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Re: Friendly Subject Help

Post by Friendlysociopath » Mon Feb 26, 2018 11:46 pm

Vincent growled to himself as he paced back and forth in the cell he'd been placed in. He'd been forced to abandon Pleasant for a very simple reason- a threat. The message that he'd found flashing in front of his face had been pretty straightforwards.

'If you don't want to see a repeat incident like New York, head to the intersection three miles North of your hotel. Come alone and bring the Alter weapon. You have three minutes.'

The glowing letters had existed for only a fraction of a second before vanishing. Pleasant looked up from his laptop- the mirrored glasses as always masking his eyes.

"Is something wrong Vincent?"

"No, nothing." His voice betrayed nothing, but the Subject's heart had begun beating faster. It wasn't like the organization to be so blunt and threatening. Vincent genuinely worried his knowledge of the group had become severely outdated. He closed his remaining eye and took a breath before speaking again. "I don't suppose there's more blood?"

Pleasant shook his head slowly. Vincent knew the man sympathized with him but facts were facts, blood might be a naturally occurring substance but it was scarce all the same. Millions of humans died in a year because blood wasn't available or so he'd been told. Vincent as an asset was worth maintaining at a livable dosage, but keeping him well-nourished simply wasn't doable without drawing attention. To make it worse, his worth as an asset was plummeting. While he'd for the most part recovered from his battle with Subject 000- his lost eye remained a constant reminder that he'd lost the fight. Even if he'd been winning, dominating, his foe right now was fine and what was Vincent? Half-blind, weak, and facing a ticking biological clock. Years prior Vincent never gave it much thought. Now he found it haunting him, jumping out when he least wanted to think about it.

He didn't know how old he was- few Subjects did. The artificial aging process used on them was not uniform, some Subjects aged faster or slower, some reached the final marker sooner rather than later, and that was without losing track of time locked underground in a world without light. It was around four years of enhanced growth until maturity, Vincent knew that, and about two years of slowed growth after, he knew that too. He'd been fully grown when he escaped, but for how long? And how long had it been since? He'd lost so much time locked in that hole... What would happen after six years without the organization there to check him?

He had to go. Not only was there a dire consequence for not obeying, he had no hope of being useful anymore outside. Either he could die inside, on his own terms and perhaps accomplishing something, or he could maybe drop dead outside at any moment. He didn't know- he didn't know. In an almost hypnotic state, Vincent blurred forwards and grabbed at the safe the room had installed in the closet. He didn't waste time on the code, he ripped the device from the floor with a single hand while the other beat a rapid rhythm through the wall and opened a hole into the street below.

Dropping a few stories to the ground hadn't been all that hard before. With his bones healed up it still wasn't difficult- but it wasn't as easy as it used to be. Vincent's worry was that it wasn't the lack of blood- but a sign of impending death. With his eye lost and the organization changing, it was like the world had become a larger place, the lines and edges Vincent had grown familiar with were fading away and he was being left behind; the only thing in focus.

He skidded to a stop a short time later at the intersection, frantically looking about for a sign of the organization. It turned out he didn't need to bother. He felt first one shock-stick hit his spine- then another. Of course they'd struck from his blind side- they knew what and who he was. Never even saw them coming. Oblivion soon followed.

Waking up from being shocked unconscious was not a pleasant experience, but it beat the alternative. Vincent hurt all over, for the briefest moment even his non-existent eye felt a surge of pain as he sat up and looked around. He'd not been given blood to drink nor replacement clothing, and his initial glance over the room didn't reveal anyone waiting for him to wake nor any obvious cameras or medical equipment to monitor him. Not good.

Of course the organization had reclaimed the Alter Dagger. He hadn't for a moment thought they'd let him keep it but it hurt to lose all the same. There were no windows in the room, only a single light in the ceiling and a heavy door in the far wall. The room didn't contain a bed so much as the wall bent outwards and made a large shelf that extended to the floor. Vincent rolled off the 'bed' and took the measure of the chamber. It wasn't large enough to have an interview in- you'd never fit a table and two chairs in here and if you by some miracle did, you'd never be able to keep enough distance between two human-sized beings to ensure they couldn't reach one another. This was a prison, pure and simple, and it was one for Subjects the organization didn't seem to care about.

