Spy tugs

DDLC Broken Skies: Through Sayori's Eyes. Foreword. After writing the story "Broken Skies", I started to think about the thoughts of each of the girls with regard to the story. I decided to start with Sayori, and tell the story from her point of view. DDLC Fan Pack. Doki Doki Literature Club is 100% free to play, but you are welcome to contribute any amount you'd like. Contributing $10 or more will reward you with the DDLC Fan Pack!. Just click the Download button and contribute a payment of $10 or more to unlock the Fan Pack.. What You Get. The complete DDLC Official Soundtrack with 24 tracks, including remixes, bonus tracks, sketches, and ... DDLC, told from the protagonist’s perspective. ... (See the end of the work for notes.) Chapter 1. Chapter Text. I realized that I was in a game on the first of May, soon after I met eyes with a pretty girl with too-bright emerald eyes. ... I was transported back to the school entrance. Eventually, I gave up and just waited for Sayori to ... DDLC Broken Skies The Novel Chapters 12 - 16. ... Strawberry Steamed cupcakes, then do the Pandan Mochi cupcakes, followed by the Green Tea with White Chocolate ones and finishing with some Avocado Hokkaido cupcakes. Doing them in that order should allow enough time for cooling so we can decorate. DDLC Broken Skies The Novel Chapters 21 - 24. Fanfic. ... After we finish our soup, we break out the mochi that she bought, along with some tea that I prepared. It was a great way to complete the meal. Then we headed for the living room to watch the movie. The film was all right…nothing to rave about. Broken was an extremely enjoyable read from start to finish and I was gutted when I ran out of pages! I cannot wait for whatever else comes out of the mind of someone who can create such a brilliant and original story and wish I was reading his next book tonight. My favourite part of the book is the realism that the characters have. Have you wondered what DDLC would be like if the story went in a different way? We have over 180 mods with dozens more to come. We’re sure you’ll find something that fits your taste! Click here to pick out a mod at random: I'm feeling lucky. We’re happy to announce the first mod of the month: Just Yuri. Click the button below to get the ... Children's Chapter Books & Readers ... Wood Finisher: A Series of Practical Treatises on Hardwood Finishing and All Its Branches. Each Treatise Is Followed with Test Questions for the Student. by Frederick Maire | May 23, 2016. Hardcover $23.95 $ 23. 95. Get it as soon as Fri, Sep 25. DDLC Broken Skies The Novel Chapters 33 - 37. Fanfic. Close. 9. Posted by 5 hours ago. DDLC Broken Skies The Novel Chapters 33 - 37. ... Tried my best to finish it by Sep 22 but still ended up being 1 day late (;´・`)> 4.0k. 178 comments. share. save. hide. report. 3.8k. Posted by 3 days ago. OC Fanart. An "All Dokis Have Routes" mod acting as a genre-shift sequel and spiritual successor to DDLC with many new takes on existing characters, 4th wall breaks and such but absolutely no jump scares. ... After finishing the game, you decide to bring Monika back. This time, you decide to give her the happiness that she wanted all along.

2020.09.30 19:53 RedEdSpaghetti Spy tugs

Chapter Forty One: Futures Partially Revealed

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Well, this is it! Mom and I have said our goodbyes. I really hate seeing tears in her eyes, but I know that they weren’t totally sad tears. She said over and over how proud she was of me going to university to study mental health. It sure took me a while to figure out that course of action, but looking back, it now seems so obvious! I was not that different from Sayori in that I was always trying to pick people up…to get them to look at themselves from a different perspective…to help them find some joy in their life. And now, I begin to make it a career. I am at peace with my decision, even though it will take me far from mom and from my friends. Monika is going to a university hundreds of miles away. Yuri’s is not as far, but still not close. Sayori has never settled on what she wants to do, so she is staying put, working until she can decide. Natsuki, of course, still has her final year to finish. We all hope that she is able to keep the Literature Club going in some form. Maybe if she promises to bake cupcakes every week…nah. It will be better if she finds students who want to be there for the literature.

I receive a notice on my phone. Aw! My train is going to be delayed! Well, I guess I will just have to sit here with my thoughts. I reminisce about the past couple of years, the friendships that I was able to develop, and then how those friendships were altered forever. I never would have dreamed that I, a person who had basically withdrawn from the world for years, would end up having 4 wonderful girls want to be with me. And then, being in the middle of a dream situation for most guys, not having those romantic feelings for any of them. How weird is that?

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Chapter Forty Two: Sayori’s Future Revealed

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In the time after graduation, I mulled over my future. The thing that I wanted most was out of my reach it seems.
And so I think about all of the different options, none of which are very appealing.

Yuri and Monika have both left for university already. Natsuki, of course, still has a year in high school to finish. Kishi is leaving today. We said good bye last night, knowing that he would be very busy today. My heart has been heavy ever since, and I didn’t sleep well last night. That was due in part to his leaving, but also due to another strange dream that I had.

All 5 of us were on a small cruise boat when suddenly, the weather started getting rough. Dark clouds had blown in from the west…clouds so dark that they almost blotted out the sun. The wind picked up and made it difficult to stand normally. The tiny ship was tossed. We were told to go below. But as we were trying to do so, a huge wave made the boat lean one way and then back the other way. It was all I could do to grab onto something, which turned out to be a rope tied to rigging on the deck. I happened to see Kishi clinging to the railing along the steps. Then I heard voices crying out from a distance. It was Monika, Yuri, and Nat’s voices! They must have been swept overboard! But before anyone could do anything, another wave rocked the boat. I heard another voice yelling “Hang on Sayori. Don’t let go!” Then, I woke up.

I decided to get up, rather than risk falling back into that dream. I ate a quick breakfast and headed out to a local park. The setting was so bittersweet for me. It was so nice to see the children playing together, reminding me of my childhood with Kishi…all the good times we shared.

On the other hand, I looked around and it seemed like every bench had a couple on it…some young, some older. It reminds me of my feelings for Kishi and how he is leaving my life. I know he said that he will be back often, but it won’t be the same. As I look up at the gray skies, I suddenly spy a small shaft of sunlight breaking through the clouds. And, just as suddenly, I know what I must do. I run home and make preparations. Then, the moment of truth. I grab my phone and send a text.

“Hey! Change of plans! Is there still time to come along with you?”

I wait anxiously for a response. He tells me that the train is late and he is waiting at the station. I ask him if he can wait for me. I get to the station as fast as I can with two small bags of essentials. The rest can wait.

“What made you change your mind?”, he asks as we embrace.

“The thought of being away from you!” I told him. He smiles at me

I knew that his feelings towards me had not changed, but he agreed to let me stay with him until I could get a job and a place of my own. Well, that was the original plan. After I landed a job as a customer service representative, and began to get some money put away, I told him that I would start looking for a place of my own.

“Don’t worry about it.” he told me. “You are welcome to stay. It’s not like I have a social life to worry about.”

That is true. He is totally dedicated to his studies. His passion for his calling is incredible. I can’t wait to see him after he graduates and starts being able to help people.

The years went by rather quickly, all things considered. I started to notice a change in him after his second year. One day I was working in the kitchen while he studied in the living room. I caught him staring at me and smiling.

“What?” I asked.

“Nothing.” he replied.

“Well then stop looking at me with that smile on your face.”

“I would like to say that I appreciate you. Thanks for taking care of the household chores.”

He was so involved with his studies, I figured that it was the least I could do to let him focus. And I didn’t mind at all since I had finally figured out what I wanted to do in my life. I want to be a housewife! I would often spend my lunch time at a park across the street and see moms with their toddlers. It would always tug at my heartstrings. The only problem was…how was I going to get there. I didn’t have a social life either. Still, I hadn’t let go of the rope.

Time marches on and Kishi’s graduation was only months away. I decided to bug him about his plans for after graduation. He had not sent out any resumes at all, nor had he set up any interviews. He said that he wanted to keep his focus on studying.

“Graduation is almost here, and you still don’t know where you’re going!” I admonished him.

“Hey, I didn’t even know I was going into this career until late in my 3rd year of high school. Why should this be any different?”

I shook my head as I smiled at him. “And here I thought you had changed!”

“I did make one decision about my future though.”

“You did? What is that?”

“Sayori, will you marry me?”

I was in total shock. I couldn’t even move for several seconds. Finally, I ran over to him, wrapped my arms around his neck, kissed him and said “Yes!”. Now, his future plans, or rather the lack of them, was of greater concern to me. We talked about staying put for a while. We also talked about moving in with his mom. Of course, I couldn’t resist calling him a momma’s boy after he brought up that possibility. But I was not opposed to it. I always liked his mom.

The next day, Kishi went to get the mail. When he came back into the apartment, he was opening a letter.

He read it and stood paralyzed for a moment, then he started to shake. I noticed and asked what was wrong.

“It’s not what’s wrong, it’s what’s right! This is incredible!” he said as he handed me the letter.

It read…

“Dear Kishi

I hear that you are close to graduating and that your studies have been exemplary. I am writing this in hopes that maybe you haven’t secured a job yet. I have an opening if you would be interested in discussing it. You can call me at the number on the business card, if you want to set up a time.

Congratulations and good luck, whatever course you may take,

Dr. Shitori”

A look of shock came over my face.

“And we were just talking about moving back home! I can’t believe this!” I exclaimed.

Needless to say, Kishi was incredibly thankful to get to work with Dr. Shitori. He often talks about how much he learns from him…so many things that the text books didn’t cover. He has truly found his calling in life.

We had been back home a couple of years when I became pregnant. We had a boy that we named Haruto, in reference to both of our desperately needing sunshine in our lives during the dark times. Kishi’s mom helped out when she was home. She loved spending time with her grandson, and she would always watch him if I had an errand to run. That came in handy a couple of years later. I had some doctor appointments to go to. I decided not to tell Kishi what they were for and his mom agreed to keep it secret. She knew what was going on.

So, we were sitting in the living room one evening, watching our son play with his toys, while Kishi’s mom was preparing dinner. He looked at me and told me that he didn’t think that his life couldn’t be any more complete. I gave him an ornery smile.

“What is that look for?” he asked inquisitively.

“Let’s just say that we might want to start looking for a bigger house.” I said cryptically.

He was puzzled for a moment, and then the light bulb went on.

“Really?! When?”

“In about 7 months. They said it’s a girl.”

“I hope she’s just like you.” he told me, smiling.

I smiled and lay my head on his shoulder. I don’t think my life could be any more complete.

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Chapter Forty Three: Yuri’s Future Revealed

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As I am waiting for my train to arrive, I get a text.

“Change of plans…can I come with you?”

“I will be waiting at the station.” I reply

Before too long, I see Yuri running towards me.

“What made you change your mind?” I ask.

“I have never met anyone like you and I cannot pass up the chance of happiness with someone.”

Yuri was able to get us a bigger apartment that we moved into. We figured that two could live more cheaply than one. She was able to enroll at Osaka and we settled in at school, both of us totally focused on our studies. Neither one of us had a social life at all. We didn’t make it back home too often but one day, near the end of our second year in school, Yuri came back from visiting her grandparents. She seemed very concerned, so I asked what was wrong.

“It’s my grandparents.” she told me. “Grandmother is starting to have issues with her health. Grandfather is not a big man and he might have trouble trying to take care of her, if it comes to that. I am worried that he might get hurt trying to help her.”

“Can’t you set up a visiting nurse or something like that to help?” I asked her.

Yes, we can but it doesn’t make me feel any better. They took such good care of me after my parents died. I don’t know where I would be without their help. I just want to help them to repay what they did for me.”

“Well, that is very understandable. So, does that mean that you be dropping out of university?”

“It’s not an immediate need.” she replied. “I’m just thinking into the future about what could happen.”

“Just don’t over think it Yuri. Don’t let what might happen interfere with what is happening right now. Just some friendly advice from your amateur psychiatrist.”

She smiles at me. “Thanks Kishi. You’re right, I don’t want to let worry take over my thinking. It’s okay to plan for the future, but not to obsess over the future, right?”

“Now where would you have heard something like that before?” I ask, smiling. “Anyways, if there is anything that I can do to help, please let me know.”

“I appreciate your offer Kishi, and I will let you know.”

She did end up asking me for help a couple of times. I was able to move some heavy items around for them. It was nice to get to know them also. They are such nice people.

By the end of our third year, my feelings towards Yuri began to change. We were so comfortable living together and she continued to become more relaxed with me. The stammering that used to fill her speech was almost entirely gone. I also noticed that the books that she was reading for pleasure were no longer in the horror genre. In fact, she had begun to read more books like the type that she had given me at the club’s second gift exchange!

I decided to ask her about it.

“I wondered if you would notice the change.” she said in reply. “As a mental health student, you will probably love this answer. I have found that I don’t connect with weird characters any more. I guess you could say that I feel more ‘normal’. And I blame you for that.” She had a big smile on her face as she finished.

“Now Yuri, is there really anything such as ‘normal’?” I asked, laughing. “But seriously, I am so glad that you are feeling better about yourself. You are such a wonderful young lady. I can’t wait to see the impact that you have when you become a teacher.”

“Your confidence in me is inspiring. I have begun to believe that I can make a difference.” she said, but then her smile faded away.

“What’s wrong?” I asked.

“Just thinking about the person that I was when I met you. I can’t believe that you went so far out of your way to help me. And then, the whole situation with my math teacher. Any other guy would have stopped talking to me and telling all of his friends how crazy I was. But you stuck by me and…”

Tears are now streaming down her face. I sat down beside her on the couch and wiped them away.

“Yuri, that’s all in the past. It is wonderful to see how far you have come. It’s great to see how far I have come! If you stop and think about it, had I not had my breakdown, I might never have considered a career in mental health. I might not even have gone to university at all! Some people think that things happen for a reason, or by divine intervention. Maybe this was one of those times. I probably could have done without getting slapped twice in two days, but in the end it will be worth it. Even if I can only help one person, it will be worth it.”

She gives me a small smile. “Yes, I suppose that you are right. I look forward to seeing you help a lot of people, just like you have helped me.” And with that, she gave me a hug.

For some reason, that conversation was a turning point for me. I began to discover feelings for Yuri that went beyond friendship. Over time, those feelings grew. Towards the end of our third year, I was home visiting mom. As we were catching up on our lives, she mentioned that she was thinking of selling the house and getting an apartment near me. She reasoned that she really didn’t need the space, especially since she didn’t spend a lot of time at home anyhow. I told her that she might want to hold off on those plans.

“Oh? Why might that be?” she asked in return.

“Well, things might change for me next year.” I said as I pulled out a little jewelers box and opened it.

Her eyes lit up. “You mean…you and Yuri?” I nodded my head.

“I plan on asking her when I get back home. Of course, if she says no, then you can go ahead with your plans. But, if she says yes, she has talked about needing to move back in with her grandparents. She feels like she owes them for taking care of her after her parents accident. So, I would guess that both of us would be moving in there.”

“If she says no, then she needs to become your patient for analysis!” she replied laughing. “I’m kidding. I may or may not be biased about how great a guy you are. I just want what is best for both of you, whether that is with each other or apart.”

‘I know mom and I appreciate that. I’ve gotten to see more of the real her through these past few years. She really is a wonderful girl. I think that life just dealt her a death blow, and somehow she survived it. Now she is getting back to being herself. She credits me for a lot of that. I’m not sure how big a part I played. I really think that it was all of us in the club who helped her.”

“I would agree, but I think you were the major player in that. You spent a lot of time with her, especially when she was having trouble with her math teacher. You were like her knight in shining armor, even though I warned you not to.” Her tone turned a little stern at that point. Time to change the subject.

“Anyhow, I need to ask you something. If she does say yes and if we do start making plans, do you think that I should invite my father? I know from your comments that you still have some resentment towards him and I don’t want you to be uncomfortable being around him.”

“Now what makes you say such a thing?”

“Well, it seems like every time I exhibit a characteristic that you don’t like, you tell me that I must have gotten that from my father. It’s just something that I have noticed over the years.”

“Well, aren’t you the amateur psychiatrist? I have to admit though, you are right. I still haven’t totally let go of my resentment towards him. And I know that I shouldn’t make remarks like that to you. You also got some good traits from him…and some bad ones from me as well. In the end though honey, it’s your wedding, hopefully, and it is up to you to decide. I don’t want my feelings to stop you from inviting him.”

“Okay. I guess I will have to think about that then. Thanks for being honest with me. Now, I guess it’s time for me to head back and find out if my future plans are about to change.”

“Well, I hope that it turns out well. I agree that she is a nice girl and I think you two would be a great couple.”

“Thanks mom. I love you.”

“I love you too honey. Can’t wait to hear what she says!”

“You’re the first person I’ll call.”

I came up with a plan to totally surprise her. I bought one of those fake books that have a hidden compartment inside and put the box inside it. Then I approached her as she sat studying one night.

“Hey Yuri, have you ever read this book?” I asked with as straight a face as I could muster. I handed her the book.

“Oh! ‘The Art of War’? Yes I have.” she replied.

“Well, something seems different about this copy. Would you take a look inside for me please?”

She opened the cover and sat there in silence for what seemed an eternity. Finally, she looked up at me, jumped to her feet, wrapped her arms around me and nearly knocked me over!

“Yes! Yes! A thousand times yes!” she screamed.

“Gee, and I was worried that you might say no!” I said laughing, at which she smacked my arm.

Well we decided that the wedding should wait until after graduation. Both of us wanted to keep our focus on our studies. We also decided to have it back in our hometown. After the ceremony, we moved in with her grandparents. It worked out well for us. We were able to help them and, at the same time, didn’t have to worry about paying rent. Now, we just needed to find work. I knew just where to start my search. I went to see an old friend who had helped me in the past.

“Hello Kishi,” he said warmly as I stepped into his office, “have a seat and get comfortable. Can I get you something to drink?”

“No sir, I’m fine.” I replied, “I have to admit, it’s a little strange being here but not for therapy.”

“You progressed out of the need for therapy very quickly. You learned very well what triggered your episode and have managed to avoid being over stressed, with the help of your friends of course.”

I nod my head in agreement.

“So, what brings you here today, if not for therapy?” he asked.

“Well sir, I am hoping that you can give me a recommendation for a position somewhere nearby. My wife and I are living with her grandparents as they can use the help. So I don’t want to work too far away. I thought that you might know of any openings in this vicinity.”

“I see,” he replied, “let me think. Yes, I think I know of one that might suit your needs.”

My face lights up with expectancy. “You do? Where is it? Can I ask you to be a reference for me?” The questions just come flowing out of my mouth.

“I’m not sure that I can be a reference for you, “ he says straight-faced, but then smiles and adds, “because the position is here in my offices.”

To say that I was shocked would have been a huge understatement. I just stood there unmoving, barely able to believe what I just heard!

“Are you serious?” I asked.

“I’m your therapist, I would not kid about something like this. I have seen your marks from the university and they are very good. I would have offered you a job sooner, but I didn’t know that you would be moving back home. I would very much like to take you on as an assistant with the possibility of becoming a junior partner, of sorts, down the line…if things work out.”

“Sir, it would be an honor to work with you. I know that I have my degree, but I am certain that I could learn so much more observing you and working with you.”

“That is a good attitude to have! So many graduates think that they have everything down pat and are not open to learning more. They never progress in their knowledge and that can be detrimental to their patient’s well being. Can you start next week?”

“Absolutely! Oh my goodness, Yuri is not going to believe this! I can’t wait to tell her!”

“Well why don’t you go do that right now? We can worry about paperwork later. Welcome aboard!”

I practically fly home because I don’t think my feet were touching the pavement at all. I burst through the door, completely out of breath. Yuri looks at me with concern.

“Did you have a Cerberus chasing you home?” she asks comically.

“Yuri…you will not believe what just happened to me! I am going to work for Dr. Shitori starting on Monday!”

After a moment to take in what I said, she runs over and gives me a big hug.

“Honey, that is wonderful! And we got a double blessing today. I got hired at our high school. I am going to teach literature at our old school!”

I am feeling blown away. What a day this is!

That day was another huge turning point in our lives. I ended up staying with Dr. Shitori through his retirement, at which point I became the primary owner of the business. Yuri loved her teaching job. She even talked a few of her students into starting a literature club! She sits in with them, once in a while, to observe them and always seems to be invigorated after those meetings. We had one child, a boy that we named Asa, partly in tribute to her parents (who were both doctors before their untimely death), and partly due to my career. It’s funny, when I come home at night and he runs up to me and starts telling me about something that happened during the day, I see the same fire in his eyes that I saw in his mother so many years ago. I love seeing that passionate fire!

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Chapter Forty Four: Monika’s Future Revealed

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The time between the end of high school and the start of university was very troubling for me. I was still struggling with my parents expectations for me versus my dreams…obedience versus happiness. My piano lessons had gone incredibly well. My instructor was very impressed with my ability to master the techniques that she presented me with, calling me a “natural”. Could I really go against my parents wishes to follow my dreams? Sometimes I would lie in bed, crying myself to sleep. Why does this have to be so hard?

Now it is the day that I am scheduled to leave for Kyoto University. I have already said my good-byes to the others. Sayori and Natsuki are both staying in town. Yuri left yesterday for Chiba University where she will study Japanese literature. Kishi is also leaving today for Osaka University to study mental health.

I have also said my good-byes to my parents. Seeing their pride as they send me off does nothing for the struggle that is still going on inside of me. How can I disappoint them? They have invested so much in me and my studies. But my heart is still tugging on my brain. I make it to the train station and decide to send one last text to Kishi.

“Hey! Change of plans! Is there still time to come along with you?”

There is a pause, and then I see “Kishi is typing”

“The train is running late so I will be here at the station.”

“Can you wait for me?”

Not much later I see him sitting on a bench in the station. He smiles when he sees me, and stands to give me a hug.

“What made you change your mind?”, he asks me.

“You have given me the courage to stand up for what I want to do, and right now that means studying music, not business.” I tell him.

His demeanor changes to seriousness. “You’re really willing to alienate your parents over this?”

“Oh please don’t make me change my mind!” I plead with him. “This is the hardest thing I have done in my life. But I have decided to chase my dream. I cannot live as a slave to my parents dream.”

Now he smiles at me.

“If that is what you really want to do, then I will support you in any way that I can. But…”, he continues, “What are you going to do about the basics, like housing, and will your parents refuse to fund you in this?”

Okay, I didn’t think about those things. I let out a long sigh.

“Hey, I’ll tell you what,” he says to me, “how about if you stay with me until you can get things in place. That will give you one less thing to worry about.”

“Oh Kishi, I couldn’t impose on you like that!

“Hey, I am offering it to you as a friend. What am I going to do, leave you homeless?”

“You’re too kind.” I tell him. “I guess I don’t really have a better option.”

“Okay, it’s settled then.”

The first thing that I had to do was tell my parents. The phone call went as expected. I am basically an orphan now, having been disowned by my parents. My father hung up on me, leaving me in tears on the couch. Kishi sat down beside me and put his arm around me, pulling my head over onto his shoulder. I knew that it wouldn’t go well but somehow, it still sent my emotions reeling. Why does this have to be so hard?

