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-   -   Destrillians: Aftermath Act I (https://thelifestream.net/oldforums/showthread.php?t=3476)

Baldy 11/28/2009 11:34 PM

Destrillians: Aftermath Act I
 
The city was never quiet.

Ever since its foundation mere years ago, the land it occupied had never seen a breath, a pause, not one single beat of silence, for the city never slept. The people kept on talking, and plotting, and shouting, and the machines worked tirelessly day and night. The city itself was yet to be finished, and so construction continued on and on, placing together the heart of the city, then the roads and neighbourhoods as veins, and then the people moved in like its blood.

There were plans being argued back and forth about building a giant wall around its perimeter, as had the ancient cities of days before the wars – the idea remained on the knife edge as officials bantered back and forth the opposing ideas of safety inside, and possible expansion outside. The closest you could get to what their ancestors would call "normal" would be the every-day neighbourhoods – rows of housing units that seemed to resemble those of back in the day, if you squinted so you couldn't see that the manicured lawns were all fake and that the glass in the windows was bulletproof. One level up, technology-wise, the commercial areas were like electric ghost towns in that nobody was there to welcome you in or check you and your purchases out – they just flashed their neon lights and the shelves always, always stocked what you needed.

But the downtown was by far a feat of modern science and technology. It was all glass and steel and polished stone, and the doors never slammed – not because there were no angry bureaucrats to slam them but because they had perfected hydraulic systems to slow them down. The skyscrapers finally lived up to their name; some were already so tall you couldn't see the top of them on foggier days, and taller still were they being planned. Buildings big enough to match the egos of their planners.

And the plan to build a wall was losing, because the city was expanding – a giant intake of breath from the concrete, the glass, the steel, and the population swelled as more and more joined the cause of the ones who had started it all in the first place. There was cleanliness, and there were comforts, and there were rebels being "taken out back" due to "disorderly conduct." The magnetic power systems were fun until they taught you that they could get cut and you just might fall screaming down a 500-foot elevator shaft if you failed to pay your bills.
It was industrial, and it was military, and to those who had planned it, it was nearing perfection.

But it was never quiet.

And so in all the whirring and humming and scheming—and the gossip, that too—among all the noise, nobody would think to notice one girl slip in and just listen, from time to time. Not a spy, never a spy; spies couldn't get into the city, after all. They just couldn't. No, she must be one of them – just another one of them. And that's why she got away with it.

Presently, she was hanging upside down a hundred feet in the air, knees bent to wrap around the exposed support beam. She'd been there for hours now, comfortably, lightly swinging back and forth every now and then; her blood never wound up pooling in her head simply because she told it not to.
Presently, she was, ah, "listening" to a conversation being held by two heads of urban development ten storeys down in the already-finished floors of the building. The headset she was using reeked of being a foreign import, because no manufacturer in this city welded metal together in such intricate swoops and curls, after all. They just didn't. But she did.
And presently one of said curls was bothering her left ear, so with a stroke and a pinch of her fingers it was gone, fused back into the whole, and the girl listened on.

Her hair was supposed to be black nowadays, so if anybody had seen her getting up there (which they hadn't,) and taken a look at her now (which nobody did,) they would wonder why it was suddenly short and almost white, such a pale blonde it was. This, combined with her fully white outfit—tight-fitting tank top, loose-fitting cargo pants, and effective ballet flats—and the aforementioned hanging upside down gave her a strange and almost laughable likeness to a giant, albino bat.
The bat with electric hearing, in the city that was never quiet.
The bureaucrats finished their talk and the girl switched the headset off, satisfied with what she had heard for the day. The construction plans were going full-speed, which meant for anybody truly in the know that the city was safe enough to not need to pull out all the machines and workers as militia—because all the machines doubled as weapons, though few knew it and fewer knew how to make the switch. This meant that the city thought there was no threat, which meant nothing dangerous had been spotted in or around the city.
Which meant that the city's government hadn't found any Destrillians yet.

Her quirky, triumphant smile was lost in a whirl of white as she swung back, forth, and up, now sitting on the beam, now reaching above her for the next and swinging onto the floor of the unfinished level. She flitted down the building by simply creating metal landings where she jumped and fell; she was off and running before anybody could have ever noticed.

And she whipped 'round a corner and suddenly her hair was black and flowing (and fake, but nobody else knew that,) and with a graceful, dancing pirouette on the spot, Genevieve slowed herself and sallied forth at a more amiable pace.
And even now, when she wasn't trying, she heard information all around her as the city talked to itself. Plans for buildings, plans for dates, plans for the next big product—plans to take over the world, if you listened carefully. But Genevieve was done with listening carefully for the day, and so the information went in one ear—

—and out the other, you would think. But it never went out the other, because even though Genevieve had the choice to ignore it, the city was never quiet. So she took it all in and was exponentially wiser for it.
But because she was so busy with her external senses, she never noticed that her internal ones were going off – the ones she had honed to perfection, signaling that one of the people she, ah, "followed" was drawing near.
They were her prey, so to speak – free to stalk at her will. And she did, because they were also her family. So when tiny little raven-haired Genevieve knocked shoulders accidentally with another girl, and felt that shot of something up her spine (almost like vines were creeping up it,) she was almost surprised. Almost.
With the intention of regaining balance, she twisted with a grace that she must have paid a fortune to get implanted in her muscle memory, because nobody who looked that age in this city could move with such fluidity. They just couldn't.
And the other girl did too. And Genevieve's wide, grey eyes locked onto the splatters of freckles across the stranger's skin and she knew it wasn't a stranger. So she felt no need to be awkward.

"So terribly sorry, my dear," she offered, with a head inclination that all who met her said was idiosyncratic because nobody else could be able to look down in a supposed submission and still look so in charge of the situation. "Hope you're alright."
She knew she'd have to make this short, for the girl she spoke to was squinting the slightest bit in vague remembrance, probably of another girl who spoke just like that years ago. And Genevieve couldn't have that connection made, not until she was sure it was safe. So when the girl made her reluctant reply, Genevieve made her final words short but meaningful:
"The name's Genevieve Weatherworm, but you can call me Jen. Careful you don't fall in a place like this, a'right? The city's unforgiving," and with a smile, "but just maybe I'll be there to catch you."

And that was all there was time for, because any longer and the freckled girl who was her friend would understand and Jen couldn't have that just yet. So with a flickering, familiar salute, the girl whirled on her foot and sped away – she barely heard the reply, the call of "I'll see you around," that meant yes, she'd figured it out. Somewhat. But nobody else had, because the city was never quiet and it was too busy with its own talk to listen, and to understand that it was wrong. She was a spy, and the headset was her own, and yes, the both of them could in fact move with a grace frightening to behold when they wanted. It was too loud to have heard her the day she picked out a new name for herself, and to hear the last time she'd said the old one aloud.

The city was never quiet.
And that was why she loved it.

Genevieve had always really meant Idris, anyway.

Alex 12/02/2009 06:20 AM

Even through his heavily tinted sunglasses he could tell that the sky was darkening over the city, the herald of an oncoming storm. Of thunder, lightning and the torrential rain, the untameable forces of nature that were beyond the ability of any man to bend to their will. Pausing for a moment, he put down the book he has been reading to gaze up into the sky as he had found himself doing countless times before. It seemed to stretch on forever, and everything in the world was subject to its reign. There was little doubt why ancient people worshipped the sky as a god. It was difficult not to recognise its vast influence, or do anything less than admire the power and majesty of its being. It was all so alien to him; all he had known previously were claustrophobic, metal corridors. Simple designs by simple creatures that led from point A to point B and back again; lit by cold lights in humanity’s pathetic attempt to emulate the natural world, but came nowhere close to the awe-inspiring power of the real thing. It only served to highlight how flawed and ignorant the human race was he thought to himself, not for the first time.

As he stood up from his typically uncomfortable seat, the ghost of a frown flashed across his face. One downside to the life he had found himself leading these past few years was the way in which every cheap motel he stayed in always seemed to be exactly the same. The monotony of the cheap, uncomfortable furniture and dreary, bland wallpaper was an uncomfortable echo of his origins in the dark, cold basements of the Violan laboratory. A reminder of how weak he had been then compared to what he was now, something more than any human or Destrillian. He had long since lost count of the number of ordinary humans that had fallen to his hand, insignificant little things that they were he had never set out to actively butcher them. They were merely the collateral damage brought about by his quest to kill off the weaker Destrillians, and hardly worth any more thought than any other inanimate object that posed an obstacle between him and his intended goal.

His quiet moment of reflection was interrupted by the first drops of rain dashing against the window and whatever misery Kerr had at being forced to stay in such insipid surroundings were dispelled. No matter how tedious the human environment he had been forced to live in, the awe of natural phenomenon was still able to soothe is ill temper.

“And now, for the regional news”


It was only now that he realised that he had left the television on all day, just for the news. It was important to keep a check on his notoriety and the actions of those elements of the army and the police force that had been tasked his apprehending him, in order to stay one step ahead.

“Or top story tonight, dozens left dead and a nation is left in shock in the wake of one of the most barbaric acts of violence in recent memory.”
Kerr sat on the edge of the bed, staring emotionlessly at the grainy, out of date, excuse for a television. “Police chief Michael Ochoa has issued a heartfelt apology to the nation that they have yet had no luck identifying the man responsible for the horrific destruction of the Saint Raphael Medical Centre in Downtown Osea that left over a hundred people, many of them staff and critical patients that were unable to be moved, dead.”

A few blurry black and white photographs lingered on the screen as the newscaster, those of a man with dark shaggy hair and wearing dirty worn-out clothes stalking through the hospital corridors. His face hidden behind a baseball cap pulled down over his face and his eyes hidden behind a pair of sunglasses. Kerr couldn’t help but think how refreshing it had felt to change his disguise; he had begun to find his long hair dangerously impractical.

“This is the man widely acknowledged to be responsible for the attack, with survivors recognising him engaging in a fire fight with the armed forces in the corridors and lobby of the facility. They report him as being pale, short and slender, with long brown hair and is to be regarded as armed and very dangerous. If you have any information about this man, then please it is important that you must not approach him, and call the authorities immediately.”

He hadn’t been much of a fan of brown hair either for that matter.

“It is yet unknown whether or not this was the same man, or a member of that same cell that have been responsible for the wave of destruction that is responsible the crash of a passenger train en reute to Aurelia, the murders of fifteen police officers in a furious gangland battle in northern city of Gracemaria, and the explosion onboard a military transport aircraft that saw numerous prisoners of war and high level military officers dead.”

Now there was something of note, Kerr thought to himself. The police had only accounted for three of the seven Destrillians he had been responsible for exterminating. It was doubtful that they would ever make the connection though, those kills had not exactly been high profile enough to warrant headlines on the news. But this recent incident at the hospital had meant a shift in his tactics, although he was certain that there were still more Destrillians in this city it would be awhile before he would be able to make his next move. A few weeks of surveillance, to let the attention focus onto the next catastrophe-of-the-month and then he would take his next victim and move on. The same old routine, one step behind the next Destrillian on his hit list and one step in front of the police forces on his tail.

“And in other news, was the Viola corporation conducting inhumane research on immigrants and war criminals? We enter the fourteenth day of the trial of the company’s former CEO, Mr. Jason Spencer as the High Court struggles to sort fact from fiction regarding the truth behind the former multinational corporation’s most classified secrets.”

Despite his cold, emotionless demeanour Kerr couldn’t help but let a nasty smile dance across his face. He felt no sympathy for the men he had formally been so loyal to, their betrayal and failed attempts on his life had seen to that. Watching the tired face of the former company’s CEO on television Kerr felt the sharp rush of justice. That this man deserved the punishment that would inevitably fall on his head, for his crimes and his mistakes, most costly of all his failure to acknowledge Kerr has the very greatest tool that could have saved his company, and stabbing him in the back, was the real reason the company fell from grace with all the dignity and discretion of Lucifer being cast down into Hell.

With the news now having busied itself with more mundane matters Kerr saw no more value in continuing to leave the machine on. He had come to find himself despising people that left their televisions on in these motel rooms because the walls were so thin he was able to hear exactly what his next door neighbours were listening to. An annoyance at worst and something that left him completely unable to concentrate on focusing his psychic powers on locating the energy signatures of other Destrillians in the region at worst.

After switching off the television, Kerr turned to the bedside table and picked up the phone he had stolen from a downtown banker earlier that day. A slim, modern contraption that was almost offensively designed for style rather than practicality, something that Kerr found rather sickening. Inspite of this, it was time to surrender to another one of the concessions that he had made to live this lifestyle, ordering in food from a takeout. As much as Kerr loathed the idea of eating food that was equal parts plastic and poor quality meat he did recognise the advantage of having a meal that could be delivered straight to him, since he was constantly on the move he could not succumb to the traditional ‘weekly shop’ that civilians did in their supermarkets.

He quickly punched the first number he remembered into the tiny, brushed steel finished keypad and growled impatiently as a voice on the other end informed him that ‘Very Happy Abdul’s Takeaway’ was currently closed. It didn’t matter, one takeaway was just the same as another as far as taste went, so he leaned back to pick up one of the leaflets the overly helpful receptionist had insisted that he take with him when he checked into the motel a few hours ago. Selecting the first one that came to mind, he dialled the number into the fiddly phone and waited pensively as the phone rang.

“Hi! Welcome to Lucky’s, my name is Tonio! how may I help?”
The cheery high-pitched voice on the other end of the phone left Kerr temporarily speechless.

“I’d like to place an order”
Kerr replied, his voice sounding slightly croaky because he didn’t often have the need to make use of it.

“That’s super! What’s your name and phone number?”
Was this even a man? He didn’t talk like any man Kerr had ever encountered.

“Jacob. This number” the difference between their voices was like contrasting the aesthetic qualities of a rainbow and a tombstone.

“Oh awesome! And what would you like to order?”
As Kerr placed his order, he couldn’t help but ask himself why he had exercised such restraint with not trying to butcher more of the human race. If the boundless optimism found in this man’s slaving away at a poor quality eatery , was any indication then the human race was probably long overdue for a good purge.

“Good choice sir!” He could practically see ‘Tonio’s’ stupid smile from here “And your address”

“Room 22, Stopover Inn, Bentham Street”


“Charming little place sir! Would you be interested in any of our spectacular offers?”

“No” and with that he slammed the lid of the phone shut so hard that he was practically convinced that he had heard the screen crack.

