The Lifestream Home The Lifestream Forums The Lifestream Shop Donate to The Lifestream
The Lifestream

ARCHIVED FORUMS

Hello. You are currently viewing the old vBulletin forums, which are now in readonly archive mode.
Please go to https://thelifestream.net/forums to go to the current forums.


Go Back   The Lifestream Forums > Archive > TLS Archive > RP Forum > RPG > ORPG

ORPG Original and detailed RPs for the experienced and ambitious RPer.

 
 
Thread Tools
Old 05/09/2011   #181
Omega
Default

========== THETIS ALCESTEOS, FIONA MYRWIND, and TELRAN MIARA ==========
Limnades HQ




Now comes the hard part.

The Destrillian duo had managed to sneak their way into Limnades HQ, but now they faced the daunting task of searching the huge building for an antidote. They had no idea where to begin looking, whether there was, in fact, a cure or not, or how they'd even recognize it if they did find it. As they walked down the hallway, maintaining their delivery act, Telran spared Thetis a glance. She seemed on edge - not that he could blame her. But for this, they'd need to be at the top of their game...with Fiona's life (and theirs) on the line, there was no room for mistakes.

You okay?

Fine. Thetis responded curtly as her sneakers screeched on the linoleum flooring. She stared at the lines and scribbles scrawled on signs across nearly every wall. None of them made sense. In fact, nothing that was happening made any sense. Whether it was the mounting pressure of her own success or the steady countdown to Fiona's final breath, Thetis' self-imposed veneer of confidence had fallen away. The distorting euphoria of infiltrating Limnades had vanished, and the water prototype felt very much alone, despite Telran marching beside her. By reassuring habit, the blue-haired girl twisted a finger in her braid. Do you know where we should go?

No idea, he replied, shaking his head. If I had to guess, I'd say the labs probably aren't on the ground floor. There was a certain wry quality to this comment, as he remembered just how far below the ground he had been kept for all those years. But according to the signs, we're headed towards the elevators - hopefully, in the right direction.

As if on cue, the bell of the elevator doors sliding open echoed down the corridor. Thetis jammed her trembling hands into the pockets of her overalls as she felt goosepimples skitter across her skin. Fiona's box was getting harder to push, and they hadn't even breached the first floor yet. It's just nerves, Thetis thought to herself, trotting after Telran as he entered the elevator. She caught a glimpse of the illuminated buttons on the wall and decided aganst pushing them at random. Time was bearing down on them, after all. It was at times like this that Thetis Alcesteos wished she had bothered to learn how to read. Mercifully, Telran saved her from an awkward explanation, and the elevator doors shuddered to a close. After a moment's silence and a stilted recollection of why she disliked elevators in the first place, Thetis motioned to their cargo. "D'you reckon we should leave her in the box?"

"Well," Telran said slowly, "I don't know. If we take her out now, we'd have to come up with a damn good explanation for why two delivery personnel are carrying around an unconscious woman that definitely doesn't work here." He thought for a moment. "On the other hand, it certainly would let us move around more quickly."

"We don't have time to waste,"Thetis said as she stooped over the box. "Besides, security will recognise us soon enough. They won't all be as clueless as that guy at the door." The blue-haired girl jammed her fingers under the lid. "Here, give me a hand."

As he stooped down to help, the tattooed doctor's reply came as a murmur: "I just want to go on record as having said that this is a bad idea."

"Everything about this is a bad idea, now are you going to help me or not?!" Thetis growled and struggled to remove the heavy lid, Telran rolling his eyes. As she felt the tendons in her neck strain, Thetis wished Idris hadn't been so thorough. After a slew of profanities and curses, the box finally gave way to their efforts, and a very limp, very unconscious Fiona toppled uncermoniously onto the elevator floor. Kneeling beside her counter-part, Thetis untangled the mess of limbs and carefully pulled the fire Destrillian onto her back. The water Destrillian let out a small grunt as she rose to her feet. Fiona was heavier than she looked. She glanced at Telran, his eyebrows knitted together in a frown. "The worst they can do is security guards," Thetis shifted Fiona's weight across her shoulders. "We'll just have to be fast, that's all."

While Thetis had been occupying herself with Fiona, Telran had been paying attention to the current running through the elevator. It took a moment, but he managed to locate not only the highly visible security camera glaring down at them near the door, but the second, well-hidden camera in the ceiling itself. "Fast, huh?" he said thoughtfully. Then it's a good thing I'm here, he thought, a wide grin spreading across his face. He could feel his pulse beating rapidly in his veins, the excitement of their dangerous task - in truth, the thrill of it, something he couldn't explain - surging through him. This is what they had been made for. This is what he had trained for. And this is exactly the kind of thing that he hadn't gotten to do in a long, long time.

A single finger touching the inner-facing portion of the thick steel doors was all it took for him to direct his consciousness through the circuitry, the twin cameras sparking as they shorted out. With a quiet pop and a hiss of smoke, it was done. The corners of Thetis' lips twitched into a smirk as the reality of their task dawned upon her. Sure, they hadn't planned a thing beyond this moment and the whole notion of searching a pharmaceutical company for a cure they weren't even sure existed was crazy, not to mention nigh on imposible. But here they were, each of them armed with a Destrillian's greatest weapon; instinct. After all, walking on a knife edge came naturally to each of them; how else would they have survived Viola? The elevator groaned to a halt and the doors slid open to an empty hallway. Was this the worst Limnades could do? "Looks like you might have your work cut out for you," Thetis drawled as she caught sight of numerous cameras nestled in the nooks and crannies of the ceiling.

Telran's eyes flitted here and there down the hallway, then let out a large sigh. He took hold of a metal handrail that ran the length of the hallway, then bent double as he did, in what he hoped was a convincing show for whoever might be watching. As he did so, he opened up his mind. This would be slightly more difficult - but only slightly. Without looking at the cameras, he felt out the hotspots of current and, with a shudder as he became one with the wiring in the walls, he pushed. The river's flow was halted, welling in place, the pressure building. There was less need for a light show this time, and so the cameras simply sputtered and died.

Somewhat light-headed, Telran went a step further, digging into one other part of the electrical system which might prove a nuisance - the in-house alarm. After a few minutes' concentration, he'd managed to pick out one of the emergency boxes, located a way down the hallway. Approaching it, his eyes lost focus as his gaze went through the panel itself, directed in multiple directions at once through the walls. Watch my back? he asked Thetis, now that he had a feel for what needed to be done. Taking out the alarm system was going to be draining.

Sure, just be quick.

He nodded absentmindedly, then took a deep breath and jumped into the electric sea.


=====


"Geez, talk about taking your time," Thetis snapped as she wedged the metal box between the elevator doors. He'd wasted more of the time they so desperately needed to find a cure. On the other hand, the water Destrillian thought begrudgingly, he had saved them a great deal of trouble. Thetis trotted down the guard-free corridor to meet her companion "Shall we?"

Breathing a bit heavier than he'd like, Telran just stared at her in reply. "Oh, thank you, Telran! Thank you soooo much for making sure the guards won't come rushing down on us any second while we risk everything searching for something that may not even exist." At least when I was a doctor, people thanked me..

Standing back up and gesturing down the hall, he made a tiny mock bow. "Lead the way."

The water prototype stared blankly at Telran before pointedly sweeping her gaze over every one of the twenty-four doors she could see. Perhaps this was payback for being ungrateful (Telran made sure she didn't see his smirk). They just needed to find the lab for anti-venoms and toxins, that was all. Once they had done that, finding the cure would just be a matter of narrowing samples down. Theoretically. With a quiet "hmph!", Thetis hurried to the first research lab. No sooner had she pushed open the door was the blue-haired girl met with barks, bays, groans, moans, croaks and howls. Wrong lab. The door closed as quickly as it had opened. "Next."


Telran poked his head into a door across the hall from the first. This one was filled with nothing but various large machines used for diagnostics, which included a very large MRI machine which took up most of his field of vision. "Next."

And so it continued. Each door seemed like another step backwards as the pair of Destrillians searched for a cure to no avail. Of course, they found many things in the process: surgical equipment, medical documentation, biological weaponry, cosmetics, test subjects and plants. Lots of plants.

"How have we not run into anything with pills or needles yet?" Telran asked incredulously.

"We're lucky we haven't run into any guards yet, either," Thetis sighed as she tried to wedge Fiona's weight against a wall. She craned her neck around the corner and groaned as she caught sight of the labs yet to be searched. "Maybe we're looking in the wrong place?"


"Nothing to do but keep looking, I suppose." As Telran opened the next door, he paused for a moment in surprise. What he'd found was not a laboratory, supply closet, or series of large filing cabinets detailing the research being conducted at present - and, he noted with a tinge of pleasure, no plants.

It was a break room.

"Huh."

This was unexpected.

With a frustrated groan, Thetis set Fiona down on a row of chairs and surveyed the room around her. There was no sign of a cure. In fact, there was nothing apart from a couple of fully-stocked vending machines, staff notice boards and thread-bare cushioned chairs with the stuffing peeping out. It stank of stale smoke and sterility, save for the cool draught that floated in from the open fire-escape. Telran paused for a moment, eyeing one of the vending machines appreciatively. The blue-haired girl caught his eye.

"Need some spare change?"

His only reply was a slight smirk, placing a hand on the keypad. There was a soft whirr as the machine dispensed a small energy bar. As he tore the package off with his teeth, he answered the unspoken question of why he was eating during a break-in (which was probably against the protocol of burglary): "That bit with the alarms took a lot out of me. Need the sugar."

The water prototype sighed and turned her back on Fiona and her mohawked companion. While Telran indulged himself in his hard-earned candy, something caught Thetis' attention. The break-room was lined with cupboards and beaten metal lockers. Upon further inspection, the shelves were empty but for a few plastic containers and cans of tinned food. One of the lockers, however, held something much more interesting. Indeed, the presence of the single, concentrated mass of water within was hardly unfamiliar sensation to the Destrillian.

"I don't want to alarm you," Thetis said casually as she walked over to the locker closest to the fire-escape. "But there's a body in this locker."

"A body? Hm." Telran cocked his head slightly. "Not alive," he said thoughtfully, moving over to join Thetis. As he opened it, its rather unusual contents fell out suddenly, crashing onto the floor in a bloody heap of white and black.

"He can't have died too long ago," she knelt beside the body and carefully pressed a hand against the man's greying skin. There was hardly time for this; but bodies stuffed in lockers usually had a tendency to complicate things; especially if experience was anything to go by. The human was a scientist; that much was obvious from the labcoat. Evidence of significant head trauma and a bleeding nose suggested nothing short of murder. Not that it was a big deal, of course. Just another distraction. Thetis looked up at Telran with a weak smile. "Workplace grudge?" She rubbed her eyes and rose to her feet. They weren't the only ones prowling the halls of Limnades.

"Tired of him eating their lunch?" he suggested absentmindedly, gazing at the rigid form that lay crumpled in front of him. There was significant hemorraghing - if it hadn't been for the skull not being caved in, Telran would have suggested he'd been hit with something. But this...this was different.

"Looks like they didn't use a weapon," he murmured, eyes meeting those of his partner.

"What does it matter?" Thetis sighed. Exasperated, she wandered over to Fiona and, with a grunt of effort, lifted the unconscious Destrillian over her shoulder. "We need to go." The blue-haired girl passed through the fire escape, unable to hide a grimace as she caught a glimpse of the seemingly endless concrete stairwell.

Telran was nonplussed as he began stuffing the corpse back in the locker; they didn't need anyone finding it, after all. He was certainly curious about the circumstances surrounding the body, but there was no time to play detective. As he turned to follow Thetis, something lying on the break room's table caught his eye: an ID badge, which apparently belonged to a Mr. John Carmine. He stashed it in one of his pockets as he moved to catch up to Thetis - never know when it might come in handy.

Telran, coming up behind, happened to catch sigh of a sign by the fire exit door. "Fire escape...huh. Looks like this goes all the way to the top." He scanned the list of levels a moment further, his eyes landing on a listing six floors up.

"Are you coming or not?!" Thetis' voice echoed down the stairwell, barely audible over the noise of her ascent. After the first set of steps, the water prototype broke into a run, flinging herself up the stairs, passing each door with little more than a fleeting glance in the hope that instinct would instruct her where she needed it most. Telran could linger for as long as he wanted. He was obviously far more comfortable looting vending machines and playing with cameras than saving the life of another Destrillian. Thetis scowled.

The golden-eyed doctor's voice broke into her thoughts. "You went too far up," he said quietly, the reverberating echoes of the stairwell amplifying his voice to such an extent that it was easily heard by Thetis, who was about four flights up. From the tone of her voice, it seemed to him that Thetis was starting to panic a little more than necessary. It takes a steady hand, he reminded himself. "There's an archive on this level. It should tell us exactly where to find the antidotes." Without another word, he passed through the door into the level marked 'Research and Development / Archives' and began the hunt.

You don't have to be so smug about it. A vein throbbed in Thetis' temple as she bounded down the stairs. Ass. She glared at Telran's back and trotted after him.

There were a number of doors here, as before. This time, however, it happened that the door they wanted was very clearly marked, and directly in the center of the level - 'Archives'. There was a smaller sign near the door ('Clearance Required'), which is what Telran was gazing at as Thetis caught up.

"'Clearance Required'," he said, without looking at Thetis. "But what kind?" he mused.

A small part of Thetis wanted to cry. But she wasn’t going to; not in front of Telran and definitely not in front of Fiona. The water prototype grit her teeth. All these obstacles and roadblocks; so much for a reprieve. She stormed up to the door, fists clenching at her sides as she directed every ounce of anger and frustration towards their new obstacle. "I don't care 'what kind'! I haven't come this far --" the sole of her shoe slammed against the metal door with a satisfying clang "--to be stopped--" clang "--by something stupid--" she took a step back this time, the final connection of her foot against the door echoing through the corridor "--LIKE THIS!"

"Are you trying to get us caught?!" Telran hissed, eyes roving about the area to see if anyone was near enough to overhear. "All that is meaningless if we need some kind of code to log into their archives once we're in the room! You have got to stay calm, Thetis." Now his golden gaze turned to her. "Look, I know how important she is to you. I get it. But you're no good to her unless you can stay focused and calm." Even as he said it, he braced for the outburst he was sure was coming.

"You don't know anything, Telran!" Her heart pounded in short, sharp strokes. What does he know? He doesn’t even have a reason to be here. Here, where the world was thickly and entirely cut off. Thetis stiffened and watched as Telran seemed to simper at her with smiling malice. She clutched Fiona’s jeans until her knuckles turned white. Attempting to distract herself, She tried to think of the future, how Fiona would wake up and hit them both with a witty one-liner before telling Telran his hair looked stupid. The scene melted as she tried to look at it, and another supressed stab of emotion vanished as quickly as it had arrived.

“Some of us can’t just skip on back to our expensive apartments and jam our heads in the sand if this goes wrong!”

Telran was silent. Many things flashed through his mind, not least of which was that her words were surprisingly hurtful for someone he'd just met. And one other that occurred to him: his hand darted into the pocket he had stashed the ID badge in and, quick as thought, slid it through the reader on the door.

After a moment, there was a beep, and the door to the research archives slid open with a soft hiss. A wave of cold air enveloped them, the dull thrumming of the refrigeration units, used to keep the servers from overheating, filling in the silence with white noise.

A silence which was broken as they entered the room - the click of a high-powered pistol being cocked.

"No sudden movements."
__________________
Omega is offline  
Thanked by 9:
Alex (05/09/2011), Baldy (05/10/2011), Bex (05/09/2011), Celes Chere (06/11/2011), Hisako (05/09/2011), Mantichorus (05/10/2011), NoenGaruth (05/15/2011), Rumpelstiltskin (05/10/2011), Sheva Alomar (05/09/2011)
Old 05/15/2011   #182
NoenGaruth
Default

---MAIN BALLROOM, AVIDEZ'S CHATEAU---


"This is incredibly boring. I thought these fancy events would have more to do,"
Zwei complained as she sat at the table for the IRIN delegation, currently only occupied by herself and Drei. The android had spent most of the event so far either staring off into space or fiddling with the medals on her IRIN parade uniform, while Drei on the other hand was gazing at a glass of champagne with a confused expression.

"Are you just going to stare at it all night?"
Zwei grumbled at her subordinate. The words made the blond girl break her stare and look up in surprise.

"Umm...what do I do with it, senior Zwei?"
She asked bluntly.

"Don't call me that here," Zwei corrected, still in her state of boredom. "In public we use the alias names; I'm Julia Zweibruken and you're Junis Dreier. And you're supposed to drink that bubbling substance in the glass, while you look like you're trying to explode it with your mind."

Drei picked up the glass and examined it closer. "Drink it? But why would I do that?"

Zwei sighed. "You wouldn't. There's no conceivable reason for us to because we lack both taste buds and a digestive system...which makes me incredibly disappointed." The artificial girl looked towards the assortment of sweets and cakes laid out in the middle of the table. I must remember to pester Mr. Vargas about that next time I see him...

"Junis," the brown haired android spoke as she sat up properly in her chair. "Go socialize. Right now you need to improve in that area and most of these high class simpletons are easy to amuse so even you should be able to pull it off."

'Junis' nodded in response and stood up before wandering over to a group of what appeared to be representatives from one of the Artolian drug companies. Now that the junior was gone, Zwei slumped back in her chair and began fidgeting again with a medal on her uniform that was dangling off a ribbon.

---

For her part, Idris had decided it was best to leave Kerr on his own for a while; she didn’t want to provoke a ballroom massacre, after all. For the past little while, she had been exploring the vast length of the luxurious hall on her own. She hadn’t spoken to too many people along the way – her conversation from before had sucked all the words from her.

Until now. With a delicate, flaky pastry halfway to her mouth, the Destrillian froze mid-motion. She lowered the hors d'oeuvre back onto its little gilded plate, turning slowly, cautiously around, so as not to attract any attention.
To her right there sat a brunette woman, decked out in an attire that would be considered formal even in contrast to the rest of the ball-goers--clearly too bored for words. She would flick a look that might have been contempt, or might have been jealousy, at the decadent pile of sweets artfully laid out on the table she sat at.

And also, her bones were made of metal.

Idris was sure of it. She had never felt anything like it, but there was no denying the cold strength of the skeleton beneath the woman's skin. Some sort of steel alloy, maybe, or perhaps titanium... it was hard to tell. The rest of the body, she thought with increasing curiosity, was in the way. This was new.
And then she got to thinking. This was clearly not normal; it was ironic to say, but a woman not fully human? Definitely worth a looking at. It might prove to be interesting. Or helpful. Or at least it would distract her while time ticked on and Shilo remained unjustified and Terra remained unfound.

So she popped her pastry into her mouth, set the little plate on the edge of a table, and walked to meet the woman.

"Bon soir," she said in greeting, the velvet words feeling more and more at home on her tongue. She smiled. Careful. "You seem like the evening isn't being particularly interesting to you. Care if I attempt to relieve the boredom?"

The woman looked at her without either moving or changing expression. "And who are you? Another Audoulan rich kid running around at your folk's expenses?" She spoke in a grumbly manner.

Idris laughed at the thought. Imagine if. "I got here off my own back, thanks," she replied, sliding smoothly into a chair opposite to the crabby woman. "And you? You don't exactly seem as if you just decided to drop in." She eyed the medal that had stopped having fingers play about it by now, to emphasize her point.

"Of course I didn't," she replied, looking down at her medal and then back at Idris. "If you're having to ask why I'm here though, you must have been living under a rock." She tugged at the collar of her uniform, emphasizing the gold pin that spelled the words 'IRIN'.

Ah. So that was where she was from, then. Idris had gleaned enough about the newborn super-company in the past four years to know that a humanoid was completely within their ability. Now that she was in close proximity to the brunette, Idris could tell - just as any living thing can tell of another - that she wasn't human at all. Not even a little bit. Becoming more and more intrigued, she raised her eyebrows beneath her wig and affected a tone of casual surprise: "My, I didn't see that there. Looks good on you. So you're their representative, then?" She nodded appreciatively of the fact. "And how did you land this prestigious position?"

The woman's expression changed from one of boredom to a slight smirk. "To the ignorant masses I was chosen to come here due to my extensive knowledge of the IRIN technology that can be applied in the field of medical treatment." She paused for a moment. "Although," she added, "the truth is that Mr. Vargas sent my colleagues and I here because we are top ISS agents hoping to find traces of Destrillian activity..." She leaned forward. "And I think it's proving to work out very well. Wouldn't you agree, number nine?"

Idris flinched at the name.

"Vargas?" She remembered him, alright - it was because of him that Eve had separated herself from the group, that she had gotten herself cornered. That she had...
Her bracelet clinked against the table. "I had a feeling he hadn't disappeared with Viola," she said through a clenched jaw. This meant their cover had been blown, and who knew whether it would have been kept secret if Idris hadn't gone up and spoken to this agent? How had she even figured it out? Her face? Her voice? The feeling of failing their mission - of failing her comrades - threatened to cripple the girl, but she steeled herself against it. The mission wasn't over, yet, after all; she could still salvage her situation. The woman seemed to be in no hurry to shout out to the masses that there were Destrillians in her midst, and it was just Idris sitting there--maybe she could play it off, for a while at least, that she was the only one there.

And if she couldn't, she did have one last weapon to pull. "'Well' is a matter of perspective, android." Her finger twitched and one of the pretty plates that showcased the sweets on the table bent most satisfactorily, to give the woman a hint. "Why's Vargas looking for Destrillians?"

"Why's Artolia looking for Destrillians?" the woman replied with a shrug. "You and your kind caused a great deal of disorder in Osea, and now everyone's out to remove you all from the planet. IRIN's role in this is simply that we are a private military company - we follow the money. Just happens that the Artolians are the ones who are currently signing the checks."

Much to her dismay, Idris found she couldn't argue with that. They had run rampant in Osea - although they had never intended to necessarily devastate it as they as wound up doing, it was the Destrillians who had dealt the first strike. They were to blame. "Well now that you've dug me out of the rough, what will you do?" Looking perhaps a tad more confident than she felt at the moment, the pale girl in her fancy dress and mask plucked a sweet off the table and ate it, the creamy taste a call back to reality. Nothing bad had happened yet. It could turn out alright, maybe.

"What indeed will I ever do? It's not like I could just put you in handcuffs and drag you off to a prison cell, no, it wouldn't work that way," she said with a hint of sarcasm in her voice. "You repelled everything I threw at you in the past, so what is one robotic frame going to do to the Gunmetal Glint?"

That last sentence clicked something together in the pale girl's brain. Firstly, the android had recognized her as a Destrillian without any telltale signs; then the familiar tone; now a straight-up allusion to some old memory or other. It was clear the woman opposite her was on close terms with her somehow.

"Who are you, really," Idris intoned, her genuine curiosity leaking through the veneer of controlled animosity she had thrown about her manner like a blanket to shield her from the threat of what the brunette might have in store.

"Oh my, how rude of me, I didn't introduce myself. I am Julia Zweibruken, although you might know me better as The Viola System's Combat Operations Artificial Intelligence, nicknamed 'Zwei'." She replied with a smile. Idris didn't smile back.

"So Vargas and his motley crew dragged you out of the system before it collapsed, then."

"Something like that, I didn't wish to perish with the company, so myself and the general operations AI made a deal with Mr. Vargas to save ourselves, and well, here I am now."


"I see how it is."
Idris rolled her skinny shoulders to loosen them as the full implications of what had just been said washed over her. Every time she had fought an opponent, simulated or mechanical, she had fought this woman--Zwei. Every time she had lost, she had been at the mercy of this brunette. Every time she had won, the tables had turned and it was she, the Gunmetal Glint, who had stood with her foot over the neck of the Combat Operations AI.

Now, she smiled. A predatory curling of the lips, baring perfect teeth.
She had won quite often.

"You and I know each other well, in that case," she said, the knowledge settling like a serum in her body, relaxing her from the state of high alert she had been in. "And as you said, I have been able to win over you in the past. I've grown a bit since last you saw me, to boot, Zwei. I don't think your pretty bones could handle finding out just how I've matured." She picked up another sweet between her cool, white fingers, and ate it, covering her mouth with her hand for her next statement: "So there's no point in doing anything to one another."

Zwei chuckled. "My my, such a show of confidence and independence. How the white coats of Viola would be fuming if they could see you now." She reached over to pick up a small cake of her own to hold in her hand, a feline smile tugging at her mouth at the look on Idris' face. "Granted you defeated me in the past, and you could easily defeat me now - however, you fail to see the broader perspective." She raised her hand with the cake in front of her face to examine the piece of confectionery closely, before her eyes glanced back over towards Idris. "Like you, I can evolve. Day by day IRIN's technology advances, and we already have countermeasures to you on a large scale protecting those lovely battleships that dominate the skies." And paused for a second to adjust her tie.
"But more importantly, unlike you, I cannot die. You can destroy this body, tear it to shreds and I will just come right back. You can rally all the victories you want, Idris, but all I need is; One. Good. Day."

It was an ugly truth. The AI was, for all intents and purposes, immortal, and thus there really was no point in either girl attacking the other. Idris bit the inside of her mouth as she filed away everything Zwei was saying; right in the moment, she could only keep up with what was happening in the moment. The reintroduction to the new incarnation of an old acquaintance (in a manner of speaking,) had, if she was to be completely honest with herself, left her a little shaken. The info-dump would all need close analysis later, when she could properly collect her thoughts. "Countermeasures?" she asked after a pause, deciding it was the best route to travel within the conversation.

The android closed her eyes before giving her reply. "Electromagnetic shielding. Originally it was designed to protect technology from an EM Pulse that is caused by setting off a nuclear device, although at some point the wizards at IRIN found that if you alter the concept to emit a field of EM radiation around an object, it provides resistance against most forms of brainwaves. In short, it would be more taxing for someone such as yourself to grab a metallic object that was behind such a defense. Mind you I share this simply because I know this information will not actually change anything, due to the fact that it's already being implemented; you will simply have to deal with it."

"Goodness, all this trouble over little old me." Idris' expression was wry. Asides from explaining exactly why she would have trouble with these battleships, Zwei had provided another tidbit of information: the fact that they were going to have to deal with battleships at all. They had been lucky during the escape from Osea - the giant leviathans had only had the time for one or two shots. Fighting against something like that for a prolonged amount of time, even without the EM radiation, was not on her list of top priorities.

She sighed. It just never ended, did it. "Zwei, in all honesty, tell me: do you think there's a chance that Artolia will ever stop hunting us?" If any of the Destrillians had been with her, they would have been surprised at her tone: her lofty casualness had evaporated, leaving behind only the genuine question, and the genuine worry. Idris never sounded worried.

Zwei raised an eyebrow. "Now what's this? Losing your cool Idris? If you really ask my opinion then I'd say yes; if you gave it enough time, then eventually they would probably forget about you, provided you were to lie low. The Artolians have enough worries, between the Damascans, The Order and all sorts of other aggressors existing on the central continents and beyond. But if you were to ask whether you will ever cease being hunted entirely, then I would say no. Something will always be after you, whether it's myself, the Artolians, or an unseen force, because if there's one thing I have observed during my existence, it is that you Destrillians attract trouble. And so it will always find you."

"Isn't that the truth," Idris replied, shaking her head and giving a mirthless little laugh. So it was certain, now. Strangely, that confirmation roused in her some sense of motivation she hadn't felt before. She couldn't place what it was. "Well in that case, we're just going to have to raise all the hell we can along the way, aren't we?" she said softly.

"I suppose you could always take that course of action,"
Zwei replied with a sly smile. "Seems you have exceeded every expectation your creators set for--" She suddenly stopped mid-sentence, her eyes beginning to randomly shift colour between gold and silver. "What is it? ...............Are you sure? ................I see. We'll be right there." Finished talking to herself, Zwei looked back at Idris. "Seems I've got work to do elsewhere; we'll have to call this conversation to an end. But don't worry, wherever you go, I won't be far away." She stood up from her seat.

"I'd call you lazy if you were," Idris replied, getting up as well. A chord had been struck in her, but she wasn't about to acknowledge it aloud. She had already shown to Zwei a part of her that rarely saw the light of day, out of some bizarre feeling of familiarity that came with the connection between her and Viola. That part of her that she hid from the others--that she hid from herself, sometimes, when she needed to.

'Exceeded every expectation.'
Is that enough?
No.

If that was how it was, then that was how it was. "Be seeing you," said number nine to her converser and combatant.

The android simply gave a wave back as she walked off, then disappeared into the sea of masqueraders, once again leaving the Destrillian alone.
__________________



Hey who wants to come home with me?!
Ok that wasn't very smart but totally worth it!
NoenGaruth is offline  
Thanked by 9:
Alessa Gillespie (05/15/2011), Baldy (05/15/2011), Bex (05/15/2011), Celes Chere (06/11/2011), Hisako (05/15/2011), Joe (05/15/2011), Mantichorus (05/15/2011), Rumpelstiltskin (05/16/2011), Super Mario (05/15/2011)
Old 05/15/2011   #183
Mantichorus
Default

~=~ VILLNORE, AUDOULA ~=~
KADEN WYNDHAM

(The day before the Ball)

Kaden tore off his latest makeshift bandage with a curse, trying to convince himself he wasn’t worried.

It was only a slight cut, for frak’s sake. Even a human should’ve healed from such a minor wound by now.

Blood still seeped from where the Manticore had sliced his arm. And now he was thinking about it again, he realised how much it still ached. He had been able to shove it into a corner of his mind once the transcendent agony of the initial wounding had passed, but the pain was still there. What was worse, he was convinced that the pain was spreading.

While the pain was bad enough, it also seemed to be effecting his judgement with that arm. Several times since he was wounded, he had used his right arm for something and ended up exerting more pressure than he had intended. To top the symphony of ills off, he was starting to feel slightly feverish.

A passer-by looked at his arm with concern, and asked him something his limited Audoulan found unintelligible.

Kaden shook his head. “Non parlez Audoulan, madame,” he replied in extremely broken Audoulan.

The woman pursed her lips for a moment. “Are you OK, young man? Your arm?” she asked in heavily accented Basic.

“Um, I have…a condition. My wounds don’t heal as fast as they should.” Struck by a burst of inspiration, he added; “Also, my eyes do not cope well with the light, hence these glasses.”

The woman clucked her tongue in sympathy. “Poor child,” she said. “Do you ‘ave anyone in the city?”

Kaden felt his hackles rise at this. She could have good intentions, but it could be a ploy - the smell of his own blood was making it hard for him to determine her motives.

“I have a cousin who works here,” he said. “I am meant to be meeting with him later.”

“Ah, that is good. I was worried you may be alone,” she said with a beaming smile. “Now come along, and I will ‘elp you with a dressing for that arm.”

Kaden was uncertain for a moment, but decided if he kept his eyes on her, he should be safe. He decided to play up the uncertainty and his vulnerability.

“Oh, thank you. Ah, that is to say, merci,” he said, using one of the few Audoulan words he could remember. This earned him another smile, and the woman headed towards a shop just across the street.

Kaden fought back a smirk as he recognised two words of Audoulan that were sufficiently similar to Basic for him to hazard a guess at their meaning: currency exchange. He had been looking for somewhere like this.

=========================================================

Eighteen Hours Earlier…

By the time he had found a section of wall that he could scale, Kaden could see the main entrance. Reasoning that walking calmly out of the main gate would attract less interest in observers than vaulting the wall and running for dear life, Kaden sauntered out from the storage depot onto the main road.

Leaving the depot behind him, barely glancing at the sign outside it (Omnis Freight Co. Ltd. - Importing the best of Damascus for YOU), Kaden headed towards the unmistakable flood of sensory input that indicated a large gathering of humanity.

As always, this course of action made him feel distinctly uneasy. The noise and stench that emanated from human habitation told his instincts to keep clear of them. However, the combat training he’d been given by Setanta had told him that the easiest place to hide something human-shaped was in amongst a crowd of other human-shaped beings.

While the smell of blood was affecting his sense of smell, his hearing was as good as ever. The sounds of inane chatter from nearby houses, occasional snippets of music -- -I woke up this morning, I took your advice, I dialled a number and I let it ring twice- -- and the almost overwhelmed sound of heartbeats, beating their slightly irregular rhythm.

Underneath the general hubbub of humanity, Kaden almost missed the burble of the brook that flowed under the bridge he was crossing. Kaden glanced over the edge of the bridge, and noticed that there was a grass verge on each bank. The location was almost perfect for him to use to wash himself and his jacket.

Kaden’s eyes darted around the residential area he was passing through, and, convinced he wasn’t being watched, he vaulted over the bridge’s railings. As he landed, he made sure to keep his wounded right arm in the air, and to use his left arm as a balance. His landing disturbed something which flew up into his face.

Before he could stop himself, Kaden’s right hand grabbed the fast moving object, which caused him to wince. He belatedly noticed the snap of him inadvertently breaking the neck of whatever it was. Cursing his lack of restraint all over again, he inspected his kill. He grunted in begrudging approval of the dead hare.

The gamey smell of the animal brought the Hunger out of the reverie it had retreated into since his scrape with Henry Evans, and it rose anew in his mind. Still, in some way that Kaden couldn’t qualify, it felt…weaker. A shadow of the Hunger he had felt so many times before. He was still hungry -- ha, wolfishly hungry -- but it didn’t feel as overwhelming as the Hunger usually did.

Putting the thought to one side for the moment, Kaden carefully stalked his way to the bank under the bridge, out of sight of the road. There, he stripped off his bloodied jacket, and, as an afterthought, the tee-shirt underneath. The tee was placed on the grass back in the sunlight.

Returning his attention to the jacket, he removed the gun, sheathed knife, and currency from its pockets. The currency disappeared into the varied pockets of his cargo trousers, with some attempt to order it by suspected country of origin. The gun and knife were placed to one side, where he could retrieve them quickly if they were needed.

Kaden removed his sunglasses to have a better look at the bloodstains on the jacket, squinting slightly at the change in light. It was nowhere near as bad as he had worried. The water of the brook should be sufficient to clean it off in. He glanced back at the verge in the sunlight, and nodded thoughtfully to himself.

The jacket was plunged into the lukewarm water, and Kaden scrubbed at it, ignoring the continual ache in his arm. The pressure an Animus could produce was more scrubbing than a human could expect, and shortly, the blood had been diminished to just a few off-colour stains. The jacket itself was slightly more faded than it had been moments before, but Kaden was indifferent to its loss.