On the bright side, I was able to get into the music program at Osaka University. I got a recommendation from my piano instructor, which seemed to open the door for me. I will be forever grateful to her. I immediately feel at home in the classes. Kishi has offered to let me stay with him for the duration if I want to. His reasoning is that he has no social life due to his studies, which he is totally committed to. I have no problem accepting his offer as it keeps me close to him. I still haven’t given up hope of being with him.

We both enjoyed our studies and the years went by very quickly. In our third years, I got a major surprise. Kishi had noticed that I would always be a bit depressed when he came home from visiting his mother. I guess it just always reminded me of the giant chasm that existed between me and my parents. So he started asking me to come home with him. It did help some. His mom is such a nice person. I can see why Kishi is the way he is.

I had been preparing for a recital that was coming up, and was practicing as much as I could, wanting everything to be perfect. As I finished one of my pieces, I heard clapping coming from behind me. I turned around to see Kishi and his mother standing in a doorway. I jumped up and ran over to greet her.

“Wow!” I exclaimed, “What brings you to our part of the country?”

“Well,” she said, “I better let Kishi answer that, and she turned to him with a huge smile on her face.

I looked over at him, wondering what was going on. He then proceeded to pull a red rose from behind his back!

“Does this mean what I think it means?” I asked excitedly.

“Monika,” he replied, “I know that you started to like me a long time ago. If you are still willing to have me, I would like to be your boyfriend.”

Well, of course I said yes.

In our last year at university, we decided to get married shortly after graduation. As we were talking over plans, Kishi asked me a question that I really didn’t want to face.

“Are you going to invite your parents?”

“Are you forgetting? I don’t have parents anymore!” I replied.

“You don’t think that they would want to be a part of something so important?” he continues to press.

In reply, I turn the tables on him. “Are you inviting your dad?”

We didn’t discuss it anymore.

We decided to stay in town after graduation. Kishi was able to get a job with the university as an assistant with one of the professors, who had been very impressed by his student. I was honored to be invited to play with many orchestras around the country. Eventually, I was on the road more than I was at home, traveling all over the world. Fortunately, Kishi was somewhat used to being alone due to his mom’s work travel during his high school years. It was a hectic lifestyle for me, but somehow we made it work. Kishi’s mom eventually sold her house and got an apartment near us. She felt she no longer needed a big place, especially since she still spends so much time traveling for her job.

That came in handy a couple of years later. She was able to help us when we had our first child, a boy. I insisted on naming him Kaiyo, which means “to forgive”. I still longed to reconcile with my parents. Kishi could always tell when it was affecting me just by the music I would play on the piano. He would come into the room and wipe away my tears and then wrap me in his arms. I gave birth to our second child a few years later, a girl. Since I had insisted on naming the first child, I let Kishi pick the name for the second. He chose Aina, which means “beautiful eyed woman”. He said it was because she inherited my emerald colored eyes.

Then came the day my world flipped upside down. I was on the road and got a call. I looked at the number and couldn’t believe it. It was my parents number! I sat there, paralyzed, unable to answer. I wasn’t even sure if I wanted to answer! But then I thought that something might be wrong with one of them. When the phone rang a second time, I answered. My father explained that he and my mother wanted to meet with me. When I asked why, he said that it would be better to discuss it face-to-face. I told him that I would have to think about it and I would call him back. My mind was spinning. Fortunately, I was heading back home the next night. I definitely wanted to talk to Kishi before making a decision.

“Well,” he said to me after I told him, “it’s something that I think you have wanted for a long time, so why are you hesitant to accept?”

“Because I know my father. There has to be some kind of catch.” I tell him. “There is no way that he is just going to wipe the slate clean and start over.”

“I realize that I don’t know him at all, other than what you’ve shared with me, but aren’t you assuming that he hasn’t changed? Maybe time has softened his heart. Would it hurt to talk with them?”

Eventually, my heart overruled my head, and I agreed to meet with them. We decided that, even though I wanted Kishi to be there for support, it would be better for him to stay behind, rather than risk making the situation any more awkward than it already was. The meeting was rather formal, and I was told that, even though I had been disobedient, they were willing to overlook that and resume having contact with me. He told me that they had seen me perform on television and realized that I had made a successful career for myself. I told them, once again, that I would have to think about it. I also informed them of my marriage, and the fact that we had two children. They looked very surprised. I sensed that my mother was a little bit hurt.

I went home and filled Kishi in on the details of the conversation. He asked me what I wanted to do.

“You know as well as I do how much I have missed them. But still, he just seemed so…condescending towards me. It was like ‘You really messed up, and we don’t forgive you for that but we have decided that we are willing to talk to you.’ I am supposed to just jump into his arms and thank him?” I ask incredulously.

“Look at it this way, hon.” he replied. “They have not changed their basic feeling that you have brought dishonor on the family through your disobedience. And I am not knocking your decision making. You have obviously chosen the best career for yourself. Your choice in husbands could have been better, but I am okay with being married out of my league!“ I bop him with a pillow for that remark.

“Having said all that though, they are making a huge concession in even talking to you again. That is not a small matter in their eyes, don’t you think?” I couldn’t argue with what he said.

So, I agreed to have my parents back in my life. Things were very tense at first, as we all got used to each other. They seemed to accept Kishi, which made me happy. They also were very excited to take on the role of grandparents. Eventually, they sold their business and moved to Osaka to be closer to us. Although my relationship with them can never be what it once was, we are making the best of the situation. One thing is for certain, I am glad that I found the courage to chase my dream…well…both of my dreams!

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submitted by RedEdSpaghetti to DDLC [link] [comments]


2020.09.29 04:14 WritingThrowItAway Spy tugs

My original post was this: Anyone have a decent timeline? Joe is 20 at the start of book 1 (or was that how old he was when he joined?) But they commonly mentioning being out on missions for years.
I can definitely say that, unless there are gaps C.A. failed to mention in the books, based on the mentioned days, context clues like meals and duty times and sleep, the series has taken roughy 6.5 total years from Book 1 to Book 10. Joe is 26, about to turn 27, at the end of critical Mass. Thank God I used the last month answering such an important question.
Enjoy my timeline.
Edited after u/minerdog123 pointed out that Joe left in the spring after columbus day. Thanks, fellow monkey. Though it started adding a full 6 months initially, it ended up only adding 2 months by the end, since I had built in time to make it align with context clues like sunrise times and temperatures. Although, it did change when I believe Joe's birthday to be (December, not June) and therefore his age. Joe is 27 at the end of critical mass. Also, it's May.
Enjoy my timeline.
Year 12BCD
Ashakai stored by earth cryo storage around pluto
**Year 2BCD
Joe enlists at 18
Year 0-
Nigeria
Begin book 1
October - Columbus day
Ruhar raid ships pursued by jeraptha attacks - Ruhar ghost ship lost in space
December- bosforoq send ship to spy on thoranin activities near earth - is stranded on earth end when wormhole closes
Joe's parents take in strays
Year 1
May-
camp Alpha, promotion to Sargeant
July- Paradise
Transferred to Fort Arrow after Lizards get the big mad
August- promotion to colonel, Joe refuses illegal orders and is in prison.
September - escape from paradise, travel to aquire wormhole thingies
Earth meeting with prez (says Colorado is chilly in high altitude which matches March/September) 2-3 days
Skippy leaves a submind on Earth's internet
Launch
Begin book 2
UNEF on paradise surrender as POW$ to Ruhar. People stop using birth control and get they swerve on.
Skippy puts the krustang troop ship on timer and jumps it away after they leave
October
Three weeks going after random blue star. Broken bones needing 2 weeks recovery in week 3.
Ruhar take out dissenters with rail guns.
Jesse and ski move to Fort richovski
Month travel to next location for the dutchman
November - location 1. Two days there, 10 days to next location
Earth breaks Skippy's submind left there
Paradise humans resettled to LaMuria
December
location 2. 12 hours scouting at location 2 plus 7 hours recon. Location 3. Desei says SCM will take a month 9 plus several days of messing with controls at location 4.
Begin book 3.5
Chickens hatch in fort richovski on paradise
Year Two
January- Goldilocks planet - start 5 weeks to location 5 but reduced to 10 days. 9 days research
February - location 6 destroyed planet. 7 days practicing flying in atmosphere and bio research. 2 weeks to location 7 plus 5 days. Thoranin battle. Travel to Newark to repair.
Corn expected to be ready to harvest on paradise
March - projected to be on Newark for 5 months Supplies for 8 months
Skippy makes a decoy and has Sims hide it
April - discovery of life on Newark Kristang ship expected in 60-80 days
August - US, China, Europe India and Japan begin effort to recover krustang ship Skippy jumped to mars
October - back on the dutchman. Thoranin expected at earth by September year 3
Begin book 3
Joe prepares to die abord the drop ship alone. Talks with Skippy and parents will get 1 mil when in year 5 if decalred dead.
November - battle with thoranin ship. Return to earth.
Joe spends 2 weeks at Patterson afb
Kristang ship Glory attacks paradise. Paturna intends to hand humans and Paradise over to Kristang.
So far 40 humans pregnant and 17 children born on paradise.
Earth economy flights resume
December Joe visits his parents in Maine.
Ruhar begun negotiations with Kristang to trade away paradise
Skippy makes Joe's birthday jokes
Kristang troop Carrier moved from mars to the moon and renamed Yu Kishan
Year three
January - back abord Dutchman next mission expected to last 4-6 months (but doesn't) before returning
Skippy leaves submind on earth, creates cult
Ruhar inquire if human alliance would be accepted
Wheat planted on paradise
Dutchman assaults relay station.
Shawna, sky, cornpone and Perkins get together held for 7 weeks
February - Nukey
March - Perkins questions why they are being held
April - Dutchman returns to paradise - expect to be there for a while.
Perkins team takes 4 days for each of four mazer cannons
Airbase attacked on paradise
May - attack on asteroid to get broken power tap to hide on paradise - time dilation around neutron star so takes very little time
Planet jumbo
June - Ard ship arrives at jumbo
July - Kristang abandon paradise after failure. Ruhur find a third com node on paradise begin book 3.5
Jesse and ski in paradise arctic
Dutchman expected back at earth bit obviously doesnt
August -krostabf expected back at earth in one year
begin book 4
Perkins on the gang assigned to the island on paradise
September - begin movie nights refueling missions
October
Aquire two dead krustang ships to use in Ruhar feint
Travel to Ruhar data module
Dutchman attacked by virus - Joe takes Skippy on a drop ship - food for a month up to six weeks at most 17 hours, make q ship 5 days to wormhole jump drive due to fail in may
Shawna nukes island on paradise
Skippy predicts earth will have spaceage tech in 80-300 years
Dutchman obtains Glory
Glory attempts to disrupt negotiations
November-plan B
Drop on kobamick
SAS team insane drop on Kristang city
Phase 2 of op with King Kong
Skippy lost during phase 3
seven weeks to alternate rendezvous point
Year four
January - Joe meets up with Nagatha on the Dutchman
Begin book five
Heeeeey Skippy's back! Joe is homesick visiting dwarf star
Discuss barsoom newRk destroyed 2.7 million years ago. Barsoom destroyed while elders where there target alpha
February - target bravo ship chase Skippy invents math and breaks the ship
March - Supply ship to visited alpha planet expected
Travel to roach motel- 19 days scary elder tech run away!
Dutchman near roach motel- due to swing too close to star for nine weeks. Guardians keep pinging and Skippy will run out of excuses in months travel to plant by drop ships will take 43 days at soonest - 13 days to plan
May on gingerbread
June - five and Joe back aboard drop ship bye bye gingerbread
Name planet gingerbread

July- Joe is board after a month on condor in junkyard. People on gingerbread make site (it's summer winter in 4 months ) and beginning to plant crops. 4 days to next ship . Choteck plans a golf course. In a nmonth chteck will start moving to new site. Discover dead sentinel 12 days to zero hour 5 days to sentinel
August - ship due to emsrge from behind the star
two months spent chasing down Dutchman and hanging out in junk yard three weeks on gingerbread to reexperience gravity rinse and repeat
Year five
Sometime October y4 to may y5 - chotck picks up Romeo and Juliet. French team not medically sound to handle radiation until at least June but chteck is a dick and expects giraud to fly him . Romeo and Juliet killed by thoranin
May - Dutchman is operational again. Everybody off gingerbread
Movie nights again aboard durchman
Food aboard will run out in 12-14 months
June - maxhulx shop detected outside roach motel- system 2 days chill after bluff 7 plus 8 days dealing with it. Capture kitty in drop ship
kitty commits suicide. Visit Kristang relay station. Earth safe, according to Skippy, for 20 years.
Begin book six
Dutchman loses power
Adams promoted to gunny
Skippy needs 4 days to power drain ship
(Beef in 6 months on paradise)
(Humans self-sufficient on paradise in 2 years)
(Kristang civil war to continue 3-4 years, take 2-5 years to rebuild before reattacking Ruhar and torgula)
July-
Capture keepers
Earth due to be discoered by thoranin planet within 60 years
Skippy creates vaccine
Depart for earth
Mavericks welcomed home to Paradise
Dutchman Pitt stop at relay station near paradise. Update on vaccine on paradise
Begin book 7
Dutchman back on earth Skippy reabsorbs cult submind
Joe at right patt gets grilled for 8 days
Timeline discrepancy - Dutchman arrives back at earth "two months after expected by UNEF" which would put them at February/March of year three, not year five. C. A. lost two years somewhere. Is there a time disparity? Is earth timeline moving at a different rate?
2 weeks home in maine - Joe + Stacey
Skippy reveals his cult
Another timeline issue - Joe takes ferry from Boston to Provincetown which is only open from May to October changed timeline to fit since I forgot transport time from paradise to earth
Williams leaves duty because he has a daughter now he made he's never met who is now almost two
Sunrise just after 0500 in Maine -either may or July. Month confirmed.
Research team aboard you Kishan prepare to leave
Mutiny on Dutchman by US troops. Skippy loses man cave
Yay! Intro Katie Fray and groodsian and nunnelly (pistol to Smythe) Porter back plus noob edwards
Skippy uses his decoy from year 1
Data drones states maxolx ship willdepart in 1-6 months
Discussion PQSI (pixies) and beta site
August - Nuke bosforoq moon
15 days to pixie pickup on detroit 3 days to drop package in cavern
Joe time travels
Pixie pickup
27 days to ship launch maxholx
fly around nowheresvikle for 2 days
Shippy needs to make repairs for 18-20 days
September - beef on Paradise - one step closer to cheeseburgers
Nagatha contacts Joe 12 days into repairs (a 14 day repair cycle) to talk about Skippy being deceitful.
Elder found in cavern near nowheresville
Skippy runs for office - fails
Travel to far end of wormhole - couple days
Maxholx will need a lot longer than two months to travel to earth end of wormhole through normal space to investigate
Fiddles with wormhole for 2 days
Chase maxhoulx ship Boom
Back to earth but Pitt stops to check out possible beta sites
Skippy discovers two super wormholes
October -back to earth
Begin Homefront
Apparently the president is a dude now (lady prez from first landing didn't get reelected I guess)
Nuke on Dayton? Wtf
Ice cold dagger to the heart around pluto wtaf
Wtfwtfwtf Homefront is horrible. I can't believe I'm forcing myself to listen to make this damn timeline. This better get gilded.
Yu kishon now in low earth orbit tugged down by Brock steals mega tech company
3 weeks of repairs in earth orbit
[Apparently C. A. has death trap as the next on his site before Homefront. After that clown show, hearing an audio book with a blessedly silent background is like Neosporin for my poor eardrums. Thank the almighty Skippy Asyermoney. My cult dues have already paid off]
Begin Mav1: death trap
Not sure if this timeline will line up with Joe arriving to earth or starting after he arrives to earth so I'm using months - turns out with a month for M squad to get positioned after, this likely began around october year five. Busy year all around it seems -
Month 1
Paradise vaccinated
Perkins sent out 2 days to prep
Fight /
Clear asteroids two weeks find power tap
Evac of Fresno so far evac will take 3mos to year drop ships only hold 40 if I recall correctly so depending on how many drop ships, 5,000 total trips. 1500 soldiers including logistics and command to transport so likely no more than 60 drop ships, which would mean 83 months. 3 air support ships with more expected in a month
Leave in 12 days
Mavericks spend time in lamuria to train others in skinsuits

November -
Kristang gladiator fights in 5 days but Kristang attack early. Big fail when daddy jeraptha gets mad.
Perkins negotiates a trip to earth with J squad. Four starships will need to be sent. Reveals maxhoulx ships Joe sploded going to earth to Perkins
5-7 days to repair kishon, fan transport to take 8 days 2 days before dagger intercepts
Dayton incident
Nagatha sacrifices herself
Begin book 8
Two weeks of congressional hearings regarding Dayton incident
Skippy gets his own country on earth
Nagatha rebooting - 3x
Keshon will be modified for transport to beta site for a year
Dutchman autjoriZed for a six month mission scouting beta sites
Japan, Algeria, Peru diplomats along with chocula to be Joey's new bosses
Chang/Adams back after 4 months on earth
Joe busted back down to Sarge but same day back to colonel
Timeline issue - desei says third mission took almost two years but on my timeline it had to take three. Unless she's not counting the detour to destroy the M ships
Travel to super wormhole
December -
Six days waiting for info around burst station three days til rest of control stations report
Back on Dutchman
2 days of arguing
maxholx network to reboot and upgrade in 17 days
Travel to slingshot
4 days waiting on info
Movie night
Voyage to next wormhole
Year six
January- Unpack
at beta site, (week plus two days?)
Avalon has enough food for 16 months
two week travel to earth on the way, Skippy reveals Perkins got a ride to earth. Maxholx are sending a full battle group to earth. 2 days sleepless nights 2 weeks to earth but now we gotta take a pit stop
4 days to wrugalan station, need to top off fuel tank several days, heading to paradise, jow thinks up a plan 2 days
Jump to new brunssomething to collect bosforoq pieces, depressurize for a day.
Whack a mole to destroy debris
Info will reach location in 9 days, jump to plant space, day to reposition
Movie nights then taco Tuesday wait 10 days
February -
Maxholx due to receive info implicating bosforoq
Hit up a wrugalan station. No news
[5 days from max area info transfer - 19 days info from bosforoq hit]
Dutchman expected back at beta site
March- 8 days to receive bosforoq confirm 4 days to hear about ceasefire. Travel to bosforoq system to snoop for days.
Will take 10 days to go get stars team and come back so they won't. Back to bosforoq relay station instead.
Maxholx resending battlegroup to earth in one month.
3 days stalled before going to paradise to transport to Avalon (5 days) bavm to wormhole
Take out one of four destroyers
April- maxholx ship to depart for earth
Waiting outside wormhole to wait to pluck ships (maybe a week?) False alarm - Plus 3 days
Conflict with ship - two days to recover and repair
Big conflict time - 4 days til next extinction ship
Last shop to take over
Building second ship -VALKRIE YAAAS
Yay cappuccino makers
VPM library assault planned
8 days later Reed and Joe prepare drop ship to maxhoulx planet
May -
Valkyrie chapter 38-41
Dutchman expected back at earth at the latest
Maxholx medical equipment to be adapted to humans
Update maxholx library
Jump Dutchman away - Skippy drunk dials Joe
Dutchman low on food
Adams and Joe make Oklahoma burgers
Arrive at target maxholx for VPMs
Stars team attacked. Follow ship that got away to protect secret
Death of desei, giraud, others
Adams in coma cannot have treatment for 8-10 days, fray injured, Smythe in come
Probes around max world go dark
Star team down to six capable, and nine injured
Travel to wormhole to ship maxholx to another galaxy, full day messing with it.
Maxholx ship group to arrive at second to last wormhole before earth one destroyer sent off on the way, ends up in another galaxy
Maxholx will take 3 days to study wormhole and one ship to check out earth) Ai Attempts to fix files but can't.lost to space.ai dies and rest of group follow the all clear signal. Adios mfers.byw bye battle group.
Smyth wakes up from medically induced coma.
Jeraptha told kitties won't be taking them to earth and they're cool with that.
Day of downtime to recalibrate to trick Ruhar monitoring of goalpost.
Fool Ruhar around goalpost
Go through goalpost alternate exit point.
Begin book 9
Less than 27 crew members alive aboard Valkyrie and Dutchman.
Demon sheets aboard Valkyrie
Smythe is awake fully - will take 5 months to regrow legs, several weeks for bionic legs, gets quality pre-owned spleen
Killer sheets rained down on dutchman 4 days scrub
Adams due to begin woking up from coma but doesn't for an additional 3 weeks due to brain damage
Smythe gets bionic legs on
Begin heading back to Avalon
Fray cleared to return to duty
Maxholx will be alerted to disappearing ships but aren't because of some mission Joey did (can't remember which)
Vortan investigating star
Maxholx investigation on moon pirates blew up conclude bosforoq people did it with side mysteries
June -
Arrive back on Avalon - rerecruit on Avalon - 3 days to get off Avalon - Joe invokes order to appoint king choteck over avalon
Head back to milky way
Smythe walking
Skippy fully in command of Valkyrie - simulated manouvers
Smythe bionic legs ready to go
Skippy finds first target
Skippy tries cracking his memories
Skippy plans west side story
Joe tries to wake Adams from coma be with Skippy. No dice. Adams wakes up with fray but Skippy puts her under again
38 simulations on attacks on kopadru
July- seevely injured 3 from maxholx ship acquisition expected to be okay
Smythe fully medically cleared.
Practice for planet of the monkeys
Attack on kopadru plus second attack
Two months screwing with kitties.
August -
Voltan snoop kitty ships destroyed by bagel slicer and discover human dna
Bosforoq base waits 43 days before planet destroyed
Skippy repairs battle damage while Joe aboard Dutchman
Adams struggles with therapy. Nanobots making things harder. Turning them off will delay recovery a month. Adams gives Joe a black eye.
Begin Mavericks book 2* not sure when this starts so I'm doing months
Month 1: Irene and Derek on Planet Jalexico/jellybean evac 8 days
Train new recruits
Kikrondo kidnapped by Perkins and atchakai
Make achakai fleet after stealing wrogolan ships
6 days at asteroid field to pick up power tap
September - Adams back in the gym. Maggie and groodsian make Joe the big sad.
Find out about tasty 13th target which will be a trap.
Legion Travel to planet to do stuff, then travel to squidworld
Kikrondo fleet to be ready
Fight on squidworld
Notice of 7 attacks of Valkyrie
October -
13th trap massive failure. Jump into gas giant to escape. Wibbley-wobbley timey-wimey issue. 8 days on gas planet.
Nagatha and Dutchman freak out while waiting
Climb out of gas planet
Repairs and upgraded on Valkyrie
Decide on evac route plan - two weeks load, 48 days travel, 2 weeks unload.
Head to sleeping beauty - finds out it's broken but Skippy can move wormholes to shorten transport from earth to avalon that takes 12 days and 5 days to load and 3 to unload. Now one round trip will take 32 days.
Bishop gets advice from Nagatha and Skippy. Skippy's gameshow discussed. 5 days to get to backstop
Staff meeting about wormhole move plan. Smythe with double canes.
Skippy moves backstop and disables Gateway.
8 more wormholes
Verds pulled off squidworld
October kishon expected to be ready to help bring colonists to beta site
Severely injured 3 from maxholx ship takeover expected to be fully recovered.
Peanut butter brainstorm about pixies
Skippy reveals the Vortan has discovered the story false but maxholx have not taken her seriously. Drop by star to burn off DNA.
December -
Waiting for target to plant pixie. Adams not yet cleared for duty.
Fight at planet voodoo
Maxholx discover blank pixie and reconfigured pixie drop. Take the bait. Dismiss rindiloo therapy of iliath. Back to hating bosforoq
Learn about 182 kidnapped humans (48 adults/134 kids) on rikers
Go to kidnap spec ops team.around paradise system. Sims and Muller engaged. Capture 18 humans, Ruhar, and jeraptha
Training at club Skippy - two clans plan to capture rikers in 9 days according to Skippy's relay info pickup
4 days to rikers with shortcuts, 12 without, Joe asks for 6 day path
Year seven
January -
Thoranin arrive early on riners
Drop on rikers
Wait for pickup of Dutchman
Big fail bye bye Skippy. Frank Muller assumed dead aboard Valkyrie. Sims big sad.
Begin book 10
Dutchman off course and separated from valkyrie
Joe on Rikers, escapes after 9 Days
Valkyrie finds Dutchman and sims gets ready to nuke
12 days after virus, Dutchman grabs Valkyrie crew and leaves valkyrie
Pick up Joe and try to capture thoranin
Doc akopy says Joe will be better in 2-3 weeks. Two days to build new stuff on ship
February
Thoranin recon package spotted
Crazy Joe and Skippy jump
Valkyrie drifts without power
Birth of Bobby and billy/ Bilby
Dutchman can't find Valkyrie, heads back to earth the long way (8 wormholes and several months)
Chang changes mind and waits for Valkyrie for 30 days
Valkyrie goes to original jump point and rendezvous point and can't find Chang - ship near rendezvous point a week ago. Head back to Rikers.
Joe fully recovered
Backstop due to be woken up and in position in 9 weeks
Journey to club Skippy Drop off Valkyrie and civilians
Dutchman Checks out planet near esselgin.
Reed broken arm fixed
Dutchman jump drive busted. 2 days trying to fix it. 4 days trapped total.
Plan to throw a biscuit to a sentinel
Thoranin to pick up humans on rikers haha Valkyrie got there first a while ago (22)
*
Marvh - paradise expected to be self-sufficient
Dutchman throw a biscuit to the sentinel
Kitties and spiders plan on hunting Valkyrie by investigating rikers
Dutchman Checks out Newark
Dutchman back to club Skippy
Six days of shore leave
Everybody back on the fleet - travel back to earth
April
Pit stop at maxholx relay station - no go, second put stop at thoranin station
Next wormhole screwy so side quest to investigate -broomstick to open near earth when backstop opens
5 weeks until Backstop opens
Capture Elmo Burt and Ernie
Vallyrie trip to beta site (when they get to earth wormhole will need to stabilize for 8 days), Dutchman heads to earth, sims wedding,
Chang attempts going through Backstop while unstable.
May- Avalon will run out of original food supplies, has farms
Valkyrie meet up at Avalon, side trip to hidden planet Maris Big Fail. bye bye valkyrie
Valkyrie overdue by 4 days. Dutchman going to earth thru broomstick
Earth surrounded by kitties Chang about to do kamikaze manouver. Enter Valkyrie.
Bert and Ernie dropped on earth.
Dutchman back at earth after 17 months.