Bex 12/03/2009 02:00 AM

There had been times when Thetis had questioned whether containment in Basement Five was for the greater good. She hadn’t known any better, of course, all she could remember were white washed walls, hard faces and sharp needles. The girl had never honestly considered herself to be human. There were times when she told herself otherwise, times that she even longed for it, but the grim reality was obvious. Every time the prototype had awoke, she caught a glance of the blank eyed reflection in her cryo-tube. Blue and white hair, yellow eyes, a completely toned body. It was perfection. There were no inadequacies, no excess weight, no blemishes, no posture defects. To suffer from flaws or faults was to be human.

Then, of course, there was Fiona. The way she acted, things she had done, the things she carried on doing… #004 did nothing but enforce the very fact that the aim of Destrillians project was to make weapons. Weapons are relied upon by humans to kill, Dr. Perkins had once told her. Therefore Thetis had little choice but to resign herself to purpose. Despite this, she still found it difficult to understand Fiona. To torture someone, to ignore their screams, then kill them, mercilessly, without remorse and then above all else, to partake in these actions with such feverish ardour. Fiona had ceased to be a weapon. She was a butcher, and while #006 stared up in horror at her slowly approaching comrade, it frightened Thetis to consider whether Fiona was the prototype that Viola endeavoured to create. They were both Destrillians, yes, but the difference between them was beyond measure.

“What’s wrong little girl, are you going to wet yourself? Grow a fucking pair! You disgust me.”

Just as fire and water were polar opposites, so too were the two girls. As terrified as Thetis was by Fiona, that was one, albeit small, consolation. The dim corridor was filled with tangible sense of foreboding as #004’s countenance grew closer, illuminated eerily by the panels of lights that flickered like dying stars in the darkness. The girl flinched violently and raised her trembling hands in a weak attempt to shield herself as Fiona spat aggressively to the side of her before once again looming over the water prototype. The air was stagnant with the stench of singed flesh and hair, making Thetis sick to her stomach. She couldn’t retort or even reply to the Destrillian that stood so threateningly over her. Fiona would kill her; maybe even tear out her still beating heart like she had done with her previous victim. The thought rendered #006 as still and terrified as a deer caught in headlights. Dinner plate eyes stared hopelessly up at the fire prototype as Thetis’ mouth gaped open, unable to cry for help as Fiona’s voice reverberated in her ear drums.

“You ARE going to be useful, or I WILL set your ass on FIRE!”

Thetis had been here before. Blood pounding in her temples, laboured breaths tearing at her lungs as she sat transfixed at the Amazon who towered over her. It rarely ended well. The butt of a taser rod slammed into the floor. Fiona was volatile. Her imposing frame bubbling over with impulsiveness, poor self control, outbursts of temper, violence and sadism. There were no scientists to halt their confrontation anymore. In the face of death, Thetis was petrified.

“Run little rodent, run as fast as you can.”

A voice boomed through the darkness, and Thetis’ gaze darted from Fiona to the end of the corridor. Thetis’ heart rate increased so rapidly that she felt giddy and weak. It was, of course, entirely logical that there had been someone watching the Destrillians all this time. The voice had only served as a reminder to the prototypes. The scale of retribution would be great. Until now, Thetis recognised she had existed in a fog. Cautious. Anxious. But not properly, usefully frightened. Scrambling to her feet, #006’s knees knocked and hands quivered. The distress of the new intrusion was making her nauseous.

“D-d-did you - who w-was that?”

Her voice was thin and shaky from the effort of suppressing a sob that had welled up inside of her.

Thetis… You must calm yourself… Don’t let Fiona push you around. Don’t be afraid to stand your ground.

A wry, hopeless laugh escaped dry lips as the girl’s legs failed and Thetis once more slumped to the floor. The voice terrified her more than Fiona ever could. The threat in that voice, the understated ‘run’, the perfectly calm, controlled tone. It was enough to pull #006 from the dream-like fantasy of escape. What could Sierra do now?

"Idris? Emma? Help me please, someone....anyone, please, I don't want it to end here! I just want to go home! PLEASE! SIERRA! ERTHYS! EVEN FIONA! SOMEONE PLEASE I DON'T WANT TO DIE!!!"

A lump formed in Thetis’ throat as she heard the desperate cries for help. Eve was in the throes of death. This was it. The moment hung in suspension, and #006 was numbed by silence, lowering her gaze and faintly shaking her head over and over. She felt herself floating away, out of her body, out of Viola, away from the others. Thetis clasped her knees, knuckles white with unease. The voice was the signal, the start. Eve was going to die. They were all going to die.

Then all of a sudden, Eve had vanished. The mental connection with her, abruptly severed. Her insides were crushed by a stranglehold of anguish. A choked, low wail emitted from the stricken girl as she shivered in a new form of cold. Tears glided effortlessly over the dried blood and sweat that stained her pale cheeks.

She’s gone… gone, gone, gone, gone, gone, gone, gone, gone …

Her words trailed off into muffled mutterings. It was loss, leering from that void once more, the same loss that had already cut an ugly, swelling welt into Thetis’ conscious. Eve was too young, far too young. Why did she have to feel it, that connection, that thread being cut so cruelly? First Ariel, now Eve… who next would fall prey to the hands of time?

-----------------------------------------
Lucy Adams woke up with a start. She could hear the pitter-patter of rain through the musty damask curtains, the trickle of water through the wooden shingles in the ceiling, the small ‘plip’ as each droplet fell into metal buckets waiting on the floor. The striped wallpaper swelled and blistered with leaks, and the dirt grey carpet curled as it met the wall.
Lucy Adams squinted for the time.
The clock had stopped months ago.
The girl felt the crunching bite of empty aluminium cans on her back as she rolled out of the single mattress onto the floor. She stared listlessly at the door before stumbling to her feet. As she wiped her sleep encrusted eyes, Lucy Adams found it difficult to distinguish between dream and reality. That dream, she could remember it all too clearly. She could remember the death of Eve, she could remember the death of Ariel. Perhaps worst of all, Lucy Adams could remember the death of Thetis Alcesteos; as much as she wished she could forget. She pulled on some clothes. And walked to the door. Dreams were no longer dreams.
Just bad memories stuck on repeat.

The kitchen was a mess again, and Lucy Adams squeezed past the oven into the cramped, tiled room, tiptoeing over crushed pizza boxes in an attempt to reach the beaten metal fridge. The bright rays of light which shone through a single grime encrusted window revealed the chaotic state of the linoleum floor. As expected, when she wrenched open the heavy, lead-lined fridge door, the shelves were barren and bare; save for a bottle of ketchup and a jar of mustard far past its sell by date. The door slammed, and the dust that hung in the air momentarily danced in the filtered sunlight before once more settling as a thick shroud over the dimly lit room.

Lucy Adams pushed her way past the oven only to find the living room in no less squalor. Gum had been trodden into the carpet, the reading light had been knocked over and discarded candy wrappers littered the floor. The small wooden table (which acted as a make-shift centre piece) was covered in coffee stains, burn marks and yellowing newspapers, titles such as ‘SERIAL KILLER STILL AT LARGE, ’CAPED CITY CRUSADER CUTS CRIME’, ‘REBEL LEADERS ARRESTED’ blared boldly from the front pages, accompanied by mug shots of unshaven men with tired eyes and sunken faces, one photo looking disconcertingly familiar. A dirty glass on the table filled itself with water, and as she sank into the squashy, musty green velvet sofa to drink it, Lucy Adams thought to herself the same thing she had thought nearly every day for four years.

Is this it?

The self reflection would have to wait. Unfortunately, the clock in the living room was functioning perfectly. Punctuality had never been Lucy Adam’s forte, and she scrambled from her seat, frantically searching for a piece of scrap paper to leave a fleeting, last minute plea to her flatmate.

PLeASe BUY SOMe MiLK

Surely she would see it. The tip of the ballpoint pen almost tore through the coffee stained paper as Lucy Adams wrote in her spidery scrawl. The end result looked like a four year old had gone wild with a brand new colouring book. She hesitated for a moment before sticking the notice onto the cracked screen of the mahogany grained television that had been hastily lifted from a skip outside a nearby apartment. Lucy Adams cocked her head to admire her attempt at literacy. Would she read it? Could Fiona even read? Not that it mattered, Lucy Adams knew she wouldn’t buy milk anyway. The girl kicked empty energy drinks bottles across the room as she made her way to the front door. She unwedged her rusted bicycle from the tiny closet in the cramped hallway, disregarding the numerous flakes of faded red paint that snowed over the carpet. As she turned to leave, Lucy Adams caught a glimpse of herself in the mirror.
Thetis Lucina Alcesteos caught a glimpse of herself in the mirror.
The mirror was encrusted with limescale and covered with dust and stubborn marks. There were dark black circles eating away at the corners, the reflective surface gradually decaying from corrosive ammonium cleaner.
But Thetis could still see clearly.

Her appearance had barely changed in four years. Same body, same hair, same eyes. But her identity had. Thetis looked in the mirror to remind herself that she was different. The person looking back at her was different. Special. Gifted. The person looking into the mirror was the traitor. The traitor who had turned her back on the life she deserved, the life in which she was an elite being, one of few, a god amongst men. The person who looked into the mirror was the lowest of the low. Just another piece of human waste, clinging desperately onto what little humanity had offered; a life in poverty, a dead-end job, a hopeless existence. Lucy Adams still had so much to do as the 6th Destrillian prototype. Her father was out there, so too was Dr. Perkins. They would pay, in time. She had so much to find out. The life that stared back at her with those weary yellow eyes was the life she could never lead again, the life that observed Lucy Adams’ mundane daily routine from afar, the life of Thetis Lucina Alcesteos.
Lucy Adams reluctantly put on her sunglasses.
Thetis Alcesteos disappeared.

A shadow from outside blocked the light that filtered through the bottom of the door. Rent was due. The door was begrudgingly opened, and the landlady looked suitably downtrodden that her ominous lingering had not frightened Lucy Adams out of her dead-pan misery.

“Sunglasses, Miss Adams?”

She glanced conspicuously out of the window at the grey cityscape.

“Good afternoon, Ms. Petrowski.”

Ms. Jan Petrowski was a woman of unfortunate stature. She stood at least a foot shorter than Lucy Adams and was set like a wooden barrel. Her face seemed like a clay model that had been molested by an abstract art student. Her piggish, cornflower blue eyes were buried under a heavy-set wrinkled brow which was at odds with her petite, up-turned nose. Her wide shoulders were a horrific contrast to her frighteningly small arms. She had obviously been cooking a monstrosity, as flour clung to her wiry, fly-away greying hair whereas her off-white apron was stained with saffron and patches of dried icing. Ms. Petrowski’s mouth was pursed, as though she had been sucking on a particularly sour lemon and grimace on her face conveyed a kind of omniscient knowledge of her residents’ finances. Lucy prepared herself for the familiar monthly spiel.

“I can get you the money tomo-”

“It’s the same every month,”

Yes, she was right. The lecture was the same every month, the same grating voice and stocky frame that blocked Lucy Adams from escaping to her equally tedious job.

“I’m getting tired of dealing with freeloading hippie junkies like you and your friend.”

Lucy stared at the landlady and snorted in amused disbelief. Unbelievable.

“’Junkie‘?”

“Don’t think that none of us have seen those needle tracks on your neck on forearms! Don’t deny it, everyone knows you fritter away all your rent on Gold-dust!”

“I’m diabetic.” Came the unconvincing reply. Lucy still hadn’t figured out how best to explain the scars from her Distrum use all those years ago.

“And I’m Sandra Stanley.”

Lucy stifled the retort in her throat. She would never understand humans. They were far too stubborn, priggish and ignorant to decipher, they existed merely as objects to ridicule and mock. It was the least that they deserved. Regardless of her landlady’s stupidity, Lucy still didn’t have the money, didn’t have an excuse, and perhaps most importantly, didn’t have the time. Inching her way past Ms. Petrowski, Lucy pulled her screeching bicycle down the flights of stairs, ignoring the venomous glare of the landlady as it bore into her back before breaking into a run out of the door.

Lucy stepped out into the rain and hurried down the crumbling steps onto the sidewalk. From the outside appearance of the apartment block, it seemed as if the building was only holding itself up due to sheer terror of what Ms. Petrowski would say if it decided to collapse. The dilapidated building was stubbornly enduring its humiliation until the lurking landlady ceased to darken its dismal rooms and sagging doorways. When that time came, the block would finally lay itself to rest, and with a sigh, bury itself in cloud of wood rot, cracked glass and decaying brick. Lucy Adams leapt onto her bike and pedalled frantically, avoiding the potholes that plagued her block and the piles of sodden magazines that had been dumped lazily in the road. A veil of rain had drifted over Osea, hurtling down from the churning shroud of dark and unforgiving cloud that had blown in from the West. The violent blasts of wind nearly hurled the girl off her bike as she tore through the streams of mud that flowed through gutter. The weather threw the city into a familiar monotone. Cars roared through the streets, commuters huddled under umbrellas and Lucy Adams was still late for work. The pulse of city life continued, and its residents remained synchronised to every beat, every flutter. Life in Osea would go on, and not a thought would be spared for the weather beaten girl who skidded to a halt outside Luckys Takeaway, clothes drenched and blue hair pressed limply to her forehead. The ‘S’ on the neon sign that hung precariously over the doorway had long since fizzled out, while the rest of the letters flickered and shuddered in the gale. Where it was not covered in advertising posters, the large window at the front of the shop had steamed up in the cold and emitted an eerily dull light. A name has been etched in the condensation, and a drip of water had raced down the glass at the tail of each letter.

T O N I O <3

No sooner had Lucy stepped through the door into the garishly decorated takeaway was she greeted over enthusiastically by her boss.

“Sunglasses? Lucyyyyyyyy, it’s not summer here anymore!”

The high pitched squeal that Tonio so frequently finished his sentences with was about as welcome as a gunshot wound to the head. Lucy failed to comprehend why anyone who owned an unscrupulous takeaway could be so unfalteringly optimistic. Lucy had concluded long ago that her boss had probably lost his mind under the weight of his own unmet ambitions. He was only human, despite his inhumane cheer. Tonio was hardly a man of subtlety. His moustache was pencil thin and primed, his dyed black hair glistening with a mixture of gel and grease and a platinum tooth that glinted each time he cracked his mouth into one of his frankly terrifying smiles. His orange shirt was tucked into his light blue jeans and unbuttoned to the extent that it revealed the gold chain that nestled within his curling dark chest hair. Lucy remained silent, opting to throw him a withering glare until she remembered he couldn’t see it behind her sunglasses, much to her dismay.
The phone rang, and the girl quickly siphoned the water from her drenched clothes while her boss burst into a ridiculous song and dance routine with a most likely confused caller. In under a minute, Tonio abruptly paused mid sentence and stared dejectedly at the receiver before wheeling on his impassive employee. The relationship between Lucy Adams and Tonio Barthes was similar to that of a flower bud attempting to unsuccessfully claw its way through an unrelenting blanket of snow in the winter. Each conversation was an over excitable child offering a sweet to another, only to have it thrown heartlessly out of the window.