That was fine. Vincent could break out and sneak about at his leisure- maybe even find a bite to eat. Even at his weakest he was still more than a match for any human. Vincent turned to the door and looked for the hinges to determine which side would best deserve his kick only to stop as a new detail made itself known to him. There were no hinges. It was a flat slab of metal. No matter- Vincent took a step back and kicked forwards with a generous amount of effort.


And he recoiled as his blow had no effect whatsoever on the door. Fear gripped him as Vincent assaulted the portal- punching, kicking, slamming his shoulder into it- all of these attacks and more bounced off the metal without leaving a mark. What the hell is it? It was a dark metal unknown to him- but he'd never found something so physically resistant to being damaged before. His heart well and truly sank as blood from his split knuckles dripped to the floor- he didn't know what the organization was capable of anymore. When he'd left, Vamps had been unstoppable and the organization had possessed no extremely effective way to contain them. That and who knew how much more had changed.

The door opening surprised him- instead of opening outwards it lifted straight up. First a pair of boots came into view, followed my a standard organization security uniform and culminating in glowing red eyes- a Grunt. The sneer beneath his eyes was impressive. Vincent noted a small metal tag on the outfit, 'Butch.'

"I thought you'd wake up sooner Vamp, we didn't shock you that badly."

"Watch your tone, dog." Vincent replied, in no mood for insults and well aware that fear and timid behavior would only make it more likely for him to be killed without further interaction, he also wasn't about to let a damn Grunt insult him like that. As always, the word was good for a rise. Butch's eyes narrowed and he brought his arms up and crossed them over his chest- the better position for starting a fight than in his pockets like they'd previously been.

"Keep it up- they want to talk to you at some point. You don't need working arms and legs for that." Vincent didn't particularly find much worth getting angry about that threat, but the one that followed had no such issue. "Or I could take your other eye- you won't be running away blind."

"Try it!" Vincent bared his teeth in a smile that gave the illusion of confidence. "In the meantime, tell them I'm awake, the company here is lacking." He hoped the Grunt would try to hurt him- it would be a tough fight in his weakened condition but if he could manage to get some blood it would bolster him no small bit. Butch knew this it seemed. He raised a hand and Vincent became aware of four other Grunts standing in the hallway, all patiently waiting for him to try something. A Vamp well-fed could probably take three Grunts on at the same time and win- Vincent wasn't well fed. His bravado faded and he felt his shoulders slump.

It was what Butch had been waiting for. A clean punch, right from Vincent's blind side, caught him in the face and sent him staggering backwards onto his bed. Butch took a moment to enter the room completely and nod at his companions, who shut the door behind him. The Grunt then grabbed Vincent's head and rammed it into the metal side of the bed- splitting the front of his face open.

Damned dog! Vincent snarled and reached deep within himself, finding his limiter and turning it off in order to feel the welcome flow of power and a surety of purpose that he could never explain to a human. He never would've thought he'd need his full strength against a Grunt- but times had changed. He surged to his feet and rammed his forehead sharply into Butch's nose, breaking it. Butch flinched but otherwise responded by bringing both hands forwards into a short-distance punch to Vincent's chest, knocking him back again. This time ready, Vincent didn't fall or stagger. He reached both hands out and grabbed Butch's arms- using the Grunt himself to halt his fall. Vincent smiled and pivoted- hurling Butch into the bed this time instead. Vincent struck his opponent in the skull twice more but his strength was so much weaker than it should be. A single blow should've caved in Butch's skull with ease- yet two swift punches had done no severe damage. Sure he bled- but Vincent needed more.

Butch was up and moving, he swept both of his legs around and caught Vincent upside his own head, producing a ringing in the ears and a blurriness to his vision. A dreadful thought reached Vincent- could he as weak as a Grunt? No... Vincent kept his arms around his head as Butch came at him from the sides, each blow packing enough strength to break a human jaw and send the pieces flying. Not as weak... He kicked out at Butch's groin. The Grunt twisted and took the hit to the side of the leg, he yelled in pain but didn't let up in his assault on Vincent. He felt the power, the purpose, the will to continue- it faded away. He felt the cold bands of his limiter encircle him again as Butch grabbed either arm and threw Vincent up against the door- kicking him in the center of the torso and breaking several ribs and perhaps more. Vincent fell to his knees and coughed up blood. Weaker... than a dog...