Kaden walked at a stoop, until he was out in the sunlight again. He growled slightly as the sunlight momentarily blinded him, but other senses rushed in to assure him that there wasn’t anyone too close. The jacket was laid down in the sunlight a short distance from the tee-shirt. He was glad of the warmth of the sun, it would mean his jacket would dry out quickly.

Kaden returned to underneath the bridge, to inspect his kill more closely. A few sniffs were enough to convince him he hadn’t inadvertently killed a diseased animal. While the idea to just start biting chunks out of it was appealing, Kaden had learnt from experience that doing that sort of thing would swiftly bring his meal back for a second visit.

He turned his attention to the sheathed Manticore. Carefully, he pulled it out, making sure that he didn’t put any pressure on the button that dispensed the contents on the blade. Kaden carefully placed it down before he let the shudder he had felt at the idea of inadvertently ingesting some of the chemical agent express itself.

Picking it back up, he studied the grip of the knife. Logically, there had to be an access to the reservoir for the venomous knife. After a minute, he found it, and carefully loosened the catch before opening it up. Kaden exhaled a breath he hadn’t realised he had been holding.

The chemical itself was kept in a clear plastic reservoir that could be removed from the knife’s chamber. Almost disappointingly, the chemical was almost clear itself, and not, say, a bilious green. Kaden studied it as carefully as his hunger would allow him, before tentatively pulling it out, being careful not to spill any of the contents.

There was a small pinprick at the top of the container, obviously where the chemical agent inside was released onto the knife’s blade. As Kaden watched, it slowly sealed itself. He scoffed slightly at how impressed he was. He had been instructed that Carabas had developed a self-sealing plastic, but this was the first time he’d seen such a thing. He supposed it was constantly trying to reseal itself, but a needle or something in the knife held it open.

Kaden put the container down on the ground next to the sheath. After a moment’s hesitation, he dipped the knife into the brook to wash away any remnants of the chemical. He felt a very human momentary pang of guilt, and vaguely hoped that it was only Animus who were affected by whatever it was.

Once he was satisfied it was clean, he removed it from the water and turned his attention to the deceased hare behind him.

~ # ~

In under thirty minutes, Kaden had managed to finish off the hare at a measured rate. His hunger sated, he moved down to the edge of the verge. Cupping the water with his hands, he rubbed the blood from the fight from his face. He then moved to cleaning himself up after his meal, washing his arms and chest, taking care to avoid the wounded part of his arm.

Once the blood was removed from his chest and arms, he inspected his reflection in the running water. There was no sign of the blood he had previously felt caking his face.

Standing, Kaden walked out to where he had left his jacket trying and tentatively touched it. Satisfied it had dried enough in the sunlight, he used it to dry off his face, arms and chest. Afterwards, he carefully spread it to dry some more.

He returned to the evicted chemical cartridge, to inspect it some more. He knew that the Animus who had been exposed to it in the facility had been weakened, and any clue to what the compound was would go someway towards a counteragent.

“Pity biochemistry wasn’t one of my strong subjects,” Kaden said to himself.

He cautiously picked the container up and gave it a cursory examination. There was some writing embossed on the plastic, but he was unable to gain enough of a contrast to read it properly. He ran a calloused fingertip over the script. B ll l . He ran his finger over it again, slower. Bollorophon?

Really, whatever codename the substance had been given was irrelevant. What mattered was the chemical formula itself. And there seemed to be a smaller print embossed below the gibberish codename, which logic would believe would either be the formula or the instruction “this way up”.

Kaden growled in anticipation as inspiration struck him. Retrieving his sunglasses, he put them back on and walked towards the threshold of the bridge’s shadow. Squinting, he held up the plastic container up to the sunlight.

Bellerophon

Below it was the stream of letters and digits that even Kaden could recognise as a fairly complex chemical formula. Then again, Doctor Baker had once decided it was fun to show his pupils a formula denoting an “explosion in a custard factory” - which he had assured them used to be an expression in his younger days - which was much more complex than this.

Kaden grunted, and retreated back under the bridge to plan his next move, grabbing his tee-shirt as he did so. Putting down the container, he removed the sunglasses and pulled the tee on as his mind worked.

The jacket would need properly drying out, as it would take too long to adequately dry naturally for him to wear. So his previous idea of a Laundromat would be the best idea. The only problem would be transporting all of the items he had gained from the Pariah’s corpse. He could pull off solutions for everything except the pistol, and he was loathe to discard it.

He was aware that the smell of his own blood was increasing, and frowned at the bandage, which was stained with more of his blood than he was comfortable with. It was only a small amount of blood -- at the current rate of blood loss, it would take weeks for him to bleed to death. However, while the wound was still open, there was the risk of infection, along with the distraction of the scent of his own blood.

There was one obvious solution to the problem of his impromptu bandage supply AND carrying his supplies. And this was just the weather for it, too.

Kaden pulled his trousers down and strapped the knife’s sheath to his shin, before returning the knife to its sheath. He did consider the thigh, but the shin was comfier, and would allow him quicker access if he needed the knife without having to drop his trousers. He pulled the trousers back up, and checked the leg. The trousers were a little too big for his taut frame and were held up with a scavenged belt, but this worked in his favour for hiding the knife. The reservoir of Bellerophon was retrieved from the ground and placed in one of his trouser pockets.

He then scooped up the gun in one hand, replaced his sunglasses and hung his still damp jacket over the gun. He scrambled back up the bank towards the road as quickly as he could without arousing suspicion.

Five minutes later, he had liberated a blouse from a washing line and reduced it to strips. Another five minutes, and the first of his Audoulan currency had gone on fizzy drinks and an ice cream, gaining him a sturdy plastic bag. He approved of the vivid colour, easily identifiable even by Animus standards, if not the design.

=========================================================

Back at the currency exchange…

The shop had turned out to be a stationary store, although some of the décor betrayed the fact that it had once been a post office. The woman went through some almost ritualistic motions: flipping a sign in the window from red to green, with Audoulan and Basic Artolian instructions on each side inevitably advising they were closed or open; turning the lights on; and finally switching a small television screen in one corner on.

Two rolling rows at the bottom of the screen repeated the speaker’s words in both Audoulan and Basic, with the near obligatory random typos that identified them as subtitles for a live broadcast. The sound would have been too slight for human hearing, but Kaden could make out the words clear enough to be faintly amused by the bias in wording the subtitles gave.

“Now, child, you will wait ‘ere, and I will fetch my first aid kit, yes?” she said to him.

A thought belatedly occurred to Kaden, and he fought the urge to scowl and growl. Humans were materialistic creatures…

“What money I have…it’s not very much…” he began to say, before the woman chuckled.

“Ah, bless you! Sweet ’art, you keep your money for what you need it for.” And with that, she disappeared into a back room.

Kaden frowned after her. Sometimes humans proved themselves more complex than he supposed… He then sighed, and sat down.

Finding a Laundromat had not taken him very long, and he was treated with so much impatient disinterest from the owner that he had little fear of being remembered. However, the operation of the washer/dryer (trying to explain to the owner he only wanted a dryer had led to the man forgetting all of his knowledge of the Basic tongue) had cost more than he had expected.

Once the machine had begun its spin dry cycle, Kaden had snuck into the restroom and moved the gun from the bag into the hip pocket of his trousers. Making sure it would be adequately concealed until he was able to re-don his jacket, he then turned his attention to his ‘bandage’.

The strip of cloth was quickly removed, and, after a pause, Kaden used some of the tap water to bathe the wound. After that, he paused in thought again. Then he pulled the fresh strips of cloth out of the bag, and put them all in a pocket, except two. One was used to delicately dry the wound, before it and the old bandage were dumped in the bag, while the other became the new bandage.

Shortly after that, he was out of the Laundromat, and found somewhere quiet to rest for the night. The following morning, he had discovered that he was in the suburbs of a city called Villnore, and that the local news -- and only the local news, thankfully -- was reporting the discovery of two bodies on a local industrial estate. Police, people were being reassured, were investigating.

He had changed his bandage twice since then, and was rapidly running out of blouse. Hopefully, a true bandage would do a better job.

A one-minute summary of his handiwork at the Omnis depot was currently being repeated by the newsreader on screen, who was trying to seem concerned and detached at the same time. Kaden stifled a yawn, and his attention wandered from the set, his ears pricking to work out where in the shop the woman was.

Bumping and banging, and repeated self-questions that needed no translation made it quite clear she was having difficulty finding the medical kit. His attention drifted to the TV again.

“--Numerous medical milestones under its belt. Creators of ‘Rejuvenate’, the proven anti-aging ointment, and the ultimate weight-loss companion, ‘Leosan’, Limnades has been the biggest name in pharmaceuticals for the last ten years. The CEO, viscount Maruca Avidez has invited companies from all across Alyvyssia to present their latest innovations at the Limnades Health Summit in Villnore this week--”

Kaden tuned out from outer reality to the complex spinning of gears in his head. Inside the Volsung compound, he had never had this sort of rush, or tactical insight. In his years surviving outside, however, it had become second nature.

Despite the boast of being “the biggest name in pharmaceuticals for the last ten years”, this was the first Kaden had heard of Limnades. Of course, ten years put its fame as post-Schism, meaning they probably didn’t count Damascus in their statistics.

Momentarily blinded by the good deeds of one human, Kaden toyed with the idea of presenting himself to Limnades and simply asking if they had a counteragent. Common sense reasserted itself however, and he realised that if they didn’t know about the Animus before meeting him, they soon would from autopsying his body.

Still, even if they didn’t know of the Animus directly, they may still be familiar with the chemical agent, and a counteracting formula. And even if they didn’t, if their processes were sufficiently automated, he might be able to get a computer to work one out for him.

First hurdle, though: where in the city might their labs be…?

Kaden heard his host making her way back towards him. For the first time since he’d found himself in this country, some of the basic Audoulan sentences he’d been taught at Setanta sprung to mind. Charm and vulnerability.

“I’m sorry for taking so long!” the woman called as she re-entered the room.

“No, it’s no trouble,” Kaden said. “In fact, I apologise for my lack of manners.”

Taking a deep breath, Kaden hoped he was remembering the words correctly. “Bonjour, je m'appelle Seth. J'habite a Damascus.” “Hello, I’m called Seth.” (Seth being a Setanta operational alias.) “I live in/come from Damascus.”.”

The delighted laughter and applause convinced him he was correct. “Tres bien. Bonjour Seth, je m’appelle Elaine.” “Very good. Hello Seth, I’m called Elaine.”]

Elaine looked at him. “I did not think you spoke Audoulan?”

Kaden shrugged, fake bashfully. “It’s not very good, I’m afraid. That’s about it.”

She chuckled again. “Well, good try. Now, let me look at your arm.”

Reluctantly, he held out his arm for the human to inspect. He wanted to tell her to stop interfering, that he’d do it himself. However, he needed to seem courteous and vulnerable.

“I thought I detected an ‘int of an accent in your voice,” Elaine said. “I did not realise it was a Damascan one, though. What brings you to Audoula?”

‘Oh,’ Kaden thought to himself. ‘This is too easy.’

“My cousin works at Limnades. He contacted my parents a few weeks ago. He believes they may have discovered an effective treatment for my condition,” he said.

“Ooh, that is good news,” Elaine said. By this point, she had removed his impromptu bandage, and was gently cleaning the wound.

“Yes,” Kaden said. “I hope it works… But, I’ve lost the directions to the Limnades laboratories where he works.” He tried to make the last sentence sound particularly wretched.

“Ah! Poor child,” she said. She stopped what she was doing and looked thoughtful for a moment. She then nodded decisively, and resumed redressing his wound. “I ‘ave some maps of the city for sale. ‘Owever, most of my customers are residents ‘ere, so I am always left with spares. I can let you ‘ave one, if you would like?”

Gotcha. “Oh, no, I didn’t mean… I couldn’t possibly! I’ve intruded on your hospitality enough as it is.”

“Do not be silly,” she smiled. “It is no bother.” She finished wrapping the bandage around his wound, and gave a slight squeeze to check her handiwork. Kaden winced. “There! Now, wait ‘ere, and I will get you one of the maps.”

As she stood and walked away, Kaden allowed himself a slight triumphal smirk. He then turned his attention to the bandage, making notes of the simple things he’d forgotten. She had placed a separate pad of sterilised cotton on the wound before wrapping the bandage. He couldn’t have done the sterilisation, of course, but he should have thought of placing some form of padding on the wound before the bandage. Also, she had wrapped the bandage a little tighter above the wound, meaning it acted somewhat as a tourniquet. He nodded absently, while deriding himself for having not thought of that himself.

Elaine bustled over, map in one hand and a red pen in the other. “Look,” she said, laying the map out in front of him. “This is where you are--” And made a red dot on the map. “--And this is Limnades main laboratory complex, see?” And she placed a red X elsewhere on the map.

Kaden leaned in, his eyes narrowing. The distance wasn’t too great, he could easily cover it in an hour if there were enough pedestrianised zones between the two. He then worked in his wound, and the fact that anything approaching a human’s top speed left him feeling slightly ill at the moment, and readjusted the time to a more relaxed ninety minutes to two hours.

Ideally, he’d have asked for at least a week’s worth of observation of the routines of the complex. However, while he could theoretically last for that long before his condition became critical, it meant there was a greater risk of complications happening. Besides, he wanted this to be his last bandage.

Kaden tapped a spot close to the X. “This park…”

Elaine smiled. “It is part of Limnades’ property. ‘Owever, they do allow the public access to it. It is quite nice, I used to go there on dates when I was your age. It would be a good place for you to wait for your cousin.”

Kaden thanked any gods that were paying attention for the overweening charity of some humans. She was doing all of the work for him, making his unspoken thoughts sound like her suggestions. The park would make a good place to base himself for staking the place out.

Twenty-four hours. It was risky, but if he was to encounter many more humans like this woman, it would be more than enough time.

~ # ~

Kaden left the small shop with an old bottle filled with tap water and a couple bacon sandwiches wrapped in Clingfilm in his bag. He felt somewhat bemused by it all. He almost wished he’d been so obviously wounded before, so he could have manipulated humanity’s charity some more.

With these thoughts in his head, he turned down an alleyway, belatedly realising the smells coming from it. There was the sweet reek of overly ripe fruit and vegetables, thrown out by one of the shops that were adjacent to the alley. That wasn’t the most offensive scent, however.

A large slab of meat that stank of B.O. and violence loomed out from a shadow behind him, effectively blocking off his line of retreat, and to advance would take too long…

The man barked something in Audoulan. The voice was so guttural, Kaden doubted he would have understood the words if they had been in Basic. The man repeated the phrase, this time with a gesture in any language which meant give it to me. Kaden glanced around and could tell there was no-one to come to the rescue.

So; here he was. Grabbing the gun could make it too obvious what he was doing, while getting the knife could take too long. Kaden dropped the bag and grabbed the nearest thing to hand. He almost felt sorry for the stupid man-mountain.
__________________
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


Sam Vimes arrested a dragon... and carries the law with him like an Ampharos
Vimes and PokeSammies sprite by GLD
Mantichorus is offline  
Thanked by 9:
Alessa Gillespie (05/16/2011), Bex (05/15/2011), Celes Chere (06/11/2011), Hisako (05/15/2011), Joe (05/15/2011), NoenGaruth (07/19/2011), Rumpelstiltskin (05/16/2011), Sheva Alomar (05/16/2011), Super Mario (05/15/2011)
Old 06/09/2011   #184
Tennyo
Default

====EMMA & STOLZ AT THE BALL====


"Hold it!" Stolz shouted as they came to a halt. "Before entering the minotaur's labryrinth, I must perpare myself!" And began rummaging through the pockets of their overcoat.

"Ah ha!" They said as they withdrew their hands, holding a pair of blue heels and a couple of blue material items. "This should be be everything, now for the unvieling!" And as the words left their mouth the blonde child flung off their overcoat revealing a blue dress and an obviously feminine figure removing all doubt of that this 'they' was a 'she'.

Emma took in the whole ordeal with wide eyes, unable to keep herself from staring intently at the once androgynous child standing before her.

"You...you're a girl?" she stammered, hardly able to believe the sight before her eyes, yet almost feeling amused at the same time. She was not alone in the sentiment, either. Once hidden beneath her decorated auburn locks, a small, white tuft of fur peaked out to stare as well. The rodent sqealed in his owner's ear in delight, clearly not hiding his mirth.

Emma reached up a hand to give him a light squeeze. "Shush, you," she chided, all the while secrectly berating herself for her own open shock on the matter.

"Well yeah...I thought everyone knew that," Stolz replied as she put on her gloves. "You Destrillians are supposed to be magical anyways so shouldn't your power deedlies cover stuff like gender sensing....or something."

"Well," Emma began, choosing her words carefully. "I guess I can't speak for the others. But you were just..." she brought a hand up to scratch the back of her head nervously.

"I guess you're just a mystery, Stolz," she finally added with a fake smile.

Stolz looked puzzled for a moment. "I am?" she replied, then turned to look in the glass of the doors in front of them, gazing at her reflection before sighing. "What a drag. I thought having shorter hair would look cool, but all it does is make me look like a boy..." Seconds later she suddenly perked up again and added, "but now is not the time for reflecting on appearances! We have a Minotaur to confront!"

"You mean finding Terra?" the plant Destrillian asked.

"That too, but in this metaphor she'd be more like the princess. The Minotaur is Mr. Avidez, what with being the scary man who can do very bad things."

"What, exactly, do you all know about him?"

Stolz began tapping her index finger on her chin. "Let's see, let's see. I don't really know him too well, but he usually acts very polite and charming, and likes to collect expensive and rare things. Often talks a lot of sciency stuff too with photons and microscopes and all that jazz. Never seen him actually fight so can't help much there, although scary lady with the visor back in Osea once said something about him being able to do electro-magnajelly-ism stuff, so it's probably not a good idea to operate a computer near him."

The redhead smirked at Stolz's last comment. Talking with the strange girl seemed to be setting her mind a bit more at ease considering the situation they were in. However, thinking about it only made the anxious feelings return, but she found it easier to keep her feelings in check.

"Is that all?"
she asked, still wanting to know more.

"Ummm...well, I guess there's just the same thing as the other ones. Extremely dangerous especially when angered, I hear Avidez's set off point is that crazy girl that tried to kill you all, he really doesn't like anyone speaking ill of her...probably wouldn't be good either if you got into a fight with her...he would most likely get really, really mad."

"You mean Mileina?"

"That's the one! Don't know her myself and not too keen to either, she's crazier than something that is really crazy."


Emma crossed her arms in front of her and looked down at the ground. "Yeah, I think I'd like to know her a little less."

"So I think that concludes today's lesson, now onwards to face certain doom!"
Stolz said in an unfittingly cheerful tone as she pointed forward.

Emma leaned over and stared down Stolz's arm, looking ahead at the nothing in particular that the blonde child was pointing at with a curious expression on her face.

"Doom? I sure hope not."

"That's the spirit." Stolz replied cheerfully as the pair walked through the doorway into the massive hall crowded with people.

The first thing Emma noticed upon entering the ball was the general feeling of fun and and the sounds of laughter the people were all giving off. Everyone was having a good time, and no one was acting too crazy. She decided that maybe, if she was careful, she could risk reaching out with her powers over the crowd, just to get an idea of who, or what, all might be there.

Trying her best to be as careful as she could, Emma tentitively reached her powers out over the ballroom, feeling the energies of all the people there pressing upon her wave by wave as she moved her senses out about the room. Everything seemed to be going well so far, she thought. Nothing was out of the ordinary, and she still seemed to be in complete control. At this rate, perhaps she would be able to locate Terra, making it easier for her comrades.

If I can do that, maybe we can grab her quick and get out of here without anyone noticing us, she thought to herself.

She could feel the different energies of her comrades nearby, slowly moving away from her as they made their rounds about the ball. Eventually, however, they all melded into the general hustle and bustle of the rest of the crowd, indistinguishable from everyone else. By this time, however, Emma didn't even notice.

There were just too many people crammed into this one tight space to be able to keep everyone separate. Normally this would cause the redhead some alarm and make her close herself off, but without realizing it she had gotten herself swept up into the high emotions of the human guests. This was the reason why she usually fought so hard to cut herself off from the energy given off by others, especially when surrounded by so many people: it was dangerously easy for her to lose herself.

It was almost as if she were drunk; everything around her seemed surreal, and she felt detached from her body. She began to sway to the music with a smile on her face, eventually chuckling to herself as she twirled about in her fancy attire. This feeling was like when Chris would take her to concerts. All the people in the crowd were focused on one thing, chanting and cheering with glee as the band took the stage. Everyone was happy and having a good time. It was the most intoxicating feeling in the world to be caught up in the excitement and mirth of a crowd of people who were enjoying themselves, and she reveled in it.

But now was not the time; they were supposed to be here to rescue Terra. A small voice in the back of Emma's mind screamed at her to get a hold of herself, however her conscious mind was far too gone to be able to pull herself back from the brink. Not even the brushing of soft fur against her cheek and the squealing in her ear was waking her up. It seemed as if nothing would...

At least until she felt the jolting presence of a Lyverius next to her, followed by the stern face of a not-very-amused girl on tip toe invading her personal space.

Emma came back to reality quickly, jumping slightly at the sudden intrusion and blinking her eyes as she tried to focus.

"What...?" Emma began to ask.

"You tuned out there for a moment and acted very peculiar, even for me....and now everyone is staring at us."

"Oh!" she cried, slapping her hands over her face in horror, peaking at the spectators through her fingers.

"Ehe, nevermind us, we're just your normal party-goers having fun!" she nervously laughed, waving haphazardly at the small crowd that had gathered. "Nothing to see here, now move along, move along." Emma began to inch slowly away from them, grabbing on to Stolz's arm and pulling the blonde with her. The guests immediately lost interest and began talking amongst themselves again, completely ignoring the two girls trying to make their escape.

Emma dragged Stolz half way across the ballroom, ignoring her partner's protests, until she was sure people were no longer staring. She let go of the other girl's arm and leaned up against a pillar, taking deep breaths and trying to get a hold of herself.
"That was so stupid of me, why did I even think I would be capable of pulling that off?" the plant Destrillian asked herself aloud, burying her face in her hands as she leaned against the pillar.

A small hand placed itself on the girl's shoulder. "Because your friend is in trouble and needs you, that's why," Stolz said, while an unseen Virtue nodded in approval.

The redhead's eyes shot open wide as she looked into the face of the smaller girl beside her. Had Emma really just said that for all the world to hear? Or more rather, for Stolz to hear? Why would Stolz say something like that?

She doesn't...she can't possibly know, can she? Emma wondered.

Be careful, replied the ever-present nagging voice inside her head.

Shaking her head, Emma plastered a smile on her face and stood up from the pillar. There's no way that Stolz would know, she told herself. Stolz was probably just trying to be comforting and now Emma herself was just being paranoid.

"Thank you, Stolz. I won't do it again," she said, closing herself off from the rest of the ballroom.

The small child then perked up again. "Okies! And now is a really good time to get it together because we've got incoming!" And merely seconds later a number of figures loomed over the pair.

"Is everything alright here? I seems as though you look a little down, which concerns me as I did go out of my way to make sure everyone enjoyed themselves here," a calm male voice spoke, clearly directed at Emma.

Emma looked up at the man standing before her, suddenly flustered and unable to think of anything to say. She recognized the man standing before her from the TV news broadcast the entire group watched together in her apartment, a moment that seemed ages ago now. That very news broadcast is what brought them here to this moment in the first place.

"M...Mr. Avidez..." she began, her brain-to-mouth filter jumbling up her thoughts as they tried to make their exit.

Oh no, I can't believe he's actually talking to me, keep it together, Emma, keep it together...

"I...I guess I've just had a little too much punch!" she finally blurted out, laughing nervously as her cheeks turned the same shade of red as her hair. She was wearing the friendliest smile she could muster as she looked around to each member of the man's entourage in turn, inwardly groaning as they stared at her.

She looked to Stolz for some reassurance. The blonde child simply shrugged in reply. Emma reached out a tentative bit of energy to try to get a read on this man and gauge his emotions. At this close a range she should be able to focus on him and only him while keeping the rest of the ball-goers out. She kept her eyes on Stolz so as to seem more inconspicuous about it.

It was then that a sudden, sickening feeling entered the pit of her stomach. When standing as close as she was to Stolz with the skin of the shorter girl's arm brushing against her own, Emma didn't need to be reaching out with her powers to be able to get a read on her energy signature. There the girl stood, a Lyverius, who felt different than anyone else she had encountered.

Those three they met in Osea felt the same. They had given off a similar type of energy. It was that feeling that eerily felt the same as when Emma was alone and could only sense herself, which is how she remember it so well. It was a basic principle that she knew she could apply to everyone. All the Destrillians felt the same, all humans, and all the Lyverius that she had encountered so far. Within those similarities she could still sense the traits that allowed her to tell the difference between male and female (at least in the cases of humans and Destrillians), and even individuals.

So why was it that this man before her, whom Stolz had clearly stated was a Lyverius, felt like nothing?

No, not nothing. He felt human, but that's all that Emma could get off of him. She couldn't even feel the same pattern that suggested he was a man, or any gender at all. Just a generic human signature.

This can't be right... she thought, eyeing him up and down. He should feel like Stolz, or even...

Emma couldn't believe she was saying this to herself. ...me.

"Oh my, how careless. The punch here is for the most part just coloured Vodka, if you get yourself all tipsy then how will you rescue your friend?" a disturbingly familiar female voice spoke from behind Avidez.

"Oh look, the crazy girl is back," Stolz said as Mileina stepped forward to reveal herself.
For a moment that seemed to span an eternity, Emma thought she felt her heart stop beating. Had they really been discovered so easily?

"Silence whelp," Mileina snapped in response before turning back towards Emma. "How far did you think you'd get before I caught onto your energy signature, or those of your companions for that matter?"

Emma narrowed her eyes in defiance. "I don't know, it seems like we got pretty far to me."

The midnight-green haired girl smirked. "And now that you are here, how exactly do you plan to proceed, or escape for that matter?"

It bothered Emma that she had no response to this question at all. She wished she could think of something really witty to say, but she was never one who was known much for her wit anyway.

"You'll just have to wait and see," was all she could come up with. She immediately did a mental facepalm, all the while keeping a straight face on the outside.

"Now now Mileina, keep your composure, we are among the regular masses here," Avidez said, cutting into the bickering of words. "Besides, I need to have a private word with our smaller companion here." He placed his hand on Stolz's head, much to the girl's dismay. "Besides, our very important guest wishes to meet this Destrillian and it would be rude of me to keep her waiting, so if you'll excuse us." Avidez motioned to Stolz to follow.

Stolz exchanged looks with Emma, then smiled. "It's okay, they can't do anything here in front of people because they're even more worried about people not knowing who they are than we are of people knowing who we are, or are not....I forget my point but I think we're safe."

All the taller girl could do was nod her head in compliance, her nerves starting to get the best of her. If she opened her mouth now she wasn't sure what kind of sound would come out.

If only she could alert the rest of her friends, but in this situation it would be impossible. To locate them in this place would only expose her to the energy radiating off of the crowd once again, and right now that was the last thing she wanted to let happen.
Why am I so weak? she wondered. None of the other Destrillians had this kind of trouble being able to form the mental connection for communication, did they? Well, perhaps Kerr, but maybe he just simply ignored them. Emma never did bother to ask him about it.

Once more inwardly cursing the fact that she felt the weakest out of all her comrades, she took a deep breath and decided to shake it off. Brooding could come later. Now she put on her best look of feigned disinterest and brought her eyes up to look at Mileina.
"So, what now?" she asked.

Mileina grinned and motioned for Flutwelle and Brennan to come over to her. "You're going to meet someone very important." After which the two doll destrillians came to stand on either side of the plant Destrillian.

"Well, then," Emma began, surprised at how steady she was able to keep her voice, "who is it that I'm going to meet?"

"You'll see. She's been the most popular person amongst the collection of human scientists." And with that she started walking into the sea of people. Flutwelle made a gesture towards Emma that she do the same.

Taking another deep breath to calm her nerves, Emma made her way forward to follow where the other Destrillians were leading her. She walked straight with her head held high, all the while her eyes darting across the room trying to catch a glimpse of any of the others who might be there. She saw no one.

No one, except for a tiny glimpse of a brunette sipping champagne and talking excitedly to a group of bookish-looking people, probably scientists. If she wasn't already in immediate danger Emma might have gone over to get a better look at her, or perhaps even called out her name, but no, she had to remain idifferent to what she saw, or who she thought she saw.

She had already made the mistake of turning her head, an action that had caught one of her captors' attention.

"Is something in the direction of your gaze of interest to you?" Flutwelle asked in her flat, emotionless tone.

"No, nothing, nothing at all," she hastily replied, turning her had forward once again and marching onward.

Emma felt the soft brush of fur on her cheek as Squeak tried to get her attention. As carefully as she could without letting her captors notice, she opened the small pouch around her wrist. Very carefully she tried to send her little pet a message the way she could her friends.

In the pouch, Squeak. You'll be safer in there. I don't want these people to see you.

Just as carefully, the mouse made his way down the front of her dress and disappeared inside.

Suddenly Mileina stopped, and turned back towards Emma. "Well this is as far as I go, as she requested to speak with you in private." Then pointed towards a group of nobles who were all gathered around a person hidden by the crowd.

As nervous as Emma was walking with these three Destrillians, the idea of approaching the group of nobles without them was even more daunting. Something was very out of place here. Why did they want to see her, of all people, and what was happening to everyone else who was at the ball?

At the annoyed gesturing of Mileina to hurry it up already, Emma took a slow step forward. She instinctively touched one of the flowers on her purple dress, reaching out to its emotionless state of pure life in order to calm herself. It made her feel somewhat better, but not by much.

All Emma could think right now was that everything was about to go horribly wrong.
As she got closer the group of assorted nobles began to disperse until there was only one person left standing on their own, a woman with long, dark purple hair who was facing away from the Destrillian. After Emma took a couple more steps towards her, the woman turned her head to look over her shoulder and a pair of purple eyes with slit pupils were gazing at the red-haired girl. At this moment everything seemed as though it had gone from bad to worse, the woman was no longer just one amonst a sea of humans; she was clearly registering as a Lyverius yet despite all instincts to flee, the woman's gaze seemed to draw the Destrillian towards her.

"So you're the Dess-trill-ee-an named, named Emm-a John-son are you? It's a pleas-ure."

Emma's mind was racing. Oh god oh god she knows my name why does she know my name?

She cleared her throat. "Um, yes, I'm Emma." After a brief pause she added, "a pleasure to meet you, miss...?"

The purple-haired woman let out a disturbing giggle. "You may call me, call me Solaris. I may have a last name, name, how-ever over the course, course of time I have sim-ply for-got-ten it."

Emma forgot herself and the predicament she was in for a brief moment and allowed herself to openly gawk at the strange woman. Why was she talking like that?

"Very well, then, uh, Solaris. I understand that you wanted to speak with me?"

"Why yes, I did, I did. I was hoping to de-ter-mine if anything had changed, changed since last time." She gave a glance up and down the Destrillian.

"Excuse me? I'm afraid I don't understand."

"No, it seems you wouldn't, wouldn't," Solaris replied with a twisted laugh.

"What are you wondering has changed? And since when? Have we met before?" Emma was quite certain she would have remembered a woman such as this.

The Lyverius tilted her head to one side. "Perhaps we have, and per-haps we have not. Time is neither con-sis-tant or rel-e-vant to me, to me so either is a poss-i-bil-i-ty. Now re-vert-ing to your, to your initial inquiry of the sentence, sentence, I'm won-der-ing if anything has changed since back then, when the world, the world was filled with hope and de-sire, but more importantly the pros-pect, prospect of a bright-er future, as-um-ing any of those things actually exist, exist."

"I still don't understand. Just how long ago are we talking about here?"

"Time is not relative to me, per-haps it was years ago, per-haps it was yess-ter-day. The company that sought to attain the pow-er of gods would be a good, a good start-ing marker of placing the time."

"You mean Viola? Have I improved since I escaped? Or improved while I was still there? Well I don't know. I..."

Emma had to choose her words carefully. This was exactly the kind of thing that Natasha had probably been trying to protect her from all those years ago. But why? She was a weak specimen anyway, right?

The Destrillian looked down at her feet, crossing one arm in front of her in what was probably a very obvious gesture that she was lying. "I haven't. Not one bit. I'm a failure. Always have been, always will be."

Those words caused Solaris to make an expression of what might possibly relate to disappointment. "A shame, a shame. Perhaps they were wrong, as it seems the Dess-trill-ee-an project, project made no diff-er-ance and poss-ib-ly even detremental effects, effects." Then simply shurgged "I guess you cannot, cannot re-ly on the op-inion of human scientists..."

Emma looked up and met the Lyverius' eyes. She still had no idea what Solaris was talking about, but a sudden need to find out trumped any fear that clenched her heart.
"I guess that depends on their opinions," she replied, her tone full of defiance. Emma would get a straight answer out of this woman somehow.

"Guessing is their o-pin-ion. Hu-mans have no un-der-stand-ing of the world, they simply force their own theo-ries and hy-poth-e-ses onto it, rather than em-brac-ing those of higher beings, beings. That is why, is why they fail, over and over again." Solaris ended her sentence with another demented laugh.

Another small twinge of fear reared its ugly little head inside the Destrillian's emotions. All this talk about scientists and theories, it made her think of the past, of her time spent in Viola. It made her think of things she was told to always hide. But this woman, she was being so cryptic that Emma felt she had no choice. It was either give in or get nothing.

"What theories are you talking about?"

Solaris shot her a sinister glace, and suddenly spoke clearly. "To change the world, of course." After which her expression went back to her normal, delirious state. "But of course, of course you are sim-ply incapable of un-der-stand-ing the fin-er details, details."

"Try me."

The Lyverius looked upward and closed her eyes. "Humanity has al-ways been striving, striving to achieve that which they were, they were nev-er meant to attain, and so through those fu-tile efforts, efforts, attempted to create some-thing which was lost, but failed time and time again, and the only time, time they succeeded; Dess-trill-ee-ans were created, which being con-sid-ered any level, level of suc-cess is debatable. How-ever all this time, this time they were look-ing in the wrong direction, direction. All they sought, all they desired was lo-cat-ed in the room, the room be-tween this world and the next - sitting in the dark-ness, waiting, just waiting for some-thing to find it...and some-thing did find it."

"What was sitting there in the dark? What found it? Why don't you try speaking in something other than riddles?"