“Honey, I just don’t know how you avoid those roots of yours!”
I’m not trying to.

“Get a better barber.”


Lucy’s sharp reply told him that was the furthest she was prepared to tolerate his inane chatter. Tonio slid a pizza box over the stainless steel counter before turning his back on her, finally exasperated by her caustic demeanour. The girl plucked the order from the cardboard, the paper practically dripping with fat.

OLIVES AND ANCHOVIES / THIN CRUST
JACOB 07875560970
ROOM 22
STOPOVER INN
BENTHAM STREET
1.5 MILES


Another boring order. Without a word to Tonio and ignoring his shrill goodbyes, Lucy walked briskly away from the counter, leaving the bell on the door ringing incessantly as it slammed behind her.
The pavement shone like silver in the rain, and the neon lights of Luckys were reflected mistily in the pools of water that had collected in the road. The night shift had began, and Lucy set off on her way. The wind howled in her ears and thunder grumbled in the wretched eternity of cloud. Lucy’s shirt stuck to her back, her shoes squelched with each step on the pedals and her breath caught in her throat with the intensity of the cold. She closed her eyes. The rain could be stopped easily. But that was then. Viola had been destroyed, but its remnants still remained. A twinge of pain hit Lucy in the right temple. Of course, there were other remnants nearby, another Destrillian surely. However, the signature was scrambled, the link broken and blurred; it was impossible to decipher which prototype it was. It was foolish for Destrillians to reside in this city. Osea was the heart of the dragon’s lair. Lucy Adams resided within only on the fleeting hope that one day, perhaps someone would discover her past and she could cast of the cowl of disguise she had shouldered for far too long. The signal was becoming stronger and stronger, the distraction greater, like an iron nail scratching against a sheet of glass in the back of Lucy’s mind.

The Stopover Inn drew into view. The motel itself was engulfed in darkness, not a single light seeping through the moth bitten curtains. The parking lot was silent, save for the sound of rain hitting the tin roof of a grossly sky blue car. The drab architecture left little to the imagination, bare concrete littered with grit and pebbles. Lucy tried to focus on the building, anything to distract her attention from the rattling static that flooded her senses. She stumbled off her bike and grabbed the soggy pizza box.
22, 22, 22, 22
Lucy Adams nearly tripped over her own feet on her way up the stairs. Her vision was spliced with single-frame flashes of every Destrillian she had encountered.
She couldn’t have known who had been waiting for her in room 22.
22.
One of the screws in the rusted brass numbers had come loose and the second ‘2’ lazily hung upside down on the varnished wooden door. The door itself was slightly ajar, and the buzzing sensation that wore away at the walls of Lucy’s skull was becoming unbearable. Lucy pushed the door gently open with the tip of her foot, raising her voice to attract her customer’s attention.

"Pizza deliver-"

The words had barely spilled over her lips when she felt herself pushed, almost as if falling, against a nearby wall. The water in the pipes behind her vibrated violently as she hit the wall with a crash. The impact threw the pizza box from her hands, knocked the sunglasses from her face and left her arms and legs splayed across the bland, cheap wallpaper. There was a weight, a force pushing against her as Lucy Adams was pinned to the wall, her blue hair spreading behind her as if she was looking up at the tiled ceiling. The pressure made it difficult to breathe and impossible to move, constricting her lungs as her bright yellow eyes squinted in the darkness. The static had gone.

"Hello."

Alex 12/08/2009 07:57 AM

The psychic powers of the Destrillians were a funny thing. As distinct and varied as each child, not the commonly held assumptions that it was the same structure that hard work and dedication would help unlock the next stage of. Each of the Destrillians had adapted in their own way, some of them were particularly adept at communicating telepathically, and others had shown signs of manifesting different psychic abilities. Then there was Kerr, who for so long had no need to use his telepathy, had recently found himself incapable of hearing the thoughts of the other prototypes. His last altercation in the Osean hospital had brought that to light, he had not been able to hear the pleas for mercy and help as he carried out his mission. Now that it was gone, he did take a small relief in the fact that he no longer heard their distant voices, and that they were no longer able to hear his thoughts. Nothing had proven to be more inconvenient when he was trying to carry out an stealth attack on a fellow Destrillian and then having them alerted to his presence by the sheer strength of his murderous thoughts.

However, in the place of this ability to telepathically communicate with the others of his kind he had rigorously trained himself mentally to seek them out in another way. Whilst he could no longer sense their thoughts now he could sense their energy signatures, perhaps in neglecting to use his psychic abilities to connect with the other Destrillians his power mutated to accommodate, or maybe it was a separate technique developed solely because of his devotion to his mission, nobody could say for sure. Because it was much easier to sense the raw power of any of the old prototypes than to sense the complex thought patterns, as he had done previously, Kerr had been able to track his prey across whole continents. His search had eventually led him to Osea, with an unusually high concentration of Destrillians dwelling within the city it had shone out to his psychic ability the same way that the sun’s light obscures all of the stars in the sky during the day. Osea had drawn him in like a magnet, it had occupied every waking thought for weeks before his arrival and now that he was here and one Destrillian was already dead by his hand he thought about little else but who this city would deliver to him next.

His senses picked it up almost immediately; one Destrillian was moving towards his location, straight towards it as though they knew exactly where his location was. Alarm bells sounded in his head and subconsciously his muscles tensed up as the increased adrenalin pumping through his body readied him to make a fight or flight response. This discovery came as a stern reminder of the downside of the increased range of his psychic powers. He was no longer able to discern one Destrillian from another psychically, that was the gift of being able to sense their thoughts and emotions. He was also able to sense their personality and abilities and could prepare himself to deal with each situation well beforehand. Now, he was left completely in the dark until the confrontation itself. Initially this had been a tremendous disadvantage, but time and wisdom had taught Kerr the merits of being prepared for every eventuality.

As soon as he became aware of a energy pattern heading towards him, he instinctively knew that it was heading directly for him and that this was not just coincidence. Within minutes he had already begun making the preparations needed for the arrival, a plan already coming together in his mind. Moving he swiftly, he went to the black duffel bag that he kept at the side of the bed and started taking out various objects, a few shotguns and automatic rifles, some grenades (which he tucked into the large pocket of his dark overcoat) and finally the object he was looking for: a large red toolbox that looked every bit as crusty and worn down as the builder he had stolen it from.

Next came the tedious part, he moved over to the wall just next to the front door. First gauging it’s thickness based entirely on what the gravitational field of the wall was telling his senses, and then very carefully using the micro power-saw that he retrieved from the toolbox and cutting a large panel out of the wall. He knew that this work was noisy, but luckily it would be over with soon and he was reasonably confident in his ability to scare off anybody that came asking questions.

The knot in his belly tightened, the Destrillian was moving closer, and it was a powerful one too.

Next came the tricky part in setting up this trap, he went back to his bag and pulled out a complicated looking piece of machinery that resembled the result of a bastard coupling between a bicycle pump and a switchblade. It was a handy device, one that he had manufactured himself for just occasions, when he needed to think that the lethal blow would be coming at him from the front when instead it would be coming from behind. The subtle art of misdirection was as invaluable on the battlefield as it was in any of the illusionary arts, and was the only attribute besides being prepared that he considered to be truly invaluable. It helped if one had the raw power to fall back on as a plan B, but Kerr hardly regarded that as a true essential to success on the battlefield.

Very gently he inserted the lethal device into the wall, between the water and gas pipes so that it would be camouflaged in case this was another Destrillian whose psychic abilities were so advanced that they could see through walls. He jammed the device into place as best he could, with the pressure sensor and the corresponding blade facing towards him. Once he was satisfied that it was suitably in place, he pressed the palm of his hand to the mechanism to make sure that the pressure sensor was working adequately. He was rewarded a second later with an audible clicking noise, followed y the shaft of the 6 inch blade thrusting out towards him. That was more than long enough to tear through the pitifully thin drywall that hid this deadly device.

His head was swimming slightly as he pushed the segment of drywall back into place, adjusted the dimmer switch in the room to cover up his noticeable handiwork on the room’s wall and opened the door so that it was ever so slightly open. Preparation was complete, and not a moment too soon, he could feel the power signature’s intensity within the very same building as him. It was very peculiar, even though h had long since lost the ability to distinguish between the differences between Destrillians through their energy patterns alone he could have sworn that there was something so familiar about this one. In the end though, it didn’t matter who it was. He had a mission to carry out and nothing was about to change that.

They were right outside the room, he raised his hand towards the door. He hated this next part, it was always so tiring.

“Pizza deliver-“

The pizza spiralled from its cardboard housing as the delivery girl was thrown backwards, Kerr twisting the gravitational pull of the back wall to many times what it should be and then using his more refined psychic powers to channel all of that pull on the girl who had just entered the room. It was subtle work, and rather mentally taxing, especially on an object as large as a fully grown human being.

“Hello.” He greeted her with a voice inhuman and unfeeling from the other side of the room. Increasing the gravitational pull by just a tiny bit would be enough to trigger the deadly trap in the wall, sending the knife painlessly through the centre of her spine. He knew he should get it over with straight away, end it now and end it quickly. But something stopped him, something that felt like curiosity. One of the more tragic aspects of the human psyche, curiosity had led to more fatal mistakes than any other emotion. But he could not help but feel the need to continue staring at the girl he had ensared, this blue and white haired reminder of the past who had caught him in a wave of nostalgia.

“It’s been a long time Thetis.” He said with a smirk, not bothering to hide his disdain for one of the original 11 prototypes, the ones that had escaped the Violan facility those many years ago. A reminder of how weak he had been in the past. He hated feeling weak.

“Still the weak little crybaby?” he snarled and concentrated harder, forcing more pressure onto the wall. Probably much more pressure than he was required so that he could hear the last breaths of his Destrillian barely managing to crawl away from her lips.

This was over already.

Click

Hisako 12/08/2009 09:01 AM

A mouse crawled along the pipes, scurrying like it had a purpose. Sewage and waste water was a permanent river of garbage, always on the flow whether it rained or not. Sunlight found its way into the system through the various grates and lit-up oil barrels set up at regular intervals, the wide, gently-sloped concrete dully scattering enough to light up the tunnels nicely. The mouse paused, perked its ears up, and instantly fled around a corner as a bullet passed by its comfort zone.

The other boy laughed as his mate holstered his gun into the back of his pants, shirt over the top. Just like he was taught to. “Don’t waste it on those things. You won’t hit anything that moves down here that’s smaller than human. They’re like us, learned to avoid trouble.”
“And to find trouble. Where the hell are these little runts, anyway? Golem has us all searching for them, and their pathetic “hang-out”, but these systems go for miles, man. And I’m still waiting to shoot something.”

The younger boy said nothing at first, and lit up on a home-made cigar. “Our boys said that they spotted feds down in the sewers in this area, and Old Man Spike back up in town says that the kiddos we’re looking for have some serious beef with the cops or summat. So yeah, they’re around. Little bastards got their heels dug into this corner, though, so we’re going to scout ‘em out first.”
He said it like he had a purpose, but he knew that in reality he was just one step in the hierarchy above the guy next to him. They were expendables, and if they died in the holes of the city sewers Golem wouldn’t blink an eye at their demise.
He had way too much to achieve to care about two careless grunts in his gang, and the boy knew it. The boy knew enough to know the stories about their target gang – all the drunken bullshit about the magic and the mystics and their ‘invisible’ nature – all a bunch of nonsense designed to cover up for incompetent thugs who couldn’t tell a gang member from a punching bag.

However, he knew he was different from the others. There wouldn’t be any mindless rampages through the sewers. It would be all quiet-like, all smart and invisible. He was prepared for what the enemy would throw at him; he was prepared for the inevitable loss of the dumb, noisy muscle next to him. He was even prepared for his expendable rank.

What he wasn’t prepared for was an order to put his hands in the air, and the death-rattle of four suppressed submachine guns when he refused.

One of the soldiers from the patrol nudged the bodies with the toe of his boot. “So what were we looking for, sir?”
The man at the back flicked a cigarette stub into the grey-green water nearby, adjusted the lapels of his collar, coughed and wrinkled his nose. “Ah, scars of medical nature. Barcodes, imprinted tags any proof of identity as Denaan property.”
Pockets were turned inside out, the bodies frisked and eventually bagged for later removal. Endless patrols like this, always the same low-lifes in the same places like this. Nothing of note, another pile of dead no-one would ever care about.
The real prize was elusive.

Every sight and sound was empty of clues, no visible trace of anything that could lead them further down this point, but the patrols persisted in the way only desperate soldiers and their leaders could.
“Awful clean for sewers around here, dontcha think?” The words echoed just enough to ring in their ears like someone whispering through a joke toy microphone. They stiffened at the sudden noise after what was another half hour of walking along a quiet gurgling stream of sewage and the only other sounds of their rhythmic crunching footsteps.
One tried to reply with “Zero noise, dumbass,” but the echo from the first syllable felt like a stop sign for his ears. Still, the point was taken – the tunnels were beginning to look like they were swept and vacuumed. Even the bags of garbage littered around the place seemed to be kept in a way that slowed travelling for anyone without acrobatic finesse. Another soldier stifled a sneeze, and what was initially an irrational thought was slowly turning into a strange creeping hollow feeling in the stomach.

“We are at their doorstep, gentlemen. We take down anything that remotely resembles the enemy. No-one gets past us.” The scientist found it easy to break the silence. After all, he was led by a squad of highly trained and elite –

They stopped dead in their tracks as a woman appeared from around the corner of a turn in the sewage pipes, and all of the soldiers raised their weapons, safeties already off by the first sight of her.
The first sight of her was enough to cause confusion. The woman was unarmed, unless they counted the riding crop in her hands as a weapon. Long, blond hair traced the outline of her figure, ample proportions straining against the fabric of a black split-sides dress that left little to the imagination and had the distinct sound that leather had when rubbed together. Matching leather heels moving at a slow saunter towards them.

The woman spoke, a drawl that made the soldiers’ hairs at the back of their necks rise. “Well it looks like some of us are a little lost right now, aren’t we? Was there something you… needed? Or wanted?” The crack of her crop on her open palm made the patrol jump, and she silently slid a step closer over the distance of cracked concrete and dirty water.
“H-hold it right there!” The grizzliest and bravest – or the most foolish, maybe – of the patrol started towards her with his submachine-gun, a move that was met with a coy giggle.

