact, as set forth by the Goddess Dionysus,” Zepherina’s hands and body began to glow a bright violet.
As she spoke I felt my own spirits evoking, and glanced to see that fire was now surrounding Rasper.
Water spun around Alexis, as she poked at the blobs of it happily before her.
I turned to look across from me, and I witnessed roots climb around Zithero’s feet.
A wind began to whirl around me, and my hair rose as electricity arced between my fingertips. My heart hammered in my chest as I felt the weight of my human body rapidly leave me.
Still, tears leaked down my face. I hoped Fatima would not reject me if I came to her again with newfound power.
To grant the power of Titans, whose wrath the Goddess was reborn from, to these four souls standing upon this Pentacle!” Zepherina finished the incantation, and I felt the snap.
I was weightless, floating in the air, my thoughts literally wind as I felt my feet leave the ground.
I opened my eyes to see Zithero’s body covered in vines, and his skin was stone.
Rasper grinned his entire form now nothing but fire. His skin glowed red, his eyes were nothing but white-hot pools in his head. As he laughed his mouth was the same, white-hot magma replaced his tongue, “Yes! O’ I’ve missed dis!” He closed his eyes and smiled, “‘Ello boys, I’m back! O’ Daddy’s ‘ome!”
I glanced at Alexis and smiled.
Alexis had a serene look on her face, her body was translucent, a swirling shape of water. Even her hair was fluid, flowing, and her eyes a pair of aqua-marine spheres in her human-shaped head.
Alexis was never herself when she was human. The ebb and flow of water seemed to suit her well.
Zepherina looked to all of us, concern on her face, “now what? And will you always look like that?”
Rasper grinned, his body changing to that of his former self, granted, now his eyes had shifted from green to red, “no, Mistress. But in battle, our Titan forms will come forth.”
I nodded, slowly landing, shifting to a humanoid shape. I knew my eyes were now yellowish, no longer the green that was our previous default. “Rasper is correct, Mistress,” I bowed, “we are at your command.”
Zithero cleared his throat, stumbling a bit as he walked forward, now in human form as a staff grew out of the ground and reached into his hand, “I can feel the spirits no longer looking to me for requests but… guidance. It’s so strange, Mistress.” Zithero’s eyes were the only ones to remain green.
Zepherina frowned, “Zith, no mistress, that’s weird. Please don’t treat me any differently than you did before.”
Zithero smiled, “Sure thing, Zeph!”
“We have to abide by anything you order,” Rasper informed, “Mistress.”
Zepherina frowned, “Anything?”
Alexis reformed to her human shape, her eyes now a lovely aquamarine blue, “yep! Anything!” she chirped, hugging Zithero’s arm, “making rivers, and lakes, controlling the tides, all kinds of fun stuff!”
Zepherina nodded, turning to Alexis, “you don’t kill anyone anymore.”
Alexis frowned, “but it’s so much fun!”
“Have fun making wells and cleaning up dirty water then,” Zepherina narrowed her eyes on her.
Alexis took a deep breath, and smiled, “Yes, Mistress!”
Zepherina now turned to Rasper, “and you… I need you to help me on the battlefield.”
“Anything dat needs burnin’,” Rasper grinned, “I’m yah Titan, Mistress.”
Zepherina shook her head, “I want the Spartan tactician, not the Firelord.”
Rasper smiled, “Aye, I can do dat too.”
“I need you to help me plan a war that will kill as few people as possible,” Zepherina ordered.
Rasper, for once, smiled brightly at a command, “Well… sure.”
I stood at attention, ready for my orders.
Zepherina turned to me, “Syria?”
“Yes, Mistress?” I shouted, clicking my heels together. Ready to prove to my new mistress that I was loyal and obedient.
“You’re expecting a child, so I would prefer if you spent your time with Fatima, and your yet to be born baby,” Zepherina ordered.
I blinked, turning to Zepherina, shock, and confusion running through me, “You… you want me to what, Mistress?”
“Spend time with Fatima,” Zepherina smiled, “that’s an order.”
My jaw trembled and my legs shook. My heart hammered in my chest and a lump formed in my throat as my hand moved to my mouth to stop my jaw from chattering.
Rasper’s smile grew, “Now… dis is somethin’ I neva thought I’d see.”
I gasped and walked towards Zepherina, “y-you mean it, Mistress?” I stammered, tears dripping from my eyes.
Zepherina smiled warmly, “yes.”
I hugged her, sobbing, “Thank you, Mistress! Thank you!” it was all I could say as I cried against her arm.
Rasper was soon behind me, hugging me. “Sis…”
I looked to Rasper, sniffling, “What?”
“Yah ‘ave yer orders, doncha?” Rasper grinned at me.
My heart leaped, “yes!” I smiled at Zepherina, “I won’t fail, Mistress.”
With that I rushed out of the room and flew through the air, creating a portal and zipping through it in an instant.
I flew to the church doors and flung them open, and spotted Fatima there, arranging candles.
Fatima turned as she saw me fly towards her, at first her face twisted in concern.
I flew towards her, hugging her tightly, and kissed her as we floated into the air.
Fatima gasped, and kissed back, shocked, “S-Syria?! Why are we flying?!”
“Because,” I beamed to her, smiling warmly, “you’re never going to need to worry about me again!”
Fatima’s beautiful lips turned to a smile, “what do you mean?”
“I’ve been ordered to be by your side,” my hand moved to her stomach, “and her side.”
Fatima kissed me, as her arms wrapped around my shoulders.
As we broke the kiss, and I grinned to her, “and our daughter will not be named Seeta.”

A few days had passed since I had become a Titan. It was strange to be this way, to be a man and yet a powerful earth spirit.
Was I the Beast of the Earth as Samael warned? Or did I avoid that fate when I cast aside the Staff of Moses?
I contemplated all of this as I walked among many tall and powerful warriors.
The earth itself welcomed my footfalls, and I was at least comforted by that.
Rasper landed from the air, fire vanishing from around him. He had returned from the base in the distance. He stood tall and happy, fire surrounding him. I preferred to remain human, myself.
“Zithy-poo!” Alexis called out to me.
I winced as terrible memories came back of my past deeds. But Rasper was right about one thing: it was easier to push them down as a Titan.
Alexis hugged me tightly, grinning, “Now that the stick in the mud isn’t here, we can have fun!”
“Not too much fun,” Rasper said, as he made his way past us and towards the back lines of multiple soldiers.
Alexis huffed, turning to me. She held my arm, “you’re mine now, Zithy-poo!”
I sighed, “Alexis, you’re my sister, and I’m happy about that, but…” I looked ahead to see Zepherina resting on her haunches, a massive sword on the ground next to her. “My heart belongs to someone else.”
Alexis giggled.
Rasper approached Zepherina, “I’ve issued dah warning, Mistress: I told ‘em da base ‘ill come unda attack and all inside will die. Dat der time to evacuate is now.”
“Thanks, Rasper,” Zepherina smiled at him, getting to her feet. She looked at me, her strange new eyes now balls of steam. “So, you’re not afraid of me?”
“No more than I was before,” I grinned at Zepherina.
Zepherina smiled, and leaned down, hugging me. I hugged her back, and as I did I noticed a hint of green joining her violet eyes.
Zepherina looked out at the wall that was in the distance, “Do you know how the US used nukes?”
I shook my head.
“They attacked Japan with them, but they only had two,” Zepherina sighed, “But they got scared that the US might have more of them.”
“And surrendered,” Ragna soon finished for her, approaching us. Her left arm from the elbow down was clad in a golden gauntlet, one I had seen Xyphiel use before. “The same tactic would be a good start.”
Zepherina turned to Ragna, “you promised me, minimal casualties?”
Ragna gave her a nod, “you have my word. This is not a demonstration of power, it’s a liberation mission.” Ragna moved forwards through the troops, eventually meeting with a captain of hers, Madison Hill.
Madison Hill saluted to Ragna, and the pair began to speak, each walking away from the central lines of soldiers.
I turned to Zeph, “she’s no longer with Xyphiel now?”
Zeph nodded, “ momma has a baby on the way.”
Alexis giggled, “bouncing baby,” she said in a sing-song manner.
I looked to Ragna who looked out on the wall, her eyes were distant.
“She’s usin’ da assault ta ‘ide her pain,” Rasper sighed, “the loss o’ Timothy is weighing on ‘er.”
Zeph looked down at me, “Eva is still in her Coma, and… I don’t know how I’m going to break the loss of Timothy, Tasha, and Sofia to her.”
I frowned, “we’ve lost a lot.”
Alexis walked over to Zepherina, “I’m sorry Mistress Zepherina, to hear about your brother.”
Zeph nodded, “Lady Tasha too, and Captain Sofia.”
Alexis looked to her feet, “Lady Tasha… I almost forgot…”
I glanced at Alexis, and I sighed heavily, recalling Tasha from my own memories.
I had so many memories of Tasha, not all great, but still, I heaved a sigh. “If anyone was going to heaven, it’s Tasha, Timothy, and… well I do hope Sofia.”
Zeph smiled, “She’d knock the doors down if they didn’t let her in,” her smile turned to a grin, “Sofia was always a bad-ass.”
I laughed at Zeph’s remarks.
“I guess it’s time to knock,” Zeph turned to me “Zith, do you think I’m doing the right thing?”
I smiled, “Zeph if you’re doing it, I trust you.”
Zeph smiled at me, “Good. Because I feel like a monster. If I ever go too far, will you tell me?”
“You’re the furthest thing from a monster,” I assured her.
Ragna looked back to us and gave a nod signaling for Zeph to attack.
I stepped away from Zeph, making sure to move Alexis back with me. Rasper joined us.
Zeph took a breath and dashed towards the massive concrete border wall.
She ran off at such intense speed, I had to steady myself with my staff.
Rasper watched her run off, and heaved a sigh, “enjoy it fer now.”
I frowned, “What do you mean?”
“Absolute power corrupts absolutely,” Rasper informed.
“Not her,” I defended.
“Yah say dat,” Rasper shook his head, as a sonic boom echoed through the air.
I braced myself, as out in the distance Zeph picked up even more speed, barreling towards the border wall. The large concrete structure had a base of some kind built into it.
I wondered, and hoped, that the soldiers that were stationed there left as per Rasper’s warning.
I watched in awe as Zeph smashed into the wall, the wall itself buckled, and to my shock, it toppled over.
“She’s afraid o’ becoming a monsta,” Rasper turned to me, “if yah ask me, she’s a lil’ too late.”
I shook my head, “you’re wrong,” I said as the soldiers all cheered.
I spotted that Ragna's face was still twisted. A million emotions ran past her eyes. Pride in Zepherina, sorrow over the loss of her son, and Tasha, and I cannot help but imagine that Sofia’s death also weighed on her.
I decided to approach her, and see if there was anything she might wish to admit, as she was the only one not cheering.
Alexis followed next to me, smiling wide.
“So,” I began, “this is an interesting new chapter.”
Ragna nodded, “A world without my brother,” she turned to me, “you at least don’t need to worry about your supposed prophecy.”
I smiled, “I think I do because Zepherina was in my cards.”
“Was she your Empress Card?” Ragna mocked.
“No,” I smiled, “She’s the Hierophant.”
Saint Demond heaved a sigh as he turned to me, and I too was afraid for The Temple’s future. “This is…” he shuddered as we looked over the bodies of Saint Timothy, Lady Tasha, and Saint Sofia. All were nude, except for a sheet covering them.
“I have no words,” I walked over to Saint Timothy’s body, as I looked at his seemingly resting face, “she did a good job on them, I suppose.”
Lilith slithered past me, “Of course I did,” she moved over each body, her hand caressing their cheeks, “it’s a shame, it really is.”
“I can’t believe Xyphiel was mad enough to kill his own children,” Saint Demond growled, “Because of that, we will have to make sacrifices.”
Lilith gave a nod, “help me seal them up then.”
Xei, the vampiress, soon joined us, her face a grimace as she looked over Tasha. Xei’s hand caressed Tasha’s face, and moved over the scar on her left cheek, “you even restored her imperfections. Not that Tasha has many.”
“It wasn’t that difficult,” Lilith’s eyes roamed over the bodies with a strange sort of reverence, “it’s Maccabe work but reconstructing flesh is not so terrible.”
Xei unfurled a set of Lady Tasha’s robes, “we should get them dressed.”
Lilith turned to Saint Demond and I, “boys, turn around please? Don’t want you peeking at the girls,” they said as they removed the sheets from their bodies.
I turned, and sighed heavily, “Timothy should be dressed too.”
Saint Demond sighed, “we’ll have to do that next. The concern was all of the artifacts that he had on him.”
“Timothy also only has the one trenchcoat,” I shook my head, “he always had a favorite.”
“Edgelord,” Saint Demond smirked, shaking his head.
“Pardon?” I frowned, turning to Saint Demond.
“Nothing,” Saint Demond’s smile faded as we heard the girls finishing up.
“Okay, all done,” Lilith announced.
Irfan soon joined us, “Father Thomas and Trevor have cleared the foyer, no one will enter for some time.”
“Good,” Lilith nodded, “now, men, be useful.”
Saint Demond and I took on the dour task of sealing the listless bodies into canvas bags for easier transport.
Of the bodies, Lady Tasha’s weighed more than Saint Sofia’s. But, I felt that Saint Timothy’s was the heaviest.
With much effort, we dragged the three heavy bags from the crypt where Lilith had reconstructed the trio.
I was not pleased in the least with the strange woman’s machinations. Her methods were dark and I was unnerved by what she did to the corpses that we presented to her.
Even as the figures shifted from their decrepit states to fully restored versions, I knew there was no real life in them.
Saint Demond was the only one of this bunch I trusted with impunity.
I barely trusted Xei, despite her helping us with this morbid task.
Irfan sighed, “I will have no further part in this,” he said as he returned to the medical bay, “it is, indeed, unnatural.”
“Suit yourself,” Lilith said as she united them from the canvas bags they were housed in, and I recoiled at the sight.
Their faces and bodies were certainly identical to Saint Sofia, Lady Tasha, and Saint Timothy, but they gave off an inhuman and unholy stink I was not fond of.
“I agree with Saint Irfan, This is… unnatural,” I sighed.
“My first husband said that when I tried to be the one on top during sex,” Lilith rolled her eyes, “I do hope this works. This was no easy task…”
We reached the temple doors, and Saint Demond checked a watch on his wrist. “Should be any minute… if Sync was right, then… well we’ll have only exactly one minute and thirty seconds to act.”
Xei grumbled, “Sofia better be able to pull this off. Otherwise, these abominations might have to be more than mere replicas.”
“If you are suggesting that these…” I looked down to the soulless face of Timothy beneath me. It was breathing, sleeping, but I felt no love from the thing. It was undressed, unlike the others who were copies of Lady Tasha and Saint Sofia.
I was unsure why Timothy was the only one completely nude.
Soon, the temple doors burst open, and a bright light filled the room.
“Move, now, fast!” the real Saint Sofia shouted from the other side of the Temple doors.
Xei grabbed the version of Saint Sofia, and hurled it out of the doors of the Temple, while Saint Demond did the same for Lady Tasha’s double.
I helped as Lady Tasha pulled the real Saint Timothy inside the Guardian Temple.
“What?! No! You cannot save me! Xyphiel has to kill me!” Saint Timothy shouted in protest.
We pulled him to face his doppelganger, and Timothy’s eyes went wide in horror.
“What have you done?” Timothy gasped in shock.
“Strip him!” Sofia shouted, “and dress the copy!”
“You knew?!” Timothy screamed as Tasha disrobed him swiftly.
Xei soon jumped in to help, “it was Sync who told us, and told us to tell Sofia what to do. Honestly, we had to keep you folks who are incapable of lying on a ‘need-to-know’ basis,” Xei explained.
“I don’t understand,” Timothy glared at Xei, “Xyphiel will know these aren’t us!” He now glared at me, “this isn’t like with the fire to fool Belial! Xyphiel has ways of confirming if it is or isn’t us!”
I frowned, “that was handled by Lillith,” I pointed to the serpent woman next to me.
Lilith smiled, “I built homunculus out of each of you.”
“Thirty seconds, hurry the fuck up!” Sofia shouted, “I can’t keep the Temple’s Time dilation outside for much longer!”
Xei looked to Saint Timothy, “Timothy! Your arm!”
I frowned as I saw that, though it was cauterized, Saint Timothy’s right arm was missing. Though at this point all of his clothing was too, and he held his wings over his hips.
“Yes, I know,” Timothy hissed.
“No, it’s just that… damn it!” Xei pulled out her knife, “no time to check, this has to be slap-dash!” Xei sliced the right arm off the homunculus, and as she did, it started to scream!
Saint Demond grabbed the copy of Timothy and pushed it towards the door.
“Xei!” the copy screamed, “Why?!?” the copy turned to face Saint Timothy, “What is this?! Demond!? What are you doing?”
Saint Timothy glared at Lilith, “What… did you… do?!”
“I'm sorry,” Saint Demond said as he hurled the screaming homunculus out of the temple, shuddering.
Sofia now stepped back inside the Temple, the doors slamming shut. “...why did it scream, and why did it look at me like it was betrayed?” Sofia turned to Lillith, “I know it had no soul, but what was that?”
Lilith crossed her arms, “A perfect copy, as was requested. A doppelganger homunculus has the memories of it’s duplicate up to the time the copy was made.”
Timothy glared at her, “When was that copy made?!”
“Yesterday,” Lilith explained, turning to Saint Timothy, “and because of it, you are now safe.”
Saint Sofia collapsed onto the temple floor, blood dripping from her back.
“Sofia!” Saint Timothy rushed to her side, holding her in his arm.
“Just… taking… a nap…” Saint Sofia smiled up to him as she closed her eyes, holding his shoulder.
Saint Timothy turned to all of us, narrowing his eyes on Tasha, “You were all in on this?”
Lady Tasha nodded, and I saw a similar wound on her back, “Sync formulated... the plan with... Xei.”
Xei nodded, “I wanted to grow clones, but Sofia couldn’t get the time dilation of the Temple to shift on a room-by-room basis,” Xei heaved a sigh, “and I lack the proper equipment and lab to do decent cloning.”
Lilith slithered towards Saint Timothy, “Sofia was lamenting about how you might die, and as such Sam suggested doubles.”
“His face,” Saint Timothy whispered, visibly shaken, “that was too real…”
Lilith shrugged, “Real enough. Sync planned that at some point, Xyphiel would attack your arm. She designed it to fail if that happened, and designed an explosion that would take out everything in the area.”
Saint Timothy picked up Saint Sofia with his wings, using his remaining arm to help lift her up.
I rushed over with a blanket, draping it over Saint Timothy’s shoulders, “I know this is dark business,” I frowned, “but even the Prophet Elijah used Necromancy to defeat those who stood against God.”
Saint Timothy looked down at me, concern on his face, “you’re certain of this, Jorge?”
“It’s my job to know,” I nodded, “I know this business was… unsavory,” I confessed, “but the goal was to save you, and to ensure Xyphiel and Ragna would no longer be together.”
Saint Timothy stopped before the statue of Saint Dinah, looking up to her, “what would she have done?”
My hand was on his shoulder, “anything to save you and the Guardian Temple.”
Saint Timothy turned to face each of us, and I took a step back. I wanted to ensure I could hear what he was about to say.
“Every one of you disobeyed me,” Saint Timothy chastised.
I turned away, disappointed in myself.
“But you did so, with good intentions,” Saint Timothy continued, “I have to admit… I didn’t want to die,” he winced, “the look on my doppelganger's face was a clear indication of that.”
I turned to Saint Timothy and smiled, now pleased with the job we did.
“Every one of you,” Saint Timothy said, “did your task,” he smiled, “We have to learn from the mistakes of our fallen loved ones, and honor their sacrifices.”
Saint Demond smiled his thoughts likely on his fallen brother, Elon.
I smiled as well as I thought of poor Fred and Sandy.
“We aren’t going to honor their memories or their contributions by needlessly getting ourselves killed,” Saint Timothy stated, “There are many foes we have yet to face. And as such, the world is going to need us,” he beamed proudly, “the New Guardian Temple will rise to defend, in ways it never could before. All of you,” he turned to Lilith, “are now Guardians of not just this Temple, but every Temple God has ever made.”
I smiled wide as my heart rose in my chest.
Timothy stood there, Sofia cradled in his wings in nothing but the blanket I had draped over him. But even in such a vulnerable state, for the very first time, I saw him.
Saint Timothy of Enoch, the Metatron, the Leader of The Guardian Temple.
Timothy decreed, “We will be there to protect it from every enemy, no matter how powerful they may be.”
End of Book 1
submitted by Zithero to The_Guardian_Temple [link] [comments]

2020.09.24 17:57 RuiGomesPT Is it just me or are the sniper rifles just really bad in this game?

Like, I don't know, I can use any weapon to a decent degree, but sniper rifles just seem extremely bad. Like, they are satisfying to use, but they just feel so awful to get kills with. Their only use seems to be leveling your evo shields or something.
For example, the Kraber. The Kraber is supposed to be the "super sniper", but even the strongest sniper needs a headshot to down a target in one shot, and not only that, but you have to take into account the insane mobility people have in this game, the distance to the target, bullet travel, bullet drop and the fact that some characters just so happen to have smaller hitboxes than the others, and even if you do land a headshot, the opponent can still use the knockdown shield to slowly drag himself into cover. Knockdown shields seem really useless for the most part, but if there's one thing they are effective at is protecting you from sniper rifles, because with snipers you can't wiggle around them to shoot them at the side and if you are doing that, you might as well be using a shotgun instead.
Like, I don't think the Kraber can down anyone in 1 shot to the body if they have at least a white shield. (Maybe wraith but good luck hitting her).
The best sniper in this game reminds me of, idk, a nerfed version of the scout from CS 1.6 way back in 2004.
Then the other snipers are even bigger jokes.
The Sentinel is like a mini Kraber, that takes 2 headshots to kill a target with at least a white shield and 4 body to down a target with a red shield.
The Longbow is my favorite sniper rifle actually, just because it always kills in 2 hits to the head and you can spam the fucker. I'd argue the Longbow is better than the Kraber even, because at least with the Longbow you can fuck people up in close quarters if you are good at aiming it, and it takes as many shots to kill a target at a distance as the Sentinel does anyway.
Charge Rifle is a hitscan weapon that wouldn't be a meme if it didn't have the windup animation. Also, one of the slowest reload times in the game from what I've seen.
Triple Take is my second favorite Sniper Rifle after the Longbow because it works kinda like the Longbow. 2 headshots is enough to down anyone at any distance, despite the choke windup. Also, you can spam it in close quarters, kinda like a shotgun.
The G7 Scout is unironically a better Sniper than the Snipers available in the game. Just put some sights on this and learn to aim a bit and this shit destroys people way faster than a sniper would.
The Wingman is another weapon that is better at sniping than snipers themselves. 7 Bullets and relatively fast fire rate, also high damage at any distance. I'd take this revolver over any sniper rifle in the game.
Like, I don't understand why the Kraber can't be an actual AWP, and then have the Sentinel be the Scout. Why do they both have to be worse versions of the Scout, and the only difference between the two is how much worse one is from the other.
Just let the Kraber one-hit anyone at any distance to the body, then let Sentinel always 1 hit in the head and 2-hit to the body and then there's a reason to actually try to snipe in this game.
"But then you'd start complaining about the Kraber once you started dying to it every game".
Lol no. The Kraber is kinda rare. I barely ever find a red weapon in my games, but when I do find, I hope it's the R99, because that gun is absolutely insane at everything.
Also, aren't the red weapons supposed to be stronger than the other guns? That's why they only drop in care packages, no?
I'd honestly have a Prowler with Select Fire or an R99 at distance than a Kraber or pretty much any sniper rifle. That's just how bad the Snipers actually are in the game.
submitted by RuiGomesPT to apexlegends [link] [comments]

2020.09.24 17:47 PeaceSim My friends and I are urban explorers who break into doomsday bunkers for the super wealthy. We snuck into one my father built, and we'd be lucky if any of us escape from it alive. [Part 2]