Butch called out to the other Grunts, "He's no problem at all, open the door." Vincent felt the air change behind him as the door rose up, revealing the other four organization dogs waiting patiently. Butch's condescension hurt more than any hit could, "This Vamp's too weak to fight us off."

Butch grabbed the downed Vincent's hair and hauled him to his feet. With a shove the Vamp was sent stumbling forwards. He felt a sharp point prick his back and knew by feel what it was- Butch had his Alter Dagger. If Vincent had even a portion of his strength he would've disarmed him before he could react-

Pain blossomed in Vincent's torso as he felt the tip of the Alter weapon pierce his body. Butch's methods were obvious, 'move.' And so Vincent stepped forwards and the Grunts boxed him in as he started talking down the hall.

Re: Friendly Subject Help

Post by Friendlysociopath » Mon Feb 26, 2018 8:43 pm

Paul had very few personal pleasures, and he could count on one hand how many of them he'd been able to indulge since becoming Oversight. But... he felt that childish glee spread across his face as he watched two HAC suits carefully carry the tank into the training area- being able to blow things up in the name of science was probably his favorite pleasure no matter how many unfortunate things he had to deal with in the meantime. He beamed with delight as he ordered various sensors and cameras in place around the massive expanse of rock that this would take place in. It had taken years to carve out the cavern in secret but now, so far below the surface and having bought out the properties above to provide housing, they had an ideal testing ground that was large enough for even HAC suits to strut their stuff.

And that was what would happen today. The most advanced tank the US military had to offer, in top condition and operating at peak efficiency, against a single HAC suit with some of their newest creations. Obtaining a working tank was no easy thing, especially with Paul's complete refusal to involve Subjects such as King. It was regretful that the crew couldn't be preserved for the test but they had not seemed willing to cooperate. Paul had regretfully ordered them used for testing and that had been the last he saw of them. Paul clapped his hands as he received first one green light, then another and another as everyone reported in- they were good to go. Paul felt a bit like Christmas morning and he had run to the kitchen to find presents sitting on the table. He eagerly keyed the speakers and controlled his enthusiasm.

"Start and fire the small arms at-will."

The Abrams immediately revved up and took off laterally compared to the HAC suit to achieve the best angle for attack for a direct frontal hit. The three mounted guns opened fire with a mixture of 12.7 and 7.62mm rounds. Per the simulated rules the HAC suit did not dodge this part of the assault but stood still and trusted in the armor. Paul had not felt any need to involve the risk of a human pilot in the suit for this simulation and had insisted on remote control. Trust in armor was one thing, but depending on it was quite another.

Approximately 11,000 rounds later, the guns went silent as their munitions were entirely spent. The Abrams idled and pointed all weapons away from organization personnel as technicians crept forwards to examine the HAC suit, Paul's day improved significantly as he saw a crutch-bearing elite pacing forwards with his colleagues. Kreager's up and moving, good. A loyal and dedicated man who puts the organization and the safety of others before himself- I need an army of him. Paul sat still in his control area, relentlessly clasping his hands together to practice manipulating not one, but two artificial arms thanks to Subject 000. But even the thought of the renegade couldn't dim Paul's day as the reports came in. While there was a significant amount of scratching, (Kreager's particular assessment described it as a 'fuck-ton')- no bullet had pierced the armor in any meaningful way and the sensors all were still working perfectly. Paul had expected no real damage but the testing had to be done nonetheless. He nervously awaited for the area to clear before the next phase began.

This time, it was no small gun, but the 120mm main armament cannon. Paul worried enough that he ordered the test halted and an extra check be run on every system in the exercise, both in the tank, the HAC, and the recording devices around the arena. They had already double-checked as a matter of routine, but he wanted nothing left to chance. Normally tanks engaged one another at thousands of meters, not a hundred.