“Relax, there’s no need for this, boy… I don’t have anything you want. Or…” she tilted her head a fraction to the right, stepping forwards close enough to touch the muzzle of the gun, “…or do I?”
The scientist at the back of the group rolled his eyes, shaking off the heavy atmosphere that had settled on them all, and raised his voice several notches. “You incompetent morons! Just do what I said, and shoot this… bitch!” He drew out a derringer from the inside of his labcoat, and pulled the trigger twice towards the woman’s forehead, and her neck snapped back in time with the beat of the gunshots.

There was a few tense seconds of silence while the patrol group waited for the lady to fall to the ground, which made them even more tense when they realized that she wasn’t going to.

The sugary laugh ringing in their ears would have made a lesser person wet themself. The laughter, however, was odd, as if it wasn’t coming from her, and from all directions, even as she straightened and faced them square-on with her piercing, now noticeably blazing red eyes.

“So brave… so dead.” Had he survived the encounter, the soldier at the front would have told the tale to all his mates, and left out the part where he soiled his pants. Especially when the woman vanished in an instant.

The stories that intelligence had gathered involved various things or persons disappearing before people’s eyes, and simply as if they had never existed. No trace of them afterwards, a sign of some form of optical illusion. Had the entire report not been several hundred pages, a superior officer somewhere may have found the accounts concerning Tuatha and prepared the patrols better for such an encounter.

As it stood, no-one knew a damn thing until the soldier at the front had his face inexplicably caved in by a deft strike between his eyes.

A strangled yell was cut short by a crushing blow to the windpipe, and the others quickly fell into disarray and into the stream of sewage, stumbling away for their lives. One by one, however, they had their necks broken, skulls cracked or heads crushed by some invisible force that only revealed itself, when all that was left were a few mangled bodies, and a lone, bespectacled man squirming on the ground, fumbling for bullets with a broken right hand to reload an empty gun with his left.

The woman in the black dress placed a shiny leather heel between the man’s legs as he whimpered in fear, and she tsked-tsked as if in disappointment. Bending forwards inches from his face, she cooed. “Poor thing, you probably don’t even know who I am, do you?”
The scientist gathered enough courage for a last retort, “Fucking bitch-”

“-Not for you, anyway…” She stuck out her tongue, moved forward another inch and roughly licked up the side of his face, tracing the path of blood trickling from a fresh head wound. He shuddered in fear and despair again, while she gave off another honeyed laugh, whispering in his ear. “Tell the other Denann shits in hell right now that I said hi.”

Jettison Brand raised her riding crop, and brought down the steel shaft on his face with a crunch that sounded like a watermelon being smashed with a jackhammer.

***

“Damn, girl, you got yourself a killing spree!” The large, stocky man sitting by the corner section of the sewer pipe spat a wad of chewing tobacco out, and popped another plug into his mouth as he grinned. “Bitches got nothin’ on ya, hahah!”
Jettison Brand shrugged as she dragged the bodies into a particularly deep section of the sewage after looting them of their supplies: fatigues, combat vests, other protective clothing, guns and ammunition.

She had no idea who Daniel “Nova” November was. She didn’t even know what he truly looked like, although his main form of appearance was usually a large, dark-skinned and well-built man with arms like leg hams and punches like meaty pneumatic hammers, filling in the rest of his desired stereotype with words like “motherfucker” or “bitches” or gobs of tobacco spit.
However, his gift of actual shapeshifting made him as interesting to Jettison as she found herself, and also as elusive. Whenever she thought of a few words to question Daniel with about the matter, he would simply chortle and snap off a reply about a god-given right and whores. As such, she usually left him alone as others in her gang never seemed to reply to his quips anyway, although most of them seemed to listen to his advice.

Daniel hefted some of the loot over his shoulder with ease, lumbering next to Jettison as closely as possible. She also had no difficulty with the stack of gear she was carrying, and seemed thoroughly bored with the situation as they walked back to their main hideout. Nova’s second gift was that he found it hard to shut up.
“Man, they don’t even know where we are, the dumbshits. ‘Ooooh, we gonna kill y’all, and-and-and have all this peace, and prosperity, security,’ like bullSHIT, yeah? Damn motherfuckers need to get a torch, you know, cuz they’re so far up their own ass - they still think they’re untouchable. And DON’T get me started on them bikies. Don’t got nothing on our crew. Why the fuck can’t we just go and shoot the bitches anyway, right?”

No reply.

“I know, I know, y’all are like, ‘gotta keep it on the down low’ and all that, but we got the guns and the brains already. Who gives a shit about the numbers? Cause we’re smarter than them, and we gonna OWN this place. Wait, the fuck am I talking about? We already own this place.”

More silent walking. Daniel rolled his eyes, as if he already knew what her reply would have been if she had spoken.

“And look at yo. Such a fuckin’ tease, goin’ out there and licking up all those men. When you gonna gimme some of that lovin’, huh? Hahaa -” with a flourish, Daniel slapped Jettison Brand on the behind with enough force to make her notice, and she fixed a cold stare at him, in a flash bringing the end of her makeshift quarterstaff up under his chin. He raised his hands in jest.
“Hey, girl, I was just playin’ witcha, you know -”
“Trust me.” She flicked away an unruly bang of her hair with a flick of the head, shifting her shoulders to cover up her binded torso a little more with her jacket, “you don’t want some of that lovin’.” She turned away, and continued walking, leaving Daniel standing there, bemused for a moment before he perked up and returned to his self again, quick-stepping towards her like he had a purpose.

“Just playin’ around, yo. But like I said before, yeah? Those bitches at Osea Aboveground…”

Alessa Gillespie 12/08/2009 01:34 PM

One leg up, one leg down. One leg up, one leg down, careful now, there’s a rock, one leg up, one leg down. “Thanks, Tabby, that’s good. Drop it there,” The man who commissioned her help said, nodding at her position. She slowly set down the large crate she had been carrying, breathing out a tired sigh. Wiping the sweat out from above her frames, the man continued, “I didn’t think you could do it, but you proved me wrong again, Sudonim. Here’s your reward.” He tossed her a small, but hefty coin purse, the brown haired girl smiling broadly at him. She opened the purse and counted up the coins, finding a small bonus in her pay and clapping gleefully in response. Nodding, the girl gave him a thumbs-up, feeling good she could at least pay for her groceries for the next couple of weeks. The man awkwardly ran a hand through his bristling hair and told her, “Have a good night, girl.” She limped off, waving him goodbye as she went.

Things had not always been so easy. Well, she supposed this wasn’t easy either, but it was simpler. She was no longer trying to run from anything, she was no longer something that had to be perfect. She could just be herself, whoever that was, Terra Michaels or Tabitha Sudonim. Lately, she didn’t feel like she had a name. But that didn’t matter, because people always told her who she was anyways, and that was fine with her. As long as they were able to help her through rough spots, wasn’t it okay if she was given requests? Keep walking, she told her legs with some effort, limping past swarms of people, who didn’t seem to care or notice. She was little more than an ant in the colony, bumbling past people who couldn’t care less about her: that was fine.

How much time had gone by? There wasn’t really much for markers to decide. How much time since she relearned to walk? Months? How long since she destroyed the facility and had the seizure? Years? Perhaps if she had been marking the passage of the days, it would have been easier to remember, but she hadn’t cared or had much ability to. Since it had happened, she had relied on others, and it was just recently that she was finally able to do stuff for herself. For that she was grateful.

A flower, dearie? It’d look lovely in your hair,” A middle aged woman stopped her, waving a colorful red bloom in her face, which she shook her head to. Maybe if she was selling whole plants, she would have forked over the money, but not just for a flower. The woman shrugged and continued to ask people on the street whether they would be willing to buy what she was selling.

Almost home, at least. Keep walking, she told herself, you’re almost there. Her mind wandered, wondering if perhaps Emma had made her favorite food, or if she had ordered something in, since either one sounded lovely.

Unfortunately for herself, this brown-haired/green-haired/whatever hair she felt it should be at the moment, was rather turtle-like. This meant that while she was spacing about what sort of food they were going to eat, the bump of a single uncourteous person knocked her over. She gave out a small yelp as her leg gave out under her and she collapsed in a heap on the ground. The splint that was keeping her up had broken, and was currently stabbing her in the knee. She didn’t think she was bleeding but there really wasn’t much of a way to know. The traffic of the street had not stopped, which resulted in a several people accidentally trampling her. Damn, how was she going to get back home now?

She concentrated, trying to send a message to Emma while she pulled herself out of the middle of the street. As per always since her accident, she assumed it was filled with static, but she sent the message out anyway.

E…ma. Trapt on piper street. Hlp.

NoenGaruth 12/10/2009 11:44 AM

That company will never die. Even after it was betrayed by it's own, even after it's headquarters was destroyed, and it's whole system was dissolved.....we are still haunted by the shadows it left in it's wake”.

The words were spoken by a man in an expensive suit, standing in a room full of other men and women, all wearing various attire's and uniforms signifying importance of some kind, and all shrouded in the darkness of the dimly lit room with the only light source being a large screen. Rarely were the officials of the Artolian government ever in the one place at the same time, but when it came to 'THAT company', everyone was present and accounted for. All eyes were fixed at the screen as they reviewed another treasure that had been recovered from the incident that occurred 4 years ago, it seemed as tho the more information they received, the more difficult and complicated their problems became. For years now they had been trying to deal with all sorts of horrors that had emerged during a period when all the private research companies were attempting to create the next ultimate weapon, and the topic for that time had been heavily concentrated on bio-engineering and human experimentation. Most of the companies were now long gone or reduced to but mere fragments of what they once were, but their legacies would haunt future generations to come, even if the general public wasn't aware of it.

As the footage came to an end the man in the expensive suit spoke up again. Ladies and gentlemen, it seems like our situation is looking more and more grim every day, but we cannot falter. Our sponsors have expressed great concern over the recent growth in activity from these anomalies and have made it clear that they must be removed by any means necessary – of course that doesn't mean we just go running straight to IRIN. Artolia is on the way to rebuilding itself and with that we also need to rebuild our reputation, for if we rely on a PMC too much our own military force will become a joke which in turn could attract the attention of those warmongers overseas and bring the inferno that still rages on in the central continents back here again.” He then paused for a moment to straighten his tie before continuing. “Therefore, we must be the ones to put an end to all these trifling matters occurring on our own doorstep. We have the finances and backing of our sponsors, so I expect to start seeing results within the next few months.” His words were met with many nods of agreement showing his colleagues shared his sentiments.

Well with that note, this meeting is adjourned...”

__________________________________________________________________



It is raining yet again, it always seems to be whenever the higher ups all meet...

Staring out the window towards the Osea skyline, Kijo wondered why there had been so many meetings recently which had involved all the executive officials and top level military officers of the government. She wasn't interested in knowing what was going on during the meetings – that information was not necessary to someone of lower rank such as herself, moreover she was simply curious as to what would come of those meetings, as surely sooner or later the cause for these gatherings would lead to some form of action, and Kijo simply wanted to be prepared for it.

Multiple scenarios played around in her head, perhaps there was going to be another attempt to flush out the rebel militants up north, or even a more domestic operation to deal with the city's growing crime rate... now that was something that everyone had noticed getting out of hand.

If you lived in the downtown area or any sections of Osea that were in close proximity to the central government offices or military installations, crime was practically nonexistent. However in the outer suburbs and aging city blocks of the old Osea before Artolia's grand reconstruction of the city, then there were all sorts of problems to worry about, from Mob syndicates to hoards of vicious gangs, the areas that were nicknamed by the military as “The Orange Zone” (in the sense that one should exercise extreme caution when entering it), were a place that had little involvement from the authorities. Sure they kept the utilities maintained and even the garbage is still collected (even if via automated trucks), but in terms of policing the Orange Zone, they'll respond to emergency calls, but aside from that the government saw it as a waste of time since whenever they would try to get it in order, the crime just seemed to intensify to even worse then if they just left it to run it's course. Still even crime has to know it's limits, and it certainly has when it comes to spreading outside the Orange Zone. Any attempts in the past have been met with brutal force from the military, and while such involvement may seem a bit extreme, local biker gangs will think twice about roaming into developed residential areas when they're greeted by an APC of heavily armed soldiers.

Reminiscing about Osea's crime industry only increased her concerns so she turned away from the window and turned on the TV in her office to see if the local news could help take her mind off the topic.....it did not.

Or top story tonight, dozens left dead and a nation is left in shock in the wake of one of the most barbaric acts of violence in recent memory.”

Kijo's eyes widened at the sight of the images that appeared in front of her on the TV.

Police chief Michael Ochoa has issued a heartfelt apology to the nation that they have yet had no luck identifying the man responsible for the horrific destruction of the Saint Raphael Medical Centre in Downtown Osea that left over a hundred people, many of them staff and critical patients that were unable to be moved, dead.”

What kind of person would drive themselves to commit such unspeakably horrendous acts of violence? Her question was answered by some photographs of a barely distinguishable man taken from security cameras, which made Kijo note that these facilities desperately needed an overhaul of their surveillance systems.

This is the man widely acknowledged to be responsible for the attack, with survivors recognising him engaging in a fire fight with the armed forces in the corridors and lobby of the facility. They report him as being pale, short and slender, with long brown hair and is to be regarded as armed and very dangerous. If you have any information about this man, then plea-” Kijo had heard enough and muted the Television. Thinking for a moment, she had a strong feeling this was one of the main reasons for the frequent meetings of the higher ups. It seemed there had been a number of extreme acts of violence recently but this one stood out as Saint Raphael Medical Centre was right in the heart of the government's sphere of power, a sacred place where such deeds were considered impossible. Whoever this mysterious figure was most definitely wasn't connected with any form of crime syndicate within the Orange Zone, as even they weren't this foolish.

No.....something just does not add up here, I am not sure what is it but something just feels different about this atrocity than to simply classify this as a random massacre. It almost feels like the waves of violence that occurred 4 years ago, right when THAT company was destroyed. Kijo pondered to herself in the silent office, remembering back when the army was going haywire in search of multiple targets that had emerged from the basements of a rouge company that had the potential to cause widespread destruction. They had never been told what the weapons were, merely that if if they encountered individuals of certain descriptions they were to terminate them immediately. Unfortunately not a single one of them was ever stopped and eventually they all just seemed to have disappeared from the map, although the orders to eliminate them on sight are still in force even today. But all that aside she began wondering if she was giving this too much thought, as there was no way it could be them, not after all this time. Anyone who was an enemy of Artolia surely would have fled overseas and never looked back...