"I'm sorry," Solaris replied in a normal and more gentler, sophisticated voice, then in an instant the Lyverius presence surrounding the woman vanished, leaving only that sense of an unusual human that Emma had experienced from Avidez. The woman opened her eyes and aside from the dark purple colour they were normal.

"I no longer hold any interest in this conversation, as undoubtedly it has been established that you have once again succeeded in disappointing me, so if you'll excuse me I have guests to entertain. Please enjoy the rest of your evening." Then finished by turning her back to the Destrillian and walking away.

Emma could only stare after her as she walked away.

"What was even the point of this?" she asked aloud to no one in particular.

It took a few minutes before Emma realized no one of note was paying any attention to her. Was she being let go? Were they all being given the chance to really find Terra and a cure for Fiona?

The Destrillian very slowly turned on her toes and began to walk away, expecting someone to come after her at any moment. No one did.

-------------------------------------------------------------------
"So tell me Stolz," Avidez said as he stared out of a window on the far side of the ballroom, where there were fewer people. "Why are you doing this?"

Stolz shurgged in response. "Doing what?"

The tall man looked away from the window to shoot her a piercing, cold gaze through his glasses. "Don't try and avoid the question - Why are you aiding the Destrillians?"

Pausing for a moment, Stolz, in a rare moment, actually thoughts as to what she should say, as Avidez wasn't the kind to have patience for her usual ramblings. However the blonde child was coming up blank for what might been deemed an acceptable response and didn't involve wizards.

Help.

Hrmm? I didn't think you could ever be at a loss for words, regardless if they made any sense or not.

I'm not good in these situations, I'll just freak out and run away!

Woa! Easy now, that would be a very bad idea, espeically in this situation, because as I recall this operation was meant to be covert.

Covert as in plant lady has been taken to queen of the spooks and me being under interrogation.

Alright well not all plans go accordingly, never-the-less you have to stay focused!
Not an option. The running part is looking very probable now.


Stolz you need to get a grip! I'd talk in your place but I can't so you're just going to have to give it your best.

You're right! That's it!

So then you'll do it?

Do it? Of course not.

What?! But you just said-


I mean that you shall talk in my place!

Wait how I don't even-

It's simple, probably. You just like focus on being me and I'll focus on not being me!


...alright I'm lost now as to what exactly you're thinking.

Do iiiiiit.

Do what?

Focus! If you're that thing that's meant to be the thing that the spooky lady said the thing is, then she said that you should be able to do that thing where you can be me, yet not me.

...come again?

Stretch out with your feelings!

Umm okay I'll do that then, I think.....okay did that do anything Stolz? Stolz?


"Stolz?"

"That's your name Stolz, not an acceptable response. Now please answer my question before I become agitated."

"I what now?" Oh heavenly gods it actually worked "Uh right! Yes, I have been traveling with the Destrillians!" Virtue replied, only her voice came out as Stolz's.

Avidez simply stared at the girl for a moment. "Yes we know that. What I want to know is why?"

"Why?" The girl said while raising an eyebrow. "Fine. If you really want to know it's because you and those with you are all inhumane monsters who do nothing but cause misery and suffering unto others! You're a bunch of heartless, arrogant, psychopaths and I want nothing to do with any of you!" Finishing her rant just short of shouting at the Lyverius in front of her, who was completely bewildered.

"Is that so, Stolz?" Avidez replied, then placed his hand on his chin and thought for a moment.

Wow. You got some balls depite the fact we're both girls.

Oh boy I hope I didn't make him mad, just he was right there and I got all worked up-

The thoughts were interrupted by the sound of a man chuckling. Avidez was clearly not mad, in fact, he was laughing.

"Well this is a surprise Stolz, I never thought I'd see the day when you get all serious and worked up. It seems Inveja didn't intimidate you and clearly neither do I." The Viscount then stopped to adjust one of his sleeve cuffs before adressing the child again.

"But you know it won't last forever, because you see little one, you are a Lyverius and you cannot deny it. So go ahead and oppose us if that is what will make you happy; we will simply wait for this nonsense to end." To which he then patted Stolz on the head before walking away.

"Okay well that was easy...perhaps too easy." Virtue said aloud.

Still, what was all that he just said now Stolz?

Oh that? Nothing, he's just trying to be a big ol meanie and scare us!

That so? Alright then we better go find plant la- I mean Emma.

Heeey now! Can't I have control back?

As someone who's usually a non-corporeal being, at least give me a little time to enjoy this!


Stolz made the sound of grumbling followed by a soft oh fine then...

"Superb! Off into the crowd we go!" Virtue exclaimed as she glided and swayed her way into the crowd of people to search for their Destrillian comrade.
__________________

Last edited by Tennyo; 06/09/2011 at 04:23 AM.
Tennyo is offline  
Thanked by 11:
Alessa Gillespie (06/09/2011), Baldy (06/10/2011), Bex (06/09/2011), Celes Chere (06/11/2011), Hisako (06/10/2011), Joe (06/09/2011), Mantichorus (06/11/2011), NoenGaruth (06/09/2011), Rumpelstiltskin (06/09/2011), Sheva Alomar (06/12/2011), Super Mario (06/09/2011)
Old 06/17/2011   #185
Hisako
Default

Effortlessly, the Destrillian and his female companion hoisted their way up the elevator shaft, pulling themselves up via the questionably dirty cable that connected the elevator to the ceiling. They had only two floors to traverse before they would be on the same floor as their destination. It was during this time that Lokka began to question whether Terra would even be where he thought she might be. He shook the thought away, knowing that the destination he had picked would be the most likely of places. Besides, even if she wasn't in there they could always look somewhere else. Right now nobody had made a real attempt to stop them.

A few chestfuls of sooty air later, the two arrived at their destination. Propping himself up against the wall behind him, Lokka dug his fingers in the gap between the sliding elevator doors and pulled them open. For a Destrillian, this was actually quite a simple task. Once there was more than enough room for himself and a slightly skinnier companion, he climbed up onto the floor, offering a hand as he turned around to help the young lady behind him.

She accepted it without much of a fuss, and was surprisingly light for a woman her size. She wiped her hands on her dress, dusted and slicked over with what felt like industrial lubricant between her fingers from grappling with the elevator cables. Donning their disguises back on, she looked around warily, and spoke with as low a voice as was humanly possible without breaking character.

"So we're close?"

He nodded, pointing to the hallway infront of the both of them. "We turn right up ahead, and it will be at the end of the corridor."

Without much more to say, the pair made their way cautiously down the path ahead of them, their ears peeled for even the slightest sound to indicate either good or bad; friend or foe. They passed numerous closed doorways as they slowly reached the end of the hall, seemingly doing so without alerting anybody that might be on the other side. Given the scale of the event on the ground floor, however, it seemed more than likely that the rest of the chateau was desolate.

The two took the right turn they had planned to take, without stopping. It was as if both of them could feel the tension empathetically, the feelings of anticipation and worry that would usually be present within any other individuals were in this case replaced by genuine caution. They were people that had grown used to this sort of lifestyle, this kind of enviroment.

And like that, it was decided. Lokka felt something he wasn't usually capable of sensing - not properly, anyway. Terra was in the room at the end of the corridor. He could literally feel her there. His cautious pace quickened as his steps became more frequent, approaching the room with a haste that was rather foreign, given the circumstances.

Jettison caught the change in pace as well, staying just as cautious and extra quiet, keeping an ear and an eye out for any suspicious movement around them. All was as still as could be at the end of the corridor, although instinctive training had her already low to the ground, padding silently forwards like a cat. She reached up to Lokka and kept a hand on his shoulder, as a forewarning as to what dangers could potentially greet them.

The journey to the door felt miles beyond the fifteen or so metres it actually spanned. The man reached the door, waiting rather patiently for a few moments just listening to the sounds he could hear. Even three floors up he could still make out the sound of music and idle chatter on the ground floor. Not much else could be heard, not behind them, nor on the other side of the door in front of them. Lokka slowly turned his head, finally resting his gaze on the illusion of a pretty woman behind him. He gave ever the subtlest of nods. She knew what he meant. He gripped the handle to the door, another palm rested carefully on the wood of the door itself. Jettison's hand remained on his shoulder for the time being, her eyes watching carefully on the space in front as the door angled backwards with Lokka pushing forward on it.

Terra sat in a chair, head flopped precariously over the back of the headrest, both eyes closed. She could hear something moving behind the door, and someone opening it. She could only hope that playing dead would mean that they would no longer be interested in her. go away go away gogogogo

"Terra?" Lokka was mostly sure that the girl in front of him was the one he'd been looking for, but he couldn't see her face.

Her head snapped up in her seat with only mild whiplash. locka?! Lo and behold, he was standing there with that girl who was part of their group before. Her heart fluttered in joy but also extreme worry. If they were here there was a huge chance that they might get hurt, and it was rather likely they had brought the others with them.

"Come on. We are here to get you out." The Destrillian moved swiftly to the girl's aid, loosening the straps that bound her in place and, with great care, helping her up so that she was able to stand. "We need to get ourselves downstairs and out with the others."

Suddenly, Jettison stiffened up behind them, frozen in place as she heard movement from somewhere. In the split moment before they reacted, she murmured something behind Lokka.

"We're being watched."

Without so much as a few seconds' delay, a shadowy figure swooped out of nowhere, aiming at the two standing Destrillians. Keen instincts allowed Lokka to pull him and Terra out of the way before the assailant could get them. As fast as the figure had appeared, they jumped back into the light of the corridor. The three companions could just about make out the person's face, except it was being largely covered by a metallic headpiece of sorts. The figure was obviously female with long blonde hair, and it seemed she had attacked them with claw-like extensions on their fingertips. Instinctively, Lokka put himself between the attacker and Terra.

"Who are you?"

The girl said nothing. She simply stood there, tilting her head side to side as though she was examining them. Her mouth opened but only the sound of exhaling could be heard, and a second later her head snapped to attention and was looking right at Lokka.

She lunged again. The girl seemed faster than any human, but aside from the strange attire she didn't seem to be modified in any way. Lokka dodged her attacks, repelling the occasional swipe that extended past him. The female that was attacking them seemed to be darting all over the place, in and out of the room and its dark corners.

They edged backwards towards the door while withstanding the onslaught, putting Jettison and Lokka between their assailant and Terra. As an attack came dangerously close to hitting the two, they made a break for it in the instant the girl darted back into the shadows, running past the doorway as she returned to strike them.
With one hand on the door handle and another outstretched into a fist, Jettison waited for the exact moment as their attacker charged. When she had launched herself across the room, Jettison raised her voice for the first time this evening.

"Look away!"

Giving Lokka only a split second to turn himself and Terra away, Jettison opened her palm as if releasing a bomb. The room instantly and silently illuminated itself in pure, white light, blinding and disorienting their aggressor for a second.
A second was all they needed.

Jettison found her mark, landing a vicious kick on the shoulder and sending the girl flying back where she came from, closing the door in one swift motion. There was scratching, pounding, and what she mused was snarling, but they seemed safe from their shadowy attacker.

wii need 2 get goin NAO Terra thought at them loudly, her right arm shaking more in fear. She didn't want to know what would happen if they waited around for too long.

Lokka nodded and looked at Terra, gesturing to pick her up. "Do you mind?" he asked, not wanting to grab her without warning.

Terra shook her head. She knew she was slow; carrying her would most certainly make her less of a burden to them.

Lokka carefully wrapped his arms around the girl and heaved her over his shoulder with little effort. He aimed a finger in the direction they had come from--this time though, he was aiming for the emergency staircase. They weren't climbing in another elevator shaft. As they moved, he couldn't help but think what was wrong with that girl that had attacked them. She was hardly a standard security force guarding Terra. What was Avidez actually doing here?

It took them a little while to reach the ground floor, but the trip went down without any complications. It seemed like Avidez' 'vast' security force were all on break at the moment. The ball was taking place in a few rooms over from here, but they couldn't just stroll out there with Terra; she was hardly dressed for the occasion.

"If we can get to a place where I can see the others, we can signal them with telepathy. Any suggestions?" Lokka asked, shedding his security uniform so that his formal wear was visible once again.

"Second floor should have open visibility of the dance area. However, it is likely that once we are seen, we will be chased. We must act fast." Jettison shifted into her more elaborate appearance again, pulling on the mask she had kept in the event they needed to backtrack. They would have enough time to do what they needed to do and leave - hopefully before the guards got too suspicious.

Lokka accepted this plan and grabbed Terra once more, running alongside Jettison to the nearby staircase that would take them to the balcony area. Jettison turned around to Terra, remembering a mental note she had made herself during their rescue mission. "If you see anyone you recognise as one of the people who took you, you must notify us... him... immediately." Lokka said nothing, he just kept on moving. The less he thought about Mileina, the better.

The group reached the top of the stairs and began running in the direction of the main event once more. Though the chateau was grand and grandiose, they'd become acquainted with it rather quickly, knowing its ins and outs as if they'd lived in it for years. Jettison, who had been running in front, found the area they were searching for first. The three of them were only a collection of metres above the condensed gathering, but the glass balcony area provided them with a view of almost all of the guests. Now all they had to do was find one of their comrades.

There was a faint glimpse of a vivid red that caught Terra's eye, a distinct and familiar shade. She suddenly squirmed on Lokka's shoulder, thought-mumbling ema its ema its ema

Lokka nodded, and after a few moments of glancing around to where Terra may be pointing, he saw the redhead in the crowd. He focused his telepathy on contacting her. Emma. We have got Terra. Gather the others and we'll head through the adjacent halls. We will meet in five minutes. Understood?

Emma, however, had already turned and looked up at them, sensing Terra's presence. She allowed herself a genuine smile before telepathically replying to Lokka's instruction.

I'm on it.

No sooner than she said it, than the trio had moved off to reach their meeting point, making their way through corridors and rooms as fast as possible without drawing any more attention than they already were, walking at a brisk pace if not downright jogging. Terra stayed as still as possible as Jettison erased her from sight, the sensation of being completely invisible steadily unnerving her as they edged even closer to a flawless escape.
__________________
死の果までも追い掛けます、 探し出し
奪われた物全て取り返して見せる

RIP in peace old sig lolol 04/2015




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




Hisako is offline  
Thanked by 9:
Alessa Gillespie (06/17/2011), Baldy (06/19/2011), Joe (06/17/2011), Mantichorus (06/18/2011), NoenGaruth (07/19/2011), Rumpelstiltskin (06/17/2011), Sheva Alomar (06/20/2011), Super Mario (06/17/2011), Tennyo (07/10/2011)
Old 07/09/2011   #186
Alex
Default

Lorelei Jaeger & ?
The Avidez Estate
Audoula


The young woman watched the distant lights across the lake. Giving light to the mirror stillness of the water and throwing the surrounding forested landscape into pitch darkness. Its many corners and crevices hidden by the sparse light coming from the chateau and the twin moons that loomed large in the cloudless sky.

She watched their reflection on the glassy surface of the lake, nearly flawless, as nothing disturbed the lake. No drunken partygoer or even any fish swimming beneath its surface cast so much as a ripple across the serene skin of the water. This really was a beautiful place, she thought to herself as she leant back against the large rock.

Truthfully, she knew that her presence here was not necessary. Half a dozen burly soldiers armed with high powered binoculars and scoped weapons were surveilling the house from positions somewhere off in the darkness behind her. They would have a much better view of the events unfolding than she would have, down on the shoreline.

Yet here she was. Violet eyes staring intently.

She could tell that the other Destrillians had made it inside by now. She could feel their presence as they entered across the lake. In disguises no less. That had been a ballsy move. Definitely unexpected.

The young woman had gotten used to this group acting unexpectedly. She had, after all, been following and observing them ever since they had left that nightclub in the Osean sewers. It hadn't always been as easy as hiding behind street corners, or maintaining a good distance between their two cars as she followed them all the way into Crawsus. In all honesty, she was thankful and relieved that it looked likely that this mission would come to its conclusion tonight.

She was not, however, alone in her vigil. A smaller woman sat a short distance away, her back against one of the many trees lining the area near the picturesque lakeside, her head raised to the sky. To those who were unfamiliar with her, it might have seemed as though she was absentmindedly stargazing, without a care in the world.

They would be wrong.

The first sound to break the silence, apart from the ever-so-gentle whisper of the wind, was the second girl's voice. "Not long now, then, is it?" Her voice carried the unmistakeable tone of someone who was just barely managing to keep their anticipation of what was to come under control.

"I doubt it," her companion said, the barest trace of concern in her voice. "You sound excited."

"Can't you feel it? The air is almost vibrating with all the energy coming out of that place." She smiled slightly as she looked down at her arms. "It's giving me goosebumps." She turned her head toward the violet-eyed woman, her hair dancing in the light breeze. "We're walking out of here with one of the targets, and we may have to engage the others as well. We finally come face-to-face with the prodigals. Too many things are about to happen for me to not be excited."

Her companion did not reply straightaway, though her nose wrinkled slightly at the use of the term 'prodigals'. It was so cold and impersonal. A slight breeze had picked up and the young woman, pulled her jacket's hood over her heard to stop her feathery hair obscuring her field of vision.

"As long as you remember to keep our involvement to a minimum. I'm sure if Spencer had wanted to cause an incident here then it would be Salem and Elvan here tonight instead of us." She hadn't meant for it to sound like a reprimand but in hindsight, she conceded that that was exactly what she had ended up doing to the other woman.

"Of course." Her cobalt eyes glinted in the starlight. "But do you really think an incident won't happen anyway, given what happened the last time just a few of them got together? There's even more this time - including Mileina." She leaned her head back against the tree trunk, closing her eyes. "You're right, though - keeping a low profile would be best." She kept her voice carefully neutral here, and left Elvan out of things entirely. If it weren't for the suit, Elvan would be just as capable of fleeing unnoticed. He was also much more gentle than Salem had ever been. She opened an eye. "We're also the two best able to escape quietly. Salem wouldn't cut and run until the chateau was in ruins."

The hooded girl nodded her head and crossed her arms. Her companion was certainly right, there was undoubtedly going to be an incident here. As much as she respected her fellow Destrillians, every bone in her body seemed to be telling her that things would not work out as planned for them tonight.

"I'm not sure Salem has ever cut and run from anything, really. Its not like he listens to anyone except Spencer." Still no sound from the mansion other than the drunken laughter of guests and the faint tinkling of music from its ballrooms.

There was a slight pause before the longer-haired watcher spoke.

"E-string is flat."

"You noticed too?"

"I'm blind, not deaf," Lorelei replied with a chuckle.

"Its been driving me mad all night," her companion replied with a small smirk. "I hope someone complains,"

"I'm sure the conductor will just claim that that's the genius of it, and declare anyone who dares to say otherwise a neophyte and close-minded." The minutes passed, with a long silence that remained unbroken to all but the most sensitive of ears, which could quite easily pick up on the scattered chatter and radio crackles of the men some ways away.

"So tell me, Ariel," said Lorelei, "what do you know about our targets?"

The Destrillian of Sound paused momentarily before answering. One of the targets, of course, she knew very well from her days in Facility One. The other however, had been in Facility Two with Lorelei, so it would be difficult to answer without playing favourites.

"I know that one of them hasn't been fucked in the head by Avidez," she ended up replying, unable to keep the disgust and blatant hostility from her voice. "That mind control is a joke. If there's a fight, I guarantee she won't have the edge. The other one is a survivor, I've seen her in action."

"You know her, then." It wasn't a question.

The smallest trace of a smile flickered over Ariel's lips at Lorelei's curiosity. "Once upon a time, Lorelei," The band had picked up speed. "Its been a few years since then."

The Eighth Alter opened her eyes halfway; there was the briefest of pauses before she spoke. "And if it comes to it, you can do what needs to be done?" she asked quietly.

The silence seemed to last forever.

For the first time that she could remember, Ariel was glad that her companion couldn't see the unease that was painfully apparent on her face.

"Always." She spoke the word with a forced calm that she was not entirely sure that she felt. But the confidence from the statement seemed to bleed through her entire body, comforting and reassuring. Now was not a time to be dwelling on ghosts and memories. The conversation had temporarily left her on the back foot, it was jarring and uncomfortable. Nothing permenant, but still quite the system shock before a big mission.

Lorelei was silent.

The unmistakeable sound of faraway glass tore their attention back to the mansion on the opposite bank of the lake. The band had abruptly stopped playing and the shouts and screams of the party's guests had begun to take its place.

"Here we go," Ariel called down to her companion as she kicked herself off the rocky wall she had been propped up against.

"Showtime."
__________________
Alex is offline  
Thanked by 13:
Addison (07/27/2011), Alessa Gillespie (07/09/2011), Baldy (07/09/2011), Bex (07/09/2011), Hisako (07/09/2011), Joe (07/09/2011), Mantichorus (07/09/2011), NoenGaruth (07/19/2011), Omega (07/09/2011), Rumpelstiltskin (07/12/2011), Sheva Alomar (07/09/2011), Super Mario (07/09/2011), Tennyo (07/10/2011)
Old 07/10/2011   #187
Baldy
Default

===EMMA, TERRA, KERR, IDRIS, LOKKA, JETTISON, STOLZ: THE BALL===



"We need to talk."


The note of urgency in Kerr's voice was unmistakeable, as he stalked his way through a throng of well dressed nobility to snatch his companion by the arm and march her away from the group of humans she had been making polite small talk with. He was aware that beneath their masks they were frowning at his lack of courtesy or manners, but at this point their cover was irrelevant. This was a matter of priorities.

"Oh do we now?" Idris replied, gently but firmly removing her arm from his grip. What a greeting, after how he'd stormed off.

Kerr didn't bother with acknowledging her acerbic reply as he pulled her over to the periphery of the large room. The crowd was much smaller here, with many of the drunken ball-goers having now taken to the dancefloor.

"I wasn't sure at first, there's too many of us in too close of a proximity." Kerr was speaking unusually quickly, the usual composure that he was known for was nowhere to be found amidst the urgency in his voice. The first carefully laid plan that the Destrillians had come up with in weeks and it was already beginning to unravel. Idris, noting this, took a careful look at him.

"Too many of us?" The terseness in his voice, and the subtle note of what she might call panic - if she didn't know better - had thrown her off. In another moment, it clicked for her. Her eyebrow arched, part surprise, part intrigue. "Ah. Your radar's gone off, hasn't it?"

Kerr nodded gravely. "It was hard to distinguish them at first. But there are definitely others here. Other Destrillians." He grabbed a glass of wine off one of the passing immaculately dressed waitors and downed it in one to steady his nerves. Unexpected complications to a carefully laid out plan disturbed the Destrillian of gravity.

Idris' pale brow creased in a half-frown as she immediately began to run through all the possibilities in her mind. On the one hand, they might be harmless; on another, they could be kidnapped like Terra. On another entirely, they might be some sort of threat. Or maybe it was the others, finished at Limnades, come to get them?
Too hopeful. "Okay. Calm down," the small woman said, scanning about the ballroom for something she knew she wouldn't see. "Do you know how many there are?"

He shot her a nasty look at being told to calm down, but when he spoke again his voice had regained some of its usual stability as he began to focus.

"Three here. Inside the mansion, very close by." He cast a glance over towards the vast, sweeping staircase beyond the dancefloor, as though these rogue Destrillians would be descending from it at any moment. "I suspect they are with Avidez, like the one who took Terra."

He closed his eyes momentarily, in concentration. "One more isn't at the chateau yet, but they will be soon, they're closing in fast on our location."

Idris nodded. "We should probably find the others and get out of here as fast as possible. Don't want any more trouble than we're in already." Briefly, Zwei's face flashed in the girl's mind. She considered telling Kerr about it--but then let it drop. One complication, large thought it might have been, had already cracked his composure. Adding another would not help the situation.

As if on cue, a small group of partygoers parted to allow Emma through, dragging Stolz behind her.

"There you two are," said the plant Destrillian, a small trace of a smirk on her lips. "Lokka and Jettison found Terra; it's time to go."

"Perfect timing, too." Idris allowed herself a grin of her own. This was progress. "Off we go, then?"

"Yeah, let's hurry and find the others. I have a feeling we may have already overstayed our welcome."

"You're telling me." Without another word, the group began to weave through the crowds of people, swerving a dinner table here and a dancing couple there, heading with purpose, yet trepidation, towards the small side corridor that was their preplanned rendezvous point. It was difficult not to hurry too much.
It is always an odd feeling, to be in a room full of people and not to notice the slowly rising temperature until you step out and a blast of cool air informs you of the power of body heat. As the Destrillians slipped out of sight into the deserted hallway, the considerably colder temperature sharpened them all up, provided them with a much-needed jolt; they were done with blending in, with dancing and fancy drinks and socialization. The fun part was over.

But Emma glanced up with a smile, noticing their comrades at the end of the hallway. Picking up her skirts, she bolted down the corridor, allowing herself the first genuine laugh she'd had in days. As she approached the others who were waiting there, she threw her arms out wide, scooping her target up into them and twirling the smaller Destrillian around in circles.

"Terra! Terra, Terra, Terra! I'm so glad that you're safe!"

Even without words, Terra was clearly estatic to be back with her friend. im so gladd. im so happi u gaizs came to halp mii! She didn't want to tell them how she'd resigned herself to just dying back there. It'd make it seem like she wasn't grateful that they had come to take her back with them. an im so gladd eye can be wif u agen ema

Idris was the next one to Terra, giving the girl a warm hug of her own. "Welcome back," she said, brushing the girl's hair behind her ears. Stolz in turn gave her a flying leap of an embrace and nearly knocked her over.
As the happy antics of being reunited wound down, more serious matters took their place.

"We encountered an assailant, likely in wait for us. We were expected. There may be more." Jettison pointedly removed her mask, pearly-skinned face becoming more severe as she partially shed her visual disguise. Her eyes darted here and there, watching for movement in the crowds around her. "At least, we need to be watchful."

"Yeah, um, about that," Emma began, reaching up to grab the back of her neck. "Avidez and those other three Destrillians we fought at the park kind of already know that we're here, along with some other Lyverius none of us have ever met before."

"We all have our stories," Idris said quickly, pointedly not sparing a thought for the reaction she might get for telling hers. "Let's tell them on the go, alright?"

"We just need to make a quiet exit. The thing that attacked us is locked in a room, but it won't hold." Lokka's eyes had not yet rested upon his gathered comrades and instead were surveying the part of the building they had grouped up in, assessing what the next step should be. "We've already spent too much time here."

Kerr grunted in agreement striding quickly to close the gap between the two groups of reuniting comrades as he absorbed Emma and Lokka's bleak information. Wordlessly he took the lead as the group headed back to the carpark. Thankful, at least, that the mission had been a success in that Terra was once again back amongst their ranks.


***


"So it appears they have recovered the test subject. What action do you propose we take?" Avidez asked the purple-haired woman standing next to him, who simply stretched her arms above her head in reply.

"Well now, well now. It's been far too long since I, since I have en-gaged in any type of ac-tu-al conflict. What I say...what I think we should do, should do...Is kill ev-er-y last one of them, of them. Why be-tween myself, Tragheit and you my dear, my dear Vizcount, this will be over, over in mere sec-onds."

Avidez nodded to his superior "I see. In that case I shall bring this event to an abrupt end and have the nobles dispatch the army to...dispose of what I'm expecting to be an unsightly mess afterwards. Additionally I suggest we-"

"Sir!" The Lyverius was cut short by a man wearing a black suit with a dark green shirt and sunglasses who was swerving amongst the crowd with great haste.

"Felsen? What are you doing here?" Avidez asked in a curious manner.

The man stopped in front of the two and saluted.

"Sir. Milady. We have a breach at headquarters, however are unable to confirm the identity of the intruders as numerous security cameras and alarm systems have ceased responding."

"That confirms Telran is there then. Such a fool, I warned him to stay away," Mileina added as she barged in through the crowd.

Solaris chuckled. "They are all fools dear child, and that is why, is why they will all per-ish."

"Then what are your orders Ma'am?" Felsen asked the purpled-haired Lyverius.

"Hmmm...I shall, shall go with Trag-heit and take care of the in-sects that scurry a-round the halls, halls of Lim-na-des. Avidez...you shall stay here, here with your sub-or-din-ates and erase these lowly creatures, creatures."


***


In order to exit the chateau, the group had to follow their small, secluded hallway into its arterial, which had considerably more people. Meaning, any at all. To quicken their pace, Lokka had taken hold of Terra once more; Jettison had once more hidden her from sight, and together like a pack of something hunting - or maybe something hunted - the Destrillians stalked their way through the miniature crowds and to their freedom.

Every step brought them closer to the outside, to open space, to fresh, cool, nighttime air, and as they drew nearer and nearer the Destrillians all realized their suppressed (but still very present) negativity for the chateau and all its occupants. Contempt, disgust, restlessness - in some way or other, for some reason or other, each and every one of them could suddenly no longer stand this mansion and its walls and tablecloths and fluttering, fancy, faking guests. The goal to get outside became an urge, and the urge a need.

Suddenly, the music stopped. A large chattering of humans could be heard from the corridor the Destrillians had been wandering through. The mingling and delicate handling of fun in the main room seemed to have come to a halt, and the group picked up on it rather quickly. The featured event had not been due to finish for quite a while still; each of them knew they should have had plenty more time left.

"Try not to bunch together," Kerr warned under his breath as the large gang rounded a corner, nearly knocking over a group of giggling, hiccoughing young ladies. "It looks too suspicious."

Lokka took longer strides, walking ahead of his friends in order to separate himself. The others followed suit and they became a little more scattered, still maintaining perfect knowledge of all of the others' wherabouts and not keeping more than a few meters from another.

By the time they had come to the short entrance hall and were about to leave through the antechamber, they could hear the suave and velvet tones of Avidez himself, addressing the crowd. They did not stay to give audience. Whatever the man had to say, it could only mean bad news for them. Time had always been of the essence, but now it was vital. Crucial.

And with a smart couple steps and a rustling of skirts, the Destrillians were outside and the night sky glimmered at them, the stars giving them sly silver winks, as if to say "well look at you, you've actually made it." Idris stole a glance at Emma, who happened to be looking back at her, and the two shared a small, terse smile. Maybe things were going to work out after all.

"Do you remember where you parked?" asked Lokka of Kerr, and it was not for the tone of his voice - as Lokka was socially awkward at best and did not quite understand jokes - but for the slow, creeping giddyness of the situation that the girls gave a laugh.

"Yes," the gravity Destrillian replied, short and curt as always. He, for one, was not about to celebrate until they were on the ferry--at least. And even then.

"Will we all FIT?" Stolz half-tripped over one of her heels but quickly regained her gait.

"If worst comes to worst, someone can sit on the trunk."

"But what if they fall off?"

"That'd be a shame. Oh well."

"They can walk back - it's not far."

"Yeah, only a hundred miles or--"

The attack came so suddenly that not a single member of the group had the time to express even the slightest trace of surprise when Kerr was suddenly violently thrown off his feet and through the front windshield of the saloon car ten metres behind them.

"Kerr!" Lokka yelled, turning backward, requesting confirmation of what had happened more than anything. They had all had their doubts that this would go off without a hitch, but by this point they had been beginning to think they had been let off the hook.

As if.

The sound of even more glass shattering gave him the acknowledgement he needed as the livid Destrillian endeavoured to free himself from the front of a car that had warped itself around his battered body.

Kerr had been pushed behind them, meaning that whatever had done so had come from directly in front. The group searched ahead of them with their eyes; subconsciously, their feet all took defensive stances. Well-trained.

"There," Jettison murmured, locating the attacker first. She pointed her finger forward and each pair of eyes followed its trail, leading their vision to accept the obstacle they now had to overcome.

With a face that had the vague but insistent familiarity of someone they had seen, long ago, on someone's television screen, huddled up in a dark and hushed apartment, a man appeared before the group. Three other people stood with the man, some carrying with their faces the stinging memory of the fight days ago, and some completely unfamiliar.

One was all too familiar to Terra, though his eyes now had a dead, glassy shine. It was Lyle.

"Leaving so soon? But the party is just getting started."
__________________

Disappear with the stars and come back alive.

Last edited by Baldy; 07/10/2011 at 05:42 PM.
Baldy is offline  
Thanked by 10:
Alessa Gillespie (07/10/2011), Alex (07/10/2011), Bex (07/10/2011), Joe (07/10/2011), Mantichorus (07/14/2011), NoenGaruth (07/19/2011), Rumpelstiltskin (07/12/2011), Sheva Alomar (07/10/2011), Super Mario (07/10/2011), Tennyo (07/10/2011)
Old 07/14/2011   #188
Mantichorus
Default

~=~ KRESNIK PARK, LIMNADES COMPOUND;
VILLNORE, AUDOULA ~=~
KADEN WYNDHAM

(The day of the Ball)

Absently, Kaden inspected his new leather gloves again. The stitching was threatening to fray from the previous owner’s hands being slightly too big for them, and admittedly, if he hadn’t found some elastic bands abandoned by the roadside, they would slip from his slim wrists. Otherwise, they were in good condition. At least, in good enough condition to mask his fingerprints.

He looked up and glanced around. From the bench he was sat on, he could view the front gates of the laboratory complex. Freight vehicles would pass through the gates at semi-regular intervals. Despite their consumer-friendly exterior, Kaden noted that the intervals had become more regular after nightfall the previous evening.

Of course, he wasn’t naïve enough to stay in the same spot the whole time. Sitting in one place, staring intently at one spot would be enough to tip off even the stupidest civvie that something was either happening or about to happen.

It certainly helped his cover that there were several other people using the park almost continuously. Several other vagrants had gathered at dusk, so it was easy for him to appear to be just another runaway sleeping rough.

Kaden’s attention returned to the here and now as two male humans walked close by. One was talking almost non-stop in Audoulan, while the other kept making non-committal noises and gestures. Their body language betrayed the fact that they were minor criminals - probably either a string of petty robberies and affrays on their records, or so minor they didn’t even warrant records.

Kaden watched them carefully, trying to make out some of the words. Motormouth seemed to have reached the end of one anecdote from his body language, but he sprang into a new one seemingly at a complete tangent.

Motormouth mentioned a Jean le Grois, inflecting it as a question. Laconic shook his head, and in case there was any doubt, said “non”. Motormouth spilled into a frenetic stream of Audoulan that Kaden had no hope of following. However, he picked out petitie - little - and what was clearly punk, before Motormouth did a gesture that seemed to imply inserting something somewhere intimate, which got a grunt of surprise out of Laconic, before saying something that Kaden was pretty sure was a kind of vegetable.

