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Old 06/17/2010   #76

========== SEVEN DAYS AGO, IN CRAWSUS, AUDOULA ==========

“Are you ready to cooperate now? Or do you need another lesson in manners? Perhaps another round in the tank is what you need. What do you think of that, boy? ANSWER ME, GODDAMN YOU, YOU LITTLE FREAK!” The scientist struck the boy a fearsome blow, snapping his head back; he could feel his teeth rattle from the strength of the blow. But then he struck him again, and again, and then that was left was screaming and pain…and then nothingness.

His eyes snapped open, and he shot upright, breathing heavily, drenched in a cold sweat. It was just a dream, he told himself. Just a dream. Well…a nightmare, really. A nightmare from the past. He would never be able to forget his time there, or the horrors that he was subjected to. But it was bad enough trying not to think about it when he was awake; why did is have to take over his dreams as well?

Telran sighed.

He always had nightmares when he was alone.

He stretched, yawning loudly, trying to push it from his mind. He ran a hand through his hair, lightly scratching his head as he glanced lazily at the clock on his bedside table. He blinked. One already?! His eyes flew open, and he tossed aside the covers and leapt from bed. He tore into the bathroom, started the bath running for a shower, then glanced at his reflection in the mirror. time now; looks like shaving will have to wait. He quickly brushed his teeth as the water heated up, then hopped in, shuddering slightly in delight as the delicious heat of the water cascaded over his body. He stood quite still for a few minutes, leaning against the wall under the tap, enjoying the feeling of the heat soaking into his aching muscles. He always loved that about this place – such good water pressure. He subconsciously traced the outline of the large tattoo that wound its way up his neck, a habit he’d never quite been able to break. He arched his back, delighting in the faintly painful popping of his joints as he applied pressure with his open palms. He then began to slowly knead the tension out of his muscles. He let out a sigh of pleasure as he traveled up his back, then down his arms; he slowly worked his way back down his body, basking in the heat of the water as it continued to rain down upon him in eager jets. And as he massaged the stress away in each portion of his lean, muscular body, he began to mentally prepare himself for the day ahead.

I really hope that old man from the diner doesn’t come by again today, he thought. So annoying…always with that lame ‘arthritis has been acting up’ excuse. Telran knew the old man was lying – electric stimulation was incredibly effective at easing the aches of arthritis – but still tolerated his presence, because he knew he was a good customer; an extremely good customer, considering how many others he brought in. But he couldn’t help but be annoyed at the implication that he couldn’t take care of something so simple as joint pain – he, Telran, the lightning Destrillian, who had been trained by the best minds in Alvyssia! The thought was laughable, and it irked him unnecessarily – humans aren’t the only ones with pride in their abilities, he mused.

But he continued to help the cranky old geezer, because that was his job. Those drugs wouldn’t sell themselves, after all.-

Telran often wondered how things had ended up this way – how he’d adopted the name of Gabriel Astra in order to operate in human society with a presentable face; how he, a weapon, had assumed the role of doctor, treating the very beings he was designed to kill; and how he’d become a pusher for a gang in Crawsus, selling every drug from the most potent narcotics to the mildest of herbal stimulants, working for a man who only kept him around because he had been impressed with the ease with which Telran had dealt with some of his subordinates. He never even batted an eye when he’d seen what I’d done to them, he thought. He really doesn’t care about them. Then again, Telran certainly didn’t let himself believe that Valmur, the boss of The Wild Bunch, cared one bit what happened to him, either, not even for a second. He’d seen the way those cold eyes measured him up, taking in the scene. He couldn’t blame him – I’m the same way, though, he grudgingly admitted; I’ve never really cared about any of them, or what they get up to. That name is still pretty stupid though…’The Wild Bunch’…Valmur and his movie obsession are too much sometimes, he thought, shaking his head.

But enough of that. He had work to do. Hopefully he’d get someone interesting passing through his shabby little clinic today; he’d had quite enough of listening to people whine about their sniffly noses and how it hurt to go to the bathroom. Maybe if they’d bothered to stop long enough to use a fucking condom, they wouldn’t be in that situation. Humans could be so STUPID sometimes. They never bothered to think about things, about how their actions would invariably have consequences that could have serious impact upon their lives. Then again, he himself had little to worry about in that department – he felt a smug sense of satisfaction knowing that none of the women HE slept with would be getting pregnant with his child. One of the many perks of being a Destrillian, he thought; you never have to worry about being unexpectedly or unwillingly tied down. Of course, you never had much chance for willing ties, either; you were always fighting for survival, which didn’t really lend itself to establishing close personal relationships. You had to take comfort in what you could manage, and in Telran’s case, this was the fact that he was never lacking in companionship. Crawsus was a pretty big place, and there was no shortage of women who would enjoy his company. However, he still felt an unshakeable sort of loneliness – in all the world, how many people were there like him? He remembered nothing of his time before the years in the Viola labs, and so had no filial bonds or associations with which to comfort himself. And, even so – who was capable of understanding how he felt better than another Destrillian? It was for them that he so often wished, because he never cared for that feeling of isolation; he never forgot what it was like to be among them, and the feeling of knowing that no matter what horrors they faced in the halls of Viola, they faced them together. And he knew that the humans could never understand this; and so he shunned them, even as he lost himself in the physical pleasure of humans, those primitive desires, burying his need while reveling in the sins of the flesh.

It’s true that I don’t like being alone – but I don’t really feel anything for these humans, either.

Telran paused. Most of them, anyway. He felt a certain sense of compassion for the few children who passed through his clinic, although he felt a certain twinge of jealousy as well. How nice it must be to be so carefree…to be a normal child. He also couldn’t help but admit that he felt a certain fondness for the woman who served as his clinic aide; her bright, bubbly personality belied the nature of what they did beneath the façade of a clinic, and she was very good at what she did to boot. Her birthday’s next week, come to think of it. Perhaps I’ll get her something.

But now wasn’t the time. And while he didn’t particularly want to go in today, he knew he had to, as per his arrangement with Valmur – Telran got his tiny, dingy little medical clinic where he practiced medicine to keep his skills sharp, in exchange for peddling the drugs that were the gang’s greatest source of income. Unfortunately, however, he was running late, and time waits for no man – nor any Destrillian.

Telran shut the water off, then slowly toweled himself off, allowing himself just enough time to savor the last vestiges of warmth from the water. Ah, hot water…truly a gift from the gods. He hung the towel on the rack, pulled on a pair of jeans, then grabbed the first t-shirt he saw from his closet (this one a steely blue, with the image of strange horses with hindquarters that were fish tails, with the words “Mutiny on the Decks of the Half Moon” printed above). He slipped on his trainers, shrugged on his jacket, and was off. What has been will always be, he thought to himself. And I’ve never remembered a time where I wasn’t a living weapon. Even this ridiculous charade is only kept up so I can become stronger; it might be satisfying to butcher those deluded thugs, but they provide me with a constant supply of people to use to hone my powers. And I certainly don’t need IRIN paying me too much attention, for that matter. It’s just more convenient this way.

Besides, he thought, as he walked down the street, smiling in his lopsided way, tonight, I think, is the night that I’ll be spending some time with that brunette from the coffee shop.

Last edited by Omega; 06/17/2010 at 05:33 AM.
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Old 06/19/2010   #77

====SQUEAK – NIGHT CLUB POD ROOM (or whatever it's called; where our heroes are being kept) – A SHORT TIME AGO====

As Squeak the albino mouse bounced around in Emma’s messenger bag, he found himself vaguely wondering what might be going on. Everything seemed rather quiet for the moment, except that he could sense a lot of anger coming from his master. He peaked his head out of the bag and saw a group of people whose faces he could not see from under the flap of the bag, in a place that seemed cold and nothing short of scary.

He ducked his head inside the bag again at the sound of a loud thumping and people shouting, remaining hidden for a short while as the shouting stopped and the thumping grew louder. He then experienced a brief moment of free fall and an abrupt stop as the bag hit the ground. Had Emma fallen over?

He dare not stick his head out the bag this time for a peak, as the thumping was still there and there seemed to be people everywhere. Either way he felt the bag lift, indicating that Emma had gotten back up, and on his adventure inside the messenger bag went.

A couple minutes later he sensed distress coming from his master, and again the bag fell to the ground. This time, however, it didn’t seem like Emma was going to be getting back up again. He poked his head out and looked around. There was Emma, still attached to the bag, but she seemed like she was sleeping. Not far away was Terra, whom Squeak was just as equally fond of, but she was asleep, too. In fact, the entire group they had been traveling with was asleep!

Before he could go sniffing around for answers, there were more people in the room, and Squeak ducked back inside the bag. He felt it lift into the air as someone picked Emma up off the ground, and then, not even knowing what had happened, he was weightless.

Squeak could not remember ever being weightless before, just floating in the bag as if he were in water, but he did know from the few seconds he experienced it that he did not like it at all. He scrambled to grab hold of the edges of the bag, squealing in fright as he went.

The sensation of hitting something hard, then falling to yet something else that was hard, was even less pleasant, but it at least seemed as if it was all over for now. He snuck a glance out of the bag to see that he was clear across the room now, and that there were more people, putting Emma and Terra and some others into things he didn’t recognize. He curled back up inside the bag and waited. What was a little mouse to do with all those people around? Surely they would just go away, right?

He spent quite some time curled up in the bag, waiting. He was able to see a good part of the room from under the flap, and he watched as everyone left to go deal with some commotion outside. There were still a couple of people in there, but Squeak saw this as his chance.

He darted out of the bag and ran across the floor as quickly as he could, climbing up between the wall and the nearest pod. There he waited for a few minutes, making sure he hadn’t been seen. When he decided that no one had noticed him, out he darted again for the next pod, again squeezing between it and the wall. He was closer to the people now, and he waited once again for a reaction. When there wasn’t one, he climbed up the side of the pod to the top, and pulled himself out.

No one in the room seemed to be looking at him, and so Squeak stealthily made his way out across the surface of the pod. Looking down through the glass was the freckly face of his master. The tiny rodent began to claw at the pod, trying to dig a hole through, but to no avail. He didn’t even so much as manage to leave a scratch.

Squeak sat there for a moment, looking forlornly down at the girl he was so loyal to. How was he ever to get her out of there? How was he supposed to get in? It didn’t seem possible. Would he ever be with Emma again?

The mouse then looked up and over at a nearby pod. There, slumped against it with their face in their arms, was a child. The child seemed to be feeling very sad just like Squeak was at that moment. He didn’t know why, but he was compelled to go over to them.

Once again he squeezed his furry little body between the pod and the wall, climbed down, scampered over to the other pod with the child, and climbed up. As the mouse made his way across this pod he looked down to see yet another girl in inside. He recognized her as one of the people Emma had been traveling with before. She also looked very familiar to him, as if he’d seen her before.

But enough of that, there was a crying child! Squeak tentatively inched close and closer, and when he was near enough, he reached out one of his tiny little paws and touched the child on the hand.

The rodent was met with a very sad face, with wet cheeks and reddened eyes from crying. The child sniffled as they focused in on the tiny creature before them. They wiped their eyes and looked back down.

Squeak sat there twitching the whiskers on his nose as he looked up at the blonde-haired kid before him looking hopeful, yet also worried about the response he would receive. His fears were soon calmed as the child’s face immediately shifted from one of sadness to that of great joy.

In one swift motion Squeak was swooped up into the child’s hands and up to their face. They young human opened their mouth to speak, but instead quickly cupped him between their hands and looked around the room. When the child looked back they lifted the mouse up again and whispered. “Hi, Mouse!” Squeak gleefully twitched his nose in response.

“I’m Stolz, what’s your name?” The rodent squeaked in reply.

The chilled smiled again. “Pleased to meet you! You’ll be my new friend!”

There was a sound at the door as someone entered.

“Quick! Into my pocket!,” said Stolz, placing Squeak into one of the pockets of their pants. “These people are bad. They’ll take you away.”

Squeak crawled into the child named Stolz’s pocket and kept well out of sight. He felt much safer there than in the bag tossed in the corner. Yet still he wondered about Emma. Would she ever wake up? Was she allright?



There were gun barrels pointed down at her.

“Don’t move!”

“I won’t…”

At that moment all the trees in the immediate vicinity began to move as per Emma’s will; her barely having to put any effort into the act at all. Branches lashed out quickly and snatched at the guards’ guns, ripping them away and leaving the men defenseless. They all became momentarily distracted by the sudden turn of events, and none of them noticed the red head slowly rise to her feet within their circle.

“I’d appreciate it if things went my way this time,” Emma said, brushing herself off and causing them all to turn around and face her.

It was as if time had ceased to move, or at the very least had slowed considerably, for Emma could read their energy plain as day and anticipate any actions either of the guards might take. Considering the fact that two of them were swiftly descending upon her while the rest were on standby and ready to assist their fellows, the girl felt a twinge of surprise at the fact that she had any time to properly think at all, rather than just jump into the fight and wing it as she went.

To her right, she lifted her arm in an up and backwards motion, her fist connecting with one guard’s face. As the first one went down she leaned slightly to the same side, anchoring herself to bring up her leg, kicking out to her left and getting the second man square in the chest.

Behind her she could feel a fluctuation of the energy currents flowing around them, indicating that a third guard was attempting to take her from behind. Doing a half turn, she grabbed him by one of the arms and swung him around like a baseball bat, taking two of the other guards down as well. This all happened in a matter of seconds, yet it had felt like minutes.

Emma had always been able to read people on this level. She’d always been able to anticipate her foe’s movements and react accordingly; but never had it been to this extent before. One opponent, maybe two, but any more than that and it was far too overwhelming for her to try to keep them straight in her head. The best she could do was try to leave her senses open, taking each hit as it came.

But this, this was just one notch down from being able to actually read their minds, or so it seemed to Emma as she fought her way through the guards. An elbow to the gut for one, spin, then a roundhouse kick to the head for another, and a punch in the face for another who was just too close at the time. She gracefully danced her way out of the center of the unit, all in the span of seconds that stretched out for eternity.

Emma, look up!

She looked up and stretched out her arms just in time to catch one of the guards’ rifles dropped by a tree. The young woman caught it gracefully, and in one fluid motion had spun around and aimed it at her attackers. They were all sprawled out along the ground, a couple of them trying to get back on their feet, but all seemed thoroughly spent.

Use it.

Her eyes shot wide open as she was overcome with the desire to toss the thing off into the woods. What kind of a suggestion was this?

Use it!


You’ve killed before; this will just make it easier.

“I’d really rather not.”


“Not if I don’t have to.”


“Yes, really!” She looked out at the guards sprawled out before her. “They are no threat to me now. They’re…they’re helpless. It wouldn’t be right.”


“I am not a coward! Killing them would make me a coward!”

You can’t do what needs to be done.

“This doesn’t need to be done!”

You can’t do what you want to be done…

“Want? I don’t want this!”

You need to kill them…

“I’ve already taken them out of commission…”

That’s not why you need to kill them, you stupid girl!


Emma fell silent for a minute, staring at the guards, then staring back to the gun, then back to the guards.

You need them.

“If I need them why do you want me to kill them?”

You don’t need them alive; you need them DEAD.