Her attention then drew back to the muted Television as the images it was showing sparked her interest. On the screen was the former head of the company she had just been thinking about, so she unmuted the TV to see what this was about.

“And in other news, was the Viola corporation conducting inhumane research on immigrants and war criminals? We enter the fourteenth day of the trial of the company’s former CEO, Mr. Jason Spencer as the High Court struggles to sort fact from fiction regarding the truth behind the former multinational corporation’s most classified secrets.”

I fail to see how the mass media could have any information of relevance on THAT company when even a majority of the military is in the dark.” She snarked out loud at the Television. Even though no one else was in the room Kijo couldn't conceal her contempt for the media. There are some things that the public shouldn't know for their own good, and anything involving Vio...THAT company, is a prime example of what should remain a secret, for even tho she didn't know all the details, one thing Kijo knew for certain was that said company had been involved with many projects that were.....to simply put it, downright sickening.

I bet those executives who abandoned Spencer and his company are all laughing at him now in the comfort of IRIN headquarters... still the man will get what he deserves, and good riddance to him.” Her thoughts were then disrupted yet again, only this time it was from a knock at the door.

What? Kijo shouted at whoever was outside.

Ma'am, I have news to report regarding the operation in the south-east sewer system.” A male voice replied from the other side of the door, sounded like Lieutenant Marshall.

Enter. Kijo quickly called at him, then stood behind her desk once again looking out the window as the man entered the room.

Good or Bad? The woman demanded, not wishing to waste time with minor details.

Bad Ma'am I'm afraid” Kijo grimaced at the words. “All personnel sent to investigate the sewers are MIA and presumed dead as all attempts to raise them via radio have failed.”

The Major paused for a moment, then turned around to face her subordinate. “Nothing else? Did command hear any chatter on their comms before signal was lost?” To which the Lieutenant quickly flipped through the clipboard of documents in his hands then replied “Uhh....lets see here, last recorded transmissions from the squad is....hmm that's odd” He stopped for a moment to review what was on the paper.

What is?” Kijo demanded to him, at which he looked up at her again and said in a confused tone “Well it seems ma'am that the last thing that's listed on the comm transcript is the sound of a woman's voice, unfortunately the signal starts dying here and all that can be heard is the words 'Well it lo-' then it becomes too garbled to make out.”

Dammit....what the hell is Denann looking for down there anyway?” Kijo asked out loud, although not asking anyone in particular. The Denann company was looking for something they had been tracking down there that has been causing a nuisance for awhile in the sewer system, however in order to conduct operations in Osea they had to go through the military since the government weren't about to let the guns for hire of a research company snoop around under their city. Of course, that meant that the army had to supply personnel and since neither Kijo nor her commander wished to send their best troops into god knows what, Denann were only supplied with mediocre troops who were merely 'labeled' as elites to satisfy the company's demands. Still, Kijo felt bad for the poor souls who had died down there...

Letting out a sigh she then withdrew from the thoughts and placed her attention towards the lieutenant who was patiently waiting still.

So what will Denann do now?” She asked.

Marshall shrugged “We don't know ma'am, they haven't informed us yet.”

I see...well in the meantime no one is permitted access to the sewer system, if city maintenance workers or the odd group of foolish teenagers were the ones to start getting killed, then this whole thing would be all over the news headlines in a heartbeat.”

Yes m'am!” Marshall replied followed by a salute. Kaji saulted back then the man turned around and walked out of the room. Leaving the Major once again to be alone with her thoughts.

Things are indeed becoming more complicated, and my instincts tell me that from here on they are only going to get worse...


Bex 12/15/2009 05:56 PM

In a fairer world, Lucy Adams would not have lived in the city projects, worked in a run-down takeaway shop, worn second-hand clothes and been exceptionally poor. She would never have run into a serial killer who was slowly breaking her body with an invisible force. The name ‘Lucy Adams’ would not have acted as a false identity for a genetically modified government prototype with the ability to control molecules of water. In an ideal world, that prototype would never have existed. However, without prototype #006, the degenerate pizza delivery girl would be dead. #006 knew exactly what Kerr Nordstrom would do now, if only from her past mistakes in dealing with #011. Kerr was going to kill her. She had been caught in his snare, suspended, vulnerable. Helpless.

Thetis had hoped, as Lucy Adams, that she would never have felt trapped again. But there was no ignoring it, Thetis had been trapped ever since the destruction of Viola. Trapped in a human identity, always lying, always hiding, always keeping secrets. She could feel water rushing through the pipes in the wall behind her, hear each droplet of rain as it battered the window, smell the damp and mould that festered behind the wallpaper. She wasn’t Lucy Adams, and she never would be. Lucy Adams was Thetis Alcesteos, and that was a persona she could never hide. Thetis struggled for air as the vice-like grip of Kerr’s power tightened around her lungs.

It’s been a long time, Thetis.

There was a undeniable menace in his monotone voice that rendered his intention perfectly clear. Thetis grimaced, her ribcage juddering and heaving as she attempted to breathe under the weight of his ability. The room had turned cold, and goose pimples skittered across Thetis’ skin as she caught her enemy’s pitch black gaze. She had to break away from the wall without alerting his attention. If #006 gave herself away by manifesting her ability in front of Kerr, he would kill her without hesitation. She needed to break the gravitational field. The pipes. The walls were paper thin, the muffled blare of canned laughter from the television in the room next door was audible. The pipes must have been fitted snugly with little space between their plastic exterior and the dry plaster. If she increased the pressure, increased the mass of water a little more, surely the resulting expulsion of the water could tear through the plaster walls.
Theoretically.

"Still the weak little cry-baby?"

Thetis’ pale, skinny fingers clawed at the wall, dirty fingernails scratching at the loose wallpaper, writhing as the last gasps of oxygen dissipated from her lungs. The weight of the g-force intensified, and a whimper escaped #006s throat. Concentrating under the conditions was absolute agony, but she had to hurry. The water lines in the wall creaked and shuddered under the stress of the increasing contents. All that remained was to compress the water, and she would be free. She paused, unable to speak, drowning in the air as she allowed her spite to permeate into Kerr’s subconscious.

Better a cry-baby than a killer.

A series of cracks fractured the wall, and within seconds the plaster had been blown away by several thunderous torrents of water. Thetis fell to the floor, coughing and wheezing, fighting for air as if she were taking her first breath. Her vision was blurred and her hearing marred by a loud ringing noise. Her blue hair was matted with dust and moisture, and the dirty carpet was flooded with water. She felt numb, save for the feeling of something warm trickling down her left arm. Struggling to her feet, Thetis stared blankly at the wound, as well as the strange invention protruding from it. A switchblade, with the strange addition of a bicycle pump attached, had torn through her shirt and found itself embedded in her flesh. Wincing, Thetis pulled the contraption from her triceps, blood flowing over the back of her hand as she attempted to restrict the bleeding. If anything, the revelation that Kerr would attempt to kill her through such primitive means made Thetis furious. It was an insult.

“At least use your power to kill me!”

Her shout echoed through the cloud of dust, which soon settled to reveal the skeletal remains of shattered pipes. Kerr Nordstrom would pay for his crimes, his sins. She had the chance to clearly take in the appearance of her opponent, the single aspect of her identity Thetis had neglected to change. He had hardly changed since they had escaped Viola. His plain, dull clothes seemed large and oversized, hanging off his stunted frame, as if a child had been dressing up in his father‘s clothes. Granted, he had bulked out since she last saw him, but still not enough to counter his generally disproportionate image. Kerr’s silvery hair had vanished, sheered off and dyed blonde, which would have rendered him eerily human if it wasn’t for his eyes, which were merely two jet black coals set into his sunken, gaunt face. Kerr Nordstrom had betrayed his race, changing his image and hunting down his peers. He would pay dearly for killing the others, for killing Ariel. Thetis hated him. It was time for retribution.

“I’ll make sure you suffer just as much as she did.”

Thetis focused, ignoring the stabbing pain in her left arm as she rose her hands to manifest her power. It was her turn to act. #006 wasn’t a cry-baby anymore. Not only had her personality matured, but her powers as well. Numerous strands of water rose from the puddles that littered the floor, meeting each other to form large, elegant streams. The water that remained on the floor churned and rippled, while the risen waves and lashes licked at the girl’s skin. Thetis’ yellow eyes glared vehemently at the silhouette of the 11th prototype as she projected her final message to him with icy conviction.

A traitor like you deserves to die.

The streams surrounding her writhed before shooting towards her opponent, each jet charged with the same hydrostatic pressure that tore the plaster from the walls only a few moments prior. As Thetis leapt forward to attack Kerr Nordstrom, she was sure of only one thing: #011 would deeply regret his botched attempt on her life.

Baldy 12/16/2009 11:43 PM

It had been a day or two since her face-to-face encounter; even though it had been dangerous and she was probably going to have to answer for it later on, Genevieve Weatherworm found that she didn't really mind. Truth be told, spending years without connecting to anybody had walled her up a little. Sure, she had acquaintances, plenty of them – ladies and gentlemen in both the prim and proper areas of the city, and the slightly more questionable ones, all who welcomed her with open arms and sincere smiles when she came knocking. She just… didn't knock often was all.
A mild frown settled on her face. She rolled over and looked out over the edge of the building she had chosen for the night, and millions of electric pinpoints filled her vision. Red and yellow-white streaks of light pointed out the main roads and the cars that drove upon them, and far off she could spot a building or two that were taller than the one she was nesting on top of for the night.

Genevieve's house wasn't in the city. It was somewhere outside, a few days' trip away – that way, in case the worst should happen and the Destrillians should be discovered here, her home wouldn't be targeted sooner than she could handle. The downside was, of course, that during her self-inflicted missions she had to make her way in the city without a home base to return to. These missions of hers could last anywhere from a few days to a few months, and so far this one in particular looked like it was going to be a long haul—but as a blast of wind that somehow managed to spiral up warm and cool at the same time, lifting her short hair eerily in its wake, she found she didn't mind so much. The weather in the city never got too bad; she always had the ability to fashion herself an effective shelter when needed, as the rooftops were made of metal. And having no home base to return to gave Genevieve a sense of being rogue that she… sort of liked, a little.

She rolled onto her back, looking up at the sky. It was impossible to see any stars because of all the light pollution, even with her heightened vision. But she could sense them there. And sometimes in the really early hours of the morning, when most people were asleep and some of the lights were gone, those balls of fire up in the sky would show themselves a little, almost as if they were shy to come out. Genevieve loved those mornings: it was like a Destrillian sandwich, with the fluorescent stars below her and the real ones up above.
Tonight, though, was not one of those nights. She sighed and shifted position yet again. Something was keeping her up and she'd not the faintest idea what it might be; she'd been trying to sleep for hours now and to no avail, so she finally decided there was no point in trying anymore.


May as well use the time to do something productive, she thought as she hopped up and stretched out her muscles. Just an hour or two ago, a strange feeling had started nagging in the back of her head, just behind her ears—a pulling feeling, almost, painfully strong but yet not so, as if something was trying to rip the skin off there and it was resisting.

The feeling only got stronger when she stood up, and for a moment Genevieve wondered—Idris wondered—whether the old headaches were finally coming back. She could only hope against it, as there was nothing she could do to prevent them but calm herself. After a moment or two, though, the girl was able to tell the distinct difference between those old menaces and this new feeling.
Wait… it wasn't "new," per se. She'd experienced this before, she could tell. It was just…
"Unfamiliar."
Well what sort of feeling had she not felt in a while? It took perhaps a whole three hundredths of a second to figure it out—power. Not her own, though. The power of another.
The power of a fellow Destrillian.

Now the unstoppable determination was rising within her. She'd always been the curious one but if there were Destrillians within the city that were using enough power for her to feel it, so many miles away, then she would have to go and see. And so, donning her black wig and making sure the white summer dress she used as nightclothing was tough enough to withstand what just might happen next, she took a breath—
—crouched—
—and then leaped.
The cityscape went blurry beneath the girl as she flew through the air, landing silently on a rooftop fifty feet below. The silence itself was not one of practice and Genevieve frowned for the second time that night, this time of confusion, but then her face brightened and a laugh slipped through her teeth as she realized the reason for her lack of noise—she wasn't wearing shoes. The metal, to her skin, felt warmer than the cold wind blowing so high up. Metal had always felt alive to her anyway.
And she was up and running.

Genevieve didn't have to do much work to know where to go – the waves of power were practically radiating from one particular spot. As she neared the situation, she could feel them lash across her in all the places where her skin was bare. It was that power, not the cold night air, that made her shiver. She could almost see where it was all coming from—

WhooooooomCrack.

Sheer Destrillian instinct drove the girl to drop like a stone.

BOOM

In the span of a second, a massive amount of energy had been generated, charged up, compressed with a sound rising in pitch like a jet engine gearing up for takeoff, and then released. The result sounded like a cross between a glacier cracking clean in half and the roar of the most ferocious creature on the planet. With her arms tucked in tight, Genevieve had called up the only power she'd been honing since the destruction of Viola: her shield. Metal flowed up from the building's roof with unnatural fluidity, coating the girl in half an inch of indestructible, molten metal. She could still feel the air tremble around her as the blast took out… well, probably everything around her. Genevieve wasn't going to spend too much time to check.
Slowly at first, her shield of liquid steel dripped from her body and back into the floor where it belonged. Her ears picked up the sound of footsteps—heavy ones—running in the direction of the explosion. Another moment and she could tell that there were a good dozen people.
Her head flicked to the right. If she squinted, she could just make out two figures, and if she'd had time to spare she may just have figured out which of her family was fighting amidst the ruins but she now had more pressing matters to attend to. Because people were coming. And she was in this city for a reason.
Nobody was supposed to know.
So they would have to go.

Genevieve stood and straightened up to her full, five-foot-nothing height. She closed her eyes and tracked the footsteps coming closer…closer…somebody else was following, almost chasing the first group, but they seemed to be alone.
Might be able to spare that one, as long as they don’t catch up too quick.
To her right she could feel, deep in her core, as the fight went on. If it was anything like the Destrillian fights she had seen, then it could either be a very long fight—or a very short one. Her job, on the other hand, had only one option. Genevieve Weatherworm was here to keep the Destrillians a secret from the people they lived amongst. She was going to have to be quick, decisive, and final about her method of dispatch; she had to make sure she got them all at once, because no matter how hard she listened, nothing in the footsteps would tell her whether these were simple civilian gangs or armed, governmental forces who could radio in at a moment's notice and ruin everything. She was going to have to pull a bit of a flashy move.
Genevieve geared up for what she was about to do. She breathed in deeply, feeling her skin tingle as she reached her powers to all the metal she could use. With an exhale, the feeling was gone—another deep breath in and it intensified twofold as she focused on one specific material, the abandoned building right across from her.