Merge Mavericks and Pirates. 🌟 (26)
August- Maxholx will be alerted to missing battle group. (Originally March but delayed to June when they had to restart after first attempt failed) obviously OBE by this point
Year eight
January - Kristang civil war possibly through now. return assault from maxholx for lost battle fleet
Year ten
January - Kristang civil war guarenteed over and reengagement with Ruhar and paradise likely within four years.
.
submitted by WritingThrowItAway to exfor [link] [comments]


2020.09.26 05:10 videomadnezzyt Tugs spy

Bio: New Recruit- Being the newest member of the Black Dragon, Kobra worked vigorously to show the cartel that he ment buisness. Working as a weapons dealer and an assasin under Kano's watch, Kobra quickly rose to the top, becoming one of the most important names to the gang. After being seen dealing firearms with Red Dragon members however, Erron Black was assigned to kill Kobra, using him as an example of unloyalty. After the deed was done, Erron set off, knowing Kobra would never return to betray them again...or so he thought. With a new look and new motives, Kobra is coming back to pay some old friends a visit. This is a reunion they will never forget.
Gear: Gloves, Kali Sticks , Machete
Gear Select Animations: Gloves- Kobra puts his hands together in a meditation-like pose and thrusts one hand forward, giving us a closer look at his glove.
Kali Sticks- Kobra pulls out his Kali sticks, flips them skillfully, and crosses them together as the camera zooms on them.
Machete- Kobra pulls out his Machete and swings it up like a horror slasher as the camera zooms onto it.
Appearance: Kobra appears as a 5'10 male with long blond hair. He has multiple bullet scars all over his body from where Erron Black had shot him. Kobra wears a pair of gloves usually resembling that of boxing, and a karate belt that is black with a yellow stripe running through it. Kobra has a pair of Kali Sticks along with Machete that stay sheathed to the side of his belt(his Machete on the left and Kali Sticks on the right).
Skins: Default Skins(modern redesign/update, Kobra wears a white karate Gi with a giant kobra on the back of it with ninja like sandles and a black and yellow belt that hangs down aswell as a crotch cape on Kobra's pants), In The Ring Skins(Kobra wears a tank top with bloody bandages covering his shoulders and elbows), Half Time Skins(Kobra wears a Gi similar to his Default one except it has a hood), and Product Of Betrayal Skins(shirtless, Kobra has a giant tattoo on his back of a kobra and wears a champions belt).
Gameplay: Kobra is a very strong Rushdown fighter who is able to reach far distances quickly using his incredible speed. Kobra is also great with anti airing, using plenty of attacks to keep his opponent on the ground.
Special Moves: Sticks Of Venom- Kobra pulls out his Kali Sticks and slams them together, covering them in poison. Any move involving them now deals more damage(lasts for 5 seconds). Amplifying adds 3 more seconds. 2 slots
Pool Of Poison- Kobra turns around and a Kobra is summoned from his kobra design on his Gi(or whatever marking he has based on the skin), and the Snake spits venom onto the floor creating a pool of poison that damages the opponent if they step in it. No amplify. 1 slot
Hele-Punch- Kobra front flips into the air and instead of landing he flies towards the opponent in a punching position. Amplifying makes Kobra tackle the opponent to the ground and stab his Machete into their face instead of just punching them if it connects. 1 slot
Rattling Jab- Kobra puts his hand back and begins shaking it back N forth rapidly until he suddenly jolts it forward. Amplifying makes him clamp down, grabbing a hold of the opponents innards from the outside and squeezing if the move connects. 1 slot
Chiropractic Reasignment- Kobra pulls out his Kali sticks and performs a brutal and fast array of moves, starting with jamming the Kali sticks down onto the opponents shoulders, following up with jamming both of the Kali sticks into the opponents ribs and twisting, and finally finishing off with sandwiching the opponents neck between both Kali sticks and twisting, snapping their neck. Amplifying makes Kobra jam the Kali sticks into the opponents eyes instead of between their neck, dealing damage over time. 2 slots
Round House Coil Kick- Kobra spins around, sweeping his opponents feet from under them and spins around again catching them with a round house kick to the face before they hit the ground. Amplifying makes Kobra summon his giant Kobra as the opponent flies away from the kick, and the snake wraps around the opponent, slamming them back in front of Kobra. 1 slot
Up To The Clouds- Kobra runs up the opponents chest, shoving one of his feet into them, inverting their chest and uses the other foot to kick them under the chin, launching them into the air. Amplifying makes Kobra jump up as the opponent is launched and come back down onto them by slamming his Machete. 1 slot
Pinned-(anti air move) Kobra grabs the opponents leg and slams them onto the ground, following up with coming down onto them Machete first, slamming the blade through their chest and into the ground. No amplify. 1 slot
Echo Punch- Kobra gets in a squatting stance and thrusts his hand forward sending forward an echo of energy from the punch. Amplifying makes him thrust forward both fists, sending double times the echo. 1 slot
Echo Punch(Air)- Kobra gets in a squatting stance and thrusts his hand upward sending an echo of the punch into the air. Amplifying makes him thrust both fists, sending double times the echo. 1 slot
Off The Air- Kobra jumps up and kicks off of air, bouncing forward in a kick position. Amplifying makes Kobra front flip kick forward instead of just bouncing forward in a kick position. 2 slots
Shed-Port- Kobra slams his closed fist into his opened palm and suddenly vanishes, causing his empty clothing to fall to the ground. Kobra then reappears on the other side of the screen reclothed and ready to fight once more. 1 slot
Throws: Forward Throw- Kobra grabs the opponent and shoves his Kali sticks into their shoulders, using them as hand grips to swing forward into the opponent, shoving his feet into their chest kicking them away.
Back Throw- Kobra grabs the opponent and twists their arm behind their back making them flip to Kobra's other side. He then stabs them in the back with his Machete 3 times, ending the throw with a 360 twist of the arm and a kick to the back.
Tournament Variations: Venom And Fangs- Adds Sticks Of Venom and Pool Of Poison
Internal Energy- Adds Echo Punch, Echo Punch(Air) and Shed-Port
Cage Fighter- Adds Pinned, Round House Coil Kick and Up To The Clouds
End Of Round Taunts: Misunderstood Betrayer- Kobra rubs his scars looking down shamefully.
Inner Beast- Kobra turns around and his Giant Kobra summons from his back, hissing at the opponent.
Sticks Of Death- Kobra pulls out his Kali sticks and bangs them together.
Grounded- Kobra pulls out his Machete and front flips, slamming the blade into the ground.
Mutual Bond- Kobra places his fist into his opened palm as his Giant Kobra rises from behind him.
Bring It- Kobra pulls out his Machete and gestures the opponent to come forward.
Slithering- Kobra fully transforms into his Giant Kobra and slithers away a few steps.
Hop Scotch- Kobra throws his Machete into the ground, jumps on it(causing it to fly up) and lands on the ground in time to catch the Machete.
Blast Off- Kobra sends down an echo punch that launches his into the air, causing him to land a flip a few steps away.
Art Of Kali- Kobra walks back while flipping around his Klai sticks skillfully.
End Of Round Taunt Dialogue: "You want more?", "Get the hell up", "You're a waste of time", "Taste the venom", "Worthy opponent? Please".
Intro Dialogue Examples: Kobra- I served the gang well
Kano- You also betrayed us
Kobra- That was all a misunderstanding Kano
Kobra- You really need to work on your aim
Erron- You asking to die?
Kobra- That depends, gonna actually kill me this time?
Kabal- We don't allow traitors
Kobra- Says the police officer
Kabal- What the hell are you talking about
Sonya- Come join S.F Kobra, we share beef with the Black Dragon
Kobra- My issues are with Erron, not the whole Gang
Sonya- You're making a mistake
Nightwolf- How did you obtain your companion?
Kobra- My snake? Not sure
Nightwolf- It truly is a gift from the Great Spirit
Intros: Preparation Is Key- Kobra is seen going crazy on a training dummy until he looks over at the opponent and begins walking forward.
Atmospheric Break Through- A twinkle is seen in the sky and suddenly we see Kobra front flipping down fast until he lands on the ground fist down, causing debris to fly up on inpact.
Training Advantage- Kobra is seen holding his Machete as he tosses it up to the air, cartwheel kicks it to the ground causing it to bounce up, lands on the ground in a front flip and catches the Machete before it hits the ground.
Redemption Ark- Mavado is seen standing in Kobras fighting position, hook swords in hand while snarling at the opponent. Suddenly he turns around and is devoured by Kobra's giant Kobra, and the snake morphs back into Kobra.
Fatal Blow: Up To Scale- The Fatal Blow is triggered when Kobra hits the opponent in the side with a hook and a kick to the chin launching them into the air. The Fatal Blow begins with Kobra turning around to summon his Snake. The Giant Kobra rushes towards the opponent, wrapping around them and biting down on their torso(slow mo). Next, the Snake slams the opponent onto the ground and we see Kobra pull out his Machete. He runs over to the opponent and slashes at their chest 3 times, ending the attack with shoving the blade into the opponents face(slow mo). Finally, Kobra picks the opponent up and tosses them into the air, following up with rattling his hand. The Fatal Blow ends with Kobra jamming his charged hand into the opponents stomach, blowing them away(slow mo). Total Hits: 12
Fatalities: Symbiotic Relationship-(mid) The opponent runs towards Kobra attempting to punch him. He catches their fist and breaks their arm, causing them to stumble back in pain. Kobra then turns around and summons his Giant Kobra. The snake wraps the opponent up and roars in their face. Kobra then unsheaths his Machete and runs towards the opponent. He swipes the blade up their face, cutting their head in half and sending blood and brain matter into the air. Attracted by the blood, the Kobra follows the trail of blood and brain and bites down onto the opponents head(still shot).
Pain In The Neck(close) Kobra round house kicks the opponent in the face, sending their jaw flying as they spin around. Kobra then pulls out one of his Kali Sticks and puts it against the opponents throat, choking them. He hops onto their shoulders and tugs even harder, tearing their head off with the Kali Stick. He then pulls out his Machete and slices their head in half(still shot).
Brutalities: The Klassic-(final hit must come from Uppercut) Kobra uppercuts the opponents head off.
Hole In One-(final hit must come from Forward Throw, must press forward forward forward) Kobra grabs the opponent and shoves his Kali sticks into their shoulders, using them to launch him towards the opponents chest causing him to kick right throw them.
Dismembered-(final hit must come from Back Throw) Kobra grabs the opponent and pulls their arm right off the socket. As they scream in pain Kobra then beheads them with his Machete.
Acid Bath-(final hit must come from Pool Of Poison(opponent must be standing in it), press down down down) Kobra summons his Giant Kobra and the snake spits down a pool of poison that begins melting the opponent, causing them to sink into it until only their bubbling hand is left.
Disconnection-(final hit must come from Hele-Punch, press y and b rapidly) Kobra front flips and instead of landing, launches forward in a punching position, punching the opponents upper half off screen.
Off The Digestive Track-(final hit must come from amplified Rattling Jab, must have more than 40% health) Kobra rattles his hand back and forth and suddenly jolts it forward, clamping down onto the opponents organs from the outside and tearing them out, dropping the pulsing intestines to the ground.
I Spy-(final hit must come from amplified Chiropractic Readjustment, must have performed a Mercy)Kobra pulls out his Kali sticks and performs a brutal and fast array of moves, starting with jamming the Kali sticks down onto the opponents shoulders, following up with jamming both of the Kali sticks into the opponents ribs and twisting, and finally finishing off with jamming the two sticks into the opponents eyes and through their skull, killing them.
Stripped Away-(final hit must come from Round House Coil Kick, must have Fatal Blow available) Kobra sweeps the opponents feet from underneath them follows up with a round house kick to the face causing their skin to fly off.
Death From Above-(final hit must come from Up To The Clouds, must have landed 3 Up To The Clouds during match) Kobra runs up the opponent, inverting on of his feet into the chest and kicking the other one underneath their chin causing the upper half to fly into the air. Kobra then land back down as the opponents lower torso falls from above, landing on the ground head first causing their head to combust.
After Affect-(final hit must come from Echo Punch) Kobra gets in a squat position and jolts his fist forward sending an energy echo from the punch that is absorbed by the opponent on impact. The opponent looks around confused until suddenly the force from the punches echo causes them to burst.
End Of Brutality Poses: Game Over- Kobra pulls out his Kali Sticks and flips them around skillfully ending by crossing them in front of his crotch.
Wild Side- Kobra crosses his arms as his Giant Kobra summons from his back towering over him.
Show Off- Kobra slams his Machete into the ground and begins doing one handed push ups on it.
Pay Off- Kobra does a front flip with Machete in hand and lands in a superhero-like pose.
That's Sore- Kobra begins cracking and rubbing his knuckles.
End Of Brutality Dialogue: "Told ya so", "To easy", "Got killed by a dead man", "What a work out", "You won't be missed".
Friendship: Well Deserved Treats- Kobra summons his Giant Kobra and the snake wags its tail along with flicking its tongue in N out, almost like a dog. Kobra then pulls out 3 pieces of raw meat and tosses them into air, following up with kicking them towards the snake and into its mouth as they fall back down. After he is done, Kobra and his Giant Snake stand back triumphantly, waiting until you press continue.
Outros: Ped Power- Kobra kicks his leg up repeatedly before fully spinning around and launching his foot up into a final kick that directs at the camera(still shot).
Ring Beast- Kobra turns around to see a punching bag. He begins punching and kicking it repeatedly as the camera cuts to the back of it as it suddenly bursts on impact from one of Kobras punches(still shot).
Ready To Go- Kobra front flips into a crouch position and flips his Kali Sticks into the air, catching them and resheathing them in the crouch stance(still shot).
Break Through- Kobra turns around and his Giant Kobra is summoned from his back. The snack lunges towards the screen and opens its mouth ready to bite, causing its teeth to "crack" through the screen(still shot).
Tower Ending- I'd spent my whole life training to be the best of the best. To be taken advantage of was a thing of the past. Or so I thought. After defeating Kronika, it was time to pay some old friends a visit. Erron had been assigned to kill me all because of a misunderstanding. To think I would sell weapons to the Red Dragon?.....Well they were right. I'd played the Black Dragon for years, playing buddy buddy in order to recive information from the inside. Using my Intel, the Red Dragon were able to begin road mapping our plan to finishing off the Black Dragon once and for all. After I recovered from my injuries, I re-recruited with my gang. The Red Dragon run these streets, as we will forever.
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2020.09.20 20:03 randallfcooper Tugs spy