Motormouth broke off from his narrative as he saw Kaden. Laconic paused, and followed Motormouth’s gaze. Kaden held the other two’s gaze neutrally from behind his shades. After a minute, Laconic tapped Motormouth on the shoulder and muttered “little punk” in Audoulan, before repeating the insertion gesture. Motormouth winced and gave Kaden a look the Animus equated with the phrase “freak” being thrown at him.

Kaden couldn’t hide his smirk as they hurried along their way. As he had been taught in Setanta, a reputation was the most useful deterrent available. He had only refrained from trying to develop one before he left Chulainn as he was concerned it might get back to his former handlers.

~ # ~

About an hour later, Kaden became aware that someone was walking towards him. By this point, he had drifted into a fugue state; his senses remained alert for any danger while his consciousness passed into a state that was almost, but not quite, sleep. His eyes flickered open to see a figure in a lab coat sloping towards him. Kaden pulled himself to full consciousness.

The figure was a rangy man. Lank brown hair hung from his head, the front fringe resting on top of his spectacles, while at the back it fell on to his shoulders. Kaden guessed from a few visual and scent cues that the scientist was somewhere in his thirties. A brown paper bag was held in his hand.

“Been stood up, huh?” the scientist said with a grin, as he sat down beside Kaden. Kaden’s confusion must have shown, as he then chuckled before continuing, “You’ve been sat here a while, right? I’m guessing whoever you’re waiting for isn’t likely to show.”

Even with his limited knowledge of human etiquette, Kaden found this odd. Humans didn’t usually sit down next to strangers if there were other seats available (Professor McCoy’s psychology lectures, or “how to unnerve your target”), let alone strike up conversations with them.

Unsure of how to react, Kaden just mumbled something about “giving them another hour”. This got another chuckle.

“People who say that they’ll wait another hour and actually do tend to wait another hour on top of that,” the scientist said. “Oh, where are my manners? My name’s Doctor Kudlak. What’s yours?”

“Seth Haller,” Kaden replied, feeling obscurely proud at how he hadn’t hesitated.

“Nice to meet you, Seth,” Kudlak said, holding his hand out. Kaden shook it warily. “Well, whoever it is you’re waiting for, I doubt she’s worth it. You’ve your whole life in front of you, it’s a bit early to be getting hung up on one girl.” Kudlak pulled a sandwich out of his bag and began eating it.

‘That “one girl” you so casually dismiss is worth more than your entire species,’ Kaden thought, trying not to scowl.

“Oh, hey, would you like a bite?” Kudlak asked, waving a partially eaten sandwich at Kaden.

Hunger, pride, and the desire to maim the man for the affront briefly fought amongst themselves, with pride cowing the others into submission.

“I had something to eat before coming here, thanks,” Kaden said. Kudlak shrugged and took another bite from his sandwich.

“Your loss,” he said around mouthfuls. He finished the sandwich, and lit a cigarette. Kaden grimaced, much to Kudlak’s seeming amusement. After a few minutes, he put the cigarette out. “Ah well, back to work,” Kudlak said, standing.

“Do you work for Limnades, Doctor?” Kaden asked.

“Yeah, that’s right, Seth,” Kudlak said. “Why do you ask?”

“No reason. I was just curious,” Kaden replied cautiously.

Kudlak smiled oddly at him. “Well, fair enough. I may see you again, Seth,” he said, before walking away.

Kaden watched Kudlak walk back towards the gate, where a small group of armed guards were standing. From what he could make out from this distance, the weaponry and armour were pretty much the standard for the job. Kudlak had reached the gate and just been waved through; obviously a familiar enough sight that the guards didn’t feel the need to go through the full protocol.

Kaden kept thinking of how one of the first things that Kudlak had said to him was that he’d been sat there a long time. Obviously the guards had noticed him. It was possible that Kudlak had spoken to a civilian in the park who had told him Kaden had been there a while, but it seemed unlikely that your regular civilian would be that observant.

Kaden slowly rose to his feet and, after a moment to get his bearings, headed off towards an entrance to the park out of the guards’ line of sight. Once he was there, he jogged down towards one of the walls around the complex.

Three sides of the complex boundary were marked by a wall of grey concrete blocks. Getting closer, Kaden could make out the veins of cement that held the blocks together. At the front entrance to the complex, the grey wall continued for a quarter of the distance in both directions, while the rest was chain-link fencing.

This was the first time he had come so close to the wall. Eyeing it up, Kaden decided it was a little over eight feet tall. He also noted with some satisfaction that some of the concrete and cement had eroded away in places. The main problem was the security cameras.

There were a couple about two hundred yards apart along the wall. Kaden forced himself to try and walk normally past their field of vision. It wasn’t until he was passing the second one, that Kaden realised something. Glancing around to check that no-one was watching him, he stopped and focused on the nearest security camera. After half a minute, he smiled to himself and shook his head.

It was really quite clever. The cameras were the splitting image of the security cameras he had glimpsed on TV shows and movies. His main problem with such footage was that the cameras looked nothing like the security cameras his training had familiarised him with. Kaden had always suspected artistic creativity in these cases, and one time when he had cause to hide within a library, he had confirmed this.

The camera was a dummy, only there for the sake of appearance. He had heard that some security companies offered dummy cameras along with their actual surveillance devices, so their client could give the impression of being better protected than they were. If it hadn’t been for the fact that his enhanced hearing couldn’t hear the quiet whirr of the cameras shifting and occasionally re-focusing, Kaden would have been completely fooled.

What he could hear, however, was the muffled trod of boots as guards patrolled within the perimeter. He could also detect the muffled smell of dogs. These weren’t Audoulan Shepherds, the usual choice for public friendly guard dogs, but the real deal; the sort of bastards that barked their heads off from the moment they saw you, until they sunk their teeth into your anatomy. However, from the muffled tones of their handlers, it seemed even these ruffians were pausing out of fear and respect of the presence of an apex predator; namely, himself.

As he turned the corner to the back of the complex, Kaden could hear the background whirring of real cameras. A quick glance at the wall showed the presence of look-alikes of the dummy cameras on the other wall. Kaden scowled. It seemed he would need all of his senses to determine fake from real.

As he walked the length of the wall, he realised that the whirring of cameras didn’t get louder as he passed the obvious cameras. Curious, he glanced at the wall as the whirring got louder again. Just above his head height, there was a slight alcove in the wall. Kaden was sure that if there was a light shining on that section of wall, there would be the telltale glint of a lens.

As he turned the corner to the third unadulterated section of wall, Kaden noticed that the sound of cameras dropped out again. The dummy cameras returned, in a similar set-up to the first wall he had cased. Nodding in satisfaction, Kaden turned around and walked out around some of the other roads near the complex -- if they saw him walk past the cameras going one way, only to return a few minutes later going the other way, it might look suspicious. He had a target in mind for this walk -- the guards at the front gate.

As he found himself back on the main road to the complex, he watched the traffic as he walked. He stiffened as an Omnis van rolled past and up to the gates. Kaden wondered if the Volsung crates he had seen before had been destined for here. He dismissed it as a question he would hopefully never learn the answer to.

The Omnis van had been waved through by the knot of guards by the time he reached the gates. One of the guards noticed him and stepped forward. The autonomous action and his stance convinced Kaden he was in charge.

“Excuse me,” Kaden said before the guard could say anything. “I was wondering if you could tell me what time the facility closes for the night.”

“What’s it to you?” the sergeant asked.

“I was talking to Doctor Kudlak a while ago. I’m supposed to meet him back here when he finishes work to stay the night--” and the sergeant gave him an odd look at that. “--but he didn’t say when he was due to finish. He’s my cousin.”

“Is that what they call it nowadays?” one of the other guards muttered to his companion.

“Tell me about it. And isn’t this kid a little young to be Kudlak’s ‘cousin’? Is that even legal?” Kaden briefly wondered if he should have claimed to be Kudlak’s second-cousin to cover for the age difference, but he didn’t see what legality had to do with it.

The sergeant shot his subordinates a look that silenced them both. He then turned back to Kaden. After considering it for a while, he sighed. “Well, we switch to nightshift at 19:00 and all the egghe-- scientists are supposed to finish then. But Doctor Kudlak sometimes stops on late. You’d be better off going home, kid.”

Kaden frowned slightly. The guard sounded like telling him that last thing was doing him a bigger favour than the rest of it. Still, he was obviously recruited from civvie street, as a military man would have started saying head-sheds rather than eggheads. And possibly been too cautious to give out the time of a guard shift.

“Oh, OK. Thank you. I’ll, um, consider it,” he said, figuring that playing cowed gratitude would work out well. He almost jumped as the Omnis van came out again. “Um, I’d best be going. Bye.”

Kaden turned and jogged back to the corner that followed the wall around the complex. After turning the corner, he stopped and considered his options. When the guards changed shift at 19:00 could be a good time to try and get in. He had seen them change at that time the previous evening, too.

The negatives to trying during a shift change was that guards were as aware of that particular ploy as any hack, and would be extra wary. Also, at that time in the evening, it was still a little too light for what Kaden had in mind--

A wall of nausea slammed bodily into Kaden, and he could feel muscles throughout his body writhing and knotting. His heart began to quiver and fell into an arrhythmic beat. His lungs felt like they were being crumpled and expanded at the same time. Bile rose into his mouth.

‘Oh gods, not now. Please not now. Not where everyone can see, not outside a medical lab,’ Kaden thought desperately. He had to run. As the thought occurred to him, his knees treacherously gave way and dumped him on the ground.

His wound burned with a greater intensity than it had before, except possibly when he had been originally wounded. The pain was so great however, it burned those memories beyond comparison.

Kaden had always accepted his transformations before, despite the pain. There was nothing he could do, after all, and there was no way that it could be reported to people who would know what he was. In his mind, the words “transformation” and “survivors” were mutually exclusive. The Hunger saw to that.

This time however, everything was at stake. The first time he transformed, he had no idea what was happening to him, and had nothing to compare it to. He could not try to fight it then, and had just accepted that every time since. But this time, he couldn’t accept it. It would be to die.

He had fought off the Pain, which had washed away the Rage and the Hunger. He would not let this beat him. He hoped that it would be quieter than before.

Every ounce of will Kaden possessed was thrown against his body’s urge to transform. He didn’t know what had caused it -- true, it had been triggered by stress before, but the sight of the Omnis van wasn’t that stressful, neither were his plans for infiltration.

He realised that his muscles were unknotting and starting to settle, he was able to breathe easier, and his heart was settling into a normal rhythm, albeit one that felt like he had been running for miles. His breathing was deep and hiking. His arm felt weird.

Throwing a quick glance around to check that no-one had seen him, Kaden threw himself onto his feet and started running, cradling the arm across his stomach. He wasn’t sure where he was running to, but a nearby building site offered itself as a good spot to hide, especially as the workmen seemed to be on their break.

Kaden dashed into the maze of erected girders, and randomly zigged and zagged out of instinct. He came to a halt, his heart hammering against his ribcage, his lungs hiking for deeper breaths than before, normal dizziness and nausea threatening to make him collapse. He grinned, despite all that. But his wound still burned, and the arm still felt weird.

Kaden glanced down at his arm, and an involuntary moan escaped his lips. He had never seen his transformed state before, and his memories of seeing other Animus transformed were scrambled to the point of being undecipherable. But his arm…

It was covered in reddish-brown -- hair? FUR?? - and was tipped with claws that looked like they could disembowel nearly anything with a swipe. Kaden swallowed convulsively. He glanced nervously at his jacket. There were a couple puncture marks where he had held his arm, but nothing obvious.

As Kaden fought to calm his breathing and slow his heart rate, he felt the muscles and nerves start to writhe in his transformed arm. Before his eyes, admittedly winced with sheer bloody agony, his arm transformed back into a human seeming. Kaden fought to keep what food he had eaten down, and fervently wished that he would never see it again.

Was this an effect of that damn chemical? That Bellerophon? Kaden could only presume that it was. His transformations -- already near unpredictable -- becoming completely random and arbitrary? He made up his mind. Regardless of whatever else happened, he had to break in and find a counteragent tonight.

~ # ~

The park was quiet. Kaden raised from the crouch he had maintained in the bushes and stretched, wincing as his muscles cramped. It was nothing compared to what he had felt earlier, though.

He removed his sunglasses, smiling slightly to himself. He had overheard two of the guards talking, and it seemed that Limnades or one of their sponsors was throwing a ball that night. As a result, many of the guards had been reassigned to provide security for the ball. It made his job that little bit easier.

Kaden moved through the park, hugging cover. He was moving towards the exit he had used earlier in the day, away from the exit nearest to the main compound’s entrance. As he reached the gates, a van rolled past, its headlights momentarily reflecting in his eyes. Kaden dodged back into cover until it had passed by. As he leaned out again, he noticed with disgust that it was another Omnis vehicle.

Shaking it off, he checked for obvious observation points that could sight his route. Satisfied, he checked the traffic. Once he was certain there were no witnesses, Kaden hurried towards the compound, jinking in the road to avoid the illumination of streetlights.

Once he had reached the lee of the wall, Kaden eyed his first target. One of the fallen pieces of masonry from the wall would do for a weapon. Kaden sighted along his arm, pulled it back and threw the stone. The nearest streetlight went out.

He froze as he heard some muttering from the other side of the wall. It had gained some attention. It was annoying, but he was prepared for it. It helped that the wind was still. He could smell the guard had a dog with him.

Kaden backed away from the wall, eyeing it, and then took a running jump.

‘One foot,’ he thought to himself. ‘One lousy foot.’ He scrabbled the rest of the way up the wall and crouched on top of it.

The guard who had heard him shattering the light had taken a few careful steps in his direction but was still out of sight. There was one more guard with a dog in his immediate vicinity. He stretched out his right arm and concentrated. He needed the dogs to restrain their handlers for a few moments. His scent shifted.

“Advance and meet your death.”

He had hoped for something less confrontational, but scent communication was as violently straightforward as a Damascan gangster. Nevertheless, the dogs were surprised, he could tell. Each gave a little yelp, and pulled back on their lead. Their handlers smelled confused and startled and more than a little afraid.

Kaden exhaled all the breath from his lungs and leapt down from the wall, rolling on the ground. What sounds he made at impact were tiny things, as he didn’t have the air to produce them. He pulled himself to his feet, and headed diagonally towards the building. He felt slightly sick from the exertion, but he was already beginning to feel better. It was hard to hear anything above the blood pounding in his ears, but he was listening carefully for the sound of security cameras.

He almost ran into one. It was hidden, so he knew it was legitimate, but it wasn’t making a sound. A few lights in the rooms behind flickered. It seemed something was creating a distortion in the energy flow within the building. Kaden couldn’t tell what the source was, but he was grateful for the assistance.

He almost missed the scent of cigarette smoke. Kaden paused, as it seemed to be coming from below the ground-- ‘Ah-ha,’ he thought to himself, spying a staircase dipping below the level of the turf. The railing next to it was a slight giveaway. Kaden guessed it was some kind of emergency exit from the lower floors.

He vaulted the railings and dropped to the landing, legs flexing instinctively to absorb the shock. It was a landing with no door, he noted absently, vaulting another railing. A landing with a closed door. Down. Another landing without a door. Down. Kaden repeated this until he came across a landing that had a door which was open. The door was open, and a white-coated figure stood there.

“You-?!” the figure said. There would have been more, but Kaden had lashed out with the heel of his hand. Belatedly he realised it was his injured arm, and remembered that he was having trouble withholding his full strength. Cartilage shattered upwards into the brain. The scientist may have survived the blow with immediate medical treatment if the momentum of the impact hadn’t thrown his head back against the metal frame of the door.

Kaden grimaced. He had been hoping for merely unconscious. He peered at the slumped, spasming figure at his feet. He looked kind of familiar. Kaden knelt down and checked the ID card tagged to his coat. Doctor Thaddeus Kudlak.

“You were right, you did see me again,” Kaden muttered, glancing around the room. It seemed the cameras had gone down here, too.

However, anyone would notice a dead body lying around. A missing colleague could be in the lavatory, or just playing hooky. A dead one meant violent misdeeds. Kaden looked around the room again and noticed an open locker.

He glanced at the deceased Doctor Kudlak. “Yours?” he asked, before picking the body up with a grunt. He carried him over to the locker and manhandled him inside. As he was closing the door, he had a thought and reopened it.

“Mind if I borrow this?” he said, unclipping the ID card. As he recalled, there was a barcode underneath the photo and details. It could prove useful. He shut the door to the locker, and, as he was unable to find the key, left it unlocked.

He moved out into the corridor, and looked around. His first stop should be the computer labs. They would, hopefully, have some information about stabilised chimeric cryptovirals and their counteragents on record. Failing that, he would try the research labs. Depending on how automated the process was, he might be able to synthesize a counteragent for the counteragent. He spotted a building plan opposite him. He slinked over to it and studied it.

Without a word, Kaden turned on his heels and returned to the stairwell. With a growl, he began climbing the stairs. He briefly wondered why Kudlak couldn’t have been considerate enough to work in the R&D department. It would have been less of a drop, and he wouldn’t have to climb back up. Some scientists…

As he opened the door to the level, he spotted the archives room directly opposite him. He noticed the sign saying ‘Clearance Required’ as he approached it. Fumbling in his pockets, Kaden retrieved Kudlak’s ID card and swiped it through the card reader by the lock. The lock beeped as it recognised the card, and opened with an audible hiss. Goosebumps raised on Kaden’s bare arms as the cool air hit him.

He entered the room and shut the door behind him. It beeped and locked with a solid thump.

Kaden looked around, forehead creasing at the distracting hum of the refrigeration units. At random, he chose a computer terminal and approached it.

~ # ~

Kaden wasn’t sure how much time had passed. Not as long as it felt like, he suspected. He stretched and cricked his neck to one side.

Bellerophon had been the obvious place to start, but it seemed dozens of chemical and viral compounds had been given that name. While a few of them were anti-chimerical in nature, none of their targets matched the limited knowledge Kaden had of his own biology.

It was then he heard muffled voices outside the door. He frowned. He had been paying close attention to his work, but he had also been listening for security guards, who were hardly the quietest of humans. They walked like they owned the place, which made it easy to hear them coming. But--

CLANG

Kaden’s frown deepened. More intruders, it seemed. And one of them was trying to kick the door down. More of one of the muffled voices.

CLANG More of the same muffled voice.

CLANG!

Kaden winced at the last one. For one, it made his sensitive ears ring. For another, if any guards were around…

There were sounds of a muffled argument. He scowled. It spoke volumes about how lax security was in this place if they had managed to get this far making this sort of commotion.

A light by the door winked, and then it beeped. The door unlocked with a hiss.

Kaden had just enough time to draw and level his gun at the trio that moved through the door.

“No sudden movements,” he warned them. They smelt strange. They smelt like the scent he thought was Destrillians. Shit.
__________________
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


Sam Vimes arrested a dragon... and carries the law with him like an Ampharos
Vimes and PokeSammies sprite by GLD

Last edited by Mantichorus; 07/15/2011 at 12:07 AM. Reason: typos, BB code errors
Mantichorus is offline  
Thanked by 8:
Alessa Gillespie (07/15/2011), Alex (07/15/2011), Bex (07/15/2011), NoenGaruth (07/19/2011), Rumpelstiltskin (07/25/2011), Sheva Alomar (07/15/2011), Super Mario (07/15/2011), Tennyo (07/15/2011)
Old 07/21/2011   #189
Omega
Default

THETIS ALCESTEOS, KADEN WYNDHAM, AND TELRAN MIARA
The Limnades Data Archives



Kaden glanced at the trio who had entered through the computer lab door mere seconds ago. He could tell straight off that they weren't human. Nothing human smelled like they did.

The male with the mohawk smelt like electrical discharge, similar to ozone. The girl with the blue hair smelt like fresh water -- no, make that meltwater. The other girl, who the blue-haired girl had draped over her shoulders smelt of smouldering embers. In lieu of any real names for them, he dubbed them after their scents.

Kaden was distantly aware that his arm was aching and he couldn't keep the gun levelled at them forever. As none of them seemed to be overly concerned about screaming for help, he decided to take a chance.

"You, Ozone," he said, waving the gun at the male. At their blank looks, he suppressed a sigh. "You with the mohawk. Shut the door."

Ozone? Arching an eyebrow, Telran complied with the stranger. He wasn't sure why, or what it was, but there was something about him that just wasn't quite right...starting with him making demands of someone he'd just met - although he did have a gun, which may have had something to do with that one. Something's off here...although the lack of uniform means he's obviously not with Limnades. Is he breaking in, too, then?

Kaden watched as Ozone reluctantly followed his order. As the door shut, he glanced at the two girls. Cindy seemed to be out cold over River's shoulders. Kaden listened carefully to her heartrate and breathing until he was satisfied she wasn't faking unconsciousness.

As he turned his gaze back to Ozone, he briefly caught River's eyes. He doubted she knew she was doing it, but every part of her seemed to be announcing I could take you with no effort, but I've got more important shit to deal with right now.

Kaden took in each of the three in turn before speaking. "I feel fairly confident in saying you three broke in here somehow, too. I say this, 'cos you were walking around too softly for people who belong here, and you've yet to scream for help at finding an intruder."

Telran glanced at Thetis. What do you think? Hear him out, or take him out?

Hear him out. Thetis' eyes never left the man's gun. We're too close to risk anything now. It was half true, at least. Not even Thetis was naive enough to believe she could outrun a gunshot with Fiona on her back. She shifted Fiona onto her shoulder and shot a side-ways glance at Telran. Smart, sensible, reliable Telran. You deal with it.

He nodded. Not like we can't deal with him if he turns on us. Since when did guns mean anything to a Destrillian?

Kaden was aware that he had pushed his luck so far that it had almost developed its own momentum. If he were to say the foremost thing in his mind - "so, I guess you're those Destrillians I've heard so much about" - it would quickly careen away from him.

Something about their stance was odd, though. Occasionally, they would both make the same small movement at the same time. Kaden fought to keep his face impassive as it occured to him they might be telepaths. Just what he needed... wait, no. If they were telepaths, they'd probably have made some oh-so-insightful snide remark about him.

A Midwich field, perhaps? Still, whatever it was, he needed to make a pacifying gesture.

Not lowering his aim, he reached for his shades with his other hand and slowly pulled them off. He gazed at them with lupine eyes.

"I think it's pretty clear, that none of us are exactly human," he said. "And you don't stink like my former keepers, so I'd guess that right now, we're not enemies."

"And how do we know you aren't our enemy?" Telran asked. "You appear in just the place we need to be? It seems...convenient." He stared directly into the newcomer's eyes. "Too convenient."

Kaden felt oddly buoyed by the question. Despite their muffled squabbling that he had heard before they entered the room, it seemed they were properly paranoid.

"I don't have any proof on that score for you," he admitted. "But personally, I'd be more suspicious if someone came along with proof that we weren't enemies before we'd even met."

"Touche." The golden-eyed Destrillian paused to consider this. "How about this, then - you said you weren't human. Would that make you a Lyverius, then?" His face hardened almost imperceptibly.

"I don't want to know," Thetis broke the silence, and took the slightest of steps forward. "And I don't care." So maybe she wasn't being entirely truthful. In all honesty, the thought of a Lyverius appearance terrified her. From what Stolz had said, they were indomitable. Thetis didn't even want to think about how easy it was to be ambushed here. The three of them were completely isolated, and she doubted Maruca Avidez and his Lyverius and Destrillian cronies would take kindly to a trio of super-human trespassers. Then again, from what Stolz had said, it seemed unlikely that a Lyverius would find any need for a gun. They would be safe.

For now.

After a deep breath, the blue-haired girl turned her attention to Telran. "All I know is that none of us are getting killed, we have to run and you--" she jabbed a finger at Kaden with little regard for the gun he still held "--have creepier eyes than I do."

Her male counterpart frowned. She has a point...whoever he is, we don't have the time to waste on this guy. "A truce, then? We don't interfere with you, nor you with us. Our comrade here," he said, gesturing toward Fiona, "doesn't have enough time for us to waste with a confrontation."

"Suits me," Kaden said, shrugging. "Although, if it makes you guys feel any better, I'm not one of those Lyverius things." He flicked the safety on his pistol and replaced it in his pocket. With his other hand, he replaced his shades.

"But I do not trust you - make no mistake," said the golden-eyed Destrillian, narrowing his eyes slightly. "And if you try anything...I will not hesitate to kill you."

And he turned away to walk to the nearest computer station.

The way his neurons are firing means he's definitely not human. As Telran sat down and flicked on the terminal, he sat in thought, waiting for the station to come online. But it's not anywhere near the same as Stolz or Jettison and Nova. Something else entirely? The eyes...wait. "Ozone". Heightened sense of smell? But no, that would make him... His eyes flicked back to watch the stranger as he waited.

Kaden shrugged again, and wished he hadn't as his arm twinged again. Not trusting people was the Damascan way. At least Ozone was honest enough to admit to it. He returned to the computer terminal he had been using before the odd trio entered the room, and tapped the space bar to re-awaken the screen.

It seemed that <Damascan Cryptoviral Destabilisers> had met with as much luck as his previous searches. Kaden sighed. What would a bunch of Audoulans refer to a Damascan chemical agent as? DMS-X-0597? On a whim, Kaden typed that into the search field. No results.

Maybe he was going about it the wrong way. He entered <Stabile Haemomorphic Cryptovirals> into the search field. A few dozen results were shown. Kaden smiled grimly, and added <Damascus> to the front of the query. No results. Frak.

An undignified grunt escaped Thetis as she lowered Fiona from her shoulder and carefully propped her against a computer terminal. Kneeling beside her counterpart, the water Destrillian gently prised the collar of Fiona's vest from her neck. The network of sludge coloured veins that throbbed over her throat nearly sent Thetis reeling backwards. There's no time. The blue-haired girl stumbled to her feet and hurried over to Telran. "Have you found anything yet? Anything at all?"

Telran grunted in reply. "Found the directory - just have to locate the right lab." He tilted his head over his shoulder and toward his yellow-eyed companion. "Another few minutes, I hope," he said quietly. Thetis' knuckles whitened on the back of his chair.

"Can you make it go faster?" she almost whispered. The water Destrillian felt so helpless; what more could she do but watch from the sidelines? Four years of hardship and hiding, and still, Thetis Alcesteos couldn't even follow through on her own plan. Why was I so stupid?

Hrm...I see antidotes, but these are all for common poisons and venom. What else would they call it? Maybe I should just search for 'Lyverius'...I almost wish this other guy was one so we could force it out of him. The golden eyes returned to the newcomer, sizing him up. He had a lean, rangy, loping sort of look to him - he'd obviously spent a good deal of time on the streets. Is he on the run from someone, too? He turned back to the terminal to work on the search - there would be time to figure him out later.

Kaden felt a brief wave of nausea run through him, and it was followed by a sharper wave of panic. Nonononono-- He then realised there wasn't the accompanying feeling of his muscles rearranging themselves under his skin that usually occured during his transformations. He frowned. Something else was making him feel sick.

As he breathed in, he noticed a faint smell of decay. Very organic. Almost, but not quite, human. He turned his head to study the suspected Destrillians at their workstation. Two of them were there -- Ozone and River. The third, unconscious one -- Cindy -- was slumped in a corner.

It seemed she was the source of the smell. Kaden wondered how you were supposed to raise these sorts of matters in polite conversation. Any mention of the old Damascan proverb "live and let die" would probably find him enacting the second half fairly swiftly.

I don't like him. Thetis shuffled uncomfortably as Telran typed in line after line of commands into the terminal.

I know what you mean, he replied with a nod. Something about him bugs me, too.

Kaden couldn't ignore it any longer. He stood from his workstation, and walked over to the slumped girl. He looked at her for a moment before crouching next to her. Telran followed his movements from the corner of his eye, twitching as he knelt beside her.

"So, what exactly's wrong with your friend here?" he asked. "To be frank, she smells..." he paused, trying to think of an adequate word that wouldn't make them more hostile to him. There wasn't one. "...Like she's in a bad way."

Thetis spun around from the workstation and glared at the newcomer. His words were an unwelcome reality check. "That's none of your business," She stormed across the lab, fists clenched and pulse pounding as she loomed over the mysterious man. Such obvious observation were doing nothing for her temper.

Kaden glanced at the blue-haired girl. After assuring himself that it was only a threat display for the moment, he carefully removed a glove. He had considered doing so with his teeth, but a memory of the previous owner had left him hesitant to put the gloves near his mouth. He carefully rested the back of his hand against the unconscious girl's forehead. It was so cold, he was almost surprised he didn't feel his skin blistering.

"Do you guys usually get this cold?" he asked, knowing the answer was they didn't.

"Fiona doesn't get cold," Thetis snapped at the stranger. Creep. she thought. The blood in her temples began to throb as she watched the man brush a stray strand of hair from Fiona's eyes. Even the slightest of his grubby fingers on Fiona made her feel like liquidising him. When the water Destrillian saw his hand move to the collar of her roommate's vest, it was enough. She snarled. "Just back off!" Thetis' fingers wrapped around the man's arm in a vice to pull him away.

Kaden wondered for a few seconds whether how she had grabbed the wounded part of his arm was deliberate or accidental. It didn't matter either way.

"FRAK OFF!" He span away from River, breaking her grip on his arm. He crouched low on all fours, teeth bared. A growl rippled up his throat from deep within his gullet. No sooner had the stranger turned on her did Thetis leap back. Water curled around her fingers and every one of her muscles tensed like a coiled spring.

"I told you he was bad news!" the blue-haired girl shouted over to Telran, who had risen from his seat by the terminal.

Kaden didn't want a fight. No, beyond that; he needed a complete absence of fighting. But right now, he was locked into pure fight or flight, and he couldn't back down. He felt a spasm begin in his arm and quelled it.

"Stop it. Both of you," the golden-eyed doctor broke in. "This isn't getting any of us anywhere." He turned to the stranger. "You're right - she's dying. And, to be frank, you don't look so hot yourself - and if you're not careful, she won't be the only one dead," he said, gesturing toward Thetis, who never took her sights off the stranger.

"Now...you said that she smells? You can smell what's inside of her?"

Despite himself, Kaden grinned. He took a few deep breaths then forced himself back onto two feet. He glanced at River, who was living up to her nickname. Carefully, he positioned himself so that both she and Ozone were in front of him.

He carefully regarded the mohawked man. "You threaten like a Damascan," Kaden said. "But yeah, I can smell... something about her. It smells like decay. Organic, but not quite natural." After a brief pause, he added. "I mean whatever venom's inside her smells not quite natural."

...I suppose that tallies, Telran thought. He regarded the stranger for a moment before replying.

"All right. Here's the deal, then. She's got maybe a few hours left; we need to find the antidote immediately. If you can help us find it, then I'll do what I can to help you with - er - whatever it is that's ailing you." His eyes moved to the newcomer's arm as he finished.

Kaden cocked his head to one side as he studied Ozone.

"So, I take it you're a doctor of some kind? Any good with bio-chemical formulas?"

Telran nodded once in reply.

"I know the codename of what's attacking my system. The formula's also included, but I can't understand it," Kaden said. "And it seems to be specifically tailored to my kind, too, so I'm guessing my former masters were behind its development," he added inside his head.

"And you'd like me to create the antidote, then?"

"I don't think it's technically a venom, so counteragent might be a better word," Kaden said. "But yeah, create, find where I failed. After all, you did offer to help with my problem if I helped you with yours."

"I see. Is it something I can make anywhere, or will we need to find ingredients here?"

"If my guesses regarding its source are right, you'd have better luck in finding what's needed here," Kaden said. He shrugged. "That was part of the reason I broke in here, although I would have preferred it if they had a counteragent on record."

The doctor paused for a moment. "Thetis - this okay with you?" he asked, turning to face her.

With a roll of her shoulders, the water prototype backed down. "Whatever."

Lovely, Telran thought, rolling his eyes as he turned back to the stranger. "All right, then. It sounds like we have an agreement." He gestured toward Fiona. "Now let's see if we can't save Fiona, hm?" He then returned to his terminal, which was still coming up with nothing when searching for "Lyverius" and "bio-poison". He had also come up with nothing while searching for "Vollerei", the man Stolz had mentioned back at the apartment, what seemed like an age ago.

"Let me see if I have this right. Cindy, the unconscious one, is called Fiona. River over there is called Thetis," Kaden said. "And what would that make you, Ozone?"

"Telran," came the reply. "And yourself?"

"They called me Orthrus, but these days I mostly go by Kaden," he said. And he felt they had best get the other thing over and done with, too.

"My... kind, you could say, are called Animus. The genetic strain I'm part of is called the Lykaon. And I take it you guys are the Destrillians I left Osea to avoid?"

Thetis couldn't help but snort with laughter. "Yeah. Good luck with that."

Telran cracked a smile. "His luck there seems to have run out, I'd say."

Kaden didn't find it quite so amusing. "I've been SOL for about the last month or so. Something's put the wind up the good folk of Damascus to the point that I couldn't slip under radars any more. It's starting to seem like the whole continent's losing the frakking plot."

The doctor grunted in reply. He'd just come across a strange symbol in the archives - a strange diamond shape with what looked like an eye in the center. An eye with a yin-yang symbol inside of it...

Kaden wandered over to the workstation he had been working at and surreptitiously collected the Bellerophon packet he had left there. He scowled at the monitor that still stubbornly showed nothing useful, and shut the system down after wiping his search history.

As he turned away from it, pulling his gloves back onback on, he saw a strange glyph over Telran's shoulder. He frowned and walked over to the electric Destrillian.

"Anything you recognise, doc?" he asked.

He shook his head. "Thetis?" he said, turning to look at his blue-haired compatriot over his shoulder. "Does this seem familiar to you?"

"I told you," Thetis said as she turned to the console as she leaned over Telran at the screen, "I can't rea-" She stopped. The symbol on the screen sent a shiver up her spine. Weird. She folded her arms and tilted her head to the side. "What is that?"

"Other than pretentious, I dunno," Kaden said. "Symbolically, both the yin-yang and the diamond are used to suggest balance."

Striking a few keys, Telran found that the symbol came up a number of times in the archives; every time it did, however, the entry containing notes had been deleted or reallocated - inaccessible. "Huh. Whatever it is, someone doesn't want people to know what it means."

"Let's just find a way to cure Fiona and get out of here," Thetis sighed. She caught a glimpse of Kaden from the corner of her eye. "And you, of course."

"I think this is a good place to start. It looks like most of the entries are located in lab three, which should be just down the hall." He turned to Kaden. "Do you think that you'd be able to...ah, smell...what we're looking for based on Fiona here?"[/b] he asked, nodding toward the unconscious firestarter.