The people she plotted against were about to turn the corner. About to meet their doom. Thankfully whoever followed them was too far behind to get caught up in her ploy, and so Genevieve allowed herself a small smile before her eyes hardened, her jaw clenched and her hands whipped to her sides, hands flexed as if she were controlling puppet strings.
The effect was instantaneous. The entire top half of the four-storey building came clean off of it's earth-bound twin, floated there a moment, and then crushed upwards into one incredibly dense, three-foot thick slab of solid, shining death. Her arms moved in a sweeping motion out in front of her and then with a sharp snap of the wrists the slab whizzed through the air and hovered, waiting, right above the street below.
One beat of preparation—
—the gang of whoever-they-may-be ran onto the street and into her trap—
—Genevieve's hands fell to her sides.

And she decided that now was a good time to go back to being Idris.

Time went slack. The girl leaped six feet straight up into the air, tucking herself into a forward roll so tight it almost left her dizzy. She righted herself just in time to bring her knees back up to her chest and then slam them down, turning her acrobatics into a deadly two-footed stomp that sent the slab of metal rocketing down to meet the hapless people beneath it.
They crushed like fruit with bones. The noise of the metal hitting the concrete was amplified a hundredfold—a high, keening, ripping sound, like paper being torn inside your head at top volume.
Idris righted herself as the dust settled, grimacing a bit at how, if the government hadn't heard all the commotion yet, they certainly would have now. She had just enough time to peel back a corner of her death slab and to see that no, these were not armed forces but some sort of petty criminals when somebody came skidding around the corner.

It was the person she'd felt behind this group. Tutting lightly at how this night was turning out, Idris turned smoothly about to face the man and wondered how she was going to deal with what came next.

Bex 12/20/2009 11:53 PM

Kerr was rarely surprised. It was a reasonably alien emotion to him, traditionally in his dealings with humans he was used to them usually doing the opposite of what he expected. But he had grown used to this by now, to the point where the stupidity of their actions barely even caused him to raise an eyebrow.

So when Thetis Alcestos burst free of his well placed trap, wreathed in coils of water pulled straight out of the piping in the wall. The word ‘surprised’ barely did the surge of adrenalin that pumped through his system justice. No Destrillian had ever survived his first strike, and that was something he had certainly not taken into account for this battle. The past few days had taken a strain on his powers anyway and the very act of pinning Thetis to the wall had brought that exertion back into stark focus.

However, as surprised as he was that Thetis had broken free from his trap, this was nothing compared to how surprised he felt when a large pressurised jet of water smacked into his chest with the force of a small car. The surprise quickly melted away into pain, as he felt the plate-sized bruise already forming in the centre of his chest as he careened through the air, and then through the wall on the opposite side of the room. This hurt less than he had anticipated as he burst through the wall
into the next room, showering the empty bed with pieces of demolished drywall.

Without a second thought, he quickly rolled off the bed. The pain in his chest was crippling, but was quickly giving way to an overwhelming anger. The darkening bruise on his chest was nothing compared his bruised pride. That would be the last time this fight that his opponent would take him by surprise.


.oOo.

Thetis had heard the phrase ‘kill or be killed’ a number of times. The scenario had always been the same. She would be sat in front of the TV, with a cold pizza and a late night action movie, which was almost exclusively in some form of horrifically vivid technicolor with an almost comedically formulaic story and a soundtrack limited to screeching guitar solos. The hero, would turn his back to the guerrilla enemy base, riddled with gratuitous explosions, and, sweat dripping from his dirty red bandana, cigar smouldering in the corner of his mouth, proceed to reload his shotgun in one hand and grasp a rifle firmly in the other, square face set into a pained grimace as the phrase spilled out of his mouth like an embarrassing confession.

Kill or be killed.

The expression that reeked of implicit necessity. Thetis had formerly been able to relate. She used to hate the very thought of killing another being, Human or Destrillian. But that Thetis had been replaced with a disillusioned, misanthropic model. A poor trade, but an inevitable one. She did not have to kill Kerr. She could have run, escaped from the motel as soon as she broke free from his trap. She could have phoned the police or even the army. Kerr was infamous enough to warrant such an action with little inquiry into the identity or the anonymous tipster. But there was no urgency to flee, no ultimatum by which she had to abide that would force her to kill her former comrade. And as the girl watched her enemy being flung through the wall by the attack, Thetis felt an almost sadistic sense of satisfaction. She didn’t necessarily have to kill Kerr.

She just wanted to.

The room existed in scarlet red. Thetis felt giddy. She shivered with excitement as the blood pounded in her temples and streams of water lashed at her arms. Kerr would be dead soon enough, and the frenzy would die with him. The girl would need to take her time. Not only for Ariel, but for her, for prototype #006 to sate the lust for revenge that had consumed her. Thetis pursued her target without hesitation, leaping through the newly created aperture. Yellow eyes flickered from the bed to the window. It was still raining. It was as if her victory had been predestined. The conditions had been blessed, and Thetis had already been successfully granted the first blow. Darting for the nearest blunt object, #006 tore a brass wall lamp from its fixings before hurling it through the single glazed window. It shattered instantly, and shards of glass hung perilously, as if melting icicles, from the rotting wooden frame. Thetis’ breath caught in her throat as she was hit by the chill of the wind. It was perfect. Droplets of rain seemed to glow eerily as they hung static in the air, a crystalline curtain clinging to the vapour which began to blanket the girl as she faced her opponent. Kerr was by far one of the physically strongest Destrillians, whereas Thetis was one of the weakest. She would need to wear him down before moving in for the kill. Thetis caught a glimpse of Kerr, silent and predatory. It was all she needed; the time to embrace her identity was now. As anger boiled within her like a fever, Thetis directed the droplets of rain towards her foe with the speed and force of a clip of bullets.

.oOo.

The raw Destrillian impulse that every one of the Prototypes felt, the instinctual drive to give themselves over completely to their powers and become one with what they were made to for, was a sensation that Kerr had always kept under control. For as long as he could remember he had been told that over exerting himself too much would take such an impact on his health that he would be unable to function properly in a combat situation. Thus he had spend most of his existence as Prototype #11 fighting off the considerable frustration, a gnawing in the back of his mind, an itch that he wasn’t ever allowed to scratch. But very rarely Kerr Nordstrom found himself in the position where he forgot about this constant battle of wills, and the primal drive to defend himself kicked in.

Faced with the very first proper threat to his life for a very long time, all his desire to keep the use of his powers to the very minimum was forgotten about in the split second that he had to defend himself from the barrage of liquid bullets bearing down on him. He felt his power, his gift, flaring up inside him like a roaring monster.

Whether consciously or subconsciously his influence stretched out around the room, he could feel the forces of gravity in the room. The attraction of everything in the room to everything else, how everything in the room, himself and the woman preparing to murder him this evening, were being pulled downwards towards the very Earth itself. The very principles of the universe, always so infallible and so unchanging were his to command.

Willing the change in the gravitational pull in the room took less than a second, as he reached out to the gravitational field of everything in the room with his mind, simultaneously and then released it from the pull of the Earth, and then directing the pull upwards so that everything would crash towards the ceiling. For a few moments the room descended into absolute chaos as up became down, the bed, coffee table, television and the few other pieces of furniture in the spartanly furnished room crashed to the ceiling. Kerr himself was used to the sickening sensation of being wrenched upward to the point where he was no longer effected by it. Leaning his weight to the side so that he rolled over in the air to land on all fours on the ceiling with an almost feline grace, as the bullets of water tore through the space his body had previously been occupying and punched miniature craters into the wall behind him.

He smirked to himself as he watched his disorientated opponent struggling to right herself on the other side of the room. The advantage was back, and it would stay that way and from now on he assured himself that this battle was going to be fought on his terms.


.oOo.

No sooner than Thetis had begun her assault on Kerr, did she feel a discomforting wave of nausea wash over her stomach. It was a strange sensation, being pulled headfirst into the ceiling; almost as if she had involuntarily attended an ill advised cliff dive of 3 metres. The fall felt as if it were in slow motion. She watched, bewildered, as Kerr turned gracefully in the air. #006 still hadn’t quite grasped what was going on, Kerr had never displayed his powers so blatantly in the combat training room back at Viola. She didn’t have enough time to choreograph landing on her feet, hastily twisting her shoulder in order to save her skull from the inevitably painful landing. Thetis crashed into the ceiling and through a layer of dry with an agonising crunch, gasping in pain as she landed on wooden rafters with her already wounded left arm. The girl barely had seconds to regain her senses as the bed that had landed barely a metre away began to loom menacingly over her. Still dazed and confused, Thetis rolled quickly from the rafters to the side with sluggish urgency as the wooden bed frame smashed on to the very spot she lay in only seconds ago.

Thetis had underestimated him. The dye in her shirt seemed to have bled away in the dust, while the vivid crimson that wept from her wound delivered a stark contrast. It was beginning to ache. Her arm was riddled with splinters and she was utterly disorientated. The room looked even smaller from the ceiling, like a bastard spare room that had been hastily decorated for a single use, then neglected. Thetis staggered to her feet, the fear of slipping back to earth lingering in the back of her mind like a mango hair in the teeth. The streams of water the prototype had created earlier had endured the pole switch, circling lazily a few feet above what used to be the floor. She glanced at the hollow created by the fallen bed. Kerr had shot himself in the foot. Scrambling to get upright, Thetis once more fired the burst jets of water at her enemy, lunging towards the crater and driving her hand into the ceiling cavity. She found them. Almost instantaneously, there were cacophonous bangs as water from pipes all around the room exploded, tearing through the walls like an ironclad punch through paper. Wrenching one of the pipes from hole under the bed, Thetis curled her lips into a wry smile as the torrent burst from its prison, a helix of water clinging to the outline of her body in a winding embrace.

.oOo.

Kerr couldn’t help but relish the fact that he was finally facing a challenge worthy of his supreme power. It had been a long time since he had felt the rush of a life or death struggle. Every battle he had had with the human armed forces or any Destrillian he had faced before had always been nothing more than a textbook exercise of what he was capable of in combat. It had all been so chillingly methodical and dull that he had long since forgotten why it was exactly that he felt like he could call himself one of the most powerful beings on the planet. As the motel room around him seemed to disintegrate around him as the water pressure from the pipes tore apart the ceiling, and the walls shuddered and burst as the torrents of water poured forth from the numerous splits and ruptures caused from the catastrophic damage to the motel’s water lines.

It was a very unsettling sight, he found the time to observe as he nimbly dodged to the side of the first burst of water heading his way, that the water in this room poured upwards to pool on the ceiling and mingle with the settling dust and debris. He focused his eyes, not on his opponent but on the missiles of water that hurtled towards him. A regular soldier might be able to tell his opponent’s next move by staring unflinchingly into their eyes, but Kerr knew differently. He was fighting a creature like himself, one who could command the very forces of nature, and that meant that he’d be able to see her next move with greater accuracy by watching the behaviour of the water that had surrendered itself to her will.

He dived out of the way of the second jet of water, unblinkingly focusing on the situation in front of him. He could tell that his opponent was already acclimating to the upside down gravity. Much faster than expected he thought grudgingly as he rolled forward to avoid a spear of water trying to punch a hole in his flank, only to hear it tear a hole clean through the wall to his side. Unsurprisingly, this latest blow to the room’s structural integrity caused that entire wall to collapse around the hole and the room was suddenly in chaos as think chunks of destroyed piping and the remnants of drywall boards threw themselves upwards and outwards, temporarily covering the room and breaking his line of sight with Thetis.

Now. He thought it like a sharply issued command, and instantly the force of gravity reversed itself once more and Kerr found himself falling back towards the floor, surrounded by the destruction their battle had wrought he found himself. Time was of the essence, it was far too dangerous to conduct this battle in such a confined space surrounded by weapons for his opponent to manipulate. With so much water in the pipes, this battle was being fought on a battlefield that automatically left him on the defensive and that was hardly went hand in hand with the victory he craved so badly.

He hit the floor with much less grace than he would have liked, and then proceeded to go straight through it with even less. The whole motel seemed to be coming apart at the seams, as the whole floor split itself open as the impact of the small flood forming on the ceiling and the weighty furniture crashed down onto it and sent the whole of the room’s contents, draped in the remnants of the floor hurtling down into a ruined pile in the dingy reception area of the motel and sending the hysterical receptionist shouting for the police. Kerr would have most likely been crushed under it all, had he not threw himself through the glass doors with reactions that were far more than human. Not wasting any time opening them first, he felt the glass break under his weight and the cuts and lacerations tear into his exposed skin. He hit the concrete of the parking lot back first, his headache pounding more than ever, but the fight was still far from over. He lay on his back for only a second to catch his breath before rolling forwards into a crouching position, shuddering in pain from the dozen or so cuts on his exposed arms and head, and the dinner plate sized bruise on his chest. Pulling himself to his feet was hard work, now that the adrenalin was draining from his system he was feeling the full force of the punishment his superhuman body had endured.

Terrific, he thought, glaring at the broken doorway, staring in it for any sign of movement from within the depths of the gutted motel. His hand reached into the pocket of his shirt and produced one of the grenades he had tucked away in there earlier. It was the only one that hadn’t been lost when he was blown through his motel wall. Truly a marvel of military technology, so much destructive power in an object no bigger than a pack of gum, much like the Destrillians themselves. So much unbridled power, packed into the frail bodies of man.

He activated the grenade and threw it casually through the shattered glass doors. Taking a deep breath and tensing his body for whatever would come through them in a few seconds time.

Baldy 12/21/2009 08:11 PM

Genevieve – or Idris, now, as for the moment the act had been completely dropped – considered herself to be a few things. Patient, for one; wise, too, and reasonably intelligent considering how long she'd spent down in a basement. Strong and powerful were so obvious that she need not even think them to know they were true. She also figured herself to be considerably kind, and so when she turned to face the man behind her and saw what he was wearing she had to remind herself of this kindness to prevent herself from laughing.
He'd attract more attention than I would even if I crushed another building. The smirk she held flared briefly before dying as a realization came to her: could he be some sort of special force sent out to capture Destrillians? It would make sense – there had been quite enough time for there to be a military response. Perhaps, then, she ought to take him more seriously.
It was this thought that caused her to lift her hands fractionally from her sides, prepared to fight with an instant's notice, and to lower herself into the slightest of crouches—not the fact that he wielded some sort of baton, although if he knew how to use it, she supposed this would also be something to watch.