Part 1 | Previous | Next |

I'm not sure if it was the rigor of study at Hogwarts, but I lagged behind all the other students in marks and ability. I was one of the last three people in potions to finish whipping up an elementary elixir that Daphne's parents regularly produced (a simple cure for boils).
All of my classes carried that trend, with one exception.
The only class in which I was one of the top students was in Care of Magical Creatures.
During breakfast in the Great Hall, the owls all came flying in, and Benson delivered a letter from my grandpa. I gave him a treat that I had saved from Magical Creatures class, and he hoo'd in appreciation.
Opening up the letter, I immediately recognized my grandpa's handwriting.
Rollie,
My goodness, congratulations on becoming seeker! Know that your ancestors are singing your praise loudly! I'm so excited to come see your first game. When does Hufflepuff play? I can't wait! Give yourself a treat, do something fun, yes? You deserve it!
Regarding your inquiry on Zane, he has been a good friend of mine all my life. He was a Slytherin, and I was sorted into Ravenclaw, but we had some classes together when we were young, and we shared a similar sense of humor. As we grew up, we lost touch and started our own lives, but we would write letters to each other every once in a while, it was complicated staying in touch since we both married shortly after we graduated Hogwarts.
Zane took a job at Azkaban of all places and worked in their processing department. He's come in contact with some of the most dangerous criminals and dark witches and wizards you could think of, filling out their profiles for their paperwork and working in the communications department. I've never asked, but I believe he knows how to conduct those dreaded dementors. After they closed down Azkaban during that brief period after the Wizarding War, he retired and fought against the Death Eaters.
I hope that doesn't taint your perspective of him, but he's really a swell lad. Just a bit of a quiet fellow recently in life since, because much like me, his wife passed away.
Anyways, why the curiosity?
Have you made any friends yet? I know you love your British music, has it helped you meet others?
As always, great to hear from you. Have fun at Hogwarts, Rollie, take care.
Love, Grandpa.
"Rollie! Any word on Zane?" Bran asked.
"Here, check it out for yourselves," I handed them the letter.
Edna, Bran, and Daphne all took their turns reading it in the blink of an eye.
"Your grandpa seems like such a sweetheart," Edna smiled.
"By the way, it sounds like that book will be available next week, but I can't take it out of the library. Would you want to come with me when I check it out?"
"Do you think we'll even find anything?" I said.
Daphne shrugged. "Maybe he used to be in Azkaban before he started working there?"
"Worth a look," I agreed.
Later that evening I wrote back to my grandpa, explaining that I had a nightmare about Zane, even though that was a lie, I was truthful in admitting that Zane's demeanor and stoicism when I met him was unsettling. I also included the details of when the first Quidditch match was with Ravenclaw and Hufflepuff.
On Saturday morning after breakfast, Daphne had a Quidditch meeting with Professor Sprout. Bran and Edna said they wanted to work on their homework right away, but I told them I couldn't start that until Sunday evening. Procrastination was when I handled my work motivation the best.
During that time, while everyone else was busy, I threw on my denim jacket, and took a stroll outside on the castle grounds, around the area of Hagrid's hut. Smoke billowed out from his little chimney, adding to the peaceful scenery. A layer of trees stood at the edge of the grounds, a reasonable distance before the Forbidden Forest began, one of the trees had buds that sat a little lower, so I took it as an opportunity to climb it, and nestle myself in the crook of two branches.
The tree's interior was spacious since the branches formed a ball, I laid on one edge, and across from me, I spotted a yellow spherical bird, I tried my bird whistle and held out my finger.
When I whistled, the bird glanced in my direction and hopped over a few branches, investigating me. After a gentle whistle, it fluttered up to me, landing directly on my finger. My heart skipped with delight.
It was a golden snidget.
I froze up, as the pudgy bird locked eye contact with me, tilting its head to the side.
I slipped into a memory back at Huntshrow, when I was out in the field by the castle, practicing my bird calls as I was out in the trees, around the same time last year. Farrah was so impressed.
My chest had that empty sinking feeling. I need to think about something else. This beautiful bird is in front of your face, and all you can think about is--
"We really shouldn't be out here going this deep," a familiar voice came from the Forbidden Forest.
"Oh hush up, will ya? Aren't you curious what's going on over there? What are they hiding?" a harsh voice replied.
Footsteps on the grass swished closer, and the golden snidget flew away out of the tree. The two of them were to my left, going back towards the castle.
"They're not hiding anything, you sound like a stupid git!"
"What did you call me?"
The footsteps halted. Peering through the leaves, I saw Oliver gripping his girlfriend Magdalene by the arm, glaring at her with fire in his eyes. Magdalene scowled back at him then dragged her eyes away, spotting me in the tree, her eyes widened.
"What? What're you looking at?" Oliver spun around and located me, he furrowed his brow. "What the hell are you doin' up there, yankee? Spying on people is rude here in England," Oliver dropped Magdalene's arm and picked up some nearby stones and hurled them at me.
His aim was terrific as rocks came directly at my face. I blocked it with my arm, but it knocked me off balance. He pelted another stone, and it was enough to toss me over the branch, as I plummeted, all I could hear was Oliver's howling laughter.
"Volitant!" Magdalene yelled, whipping out her wand, and then I hovered above the ground just as I was about to break my back. She lowered her wand, and I landed on the grass.
Sitting up, I looked at her with my brow arched.
"What the hell ya lookin' at, yank?" Oliver marched over.
Magdalene clutched his hand and tugged him. "How could you do that?" she scolded, dragging him away.
"You're lucky she's here. You shouldn't spy on people, yank!" Oliver turned back around as his girlfriend hauled him along.
Magdalene stole one last glance back at me, with a look that said, "I'm so sorry."
I picked myself back up and watched them leave. As I stood there, the golden snidget from earlier flew up to my shoulder.
"Oh, hey, aren't you friendly," I smiled.
Just as I extended my arm for him to hop over to my hand, Hagrid stepped outside his hut with a watering can. He turned towards me and waved.
"Hello, Rollie, how are yeh--" he paused for a moment and gaped at the bird on my hand. "Me goodness, would yeh look at tha', a golden snidget! Amazing! Hold righ' there!"
Hagrid disappeared into his hut, as I sat there with the bird on my finger, perplexed. He came back out with a sizeable box-shaped object.
"I think yeh're supposed ter hold still, Rollie?" Hagrid held the clunky object up to his eye. "Sorry, I rarely use this thing, old Christmas gift. Still trying ter get the hang o' it," he smiled as he pressed the button, which released a blinding flash. "Okay, I think tha's good... When yeh're done stop by the hut, I have a special surprise I know yeh'll appreciate!"
The golden snidget flew off back into the trees, and as soon as it did, another bird flew on my finger, trading places, a smaller blackbird I didn't recognize. A strange purple aura emanated from the bird, like smoke.
"Rollie, tha' bird looks like it's bin cursed, be careful!" Hagrid shouted.
The dark bird stared at me for a second, as I heard a faint whisper coming from it.
"Rolliieeeeeeeeee..."
I tried shaking it off, but it tightened its talons around my finger, digging in the skin, pecking at my hand in rage, hungry for blood.
"Ah!" I screamed, stinging pain shot up through my arm. My mouth went dry as a desert.
I had no choice but to smack it off with my other hand, it flew away as if it was just an ordinary bird. I jogged over to Hagrid, who was already pacing towards me.
"Rollie, are yeh okay? Lemme see wha' happened ter your hand."
I pulled back the sleeve on my jacket, trails of red blood were running down my arm.
"Let's get yeh ter Madame Pompfrey, she'd be able ter help yeh better 'n I could."
"I don't know, I think I'll be okay. Can I get a glass of water first?"
"We should really get yeh ter Madame--"
"Please, Hagrid, let me just have a glass of water," I smiled, feeling the color draining from my face.
"All righ', one glass o' water, an' then yeh're goin' ter Madame Pompfrey!"
I sat at the table inside the cozy hut, Hagrid gave me a glass of water, and I chugged it down, I felt like I bought some time remaining conscious.
"Can I have another glass?"
“O' course," Hagrid filled it up with water again from a metal bucket and set it next to me as I nursed my bleeding hand. "Lemme show yeh quickly wha' I got since yeh're here."
Hagrid shuffled towards a black cloak draped over something in the corner. "Excuse me Fang," Hagrid reached over his sleeping dog on the ground for the cylindrical object. He brought it to the table and pulled off the cloak.
Underneath was a barred cage containing a small glowing statue. It was in the shape of a rabbit with antlers half the size of its body.
"I finally found one, after all me life searching fer one o' these, I've got it now," Hagrid marveled at it.
"What is it?" I asked.
"It's the silver jackalope. One o' the rarest magical creatures in existence."
"That thing is alive? Does it move?" I goggled at the majestic glow, it looked like a free-standing patronus.
"There isn' much known abou' the silver jackalope, except fer one thing, they like ter sit in one place. They don' really move."
"So, catching them must be pretty easy?"
"But good luck finding one, I wish I had, but Zita did. Deep in a cavern, far away from Hogwarts."
"Did you name it yet?"
“O' course, its name is Jolly."
"Can I pet it?"
"Sure, lemme jus open the latch here," Hagrid popped open the front of the cage.
Both of my hands were on the table, and just as I was leaning towards it, Jolly hopped gracefully to my damaged hand and started licking it.
With each lick, I felt my the stinging pain alleviate.
Hagrid was trying to form words, but instead, he sounded like a sputtering engine. When Jolly finished up, it returned back to its statue posture next to my arm.
I pulled back my hand and analyzed it. All the cuts from the bird had been sealed up as if the whole thing never happened. All pain disappeared.
"Hagrid, looks like I don't have to see Madame Pompfrey after all," I showed off my arm, and his jaw dropped.
"This is a breakthrough! Silver jackalope's have healing powers, or so it seems. Gosh, I'd love ter experiment," Hagrid turned around and opened up a cabinet and pulled out a knife.
He gave himself a small little cut on his knuckle and held it up to Jolly's face.
Jolly did not respond, the rabbit kept frozen stiff.
"Strange, it must really like yeh then," Hagrid scratched his chin.
"Are we going to study this more in class?'
"It's possible, but i'm goin' ter have ter talk ter zita abou' it a little more, she's very wise, an' originally I hinted abou' it in class, but I shouldn' have, since we don' know much abou' it yet."
I'm on Patreon! You can get the next three chapters by becoming a $3 patron. Thank you so much to those who've subscribed and those that keep reading. I'll continue to release at least a chapter a week, and you also get advance three-chapter access to my other story, Drac's Ascension (a continuation of The Piano Pact).
Join my mailing list and get the R-wing flair! I'll only email about book releases! :)
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2020.09.20 05:29 kiwispacemarine Spy tugs

| First | Previous | Next |
The skies of Planet Cur’Cle echoed with the whining roar of SABRE engines as the UD-1 Cheyenne-II dropship streaked to its destination. Aboard, Platoon Bravo 6, wearing their Urban Camouflage BDUs and their IMP exoskeletons prepared for their next assignment. Captain Black was sitting at the front of the aircraft, near the cockpit in case he had to talk to the pilots.
The Captain was examining his sleeve, puzzled. Something about that melted patch on his arm just didn't seem right. He just couldn’t place it at the moment.
‘Think, Black,’ he told himself, ‘What is out of place about this?’
It was just on the edge of his conscience, almost tangible, but just out of reach. Something about laundry cycles and non-standard uniforms.
Before he could grasp it fully, his radio buzzed.
“We’re approaching the objective,” called the pilot, “Drone recon confirms that this is an operational base,” she added.
“Roger, Farrell,” Black replied, “Take us down.”
“Roger,” she replied, “Taking her down now.”
The dropship circled around the base, missiles armed and ready to fire. Some startled Scourge soldiers fired on the dropship, but only managed to scratch the paint.
Farrell returned the favour, shooting several unguided rockets at the infantry. Captain Black watched the missiles hit their targets on a small viewscreen in the troop bay.
“Watch your fire, Lieutenant,” he cautioned her, “We’ve got to take the officer’s alive, remember.”
“O.k., sir,” she replied, landing the aircraft, “Touching down now. Hit it, soldiers!”
The rear ramp lowered, and the special forces stormed out under the covering fire of the Cheyenne’s guns.
“All clear!” Sergeant Green reported.
“Copy!” Black acknowledged, “Maroon, Orange! Move on up!”
“Yes sir!” Corporal Maroon exclaimed enthusiastically. Corporal Orange muttered something about always being chosen and made a disparaging remark about Maroon’s attitude. Black watched the latter through his AugReal goggles. He’d have to keep a close eye on that one. The two soldiers made a preliminary examination of the building.
“All clear out here, sir!” Corporal Maroon reported, “But I’m getting lots of movement inside on my motion tracker.”
“Roger,” Black acknowledged, “The rest of you, move up. Ochre, get that breaching charge ready!”
The soldiers moved up to the target building. Like the last one, it was a low-profile structure, possibly another warehouse. The UD-1 circled the building, looking for any kind of movement.
Ochre deftly and expertly placed the breaching charge, while everyone else stacked up on either side of the door.
Black watched Lieutenant Jacott. The Consortium warrior had been acting strangely ever since they had launched the mission. While he had been relatively normal yesterday, the Tark was very… apprehensive about something. Black didn’t like it. And still that accursed spot on his arm kept tickling away at his conscience. He put it out of his mind. Focus on the mission first, worry about the alien and his uniform later.
“Blow the door,” he ordered Ochre. The lieutenant complied, blowing up the door and the now-obligatory half-a-wall with it. Aided by their exoskeletons, the soldiers stormed the base. Black’s helmet highlighted multiple hostiles with a red outline and his motion tracker showed movement all over the place.
“Check your corners!” he warned as the platoon opened fire, “And watch your fire!”
He spied two officer candidates crouched behind a table. The information given by Private Vectren on Moonbase had been uploaded to his helmet’s database and the AugReal goggles helpfully pointed out their ranks, indicating that they were the equivalent of Colonel and Major.
“Targets spotted,” Black said over the comms, “They’re the two by the table. Kill the rest.”
The platoon did just that, aided enormously by their smart-scopes, which allowed them to aim at targets while staying behind cover.
Soon, the entire room, with the exception of the two officers, had been cleared. Black, flanked by Lieutenant Ochre and Sergeant Green, walked up to them. All rifles were trained on the pair, who held out their hands in a gesture of surrender.
“Don’t move!” he ordered them, “Maroon! Orange! Take them into custody!”
As the two corporals moved into position on his left, Black spied Lieutenant Jacott moving up on his right. Something about the way the alien was walking didn’t sit right with him. And then there was still that damned spot, itching at him.
Seeing as the others had the two prisoners covered, Black took the chance to examine the melted spot. Something was off about it. He reached his right hand over to it and felt the fabric. It was stiff, and plasticky to the touch, while the surrounding fabric still had that freshly laundered feel to it.
Wait a second! That was it!
His uniform, the one that had been ‘melted’, or so he had thought, had been washed, along with all the platoon’s fatigues. He had also spent the past few weeks on either Earth or Moonbase Alpha, either wearing his normal black uniform or his dress uniform. Which meant that this uniform had been in the laundry cycle for weeks by now. The chances that he would receive the same damaged uniform upon his return were very low, which meant that…
With another sudden realization, he twisted at the patch, feeling it come off from the BDU. He turned it over in his fingers. The object he held in his hand was about the size of a 50-cent coin and too symmetrical to be a melted piece of Army-issue BDU. Holding it up to his goggles, he watched in shock and dismay as the AugReal system highlighted the logo of the Consortium Military. He remembered Jacott falling against him after the helicopter crash and how his sleeve had felt strange after that.
He remembered something else too…
**********************************************************************************
The Previous Day…
Captain Black walked up to Lieutenant Jacott as he walked down the shuttle’s ramp.
“Hello, Leftenant,” he greeted him, “How’re you feeling?”
“Much better sir,” the Tark replied, “A bit stiff, but that will pass. I’m eagerly awaiting to go back into battle at your side.”
“That’s the spirit!” Black exclaimed as they walked to the armoury, “Come, let’s get you to the armoury and get your gear.”
Jacott suddenly tripped over a rock and fell flat on his face.
“You o.k., Leftenant?” Black asked, bending over him.
“Yes sir,” Jacott replied, picking himself off the ground, “Just a bruised ego, as you humans say.”
He took the hand that Black offered him and hauled himself up to his feet, placing a hand on Black’s upper arm to steady himself.
“Sorry about that, sir,” he made an approximation of a grin, “Now, we were going to get my weapons?”
**********************************************************************************
The Present Day…
“Is everything o.k., sir?” asked Ochre, concerned. Black had been staring into space for the past several minutes.
“No,” Black replied, stirring, “Everything is not o.k. …” he said between clenched teeth.
With lightning speed, he reached down and pulled out his pistol. Before anyone could react, he had the sidearm pointed straight at Jacott’s head.
“Stop right there, traitor!” he yelled.
**********************************************************************************
Consortium Embassy, Moonbase Alpha.
“I swear to you, most high Viceroy-Director,” Vymer stammered, “The humans are planning to betray us to the Infinite Scourge! I have evidence of their betrayal! I’m sending it to you now.”
Viceroy-Director Flurgeon sighed as he read the message. Opening it, he stiffened as he read the comments.
“Why, those dirty…” he spluttered, “I will deal with this treachery!” he said, drawing himself up regally, “Prepare yourself for extraction, Ambassador, there is no way of knowing where they will strike first.”
Vymer bowed and switched off the communicator. Looking around his office, he began to start packing his gear. He was rudely interrupted when his door burst open and a squad of human soldiers marched into the room, all wearing their new exoskeletons. Panicked, he reached for his communicator.
At the head of the humans was Colonel Straker. The Colonel was also wearing an exoskeleton and brandishing a shotgun, which was currently levelled at Vymer’s head.
“Put that communicator down,” he snarled, “Ambassador Vymer, you are under arrest for treason against the United Nations!”
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“Traitor?” exclaimed Lieutenant Ochre, “What do you mean?”
Everyone in the room was looking at Captain Black in shock. There was an expression of fury on their commander’s face that they had never seen before.
“Me, a traitor?” Jacott said, outraged, “YOU are the traitors, selling us out to those filthy Scourge beasts!” he pointed at the confused officers, “How could you? After all the Consortium has done for you!”
“After all the Consortium has done... SHUT UP!” Black shouted, making the warrior cower in terror, “If only you knew what your precious Consortium had done to us,” he glowered at the Tark. He looked around at the rest of the platoon.
“Now,” he said, in a deceptively pleasant voice, “Lieutenant Jacott here has been spying on us for his Consortium overlords. He placed a microphone on me after the helicopter crash and again after he returned to the base. He has picked up every word we’ve been saying.”
He held out the microphone for all to see, passing it to Sergeant Green, who looked at it.
"It's definitely not a burnt piece of BDU," he said after a while, "And I'd wager it isn't a random bit of debris, either. Hey!" he cried out suddenly.
"What?" asked Black.
"It's changing colour!" the sergeant explained, showing it around to everyone, "It's trying to blend in with my hand!"
"That clinches it," Corporal Maroon spoke up, "It's definitely some kind of espionage device, if it's trying to camouflage itself!"
“Which means…” Ochre blurted out, trailing off in horror.
“Which means I know all about your treasonous plan, humans,” Jacott cut in, “And so does Viceroy-Director Flurgeon. He will make you pay for your insolence. You and the rest of your treasonous friends!”
“And after we’re done ‘paying for our insolence’?” Black asked, using the same pleasant voice.
Jacott approximated a shrug.
“That is for the Executive-Director to decide,” he said.
The platoon had heard enough.
“What are we going to do with him, sir?” Ochre asked, beginning to feel a cold fury building up in him.
“Well,” Black began, “The lieutenant here has just admitted to treason against the United Nations,” he spoke in a cold, calculating and detached voice, “There is only one punishment for treason,” he pulled the hammer back on his pistol.
“And that is?” Jacott asked, beginning to feel the icy grip of fear clutch at his heart.
“Death,” the Captain snarled. Two shots rang out. Jacott stiffened and fell down, his beady compound eyes closing as bright-green blood began to ebb and flow from the bullet wounds.
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Consortium Command Ship, in orbit of Cur’Cle.
“Fleet Director Zartan,” Viceroy-Director Flurgeon spoke suddenly. Flurgeon had been deep in thought for the past few minutes ,and Zartan was worrying that he had suffered a stroke, “The humans are plotting treason against us!”
“Treason, sir?” Admiral Zartan asked, amazed.
“Treason,” Flurgeon replied, “They are planning to form an alliance with the Infinite Scourge!”
The bridge fell silent. Everyone looked at the Viceroy in amazement, shock and anger.
“From this day forth, the humans, and their United Nations, are to be considered enemies of the Consortium of Allied Interstellar Species!” the Viceroy-Director declared grandly, “I will formally notify the Executive-Director on Capital. Admiral Zartan, you have the conn,”
Zartan took his place as the Viceroy left the bridge.
“Signal the fleet,” he ordered the communications officer, “Order them to fire on the ISS Endeavour. Make them pay for their acts of treason!”
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“What?” Captain Zehltek exclaimed as Lieutenant Daskar relayed the order, “There must be some mistake! Surely the humans aren’t planning to…”
He was cut off by the click of an electron polariser pistol being activated. He turned around, only to come face to face with the Star’s Providence’s resident Commissar.
“You have an order, Captain,” the Commissar droned, “And, unless you want to be declared a traitor too, you’d better carry it out.”
“Commissar,” Zehltek protested, “The humans are our only chance at winning the war! If we attack them, they’ll just…”
“Once we have dealt with their treason,” the Commissar cut him off, “We will press them back into service as mere conscripts. We will use the humans to win the war, Captain, whether they like it or not.”
“But they’re invincible!” the Captain shouted, “How do you kill something that’s unkillable?”
The Commissar shrugged.
“The Gark figured it out before. We’ll just ask them. Now, open fire on the humans, or I’ll do it. Then, I’ll fire on you.”
Zehltek fixed the Commissar with a glare, before turning to Lieutenant-Commander Jartoch.
“Commander,” he ordered reluctantly, “Open fire on the human vessel.”
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“What the heck is going on?” Major Reece exclaimed as the Endeavour shook violently, “Why are they firing on us?”
“We’ve been betrayed! That’s why!” Colonel Holland yelled, “Bring the ship around! Contact Colonel Foreman and the ground forces! Get them to pull out!”
Reece and Holland tugged on their control columns, bringing the warship into attack position.
“Jenkins!” Holland ordered, “Fire everything! Railgun, missiles, the damned kitchen sink, everything!
Endeavour, this is Colonel Foreman!” the radio squawked, “We’re being attacked by Consortium soldiers! What’s going on up there?”
“I don’t know!” Holland yelled back, “We’ve just been fired upon too!”
“Colonel Foreman, Colonel Holland, this is Captain Black,” a new voice cut in, “The Consortium Transfer Officers were spies after all! They found out about our secret orders!”
"Secret orders?" Captain Fergusson wondered aloud. Major Reece shushed him.
“O.k. Black,” Foreman replied, “Do you have the prisoners?”
“Yes, we’re boarding the dropship now,” Black answered as an explosion rocked the Endeavour, “We’ll rendezvous with the Endeavour as soon as we can.”
“Roger,” Foreman replied, “We’ll evacuate to the carriers. Good luck everyone!”
The Endeavour rocked from side to side as more energy weapons hit it. Warning lights began to flicker on and off and alarms started blaring.
“Report!” Holland demanded.
“That last shot almost cracked the armour!” Reece replied after a moment, “It’s too badly damaged in some places to hold up for much longer!”
“Come on, Black,” Holland urged the Captain, “Come on!”
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Lieutenant Farrell pushed the dropship’s engines to the max as it scurried out of the atmosphere. The radio was going wild with reports of U.N. forces being fired on by Consortium soldiers. While there hadn’t been too many casualties on the ground, the much weaker fighter and transport craft had suffered severe losses.
“We’re leaving the atmosphere in five minutes, sir!” the pilot called to Captain Black, “I hope the Endeavour can hold out that long!”
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Colonel Foreman fired his MP5 at another squad of Consortium. The warriors were easy prey for his submachine gun and put up little resistance. He looked up as an F-35 streaked through the air, tailed by two Consortium starfighters. The human jet was able to use its stealth systems and superior aerodynamics to good effect, leaving the enemy craft to be intercepted by anti-air batteries.
“Come on!” he called to the soldiers that were with him, “We’ve got to get through to the carrier!”
“What’s happening, sir?” a soldier asked as they moved up to better cover, “Why are they attacking us?”
“I don’t know sergeant,” the Colonel replied, “But we’ll make them pay for it.”
Peeking over the overturned jeep he was using as cover, he stood still in horror as a Consortium armoured vehicle aimed its turret towards them. Before it could fire on the group, however, it exploded in a hail of gunfire. Foreman heard the familiar sound of jet engines as the A-10 Thunderbolt-II ‘Warthog’ peeled away. Half of the plane was either destroyed or on fire, and yet it still circled around and destroyed another Consortium vehicle.
“All U.N. personnel, this is Captain Hereford,” the radio crackled, “The base is too hot, we’re lifting off! All air units, rendezvous with us as soon as we’re airborne.”
“This is Captain Langley,” the Hercules’ commander spoke up, “Any remaining ground personnel should fall back to us. We have armour and tanks protecting us, but there are too many Consortium! We can’t hold out for much longer!”
As if to emphasize the Captain’s words, an attack helicopter was shot out of the sky and came spiralling down near Foreman’s position.
“All U.N. ground forces, this is Colonel Foreman,” he said, “Fall back to the Hercules. I’ll join you as soon as I can.”
He cautiously stuck his head out from behind cover, only to have an electron polariser hit him straight in the face. He recoiled in pain, whipping back into cover.
“Are you o.k. sir?” someone asked. The colonel nodded.
“Just feels like a bee-sting, that’s all,” he replied. Preparing to take another look around, he noticed something just behind the party.
“Hey!” he called to the soldiers, “Does anyone know how to drive a Casspir?”
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Consortium Interstellar Government World, Capital*. First Age of Vengeance.*
“You say the humans are planning to betray us?” Executive-Director Rytech asked, "And you ordered the fleet to fire on them?"
“That’s correct, most esteemed Executive-Director,” Flurgeon replied, “I trust I made the right call?”
Rytech nodded.
“You made the right call, Viceroy,” he said, “If the humans had allied with the Hegemony Remnants or called a ceasefire with them, it would have been disastrous. They would have revealed that we had destroyed the Hegemony home-world all those years ago!”
Flurgeon nodded sagely.
“Yes, that would have been disastrous!” he declared, “The public would be outraged!”
“Very,” the Executive-Director agreed, “There would be riots, revolution, bloodshed! No,” he muttered, “Far better to let the humans be declared treasonous, even if it costs us a valuable ally. We can still win the war.”
“How?” asked Flurgeon, “They were our only hope! The Scourge still controls the majority of the galaxy! Without the humans…”
Director Rytech just grinned.
“The humans weren’t the only race the Gark experimented on, Viceroy,” he snickered, “We still have a few tricks up our sleeve.”
submitted by kiwispacemarine to HFY [link] [comments]