Again, Emma stood there and said nothing.

I’m not even trying, and already I have you convinced.

“Is this the right thing to do?”

You know it is.

The Destrillian took the gun in hand and aimed it at the nearest guard.

Yes, yes!

“But I…”

It is your right by birth. All stronger animals prey on the weak.

“But they’re human…”

I know that. Humans are considered members of the animal kingdom, after all…

She continued to stare at the guards. One of them managed to get to their feet and stumble around. He looked at her and raised his hands in the air. “Don’t kill me. Please don’t kill me. I got a family.”

How pathetic.

“You can go if you want. Just please don’t kill us”, the guard pleaded, taking a step forward.

Like they would extend you the same courtesy!

Emma aimed the gun at him. “Freeze right where you are or I’ll shoot!”

You need to save Natasha. You need to find Terra. You can’t do that if you are weak!

“You’re not really going to shoot me, are you?” said the guard, coming closer.

Emma took a step back. “I’M WARNING YOU!” she screamed, tears forming in her eyes. The girl had killed before, but only in the heat of battle. But this? This was cold. This was evil. This was what a monster would do.

Monsters have the right to live, too, don’t they? How are they going to remain strong without a little nourishment?

The red head closed her eyes and took a deep breath. When she opened them again, she cocked the gun and fired.


Immediately, she felt the familiar sharp jarring sensation of pent up life energy being released. This time, however, it simply flowed over her like a breeze, not the painful, crippling experience as before.

How did that feel?

Emma didn’t want to admit it, but it felt…nice.

She heard the startled cries of the other guards who had been trying to crawl to their feet nearby. They turned on their heals and tried to run, shouting things like, “Monster! She’s a monster!” as they ran. Normally the Destrillian would be bothered by such a comment, but at the moment, she wasn’t.

One by one Emma picked the soldiers off like flies, the voice of her mysterious companion cheering her on as she went. Each death became easier to bear, and instead of pain they felt more and more akin to something such as drinking caffeine.

When she had dispatched them all, Emma dropped the gun on the ground and reveled in the almost electric feeling that coursed through her body. She stared down at her hands and flexed her fingers, feeling every nerve tingle with the sensation.

The gravity of the situation was slowly beginning to pull on her, though.

“Did I just…?”

They are Viola. They stole you. They hid you from yourself. They would just as soon kill you as you did them. In death they are useful to you. Do not mourn them.

“Was it really the right thing to do?”

Yes. Now you have the strength to go get what is important to you.

It was a jarring effect, as if someone had pushed her. She looked up from her hands and gasped, “Natasha!”

Emma took off running through the woods in Natasha’s direction. Along the way she willed the very trees themselves to step out of her way, and they complied with no effort from her at all.

Feel it. Revel in it. This power is yours and yours alone.

The plant Destrillian came into the clearing where Natasha was being held by another squad of guards. Emma rushed them, never once slowing down, and within a moment’s time they all lay dead at her feet.

“Natasha!” she said, rushing to the woman and throwing her arms around her. Emma held on to her former guardian tightly, then moved away to speak.

“I did it!” the girl cried, “This time I really did it!” Emma held Natasha out at arms length and looked her in the face. “We can go. We can escape!”

“Emma, what did you do?”


“I told you not to let anyone see the true nature of your powers.”

“But Natasha…”

“What would your father say?”

“My father? Since when do you know him?”

“I can’t go with you,” Natasha replied apologetically. “You’re a grown woman, now. You can take care of yourself. You can take care of others. I trust that you will do the right thing.”

Emma looked away guiltily. Had she done the right thing?

“Besides, you’ve all but forgotten me.”

“Natasha! That’s not true!!!”

“When was the last time you even thought about me? When was the last time you missed me?”


“Not that I blame you, of course. It’s been seven years since we last saw each other.”


Natasha took a few steps back away from her former charge. “Don’t worry, I’ll be just fine without you, Emma.”


“I miss you, and I’ll always love you. But it’s time for me to go.”

Emma stepped forward. “Natasha, wait!” she cried, but it was too late. The image of Natasha dissolved like sand and blew away in the wind.

Emma didn’t have any time to dwell on what just happened, however, for when the grains of sand were gone, they gave way to another person walking through the forest. Emma could immediately feel the energy patterns of the other person before she could even see who it was.

"Oh. Glad to see you."

Last edited by Tennyo; 06/19/2010 at 02:02 AM.
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Old 06/22/2010   #78


Thetis opened her eyes to an empty world. There were no clouds above her, no sun. The trees, the mud, the thunder, the water; all had been disappeared as Thetis lay in limbo; where land and sky never seemed to meet, a horizon lost in the monotone palette of white. There was nothing here, and then the pain started. Thetis’ eyes rolled into the back of her head, and her teeth ground together in agony as the migraine worked away in her skull with all the finesse of a pair of pliers. If this had been fake, why did it hurt so much? Nothing made much sense anymore. It felt as if someone was trying to wrench her free of her body.

"Am I dead?" Her whispers floated in the empty air before they were met with mocking laughter. If Number Six was alive, so was she. It was a bittersweet realisation, but an inevitable one. She could never win against herself. Thetis lay silent for a moment, before words fell from her mouth and painted the blank canvas of her new universe. "Why are you still here?"

"Do you think that I'll go away just like that?" There was a muffled cough and another burst of quiet laughter as Number Six punctuated her last syllable with a click of her fingers. The sound only seemed to make Thetis’ migraine throb even more.

"You and I both know you’re not real." Thetis’ voice was clearer, more confident now as Number Six’s coughing grew louder. Maybe Number Six had lost just as much as her, and although she couldn’t stomach the thought of another draw, it was enough. Yellow irises met as Number Six loomed over Thetis. There was a moment’s silence as the doppelganger crouched to the water Destrillian’s level.

"I'm as real as you. At the very least, in here." A slender finger tapped Thetis’ forehead before the water prototype swatted it away. It was infuriating, the way Number Six looked down on her, mocked her. She wasn’t a child anymore, and the last thing she wanted was a lecture from Dr. Perkin’s perfect prototype. "It's the cold, hard truth. I'll always be there. Even if I didn't want to."

Thetis clambered to her feet. "So what now?" She wasn’t exactly sure what she had been lying down on, or how she was now able to stand up. If there had ever been any ground beneath her, it had faded to white. There were no shadows here, no light; only Thetis and her doppelganger. "I have a life away from Viola, and there's no place for you there." There was more silence as Thetis steeled herself for Number Six’s biting rebuke. None came. Why wouldn’t she just listen? For someone who was meant to be in control of her environment, the water Destrillian felt dangerously out of her depth when it came to Number Six. Something about her made Thetis feel so small, like she could be trodden into the ground at any second.

"I was seeded when you were taken. I was born in ways I'm sure you can remember. I've remained alive, even when you picked up what was left of your humanity. I rose here and there, I flourished, I grew and I was trampled back down again and again. I've been crushed and magnified countless times."

There was more silence, and Thetis didn’t dare break it. Why argue? It was pointless. Destrillians weren’t made to negotiate. Number Six was born of rules and expectations. Number Six was born from experimentation that had shattered Thetis like glass. Number Six was born to fix a world gone wrong; to the masters that had made it that way. For four years, she lined the walls of Thetis’ consciousness like mould inside a refrigerator. Lucy Adams had suppressed Number Six’s natural pursuit of ascendency.
As if Lucy Adams could ever hold her.

"Then that's when I realised. You're no different from all the soldiers we've all killed ever since we became a Destrillian. You can never erase the training that we had together and when I was born. I was made to exist within you, for as long as you are a Destrillian. I will probably continue to exist for as long as you have these powers. I'll probably stay here until you die - until we die."
The edge of defeat in the doppelganger’s voice was belied by the twisted smile that split her face. "I wish I could say I'm sorry, but I'm afraid I couldn't care less."

The knot in Thetis’ stomach tightened. She felt sick. Her footsteps didn’t make a sound as she walked away. "When I find Dr. Perkins, I'm going to kill her. Maybe then you'll understand what it is that makes you weak." Thetis didn’t turn around. "We don’t live for her anymore."

Number Six laughed an empty, humourless laugh. Thetis froze. To think, she once had the power to evoke fear. Now here she was, spent, softened, weakened after four years struggling to survive. What happened?

"Ah, yes. Allison Perkins. You know as well as I do that we've been over this for quite a while now. I don't have any qualms over you killing the pathetic human. I'm going to tell you, though, that the closure you'll get from killing her isn't going to last long. It's not going to reverse anything she's done to you. Everything that the good doctor has done to you has been set in stone, and the small happiness you'll ever get from taking her life isn't going to save whatever life she took from you."

Wrong again. Number Six didn’t understand her at all. She didn’t understand how many times the thought of Perkins begging for her life had brought a smirk of satisfaction to Thetis’ face. She lived so that Perkins would die, and Thetis was going to make sure that Six witnessed every last glorious second of it.

"But I wish you all the best with that." The smug confidence with which Number Six spoke chipped a crack in Thetis’ cool demeanour. She paused, turning to shoot Six a cold glare. Number Six was naive. Every trace of Viola would die with Dr. Perkins.

"When she dies, you'll die too. I won't need you anymore, you know that." There was an iridescent shimmer as the image of Number Six flickered, momentarily becoming opaque before shakily returning to normal. The doppelganger was weak now, and this was Thetis’ last chance to fight back. Her last chance to convince both of them that she had been right all along. Her voice sharpened as she stared coldly into unforgiving yellow eyes.

"You say you don't care, but never once in Viola did you even attempt to take her life. If we were stronger, we could have ended everything right then and there. But we couldn’t- you couldn't. You needed her, and that’s why you and I are different." Thetis’ tone carried a hint of bitterness. So many ‘what ifs’ had run through her head over the past four years. But there was no avoiding it. It was her fault things ended up the way she did.
It’s all your fault
There was no one to blame anymore. And once Perkins was dead? What then? Number Six would die, yes. Thetis clenched her jaw as an icy chill swept over her.

What was Thetis Alcesteos without her Number? The water prototype almost retched.

A human.

"Of course we needed her. I was still in my infant stages, reared by a hand I could not bite. But you could say I festered. You were still dominant for most of your time there, not to mention your escape. I was left to sulk while you cowered under an ally you could have dominated given your abilities, given perhaps a different rendition of the world we are in now."

Fresh anger rattled Thetis’ chest as Number Six taunted her with an impossible possibility. They both knew. They both knew she was weak, that during the escape, she had done little more than run or hide at every possible opportunity. They both knew that she would never be like Fiona. The knowing that sunk into her like a knife, draining every drop of life, of happiness, of hope. Number Six continued her tirade.

"But ironically, your escape was what helped me grow the most. The harsh real world out there. True dominance over the human race would only have happened from human experience. The more hardships you had, the more I grew within you. And here we are now, starting fresh, you could say.”

Hardships? Thetis laughed wryly. Number Six knew nothing of that word. The pair’s bodies were translucent now, their conflict coming to a close. There was no such thing as ‘starting fresh’. She would be a Destrillian for life, tied down to an identity dictated by those who took everything from her.

"But do you think necessity has anything to do with this anymore? I'm not going to disappear the moment you kill Perkins. Even as a god, you aren't a saint. As long as you live in this cruel world, I will continue to live."

Number Six stumbled towards the water Destrillian, but something stopped Thetis from lashing out, stopped her from landing the petty strike that would cement her superiority. Behind Number Six’s words, there was a lingering hint of sadness. It made Thetis feel uncomfortable, like seeing a dead hand hang from a gurney; a reminder of familiarity she would have preferred to forget. “As long as the others are still alive, there is no ‘us’.” Thetis’ voice was hoarse as their forms began to fade to white. It was nearly over.

Number Six smiled, leering as the pair of them dissolved into nothingness. "Before we leave, I'd like to remind you that I will most likely return at some point to the strength that I had before, and you will have to fight again like we have before. Probably not as... direct as this, but a fight nonetheless. I hope, for your friends' sake, and yours, that when that time comes, you'll be ready."

Thetis’ self-righteous conviction was torn to shreds by a single burst of laughter as the world shattered around her.

"For now, it's time to wake up, Alcesteos."
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Old 06/24/2010   #79


Mateus Smythe walked into his office building, pausing at the unexpected sound. He shook his head. That Early man must have the television turned on. He walked through to see Early sat on the edge of the couch staring intently at the TV screen. A pair of glasses were perched on his nose, seemingly kept there by a frown.

“Hey doc,” Early said without looking up. “We might have something here.”

Smythe walked towards the couch, curiosity getting the better of him.

“Those are new,” he said.

“What, the specs? I need ‘em for reading is all,” Early muttered, eyes glued to the news report. Smythe looked over his shoulder. Somehow, Early had managed to get the text feed up on screen, despite the age of the set.

Early glanced at him, his frown relaxing and the glasses skiing to the end of his nose. “Multiple murders in Osea. They don’t go into details, but phrases like ‘gory’ are attached to ‘em all.”

“There was another last night?” Smythe asked. He thought he knew what Early was getting at, but he was having trouble believing it.

“Yeah, apparently,” Early said. “It didn’t occur to you that it might be an Animus behind the attacks?”


Early shook his head, climbing back into his van. He could get why Smythe wouldn’t connect the attacks to an Animus; hell, all those attacks in Chulainn Hub, with all those high-ups aware of them, and none of them figured it was an Animus.

But when he asked if there’d been any signs of an Animus last night, after mentioning the Chulainn Hub attacks - surely the doc should have thought it was worth mentioning?

He turned the ignition key, throwing the van into life. Early had to grin at that. It had taken him less than two hours last night to get the vehicle up and running again. Durability, that was what mattered. He’d met so many freelancers and government ops who put their faith in fancy tech or the newest model, only for them to get at best stranded somewhere, if not getting a terminal case of dead.

He put the Keris into gear and started to roll it away from Smythe’s office. The conversation had been short, but to the point.


>Early?< Edwin Creed glared at him across the vid-phone. >And Dr Smythe? What can I help you gentlemen with?<

There were some noises off screen. Even with the distortion of the vid-phone, Early could recognise Hartnell and Blake’s voices.

“There looks to be at least one Animus in Osea,” he said. “Same MO as the one in the Hub.”

More muttering off screen, a bit louder this time.

>Are you quite sure?< Creed asked, raising his voice slightly.

“Fairly positive,” Early said.

Creed glanced off screen irately. The reason why was obvious, as someone was jostling him to one side to get in front of the screen.

>Ah, Smythe,< Hartnell said as he appeared on screen. >How’s retirement suiting you?<

“Well enough, thank you,” Smythe said.

>Glad to hear it,< Hartnell said. The breadth of his lack of interest was overwhelming. >Early, what details do you have?<

Early shrugged. “Just what’s been released to the press.”

Hartnell tutted. >That won’t suffice. No, let’s see…< Hartnell pulled at an access pad by Creed’s elbow, ignoring the official’s glare. The screen flickered for a few moments. Early grimaced. He hated it when people searched for info while in an active transmission. It played bloody havoc with the picture

Hartnell tutted again. >Well, Osea doesn’t seem to have the adequate facilities. At least, unless you want to risk unofficial channels to get any further information on the murders.<

“I was considering unofficial channels at Vanaheimr anyway,” Early said. “A change of locale won’t alter my resolve.”