The HAC suit braced itself for impact but otherwise left itself wide open for a torso-shot- no attempt would be made to diminish the impact with its arms or to avoid the shot by moving. This was, by all accounts, an execution if the armor failed. Paul took a deep breath before keying his comm again, "Fire."

With a thunderous retort, the Abrams let fly its deadliest weapon. The impact on the HAC suit staggered it back a step and Paul worried for a moment it would fall- but the suit managed to keep its feet. The Abrams again turned its weapons away from HAC as all the technicians swarmed the organization machine. Paul once again found himself thinking about requesting a more durable chair as he clenched his hands on the arms in worry- and promptly shattered said arms between his metal fingers. Slowly, as the technicians thoroughly inspected the machine, the results came in- the suit was still live.

Though the HEAT round had struck dead-center of the suit- the technicians and sensors indicated the HAC was still functional. The assessment of whether the pilot would survive this hit seemed to be under some debate. There had been no compromise in the armor that would allow gasses to enter, and the impact reportedly had not caused enough pressure or force to consider the pilot 'killed' upon the hit, but the general consensus that the human inside would be damaged was not up for discussion; only whether he or she would still be capable of combat. Paul deeply wished Cella or Crakton had been on-hand for this but they had problems of their own to attend to- they couldn't be present for every test Paul wanted to observe. He was more than willing to step in for Cella's weapon-tests but Crakton ever since his breakthrough of moving his mind to an artificial body had studied little but the human brain. It was a useful but ultimately very boring field to observe- not to mention Paul himself couldn't begin to follow the raw genius that flowed from the man in his chosen field of excellence.

Luckily, it seemed a lower-tier of smarts was still available. Kreager called in and Paul keyed open a personal channel, "Yes?"

Kreager's voice sounded very tired, but the man had just faced down a Dragon to be fair, "The pilot would definitely feel the hit and might experience anything from a small concussion to fairly severe internal injuries."

"That's to be expected." Paul replied, "The pilot has always been the weak-link for HACs- that's why we have to chip them just so they can keep up."

"Agreed, but overall the suit held up. No munitions were destroyed, its mobility isn't compromised, and the sensors are all still performing; I think I know how to solve the pilot argument."

"I'm listening." Paul responded, keeping an eye on the technicians still poking and prodding at the suit in the distance all the while.

"That was a HEAT round so it wouldn't kill a real battle tank anyways- they have countermeasures that we haven't started adding yet. This was a pure armor test at point-blank range and it's passing with flying colors, regardless of the spooks complaining about the thing staggering. Follow it up and hit it again to see if the pilot would still be in this grey area of damage."

"And if the pilot or the HAC would be dead?" Paul was compelled to ask to see how Kreager would reply.

"You know HACs are fast- no Arbams will tag them at the normal firing range to begin with. This is an overly ideal scenario and you know it- it could only be worse by aiming directly at the back. If the pilot's dead then bring in new sensors and if the HAC dies then bring in another one and have it start dodging."

Paul nervously tapped the fingers of his hands together as he thought about the logistic and furthermore, the finances of that. HACs weren't cheap to make and computer-testing would only take them so far- at some point live-fire practice had to occur and it was more than expected they would be costly- but he very much didn't want multiple destroyed suits under his belt so soon into his career as Oversight. His inner struggle was lessened significantly when additional reports solidified into a more positive assertion that the pilot would live and still be functional, just rattled and bruised. Paul nodded to himself before relaying the orders to repeat the test.

Again the Abrams fired and again the HAC suit took the round like a champion, staggering back one step to distribute the hit but otherwise coming out on top; with the 'pilot' still living. Once more the technicians gathered around and once again they reported the machine was fully functional. Some staff noted the logistics of where the HAC suit was standing and how that might be interfering with how well it could stand against the shots. Paul humored them and ordered the HAC suit and Abrams to change positions- though he doubted anything as mundane as footing was interfering. The third shot still rocked the machine back a step and the technicians actually had a fist-fight out on the arena floor over why it was happening. Paul had a good chuckle as two of the thinnest men he'd seen in some time fell to the ground in a scuffle, surrounded by a ring of additional researchers in equal parts laughing themselves or trying to pull them apart. Later one of the members thought to check the computer that was commanding the suit and see whether the machine was stepping back because it was being forced to or because it was doing so by choice. A few minutes of code-checking later and it was determined that the HAC was taking the step back because that was the optimal method to distribute the force much like a human would step back when kicked.