2020.09.17 15:00 maxkennedy02 Spy tugs

Langurst is a small place, quaint and quiet. A seaside village which I’d never seen the outside of. The comforting sound of the salt waves breaking against rock was seldom disturbed by the modern hardships one might find inland, Langurst was a bit behind the times you could say, traditional maybe. Most labour to be found in the village was exactly what would be expected of a place so agricultural and simple, farming, manual labour, lighthouse keeping for a lonely few and fishing most of all, it was what our town was known for after all. It was the kind of coastal refuge where hither-to little ever seemed to happen, so when something finally did it sent shockwaves throughout the old hamlet.
Almost symbolically, a violent wind rose upon the land on the day I got the news. A local boy hadn’t come home the previous evening. His parents had cared for the child in a cottage not two minutes’ walk from my own. Sam his name was, he’d had his sixth birthday within the last month. The story was he had been let out to ride his tricycle along the cobbled streets before dinner. I admit I knew young Sammy very little; I only learnt his name after he disappeared but nevertheless, I found myself among the first to volunteer for the search parties.
Day by day our righteous troop of concerned townsfolk grew until we could sweep the surrounding country in one walk, and each day we would come up empty handed. A week into the search we almost had the whole town on the hunt, spare for an unsavoury few. While trudging through the hallowed mud, torch in hand I inquired to my reluctant companion, Randolph, on the noticeably absent Erik Carter, a local eccentric/seadog. “What of him?” replied Randolph. I looked forward into the blackened country before expressing my suspicion. “I just find him strange is all.” I felt Randolphs gaze turn to me, his brow furrowed in hesitation. “how do you mean, I can’t remember the last time I saw him in town?” He brought up a good point, first one of the day, but Randolph was right to doubt my distrust of the man.
See Erik was a recluse, a rugged old sailor, an intrepid mariner as he was known around Langurst. The man only left his beach hovel to fish out on the infinite blue. He would take his rustic aged boat out to wade in perilous waters which teamed and foamed endlessly beyond our small populace. But, unlike our more precocious fisherman, Erik kept from selling the haul he would bring back and instead stored them for himself in his low wooden shack which rested quietly on the beach. However, it is known that there was a time where he wasn’t such a hermit. In fact our mysterious character was once part of a crew in his younger years.
This was before my time of course, but I had heard the stories. Erik found a love for the ocean on a crew a five while his soul was unscathed, him and four others would brave the thrashing waves and come each day back to the beach with enough fish to feed a small army. An impressive bunch to be sure. But (and this is where the detail is uncertain) one day, as they did as they always had, seeking after shadows of shoal cast by that pallid, peering crescent moon, Erik had an encounter. Or a revelation, or saw a sight which sent him reeling in hysterics, screaming of uncertain, undefined things which no one could decipher. Upon forcing the crew to turn back he exited the grounded boat onto the beach and left, without explanation to his cabin, where he stayed for weeks. Leaving his fellow sailors aghast in confusion, before he finally left and began sailing again with the boat he has kept since, still refusing to talk of what had happened to him to that day.
Eriks former crew had all but since died, old age had finally sent them back to the weeds, all but one, William Wallows who remains similarly unsocial.
I halted and turned to Randolph. “Maybe it’s wrong of me to accuse a troubled old man but, something about him screams to me that he is not to be trusted, I can’t explain it.” Randolph smirked and grabbed my shoulder. “you’ve been listening to too many stories, that’s your trouble Harry. Come on I’m getting exhausted let’s head back.” Randolph suggested, patting me on the back. I concord with his suggestion before turning and heading back through the farmland. Empty handed once again.
Sombre was the following month. As I had done when the mystery was fresh, I spent the weeks of February up in the hills and fields, combing through grass and wood with the rest of the search team. But on March third Sam was presumed dead by the village. A victim of the universe’s cosmic indifference. The search was called off. A ceremony was held in his honour at the cemetery which rested eerily on the towns outskirts as a hideous reminder of Langurst’s often unspoken past.
In the callous silence of that hoary city of sarcophagi, an empty coffin was lowered into the graveyards soaked mud which sat almost mire-like beneath the featureless grey sky. The unnerving noiselessness of the place was only occasionally interrupted by the wet sniffles of the mother, and the father who cradled her in his bemoaned embrace. With a vile squelch the coffin smacked the mud that sat at the bottom of the hole. I hadn’t been to that place in years, but I felt the obligation to go, after all I truly hoped we would find the boy.
To my slight gratitude most of the population of Langurst was in attendance, besides, it was a small town. And once again among the folks who were missing from the event were those too old and frail to walk and, Erik Carter. Even his old pal William Wallows came, peering on from the outskirts of the crowd, reflecting his courteous but faintly aloof nature. I turned to Randolph who stood to my side, hands clasped together by his torso. “Again, look who isn’t here,” I whispered, nudging his elbow. He didn’t reply.
After the sermon had concluded the crowd dispersed, myself first of all. Randolph grabbed my arm as I turned to leave. “What’s the hurry?” he asked intrepidly, slightly concerned. Lying I replied “toilet”, my one-word answer seemed to agitate my anxious friend but nonetheless he left me to my own devices.
I scampered down to the bay, passing the empty houses which stood silent along the way. High up on a rock which overlooked the stretched beach I stood, peering out to the waves. Just hazily, among darkened blue and uneven sea, as if a smudge on a mirror I saw him. On his little boat amidst the howling of distant wind and rocky currents he was. What was it that drew me to him I couldn’t describe for our town wasn’t lacking in eccentrics? But looking out at the faraway speck that was Erik Carter, I couldn’t shake the feeling I had seen him with the boy, whether it was in a dream or just a conjured image of my own mind I still can’t say. I mean, being cooped up in a small fishing village your whole life is sure to leave your mind imaginative. But no matter how it may seem, an unspoken part of me hoped that young Sammy had not just been whisked up by the country or torn asunder by some woodland beast, but instead, wished our intrepid adventure had snatched him up, and that it was my duty to rescue him from the ragged clutches of the scurvy old sea dog.
It was hard to tear my gaze from the timeworn fisherman but once I did, I clambered down from the salty rock and made my way back up the cobbled street. The night came slowly that day. A long sunset crept its way below the waves, sending golden orange rays upon our small town. As the streetlamps became alight and darkness befell the huddled rooftops, I found myself downing a pint in the Singing Siren, Langursts very own pub. Its only pub. And before I knew it myself, one pint turned to two then to three and however many after that, I could hardly remember.
I stumbled my way out the old place and looked wistfully down the street which stretched down to the bay. Not quite prepared to go home, I clumsily moped down it. The concept of time was mostly lost to me that night due to my sickly level of intoxication, so it could have been an hour by the time it took me to reach the point where the stone became sand and grit. I meandered on the border of the blackened beach under faint, flickering streetlamps until my vision started to straighten and I began to feel the cool breeze on my skin again. I remember sparing a glance or two to Eriks distant shack, which emitted a vague orange glow through its stained windows, but no movement could be seen inside. I found myself a nice bench which looked out into sea and sat, ruminating to the sound of soft waves crawling up and down the sand.
Somewhat lost in thought, I almost missed the sound of a quick whistle behind me. I turned to see who made the sound for they were surely trying to grab my attention. What I saw when I did was I sight I did not expect. Emerging from the poorly lit street came the ragged visage of one, William Wallows.
“Mind if I sit with you?” he asked, almost growling in his hardened demeaner. I felt as though saying no would not amount to much. I gestured to the space beside me as he lowered himself onto the bench with a breathy rattle, like a train chugging to a halt. His long brown coat had a sickeningly liquory stench, like huffing pure ethanol. “Nice of you to do what you did for that boy, spending all your time looking for him, very kind you must be.” Despite his undoubtably intimidating entrance he sounded rather sincere. Though I found it strange of him to say since his contribution was non-existent.
“Well I’m certainly no exception, most the whole town was out to find the boy” I said, still looking onward into the darkness. “yes I suppose they did, good town we have here, even better people, most of em anyway,” William chuckled in response, taking a swig from his flask. “I was terribly sorry to hear about young Sam, I wanted to help I truly did but, something about being out there is just-”. He stumbled on his words for a moment. “it’s being around the dead trunks and stunted trees which rot at the rim, and the vile mud which belches when you stand on it. It’s a place where I do not belong” there was almost a sadness in his tone now. “Is that why you became a fisherman” I asked inquisitively, turning to him. “yes, I suppose that might be it.”
“I think I find a particular kind of comfort in the uncertainty of the waves, in its opaqueness. Most people do not feel this way, I understand that. They fear what they cannot see. They are frightened by what might or might not lurk below. Not me though. I find wonder in the unknown.” He sighed as if he would say more, but he didn’t.
I looked at him, still sat by my side. His eyes seemed hollow, his pupils swayed back and forth absently, as if he was scanning the bay while still not looking at anything at all. If I stayed silent for a few more moments he certainly would’ve passed right out on that bench.
“Was Erik frightened?” I asked. He took a breath before letting out a raspy chuckle. “if only you had known how stupid that question was, you wouldn’t have asked it.” He said.
“how so?” I asked, slightly hesitantly, somehow not the least bit offended by what he said.
“This place is small, have you not seen him out on the waves each day, wading between those waves.” He pointed outwards into the abyss. “I know everyone has heard the story, you too I must assume. I know they say that something in the water spooked him, frightened him into mania. But I was there. Sailed for a long time before then, I’ve seen fear, young sailors falling of boats into the blue, seen their eyes bulge and turn empty like a fish. That wasn’t fear. He screamed certainly but not as any primal instinct or for help. But to tell us something. His message was unclear but what was clear, was the overwhelming madness that was spilling out of his mind. It was like his brain had burst.
I leaned forward as he stopped. “so, what did he see?” I inquired, slightly frightened.
“As I said it was unclear. Adjectives like accused, deep, great and mighty shrieked out of the word soup he had spilled on our boat. We sailed the boat back and dragged him ashore, he screamed all the while. We haven’t spoken since but, he seems to be doing simply fine.” He chuckled.
There was a sullen silence as I stood up, now mostly sober. “where you off too,” he said almost growling without the energy to turn and look at me. “I must be getting home” I sighed, before turning back to face the dimly lit street. Still no closer to finding the boy, but without explanation, on the basis of no evidence or reason whatsoever, even more distrustful of Erik.
The following day came and as it did so did the realisation that my infatuation with the lonesome sailor had become unhealthy. I couldn’t rid my mind of him, his story. I had gotten little sleep once I returned from the bay, I could practically feel the bags under my eyes. I left my home in the early hours, just as the sun had come. This exact reason for this I am unsure, I mean, why does anyone go for a walk. It was quick before my walk took me to the bay once again. As I paced on the beach’s edge I scoured the ensuing waters, almost out of instinct. Erik could not be seen. Certainly he was now in his shack which was in my immediate peripheral. It rested not to far up the beach, a lonely structure on the sand. I was ready to pass it when I sensed something, a movement.
The old lantern which hung down inside shook. Then swung. Something inside was shuddering the skeleton of the place but little noise could be heard from where I was standing. Cautiously I moved in closer. Now no closer than five feet from the rear of the shack, something became audible. A muffled cursing could be heard from inside yet, as I peered through the window, hunched in the sand, Erik could not be seen inside. This was my first time hearing his voice. Through the old wood I made out the aggravated groans and expletives of the man among the bangs and rings of metal grinding against rock, which sounded not dissimilar from the jangling of chains. I couldn’t believe what I was hearing, was my half-deluded theory true, was I hearing the proof. With my ear pressed against the rotted planks I could confirm the ruckus came from below.
Was this man who previously had shown little sighs which warranted suspicion really the culprit? Had he been holding the boy in his perverted sub terrain chamber this whole time? Was I really about to rescue a child thought dead? I wondered. But just as I thought I had it all figured out. My victory shattered as my bones rattled.
A sound which my straining ears were not near enough ready for, bellowed from below. A repulsive, gargled, watery belch erupted upwards into the sky. An almost unspeakable blare of grotesque noises which smacked the walls inside, like Neptune’s stomach churning. I recoiled backwards, landing with a thud in the sand. I scrambled in it for a few moments before getting to my feet and shooting off toward the town.
While perhaps having nothing to do with young Sam, it was clear Erik was harbouring a black secret. I didn’t stop running until I got back inside my house, but I was too far down the hole to abandon it then. I would wait for the cover of darkness, when Erik was sure to leave his shack to head ocean bound as he always did, to leave me free to uncover whatever clandestine, accursed thing he was holding beneath the sand.
Inevitably darkness came. I had perched myself on a far-off mound of rock where I could get a good view of his front door. The damnably vivid sound of the swaying waves had begun to drive me a little loopy in the head by now, but I wouldn’t let it deter me yet. Down on my stomach I ogled at the repulsive structure, the rotten wood of which could only be made visible by a monotonous golden hue that radiated from the lamp inside. Soon, however, that monotony would be broken by the hunched shadow of our mysterious stranger. He clattered around inside for a few moments before, above the nightly ambience of the beach, a sharp creaking could faintly be heard as Erik opened the door. The lamp which he now held in his hand burst out into the darkness, illuminating the surrounding sand, leaving his oak hovel in darkness.
I pushed myself to my knees as the old man sulked along toward his boat. I admit there was something eerily calming in watching the man live his strange little life. The confidence in which he threw his light before himself abord was almost impressive. But before I could get too transfixed, he was off on his way, pushing against the tide. I slid down from atop my perch and bounded across the bay toward my target. Leaving as soon as I did gave me a good few hours to search inside I figured, and not caring for subtlety would give me all the time I would need. I felt along the exterior walls of the place before touching glass, I must’ve found the window. With little hesitation I removed my coat and wrapped it around my good hand. With a breath and a gulp, I smashed my enveloped fist through the dirty glass which shattered with a painful screech. I pulled my hand back and came with it did a wretched, eye-watering stench which oozed out the sharp opening I had just created.
I heaved as I breathed in the foul, fishy smell, but again I could not stop. Still wrapped up, I pushed my hand around the rim of the window, removing all the left behind glass before crawling into the place. My feet met the floor with a tender creek, the interior was blackened completely. It was apparent to me then that Erik had taken his only source of light with him. From my hand I unfurled my coat, now torn and shredded beyond repair, and threw it out the opening behind me. I felt around my pockets, finding my lighter in the left one before shining it outwards in my outstretched hand. I had gotten lucky with that one I suppose. The light was dim and small, but it gave me vision at least, well only about two feet of vision, but it was better than stumbling around the nasty place like a blind old hag.
I stepped forward cautiously. The light from my small flame didn’t reach the ground. I stepped again and the wood churned but as it did, my free hand brushed the edge of something, splintered wood. I brought the lighter too it. It was a table for sure, mostly blank bits of paper atop it, but some words could be made out among the tattered pieces. Scrawled in black chalk was a list of some sort, but it was muddled, barley legible, all the words crossed out by a thick obscuring line. I could faintly make out words like shrimp and possum among the crossed ones.
After moving from the table, I stumbled around in near darkness for a few moments before I damn near tripped on some kind of metal contraption in the ground. I composed myself and knelt where I thought it was, shining my lighter towards it. A round and rusted metal hatch it was, this certainly would lead me to the basement, and consequently whatever secret Erik held there. I lifted it with a heave to reveal an untrustworthy looking wooden ladder, the bottom of which my small light did not illuminate.
For the first time that night I hesitated. I had no clue what I even expected to find if not for the boy, which I had ruled out by that point anyway. But stood there atop the ladder I began to feel a cool breeze flow in from the window I had already smashed. ‘It would haunt me forever if I abandoned the journey now’, I thought. I let out a suspire of slight regret before one leg after the other, I descended into the darkness, trying all the while not to let my light go out.
The smell down there was like nothing I had smelt before, it must’ve been where the horrendous stench upstairs originated from. Ten steps down my shoe met the ground with a splash, at the bottom I was ankle deep in water. But it wasn’t a thin liquid like the seas but instead a thick, mire-like substance which seeped through the threads of my shoes, it was tiresome to walk in, hard to bring your feet up from. My arm extended, lighter in hand I felt along the walls with my other one. The walls were wet with some kind of slime which caught on my fingers as I followed it around the room.
I was startled when my hand caught another hatch of some kind. My light towards it I could see that through it was a horribly corroded chain that looked as though (given a good tug) it could break at the hinges. I placed my hand on top and followed that instead. It wasn’t two more steps in the sullied water when before me, within the small orange hue of my lighter, hanging from the roof which I had not the light to see, was a string. A wooden nub on the end of it, like the kind of thing you’d use to turn on the lights in an old bathroom. Perhaps I would find some light after all.
I pocketed my lighter, leaving me now in complete darkness. With one hand still on the chain I felt around in the unlit chamber for the little piece of wood. After inelegantly knocking it aside a few times I finally caught it in my hand. But just as I was about to pull it down, my hairs stood up and my blood ran cold. I felt my skin almost ripple as slowly and deliberately, the chain in my other hand began to shudder. Whatever it was connected to was beginning to wake up. Before fear could get the best of me, I yanked on the light switch and with a pulse and a flicker, a single solitary bulb lit the place entirely. But I wish it didn’t.
Infront of me, closer to me than I was to the ladder behind it was. With the place lit it was now known to me that the chain I had been holding was one of many. At least ten of them, all around the room, latched into the flesh of a huge gelatinous creature, a mound of flesh. It was the furthest thing from human I’d ever seen. It had an uncountable number of crying eyes which looked everywhere and nowhere at once, accompanied by flailing, flogging, thrashing mouths that groaned and whimpered in a thousand voices of terror beyond all comprehension. Its infested, blubbery flesh oozed a repugnant blacky bile from every accused chasm which I then realised was what was flooding the chamber. Its many blackened tongues writhed and squirmed and in its many mouths which dribbled the same wretched substance. It was the ultimate abomination. The face of horror itself.
I leapt backwords into the mire with an anguished howl. I darted to my feet as fast as the liquid would allow me and I shot up the ladder as the creature let out a blubbery bellow, which shook the foundations of the place. Once back at the top I threw the latch shut and fell backwards into a shelf leaving me panting on the ground. I almost didn’t notice that the room was now illuminated too. My heart couldn’t sink any lower, but it certainly would have when I heard a faint chuckle to my side. Still gasping for breath, I turned to see the man I had been studying for the past few days, sat at a table, staring me deep in the eyes, chuckling as he did.
“I suppose you’ll be payin for that”, he croaked, still laughing. He pointed to the broken window. “oh I’m just messin, stop being such a little grinch.” He gestured me to sit opposite him. I didn’t move. “you invaded my home young man, the least you could do is sit with me now.” Shaking and barely able to talk, I crawled to my feet before stiffly placing myself in the chair opposite him. “Drink?” he said offering me a beer. I ignored his question and managed too stutter out “w-what was that thing?” “Oh no you first, I seen yer spying on me, asking bout me, what is it boy, what you want with an old lonely sailor like me eh?” his tone was less upbeat now. “I-I thought you took the boy, the missing boy Samuel, I thought you took him.” I responded, still my mind was a mess.
Erik looked down when I mentioned him. “ahhh yes, news doesn’t get to me so fast, but, when I found out I was- , well you know, it was terribly sad what happened, terribly sad. I can think of nothing more distressing as parent then not knowing if your kid is ok or not, nothing.” now he sounded truly sad. “That’s why yer were poking round my house was it?” He asked. I nodded timidly. “Ahh well I can’t fault you there boy, trying to be a hero. But as you might have seen, no boy down there,” he pointed to the hatch.
I looked him in his tired eyes, “what is down there?” I asked again.
“oh dear, you shouldn’t have gotten muddled in all my mess but, I suppose if I don’t tell you now, it’ll drive you mad, like this old boy,” he chuckled patting himself on the belly.
I spoke up, “I’ve heard the stories about you, you know, in town they say you saw something, in the waters, is that what you saw?” I prodded, gesturing to the hatch I had emerged from.
“No son, its vastly more complicated than that. On that fateful day, us five sailors- or was it four, ahh it matters not. On that fateful day us sailors did as we always did, went out into the great blue, trying to do our part for this lovely town, when, when I heard something. The other boys were busy pullin our net up ya see, but as they were pullin, I heard something. A whisper on the wind, carried by the ocean air. I looked outwards into the waves; something was calling to me. ‘Erik’ it called to me ‘Erik’ it called once more ‘look to the depths’.
“look to the depths, w-what does that mean?” I asked, entranced by his tale.
“well, quite literally that my boy. The sirens song called me to the depths, so I did it. Almost hypnotised I peered of the edge of the boat, and, and all worldly sounds faded into air as I saw what lay below. The water wasn’t like it had been, thick and opaque, instead it was clear as crystal. I could see right down to the bottom.”
“And what did you see?” I asked once more.
Erik’s eyes widened almost manically, and a sharp toothy grin crept along his face.
“A mighty city, sunken and ancient but not abandoned. The tops of their great monasteries twinkled like stars as creatures great and small danced in the golden paved streets. The ageless priests chanted their endless song in the grand church which sat at the centre of their mighty kingdom, hidden below the waves. I blacked out after that. when I awoke my crew mates were dragging me along the sand and since that day, I barely spoke to them. Because I had been chosen, not them, I was meant to taste the salt. I needed a part of their world, a fragment. When you get a glimpse of the other side my boy, you can never rid yourself of the great burden that is knowing of it. So, on my lonesome I sailed out there day after day fishing for one. It took years and years of work and carrying the knowledge that this world does not belong to us. You wouldn’t believe what I dreamt of. But eventually I caught one, I bloody caught, one a child of Neptune, and I keep her with me here. To sing to me. And now you share that gift with me.”
I looked to the ground, staring at the lines between the planks, in awe of what was down there. I felt Erik’s gaze on me. “Come on son, we best get you home now,” he said softly. I stood when he did and saying nothing, he led me out the door into the dark, but before he shut the door behind me, I turned to ask him one final question.
“So, what finally did it?”
Erik looked at me puzzled
“So what did it, after all these years. How did you catch it?”
Erik smirked. “well it’s all about the bait my boy, and believe me I tried everything. Tested every kind of meat I could get my hands on, rat, cow, bird, fish, possum, even cat and dog meat. But who would’ve known that all it would take, was the flesh of a young boy. Hey that reminds me, I must be headin back into town soon. She’s due for a good feedin.”
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2020.09.16 04:00 deadislandman1 Cyborg #7 - Touchdown

DC Next presents:
CYBORG Issue seven: Touchdown
Written by Deadislandman1
Edited by AdamantAce, Trestormart, and Fortanono
 