>Vanaheimr?< Creed laughed. >You never cease to surprise me, Early. There’s plenty of legal ways to search for data at the IRIN headquarters. Of course, it’s not at the actual main office itself, but there is a secondary office where members of the public can pay to access certain information. Of course, there is a degree of paperwork involved.<

“Oh joy,” Early sighed. “Not as much when I blew up one of your Baskerville tanks after some insurgents commandeered it, I hope?”

Creed smirked, much to Hartnell‘s obvious displeasure. >Well, I can’t tell you for certain, as I’ve never had to interact with them,< Creed said. >At least, not as of yet. I’d have thought your largest problem would be the personal information fields the forms are sure to have.<

“I think I can get around it,” Early said.


He hadn’t said any more because the different provinces of Damascus got very uncomfortable whenever you directly mentioned having worked for one of their rivals. They were aware he had, of course, but they seemed to think mentioning it was in bad taste.

Early reflected that his short involvement with Carabas had been one of the smartest moves of his career. Both for getting involved with them in the first place, and leaving their employ as soon as he was able to. The amount of intelligence and counter-intelligence work they passed was amazing. He had the proof of that to hand.

He pulled to the side of the road just outside the small town and began to sort through his small collection of incredibly convincing false ID cards. He was certain there was one here that had him down as a private investigator.

He caught a glance of something out of the corner of his eye. His eyes swivelled in their sockets sharply. He grinned wryly to himself seeing the reflection in the rear-view mirror. Just the sign telling you that you were now entering the town. He couldn’t quite make out the name from the reflection, so he turned in his seat to look out the window properly.

“Huh,” Early murmured to himself. Considering how nice it seemed, he felt that Malice was seriously misnamed. Still, if he set off now, he should be at Vanaheimr before tonight. With that in mind, Early kicked the Keris back into gear and rolled down the road that would lead to Vanaheimr.
I work all day and I think all night
I break my body, but that's all right
Cos it'll take all my mind and all my might
To keep one step ahead of you
L.E. Modesitt, Jr wrote: Sometimes cynicism is the last refuge of the idealist.
As soon as you saw people as things to be measured, they didn't measure up.
You think water moves fast? You should see ice. It moves like it has a mind. Like it knows it killed the world once and got a taste for murder.
Gym Leader Kris sprite by Brooke

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Last edited by Mantichorus; 06/24/2010 at 06:46 PM.
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Old 06/25/2010   #80

She can't? Why can't she? Doesn't she realize that those bad people can't be trusted?

Stolz slumped down next to the pod and placed their arms over their face, not wanting anyone who might be around to see them cry. Stolz hated dealing with those people, just being in their presence filled them with sorrow and despair, and if it weren't for that other side then Stolz would probably just completely break down in front of them.

"I just....I don't-"

Their words were suddenly interrupted by the feeling of something small touching their hand. Stolz looked up and saw a mouse sitting there looking at them. Stolz liked small critters as they reminded them of walking, fuzzy marshmallows, and so their face then lit up into a joyful expression as they scooped the mouse up in their hands.

"Hi mouse!" At which the mouse gave a sort of reply by squeaking.

"I'm Stolz, what's your name?" And again the mouse squeaked.

"Pleased to meet you! You'll be my new friend!" However the meeting was abruptly interrupted by the sound of the door opening.

"Quick! Into my pocket!" And placed the mouse into one of their nifty pouches that were attached to their belt. “These people are bad. They’ll take you away.”

Fortunately it turned out not to be the bad people, just a random flunky darting across the room and leaving through another door. Which was good as there was still time to think....


"Yes I can see that you're thinking....But is it really necessary to keep saying that out loud?" Spoke an unseen voice. Stolz looked around in confusion as currently there was only their self and one of the transmogriphiers (the lady one went somewhere to do something) on the other side of the room currently awake and present. However this voice sounded like it was right on top of Stolz, and also seemed very familiar.

"Is someone there? An Invisible someone? An Invisible friend perhaps?"

"I would say you can call me that, I'm certainly not unfriendly."

Stolz then paused at the words for a moment, and after making a suspicious face asked

"....are you Francesca Von Heidelberg?"

"That's the second time you've implied I'm that person but no, I'm not. You named me Virtue earlier remember?"

"Oh! That's right! You're the voice in my head!" Stolz then stopped and contemplated for a second, looking around once again.

"But you don't sound like you're in my head, you sound like you're outside of my head, which is in this case...the room."

"I'm right here!"


"Here! Turn around." To which Stolz turned to see a sight even they weren't expecting. Standing there was....well Stolz wasn't quite sure. The form was clearly a human female and had long hair, however there were no features and the entire body glowed white. Stolz stood there with a dumbfound look on their face for a full minute before going


"What's wrong?"

"You seem to be"

"Normal? Normal as in how?"

"Normal in general, you lack normal."

Virtue made a gesture of thinking for a moment, then shrugged

"And how does one acquire normal then?"

Stolz made a shrug in reply and answered

"I dunno....whiteboard marker?"

Virtue simply made a facepalm, then looked back up and glanced around the room.

"Right well to get back to the matter at hand, I believe in our last conversation you were in some kind of danger, and since I'm not seeing anything along those lines around, are you safe now?"

Stolz just gave her a playful wave "Oh no we're all still in imminent danger, just right now the danger is currently in another room."

"Wait if there's still danger then why are you hanging around here? You need to get out of here!"

"Can't. Gotta wait for the pod people to awaken from their slumber"
And pointed at the row of machines that contained a number of people which they were both standing in front of. Virtue walked over and took a peak into a couple of them, then looked back at Stolz.

"Who are they?"

"My new friends.....except the blond man, somehow I don't think he likes me very much."

"Right. And what are they doing in these pod things?"

"Well if I had to guess, I'd say they're in a simulated reality where they're living out some of their worst nightmares brought on by past guilt and wrongdoings.....possibly because sentient machines want to use their body heat for energy."

Virtue's expressionless face just stared at Stolz for a few seconds before bluntly going

"Ignoring the last part on that sentence, assuming that's the case, maybe you should do something because I'm sure they wouldn't want to be in such a place."

"Yeah, I can bet it would get pretty scary being chased by men in suits, but the majorly humongo problem deedly here is that I'm not sure how to get them out....I mean I could smash it and that might wake them up.....or turn their brains into coleslaw."

"Hrmm I see I see, so we're dealing with unknown machinery that could potentially be dangerous if we messed with it...." She started looking around the room

"I think you're gonna have to get a little aggressive with the people in charge of this place here, like, can you actually fight or anything?"

Stolz replied by forming ice around their hand into the shape of a blade, then shook it off which made the ice fall into small pieces on the ground.

"Alright that was odd, and yet, I somehow expected you to do that....but yes! If you can make things like that then you should just beat the boss person's head in until they release your friends!"

Stolz thought bout such a move, they could probably take both of the changelings however that would just then leave no barriers between them self and the wait three (they could sense another now) psycho's lingering around in the other room.

"I wonder, I wonder....maybe we'll call that plan B. But right now we need to think up a plan A."

"Fine. Plan A - Smash the Pods. Plan B - Smash the boss's face in."

"Plan's do not work that way!"

Their arguing was then abruptly halted as the sound of the door opening was heard once again. This time the shapeshifter lady had returned, and carrying some unconscious and badly beaten girl over her shoulder. This girl must have caught the wrath that Inveja and Vollerei had left the room with...

"So I'm guessing the woman carrying the other woman is the creepy lady you were going on about? Well if you're going to use plan B she seems pretty distracted right now..."

Stolz looked back towards the featureless face of Virtue, considering if it would actually be worth beating their friend's freedom out of her, although the train of though was broken by a presence coming up behind them and speaking words that they didn't catch, which considering all of Stolz's 'friends' were in the pods this one must be trouble, and so spun around to face (and possibly maim) their opponent.

However they did not. After taking a second to observe the new person, they seemed to have the same energy signature as Stolz's allies, and considering his appearance looked friendly enough, Stolz smiled at him.

"Oh hai. I was about to impale you until I sensed your energy signature was the same as all our pod people over here." And patted their hand on one of the large devices next to them. "My name's Stolz by the way, and in case you hadn't figured it out by now - we're all going to die!"

"Don't worry kid, I'm sure everything's going to be fine. We gotta stick together right?" Followed by the new man patting Stolz on the head and winking.

Hmm....if only you knew...

The man then began to wander around the room, observing stuff and things which Stolz paid no attention to. Stolz once again turned back to Virtue and gave her a look of discomfort.

"This situation is getting worse, with this many destrillians in once place it's guaranteed that the psychos will make their move, regardless of what those changelings do or say."

"Well in that case what are we going to do?"

Stolz paused for a moment, then calmly replied "Be ready for the worst to happen..."

Hey who wants to come home with me?!
Ok that wasn't very smart but totally worth it!
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Old 06/25/2010   #81


The ride in the VTOL away from Osea was a mostly silent affair. Jason Spencer had remained sternly silent to the initial barrage of questions thrown in his direction by Salem, his focus drifting on the wide world that stretched out in all directions outside of the VTOL’s tinted windows. The well lit suburbs and criss-cross of roads that marked the edge of the capital city had long since given away to the rolling green hills and lush green fields of the Artolian countryside, now darkened by the setting of the sun. So much of the country had been left untouched and timeless by the tireless advance of industry. On Spencer’s instruction though, the vehicle had steered away from any population centres, it was only very rarely that the sight of a pair of car’s headlights on one of the few roads that wound their way through this rural area of Artolia and even then Salem kept the VTOL as far away from them as possible, making the jet black VTOL hug the ever increasing shadows that had begun to stretch their way across the landscape as night fell.

It had been at least an hour and a half since either man had said a word, Salem had long since given up on trying to get Spencer’s attention. When the boss wasn’t in the mood for talking, then he wasn’t in the mood for talking. Prison didn’t seem to have changed him at all.

Truthfully though, Spencer had not even heard the interrogation by the man who had set him free. His mind was currently firing on all cylinders, replaying what he had just done and feeling the enormity of how much work there was left to do. Breaking out of prison had been simple compared to the next step, and there was still the matter that Resal had warned him about. He was sure that there would be a fair few people that would like a word with him now that they had decided to use their grace and influence to give him the tools to free himself, rather than forcing him to do it himself. That was significant.

Subconsciously, he felt his brow furrow at the notion.

“We can’t be much longer can we?” he said quietly, after what had seemed like a much longer silence than had really transpired.

Salem glanced at one of the monitors on the console and shook his head. “Ten more minutes according to the GPS tracker, everything’s set up exactly the way you wanted Boss.”

“I expect nothing less.”
Spencer said vacantly, his thoughts evidently elsewhere.

“Something on your mind Chief?” Salem asked irritably. The immense silence, save for the whine of the gunship’s engines was preying on his patience, as was being trapped in this slow, deliberate, stealthy ride inside the VTOL. It took a moment for Salem’s comment to register, but Spencer gradually turned his head and raised his eyebrows at his companion. His face totally unreadable except for the surprise that Salem had taken to demanding answers from him.

“Something is on my mind yes. When did you become so interested?”
Spencer asked slowly. It was rare to see Salem take such an interest in what he was thinking, usually he was content with creating some chaos and firing off a merciless barrage of sarcasm and glib observations. This inquisitive side to him was unexpected to say the least.

“Maybe I’m just making conversation. This ride has been boring as hell.”

“I thought you’d have had enough excitement for one day”

“Your concern is truly touching Jason.” Salem said drily. It had been a good few months since he had last seen Spencer in person and truly the man had not changed at all. The man was completely impenetrable, behind the cold green eyes and craggy, weathered features he could tell that the cogs were turning faster than ever. All of the hell that the two of them had raised today, it had all been controlled, and perfectly executed according to his plan that much for sure. But why? That was what bugged Salem the most, surely there had been other (all be it, less fun) ways to break out of prison. Why go in guns blazing? Levelling a good portion of Osea’s city centre and killing some of its most important denizens.

“But I do have a question.”

“What would that be?”
Spencer sounded disinterested again, having gone back to look out of the window. It was nearly pitch black outside now. Even the light reflecting from Artolia’s two moons was blotted out by a canvas of inky black clouds.

“Why did you use me to break you out? Y’kno. I know that you have guys that could have done it without taking a wrecking ball to the nutsack of Artolia. Not that I didn’t enjoy that, bureaucrats are often in dire need of a kick in the balls.”

Spencer looked back at Salem, who was focusing rather intently on trying to find the nearby landing zone in the thick impenetrable darkness outside. “For exactly the same reason that I told Abaddon and his team to leak information about the Destrillians project to the government.” He said slowly, prompting Salem to look back at him, genuine shock in his mismatched eyes.

“That was you? Seriously? I just thought that the government boys did a really good job of searching through Viola’s records.”

Spencer gave a grunt of amusement, “No team would be that good. The government was always meant to find those files.”

“Yeah, and that brings us back to the question of why.”
Salem pointed out. Sometimes these conversations could just run in circles if he wanted them to.

“Because, now the entire country is going to be after those Destrillians, Salem. Especially after they were responsible for freeing me from prison and causing such mayhem in Osea, the army, the government and even the common people will be after them.”
Spencer sounded like that was some kind of achievement, but Salem just cocked his head in confusion.

“Yeah, okay, and besides from making you an enormous dickhead, what does doing all that crap accomplish?”

“It’ll drive them out into the open, make them that much easier to keep an eye on. We’re nearly at the landing site.”
Spencer sounded genuinely engaged for the first time since he’d entered the VTOL with Salem after his escape.

“Or make them that much easier to get themselves lynched? Or drive them so far underground that we’ll never hear from them again?”
Salem’s voice sounded unconvinced.

Spencer didn’t appear to hear him at first and just responded with a dark smirk. “You really think that those Destrillians can completely disappear off the radar? From what you told me when just two of them met up the resulting battle nearly took out the Orange Zone.”

Salem didn’t respond to this, it was absolutely true. The Destrillians were bound to be a magnet for trouble wherever it is they ended up travelling to, tracking them was not going to be a problem.

Taking the usually chatty Salem’s silence as a prompt that the conversation was over, Spencer fell back into contemplative silence as the aircraft began its descent. That seemed to have been enough to sate Salem’s curiosity for now, and despite Salem’s initial doubts he seemed content enough with the answers he had been given. It wasn’t like he was going to object to him causing too much chaos was it?

It did not take long for Salem to put the VTOL down on a flat clearing, the surroundings were impossible to see from inside the cockpit, so the pilot had flicked on the front lights of the aircraft. Not bright enough to give away their position, but it illuminated the surroundings so as to ensure that the two men would not be fumbling around in the dark.

The area in which they had landed was surrounded on all sides by tall, dark trees, the kind that you would not find anywhere near the ravaged countryside of any major city. They were old, and deepest green, with tree trunks as tough and hard as iron, the kind of natural beauty that Spencer had not set eyes on since he had been interned in prison. A narrow opening in the thick forest signalled that a small dirt path led through here – just wide enough for a low-slung car to travel along beneath the low canopy of the trees. Also present in the clearing, nearly obscured by the parked aircraft was a small building. Little more than a shack, made of sheet metal and wood apparently inexpertly thrown together in a simple rectangular construction by somebody that obviously had no idea how constructing a building should go.