Kaden considered the question. "I should be able to," he said. "It depends on how good a sample of the original toxin they've got here. If they worked from a similar sample to what infected your friend, it shouldn't be too hard."

"Then stop talking and hurry up already!"


=====

It took the group a few minutes to move from the computer lab down to the laboratory that Telran had singled out. Without anything being said, Kaden and Telran took it in turns at taking the lead along the journey. Kaden wasn't sure how the Destrillians were communicating between themselves, but he indicated when they should halt or advance with simple, militaristic hand gestures.

Thetis supported the unconscious Fiona along the journey, occasionally glancing around suspiciously.

It seemed to Kaden that the two conscious Destrillians had some version of enhanced senses themselves, that somehow differed from his senses of smell and hearing.

Before too long, the group arrived at Laboratory 3. It was marked with the same emblem that Telran had found on the computer. There was another cardkey lock by the door, which Telran opened with the ID card the Destrillians had procured.

The third laboratory's scents were almost overpowering. The first, most prominent scent was disinfectant. Below that, however, were over a dozen different scents. Each made Kaden want to flee.

"We're in the right place," he said. "This place smells like a death factory."

Two steps in, he gasped as a shudder rippled through his wounded arm. He clenched his teeth until the sensation passed and his muscles stopped writhing.

"You okay?" the doctor asked.

"Will be if you figure out how to counteract... oh, here," Kaden said. He pulled the Bellerophon packet out of his pocket. "I find what your friend needs, you work out how the hell to beat this." He held it out to Telran, who gingerly accepted it, gazing at it for a moment before carefully placing it in an inner pocket.

Kaden smiled grimly. "Don't worry, it's self-sealing plastic, plus it seems to be designed to only affect Animus."

"If you're sure," Telran said uncertainly.

"Fairly sure. My former masters are a jealous bunch, but they can't abide waste. So collateral damage isn't their style."

"All right," he said, his tone still a bit skeptical. "Anything smell...ah, familiar?" he asked, indicating the room as a whole.

Kaden gave him a look. "Yeah, lots. There's a lot of poisons and venoms here. I'll have a shufti round and let you know as and when I find anything useful."

Kaden stalked around the lab. There was a general stench inside the room, as the smells of different venoms diffused together. Only by approaching the vials individually did Kaden recognise any of them. The venom from an Isolian salamander. The poison of the Greater Thalassan Root. ...This one had no scent. Kaden hazarded a guess, then twisted the vial carefully. Aconite. Wolfsbane.

Shaking his head, he turned back to the search. There were many different types of death in this room. He was starting to feel ill from it.

As Kaden searched through the lab, something was bugging him. Despite the strange symbol on the door and how secretive this lab was, all of the toxins around him were completely natural. Each was commonly available, and either a zoological or botanical specimen. Antidotes for every toxin he had spotted existed, unless the toxin was rapidly fatal.

He had expected something more...exotic.

Kaden almost swore out loud when he realised there were two types of vials. One was the typical lab standard transparent glass test tube with some design of stopper at the lip. The other was opaque and china white. The strange diamond with an inset eye symbol was printed on it in black. He took a step closer to one for a better look. He was almost positive it was ceramic. At the top of the vial sat a lid with a dial set into it.

Hesitant to open the vial, Kaden picked it up and carefully sniffed at it. There was a faint scent about it, which was completely alien to him. He placed it back, having a better idea of what he was looking for.

"We don't have all night, you know," Thetis snapped from the doorway.

"I'm making progress," he replied tersely. "I should have it in less than five minutes."

"Five minutes is more than we have," the blue-haired girl knelt by Fiona and felt for her pulse; if it could even be called that. Fiona's heartbeat was faint and far away. Thetis turned to Kaden with a growl. "Find it, or I will make sure you never find your way out of here."

"Unfortunately, I can assure you that she both can and will," Telran said with a grim smile.

Kaden smirked despite himself. The level of threats made him feel slightly nostalgic for Damascus. Now he knew what he was looking for, he homed in on the shelves that had the ceramic tubes in their racks. Each one he picked up smelt of some unfamiliar, but undoubtedly lethal, toxin.

After a couple of minutes, as he went to return one to its slot, he paused. Pulling it back out, he took another cautious sniff. Then, carefully, he wheeled the dial on the top of it.

Kaden made a wretching noise, which could have been "Oh, frak," before he tightened the dial again. He swallowed convulsively.

'Is that what it smells like fresh?' he wondered to himself. He glanced warily at the number carefully stencilled on the side of it. The same number was on a small placard under the shelf he had taken it from. There was a note underneath:

In the event of accidental exposure, especially to an open wound, inject solution 85-B (89.5% success rate vs 100% mortality rate).

Kaden frowned and looked around the room. There was a locked cabinet to one side. He sneered. It seemed right for this sort of outfit to leave the hazmats out in the open, but hide the cures away.

He walked over to the cabinet. There was a slot for a cardkey by it. He retrieved Kudlak's ID from his pocket and inserted it into the slot. There was in quick succession a ping! followed by a pneumatic hiss as the front of the cabinet rolled upwards.

Kaden's eyes flicked across the different glass vials, and he was aware of the two mobile Destrillians coming to stand behind him. His eyes narrowed as he spotted a row of vials marked 85-B. The contents were tinged slightly green. Kaden put his skepticism to one side and retrieved it.

"This one," he said.

"This is the one?" Telran looked at the vial for a moment before his eyes flickered to Kaden's face. "And you're certain, absolutely certain, that this is the right one?"

"It's what they tell their own workers to use if they get exposed to the venom," Kaden shrugged. "Eighty-nine-point-five per-cent success rate."

"Eighty-nine five. Better odds than most," the doctor said softly, his gaze drifting to Thetis, "but still not a guarantee."

Thetis looked first to Kaden, still very uncomfortable with the suspcious, grungy man. She wanted nothing more than to send him back to wherever he came from, but knew that they needed all the help they could find in saving Fiona's life. She then turned to Telran, eyebrows knitted in a frown. "If this doesn't work, everything has been for nothing!"

"You can't always save everyone," he said quietly, his eyes unfocused and staring through the cabinet and into nothingness.

"Maybe," Thetis spoke through gritted teeth as she carefully set Fiona down on one of the many stainless steel counters. She wasn't asking to save everyone. Just her. Fiona's arm slipped off the table and hung limply halfway to the floor. With trembling fingers, the water Destrillian gently lifted the limb and placed it on the surface. Who could have known they would end up here? Perhaps it was foolish of the water prototype to believe they could have existed under the radar; not as humans, but maybe without the threat of being a Destrillian, either. Yet here they were, finally facing the consequences of reality. The danger would never end. Everything they had been through--every fight, every argument and every escape--and they were leaving Fiona's life to chance.

And, if the past was anything to go by, chance did not favour Viola's errant prototypes.

This is what it all comes down to. As he inserted the rather unusual syringe that came with the antivenom into the ceramic vial, the electric Destrillian's mind struggled to place itself at ease - something which was always so simple in the past. This wasn't the first time he'd seen someone at death's door. Why was it so hard to detach himself from things this time? Why was this so important? He barely knew Fiona; from what he did know, he didn't like her very much. So why was he feeling a need to save her life, and why was it so vital?

Telran stared at the tiny needle for a moment, gazing at the what was Fiona's last chance, her last lifeline - her last few moments: all relied on the strange greenish liquid contained within. "Well..." he said, as the room took a collective deep breath, "here goes nothing."

And he inserted the syringe directly into the center of the glowing sludge in Fiona's shoulder, pushing what they could but hope was the antidote into her system.

May you find peace in the embrace of the goddess.

There was a moment of absolute silence where not even a breath was drawn by the trio. And then, without any warning whatsoever, Fiona Myrwind, Destrillian number four, burst into flame.

Telran jumped back, shock and surprise etched across his features. "Was there any mention of that on the label?!" The doctor couldn't help himself; he'd said it a bit more loudly than he'd intended, and probably much more accusatory, too. He wheeled on Kaden, as though seeking some kind of explanation.

Kaden pulled back quickly and instinctively from the raging flame, huddling in one corner of the room. The rumbling lupine growl almost covered the harshly accented, but slightly awed. "Frak!"

In the split second it took Thetis to process that Fiona may have well exploded, she reacted the only way she knew how. With a flick of the wrist, the blue-haired girl rather unceromoniously dumped a small pond's worth of water on her counterpart. As shelves smouldered and the smell of burning plastic filled the air, silence descended upon the lab. "Don't tell her I did that," Thetis said quietly.

Moments passed where nothing happened, the occupants of the lab looking at each other in an attempt to figure out what the hell had just happened. And just then, a groan, deep and hoarse, like the waking of the dead, interrupted the silence within the room, making the one that followed even more profound, as three sets of yellowish eyes moved to the same spot.

Fiona was waking up.
__________________

Last edited by Omega; 07/21/2011 at 06:42 PM.
Omega is offline  
Thanked by 10:
Alessa Gillespie (07/21/2011), Baldy (07/21/2011), Bex (07/22/2011), Hisako (07/22/2011), Mantichorus (07/23/2011), NoenGaruth (07/22/2011), Rumpelstiltskin (07/25/2011), Sheva Alomar (07/21/2011), Super Mario (07/22/2011), Tennyo (09/12/2011)
Old 08/30/2011   #190
Sheva Alomar
Default

Thetis Alcesteos, Telran Miara, Fiona Myrwind, Kaden Wyndham
Limnades
------------------------------------

Fiona raced down a steep hill of dead, tall grass. The sky was grey and the sun was dim on the horizon. A crisp, unwelcoming chill brushed against the flame Destrillian as she fled an unseen enemy. Gunshots and horrific screams echoed from where she was running from. There was no physical presence in pursuit, instead, the sounds grew louder as Fiona put distance between herself and the cacophony of chaos.

She ran, gasping for air, but showing no sign of tiring. The redhead wanted to just collapse to the ground, but a fear and a need carried her onward. Fiona insisted on looking over her shoulder, reassuring herself that no one was catching up to her. Once, twice, thrice; nothing there. Her arms and legs pumped with all of their might. The fire Destrillian looked over a fourth time. As she did, her foot was met with a gnarled root that peeked out from underground. Her momentum was so great that she flew several yards before skidding a few more to a painful halt. The noises grew more boisterous, a low rumbling now accompanying it.

Fiona scrambled to her feet and tripped over herself a couple of times, carrying herself on all fours. She lunged forward as far as she could before surrendering herself to the dry, gritty dirt beneath her. But that was when the noises ceased.

The firestarter kicked up a large cloud of dirt and dust collecting herself to stand up, fully alert. She panted, eyes darting in every direction. Behind her, the great hill she had just stumbled down from. Before her, an intimidating network of pathways within an intricate garden of shrubbery; in short, a labyrinth.

Fiona began to express in words how she felt, but once again found that her voice was gone. There was no time to try to recover it. She needed to make sure the rowdy phantom parade wouldn't find her, needed to find the other side of this winding maze.

Wasting no time, the flame Destrillian broke out into another run, hastily searching for an exit. A turn there, a twist here. It seemed that the brush only grew thicker as she navigated the labyrinth.

"Visiting me again so soon? My, this is a fortunate week for me," Dr. Fringe remarked as he sat in worn leather chair, steepling his fingers. Fiona had ran into a dead end. One with a very unpleasant memory waiting to spring on her in the form of her most despised aquaintance.

"You must really need me back, just as I thought you would." He rose from his seat, a large needle of a nameless concoction in his hand. "Come here, my precious lab rat! It's time that we put you through some more gruesome tests!"

Finley Fringe chased after the fire Destrillian--and with far more speed than a human, especially the old doctor, should have possessed. The redhead turned on her heel and bolted for whatever paths and turns were most closest to her.

After several minutes, Fiona stopped and snapped to look behind her. No one was there now, but a dull wisp of air. As the flame prototype silently wondered just where she was in the first place, the sound of soft sniffles caught her attention. Half-dazed, the fiery redhead shuffled her way closer to the source of what she soon realised was crying. She came around a corner and instantly recognised who it was: Thetis. The water Destrillian was on her knees, trying to stifle her sobs. Fiona tried to call out her name, forgetting that she lacked the ability to speak. A dry cough was all the came. The blue-haired girl snapped her eyes toward the noise and her face almost immediately lit up. "F-Fiona? Is it really you?" She rose to her feet and took careful steps toward the fire Destrillian.

Fiona wasn't as patient and ran at her counterpart, unaware of the trap lying in wait. Before she knew it, the redhead was hanging by just a few fingers. A hidden hole in the ground opened itself up beneath her feet just as she was within arm's reach of Thetis. Most of the fire prototype's strength was gone, so it was up to her counterpart to lift her up before she fell into whatever was waiting in the abyss.

The blue-haired girl came to stand over Fiona, her expression changed to a cold one. The fire starter had no idea what was going to happen next. "On second thought," Thetis said icily, "you're not worth the grief." With that, she stomped down on Fiona's fingers and sent her falling into nothingness.

Instead of a never-ending abyss, the fiery redhead fell into the dead center of the grand labyrinth she so desperately wished to leave. She would have preferred falling endlessly over this. Two people had been waiting for her.

"Why didn't you just listen to me, Fiona? We could have been free and I would still be alive!" Ariel had come back from the dead to haunt the fire Destrillian for the choice she wasn't able to make. The bullet wound that dealt her friend the killing blow was in plain site, bleeding steadily as she Fiona. There was no way of justifying it, even if her voice was there to give a response. She turned away from the sound Destrillian, hoping to get away. No such luck.

"Why can't you be decent for once and help me lead the others? She's not around anymore to help us," Idris said, motioning back over to Ariel.

Before she could react to her metal counterpart, the ground beneath Fiona began to shake. The redhead looked around in a panic, soon finding what was causing the earthquakes. A large foot came crashing down several yards away. It belonged to a giant, whose features were darkened, but voice was strangely familiar. "What a pest. Be gone." It's deep tone sending vibrations through the ground. His other foot was quickly coming down on Fiona, sure to crush her beneath its weight.

"Stop!" The innocent child with stunning green eyes ran out into the clearing, everything around her freezing at the sound of her cry.

The fire Destrillian whipped around, meeting eyes with the little girl.

"Are you okay?" the child looked genuinely concerned, quickly circling her once to make sure Fiona hadn't suffered any terrible injuries. "I'm glad the bad people didn't hurt you. Something really awful might have happened."

The fire Destrillian just looked at the little girl with an expression that clearly displayed doubt and disbelief.

"Why do you never believe me?" she threw her hands onto her hips, pouting. "If Daddy stepped on you, you wouldn't be able to wake up ever again! Honest!"

Fiona didn't know what to say to any of it. She waited for the green-eyed girl to carry on. "We have to hide! I know where--uh oh." The little girl turned her nose up, trying to smell something in the air. "Do you smell that? Something's burning! We might be in trouble, come on!" She took hold of the fire Destrillian's hand, guiding her through a pathway leading toward the left side of the labyrinth.

Before they even left the large clearing, all of the shrubbery was set ablaze. "I don't know if this is good or bad," the little girl exclaimed as fear and uncertainty filled her eyes.

Fiona felt a tingle running up her arms, then legs and finally encompassing her whole body.

She became fire incarnate and screamed.

-------------

To say Fiona felt groggy was the understatement of the century. Everything ached and tingled as if she was brought back from the dead rather than simply relieved of an illness. Her ears were stuffed and buzzing, legs and arms stiff like planks of woods, mouth drier than the Ashlands, stomach caving in on itself. The fire Destrillian had certainly seen better days. She coughed and her body shivered, bringing on a very unwelcome bitchslap back to conciousness. Fiona tried to speak, but only spat out a string of incoherent syllables. Her eyes slowly cracked open, too sensitive to completely open all at once. Regardless of her immense pain, she motioned to sit-up.

After Fiona's bleary eyes slipped open, Thetis nearly felt the need to pinch herself. Was this happening? Had their plan actually worked? Her heart soared, and the water Destrillian almost began jumping up and down on the spot. "She's awake!" the words came out as more of a squeal than anything coherant, and the sight of Fiona sitting up was all too much for Thetis. A grin broke her once sombre mask, and the water Destrillian threw herself on her counterpart, arms wrapped so tightly around the girl that Thetis began to worry about squeezing the air out of her. White bangs fell over the water prototype's eyes as she buried her face in Fiona's shoulder.

The redhead gasped and wheezed involuntarily. Her words struggled to come. "Thetis? Y-you're killing me!"

"Looks like it worked after all, doesn't it?" said the doctor. But before they got too far ahead of themselves...he gently placed a hand on Thetis' shoulder. "Sorry to interrupt, but...do you mind if I have a look at her?" he asked quietly. Without uttering a word, Thetis released her suffocating grip. Her lower lip trembled, though the smile never left her face. Not only had this ordeal saved Fiona’s life, it had saved her. Flustered, Thetis rubbed her red-rimmed eyes and, with a nod, left Telran to his ministrations.

As he lightly traced his fingers around the wound on Fiona's shoulder that should now begin healing, head cocked to one side, his eyes moved to Fiona's. "Do you remember your name?" he asked her.

The fire Destrillian sneered at the doctor. "I remember that I don't like you," she said as she shrugged him away but refused to break eye contact.

His eyes crinkled just slightly as the traces of a smile began to blossom on his face. "But not your name, then?"

"You already know my name, prick."

"All right, then." His eyes began to light up further. He reached into the inner pocket of his coveralls, where he'd tucked away his silver case, and tapped the side; a small compartment opened, and he withdrew a tiny instrument from within. He clicked it on, and a tiny pinpoint of light began to shine from within; as he moved to examine her eyes, checking her pupillary reflexes, Fiona swiftly swatted the instrument out of his grip.

"What the fuck do you think you're doing?"

It was the sign he'd been waiting for. [i]It almost seems wrong,[i] he mused, his hand snaking out to rest on the redhead's chest; she is at death's door, after all. In the next instant, Telran had channelled his power into Fiona, creating an electric shock just mild enough to keep her from moving around while he examined her. "Trying to make sure you're actually going to live. Hope you don't mind."

The fire Destrillian's eyes narrowed and twitched. "Hope you don't mind when I rip that mohawk off and feed it to you."

"Any time you feel up to it," he replied cheerfully, returning his tiny light to her eyes. "Pupils reactive...that's good. You remember Thetis' name...how do you feel?" he asked, his hands moving to her arms, checking their muscle response.

"Oh, just swell, Doctor Dick. Like I'm walking on goddamn sunshine," she sarcastically said through gritted teeth.

"An answer without the sarcasm would be more helpful, you know," he said, rolling his eyes. "Any pain? Trouble breathing? Difficulty thinking? Anything like that?" he asked, straightening back up to stare down into her eyes.

"Gonna shock me again if I don't?"

"If I have to." His gaze moved to Thetis this time.

"Just answer his questions, Fiona." Thetis' strained voice floated across the room, barely louder than a whisper. "Please."

Thank you, Thetis.

The redhead looked over to her water counterpart, then back to Telran. With a reluctant grunt, she answered him properly, "I feel like a Destrillian punching bag, can just barely breathe and have little control of my senses. Happy?"

"Not with your answer." He frowned. "The pain is understandable, as is, to an extent, the breathing. But I'm not sure I like that last bit." He shook his head. "Doesn't matter; we need to get the hell out of here before we're found. We can figure out if there's any lasting effect later."

"If she's able to walk, I think we should get moving," Kaden said. "I don't know about the rest of you, but I'm not thrilled at the thought of being caught by security. If there's anything else you need for her or me, doc, you should grab it now."

"I'm not all that worried about security - I fried their systems. But you're right; we've just about used up all our luck saving her ass - I don't fancy the idea of pushing it any further." Having familiarized himself with the Bellerophon formula Kaden had given him while the latter had nosed about for Fiona's cure, Telran now busied himself with gathering the components for Kaden's remedy.

"Yeah, systems. But I don't want to see them realise they have expendable grunts that could stick their noses in," Kaden said.

Fiona finally noticed the newest outcast to join their dysfunctional ranks. "And just what the hell are you?"

Kaden looked at the previously unconscious girl. "We don't have time for the details, so I'll simplify it to the point of idiocy. I'm a werewolf."

There was a brief pause where the only sound was of Telran absentmindedly dropping one of the necessary ingredients into a beaker as he stared at Kaden, eyes wide with evident surprise.

"Stop talking out of your ass. That shit doesn't exist."

"Like I said, simplified."

"Whatever you say, Fido."

Kaden turned away with a scoff. "We can assert pack hierarchy later, when we’re less likely to get dead. If you’re unsteady on your feet, your sister can carry you again."

"What did you just say?" Fiona's voice was strained, thrown completely off-guard by wolfman's comment.

Thetis screwed her face up in disgust. "That's gross."

Telran chuckled, the beaker emitting a soft hiss as the final part of the concoction was added. "Give it a few minutes," he said to Kaden, gazing into the frothy mixture.

Relief flooded Kaden's face. "Appreciate it, doc," he said, turning then to Thetis and Fiona. "Once it's ready, we need to get out of here as quick as we can."

"We?" scoffed Fiona. "Who the fuck said you were coming with us, dogboy?" Thetis said nothing, but the look on her face could not have made it more clear - she was of one mind with her counterpart.

"I simply meant that we should go our separate ways once we leave, that's all," he replied without affront. It didn't really matter what Cindy said to provoke him; they weren't going to be together much longer, anyway. But what he absolutely didn't need was three angry Destrillians gunning for him; it was best to keep his head down for now.

"He's right, though," said Telran, gently swirling the contents of the beaker. "We need to stick together inside, just in case." Before Fiona could finish opening her mouth for what was sure to be another smartass (and entirely unhelpful) remark, he looked at Kaden and said, "After that, though, we're splitting up."

The Animus just nodded.

After another few moments, Telran declared the mixture to be ready. Kaden took the beaker, his hand trembling slightly, and paused for but a moment to gaze into its depths before gulping it down in one shot. The doctor raised an eyebrow as he waited for a sign from Kaden that his work had been satisfactory...or that it hadn't. For a moment, nothing happened at all.

And then Kaden let out a tremendous sigh of relief. "Better," he said.

"Now that you two are done pissing around, can we get the fuck out of here?!"

Thetis moved to help Fiona to the door, but Fiona simply shoved away the arm Thetis was about to wrap around her for support. "I can walk just fine. Some little shit poisoning me isn't enough to keep me down."

Telran simply rolled his eyes. She had no idea just how close to death she had been...

The group now filed out of the archives, headed toward the exit - Thetis and Fiona on point, with Telran in the middle. Fiona had now accepted Thetis' shoulder, and the pair hobbled along as quickly as they could.

Kaden's ears perked up as the group rounded a corner. It was a barely detectable noise. Probably impossible for even the heightened senses of the Destrillians to detect. But to Kaden's ears it was as apparent as distant footsteps. It was a low-pitched purring, the sound of thousands of microprocessors firing hundreds of thousands of commands instantaneously. The sound of machines so advanced that they made no sound that one would typically associate with machinery.

It was definitely a 'they', he was under no illusions about that. There was definitely two sources of the bizarre sound.

Kaden trailed behind the Destrillians, scowling with slight contempt at their backs. They were on their guard, it was true, but they seemed oblivious to the cues he was picking up on. He was unable to pinpoint a single cue, but together his lupine instincts and Damascan paranoia were telling him one simple truth:

There was danger up ahead. He couldn’t be sure whether it was a trap, an ambush, or something else.

He shook his head slightly. He was sure he would be able to think better if it wasn’t for the thrumming from the computer labs. Kaden halted, unnoticed by the Destrillians -- all but Telran, whose head turned toward him slightly. He glanced around at the corridor they were walking through. It was as he thought; they had left the block the computer labs were in.

He then realised the sounds of the computers were getting nearer, despite the fact that he was stood still. Focusing, Kaden felt slightly foolish as muscles that he didn’t possess tried to twitch his ears into position. Below the beat of the Destrillians’ hearts (slightly faster than a human’s heartbeat, like his own), below the sound of their breathing, below the sound of their footfalls…

A foot step. And then another. No; two feet hitting the group exactly in sync, and then another two feet, and then another two feet… An entirely steady rhythm, only attained by those whose livelihoods -- or perhaps their lives -- depended on it, and machines. Some sort of quadrupedal attack drone?

Kaden debated the point with himself and then dashed forward, catching hold of the doctor’s sleeve.

"I think there’s something up ahead," he hissed, just loud enough to be heard by the three Destrillians. "Something… artificial."

The doctor nodded. "I feel them too," he said quietly.

Less than a minute later, Kaden realised he could have saved his breath.

"You know, It's really inconsiderate when people ruin surprises..."

Thetis' fist clenched upon hearing that voice. That voice, from her trip with Kram...

Zwei slowly and mechanically turned to face the blue-haired girl. "Oh, it's you from that building in Osea. I see you've traded that colourful fellow for a set of even more peculiar looking individuals."

"It's good to see you too," Thetis replied sarcastically.

"Senior Zwei. This person does not match any Destrillian profiles on record. His physical appearance denotes he is something entirely different," remarked Drei, turning it's head slightly to the side to study the ragged looking youth with the saffron coloured eyes.

"It would appear that way. Now that I have a good look at him, he seems to match up with descriptions from an alert notice Vier dispatched not that long ago." the second android agreed as its cold, clinical stare picked apart Kaden's appearance. A slight frown flickered across the robot's female features, unsettled by the surprise arrival of someone not mentioned in the mission briefing.

Descriptions? Kaden thought wildly to himself. Would Volsung actually contact an outside source?

Sensing the brewing fight, Fiona slipped from under Thetis' shoulder. "What the fuck is with all of these new freaks that keep popping up?"

"They're androids," Thetis replied, moving in front of Fiona protectively. "Don't underestimate them."

There was a soft "ahh" behind them as Telran nodded in understanding.

Fiona's mocking laugh echoed through the halls of the deserted research labs. She took a step forward, next to Thetis, aggression beginning to manifest in her stance. "Can't resist when they look like their mom dressed them in the dark."

Zwei laughed in response. "Oh my, so I see Fiona Myrwind is still as feisty as she was four years ago."

Fiona sneered. "And just how the hell do you know my name? 'Four years ago'?" She looked at Thetis. "These tin cans know about Viola?"

"Correction! THIS tin can, as you so put it, was AT Viola," Zwei said as she pointed to herself.

"Senior Zwei. Are you going to do that thing where you do a lot of unnecessary talking?"

Zwei confidently flicked her fringe. "Indeed I am. You see, I know just about everything there is to know about you Destrillians, to be more specific Fiona Myrwind, Thetis Alcesteos and even Telran Miara - who I honestly didn't expect to see again, I might add. That all aside, allow me to introduce myself. My name is Zwei, although you might know me by my original designation; The Viola Combat Operations A.I.! Everything you did in Viola, from training to test after test - I saw it all."

"Like it matters." Thetis felt her limbs ready themselves for a fight. "All of us have changed."

The android's expression clearly showed her dissapointment that her opponents didn't react the way she had hoped. "Yeah, well, I bet you spent that time lazing in some dark hovel." The girl pouted.

Fiona smirked, "She definitely wasn't lazing." At this point, the fire Destrillian was eye-fucking Thetis, who rolled her eyes and glared bitterly at a stray corner of the room.

Zwei's eyes widened with surprise. "O....kay, I did not expect that one." To which her counterpart had an expression of puzzlement. "Senior Zwei? What is that remark in reference to?" The brown-haired android simply waved her hand around as if to gesture 'never mind'. "It would take too long to explain, especially to you." She regained her confident stance and pointed in the direction of her adversaries.

"Alright I think we've gone off track long enough. Our orders remain the same; Eliminate any and all Destrillians by whatever means necessary!"

Kaden smirked. "Of course, I’m sure that holds for any accomplices of theirs, too. Especially if they’re not human." The last sentence was muttered under his breath.

I'll take Zwei, back me up. Thetis lunged at the android. A scimitar of water cut through the air between them. If their last fight was anything to go by, Zwei would be as vulnerable to powers as her partner. As Zwei ducked under the crest of water, Thetis dropped to the floor and swept at the android's legs.

Zwei dropped back to avoid the predictable swipe, and with an almost casual roll of her head she avoided a hard flying roundhouse kick by Fiona, who leapt directly at the android. She was less successful at dodging the foot that struck her on the cheek. It didn't have as much weight behind it as the fiery redhead would have liked, failing to even make the metal being flinch. The reaction was swift and instantaneous. Zwei gripped Fiona's leg before it fell and threw the Destrillian away, sending her stumbling backwards and cursing the cyborg.

Telran feinted toward the other android's right, as Kaden moved in to take it from the left. The tattooed doctor then followed up with a swift movement directly toward the mechanical menace, aiming to disable it completely with a single attack. The android had seen the move coming and ducked low beneath the blow whilst swinging out with one outstretched arm to slap the Destrillian's arm away. Drei's reaction was quicker than its opponents anticipated and drove its knee forwards, aiming for Telran's knees and giving the android the space to fall back down the hallway as it gave way to a large semi-circular room containing three separate stainless steel elevator doors. The pair produced a trio of guns from their holsters. The room wasn't that large and trying to avoid the hail of white-hot pulse fire that filled the darkened room with light.

Their clear preference of ranged fighting, pinning the Destrillians and Kaden down with saturation fire, was readily apparent to the group who tore forward up the corridor after the pair. Telran, Kaden and Fiona were natural melee fighters; getting in close to attempt to maul the androids was second nature to them. Thetis, on the other hand, hung back slightly and watched as a collection of thin, fibrous tendrils of water began to collect in the air around her outstretched arm.

The wires of water arched out of from Thetis' hand and hissed through the corridor, swirving to avoid her comrades and the barrage of gunfire. Still though, the androids' agility won out, as the pair leapt and spun through the air backwards to let the missiles of water streak past them.

The gunfire had lessened for only a second, but that was all Kaden needed to close the gap between the two sets of opponents. Placing all of his weight on one foot and kicking off to close the distance between himself and Drei. He connected with a powerful, wild punch straight into the jaw of the artifical human, causing it to reel backwards and allow the animus subject to bring the rest of his weight forward behind his second fist. The second blow sent the android stumbling backwards in earnest, taken off-guard by the furious assault.

Kaden's advantage was short lived as the andorid ducked beneath his next wild haymaker and forced him into the wall with a snap kick before bringing up a hand to block a punch thrown by Telran whilst simultaneously bringing up the pulse sub-machine gun with her free hand. Anticipating the move, the Destrillian of electricity lashed out with his free hand and curled his fingers around the android's wrist. Telran gave Drei no oppurtunity to wriggle free from his iron grip however; as soon as he had a firm hold around the forearm of the android a pulse of electricity flowed from the palm of his hand into the robot's mechanical arm.

The reaction was instantaneous. A momentary overload of electricity surged through the circuitry in the android's arm and it seemed to develop a mind of its own. It whipped out to the side uncontrollably, dropping the pulse SMG as her hand bent backwards and the fingers spasmed backwards over on themselves in a manner that would have been impossibly painful to a Destrillian, but only served to make the a flicker of annoyance pass over Drei's features.

Releasing the flailing arm, Telran's swift palms were quick to strike out again, attempting to strike the android and inflict another electrical surge to damage the vital circuits housed in its chest. But Drei was quick to hop back and let the blows hit nothing but air, although the moment's distraction was enough for Kaden to land a well-placed kick to where, in a human, the kidneys would be located.

While Telran and Kaden kept Drei occupied, both water and fire prototypes struggled to handle the former Viola combat systems AI. For all her strength and aggression, Fiona had yet to land an effective blow on the android. A wild right hook left the redhead open, and Zwei took her chance, striking Fiona with an open palm to the chest. With three times the speed of a Destrillian, Zwei rocketed down the corridor towards Thetis, leaving a wheezing Fiona in her wake. A column of water hurtled towards her; yet Zwei knew the sixth prototype's weakness. There was never any doubt that Thetis would fall into her trap. Feinting to the left, the android effortlessly avoided the water Destrillian's offense at the last second as she turned her body to spin away from the lance of water.

The move caught Thetis by surprise as the android drifted out of her line of sight for just a moment. It moved so much faster that the weary Destrillian barely had time to react as the android pounced back towards her, closing the distance so fast that Thetis almost slipped on the slate grey floor tiles in an effort to back away from her attacker.

It took microseconds for the water prototype to notice the almost inperceptible change in her opponent. It was still too long. Thetis' bright saffron eyes widened as she saw the dim, flourescent strip lighting on the ceiling catch the two rapier thin blades that had unsheathed themselves from the android's slender, feminine wrists.

Thetis' heightened reflexes had managed to pull her torso out of the way of the android's punch. The blade was another matter entirely and the Destrillian grunted as the blade's tip cut a thin line across the corner of her hip. The blow was light and easily ignored, but it didn't change the fact that the lightning fast robot was now charging down the prototype with foot-long knives jutting from its wrists.

Thetis dodged, ducked and dove as the android bore down upon her. Compared to Zwei, her speed at close-range was nothing. Both weapons whistled as they cut through the air, and almost every other strike seemed barely a milimetre from landing a fatal blow. Each attack pushed the Destrillian down the corridor and further away from her companions. Yellow eyes widened as the water prototype felt concrete bite into her back. There was nowhere to run. A breath caught in Thetis' throat as she twisted her body to avoid an upward arch of the android's blade that scarred the wall behind them.

She wasn't given time to think or to look around to see how her companions were faring against the other android. Her eyes hurt from the strain of trying to keep track of the hypnotic movement of Zwei's gleaming blades as they scythed through the air towards her. Pivoting on one foot, Thetis launched herself from the floor just in time to avoid having her chest split open. Using her right leg she kicked herself off the wall to gain even greater distance between the pair of them.

The Destrillian felt the very tip of Zwei's blade cut a groove into the thin sole of her cheap shoes. The effect was an instantaneous one, throwing the water prototype off balance and sending her crashing down to the floor in a heap. Thetis scrabbled to her feet just in time to see the floor marred with a dozen thin, arcing scratches inflicted by the android. Tucking her body into a roll, the Destrillian barely managed to avoid the criss-cross strikes of the android. As Thetis rolled to her feet and ducked under a deadly right-hook, she threw a clumsy punch of her own. The android swayed under the swing with an elegant twist of her body and with a pivot of her foot, seamlessly transitioned to a counter-attack. The kick (which Thetis had barely seen coming) landed square on the Destrillian's ribcage. A potted plant brought Thetis to a halt as the blow sent her sliding down the corridor.