Part 1
We looked over the floor chart outside the elevator on B1 as we planned our next move. This place obviously took years for my dad to construct. How long had he kept this a secret from all of us?
The funny thing about my dad is that he kept so much hidden while never letting us have secrets of our own. I’d kept a diary for a few years as a kid, but stopped after dad let slip several comments that revealed that he’d been discretely reading it.
Now, it turns out that the ‘business trips’ that had kept him absent for so much of me and Mason’s childhood were, in fact, clandestine expeditions to build his fantasy world. It was in-character that he had illicitly obtained a vast trove of private medical information; in his ideal world, he alone would get to have all of the secrets.
“The elevator stopped here before it became inoperative,” said Nicole, pointing to the spot for “B7”.
“Great,” I said. “The only way out is to find Mason, and the only way to find Mason is to go all the way down. We need to figure out what happened to Joe, too. Hopefully, we can just ride the elevator back out again once we get them.”
Once we get them? repeated Isha. “I wish I had your confidence. There are a lot of things in here that I don’t think want us to get out. I’m still processing what happened to Cheyenne.”
“I understand,” I said, “but if we don’t hurry, the same thing is guaranteed to happen to us. We have to keep going and not give up.”
I recommended that we take the stairs down to the bottom, but Nicole reminded me that none of us had access to B7, at least from the doors that connect to the staircase. “Your card only grants you access to B2 and both of you only have access to B5,” said Nicole. “If we’re going to make it down, we’ll have to find another way.”
I wasn’t enticed by the idea of entering either floor we had access to directly from the staircase after what happened to Cheyenne. Isha showed me a small floor map she’d found of B1 and B2 while I was out. She motioned to a shape marked as a ‘supply shaft’ on B1 in the room with ‘Materials’ written over the entrance. “If it’s large enough,” she said, “we can use this slide to get down to B2 without going through the front door.”
We maneuvered through the security station, avoiding the sensor area that had killed Cheyenne. We took our backpacks of supplies with us, as well as the one Mason had left behind.
As we approached the ‘Materials’ room, I heard the creak of a door behind us. In the light of a glowstick we’d left behind, a handle slowly turned. “We’re being followed,” I whispered.
We rushed into the room. The first thing we saw was a stream of running water. “The map says this is the highest of a series of interconnected aquifers that run parallel to the facility. I think they eventually connect to the river we saw outside,” said Isha. Part of the water ran by an enclosed area marked ‘Livestock’.
As we scurried past it, we noticed that the animals within it were grotesquely deformed. A chicken had two heads. A greenish material connected three pigs into one form with a bizarre, oval-shaped center that exuded a murky goo that formed a puddle within which their legs seemed stuck. Their squeals were contorted and uneven.
“We need to pass through here,” directed Isha, leading us into an arboretum brightly lit by LED grow lights. The air had a sour quality to it, and the plants looked unnaturally tangled. The substance left by the creatures extended across different plants, seemingly joining them together.
“Watch out!” Nicole yelled, grabbing her girlfriend and pulling her back just as a plant swung what looked like a particularly thorny vine. It barely missed Isha.
“What was that?” asked Isha. “We’re taking a detour out of here.”
I tried to follow them, only to gag and fall backwards. I felt myself dragged across the slimy floor, through dirt, and over a series of peppers and Cannabis leaves. I tried to call for my friends, but an appendage covered my mouth.
I desperately bit into it as I found myself surrounded by vile, discolored plants that towered over me. The appendage emitted a liquid substance than ran into my throat. I gagged again as I accidentally swallowed some of it.
The leaves, branches, and appendages of the plants around me began to take misshapen anthropomorphic forms. One that resembled a white lily flower mumbled incoherently. An aloe vera twisted its jagged leaves as it repeated in an androgenous voice “Sorry sorry sorry sorry”. An enormous Venus fly trap opened its mouth as it waddled towards me. Each side of its sticky leaves vaguely resembled a human face, but the proportions were all wrong.
“Drink the blood. Ease the suffering,” said one through its gaping mouth.
“Come, tend the garden with us,” said the other.
The liquid started to have an effect on me. I felt light and relaxed. Vines continued to wrap around me as the fly trap slowly approached, but I did not feel threatened and stopped resisting.
In the calmness that followed, my mind drifted.
When we were younger, Nicole and I had often broken into empty buildings on our walks back from school, and each wave of layoffs that hit the town created more places to explore.
I found myself giggling with a ten-year-old Nicole outside an empty home we’d declared our headquarters. Over several weeks, we’d carried in patchy furniture we’d found by trash cans on the neighboring street and created our own imaginary land to rule over within the vacant walls.
In the evening, I laid on the floor with her and as we gazed at the stars through a hole in the ceiling.
“There’s so much out there I’ll never see,” said Nicole. “All I want is to get out of this dying town and explore some of it.”
“What, and leave me behind?” I responded, feigning offense.
“Your family should have left here ages ago,” said Nicole. “Your dad can look after whatever ‘business interests’ he has in the region from somewhere else. You need to beg him to take Mason and you and leave.”
“But I’d miss you,” I said.
“I’d miss you too,” said Nicole. “But I’d rather us miss each other if it meant that you could go live your life somewhere better. I’m stuck here, but at least then I could imagine myself in your place.”
A hazy figure interrupted my fantasy as she jammed a long knife into one of the lobes of the fly trap, which hovered less than a foot from my face. It emitted a loud, high-pitched squeal as a thick, dark-red substance leaked out of it. Vine-like appendages retracted as it retreated.
Nicole picked up her knife from where it had fallen and used it to hack away at my remaining bindings. Isha gripped me from behind and pulled me back out to the pathway.
The appendage dropped out of my mouth. My sense of pain and my muscle control slowly returned. “I’m so sorry I’m still here,” I said to Nicole.
“What the hell are you talking about?” said Nicole.
“She’s not thinking straight,” said Isha.
“I was supposed to leave…” I muttered. They dragged me against a wall as my mind regained its sense of reality.
“Those plants…they were like…combined with p-people,” I stuttered.
“They certainly bled like people,” said Nicole. She helped me up and I confirmed that I was thinking straight again. We didn’t have time to reflect further on what happened and continued searching for the supply shaft.
We passed a cramped area marked ‘Quarters’ that consisted of tiny slabs of stone before arriving at the foot of a long cave that resembled a mine. This area was covered with the creatures that resembled the organism we found on the lobby ceiling, as well as swampy puddles of the secretion it left behind.
“There it is,” said Isha, pointing to a metal slide down which rocks brought to it by the creatures fell to B2. It was large enough for us to use.
We moved cautiously, cognizant of the danger posed by the creatures even as these ones thus far seemed to ignore us in favor of their tasks. I looked over my shoulder to confirm that our pursuers hadn’t found us.
One of the creatures rolled several pieces of dark ore towards the slide. It stumbled weakly before diving into a deposit of the sludge. When it emerged from it, it regained a translucent quality that made it virtually impossible to see, though from the glimpses I caught, it seemed stronger and more agile. I quickly lost track of it as it hopped back into the deep end of the mine.
I see you are admiring my new laborers, rang out dad’s voice across the intercom. Were cameras in place allowing him to watch us? I built in this location, many miles from the sites of my friends’ shelters, both because of the neighboring water supply and also because I discovered that the ground here contained trace elements of extraterrestrial origin ripe for study and experimentation.
Extraterrestrial? A few hours ago, I would have laughed at such a comment. But then again, a few hours ago, I didn’t even expect to ever hear my dad’s voice again.
These creatures, who I call the Chindra, crashed here several geologic periods ago, my dad continued. They remained stuck in a form of stasis until I broke into their ship.
The Chindra have a connection to their queen that I don’t fully understand. But, I do know that the queen merely needs to think up a command for them, and they follow it. So, I had my scientists discretely perform a bit of an operation on me. An operation that involved a substance inherent to the creatures’ biological structures that, among other properties, can, under the right conditions, combine different living beings into one. It took several tries to get the procedure right, but clones like me are discardable.
Clones? I thought. No wonder the government had kept trying to investigate my dad’s companies.
Finally, it worked, and one clone was able to survive the operation and combine with the body of the queen we found on the ship. You are listening to that clone right now.
I immediately thought of the implications. This man was a clone of my father, and my real father had died. Right? Or, what if the man I saw in the casket was also a clone, and my real father was still alive somewhere?
I now have permanent, total control over my laborers, said my dad’s voice. Technology and automation play critical roles in running Abernathy City, but the society I want to preside over is one to which living beings contribute. And the Chindra are ideal for the role I have found for them. They can complete many physical tasks at my command, from building concealed exhaust pipes to collecting raw materials to developing metal supports for extending and reinforcing the structure of the facility. I was able to easily create a supply of food for them, and they work hard without sickness, breaks, or complaints. You have no idea how much Abernathy City has gained by replacing its unskilled human laborers with them.
Of course, there are some downsides. A tiny number – around 1% – of the Chindra lack a mental connection to the queen. They act independently and, in the process, have wreaked havoc on several parts of the facility. I believe you saw one in the lobby; it ate much of our staff on that level.
But no matter. I have developed a team of hunters to combat them, and the discarded employees are replaceable. Oh, and by the way, I have also assigned the hunters to pursue you as a training exercise. On that note, the only one of you who seems equipped to handle yourself in a fight – Nicole, I believe –may want to duck.
Nicole sprang to the floor just as a blast sprayed into the wall behind her. My father laughed as the speaker cut off.
Isha and I followed Nicole’s example. The two of us landed in a pool of the substance left by the Chindra. I scooped it up and spread it over my body. “I think they won’t be able to see us so long as this covers us,” I whispered to a confused Isha. “You need to move, quickly.”
I tiptoed against the wall as the cool substance ran down me. I raised my own hand and could barely see its outline; I was practically invisible.
Three darkly-clad figures wielding shotguns approached from the darkness. They appeared well-built. Black ski masks covered their faces and grenades lined one of their belts.
They aimed their weapons to where Isha and I had fallen and fired several shots. Luckily, Isha appeared to have listened to my advice and fled while camouflaged, as the shells only hit the gooey substance and the surface underneath.
I held my breath as the figures mumbled something to each other. Oh no, I thought, as they attached pairs of advanced-looking goggles to their faces. One of them scanned the room until he found me and raised his weapon.
Joe emerged from behind the man and shoved him to the ground. “Run!” he yelled as the two struggled.
I watched as Nicole and then the barely-visible, frail form of Isha sprang down the slide. I leapt for the same destination as more shots, presumably from the other two hunters, echoed through the cavernous room before I awkwardly tumbled to the next level.
The room below was loud and also filled with the Chindra. Above me, several operated a furnace while others guided molten metal into massive ladles.
I looked down at myself. I was largely visible again; the fall down the slide had scraped off most of the substance and left me with several bruises. I needed to move, something Nicole and Isha appeared to have done already.
But what would I do next? I had no way to get to B3 from here. The only thing I could think of was to reach a staircase, use my pass to get to B5, and hope there was a way to enter that didn’t cause me to meet the same fate as Cheyenne.
I jumped over an assembly line on which a combination of automated machinery and alien creatures assembled food, clothing, and other products. I found myself by a tarp that blocked off an area with a horrendous odor.
I peeked inside and nearly vomited at what I saw: piles of dozens and dozens of human bodies, as well as sets of bones stripped of their flesh. A tiny opening in the dirt wall on the other side led to rapidly-flowing water, a small stream of which funneled into a trough from which the Chindra sipped.
The creatures climbed over the bodies. Their mouths rotated, taking turns grabbing and chewing bites of human meat. Several of the bodies belonged to powerful-looking men in suits; many more wore construction helmets and vests. I dropped to my knees when I recognized Cheyenne’s limp form among them.
Isha crept up to me. “Get up, we have to keep moving,” she whispered. As with me, the fall had stripped away most of the ooze, rendering her almost fully-visible again.
I nodded, glad one of my friends had found me. “I saw…in there…”
“I know she’s in there,” she said. “But like you said, we have to keep going and not give up.” She reached out her hand to help me to my feet.
I smiled, only for her blood to spray over my face as a shell crashed into her upper arm. She screamed and fell back to the floor. I ran to help her, but she begged me through her tears and gritted teeth to run.
I did, and watched from behind a stack of crates as one of the men subdued and searched her. He found her ID card and, after examining it, bandaged her wound, picked her up, and carried her out of sight.
Sweat had soaked through my clothes as my heart beat furiously. I was in great danger, as well as shocked at what I’d just witnessed. At least my dad’s men had stopped the bleeding. I would have to find and free Isha later.
I crept low to the ground around the indifferent alien creatures while trying to suppress the image of them chomping away at the remains of Cheyenne.
I searched the room for an exit, but instead found Nicole wrestling with one of the men, who had followed us down, right by the foot of the slide we’d taken. He threw Nicole against a stack of cartons, but she kicked his feet, causing him to lose balance and drop his shotgun. Nicole pulled it away, but before she could use it, the man whipped a sidearm out of its holster and aim it at her.
“Now,” said the masked man, “tell me where your friends are, and I’ll make this quick.” I instantly recognized his voice; he, too, was a clone of my dad. How many clones did he make? Were they the only ones running this place?
Before she could respond and before I could intervene, Joe yelled down at him. “One of them’s up here!” He kicked the massive ladle of molten metal such that its contents rained down on the hunter, who screamed as his body – and the floor underneath him – disintegrated. What remained of his lifeless form dropped to the surface below.
I ran up to Nicole and hugged her. Joe hopped down and joined us. “Thank god you two are alright,” said Nicole. “And, Joe, it looks like you made us a passage to the next level.” The distance to the surface below was substantial, but I felt certain that we could find a way to make it down safely.
The security man had left behind a pair of the goggles I’d seen earlier; I scooped them up and put them in my backpack. I then gave Nicole the bad news. “I have to tell you, Nicole, one of them took Isha away. She’s hurt, too.”
Nicole’s face reddened. She picked up the hunter’s shotgun and angrily pumped it as I heard a distinct sound on the far end of the room.
I identified its source: it derived from the third hunter, who watched us from an elevated area near the tarp-covered room of corpses. He removed his mask and looked directly at me. He, too, was unmistakably a clone of my father. He held a grenade in his hand, and I realized that I’d heard him remove the pin. He smiled menacingly as he drew his arm back to throw the grenade at the three of us.
“Nicole!” I blurted out. “The last one – he’s in the corner by the tarp!”
Nicole’s military instincts kicked in. She spotted him, lifted her shotgun, and rapidly fired twice.
Blood spurted from his shoulder as he dropped the grenade, which rolled behind the tarp. He frantically dived after it.
It took me only a moment to realize why he tried to retrieve it rather than run to safety. A deep rumbling sound followed that of the explosion.
“Oh god,” I said.
“What is it?” asked Joe.
“The water…” I didn’t need to complete my sentence, as Nicole and Joe got the point immediately.
A massive cascade of water swept the tarp away and overtook the room, toppling everything in its path and expanding the size of the hole created by the molten metal. The bodies, many half-eaten, were swept away, along with all the creatures in the area. I held onto a metal beam until it, too, detached from the surface. I took a deep breath as the waves of liquid plunged me through the opening and to the level below.
I remember falling, rolling off a soft flap, and sinking into several meters of water where the torso of one of the dead hunters impeded my attempts to swim to the surface. When I finally pushed it aside and reached the air above, I gasped and made my way to the nearest non-submerged surface, which I recognized as the top of…an arcade claw machine? Luckily, in terms of avoiding electrical shocks, it was powered off, like the rest of the devices in my immediate surroundings.
I catch my breath. I grow cognizant of the pain caused by my many bruises. I recoil at the disgusting liquid in which I was just submerged. I pray no predators or security personnel have me in their sights, as I am unarmed and defenseless.
My iPad buzzes in my backpack – apparently this is enough of a moment of peace for my father to demand another write-up, and it seems that the waterproof case protected it well enough to make that possible.
I look around, hoping that my friends were as lucky as I was and also survived the fall. But, I have yet to spot any of them, or the remaining hunter Joe had tackled on B1.
It takes me a moment to grasp what “B3: Plaza” consists of: the last thing I expected – a massive shopping mall, one now filled with debris and a murky river of floating bodies.
submitted by PeaceSim to nosleep [link] [comments]

2020.09.24 08:29 epicberet Better Goblin Weapons for FUN and PROFIT

So I have recently DMed two parties through LMOP, and if there's one thing I've noticed, it's that there are a lot of goblins in the written adventure. Boring, plain old goblins. Now, I used all the tricks I could to make them exciting; I had a goblin PC, so I underscored that the Cragmaws were vicious, cannibalistic, might-makes-right servants of dark gods. I have them fight smart, and fight dirty, using their hide abilities and disengage abilities as much as I can. But still. Still, after everything, my PCs kept engaging 15* goblins at once and it devolved to endless shortbows and scimitars. Tedious.
So, I thought, what sort of weapons would a goblin use? They are ingenious, if crude, builders, tinkerers, trap-makers, and ambushers, and like hobgoblins, have an affinity for using beasts and animals to fight with and for them. So, I invented the following goblin weapons, to add excitement, fun, and sweet, sweet chaos to my player's lives. Not all of them are effective, but all of them had the desired reaction from my players (e.g. "oh god please no").
\this is an exaggeration, except for one particularly misguided attempt to convince the Cragmaw Castle guards they were traveling salesmen)
And you know what?
It went well.
It went SO VERY well.
Choice quotes:
"Did he seriously just splurt grey ooze on my face?"
"I refuse to accept them using my bear-traps as morningstars against me"
"I know I have two rabid weasels hanging from my face, but I have to kill the other one before he throws more bees at us."
My friends, I believe that this is what goblins were made for. Please use or adapt as you like, and add any other suggestions you have in the comments below!


Grey Ooze Slime-thrower:
This goblin wears arm-length cured leather gloves, and carries a massive clay pot on her back. A giant spoon sits half-inside the pot, and half-over her shoulder, and a strange grey ooze shifts, even moves, inside the pot. She grins at you, then pulls down hard on the spoon, launching a dollop of grey goo straight towards you.
This goblin carries a miniature grey ooze, stuck in a giant hardened clay pot on her back. A clay ladle is set up to reach backwards into the pot and launch a spoonful of ooze. On a successful hit, it deals 1d6+2 acid damage. The damage is corrosive, so unless the player takes an action to wipe off the ooze (carefully!) their armour will be corroded, dealing -1 permanent cumulative damage to their AC. For unarmoured characters, the ooze will continue to deal 1d4 damage each turn it is not wiped off. Range is 15/30.
A variant is the Armoured Corrosive Slime-thrower. I used this goblin to great effect against a higher-level party. He has regular goblin stats, except an AC of 18, and a bag-pipe like sac of goo under his arms that he uses to either (1) spray over a 10ft area, dealing 1d4+2 to all creatures who fail a DC14 dexterity check, or (2) upon a successful hit, deal 2d6+2 damage to a single target.
Serrated Weasel Launcher:
One of the goblins drops the mess of sticks and twine they were fiddling with and grabs a long, hollowed, wooden tube. Someone has stuck nails, barbs, and pointed rocks up and down its length. It has a crank attached to one end, along with a crude-looking slingshot that has been pulled back as far as it will go. This goblin has a large wicker basket beside them, which shakes and trembles as if there is a living creature(s) inside it. In one smooth motion, the goblin reaches down, opens the basket, and pulls out a struggling, foaming, furry creature. The goblin shoves the creature into the tube, aims it towards you, and releases the slingshot. It is only when the creature is flying at your head that you see it is a rabid weasel.
This weapon fires a weasel at a target. The weasel is not pleased, and will attempt to attack whoever it lands on, dealing 1d4+1 damage as it finds cracks in your armour or sinks its little teeth in further. A weasel can be removed on a DC 10 dex save using a bonus action (they're hard to grab). It will continue to bite you each round unless removed. In a pinch, this weapon can be used as a 1d6 club, doing either bludgeoning or slashing damage. Range is 30/60.
Frankly, I couldn't have gotten more mileage out of this one if I had tried. The abuse of small woodland creatures outraged some players, but they were way more terrified of the weasels than they had any need to be. It got to the point where they insisted I describe each goblin carefully to determine if any had something tubular or weaselly about them. With a few lucky hits, the amount of weasels can become overwhelming, and the players were terrified of it. In reality, however, this is just a goblin that deals less damage on average, but the PCs perceived it as being more dangerous and were proud of beating it, which is all that matters!
Beehive catapult:
Thrown weapon, 30/60. Releases a "Swarm of Insects", who will deal 4d4 damage to the target upon a successful hit, and/or join the initiative order and attach the nearest target to their impact point on a miss. A 1-5 on the attack roll means the hive explodes on the poor goblin who was trying to throw it. If trying to find a random impact point, pick the intended target, roll a 1d4 to determine direction, and a 1d6 to determine the distance (in 5ft increments) away from the intended target.
Grapeshot Tripper:
A thrown weapon, 30/60. Two heavy stones tied together with rope. On a hit, deals 1d4 damage. Target must make dexterity saving throw or be knocked prone, as the grapeshot tangles itself around your legs. Removing the tangled grapeshot requires a bonus action.
Beartrap Morning-star:
A goblin runs towards you, twirling what seems to be an improvised flail. On closer inspection, it is a rusty armed bear-trap, large enough to clamp around your entire leg. With a mighty heave, the goblin throws the open trap towards you and pulls on the chain.
On a hit, the trap snaps shut, dealing 1d6+2 damage. Prying the bear-trap off takes a full action and a DC13 strength saving throw. Take 1 additional piercing damage on a failure. While the trap is attached, and as a free action on the same turn the attack is made, the goblin can attempt to pull the enemy prone with an opposed strength check as a bonus action. The goblin gains advantage if another goblin is nearby. Each additional goblin pulling on the chain adds +2 to their strength check. (I have found this is a great use for the mob of goblins in the Cragmaw Castle kitchens, who gleefully drag a PC away with dreams of dinner.)
TL;DR Goblins can be even more dynamic and terrifying for your players with just a little re-skinning or re-imagining of their abilities.
First, I find that forcing players to give up bonus actions or full actions to remove detrimental effects creates some tense, meaningful decisions in otherwise straightforward fights, and it also helps relieve some of the tedium of yet another "goblin with a shortbow deals 1d6". "Goblin with a weasel slingshot and a firecracker (1d10 damage copy of firebolt)" is much more interesting.
Second, most of these weapons can be operated by two, three, four goblins, at once, allowing you to give your players the feeling of fighting a terrifying goblin horde without the tedium of twenty separate goblin attacks, or fighting one goblin at a time in a choke-point. Give all those goblins a chain lasso, and suddenly they're dragging the fighter away to an open space where they have the advantage.
Let me know what you think!
submitted by epicberet to DungeonsAndDragons [link] [comments]

2020.09.24 06:22 SriFenbyEx Fun and Intrugie Series: DM'ed two groups at once > time for PVP

A war of Fun and Intrigue Saga
Episode 1 to 5
Episode 6 to 10
(Skipp halfway to PVP portion - the beginning is introduction to the second group)
< Episode 11 > - Insider and Trading
Date: [Sea Season / week 1 / day 7] - Weather - Moderate Winds
After leaving the mines the team gave a small report to the captain in charge of guarding the entrance then we informed the mayor of the mining town that it's safe to resume working. Got in a nice much-needed rest and before heading out the team surveyed the surrounding area and spotted a dirt road that saved half a day of travel when going back to the warrioranger country city of Stone-Wall. Gave the manager and blacksmith the good news and rewarded with a 15% discount in the store and got 375 GP on top, the blacksmith promised to pay more later. After which everyone took another two-week vacation. Birdman got the idea of starting his own Meat-And-Wheat business and went hunting, good cleric went to help out at the blacksmith and sharpened his sword and barbarians shiny new +1 Glaive that he bought with the discount - had the Shop-Mart logo on the side of the mean-steel and had that freshly unwrapped plastic smell.
Doom Guy did manual labor then high-five people back to health poorly at a clinic Cringe-Cleric was working at. A bad rumor was spread about Doom Guy and he successfully manages to sue the clinic out of court, got banned from entering it though. Bard got drunk and committed a crime, got the absolute piss whipped out of him. Successfully faked being near death and dragged to the clinic after a few more beatings, the same exact clinic that cringe-cleric was working at and """ paid his bill """. Afterward, Bard gathered critical information on the contenders and the team pairings.
Leeroy from the Hammer-Shields managed to pay the ransom somehow has entered in and Bob scarred from his encounter at the mines makes an appearance, full of grit and newfound power. Barbarian is paired up with the prince of Paladin country Wesland, the same Wesland that framed him for murder and ruined his Nobel family's name. Prince of Wesland unlike his daddy is a Pally Bro, helps out the poor and does good deeds. Doomguy is paired up with an anime weeb Kensei, Birdman is with an old-timey ranger who uses poison, good-cleric with another cleric who he ran into earlier in rigging that they're on the same team is helping in changing the weather for top-tempest tactics. Cringe-Cleric with an Elf warlock who doesn't like humans and also tried to feed the Bard false information, and lastly prior year's champ the Gladiator Balk Bogan who shit talks constantly and has the power to back it up.
A little bit more of info gathering went on and found out the capabilities of the contenders. A cleric sharing the same god as the good-cleric says to mess with people from the main church he uses banishment then undoes the spell. Kensei weeb has a sword that's bound to her that can shoot lightning, an ol timey-ranger uses strong poisons, and that the warlock is a threat in close quarters. Bard wanted to expand his One-Man-Band show but has competition, there's an Orc Quarte in town and they hold a contract to play at the exclusive Stone-Wall Tavern, the biggest of it's kind and it cost 100 gp just to walk through the door. It's also where the best contenders of the war games get to eat for free. Bard wanted to get the owner to give him the contract instead-but gets turned away at the front door by security, tries to do sneaky bard stuff but ultimately the task provides to be more of a chore and not worth it, especially with the bad rolls the bards been getting of late.
After that, your standard carousing - gambling, disorderly conduct, and other minor shenanigans'. However one thing did come to mind - the crowd loves show-boating and often throws gold and items into the arena for exciting plays. In the event that we managed to go 1-v-1 with each other, we could fake fight like good ol wrassling and see just how much we can get out from the crowd.

< Episode B-1 > A Mental Adventure Date
[Sea Season / week 1 / day 1] - Weather - Moderate Winds
A new group of """ Adventurers """ appears, this time it's a wee band of four. Changeling Bard (Tard Bard) / Goliath Fighter / Tabaxi Thief (Thief) / Dragonborn (Ok-Paladin)
These four which will now be named the < Mental Group >. While waiting in line to signup for the Tournament in Springhelm they talk and get to know each other better. The tournament doesn't start for another two weeks so in their downtime they pursue a quick expedition job, the prior group of adventures of the expedition faced got themselves killed. So Druid/Warlock country Numush pulled out and Wizard/Sourcer country Bers is going to continue the expedition alone. This is going on while the now named 6-man is doing useful things when not doing shenanigans'. The party decides to grab some items from Shop-Mart before heading out to the big boy empire country Brint capital and chartering a boat. Tard-Bard turns invisible and successfully shoplifts a normal healing potion and a greater healing potion for the team.
Fumbled at the table and alerted the guard, thankfully the table was a bit wobbly and one of the legs was already short, being held up by a coaster. Thief buys four daggers and the other two just browse the wares. Getting to the location of where the team had to take on the quest is a week travel so everyone decide to charter a boat at the Brint Empires capital. The walk from fighteranger country's city of Stone-Wall to Empire's capital is only 9 miles so it was a quick walk. After browsing for some magic rings and the Goliath buys a pan-flute despite not knowing how to play it. We stop by the local food stalls for some cheap 1gp snacks, not all that tasty but it fills people up, well everyone but the Tard-Bard eats at the stand, Tard-Bard eats a ration which cost 5gp. They get to the boat captain and Tard-Bard successfully seduces the captain so he gets half off on the boat fair. Fighter tries to persuade the captain and screw up so the rest of the team has to pay full price, being 48gp a person for a day's travel, Tard-Bard pays 24gp. During this boat ride, intense rock-paper-scissor gambling went on while the Tard-Bard kept further seducing the boat captain. Fighter plays the pan-flute terribly but is determined to become proficient. Soon he joins the Tabaxi in gaming and overall loses 20gp between the both of them, Ok-Paladin is just chilling.
The team gets to port and Tard-Bard after further seducing the boat captain didn't wash his hands after said seduction - roll 1d6 poison damage. The team eventually finds the person looking for adventurers to assist in the expedition, a High-Elf Cleric named Dain. Tard-Bard shapeshifts into Dain right in front of him, gets a mean mug from Dain - the party still asks if they can assist in the expedition. Dain accepts their help with a wary demeanor, explains that the local inhabitants drove him and his prior team away from the nearby island. Some lizard people and Yuan-ti, there's some ancient text on that island that the main church really wants. The Fighter who has a negative in persuasion asks for an increase in pay - fails. But Dain's not lying about his objection or his entire story though, despite the weak insight check. We accept the job, and after a small boat ride arrives at the expedition main campsite at the bottom of a cliff, a small walk later inside of a ruined small church.
The Fighter still plays the pan-flute hoping to improve but plays so terribly the camp-site guard captain suffers 4 points of damage - maybe one day. It's at this point the Tard-Bard gets his character flaw - for every incredibly stupid thing he thinks or acts he rolls 1d4 for physic damage. "I want to step in that bear trap" Why? "Well - mentally. I mentally step in the bear trap" Congratulations you now have a character flaw, roll 1d4 for every time you do or think something stupid enough. Also gains a trait, provided he does something useful afterwards he can reroll to see how much HP he heals back. He wants to use Tiny Hut spell for a nice cozy place to stay for the other expedition members, roll 1d4 for healing- get 1 HP back. Expedition team sleeps in the hut, Camp-Guard captain maintains watch, Dain casts Alarm for good measure, other NPC checks traps to make sure they're in good working condition and the rest of the team sleeps outside of the hut. The team sleeps a good sleep for tomorrow's adventure.

< Episode B-2 > S-Rank
[Sea Season / week 1 / day 2] - Weather - Moderate Winds
After setting out everyone reached the temple ruins of where the Ancient book was stored, right off the bat got into a nasty encounter. Some rather meaty lizard men, a yuan-ti malison, druid, and two giant frogs. The druid was the biggest issue after managing to use Call Lightning and Heat Metal on Ok-Paladin, after some back in forth the frogs died first thanks to Thief and Fighter. Tard-Bard says something stupid again and rolls 1d4 physic damage somewhere along the lines, but afterward turned invisible manages to cuck the Druid on his next turn. Fighter and Ok-Paladin goes blow for blow on the yuan-ti and remaining lizardman, Dain is in the back healing and buffing but has to get in close to heal Ok-Paladin because he got KO'd due to heat metal. After a round of healing by two other teammates, Ok-Paladin was back at 2/3ds health. Enemy Druid makes a wind wall to deter any forward attackers and by extension disallowing the yuan-ti and last lizardman to run. Dain casts Silence and ultimately puts an end to the Druid's shenanigans, Bard tackles prone Druid but doesn't do much good as the druid passes a check on his next turn. The last remaining lizardman goes down via Breathweapon from Ok-Paladin, Fighter manages to wound the Yuan-ti enough that Dain manages to kill it via melee. Afterward, Dain drops silence and the first thing we heard was the screams of the Druid as he gets the living shit beat out of him. Early morning death battle completed, the team takes a long rest before entering the dungeon.
Sneaking mission start - The team enters the ruins and arrives at the main entrance, Tard-Bard and Thief goes invisible, Dain casts locate the ancient book and points out the general location of the book. Inside is dimly lit so Thief peeps through the keyholes and sees a couple of enemies in different hallways. The hallway that looks like it goes to the object has a yuan-ti guard standing on the other side of the door. Dain takes cover behind some walls, Fighter and Ok-Paladin takes cover near the door, Thief is invisible and stand in front of the door crouched. The door swings outwards towards both Fighter and Ok-Paladin so they'll be just out of sight. Tard-Bard knocks on the door and gently opens it, the guard walks out and gets sneak grappled by the Fighter. Hand over mouth what happened next was a single turn of the Goliath and Ok-Paladin killing it via ass whooping. Tard-Bard and Thief is still invisible and does recon, spots another yuan-ti but he's sleeping. They leave him alone and continues to look for traps and exploring the hallways. Just before closing in onto the treasure room, there's another large room with two yuan-ti. One of them leaves temporarily and the other is in the corner overlooking the entire room, sharpening his weapon so not really paying attention.
Inside the same hallway outside the large room and right in front of the treasure room is a small pile of corpses. The closest to the treasure room the more decayed the bodies looked to be, there's also some goop on the bodies. Tard-Bard steps over the bodies and examines the treasure room door, the door looks bloated and waterlogged - it's in very bad shape. Peeps through the keyhole and spots a Black Pudding on the other side of the door and a magical chest with the ancient book in it. Gamer Strats as Tard-Bard and Thief make a line of corpses from the Black Pudding room to the large room with the yuan-ti in it. Right before Tard-Bard drops the last corpse Thief stands back, the last corpse was dragged just in front of the door enough to lead the Black Pudding into the room. Tard-Bard drags the last corpse too loudly and alerts the yuan-ti, as the yuan-ti is walking towards the corpse Tard-Bard opens the Black Pudding door, Black Pudding starts to eat it's way to the yuan-ti until it started attacking it. The second yuan-ti comes back, while all of this is going down Tard-Bard runs past the Black Pudding and double checks the chest for traps then tears the lid open and scoops up the ancient book and some treasure. A whole lot of gems, gold, and a +1 Rapier. Thief and Tard-Bard books it to the main room where everyone was waiting. Tard-Bard decides to pickpocket the sleeping yuan-ti and finds some gold and a potion of hill-giant strength, most likely pillaged from one of the dead corpses. After arriving at the main room the team books it out of the ruins
> Sneaking Mission S-Rank <
Once back to camp vastly impressed Dain manages to get the camp guard captain and his assistant to give our team a little bit extra gold to keep them on their good side for future expeditions. An extra 40 GP for each person, once back to town port Dain pays for the boat fare back to the empire capital. After a day sailing and another quick jog, the team get back to Stone-Wall. Tard-Bard sells the gems, overall the party made nearly 1,000 GP. Pretty nice haul - though it was a successful mission it ends on a somewhat sour note. Fighter got cold feet after the entire expedition and ends his adventuring career, Player's schedule changed and couldn't play anymore. Shame but the adventurer's life isn't for everyone, remaining team members use the rest of this and next week dicking around carousing until the big day arrives. The beginning of the tournament arc.