“You’re lucky that a strong wind didn’t blow that down”
Spencer commented drily.

“For a murderous old bastard you have quite the mouth on you”
Salem responded in a sarcastic drawl as hefted himself out of the cockpit and landed on the soft, grassy floor of the forest.

Spencer stayed silent, as though he hadn’t heard his companion’s cold sarcasm, instead striding quickly over to the ramshackle building and wasting no time in giving what could best be interpreted as the only door, a forceful kick that shook the whole building.

“Mind that you watch the paint!”
he heard Salem shout from outside, but was once again no longer listening. Instead he turned his attention to the only object present inside this hastily thrown together building. It was a red car, evidently bought very cheaply, for the interior seemed shabby and threadbare in places, and its exterior was covered in a red paint that had long since faded to pink in places from years upon years of travelling beneath the harsh Artolian sun.

“Here you go, Boss”
Salem held out the set of car keys, which looked as worn out as the car itself. Spencer nodded his thanks and unlocked the door to the car, which opened with an unnatural creak, distinct and loud and against the empty silence of the forest all around them.

“You did well today, everything went exactly as planned.”
Spencer said quietly, “Didn’t expect the Destrillians to make such a spectacle of themselves so soon though, we’re going to have to accelerate things.”

Salem crossed his arms and rolled eyes in mock irritation, “This is the part where you’re going to give me an order isn’t it?”

“I need you back in Osea as soon as possible, take the VTOL. Follow them and keep them out of harm’s way.”

“Keep them out of harm’s way?” Salem repeated.

“That’s what I said. You’ll receive further instructions tomorrow, I need to think things over.”

“Where the hell are you going then?”
came the cynical response. A bemused smile flicked beneath the dense beard around Spencer’s mouth.

“I’m taking this car and going home to bed.”
And with that the older man disappeared into the vehicle and started up the car’s old engine, which coughed its way into life. Salem chose not to linger, he had his orders. Returning to the VTOL he caught one last glimpse of the car’s headlights as it followed the twisting path into the dense forest before they were obscured by the tall trees and undergrowth and he had disappeared completely into obscurity.

“Guy can be such an ass.”
He muttered as he flicked the switches to start the twin engines of the aircraft and once again, the sleek black vehicle ascended into the camouflage of the night sky.


There was a good five hours of driving left, in order to put the most amount of distance between the Osean armed forces and himself. There was a mansion in the south of the country, set between the rolling green foothills and the slopes of one of the mountains that marked the border between the nations of Audoula and Artolia. Flanked on one side by one of Audoula’s famous great lakes, this one made of water that flowed down from the nearby mountain, the water was cool and crystal clear.

Spencer smiled as the memories returned to him; it had been a very long time since he had spent any real time at the Lakeside Mansion, a very long time indeed. It had originally been constructed over two hundred years ago by members of the Audoulan nobility, back when noble birth had been considered a license to frivolously spend money. Spencer had acquired the estate from the family when society had long since stopped indulging the flippant eccentricities of its aristocracy.

If everything had been done as per his instruction during his stay in prison, then that estate should be little more than a hollowed out, partially dismantled ruin now. The perfect hiding place, though it was likely that the Artolian government would have no idea where to begin looking for him, and their hands should hopefully be full anyway with keeping track of the chaotic band of Destrillians roving through their city.

Keeping one hand on the wheel, he reached to his pocket where the cell phone he had received from Resal in prison had been staying throughout the night. Taking it out he quickly dialled the second number in the phone book.

“Hello?” the slick voice on the other end of the line picked up immediately, there was no delay.

[/COLOR]“Malcolm, it’s me.”
“I assumed you’d get in touch as soon as Number 22 dropped you off. How far out are you?”

“A good few hours drive yet, I should arrive at the Lakeside Estate by this morning.”

“I’ll make sure the staff know you’re coming sir.” Malcolm Abaddon said confidently. “Was there anything else, sir?”

“Yes, there was. Certain events have transpired today that mean we are going to have to speed up our schedule. I need you to contact any and all staff that worked with the Destrillians from Facility #1. Perkins, Thomas, Nedews, anybody you can get ahold of. If they have any ounce of loyalty left to the Destrillians project then tell them to rendezvous with you at the Cocytus Facility.”

“I saw these ‘events’ on the news sir. Our sources within the Artolian military have confirmed that the identities of a number of the Destrillians were positively identified in the Orange Zone.” Abaddon said, a trace of disapproval in his voice.

“I assumed as much.”
Spencer paused, refraining from adding any more. He was beginning to feel weary and he still had a long way to go before he could get any proper bed rest. “I’ll talk to you shortly.” He said, hanging up the phone and moving to the next name in the book and pressing dial.

The phone rang, three, four, five times with no response, not that Spencer had expected there to be one at this hour of the night. Not everybody spent their nights awake awaiting his every order.

“Avidez, it’s me. I hear you want to talk. You know where to reach me.”
He spoke curtly into the answer phone. The hour was too late, and the fugitive was too tired to say anything more and closed the phone promptly. It was time to focus on the road ahead.
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Old 07/01/2010   #82


Emma didn’t have any time to dwell on what just happened, however, for when the grains of sand were gone, they gave way to another person walking through the forest. Emma could immediately feel the energy patterns of the other person before she could even see who it was.

"Oh. Glad to see you," said the green-eyed brunette before her. The way Terra said it seemed almost casual, but what happened next certainly wasn’t. The girl collapsed to the ground, breathing heavily.

“Terra!” Emma cried. She rushed to her friend’s side immediately and turned the girl over on her back, supporting the girl’s head with her hands. “Terra, are you alright?”

“I’ve been…looking for you,” she replied.

Emma found herself nearly laughing in her surprise. “Terra, you’re talking!” The brown-haired girl half smiled and nodded. She even let out a small chuckle.

The moment of mirth was cut short, however, as Emma sensed the presence of more guards some distance behind them. She turned around to look, and sure enough there were shadows moving within the trees.

“Looks like we need to get out of here,” she said, still watching the shadows move about. Emma immediately looked up into the canopy of the forest, and nodded.

Turning away from Terra and standing, she said, “This will do nicely.”

Stretching her arms high above her, Emma reached out with her power into the trees around her. She then clenched her fists as if she were grabbing onto the branches herself, and pulled her arms down. The bows of the trees came down in front of the two girls with a grace and ease that Emma had not felt before. They created a wall to block the guards’ path.

Emma stared at her creation for a few seconds, almost in awe of her own work, and of the flawlessness of it all.

“Come on Terra, we gotta go!”

Terra hurried to run along with her, bursting through the clearing back to the woods. Emma had to say something about the fact she was able to move so well on her own, so she remarked, “Terra, I can’t believe you can walk so well now!”

Her friend stumbled for a moment, thrown off by her remark, before she slowly answered, “Y-yeah, I think it’s just this dream. Though I guess it’s more of a nightmare than anything.”

It was Emma’s turn to be uncomfortable, “Y-yes, that may be the case.” She quickly went quiet after that.

“Did you see anything weird, Emma?”[/COLOR] Terra asked, concern in her voice.

“Oh, um. Nothing too different from you, I imagine,” the redhead responded, and the both of them went silent and continued to walk through the woods, uncomfortable with talking any more about their respective dreams.

When the trees opened up, the girls were greeted with a peculiar sight. Before them there stood a large house. No, not a house; a mansion.

“What is this place?” Emma wondered.

“It’s on fire,” Terra observed.

Emma reached out with her powers to get a feel for the situation, and to her horror she felt a familiar presence inside.

“Idris! Idris is inside!”

There came the sound of shouting from behind them. “Over here! They’re over here!”

“How did they find us?” asked Emma, but there wasn’t time for answers now.

The two girls ran toward the burning mansion. Together they rushed the front door and forced it open. Emma stumbled a bit but caught herself before falling, but the Terra tumbled onto the ground before her. She looked up and there, at the top of a grand staircase, stood Idris.

The two girls called out to her, and the metal Destrillian looked down at them with a smile. Idris knew that these people weren’t figments of her imagination – there was a shine of excitement in their eyes that not even the woman in the club could have ever, ever replicated. They were the real deal. Finally, the Gunmetal Glint had found allies in this twisted version of her childhood home. It was a big relief.

“Oh Idris, I’m so glad we found you! We…” Emma began, but was cut off by the sound of a bullet whizzing past her head. She cried out in surprise and whipped around to face where it had come from.

“We brought company,”
said Terra, making Idris wince. More of them? Really? It was almost impossible, the number of soldiers that had been flowing into this mansion. The small woman leapt from the top of the stairs, vaulting over the railing to land beside her friends. She took a deep breath of the cleaner air and prepared once more to fight.

Finding her fellow Destrillians had forced a wave of newfound strength into Idris’ limbs, and into her mind as well; she pushed the headache back until she could barely feel it at all. Relishing the thought of a fight with allies by her side, the small, pale woman closed her eyes and swayed to the internal rhythm of her own heart beat, listening for those of the soldiers. Her acute hearing locked onto one and Idris sprang. In a graceful whirl of white, she knocked the guard down and in the same swift movement, dragged her hand across his face, concentrating with all her might. She’d never tried it before, but just maybe…

She heard a crack behind her and smiled with an admitted pleasure as the plastic visor of the guard shattered—to allow the torrent of iron through, which was being sucked straight from the man’s blood. Idris had never tried to drain a human being so thoroughly before but here she was and the man fell dead, limp as an empty water sac. For a second, the girl reveled at what she could do here; in reality, there wasn’t nearly enough iron in a human’s blood to be able to do this, but here it was possible.

I guess there are some advantages…

Idris cracked the long, coiling rope of iron like a whip. The next few soldiers met a very unpleasant end – dying without your arms and legs, after all, was not a way somebody wanted to go. Idris’ whip worked like throwing around a rope of barbed wire and it wasn’t long before there were piles of guards around her.

But still, more and more came. And even Idris, the proudest Destrillian of the three, knew when it was time to quit.

Meanwhile, Terra looked around for a significant pile of dirt that would enable her to crush the bones of the guards pursuing them. Nothing in sight looked like it would work well enough, however, so she relied on her own returned strength. She ran forward and delivered a punch strong enough to the incoming soldier that he knocked down others behind him. The brunette sprung forward to lift another fighter up to the air and toss him into oncoming military personnel.

But these soldiers were like insects, when one fell, more swarmed around him, ready to kill Idris, Emma and Terra. The brunette could lift up a soldier and use him as a weapon against the others, but it only did so much help. It would clear the area momentarily, but even more would come, lining up to kill the girls as they fought.

There had to be a way out of here. The brunette was starting to shake from weariness and fear, unsure of what to do next.

Only a few feet away from the other two, Emma herself was taking on her own group of soldiers. She once again fell into a trance, feeling every attack before it came and moving through them with a grace that was almost like a dance. Each time one of them was killed, whether by her hand or that of her comrades, she felt the gentle sensation of a light breeze wash over her, and each time she felt rejuvenated. After a few minutes of this, however, the daunting realization that there was just no end to the constant stream of soldiers came over her, and she began to get worried. Destrillians though they may be, even these three girls could become exhausted.

It was then that the plant Destrillian realized something else: she hadn’t had a single migraine during this entire endeavor. Not earlier in the woods, not when she killed those guards or was running to find Natasha. Not any time during the dream.

I wonder why that is?
She thought to herself as she landed a roundhouse kick to a guard’s face.

You still have so much to learn, don’t you?

Emma grabbed one of the soldiers and threw him over her shoulder into a small, advancing group. I guess I do.

All in due time.

Who are you, anyway?

Not now. Just concentrate on getting out of here, first!

What the voice said was true; they needed to get out. Emma may have felt fine, but she wondered if Idris and Terra could hold up as well as she could. Emma needed to come up with a plan, and fast.

Emma reached out with her powers to asses the situation. She counted the energy patterns of at least twenty guards. It had been a constant twenty. When one died, one more entered the fray. It was ridiculous, really, and she scoffed at the notion of being caught in endless combat. She sure as hell wasn’t going to let this carry on forever.

As Emma assessed the situation her attention became drawn to somewhere on the left side of the staircase. There in the shadows of the intense flames up above stood a small table with a few a couple glass vases on top holding small shoots of bamboo. The idea of dirt for Terra to use immediately came to mind, in addition to a new weapon for Emma herself. She bounded through the group and literally threw herself toward the plant, only to realize what should have been obvious from the beginning; bamboo plants never had dirt. Just water and those fake, colorful rocks.

This should still be useful for me, though, she thought. With barely any exertion of her power one of the shoots instantaneously grew much longer and thicker. It shot a few feet into the air and the widening of the plant caused a lot of the water and rocks in the vase to spill out. Emma took the plant in hand, with the vase now stuck tight on the end from how thick the shoot got, and swung it around with ease as a weapon.

A few of the guards had caught on to her ducking into the corner and attacked, only for their skulls to meet glass as Emma wielded her makeshift weapon. When the small group had been dispatched Emma looked up and for the first time noticed a door in the shadows. Thinking quickly, she threw it opened and peered down into darkness. It looked like a stairway into the basement. Usually not the best place to go, but with flames above and guards on the outside, it was probably the only place to go.

“Terra! Idris!”
she called out. Seeing that they were both too preoccupied to answer, Emma went running back out into the fray. She swung her bamboo weapon around her with deadly precision as the glass vase stuck to the end served to bash in the skulls of the enemies’ heads. It was thick glass, and perfectly straight up and down as it curved fighting around the bamboo, cracking only very slightly. All the while the feeling the soldier dying by her hand intensified, and at the same time almost felt more pleasant. Emma had to literally slap herself in the face to focus on what needed to be done.

She was standing next to Terra. “Get to the door behind the stairs! We’re getting out of here!”

As Terra nodded in reply and made to move to the basement door, Emma turned and fought her way over to Idris. It was a bit of a sickening site over by the metal Destrillian, what with a few severed limbs laying at her feet, but Emma got close and reached out to grab her by the arm.

“Idris! We have to get out of here! Follow me!”

The two girls ran toward the door to the basement where Terra was, fighting off guards as they went. As Idris and Terra when through the door, Emma grabbed a few of the other shoots of bamboo and willed them to be larger, standing them in place and piercing the overhanging walkway just above the basement door. The shoots pieced through on the top and, growing wider and pressing into the floor, made and adequate barrier to keep the soldiers from following.

At least until they break them down.

Running with all of the force they could muster, Idris, Emma, and Terra hurried onto the basement.

The girls ran and ran, pushing their tired bodies as hard as they could, to get away from the torrent of fighting behind them. Idris’ basement was mercifully large and the Destrillians were able just keep on running. But as they ran, a slow change began to take place. It was so gradual that even Idris, who had grown up in this place for the first ten years of her life, couldn’t tell it was happening. But the walls and the ceiling and floor were slowly changing, shifting from wood and concrete and pretty paintings into cold, sterile metal.