Next Issue > Coming October 21st
 
Arc: Welcome to Detroit
 
 
“You got any videogames in that head of yours?”
Victor raised his eyebrow at Exxy, who was currently sat across from him, twiddling his thumbs while on one of Mr. Terrific’s workshop tables. The two were waiting for Mr. Terrific to come back from his mission so that he could sort the two out, but it had been nearly an hour since he left. Vic laid down in the corner of the room, tapping his fingers against the concrete to make a repetitive, rhythmic motion while Exxy blew raspberries from his seat. The two were unbearably bored, so Exxy posed the question to break the silence.
“Nope.” sighed Victor, not even bothering to look at Exxy while he was speaking to him, “No games.”
“Not even the eight bit ones?” asked Exxy, “Like Pong or E.T.?”
“Like I said, no games.” said Victor, “And we don’t talk about E.T.”
“Right, we don’t talk about E.T.” said Exxy, making a few popping sounds with his mouth before finally standing up, the inherent lack of anything happening finally getting to him, “Aight, screw this. I’m bored. I’m gonna snoop around, see if I can find anything interesting.”
“You don’t need my permission man, knock yourself out,” said Victor, turning away from Exxy and facing the wall while closing his eye. He didn’t mean to be so cold to the guy, but he had just met him less than ten or so hours ago. For now he’d rather just reflect on himself and let Exxy do his thing, though hopefully he wouldn’t mess anything up while exploring the area.
Exxy got up and waltzed around the base, checking out all the little bits and bobs of the workshop in closer detail. Most of the parts strewn about were pieces of Forger weaponry, taken apart and put back together over and over again in such a manner so that Terrific could better understand the craftsmanship and style of the arms-manufacturer, but there were a few workshop benches that held other parts, specifically parts used to build the T-Spheres. Picking up a nearly complete T-Sphere, Exxy ran his hands over its smooth frame, observing it from every angle.
“Hey Vic,” said Exxy, marvelling at the technology in his hands, “You think you can build something like this?”
Victor turned his head to face Exxy, clear annoyance in his eye. “Just because I’m a product of science doesn’t mean I’m good at science. I’m smart, but not smartest in the world smart.”
Exxy nodded, plopping the T-Sphere down on the table again before returning to his odyssey around the room. Unfortunately for him, there wasn’t much else to see, barring a few computer screens and a table stacked to the brim with various types of professional papers featuring both law and science topics. Just as he was ready to sit back down again and die of boredom, Exxy spotted a door leading into a smaller side room, marked by its relative normality when compared to the massive blast doors that signified the entrance to the base as a whole. Intrigued, Exxy strode over to the door, planting his hands on the knob and attempting to turn it. Alas, it didn’t budge, as the door was locked.
“Well shit, someone wants to keep parts of his place private… or at least, more private,” said Exxy, glancing back at Victor, “Vic, Terrific’s got a locked door here.”
“Guy probably has a few places in his little base that he doesn’t want us to go into.” said Victor, completely apathetic to Exxy’s discovery, “It’s probably best to leave it alone.”
Staring up at the ceiling, Victor elected to ignore Exxy the next time he spoke, instead looking inward in order to explore his options with everything that had happened up to that point.
‘V, what’s the damage to me so far? Did that electro-gun do a lot of damage?’ thought Victor.
[While the current was enough to temporarily disable all systems, internal shock protectors prevented permanent damage.]
Click
‘That’s good.’ thought Victor, ‘On another subject, I’ve gotta figure out how to get into the STAR Labs database. There’s another location of theirs in Central City, so it might be a good idea to-’
Click
Victor frowned, sitting up and looking in Exxy’s direction, spotting the young man fiddling with the lock on the door. Just as Victor was about to ask what in the hell Exxy was doing over there, he heard a third Click as Exxy pushed the door open, a look of satisfaction on his face. Turning around, Exxy flashed a lockpick in full view of Victor, slipping them back into his sleeve before waltzing inside. Victor scrambled to his feet, trotting into the room after Exxy with a look of utter shock on his face.
“H-How did you do that?!” said Victor.
“I used to be a thief, man. All that experience doesn’t just go away once stop stealing shit from people” said Exxy, “But enough of that, let’s see what Detroit’s hometown hero is keeping locked up.”
Now in the room, Exxy found the reward for his effort to be fairly disappointing. It was just an old office with a single swivel chair and desk, all positioned under an array of unpowered monitors. Exxy groaned, plopping himself into the chair and kicking his legs up onto the desk, “Man, all that buildup and it’s just some dusty old office.”
Victor raised his eyebrow, observing the contents of the desk, “I’m sure there’s a reason he kept this place locked up.” Spotting a picture frame placed face down on the desk next to the keyboard, Victor picked it up, curiosity piquing his interest as he turned it right side up to find a wedding photo featuring a husband and wife as well as the best man. While the wife and best man had completely foreign faces to Victor, the Husband seemed very familiar.
“Hey Exxy?” said Victor, turning the photo around to show the former thief the photo, “Who is this guy? The husband I mean.”
Exxy leaned in to get a look of the photo, studying it for a few seconds before doing a double take, “Dude! That’s Michael Holt!”
“Michael Holt?” said Victor, the name ringing a few bells but not bringing anything significant up in Victor’s head, “Can you tell me about him? I don’t know much about this guy.”
“Crazy to think that you don’t know who he is.” said Exxy, “He is...well was the CEO and founder of a tech company called Holt Industries. One of the biggest tech companies in the world until...well, it wasn’t.”
“I remember now,” said Victor, a few memories flooding back, “My dad liked to get stuff from their catalog. Wait, you’re talking about it like it’s gone.”
“Well….it is.” said Exxy, “Some guy bombed the main building in a terrorist attack or something like that. Holt got lucky and didn’t die, but got knocked into a coma. Without him or a...well, alive board of directors, the whole company was apparently in chaos. Then, as they tend to do, The Galaxy corporation swallowed the whole thing up and liquidated everything. No more Holt Industries now.”
Victor turned the picture back over towards him, looking at it a second time. Everyone in the photo seemed so...joyous, yet the photo was clearly face down, like Terrific, whoever he was, was not only connected to this photo, but clearly felt some kind of negative emotion whenever he saw it. Placing the photo down, Victor then spotted the pc that powered the monitors.
“Hey, you wanna flip the switch and see what these babies can do?” asked Vic, watching as Exxy agonized over the decision.
“Hmmm….Sure!” said Exxy, “What’s the worst that can happen?”
Leaning down and pressing the button, Vic and Exxy watched all the screens light up with various camera angles throughout the city. Some depicted quiet alleyways devoid of any action while others showed establishments rife with excitement, such as a bar in the downtown area filled to the brim with people.
“Daaaaaamn!” said Exxy, eyes wide in surprise, “Big Brother is watching you!”
Victor scanned the monitors, looking over the different angles of the city until he spotted a peculiar one that drew his eyes into focus, “Hey Exxy, isn’t that your old gang’s hideout?”
Exxy’s eyes darted to the monitor, “Oh shit, it is! Terrific’s still in there I guess?”
“Shouldn’t he have come out by now?” asked Victor.
“...I dunno man, maybe.” said Exxy, scratching his head, “This whole thing is fishy as all hell.”
Victor continued to stare at the monitor, taking in the hideout’s image. Terrific better come back, he didn’t want to be cooped up in this base forever.
 
 
“Tch Tch Tch...Wakey Wakey Shmarthashh!”
A heap of water sloshed onto Terrific, soaking him and bringing him back from his state of unconsciousness. He coughed, spitting water out of his mouth before shaking his head, attempting to get the liquid out of his eyes as his captor slowly came into view. He’d tied to a chair, his jacket stripped from his body and his feet chained to the ground. Looking up, he spotted Rizzo, who had a bandage wrapped around his chin, rifling through the Terrific’s outer wear after tossing an empty bucket aside. One of his henchmen watched the door to the warehouse, guarding the area while the other slept in a cot to the side. To Terrific’s relief he was still masked, though this was mainly due to the fact that it didn’t come off his face and just disappeared whenever he wanted it to.
“You goth a loth of pockethsh in thish bitcsh,” said Rizzo, scratching at his scalp, “Buth they’re all shealed up. Thalk about pocketh protheckthorsh. Hey Therrificth, mind thelling ush how tho open your jacketh?”
Terrific ignored Rizzo, his eyes scanning the rest of the room instead in order to properly gauge some of the more specific details of the warehouse. There was a box sitting on the foldable table that held his jacket, filled with small cylindrical objects, which Terrific ascertained from their shape and specific design were concussion grenades built by the Forger, one’s he’d seen before during other patrols. Looking towards the sleeping Rat Pack member, Terrific noticed that his cot was located underneath a metal catwalk. Turning his attention to the bonds binding his hands together, Terrific felt the knots with his fingers, counting out how many they were before everything in his head clicked.
Within seconds, a plan was formed.
“Ey!” piped Rizzo, spitting angrily through his broken jaw as he marched over to Terrific, frustration written all over his face, “Don’th ignore me! I’m shpeakthing thoo you ashhole.”
Terrific turned to look Rizzo in the eyes, seeing the almost childish anger beneath his attempt at an intimidating facade, “Sure, and now that I am speaking to you, I’m going to have to ask you where you got your weapons.”
“Don’th acth like you’re in charge!” piped Rizzo, “You’re noth in a posithon to askth anything of ush.”
“Really?” said Terrific, “And why is that?”
“Becauth I outhshmarthed you.” said Rizzo, a proud grin forming on his face, “You fuckthed up, and I came outh on Thop. Ith justh goesh thoo show thath you heroesh really aren’th all thath shpecial.”
“So you’re saying you’re smarter than me?” said Terrific, raising an eyebrow at Rizzo as the criminal flaunted his own overblown ego.
“Hell yeah I’m shaying I’m shmarther than you.” said Rizzo, “Whath elsh would I be shaying?”
“Well, if you were really so smart,” said Terrific, standing up as the ropes that had previously bound his wrists hit the floor, “You’d know that five knots in a row is an insultingly easy challenge for me.”
“Uh-UH!” Rizzo stuttered like a broken record, unable to respond as Terrific slammed his hands into the sides of the criminal’s head, discombobulating him and filling his brain with a persistent ringing. As Rizzo crashed to the ground, hands over his ears and groaning in pain, the henchman at the door raised his weapon in response, fear in his eyes as he powered his armament up. Grabbing the chair he was sitting in with one hand, Terrific swung his arm in a wide motion, flinging the furniture at the man and watching as it collided with his torso, forcing him back against the door as he dropped his weapon. Rushing towards the man, Terrific slid over the foldable table, grabbing a concussion grenade landing on the other side, kicking the table back into the air and towards his enemy. The man anticipated this attack, grabbing the chair in midair, but was unprepared for the second kick Terrific sent his way. Slamming his boot into the chair, Terrific smashed it to pieces as the momentum of the kick carried through into the man’s chest, knocking him right through the door and onto the grass outside the warehouse.
“Ughhhh...huh?”
The final criminal in the cot was the only person Terrific had to deal with now, but he would be child's play. Flipping a switch on the grenade, Terrific strolled back over to the table, tossing the grenade directly underneath the criminal’s cot before grabbing his Fair Play jacket. As the criminal rubbed his eyes in confusion, he turned to his right to find Terrific slipping his jacket on, “Hey….Hey! You’re supposed to be-”
BWOOOONG
The grenade underneath the man goes off, sending both him and the cot upwards into the catwalk. The man’s body slammed into the underneath of the catwalk, the cot sandwiching him and further harming him before the two fell back down to earth. Hitting the ground at the same time as the cot, the man rolled onto the floor, unconscious and now missing a few of his front teeth. Straightening his sleeves, Mister Terrific smirked, “Sweet Dreams buddy.”
“Ughhhhhhhh” groaned Rizzo, whining in pain as Terrific grabbed him by the collar, eliciting a terrified yelp, “Wha-Whath!”
“Alright Rizzo, I’ve figured a few things out already so let’s skip the spiel.” said Terrific, “Under normal circumstances you’d just put a bullet in my head, but there’s a reason you tied me up instead. Carme to enlighten me?”
“The-The-The Forger called ush, wanthed tho colleth you!” stuttered Rizzo, “He shent hish enforsher thoo colleth you!”
Terrific kept a poker face, his mind chugging along and taking in the information, formulating all sorts of potential reasons for why the Forger wanted him now. Could be that he was tired of Terrific snooping about, or maybe, maybe, he’d figured out Terrific’s identity. As unlikely as the latter idea was, he still had to take it into account. Grabbing Rizzo’s head, Terrific slammed it against the concrete, knocking him out before standing up, Spotting the jammer from before on a crate. Walking over to it, Terrific picked it up, crushing it in his fist before scanning the rest of the warehouse for potential places to set up an ambush.
If he could catch the Forger’s enforcer off guard, he might just have a way of going straight to the man himself.
 
 
“I spy….something red.”
“It’s the fire hydrant, Exxy.”
“Fuck!”
Having quickly reacquired the extreme boredom that had ailed them both, Exxy and Victor had resorted to playing a game of I spy, pointing out different objects on the camera’s various angles around the city. It started out well enough, with the two pointing out mundane objects like lamp posts or cars, but soon Exxy tried to spice things up by immediately selecting an object within five seconds of the feed coming in. Issue was, it was always the most striking and colorful object on display, making it extremely easy for Victor to pick out what his choice was.
“Okay okay okay!” said Exxy, Flipping to another camera while his eyes darted about the screen, “Uuuuuuuh, I spy something…..Yellow and-”
“Flashing pizza place sign.”
Exxy let out an angry squeal, frustration evident in his bulging eyes and the fact that he’s literally pulling his hair out. He slammed his hands on the desk, causing the camera’s to switch channels before swiveling his chair in order to face Victor.
“Why can’t you just let me have it, just one time!” said Exxy.
“If you wanna win then stop making it so easy.” said Victor, offhandedly glancing at the screen as Exxy continued to complain.
“Listen man, I’m goin’ a little nuts bein’ cooped up in here with nothing to do except dick around with you,” said Exxy, “And listen, I don’t know how you got to be how you are...but I swear, I will…..write a song about how much you suck or something, I dunno.”
“Wait a second...”
“No, I’m serious.” said Exxy, “It’s gonna be a jazz number and I’ll call it...The metal man without a dick or something!”
“Exxy shut up!” said Victor, Pointing at the screen, “Look.”
Exxy gave Victor an odd look before turning back to the screen, realizing that it was depicting the Rat Pack’s hideout. This time however, one of the doors had been busted open, with one of the gang’s members laying just outside the building, unconscious.
“Oh, look at that...” said Exxy, “Looks like our friend has cleaned house. I imagine he’ll be back in a few minutes.”
“Sure.” said Victor, rolling his eye, “Then we have to listen to him babble.”
“C’mon man, I’ve said once I’ll say it again, he ain’t that bad.” said Exxy.
“Whatever,” said Victor, turning around and walking back into the workshop, “Watch on if you want, I’m gonna lie down again.”
Exxy wrinkled his nose, swiveling back to the camera’s in order to let Victor be on his own. Despite his somewhat unwelcoming attitude, Exxy didn’t think Victor was a bad guy. He struck him less as a monstrous villain and more as just a guy trying to be better than the dice roll life gave him. Looking back at the screen, Exxy watched the warehouse, looking for any other details that might have changed.
Oddly enough, there appeared to be a little blip of light in the corner of the camera feed. Squinting, Exxy looked closer, attempting to identify what it was. As the blip became brighter, it approached the camera at incredible speed, too fast for Exxy to see what it was before a part of the light seemed to split off, destroying the T-Sphere and cutting the feed.
“Oh shit!” said Exxy, standing up abruptly before turning to Victor, “Vic! Somethin fast just came through! Terrific might need some help.”
“He’s the Smartest man alive.” replied Victor, lying down in the workshop, “I’m sure he’ll get through it fine.”
“Vic, quit playing around,” said Exxy, “The dude could be in trouble!”
“I’m not playing around,” said Victor, turning his head away from Exxy, “I just don’t think the guy needs help.”
Exxy remained sat in his seat, a look of disbelief on his face. Victor seemed uneasy before, but now he was just being...cold. “What...What’s your deal man? You could have run when Rizzo came knocking, let him take me out back and put me down, but you stuck around and tried to cover my back, even though they got the better of you! But now you’re not gonna help this guy out because...what, he rubs you the wrong way?”
“Exxy, I’m a massive hunk of tech designed to kill shit.” said Victor, sitting up to actually look Exxy in the eyes in irritation, “I’m not a hero who goes out and saves people.”
Exxy narrowed his eyes, “If you’re designed to kill things, then why didn’t you paint my walls red with the Rat Pack’s blood?”
Victor’s expression fell away almost immediately after Exxy said those words. He had indeed spared the Rat Pack and it wasn’t a decision he thought much of. He made it subconsciously, as if it was the right thing to do, yet it was now making him question himself.
“You say you’re built to kill, but as far as I know you’re not a killer.” said Exxy, turning around to rifle through some of the desk’s drawers, “You saved my life tonight, so what’s wrong with saving another?”
Finding a pair of earpieces, Exxy swiveled back around, tossing one to Vic, “C’mon, I’ll lead you there. What’dya say?”
Victor looked at the earpiece in his hand, unsure of what to do. He really didn’t like Terrific, and would rather focus on his own task of finding his Father, yet despite Terrific’s pedigree, the idea that he was in trouble did tug at Victor’s inner conscience. Hanging his head, Victor realized that even if he did refuse, Exxy wouldn’t shut up trying to convince him for the rest of the time they were here, and if Terrific really was in trouble and got killed out there, that could be forever.
Sigh fine?” said Victor.
Exxy’s eyes widened, “Y-You’ll actually do it! Awesome!”
“You do realize I don’t have ears right?” said Victor.
“Uuuuuuuuuh-”
“And we still don’t have a way of opening the door, right?”
“Uuuuuuummmmmm...Yeah I think I might’ve jumped over a few issues we might have at the present moment.” said Exxy.
[I may be of assistance.]
V’s sudden entrance to the situation surprised Victor, as the AI had been fairly quiet. Still, it was a welcome return, ‘What do you think we can do, V?’
[Please move over to the main entrance to this facility and touch the door. I will do the rest.]
Unsure of what exactly V had in mind, Victor got up and walked over to the massive bulk doors closing him off from the outside world. Placing his hand on the metal, Victor suddenly felt a small spark in the back of his mind, followed by a sensation that felt like a hand reaching out of his mind, grasping at something before pulling a switch. He felt the sensation twice, at which point the doors suddenly began to open to Vic’s surprise.
“Woah!” said Exxy, “How’d you do that?!”
“I dunno.” said Victor, reaching out to V internally, ‘How did I do that?’
[I connected to the doors and used a few lines of code to open them. I also took initiative and linked your audio-sensors to the earpiece, you no longer need it as all audio now feeds directly into your mind.]
Great, now Exxy could bark into his ear wherever he was, ‘If you could always do this, why didn’t you do it before?’
[You never asked.]
Victor grumbled at such an answer, both very fitting for a computer and very irritating for him to deal with. Walking up to the opening in the base, Victor turned back towards Exxy, “I guess I’m going out there then.”
“Good luck,” said Exxy, “I’ll head back to the office and watch from the cams.”
Victor nodded, turning back towards the opening. Time to back up the smartest man alive.
 
 
Exxy was right, whatever was flying around the Rat Pack’s hideout was fast, so fast that Victor couldn’t even keep track of it. On a bright sunny day, this thing would be a blur, something people would think was just a figment of their imagination. At night though, with a skyline as starless as Detroit’s, it might as well have been invisible. The only reason Victor could tell this thing was still around the hideout was because of the lightning quick energy blasts being peppered at the building from what seemed to be every angle imaginable.
Victor found himself crouched across a field of grass, watching the attack unfold from a relatively safe distance. He wanted to gauge the extent of the attack, as Exxy’s description was fairly vague, and now that he knew how bad the fight actually was, he had to figure out how he was getting in.
“Just run in dude! Rip the bandaid off!” said Exxy, speaking over the ear-piece.
“Really? You’re the one pressuring me to rescue this guy, but you’re also not the one risking your life out here.” said Victor.
“Relax man, I’m sure you can take a few hits.” said Exxy, “Like, sixty percent sure.”
Victor growled, shuffling in place for a few seconds before begrudgingly preparing to run. He didn’t know if the thing in the sky would even attack him, but if it did, he wasn’t sure how many blasts his frame could handle. Watching the blasts blow solid brick to smithereens, Victor guessed that that number wasn’t many. Racking his brain, Victor struggled to come up with a way inside.
At least, he did until he saw what was in the grass.
A small deflated football sat in the grass, barely visible from Victor’s position. If he had to guess, it belonged to less fortunate children who used the field as a football arena of their own, but for some reason they had left their icon of joy behind. Regardless of why it was here, it gave Victor an idea, one very much rooted in his old life. Taking a few steps back, Victor got into a three-point stance, his fingers pressing past the grass and into the dirt as he waited for his moment to go. As the attacker seemed to move around the back end of the warehouse, Victor launched himself forward, his legs thundering against the grass as he charged for his destination.
The thing in the sky seemed to notice him bolting across the grass, evidenced by the fresh array of energy blasts now heading straight for him. As the distorted light came hard and fast, Victor did what he always did when an enemy linebacker charged in in football, he dodged, he weaved, he spun out of the way. He gave himself to the flow of the game, or in this case, the action, pretending that the hail of deadly energy balls were just opponents to rush past.
Maneuvering his body and using its inherent momentum to peter side to side, Victor avoided each blast as it peppered the ground, leaving massive burn marks in the grass as Victor made it to the halfway point. The attacking entity saw him as a threat, enough so that it would divert some of its weapon fire at him, but without the full firepower of the attacks, Victor remains untouchable, just like on the football fields of his college career.
It was moments like this, moments where his past came to life again, moments that reminded him of what he used to be, that brang life back into Victor’s soul.
Now only a few meters from the warehouse wall, Victor tucked his head and leaped forward, using the force of his body to slam straight through the brick making up the wall, sending debris flying everywhere as he finally got into the building.
Touchdown.
“What in-You?!”
Victor groaned, shrugging the shattered brick off his body before looking up to find a surprised Mister Terrific taking cover underneath a foldable table. The hero growled in frustration, doing a little angry dance with his hands for a moment before frustratingly beckoning Victor to take cover with him. Crawling through and over bits and pieces of rubble made from his entrance and from the attacks by the entity before finally reaching the table. Terrific reached out as the entity’s assault began again, energy peppering the interior of the warehouse as he grabbed Victor, dragging him into cover just as the blasts began to hit the area around the table.
“We’re gonna have a talk, y’here me.” said Terrific, his tone angry, “Once we get back, we’re all gonna sit down and you’re gonna tell me everything.”
“Yeah, once we get back,” said Victor, nervously eyeing the area outside the warehouse, “First we gotta deal with whatever’s attacking us.”
“They’re Forger’s enforcer.” said Terrific, “Forger being the weapon designer I’ve been tracking. Long Story. Point is, they’re on some kind of hover vehicle and they’re too fast for even my T-Sphere’s to track. I was going to set a trap, but I wasn’t expecting somebody this mobile.”
Victor frowned, his mind racing to figure out how he could help Terrific out of this one. Their enemy was too fast to even track with the naked or artificial eye, and their attacks were strong enough to punch through brick. Any conventional means of combating them were practically useless. They needed something out of the ordinary.
‘V, do we have anything that can deal with something this fast?’ thought Victor.
[Parsing….I recommend the hypersonic emitter.]
Victor had no clue what that was, but at this point he’d take anything, ‘Alright, give me the...whatever it is.’
[Affirmative.]
Victor felt his hand begin to shift, the fingers folding back as if his arm was becoming a blaster again. However, this blaster was much smaller in comparison, formed around where his hand used to be and about the size of his palm in comparison to the massive blaster that was his White Noise Cannon.
Welp, here goes nothing.
Aiming the weapon outward towards an opening where the shots rained in, Victor subconsciously activated the emitter, expecting some kind of sound wave. Instead, what he got was a loud screeching noise, broadcast from his hand and creating a deafening wave of sound over the entire warehouse. Turning around, Victor watched Terrific cover his ears, groaning in pain as he withstood the ear piercing noise.
“Aaaargh!”
A scream could be heard from outside as someone, likely the enforcer, cried out in pain. The attacks ceased, likely due to the pain caused by the unexpected attack as Victor caught a glimpse of their assailant flying away. As his arm shifted back to normal, Victor crawled out from under the table, looking out through the holes in the warehouse roof and into the night sky.
The shout seemed almost...feminine.
“Shit. Rattama’s flown the coop…..again.”
Terrific trembled in anger, his hands shaking before tightening up into fists. Victor backed away a little, unsure of what to say now that the threat was over, “Uh, I’m sure you can catch him...again.”
Terrific turned around, giving Victor a face that screamed ‘I’m going to kill you.’ Victor shuddered in fear, taking a few steps back as Terrific began to approach him.
“What’s goin on?” barked Exxy, broadcasting into Victor’s ear, “Did you save him?”
Terrific got right up into Victor’s personal space, pressing his face against Victor’s before whispering a few angry words.
“Back to base. Tell me everything. Now.”
 