< Episode X-1 > Torunament Arc - Part 1
[Sea Season / week 3 / day 1] - Weather - Moderate Winds
There was some time before everyone gathered into the arena, Thief meets up with the Big Group now name Think-Bard during a drunken haze of debauchery. Losing half of their personal gold. Thief also loses half of his items but gets a treasure map, lastly, Thief slept with a trap. Birdman invests into a food-truck attachment for the wagon and goes with Think-Bard near the fancy tavern to get another chance for Think-Bard to get that contract. Think-Bard gets a nat 20 and plays so well not only the fancy tavern's owner gives him the contract to play as the opening act, but Bird-Man earns nearly triple the gold for his last two remaining rations when he sold them from his food-truck. Think-Bard doesn't use his last action but saves it for a certain surprise. Both Big-Group and Mental Group plans to split the winnings between their respective teams.
It - Is - Time We all gather in the arena main gathering hall, while the normie fights were going on inside the arena. The referee goes over the rules of the fights - three very important rules.
Rule #1 - Flight and levitation are off-limits, the crowd doesn't like cowards who also disengage which is okay but this leads into...
Rule #2 - Don't be boring - the arena was built with magic stones and the mood of the crowd has profound effects on the combatants. Attacks hit more cleanly and cuts go deeper - and vise versa. Asides from that it's not uncommon for massive amounts of gold, items, and furniture tossed into the arena to do cool stuff off of.
Rule #3 - No killing - it is very important to not kill an opponent as you will pick up the very expensive resurrection bill.
Balk Bogan showboats during the explanation of Rule #2 but was told to settle down by the ref. Afterwhich the crowd goes absolutely nuts and we can hear them stomping on the floor shouting "We want more - bring them to the floor!" Right before the fight the Barbarian conveniences the prince to give his share of the winnings to him to invest in Birdman's Business, Princes agree so long as Birdman gives discounts to the poor and needy. Party Members who aren't actively fighting are watching from the stands, and at certain opportunities can try to rouse the crowd, mess or assist contenders in subtle ways, or throw furniture into the ring.
It's Show Time
Round 1 Team
(A) Ex-Lords Alliance Ranger Bob - Who underwent a Training Arc
Cleric Dain - from the expedition
Hammer-Shields Leeroy - Who somehow made bail
Team (B) John Grey - Barbarian
Prince of Wesland Solomon - Paladin
Horseman - Paladin
The first turn starts off kind of slow without the exception of Bob being a total bad-ass critting at least half the time throughout the entire fight, gritty and scarred from his fight in the mines - he never missed a shot by the way. Prince and Barbarian went around tag-teaming everything that came their way until it happened. The crowd went wild after Barbarians wizard lands a 5-hit Fireball, Doom Guy throws a table into the area. After Bob scores a double KO in a single turn the crowd threw in nearly 300 gold, another player throws in a chair near Barbarian. One of Bob's team member jumps onto the table to rouse the crowd but fails, soon falls prone due to friendly fire via Shatter and wrecks the table. Crowd laughs and a second chair is thrown in. Barbarian drops his weapon and KO's Bob's veteran with said chair and the chair explodes - at this point the crowd threw in roughly a total of 600 gold.
Barbarian's team went back and forth hard up north while the Prince and Barbarian swept low going upwards to the top section of the arena. Leeroy who was determined to get vengeance for his embarrassment via capture gets KO'd by the Prince. More gold and a healing potion get thrown in. Dain tried his best but got Knocked out by Barbarian, Bob went full CQC but sadly rolled a nat 1 and knocked himself out. The win goes to Barbarian and Prince's team, total gold was 861 between the victors. After the ref and clerics heal and pick up the fallen it's time for: Round 2:
Team (C) Birdman - Ranger
Old Man O'Mally - Ranger
vs Team (D) Doom Guy - Fighter
Izimu - Kensei

O'Malley stops Birdman right before he leaves and shares some of his poison, tasty extra 1d6. Tard-Bard tells jokes and buffs Doom-Guy. Ref get's out there and starts the fight which instantly turned into the Bird Team's favor. Birdman 1st Round 1-Hit KOs Tard-Bard - Birdman is not playing around. The crowd throws in a lot of money. O'Malley rolls up and gets a few good shots in with Hordbreaker feat. Doom Guy's wizard has a big idea - uses Tidal Wave on Birdman's entire team knocks down all but O'Mally and a Knight. More gold gets thrown in. Doom Guy and the team close the gap. Doom Guy charges right into Birdman's entire team and KOs Birdman. Which in return gets Doom Guy KO'd by Birdman's Team. It's at this point Doom Guy and Bird-Man have a slapping fight with each other on the floor. A lot of mass healing word was going on throughout the entire fight Tard-Bard gets back up and goes invisible, gets booed by the crowd, and loses AC until the fight ends. O'Malley is taking potshots and Izumi caught one of his rounds and fumbles when she tried to throw it on a nat 1.
She uses her Thunder Sword to make a ranged zap attack on Bird Man's cleric, she closes the gap, and KO's him next turn. Doom Guy tries to imitate the Barbarian and smacks Bird-Mans dwarf wizard with a chair that was thrown into the ring, dwarf HP got reduced from 4 HP to 1 HP, the dwarf gets knocked out next turn though. Tard-Bard manages to power heal Doom Guy, gently feeding him a greater health potion, after another mass word of Healing Doom Guy is at full health. Doom Guy/Tard-Bard Team manages to pull a win after getting messed up in the beginning rounds of the match.
Tard-Bard somehow convinces his team's Cleric who isn't all that smart to give him his share of the winnings. O'Malley manages to get cornered but surrenders like a champ as the last man standing. The crowd throws in more gold, Doom Guy victory cheers while holding up Izumi and O'Malley's hand with Tard-Bard who uses bard-magic to make a magic fist-pumping hand Total gold before splitting it split 6 ways - 1,410 DM rolled 2 Double Crits in the same fight, so that happened. Birdman proudly refuses to dip into the shared winnings but is sold a mysterious small bottle of purple poison by O'Mally, small enough to coat 3 arrows. After some haggling, he buys the poison for 100 GP and some cut of Bird-Mans business profit. O'Malley whispers into Bird Man's ear - "Purple Worm Poison" - a very nasty poison that requires an absurdly high CON saving throw and if you fail you take 12d6 damage. Worst case scenario the person or thing unlucky enough could take up to 72 points of damage just by poison alone, assuming the math isn't off.
With this, the first day of the Arena Match is over. Business Parchment Cards are exchanged and business deals are made. Barbarian advances into solving a personal quest by talking to the Prince. The evening is spent with a small bit of partying with Barbarian and Tabaxi losing half of their gold with alcohol and narcotics. Birdman sells more meal deals, Think-Bard chills and doesn't do anything, Tard-Bard finds an exotic animal trader and buys an elephant and elephant insurance while everyone else just relaxes - for now.
Day one stats - Team (B) [Barbarian / Prince] and Team (D) [Doom Guy / Izumi / Tard-Bard] Advances.
< Episode X-2 > Tournament Arc pt.2
[Sea Season / week 3 / day 2] - Weather - Moderate Winds
The second day of the tournament starts with some normie fights followed by the title fights - a nice standoff between Cringe-Cleric and Onyx the Warlock and the Cleric duo Good-Cleric & Wahmuu Life Cleric whom Good-Cleric sought out and planned for some favorable weather days in advance and Thief. Good-Cleric's plan goes off """ Perfectly """ as it starts to rain, Wahmuu maintains concentration. Good Cleric opens the fight by Call Lightning and deals good damage, wizards slinging Tidal Waves and Fire Balls, and every other contender squares off each other. Bird Man starts to sell his food then gets the crazy idea to buy the arena food, re-cook it and sell it at marked-up value. This surprisingly made then a lot of money however great shinanigans come with great unintended consequences.
Good Cleric gets into a mini-conflict with multiple attackers supported by Wahmuu, Thief goes after weaker opponents and gets a good couple of stabs and knife throws off, Doom Guy throws a table into the ring which Wahmuu does a flip off of, fails, and goes prone. Gets beat on and loses concentration soon afterward. Cringe Cleric square off against Tabaxi thief and pulls a win, Cringe-Cleric went full-on Boss-Mode. Vampiric Touch smacking people left and right, so far none of cringe clerics team-mates has fallen and only one of Good-Cleric plus Thief, overall people have been in dead-lock wearing each other down. Birdman throws a hot-dog into the ring, Thief barely conscious eats the hotdog and gets healed 1 hp. But by the time Cringe-Cleric reaches Good-Cleric Wahmuu got up and manage to mass heal everyone, Cringe-Cleric dealt with Wahmuu and had a slug feast with Good-Cleric. Thief went around assisting friendly NPCs in taking down opponents. During all of this, the crowd is going nuts throwing in massive amounts of gold into the arena. Good-Clerics allies just managed to barely beat Cringe-Cleric's allies and Cringe Cleric is still going full-on Boss Mode. Eventually, Good-Cleric manages to beat Cringe-Cleric with critical HP remaining.
Overall the victors made a nice sum of money, and big group made nearly 2.1k. Next was Balk-Bogan and his team vs another NPC team. Being last years champs they tore through the competition, Balk turns out to not only be a seasoned gladiator but a barbarian as well. Balk thinking that healing is for cowards goes full on DPS monster melee. The group makes a mental note of this and prepares to strategize against Balk, either way Good-Cleric and friends is up against a hard fight the following day.
Team (C) Good-Cleric, Life-Cleric, and Thief & Team (E) Balk Bogan

With 50 more sessions to go, the expedition to barrier peaks arc with alien golf carts, a pimp that can cast level 7 spells, and a mysterious monkey virus is soon around the corner.
submitted by SriFenbyEx to dndstories [link] [comments]

2020.09.24 03:28 ChevalMalFet Sekigahara: the Last Great Samurai Battle (pt 1)

As part of the Motte’s ongoing adventures in more obscure areas of history, I thought I’d share another one of my favorite episodes from around the world: Sekigahara.
This January, while I was backpacking across Japan, my train rattled into a sleepy little hamlet near the center of Honshu. Lake Biwa was many miles behind me, and beyond that the ancient city of Kyoto, once the heart and soul of Japanese culture, just a few miles from Osaka, one of the largest and most modern cities in the country. The train tracks ran on for many, many miles, winding through Nagoya and along the coast, past Mt. Fuji, and on into the Kanto plain and the glittering metropolis of Tokyo. For hundreds of years, this has been one of the main east-west routes in Japan: The Nakasendo Highway. Between Tokyo and Kyoto/Osaka, hundreds of trains carrying thousands of passengers run every day. But very few of them get off here, at this obscure, quiet train station, with only two platforms and not even a roof. This is the village of Sekigahara - the place where Japan, as we know it, was born.
Four hundred and twenty years before I stepped off my train, in the October of the year 1600, the greatest land battle in Japanese history was fought in the fields and hills around this town. It was the last great field battle of the Sengoku Jidai and marked the unification of a country that has stayed united and more or less stable down through the centuries since. Today, I’d like to share the story of that battle with you.
Japan 1600
Japan in 1600 was groaning under the weight of nearly 150 years of endemic civil war. The emperor in Kyoto was a mere figurehead, cloistered in his palace with its fountains and gardens, as he had been for centuries. The great names of the land (daimyo) paid no heed to the central “government,” such as it was, instead acting to fulfill their own ambitions. Men gave their loyalty to whomever could win, whether by promises of wealth, or honors, or vengeance against rivals, or any of a dozen other motivations. The peasants kept their heads down, trying to survive the nearly constant passage of armies to and fro across the lands, taking food, burning villages, raping and killing. Landless men drifted from one lord’s army to the next, fighting on the promises of pay and loot. Alliances shifted from one season to another, and today’s bitterest foe might be tomorrow’s staunchest ally. This was the Sengoku Jidai, the Age of the Country At War.
The troubled times had started in the late 1400s, in Kyoto. The imperial city was a viper’s nest of rival factions in those days. Great nobles feuded with each other in court, and at times the disputes turned quietly violent - assassination was a common tactic. During the Gempei War, two hundred years before, the authority of the emperor had been quietly vested in the shogun, a military dictator capable of corralling Japan’s powerful and ambitious nobles. The early shogun had been men of great force of personality, but by 1460 the shogun himself had become a recluse, building beautiful pavilions plated in gold and silver outside the capital, practicing his tea ceremony and writing poetry. With no strong central authority, the disputes between the rival houses had broken out into open warfare in the streets of Kyoto: The Onin War. For ten years, the city was laid waste, as houses burned, barricades were built, people starved. The war “ended” in the 1470’s, but the capital was a charred wasteland, and the authority of the shogun had been extinguished entirely, as the provinces were variously sucked into supporting one or the other of the factions. Even while Kyoto tried to rebuild its shattered self, the fighting had spread throughout the country and become endemic.
For over a century, the former deputies of the shogun jostled and warred among each other for power and precedence. Vassal turned against lord, neighbors took advantage of the chaos to settle long-standing grievances, new religious cults rose up and were thrown down, and generally Japan tore itself to pieces. I’ve never been able to make sense of the complex web of alliances)and betrayals, battles, sieges, campaigns), assassinations, marriages, andmyriad other episodes of this century of chaos. For now, suffice it to say that from the end of the Onin War in the 1470s, through the 1570s, Japan broke itself down into tiny bits.
The Toyotomi Regency
Starting in the 1560s, the nation started to put itself back together, through force of arms. From hundreds of daimyo a century earlier, only a little more than a dozen major clans remained, commanding the allegiance of hundreds of lesser vassals. The reunification was mostly driven by one man, Oda Nobunaga, and his two lieutenants, Toyotomi Hideyoshi and Tokugawa Ieyasu.
When Nobunaga’s father died, the Oda clan was a minor power in central Japan, near modern day Nagoya. The young heir had to battle for his throne through the ‘50s, against ambitious family members and the interference of neighboring clans. Fortunately for the Oda, Nobunaga was a brilliant general, a cunning diplomat, and utterly ruthless. One by one, he crushed his rivals, and won control of his ancestral lands. Fearful of his rise, powerful neighboring clans tried to crush him - and were crushed in turn by the brilliant strategist. Starting from 1560, Oda gradually solidified control over all of central Japan, until he was the most powerful local warlord. Internal court politics drove him to march on Kyoto itself in 1568, and soon Oda had consolidated himself as the most powerful daimyo in the entire country. The pattern of his early years held true: his meteoric rise, his boundless ambition, and his naked ruthlessness provoked fearful neighbors to form an alliance against him, and in turn Oda’s tactics (he was the first to make extensive use of gunpowder weapons and massed infantry), his strategy, and his shrewd diplomacy overthrew his rivals and drove him still higher. By 1582, Oda had conquered virtually the entire country - before one of his subordinates, for unknown reasons, ambushed him at a temple in Kyoto and assassinated him.
Following the death of Oda Nobunaga, Toyotomi Hideyoshi smoothly assumed the reigns of power. Toyotomi was born a peasant in Oda lands. A clever lad, brave, and loyal, he had served as a footsoldier loyally and well in the early Oda armies. His obvious talent quickly won him promotion, until by the 1570s he was one of Oda’s most trusted generals. Not bad for a peasant boy who started as the lord’s sandal bearer.
When Oda was assassinated, Toyotomi was in the west, leading a campaign to subdue the Mori, lords of western Honshu. He quickly made peace with the Mori and marched back to the capital, meeting and defeating Oda’s assassin in battle barely two weeks after the great lord’s death. For the next few years, Toyotomi solidified his place as Oda’s regent, jostling with his main rival, Tokugawa, but eventually coming to an accomodation with the man. The two steadily crushed the remaining independent daimyo one by one), until by 1590 nearly the whole nation swore loyalty to Toyotomi.
To control his fractious warlord vassals, Toyotomi sent the most aggressive to invade Korea. Japan battled there for nearly ten years, through the 1590s, but the Koreans stubbornly resisted and the war became a grinding, dragging affair. Men were disgraced, or returned disillusioned, and thousands of nameless infantry (poor beggars) died and were buried in anonymous graves in a foreign land - the common fate of infantry throughout history. Frustrated, Toyotomi withdrew his armies, before he died in September, leaving only a three year old son as his heir.
Tokugawa and Ishida
Toyotomi left behind a ruling council of five regents, the tairo, to oversee affairs until his son Hideyori could come of age. The five men were the greatest surviving daimyo of the age: Ukita, Uesegi, Mori, Maeda, and the great lieutenant of Oda, Tokugawa Ieyasu.
Ieyasu had been a member of the Matsudaira clan, whose overlords, the Imagawa, had been defeated by Oda in his first great battle as clan chief. Ieyasu, showing the pragmatism that would define his life, had promptly led his clan in defection. Thence, he had served Oda faithfully and well, becoming his strongest ally amongst the nobility of Japan. Tokugawa was no tactical genius, as his master was, but he was patient and unflappable in a crisis, and a master of diplomacy. Time and again, Tokugawa would face defeat on the battlefield, only to withdraw, reorganize, and call upon outside allies to change the equation in his favor.
After the death of Oda, the only plausible rival to Toyotomi for power was Tokugawa. The two had skirmished around Lake Biwa and Nagoya through the early 1580’s, but soon realized fighting was in neither party’s interest. Instead, Tokugawa submitted, and was welcomed by Toyotomi. In 1590, when the last independent daimyo, the Hojo, were crushed, Toyotomi did something remarkable: He offered the 8 Hojo provinces, in and around the Kanto plain, to Tokugawa, in exchange for Tokugawa’s five ancestral provinces. Even more remarkably, Tokugawa accepted.
Kanto, though a large, fertile plain, was isolated from the rest of Japan, something of a backwater. Tokugawa took the provincial capital of Edo and made it his seat, then set about reorganizing and remaking the territory in his image, winning the loyalty of the population. These tasks kept him occupied through the disastrous Korean invasion.
Now, Ieyasu found himself the most powerful of the five regents. Ever ambitious, he began to sideline the toddler Hideyori and centralize power around himself.
Opposing Ieyasu was the loyal castellan of the Toyotomi, Ishida Mitsunari. Mitsunari was a steadfastly loyal retainer of Toyotomi, intelligent, conscientious, and possessed of plenty of physical courage. However, Mitsunari was no warrior - he was a bureaucrat. He had missed the entire Korean campaign - and he didn’t have Tokugawa’s history as a warrior. As a result, Toyotomi’s vassals, all powerful, warlike men in their own right, treated Ishida with barely disguised scorn. He had only his official position to rely on, but commanded virtually no personal respect.
The conflict between the two men simmered through the autumn of 1598 and into 1599, mostly held in check by Maeda, the eldest and most respected of teh council of regents. But Maeda died in the summer of 1599, and the last check on Tokugawa’s ambitions was gone. His conflict with Ishida escalated through political intrigue and into open fighting in the streets of Kyoto and mutual assassination attempts. Uesegi, long a rival of Tokugawa’s, left the capital and began to make war upon their shared border in Kanto. It was a dangerous echo of the disastrous Onin War - but unlike the lesser nobles of that long-ago day, Tokugawa had powerful fiefs outside of the capital, and tens of thousands of loyal soldiers to call his own. He withdraw to his powerbase around Edo and began to gather his armies around himself. Mitsunari proclaimed Tokugawa a traitor and an outlaw, and called on all loyal daimyo to rally to his cause. Unlike earlier battles and wars, all of Japan was involved in this last, grandest conflict. No one could remain neutral - everyone chose a side: The ambition of Tokugawa versus the right of Toyotomi. The stage was set for the greatest samurai battle in history.
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2020.09.24 02:51 Lord_Clefspear Ahperaitores - Pt 2 of 2