And just like that, the halls of Idris’ basement had become the halls of Viola’s Basement 5.

And with the halls of the facility, there came also its caretakers.

“Well, well, well, look at you three,” came an eerie voice that stopped the Destrillians dead in their tracks. It was filled with so much malice that it had the effect of freezing the body temporarily.

“It seems that one just wasn’t enough; now fate is bringing you three to me as an act of providence,” the voice continued. Emma, Idris and Terra turned to face the direction it was coming from.

“After all, little Eve needs company, doesn’t she?”

Before them stood a man in a black tunic uniform and matching field cap. He looked utterly out of place, a military man among the halls of scientists, and yet something about the whole situation made him fit in perfectly. Terribly, but perfectly. Idris and Emma somehow knew immediately just who this man was, and the two of them fired glares at the man that could’ve killed him on the spot.

Terra had no idea why the two girls seemed to hate him so. Of course, every General merited some amount of hate from the Destrillians just on principle. But this…?

From nowhere, seemingly, terrifying scientists appeared around the Destrillian girls, glasses shining in the darkness, holding long and shining needles. Emma and Idris barely took notice of this new and unfortunate development, so fixed were they on the man in front of them. Terra looked from Emma to Idris, momentarily seeing the hatred-filled eyes. She wasn’t sure who this person was, but the other girls quickly answered for her.

“We’ve seen you before,” Idris hissed at the man.

“Dead amongst the rubble of the aftermath of your unfortunate battle with Eve!” added Emma.

“How nice for you all to drop in.”

“You were the one… who killed Eve?” Terra said, slowly coming to the realization of who this man was.

“Yes, yes I am. Anything else you wish to point out? Perhaps a sudden realization about the sky being blue?” he sneered.

“W-why? Why would…” the brunette said, shaking in rage. She felt she could have killed him right in that moment, if she couldn’t hear the sounds of boots on the ground behind them. The soldiers were following them, according to the noise, and they needed to be dealt with—so did the scientists, who were leering out at the girls from the shadows. There was a huge, two-sided battle to be had, but Terra only wanted to kill Roland in that moment.

The girls stiffened, preparing for a fight, but before anything could happen, the snap of someone’s fingers echoed unnaturally through the room. The soldiers that they were about to fight suddenly stopped and ice rushed up their bodies, and they shattered like glass. Then the scientists, too. Everything that they had been about to face was suddenly… gone. Terra turned back around quickly, just in case the next shattering would somehow break her, and uneasy about having her back to the man in black for too long. She was confronted by a familiar face that stood between them and him.

“Eve!” Emma cried out.

Eve smiled at the three of them, but said nothing. The girls then noticed that ice crystals began forming at her feet, growing larger and larger and moving up her body.

“Eve?” Idris had a feeling, and it wasn’t a good one. Joyous though she was at Eve’s sudden appearance, the instinctive tightening of her muscles alerted the rest of her that another fight was about to take place. She was just afraid of who it might be against.

Eve looked down at her legs and feet, then up again at the trio in horror.

“I… I’m not…” But before she could finish her words, the ice covered over her face.

The ice continued to grow bigger and become more spread out. It grew beneath her and lifted her off the ground, separating into two columns that almost looked like legs. Then it spread out of the sides and formed arms with hands, then above to form a head. It was all happening very quickly, and before Emma, Idris, and Terra could react, a giant ice golem had formed before them, encasing Eve entirely.

The girls scattered. Who could blame them? It was hard to stand your ground when shards of ice the length of your arm are hurtling towards you. So Emma, Idris and Terra separated, moving around the giant ice golem and trying to avoid being hit.

Terra looked about the room, concerned about fighting this creature, but a plan was forming in her mind. Maybe she was never capable of it in real life, but she had to try now, she had to give it her everything because they needed to save Eve. She focused, but the walls around her were metal. The brunette despaired, unsure of what to do without the dirt that she needed.

Idris and Emma had landed next to one another, evading the deadly ice that had ripped through the air towards them. After a quick moment’s pause, Idris smacked her hand flat against the metal wall of the hallway and tore off a large piece of it; bounding to the side to avoid more ice, the small woman worked the metal deftly in her hands. With a few well-practiced, albeit hurried movements, her metal sculpture was complete and with a cry of “Here!” Idris threw the newly-formed sledgehammer at Emma.
“Use that to help Terra!” she shouted again, over the din of a dozen gigantic icicles shattering against the ground. Then the metal Destrillian up and bolted away, forcing all her concentration into getting close to the frozen beast to see what she could discover of its weaknesses.

The ice golem groaned and sent out even more icicles shooting at the girls, each girl jumping or darting backwards and away from it. Terra had to figure something out soon, or the golem would surely either crush them or hit them at some point with its projectile ice. She focused again on the metal around them, hoping to find any, even a tiny amount of dirt within. Finally, she felt the smallest particles lying within the metal itself. Barely dodging another shot of icicles, she was able to pull the tiny bits of dirt through the walls, effectively corroding the walls. The tiny hole opened up through the metal, but it was enough to get the dirt from the other side.

The brunette was finally able to siphon the dirt through the hole, pulling a whirlwind of dirt around her, remembering some of her last lessons from Viola, even though they never worked. Extend your limbs, build a body above you, around you, like you’re a turtle, you like turtles don’t you, yes, build your body as if you were far taller than yourself, good, good. She felt herself being lifted into the air by a pair of platforms of earth of her own construct. Using most of her concentration, she was able to create an earthen golem that was completely surrounding her body. The earth Destrillian raised her arm to find it extended by the earth she had sucked from the hole in the wall she had made. She was ready to fight, now.

Emma had been trying, and failing, to get close enough to reach this new creature with the new weapon Idris had given her. The problem with this thing was that it wasn’t really alive, per se, and so Emma could get no reading on it. A nearly impossible fight for her, she supposed, but then she watched Terra build up a monster of her own and knew they were now on equal footing.

Idris smiled widely up at the earth golem, equally monstrous in size to their opponent. With Terra here they definitely had a chance. Idris dive-rolled away from a scatter of hailstones the size of her head and sprang up right by the ice golem’s foot. Looking up, she noticed how the creature moved.

How strange, Idris thought. It looks like it breaks its own joints to move them, and then re-grows the ice before the limb can snap off entirely.

The ice golem charged at Terra, hitting her with a heavy ‘thunk’ sound. She thought she could hear a voice somewhere around her, but she didn’t notice what it was saying. Recovering from the blow, she lifted an arm and struck the golem heavily in the chest. It made a loud groaning noise, but there was no other reaction besides, and it struck back at her with a hard shove onto her back. The wind was knocked out of her but she could get back up. She had to get up; she was the best chance that they had to beat this monster. Terra pushed herself back up hitting the other creature in the arm. Though it didn’t affect the other golem terribly, Idris seemed to notice something, as she shouted to Terra.

“Hit it in the joint! It’s weak there!”

She nodded to herself and hit again, striking it at the joint. It made a groaning noise and ice flew off of the area, and she hit it again and again, as fast as she could make the golem go. The groaning grew louder until the arm she was striking fell off entirely. The ice golem was upset enough with this that it grabbed the soil arm she had made and tore it off, with groaning force, as the arm that came off started to re-grow. Terra screamed out in pain as she lost concentration and her human fingers were left wiggling out of the hole where her golem’s arm should have been. The body of her golem shook off a heavy layer of dust and she had to hold her concentration through the ache.

Emma cried out in horror as she watched the golems rip each other apart. If anything happened to Terra she wasn’t sure if she’d be able to live through it. She took Idris’ words to mind and ran around the back of the ice golem, preparing to go for the ice golem’s legs, only to find she didn’t have to.

In a blind rage Terra struck at the ice golem’s leg joints, hitting over and over, even as the monster reached its arms for her striking fist. Certain that it was going to break soon, the ice golem grabbed her arm and tore the arm from her concentration, the brunette shrieking even more loudly. She tried to bring the dirt back, but was only able to form weak, brittle soil arms through the pain searing her mind. But she was so close to destroying the ice golem’s legs, she could feel it, there had to have been another way to break the legs of the monster.

She finally got an idea.

The brunette gave the golem a strong kick to its left knee-joint, shattering the connection between the foot and the upper leg. It groaned as it toppled to the left, set off balance, and Terra used these moments to pounce upon the ice creation and keep it pinned to the ground.

“F-free her! We have to… to free Eve!” She yelled to the other girls.
She weakly fell from the rest of the golem, holding her concentration as best she could as she punched the ice beneath her. They were so close, they almost had Eve!

Emma didn’t need telling twice. She ran up to the ice golem and began bashing away at its head wit her large sledgehammer, hoping to knock it out or maybe even kill it – if ice monsters worked the same way as living creatures, that is. But she had to try something.

Idris, who was chipping away at the ice by lashing at it with shovel-shaped slices of metal, was about to cry with frustration. After all this, after everything that had happened, a wall of ice was going to stop her from seeing her Eve again?

No. No no NO.

“Get back!” she yelled at the other two, and jumped backwards herself. Summoning up what vestiges of strength remained within her body, Idris drew a length of steel from the ground and slicked it into a thin, superstrong sliver of metal. She tensed, and then with a cry that embodied all of her rage and determination in one sound, slung the spike at the ice.

And all she could think was thank you thank you thank you, to Emma and to Terra, for helping her weaken the ice enough so that this worked. The metal projectile connected with the fallen golem and it just… exploded. Everything. The entire body of ice broke and flew into the air in a great cold blast.

All that remained was Eve, lying collapsed but alive on the ground, as the ice slowly began to fall back down as snow.

Letting out a whoop of joy, the three girls raced to the body of their friend. Terra helped Idris move Eve to the wall, where the ice Destrillian sat against it, breathing heavily.

Idris and Terra inspected the wounds of their fallen friend as Emma looked on. She could still feel the presence of the man in black in the room, but when she turned to face him she didn’t see him anywhere. Everything was eerily quiet, and she didn’t like it. She continued to scan the room for any signs of him as the other two cared for the ice Destrillian.

“You defeated the ice golem, I see.” She could hear him say.

“Show yourself, coward!” Emma shouted back.

Again there was silence as she kept watch for her friends. She could feel Idris and Terra looking at her, tense after the mysterious man’s words.

“I’ll stand guard, you just help Eve,” she said, never turning to face them but instead kept her eyes on the room.

Between the two of them, Idris and Terra were able to take care of the wounds carved out in Eve’s body. It was hard work, being so careful and precise after so much time fighting, but the two of them managed and Eve finally looked up at them with clear eyes, and smiled.

Idris flung her arms around the woman, and when Eve finally, after a moment, raised her arms to hug Idris back, that was the moment where she finally broke a little. She didn’t care if Emma or Terra were watching, and she didn’t care about how she was supposed to be the one who was always strong and smiling. Eve’s death had plagued her for years and she finally had the chance to get some closure.

So Idris Savage let out a sob of anguish and relief all in one, and squeezed Eve’s warm, live body as close to her own as she could. Eve’s strong brown hands fussed over Idris as she sat there with her head squished against the ice Destrillian’s shoulder, brushing ice off her pale shoulders and combing through her tangled white-blonde hair. Idris herself just let everything be; she took big shaky breaths, trying to let out as much anxiety as she could without full-on bursting into tears.

“I thought I’d never get to see you again,” she managed through gulps of cold, clear air.

“Now Idris, this is unnatural for you,” Eve chided, smiling all the same. “Usually you’re so composed!” The woman shushed Idris’ next hurried reply, and pulled her back close. Eventually Idris calmed herself and, sniffing a great big sniff, she pulled back to allow Terra to see Eve. [/FONT]

"A-are you okay, Eve? Are you cold? I-I have a blouse you could wear!" Terra said, hurriedly unbuttoning her shirt and tossing it over Eve. Perhaps it was a bit chilly in here, but she could stand it, Eve was the one who needed to be saved, after all.

Eve smiled at her, knowing that they'd never really known each other in life, but still glad at the sentiment. Even Terra knew she'd never been close to anyone in Viola, but she'd been able to see and remember Eve for who she really was, without all of the experimentation. Her cheeks became wet without her even realizing it, smiling at finally being able to meet the woman who she had met in her dreams. There were no words between them, only a quiet understanding and a realization of the fact they knew each other as they used to be, or at least Terra imagined there was.

Emma turned to face her friends at the sound of Eve’s voice, smiling to herself and watching the three girls and their reunion. For a moment she had forgotten everything – the man in black, all the fighting, the mysterious voice in her head, and even the fact that this was all just a dream. Emma didn’t care about any of that, all that mattered right now was that they had Eve back. Her blue eyes locked with the hazel of her long lost friend, and she took a step toward the three girls to join in on the reunion. At that moment, however, came that cold, eerie voice from before.


Emma spun around and saw, a few feet ahead of her, the man in black.

“You again!” she seethed.

“Have your fun but do remember, in reality I still won.”

“In reality you are DEAD!” she spat back.

“True, but I still killed your friend, and boy did I enjoy it.”

“You’re a monster!” Emma shouted at him, teetering on the brink of loosing all control of her temper.

The man laughed heartily at this last comment. “Monster!” he laughed. Then his body went rigid and his eyes narrowed, his mood shifting immediately from mirth to anger.

“Monster? Who are YOU, of all people, to call me a monster?”

The man’s words struck a cord deep down inside her. “Shut up,” she replied.

Kill him.

“Hypocrite!” he said in retort.

No, he deserves worse.

“I am not a hypocrite!”

If he’s a monster…

“Oh? Then why don’t you tell your friends over there what you were doing earlier, hm? What would they think then?”

…he should look like one.

“SHUT UP!” the Destrillian screamed.

“ADMIT IT! YOU ENJOYED IT! You enjoyed it as much as I enjoyed killing Eve. Well, at least I can admit what I am!”

“STOP IT!” and with that, Emma reached her breaking point. She dropped her sledgehammer and rushed the man, checking him into the wall. She then quickly reached up and grabbed him by the throat, lifting him off the ground until his feet dangled by an inch.

“You’re the monster, not I!” she said.

The man grabbed at Emma’s hand, choking and gasping for hair. But there would be no escape from the angry young woman.

The Destrillian felt something bubbling inside her. It was a sensation almost like that of boiling water. She could feel an energy she had never felt before; an energy that was feeding into her very senses. Emma focused all of her power on this man, and in that moment she saw every detailed part of his entire being, much in the same way she could look at plants.

He is yours.

She had to push more with her powers than she normally would with plants, but Emma felt everything shift and grow with more ease than she would have anticipated. The man grunted and kicked and gasped for air as she held him above her. The plant prototype continued to push with her power as the man began to cry out in pain.

The skin on his face began to pull and tighten, and his shirt began to rip at the sides as bulges began to form on his body.

His legs were suddenly longer and he could touch the ground, and so with all her strength Emma threw him to the side where he landed hard on the floor. There he continued to wriggle in pain, his screams growing louder and louder as his body continued to mutate. His shirt eventually ripped as a new set of arms grew from his side. His pants ripped as his legs turned completely around and a new pair jutted out from his hips. Ridges formed along his spine and his face was elongating into something that didn’t even look human anymore.