The android had her trapped now. Without hesitation, Zwei closed the distance between them in a flash as Thetis struggled to regain her footing. Before the android could fulfil her orders, a concentrated burst of water faltered her advance. The split-second delay was all Thetis needed as she lunged for the plant pot and brought it crashing down on the androids head.

In spite of the fact that the androids were emotionless beings. Little more than a vast collection of computers and wiring, utterly devoid of individual personality and independent thought. Thetis could have sworn she saw the shadow of a savage smile briefly flicker across Zwei's delicate features. The impact from the heavy terracotta pot hadn't done a thing to the robot other than stain its previously immaculate clothes with dirt.

Zwei's next movement came so quickly that Thetis' eyes barely had time to register the left arm that lunged towards her face. At this angle the blade was invisible. She closed her eyes.

"Looks like someone needs a hand." Fiona had raced down the hall after nursing what was a more serious injury than anticipated. Her heated hand had taken firm hold of Zwei's lethal blade before it ever touched the water Destrillian. With a resounding clang, the firestarter had brought her other hand up to snap the android's weapon and lower limb clean from its body.

It took Thetis more than a few seconds to realise that she had narrowly avoided a blade being lodged in her skull. The water Destrillian opened her eyes to Fiona forcing Zwei back towards the elevator. Despite only having one arm left, the android was utterly undettered, countering each of Fiona's attacks with as much accuracy and agression as before. Thetis scrambled to her feet as the Zwei avoided one of Fiona's uppercuts with a tilt of her head before launching another counter-attack, which the fire Destrillian evaded with just as much ease. Fiona, however, had caught an opening. Without its right arm to block, each swing of Zwei's blade left it wide open. Smirking, the redhead took her chance. As Zwei brought the blade scything upwards, the fire Destrillian rolled her body away at the last second and responded with a high, heavy kick to the android's throat. The former Viola Combat Operations AI was sent stumbling backwards towards the elevator doors. Not one to be left out of a fight, Thetis sprinted to Fiona's side and with a final push, sent an almighty pulse of water crashing down the corridor.

A look of surprise flashed across Zwei's face as the wave crashed into it, forcing the android into a horrible collision with its partner as the pair of them crashed into the stainless steel of the elevator doorway in a horrible tangle of limbs and sparking electronics. The weight of the two thundering against the steel doors that caused the wall to crumple around the assassins.

Kaden had seen the opportunity first and reacted before the androids had begun to process their location. The new arrival charged at the pair from across the room, flicking his legs up into his chest and unleashing them like a coiled spring with such force into the struggling robots that the metallic doors leading to the elevator tore apart and the two assailants disappeared into the absolute darkness of the unlit elevator shaft behind them. The pair seemed to be suspended in the air for a moment, illuminated briefly by the flashes of electricity erupting from the exposed electronics that used to be Zwei's hand. Then they were gone as they disappeared into the abyss.

Rather than the usual swell of triumph that came with victory over their opponents, the Destrillians felt uneasy. In fact, it hardly felt like they had won at all. Ominously, one of the lights on one of the other elevators in the semi-circular room had flickered on and was indicating that an elevator from one of the higher floors was now descending.

"Do you feel that?" Thetis whispered as she took a cautious step forward into the elevator room. Save for a small, throaty growl from Kaden, no-one answered. Frozen by instinct, all they could do was wait.

'Ding' sounded the elevator as it came to a halt on the very same level they were currently on. Everything was still for a moment, like the calm before the storm, where not a sound could be heard other than the resonating heartbeats of those already present in the room, and then finally; the elevator doors slid open, revealing the sinister visage of a woman with dark purple hair; her eyes were closed, and she was wearing a twisted grin on her face.

"Lost little children, wan-der-ing around where they, where they do not be-long..." The woman said to them as she stepped out of the elevator, followed by a towering figure with a heavy build, his face hidden mostly by the poor lighting in the room save for the red glow in his eyes. The woman came to a stop only a few steps outside the elevator, and opened her eyes to reveal ones with same red glow.

"...could find themselves, themselves, in a lot of trouble."

"Oh, shit."

Something was very wrong. Thetis' saffron eyes bulged and her skin lost all trace of the little colour it previously held. There was silence. The water Destrillian opened her mouth to respond, but nothing came. They were Lyverius. Such was their presence that any ounce of fight that Thetis had left was eclipsed by the overpowering instinct to flee. Those eyes; they hid something horrible. Even the woman; there was something queer about the way she twitched, the way her head lolled as if it dangled from a string, The water Destrillian's fingers quaked as a weight descended upon her. A blankness came over her, and Thetis' heart thumped like a jackhammer. She tightened her grip on Fiona's hand and swallowed the dryness in her throat. She was frightened. They were in the midst of nothingness. They were alone. Thetis took a step backwards.

They were going to die.

Without a second thought for Telran or Kaden, the blue-haired Destrillian bolted with all the speed Viola had given her. As she dragged Fiona in tow, Thetis threw her head back to her companions and screamed at the top of her lungs. "RUN!"

Telran shouted, "Come on!" to Kaden and bolted without another instant's hesitation.

"Fuck, Thetis, slow down!" As much as the fire prototype wanted to twist her arm free from the iron grip of her counterpart, instinct overwhelmed her senses and left the limb limp. Neither being able to stop running or keep pace with Thetis' speed, Fiona begrudgingly jumped onto her back. Harshly did she snake her arms around the water Destrillian's neck, not particularly paying attention to how much harm she was causing the blue-haired girl.

"Stop...choking...me!" Thetis spluttered as she felt Fiona's legs wrap around her torso. Not that it mattered; they hardly had enough time to consider anything other than escape. At least with Fiona on her back, the water Destrillian no longer had to worry about her falling behind. The pair crashed through the fire exit, Telran and Kaden close behind as Thetis sprinted down the concrete stairwell. While Telran and Kaden took to hurdling over bannisters in their haste, Thetis met each step with a leap that cleared several. As they descended, the emergency lighting above them flickered and died.

Shadows stretched the descent from every angle, writhing in an unnatural rhythm as it chased the motley crew of superhumans. As the light extinguished itself, so did the chances of a clean escape. A gnarled claw manifested from the inky material and lashed out at the lupine animus, who narrowly dodged it. Shadows stitched through the stairwell while tendrils curled from the darkness that pursued them. No one stopped for a second look; only instinct guided the group as they neared the exit.

After what felt like an eternity, the superhumans barrelled through the final fire exit. They skidded to a halt on the asphalt and watched breathlessly as blackness devoured the rusted metal door. Safe in the well-lit alley, the group stood in silence. Not one of them needed to mention how narrowly they had avoided being swallowed by the sheer, sinister power of those shadows. Fiona took no time in unlatching herself from Thetis' back as the water Destrillian doubled over to catch her breath.

"D-did you feel that?" the water Destrillian wheezed, not even lifting her head to face the others. She hardly needed to explain herself; they had all felt that same fear, that terror of a certain and inescapable death.

"So that was a Lyverius..." Telran said quietly, and Kaden's head snapped quickly to face him.

"A what?"

"A bunch of freakshows that have a one-up on us and think they're the shit," Fiona snorted as she nursed her still tender shoulder. A shuffle sounded above them, and as each of them instinctively looked up, a man dropped down from a nearby ledge. He was particularly good looking with short, brown hair and wore an attire similar to the two (now scrapped) androids.

"Well now what a commotion you group of renegades have caused. You are aware that those two girls are not cheap to replace; which one could take reference to 'slings and arrows of outrageous fortune', or at least, the outrageous fortune part." The man spoke in a particularly smug manner.

"Damn...another android," Telran muttered under his breath.

"Oh terribly sorry, I'll spare you the long-winded introduction I'm sure Mademoiselle Zwei put you through. I am Eins, the former Viola General Operations AI; I'm sure you heard this voice spouting random nonsense like 'Containment Breach in Basement 5. All security personnel respond immediately'."

"Shut the fuck up! Tell me what's stopping me from kicking your ass like what happened to your groupies."

"Now, now. If you were to do that then you would waste valuable time that could be better spent saving your comrades; who I might add, are in serious peril as we speak over at the Viscount's chateau and will probably be dead soon enough."

Fiona lowered the clenched fist she had ready to smack this new android with. She snapped her attention to Thetis and then the others.

"Better hurry now, the Audoulan army is also on the way," Eins called out to the group as they hurried off as fast as they could, hoping there was still time to help their allies.

A collective sigh of relief escaped the group as they caught a glimpse of the delivery van in the cargo bay. The group bundled into the back of the van,

"Nova, we need to get to Avidez's mansion," Telran said, ripping off his delivery cap as the van began to reverse. "Now." Tensions were running high enough as it was...he just hoped they'd make it in time.

------------------------

The sounds of the fight were audible before Maruca Avidez' lakeside chateau had even appeared into view. The familiar rattling hum of automatic weapons fire and the screams and cries of the dying and those trying to desperately flee the scene. Telran looked in wide-eyed disbelief through the windscreen as the vehicle pulled up to what remained of what obviously looked to be the remains of the luxury estate.

Not anymore. What remained was little more than a gutted carcass of a building. Ravaged by fire and ruined almost beyond repair. No pane of glass seemed to remain unbroken and there was a vast hole that appeared to have been torn into the side of the building, the innards having exploded outwards over the rocky shoreline of the turbulent lake.

"Are we too late?" breathed Kaden from the rear of the van, peering up from between the two front seats to survey the carnage.

"We don't have any time to waste," Telran replied solemnly, tactfully avoiding answering the question.

"Let's do this shit."

Without so much as a second word, Fiona and Thetis had kicked open the doors to the back of the van and leapt out into the chaos of the night.
__________________
Sheva Alomar is offline  
Thanked by 5:
Baldy (09/02/2011), Bex (09/01/2011), Hisako (09/03/2011), Rumpelstiltskin (09/03/2011), Tennyo (09/12/2011)
Old 08/30/2011   #191
Bex
Default

"...What happened?"

Thetis' voice echoed through the cavernous confines of the mansion's lobby. The once luxurious estate was completely gutted. Broken glass glittered in the moonlight, and the sounds of distant fighting floated through shattered windows. The water Destrillian picked her way around a fallen chandelier as Fiona scooped up an unopened bottle of champagne. "Must've been one hell of a party," she said, snapping off the bottle-neck taking a hefty swig before offering it to Thetis, who refused. With a shrug, Fiona wandered into one of the side rooms as the water Destrillian stooped to examine one of the many crumpled corpses that littered the hall. It was a guard; heavily armoured and loaded with weapons and ammunition.

Avidez always knew we were coming, Thetis prised a rifle from the dead man's grip and turned it in her hands. There was a striking resemblance between this gun and those of the two androids. Thetis frowned and rose to her feet. She paused. There was another Destrillian nearby. "Fiona?" the blue-haired girl raised her voice and furrowed her brow. It definitely wasn't a signature that she knew or recognised. Her body tensed. "Can you feel them?"

The redhead hadn't heard her from the other room. Instead, Fiona was focused on a particularly ugly portrait that hung over one of many disused fireplaces. She screwed up her face, taking another chug of champagne as she leant closer for another look.

Fiona?

Before Fiona could even sense another presence, a large burst of water blasted the fire Destrillian backward. Still recovering from the effects of her lethal venom, the redhead nearly fell limp from the blow and the following thud as she hit the ground.

Scrappily getting to her feet, Fiona tried to shake off the low throbbing pain of the impact. "Okay, this is no fucking time for games! What are you doing?!" She didn't even have to look at Thetis for the water Destrillian to know she was talking to her.

"It wasn't me!" Thetis protested. Her brow furrowed into a frown as she rushed through the marble doorway to Fiona's side. Who the...?

"I just got bitchslapped by a rush of water! Who the fuck else plays with that shit?!"

Another large concentration of translucent liquid hurtled toward the pair. The fire prototype vainly lashed out her arm in an attempt to summon some sort of fiery defense. All that manifested was little more than a spark. But Thetis felt it coming, and in a flash, stood between Fiona and their assailant. Arm outstretched, the water prototype flexed her power and felt the water evaporate into thin air before it could so much as touch them. The blue-haired girl glared into the darkened doorway. "Do you believe me now?"

"Maybe," she said as her orange orbs shot a glance to her water counterpart. Fiona brushed past Thetis and shouted at the darkened room before them. "Whoever the hell you are, get out here and fight me instead of pussyfooting around like a goddamn coward!"

"Are you crazy?!" Thetis whipped her head round to face the fire Destrillian. "Do you wanna get killed?" She glared at her counterpart, teeth grit and jaw set into a scowl as Fiona took a few steps towards her.

"No. And I won't," she dismissed Thetis' concern and faced the darkness again. "I don't have all day, jackass! Face me or I'll force you out of your little hiding place! You won't like how I do it, either." Fiona's taunts were met not with one, but several columns of water sent hurtling towards them. Thetis pushed Fiona out of the way, eyes narrowed as she pulled the curling currents under her control, tempering each of them into a larger sphere. She sighed as she caught wind of Fiona's cursing over the cacophany of battle. The fire Destrillian was beginning to get on her nerves. Watching the water bubble within the sphere, Thetis sent her creation towards the hiding place of their assailant, A satisfied smile spread across her face as she heard the usual boom and splash from the rapid expansion of her makeshift bomb.

"Go and find the others," Thetis didn't turn to face Fiona. "I'll deal with this."

"No," the redhead walked straight past her counterpart, using her still dull mental senses to guide her towards their invisible adversary. Fiona wouldn't stand for being denied a chance to a taste of some action after all of her time playing weak to a shitty poison. That, and she refused to be pushed aside by Thetis like a useless thing. "I've got it."

Her knack for sensing heat signatures had barely returned, so her confident path through the obstacles of the darkened room was more of a bullshit stroll until Fiona was sure she was zeroing in on something larger than a rodent. That's when she felt it. It moved. There was a pause, then it moved again. If it weren't for the lingering ringing in fire Destrillian's ears, she would have been more than able to hear her opponent's footsteps.

Fiona crouched slightly, readying herself for anything. Almost anything. A single kick from behind landed into the side of the fire user's rib cage, sending her back the way she came and crashing through a stack of rotten, old chairs. "Motherfucker," she grunted under her breath. A blast of water threw their unseen assailant off her feet as Thetis jogged to Fiona's side. In the shadows of the mansion, it seemed Avidez had more surprises than they expected. Thetis scowled. Despite all the new Destrillians she had encountered over the last few weeks, she shouldn't have been so shocked to meet Telran's watery acquaintance so soon.

Or so angry.

With a grunt, Thetis hauled Fiona to her feet and span to face the stranger. Bathed in moonlight, the facility two prototype stood rigid and still. Her hair, light blue, was normal enough. Her eyes, on the other hand, made Thetis nervous. Cold, grey and lifeless, they settled on the pair of Destrillians unblinking without the slightest hint of emotion.

The fire prototype shrugged her counterpart away from her. "I can get up, myself. Don't need help. Shit. Bitch barely scratched me." Thetis stayed silent. Fiona never had known when to back down. She proved it by going at the new water user once more.

Effortlessly, the water Destrillian rolled her head out of the way from the clumsily thrown punch. In the same fluid movement she placed one hand around Fiona's outstretched arm and used her free hand to grab the scruff of her collar. Using the fiery Destrillian's own momentum and weight, the stranger managed to easily hurl the heavier Destrillian behind her.

In the time it took for Fiona's body to hit the floor, Thetis had seized her opportunity. She sprinted towards their new opponent, ducking under the stranger's left hook and dropping to the floor, leg snapping upwards and connecting squarely with the girl's chin. As their attacker collided with the wall behind her, Thetis rose to her feet and shot a quick glance over her shoulder. Fiona had crashed into an even larger pile of clutter further back in the darkened room. She was slowly composing herself, furiously brushing off large collections of dust off of her shoulders. "Fucking. Hell. Ass. Cunt."

"I told you to back off," Thetis said bitterly as her attention returned to the stranger. "Who are you?" the words echoed through the rafters of the high ceiling.

"Destrillian number Twenty-Five. Designation: Flutwelle."

Fiona chortled. "What a fruitcake." She turned to face Thetis. "And here I thought your name was bad."

Nostrils flared and teeth gritted as Thetis struggled not to send Fiona flying. At least she was quiet when she was unconscious. The redhead's taunt had given Flutwelle an opening, and the water prototype barely avoided a crest of water that would have certainly severed her arm from her shoulder. Thetis' body rolled clumsily to the side as she struggled to regain her footing.

That was all the oppurtunity that Flutwelle required as she quickly closed the distance between the pair, feinting left as she got in close in order to provoke a predictable, wild kick from Thetis. This was easily dodged. The Doll ducked underneath the high attack to pounce from Thetis' blindside, throwing one right hand hard and wide at Thetis' face to draw her eyes away from the fast elbow that was driven into her side.In a single motion, Thetis guided away Flutwelle's punch, not realising the true threat until she felt a sharp blow under her ribs. The water Destrillian crumpled to the floor in a heap, wheezing as she attempted to recover the air forced from her lungs. A shadow loomed over Thetis, and the new Destrillian reached for her throat.

Fiona had hung back while they fought, but not by choice. No, she wanted to let this new bitch get a reality check. She waited until Flutwelle's silohuette appeared in front of the large window at the rear of the room. Without a second thought, the fire Destrillian ran at full speed and force straight for the doll--tackling her and carrying them both out of the mansion and into the open air.

Neither Destrillian was fazed by the scores of small nicks and cuts brought about by the glass and splinters from the broken window frame that cushioned their fall as they landed amongst the wild bushes and exposed tree roots of the forest floor. The impact loosened Fiona's grip on the Doll and almost instantly, as the pair rolled end over end down the hillside towards the lake, Flutwelle brought her knees up in the gap that had opened between the two.

The world around them had become a blur as the speed of their descent fell. Flutwelle planted her feet against Fiona's sternum and kicked off. The effect was instantaneous. As though Fiona had been launched out of a cannon, taking the full force of the Doll's powerful leg muscles as they propelled the Destrillian off and away from her body.

The fire Destrillian had no way of slowing her momentum as she vainly punched and kicked the air. She flicked her glance around to see where she was headed to size up just how much pain she'd have to shake off this time. The last thing Fiona ever wanted to see was what she was met with. An enormous lake. Snapping her sights back to the Destrillian doll with a terrifying snarl, Fiona could only say one thing, "FUCK YOU!!!" Her body hit the calm water with an explosive splash, throwing the fire user deep beneath the lake's surface.

Clambering over the fragments of glass still embedded in the window frame, Thetis searched frantically for her roommate. It barely took a second to realise that Fiona had disappeared underwater. Underwater. In the lake. What little colour there was left in Thetis' face drained away as she sprinted down the hillside. She winced as her open shirt caught on a spidering branch and was ripped from her body. Leaping over roots and vines, the water Destrillian screamed at the top of her lungs. "GET OUT OF THE WATER!"

Being surrounded by water was certainly foreign to the redhead. Every sound was subtle and quiet, unlike the loud hollers and clashes she was accustomed to hearing everyday in the daily life of the Orange Zone and their wild ride of an adventure thus far. Shapes and colours were distorted and muted. Everything seemed so...blue.

In seconds, Thetis had reached the base of the hill and rocketed towards the doll Destrillian. Water coiled around her arm like a spring and, with a cry, the blue-haired girl released it with the force of an arrow. Mercifully, the attack struck its mark. Thetis grinned as Flutwelle was lifted off her feet and hurled several feet across the shore. As her shins cut through the shallows of the lake, the blue-haired girl wasted no time. With an arch of her back, Thetis dove into the water. It only took seconds to find Fiona thrashing wildly under the surface. Orange and yellow eyes locked onto one another, yet neither Destrillian spoke. The message was clear enough. The water prototype roughly wrapped her fingers around the flame prototype's wrist and dragged her to the surface. She grunted. Fiona was no lighter underwater.

There was something haunting and hypnotic about the way Thetis looked in the water as she hoisted them both up. Even with the burden of carrying the fire Destrillian up to the surface, the blue-haired girl still cut through the drink with the grace of a bird in the sky. Fiona was so entranced that she neglected to realise she ran out of air in her lungs. When they hit the surface, the redhead gasped and coughed violently to the point of accidentally taking more water into her mouth as she did so.

The action was instantaneous- an instinctive reflex that forced Thetis to push her exhausted comrade towards the shoreline with as much strength as she could muster. It was all she could do to stop the heel of Flutwelle's foot from crashing down onto the top of Fiona's head. The kick connected with only water, but the waves caused by the shocking impact forced the pair apart in opposite directions; one gently coasting towards the bank of the lake, the other pushed further out into the watery expanse.

Now Fiona was no longer between them, Thetis could use her power without fear of collateral. The water beneath her twisted and shot through the surface, curling into serpentine streams as they coiled around the Doll and pulled her under. It would buy her enough time. She turned her attention to Fiona, who was only just stumbling to her feet on the grassy bank of the lake. Calmly, the water Destrillian relayed her message. "Get back to the others. You can't fight her here."

The fire Destrillian gripped her arm, taking a few steps away from the water. "I'm not going to run off with my tail between my legs and I'm not leaving you alone with this psycho-robo-water cunt!

And with that, the water Destrillian snapped.

"YOU'RE OUTCLASSED, FIONA!" Thetis bellowed, the painful truth echoing across the lake water as the blue-haired girl's attention snapped back to her enemy. Waves began to lap at the shore of the lake, and once tranquil water became disturbed, rippled and tossed by the power of the two water prototypes.

Fiona's eyes widened, teeth slowly clenching under closed lips. Outclassed? OUTCLASSED?! Just who the fuck did Thetis think she was talking to?!

"You really should listen right now," a child's voice echoed casually.

"Oh kiss my cunt, everyone needs to shut the fuck up!" the redhead shouted to herself as she fought off more internal lecturing. With great loathing did Fiona trudge over to a collection of boulders, leaving plain sight, but remaining close enough to the fight that was about to resume.

With Fiona gone, there was nothing standing in the way of her victory. An almost disembodied voice floated across the glassy surface of the lake, and only then did Thetis realise her enemy had long since broken free.

“Target: Thetis Alcesteos. Prototype Number: Six. Threat Level: Negligible.”

Now Thetis Alcesteos was no expert on the process of awakening, but the sight of Flutwelle’s control over her element was an insult. Even the thought that there needed to be two water prototypes made her angry. Furthermore, Flutwelle was nothing more than a mind-wiped, brain-dead slave. Flutwelle was what Viola had intended for all of them. A low growl escaped Thetis’ throat. Well, they had their perfect puppet, their doll. The blue-haired girl felt a familiar prickle at the base of her spine as water bubbled beneath the surface of the lake. There was none of the emotion, the motivation of revenge that plagued her battle with Kerr. This fight was nothing more than a competition between weapons, a test of skills, an evaluation. Despite the Lyverius’ taunts, Thetis knew the truth; Flutwelle was the imitation. After her fight with Number Six, this would be nothing more than child’s play.

"Elimination procedure initiated."

Even with Fiona and the others out of the way, there were still too many openings to ignore. Vigilance was key; the doll was near impossible to read compared to her other opponents, and with the size of this lake, it would be simple for her to throw Thetis off guard. The water Destrillian spread her arms, welcoming Flutwelle's first attack. "So? Eliminate me!" Thetis shouted, a mirthless smile on her face as she coaxed a ribbon of water from the lake's surface.

If Flutwelle had been concerned about Thetis' taunting then the doll had not shown it, or even any indication that she had heard the water Destrillian at all other than to keep her grey, lifeless eyes fixed on Thetis' vibrant yellow ones. Her expression was utterly emotionless and unconcerned with the snake of water that was coiling up from the water between the two Destrillians.

Without so much as a warning, Flutwelle dropped beneath the surface of the water. The move was so flawless and devoid of drama that it cause barely a ripple on the surface of the inky water as the doll slipped out of sight. With a grin and far less grace than her doppelganger, Thetis fell into the lake. As the water prototype submerged herself, the shock of cold forced the air from her lungs. After a quick glimpse of her surroundings, and Thetis had lost sight of her opponent. A stream of bubbles escaped her lips as she swore. The doll had to be hiding somewhere. She squinted. Lit only by the light of the two moons, traversing the pitch black depths of Avidez' lake would be near impossible for any human. But she was a Destrillian, after all. With an indignant grunt, the blue-haired girl rose again to the surface of the lake.

The last thing she expected was to be met with a wave the size of Avidez's mansion itself. The force of the water hit Thetis like a concrete wall, pounding the air out of her lungs and sending her crashing across the surface of the lake amidst the torrent of raging water. The rushing water refused to release her, under Flutwelle's unnatural control it carried Thetis with it, continuing to trap her until it dropped back beneath the water as suddenly as it had appeared.

Thetis sank with the wave and quickly began breathing, siphoning the oxygen out of the water, desperate to fill her lungs with air after having swallowed so much of the freezing black water. Her senses had been left reeling from the attack, first the sheer force of the wave and then the feeling as though the wave itself was trying to tear her apart once it had trapped her within it. There was nothing she hated more than the feeling of sucking in water through her nose, not to mention the suffocating sensation that followed. Now more than ever, breathing in the water was a neccessity she couldn't ignore. A split-second of concentration later, the uncomfortable weight of water in her chest had disappeared, replaced with precious oxygen.


.oOo.


As Fiona leaned against the large boulder, nursing her vulnerable and twisted arm, she focussed intensely on a small shrub. Her powers had been so greatly affected by the lethal poison that any form of flame she tried to summon would fail to even burn a flea. She had to get back up to full strength. Now. The redhead wanted more than anything to kick this Doll's teeth in and show her just who exactly she was messing with. Laying low in the rocks, just trying to engulf the pathetic plant in flames was a challenge. It was infuriating. She couldn't even land a solid hit on this Fruitwelle person.

Spending a few more moments on concentrating her fire abilities and utterly failing, she pushed off of the boulder and faced the lake. It killed her to see a fight that she was helpless to contribute to. Hell, it killed her that she couldn't just rip off the bitch's head off in one go and be over with the whole thing.

Fiona took a step forward, determined to step in once again regardless of her health. Another step. Another--no, something kept her footing still. There were loud noises all over from the fighting going on before her and behind over in the mansion, but something else made her body start to tingle. Sure, there was the constant buzzing in her ear, but this was different. It almost sounded like the wind blowing. There was no wind, though. The fire Destrillian's head slowly turned to the left, then to the right. Everything felt as if it was all playing out in slow motion. She looked back over to Thetis. She must be underwater cracking that cunt's head open, she thought to herself as her eyes grew heavy. I'll just wait for them to come...back up, and...then...

Fiona fell unconcious.

"Easy does it," the soothing voice cut through the sound of the battle that was raging along the side of the lake. Sidling up behind Fiona as she wobbled unsteadily on her feet, the stranger placed her arms under Fiona's and eased the weight from her feet, letting the redhead fall back against her unseen assailant's chest.

"Hell, you've really packed on a few pounds, Fiona," the young woman grunted to her unconscious quarry as the unexpected extra weight took her off guard and nearly caused them both to crash to the floor.

Recovering quickly, the woman who had knocked out Fiona knelt down and placed her behind some of the large dark rocks that made up the shore of the lake, ones that provided decent cover against whatever attack could be directed this way.

"Can't have you charging after her, can we?" Ariel said casually, tossing the black and white fringe out of her eyes and taking a seat on one of the larger rocks casting a concerned gaze out at the scene unfolding on the lake.


.oOo.


The attack came before Thetis could even anticipate it. The sharp, sickening pain that came when someone drove their elbow into the lower back. Turning to face her opponent, she was met with two raised feet colliding with her chest, driving the wind out of her for the second time in as many minutes. Just as soon as the kick had connected, Flutwelle coiled her legs and pushed off, using Thetis as a spring board to dive back into the darkness of the lake's depths. Without a second's hesitation, Thetis threw a hand after her enemy, clawed fingers cutting through the water as the depths of the lake pursued the Doll. Thetis' brow furrowed as she felt the water wrap itself around Flutwelle's ankle as she attempted to escape. No more hiding. Curling her right hand into a fist, The facility one Destrillian drew back the other in a blur. Ignoring the doll's thrashing as she was dragged backwards at high velocity, the blue-haired girl pulled back her fist and sent it crashing into Flutwelle's face. With the speed she was travelling, the facility two prototype never stood a chance. The crunch of cartilidge in Flutwelle's nose was still audible through the muffling weight water, and Thetis watched with a grin as blood blossomed in the inky water, crimson lit by moonlight. A split second after admiring her handiwork, Thetis focused on the space between them, completely unfazed as she was thrown back by the instant expansion of mass.

Just as Flutwelle had seconds before, the water prototype swam into the darkness expecting the Doll to give chase. But a momentary glance over her shoulder revealed that her opponent too had disappeared from sight into the oily darkness. Thetis closed her eyes and winced. Too much water, too many directions, too little light. She would be able to feel the water's shifts and movements while submerged, yes. Yet the sheer volume of water would be more than enough for Flutwelle to set up an ambush without her realising. Thetis looked to the surface, watching the grey-green light of the moon ripple in the deepest blue. The doll wasn't there. With a powerful kick of the legs, Thetis was met by a rush of cool air as she broke the water. She hoisted herself onto the eerily glassy surface of the lake, ever wary of her enemy's energy signature moving below her.

Her concentration was torn upwards from Flutwelle's energy signature by the water's surface suddenly erupting into half a dozen columns of spiralling white water. The enormous geysers tore their way upwards, reaching twenty or so feet into the sky and showering the calm surface of the lake with a constant spray of water droplets. It gave the illusion of a cascading rainstorm beneath the cloudless Audoulan sky. But this time, Thetis was ready. The first one she dodged with ease; an arch of the back and a well timed flip sent her out of the geyser's path. Of course, there were more. There were always more. Yellow eyes narrowed in concentration as the water Destrillian kept her focus on her opponent's signature, all the while evading the attacks threatening to tear her limb from limb. Like a child playing hopscotch, she skipped away from each jet as they broke the surface. Then she felt it. Thetis' legs cut through the water like blades as she sprinted for the column of water that had just burst from the depths of the lake. By instinct alone, the facility one Destrillian hurled herself into its centre.

Thetis' arms locked around Flutwelle's waist as the water Destrillians collided in the heart of the geyser. The facility two Destrillian raised one leg to try to try and force some distance between the two, but Thetis refused to release her grip. With a grim but savage satisfaction, Thetis snapped her head forward, once, twice, three times into Flutwelle's bloody nose. Without losing speed she relaxed her arms and lashed out with a powerful left kick, connecting squarely with the side of the other Destrillian's torso.

There was no grunt of pain this time as Flutwelle moved her body to ride with the momentum of the blow, using it to put some distance between the pair. The pair had reached the top of the geyser now, no longer being forced upwards by the raging torrent of water, or pelted from all sides by rushing, frothing droplets. They hung in the sky above the lake which seemed so far below them now. The scene only lasted a moment as the geyser beneath the pair collapsed in on itself and Thetis noted with a smirk that Flutwelle was no longer the picture of composure that she had been at the start of the fight. Blood was running freely from both her nostrils and down the bottom of her face.

They began falling, and the moment of bizarre tranquility ended as Flutwelle lunged forwards with her arm outstretched, snatching Thetis painfully by the braid in her hair and pulling the water Destrillian's slender neck into a chokehold with her other arm. Her forearm was like an iron bar pressing remorselessly into her throat as they tumbled end over end back towards the surface of the water.

It broke like glass beneath the two as they crashed through it, the impact forcing the two of them apart once more. As she hit the surface, Thetis' cries of pain were swallowed by the water. The impact of her body against the water felt as if she had been slapped with a ten tonne weight, tearing every ounce of oxygen from her lungs. Thetis barrelled beneath the lake, gasping for air but only swallowing more and more water. With as much urgency as she could muster, the facility one prototype's arms cut through the water as she struggled to reach fresh air. As she rose to the surface once more, the next breath felt like her first. Spluttering, coughing and wheezing, Thetis rolled on to her back, lying flat on the glassy surface of the lake. Flutwelle was nowhere in sight or sense. The blue-haired girl smiled as she felt the gift of oxygen flood her lungs. A doll was no match for a Destrillian.

Thetis' eyes shot open wide as she felt the water on her chest constrict and shape itself into a tight loop. She was barely even able to express a shout of surprise before the slender hook of water promptly dragged the Destrillian beneath the surface. Almost immediately, Thetis felt her head snapped so hard to the right and the left hand side of her face explode into an indescribable kaleidescope of pain from a lightning fast straight kick across her face by Flutwelle. Even underwater, the kick had carried enough force to leave her senses shrouded in a painful fog. Thetis howled and retaliated with a clumsy swing at Flutwelle's face, which was met by another right hook to her already throbbing cheek. Dizzy from pain, the facility one prototype felt her counterpart's fingers wrap around her throat. Yellow eyes widened as Thetis came to her senses. As she tried to throw off Flutwelle's grip, the blue-haired girl lifted her knee and planted a foot on the facility two Destrillian's chest. With a groan of effort, Thetis kicked the doll with enough force to send her flying back through the surface. In the blink of an eye, Thetis pursued her assailant, using their element to propel herself to the top.

Thetis broke through the water with enough velocity to tackle the Doll as she was recovering, connecting hard with her shoulder into Flutwelle's solar plexus. The other Destrillian seemed to have been expecting the brute force response though, as she took the hit without even the smallest grunt of pain. In an instant, her lithe, powerful arms had wrapped themselves around Thetis' throat again as she pulled the Destrillian off her, throwing her backwards and away from her. The blue-haired girl skidded on the glass-like surface, sending up a fan of spray as she dug her fingers into the lake. As Thetis threw the water skywards, Jamelyn watched nonchalantly as each droplet twisted into another, writhing and curling against the sky as they formed into wiry tendrils. The facility one Destrillian still had a few tricks up her sleeve. Thetis sprinted to meet her opponent, arm outstretched as she lunged for Jamelyn's face.

Jamelyn telegraphed the wild punch and ducked her head to the side, jabbing out with a short left hand that caught Thetis on the hip and using her own momentum to do most of the damage. A searing pain shot through the cheek of the Doll and she immediately leapt backwards, landing with the grace of a cat, but now sporting a cut no wider than a stretch of wire across her right cheek. The narrow, razor sharp tendrils that were spiralling around Thetis' wrist had been the real threat in that attack, not the wild punch designed to draw her attention.