The second half of Ahperaitores. First part may be found here Criticism is always welcome, so be brutal :)
[[Galactic Standard Timecode 0344-14/50-8/10-145AF, Geosincronous orbit over GB-0068a, Edgaila Expanse]]
Had there been any eyes on GB-0068a, or anywhere in orbit, digital, optical, or otherwise, that were capable of tracking a United Terran Navy Loki class destroyer under silent running, they would have seen the sleek, triangular patch of void-blackness break away from the Federation task force formation and arc towards the far side of the moon. The small ship cut through space like a mino knifing through dark water. She pierced the atmosphere on the day side of the moon exactly two hours, thirty minutes after the evening terminator passed over the pirate stronghold. Decibel killers built into her flanks muffled the roar of her passing, and her retro impulse units slammed her to just below the sound barrier long before she reached an altitude where it would have been audible from the ground.
Ten kilometers from the target, the Gallipoli went into a sharp spiral dive. She wound down, down, and down before banking up sharply and deploying her slender landing legs. They reached their full extension just as their tips settled gingerly onto the soft loam in the exact center of a jungle clearing barely a meter larger than the ship was, just about two-point-four-nine kilometers from the pirate base.
Inside the bay airlock, Mimiala’Vol and the humans of OpsTeam9 had ridden out the atmospheric entry dive in strap-harnesses, the ship’s internal gravity field having been shut down to reduce her sensor profile. On the last leg of the approach, they had detached themselves from their restraints, and stood free in the center of the bay, facing the ramp, hanging onto anchor points and net straps to maintain balance as the ship maneuvered around them. Vol felt the Gallipoli give one final lurch as she touched down. The red light by the outer ramp flicked to green, and the ramp swept down smoothly, letting in the hot, moist jungle air of GB-0068a’s tropical zone.
There was no shouting, no barked orders to disembark. The humans simply flowed right out of the bay and into the jungle. Vol followed them on instinct, her powered sabatons thumping as she sprinted after her alien squadmates. About ten yards into the foliage, the squad stopped, held up by a hand sign from Whitmin, and knelt, scanning the trees and bushes with weapons raised.
“Blackbird, Eightball. All hands down and clear. Dustoff, dustoff,” Captain Whitmin’s voice crackled over the general communications net.
There was a thrum of impulse drivers, and Vol looked back just in time to see the midnight shadow of the Gallipoli lift into the air and disappear into the night sky. When she returned her gaze to the humans, activating her helmet’s built-in low-light assistant, the humans were moving again, disappearing into the jungle. Literally, they seemed to vanish, fade right into the foliage around them. Vol realized that their grey uniforms had shifted color somehow, changing hew to match the same mix greens and blacks as the background around them- The same colors that Paulski had painted her armor, it occurred to her.
“Stick ta me, Snake-Doc,” Spears’s voice came from a patch of green not a meter to Vol’s right. The human woman’s face, smeared green and half-hidden behind her own night-sight apparatus, peered out like a disembodied apparition. “Stay low, stay quiet. We don’t think they have patrols out this far, but that’s no excuse ta be sloppy now, is it?”
It quickly became apparent that however adept Vol was at fieldcraft (and she didn’t consider herself an amateur by any measure) the humans were...unnatural at it. They were like ghosts. It was all Vol could do to even see Spears as the Chief slithered and flowed through the undergrowth. She had completely lost track of the others. It wasn’t that they were perfectly invisible, but somehow, the green patterned mess of their clothes seemed to blend perfectly into the vegetation. It was a remarkable and rather disconcerting visual phenomenon.
And they were so quiet. Vol’s own sabatons made only muffled thumps on the mossy ground as she stepped carefully and slowly, but the humans didn’t even make a sound, even when they were right next to her. Even when she boosted her helmet’s audio pickups, she only got the sound of wind and the chirping of insects. That strange fluidity Vol had seen in the human crew of the Gallipoli display was amplified in these warriors, and it translated into a speed and grace that the darkalan officer struggled to keep pace with.
Someone caught her arm, and Vol started. Paulski’s hairy, mud smeared face appeared at her shoulder.
“Hold up, Doc,” he said in a nearly silent whisper, audible to Vol only through the comms net. “Squad, Roadkill. Hostile patrol two-oh-clock, eighty meters north-north-west.”
“Roadkill, Eightball. How many and where are they going?” Whitmin’s voice hissed over the net.
“Top, Roadkill. It sounds like 3 of them, Nshii, moving due west right across our line.”
“You can hear that?” Vol asked. “I can’t hear anything.”
“Quiet please,” Whitmin said. “Alright, we hold here until they cross our path, then angle north to give them a wide berth. Roadkill, shadow them and make sure they don’t change course.”
Paulski gave a “wilko”, which was apparently the human word for “yes” because he quickly ghosted off in the direction of the still unseen enemy. Vol waited in silence, to all of her senses, completely alone in the jungle night. She had a vague feeling of the humans around her, maybe ten to twenty meters in any given direction, but she couldn’t hear or smell or even see them.
Can they even see each other? Vol wondered, then, looking at her armor, newly repainted by the humans in their strange eye-tricking patterns, Can they see me? They have to. Otherwise, how could Paulski have found me? And their hearing…
It took several minutes before the all clear was given. The trip resumed with special care. Vol paid special attention to step only on soft ground, doing her best to stay, if not as quiet as the humans, than at least as quiet as she could be. The hike had been long, and she noticed her stamina reserves beginning to feel the taxation. How far had they come? A kilometer? A kilometer and a half? In this terrain, that was a long way to have come in so short a time, even with powered armor.
“Top, Box-Man. I have eyes on the compound. Watchtower at twelve-thirty. One man with a rifle up top.”
“Acknowledged, Box-Man. Rabbit, find your infil. Snake-Doc, move thirty meters to your two-oh-clock and wait for Box-Man. Roadkill, on me. Deploying the hummingbird.”
Vol’s “Moving, Top” joined the rest of the team’s acknowledgments. Despite Whitmin’s orders, she found Hao already waiting for her near the point where the jungle ended and the perimeter clearing of the compound started, a flat, open space around the compound’s wall. The wall itself was maybe three or four meters in height, constructed of prefab panels with improvised alterations. In the middle of the visible stretch of wall was the guard tower that Hao had mentioned. An adult dongada was perched atop it, idly gazing at the night sky, lights from inside the compound backlighting it’s blue chitinous hide and the outline of a weapon cradled idly in its arms.
“What is the plan?” Vol asked Hao off coms.
“Rabbit’s inside already,” he said, “found a place she could climb over. Top’s guiding her to the base of the tower with the hummingbird.”
“What is the hummingbird?”
“Compact aerial surveillance drone. It lets Top look down and tag hostiles so Rabbit can avoid them and move through the camp.”
“Like our Drake’s Eye units,” Vol observed.
“Something like that, but a lot smaller. He and Roadkill are set up in an overwatch position. Roadkill will take out that guard so we can move to the wall and find an egress. Probably that door at the base of the tower.” Hao pointed the door out to Vol, who nodded.
“White-Rabbit, Roadkill. I have your bad guy,” buzzed over the net, then a second later, “Roadkill, Rabbit, in position.”
“Rabbit, Roadkill. Five...four...three...two…”
Vol barely heard the meaty sound of an impact, but she was looking in the right direction and saw the dongada’s snouted head jerk violently and the puff of pale purple mist that burst out of it. The body swayed and toppled off the tower and behind the wall. Barely a moment later, the door at the base of the tower was knocked open and Spears emerged dragging the still twitching corpse behind her.
As Hao hustled Vol across the clearing to the base of the wall, Spears lay the dongada guard’s body face down in the runoff rut at the foot of the tower, taking a half second to strip his communicator link off of his coat and jack it into her own headset.
“Eightball, White-Rabbit. We have ingress and a patch into hostile comms. Moving in now.”
Spears nodded to Hao and Vol as they regrouped.
“You ready?” Spears aimed the question at Vol.
“If I am not, that we came an awfully long way for nothing,” Vol returned.
“Let’s hope not. Follow me, stay as low as you can, do not speak unless you’re getting shot at. Box-Man, on our six.”
Inside the pirate camp was a dump. Vol thought it would have been too cliche for the set of a holonet serial. Refuse and weeds littered every open space, the structures were cheap, abused prefabs covered in graffiti and mud. Diode lights cast harsh, but patchy islands of white in the darkness. The three infiltrators moved around those islands, guided by Captain Whitmin’s aerial surveillance and Spears’s preternatural senses. Vol could hear pirates around them, often as voices coming from inside prefab buildings, sometimes a few wandering pairs or trios. They chattered in GalCom about gossip, about the Federation coalition over their heads, how long the negotiations would take, whether the Feds would be brazen enough to damn the hostage and launch an assault, or about how their superiors were going to try to cheat them out of their cut of the ransom money. Absolutely none of them seemed worried about the possibility of intruders.
Whitmin guided the trio to the central building, an old- very old- colony hub, designed to be dropped from orbit as one piece. From what they could tell, it was the pirates’ headquarters. Their radio transmitter was at its top, and the hostage was in its impact-buried storm shelter. According to the building’s design template, there would be an exterior secondary entrance hatch leading directly to that shelter, and that was their planned entry point for the building. There was, however, a not unexpected complication.
“White-Rabbit, Eightball,” Whitmin said. “I have one Anoijan with a rifle guarding the back door. You should see him right under that lamp.”
In fact, Spears had already seen the hostile and stopped the infiltration party in a shadowed ally. The Chief reached up gingerly and keyed her communicator, but didn’t speak into it, just letting it buzz once over the network. The humans had told Vol about this. They called it “click code” or “squelch code.” It was a method of using voice communication without speaking. One click meant either an interrogative or an affirmative response, two meant a negative.
“White Rabbit, Roadkill, I see yer bad guy but I don’t have a clean shot. Round would go through him and ring that whole building like a fucking bell. You’d have to rush it loud after that.”
The line squelched twice.
“White Rabbit, Eightball. You got him, Chief?”
One squelch.
Without any further comment, Spears ducked back the way they had come. Vol began to follow, but Hao flashed her the universal “hold fast” sign. Vol cocked her head at him, but he just grinned back at her and mouthed “watch.” It was only then that Vol noticed Spears had entirely disappeared in that human way Vol was starting to get supremely annoyed by.
They waited for what felt like hours, but Vol’s chronometer insisted was no more than ten minutes, when Vol saw what Hao had been anticipating. The guard, meandering boredly around the general area of the door, fidgeting constantly with this or that, wandered a little closer to the edge of the cone of light cast by the overhead lamp post. That was when Vol saw something, a shadow form like a nighttime phantasm, detach from the darkness and ghost up behind the guard. There was a jerk, a hushed gurgle, and Spears had her arm wrapped around the anoijan’s head, and her other hand wrist deep in the folds of muscle around its thick neck.
The guard went limp as a rag doll and Spears heaved. The whole thing had taken less than a second, from the first movement to the guard’s feet disappearing into the night. Vol had never seen anything move, let alone kill, that fast. Spears darted around the light and rejoined then, wiping blood off a black knife on her shirt sleeve.
“Let’s move,” the Chief said simply.
Tekliena’Ker scratched idly at the crumbling sheet-plaster of the little basement room the pirates had stuffed him in and, far from the first time, wondered whether he would live to see starlight again. Contemplating one’s own death, he was discovering, was a rather banal affair. In fiction, characters always thought about deep, meaningful things. Loved ones, lifelong dreams, great destinies denied, that sort of thing. But Ker’s mind kept shifting to small things. The net-vid series he would miss the last episode of, the diagnostic he’d forgotten to run on the freighter’s interior lighting system, the breaks he’d never spend looking out at the stars.
Ker loved the stars. He loved sitting in the dark, looking out at the universe and seeing light from a billion years ago reaching down to him. They were why he’d taken his sabbatical on a ship’s crew. Everyone went offworld, but usually just to see the Capitol or one of the colonies- Get out into the world and live a little while you’re young! Shipping on an Anoijan freighter around the Expanse? It had the air of danger about it, a story he’d brag about, about flying through pirate infested skies, but he’d never really thought there would be any real danger. Pirate attacks were something that happened in stories, to other people.
Now his life rested on the patience of his captors and the willingness of the Federation to pay them. Father had the money. Father would pay it in a heartbeat. But the government had its principles to uphold. And when they threw him down here, cursing about a fleet in orbit...these pirates didn’t seem to be having their way with the situation.
All in all, reality had started to seem distinctly unreal.
Ker was pulled out of his depressed daydreaming. Was that a noise?
There was a long silence and then There it was again, louder, a kind of snap-pop sound like children’s new-year pyrotechnics. Had the guard gotten bored and started throwing rocks or something?
There was a thud on the door, then a scraping sound. Ker thought he saw something in the gap under the door, then the lock spun. Ker shrank back into the corner. Some part of his mind knew it wouldn’t do any good, that no matter what, he was at his captors’ mercy, but that part was suffocated by basic, animal instinct.
When the door opened, though, it wasn’t the Pirates. Instead, two small people- barely as tall as Ker was- in ugly green and brown uniforms zipped inside, moving like water. And then came a Darkalan Knight. Her armor was that same hideous mix of colors as the smaller beings, but its shape was unmistakable. She was a Darkalan Knight, and the most epic and heroic holo-casts could never have done her justice in Ker’s eyes.
She was across the room in two loping strides, and kneeling over him.
“Sir,” she said, her helmet’s voice caster giving her a harsh, authoritative bark. In Darkalan, he realized. Not GalCom “I need you to tell me your name.”
“I-im Ker!” Ker stammered. “I’m Tekliena’Ker. I’m Darkalan. I was on the ship- the ship when these…”
“Alright, Ker,” she interrupted. “I need you to answer a few more questions for me, can you do that?”
Ker nodded.
“Tell me what the name of your pet sokal is.”
“His name is Bara,” Ker said, confused.
“What color is he?”
“Blue,” Ker said, “He’s blue with white spots on his back.”
“Very good,” the Knight said. “Now, I need you to tell me if you are injured. Do you have any pain anywhere? Any deep aches or trouble moving?” While she asked this she was already examining him all over, checking his limbs and torso with firm hands.
“No,” said Ker, “I think they were scared to do more than bruise me.”
“Look here for me.” She shined a bright light into first one eye than the other, then turned to her companions who had immediately taken up positions by the door.
“It’s him.” GalCom this time. “Dehydrated and a little weak but no major injuries. We can move him.”
“Switch,” one of the companions called, and it and the Knight changed positions. The small being- Is that a...human?- pulled something off of his comically large pack and thrust it at Ker.
“Sir,” said the human, “I’m going to need you to put this on for me. It’s an armored vest. Your head goes through this arm up...good. Hold still.”
The human cinched the thing down. It was heavy, and he wondered why he needed it if he had been rescued.
“Aren’t the Pirates...didn’t you beat them? Isn’t that why you’re here?”
“Not our mission,” said the human, pulling him over to behind the Knight. “Now, this is Snake-Doctor. She’s going to lead you out of here. She’s your best friend. You see this strap? You hang on to that. Use both hands and hang on.”
Ker grabbed the strap-like handle on the back of the Knight’s armor.
“Good job, kid,” said the human.
The other human spoke for the first time, apparently to a communications line.
“Eight-Ball, White-Rabbit. We have the Package, exfil in progress.”
The infiltration team hustled out of the prefab with unseemly haste, like thieves fleeing the scene of a robbery.
Well, that is what we are, after a fashion, Vol thought.
The Tekliena boy clung to her armor-harness, stumbling along behind her. Dispite the white-knuckle grip he had on her, she still kept an arm on his shoulder, just so they didn’t lose contact. The last thing Vol needed was to have lost the hostage ducking through the prefab camp minutes away from safety after all the effort it took getting here.
It was less than 30 meters from the perimeter wall that things went wrong. And, in Vol’s experience, when things went wrong in the field, they went all the way wrong, and they did it quickly.
The first thing that happened was Whitmin’s voice over the comms net saying “Where the hell did he come from?” Then she saw the line of harsh yellow light from an opening doorway cut across Spears’s back as she passed. Then confused Nshi clicking. Then Vol’s railgun shot was cutting the Nshi in half.
The deafening crack of the shot had barely passed before the humans changed gears.
“We’re made!” Spears snapped. “Snake-Doc, take the package and book it for the gate. Move!”
“Looks like everyone’s awake now,” Whitmin commed. “Weapons free. Cover Snake-Doc. Roadkill, entry tower-”
“I see ‘im, Top,” Paulski cut in.
For her part, Vol grabbed the Tekliena boy and started running. Powered armor was less a suit of clothing than it was a wearable armored vehicle. Once it got moving, the list of things that could stop it was very brief. Vol ran right through a plasboard fence like it was tissue, and was in the main thoroughfare of the camp, dragging the boy behind her. The humans were flitting around like insects, firing, throwing grenades into doors and down allies. The pirates seemed to have realized that they were under attack and were starting to spray laser and mag-slug shots seemingly at random.
“Please!” the boy panted, barely keeping his feet under him as Vol hauled him in her wake, “s-Sir knight! I can’t keep up!”
“Just hang on,” Vol said. “We move or we die.”
She slowed just enough to get a firm grip of her own on his shirt. A glebni in rusted flak-plate and holding something lethal looking in its tentacles flew at them from a prefab roof. Even as Vol made to push herself between it and the boy, it’s cephalopoid head exploded. The shot had taken it in midair.
“Close one” Paulski commed. “Keep moving, Snake-Doc. You’re almost to the gate.”
In fact, she was at the gate. She shoulder-barged through it and pushed Tekliena ahead of her. They stumbled across the moat-clearing with the humans hot on their heels. They hit the jungle treeline like splashing headfirst into dirty water. They kept going, chased by the sound of angry shouts and wild weaponsfire.
“South!” Spears ordered. “South to the pick-up point. Top, how fucked are we?”
“You pissed them all the way off, Rabbit.” Whitmin’s voice was panting and undercut with the heavy rustling of fast movement. “They’re scrambling in every direction. I don’t think they all know what hit them or which way it went. Me and Roadkill are moving to the extraction point, Eeh-Tee-Ay ten minutes.”
“Acknowledged, Top,” Spears said mid-movement as she turned and loosed a burst at something behind them. Whatever it was screamed and died. They kept running.
“Is that a technical?” Hao said.
“Top,” Spears said, “You got eyes on that big-
“EEEEEEAAAAAAAIIII!!” Tekliena stumbled, fell, and screamed.
Vol skidded to a halt, her sabatons gouging deep furrows in the jungle loam as her momentum carried her several more meters. Turning, she had just enough time to see the boy sprawled out on the moss, one leg wedged in a crevice under a treeroot, bent at an unnatural angle. Hao was at his side in an instant. She took a step toward them.
Then, something about the mass and speed of a dreadnought at full drive slammed into her armor’s chestplate and the world went inside out.
Ker was half blinded by the lightning shooting up his leg. It was impossible. Nothing could hurt that much. All he knew was that he’d been running, he had put his foot down, had an instant to realize something was very wrong, then he was on the ground and someone that sounded a lot like him was screaming like they’d been murdered.
The knight stopped. He saw her turn. Then she exploded. Something hit her, and she was thrown into the air and landed on her back meters away.
“Rabbit! Kill that goddamned technical right the fuck now!” The human, the short one that had given him the order to hang on to the knight, was leaning over him and yelling at his companion in jargon.
“Shape charge out!” The other one howled. There was a wooshing sound, a clang, and another explosion set Ker’s ears ringing.
“Top, Box-Man. Snake-Doc is down. Snake-Doc is down. Bad guys had a heavy rail-driver on a vehicle. Package is wounded.”
There was a pause.
“She’s alive,” the other voice, the female, said. “Armor’s trashed, but she’s alive.”
“Checking,” said the male. “Kid. Hey, buddy, look at me.”
The short human smacked him on the face gently, getting his attention.
“Kid, your leg is broken. I need you to tell me if anything else hurts, can you do that?”
“I-I can’t move!” Ker babbled. Leg broken. If he couldn’t run… “Please! I can’t move! Don’t leave me. I don’t want-I don’t want to die!”
“Listen to me,” the human said sternly, firing at something over Ker’s prone form, “You are not going to die. Hear me?”
The female ran up, skidding to a crouch behind the tree.
“Snake-Doc’s awake, but she’s not mobile. That armor’s clusterfucked. What’s the kid’s story, Box-Man?”
“He’s whole, but he’s not walking.”
“Go. Get to the exfil. I’ll cover you.”
“Wait,” Ker said, “D-Don’t leave me!”
“Oh, you’re coming with me, kid. Come here.”
The human, Box-Man, grabbed a fistful of Ker’s shirt, another of the inside of his thigh, and heaved with a strength that belied his small, thin frame. The human tossed him over his shoulder, heaved to his feat, and in a flurry they were moving.
They were moving very fast.
Vol popped her armor’s seals. She sat up out of it and got to work undoing the leg fastenings as quickly as she could. The suit had saved her life from the rail-canon slug, but barely, and it had lost its own functionality in the process. She saw Spears firing into the jungle in the direction of something that looked like it used to be a vehicle before someone set it on fire, and Hao, with the Tekliena boy over his shoulders, running past her towards the extraction point.
It suddenly struck Vol that for all the quickness that the humans moved with, she had never actually seen them run. Hao was running now, at a flat out sprint. He might as well have been a guided missile for how quickly he disappeared.
“Snake-Doc,” Spears said, almost cordially. “Get up here and help me with these arseholes!”
Vol yanked her comms-set out of her helmet and wrangled it over her head. She felt exposed and vulnerable outside of the armor, but she followed the humans’ example and tried her best to make speed be her protection. She slammed up behind the tree whose roots Spears was using for cover.
“Take this,” the human said, thrusting her carbine at Vol. “Single shots, point and squeeze.”
Vol took the black contraption of metal and polymer. The grip disappeared in her hand, but she managed to get a claw into the enclosed trigger. Hostiles were trampling through the jungle. Several of them had taken positions around the burning hulk of the ground-effect vehicle that had blasted her. If they had been confused about where their assailants had headed before, they were getting coordinated now.
Vol sighted down the spine of the human weapon and squeezed the trigger. It bucked violently in her hand and the shot spanged off of a rock. She tried again, more meaning to give the enemy an incentive to keep from coming closer than out of an expectation of killing anything. Spears drew a much smaller weapon for herself from somewhere on her body-rig and started popping off shots two handed.
“Rabbit, Eightball. Mind your left.”
Whitmin and Paulski were suddenly with them, arriving from the left side. Paulsky leveled his long, scoped rifle and let loose a shot that rippled the air through Vol’s crest from three meters away. Whitmin had his hand over his left ear as he slithered between Vol and Spears.
“Gallipoli’s just landed,” he said.
“Did they make it?” Vol demanded.
“Safe and sound,” Whitmin replied. “You and Rabbit fall back.”
“No!” Vol said, shocked and afronted that they expected her to run.
“What the Doc said, Top,” Spears said, loosing a string of shots into an anoijan that mustered the bravery to poke his head out from behind a tree. “All or nothing.”
Whitmin took the insubordination in stride. “Alright. Half a kilometer to the ship. Pop smoke here and on that wreck. Snake-Doc, When we start moving, we run. Don’t worry about the rest of us, do not stop. Run straight to the ship. Everyone copy?”
“Wilko, Top,” said Paulski, pulling a cylindrical grenade from his webbing harness.
“Copy,” said Spears, doing likewise.
Vol nodded.
“Five, Four, Three, Two…” Paulski, Spears, and Whitmin clicked off the grenades and let their timers wind down in their hands as Whitmin counted. “Huck em!”
The grenades landed in a line, one right in front of their own position, one at the wreck where the enemy had massed, and one in the laser and bullet chewed undergrowth between them. Even as they hit, they detonated in a ripple of *PaPaPapSSSSSSS* and burst into thick clouds of acrid chemical smoke that washed out that whole half of Vol’s horizon in the color of used dishwater.
The humans did their vanishing act, and Vol was right behind them. Her feet pounded the jungle floor. Half a kilometer. Half a kilometer through thick jungle at full sprint with wild, blind lasers buzzing through every leaf and vine between her and that ship. She caught glimpses of the others, dark shapes flitting through the trees like blackened lightning. They moved around the jungle’s tendrily fingers. Vol just went through them. Branches, vines, and bushes snapped and tore on her under-armor bodysuit. Her bulk carved her own tunnel right through them all.
A human appeared at her side.
“Almost there,” Whitmin said. “The ship’s got eyes on-”
A laser scorched past Vol’s leg and bored into Whitmin’s hip. The human didn’t scream when he fell. He seemed to seize up, clamping the pain behind a locked jaw full of gritted teeth. He looked more angry than injured. He stumbled, momentum carrying him into a headlong dive.
He never hit the ground.
Vol’s hand shot out and she had a fistful of his webbing before she even consciously made the decision to do it. Barely stumbling in her headlong rush, she heaved and the human’s light, small frame was in the crook of her arm, then up over her shoulder like a sack. She heard the pop of his weapon, shooting at something behind them. She didn’t look back to check what it was.
“Thirty meters!” he shouted at her.
“I don’t see it!” she shouted back.
“You will.”
He was right. Vol broke through into a clearing and suddenly the ramp of the Gallipoli was right in front of her, yawned open like the maw of a great, gulping fish. She ran right up it, and no sooner had she made it three steps than the ship lurched under her, impulse drivers pulverizing the ground below and tossing the little corvette into the air. Vol stumbled, trying to control her topple so that she didn’t land on Whitmin. The ramp clanged closed and suddenly the world was small and dark and quiet.
“Medic!” someone yelled, the voice that would have been drowned in the din a moment ago was a ringing echo now.
The room got very busy, but Vol didn’t pay attention. She rolled onto her back and just panted for a while. Someone leaned over her and she batted them away with exhausted hands.
“I’m...fine…” she managed. “Whitmin...Whitmin’s hit…”
“The Captain’s going to be alright,” the someone said. It was a human in white scrubs. He was shining a bright light down into Vol’s eyes which she found very annoying, but couldn’t find the energy to do much about. “We’re taking care of him now. He’s going to be alright.”
“He...came back...” she croaked. “Back...for me”
“He’s alright,” the human in the white scrubs insisted. “Now hold still.”
“The others?”
“They made it,” the human said. “They all made it.”
Vol closed her eyes and let her head rest on the cold metal deck.
Mission accomplished, she thought.
Debreifings, in Vol’s considered opinion, should fall under the Federation sanction on torture. First, the humans had debriefed her, both separately and with the rest of the team. Whitmin’s wound, while severe, proved to be well within the Gallipoli’s ability to treat. The laser had burned through his hip, boring a hole in a rather complicated bone structure, but while it had come close to hitting a rather important organ (though nobody could explain to Vol what a “kidney” was or what it did) the damage was repairable, given time and surgery. Humans had a remarkable ability to heal, and what they couldn’t heal, they had no qualms about replacing, as Sergeant Spears’s leg would readily attest.
When the humans were done with her, She and the Tekleina were shuttled to the Righteous Path with excessive courtesy. Their arrival was heralded with full fanfare. The Ship’s Commander saluted her as she escorted the boy out of the shuttle and along a corridor of knights with presented arms. There was an applauding crowd of crew ratings and a victory speech and talk of commendations.
Then the debriefings again. Heavier and more pointed this time. The questions focused less on the pirates, and more on the humans. What exactly were their tactics? What were their weapons’ capabilities? What did the Hummingbird look like and how did it work? What was the effective range of Paulski’s rifle? She wasn’t ignorant of the interests of her people’s security, and she was a patriot. But she found that she didn’t have most of the answers they wanted, and she didn’t mind.
The taskforce had launched a full scale assault as soon as the Gallipoli had lifted off. The majority of the pirates had surrendered the moment they realized their leverage had been lost. More than three hundred prisoners had been taken, most of them scattered outside the compound walls in every direction of the compass, all wildly pursuing the “army” that had attacked them. Ship’s Commander Dakverna’Gel did take the time to inform Vol that the assault force had found her armor. The armory-technicians had deemed it salvageable and had begun refurbishing it. Later that day, Vol stopped by the armory to make a request.
It is not unheard of for a Darkalan Knight to change their heraldic colors, but it is considered momentous. The Mimialas still wear the blue and white on their armor to this day, with a stripe down the arm of ugly, mottled greens and browns.
submitted by Lord_Clefspear to HFY [link] [comments]