The mysterious man’s screams had reached their pique now, and the entire room was filled with them as Emma concentrated on the man with all her might. He tried to get up on his hands and feet and scuttle away like a spider, but the pain of his still-evolving body was too much for him to take.

Idris looked on in horror at what her fellow Destrillian was doing to that man. What she saw crashed down on her, completely unexpected—and more than a little revolting. She turned to look at Terra, who was also staring in shock, not knowing what to think of this new development.

The pathetic, mutilated creature on the floor before them all was still writhing in pain. Emma could feel his heart quicken and his breathing intensity as he gasped for air. This gave her an idea. Emma concentrated on the muscles in his throat, and willed them to close I on each other, blocking his airways. The man gasped more heavily, kicking and rolling around, but his air was completely cut off. He turned red, then purple, his body starting to convulse sickeningly.

Then suddenly, it stopped, and prototype number eight felt the familiar breeze of energy pass over her. He was dead.

Emma stood staring down at what had once been a human being, breathing heavily and reeling with a sense of newfound power. Had she really just done that?

She turned to face her friends, Idris and Terra looking on in shock, almost horror, while Eve gently lifted herself up to stand.

“You’ve done so much just to save me,” she smiled.

“Of course! Why wouldn’t I? You were my best friend! Eve!”

“But it…”

“But nothing!” Emma was near tears at this point. “I’ve always regretted what happened. If I were to choose only one thing to go redo in my life it would have been to go with you that day instead of leaving you alone.”

“So then you know this changes nothing?”

Emma was dumbfounded by this remark.

Eve turned to look and Idris and Terra. “Thank you.”

Emma ran up to Eve and gripped her by the arm. “What are you talking about?”

Eve turned back around and pulled Emma into a tight embrace. “Be careful and don’t lose yourself.”

“What?” The redhead asked.

But before Eve could say another word, she dissolved into what seemed almost like sand, and blew away into nothing.

“Eve!” Idris cried. No, no, no this couldn’t be happening, she thought. “Emma, what happened?”

“I…I don’t…” The redhead stammered. “Eve! No, Eve! Eve come back!!!”

But deep down she knew Eve never would. As Emma collapsed to her knees with sobs, and as Idris stood there, for once struck silent, and Terra looked on, the entire room began to blow away like sand, just as Eve did, until everything turned black.

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Old 07/01/2010   #83

-IDRIS SAVAGE; The Pods, Jettison's Nightclub-

It’s over

Pale, spidery fingers slowly twitched their way out of the numbness they felt; tough-skinned hands clenched into fists forcing the blood in her small body to start flowing again.
Clear, pale grey eyes snapped open beneath the smooth glass door of the pod; eyes filled with a fresh sort of pain, and also a renewed sort of determination. Idris lay in the cool, mechanical semi-darkness of her pod, slowly regaining her senses as she dragged herself out of the nightmare she’d just been booted from. At least, she thought, she was back in reality.

And the bracelet on her wrist practically burned a hole in her arm as the weight of what had just happened settled in.
What a harsh, cruel reality it was.
Nothing that you’ve just done – or thought you’ve just done – makes any difference to anything. Eve is still gone. The metal Destrillian heaved a long, empty sigh, closing her eyes to think.
No amount of wishing and dreaming will accomplish the impossible, Idris Savage. Even Destrillians can’t bring back the dead. Something about the way she phrased it caused a twinge of pain, and of hurt pride, in her heart. And that includes you, proud as you are.
It wasn’t the way she’d wanted to allow herself to realize this, but it suited her perfectly. She would have wanted to let the fact sink in during the last bloody battle of Viola, or during the frantic escape into the distance, or even on a random day amidst all the cacophony of Osea. Just somewhere where the outside reflected what was happening inside.
But of course, it fitted the Gunmetal Glint perfectly to come to all of life’s most brutal realizations in complete calm and isolation. Ever the thinker. It was a sad, quiet understanding, and that made the moment all the more powerful.

She would get no closure from this.

Idris exhaled sharply through her nose and opened her eyes again. She set her jaw in defiance, and pushed the thoughts to the back of her mind. No time for that anymore. She’d had her moment and now it was time to go back to the problems facing her right now.
The pod, being the first of many. A grim smile graced her lips as Idris thought that maybe, she could earn herself a little closure by trashing the room to high hell.

The hinges of the pod were made of metal, she noticed after a quick internal scan. Idris’ limbs felt tired, probably from spending all this time in the blasted pod, but asides from that, she found that she was fine. No headache or anything, anymore—the time she’d spent unconscious must have cured her of any previous fatigue.
As far as she was concerned this was just one more pro to the situation. In five seconds flat the heavy metal hinges to her pod had melted clean off the side, which allowed for short work of the door itself. The metal Destrillian took a deep breath and then smacked the door right off the pod; it flipped once in the air before landing with a loud clang on the floor.
Idris clambered nimbly from the confines of the pod and looked around. Thankfully, all traces of weirdness had been left behind with the nightmare – the room was just that, a normal room. There were no grotesque bodies sliming down the walls of this one, and for that she was glad. A quick look to her side found Emma, and one more pod down, Terra.

The two of them were as awake as she was, but struggling to free themselves of their pods. Glad to have a distraction from the thoughts she had been harbouring in her own pod, Idris set to work on freeing her Destrillian comrades.
First went the hinges and the metal rim of the doors on Emma’s door. Emma’s head popped out of the pod, red hair swinging, and smiled a quick, tight smile at Idris.
Idris just nodded at her. She figured that Emma was having much the same problem as she was—maybe even worse, considering what the nature Destrillian had done in their last moments of the dream. Idris was still wondering about it, but it gave her no pleasure to replay in her head. The small woman resolved to pose the question later.

She melted the hinges on Terra’s door and allowed Emma to help the girl out, turning now to survey the rest of the room.

For starters there was a new person in the room. He sat in a corner, watching everything happen with a silent interest that Idris respected. That twinge appeared in the back of her head, the non-painful one that had become so familiar over the past day or two, and Idris realized with only a little surprise that this man with white hair and greengage eyes was a Destrillian, too. She decided to leave him be.

“Oh! My bag!” Emma declared, looking eagerly around the room. She dashed off into one corner and lifted what looked to be the object in question off the ground with a cry of dismay. After taking a quick look inside she breathed a sigh of relief, then looked back over across the room.
There stood Stolz, excitedly chatting away at how happy they were everyone was awake now and coming out of the pods. And there, clambering out of Stolz’ pocket and squealing with excitement was a tiny white mouse.
Emma cried out in delight and bolted for Stolz, taking the small animal into her hands and nearly singing with happiness as Stolz prattled on.
While the touching reunion was taking place, Idris turned her head to look back over her shoulder at Terra, who was sitting on the rim of her pod. Their eyes met and Terra knew what Idris was going to ask.

Eye cant help u with the pods. Eye du nawt think eye can du wat eye did in the dreem. Sorry.

“Gotcha,” murmured Destrillian Prototype 009. She straightened her shoulders and turned to the other pods, where barely-awake Destrillians lay within.
Well then? She thought. You’ve been going on about protecting them. May as well try and fulfill that.
So she began to move down the line, melting the metal clean off the doors with a stroke of one hand, calmly ripping the door off with the other. It was almost graceful, the way she did it so deliberately.
And as she removed each of the doors sealing the Destrillians in, she took a moment to just… look, at each of them. They were all just beginning to regain proper, active consciousness, and so for a brief moment, they were vulnerable. There were no walls keeping others out.
And the pale woman felt that it was probably one of the last times that she would get such a good look at her impromptu family, so for every screech of protesting metal and glass, there were a few moments of contemplative silence as Idris Savage gazed at each member of the group. And she smiled at each and every one of them, if for no other reason than because she figured that Destrillians didn’t get smiled at enough.

When the last door was ripped free, she turned away. She didn’t need to see everybody’s walls go back up. She’d seen that enough. Instead, she took a step towards what was clearly the last unconscious Destrillian.
It was Fiona. This threw Idris for a second, as she hadn’t seen Fiona since Viola, and her appearance had not been subdued in the slightest.
It’s definitely going to be interesting watching HER wake up, the small girl thought, observing the scene in front of her. How did she even get here?
Fiona was in a pod, just like the others had been. She bore quite an uneasy expression. Before Fiona, sat a wiry girl – for she couldn’t be old enough to be called a woman.
Idris had never seen the girl before, but a gut feeling ripped a low growl of general distaste from her throat. This was definitely the girl that had done this to them all in the first place.

The Gunmetal Glint stepped up to the girl in her headset, fixed her with the sternest look she could without becoming scary, and addressed her.
“I think it’s time you stopped playing games. Let Fiona go, please.”
With her fellow Destrillians just behind her, she hoped it was enough.

Disappear with the stars and come back alive.

Last edited by Baldy; 07/01/2010 at 05:03 PM.
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Old 07/05/2010   #84

Thetis - Pod Room, The Mirage

The familiarity of being trapped in limbo between dreams and reality didn’t make the sensation any less uncomfortable. Number Six’s last words echoed maddeningly inside Thetis’ skull. The pull of the real world was nothing more than an irritating reminder of her inadequacy. Thetis felt like she had been fumbling in the dark for years, and the doppelganger’s riddles had only made her more frustrated. A lump formed in Thetis’ throat. She didn’t know which she’d rather face – Number Six or the outside world. Probably the former; at least she spoke with some level of understanding, not like the others. For all she knew, they could have all been murdered by Kerr now. She clenched her fist instinctively. Why would they trust the Destrillian who had killed Ariel and was now trying to kill her? It didn’t make sense. Then again, neither did anything to do with Thetis’ current situation. Not only that, but now they seemed to have formed some kind of motley crew, especially with those new people. Thetis didn’t like new people. The junkie kid was one thing, but to have some kind of masked maniac trailing around after them as well? That was a joke.

Every one of Thetis’ five senses seemed to have been steeped in tar. The acrid taste of smoke lingered in her mouth, while the musky stench of old stone brought a grimace to her lips. Her legs felt as if someone had strapped tonne weights to them, and yellow eyes remained locked behind lids of concrete. The open wound on her arm throbbed in a way that made it very difficult to concentrate. She would need to stitch it up if and when they got out of here. Now that was another question entirely. Where exactly was she? Thetis’ memory of the last few hours had been washed away with Number Six’s world. Except that there had been no ‘world’ to speak of. It was an illusion, a dream. It had all been in her head. She had been stupid to stumble into that room, completely aware that it could have been a trap. After all she had been through today, why didn’t she even think of that? This was one of the problems with being a Destrillian – always getting into trouble, being dragged into situations that were the stuff of nightmares for most Normals.

As much as she hated her human life, Thetis did cherish her daily routine. That was the problem with surprises. Thetis loved them, but at times, they scared her. The safety of the familiar was something Thetis had needed for as long as she could remember. It was also the only part of Violan protocol that she could fathom to understand. Things that were simple at Viola were just as simple as a human. Wake up. Take medication. Tests. Cryo-sleep. Recreation. Combat training. Medication. Cryo-sleep. The human routine was nearly exactly the same. Wake up. Get dressed. Go to work. Work. Come home. Wait for Fiona. Sleep. It was the one value that both lives shared. Then again, both offered the constant paranoia that came with the order. Discipline always had its flaws. Then again, maybe if she was still in Viola, she could have at least recognised that she had been walking into an ambush.

A click, a crash, and Thetis felt warm air rush over her face. It made her stomach churn, and she kept her eyes firmly clamped shut. She didn’t want to wake up to the hallucinations of before. The energy of the other Destrillians surrounded the water prototype as they regained consciousness. At least now she had the consolation that if there were any more visions, at least she wouldn’t be going through them alone. Yellow eyes snapped open to a room that was completely un-extraordinary. Thetis couldn’t tell whether she was disappointed or relieved. She had been trapped inside a chamber of glass and metal, filled with all manner of wires and devices that Thetis couldn’t identify. Why the hell had she been in there? Trying to concentrate only made things more confusing, as if each thought squirted a blast of ink to cloud all sense of rationality. Thetis tripped over the threshold of her pod, wobbling as she attempted to stretch her legs out of atrophy. As the other Destrillians milled past her, the water prototype finally had a chance to look around.

Slumped in a chair over the other side of the room was another newcomer. It didn’t take long for Thetis to recognise him as another Destrillian, and one she didn’t know at that. The way he watched them all, completely nonplussed as they clambered out of the pods made her feel wary. It was a little odd, she thought, that they should all convene here and now after four years. Especially now that there were Destrillians she had never seen before.
Thetis supposed it was too late for introductions.
She leaned against the metal framework of the pod, surveying the scene before her. Something felt off, and Thetis didn’t like it one bit. Maybe it was the way most of the others had crowded around the front of the room, maybe how the contraption she had just escaped from was eerily reminiscent of Viola, or perhaps even how the back of Kerr’s head still seemed to be taunting her somehow. Thetis wanted to leave the room as soon as possible. It was too hot, too dank and too dark. Thetis inhaled deeply, her nostrils filling with the stench of stale alcohol as she pulled herself away from the support of her pod.

No-one seemed to be injured, but Thetis could tell she wasn’t the only one who felt disorientated. Despite the rest of the party being significantly shorter than her, the water Destrillian still couldn’t get a good look at just who or what they were all staring at. Probably the ringleader of this whole bizarre affair, but there would be time to deal with that later. All Thetis needed now was to check if the others were safe, and to go home. It had been one of the strangest day she’d had in years. Pushing her way through the line of Destrillians that blocked her vision, Thetis went out of her way to make sure she shoved Kerr harder than usual.

When she finally made it to the front, Thetis didn’t quite know what to say.
Of all the people she could think of, Fiona was the last one she expected to see lying in the pod before her. Not only that, but she was unconscious. Thetis’ feud with Kerr seemed miles away as she watched blood trickle not only over the nape of Fiona’s neck, but her arm as well. She had never seen her like this before. Idris’ voice rang out through the silence Thetis couldn’t quite bring herself to break.
“I think it’s time you stopped playing games. Let Fiona go, please.”
Thetis spun to face the vagabond girl who sat hunched over a pile of equipment that the Destrillian couldn’t make heads or tails of. She didn’t know what to do. Her instincts told her that this was the girl responsible for everything; the hallucinations, the dreams, Fiona. But this girl, this child couldn’t have been more than eighteen. For her to be capable of incapacitating all the Destrillians should have been impossible. Then again, at eighteen, the Destrillians were been perfectly capable of taking out several units of armed guards with little effort. Maybe four years had softened them all more than she thought.