 
Terrific sat across from Victor, putting the pieces of his story together as Victor nervously tapped his fingers against the table, silently venting his stress while Exxy sat to the side. The former thief was delighted at first to see the two back safe, but once Terrific realized that Exxy had broken into a...private section of the base, that delight quickly morphed into terror as Terrific lost his temper, pushing him aside and re-locking the door. Now keeping a watchful eye on the burglar, Terrific sat all three of them down, allowing Victor to tell Terrific everything. The facility, the fight with GRID, he left nothing out.
Having finally been told everything, Terrific rubbed his chin, reflecting on the story before standing up, “That’s...quite the tale. I can imagine that you’d be in a stressful state of mind at this moment.”
“Now that you know everything, can you please just let me out of here.” said Victor, “I need to find my dad, and I can do that by picking up his trail in the STAR LABS database.”
“Don’t bother.” said Terrific, “The security on those databases are complex, so complex that nobody’s ever broken them before. I don’t know what your baseline intelligence or education level is, but even the best hackers in the world haven’t gotten in.”
Victor shook his head, his frustration starting to bubble to the surface he let out a sigh, “Damnit I...I’m just grasping at straws right now. I don’t know where to go from here.”
“Ey!” piped Exxy, gesturing at Terrific, “Aren’t you the smartest man in the world? Couldn’t you break it...hypothetically speaking.”
“Firstly, I’m one of the smartest men alive, it isn’t concrete.” said Terrific, “Second, even if I was too willing to put my time into this, I can’t. This business with Forger takes priority.”
Exxy stood up abruptly, anger in his eyes, “I’m sorry but...Victor just did you a solid. He helped you out and you’re just gonna send him off without a thank you?”
“I don’t know why you think you’re entitled to my help.” said Terrific, “Forger’s weapons are all over the city and if I don’t-”
“Don’t speak to me about entitlement.” said Exxy, his usually calm and laid back demeanor replaced by uncharacteristic malice, “Sure, you fight crime with your fancy gadgets and doodads, and I’m happy that you help at all, but don’t ever get started on entitlement if you’ve never had to go weeks on end without a home, a shower, or food to eat.”
The snappiness of the reply surprised Terrific, who seemed to inch back a little in response to Exxy’s retort. Before he could respond however, Victor spoke up.
“Then we make a deal.” said Victor, “I help you find Forger, back you up in as many ways as I can, including stuff you might not be able to deal with, then you help me with my dad. I know you just met me and I know we didn’t get off to a good start, but I need this. I need to find my dad, and right now, you’re my only option.”`
It was an ask made almost completely out of desperation, and Terrific knew that. He thought on the deal, entertaining the idea of working with a partner again. Curtis wasn’t here anymore to watch his back, and so far he’d fallen into a few unnecessarily easy to see traps. If someone was there to pick up any slack he had, if any, then that would patch some of the holes he had in his methods. Not only that, but he was emotionally compromised too due to the attack on Holt Industries. If he went out of line, then somebody would need to pull him back from the brink. As much as he hated to admit it, this was the most logical step.
“Alright, you have yourself a deal.” said Terrific, “But we’ll need someone to keep an eagles eye in the investigation if we want all the bases covered.”
“I’ll do it!” said Exxy, raising his hand, “I’m already kinda familiar with the system so...It’ll be easy for me to integrate and shit.”
“Exxy….why do you want to do this at all?” said Terrific, “I can’t legally pay you or anything.”
“Sure, but if you let me sleep in here,” said Exxy, waving at the base as a whole, “Then I’ll be golden.”
“If that’s so then...It’s settled.” said Terrific, turning back to Victor with a serious look, “Get rest, we start tomorrow at five a.m.”
Standing up from his seat, Terrific stretched his arms before walking off, leaving Exxy and Victor alone. Despite the rollercoaster of a night the two had had, this had turned out about as well as Victor had hoped. He may have hit a roadblock, but there was a way to move forward.
And hey, he even made some friends along the way.
 
 
Huff, Fugh.”
Rizzo groaned in pain, clutching his chest as he hobbled into a dirty Detroit alley. He’d barely made it out of the warehouse during the chaos, but he was forced to leave behind everything. His gear, his money, his crew, everything.
Now he was nothing but an out of breath guy with a broken jaw.
“Fack!” shouted Rizzo, punching the wall in frustration resting his head against the brick, “Damnith, Can’th I have shomething go righth?”
“Hello? Are you alright my friend?”
Rizzo, startled the entrance of a clam but electronically distorted voice, stumbled back a few feet, looking into the dark depths of the alley in terror, “Who-Who’sh there?”
“Do not worry, I am not interested in turning you in or otherwise doing anything that would be detrimental to you. That would be exceedingly hypocritical of me.”
Rizzo shuddered, shaking nervously as he cautiously took a step towards the voice, “W-Whath do you wanth?”
“Me? I want to help you Rizzo. I’ve been keeping an eye on you and I’ve noticed that your recent...exploits have been less than successful.”
“It’sh my damn gang,” piped Rizzo, blaming others rather than himself, “They’re all ushelesh. Even Forgar’sh weaponry doeshn’th help.”
“Guns are only as good as their users, and in your case the users weren’t competent.” said teh voice, “Me though, I can offer you a more...permanent upgrade.”
Rizzo raised his eyebrow, “Exshplain.”
“Sure, you could buy a laser that can punch through brick walls, but what if you could just use your fists? Sure, you can snipe somebody from a rooftop, but what if you could just look at them and get the same result?” said the voice, “You might not even want an enhancement for combat or crime related purposes. I can get you fixes that let you not have to worry about being out a breath, I can replace a cancerous and diseased organ or heart. I can even make your bones unbreakable.”
Rizzo rubbed his broken jaw, seriously considering the man’s words, “Who are you?”
Out of the shadows stepped a man draped in a trenchcoat and hood. Pulling the hood back, the man revealed a head completely enclosed by a metallic mask, with unevenly spaced eye holes and lines running haphazardly around his head, “I am the Machinist, and if you take my hand, I’ll make your dreams come true.”
 
Next Issue: Who is the Forger’s Enforcer? - Coming October 21st
 
submitted by deadislandman1 to DCNext [link] [comments]


2020.09.07 22:18 a15minutestory Spy tugs

They came all at once like a sudden storm on a sunny day. I was tending the field when I heard a sound so horrible that I didn't even turn to observe the abomination it was born from. I could only fall to my knees and raise my hands to my ears. It pierced the thickness of my hands as though were made of tissue paper. My mind felt as though it were being rung out like a damp rag within the ringing halls of my skull. Just as my vision began to blur, it stopped; the unholy screech haunted me in the form of a ringing in my ears. I opened my eyes and carefully lifted my hands off of my ears and turned around to see villagers running from some unseen calamity obscured by the village's several buildings. My ears returned to working order just in time to be assaulted by the panicked and pained screaming of my countrymen. And then I saw one for the first time. I'll never forget it.
A mass of dark pulsating porous flesh dragged itself along the ground at a pace you wouldn't expect from a creature nearly the size of a house. I only caught a glimpse of the beast as it moved from behind one house to the other. It appeared to move via long grasping arms and from the sounds of the village it wasn't friendly. Before I could even register the horror that I'd just seen, a second one exploded out of a nearby barn pursuing a farmer. It quickly caught up to him and when it grabbed him... My God when it got its claws around him... It turned out that these monsters weren't merely porous- those were mouths. Each of them opened revealing razor sharp teeth and mandibles that extended from each gaping maw greedily grasping at anything close enough to pull into the mouth that housed it. I was frozen as I watched the farmer torn to pieces. The monster didn't even stop to enjoy the meal it had made of the poor farmer. It was immediately on its way after the nearest villager.
"Soren!" I heard someone scream my name. I turned to see my neighbor, Helah rushing towards me. She grabbed my arm, her face filled with terror, sorrow, and panic. "Soren, we have to go! What are you doing standing out here?!" She tugged and pleaded but I could only stare at her with my mouth open. I couldn't tell you to this day why I couldn't move. I guess it's what they called shock. She looked over my shoulder briefly before winding up and smacking me across the face.
"COME. ON." She screamed desperately.
It worked. I nodded and moved to follow her as she whirled around and ran back towards her homestead. I knew her plan. She was one of the few people in the village that owned a Gravidisk. It was an old model but it would work. I turned over my shoulder to witness the destruction one final time before we got to her barn.
Big mistake.
I saw probably four of them rampaging around the village. Fires had broken out. Screams filled the air. And one of those monstrosities had spied us crossing the field and it was barreling towards as at breakneck speed. I witnessed its several salivating mouths open wide and actually emit that awful screech I'd heard earlier. Somehow my ear drums were numbed to it this time; it was still ungodly loud but not like before. We hurried into her barn and she quickly pulled the tarp off of the Gravidisk. "Hurry!" I managed to cry out as we popped the cockpit and hopped inside. She pushed the ignition button and started fiddling with the controls. The machine hummed to life just as the wall of the barn exploded into splinters and sawdust. She puled the throttle and we inverted quickly, crashing through the ceiling. I could see the creature make one final leap at us through the glass window of the cockpit just beneath my head.
She stopped the craft 30 feet above the village and it quickly uprighted itself. I looked down at the carnage below as the monsters ravaged the village. What on Mars were these things?
Simple Prompt submitted by u/DemonMints
submitted by a15minutestory to A15MinuteMythos [link] [comments]


2020.09.04 20:27 kiwispacemarine A Course of Action Part 15 - Going Dark

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The fleet of stealth shuttles, under the power of their anti-gravity units, made their way into lunar orbit. Once there, one by one, they jumped into warpspace.
Aboard Bravo Six’s shuttle, the pilots prepared for the jump.
“Shuttle Excalibur to U.N.S.C. Flight Control, we are ready for warpspace jump,” reported the pilot.
“Roger Excalibur,” replied flight control, “You are clear for jump. Good luck.”
“Roger Control, out,” acknowledged the pilot, turning to the co-pilot.
“Engage!” he ordered. With a flash of orange, the shuttle jumped into warpspace, carrying with it the elite soldiers of U.N. Task Force Bravo’s 6th Platoon.
**********************************************************************************
Stealth shuttle Excalibur, en route to Target Planet. X-Day: X-minus 2 Days.
Jacott fidgeted in his chair and adjusted the straps of his parachute. Him and the rest of the human platoon had been sitting inside the stealth shuttle, codenamed Excalibur, for several hours at this point. His mind still whirled at what Sergeant Green had told him earlier. He was supposed to jump out the back of a shuttle? A shuttle screaming through the atmosphere at a considerable height? With the only thing breaking his fall a thin piece of cloth? The Tark shivered.
If the humans would put themselves through that, what other feats of madness could they perform. Jacott shivered again. What had the Consortium got themselves into?
Captain Black stood in the cockpit of the shuttle, peering over the shoulders of the two pilots. The shuttle was flown by a pair of R.A.F. Flight Lieutenants. Both airmen were clad in dark-green flight suits, the same type used on the U-2 spy-plane.
“We’ll be leaving warpspace in five minutes, captain,” reported the pilot, Gavin Harrison. Black nodded.
“Roger,” he replied. Moving away from the cockpit, the captain walked into the troop bay.
“Heads up people!” he called. The platoon all looked up at him.
“We’re leaving warpspace in five! Get your gear ready and prepare to drop!”
In the cockpit, the pilots prepared to leave warpspace.
“Reverse polarisation arrays… aligned,” reported the co-pilot, Troy Redfield, flipping some switches, “We’re ready.”
“Roger,” acknowledged the pilot, “Going dark,” he pressed a series of buttons that activated Excalibur’s stealth systems.
“Leaving warpspace in three… two… one, now!”
The two airmen pulled back on the large, red handles that served as the warpspace drive controls. The view out the cockpit window changed from black nothingness to the outline of a planet with a flash of orange.
“Scan for active threats,” ordered Harrison as Excalibur zoomed towards the planet.
“Scanning,” replied Redfield, “Nothing. We’re in the clear. Radar is picking up dozens of enemy ships though.”
The pilot merely grunted in response.
With expert skill, the two airmen brought the Excalibur into the atmosphere. Ordinarily, they would have used the shuttle’s anti-gravity systems to slow the ship down to prevent friction from atmospheric entry. However, the anti-grav systems had been shut down to minimise the chances of being detected.
This meant the crew would have to do it the old-fashioned way.
“All personnel, this is your captain speaking,” Harrison spoke into the intercom, “Stand by for atmospheric entry! Please fasten your safety belts and keep your arms and legs inside the vehicle at all times.”
Jacott looked at Sergeant Green, confused by the last statement. Green just shrugged.
“Pilot humour, sir,” he explained, “I think only they get it.”
Before the Tark could ask what ‘it’ was, the shuttle started shaking violently. Looking out the small window, the lieutenant was shocked to see that the entire spacecraft was enveloped by orange flame. Seeing that no-one else aboard either noticed or cared, he bit off the horrified scream that was building up in his lungs.
‘Stay positive, Jacott,’ he told himself, ‘You’re only on a shuttle with thirty scary humans who don’t care that we’re going to burn up and die. You’ll be fine.’
The shuttle continued to plummet through the atmosphere. Eventually, it slowed down enough for the fireball to dissipate and the pilots to bring it back under control.
“Any change in hostile activity?” Harrison asked Redfield. The co-pilot checked his instruments, then shook his head.
“Negative,” he reported, “They still don’t know we’re here.”
“Good.”
Captain Black materialised from the troop bay.
“How are we looking?” he asked.
“We’ll be over the objective in thirty minutes,” replied Redfield, checking the flight computer, “Our re-entry angle was apparently half a degree out.”
“Damn,” cursed Black.
**********************************************************************************
The shuttle continued to soar through the atmosphere, rapidly closing the distance between it and the objective.
“I’m detecting enemy radar installations,” Redfield said after a while.
“Are they tracking us?” asked Harrison.
“Negative,” the co-pilot responded, “We’re still in the clear.”
“We must be getting close,” mused the pilot as he adjusted their altitude, “What’s our grid reference?”
“Reference: Grid Blue-Four,” answered Redfield, “We’re about thirty klicks from the drop zone. I make it about T-minus five to drop.”
“O.k., this is it,” Harrison stated committedly, flicking on the intercom.
“All troops prepare for jump. Drop in T-minus five.”
At that signal, the soldiers of Bravo Six stood up from their seats. Each man took a clip, attached to their parachute pack by a cord, and clipped it onto a cable suspended from the ceiling that ran along the length of the shuttle.
“Static line,” explained Sergeant Green, guiding Lieutenant Jacott’s scaly hand to the line, “It’ll pull your chute for you, so you don’t have to worry about a thing.”
Jacott clipped his static line and tested the connection.
“What if the cord fails?” he asked. The sergeant turned to him.
“Well, sir,” he replied, “As the old song goes, ‘you ain’t gonna jump no more.’”
“Here, here!” piped up one of the soldiers, a South African parabat designated ‘Brown’.
“You know the song, Corporal?” inquired Green. Corporal Brown shrugged.
“I’ve heard of it, only really know that line,” he replied, “It’s American, isn’t it?”
“American and British,” Lieutenant Ochre interjected firmly, “Can’t have the Yanks take the credit for everything, you know.”
“Quite right, Leftenant,” agreed Captain Black. Any more conversation was cut off by the crew chief.
“We’re almost over the objective!” he spoke with a New Zealand twang, “Check your gear, then check the man in front of you!”
Sergeant Green checked his chute and then check Jacott’s.
“You’re all good to go sir!” he said cheerily. Seeing that Jacott didn’t know how to check the chute of the paratrooper in front of him, the crew chief walked over and did it himself, muttering obscenities about ‘damned fool aliens,’ and ‘idiot brass’. Once the chief was satisfied that the soldier’s gear was o.k., he turned and walked towards the rear of the troop bay. Clipping himself to a safety railing, he pressed a button on a control panel next to the door.
An alarm blared and yellow warning lights started flashing as the rear ramp lowered with a whine of hydraulics. A red light above the door flickered on. Staring intently at the light, the crew chief waited for the right moment. Suddenly, the light changed colour to yellow.
“Stand by!” the crew chief yelled over the whine of the engines and the howl of the wind as the shuttle skimmed over the surface.
The light then changed to green.
“Go! Go! Go!” he called, pushing the first soldier forwards and out of the bay. Soldier after soldier took a leap of faith and stepped out of the shuttle, believing that a relatively flimsy piece of fabric, when pulled, would deploy a bigger piece of fabric that would stop their fall. Sooner than he would have liked, it was Jacott’s turn to jump. If the warrior was afraid of the jump, he did not show it. Instead, putting on a resolute expression, he jumped off the end of the shuttle’s ramp. Feeling a tug as the static line pulled on his parachute’s rip cord, he braced himself for the inevitable shock of the chute’s deployment. When the jolt came, it felt to Jacott that every bone in his body had been broken.
As the sound of the shuttle’s engines faded into the distance, the Tark warrior had a chance to survey where he was going to land. The remains of a once-impressive highway snaked through the middle of a vast forest. In the distance, a jagged cityscape peeked out from behind the edge of the forest. Jacott assumed that their objective would be in that city.
After a few minutes of swaying in the wind, the lieutenant managed to aim himself for a clearing in the forest. Somehow avoiding multiple tree branches, he hit the ground. Springing up, he managed to untangle himself from his parachute and grabbed his gear. Opening his kitbag, he checked the contents to make sure nothing was damaged. Inside was ammunition for his human weapons, spare energy cartridges for his electron-polariser rifle that he carried with him, several days-worth of rations and other survival gear and other miscellaneous equipment useful for carrying out his other orders.
Satisfied that everything was in one piece, he unslung his MP5 from his shoulder, slung the kitbag and electron polariser across his back, and set off to where several other paratroopers had landed. The journey was not pleasant, with the Tark having to constantly duck under tree branches, navigate hilly terrain and occasionally have to double back when the way became barred by thick clusters of bushes.
Eventually though, he made it to where the other paratroopers were.
**********************************************************************************
Captain Black looked up from his map as the alien approached them.
“Hold your fire,” he cautioned Lieutenant Ochre, who had half-raised his rifle, “It’s our transfer.”
To Jacott, he said, “Glad you could make it Leftenant.”
Jacott nodded.
“What’s the situation, sir?” he asked.
“We’re waiting for the rest of the unit to rendezvous with us, then we’ll move towards the objective,” replied the Captain.
Jacott merely nodded and sat down on a fallen tree trunk. The other soldiers trickled in, either in pairs or small groups. Once everyone had been accounted for, Captain Black stood up.
“O.k. people, let’s move,” he said, “We’ll head due east until we hit the remains of the highway. We’ll then travel towards the objective, using the highway as our guide.”
He turned to Lieutenant Jacott.
“Jacott, do you know if we’ll encounter any enemy patrols?” he asked the Tark. Jacott thought for a moment, then shook his head.
“I don’t know sir,” he answered, “No-one knows what the Infinite Scourge do once they completely occupy a world. I do know that during the battle they would have patrolled major roadways and such, but one the occupation was completed…” he trailed off.
“O.k.,” said Black after a moment’s thought, “We’ll play it safe. Stick to the shadows, make sure all your weapons are silenced and try not to trip over in the lighter gravity.”
*********************************************************************************
Target Planet, Unknown Location. Two Hours Later.
Sergeant Green moved as stealthily as he could in the planet’s lower gravity. While not as extreme as the Moon, it was still light enough to make any movement faster than walking uncomfortable. Still, the Army Ranger didn’t find it too challenging.
He went to step over a fallen tree trunk that was blocking the path. To the sergeant’s surprise, when he stepped off the trunk, the force from him pushing against the log was enough to send him sailing a few metres in the air. Recovering from the shock, he deftly landed and began walking again.
“You o.k., sergeant?” asked Lieutenant Ochre, amused.
“Yessir,” replied Green, somewhat embarrassed, “Just wasn’t expecting it, that’s all.”
Ochre grunted.
“Just be more alert,” he cautioned, “Next time it could be a…”
“Hold up!” hissed Captain Black, who was a few metres ahead of them, holding up a closed fist. Sergeant Green relayed the order to the men behind him. The Captain then signalled for the troops to duck down. Sinking into the bush, Green felt someone crawl up next to him. Looking to his left, he saw that it was Corporal Brown and the alien Lieutenant.
“What’s going on sergeant?” asked Brown in a hushed whisper.
Green did his best approximation of a shrug.
“I don’t know,” he replied, “The Captain must have seen something.”
Captain Black had indeed seen something.
The U.N. Special Forces platoon had stumbled upon the highway. To Black’s dismay, several Scourge armoured vehicles hovered silently over the remains of the once-magnificent roadway.
“Jacott,” He breathed into the radio, “Come up here and take a look.”
The lieutenant did as ordered, creeping up the pathway until he was next to the human officer.
“You recognise these vehicles?” asked Black. Jacott looked at the enemy armour and nodded.
“Yes sir,” he replied, “Infinite Scourge light tanks. They’re used for recon by the enemy.”
Black studied the tanks. They didn’t look too dissimilar from the tanks used on earth, the main difference being that they hovered. Even then. Black had heard rumours of grav-tanks being developed by Dr Simmons’ team to supplement the normal tracked tanks.
“How thick do you reckon their armour is?” asked Black. Jacott considered.
“They can resist at least five shots from an anti-tank electron-polariser. Compared to your weaponry, I’d say a well-placed explosive should take them out. Why?”
Black just grinned.
“You’ll see,” he switched on his radio.
“Corporal Brown,” he ordered, “Get up here and place an I.R. beacon on the tanks.”
Brown acknowledged the order and silently crept up to the tanks. Shimming underneath them, he deftly planted two beacons on the tanks. Activating them, he re-joined the rest of the platoon. Getting up from the forest floor, Captain Black led the soldiers through the forest, keeping in sight of the highway, but always making sure to keep a good number of trees and shrubs in between them and the road. Slowly, but surely, Bravo 6 made their way to their objective.
**********************************************************************************
U.N.S.C. Headquarters, Vandenberg Air Force Base.
Colonel Whitley walked into General Roberts’ office. Stopping in front of his superior’s desk, the officer saluted. General Roberts returned his adjutant’s salute.
“Well?” he asked, getting up from his desk and walking round, “What’s news?”
“The shuttles are returning now sir,” reported Whitley, “It seems so far, that all drops were successful. The Infinite Scourge haven’t suspected a thing.”
Roberts nodded.
“Good,” he said, “Let’s hope we can keep it that way until our fleet arrives.”
“Yes sir,” the Colonel agreed fervently.
**********************************************************************************
Target Planet. Unknown Location. Two Miles South of Mission Objective. X-Day: X-Minus 1 Day.
Captain Black, at the head of his platoon, stumbled abruptly out of the forest. Looking at his watch, he grimaced. According to mission time, there was only a day left before the invasion started. And, according to their intel, there were only a few hours of night-time left.
Black soured at that thought. The mission planner evidently hadn’t allowed much time for difficulties in navigating dense forest on an alien world with one third Earth’s gravity. While the Captain was annoyed at ‘them’ and their lack of foresight, he supposed it was forgivable, considering an operation of this type had never been done before, not since the Starship Incident of 2027.
Forgivable this time.
Pulling up a pair of binoculars, Captain Black scanned the horizon. When he put them back down, his normally impassive face had a very faint grin on it.
“Come on men,” he rallied his troops, “We’re almost at the objective. Lieutenant Ochre, get those charges ready!”
The platoon slipped out of the forest. The forest ended on a hill that sloped downwards, leading to the shattered remains of a once-proud skyline. The jagged peaks of melted skyscrapers pierced the star-speckled sky. Pulling up the binoculars again, Captain Black could make out piles of what he hoped was rubble blocking the tattered streets. Enemy tanks and armoured vehicles silently hovered over the piles, patrolling for any signs of resistance. Dropping the binoculars, Black led his men down the hill until the reached the toppled city wall. On the broken base of the wall, sat the platoon’s objective.
A row of anti-aircraft guns, scanning the skies for any signs of enemy aircraft.
The platoon walked up to the wall. Immediately, Captain Black began issuing orders.
“Ochre!” he called quietly, “Hand out those charges! The rest of you, divide yourselves into your squads! Move it, move it, move it!”
“Right,” he began, “Lieutenant Ochre, you and your squad take the west end of the wall. Sergeant Grey, you take the east side. My squad will take the middle. Lieutenant Jacott, you’re with me.”
“You heard the man!” Lieutenant Ochre directed his squad, “Let’s go! The brass ain’t paying us by the hour.”
As the humans dispersed, Jacott watched with interest as they went about their task. Captain Black, seeing that the reptilian alien wasn’t doing anything useful, walked over to him. Shoving a brick of plastic explosive into the young officer’s hands, he twirled the alien around and shoved him in the general direction of one of the AA guns.
Swallowing hard, Jacott slwly clambered up to the top of the wall. Creeping along the jagged, uneven ledge at the top, he arrived at the anti-air gun. It was a large, camouflage-green coloured box, with a small turret that housed a powerful electron-polariser.
The Tark examined the explosive in his hand.
“Place the charge on the gun, leftenant,” Captain Black’s voice hissed through the radio. Jacott searched the base of the AA battery, eventually placing it in a small gap in between the turret and the base of the gun.
“Now arm the detonator,” Black instructed, “Press the large green button.” Jacott did what he was told, pressing the button. The button changed from green to red and started flashing.
“Good work lieutenant,” the Captain congratulated him, “Get yourself down here.”
Jacott slid back down the wall and crept along to where Captain Black was standing. The other soldiers soon joined them. Black gestured to the forest where they had come from.
“Everyone done?” he asked the platoon. There were nods and ‘yes sir’s.
“Ok,” he continued, “Head back up the hill and into the forest. As soon as Command gives us the signal, we’ll blow the charges.”
The team retreated back to the forest. As soon as they were a little way in, the platoon set up a small camp for the night. It wasn’t much of a camp, just some hammocks strung between trees. As the men settled down for the night, Captain Black tasked Sergeant Grey and another soldier, Corporal Maroon, with being on first watch. After two hours, they were to wake Corporal Brown and Sergeant Green, who would watch until daybreak.
Their work done, the U.N. soldiers and their alien transfer settled down and slept, knowing that this would probably be the only rest they would get for a long while. As he lay in his ‘hammock’, Jacott considered the orders he had been given by the Consortium.
“If the humans present any signs of treasonous activity, report it at once to Consortium High Command,” the orders had read. The lieutenant considered the orders. This platoon he had been assigned to didn’t seem to have done anything treasonous so far.
‘But,’ he thought, ‘If they were to d=conduct treasonous activity, they would be sure to do it while I’m not present.’
Thinking about it for a while, he suddenly realised what he had to do. Silently, he picked up his kitbag and began rifling through it.
‘Yes,’ he thought, picking out a particular item, ‘This will do just fine’.
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2020.09.02 00:04 Darkly_Gathers Spy tugs