2020.09.24 02:51 Lord_Clefspear Ahperaitores - Pt 1 of 2

I've been a lurker on this sub for a long time now, and finally decided I might as well contribute. First really public creative writing, though I have been doing short stories of various forms for years for my own private amusement. Criticism is welcome, so be brutal :)
Invisible soldiers of supernatural skill.
Deadly hunters of sentient prey.
Ancient orders of silent warriors
For hundreds of standard-cycles, a secret and elite order of swift and stealthy killers have dominated the warrior culture of Human Terra from the shadows.
[Dr. Glop’Ga’Mar, xenohistorian and bestselling author: “Imagine an enemy that you can’t see, you can’t hear, you can’t smell, and that can kill you from more than a kilometer away.”]
These mysterious fighting units adhere to their own traditions and codes, fighting for the fractious nation-states of Terra with deadly weapons, and deadlier skill.
[Sreana the Melodious, former staff member of the Galactic Federation Embassy to Terra: “You never saw one of them unless it wanted you to. One could walk right up behind you and you’d never even know it.”]
Now, for the first time on pan galactic networking, we take you inside the strange and secretive world of these elite human warriors. With expert analysis, stunning holographic depictions, and actual first-hand historical accounts, we’ll uncover the fascinating story of…
The human Ahperaitores!
==Review posted by Dr. Glar’Ren’Gep, Deen of Multicultural Studies at Capital University
0.1 / 12
“Horribly commercialized sensationalist, over exaggerated tripe! How can you have an entire ‘documentary’ on the subject of a human historical topic and not have a single human interviewee?”
[[Galactic Standard Timecode 2201-13/50-8/10-145AF, Geosincronous orbit over GB-0068a, Edgaila Expanse]]
Medical Officer First Grade Mimiala’Vol keyed the door signal and stood at attention. Almost immediately, the door chimed and opened. An unusually prompt response; command officers usually let their subordinates wait at least half a minute. Mimiala’Vol entered, stood before the Ship Commander’s desk and saluted.
“Medical Officer Mimiala’Vol reporting as ordered, Commander,” she snapped off in perfect protocol GalCom
“Have a seat, Medical Officer,” Shop’s Commander Dakverna’Gel said, promptly closing his terminal window, granting Vol his complete attention.
That only reinforced Vol’s worry. Whatever this meeting was about was critically urgent, and “urgent” never translated to “good,” especially in situations like the one they were all in at the moment.
The Darkalan Navy Strike Frigate Righteous Path, along with a joint fleet of nearly a dozen Federation warships were currently blockading an M-class moon. Below them, well-armed and well dug in, was a cabal of pirates. They had hostages and were demanding ransom money. These sorts of hostage situations had become depressingly common in the Edgaila Expanse in recent cycles, usually ending in the ransoms being paid through local star-nation authorities without the Federation as a whole ever even getting involved. This sort of response was new. Something about this was different.
Vol took the offered seat, her uniform rustling over her ruddy scales, and attended as the Ship Commander got right to the point.
“You’ve been selected for a detached assignment,” he said. “You’ll need ground combat kit, your field medical pack, and anything else you’d bring as a battlefield medic.”
“Sir,” Vol said, “Will I be briefed on arrival?”
“You most likely will, but I want to tell you myself what you’re being dragged into,” Dakverna’Gel said. “A rescue mission is being staged. You’re on it.”
“May I ask why, sir?” Vol ventured.
“Why the rescue mission, or why you?”
“Well, both, now that you’ve mentioned it,” Vol replied frankly.
The ship commander gave vent to a heavy sigh that crackled his thick scales and spoke of harried, sleepless days.
“To the first...I expect you to keep this information confidential. We’ve gone to great lengths to keep the identity of the hostage under wraps.”
Vol twitched at that. Not hostages. Hostage. Singular.
The commander caught it. “Yes, they’ve only got one down there. They only need one when his name happens to be Tekliena’Ker. Yes, of those Teklienas. He’s the son of the great Tekliena’Sol, who has had his teeth on the back of the Darkalan parliament’s neck ever since the Anoijan bulk freighter his son was taking his post-graduation sabbatical with got ransacked by pirates and the young scion got kidnapped. In turn, parliament’s had its jaws on the neck of Federation Navy Command. Thus, the sudden resolve that we’re not letting these scum get away with their mischief any longer. The decision was made very early that we were going to get the boy back and bring his captors to justice. The problem has been ensuring his safety.”
“So, a daring rescue plan?” Vol asked.
“Exactly,” said the commander. “They know now that they are only safe as long as they hold the hostage, so they don’t intend to give him up for anything short of guarantees that we can’t give. So we need to go get him. The problem is that an assault on their compound may result in the boy’s death. So, the humans have volunteered to do something different.”
“The humans, sir?” Vol said quizzically. “I thought they only had one ship in orbit with the taskforce, and a small corvette at that. What could they hope to contribute to a rescue attempt?”
The commander gave her a level, evaluating stare.
“What do you know about Ahperaitores, medical officer?”
Vol’s jaws clicked shut in utter shock.
“The- The humans...sent Ahperaitores? Here?”
Of course, she had heard of them. Everyone had. The humans’ legendary elite warrior orders had their hands in the very foundations of the Federation. The humans were a reclusive, shadowy power in the Federation Council, and individually, they were marginally below average as fighters, or at least that was the image they themselves presented - they were a notoriously deceptive species. But the legends of the Ahperaitors were second only to higher mythology in tone.
“They did. And for the love of the Primordial, when you meet them do not mention that ridiculous Uncovering Network documentary or anything you may have heard in it.”
“Meet them?” Vol asked, her protocol slipping.
“They’re sending a team in to extract the hostage,” the commander said. “You’ve been selected to accompany them. Parliament signed off on letting the humans recover one of our nationals for us, but only on the condition that we have one of our own on the mission. The reasons are more than politics. The humans aren’t trained in Darkala medicine and the hostage may require emergency medical care on sight. In addition, having a fellow Darkalan face will help keep the boy calm and cooperative. You have the distinctly unlucky honor of being the most senior Darkalan medical officer on hand that is trained as a field combat medic and certified in trauma-victim handling. Therefore, you will be on hanger deck 2 in thirty minutes with your kit and courage.”
“I...I understand, sir.” Vol said.
“I hope you do, young woman. I truly hope you do.” The old officer’s gaze fell into the middle distance. “I’ve seen Ahperaitores before. I’ve seen them in action. Trust me, medical officer; the legends are wrong in so many ways...but they are deserved.”
When the task force had arrived in orbit above GB-0068a, it had comprised a single Anoijan frigate that had tracked the pirates’ craft from their disabled and looted bulk freighter. Soon after they had determined the nature of the pirate stronghold on the surface of the otherwise uninhabited moon, a joint Federation flotilla was dispatched. In total, there were now two Anoijan Nimar the Vigorous class frigates, three Nshii Violent class war barks, two Marlaq Glip’Gen’Lars class light cruisers, and an entire four Darkalan Praetorian class strike cruisers. These last were particularly impressive specimens, measuring the better part of two kilometers at the keel, slabbed in indomitable armor, bristling in high yield x-ray laser canons, and heavy bellied with hanger bays loaded with dropships.
Next to these gathered behemoths of martial steal, it was easy to miss the human corvette. It was dark, seeming to fade into the background space around it. Its shape was sinuous and lithe, like a hunting beast tight-packed with corded weapon-muscle. But even for all that, its mere hundred-and-thirty meter length and barely visible form made it seem so unassuming and...well, tiny next to the other ships in the task force.
The human ship (Vol had learned its name was the Gallipoli, which didn’t translate, so she assumed it was a historical name.) may have been small, but it’s interior space seemed to be so cramped and utilitarian that it made up for it. Partially that could be explained by biology. Humans were smaller and needed less space. But even for them, the narrow corridors and low overheads seemed like they would be claustrophobic. It didn’t even have an enclosed hanger deck. Vol’s shuttle from the Righteous Path had to dock with an external airlock. She was then escorted by a terse, professional human through the cramped corridors of the Gallipoli, wrestling her kit-case along behind her, trying not to decapitate herself on the overhead and practically doubling over entirely to fit through hatchways, all while human crew ratings darted from side to side making room.
The terse, professional human left her at a door labeled in blocky human runes that she couldn’t read, but matched the blocky human runes she couldn’t read on her orders, so she reached for a door signal that wasn’t there. She grumbled and set her kit-case down, contorting her hunched frame around to examine the hatch, looking for the controls. That was about the point where the door clanged and swung inwards of its own accord.
Inside was a human in very different garb than she’d seen the crew wearing. Rather than a dark blue-grey jumpsuit, this one was wearing a black top that left her arms bare and pants in an eye-baffling pattern of greens and dark browns. She looked Vol up and down with those wickedly sharp eyes that all humans seemed to have, appearing to dissect and analyze everything about her in the space of a breath. Then she turned and shouted something back into the compartment in human with a barking, authoritative voice before speaking to Vol in fluent, if oddly accented GalCom.
“Well, get in here and stop clogging the hall.”
Vol scrabbled up her kit-case and hauled it and herself through the hatchway. She tried to be careful so as not to trample the much smaller human woman, but she seemed to slither out of her way on her own. Inside the compartment, the overhead lifted a good several centimeters. It still scratched the top of her crest, but Vol gave a rapturous hiss as her spine was finally allowed to straighten. Looking around her, Vol saw a group of four or five humans, all in non-uniform garb, all in very different standards of grooming than she had ever seen on human military officers, and all looking at her.
Vol blinked twice, not sure what to do or say. Were these the Ahperaitores? The didn’t look bigger or stronger than any other human she’d seen, but then she’d never seen very many humans at all. Nobody she knew had…
“The Captain's through there,” the female interrupted Vol’s thoughts.
Vol followed the human’s gesture to another open hatch and, leaving her kit-case in the larger compartment, ducked through. It was a smaller compartment, an officer’s readyroom. The human inside didn’t come up to Vol’s shoulder, a handbreadth under two meters, and he had the same slender, sinewy build that all humans had. He had dark skin, and his hair shaved. Vol wasn’t practiced at differentiating human facial features, but his eyes were hard and intent as he studied a data tablet. Those eyes snapped to Vol like a targeting system locking as she ducked through the open hatch.
“I take it you’re the Darkalan liaison,” the human said. He soluted Vol in Darkalan fashion, raising his left arm with the back of the hand facing her, the traditional sign of one armed warrior to another. Vol returned the solute automatically, surprised to see it coming from a human.
“I’m Captain Troy Whitmin. Captain’s the rank, everything else is name. I lead Ops-Team-9. You are?”
“Sir, Medical Officer First Grade Mimiala’Vol,” Vol rattled off in perfect protocol GalCom.
“Can I assume you know why you’re here?” he said.
“Sir, I was told we were to attempt a rescue, and that I was to be responsible for the hostage’s immediate care on site.”
Whitmin grunted, a not-dissatisfied sound. “You’ll get the detailed mission-plan brief with the rest of the squad. Have you brought everything you think you’ll need for your role?”
“My kit-case is in the other room sir.”
“I’ll have to inspect it before we drop.”
Vol tried to keep her crest from bristling. “I assure you sir, my equipment is in perfect order.”
“I don’t doubt that for a second, Medical Officer,” Whitmin said in a placating tone. “The Darkalan Navy keeps excellent soldiers. But this is standard procedure for us with joint operations. We simply like to be...careful when working with other organizations and species.”
“‘We’ meaning Ahperaitores, Captain?” Vol said, blaming the edge of the question on her still cooling chollar and immediately kicking herself for it.
Whitmin gave her a neutral sort of smirk.
“Let me guess,” he said. “Uncovering Network?”
Vol’s crest went slack in chagrin. “I apologize, Sir, I meant no offence.”
“Oh, none taken,” he said. “Just for future reference, galactic media seems to think that that word is some kind of official organizational name. It’s not. The GalCom translation is ‘operators.’ It’s really just a...sort of job title for soldiers in special operations units like this.”
“So there’s more than one kind of Ahp- of...special forces unit?” Vol asked. This was the first time she’d ever heard of a human volunteering information about their species’ inner workings.
“Several, and plenty of them are represented back there,” Whitmin said, gesturing to the room behind Vol. “Here, let me introduce you.”
Vol backed out to make room for Whitmin to follow her into the larger room, where the other humans were busying themselves with all sorts of equipment and weaponry. He made a sharp whistling sound that stabbed through the air and brought the room to stillness. Vol thought they would have come to attention for their commanding officer, but they seemed not to care for the formality. Weren’t human warriors supposed to be professional?
“You’ve all met our darkalan liaison,” Whitmin said and turned to her. “Do you prefer to go by your clan-name or your given honorific, medical officer?”
“Vol is fine,” she said, thinking informality was the proper tack here.
“Very well, Vol it is. We’ll probably assign you a callsign for radio communications later.” Whitmin started pointing to each of the humans in the room, starting with the female that had opened the hatch for her.
“That’s Chief Master Sergeant Mary Spears, callsign White-Rabbit, Yoo-Tee-Enn Sow-Kom by way of the Special Space Service. She’s the chief Enn-See-Oh which makes her second in command.”
The female, Spears, was smaller than the males. Vol found that an odd thought, female darkalans generally standing head and shoulders over their male counterparts. She had coppery skin and sun-bleached looking hair shaved short on one side of her head, and several artistic pigmentation marks on her arms and neck. Vol wondered if they were like darkalan scar-etchings or something else. Her eyes were an electric-looking blue.
“Second ta God, the Cap means,” she said, and Vol again noticed a lilting note in her accent that hadn’t been there in Whitmins flat inflection.
“The big one behind her is Sergeant Gordon Paulski, callsign Roadkill” Whitmin continued, indicating the male with palish skin and what Vol thought might have passed for a bulky frame...for a human. His hair was middle-brown, long enough that he had tied it back into a tail, and accompanied by a second growth of hair curling from his upper lip down the sides of his mouth.
“Paulski’s our designated marksman, trained in the Mar-Sok Scout Snipers, but he was from Tennessee before that, so it was more of a finishing-school to teach him not to eat with his fingers and to walk upright instead of on all fours.”
Paulski called something in human with a rolling drawl and a smile. It must have been something impolitic, because Spears jammed her elbow into his midsection. Paulski didn’t seem to notice.
The captain ignored what would have been a flagrant breach of military protocol in a darkalan outfit and moved on to “Technical Sergeant Hao Yiran, callsign Box-Man. Hao’s our PeeJay. PeeJay is…”
“An acronym for a human term,” provided the last of the group, a short-ish male with short black hair and slanted eyes. He was even shorter than the others, but thickly built, which made him seem almost like a juvenile to Vol. “translated, it essentially means ‘jumping rescue soldier.’ I’m our medical specialist.”
“That,” said Whitmin. “I’ll make sure he gets you a crash course in the basics in case of emergencies, but you won’t be expected to pull medic duty on any of us. Your job is the hostage. And on that note, Spears, pull up the blackboard. Major Pike just sent me the surface survey and I want you and our liaison’s input on our infil route.”
The next hour or so was spent with the two leaders in congress over what the humans called the “Blackboard.” It was a holographic display table with an interactive map of the pirates’ base of operations and the surrounding area. Vol was a little disconcerted at the level of detail it showed. If what she was seeing was accurate, the Gallipoli had sensors powerful enough to render details down to the square meter, penetrate soil, rock and artificial structures, and even estimate the positions of biological activity by heat signature.
The two humans intermittently peppered Vol with questions about the hostage. What was the physical description of the boy? Did he have any identifying markings? How old was he? How tall? How heavy? What was the average body temperature range for a darkalan male his age and condition? What sort of injuries could they expect him to have sustained? She answered these as fully as she could with her limited information. She provided the identification records her superiors had given her, rattled off the most pertinent medical information she had, she even opened her kit case to show the humans what sort of equipment she would be bringing.
When she did, all of the humans had an immediate reaction to her armor.
“Top,” said Paulski, voicing what appeared to be a shared sentiment among the humans, “I’m thinkin that’s gonna be big frikkin problem.”
“I know, Roadkill,” said the Captain. “I expected this might come up.”
Vol didn’t see what the issue was. Her armor was, in point of fact immaculate. Not only that, but it was one of the latest marks of darkalan infantry plate produced. It layered ablative plating, exoskeletal support struts, and a multi-cell battery core powering a shoulder-mounted anti-personal railgun. Very few examples of infantry combat hardware could exceed its performance short of a Praetorian Cavalry powered armor rig.
“You expected what might come up, Captain Whitmin?” Vol said. “Quite bluntly, I don’t know what’s wrong.”
Instead of answering her directly, Whitmin addressed the room as a whole. “You’ve all been briefed on darkalan ground-war tactics. Heavy plate and powered armor. Big, loud, heavy, even more than normal for Federation member species. We got lucky though, this is one of the more compact patterns I’ve seen. Darkalan officers traditionally paint their armor in their personal arms and colors though.”
“And our liaison officer’s colors,” Spears interjected, “are about as hi-viz as a bloody landing strip.”
“Hi-viz?” Vol said, unsure how this could have offended the humans.
“Clean white and sky-blue tend to stand out visually in a green jungle at night,” said Hao. “This mission is going to require stealth.”
“And you believe that my armor will be too visible,” Vol said. “Do you propose I leave it behind?”
“Not necessarily,” said Whitmin. “If you’ll consent to it, there’s something we can do about it. We can have one of us take it down to the bay and spray-paint over it. I’ll take personal responsibility for restoring it to original condition or replacing it after the mission.”
Vol’s immediate reaction was to deny that she had heard such an insulting suggestion. She was proud of her colors. She had worked hard for the right to wear them, and maintained them diligently for all her cycles as an officer. How could this human suggest she simply paint over them?
But, she thought*, he knows what they mean. He understands darkalan culture and tradition, and respects it enough to make his proposal right at his own expense. He wouldn’t do any of this if he didn’t have a very good reason, whatever it is.*
Grudgingly, Vol nodded ascent. “Very well. But please be careful that it’s reversible when we are done.”
“Thank you, medical officer,” said Whitmin. “Roadkill, take the medical officer’s armor down to the bay and get to work.”
“One hillbilly jarhead camo job comin up, Top,” said the hairy-faced human, liberally peppering the sentence with awkward human words Vol had no context for.
The whole team gathered around the blackboard some time later. The captain and chief master sergeant -“Top” and “Chief '' as Vol had learned the ranks were abbreviated- painstaking layed out OpsTeam9’s plan of insertion. The Gallipoli would make atmospheric entry on the far side of the moon in daylight, then fly across the terminator to deposit the team two and a half kilometers from the pirate base in the dead of night. Vol had imagined that the stealth obsessed human operators would have some sort of tiny shuttle or orbital drop pod rather than bringing their whole ship into the atmosphere, but Whitmin answered her query with “If they have anything down there that can see the Gallipoli, they deserve to shoot her down.”
The landing of the ship was unusual, for some reason, but the humans were reluctant to explain what else they may have done to get to the surface. She thought she heard someone use the term “hay-low jump” but had no idea what that could mean.
From the landing point, the team had several optional routes on foot to the compound. They all seemed like long treks to Vol, but she supposed that couldn’t be helped given the need for the Gallipoli to avoid detection. Once at the compound, Hao, Spears, and Vol would make entry while Paulski and Whitmin provided cover. The humans had a reasonably good guess as to what room the boy, or The Package, as they called him, was being held in, and the guard compliment around the area.
All in all, it seemed as though the humans might know more about the pirate compound than the pirates themselves did. Military intelligence this detailed and in-depth was almost unheard of in the Darkalan Navy. Vol had always heard that the humans were a tricksy and shrewd - some said “underhanded” - people, but she had always thought most of the stories were xenophobic or exoticist exaggeration. She was beginning to suspect that there might be something to them
“Are there any questions?” Whitmin asked.
Hao raised his hand and received an acknowledging nod from the commanding officer.
“What kind of enemy armament do we expect on-site?” he asked.
“Intel says mostly civilian grade small arms” Spears put in. “Mostly low yield laser and pellet drivers. They’ve been in considerable money for a while though, so a few of them may have splurged on something fancier. The spook analysissies think atleast a few of them are lugging around plasma or similar directed energy guns. Probably Kim’ra 7s. In any case, we don’t have any sign of anything crew-served or vehicle mounted. These guys board ships for a living, they don’t need technicals.”
“Rules of engagement?” asked Paulski.
“If it’s carrying a weapon, it’s fair game,” said Whitmin. “But Ess-Oh-Pee for an extraction; we stay quiet and undetected until we have the package in hand, longer if at all possible. It’s a rescue, not a raid.”
“Will that be possible?” asked Vol. “Getting all the way into the compound without anyone noticing?”
“Trust me,” said Whitmin, “We are the best there is at what we do, and we do it often. Follow our lead, do exactly as my people tell you, and we’ll walk into Hell, snuff all the fires, steal all the brimstone, and be long gone before the Devil even knows we’re there.”
When the briefing was done, Vol and the humans of OpsTeam9 moved through the cramped, narrow corridors of the Gallipoli, crew scattering out of their way, to the Bay. The Bay, as it turned out, was the closest thing the Gallipoli had to a proper hangar deck. It was about the size of a civilian vehicle garage, and walled in lockers, retaining nets, and anchor points. One wall was obviously some sort of airlock door. A pallet of military cargo was strapped down in the center of the space, along with Vol’s kitcase.
The humans wasted no time opening lockers and preparing themselves with the gear and clothing within. They apparently were not bothered by mores of modesty or nudity taboos, simply stripping down to change into their battle gear. Vol mentally shrugged, reasoned that they weren’t darkalan, and took the opportunity to indulge her curiosity.
Almost universally, the humans had at least a few of the body-art markings Spears displayed, along with scars of a multitude of severity and origins. Under their clothing, the humans’ forms seemed even more slender and lithe, long muscles visible through their smooth skin as they moved. Vol thought they looked unnatural. Slithery. Creepy. She heard the sound of metal clacking on the floor, and turned to see Spears shuck off her baggy trousers to reveal light sucking matte black metal. Her right leg ended a few centimeters down the thigh, replaced by a spindly looking, but remarkably articulated prosthetic.
“What happened?” Vol asked, medical curiosity overriding social carefulness.
“A difference of opinion,” the human replied, “between me foot and a landmine as ta the rightful occupant of a certain bit of ground. The landmine won.”
“Does it cause you complications in your duties?”
“Not after the surgery,” Spears shrugged. “Other than socially, that is. I’ve got kids that think I’m a navy clerk. Mite hard ta explain how Mommy got her leg exploded off from behind a desk.”
“You have a family? Children?” Vol asked.
“We’ve all got family.”
“And you lie to them about what you do.”
“Only the little ones,” said Spears. “They aren’t really old enough to understand. Not old enough to ken what it means that me job is to go out into the pitch black places where the monsters live and try to shoot the monsters in the face.”
The humans were donning clothing colored in greys, blacks, and other drab colors in a bizarre, eye-baffling pattern that seemed to blend together in odd ways. Flexible boots, equipment harnesses, and gloves went on over this. And finally, the only armor they seemed to possess, vests uniquely rigged for each human to carry equipment and pouches particular to their roles and preferences, along with helmets featuring large optical devices.
“Do you not wear any more armor than that?”
“Not much point,” replied Hao, sinching a strap on a leg-mounted pouch. “Humans keep all of their vital organs in the upper torso and head. Damage to other parts of the body usually won’t kill us outright. Anything that will kill a human instantly from a hit to a limb was going to kill him regardless of what he was wearing. Besides, the best armor is not getting hit in the first place, and that’s easier with as little weight as possible.”
“You mean to tell me,” Vol said with incredulity, “that you can dodge laser fire?”
“He means that if we do our jobs right,” cut in Paulski, proffering Vol’s kitcase, “We don’t have to dodge anything.”
Vol took the proffered case, set it down and opened it. Inside was all of her equipment, but Vol barely recognized it. Instead of the gleaming white and pale blue, Vol saw drab greens and dark tones of brown and black, patched together in a splotchy, mottled pattern. She picked up the left vambrace, examining it from every angle.
“It was a bit of a rush job,” said Paulski. “Only so much I can do with spray paint and a few hours, but it’ll last ‘til the end of the mission. Ain’t nothin’ I can do ‘bout yer size though, so move carefully and...I dunno, think small I guess.”
Vol thanked the human for his work, though it made her crest prickle, and proceeded with her own preparation. Darkalan battleplate wasn’t all cloth and straps the way the human “armor” seemed to be. It was good, solid stuff of metal, clasp-seals, and powered servos. Each piece slotted into its neighbors as tight as a crustacean's plated shell. It was reliable, dependable, powerful. When Vol finally sealed her helmet and powered it up, the familiar darkalan script of the heads up display made her feel like she’d awakened a tiny bit of home in this alien world she’d found herself in. She closed her eyes and took a deep breath of the helmet filtered air.
When she opened them, the humans were arming, checking and slinging weapons. It was well known that humans traditionally favored hand-held small arms rather than armor mounted weapons. It seemed odd, a species with technology far ahead of most Federation member nations clinging to archaic weapon forms. It was even rumored that, even though their regular infantry had a reliable laser rifle platform, the Ahperaitores still used solid kinetic guns. And unless she missed her guess, the magazines they were feeding into their pouches were indeed solid slugs. Vol had enough respect for interspecies military security not to pry too deeply into the details, but having been trained in the use of the rail-cannon, kinetic projectiles were a choice she could respect.
The rest of the time in the bay was occupied with strange little rituals. Each of the humans paired off. One would bounce up and down on their toes, while the other observed, then they would switch. A “jump-test” Whitmin explained, to make sure that there were no loose objects that could rattle or otherwise give away one’s position by sound. Not that Vol thought there was any reason. The humans were disconcertingly silent as is, unless they were speaking. He invited Vol to participate, and she obliged, her metal sabatons clanging on the metal deck. At Least nothing was loose.
Next, the humans all passed around a tin of “warface”, which turned out to be a sort of greenish-brown paste. They smeared this on their faces and necks, painting themselves mottled green like barbarian tribal warriors putting on war paint.
Paulski and Hao traded small devices, common civilian media players, then parted to opposite ends of the bay. When Vol asked Spears, the human woman told her that Pauski and Hao were of different nationalities on Terra, nationalities that were culturally very different and historically rivals. Spears said that ever since they had been assigned to the same squad, they had argued the merits of their own culture’s musical styles. Eventually, they had developed the habit of trading samples of their homelands’ traditional music before the start of every mission. Apparently, neither one would yet admit to the other that he really did enjoy what his teammate had shown him.
The most solemn, to Vol’s eyes, were the parchments. Each of the human soldiers produced from somewhere a folded paper packet with a line of human runes on one side. Each one, including Whitmin, took their paper and handed it to the commander of the Gallipoli, who had come to the bay seemingly for the sole purpose of receiving these packets. The commander spoke in low tones with Whitmin, then took his leave.
Whitmin gathered the attention of his team as the commander disappeared towards the bridge.
“We’re starting our entry run,” he said. “Planetfall in twenty. Any problems speak now or forever hold your peace.”
No one spoke up, so the captain continued. “One last thing: the votes are in, and our special guest Medical Officer Mimiala’Vol has been patched into the team coms net with the callsign ‘Snake-Doctor.’ Welcome to Ess-Eff country, Snake-Doc.”
A round of raucoutry and human cheering went up, and Vol felt a dozen hard impacts on her pauldrons as her new companions clapped her shoulders in congratulation. As though the simple radio callsign were some sort of initiation- a new battle name like the warrior tribes of old.
As the humans settled, a new seriousness fell over them, not a grimness, more of an eager resolve. The captain ordered the air-lock opened. The team piled into the cargo airlock, and were sealed inside.
End of Part 1
Part 2 may be found here
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2020.09.24 01:37 randallfcooper The Rise of Nezura (Part 23)

Part 1 Previous Next

"My beautiful Silver Army, you all know who your rightful commander is. Kill the traitors Lara and Holtmeyer, and then come claim Nezura with me, and relish in the glory of the day we've waited so long for," Mozer yelled from the top of the Zevolra crown.
Lara grinned as the Silver Army aimed their bows, javelins, swords, and throwing axes, directly at Mozer.
"I think you see where their loyalty lies," Lara yelled.
"Fine, go ahead, try it, attack me, maybe then you can comprehend what you're up against!" Mozer shouted.
Lara held up a sword sky high and yelled, "3...2...1... Attack!"
The Silver Army unleashed their barrage of weapons, soaring well through the rain, but as they hit the Zevolra and the crown, nothing happened. Everything bounced off the resilient bones of the Zevolra.
"Okay, that's enough of that. Now you're going to learn why you made a mistake. I'll make an example out of half of you," the Zevolra lifted its massive claw and hammered it down to take out the infantry.
"Bone lance!" a voice cried out, flanking the Zevolra from the side, a brilliant green spike of light shot across the field, striking the Zevolra's arm. The monster groaned and recoiled. The Zevolra trembled as its back was against the gate.
"Are you kidding me? You can't handle a stupid bone lance!" Mozer screamed.
Lara darted her eyes in the direction it came from, and her heart dropped. Telyos was losing his balance. His knees were noodles since the summon drained every ounce of energy he had. He collapsed to the ground.
"Stay here!" Lara whispered to Holtmeyer as she sprinted to her brother's side.
"Let's give this another try!" Mozer screamed, but the Zevolra quivered, unable to lift a finger.
"I'm going to have to crush the bone prison?" I yelped, arms still wrapped around Betty's neck with every inch of strength. The view was breathtaking, but I couldn't stop and admire the lime-yellow glow of Nezura on a rainy evening. I had to focus.
We had reached the top of the arc, and I swear I saw a glimpse of the sunset through a tunnel of clouds. Maybe I was crazy, but at that moment, something magical happened. It was like I wasn't even in control of my hands. I ripped out my ivory blade from my pocket and clutched it white-knuckled.
The words burst through my mind like a raging river through a dam.
Death comes to those innocent and guilty
I concoct the spell of greatest responsibility
It should never be the first, always the last
Resort. Contort. Crush. And demolish.
Or a structure no more can prosper
The only method I should foster
It can break barriers or walls
But its intent is always for all
Toting the thin line
Of death and life
I take in, I ensure,
Virtue in my conjure.
I wet my brush in death's goblet
The tip of the blade shined with a bright red, and I stabbed my hand, descending towards the Zevolra. The bone prison, locked in my sight, frozen. Time stood still.
But this paint will create beauty in life.
This paint will create beauty in life.
A giant black cube zoomed at me, but it stopped just as it was about to knock me off balance. In my head, I saw Akara, shouldering the cube, causing the entire block to crumble. I stared at her in awe. Did I imagine her doing that? Or did she really help me?
My head felt like it was underwater.
"Uuuuuuuuuuu didddddditttttttttttttttt!" someone hollered.
Our descent felt like a slow pull underwater.
"Youuuuuuu diiiiiid ittttttttttttt!" it was Wynn's voice, but deeper than I remembered.
"Huh?" I blurted, but my voice rumbled my skull, nausea and vertigo created a lovechild that turned my brain into sloshing chunky soup.
"Youuuuuuu diiiiiid it!" Wynn cried out, the world rushed back to normal. Physics, gravity, time, and speed all came back to what I remembered.
"What!" I yelled, and it came out perfectly fine, but I'd never felt so tired in my life. My body felt like it had been wrung out by a giant after a day of brutal labor in the blistering sun.
"Look!" Wynn yelled.
The crown's spears cracked at the tip, the Zevolra let out a high-pitched whale shriek. The cracks expanded, jagged black lines invaded the crown, and spread throughout the rest of the body, it kept groaning, and even Mozer screamed. The crown shattered like panes of glass, and the rest of the bones crumbled. The arms, the legs, the wings, the torso, the neck, and finally, the head, all burst into shards.
Wynn gently landed Betty and me to the ground. Wynn collapsed upon setting foot on the earth, falling next to Telyos and a woman I recognized as the king's assistant, Lara. I slid off Betty, landing on my back, every muscle ached with dull pain.
Mozer was standing on a pile of broken bones and stared at his army without a glimpse of fear. His lips curled crookedly from ear to ear as the infantry prepared their bows, spears, and throwing axes.
"3..." Mozer counted down, Holtmeyer arched his brow and threw up his sword.
"Attack!" Holtmeyer hollered. The infantry launched their projectiles. Not every single toss was accurate, but the ones that hit Mozer bounced right off, and he chortled.
He moseyed over to Wynn and I, still on the ground. I wanted to scurry away, but I didn't have the energy. Betty grabbed Wynn and tried to pull her out, but Wynn batted away her hand.
"I have to stay! Pull Max away!" Wynn yelled.
Betty ran up to me and dragged me away, but I said, "No, I must stay with Wynn!"
"Oh shut up, all of you. I'll kill you off one by one. Don't even worry about it," Mozer towered over Wynn and beamed.
"Fight me!" Lara charged after Mozer and threw a flurry of well-practiced punches and chops, but Mozer blocked each one, smiling. It was effortless for him.
"You've had your fun," Mozer gripped Lara's wrist and threw her to the ground with pulverizing force. "I want to kiss the Vyrux. Can you imagine the power in those lips? I'm salivating at the thought. I must have them."
"Vlark you!" Wynn screeched, and Mozer's grin stretched ear-to-ear.
I'll respond to your comments soon! I promise! It's been busy. I'm so glad all of you are still enjoying the story so much! :)
submitted by randallfcooper to randallcooper [link] [comments]

2020.09.23 23:53 lickleboy22 New Player Needs Help

It just seems that landing a single attack on someone is impossible, I'll feint, morph or hit someone when they're not even looking at me yet they just block it every single time. No matter what I do people just block every attack I do. I've tried drags and accels but they still just block it every time. I would like some replies that actually help other than just 'git gud', you shouldn't have to spend hundreds of hours just so you can get a few kills.
submitted by lickleboy22 to Mordhau [link] [comments]