The girl looked like the kind of human that would haunt the nooks and crannies of the Osea underground. Waif-like, dirty and weathered far beyond her years. Not that it mattered anymore, this girl wasn’t a Destrillian and she had to have answers. After seeing Fiona trapped and unconscious, Thetis wasn’t feeling as forgiving as Idris. She pulled the vagrant to her feet by the scruff of her collar, her voice seething with venom.
“What did you do to us?”
The water prototype twitched when she felt Fiona’s telepathic signature flicker in her head. She was waking up. Thetis shot the girl another look of disgust before dropping her back to the ground and rushing over to Fiona. For someone who purportedly never got hurt, Fiona was in bad shape. A wound to the back of the head must have been what rendered her unconscious, judging by the blood she had lost. A couple of lacerations to the arms, also bleeding heavily, paired with a few scrapes and bruises meant that Fiona needed fixing up as soon as possible. Thetis placed her hands on Fiona’s shoulders, giving her a gentle shake as she spoke, her voice faltering as she felt dry blood crumble against her hands.
“I know you can hear me, so wake up.” Silence. Thetis shook Fiona a little harder, and her voiced strained with the effort of suppressing any hint of emotion. Now wasn’t the time to be weak. “It’s me, it’s Thetis. Please wake up.” Thetis was quickly becoming flustered. Everything Fiona had told her would never happen was unfolding right before her eyes, and it frightened her. Her voice was edged with worry now, hands trembling as they rocked Fiona with increasing force.
“You’re hurt and need help! Now stop being so stubborn and wake up!

Thetis glanced over her shoulder at the others, who didn’t seem to be doing anything besides staring. She glared at every one of them, especially the vagrant girl who appeared to be totally unfazed by what was happening in front of her. A slew of curses were murmured under Thetis’ breath before she turned back to Fiona, aimlessly dabbing at the blood on her arms with her sleeve.

Last edited by Bex; 07/06/2010 at 12:15 PM.
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Old 07/06/2010   #85
Sheva Alomar

Fiona - Dream, then Pod Room in The Mirage

Drifting. Falling. Floating. Weightless. Fiona acknowledged the abyss that she now occupied and nothing else. The pain that had been afflicting her had long since turned into numbness. She lay there nearly lifeless, her mind playing back various points of her life as faces flickered before her. Why? She didn’t care. Fiona Myrwind only lived for the moment and didn’t bother to look back. No regrets, no attachments, so why was this happening? Had she finally reached hell?

“No, you’re in here with me.”

The fire destrillian blinked and had somehow teleported to a weathered, empty room where a little girl sat in the far corner. She was nothing special: dark brown hair that went down to her shoulders, a small frame that looked malnourished; but then she looked at those emerald eyes. They were haunting, but for a reason Fiona couldn’t pinpoint. She shrugged off the strange feeling creeping up her spine and tried to figure out where she was.

“Just where is ‘here’, kid? And who the hell are you?”

The strange girl had her arms wrapped around her legs and only pulled herself in more. “Umm, I don’t really know where we are. I’m just glad I have someone here with me.” Her expression was strange, like she was happy, sad and anxious for something all at once. “And I’m…I’m not sure who I am.” Her eyes met Fiona’s and that feeling surged through her again.

She shook it off and looked away. “A lot of help you are, runt.”

Between what had just occurred and this, Fiona knew it all had to be some sort of warped dream. Someone was messing with her head and that just wasn’t allowed. She had to get out of here to hand whoever this mindfucker was an ass kicking. Maybe it was one of those people that fought with her right before she blacked out? Had to be. Who else but someone like her would be able to pull this stunt?

There was a door with no door knob on the side of the room opposite to Fiona and the little girl. The child saw the fire prototype making a move for it. “No one goes out or comes through that door.” It appeared to be made of old wood, so it wouldn’t be any sort of challenge for the destrillian.

“No one except m—.”


“I have places to be! WHAT IS IT?!” She stomped her foot down as she looked back at the mysterious girl now standing from the corner.

The child’s reaction was pure terror and she lifted to hand as if to meagerly defend herself. “I’m just really lonely and you’re the first friend that has come in to see me. Could you…maybe…come back soon?”

Friend? Fiona popped in here not 2 minutes ago and this girl was ready to call her a friend. That, and the destrillian wasn’t the best person to rely on for anything. Still, their eyes met again and she couldn’t quite shake the vibe she felt this time. A reply didn’t come, only a prolonged stare between the two before Fiona focused on the knob-less door.

After a few unsuccessful charges and kicks, Fiona stepped back glaring angrily at the door. “I don’t have time for this bullshit and I am NOT being stuck in this shitty room!” She placed her hand flat against the hardened door and concentrated on it with far more power than she should have for what should have been a very weak material. With a few moments, the entire entrance was set ablaze. The firestarter looked smug. Of course this simple door couldn’t hold her back, what could? Without a second thought, Fiona stepped through the fiery doorway.


It almost felt as if she fell back into her body. Fiona was very aware of her physical form when she started to come to. She could feel a fresh gash on her head, still bleeding, and the cuts she received from that girl with the sword. As injured as she must have been, the destrillian was more distracted by and focused on what she sensed around her. It all came through very fuzzy at first, that new wound still pulsating on her skull not helping in the slightest.

Familiar hands latched onto her shoulders and shook her softly. The haze her senses were going through right now prevented her from realizing who it was as easy as she normally would, especially since her ears were assaulted by a buzzing that drowned out the first couple of things said to her. Another, harder shake and pings in the back of her mind.

“You’re hurt and need help! Now stop being so stubborn and wake up!”

It took her a moment, but Fiona forced her eyes wide open and looked right at Thetis. “Maybe I was having a good dream.” The fire destrillian’s smirk and sarcasm were never far from the surface. “Argh! Would you quit it?!” Her quip was cut short by the reckless care the water prototype was administering. She yanked her arm away. "Why are you even here? What the fuck is going on?" Fiona shifted her attention to the rest of the room and noticed the other destrillians. “What kind of shitty joke is this? Why is Baldy and everyone else here, too?!”

Last edited by Sheva Alomar; 07/07/2010 at 09:29 PM.
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Old 07/06/2010   #86

Lokka - Mirage's pod room

Viridian eyes watched the shifting of events unfold in the shady backroom of The Mirage. Lokka hadn't counted the minutes since he sat down but he may as well have, it had all been more of the same. Jettison sat speechless at her Terminal. The Destrillians lay unstirred in their sleep-like state. The young Stolz was still sitting in the corner, seemingly in their own world. Lokka had sat patiently through it all to make sure nothing out of the ordinary happened to these Destrillians. Those powerful people he fought earlier could still well be outside and although their motives were unclear, they certainly could do some damage. Lokka could feel his power returning to him after his brief fight with Vollerei. He started the fight at more of a disadvantage due to his earlier activities, but the overly large amount of distrum he took ensured that he wouldn't need long recovering if the day was going to play out for much longer.

Today had been eventful enough. He'd set out to do one simple task but that duty was unknowingly accomplished for him. He would have to thank Fiona Myrwind when she awoke for setting the score straight. Actually those weren't the right words. The score was not straight.

But that wont always be the case. Things are going to start changing now.

He began looking at the unconcious Destrillians around him.
The key pieces were in place.

Lokka's eyes darted around the room as slight movements were being made by the encapsulated Destrillians. There were twitches here and there, the clenching of muscles untill one of them managed to spontaneously break free!

It had been Idris, the metal Destrillian. He figured that there were some metal bindings in the pod that she'd managed to break through with her abilities. She forced the door off its hinge and Lokka watched it as it thudded against the floor, echoing through the room. He noticed that she stole a glance at him, but this didn't last long enough for him to initiate conversation; she clearly had a lot to think about right now and she seemed far more concerned with letting the others out of their own pods. Systematically she broke open each pod and let the concious Destrillians out and into the room.

As they all came to and adjusted to their new surroundings Lokka didn't move. A few of them shot him different looks. He assumed that he was the newcomer in this circumstance and that the rest were already part of a group before he got here. Lokka would have to explain his presence here after the group got settled but that time was not yet. The unrecognizable individual in the strange power suit finally seemed to come to, with their suit powering up.

The clearly male figure broke out of the pod with relative ease and looked around the room before settling his vision on Lokka, which was shortly followed by the man approaching him, almost with haste.


This wasn't expected. The man sounded younger than he'd first expected and he seemed to recognize Lokka straight away. Lokka however couldn't place his voice.

"I'm sorry, have we met?"

The man lifted up the lower section of his helmet revealing his chin and more of his face untill Lokka finally saw the sharp tear marks that he instantly associated with an old friend.

“It’s me, Kram. The Darkness Destrillian.”

Lokka extended his hand to shake Kram's.

"Its good to see you."

Lokka didn't smile but his expression changed slightly to show that he was at the very least relieved to see that Kram was okay after all these years. They'd had no contact since leaving Viola, and attempts to track Kram down as well as the other Destrillians had all fallen short.

“It's a surprise to see you here.. Never thought I'd see you again. More importantly, what happened to you? How did you end up here?”

"Its kind of a long story Kram but relax - I'm not going anywhere; We'll have time to catch up. I have enough questions as it is about that suit of yours," he said pointing at the elaborate design.
At the very least if Kram was here then the other Destrillians from Lokka's facility had an equal chance of being in a similar state and unharmed.

“ Hey…I don’t mean to be abrupt or rude but where is Hannah? And Deyn?”

Lokka couldn't even begin to answer. The events of the days before were at the back of his mind and at the forefront at the same time. He could go hours without thinking too much about it and yet it affected every action that he made.

“Is she safe?”

He felt the cold steel of guilt rake at the very fibre of his being.
Of course she wasn't okay. I couldn't protect her. I couldn't protect either of them.
He silently shook his head as Kram awaited an answer.

“I … see. We’ll talk later, for now…”

Lokka nodded in agreement and forcefully threw himself back in to the thick of the situation he was in. Kram wandered over to Jettison and after he'd looked at the current circumstance he addressed her with a lot of anger. Lokka followed him to the girl who seemed no different now than when she had originally sat down.

"Kram. I cant claim to understand this girl's motives but at the very least she has saved us from a far greater threat."

Lokka turned to the rest of the group now, the other Destrillians. He hadn't spoke to any of them yet but, he decided that in a circumstance like this it would be better to avoid any confusions with alignment.

"Your friend in the pod, the fiery one." He seemed to get their attention. "She's a strong fighter, relentless in her fury. I've no doubt she will be okay."

It was merely moments after he said this that Fiona began to come around, just as the others had before her. She made a snarky comment at what seemed to be her best friend or partner. Lokka made eye contact with her. If she hadn't forgotten everything in that strange pod then she'd no doubt remember him from outside.

Since everybody was now awake and Jettison clearly had no more work to do with the Destrillians, Lokka had no idea what would happen next, only that it was a clear sign that the metaphorical ball was now rolling again.

Reject common sense to make the impossible possible!

Last edited by Joe; 07/07/2010 at 12:12 AM.
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Old 07/06/2010   #87


Dene Blackmore squinted at the horizon, the evening sun setting on the other side of the city. Quiet today as always. Damn, but border duty was boring. Still, another hour and his shift would be over, making all this officially Someone Else’s Problem.

He sighed. He still wished he’d passed the requirements to join IRIN International’s military forces, but he’d failed due to a potentially hereditary mental illness his grandfather had suffered from. However, his sister’s boyfriend had enough influence with the lower echelons of the IRIN’s command structure to get him into the company’s city guard.

Something winked at the horizon. Dene focused on it, raising a hand to shield his eyes. A beat up old van was bouncing down the road towards his checkpoint. He found his mood brightening somewhat. Much of the traffic entering the city looked nothing like that, tending to be more ostentatious.

Judging by its speed, he figured he should have six minutes before it arrived (horizon was at three miles, the van looked to be going thirty miles per hour, simple arithmetic). He used those six minutes as he always used the time between spotting a vehicle and it arriving, by making himself look as official and efficient as possible. It tended to impress people, whether they were in the company, outside contractors, potential employers or the general public.

As the van bounced the final mile, it began slowing at the sight of the city walls. Dene moved forward and held his hand out, a stoic figure of authority. The driver slowed the van further, pulling it to a halt fifty yards ahead of him. Despite himself, Dene found he was impressed with the driver’s handling. Too often, official traffic would halt at the last possible second, while civilians would be so cowed they’d stop a good minute’s jog from the checkpoint.

Dene walked slowly towards the driver’s side of the vehicle, as a man’s head lent out. The man pulled off a pair of shades and rested them inside the vehicle.

“Hey pal,” the driver said, squinting at him. “What can I do ya for?”

“Just a routine check, sir. Nothing to worry about,” Dene said, and smiled tightly. He’d been taught how to smile like this - it suggested that there was a lot to worry about, namely about the number of laws the person he was giving it to was breaking. “Due to IRIN International having our headquarters in the city, we need to ensure the safety of our citizens and visitors.”

“ID screening,” the man nodded. Dene felt a slight surge of annoyance at having his spiel interrupted, but restricted his response to a terse nod.

“Yessir,” he said. The man looked somewhere in his early thirties, or thereabouts. He had crew cut black hair, and a five o’clock shadow. The hair itself distracted Dene somewhat. It looked almost artificial. He shook it off, putting it down to the man using some form of gel on it.

“No worries,” the driver replied and leant back into his vehicle. There were a few muffled curses before a grunt of success was heard. The driver leant back out and handed across his ID card.

Dene took it and gave it a perfunctory glance. “Nathan Reynolds,” he read aloud.

The driver winced slightly, but forced a pained grin. “Yeah… Call me Nate.”

“It says here, Mr Reynolds,” Dene said. “You’re a private investigator.” He pulled a device from his belt. It always reminded him of a ray gun from one of the Saturday morning shows he used to watch as a kid.

“That’s right,” Nate said. “And I can guess the next question.” Dene said nothing, but slotted the ID card into the device.

“What is my business in Vanaheimr?” Nate asked. “Well, truth be told - you’ve heard about those murders in Osea?” Dene nodded. “Right, who hasn’t? Now, I’ve been hired by the family of one of the victims - afraid I can’t tell you which, client confidentiality, you understand - to do some leg work on it. The police have been drawing nothing but dead ends, see. I’ve visited the crime scenes, asked questions, checked public records, etcetera, etcetera. But I’ve got no further than the cops have.”

“That would be what I would expect,” Dene said, and raised the device. “Look here, please.” Nate looked into the ‘barrel’ of the device, and managed not to wince or jerk away as the bright light flashed as it scanned his retinas.

“Right,” Nate nodded, once Dene pulled the retinal scanner away. “Still, these folks have lost a loved one, and are willing to mortgage the universe if it gets the bastard responsible. Of course, there’s no way I could get further info from the cops. Sure, I’m a licensed investigator, but I’ve no right sticking my nose into an open case file. That’s their viewpoint, at least. But one of them lost a loved one to this monster themselves, so he throws me a bone.”

“The database here,” Dene said, nodding his understanding while watching the scanner. A green light winked on with a small ping. He nodded, satisfied. He jabbed a button on the grip and the ID card was ejected. He removed it and handed it back to Nate.

“Everything seems to be in order, Mr Reynolds,” Dene said. “I hope you enjoy your visit here. And, good luck.”

Nate grinned. “Thanks, uh…” He leant forward. “Corporal Blackmore,” he said, reading Dene’s name on the badge just below his rank markings. “Take care now.”


Nate Reynolds drove past the barrier at a creep. As he joined the main flow of traffic, he allowed himself a small smile of relief.