The man before her lowered his weapon slightly and addressed her with a tone she didn't quite appreciate: "Who are you?"

Idris' eyebrows – already hidden due to her wig – shot up in surprise. If this had been anybody out to get her or her kind, they would have known a Destrillian when they saw one. The threat he posed was therefore minimized drastically—enough for her to drop her stance and just stand there, regarding the strange man who lifted his baton at her with a sly sort of menace.
"Sorry, but these guys didn’t deserve all that; I’m not sure I can let you off easily after your little flashy entrance…”

My flashy entrance? the young woman thought, concealing her chuckle with a shrug. He really has no idea what I am, if that qualifies as flashy. She chose to ignore the "letting you off easy" comment, as she knew how close this man had been to being crushed flat as well. There was no need to brag.
Still, something in the back of her mind warned against too much confidence. She had no idea why as nothing she saw was presenting much of a challenge, what with all the flashy armour and weapons that she could feel the metal inside of—but nonetheless, her guard was up on the inside. The feeling in the back of her mind was eerily familiar and she didn't want to come to some sort of realization at the wrong moment.

And then she saw the Dark Matter roiling around the end of the man's baton and something clicked. She'd been harbouring this feeling all night, why hadn't she recognized it at once?
If she wasn't terribly mistaken, another Destrillian – or something an awful lot like one – was standing before her. A second realization came crashing into the first one and the small woman had an odd double urge, both to pity this man and to laugh at him. Because as dangerous as he could be, the Gunmetal Glint could tell he had no idea just who he was. Just what he was. So he was a Destrillian—fine. He didn't know it.

“But first I want to hear your side of the story." The utterance was a strange one and Idris was glad to have her superhuman hearing to make sure she'd understood correctly. What was she to tell him?
"Oh, I'm a superhuman weapon escapee who can control metal. There are two of my kind just down that way, and I'm protecting 'em from prying eyes."
"The name's Idris and I'm a Destrillian – meaning, I'm a miracle of biotechnology and I could crush you flat in half a second with the iron in your own blood."
"I'm here to keep an eye on the fight just down the road to make sure the military doesn't intervene; you see, those two people who are trying to kill each other happen to be some of the only family I've got an' I don't want them to get dragged back to a basement somewhere because we spent much too long in one of those."
"They could have been a threat to…"

None of the options looked very good, but for some reason Idris felt averse to flat-out lying. She squinted down the road at this would-be Destrillian and, after a good long moment of thought, made a black and white decision.

If he's one of us, he's one of us.
So now she had three targets to take care of. Might as well put them all where she could see them.

"I suppose you could call me Genevieve."
With every sense on alert, just in case he were to take advantage, Idris turned her back on the man and pointed down the road and into the battlefield beyond. The woman spun ninety degrees, sending her white summer dress fluttering. She took two steps back so that she was pointedly out of the man's way; one arm swept towards the chaos in a "go ahead" motion, her head dipped in a rakishly polite inclination, and for the first time tonight, Idris Savage smiled that smile that nobody could ever reproduce.
"Ladies first."

Bex 12/22/2009 03:52 PM

As multiple fissures crept over the ceiling and down the decaying plaster walls, Thetis began to think her actions were a little misguided. Water sprayed forth in jets and mist as the girl watched her opponent frustratingly thread around her attacks while the room began to disintegrate. The hydrostatic pressure released during the pipe explosion had battered the interior structure of the building, and it would be only a matter of time before the motel was destroyed completely. Unfortunately for Thetis, Kerr seemed to have gathered as much himself. Gravity righted itself again, but the prototype had learnt from her past misjudgement. Streams of water trailed behind her as she fell to the floor. The prototype was prepared this time. However, Thetis wasn’t prepared to plummet through the carpet and wooden floor boards. Plaster and polystyrene ceiling tiles showered over the reception lobby as Thetis landed on all fours on the linoleum floor. The girl deftly dodged around the incoming furniture, the coffee table, the bed, the TV, each of which smashed gracelessly around her.

A shuddering groan ripped through reception. The dated architecture was not best suited to a battle ground for beings with inhuman powers. Thetis looked up in absolute disbelief as, like an elderly man after a ten minute walk, the roof of the motel caved in, pieces of debris raining from the room above. She wouldn’t be able to dodge this. With the violence and urgency of a cornered lion, Thetis used the remaining water, forming it into a high pressure jet as she directed it towards the roof, displacing most of the rubble as the sky fell around her. However, her ambitious plan was not without its flaws. A rogue chunk of wooden beam had bypassed her defences and ploughed towards her. The Destrillian could not react without losing her concentration, which would ultimately lead to being crushed under the falling debris. Thetis fell to her knees in pain as the corner of the wood cut into her forehead, gouging out a chunk of skin above her right eye. The girl was dizzy with pain, and as the unplanned demolition of the roof came to a close, she felt a familiar sensation. An oncoming headache, prickling in the back of her mind like a broken splinter. She wiped the blood from her brow, attempting to stifle the flow as it ran down the side of her face.

Kerr had been lucky enough to escape, and the prototype sensed his telepathic signature waiting for her in the parking lot. Thetis staggered to her feet, stumbling over the wreckage towards the door. There was a tinkle of glass, and the girl watched curiously as an alien metal cylinder rolled on the floor. Her yellow eyes widened in terror as the realisation struck, and the Destrillian hurtled towards the door. She dived through the broken glass and threw herself onto the tarmac, rolling forward before twisting her neck to witness the impending destruction. An ear-splitting bang tore through the silence of the night, and as plaster and wood was spat out of the reception, there was a low, ominous rumble. The motel was structurally exhausted, and the grenade in the lobby had been the final straw. Like a falling house of cards, the motel collapsed in on itself, each wall crumbling as the one underneath it gave way. The girl could only watch as the area was consumed by a ballooning dust cloud, blanketing both her and her opponent in darkness. For the first time in the evening, Thetis was nervous. Kerr’s speciality was assassination. He could come from anywhere, and without a second’s notice, prototype #006 would be dead on the floor. Getting to her feet, Thetis broke the silence, shouting defiantly into the dust.

“What happens after you kill me? You’ll just go on killing the others?”

#006 ground her teeth in anger. She shouted again, her foot knocking into a fire hydrant as she took a step back.

“Don’t you have any pride?”

The enemy was still standing in front of her, she could sense him. Without hesitation, ignoring the encroaching migraine, Thetis gathered her focus. The fire hydrant shivered and moaned, before the metal cap punched through the air like a cannon ball. The torrent of water shot forth from the metal pipe with the intensity of an exploding geyser, and Thetis could only hope for success as the tip of the stream disappeared into the darkness.

Alessa Gillespie 12/23/2009 12:30 AM

Tabitha Sudonim/Terra Michaels had never ingested such a thing as what the stranger was feeding her. She had been kidnapped before; however, which started the whole mess with the Destrillians in the first place, but somehow this didn’t feel all that similar. She did know for certain that this person was not Emma, nor was she really sure she had any idea who this person was. Unfortunately, she realized that she had been rather badly hurt when she had gotten trampled, and the blood loss was making her feel tired, and even though she was being carried off to who knew where, she eventually succumbed to her sleepiness and collapsed onto this stranger’s back.

Her sleep was dreamless, which was quite odd for as of late. But when she woke up, she realized she was near a quite demolished hotel that she absolutely could not recognize. She wasn’t sure what was going on, but she was terrified that whatever had destroyed this place was going to kill her as well. She wanted Emma to be there to tell her no one would hurt her, but in her current state, she was flailing around and feeling quite terrified. Clearly, it was another Destrillian who had caused such a huge dent in the middle of the earth, and it seemed like this was the work of the one who was capable of manipulating gravity. She was lucky enough to have never met him, but she had heard tales of him hunting down other members of their group and slaughtering them like pigs. If she could express her fears in any way besides her body language and terrified groans, she tried.

Person kilt uthrs lyke mi don’t let hm kll mi 2.

As quietly as she could send a signal, she sent out the idea to this person on the motorcycle who had saved her. She couldn’t say whether or not he’d be able to hear her, but damn if she wasn’t scared enough to try. Furthermore, she needed a new split (or two, judging by how mangled her right leg was looking) if she even wanted to attempt to walk home to safety. Though she sincerely doubted that this stranger would realize what sort of condition she had been in since she had escaped from the facility however long ago it was. The only person who was willing to take care of her in such a state was already far, far away now. What she wouldn’t have given for a new piece of wood right now so she could make her way back home. Why couldn’t people who wanted to kidnap her ever take her somewhere nice, like home or a home full of puppies and free food? That would have been a nice change instead of driving her to her own death!

Can u taek mi hom? I du naw wan to dye.

She pleaded with her captor, the one with the strange mask that reminded her of insects which reminded her of the facility, which reminded her that she just wanted to cry right now and run away while she still had time. The best she could hope for would be attempting to drag herself away while the killer was trying to brutalize the other person (possibly flatten his eyeballs and slowly remove his entrails and crush them but not before every bone in the other guy’s body was broken and oh god if she didn’t leave soon he was going to do the same to her and crush her soul down to the very base elements it was made of), which made her want to start sobbing even though her mouth didn’t work. So now on the back of this man’s bike was a very upset brown-haired girl, sobbing like a wounded animal, wishing that somehow Emma could still show up and take her back home. Goddamn that gravity freak! Goddamn this person who took her from this street! Why the hell did she have to fall anyways, she just wanted to live and die like a normal person. Was that honestly too much to ask?

She shook her head and continued to cry, wiping her eyes as she continued. If there was one thing she could have before death, it was a good sob, and she was ringing this one for all she had.

NoenGaruth 12/24/2009 12:22 PM

Oh what now!?” Kijo exclaimed out loud to herself. This talking to herself was seeming to become more frequent these days, however that wasn't her concern now – the general alarm in the base was sounding. Standing up from her chair she hastily made her way to the door, grabbing her overcoat on the way out and throwing it over her shoulders as she hurried down the corridor towards the operations center.

Why do I get the feeling this will be the worse part...

And her suspicions were confirmed when she entered the room only to be confronted by a scene of chaos and panic. As the most senior officer now present in the room Kijo knew it was her duty to get everyone in order.

“AT ATTENTION EVERYONE!” She yelled in the most strict of tones at the room full of panicked army personnel. As her words echoed past their heads they all instantly stopped and all focus was on the Major. Having gained their undivided attention she now spoke up in a serious but more calmer voice.

Now then, someone give me a status report, just what exactly is all this commotion about?”

One of the officers standing over the large digital map of the city spoke up in reply. “Ma'am. We're receiving multiple calls to emergency services from an area in western side of the orange zone. Apparently a motel in the district has been decimated by unknown means and we have reports of numerous civilian casualties residing in the premises.”

Kijo paused for a moment, processing what had just been told to her. This kind of havoc just feels too much like that incident at the hospital, and if so they might just have a chance at taking out the one responsible. She then looked to the comm officer standing near her and asked “Where is Commander Farant?” The man hastily replied “He's at city hall, was in meeting with the vice chancellor when this all broke out.”

Understood, get him on the phone right away....” Kijo remembered what Lywn, her adopted mother, had told her about being more polite and friendly then added a very flat “...please.” The man acknowledged her then hurried over to a phone on a nearby desk.

Turning back to the sea of faces gazing in her direction she made another announcement. “Do we have any visuals on the area in question?”

No ma'am. As of now we're only going off local reconnaissance from police units, however even they are keeping their distance so details are sketchy on what exactly is going on down there.” Replied a female lieutenant sitting at one of the terminals, she then added. “However we've ordered a UAV to be dispatched to survey the scene, it should have just taken off moments ago.”

Kijo was impressed by the preparedness of her subordinates, of course they were still all very anxious considering what happened during that last incident.

Good planning, also have the gunships on standby, if we get the green light they can respond the fastest and the more time we take the more casualties the civilian population will incur.” Kijo knew that if this was anything like the hospital then anyone in the general vicinity is at risk. Her attention was then grabbed by the comm officer speaking up. “Ma'am I've got Commander Farant on the line.” And with that Kijo hurried over and took the phone from the man, giving him a nod of approval then bringing the handset up to her ear.

Sir, Major Matsuya reporting.”

Major, it would seem this city is never able to rest.” responded her CO. Farant was a lot more friendly in his tone than Kijo, and despite his high rank and hardened demeanor was a very approachable person. Lywn often told her that she should strive be more like her commander.

So it appears sir, what is the governments stance on this situation?”

Well for one they aren't going to be made fools of again. As you know I was in meeting with the Vice Chancellor when this hit and he pretty much got on the phone with Chancellor Gerald right away. Seems they're taking a no tolerance policy and authorizing us to end this by any means necessary, and since I'm of no use sitting here in my car you've got command. So here's your orders Major, ascertain first who or what is causing these atrocities then deal with it as you see fit, but above all, the higher ups want an end to this as quickly as possible. That is all, good luck.”

Yes sir! thank you sir!” Kijo hastily replied then hung up the handset and spun around to face her staff once again.

Alright everyone, the commander has placed me in charge of this operation. Now what is the status of the UAV?” And immediately that same female lieutenant....Jelanda was her name it seems, replied. “It's just arrived on scene, we should have a visual uplink....right about........now.” And with those words the main observation screen in the center of the room's back wall lit up, showing an image of something that probably once looked like a motel with water rupturing from just about every pipe and service line adjacent to it. However due to the altitude the UAV operated at they couldn't see any people with plain video feed so Kijo called for a change. “Alright we can see the mess, now where is the cause? Switch to thermal imaging”. Then all of a sudden the screen went to a bright white and grey as the thermal adjusted, then most of the screen went darker as buildings turned a near black colour. Scanning the image for a moment Kijo then spotted something. “There! At 20 degrees east, zoom in.” She ordered. The picture focused on her specified area and they could see two small white blobs amonsgt the wreckage, both moving and from Kijo's judgement, trying to kill one another. However, what she saw next she was unable to explain.

Uhh ma'am, what is that there on the left?” The UAV operator asked her.

Kijo fixed her eyes on the spot but was utterly baffled herself, however after a few seconds of observing the anomaly she thought she saw what was....