Thetis wasn't given time to gloat. Before a sneer had even had the chance to cross her lips, the Doll was back on top of her, throwing controlled kicks at her chest and legs and attempting to push her off balance and beneath the surface of the water. Flutwelle's right arm lashed out, grabbing ahold of Thetis' wrist and then in the same motion she kicked off from the water into a high jump, dragging Thetis' arm painfully upwards at an unnatural angle. Watching as her prey tried to wrench herself free of the Doll's grip, Flutwelle instantly brought her knees up to her chest as she tugged Thetis towards her. Before Thetis could even bring her other arm up to block the attack, both of the Doll's legs had shot out like a pair of pistons into Thetis' chest. Flutwelle had barely touched down on the water as Thetis doubled over from the pain. Without pausing she twisted Thetis' arm up at a higher angle, increasing the pressure on her shoulder to the point where even she was surprised that it hadn't yet torn itself from the socket.

Thetis was still almost bent double, sucking in great big lungfulls of air. Flutwelle stood over her, holding her arm almost vertically upwards with one hand's almost unbreakable grip. Thetis couldn't even see the next blow coming as Flutwelle raised her right leg and brought it smashing down on the back of the Destrillian's neck like a guillotine.

Almost instantaneously Thetis' body was met with a sequence unending of white-hot pain. Firstly, as her entire body was pressed down against the water by the meteoric force of Flutwelle's kick she felt her entire arm go simultaneously numb and then become indescribably painful as it the bones were torn free from their anchoring in the shoulder socket. But before she could let out the howl of pain, her face had been driven through the water with enough force that it felt like breaking through ice.

The lake was silent, save for the sounds of carnage that floated from the mansion. It was darker than usual, Thetis thought to herself. It hurt. Everything hurt. Her arm drifted lifeless above her as she sank further into the abyss. The water Destrillian closed her eyes. She felt Flutwelle waiting on the surface. Why hadn't she come to finish her off yet? Because the fight isn't over. There it was again. Number Six's voice in her head. Thetis frowned. Maybe she was right. The others were counting on her, and here she was; wallowing and surrounded her own element. Another memory ricochetted across her mind. I am the embodiment of water itself. Yes, she had said those words once. Sucking in another lungfull of water, Thetis raised her eyes to the surface. Flutwelle was still there, waiting. A grim smile spread across her face. Thetis Alcesteos wasn't dead yet.

If there was one thing Flutwelle hadn't predicted, it was that prototype number six was a survivor. Not to mention that the Doll hadn't noticed the ribbon of water that rose from a ripple before it was far too late. It was only when the aqueaous wire cut into her skin and left a paper's width between her skin and jugular, that Flutwelle realised Thetis Alcesteos wasn't as dead as she had first thought.

Flutwelle hopped backwards and dropped into a fighting stance as she saw the rapier thin ribbon of water snake through the air hypnotically. Her breathing was now coming in laboured pants between gritted teeth, her clothes now heavily stained with the blood and water that was freely pouring from the long cut on her face and her nose. With narrow, calculating eyes she watched the vague shadow beneath the waves and clenched her fists as the other Destrillian of water climbed out onto the surface, one arm hanging limp at a sickening angle.

Almost as soon as Thetis had broken the surface of the water then Flutwelle was bearing down on her again. She got in close and dived, preparing a wild overhand punch straight for Thetis' damaged shoulder, only to find herself slapped aside by a sheet of water summoned from Thetis' side. Through the pain, Thetis smirked. Her mangled shoulder presented an obvious target.

The blow hadn't been enough to cause any lasting pain as Flutwelle quickly got to her feet and set upon Thetis again. This time she screwed her face up in concentration as the trio of water jets exploded free from the confines of the lake and barrelled towards the water Destrillian. Thetis spun away from the first one, the high pressure of the water searing a pair of new tears in her jeans across the back of her thighs, and then swiftly dove back under the surface of the water, causing the remaining two jets to crash harmlessly against the surface.

Beneath the water, Thetis screwed her eyes up against the searing pain in her arm and used her own control of the water itself to aid her swim quickly to Flutwelle's position, praying that her reaction times had been slowed by that last attack to such a degree that she wouldn't be able to block this.

Flutwelle had traced Thetis streak across the water beneath her feet and then out of view behind her. Whipping her head around she was treated to the sight of Thetis' form exploding out of the water behind her, half propelled by the force of the water she had been commanding to reach such a speed so quickly. Thetis' body twisted and spiralled in air as she stretched out one of her legs to its full length and caught Flutwelle full across the face.

The amount of desperation in that kick was matched only by its ferocity. It had been perhaps the first time in this fight that Thetis had truly hurt the Doll. Flutwelle let out a pained groan as she spun backwards and away from the Destrillian, bouncing backwards off the water twice as she struggled to recover from the blow, then on the third try she violently hit the surface of the water and crashed beneath it.

"You're out of your depth," Thetis grinned between pants, half keeling over from the effort of her comeback. Even so, not even exhaustion could extinguish the feeling of triumph she felt as Flutwelle sank beneath the surface.

The silence that dawned over the lake once the adrenaline had stopped pumping through her ears was punctuated only by the sounds of fighting on the banks of the lake and the crashing of the waves against the distant shoreline. Thetis froze. Rocks began to writhe under an alien surge of lake water. Something was very very wrong. Without a second thought, the water Destrillian arched into a dive, surging through the lake's depths like a bullet as she searched for her opponent.

Even underwater the water was moving oddly. It was movement not just restricted to the surface. It felt as though the entire contents of the wide, deep lake was being to move. Slowly at first, but noticeably, the entire lake was beginning to turn. Wide-eyed, Thetis sprang back to the surface and saw to her panic that the entire lake was beginning to spin. Large, white-capped waves crashed against the shoreline and even the sounds of fighting were beginning to be drowned out by the roaring of the water.

The water was spinning the fastest towards the centre of the lake, frothing and whirling, throwing out great churning waves six or seven feet tall. The lake was being thrown into such chaos that it was taking every ounce of the Water Destrillian's concentration to remain standing on water that was becoming increasingly turbulant.

Then, with the sound of a great drain being opened, the centre of the lake suddenly disappeared, collapsing inwards in a cacophany of rushing water. The centre of the whirlpool had disappeared into a wide, black void of violently spinning water. Instinctively, Thetis leapt backwards as all the water beneath her feet seemed to be sucked into the roaring epicentre. The further away that she got from the centre of the vortex the less powerful the water currents were, but the more violent the waves were churning so to conserve power she stopped trying to balance on the surface and dropped into the water up to her waist, using her powerful legs to tread water and back away from the maelstrom.

Just as suddenly as the yawning chasm at the heart of the lake had appeared, the funnel of water snapped shut, blasting an enormous column of water into the sky, taller than every geyser that appeared earlier in the fight if they had been stacked on top of one another. It was so tall that the waterline at the banks of the lake dropped as the great pillar of water continued to rocket into the sky, high above the terrified Destrillian. Blood throbbed in her temples as Thetis attempted to comprehend the sheer energy of what unfolded before her. No drop of water was wasted; each and every liquid molecule gravitated towards Flutwelle's last stand. Run, every muscles, every sinew in Thetis' body screamed at her as they did when she had encountered the pair of Lyverius. She shook off the suffocating feeling of dread and swallowed the lump in her throat as she watched the colossal column split the sky. As the waterspout reached full height, silence descended upon the lake.

Derinium.

Number Six's instincts surged into overdrive, and Thetis Alcesteos dove under the surface. There was no doubt that the force and pressure of the water column would liquidise her in the blink of an eye. If she could just get enough water between them, she could survive this. If. Sediment rose in clouds as Thetis dug her feet into the lake bed to resist the water's current. Casting her eyes upward as she prayed that this would be enough. With another gulp of water into her lungs, the blue-haired girl felt the lake tighten around her. Thetis braced herself as she waited. Control over the water separating herself from Flutwelle would decide the victor.

Then she heard it. The crack of tonnes of water exploding through the surface, creating waves of pressure that pushed her further into the sand of the lakebed. It was unbearable. Bubbles flew from Thetis' mouth as the sheer weight of the water column thratened to rip her apart. She threw her arm upwards against the force that would snap her like a twig. I can't die. I can't die! the words ran over and over in Thetis' head, almost numbing the pain of her resistance. The spout drilled towards her, and it took everything Thetis had just hold it off. Her skull was splitting. The weight of the world, the lives of the others, the certainty of her defeat; all of it bore down on the water Destrillian as her body shook with exhaustion. What could overcome such an unwrought, primal display of power? It was no use. The water Destrillian scrunched her eyes in effort. This attack would kill her. It was only a matter of time.

The lake's surface was no longer the pristine mirror it had been at the fight's start. Between the whirlpool and the waterspout, it had been transformed into a cauldron of swirling waves and eddies. Now darkened water now had nothing to do with the deepness of the lake, or the darkness of the night sky, but the immense clouds of ancient sediment and dust that had been thrown from its home on the lakebed.

Pale hands broke the chaotic surface. Then came a head, covered in short, light blue hair. Flutwelle looked from side to side with her grey, dead eyes for any sign of her opponent. But no one else emerged from the water. She was alone.

It took every ounce of energy and concentration just to continue to pump her legs and tread water here. Doing as little as trying to sense her opponent's current location or stand up on water would have been too much so soon after expending so much energy activating Derinium.

Suck it up! Saffron eyes snapped open as Fiona's voice echoed in her head. Fiona was alive. Terra had been rescued. If she won, they could escape, and things would go back to the way they were before. She had to survive this. The lake around her became still.
I'm not gonna die here! Curling her toes into the lakebed, Thetis felt a new wave of power wash over her. The pain in her arm dulled and the ache in her temples vanished. With an almighty kick, the water prototype rocketed to the surface. It was now or never.

It took, perhaps, longer than it should have done for Flutwelle to realise something was wrong. The exhaustion from the fight had been creeping into every one of her faculties and her ability to process information was no exception. The movement of the water beneath her was not natural, not considering the way in which the rest of the lake was still whipped up into a frenzy. It felt still and tight, as though it was coiling around her outstretched legs.

Too late, Flutwelle attempted to start swimming out of the way, only to find that what felt like dozens of thin manacles wrapped around her legs prevented her from moving. Then with a sharp, painful jerk, they pulled her thrashing body downwards beneath the waves. The doll was submerged for mere seconds before she saw a pale arm emerge from behind her. There was no time to react. The arm snapped like a vice around her throat as Flutwelle's back slammed into a very much alive Thetis Alcesteos. Water churned around the pair of Destrillians as the doll struggled to free herself from her opponent's grip to no avail. Thetis grimaced as she felt Flutwelle's nails claw desperately at her arm and watched as light blue hair billowed in the water. The facility two prototype thrashed wildly in Thetis' chokehold. Less than a minute after she was dragged underwater, the doll's pulse began to ebb and the short gasps of bubbles from her mouth began to disappear.

Ten...gods...descend...

If Flutwelle had expected to recieve an ounce of mercy from prototype number six, she was mistaken. Her wild, frantic movements slowed to a halt. Her limbs hung lifelessly in the water. Flutwelle's heart stilled. A grim but triumphant smile played on Thetis' lips as she loosened her grip, relinquishing the doll's corpse to the lake. For the last time, the water prototype made her way to the surface. As she was met with a rush of cool air, Thetis grinned. She had won.

Water crested as the Destrillian pumped her fist into the air. The temptation to gloat was too much. Thetis grinned, too exhausted to utter a single word.

Then she felt it. Something warm and coppery dribbling from her nose and over her lips. Her nose was bleeding. How did she not notice it? No. Nonononono!Thetis' hands trembled as she reached for her ear. Bleeding. Her eyes widened. Then she panicked. Like a nail being driven through her skull, the migraine returned with at least ten times the intensity. The price of over-exertion for a Destrillian could be a high one indeed. As it did after the fight in the motel, her body was shutting down in the middle of a lake. Not even Thetis could breathe water while unconscious. If she didn't act fast, the blue-haired girl would be swallowed by her own element. Was it worth it? Thetis' mouth lolled open as she spun to face the shore, limbs groaning and body begging for rest. There was nothing left. No energy, no drive, nothing. She wouldn't make it back.

"Fiona?!" she spluttered and accidently swallowed a wave of lake water. The familiar shock of red hair was nowhere to be seen. Her limbs felt like planks, her throat was hoarse, and even the thought of standing on the surface made Thetis' head hurt. As she looked at the fire that raged by the mansion, the water Destrillian felt her eyelids begin to close. "Help!" the words went unheard as Thetis' head dipped below the surface of the lake. Even after Flutwelle's death, the effects of her attack remained. Tossed by the turbulant current, the water Destrillian felt herself dragged underwater. As she drifted through the abyss, the blue-haired girl closed her eyes. I won. And with that, Thetis Alcesteos surrendered to the blackness.


.oOo.


"Idiot."

A young woman approached the still bubbling lake, moving away from the sounds of the battle that raged on at the chateau, and toward the sound of silence that meant the fight was over; now it was time for her to collect her prize. She stopped just shy of the water's edge, gazing down into the inky depths of the battlefield.

"You let yourself get carried away. Not that it matters - you won." She tilted her head to one side. "Although I suppose this actually does makes things a bit easier for me in the end," she said thoughtfully. Much more talk and I won't have any target left at all, she thought. She crouched down and laid a hand over the water. She took a deep breath, then exhaled.

Time to get to work.

As she exhaled, she let her consciousness float away, drifting out, out of her body, a shudder running through her as she stretched out with her very being. And she stretched down, down, deep down into the water, until she caught up with the falling star she'd been sent to catch, feeling once more that tingle of power, trickling out through a tiny hole, rippling around the vessel itself.

Best not to use her...probably wouldn't survive. Might as well take mine, then.

And then, effortlessly, as naturally as breathing, she pushed. And as she pushed, the heat, her heat, the warmth of her own body, the sound of her breath, the strength stored in her tensed muscles, all began to drain away. She shivered from the cold as she molded them all together with her mind, forming a single, living, flowing entity. And she pushed it down, snaking toward the falling presence in the water, swiftly and surely forcing its way into the depths; and then it touched the other power, enveloping it, so close they would have melded had she so willed it.

Lorelei took another breath, and as she inhaled, she turned her outstretched palm over, almost as though she were beckoning her creation, calling it back. The progress of the sinking Destrillian was halted, who, for the briefest of instants, hung suspended in the water before beginning to slowly ascend. She forced away the smile that threatened to spread from the back of her mind as she considered the irony, and focused on hauling in her catch.

And after another moment, Thetis Alcesteos' unconscious form broke the surface of the lake.

Lorelei stood up slowly, directing the limp body of the victorious water Destrillian toward the shoreline, where she set her down none too gently, a look of resentment upon her face. You kept me from having my turn. You'd better not die. As she felt for a pulse, she reached out to her partner, settled amongst a grouping of boulders nearby. A half second later, she located what she'd been looking for. Ariel - I've got her. She's alive. The Destrillian then turned her head into the transceiver clipped to her collar. "Extraction team - package has been retrieved. Going to need CMC at the lake, stat.

"Time to go home."
__________________

Last edited by Sheva Alomar; 12/28/2011 at 03:37 PM.
Bex is offline  
Thanked by 6:
Baldy (09/02/2011), Hisako (09/03/2011), Rumpelstiltskin (09/03/2011), Sheva Alomar (08/30/2011), Super Mario (01/13/2012), Tennyo (09/12/2011)
Old 09/02/2011   #192
Baldy
Default

- MARUCA AVIDEZ, IDRIS SAVAGE; THE CHATEAU -


Viscount Avidez stared down at the group of uninvited guests, his eyes hidden behind the glare of his glasses under the bright lights that now lit up every corner of the chateau's entrance.

"This has gone on far enough. Once again I find myself cleaning up the mistakes of Viola, and so I shall do what that company failed to." He shot a gaze in the direction of the small, blonde Lyverius. The change in direction revealed the glowing red eyes that had been concealed behind his glasses.

"You still defy us?"

Stolz placed one hand on her head. "Is Vana a narcissist?"

There was no sign of amusement in the Viscount's expression. "I'll take that as a yes; very well then." He motioned for his subordinates to come forward.

"Take whichever targets you wish. Of course, just to uneven the odds..." Avidez raised his right hand in the air and snapped his fingers; in seconds, a horde of guards who were armoured head to toe came pouring out of the chateau and began encircling the Destrillians and their companions.

"ELIMINATE THEM ALL!" Avidez shouted, then flicker-quick he lunged from the top of the stairs and darted right towards Idris, his right arm extended forward with electric currents running all over it.

"Wh--" The slight Destrillian didn't even have time to react. Sheer instinct drove her to the ground - the smell of burnt synthetics filled her nose with an acrid stench as a stray flick of high-voltage electricity licked the top of her wig. It was made quite clear, in that one movement, that this was going to be unlike any fight she had ever had; there would be no time for checking up on the others, no time for breathers. No time to stop. No time to think.

Just breathe. And go.

She uncoiled from the ground like a cobra, shot up and away from the lights and into the dark, thick forests surrounding the chateau. She had no real plan, no real tactic to use against her opponent, and this caused something like fear to rise in her chest. But still, she reasoned, Avidez' power was electricity - it involved bright bursts of light. It made sense to put herself somewhere where she had the advantage of invisibility, didn’t it?
Frankly, all she could think as she ran was, I'm in my ballgown. And my heels.
She kicked off the shoes and the cold, dewy grass sweeping the soles of her feet managed to ground her somewhat, but she still felt awkward and captive in her ballgown. That beautiful dress turned traitor; having mere minutes before made her feel like a lady, now it bound her movements, restricted her, left her unable to fight, to flee. A butterfly stuck in its cocoon.
It would have to do.

"So, you're going to make me chase you, then, Destrillian." Avidez sighed to himself and charged into the forest in pursuit. The Lyverius scanned every direction in front of him, searching for the small electric currents that flowed in a person's brain; he stopped dead in his tracks as his head cocked in one specific direction. The Lyverius placed both his hands on a pair of trees that stood on either side of him and as if he'd shocked them to life, bursts of energy shot up the trunks and began running in the direction of his target, the currents leaping from tree to tree which caused the branches to explode and catch fire as they raced.

Idris was much more ready this time, but she hadn't counted on how quickly the current could flow. At least she could tell where it was coming from - the trees catching alight were enough visual aid. She threw herself to the side before an exploding trunk sent fresh charcoal shards zinging into the ground where she'd only just stood.

Okay, so it was fast. Super fast. Idris found herself wishing she'd ever had time to spar with Telran - maybe then this would be a little easier on her.
And metal conducts electricity. Great. Her mouth twisted up in a wry smile, distorted with the strain of diving out of the way of another current. Tuck, roll, spring; she took a leap, planted one foot solidly on a log lying overgrown in the underbrush, leaped again, higher, and stretched her bare arms upward and outward.

One moment there was the sickening dread of catching onto nothing, but almost before the thought had completed itself, the rough, scratchy bark of a tree branch was in her grasp. Idris swung and landed on another branch, thicker, lower; she had to hold herself perfectly or else it would bend and make a sound, at best. At worst it would break under the stress of holding two hundred pounds packed in a ninety-pound body, and she'd fall, but she really did not want to focus on the negatives of the situation. Safe for a second in the dark enfolding arms of the forest, she faced the flames, vigilant.
Look. Listen. Think. What could she do that Avidez wouldn't expect?

"Come now, girl!" the Lyverius shouted into the darkness. "Is running all you can do?"

She exhaled, snapped a branch off from above her, slung it through the air towards Avidez ragged point-first at a hundred miles an hour, leapt to another tree before he could figure out where it had come from and almost crashed right through the tree branch in the process. It just about was all she could do, now that she thought of it. Run and hide and hope he couldn't find her - or catch her - in time for...
For what? For someone else to come and help? To rescue her? Chances of that, especially with the other Destrillians on Avidez' side, were straight-up zero. At best. Her earlier reasoning crumbled; running into a forest had been a terrible idea, now that she was being honest with herself. High up in her vantage point, she searched for the metals in the ground. They were there, alright, and they made the forests rich and luxurious, but they were soft, earthly things.
Good for plants and not for killing.

It had been disturbingly human of her, to turn tail and flee into the trees like a little girl hoping she could lose her attacker. As if she could hide; as if he couldn't see her sitting there, tense, trying to decide what to do. Hide, or attack. Defensive, or offensive. Human or Destrillian.
Idris never did quite know which was best for what.
Something sharper caused her to pause in her thoughts, to lift her chin, to breathe in and smell it - the tang of something much more steely. More durable.
Of course. The perimeter fence. They had passed it on their way in, and gods only knew what sort of superstrength alloy Avidez used to keep intruders out. It was only a hundred yards or so behind her; she could feel it there, standing strong, just asking to be used. Begging her. Of course, Idris knew in her mind that throwing metal at Avidez was hardly better than running in the dark - he would see it coming a mile away. But it was a distractionary plan, at least, while she thought of something else to do.

How do you fight a Lyverius?

You don't. You run, and hope.

She squidged her toes into the tree, feeling its rough, calloused bark—allowing herself one last pause, one last moment of self-doubt, before the mad dash she knew she was about to begin. And then she jumped down and hit the ground running.

"Too predictable, child," Avidez called out before placing both hands on the ground and expelling more electric currents, this time running along the ground. This isn’t a fight, it's a hunt.

They caught up to her much more quickly than she thought they would; one fork of white-purple-blue staked into her calf and sent her sprawling in the dirt. Grabbing handfuls of dead leaves and nettles, she scrambled back up and kept on. The brambles and branches and moss caught her pretty dress and tore it to shreds, leaving only tatters of silk and gossamer and her plain underclothes, light as air. The last vestige of human in her felt the immodesty but the survival drive overrode it and whooped with joy at the freedom of movement; now, she knew she could outrun that current if she tried.
Idris swerved a tree, ducked under a low-hanging branch, and then with a cry of effort put on a fresh burst of speed. At one point, she rose a low wall of that soft and earthen metal in the ground behind her, twenty feet across, to trip Avidez up; at another, she cracked off another branch with one hand on instinct as she ran past it, swung around mid-step, and boomeranged it behind her, not even pausing to see if it had hit. Desperate moves. Just a little further...

She practically flew out of the edge of the forest, seeing before her a small stretch of green grass and then the perimeter fence. It was tall. And thick. And definitely no normal metal. Idris, wiping tree resin off her face, managed half a smile.
Running and hoping only accomplished so much. Human did no good in this place. Now, she had a chance to throw something back while she tried to find a way to surprise him.

"So," the Lyverius called out to her, walking calmly towards the Destrillian, "you've found a source of metal. Unfortunately, things don't get any easier for you, because..." He paused to extend his hands forward – they emitted a strong electric glow and in response, sections of the perimeter opened up and a number of automated gattling guns rose up and tracked onto Idris' position.

"...my Chateau is very well defended." Within seconds of the words leaving his mouth the automated defences began raining a hailstorm of bullets down on the Destrillian of metal.

Idris, for the first time since it had happened, was glad of the escape from Osea.

In half a heartbeat her magnetic shield flickered to life and caught the bullets, swinging them around her in global orbit. After the gauntlet of the barricade, fighting solo on the roof of the Winnebago, this was engrained into her. Was second nature. She allowed herself a moment to breathe in, to steady herself, to coax the power in her out of its confines with bribes of bloodshed. And then she peered through the bullets swirling around her at the Lyverius who opposed her.
"So am I, Avidez."

She let the bullets fly.

The Viscount reacted immediately and in the blink of an eye leaped aside as the bullets shreded the ground he had been standing on.

"My, now this is truly fascinating..." Avidez said aloud as he dodged aside again to evade another wave of bullets. "Being able to intercept so many projectiles traveling at such a high speed and redirect them." He stepped backwards as a dozen or so impacted just in front of his feet. "It's quite the spectacle, I would genuinely love to see how well you fare against a Leviathan of The Order."

"Maybe once I win this round I’ll go try one on for size," she called back through teeth bared in half a grin, half a grimace as she swept another volley of bullets off her magnetic field and in the general direction of the Lyverius. She had heard of the Leviathans back in basement days: truly colossal, they were the citysize battlements that roamed the barren badlands of the Central Continents, looking for territory to ravage. Once, long ago, back in cold white halls with no one but a certain scientist to turn to, she had been told that one day, when she was ready, they would prepare her against them. For the day when the Destrillians would invade and end the useless war on the continent to the west.
As if their own wars – her birth wars – were any more important.

Avidez was as quick as his current - she couldn't judge his movement well enough to aim. And then the thought came cold and clear to her.
Why aim at all?
The Gunmetal Glint wrapped another layer of bullets around her, like a gleaming, deadly shawl. She let them spin faster and faster, allowing the energy they possessed to amplify itself naturally. Ever-faster. And then without any purposeful target at all, she let them go: ten, twenty, fifty little metal shells, each rocketing out in any direction that wasn't aimed at her.

This action hadn't been something the Lyverius had been expecting, but now considering his opponent’s current situation it seemed like the wisest choice. A torrent of bullets rippled past the man, a couple of them grazing his outfit; his eye caught one of the small projectiles hurtling directly at him, but the man simply stood his ground. The bullet closed in, headed right for between the man's eyes— but at the last second before impact it came to a sudden halt, caught between the fingers of the Viscount. He rotated the item in his fingers, examining it.

"Impressive move there, girl. But if you wish to survive you're going to have to do better." He flicked the bullet over his shoulder.

"Let’s show us how it’s done, then." She immediately wished she hadn't said that. Why would you do that to yourself, Idris--this isn't a game. Still, despite the shallow scratches covering her arms and legs, and the torn and tattered remains of her dress, and the stinging pain in her leg, it almost felt like one. It always felt like a game to Idris, in the end.
The gattling guns had stopped. She stood ready, on the balls of her small, dirty feet, two or three stray bullets arcing around her, and waited.

"If you insist, then I shall end this now." The man placed his hands closely together, forming electrical currents between them. He smirked as the currents began to grow larger around his hands, with the sound of sparking electricity growing louder. Idris did not like that sound one bit. As the currents continued to grow, the Lyverius raised his hands above his head, and the electricity began wildly shooting up in the air, and back onto the ground, and what now seemed like it was flowing all along the man's body.

The blonde Destrillian had only one thought: Metal conducts electricity.
Maybe it would work.

"For the sake of our kind, PERISH, MISTAKE OF VIOLA!" shouted the Viscount, and threw both his arms forward, unleashing the massive wave of electricity onto the defiant girl.

It all happened within maybe a second. First, Idris whipped the last couple bullets around, over her head, slicing down at an angle away from her body; they caught the leading edge of the wave and directed it earthwards, landing fused together and smoking hot. In the same motion, she slipped off the bracelet she always wore - her reminder of how very real death could be - and flung it the other way. At the barest flick of her finger it uncoiled and diverted the second layer of Avidez' attack, sending it spearing into the sky.

Miles away, across the lake in Audoula, admirers of the nighttime scenery could have sworn a faraway lightning storm was brewing.

As one last-ditch attempt, Idris ducked and wrenched with all her might and mind the fence behind her. The middle, weaker than the solid foundation or the fortified top, pulled free and curled over her in a wave, taking another good portion and spreading it thin throughout the fence. It lit up with a weird, dancing, quivering blue light--but Idris didn't see that.

Because she'd still gotten hit with the rest of the wave. And it was a true testament to Avidez and his power that, after three attempts to sieve off the sting, it still hit her like a lance to the heart. She screamed, crumpled to the ground as her vision blacked for a couple seconds, curled in some futile attempt to protect her body from what had already got inside. All she could feel was the pain. It sang through her bones and radiated out through her muscles and tissues and skin and oh god it hurt so much why wouldn't it stop. The small Destrillian's frame convulsed as the aftershock flicked through her once or twice, almost as an afterthought, and then it was gone and she just felt burned and blackened on the inside. Like all her insides had been cooked on high.

She coughed. Spat up blood. Choked in an unsteady breath.

She was alive.

And so she laughed for the sake of still being able to. A wheezy, smoky laugh, not at all her usual light and airy affair - her throat was zapped to all hell and she winced with pain as, even as she did so, she felt new wounds open up within it. "I'm made of tough stuff," she gasped out, licking the red off her teeth and rolling it around in her mouth, tasting the iron. How it made her strong.

"How unexpected. You're still alive," Avidez stated in an unimpressed tone. The Lyverius was now standing over her, gazing down with his red, glowing eyes. They made her shiver. "No matter. For you see, I can do that again, and again, and as many times as I need to until you don't get back up. It should be painstakingly clear now, girl: we are superior to you in every aspect. Where you reach your limit, we keep going, and when you are on the verge of death's door, we are simply getting started. Now, if you'll excuse me I have to end this quickly and deal with what remains of those other dissidents." He extended his hand, sparking with electric currents, intent on placing it on Idris' head.

The girl had been lying there, listening. Listening to Avidez, to the sounds of the others in battle – for she could hear distant cries and slams and shatterings – listening to her own frantic heartbeat, her own ragged breath.

And listening to that little insistent voice inside of her.

You know you have it in you, Idris. A flash of memory distracted her for a moment, reminded her of what she could be capable of, maybe, if she were stronger, if she were more powerful, less afraid of letting go entirely.
After all, in a far off city and a dark and dingy nightclub, whilst slumbering trapped in a stolen pod, dreaming of the house she had long ago called her own, those guards had dried to dust when she’d pulled the metal from their bones.

There was no way she could pull it off. Not like that. She wasn't strong enough, or powerful enough, or confident enough - especially not right now. But there was no real choice about it. Do or die. That hand was awfully close now. A part of her much larger that she would ever admit, before or after, was frightened of it and what it could do--and that she wouldn't be able to stop it.
But Idris Savage was the type to turn her fear into power.

She concentrated on that hand as hard as she could, stared it down with pained grey eyes, focused every last bit of willpower on it. She let the fear open a sluice into her stomach, let it fill her with the overwhelming urge to DO something, anything, to prevent what was about to happen to her. She pictured the dream, and how it had all come so easy - the way the iron and copper and zinc had all come swirling out and she hadn't even blinked. She pictured the surreal feeling of mastery that she'd felt, tried to feel it then. Failed. Tried harder.
And then she saw her bracelet, speared into the ground a couple yards away, and she pictured Eve and Ariel and Shilo and all the rest, and how they'd frown in disappointment if Idris died and met them in some afterlife.

And that day the gods must have felt sorry for Idris, because it worked.
It was much less graceful in real life than it had been in the dream; instead of flittering out of the skin in silvery ribbons, it had to force its way through. It bulged in a large, hard lump beneath the skin of Avidez' palm and then slowly - and maybe it was the speed that made it excruciating - oozed out the pores, leaving them raw, gaping and dripping with blood. Like little mouths, gasping for her to give back what she had just stolen from his body.

The Lyverius cried out in pain, stumbling a few steps backwards. "Impossible! You shouldn't have any strength left to even move, let alone utilize your abilities!" he shouted in disbelief as he held his wounded hand.

In response, the metal that had been sucked from his body snicked across his face, catching him just barely off-guard and cutting into his forehead before disappearing into the forest. An eternity passed between the skin being opened and the blood welling up and out of it. "Like I said," Idris repeated, gritting her teeth so hard against the oncoming migraine that she was afraid they might crack. "Made of tough stuff." She pushed herself up onto her arms and managed to get herself sort of half-sitting, half-leaning on the ground. She was shaking.

"You...why you, lowly, worthless little creature."

"Your parties suck."

The Lyverius was clearly consumed with rage now, the red eyes glaring at the Destrillian so hard that it appeared as though they were going to explode. With his other hand he began forming the electrical mass in a similar fashion as before, raising it up and preparing to hurl the destructive energy at the wounded girl. As his arm started to move, the most peculiar occurrence happened. From over in the direction of the lake what appeared to be a large tower of water rose up, resulting in Avidez stopping dead in his tracks at the spectacle.

Idris, too, even seemed to forget how much pain she was in as she watched the column tower ever-higher; forty, fifty, sixty feet. It could have been the blood loss or the adrenalin or the fear making her delirious, but she could have sworn she'd felt a bit of Thetis in there. Somewhere. For one second, she was overjoyed that maybe, just maybe, the others had found a cure for Fiona and, having accomplished their goal, had come to get the other team.
And then the waterspout descended once more and as it sank, so did her happy thoughts. It didn't matter - she was still seconds away from either passing out or dying. No one was going to come save her.

It seemed the gods were really showing the girl favour today. Avidez's attention was once again distracted, this time by something unseen. The man's eyes widened as though he sensed something bad happening elsewhere. It was confirmed as the Lyverius cried out: "MILEINA!" He turned back towards the chateau, but after a few steps he stopped, turned back to look at Idris, then towards the chateau again.

"Dammit," he grumbled to himself and charged off into the forest, leaving Idris on her own.

For three whole seconds, Idris waited patiently for him to come back and finish her off. When he didn't, she began to wonder if, maybe, she would survive after all. After a minute or so of speculative, tentative waiting, the Gunmetal Glint concluded that she had, indeed, come out of this alive.
She grinned up at the sky.
And then she fainted.
__________________

Disappear with the stars and come back alive.
Baldy is offline  
Thanked by 9:
Alex (10/06/2011), Bex (09/02/2011), Hisako (09/03/2011), Joe (12/16/2011), NoenGaruth (01/06/2012), Rumpelstiltskin (09/03/2011), Sheva Alomar (09/03/2011), Super Mario (01/16/2012), Tennyo (09/12/2011)
Old 10/06/2011   #193
Alex
Default

-KERR NORDSTROM, OUTSIDE AVIDEZ' CHATEAU-
-Shortly before the Limnades group arrive-

It hadn't escaped Kerr's notice that in addition to the Lyverius and the three Destrillians at his flanks, a small army of armed human security guards were now beginning to emerge from the chateau. Emerging from the thickening crowd of guests at the main stairway leading to the grand front doors armed with slung energy rifles and thick reinforced leather riot shields.

He slowly made his way back to the main group of Destrillians, who only seemed to have eyes for the obnoxious nobleman and his trio of bodyguards. On the way back he discarded his suit jacket and the black pelisse, they would only be a hindrance. The impact with the car's windshield had only served to cut innumerable slashes in the material anyway. It had hurt, but the shock of it was what had left the Deestrillian of gravity momentarily reeling.

The guards were beginning to circle the group and Kerr scowled. Things had been going so well up till now. He shook his head and shoulders and felt the broken grains of glass topple from his hair, catching a handful in an open hand and wincing as he felt the dozens of small cuts he had sustained from the impact begin to start bleeding in earnest. Something twisted and dark began coiling up inside Kerr.

"ELIMINATE THEM ALL!"

It seemed as though a hundred things all happened at once, and then the whole world seemed to explode.