The sky tonight is blacker than I’ve ever seen it before. It swirls with slow malevolence, growling in warning. My scarf is pulled up to my eyes, but my cheeks and nose are still burning pink with the bitter cold regardless. I’m in line with the others, waiting to board the ship that’ll take me from the rig. The winds tonight are too powerful for helicopter travel, so ship it is.
It’s a military vessel. Royal Navy. The grey-white waves crash against its hull; spray carries on up to the Union Jack ensign stamped on the side. I’m not sure if the ship’s military nature makes me feel more, or less afraid.
But I don’t have a choice. Seven workers are always selected to board. Always.
And tonight, I am one of those seven.

*

My name is Reg. I spend alternating months working on an oil rig in the North Sea.
The work is not as bad as you might expect, and the pay grade is actually rather good. The boredom is the worst part. The isolation. Interspersed with moments of intense stress and lightning-like panic. We get WiFi on the good days, but it’s spotty at best. If you like your YouTube at 144p with twenty minutes of buffering time, then the rig is the place for you.
There’s about 200 of us here at any given time, and honestly sometimes it’s kind of nice. During the day, in rare hours of warmth, the sun sparkles off the pipes and the railings in white and bright yellow, the mood is cheerful, everyone has their purpose, everyone has their role.
Then the other times… the other times… you’ll find yourself stood on the bridge in the grim hours before dawn, frozen in place as you desperately try to fix the shitey job the engineer before you did on the generator that powers the crane… made all the more difficult with the torn and battered gloves that limit the motions of your already shaking fingers… the protective goggles quickly steamed to the point of uselessness, so you take them off, only for the icy rain to lash at once into your eyes…
…What can I say. There’s good days and bad days, can’t complain.
My shifts on the rig are typical, as I mentioned- one month on, one month off. We get helicopters back as a squad of about twenty or twenty-five, we go our separate ways once back on the mainland, and then I’ll see some of them again next month when we return to work. Occasionally some of them will get moved to other rigs. Pretty straightforward.
…But there’s an anomaly. One that I’ve always wondered about. I’ve asked around, but no-one is able, or perhaps willing to give me a straight answer. Five days before the end of my shift on the rig, seven of my colleagues are selected… Randomly, or otherwise, I do not know. They are chosen late in the afternoon, told to gather their belongings, and then by night, they are gone. ‘Moved to another rig’ is all I am ever told on the matter, when I can find actually find someone to give an answer at all.
This happens without fail, five days before the end of my shift, every shift, and has done since I first began the work earlier in the year.

The people that are selected, I never see again.

Most times, if I even know them by name at all, they are only acquaintances, but sometimes I’ve known them personally. I had the details of a man who was chosen four months ago, and a good friend of mine, guy named Figgs, was called for the previous assignment... but they've both stopped answering their calls. Most of us use crappy phones offered by the company during our shifts on the rig, so it’s possible the devices were just ditched in favour of better models upon their return to the land…
…But still. I can’t shake the unease. And I’m not sure why I seem to be the only one concerned.

…Not that it matters now anyway.
Today marks five days before the end of my shift.
And for the first time, I find myself as one of the workers selected.

*

Normally, when I am able to catch their departure for myself, they leave by helicopter. But tonight the sky is too fierce, so the aforementioned military ship has pulled itself up alongside the rig. Why exactly our departure has to be on THIS particular night, why our journey is important enough to warrant a Royal Navy battleship to personally escort us to the new location, I do not know. I ask some of the other six, my fellow chosen colleagues, but they know just as little.
One by one we are ushered down the line, out of the biting rain from the edge of the platform and into the body of the ship as the storm hammers down overhead. We are led through cold and narrow metal corridors and into a meeting room of sorts, where we awkwardly take the offered seats.
The ship groans and churns. The engine rumbles steadily from down below.
And two men make their way between us to the front of the room. One walks slouched, his beard and hair are scruffy, mid 50s perhaps. I recognise him, he makes appearances on the rig from time to time, but he is not a regular lodger, nor do I know his name. He places forms on the desks before us as he meanders from person to person.
The other man’s pace is measured and deliberate, straight-backed. He turns at the head of the room and takes us all in in cool silence. He wears an immaculate white shirt beneath a blue-grey jersey, and a naval cap, also in white. It is ringed at the base and visor in sleek black and shining gold, and his shoulders are bedecked with epaulettes in the same colours.
Once the scruffier man has handed out the last form he stands in the opposite corner, chewing his tongue as he looks us over. The man in white steps forward.
“Gentlemen. My name is Captain John Irons and I am in command of this Destroyer”.
‘Destroyer’? What the hell? Why would a tiny team of oil-riggers need to be transported on a bloody Destroyer?
“I’ll get right to it. The forms before you now, if signed, will bind you to the Official Secrets Act. Your involvement in this operation will be entirely secret, you will be forbidden to discuss the operational logistics, machinery, or any self-assumed purpose of the assigned rig even to members of your own immediate family. For all intents and purposes any ‘military involvement’ in your assignment will be purely extraneous, operating on an ad-hoc basis in the event of threat-to-life weather events”.
The captain clenches his jaw and scans the room from left to right.
“You have all been selected for this temporary position based on a combination of factors including your specialist knowledge, your time served, and the results of your personality and psychological assessments. You are welcome to refuse this assignment. If you choose to do so you will be escorted off the ship and back onto the rig where you will see out your allocated time. "If you accept the offer, and you must come to a decision in the next few minutes, it is recommended that you spend the journey time reading through your contracts. If, upon docking at the assigned rig, you decide that you no longer wish to sign the document before you, then you will be given a room and confined to your quarters for the duration of your service, and may remain confined for a period of up to an additional two weeks depending on the schedule of the ship in question. "…Is that understood?”
His question is followed by a strained silence, one which eventually breaks into a series of low mumblings and bewildered nods from the people around me.
“Should you choose to accept, your pay rate for the following five days will be increased tenfold, and will in practice be worth the equivalent of two and a half months of solid service”.
My colleagues exchange a series of glances and raised eyebrows, The energy in the room changes somewhat.
“You will be expected to perform your role to the best of your abilities, of course”, the Captain continues, “and, as discretion is of the utmost importance, to ask as few questions as will allow you to see out your duties…” His sharp grey eyes stop on mine, just for a moment, before flicking over to meet those of the fellow in the corner. The scruffy man who occasionally visits the rig. My rig.
A chill passes through me, but I say nothing.
“I will now ask if anyone would like to refuse the offered assignment and return to the rig. Now is your one and only chance to do so”.

Nobody moves. Nobody speaks.

I thought about it, I really did, I swear… This whole thing has me set very much on edge… And this assignment… This ‘offered assignment’… This man, this military guy… who the hell is he to issue us job terms and warnings and ultimatums? A part of me wants to scrunch the document into a ball and throw it into his face, and march proudly back onto my rig where I belong.
But this… this opportunity to venture out into the unknown… This is some real exciting shit. I don’t even care about the money that much, to be honest. I have been given a chance to see behind the curtain. To find out what happens to the seven who leave the rig. To find out what’s so important about our destination. Mysteries have been presented to us. Mysteries that demand solving. I have to know.
I just have to know.
…So I stay seated, and listen to the dulled roar of the wind through the walls.
Perhaps that’s how they convince the seven to stay every time? Maybe the money is just so we can rationalise our decisions…
A tense moment passes, then the Captain looks over our shoulders and nods to someone at the back of the room. I turn in my seat to see an officer raise a radio to his mouth as he steps through the door, speaking into it as he walks away down the corridor, and a minute later the rumble of the engine below grows like rolling thunder, and the ship, I can only presume, as there are no windows in the room, groans into slow life.
The Captain nods to us, then to the man in the corner, and takes his leave, strolling away at once.

And so we begin our voyage to the ‘assigned rig’, ploughing onwards through the storm.

I read through the Secrets Act before me as we make our journey over the waves. There’s some seriously cool concepts in here. Makes me feel a bit like a spy. Though, there’s some terrifying stuff too.
The time drags on. I wonder exactly where it is we’re going. Left with nothing but the sounds of the engine, the flicker of turning paper and the occasional grunt or cough from my colleagues, my mind begins to wander. They swirl with curious, dark-clouded thoughts. Dread creeps up on me. It ebbs and flows, coming and receding like the tide, and I start to wonder if I’ve made a huge mistake. We were forced to decide so quickly... I tug at my collar. My stomach turns.
I look up, and I meet the eyes of the man still stood in the corner.

I clear my throat and sit up in my seat.
“Excuse me mate… Don’t I recognise you? I see you on the rig sometimes”.
The man is silent for a moment, then scratches his beard. “Aye. Work takes me from rig to rig. You lot have a good location, less stormy than most”.
“And what about the one we’re going to? Will it be stormy there?” I ask.
The man sighs. Not with frustration…. Perhaps just with tiredness. “Yeah. Yeah it’ll be stormy alright”.
The others seem a little emboldened now. The seal is broken, and the questions start coming.
“Which rig is it? Will any of us have been stationed there before?”
“No”, the man replies. “No you won’t have been. This one ain’t charted. Officially, it don't even exist”.
“Is it military owned then? Like a secret navy supply of oil? Is that why we’ve been taken by battleship?”
The scruffy man’s eyes dart to the door at the back of the room and he rubs his nose. “It ain't an ‘oil’ rig, as such. The machinery and the systems will be similar to what you’re used to, however. As the Captain said, for all intents and purposes any military involvement in this assignment is, officially, ‘ad-hoc’. In event of emergency. Less said the better. Etcetera”.
“But if it isn’t oil”, I ask… my blood, for reasons unknown, pumping fierce… “then what is it? What’s its purpose? ...And why is it secret?”
Silence falls.
And the man, in a low voice, replies: “Honestly lads. You don’t need to concern yourself with the rig’s true purpose. Nor do I recommend you try to understand. Please. I don't even know myself, I swear it, and it's better this way. I appreciate that this is a frustrating answer but I must emphasise that it is in ALL our best interests for you to just do your work, take your money, and get the fuck home. Do you understand me?”
I nod quietly, and the crew alongside mumble their acknowledgements. The gears in my mind begin to turn and grind bitterly, as the curious ship sails on into the night.

*

It is well into the earliest hours of the dark morning by the time we arrive, the sky still black and angry as we depart the Destroyer. I slip and stumble against the rail as the ship rocks over the surface of the swirling sea
We all signed the Secrets Act, of course. How could we not?
The Captain alights the ship alongside us, and as we huddle awkwardly on the rain-soaked platform of the rig he goes to exchange some words unheard with a man in a uniform I do not recognise, obscured mostly anyway by an enormous blue jacket. I squint my eyes through the downpour and take in my surroundings.
The rig is colossal. Bigger than the one we’d departed, and hectic. Even at this time of the night the place is alive with people, in heavy overalls, in military uniforms… soldiers can be seen patrolling at every level of the giant metal derrick, rushing to and fro… A group passes right by us, most have the British flag emblazoned on their arms, but a couple towards the back have Norwegian insignia instead. Lamps and searchlights illuminate the rain in thick, heavy streaks as they scan the bridges and platforms, distorted shadows thrown across their surfaces by the rails and pipework.
But inside the derrick… protected by the great iron skeleton… there is no pipeline for any oil. There is no hose that I can see, no drill-line at all… I raise a hand to my eyes to shield them from the rain, I take a step away from the group and stare, even as a powerful beam of light washes over my face. Inside the criss-crossed metal tower is an enormous, monstrous chain. The largest that I have ever seen; each link must be the size of a car, at the least. It is colossal and terrifying, in a way I do not quite understand, and standing here on the platform only a few metres away, I find myself feeling very small, very small indeed. The chain disappears behind the beams of the tower that supports it and below the surface of the platform. It extends, presumably, deep down under the sea.
For what purpose, I do not know.
I am suddenly slammed into from behind. I stumble in shock and turn to see who pushed me, and a roaming light shows me a man with a hardhat in his outstretched hand, his eyes bloodshot red and shadowed with dark circles. He is a mess, and when he looks at me, it feels like he is staring right through me.
“Are you lot the takeover crew, then?” he croaks out in a voice hoarse beyond exhaustion.
I exchange looks with the men around me. “Yeah…” I reply uneasily, “yeah I think we might be”.
A siren suddenly sounds at the far side of the derrick, a loud and obnoxious wail, and we jump and start in alarm. Well, us new arrivals do. The embattled man before me does not even flinch. He just closes his eyes, starts shaking his head. “No…” he mutters, then louder, “No, no, NO, FUCK! NO MORE!”
He slams the hardhat into my stomach and marches past. The soldiers have begun bellowing orders, but I cannot hear them above the wind and the blare of the siren. The platforms and the pipes light up alternatingly in orange and blue. Fear ripples through me as the platform beneath starts to shake… Captain Irons from the ship is suddenly in front of us, barking orders, he’s hastily reading off a list of names, telling my colleagues where to go, and in a chaotic scramble they do as they’re told, this does not seem the time or place for questioning of roles.
The ground shakes. I hear the waves crash against the legs of the rig, and for that to even be possible… for me to hear them above the bellows and the roaring gale and the shriek of the siren… they must be colossal indeed. I can see some of the sea out of the corner of my eye, and it’s a picture of wild, dark and churning fury…. But my gaze is focused on something else. Blood pounds in my ears to join the cacophony. I am vaguely aware of the Captain shouting my name, but I fail to copy his orders. He’s stepped forward now, shaking my shoulder vigorously, but I cannot move. I am frozen in place in blind terror, and I do not even know why. There’s something about this whole rig that isn’t right, it isn’t right at all…
…And I cannot tear my eyes from the great chain.
The terrible chain, obscene in its size… is no longer still.
It grinds and shakes with the storm, and I watch in disbelief as it starts to unravel, as if something, some unknown force, is dragging it desperately deep below the surface…
[1/3]
[2/3]
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2020.08.29 04:41 JustLexx Fractured Crowns Pt. 15 - Inferno

Original Prompt
Part 14
Her shriek echoed through the halls, Lucius’ worst nightmare come to life with stunning clarity.
“Elena!” he roared, taking off at a dead sprint.
Never should have trusted them. His chest burned. Orange tongues of flame licked at the walls in his passing, scorching tapestries and devouring candles whole in a roar that matched his pulse. If she’s hurt…
Lucius pushed the thought aside, increasing his pace. He’d be no good to either of them if he lost control and he was closer than he’d ever been.
Two abominations guarded her door, blue eyes shining as they readied their weapons. Lucius didn’t slow. Didn’t stop. He turned them to ash along with the door as he barreled into the room, greeted by a fresh volley of screams from the bed.
Followed by a scowling Elena and her wide-eyed friend.
“Again?” Elena folded her arms, sending a pointed look to the bits of smoldering bone that littered her floor. “Seriously?”
Lucius looked around for a threat. Found nothing but the same room she’d called home for months now. Beside Elena, Adeline watched him with a wide grin.
“I heard you scream,” he said, letting his flames cool.
Elena ducked her head. “Luce…”
Adeline glanced between them, smile slipping. “I get the feeling you two need a moment.” She patted Elena’s clasped hands and slid from the bed, picking her way carefully across the floor. “We’ll finish this another time, Elle.”
Lucius gave her a tight nod on her way out, and plenty of room to pass. Her guardian had an issue with people being too close to his charge. Seeing as the man carried more blades than an armory, Lucius had no issue with those terms.
Of course, knowing that Adeline could rip the air from his lungs with ease only added incentive in the matter.
He went to close the door behind her then paused with his hand outstretched. When Elena snickered, he turned, gripping his neck instead.
“Is it the cold?” she asked, blue eyes bright. “I do believe you’ve lost a step, Sir Wroth. And developed a bit of a temper.”’
He closed the distance between them. It was one thing to see she was alright with his own eyes. It was another to run his fingers through her hair and press his lips to her brow. Which was exactly what he did.
“You scared me,” he admitted, voice low and rough.
“I didn’t mean to.”
“And the ice doesn’t mean to sap the life from everything it touches. It just does.”
She sighed, peering up at him. “When are you going to relax? I know this is odd for both of us, but I’ve never been safer in my life. I have guards at”—she nodded at his mess—”almost all times. And when they’re not around, a Royal always is.”
Lucius choked down his bitter laugh. Was that supposed to make him feel better? That, at any given moment, she was within reaching distance of people who could take her life as an afterthought? Because it didn’t. Not in the bloody least.
He ran his tongue along his teeth while she stroked at his sides until the worst of his fears slipped into the background.
“How is it,” he said, “that you’re comforting me instead of the other way around, love?”
She shrugged. “Simple, I’m a princess. Almost from birth I’ve been trained to keep a cool head and adapt. Sometimes, it’s the only way to stay alive.”
A smile tugged at his lips. “Did they teach you to make nice with war criminals as well then?”
“I know you’re having a hard time adjusting—”
“Because we live in a fortress of monsters.”
“—but if you call my friend a war criminal again, I might go back to not talking to you.”
Lucius groaned. “Anything but that. It was fucking miserable.”
“Then step obsessing.” She poked him in the chest. “Then stop burning my guards. I get it, they’re unsettling and hard to stomach. But they also don’t need to sleep, eat, or blink while they look out for me.”
She has a point. Bloody hell I hate it when she has a point.
Her lifted brow spoke of impatience and he took a deep breath.
“Fine,” he said. “I’ll try.”
“You promise?”
He kissed the top of her head. “Cross my heart.”
“Good.” Elena wet her lips and he did not like that look on her face. “Because...they might want my help catching spies.”
[Part 16]
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