...Water?” She spoke in a confused tone out loud. She was then echoed by Lieutenant Jelanda. “Actually Major, it does look like streams of water....but how can they be moving in controlled patterns like that?” Kijo raiser her arms and shook her head not knowing how to respond. Jelanda then also added “Honestly, to me it looks like the water streams are assaulting one of the two targets.....” Then paused at the next sight and commented in a puzzled voice “...ok and now the water streams are moving about in the air? What the hell is this Ma'am?”

Kijo was at a loss here, but as commanding officer had to speak up “I have no idea what is going on.... however I do not like the look of this one bit, first a motel explodes without any fire involved and now this. Whatever is happening we are going to put a stop to this.”

Major Matsuya turned away from the screen, then, pushing her glasses up her nose called out her orders.

Alright everyone, give orders to deploy the VTOL gunships immediately, they are to head to the target sight and give a first hand visual on the situation, we will then go from there. Next, I want four squads of infantry loaded up in IFV's and rolling out when ready, also prep the 4th Tank division and have them move out also to back up the troops.” And if that wasn't enough Kijo threw another on top “Actually send a couple of K750 MLRS' with the tank battalion and have then standby at Coriander Park, it is a good vantage point of the motel area, also call ahead to local police and have the park cordoned off.”

Is that all Major? Should we call the Navy and have a Tactical Nuke on standby also?” Came the voice of Lieutenant Marshall from behind her, she then turned to face him. “Now is not the time for being cute with me Lieutenant. This might seem like overkill but I want all bases covered so there no simply zero chance of failure, we cannot have another massacre on our hands.” The lieutenant then quickly apologized “Sorry Ma'am, and what will you be doing now the orders are out?”

I am going out there, the best commander is always on field to personally organize her forces”

_______________________________________________________________

Soaring over the southern freeway and moving into the Orange Zone, three military AG-12 Vertical Takeoff and Landing gunships were nearly in visual range of the target area. The lead VTOL's pilot then called over the radio to his wingmates.

Alright gents, we're almost at our target now, the orders are to first get a visual of the two individuals Major Matsuya described from UAV footage. Now since you can see jack all on the thermal imaging all she could tell us was that they are currently engaged in battle with one another and apparently one is being attacked by what the Major could only describe as 'streams of water shooting through the air'. That may sound like a bunch of bollocks but this is the Major we're talking about so I for one is going to take her seriously. Now remember, once we arrive I'll take lead and move in to get a clear shot of the individuals for the Major while Delta 2 and 3 circle the area and watch for anything hostile. Ok lets do this lads!”

________________________________________________________________


Sitting in the back of the transport VTOL, Kijo watched out the window waiting for the vehicle to arrive at their destination – which was the roof of the Micardis Hotel, a location which was a safe distance from the hazard zone but had perfect view of the whole area. Kijo had chosen this spot for her field command post, and of course the Hotel management gave full permission for the army to use their building after she mentioned to them on the phone that there was a potential repeat of the Saint Raphael Medical Centre incident unfolding. Fear was probably the only thing that kept the general public from complaining until they were blue in the mouth. But what was really the primary thing going on in her head was how to deal with this situation when she got there, things were just too bizarre.

This is no run of the mill terrorist or rebel attack, it is just wanton destruction by unknown entities, ones that from the looks of it can manipulate an element such as water, but how- a realization came into Kijo's mind, a very disturbing one at that.

4 Years ago....the incident from that company.....did not the report say something about keeping watch for unusual behavior in the environment around the targets.... However she didn't have time to dwell on this though as the VTOL touched down on the roof of the building. She then stood up from her seat and made her way off the vehicle with the rest of her personnel.

Everyone get setup, I want full uplink to the military network in the next 5 minutes, the Infantry and Armor wont be far now, and from the looks of it the gunships are just arriving on scene, we WILL put an end to this so I want to be fully capable of communicating with the ground forces.”

As she finished issuing her orders a man emerged from the VTOL carrying a sniper rifle. Kijo turned to face him. “Captain, you can setup over by the railing, you should have a good vantage point from there”. The man nodded as he walked passed her, the sniper was just another backup, and also a quick easy solution rather than letting the tanks blow away half a block in crossfire, but that's only if they're given the opportunity to get a clear shot.

Of course there was another thing the Major had to know first, who exactly were these two people fighting at the motel. And soon her question would be answered....to some degree. The crew had setup their equipment and ready to go. Jelanda called over to the Major. “Ma'am we've got Gunship Delta-1 on the line now, he says he's in visual range.” Kijo then ran over to the setup and grabbed a spare headset. “Delta-1 this is Major Matsuya, what do you see?”

A reply came over the radio. “Two individuals currently in the parking lot of the former motel Ma'am, from the looks of it they are still fighting one another, also a lot of debris flying around.”

I see, can you ID them?”

One moment, we're just focusing now.......there are you receiving that?”

An image came up of on the screen in front of the Major, showing two individuals, one male and one female, both of their faces could be seen side on due to the angle the gunship was at, although the female's face was a bit more visible. This is exactly what Kijo was after.

That will do nicely Delta-1, Matsuya out." She then faced Jelanda "Lieutenant, run these against the database and see who they are.”

Jelanda began running a series of programs on her laptop, which searched through the records of all citizens of Osea on file, however after a minute the search finished with no matches.

Nothing ma'am, whoever these two are they're not on record.”

Dammit.” Kijo replied, tho to be honest that would have been too easy, there are just so many residents of the Orange Zone that the government doesn't have in their database, and then there's also the likelihood these two are from another nation outside of Artolian control. It was then that the thought from earlier came back to her.

Could it really be? No it just is not possible....however it is worth a try

She leaned over to Jelander and quietly spoke to her “Lieutenant, could you bring up the files concerning the Viola Incident from 4 years ago?” The young girl looked at her superior with puzzlement. “Ma'am, if you don't mine me asking, why are you bringing something ancient like that at a time like this?” Jelanda's inquiry made Kijo look her directly in the eyes. She then placed one of her hands on the lieutenant's should and calmly said “Just do it....please. It is just a feeling I've been having but I need to be absolutely certain.” Jelanda exchanged glances with her for a moment then replied with a simple “Yes ma'am.” before turning back to her computer and accessing the files Kijo requested. After searching for a couple of minutes Jelanda just stopped, her head tilted down and her hands just froze sitting on the keyboard. Without moving she bluntly said. “Ma'am....it found 1 match.” Kijo's heart sank at those words, then moved over to the screen and glanced at the display on the monitor.

-1ST SUBJECT – MALE, UNABLE TO PROVIDE A POSITIVE MATCH DUE TO INSUFFICIENT IMAGERY.

-2ND SUBJECT – FEMALE, POSITIVE IDENTIFICATION FOUND. TARGET DESIGNATION DESTRILLIAN #006. NAME AND FURTHER DETAILS CLASSIFIED TO LEVEL 7 CLEARANCE.

-WARNING. TARGET IS EXTREMELY DANGEROUS. AN EXECUTIVE ORDER BY CHANCELLOR GERALD STATES THAT THIS PERSON IS TO BE TERMINATED BY ANY MEANS NECESSARY.

Destrillian....so it is them...the ones from back then...and its a safe bet the male is also one of them, otherwise he would be dead by now.......alright I know what I have to do then...

She stepped back from the monitor, and just as she was about to speak up a very large disturbance interrupted her. Out of the blue one of the buildings near the target zone began to rupture and suddenly part of it was torn off and fell down onto the street. This caught everyone off guard since it wasn't right where the two targets were fighting. Immediately Kijo was on the radio again.

What the hell was that? Delta 2 and 3, can you see anything?” There was a short pause before she got an answer. “This is Delta-3, we can't see what caused the building to break apart, although from here it looks like we have multiple casualties, aside from that there's too much smoke and dust to see anything else.”

Roger that Delta-3, standby”. Things had already gone to hell, and now it looked like there might be another one of these...Destrillian things in the area. She was getting really tired of this, so now was the time to act.

Attention all units, for the moment the MLRS will stay on standby until further notice. As for all remaining ground and air units, you are to engage the targets at the motel on sight, deadly force is permitted.” She then walked over to the edge of the roof and looked out over the chaos that was ensuing.

Not this time Destrillians, not on my watch.

Alex 12/24/2009 10:22 PM

Kerr barely had time to process everything that happened in the five minute space in between throwing the grenade into the gutted shell of the motel and suddenly waking up face down on the floor. His memory was a complete kaleidoscope of unidentifiable colours and shapes, clouding over his vision and making a complete mockery of his senses. The first of which that came back to him was a splitting headache, the whole right side of his head felt simultaneously numb and madly in pain. Next, he gained some orientation, he knew where he was and that was face down on the tarmac floor of the parking lot. He felt the deep gash on the side of his head and the disarming comfort of the thick rivulets of blood that had streamed down his face. The pain was almost overwhelming, and if it wasn’t for his superhuman reflexes then he was certain that being blindsided by the super-powered fire hydrant would have torn his head clean from his shoulders. Kerr remembered the sudden appearance of a deep flash of red and flinging himself to the side. Anything more than a glancing blow would have killed him, and the wound itself would probably have proven fatal to a lesser mortal.

The Destrillian pulled himself to his feet, drawing strength from his rage with every rasping breath. His muscles ached, and for all the cunning plans he as capable of producing ahead of time, his strategic mind seemed to be fighting a losing battle against the overpowering evidence that he wasn’t fighting a losing battle. He was fighting a stalemate. Against an equal.

The very thought made him wretch. But that could just be a side effect of a fire hydrant to the head.

“Don’t you have any pride?”
the words floated back to him through the darkness. The last words his sneering, troublesome, unkillable opponent had taunted him with.

He narrowed his pitch black eyes with pure malevolence at his fellow Destrillian standing amongst the rubble, her own dirty clothes and torn, bloody skin a reflection of his own. Every thought and instinct in his body was urging him to draw blood, to go in for the kill as the blood already began dry and crust the injured side of his face into a grotesque crimson mask.

“Who are you, with your normal job and your false name, to speak of pride!?”
he roared back at Thetis over the sound of the final wall of the hotel behind them collapsing into rubble. The final domino to drop in this long chain, and it was only then that he realised what other sense was beginning to stir. He felt them, many of them, at least two or three. Other Destrillians moving towards their location, very literally like moths to an open flame. But no psychic power would have been able to provide him with enough information to prepare him for what happened next.

“So you two are the cause of all this mess eh?”

It was so unexpected that Kerr ripped his concentration away from the battle and turned towards the most bizarre sight he reckoned that he had ever seen. It was unquestionably a Destrillian, that much he could tell straight away. But it’s strange patronising voice and even stranger outfit would have been jaw-dropping to any regular person.

“The insurance company for the motel sure as hell won’t believe what the hell just happened...”

Kerr frowned and tilted his head to the side, trying to work out exactly what this outfit reminded him of. Maybe the bastard child of a circus clown and a medieval knight? That seemed to be the only apt way to describe this...thing that was in front of him.

“Just what the hell is going on here?”

He saw the baton drawn and the dark energy flowing out of it like a fountain and he came crashing back to reality from this brief but ever so slightly surreal detour, and the anger swelled up inside him. A frustration so tangible that he felt like it was a living, breathing creature rearing up inside his chest. He would murder the woman, and then crush this fool inside his insane armour.

Before the stream of hateful speech could escape his lips his attention snapped upwards towards the familiar sound of the engines from military aircraft growing louder and louder, and unless he was mistaken, his keen ears also detected the slow, grinding rumble of tank treads bearing down on this damned parking lot. Now this was fairly typical, he thought to himself, it wasn’t the first time the armed forces and military police had been called out to ‘deal’ with him and the sprawling trail of chaos and slaughter that followed in his wake. But gunships and tanks? At least this was a fresh change to the established formula. A true day of firsts, but the one his weary mind kept coming back was that this was the first time that he had ever failed to win a battle. Failed.

His scream of rage was lost as a shell from the first tank to have rounded the street corner opened fire immediately. The bomb detonated in the parking lot and gouged a crater into the space separating the three opposing Destrillians, and Kerr felt the strength of the blast knock him back and he felt himself genuinely forcing his body to remain on its feet.

The VTOL gunships were nearly upon them, one was already circling the battlefield from up above. Undoubtedly the command centre, focusing on reconnaissance and preparing the rest of the incoming horde of human scum and filth for what to expect in the coming few minutes before all hell would erupt.

He felt something snap deep inside him, he would not be cheated out of his victory today by the petty interventions of these delicate human specimens. The weariness that was dogging at his mind for relying so heavily on his power was overpowered so suddenly that he was nearly taken aback by the titanic surge of power that flowed through every vein in his body. The yearning that came within every Destrillian, the urge to totally give in to their powers overcame every sense, every rational methodology that he had relied on so solidly for so long was abandoned in one single moment as they became little more than food for the unforgiving monster within him. The Destrillian unleashed.

“Die” he hissed at this new arrival in his brightly coloured armour, and within moments he felt the gravitational force of the tank that had fired upon them increase so many times over that the armour at the front, and the nib of the turret began to buckle as it gave way to the unrelenting pressure. He focused next on the armoured Destrillian and felt him fall under the influence of the gravitational pull and watched with venomous satisfaction as he was torn of his feet and pulled with such speed towards the tank that he kicked up a trail of dust from the ground and hit the side of the tank with such force that the tank folded like cardboard around his figure and was thrown onto its side and crashed into the glass panelled windows of the building opposite.

The feelings of hatred subsided and gave ground to the thousands of stabbing needles inside his mind as his legs turned to jelly and threatened to collapse out from under him. A pain unlike anything he had ever experienced before, the Destrillian powers within him felt tortured and exhausted. But never had he been in a position where they were so important and so very key to his survival. Fresh blood began to leak from both nostrils, as the exhaustion he felt from the use of his abilities began to physically manifest. The worst part was that he knew that despite the finite nature of his abilities, that the end of this ordeal was nowhere near in sight. The armed forces were only just beginning to deploy en masse and the realization dawned on him that he wouldn’t be able to continue this gladiatorial death match against the woman in front of him. That there was a threat now against both of their lives, their current conflict would have to wait.

Three more gunships swept into view like vast predatory birds from the city’s skyline.

His coal black eyes locked with her vividly seething amber ones as another poorly aimed tank shell burst on the far side of the parking lot. An unspoken agreement forming between the two bitter rivals, one that didn’t even their psychic powers didn’t need to broadcast to one another. Their instincts, their years of training as weapons coming to the surface after so many years lying dormant, deep down they were the same. Created in the same facility, trained in the same room and in the same manner, it came down to something very primal and very simple that both understood. They were the same, and the enemy was different and overwhelming. There was a very clear distinction, and subconsciously they were both aware of it.

Then the gunfire started.


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