For Kerr, his world seemed to narrow completely. Everything else was drowned out except the need to survive. His comrades, their mission and even the opposing Destrillians. All that mattered was the opponent in front of him.

The Destrillian instantly ducked to the aside to avoid the inital barrage of white hot blasts of focused energy soared by on either side of him. His reaction was instantaneous; bringing up up the clenched fist that held the ground up pieces of glass and throwing them towards the armed guards. His mind worked quickly, enveloping the glass and accelerating the gravitational pull of the Chateau behind them. The glass had to have been moving at close to the speed of sound when it bloodily impacted the handful of guards in its path.

Kerr couldn't take a pause to watch the guards bleeding out from the large, bloody impact craters that had been left on their bodies as the glass ploughed through them like like calibre bullets. Immediately he dropped into a forwards roll to avoid another blast of energy that scorched the shoulder stitching of his white shirt. He had to close the gap between himself the circle of guards and eliminate their capacity for shooting at him with their powerful weapons.

Springing to his feet from the roll, Kerr was able to launch himself up at the nearest guard, preparing to tackle the man to the ground. The guard's movement caught the Destrillian off guard as he dropped his energy rifle and used the hard black shield to connect with the side of Kerr's head. The blow hadn't hurt too much, but it had cost him time as he felt another poorly aimed blast of energy hiss past him.

The guard attempted to follow up with a kick to Kerr's stomach. The move was a bluff, not nearly enough power had gone into the guard's lift-off. He raised his coal black eyes to watch the guards hands, where the real attack was coming from. The black-uniformed guard was attempting to bring the edge of the hard shield down on the Destrillian's head.

Kerr's reaction time was excellent, swirving to the side so that the heavy shield only caught him in the shoulder. He grunted in pain, but did not slow down as one free hand grabbed the ankle of leg that had sought to kick him. His other hand lashed out with a powerful closed fist, crushing down on the guard's throat, dropping him to the floor.
The guards were making a fighting retreat it seemed, leaving the Destrillians and Avidez himself to handle the intruders whilst forming a tightly regimented support fire team from the staircase. Pushing them back into the chateau itself would even the odds for everybody else's fight.

With a grimace, Kerr picked up the sleek black assault rifle from the guard he had disarmed and raised it to his shoulder. The guards seemed to take notice of him just as his finger closed around the trigger.

.oOo.

Why do we fight?

Humans would argue that fighting is required to keep the peace, that we fight in order to make the world a better place. This delusional way of thinking binds them to an eternity of war and violence, surrounding their species with death. This conclusion is an inevitability, destined to continue until their race tears itself from the inside out.

And then there is us. We were designed for war, created for violence; never for peace. We fought because we were told to, the voices that bound us commanded it. But we stopped listening. The voices went away and all that was left was nothing. The weapons of war laid down on the ground with nobody to fire them.

Why do Destrillians fight?

Who knows. They are a confusing race, and yet one with a more redeeming future than that of the wretched creatures that spawned them. They will do what they will do, be it in the name of peace, friendship, brotherhood or love.

I'm not fighting for them. I'm not fighting for any of them.
I'm fighting because it was what I was born to do.

The ceiling ruptured and cracked itself in half as the beautiful arrangement of the building fell around the guard. Fractured antiques littered the ground and, with one almighty crash, the chandelier hit the ground and cut the lights.

And then there was nothing. Well, almost nothing. Avidez' guard shouted confused commands at one another.

And as the dust settled, the sight before them was a most peculiar one.
"Get up. You're slacking off."

Kerr looked appalled as he got to his feet, the dozen guards that were still alive looked at the new arrival as though it was something completely alien. As though six or seven of their highly trained unit had already been killed single-handedly by the small young man wielding the energy rifle was not alien enough.

"Shut up and kill something." Kerr growled at the new arrival, promptly stepping over the mangled body of a guard who had been crushed into an inhuman angle by the impact of the falling chandelier. He was clearly a Destrillian and by the reckless destruction and disrespect for Avidez' property, Kerr could only conclude that he was here on their side.

The redhead grinned as he cracked his knuckles "Easy now, Chuckles."

He'd picked up a piece of the metal that appeared to have once belonged to the now scrapped skylight. Arcing his arm back he threw the spike full-velocity at one of the more unaware guards, catching him in the shoulder and piercing through his armour, his flesh and then the wall behind him. For a human he certainly had a lot of stamina as he instantly began pulling at the jagged piece, prodding out from his torso.

But the human never had an opportunity from the beginning. In a few seconds, the 40 meters or so between him and this new Destrillian had been covered by his adversary. Castiel De Lioncourt was upon him like a hawk, holding the makeshift weaponry he'd thrown before, smiling like a child with a new toy.

"Sorry. Guess you were too slow this time." and with little else, he yanked the metal upward followed by downward with brutal and yet simple force -- for a Destrillian -- watching as the redundant limb fell to the ground beside its previous owner.
The initial shock of Castiel's entrance had well and truly worn off with the guard's impaling into the back wall of the ball room. The room once again descended into a criss crossing of burning hot blasts of energy from Avidez' rifles. Kerr immediately, leaping aside and using the gravitational pull of the far wall to pull himself further out of their way.
Landing and immediately falling backwards into a low roll, he felt the rifle he had been toting whipped out of his hands as one of the lancing arcs of energy tore into it. The smell of molten metal filled his nostrils for just a moment.

Castiel pulled the body of the soldier from the wall and spun it around quickly, within seconds numerous thumps resonated through the soldier as his screams died. The smell of searing flesh was filling the air. As the dust swirled in what remained of the room Castiel grinned and began moving towards more substantial cover, the body in his grasp twitching as pulse after pulse burnt its way through flesh and bone.

By the time Castiel reached cover his make-shift meat-shield was all but a bloody pulp held together with the bits of armour that hadn’t been blasted off. With little effort Castiel cast the body over through the air and aimed for the closest group of troops.

Screams erupted as the bloody mess landed atop one of the troops, it was the distraction Castiel needed and with no more introduction he run full pelt towards the troops.

Castiel’s face was filled with joy, blood splatter covered his right hand cheek and as he launched his body up into the air over the heads of the troops he laughed a maniacal laugh that brought the troops attention to him. Although it was too late.

Landing between the three troops Castiel grabbed the nearest and span him round facing his own energy rifle at his comrade, with both hands he snapped the humans neck and quickly applied pressure to the now dead troops finger. Within seconds the two other troops lay dead on the floor, the close range blast had tore through both their bodies and all that remained of the armour they had once wore was a faint metallic outline around the crater that was once their chest.
Ducking once more Castiel rummaged through the bodies of the three dead troops, he didn’t care for guns so much but what he did find made him grin even wider.

“Chuckles get down!” Kerr only had a few seconds to react as he watched two black objects sail through the air. Diving behind rubble, Kerr could feel the shockwave shake his body as two large explosions blew fire and debris over his head. He threw a look back at the red headed Destrillian only to see him waving with a grin like a child.
The smoke from the explosions was filling what remained of the room, all around them troops were coughing and choking as the fire spread across the far end of the hall. The thick black smoke blocked most movement but as the troops emerged they were quickly taken down by separate energy blasts.

It was like shooting fish in a barrel and after a minute even the screaming was dying.

Castiel looked out towards the origin of the fire, he knew there was still the matter of the leader of the goons but he couldn’t risk getting any closer while the smoke built up. Looking towards the blonde haired Destrillian Castiel wondered what the hell these Destrillians had got themselves into.

Grabbing at the bodies that littered the floor while trying to remain behind cover was harder than it seemed, even though the smoke was obscuring his vision the men who could be heard coughing were merely firing blindly hoping that they hit anything. As Castiel searched the bodies he stocked up on knives and grenades, if a new soldier appeared out of the smoke he was quickly knocked down by the blonde Destrillian who sat perched behind cover on the other side of the hall. An energy rifle and two black eyes were all that the Avidez troops managed to see as they stumbled out of the smoke struggling for air only to take their last breath of fresh air before falling to the floor dead.

“What the hell have you guys got yourselves into?”

"I'll explain later!" Kerr snarled back as his pitch black eyes watched as another squadron of Avidez' well armoured troops filed in from one of the topmost doors.

The sounds of fighting from elsewhere and outside of the chateau were beginning to intensify now. The screaming and howling of the guards that fell beneath the Destrillians own power, coupled with the raw, crushing sound of collapsing masonry was all that filled Kerr's ears now. Tuning out the sound had become routine after a while. Every fight sounded the same after a while.

These human guards were more skilled than most, Kerr thought to himself as he ducked low beneath one trying to catch his head with the butt of his rifle. So predictable. As good as these guards were they were still so human. Bound by the same physical limitations and the same tedious, slow thought process that trapped all humans. The knife flickered through the unprotected side of the guard's torso. It was easy, the ribbon of steel slicing his lung and the tip puncturing his heart.

There were at least three other guards circling his position, twelve more besides them in the room and at least a number of those were being engaged by the new Destrillian. Kerr was aware of all them. Aware of the fact that they were slowly becoming outnumbered. He reversed the knife in his hand and spun behind the guard that was charging down on his position. It was another easy kill as Telran' kitchen knife flickered across the man's throat, spilling a thick river of blood from the tear in his throat.

The man fell instantly. In his place three or four bursts of white hot energy fire lanced across the room, singeing rough black holes in the plush carpet he had been standing on.

As easy as this was. It was quickly becoming apparent that the two Destrillians were becoming outnumbered. For every guard they killed, two or three more would pour in from the innumerable doors and passageways that led into the chateau.

What the pair needed was a knockout blow. A killing stroke.
Kerr easily blocked a straight right hand aiming straight for his face. Closing his hand around the fist and dragging the unsuspecting guard across his body in order to shield himself from another burst of energy rifle fire. The energy pulses burnt into the guard's back and he howled in pain. It all came as second nature to Kerr. He was acting on autopilot whilst his mind saught a way out.

More guards. More gunfire. Kerr watched as Castiel fought. The fire that had broken out was now creeping its way up the chateau's staircases and across the floor. Feasting on the tables and chairs that had broken like splinters during the fight.

His gaze turned to the vast glass doorways and windows that led out onto the stone patio. The glass panes were now liberally cracked or broken. An idea came to him as he watched the orange reflection of the fire that was slowly consuming the grand room.

"Be ready!" Kerr shouted across the room at Castiel, who was now so involved in creating chaos amongst the guards that he barely seemed to register Kerr's warning. The thought that calling out some warning to his fellow Destrillian had been a waste of time momentarily flashed across Kerr's mind as he threw the kitchen knife from his hand.
It took a moment, to stretch out his mind across the entire room and already the strain of forcing it to encompass the entire room made itself known. He felt the gravitational pull down of everything in the room, the furniture, the guards, the staircases, the walls, it was all being pulled downwards by the force of the planet's gravity.

Somewhere at the back of his mind, Kerr was acutely aware of the fact that the guard were training their sight on his prone form as he concentrated. The high probability that Castiel posed a dangerous enough target to focus on first was all the hope that Kerr had.
The process took maybe a second or two at the most as Kerr harshly altered the room's gravity. The Destrillian barely had time to bury his face in his arms as he, along with every other object in the room was violently thrown through the glass wall to the patio, which seemed to disintegrate as the entire contents of the dining hall exploded outwards.

Kerr was vaguely aware of the two dozen new cuts that had appeared on his body and tearing through the fine cut of his rented suit. Keeping his face covered, the Destrillian was particularly surpried when instead of hitting the hard, cold surface of Avidez' patio he plunged through the surface of the lake and cold water immediately flooded his nose and mouth. No sooner had he crashed down through the lake's surface then the rest of the room's contents began to pepper the lake's surface. Then the bodies began to crash down too, the dark of their blood rendered almost invisible against the pitch black of the lake water.

The sudden cold made it hard for Kerr to focus as he felt his chest constrict and the air was forced from his lungs. Pumping his arms and legs he bgan to swim towards the surface, the only thought resonating in Kerr's mind was to survive. To pull himself free of the lake's icy depths.
Alex is offline  
Thanked by 11:
Alessa Gillespie (10/07/2011), Baldy (10/09/2011), Bex (10/06/2011), Hisako (10/06/2011), Joe (10/06/2011), NoenGaruth (10/08/2011), Omega (10/06/2011), Rumpelstiltskin (10/06/2011), Sheva Alomar (10/06/2011), Super Mario (10/06/2011), Tennyo (10/07/2011)
Old 10/20/2011   #194
Alex
Default

-KERR NORDSTROM-
By the Lakeside

Pulling himself to his feet on the lake’s sandy shoreline, Kerr was quietly thankful that the sudden cold of the lake water had numbed his skin to the point where he couldn’t feel the dozen new lacerations that covered his shoulders and arms. The white dress shirt he had worn for the party was now liberally stained red and pink from his blood, though this was slightly less concerning to him than the pounding headache that had been brought about by such a sudden and large scale use of his power.

Just swimming to shore had posed a challenge for the Destrillian of gravity; brightly coloured spots hovered in front of his vision and the overwhelming desire to close his eyes and rest began to fill his senses. He looked over his shoulder at the chateau on the opposite side of the lake, now almost totally consumed by Castiel’s fire. The sounds of the other Destrillians fighting had now filled the valley and only served to cause his headache to intensify as he felt the psychic impression of each individual Destrillian scarring itself into his mind. So many of them in one place, fighting each other so intensely, it made Kerr wince as he dragged himself up the pebbly beach, past the bigger rocks and towards the treeline.

Desperately reaching out for the first tree he could find to lean on, Kerr frowned as he tried to distance his mind from the amount of Destrillians that had gathered in one place. He was unable to concentrate on any one of them, they all just seemed to blur into one. Pinching the bridge of his nose in exasperation as the headache only seemed to increase in pain. Kerr slouched resignedly against the trunk of the tree.

Two small figures had begun a skirmish on top of the surface of the lake; undoubtedly Thetis and another water Destrillian. It seemed as though that team had made it back from Limnades at least. Trying to work out whether or not Fiona was among them would be too taxing right now, so it was too soon to determine whether or not that mission had been successful. Though calling the disaster that had unfolded before him a success was testing Kerr’s patience to the extreme. Even though their team had succeeded in rescuing Terra, there was no telling if she was even alive right now, let alone the fact that they had run into a Lyverius and his private army. This hadn’t been a success. It had been an absolute disaster and it was their fault. Their failings and their flaws had caused this. The other Destrillians were so weak and incapable.

“You shouldn’t take it out on them. You helped cause this too.” The voice was so cool and understanding that it barely even registered as a rebuke, yet the startling familiarity made Kerr spin around so quickly that he felt the burning pain of his headache flare up.

Ariel folded her arms as she watched the pale man’s expression slacken his usual unreadable features giving way to one of absolute disbelief. The silence that filled the small clearing on the treeline was louder than any of the sounds of combat from further up the shoreline. It seemed to last for years.

“Aren’t you going to say anything? It has been a while you know.” The edges of her mouth curled into a small smile as the Destrillian of sound’s violet eyes examined the drenched and bloodied form of her old friend.

“Is this real?”

“Excuse me?” Kerr scowled as Ariel let out a small laugh at the way he'd put his words.

“Before I left Osea, I was put into a machine. It gave me nightmares and you were in them. Is that what’s happening here?” Kerr barked at her, a barely noticeable tremble to his voice.

The smile remained on Ariel’s face, but there was no humour there. It was perhaps just a bit too understanding. “No Kerr, that’s not what’s happening here,” she responded calmly.

“Then how can you be here!” Kerr shouted back. The last time he had seen Ariel she had been lying face down in one of the corridors of Viola’s Facility 1, gunshot wound fresh in her back. “You were dead. You’re supposed to be dead!” all traces of composure had now abandoned Kerr’s voice.

“Would you just calm down already, you’ll give yourself a damn headache if you keep screaming like-“

“ANSWER THE QUESTION!” Kerr bellowed at such volume that even the roaring sound of lake water whipped up by the two duelling water Destrillians was briefly pushed into the background.

“Look, I promise I will explain everything to you if you just calm down. Can you do that for me? Please.” Her voice was soothing, like a cool breeze over an open wound. One thousand questions had just burst into being inside Kerr’s head, and every instinct he had demanded an answer by any means necessary. But this was not a dream, or a vision, this was really her. The realisation was a lingering, numbing sensation that had been far more of a shock to his system than the headache or the cold of the lake water. He stood in silence, pitch black eyes taking in her tall, slender form, face still threatening to be obscured at any moment by the choppy fringe of black and white hair, piercing violet eyes promising answers.

“How can you be here?” he repeated, his voice doing its best to retain some measure of control.

“I can be here, Kerr, because you never killed me. Sorry to disappoint.” She shrugged as she leant casually up against a tree.

“But I shot you.”

“And failed to hit any of my vital organs. You were just a poor shot back then,” she grinned back at him, enjoying the way that a bit of teasing would make his face crumple into a frown. “I mean sure, it was messy for a while. But you didn’t kill me, Kerr.”

The silence descended between the two again as Kerr struggled to find the words to describe the raw tide of emotion that seemed to be swelling up inside him. Everything had changed after he had shot Ariel. Everything; the very fabric of his life, the way he viewed the world and the way the world had come to view him. It had all been ripples spreading out from this one event, this one decision. Had it all been for nothing? Had it all been a lie? He clenched his fists as Ariel casually flicked the hair out of her face.

"I know this isn't going to be easy for you to accept, Kerr. But this is real, you just need to trust me,"

"Trust you?" Kerr managed to echo. The last time there had been any bond of trust between the two it had ended with one of the pair face down in a bloody pool on the floor. None of this made any sense.

"Yeah. Trust me,"

"I want some answers," Kerr shot back. The confusion of this whole scene was making the headache even worse.

"Fair enough," Ariel nodded, walking around the edge of the clearing till she came to a large rock with a flattened top. Taking her seat on it, she now had a perfect view of the lake and the battle that was unfolding across its surface, its beautiful, glassy surface now disturbed by turbulent white-capped waves. "We don't have much time. What do you want to know?" Her eyes followed the two blue-headed figures dancing across the lake.

"There isn't much time?" Kerr asked, turning to face the other Destrillian.

"We can't stay here any longer than your friends can. My boss doesn't want us to be noticed by Avidez,"

"Your boss?" Kerr repeated, dark eyes narrowing in suspicion. The last time he had talked to Ariel Regan, she had been talking about escape, about freedom. The idea of her being tethered to a boss, to employment, to following any orders or ideas other than her own seemed so desperately unnatural that the Destrillian of gravity couldn't stop the disbelief from leaking into his voice.

"Jason Spencer," Ariel explained, flicking her eyes up to Kerr's face to briefly catch the look of outrage on Kerr's face. Jason Spencer, CEO of the Viola Corporation. the man who had been responsible for holding them hostage, turning them into Destrillians and ultimately trying to kill them during their escape. Images flashed through Kerr's mind of the tall, bearded figure, always hidden behind the translucent observation room glass of his holding cell.

"Yeah, I know," Ariel cut across him, sensing another roaring outburst from the short Destrillian. "We really don't have time to get into that right now either," her voice was edged with alarm as half a dozen water geysers erupted from the lake and rocketed high into the night sky.

"What were you sent here to do?" Kerr growled, the raw, angry wave of emotion that had swept him was not being helped by Ariel's evasiveness. "Or don't you have time to tell me that either,"

"Oh don't sulk," Ariel chided, apparently distracted by the roaring columns of water that were distorting the surface of the lake and obscuring the chateau from view. "We're here because Spencer wants one of those two water Destrillians, either Thetis or Jamelyn. Whoever survives that fight is coming home with us," the worry in her voice was easy to sense, the fact that Thetis and Ariel had once been as close was no secret.

"You're here to kidnap them? Why?" Kerr demanded. None of this was making any sense.

"It's complicated,"

"Answer me!" Kerr shouted back, his voice sounded rough and hoarse. Ariel's eyes whipped around from the lake to glare back at him, her face caught somewhere between irritation and alarm.

“I came here for you, you know. Spencer sure as hell didn’t ask me to.” she replied back to him, her voice maintaining its soothing, patient tone. “I came to ask if you wanted to come back with me.” The geysers on the lake had disappeared, replace only by a brief shower of droplets as the last of the water returned to the lake.

The proposition had taken Kerr off guard, and the boiling pit of anger and disbelief that had fuelled his demand for answers was momentarily cooled by the suddenness of his old friend’s outburst.

“I know you want answers, I get that,” Ariel continued on, sensing Kerr’s hesitation to continue shouting, “But I’m not the one that should be giving them to you,”

“I don’t take orders from Viola anymore,” Kerr replied back savagely, the pain of so much manipulation and betrayal that he had been through at their actions bleeding through into his strained voice.

“We’d be going back to Spencer, Kerr, not to Viola. There’s a difference. He’s different. Like I said, it’s complicated,” she continued on, watching as the Destrillian of gravity clamped his jaw shut, the need to know more and let Ariel keep talking overriding his desire to give in to the tornado of unchecked emotions that were welling up inside him. This wasn’t the same Ariel he had left behind in the cold, dark corridors of Viola’s Facility One. Beneath the familiar visage and friendly demeanour there was something missing. Something so obvious, yet something buried beneath the layers of her lean, professional exterior. She was restrained, controlled, following orders.

Yet she had still left the rest of her people to come talk to him. Kerr cocked his head slightly to the side and narrowed his eyes to examine Ariel’s earnest face.

Maybe she wasn’t as different as he had first thought.

“What do you say? Let’s get out of here,”

“I’m not going anywhere with you,” Kerr snapped back after a moment’s hesitation, a barely contained boiling hot anger seeping through into every word. This might have been the same Ariel, but so much was different now. The independent, free-spirit that had once shone so brightly seemed to have died somewhere deep beneath her. This Ariel placed her faith and trust in Viola, the ones really responsible for putting that bullet in her back.

“Last time I checked you wanted nothing more than to run as far away from Viola as you could. Now you’re working for Spencer. No, it doesn’t add up,”

“I told you things had changed, Kerr! Stop being an idiot,” Ariel snapped back. For the first time there was no friendly tone to her voice or softness in her eyes, which now hardened like steel.

“Things haven’t changed that much,” Kerr responded with equal venom, pointedly nodding across to the lake. It had been Ariel and her team’s intention to kidnap either one of the two battling water Destrillians. Viola, kidnapping-- things hadn’t changed.

“That’s different. This is for her protection more than anything,”

“Protection?” Kerr questioned. Once again his temper had hit a road-block. Question after question was checking his advance.

“I know for a fact you know what’s out there, Kerr. The Sponsors are coming after you and your group. Come with us, please,”

Kerr stood in an angry silence, face creased by frown lines. Why would Spencer want to protect any of the Destrillians? None of this made any sense. But it didn’t make Ariel’s offer any more appealing, or her betrayal any easier for him to stomach.

“I’m not going with you,” he replied with a tone of finality. Then, with one last look at the disbelieving look on her face he turned away from the clearing and stalked off back between the trees. He could feel a large group of Destrillians congregating just a short way up the shoreline. The anger was lingering, leaving him tired, hollow. He just wanted to be away from this place.

“Yes you will, Kerr,” she called out to him. No longer sounding angry, but soft and knowing. “You’ll come back here. I’ll be seeing you.”

Kerr didn’t turn back.
Alex is offline  
Thanked by 9:
Alessa Gillespie (10/21/2011), Baldy (10/22/2011), Bex (10/20/2011), NoenGaruth (10/28/2011), Omega (10/20/2011), Rumpelstiltskin (10/21/2011), Sheva Alomar (10/24/2011), Super Mario (10/21/2011), Tennyo (12/21/2011)
Old 10/28/2011   #195
Hisako
Default

JETTISON BRAND, FELSEN; AVIDEZ'S CHATEAU


“ELIMINATE THEM ALL!”

When ‘shit hit the fan’, as Nova used to put it, it was time to form a new strategy and recoup potential losses.

Jettison had been rather used to doing it lately.

Tactically, the wisest choice would have been to band together as a single group to confront this overwhelming force, but there was very little time to co-ordinate an attack, even less than the time granted them during their escape from Osea.
And the way Avidez’s hit squad had taken the initiative, they were cut off already.

The two men in dark suits accompanying Avidez himself had immediately lunged forward in Terra’s direction with alarming speed. Jettison ran through the numbers in her head and knew there was no way she could protect them from both. Emma had already come forward, however, leaving Jettison the liberty of diverting one of them at the very least.

She reached down to the small of her back, just below the cut of her dress, and with a graceful curve of her arm threw two of her throwing knives, phasing into invisibility in that same moment. It caught one of them off-guard momentarily, and she seized that opportunity to grab the man’s head and smash it into the ground for the split second that he was off balance, dodging the deadly projectiles.
He bounced off the concrete noiselessly and lightly sprung to his feet with the momentum Jettison used to throw him down. She could almost feel the stare of scrutiny, taking the moment to study him better as well.

The man had an eerie green sheen to his clothing and hair, but for all intents and purposes could have been mistaken for a regular man if it were not for the fact that he had just survived a direct face-plant into concrete which would have crushed a regular human skull - and looked none the worse for wear apart from a small cut close to his left temple.

There was another moment as Kerr leapt past them, but he caught the attention of the guards and they were suddenly alone as Emma and Terra had already left, the other in pursuit. The man in front of Jettison adjusted the position of his sunglasses and balled his hands into fists in front of him. Simple and precise, disciplined and deadly.

“Unexpected.” He had an unsurprising economy of words as they faced each other down. Perhaps even more so than the young assassin Destrillian, Kerr. “Designation?”

“Tuatha. Delta Priority.” Jettison held her hands out in front of her, as if mirroring his stance. She kept her hands unclenched, however, fingers half-splayed and deceptively relaxed. Something at the back of her mind wished for her steel polearm. “Yours?”

“Felsen.” If the man recognized her callsign, he didn’t show it. “You are not a Destrillian.”

“No.”

The corners of the man’s mouth twitched into an indiscernible smirk of contempt. “You are beneath our notice.”

That works fine by me.

Felsen blocked an uppercut which launched him a foot into the air and back down with a thud. It was clear that Jettison needed to disable him before any damage could be done. The man was built like a brick house. Even a calculated snap kick to the knee barely made him stumble. Trading blocks and blows, she realized that this would take much, much longer than expected.

She diverted a haymaker with an open palm and disappeared from view as she aimed a kick at Felsen’s head. The man took the blow without much trouble and grabbed her ankle in a crushing grip, throwing Jettison into the chateau wall behind him like a ragdoll. Her impact with the sandstone left cracks in the brickwork and rattled her skull, but she absorbed the brunt of the force without any permanent damage, steadying herself as she dropped back to the ground.

Although at this rate, that would eventually change.

Felsen came on the offensive with the change in pace of the fight, as the ground beneath her began to shift. It took only a split second to realize that Felsen had focused on the spot Jettison was standing on, and jagged spikes of solid rock split part of her dress and missed her by a hair’s breadth.

That was something that needed to stop happening before it killed her.

She darted to the side, on all fours like a cat, finding herself dodging again as the sharp spires of rock exploded outwards like a shotgun. Probing his defenses, she set sail another throwing knife, which glanced off a crest of soil that tore up the cobbled pavement underneath them. The dirt Felsen brought up hardened and caught the knife by the entire blade, burying it to the hilt.

Jettison was on autopilot as she went through her options. At first, her idea was to retreat and ambush out away from the chateau in a forest clearing where she could ambush the man better, but a more overriding thought struck her:
Concrete and brick seemed more difficult for him to control.

But first of all, Jettison needed to arm herself with something other than a knife. A polearm, something with length and…

A length of ornate fencing caught her fancy, an old painted wrought iron decoration with intimidating spikes that lined the courtyards and car parks. They came out of the concrete work easily, and the barbed tip at the end was a plus. Just like a highly decorative spear, she thought.
Jettison did not think the spike could actually kill Felsen, but perhaps if she worked the handle enough the rust could give the doll an infection.

She planned to find out.

The ground and concrete she was standing on exploded into a myriad of shaped charges, giving Jettison very little time to deflect any shrapnel directed towards her. She managed to avert the worst of it, but deep red cuts and punctures still scored the milk-white of her callused skin. She ignored the blood loss for now, and let adrenalin keep her combat-effective.

Felsen flexed his fingers as the illusions fighting him faltered and disappeared through Jettison’s distraction. “Interesting. This… Tuatha, I assume is some sort of rival project. Some pathetic hopeful corporation.”

“Denann Industrials.” Jettison held her makeshift polearm out in front of her, spear tip pointed in his direction. Whoever this group was, it would benefit her to have them believe that Denann were using her to get to them. Make an enemy of an enemy, though not necessarily a friend.
The mention of the company hardly registered any recognition in Felsen. It seemed that they were indeed below his notice. “Clever use of illusion and the visual spectrum. I’ll make sure to keep your corpse as intact as possible for study.”

The air seemed to hum around them as Felsen raised his hand. For a moment, Jettison did not immediately recognize what he was doing, but then the smattering of soil and rock on the cobblestone ground left from his previous attacks shifted.

Jettison immediately jumped back and shimmied up the wall like a spider, as all the debris from the ground swept up into a whirlwind torrent of piercing shrapnel, spouting in Jettison’s direction like a swarm of bees. She barely managed to climb over the balcony before the raging storm of rock tore her to ribbons.

The man rolled his knuckles and briefly ran a hand through his hair. Weighing his options, Felsen decided to crush this girl now. She was a potential nuisance, and he would rather deal with the problem sooner than later and have to worry about the repercussions of letting her live.

Lacking Jettison’s double-jointed finesse, Felsen simply took a running hop and used his momentum to scramble up an entire floor, roughly grabbing a hold of the balcony and launching himself up over the railing. The hallways were completely empty now, save for the corpses of guards strewn about here and there. The noises from the main hall seemed distant, though he was fairly certain that the trained guards definitely had the capacity to take down a real Destrillian.
Felsen pulled up the floor as a knife whistled at him from the darkness. Jettison paced herself a distance away, keeping the doll from truly crushing her between the walls, floor and ceiling of the chateau, but she knew before the night was over she would have to close the gap. Artificial concrete, cement and drywall did seem more difficult to manipulate, but they also hit harder. A granite block shot at her, and she barely managed to deflect it without fracturing her forearm. But the both of them were silent, no words to goad each other, no taunts to break their cover. The both of them knew the other would not fall so easily for verbal deception.

But Jettison was a master at deception, and it was the only other thing in her arsenal. Copies of her flitted around the halls as Felsen rampaged, and though it diverted his attacks she could not touch him. As she neared, it was either sharp senses or sheer bad luck that he turned in her direction, a spear of rock piercing sideways through drywall and lancing through her shoulder, a millimeter slicing through the tendon holding her arm in its socket. The pain bled through her like wildfire, though her mind shut it down as she forced herself to snap off the shaft of sandstone.

“A shame.” Felsen’s sunglasses had come off as he stood over Jettison, adjusting to the self-generated dimness of the function room they were in. “Talented, but uninspired.”

Inspiration struck as Jettison balled her fists.

The room lapsed into total blackness, black as a black hole, devoid of all light. Felsen almost smirked at the desperate show of abilities, but Jettison was not finished.

She opened her clenched fists and threw brilliant white light directly into his face.

Just as it had worked in her favor earlier tonight, the effect was as immediate as a pail of ice water, and made Felsen stumble backwards as the doll diverted his focus to his other senses. Jettison dashed around him with a burst of speed, and brought her spear down on the back of Felsen’s leg, just above the joint.

Once, twice. The second thrust made him kneel as she gritted her teeth, wrenching it away from the entry wound and thrusting it a third time higher in the left buttock. She twisted the steel shaft, snapping the pole in half as she wrenched.

For a moment, she thought she had Felsen beat, and then the world around them exploded.

Whether it was Kerr’s doing or Felsen, she did not know. Her world turned her upside down and blasted her upwards through a floor of timber and rock, buffeted by huge granite slabs that were once supports of the gutted chateau. She let freefall bring her back down as she collapsed on the roof, Felsen following her as he stressed his weight to one side. A vein throbbed at his temple as he yanked the shaft (and head) of Jettison’s spear out of his backside. She could spot red slowly spreading through the black of Felsen’s trousers, but aside from his shifted weight there seemed no indication he would be any less dangerous than he was before.

“Terminating.” Felsen limped towards Jettison, who despite her injuries forced herself to a kneeling position, disregarding the way her dress was now shredded into flimsy rags. A bead of blood ran down her forehead, and she ignored the tremors in her clenched muscles. She would fight, of course, to the last breath, although as Felsen raised his hands, the stone around them slowly vaporized and reformed into needle-like stalagmites, rearranging the rock as if it were liquid.

Something caught his attention at the last minute before he dealt a killing blow, showing the first outward sign of emotion as he suddenly turned away to focus someplace else; some invisible threat that only Felsen could sense. Gritting his teeth, he looked down at Jettison, who only returned his stare.

“You live to fight another day, Delta Priority.”

With a strength that she did not expect, he sprinted off the roof and jumped away into the darkness, leaving her amongst the smouldering wreckage on the chateau roof.
She did not feel, but know – she had been damaged, worse than she had been for a while. Her dress slashed to ribbons, she could sense the myriad of wounds all over, shrapnel buried in her skin, and her impaled shoulder, now throbbing numbly despite her forced disconnection from her nervous system. Trickles of blood still ran down her body at each puncture as she forced herself to stand. Where her muscles would be sore later was numbness. Where greenstick fractures formed from blocking Felsen’s relentless attacks was a tingling sensation.

There would be new scars after tonight, she thought, just a few more to add to the ones already criss-crossing her skin. Healing would be fast, but painful. She did not understand all of her mind, but she knew as much for her body. It meant new tattoos, she mused, more to hide what marked her.
She frowned as her legs gave way from under her, but forced herself to stand every time as she slowly made her way down from the roof to the ground floor of the mansion.
Jettison knew this chaos was not finished yet.
__________________
死の果までも追い掛けます、 探し出し
奪われた物全て取り返して見せる

RIP in peace old sig lolol 04/2015




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





Last edited by Hisako; 10/29/2011 at 02:36 AM.
Hisako is offline  
Thanked by 7:
Alex (10/28/2011), Baldy (10/29/2011), Bex (10/28/2011), NoenGaruth (10/29/2011), Sheva Alomar (10/28/2011), Super Mario (10/28/2011), Tennyo (12/21/2011)
 

Thread Tools

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT. The time now is 05:00 PM.



Powered by vBulletin®
Copyright ©2000 - 2022, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.