2020.09.23 23:00 cantondragon the tale of Kurt the brave kobold

>be me.
>be kobold sorcerer
>be not me
>dwarf rouge, tiefling wizard, DM
>kurt is kobold sorcerer who is looking to get his tribe of kobolds accepted into civilized society
>Ragathor is dwarf rouge who was a part of a noble blacksmithing family that had its reputation destroyed by a green dragon.
>Orthana is tiefling wizard who learnt magic to defend herself from her aasimar brother, who hates her guts because shes a tiefling, and therefore evil.
>be in lord's castle
>sent to deal with young dragon near a nearby village
>go there
>look around town
>see merchant's shop
>go in
>see fat merchant
>"ahh, i see you have bought here before! may i ask, why is your slave not in chains?"
>points to me "that kobold slave you own!"
>calmly walk out
>time passes
>more time passes
>kill dragon
>go back to kningdom and collect bounty
>"hey anon, what happened to that kobold slave shop?"
>go back
>dwarf and i sneak in
>"this is a bad idea"
>find slave storage
>dwarf begins picking locks
>hear slave owner
>"how did they pick that lock? i guess i better torture them."
>"i wonder if ill brand them or break their bones."
>aim staff at slave owner
>cast scorching ray at 5th lvl
>roll initiative
>dwarf first, then slave owner, then kurt
>dwarf shoots the f*cker's eyes out
>f*ck yah
>blinded until healed
>slave owners turn
>tries to run away
>cast animate objects
>slave owner's dagger he droped shanks him in the back
>cast mordenkainen's faithful hound
>pounces on slave owner
>dwarf is nowhere to be found
>slave owner keeps trying to run away
>almost out of the shop
>cast fireball
>slave owner nearly dead, in shock, and is blind
>gaurds show up
>drag him off
>free the rest of the slaves
>earn large plot of land in the countryside
>build kobold town
>my tribe + the freed kobolds join it
>town grows
>dream achieved
>fast foreword to finial session
>fighting BBEG
>kurt is downed
>dwarf is downed
>wizard at 1 hp
>bahamut visits him
>says he admires him
>wake up
>everyone but me is downed
>be half dragon
>pulverize the BBEG
>retire to town, now a thriving city
>campaign ends
>happy with ending
>working on new campaign centered on the kobold town
>will be fun
so what did you think?
am looking for ideas for a campaign set in a town of nothing but kobolds. do you want more kurt?
I've got more stories if you want them.
TLDR: we freed a a bunch of kobold slaves and i beat the BBEG with the power of dragon god
submitted by cantondragon to DnDGreentext [link] [comments]

2020.09.23 23:00 SpawnoftheStryx The Best Part of You: Chapter 2.2: Concert Crasher (final)

((You can find part 1 here!))
Seth stumbled backwards and slipped on a puddle of digital slurry. His duelist flipped the bows into icepick grip, still with that aching, fake smile, and drove them down like daggers.
Scooting back as the sabers plunged through where his shoulders had been a second ago, he sent a wild kick into one of her shins and sent the encroaching killer toppling forwards. A knee landed uncomfortably close for comfort, eliciting a startled gasp of anticipation, followed by two bows ripping through the sleeves by his elbows to staple him with his back to the ground. Not enormously keen on letting a straddling serial killer vivisect him, Seth drew his legs out from under her, bent up and planted his dress shoes into her stomach, forcing her up and off in a flailing angry ball of venom. She cracked the back of her head on the floor with an audible impact that made him feel a brief pang of sympathy, quickly overshadowed by fear.
Untangling himself from the ruined jacket skewered with bows, the unclaimed demigod climbed to his feet, sneezing in a cloud of dust and resin. The masked attacker had recovered just as quickly, forcing him to raise his arms to catch her fists in a hurry. Her superior positioning and grip slowly eased him closer to the pile of instruments while her own breathing grew heavy. The gloved fingers laced with his own, mixing sweat and sludge, and squeezed until his bones threatened to crack. Several sharp points pricked his back. They had reached the pile, where, among other things, the demolished top board of a harpsichord terminated in a minefield of wooden splinters and nails. She eased him onto the deadly speartips with sadistic slowness. Seth’s arms trembled and were moments from giving out.
A trapdoor opened unhinged beneath her, swinging inward, and swallowed her up. Her grip on him was lost with a surprised yell. Seth peeled himself from the close call behind him. A hand rose to his heart and he dug in his nails to steady the heaving of his chest. If he ended up having a heart attack in his sleep, he was going to wake up so pissed in the Underworld.
It went without saying at this point that Seth’s momentary crush had evaporated like a fart in an industrial centrifuge, and any lovestruck notions of playing a saucy duet were replaced with the telltale jitters of flight-or-fight. With their host recently departed, the holographic stage lamps took to him instead, rotating about his head and dazzling him with harsh cyan sparks. A few experimental swings at them scared them off long enough to clear his space and his head. He needed to arm himself. A sweep of the floor revealed the twin bows sticking straight down into his jacket. It’ll do.
A hop, skip and jump over the trapdoor gauntlet placed him in front of the weapons, which he snatched up and inspected with the time he had left. The fearsome meld of garrote wire and Celestial Bronze left him wondering if it was even possible to play a violin with these monstrosities, and how awful the resulting sound would be produced. Seth couldn’t operate a manual can opener, much less a pair of twin music sabers, and his confidence diminished. Whatever the case, he felt safer knowing he had disarmed the crazy one-woman concert. When the trapdoor swung downwards and opened back up to let her disheveled form slowly rise, he steeled himself and held them by his sides. “What are you going to do without these, huh?” A disaster of a snarky line, and pretty much tempting fate to show her pull out something worse, but it was difficult to come up with snappy comments in the middle of a brawl, and he only had so much breath. He’d have plenty of time to write better material after she killed him and he repeated this process the next night.
The mask fractured briefly into a frown before correcting itself when the lamps swarmed her head with a buzz. She was seated on a large lumpy object resembling another piano – seriously? Seth was going to serenaded to death? – with several augmentations the nature of which could not be discerned. She dabbed delicately below the mask’s mouth with a handkerchief to wipe away a line of fluid dripping out then tapped the piano in front of her lovingly.
The spotlights centered back on her. She dragged her hands across the keyboard in a rapid minor scale and as if on cue, a large bronze cannon styled with treble clefs emerged from the opening top board. Cyan liquid glistened and pooled underneath the instrument-turned-siege engine. Spokes cranked outwards and wheels bound with rope affixed themselves to grounded rails.
The looming smile widened, causing the plastic to warp. The bows felt much less fearsome in his hands than they had several moments ago. White heels rammed into the pedal box and several pullies began to churn below the ground. The barrel of the cannon zeroed on his torso. “Oh.”
A beat pause followed.
Another pause.
“A cannon isn’t an instrument, you know.”
The maestra threw her fists down on the keys for a discordant wallop of sound. Pyoter Ilyich Tchaikovsky’s loudest rebuttal that cannons are, in fact, instruments, exploded out of the barrel in the form of a glitchy blob of electronic lights. Church bells rang in Seth’s brain as it collided with his upper body. Suddenly he was weightless, hitting not the ground but hurtling straight through the mountain of instruments and bursting out on the other side after boring straight through.
The ethereal projectile that had struck him melted into skin, leaving a Rorschach splotch across his dress shirt. Clamminess and a heavy, nauseating buzzing behind the eyeballs rocked him back and forth on the floor. The hole left by his trajectory through the hill began to collapse. The grand piano at the top sagged in the rapidly disappearing foundation. By the time Seth had staggered to his feet and inspected himself only to find no physical wound, the lamps had abandoned him to continue hounding their original target. So dream logic was back in full swing; good to know. That didn’t mean he wanted to take another cannonball head-on.
The assailant came into view atop the pile having recovered her blades, flawlessly cartwheeling into a triple flip and perching onto the descending piano to ride it like a runaway snowboard. She dragged a bow along her throat menacingly, her intention clear; Seth steeled against the bubbling pain descending into his stomach and wiped a spool of technicolor poison from his lips. He hurried around the pile to put more distance between himself and the ballerina of chaos, eyeing the torn top board with a dreadful resignation and tearing it free.
Speaking of ballerina… from around the pile she half-approached, half-danced in a rotating pirouette, sweeping the blades out in large circular swathes. The deadly dervish spun towards him like a top. Refusing to back down, Seth swung the nailed board hard. Their respective armaments clashed. Propping it as a makeshift shield, he held his ground and withstood the rhythmic succession of blows, each one chipping off a bit more of his bastion until a duel strike shattered the wood into pieces.
The maestra lowered her leg and stopped spinning to revel momentarily in Seth’s helplessness, tilting her head teasingly and receiving an unexpected punch to the face. She crumpled like a house of cards. Seth felt the satisfying crunch of a nose under his right hook then bounced back to roll up his sleeves and free up some elbow movement while staying light on the balls of his feet. It took a certain amount of sucker punches to the face himself before he had perfected the feint against particularly relentless bullies, and as much as he loathed the dirtiness of fisticuffs, victory took priority. He rolled his neck, because that’s what fighters did on television and it just felt natural. “Okay. Okay? Wanna dance? We can dance. Let’s dance, honey.”
Her motionless body convulsed and drew itself up on invisible puppet strings. One of her gloves fell by the wayside, and a prosthetic hand of manikin wood curled even tighter around the bow. Living doll. Not creepy at all. And her face…eugh.
A hideous spiderweb of cracked concentric circles circled the mask’s crushed nose in bullseye formation, smattered with the same noxious-smelling digital pus that reminded Seth of a leaking glowstick. A nasty memory resurfaced of six-year-old him tasting the fluid at a Fourth of July picnic and the thought of glass filaments and toxic chemicals on his tongue burned like acid. Gods only knew what it was doing to his insides right now, settling into his gut and making the lights swim around his skull.
Any hint of the mask’s smile was gone now, as well as several shards surrounding it. Through the chaos of the revolving lights he could made out a pair of lips cracked raw, curled into an animalistic snarl. From a few of the hairline fractures forming at the top, individual strands of curly brown hair and patches of the face underneath visible through the broken mesh of the fencing helmet sparkled under the glare of the lamps. The most off-putting example of body horror was only visible when the lamps were behind Seth, angling the light just right to show golden stitches sealing the mouth shut and spelling one word:
The veneer of confidence was gone. Seth could feel the grey eyes roving up and down, drinking him in and calculating how exactly to approach him next. The words branded into the mask were illegible neon flares sending fireworks into his eyeballs. More of the sludge began to diffuse through his clothes, numbing his fear. The hazel of his irises was sapped from his eyes and poured out in large round tears and his lids drooped. A similar desaturation process took place across his face. His knees knocked and wobbled, then quickly gave out. Like a swarm of piranhas the lamps crowded around him, their digital screens sucking the colorful ink out of every available patch of hair or exposed skin.
Granny Su placed down the unopened bottle of pills on the kitchen table and folded her arms. Seth had always joked that the hard set of her mouth and lack of wrinkles at her age made her a total catch in the funeral parlor, which always earned a rare smirk. He doubted that gallows humor would weasel him out of trouble now. He shrunk from her gaze and let his eyes lose focus and his mind wander into the clouds, just so he could be anywhere but here.
Seth gasped and fell over. He shuddered involuntarily and felt the shadows of the lamps passing him by, opening up to beam their contents onto his opponent. With the spotlight back on her she bent one leg in front of the other and tilted her head back. She basked in the cacophony to allow the sensations to wash over her. Floating strings of scrawled diagrams, mathematical laws, hateful slurs, migraine-inducing swirls of gasoline invaded the nostrils. 649 became 651, then 658, 675, 677, exchanging digits and rolling through new numbers like a malfunctioning slot machine. A lamp coiled its wires around the discarded glove, slurped up more of the slurry staining it, and stretched it over the naked hand. With a twang the bladed wires now coated in the corrosive substance snapped off of the bows and wiggled uselessly.
His arms were gone. Brilliant wavy streaks of ink outlined his fingers and down to the wrinkled sleeves scrunched by the elbows, leaving the rest of him entirely transparent. Blinking rapidly and rubbing his eyes raw only made the undulating pinpricks of light sparkle harsher. The floor fell away, inducing a sense of weightlessness. Fighting the sloshing sensation in his head the demigod drew himself up, spat out a glob of digital sludge and tossed a sloppy punch through the defensive barrier of screens. The landing was weak, but the impact splattered more ink across the heavily marred façade and the killer recoiled. Her ceremony disrupted, Mara lunged forward, threw the bows away, hooked her fingers around the loop of Seth’s bowtie, pulled him close and-
Wait. Why did he know her name? Recognition sharpened his brain with photographic precision. Even under the shroud of a mangled fencing costume she was impossible to misplace. An accidental collision in front of the Athena cabin and an awkward, forgettable apology on his part was the sum of their interactions. Seth could not guess why she was here, in a music-themed fever dream, dressing like the Joker’s awkward band phase and trying to throttle the idiot in front of her. What he COULD guess, with startling clarity, was that she was about to headbutt him.
Leaning back to protect his nose from suffering the same fate as hers, he placed his hands over the gloves and struggled to peel them off while aiming another low kick. Her knee bent reflexively to catch it and push him backwards. The two of them tumbled through a stage trapdoor, thrusting them both into a cosmic void with no floor.
Broken instruments, bundled up wads of notebook paper, stage lamps, axles, burnt tires, laptops bludgeoned by abuse, pens leaking ink rotated about themselves in an endless dance of zero gravity, illuminated by countless stars. Unable to modify their angular momentum, Seth and Mara were flung onto the closed board of a floating grand piano, a makeshift planetoid orbited by rings of dazzling numbers.
Mara scrambled on top and tightened her fingers around his throat, slamming the back of his head onto the keys twice and squeezing the breath from his lungs. He raised his legs, locked them around her waist and rolled her off, sending them spinning into the asteroid belt of household devices. Shards of splintered violins pelted them in lethal hail, Seth taking the brunt of the bombardment across his shoulders and neck. A flower petal came loose from his hair. With a desperate choked grunt he snatched the petal, focused on it and grew an abnormally large rose. He stuffed it into Mara’s face and the plant responded, wrapping around the entire mask. Her grip on his throat left him and she reached up with a furious muffled yell to clutch at her head while the flower responded to Seth’s command, enveloping her head. Forgot I could do that…
Gasping for air and still hopelessly tangled with her in their interstellar waltz, he spotted a violin and reached out.
Mara ripped the enormous rose from her crumbling mask, her breath fluctuating wildly, and received an overhead swing of the violin into her forehead. The stars blinked and were extinguished.
The mask shattered into pieces, along with the instrument, and she cried out for a split second. Seth wound up another swing with the badly damaged violin and found himself kicked away, tumbling weightlessly and slamming into the piano, where at the very least he could regain a foothold.
Mara was undergoing a metamorphosis. Large volumes of oily glowing numbers were being expelled from her system, diffusing out of her face and splotching out into the void in the pattern of spilt milk. She doubled over and coughed out ethereal shards of glass. Vertigo lurched in Seth’s stomach as the dream righted itself and the floor grew out from under him. He landed diagonally in a mat of petals and rolled over, then rose to defend himself. His fists dropped and he tilted his head in concern.
The Athena counselor had lost all will to fight, instead resorting to digging her fingers into her hair and pulling in a sobbing tantrum. She curled up on the floor and fell to her side, plucking bits of plastic that stuck to her face while color returned to her cheeks and the scarred numbers faded. She thrashed and kicked at the pieces of the mask around her, yelling obscenities at it for good measure. Seth knew the early signs of an attack and crept over, discarding the violin.
He caught her outraged fists and lowered them, prying her fingers open to stop her from pulling at her scalp.
“Enough. You’re safe. It’s gone. You’re safe.” Seth wasn’t sure where the words were coming from. He knew what sort of tactile triggers and promises made him feel the most secure when the outside stimulus became too much, so he reluctantly defaulted to that; a gentle circle being traced over the palms in simple beats of five, someone keeping his hands from clenching so his nails couldn’t dig at the scabs, syncing their breathing and lifting his head up straight for proper airflow. For the most part it seemed to be working. Mara’s body still radiated anger – the blades were uncomfortably close by. One sudden reach for them would leave him helpless to stop her from running him through. Broken tablets fell around them from the shadowy catwalk, sparked and died.
“It’s not your fault.” The platitudes were spilling out of him now, hoping she would construe her own meaning from them. At least some of it appeared to get through the fog in her eyes. With the sutures slipping off of her mouth and the harsh words melting away the grotesque distortions surrounding her had all but evaporated. They held each others’ hands for support, grounding themselves in the only ‘real’ thing around.
“This isn’t what people wear, by the way.”
Seth nearly jumped out of his skin at the sound of her voice as her lips unsplit and mended. “Uh, sorry, what?”
Mara cleared her throat and poked Seth imperiously in the collar, forcing him to back off. “Seriously? Ugh- first of all, hands off. This is a military uniform. What am I, George Washington? These were typically worn by colonial generals, not musicians. And even then, this is hardly historically accurate. Even if this was just a costume, look at the contrast! No performer would wear this, even if the style vaguely resembles particular wardrobes of the aristocracy in that time period. Next time, a black dress will be more appropriate. I understand that your mind was focused more on dramatic flair and spectacle than legitimacy, but any cursory examination would reveal that you did not do the proper research for this.”
She plucked another petal from his hair and crushed it. “It’s disrespectful to throw objects onto the stage, as well. Friends and family should wait until after the performance to personally hand off the bouquet. What if someone has an allergy? What about the custodians who make an honest living, forced to clean up after a mess that didn't have to be there in the first place? Oh, and the mask? 'Music' is not 'musical theater'. Mixing the classic Sock and Buskin imagery with a purely musical event is a common fallacy. You're trying to be an author, right? Alluding to several different themes at once can seriously muddy the message you want to convey."
“Oh. Oh, wow. Please stop talking.” Seth was glad to see that she'd calmed down, especially compared to the saber-swishing demoness from before, but now he was having trouble deciding which version was worse. "..You're not even you. You are literally my own brain lecturing me. This.. this is so creepy."
“I’m just helping. Speaking of muddying themes, the stellar sequence throws off the pacing too quickly. We were only there for several seconds, and even then there are several discrepancies in such a short span; look; gravity cannot accelerate an object like a clarinet as rapidly around an object of similar mass, like the piano. In reality any circular motion induced on the clarinet. Let me find a tablet, I can illustrate the system if you're having trouble visualizing it."
"A piano does not have similar mass to a clarinet! It's like a hundred times heavier!"
"In terms of magnitude when compared to each other, yes, they're much different, but compared to the mass of the Earth and Sun, the force of gravitation exerted is nearly negligible. Where's my.. Did you break my tablet?" She ran her hand along the floor and found a snapped stylus. Whirling on him in an instant, "you did! What, did you think these things grow on trees? Apologize."
"I don't know, maybe??" Seth exploded. "Gee, SORRY. Weren't you trying to stab me a few seconds ago? Where's my apology? I refuse to believe that the real Mara is this annoying."
"The real Mara could never teach you what we're all trying to teach you. First it was Davenport... now it's me. What's the connection? You'll figure this out eventually."
The comment made him unexpectedly smile. Mara was a daughter of Athena - if the grey eyes hadn't been a dead giveaway, then he stern tirade of corrections would have been. The fierce, slightly haughty look of determination and indignation despite her bloodied nose, as if Seth was a buffoon who had just ruined a performance and not someone who had just saved her from the control of a malignant living growth infecting her mind, was strangely endearing. The question obviously ran deeper than than her lecture on historical accuracy and it gave him pause. These were supposed to teach him something? Teach him how to get clobbered, maybe. Wait.
"Davenport?" Seth shifted his weight so he was sitting on his knees. "You mean Cassie?"
Mara rolled her eyes and looked away, gesturing to the emptiness and then to Seth. "I am surrounded by intellectual mediocrity. If you aren't even smart enough to properly replicate my entire psychological profile then you probably aren't going to figure this out before it kills you, are you?"
"K-kills me??!"
"Look." Mara turned around and reached for Seth's hands to clasp them, forcing him to release his nervous grip on his own knees and placing them together. The moment was oddly intimate and uncomfortable. She leaned in, narrowing her gaze in amused disdain. "You might've done the important part, which was dispelling the nightmare. On the first try, too. Congratulations. But obviously you're going to need some help with the the rest. When you get back to the waking world..."
His heartbeat quickened.
"Let's not meet. Ever."
She pushed him in a sprawling heap on the floor and stepped back as a piano fell from the ceiling and crushed him in cartoon fashion.
Seth sat up to find himself mercifully un-crushed and stuck in a sneezing fit. A faint gray symbol of a wide-eyed owl peeled itself from his feverish forehead, drifted down like an autumn leaf and dissolved on his hands.
"Athena campers," he muttered, eyeing the clock and sinking into despair at the sight of 4:06 AM staring right back at him. "They're all nutcases. Cute nutcases. But still nutcases."
((Once again I'm not super happy with how this turned out, but the show must go on. The one thing I disliked the most was the dialogue - presuming to speak for Mara felt unfair, even though this is technically a distorted version observed through the lens of Seth's psyche, and I think going forward I will be avoiding that altogether... as fun as it was to have her lecture him to death.
Enormous thanks to Mara_S0v for permission on writing a non-canon (or should I say non-CANNON, funny ha ha) interpretation of Mara. First impressions matter, as she says, and she left a striking one on me (and Seth) that I knew I wanted to explore in an admittedly dark sequence. Give Miss Lyones's own storymodes and posts a read, as many of them provided inspiration for these two segments, such as 'Blank Slate', "Experiment #1", and "Prodigy". This chapter wouldn't be possible without them.))
Chapter 1 - The Davenport Devil 7 attempts Chapter 2 - The Maestra 1 attempt Chapter 3 - ?????? - coming soon™
submitted by SpawnoftheStryx to CampHalfBloodRP [link] [comments]