‘If the mercenary business dries up,’ Donovan Early reflected to himself. ‘I could become a decent actor.’
I work all day and I think all night
I break my body, but that's all right
Cos it'll take all my mind and all my might
To keep one step ahead of you
L.E. Modesitt, Jr wrote: Sometimes cynicism is the last refuge of the idealist.
As soon as you saw people as things to be measured, they didn't measure up.
You think water moves fast? You should see ice. It moves like it has a mind. Like it knows it killed the world once and got a taste for murder.
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Old 07/08/2010   #88

Kerr - The Pod Room

Wet eyelids heavy with dried blood and sweat fluttered open.
He felt the numb, dull weakness in every bone of his body before his senses could bring themselves to recognise any other facet of his surroundings.

The throbbing in his skull was next to return, like the pounding of a harsh baton, rapping out a pulsing rhythm on the inside of his skull, though it was far from the striking pains that he had recalled enduring, in the dream.

The dream? Kerr’s eyes widened as he became fully alert. The shock of what he had just experienced forcing his battered and beaten body into action. The Destrillian of gravity rarely ever had dreams, the few that he did have were vague and indistinct flashes of consciousness that shone through like streaks of sunlight through darkening skies and lasted just as long. They had been nothing like this, it had felt as vivid and real as reality itself.

He had felt-

-Why was he in a pod? His inward train of thought was distracted almost as soon as he had begun to contemplate what he had just experienced in the dreamscape. His attention brought back to what mattered, what was immediate, physical and in front of his eyes. An obstacle to overcome. A mission.

Momentarily his sharp mind rolled over the possibility that the Viola portion of the dream was not so much of a dream after all, these pods did have an air of haunting familiarity about them. The feeling of being restrained and contained, separated from everything human and everything alien, whilst being fed orders through a thick veil of glass. He tried testing his superhuman strength against the bonds on his wrists, but they held tight, just as they had in Viola. Using his power here would be incredibly dangerous too, just as it had been for Thetis before, especially considering the damage done to his head during the battle beforehand. He pressed his tired wrists against the bonds again, but they failed to budge.

Escaping this pod was proving to be a problem.

Instead of wasting more of his already dwindled energy reserves on trying to brute force his way out, he turned his attention to the wider situation. Anything to keep his mind from...lingering.

Logically, the other Destrillians had to have been in the same situation as he. Trapped inside these pods. Again. Unless the others had all conspired to lock him away in here whilst they made their escape, the indignity of the thought made his nostrils flare. The notion was quickly dismissed though as his mind flashed back to the last waking moments he could remember, stumbling blindly through the claustrophobic and surreal atmosphere of the nightclub they had traversed. He remembered the others being affected in the same way as he, before everything fell beneath an all concealing black curtain. No, he was in this along with the rest of them. Unfortunately this meant that any hope of rescue rested on one of the other Destrillians reaching down out of their compassion to free him, which immediately ruled any chance of Thetis pulling her way into his pod to free him out of the window, unless she mistook him for Idris.

He wondered momentarily why his mind had flashed to Idris. Before his attuned psychic senses recognised that it was her signature that was hovering directly outside his pod.

Before his wearied mind could even catch up to what it was sensing, the door had been ripped free and the musky scent of the room that the Destrillian was being stored in began to flood his nostrils. His rescuer, gave him the tired kind of smile that was pretty reflective of how the entire group must have been feeling right now before popping open the restraints on his hands and feet. Kerr met this all with a fairly incredulous look, he was tired, borderline exhausted from the near constant physical exertion. There was something else too, a pain that was weighing on his mind that had nothing to do with the use of his powers or the blow to his head. As he took his first wavering steps out of the pod he felt as though he was about to collapse, never before had he so badly desired to rest.

Pitch black eyes scanned the lengthy room where the Destrillians had been apparently been kept, all of them, all of those who had escaped into the sewers were now staggering out of their pods, evidently freed by Idris. All these old faces, all these pods, Kerr couldn’t help but think that even this barren room felt somewhat reminiscent of Viola’s Recreation Room. Simpler times.

As his mind adjusted to the new environment he took a moment to register a few of the faces that had not been present at the time that he had fallen unconscious as he dragged himself off to the opposite side of the room, putting a bit of distance between the group to watch and listen to their interactions. There was no use getting involved and making what was rapidly becoming a very packed and very complicated situation even more complicated until he knew exactly who was involved here and how they were responding to it.

He was nearly thrown off his feet again by the feeling of sharp, bony shoulder slamming into his back. Whilst he quickly righted himself, he turned with a sour scowl to see that this gesture had unsurprisingly come from a deathly pale and blood soaked Thetis. This kind of petty gesture was hardly surprising, though the familiar feeling of the anger uncoiling inside him was quite the painkiller and motivated his tired legs to keep him moving.

Naturally his attention was first drawn to the Dark Rider, the masked and armoured stranger who had shown up at the scene of his battle with Thetis. He was talking to another stranger, also a Destrillian with snow white hair and garbed in a dark trenchcoat. Could these two have come from the same place? They certainly seemed to be more familiar with each other than the Rider had been with any of the other Destrillians.

“It’s me, Kram. The Darkness Destrillian.”

So the Stranger’s real name was Kram? Kerr noted. Massaging the wound on his head as he watched Kram flick down the visor on his helmet, revealing his face for the first time. Whilst it was good to finally put a face to the name of this enigmatic stranger Kerr couldn’t help but feel the revulsion rise up in him like bile. He was one of those classically good looking men, with flawless handsome features that the wretched humans seemed to fawn over.

The new Destrillian he was talking to didn’t seem too impressed either, though he didn’t seem to feel too much about anything at all. His cold, statue-esque features seemed to be thoroughly impassive about absolutely everything that was going on. He couldn’t help but suspect that the cold, indifferent look was similar to the one that seemed to permanently adorn his own face.

He pressed himself back against the wall, leaning on it for support as he turned his attention to the next new arrival he sensed within the room. An eerily familiar power signature that he had not felt since the night they had all escaped Viola’s facility.

Truthfully, he didn’t know whether or not to be shocked that Fiona Myrwind had found her way to the group. With all the old faces that had appeared out of the blue today it felt somewhat unsurprising that the Destrillian of Fire would have turned up too. What did however, make his jaw slacken in genuine surprise was the way in which Thetis was cradling her in her arms, despite the bizarre look of embarrassment and frustration on Fiona’s face it was still a bizarre sight. Fiona had always hated Thetis in Viola, and now she was letting her hold her in a way that looked so close, so disgustingly human that he couldn’t help but turn away. The scalding glare from Thetis in his direction, might have inspired this reaction too. Now definitely would not have been the time to remind the by now fairly large assembled group of his and Thetis’ recent confrontation.

The final stranger in the room were ones that he instantly recognised as not being a Destrillian, a young girl, but older than the other new arrival to the group: Stolz. Spindly limbed and clad in ragged clothes, covered in tattoos and her face hidden beneath a long thatch of dirty blonde hair. By the way in which Idris had pulled herself up to a confrontational stance with the girl and the way in which everyone else appeared to be giving her a substantial berth, he had the feeling that perhaps she was the one that had caused all this. Or at least this girl had been the one that the Destrillians had decided to blame this latest catastrophy on.

Right now it didn’t matter. Tuned instincts let the gravity Destrillian that this place was not the safe haven with which to assign blame, the humans were still searching for them above and hell only knew what had happened down here, or even why. These were questions that needed to be asked later not now, not even in this illusion of safety.

Kerr folded his arms as he stood in impatient silence, waiting for any of the others to cotton on to this train of thought.

It was time to leave.

Last edited by Alex; 07/08/2010 at 11:32 PM.
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Old 07/09/2010   #89

The Mirage - Main area

This is dragging on long enough, If I don't kill someone very soon I'll....well alright I'm just going kill very soon regardless. Vana Thought to herself as she sat impatiently on the stool next to the bar, holding some form of drink as the trio proceeded in 'negotiations' with Jettison's sidekick. The whole ordeal was long and boring, and if she knew any better she'd say that he was trying to stall them....actually that was exactly what he was doing now that she thought of it. So it seems their pawns weren't as stupid as they appeared, and actually had the intelligence to work up a stalling game. The most appropriate thing to do in response was to kill them horribly, however she knew if she acted without consulting the arrogant old fool, then it might give him a reason to turn this situation into another reason to belittle her...

Vana was then interrupted by the sound of a phone ringing from under her cape. This was convenient. And so she stood up from her seat, placed her drink down and simply told the extremely well built man in front of her.

"I'll be right back, please continue in the meantime." And proceeded to head towards an empty hallway that most likely lead to whatever this place might consider bathrooms. Once alone she withdrew a phone from under her cape and placed the devise next to her ear.

"Vana speaking".

"Is it done yet?" A voice flatly boomed from the speaker, one which made Vana instantly jump at the sound of.

"Your excellency! I did not expect you to personally grace me with your grand voice." Vana replied in a sniveling tone.

"Spare me the empty flattery Vanagloria. Have you accomplished your mission yet?" The voice demanded at her.

"We're very close to doing so my lord!" Vana's groveling was radiating worse than the insides of a Nuclear reactor. She clearly didn't want to make the person on the other end displeased.

"Which means you have not." The voice stated in an unamused tome.

"No no, we really are your greatness!" Vana implored. "The Destrillians are in the same establishment we're currently residing in. It's just that we're....having difficulties in negotiating with that shape-shifting girl we made the deal with."

The voice took a moment to respond, and coldly replied "Jettison Brand should know better than to interfere with our plans. Kill her immediately. The same goes for anyone else who stands in your way."

"Oh yes, yes of course your worshipfulness!" Then paused and remembered something else.

" more thing your excellency. What about the little one?"

"Leave them least for now. The time will come when they will be of use to me. Now go, and teach these pathetic creatures what happens when they meddle in matters that do not concern them."

"It shall be done my lord!." And with that the other end of the line went dead. Vana's sinister grin once again appeared on her face as now she could disregard any form of restraint and proceed with what she had been looking forward to. It was time for those lowly Destrillians to die.

"I'm terribly sorry to interrupt these proceedings....." Vana called out to Nova as she came strolling around the corner back into the room. "However it seems our leader isn't very tolerant to you and that girl interfering with our plans, therefore..." and as the words ended the center of her eyes lit up red, and at the same time both Inveja and Vollerei began to grin in a disturbing fashion.


Hey who wants to come home with me?!
Ok that wasn't very smart but totally worth it!
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Old 07/13/2010   #90

Jettison stared impassively to meet Thetis' gaze, her expression unreadable, much less anything resembling the girl who had sent them into their nightmares.

The low-key noise caused by the ruckus back in the main part of the nightclub was stifling enough to put a general air of unease throughout the room as Thetis let go of the girl. She dusted herself off, unconcerned at either Thetis' behavior or Kram's threats, meeting his actions with the same stony eyes as he fumed off with the other.

These Destrillians would make it out of this nightclub alive, if they let her help them. Of course, with the assumptions that they were making, they'd much sooner attempt to kill her than let her help them, although on a one-for-one basis Jettison pondered if they could be anything more than hand-to-hand practice.

Which was not to say that their assumptions were wrong, but she would much rather have some form of neutrality than she would another few people out for her head.
It seemed to the trend for tonight. By the sounds of it, Nova was having a hard time keeping the old guests entertained.

"We're leaving."

"Yes, you are." Idris folded her arms with an air of finality and (as Jettison thought to herself) somewhat unwarranted authority.

"All of us."

But before Idris could ask, a gargantuan man burst through the doors, accidentally tearing off the doorknob. He casually flicked it aside, wiping sweat off his heavyset brow and dusting ceiling plaster off his shoulders.

"Girl, we gotta hustle. Our business bros got twitchy and it's time to get the fuck out."

The girl nodded, swiftly dismantling all the equipment strewn around the room, giving up her attempt to pass Thetis' embrace over Fiona by flinging the moistened towel for Thetis to fidget over, ignoring Idris' questioning. The man accompanying her bounced around the room with restless energy.

"WAKEY WAKEY, EGGS AND BACEY, BOYS AND GIRLS!" A stilted grin split his face as he hefted Terra face-forward onto his meaty shoulder, sweeping Kramskov up under his armpit as he struggled to fix his helmet back onto his head. "Girl, c'mon! No time for the tech, baby! Gotta roll before the crazy bitches rip us a new one!"
He whole-heartedly ignored any of the cries (or muted squeals) of surprise and protest as he surveyed a spectacularly uninteresting section of brick wall while carrying his newly-found cargo.

"Exit is blocked." The girl motioned towards the chaos unfurling downstairs as the rest of the gang around her helped the other Destrillians to their feet. "We left all the digging explosives back in camp."

"Fuck them firecrackers, that shit got nothin' on a supernova, baby!" The man winked, and with a running start from the other side of the room, plowed into the end of the room headfirst, still cradling Kram under his left arm and with Terra hanging over his right shoulder.

When the thick clouds of dust settled, he was on the other side of the wall, grinning the same cocky grin that he had from the very beginning, as the dim yellow light from the burning oil drum behind him silhouetted his bulky profile and made the sweat glisten off his meaty arms.

"What, you only just figured out how pretty I am? C'mon, time to hustle!"

The rest of the gang members around them helped the other Destrillians having difficulty snapping out of their dazes, as the chaos going on downstairs seemed to approach nearer, threatening lights flickering at the door's entrance as they made their forced escape.


Nica sat in her armchair, legs tucked up under her chin as the world rotated around her. With everything around her in a distorted haze, she found the time to contemplate on the single thought that had entered her head.

The recordings that Benjie had managed to acquire were nothing short of confirmation that the Tuatha-One test subjects were most definitely out there. Like cockroaches, they had survived the nuclear test of their abandonment - Nica Wilkins thought of it more as abandonment rather than disposal due to the ridiculously sloppy efforts of the scientists - and had formed residence in a place where they could not be rooted out so easily.

News from her informant in the Orange Zone had all but confirmed that Donna Queene Webb was still alive, although since her escape from the disposal squad Nica had sent many years ago, she was suffering from memory loss of many of the events that had made her a Tuatha-One Delta Priority.

That she was in posession of Destrillians, the remains of what had made Viola the monolith of the Artolian market years ago before its literal collapse, had made Nica's mouth water. The girl she had established the psychic link to during her hours of sleep may have been one and the same, but she wasn't one to jump to conclusions, even if she was right.

As her armchair began to finally slow down, she fidgeted in her pocket for a fresh wad of gum, spitting out her previous wad into the bin opposite the room. Chewing it revealed a light red raspberry taste mixed with an odd tang of lemon that she decided to ask about later.

She contemplated using her one (and only) snitch within IRIN to find some answers as she knew for sure that the higher-ups within the PMC were simply the same heads of Viola who jumped ship as the company sunk, and would be highly interested in the recent news on television.

But Nica's guess was that right now, they were just as much in the dark about their whereabouts as anyone else. If Delta Priority was really out to get Denann, then there was the chance that she'd have the Destrillians with her.

And with that came the opportunity to get some very, very intimate research done. She stopped spinning her armchair and got back to work before Carson could launch another tirade in her office about slacking.

死の果までも追い掛けます、 探し出し

RIP in peace old sig lolol 04/2015

Don't believe your eyes? Don't be surprised.

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