2020.09.23 22:52 SloppyEyeScream Rambone: The Combat Cock

Fellow Fuckery Humans,
I would like to take a moment and address my rant yesterday, and dispel any speculation. There have been a handful of Redditors "toe-the-line" and apologize because they genuinely believe they were the culprit(s). Please understand that I have no issue being brutally honest, but this is not the appropriate forum to call fellow humans out. That would be far too much, even for me. However, if you received a Direct Message (DM) from me stating, "You are under no obligation to subscribe to FuckeryUniveristy, and I strongly encourage you to find a more suitable sub if you are offended by my humor. It is never my intention to offend and individual, or ostracize a group of people, but I will not change my writing style." Well, If you received that message, verbatim, I was ranting about you!
"Don't judge a book by its cover." I am certain the majority of us have been told that idiom at some point in our life. I remember it being drilled into my head from an early age from parents, educators, and now my wife. The wife gets irritated with me when I discuss my standpoint on this topic. I honestly think she would prefer I use a hot curling iron to pleasure her eager-beaver than listen to me debate said topic. I would sincerely like to avoid ranting this early into a story so I will leave it at this; It's not a fucking law people!
If you are anything like me, you will understand the novel Coronavirus (COVID19), coupled with my new role as a Middle School and High School educator has done absolute wonders for my drinking game. I am not a complete degenerate; I don't get shitfaced every night. It is imperative that I have enough hand-eye coordination to successfully ensure Cake doesn't expedite my expiration date. Needless to say, I have added some cans to my six pack. I don't want to be fat. Nobody wants to be fat. Besides, fat people have enough on their plates. Let's assume for second, that I never worked-out in my life, and I was in need of a personal trainer. Imagine my surprise when I show up at Planet Fitness and see the Personal Trainer (PT) I hired was five feet tall and weighed 400 pounds. I am not talking 400 pounds of muscle either. I am describing the quintessential "Dicky-Do" human. His middle girth sticks out farther than is Dickey-Do, and he likely makes cottage cheese in his bellybutton. Would you judge this book by it's cover? You'd assume he does "12oz Curls" for a living, and his Personal Record (PR) for pizza is an entire pizza in his mouth.
If you said "no" you are either a liar, or fucking Hawk. Judging books by their covers is a vital part of human nature. We judge people based off their physical traits for a magnitude of reasons which include, but are not limited to, finding a suitable one-night-stand, or survival reasons. Dear Reader, I have never walked into a bar and thought, "That anorexic meth-head in the corner has phenomenal birthing hips. I totally want to throw my hotdog down her hallway." Ladies in the audience, have you ever seen or met a male who's entire demeanor screamed "rape"? Sure, he just got out of prison for a "forcible sodomy" charge, but you matched on Tinder. Please, don't judge him by his cover, I am certain he is a reformed man.
Sorry. I said I wouldn't rant, but then I totally fucking ranted again. It was not entirely off-subject though. I surmise you, the Reader, are now fully aware that I will judge you the moment I see you. However, you are all fully aware that I am "unique" or "different". The majority of my "prejudgement" is with regard to work. I have zero fucks to give if you have purple hair, tattoos, and ear gauges large enough to stow Oreo cookies. Simply, at times, there are very valid reasons to pass judgement. Naysayers, if I agreed with you, we'd both be wrong!
Where is this going? Right H-E-R-E: I met Private Baldwin at Basic Combat Training (BCT). I disliked him the moment I laid eyes on him. He was a lump of human shit, and somehow God managed to stack that Jenga-block of shit six feet high. He was the human result of the worlds first anally-delivered lifeform. My disdain for Baldwin exponentially increased when he opened is ball-washers (mouth). Baldwin was Hawk-like regarding commonsense. However, Baldwin was very different than Hawk. Hawk may have been oblivious to commonsense, but Hawk actually excelled in certain areas, and always had pure intentions. The traits that made Baldwin so enjoyable to hate was his arrogance, and ignorance. He was the village fucking idiot, but he was always right.
Remember King Joffrey from Game of Thrones? If I seen Jack Gleeson (King Joffrey) in real life, I would happily walk across the street and sock him right in his fucking face. He was a phenomenal villainous actor, and I could not wait for his demise. He was so good as an actor I wanted to physically harm him in real life (IRL). Baldin was the King Joffrey for my entire class of Basic Combat Training. I actually seldomly use the word "hate," and my inner-circle knows this about me. When I say, "hate," I fucking mean it, and I hated Baldwin.
Publisher Clearing House Dramatization
Ed McMahon: Congratulations OP! You have just one a million dollars a month for the rest of you life!
OP: (Baffled) Oh. My. God! Is this real?
Ed: I assure you this is 100 percent real. Congratulations! My associate, Mr. Baldwin, will be presenting you the check.
OP: Get the fuck off my porch before I retrieve one of my many firearms and kill you!
Drastic? Only for those of you that have never met him. I would rather eat an entire bag of hammered assholes than be graced with the likes of Baldwin for a single fucking second. Hate! I fucking hate him. I know it will drag the story out a bit, but how about we detail a few reasons for my immense hate. I will do my best type in crayons so our civilian-only Readers understand.
Physical Fitness: This is a big part of Basic Training. They Drill Sergeants are eradicating your civilian life and erecting a Soldier. Physical prowess is important. Furthermore, there are certain things you don't do while at Basic Training, like quit. I don't mean being physically exhausted of reaching muscle failure either. I mean downright quitting. "I don't feel like running today Drill Sergeant." Also, be cognizant that when statements like this are made everyone gets punished.
Desserts: Only a few of us are aware of this! There is a dessert area in the chow halls of Basic Training Units at Fort Benning, Georgia. The Drill Sergeants made it very fucking clear that we were not worthy of and delectable treats during our tenure at Basic Training. You can "window-shop" the pies and cookies, but don't you fucking touch them. Baldwin, and his sharp-as-a-marble brain, decided this did not apply to him. He didn't openly devour the treats. He fucking horded them. Our first "Health and Welfare" (Drill Sergeants Toss Your Shit) exposed his stash. Who the fuck stashes pies in a fucking sock drawer? This mother fucker had cookies is in hygiene kit. Toothbrush, check. Razors, check. Enough Snickerdoodle cookies to feed an orphanage, fucking check! Again, all of use were punished.
Grenades: Ever see a video of a Private failing to throw a grenade forwards? That's Baldwin. The unbelievably heavy 14 ounce M67 Fragmentation Grenade was too much for him to manage. He managed to toss the grenade a whopping two feet, behind him. The Drill Sergeant was forced to summon his inner Lawrence Taylor as he tackled Baldwin into the grenade pit.
Drill Sergeant C-Note: What the fuck were you thinking private?
Baldwin: I wanted to watch to watch it explode Drill Sergeant.
C-Note: It was two feet away...
Baldwin: Then you tackled me...
C-Note: (Seething Rage) Get the fuck out of here Private.
Baldwin: Can I send the pull-ring to my mom?
C-Note: Inaudible Screaming...
Drill Sergeant C-Note had a "meeting" with the Platoon later that night. Baldwin had a "meeting" with the First Sergeant about the days events at the same time. The meeting with C-Note was to enlighten us, regarding Baldwin, and the reason he was still among the living, but specifically, why he was in the Army. C-Note explained that Baldwin is a National Guard (NG) Soldier. Furthermore, he was from a State that was in desperate need of Soldiers. It was about numbers, and there was no way Baldwin wouldn't pass Basic Training unless he went Absent Without Leave (AWOL) or died. We were told we needed to, "fix him," or we would all suffer. How the fuck do you fix the un-fixable?
I advocated for shoving a broomstick in his rectum and plunging his face in a toilet until the life left his body. I knew the broomsticks were made in China, and were likely not sturdy enough to support the mass of human-depravity, but it was an option. I would like to add that I was not the only Soldier who supported this particular Course of Action (COA), but we were outnumbered by the liberal Soldiers who thought "training" him was more appropriate. These Soldiers were clearly into Sadism, Necrophilia, and Bestiality; they had yet to realize they were "beating a dead horse" though. Was it really that bad Sloopy? Yes Could you teach Steven Hawking how to walk again? Cue dramatization!
Scenario: Trigger-happy criminal with Tourette Syndrome (TS), and a stuttering problem has a gun to my head and gives me two options in order for me to continue my journey among the living.
OP: Please don't shoot me. I have a beautiful wife and two boys, and without proper adult supervision you may inadvertently be unleashing the evil prowess of Cake.
TS: Shut-shut-shut-shut the fa-fa-fa-fuck up. I-I-I wa-wa-wa-will let you la-la-la-live if you ca-ca-ca-ca-can ta-ta-train Baldwin or...
OP: What's the fuck "or"? I fucking pick "or".
TS: Or ya-ya-ya-you ta-ta-ta-teach a-a-a-a po-po-polar bear ass-ass-astrophysics tha-tha-through cre-cre-creative da-da-da-dance.
OP: Only if I get to wear a pink leo-leo-leo-tard?
TS: Ha-ha-ha yo-yo-you ga-ga-ga-got jokes?
OP: Ya-ya-ya-yes!
Was it a bit to-to-to much? Maybe, but I sincerely hope you now have an adequate understanding of how I feel about Baldwin. Please understand that this is not a temporary feeling either. I would love to waterboard him with my own urine while asking, "Who does number two work for?" if given the opportunity. Actually, that's a lie. Baldwin gives me FEAR, and I would literally think, "Fuck Everything And Run" if I ever see him again.
Basic Combat Training (BCT) graduation is a big deal, but not really. Sure, I was happy I had completed the first step in my nearly 20-year journey, but the thought of not seeing Baldwin ever again was a greater prize. He was from INSERT STATE National Guard, and I thought there was snowballs chance in hell that I would ever see that sad-sack-of-human-shit ever again. I "thought". I can hear my father, again, say, "Thought thought he farted, but he really shit his pants." I fucking thought wrong!
It was my third deployment and I was apart of the Advanced Echelon (ADVON) which means myself and a select group of Soldiers would depart country (Iraq), return home, and prepare to receive the unit as they redeploy stateside. However, this means we would not be privileged to a "check-the-block" or expedited customs. We were subjected to the typical customs process the Regular Army endures as they redeploy stateside. We were traveling back with nearly one-hundred grand worth of death-producing gadgetry in our gun boxes alone, but the Customs Agents had to make sure we didn't have any contraband such as: switchblades, grenades, ammunition, or porn. Yes, I said porn. Pornography magazines and Personal Pleasure Devices (PPD) were not allowed in Muslim countries, and therefore we were not allowed to smuggle it back to America; The Fucking Land of Porn!
No shit, there I was! I was sitting on a bench with Rob, a fellow leader, and I see a colon-sphincter-birthed lump of human waste that resembles Baldwin, the fucking anti-intelligent. It was hard to resist my urge to "beat him like a Sunday morning wood." Every ounce of my being wanted to physically harm him, and it would have been more fun than a well-oiled midget.
OP: Holy fuck! Is that fucking Baldwin?
Rob: Who the fuck is Baldwin?
OP: A fucking oxygen-thief I went to Basic with.
Random Soldier: Excuse me Sergeant.
OP: (Who the fuck are you look?) Yeah!?!
Random Soldier (RS): Did you say (whisper) Baldwin?
We now start the dance. The one where dogs sniff each others asses to determine if they want to be a friends. I don't know the guy, and I seriously don't like offending people, unless it is warranted. I start the sniffing processing, but I don't want take a large "pull" of his wrinkle-grommet (asshole) immediately. The butt sniffing process needs to be done in stages, like a cold pool. I need to start small, so I stick my pinky toe into his chocolate-starfish before the fisting begins.
OP: Do you know Baldwin?
RS: Yeah. I know Baldwin. How do you know him?
OP: Basic. (Baby Toe Question) So, what do you think of him?
Random Soldier was clearly unaware of the dog butt-sniffing Rules of Engagement (ROE). There was no anal foreplay. He went "hard in the paint" and was eager for the pink-eye-surprise.
RS: I fucking hate him. We all fucking hate him.
OP: Have a seat friend!
I love Rob like a brother. We had been to hell-and-back, and because of this strong bond I was going to prank him. Rob was unaware, but in one of his bags was the "Rambone". It was a Rambo themed, 16 inch, green vibrator with a camouflaged bandana. It was a big triumphant bastard that was ready for combat action.
OP: I have a giant fucking vibrator. What do you say we shove it in Baldwins bag?
RS: Fucking awesome.
Rob: Where is it?
OP: (I don't know how to tell you this look.) In your duffel bag.
Rob: WHAT?
OP: Chill-out. Now you don't have to worry about it anymore.
The look on Rob's face was priceless when I dick out of the bag.
Rob: You put this in my bag? It's got a fucking bandana. Where the fuck did you get this?
OP: I had FRIENDS NAME send it to me.
RS: (Hysterical Laughter) Inaudible noises. (Tears in eyes, and snot leaking from nose.) More inaudible noises.
Rob: Why?
OP: Specifically!?! For this very reason, to shove it in your bag and watch your face in Customs!
Rob: You're an asshole.
OP: I suppose your right. You should be thankful though.
Rob: (Bothered for some fucking reason.) I should be (Long Pause) THANKFUL?
OP: I'm sorry.
Rob: You don't even mean it.
OP: No. No, I don't.
You, the Reader, don't need a long explanation for Operation "Maximal Insertion". The Random Soldier was Baldwin's Squad Leader (Responsible for nine humanoids), and knew his combination. We simply opened the duffel bag and plunged the Rambone deep, deep inside his bag. Then we waited. We needed the formal briefing, the "Amnesty Period" in which you have time to drop that frag grenade you forgot about in a giant red "I-forgot-I-still-had-a-grenade-box." We waited for an hour, laughing hysterically, until it was time.
It was nearly New Years in the Customs Tent. The three of us were eagerly awaiting for the ball(s) to drop; right out of Baldwins bag. There was a minor hiccup in the operations. Somehow, in the shuffle of moving the bags around, the Rambone decided it was time to pleasure the duffel bag and hum like a fucking kazoo.
Rob: OP NICKNAME. I think the vibrator turned on.
OP: You think? It's buzzing like a fucking bee.
RS: I can literally feel the vibration through the floor.
Fear not reader. Baldwin is a fucking idiot. I was worried when he looked around, but Baldwin's mental retardation came through in the clutch. He was aware the car had a flat tire, but he was looking under the hood to fix it. He heard the hum, and stared at fridge full of water for a couple minutes. He picked the bag up numerous times to inch it forward toward the tables where you "dump your shit," and never once realized his bag had a bumble bee fucking a humming bird in the form of a giant cock. His intelligence and wherewithal had clearly been loaned out since birth. He was a walking amoeba, but shaped like a human. He dragged the hummer until he was next in line. The excitement in the air was palpable.
Surprise Cock-Bag
Baldwin dumps his duffel bag on the table. The duffel bag high in the air obscures his view of the Rambone as it flops to the table and jolts around like a Mexican jumping bean. The sound of this vibrator engine turning-over again, and again, and again, was enough to draw the attraction of at least six other Soldiers and Customs Agents. All eyes were on Baldwin.
Baldwin drops his bag and now sees that something is snaking its way through his clothes. The look of disgust on the Custom Agents face was hilarious. Just shocked. He was completely and utterly shocked. I should mention that this Custom Agent was different. He was like "The Mountain" from Game of Thrones. He was the largest black man I had ever seen in my life. I am 100 percent certain his uniform was uniquely tailored to fit the mounds of muscle on his body. He was a hulk of a man, and I shit you not, he resembled Wardy Joubert III (Google The NAME). If the rest of his body was "proportional" I'd be certain he was Wardy himself, all the way down to the dick-loaf.
Customs Agent aka Dick-Loaf (DL): You can't have that.
Baldwin is dumber than Hawk, and the rest of this interaction confirms it! Baldwin looks at the giant cock that had already managed to rumble the camouflaged bandana off.
Baldwin: (OBLIVIOUS) It's not mine.
DL: I don't care whose it is, you cant take it back.
Baldwin: It's not mine.
DL: I don't care if it was yours, your friends, or your mothers. It's contraband, and you can't have it.
Baldwin, not knowing where this vibrator had plunged before, picks it up and waves it in Dick-Loafs face. It was waving back-and-forth like a limp Lightsaber. Just a floppy fucking lightsaber that continues to grind the vibrations out.
Rambone: Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr...
Baldwin: (Angry-Tard) I SAID (PAUSE) IT'S NOT MINE!!!!!!!!!!
DL: If you don't get that outta my face, I'm gonna fucking hurt you.
Baldwin: Fine. Then take it from me.
Side Note: Yes. We are ALL, the entire tent now, laughing hysterically. EVERYONE.
Does Baldwin go outside to the large Goodwill-bin-sized Amnesty Box that would accommodate a fucking Prius? Nope, he goes to the small bank-teller-box-sized Amnesty Box. The slit on this box was maybe eight-inches wide and two-inches tall. Baldwin uses retard-strength for about thirty-seconds to conduct his own "Maximal Insertion" operation. However, and regardless of a hammer, the square peg will never fit inside the circle hole. This Rambone looked like it attempted a burglary, but got stuck in the window. The gonad portion and at least six inches of "shaft" were exposed and violently trying to escape the box. Fuck it! Baldwin returned to his table ready to resume. Dick-Loaf was not happy.
DL: Get back over there. Removed the dick. And then take it outside to the bin.
Baldwin: It's in the box.
DL: NO. IT IS NOT. Do you want to fly home tonight or not?
Baldwin had a face of a porn star whom was told their blowjob game sucked, bad sucked though! He returned to remove the dick from the box. However, the Rambone "head" acted like a barb on a fishing hook. It was easy to insert the dickhead in, but the dickhead-barb didn't want to be extracted. It was happy just flopping around. Baldwin literally had to use his leg to brace himself while he got a firm grasp on the shaft and balls, and pulled with might of a dentist extracting a wisdom tooth.
What do you think happened? If you guess, "It "popped" when it dislodged itself and sent Baldwin and Rambone crashing to the floor. You're correct. Now the dick was bouncing around like a dick-fish out of water. Baldwin then retrieved the fish and haplessly tossed it into the large bin where it matted with other contraband, and made a very distinct metal-fucking-metal-and-plastic noise. It. Was. Glorious. Then Baldwin, casually, and still oblivious, returns to the table to complete his Customs Inspection.
DL: Are you good now?
Baldwin: It wasn't mine, and I don't think there are anymore dicks in my bag. I want to go home.
DL: Good. Just so you know, I am not touching any of your shit. You can pick items up one-at-a-time, and shove them back in yourself. You're a strange mother fucker!
I know this was LONG. I apologize, and I will not drag-it-out much longer. The entire ordeal was hilarious. It was the funniest Customs event I have ever witnessed, and Baldwin's lack of awareness made it that much better. It was finally a little payback for all the torture he put me, and the other Soldiers through during basic training. Don't get me wrong either, I would still love to waterboard him with my urine for shits and giggles though. I am okay with stupid people. I am semi-okay with other arrogant people. Baldwin characteristic traits was as if he won the retarded Powerball though. I'd most definitely walk across the street and punch him in the little-bits if I EVER see him again.
submitted by SloppyEyeScream to FuckeryUniveristy [link] [comments]

2020.09.23 21:31 HughEhhoule I'm an underground fighter, weird things happen around Halloween.

Underground fighting, kind of an ironic name considering how promoted it is now. Every group of knuckleheads has their own YouTube channel, hell, bare knuckle boxing has became sanctioned as of late.
But there are still grimy rings with seedy individuals betting inordinate amounts of money on the outcome of a fight between two guys that are willing to go a little farther than the law would allow.
As you've guessed , I am one of 'those guys' don't get the wrong idea, I don't have a death wish, while its true you can find places that give a couple idiots machetes and watch the show, that isn't my thing. I'm just a good old, bare knuckle, no holds barred , not good enough to get into the ufc schmuck. It pays the bills and makes it so I only really have to work a handful of days a month.
The name's Terry Gilmore , and I'm not here to tell you about the mildly interesting world of semi illegal fighting...or rather, not the side of it most people see.
Like any other sport there is superstition, myth and legend. And the older guys, they have a rule, don't take fights from September 15th to November 1.
Ask 10 old heads why, you get 11 different reasons. Humidity leads to more injuries, spirits make bad luck, veil between world's thins, all kinds of crazy crap.
And most people laugh it off, schedule their fights, and are perfectly fine. I'm a pretty mediocre athlete truth be told, but in this regard, unfortunately, I'm not most people.
The fight takes place in a warehouse , spotlights hastily rigged up provide glaring illumination to the assembled crowd of scumbags just connected or rich enough to lose a few thousand dollars in a night and take the loss in stride.
I'm wearing loose shorts and no shirt, the spotlights are already making me sweat. My opponent is an older guy, 50s maybe, solid build, bushy grey hair and beard. He wears a pair of torn sweatpants and a sleeveless white undershirt. His face has the telltale signs of an alcoholic , and I really hope he isn't some poor homeless guy they dragged in at the last minute.
His confidant stride to the centre of the second rate ring made me realize that was not the case. The ref says nothing other than " Begin" as we touch fists and begin to circle.
He's a few inches taller than myself and has about 20 pounds on me. The advantage is most certainly on his side. But being half his age, there should be no way he has more gas than I do.
The first round is a boring affair. Both of us feeling each other out with jabs and feints, not wanting to commit for fear of taking a nasty cut early in the fight. Boxing purists will point this out as a flaw in bare knuckle bouts, from my point of view, if the goal is to make the fight as realistic as possible bare knuckle is the superior option.
The second round though, that is when I knew something was amiss. He came out of his corner like a bat out of hell , not the haymaker frenzy a lot of big guys with no skill try, but a constant pressure of jabs followed by heat seeking overhand punches I found myself stumbling backwards to avoid.
The first real blow that connects sends me into the boxing style ropes. I dodge the roundhouse right meant to finish me off and push forward, getting inside his guard.
One main difference, rules wise, to an mma bout is headbutts are perfectly kosher. As a shorter guy this is just about my only advantage.
I clinch up with the guy, who I notice is dry as a bone, and smells vaguely of sawdust. Instead of trying to take him down, or dish out some body blows though, I bring him in as close as possible, tuck my head and drive the top of my skull into his jaw.
I feel something give way and he falls back a bit. I'm shocked that i didn't put his lights out, but not enough to let up.
I assume he is more of a boxer so I start throwing some low kicks. They land as expected, seizing his oblique muscle. But that wasn't the goal.
On the fourth kick he throws his guard low, exactly what I was hoping for. I don't bother setting it up with a jab, I spin my torso into a devestating uppercut that lands with an audible crunch.
I think the guy has to be on something as he shakes his head for a second, obviously trying to clear away some cobwebs, but still in the fight.
I don't let shock make me stupid though, as he is getting his bearings I launch a roundhouse left, ready to back it up with a takedown if this guy's cement jaw keeps doing its thing.
He regains his wits quickly enough to see the powerful, albeit sloppy, punch coming. He reacts with a bulldozer of a left cross, meant to simultaneously block my blow, and take my head off of my shoulders.
But he wasn't quite quick enough. I turn my body and the punch misses cleanly enough that I look him directly in his surprisingly vibrant blue eyes. Right before my blow connects, and I see one launch itself from its socket.
I fight in a pretty brutal sport, and in an extra brutal league, but at the end of the day we are all still athletes trying to get by doing what we love. You get a few psychos now and then, but they are self defeating. If you are known for crippling folks no one is going to want to actually get in the ring with you.
With that in mind I took a step back, lowering my guard and saying " holy shit! " as I looked to the ref, who was unashamedly attempting to pick up on a pretty attractive lady in the audience.
The old man looks at me with one eye closed. No blood but I swear I see a thin line of grey fluid coming from the eye I unintentionally removed.
"Don't worry about me kid, you're in a fight." He says launching a push kick that widens the distance between us before the end of round bell rang.
He goes to his corner, and his cut-man, a young guy with pale skin an a moustache that makes him seem untrustworthy begins to work. I try to catch a glimpse of how bad I hurt the guy but I have my own wounds to attend to.
No cut-man for me, never saw the point in paying someone 15 per cent to take me out of the fight before I'm ready. That's the refs job.
I apply the last of a container of "quick stop" purchased from the pet store (mostly corn starch and lidocaine) on the worst of my cuts and feel the stinging and bleeding abate. We are on our feet again and as we touch fists, I first assumed I didn't actually knock the man's eye out. Clearly I was looking at a fully occularly typical person. Two perfectly functional eyes were gauging how much I had left in me.
The only problem was, one of the eyes was brown.
Maybe I'm punch drunk, maybe I just didn't notice it before , but my gut screams at me something is wrong. Especially when I realize that before the blows are even being traded I'm gassed, and my oponent literally hasn't even broken a sweat.
He's observant for someone who should no longer have access to binocular vision, and takes advantage of how winded I am. He launches a combination that I'm sure was the scourge of the city league 30 years ago. But we are not boxing.
I clinch up, taking a couple punches in the process but stealing his reach. He's not a grappler, and I easily get him against the ropes, heedless of the elbows and awkward jabs he is throwing.
I grab the ropes with both hands, trapping him, and gather up all my energy for as many knees as I can throw. The old man is out of his element , every time he lowers his guard he receives a headbutt to the jaw, as he defends against that I launch knee after knee, I feel his ribs crack , then break, and as the fifth knee lands, and I feel my muscles burning enough to make me disengage it feels like I'm striking a bag of melting ice.
His jaw is cocked, one side of his chest slightly caved, but he is still standing. And as I watch his jaw pops itself back into shape.
He whispers just loud enough for me to hear "You fought good kid, I'm gonna make sure you still come out of this looking decent." I think he is taunting me but his tone is very legitimate, and more importantly he does not sound ready to stop anytime soon.
Before I have time to set myself he fires off a kick that lands square in my stones. My body cramps up, and a wave of nausea overtakes me. Perfectly legal , though frowned upon blow in this sport.
A punch to the stomach follows , and as I go to a knee, the old man puts his hand over my nose and mouth in a death grip. I begin to retch and suddenly am waterboarding myself on my own vomit.
The ref, realising that aspirating vomit has killed much better people than myself calls the fight, a win for the old guy but judging by the booing from the crowd, not one that will get him another fight anytime soon.
The "locker room" was 2 industrial showers that sprayed what felt like ice and smelled like a week old mop. On the plus side there was a partition.
I begin washing the blood , sweat and vomit from myself and strike up a conversation with the old man.
"So what are you on that is letting you ignore that kinda pain, if it's not blowing out your heart , I think I need some. " I say , hoping it comes off as good natured ribbing.
"Not a thing to sell ya kid. But I do have an offer for you." He says cryptically.
"I'm not going to make the obvious joke about making me an offer in the shower, so I'll just ask, what's the offer? " suspicion creeping into my tone.
"I'm part of a promotion, and I think you might be good enough to join. You'd be making UFC money with your Streetbeefs talent." He says grinning a bit. I've made a deal with myself to not think about the fact I know I shattered that jaw.
"Look at you trying to sound all hip. Not interested in a snuff league man. " I say in a neutral tone.
"Nothing like that. Actually I'd say most of the time the rule set is going to be much stricter than these glorified barfights. Now, listen I could give you all the details now, with our Johnsons flopping around, and you are going to think I'm a liar, crazy, or some kind of pervert like that 'Competitive Tickling' guy from a couple years back. Better I give you my card, you see for yourself and make your decision. " the old man says drying off and putting on a pair of comfortable sweats.
I do the same, down to a similar oversized worn out sweatshirt and pants , adding a " great minds think alike." As I notice this similarity.
He hands me a card for a place called " Gym's" which, oddly is only a few blocks away from my place. Not that I think I can recall exactly what is there but I'd think I'd know if it was a gym or training camp.
"Come at 7am tomorrow or don't bother. " the old man says as we part our ways.
It'd be poetic if I said I didn't sleep the night before, but I did. In fact I'd pretty much decided this was going in a "competitive tickling" (look it up if you art getting the reference. If I had to find out about it undiluted so do you) direction and decided against it.
But now you get introduced to "Saw Guy" , now I know where you guys are reading this, so don't get too excited at that name. It's the nickname I've given to the guy who lives in the house next to my apartment. This man , I shit you not every weekend is up at the cracks of dawn sawing some bullshit for a home improvement project. . And you know what? I wish he was killing people because then , instead of having to deal with this bullshit when I want to sleep in , I could just have him arrested.
You can probably guess what happened next. I was bored, annoyed and up earlier than I had any right to be. I decided to go pay a visit to Gym's .
Sure enough a building that could have used a coat of paint, with a faded blue and yellow sign reading Gym's stood at an adress I could swear was just some houses last time I checked.
I don't prepare my mind for something horrific, just something…gross. Old people bondage club or fetishist bar or something. Luckily when I opened the tinted glass door , what I saw was a pretty big standard gym. Mma cage, boxing ring , treadmills, etc. And some slightly above average guys and gals who think they are warrior gods using them.
I'm greeted by the old man. He is wearing what I'd like to describe as 'business casual' attire. A pair of nice looking dress pants and a silk muted hawian shirt that is making up for its lack of taste by being obviously custom and very expensive.
He's had a haircut and shave as well and now has more of a James Randi vibe instead of reminding me of a blown out Mic Foley.
"You made it. Names Harold in case you never got it. Now are you the type that rips a bandaid off fast or slow?" He says with a bit of a smirk.
I point to my wounds from the night before , taking the time to notice there isn't a single mark on him, and say "not the type to use band aids." I say trying to show some confidence.
"Good to know. Gym!" He screams.
I hear a noise from the ceiling, I'm not trying to be funny but the closest thing I can think of it sounded like was the world's largest butthole taking the world's worst crap. A slimy , irregular slithering that drowned out the other sounds in the gym. I looked up I couldn't help it.
What I saw made me produce a layer of cold fear sweat. The ceiling of the gym was a rusted fleshy mass, rearranging itself into a massive face, staring dead eyed down at me. It grinned like a flayed emoji , I was at a loss for words.
"Gym " I say trying to not puke, faint or run.
"Who owes Harry ? Kid didn't shit himself." The face says, vibrating the floor with laughter.
The face disolves and I look to Harold, jaw agape.
"Things starting to come together?" He says putting an arm on my shoulder.
" I fucking hope not." I say as he starts to walk me to a back corner of the gym. "Because at the moment it seems like I'm being walked into a monster…"
"Okay, we are going to have to go over rule number one. You are acting like a 'Whedon' , that is our nickname for humans who try to frame everything in fiction. It generally leads to you putting your foot in your mouth and making really stupid paranoid comments. Then it leads to you acting like you have no choice , and generally being a real bummer to be around.
There are a lot of entities that do all the shit you are afraid of. But none here. Does that mean everyone loves you? Hell no, but we are trying something here.
It isn't a death pit, it isn't a ritual or some sick game. It's a promotion, we're 90%mma 10% WWE, we have health care, life insurance, and more cash to throw around than you can believe. Our refs actually look out for our fighters well enough I can say there is a minimum of 1 ufc ref worse." Harold monologues, I can tell he has practised this but I do get the vibe he is being sincere.
"Your talking about Herb Dean?" I say , trying to find something casual to say.
"Of course Herb Dean.
Anyway, we could use someone like you. You won't be fighting anything you can't handle, or don't agree to. I feel pitching it anymore is going to make you nervous , so , what do you say?" Harold finishes.
"First, why me? I could think of 20 guys better off the top of my head." I say , cockiness gone.
"It's not about that. We need the right kind of mindset, and you have it. You are no psycho, you are dealing with the destruction of your worldview well, you can keep your mouth shut and well, those 3 years on that kids show didn't hurt either." He laughs as we make our way to a skinny guy working a heavy bag in a pretty masterfull fashion.
The guy turns to us and thankfully I'd just seen an eldritch ceiling tile , as it let me react with a little less gusto to this fresh horror.
He was wearing extremely oversized workout gear, with a ruddy, almost infected reddish skin tone, greasy long black hair , a mouth that seemed too small for his face, and massive black almost hamster like eyes taking up a third of his face.
But these were not the most disturbing feature, his hands were massive things, not deformed and cancerous but lithe, with palms the size of dinner plates and 2 feet of undulating knuckles on each hand.
He extends one to me and talks in a soft almost childlike whisper "It is a pleasure to make your aquiessence, good bedfellow".
I shake his hand, which feels like it could rip my arm from its socket. But turn to Harold.
"The hell did he just say?" I whisper.
"Don't try to analyse it too much, go for broad strokes. He says hi and is happy to see you. " Harolds tone indicates this is something he is very familiar with. " And to answer the question, yeah in a free for all, or in a dark alley he'd destroy you. But the fight is going to be Queensbury rules, heavy gloves and with a ref that has as many eyes as you have fingers. There is one catch though. "
"Here it goes, this is where the creepy pasta starts." I say with a sigh.
"That, you are Whedoning all over the place with a comment like that. 'The creepypasta starts' you dramatic little princess.
The catch, before you humansplain any more to me is you need to help out a bit with our friend Syz's training. He's got the gimmicks, he's got the skill but he lacks that…he's a bit of a teacup. 10 grand for 2 months plus what you will be making in your other fights. You in?" Harold confidence that I am is not unfounded.
And that is where I am , writing this in an understocked lunch room just having agreed to not only fight but train a monster. Can I do it ? Should I be doing it?
I've always been a risk taker, and I guess this is just the next in a series of dangerous d ecisions, but it's feeling like I'm in a bit over my head
submitted by HughEhhoule to DrCreepensVault [link] [comments]

2020.09.23 20:08 VoidKiller826 Fantomex #5: Constructive Mutation


Issue Five: Constructive Mutation
Saga 1, Arc 2: All Roads Lead to Rome.
Written by u/VoidKiller826
Edited by u/DarkLordJurasus & u/duelcard
“Hello.” Normal speech.
‘Hello.’ Internal speech.
“Hello.” EVA speaking.
[Hello.] Radio/Phone speaking.
{Hello.} TV Speaking.
Nefaria Castle - Underground Facility - Rome, Italy:
He couldn’t count just how many guns were aimed at his direction.
Every one of the black-armored soldiers carried enough firepower that would make his own arsenal pathetic in comparison. If these guys managed to take down Mutants and cage them up, then they are more ready to take Fantomex out in a shootout in the facility.
His hands were close to his pistols as the air grew tense as everyone was waiting for the one who blew this place all the way to hell.
“You are a long way from Symkaria, Charlie.” said the man who commanded these soldiers. Constrictor, aka Frank Payne, an armored mercenary who has been growing famous for the past year since he left. And so far he seems to have succeeded in his goal. “I never expected you of all people to leave Sable’s side.”
Stalling, good. This would give him time to set things up…
“Thirty weapons trained in your direction.”
Well… that answers the number of guns aimed at him.
‘Chances of survival here, EVA?’
‘Straight to the point I see…’
Fantomex slowly got up, using the computer he got thrown into for support. Hands-on the surface of the broken machine as he steadied himself, thankfully, Constrictor was kind enough to let him stand up.
“Let’s say the Princess and I have our… differences in handling certain things, but I’ve been hearing she is doing well.” he coughed out, trying to keep his mind steady as he planned out a way to get out of this pickle. “I did not expect you to actually be working with the mafia in this part of the world.”
“I am not explaining anything to you. I am here on a job, how and why is none of your business.”
It is when children are involved.” Fantomex bit back, taking a step forward, causing some of the Reavers to tighten their aim and Black Ax, who stood next to his commander to ready his weapon but Constrictor stopped them. “I always thought you had a sense of honor, but this? This is crossing a line you will come back from.”
Something had changed with Frank Payne. The two never got along even in the past, but he respected the fact the man had standards. But this? Dealing and trafficking with people? Like they were cattle? Respect gets thrown right out of the window.
Constrictor let out a scoff, finding it funny with what Fantomex just said. “You’re kidding right? You are talking about crossing a line when you saw how Sable was doing last year when the civil war kicked in and did absolutely nothing in stopping? You don’t get to talk about anything, dog.
Fantomex grimaced from his Constrictors word, finding truth behind it.
“Ten seconds.”
Fantomex eyes turned to his left where the cage of their latest test subject was housed. He looked very skinny as if they’ve been starving for weeks. Expression hidden behind the shadows except for his red eyes staring at his direction. Wondering if the Mercenary in White was here to save them? Or die in the attempt?
“I have to say, I expected more out of you,” noted Constrictor, sounding disappointed. “Could have made this a little entertaining before I put you to the ground.”
The armored Mercenary raised his hand, commanding his men to prepare to fire. Who are more than happy to oblige to the order.
“In sync. Waiting for command, Charlie.” EVA’s voice echoed in his mind, which managed to relieve his worries in an instant.
Fantomex grinned beneath his mask, hands circling to his two silver handguns.
“Don’t worry, Frank. This dance is just…” Fantomex took a step back, hands outstretched by his sides as if commanding internally. “Hitting an encore.”
Behind Fantomex, the tv screens that were littered and shattered after he was kicked into it by Constrictor light up, distorted, static. Before settling into a distorted green screen.
And at the center of it is the face of a woman glaring down on the soldiers.
The lights of the facility began flickering everywhere, catching the attention of everyone inside. The mutants that were caged began noticing the collars around their necks began to act up, the red light that indicated outfits activation began flickering.
And they realized just what is about to happen.
Constrictor and his Reavers were shocked at the sudden electrical shift before it dawned on them what Fantomex just did.
“What the shit?!” Black Ax shouted in anger, readying his giant ax. “How the hell did he get in the system?!”
“You…” Constrictor glared at the White clothed mercenary. “She still works with you?!”
“What can I say, she and I are inseparable,” Fantomex noted smugly. Constrictor knows about EVA, but to him, she is a hacker from somewhere in the world, not someone who Fantomex shares a body with.
The beauty of mystery never fails to amaze even the simplest of minds.
“Reconfiguring the system, all security locks are disengaged,” EVA announced through the facility speakers, her voice echoing for everyone to hear. “Inhibitor collars: offline. Have a pleasant freedom everyone.”
And on command, every cell in the facility opened wide, the sound of the metallic collars dropping to the floor as the Mutants that were once caged were finally able to get out.
What followed was a huge explosion from nearby, with some of the Reavers screaming and bullets flying in that direction.
The mutants are out, and they are not only looking to escape, but they are looking for blood.
“Sir! The tech guys just sent out that they lost control!” one of the soldiers said in a panic tone.
Constrictor gritted his teeth, glaring at the smiling Fantomex before signaling his men. “Team Two and Three! Support the other patrol teams in the facility! Do. Not. Hold. Back! Use the soundwave when needed!”
The teams and the team leaders saluted and ran to different directions, needing as much manpower they could throw to keep this place under control.
“Twenty soldiers, chances of survival is still zero,” EVA noted, calm as ever within his brain. “I am not detecting any escape paths near you.”
‘Doesn’t matter for me, EVA. If the mutants here managed to escape, then I am content.’ He cited, while all of this started because he wanted information about his past from Caprice. He will never leave others to suffer for the sake of his goals, even if it means his own death.
Open fire!” Constrictor shouted to his Reavers, not wanting to give Fantomex a chance to react.
Before the mercenary could run for cover, a body suddenly appeared in front of him. The man in front of him was a massive man of muscles and… more muscles. Exceeding in size to everyone in the room, even to Black Ax’s own size.
The giant turned to Fantomex, giving him a wide grin. The Mercenary realized he was the same skinny person that was locked up in the cage, now a giant pile of muscles standing in front of him.
“You got guts in showing off to these wise guys, I respect strong guys like that!” said the giant to Fantomex, using his whole body to protect the mercenary from the firing squad. Not at all affected from the barrage of bullets that would have killed Fantomex in an instant. “Say, cause you got me and my folks here out, how about we get out of here together?”
Fantomex noticed the giant had a very distinguishable Italian-American accent, another mutant far from home. The Mercenary in White responded with a nod, brandishing his two handguns, ready for a fight.
“Lead the way my giant mutant, oh, and you may call me… Fantomex.”
The giant gave him a confused look and shrugged. “Eh, heard weirder names.” he noted before introducing himself. “Name’s Guido! When we get out of here I’ll be buying you some nice cold beer.”
“I’ll hold you to that.”
The giant, Guido, turned to the Reavers and flexed his muscles, challenging them to come forward. “Come on! I am ready for another round at ya dirty mercs, none of these scrubs and needles poking at my strong body!”
“Ax, take care of him, I don’t care if you kill him, just get it done.” Constrictor ordered Black Ax, not caring if the higher ups get pissed for ruining their experiments that they’ve been working on with the giant mutant. “All of you! Don’t hold back! Turn to armor piercing rounds! Bring out the heavies and get this place contained!”
“Sir!” the soldiers all responded to the command and aimed their weapons at the two.
“Waste those turds!” Black Ax shouted to his men, who fired a hail of bullets to the two.
“Hostiles on your right!” EVA warned Fantomex, talking to him through his brain.
Using the giant mutant for shield, Fantomex charged alongside Guido as the bullets bounced off of him, but all it did was make his body grow bigger, stronger the more times he was hit. Which helped Fantomex greatly as he took advantage and started firing back at the Reavers, wounding several of them in the exchange as his bullet pierced through their heavy armor.
‘Cobalt’s engineering never ceases to amaze me.’
Guido bulldozed through the Reavers as he came closer to Constrictor and Black Ax. The former raised his arms to block Guido’s muscled arm, but it didn’t stop him from getting swatted away. The latter swung his giant ax that shared his namesake toward Guido, aiming to take his head off.
The giant dodged the attack and tackled the black-amored giant. Guido pushed forward, dragging Black Ax and crashing through the metal railing, sending the two tumbling down to the lower level, where the Reavers and Mutants were fighting one another.
“The Commander is down!” One of the Reavers shouted before turning to the now coverless Fantomex. “Focus fire on him-”
The Reaver howled in pain as Fantomex fired at his shoulder, and the black-armored mercs answered back with another hail of bullets.
‘Getting low on ammo here…’ Fantomex’s eyes glowed, allowing EVA to scan the area, giving him a few openings he can pass through the hail of gunfire. Not easing up his assault, the mercenary in white charged forward, dodging the Reaver’s hail of bullets with inhuman speed.
“What the hell?! How is he this fast-”
The first poor Reaver received a vicious right to the face, through his strength he managed to crack on his helmet with one shot, sending him flying.
“Ten remaining in your area.” Noted EVA as she continued working through the Reavers and the Maggia security. “Please stay at least twenty feet, Charlie. I need to maintain connection.”
The other Reavers, out of instinct or desperation, set aside their weapons and focused on fighting Fantomex hand to hand, with the first one punching forward. Fantomex caught the hand easily, but felt a strong weight behind it, like a solid rock hitting the palm of his hand. Clearly well trained judging by the force behind the punch.
Fantomex fought them, using his fighting skills to combat the oncoming Reavers, one at the time, three at the time, all at once. Different approach, all for the sake of killing him. But he managed to dodge, block, kick, punch and headbutt any Reaver that got close.
He was getting the upper hand, much to the bewilderment and anger of the Reavers until he felt a wire wrap around his waist and pulled him back just as he was about to finish off one of the Reavers.
The whiplash behind the pull made him feel like his head was about to take off, just as he got closer he felt a brutal kick to his back, sending him flying forward and crashing into a nearby crate.
“Damn…” he spat out, feeling like a hammer just hit his spine from how the force was delivered. Turning to his opponent, Constrictor, who had long electrical whips out of his gauntlets.
“Reavers! Focus on helping the other teams!” Constrictor ordered as he pulled Fantomex closer, his professional tone all but gone and replaced with anger. “I am burying this bastard!”
The soldiers without any hesitation quickly dispersed after the order, leaving the two mercenaries alone as the fighting between the Reavers and the Mutant raged on in the background.
Fantomex raised his mask and spat out blood, giving Constrictor a bloody grin. The whip left a bloody mark around his waist from the electrical attack.
“You’ve trained your soldiers well my fair whip user, you might have gone further if you weren’t focused on mutant trafficking.”
Constrictor gritted his teeth and moved his whip, hitting the floor and creating a straight line. “Shut up and fight… We wasted enough time as it is.”
“Agreed, although catching up never hurts… much.” Fantomex cracked his neck, reloading his weapons and took a stance.
And charged forward weapons drawn, ready to make sure every mutant here gets out of here alive.
Even if it means risking his life.
At the same time - Nefaria Castle - Underground Facility:
“The Mutants are out in Section 3!” One Reaver shouted nearby.
[Section 5! He is out! I repeat! He is out-] A Reaver radio call turned to static as screams followed from somewhere in the facility.
[Holy hell… How is she gonna throw that thing at us!-] another radio call was cut off, followed by something heavy hitting a wall, shaking the facility.
Reavers firing their weapons toward any mutant that are in their range, it doesn't matter who, they just have to contain this battle in any way, even if it means killing every mutant in the facility. The facility was starting to be filled with smoke as fires burned everywhere.
“Team Three with me!” The Reaver Team Leader commanded the others as they came through the smoke, taking the lead. “Commander gave us the go to use the Sonic Cannon, so don’t waste our chance!”
“There!” one of the Reavers pointed toward the smoke ahead. “Someone is coming out!”
And through the smoke, out came a group of mutants, each of them glaring at the Reavers with murderous intent. The leading mutant stepped forward, a dark-skinned man dressed in the overalls the Reavers gave them.
“It's Bedlam!” a Reaver shouted and aimed his weapon at the mutant. “His mutant crew took out Skullbuster’s team back in New York!”
“Dammit! Don’t let him use his powers-” Just as the Team Leader was about to spout his orders, he felt a headache creep in, and it continued expanding at every second. “What… what the hell… my head is spinning…”
The dark-skinned mutant, Bedlam, had his hands forward, moving his fingers and causing the lights and computers flickering with each movement. The Reavers grabbed their heads in pain, whatever Bedlam was doing to cause the electricity to flicker also caused the soldiers immense pain.
“Take him down!...” the Team Leader shouted, trying to aim his weapon. “Take… all of them down! AHHHHHHHHHHHHH!”
A powerful lightning bolt came through the smoke, hitting the Reaver team with a powerful electrical shock. The attack caused many of them to scream in pain before collapsing in a heap, knocked out.
Bedlam shook his head before turning to the newcomer who followed him. She was the blue haired girl that was in the same cell he was locked in, he guessed her to be at least thirteen or twelve years old judging from her demeanor and looks. Her eyes, compared to his, were filled with hatred, gritting her teeth together as she glared at the pile of Reavers.
“Not bad, shrimp.” said Bedlam to the blue haired girl, cracking his neck, feeling stiff from the month long of captivity. “There’s the spot… hey don’t go overboard with the mercs, okay?.”
The blue-haired girl scoffed, turning her eyes to Bedlam with a glare, still sparkling after using her powers. “Watashi wa kinishinai. Watashi wa sorera subete o shūryō shimasu.” She said aloud, speaking fast, too fast.
“.... Right, I'll pretend I understood what you just said....” Bedlam answered, playing along even though he did not understand a lick of what she just said. Looking over his shoulder, he called out to the rest behind them. “Alright! Follow me! We will be out of here soon.”
More mutants came out of the smoke, some looking different then the others. Some looked normal, others had the appearances of a giant humanoid rock, a mutant with a watery form where you can see their skeleton, or a giant lizard. Every mutant that was with him in the cage looked different, but all share the same thing he has, they are all mutants.
“It seems the other’s are more focused on taking their revenge on the soldiers instead of escaping.” a white-haired mutant came out of the crowd, his appearance different from the others as he looked like a humanoid bird, covered with feathers and a beak for a mouth. “I do hope we don’t plan on joining this little fight....”
“If that merc follows through his promise then we wouldn’t be joining in, let the psychos kill each other out.” Bedlam noted as he heard gunfire, the screams and something heavy being thrown around. Turning back to the avian mutant, Bedlam noted: “You weren’t kidding that your transformation wasn’t pretty, Burnell.”
Burnell Bohsuck let out a small laugh, walking on his hind legs, he stood next to Bedlam as he stared ahead. "Not everyone can have super strength or firing lightning bolts," he nodded at the blue haired girl, who pouted, impatient with the standing around. "But we make due what God has given us."
"Positive outlook for a guy who looks like a bird." Bedlam cited before looking ahead through the smoke. "We can discuss how God cursed us after we get the hell out of here… if we can find the exit-"
"Good evening everyone."
Everyone's attention turned to the facility speakers as a voice of a woman came out of it, the same woman who announced their freedom.
"Please follow the emergency red lights leading to the exit of the facility." The voice announced in a calm tone. “Any mutants who desire to leave, there will be transport as promised.”
“Bold announcement to everyone in the facility to hear.” Burnell noted, the speakers announced it to everyone in the area, meaning even the Reavers heard it. “That would make things difficult.”
“Not if they are getting slaughtered.” Bedlam took the lead and walked through the smoke, looking for the red lights. “Everyone is so focused on keeping this place under control I doubt they would even notice the announcement.”
Bedlam was still skeptical, the merc in white said he had a means to get the hell out of this place and go back home. But he has to believe that all of this chaos happening around them would give them the means to get the hell out of this place with everyone else.
“Come on,” Bedlam signaled everyone behind him. “We are getting out of here and no one will stop us from getting back home.” he turned to Brunell, who compared to the others, doesn’t personally know and wasn’t with him when they took him and his crew back in NY. “That includes you, dutchman. We accept anyone in our little town, no matter how they look.”
“Why thank you.” Brunel managed to smile with his beak, still hopeful compared to Bedlam. “But let’s hope we can get out of here first with what we have.” he noted, citing the mutants with them, which consisted of some adults and a lot of children and teenagers.
“Don’t worry,” Bedlam grinned in confidence, just as there was a sound of something heavy falling nearby. “My people will help us get out of here.”
“Your… people?” Brunel asked, a little nervous after hearing that crash nearby before hearing someone shout ahead within the foggy smoke.
“You call that strong!” a voice bellowed ahead, followed by another crash, through the smoke they could see two giants wrestling each other, with the other growing in size with each hit. “I’ll show you strong wise guy!”
Bedlam turned to Brunell, still smiling confidently. “As I said, my people. These mercs and scrubs don’t know who they are messing with.”
The fighting continued, reaching even upstairs as some of the mutants broke through the doors and into the heart of the castle, fighting Reavers and Maggia alike. Burning and destroying anything in their path.
Outside of Nevaria Castle:
Throughout his life, Ralph Roberts had his fair share of ups and downs. From his military days before getting discharged, to marriage to his divorce because his wife was a horrible woman, to getting a job in Stark Industries then getting fired because he wanted an extra buck and dealing at the side before getting caught. To now working as a pilot taking mercenaries all over the world for jobs that pays a lot but with a higher risk factor than anything else.
So when he got a radio call from EVA of all people, the first time he had even spoken to her. It shocked him greatly, the fact that she is a woman sharing a brain with Fantomex of all people lending support. Her call was simple, land the plane nearby for extraction. Not only to get Fantomex out, but to get mutants the Maggia were trafficking out of the country.
He could have refused the request and just got out of the country, moved on with his life and let Fantomex and the mutants to their fate. But… loyalty to a man who did a lot for him in the past year got the better over common sense. And so he landed the plane at an empty plain of grass in front of the castle, spacious enough and not rough enough to land the hunk of metal.
“I should have taken that security job at Hammer…” Cobalt complained under his breath as he removed his seat belt and ran out of the plane. “I told the idiot not to go overboard and he went ahead and did it anyway…”
Outside he could smell the burning smoke reach to him as he stared out into the castle ahead. He could hear gunfire and shouting from where he stood, a large smoke forming from where he suspects to be the courtyard. Smoke reaches all the way to the sky, so it won’t be long before the whole city will notice it, which would n't be long before the police show up.
“Christ, Fantom… you just had to play hero…” he massaged his head at the chaos ahead, its one thing to deal with the mob, it's a whole other thing to deal with mutants with the power to destroy an entire city.
He heard a loud bang, like a hammer slamming into metal. Cobalt turned to the castle main gate, it looked strong enough to hold any attack if they were in medieval times. But the bang was loud, very loud.
Another bang, and this time the gate pushed forward, as if someone made a dent from behind it. Another hit, and another and another until it completely exploded open as a giant… a thing came out of the gate. It looked like it was a person with a bloated buddy, muscled up to the bone. Its size eclipsing everything he has ever seen in his life.
‘EVA mentioned I’ll be seeing a giant man… I’ll take a guess that’s him…’ He thought hard about what to do but swear at his breath, it's too late to second guess his decision. “Hey!” he called out to the giant, trying to catch his attention. “Over here!”
A giant plane parked in front of a castle isn’t exactly an everyday occurrence, so he wonders if it's worth the effort to catch anyone’s attention and not get marked by the Maggia.
The mutant turned to his direction and gave him a wide grin, signaling to someone behind him. Ralph was taken aback at the large number of people coming out of the castle, adults leading children of different ages and race to his direction, with a dark-skinned man taking the lead.
“You working with the merc?” the dark-skinned man asked in a rather forceful tone, eyeing Cobalt with distrust. “The one with the weird name?”
Ralph couldn’t help but crack up at the description. “Yeah, Fantomex. Dude in white who likes to do weird stuff.” He pointed at the plane nearby. “Name’s Cobalt, I am the pilot, didn’t expect to be taking more passengers today.”
He never saw a mutant in person, he honestly expected them to look like normal people that can shoot out fireballs or control magnets like that one mutant on the news. But seeing the different people and looks he saw shocked him. Some looked like lizards, a giant rock, a bird, a kid with spikes coming out of his back to name a few.
“Neither did we expect one.” he nodded to the bird mutant, telling him to get the others into the plane. “Sorry for the extra baggage.”
“That’s fine.” Ralph shrugged before eyeing the giant muscled up mutant. “Although I don’t know if I can take everyone-”
Another explosion shook the ground, catching everyone's attention. Looking up, they saw on the castle walls, a group of soldiers were firing onto a white skinned Mutant charging towards them at terrifying speed. Clawing his way through them like paper, biting through their neck like an animal.
"What the hell?..." Cobalt was in shock at this brutal display of attack from the mutant. "Isn't he one of you-"
"No," Bedlam cut him off, offended at the comparison. "He is not one of my people. He is apart of a crew who are using their powers for profit back in New York."
"I sense a history here."
"Just with his boss," he answered before turning to the plane. "Come on pilot man, we need to get out here."
"Wait," Ralph looked back to the castle, carrying a worried look. "We still need to wait for Fantomex-"
Ralph’s ears perked up, that was his radio. Picking it up from his hip and answered the caller. “What the hell, Charlie?! What happened to keeping it subtle?! You turn the whole place into a warzone!”
[You can complain to me later, right now I want to ask if you got some people on board your plane?] Fantomex responded back.
He turned back to Bedlam, who was helping the Mutants get in the plane with help from the bird mutant, a blond haired woman with a scar in her cheek, and the muscled up mutant, who looked like he was shrinking in size.
Good, then he shouldn't be worried with the plane not being able to carry the extra weight.
"Don't know how many but they look like a lot of people cramming in." Cobalt answered.
"Thirty-two." The blond-haired woman walked up to him, answering him with a number. "We have thirty two Mutants."
He really wanted to ask how she was able to count everyone so fast but that's for later. "Is that everyone?"
"It is." Bedlam cited, giving him a nod.
Cobalt brought the radio closer and spoke to Fantomex. "We got enough people out of there, not including the psychopaths you also helped escape."
[That's my sin to carry,] the mercenary answered, sounding ashamed for the chaos he caused. [Listen to me, I need you to get that plane flying now.]
"Wait what?!" Ralph asked, perplexed by his request. "You want me to leave you behind?!"
[No, you won't be. Listen carefully because you might fly a little close to the ocean.]
If there was a time for Cobalt to feel an immense headache creeping in, now would be the most appropriate time as he hears Fantomex's insane plan.
"Christ Almighty you will be the death of me…"
Nefaria Castle - Underground Facility:
Fantomex lifted his mask and spat out blood, grimacing in pain as he hobbled through the smoke and fire of the facility. Heavily injured after his fight with Constrictor which ended in a draw between the two due to an interference from some mutants wanting payback to the Reaver commander.
"A woman with super strength is a terrifying thing to witness…"
"Charlie, you are losing too much blood." EVA said inwardly, worried for him
"I know, but we have to get out here, we have a mission to complete."
One of the things he has come to find out in the castle is that it's built by a mountain side, and much to his surprise, more so than the facility is the existence of an underground pier close by. Possibly used by the Reavers for transporting the mutants they kidnap all over the world.
There is a reason the Maggia wouldn't know of the existence of a mutant trafficking ring underneath it's headquarters except the high ranking members. If they passed the mutants from above, the whole Nefaria Family would know. But if they came from somewhere more… discreet. It would make it easier to hide them from any curious eyes.
So thanks to EVA’s scanning and interference after hacking through their systems she was able to find an entry point to the facility from the sea, making it easy for products to go in and out discreetly.
'Should have known it looked odd a castle standing in a mountain near the ocean would have a tunnel underground.'
He walked forward, fighting off the pain as the Reavers continued their battle against the other Mutants who wanted revenge. Fantomex grimaced at the screams, he suspected that there were some bad apples in the Mutants, but seeing the Reavers being brutalized and slaughtered didn't sit well with him.
He actually hoped Constrictor didn't share that same fate with his soldiers.
Fantomex came closer to the pier, with three or so military boats, they looked like Russain crafts. So that means its hull is strong enough to hold off against military grade weapons, but also fast enough because of its reasonable size.
‘You were right, EVA. An operation like this would have access to the sea. Let’s hope they are working.’
Climbing aboard, Fantomex noticed how spacious it is on the inside. Going up to the dashboard, he grabbed on to the helm, allowing EVA to scan and get in the boat systems. Considering it is military built, he guessed right that it would rely more on modern technology over simplicity like any other sea craft in the world.
"Remote hacking activated. Please remain ten feet to not interrupt the connection."
“Whatever happened twenty feet earlier?”
“That would strain you as I would need more effort to keep up our connection.” EVA noted as she worked her magic. “Connection complete, I am now in control of the craft. Focusing on the gate now…”
Fantomex’s ears perked up, hearing military boots approaching nearby. Grimacing his luck, he brandished his pistol and took cover, waiting for the team of Reavers. “Do it fast, EVA. This is my last clip.”
“Hack complete, gate is opening now…”
The gate was opening slowly.
Dammit! We don’t have time for this!” Fantomex swore, of course it would be slow. “EVA! You are the captain of the ship! The moment it has you get us the hell out here and catch up to Cobalt.”
“Understood… planning accordingly…”
“There he is! That’s the guy who the commander wanted dead!” one of the Reavers shouted and aimed his weapon. “Take him down!”
Using the ship walls for cover as he closed the door, thankful the hull was strong enough to hold off any bullets. The Reavers came in ten, surrounding the pier and opening fire to the boat.
The ship was shaking at the volume of bullets that was falling into it, but it was holding, for how long that is something Fantomex fears.
The door continued sliding open at what felt to be a snail pace added with the tension.
"The door is fifty percent open." EVA announced, nonchalant from the situation Fantomex is currently at.
And it reached its peak.
"Kick it, EVA!" Fantomex shouted, firing his remaining bullets at the Reavers. "That should be enough opening for us to go through."
"The ship size wouldn't support it, it could be damaged upon entry."
Fantomex shook his head and smiled underneath his mask. "It's never too late to improvise."
"Fair enough…"
The boat motors came alive as EVA took control of the craft and drove it forward. Going through the gate opening, damaging the hull at its side but EVA pushed on, making sure it entered and out of the gate, leading it to the sea ahead.
Fantomex let out a sigh of relief, feeling less tense now that he was out of reach of the Reavers, the Maggia and the mutants remaining. Let them be other people's problems.
They came out of the tunnel and into the sea ahead. A beautiful sight if not for the fact he still had to worry at some angry Reavers that may come from behind him.
He felt a small shake, then it intensified. Looking up he saw The Cobalt flying above the castle, closely so, passing it and lowering closer to the waters as Cobalt maneuvered the plane with skills.
"Accelerating, but with damage sustained has limited it severely."
Fantomex didn't listen, instead went out and ran up to the nose of the boat, or the bow as he had come to hear it called, at the front of the vessel. Keeping his balance and making sure not to fall overboard at how fast the boat was going at it tried to keep up with a flying aircraft leaning too close to the water.
He gave Cobalt a specific task, keep the plane flying, even when he is following behind. Cobalt can slow down but he cannot stop.
Noticing something from the corner of his eyes, Fantomex turned and grimaced at the sight. A team of Reavers were following behind him, firing at the boat.
‘Persistent lot I’ll give them that…’
Fantomex leaned close as he stood at the nose of the boat, maintaining his balance as the boat shook up and down, soaking him wet. Hoping that the backdoor of the plane would open for him, and thankfully it did.
“Grab on!” Bedlam came out, standing on the rampway of the plane with his arm out. Helped by Guido and a blond-haired woman from not falling out.
He smiled underneath his mask and leaned forward, hands in the railing and knees bent, readying himself.
“The boat is reaching its limit!” EVA announced. “It won’t hold out for long!”
Fantomex dodged an incoming bullet as the Reavers closed in. “Then we improvise! When I give out the order, I want you to hit a sudden break!”
“What? Why? It will send you flying!”
“I know…" he dodged another bullet flying. "I am counting on it!”
The boat wasn’t catching up, instead it was slowing down. The motor finally reached its limit.
Fantomex leaned closer, going over the railing and making sure he maintained his grip.
He breathed in, and out, in and out, in and out.
“Stop!” Fantomex shouted to EVA, who obliged.
The sound of the breaks took a violent hit, stopping the boat dead on water. In the process it sent the leaning Fantomex flying off of it and flipped the boat from the sudden break, taking a couple of turns and crashing into the Reaver boat that was following him.
The action shot him like a bullet, flying through the air and coming closer to the plane. Bedlam, realizing he was coming in fast, signaled Guido to come in his place, expanding his size a bit and caught the incoming Fantomex, but because of how fast he was flying, he pushed Guido inside the plane and fell on his back.
"Close the door!" Bedlam shouted to the cockpit. "He made it!"
That took the wind out of Fantomex. Groggily getting off the giant mutant and tried to stand up before collapsing to the floor. His pain, fatigue, and blood loss finally catching up.
Before getting caught by Burnell and the blue-haired little girl, keeping him standing on his feet and not falling.
Fantomex turned to Burnell, shocked at his appearance before settling and chuckling. "I've seen many wonders in my life," he looked around him, studying every Mutant that was in the plane, all seated on the floor staring at him with wide eyes and awe. "But you people are the greatest wonders I have ever seen."
He went through many missions in his life, many he regrets or having indifferent with the results. It was always do the job and get paid, nothing more.
But this… seeing innocent children and adults all looking different, from coming in different parts of the world to looking physically different all together.
They might look unique because of their mutations, they might have the ability to destroy a castle, they might even kill him with a simple thought. But they are still people, people with choices and feelings.
They deserve that freedom to choose their path and what to do with their powers.
For the first time, he is proud of his job. Even if it wasn't originally a rescue mission.
He wonders if Caprice will be amused or annoyed at his heroics.
"Hey, Fantom!" Cobalt called to the mercenary from the cockpit, carrying a tired tone after the mess he put him through. "Next time you pull something like that, tell me so that I can make sure to not go to another job with you."
Fantomex chuckled, and sighed, feeling accomplishment and proud for what he did.
"No promises my friend, no promises…"
Fantomex, Saga 1, Arc 2.
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