After that code was disabled the suit and Abrams once again resumed positions and the Abrams fired yet another shot. This time the suit didn't stagger back at all- and the pilot was 100% confirmed dead without any doubt. As the pilot's sensors hadn't been repaired or reset during the initial tests, and the HAC suit was still going strong, Paul ordered a fresh 'pilot' and for the suit to take one more round without the code that caused the machine to step back. After half an hour of preparation, the final shot rang out from the Abrams and Paul had his answer. If the suit gave ground, the pilot would be damaged but still capable, though multiple hits would put the man inside in very dangerous territory. The suit itself had definitely begun taking damage after the repeated assaults, the sensors were temperately only at 30% efficiency and the machine's mobility had been compromised to less than 73% of its normal speed and maneuverability- though the latter was to be more thoroughly tested later in another area with the same model. However, no standard munitions nor fuel sources had been damaged by the repeated torso shots- a success that couldn't be dismissed. All the same, if the suit stood its ground for such a close-range shot then the pilot was dead and there would be no debate about it.

It's to be expected, we're the weak part of this, not the machines. Paul ruminated to himself. He was still thrilled to see the projected results for the HAC suit somewhat confirmed in a real-time practical combat simulation but he simply could not get over how it seemed the only viable future was of unmanned machines... Paul looked at his artificial limbs and thought deeply about this indeed as the HAC suit managed to walk out of the arena under its own power- though the smoothness had definitely left its stride.

Cella walked into his command center, the bright lights bouncing off her skull and white labcoat in a blinding flare for a moment before she fully reached Paul. "They're bringing in the armaments for the next HAC suit now. I heard the pilots won't survive a direct hit?"

Paul shook his head, "Blasted rumor-spreading Handsy- no the pilot will live so long as they don't face-tank the rounds at point-blank range. If only we didn't need pilots..."

"It's unfortunate love," Paul held no allusions of actual love from Cella, it was only her native way of speaking, "but even with computers being faster- there's times where a human mind needs to be at work making decisions. And the nature of the suits means a fleshy body needs to be linked to the suit so they can properly be as close as possible to the action and what the suit is being exposed to."

"Or perhaps," Paul eyed his artificial hands- each ending at just before his elbow, "perhaps it's time for man to start becoming more machine?" He was aware Cella disagreed with this particular ideology where Crakton did not, an obvious irony that was not lost on Paul, but at least she no longer actively insisted it wasn't the correct path to take. Progress indeed. "Will they be testing your weapon on the Arbams?"

"The Spider? Yes I expect it to be the first test. But why are you satisfied with only one test of the armor?"

"Simple," Paul held up one spread hand, "We only had five shots for the live-fire exercise. The Abrams we captured was sent out primarily with other kinds of ammunition on account of fighting in a city and we don't have the time to spend changing out a factory to make these specific HEAT rounds- at least-" he lazily looked up at Cella from his chair, "not without some of the weapons experts begging non-stop for a chance to test out against actual tank armor."

Cella didn't take the bait, "If there's one thing you can't be with weapons development- it's impatient. That's a good way to be blown up."

"Agreed," Paul dipped his head in what he hoped came across as a wise look, "and the practical results match the calculated ones so all things considered I'm fine with such a small test at the moment. We're not planning on going to war against the US military in any case- this is mostly insurance."

"We wouldn't win." Cella remarked, offering her second view that irked Paul. "Especially not without Subjects. But I see why you're doing this now- you're telling the enthusiasts to shut up."

"Those aren't the words I would choose, but yes, I'm showing that the HACs aren't as invincible as thought; if one Abrams can damage them with a few shots- imagine what the bigger guns would do."

"An admirable attempt at diplomacy- you seem to be learning."

"And I'll learn more." Paul eagerly leaned forwards yet again, "The weapons test is beginning."

The new HAC suit that faced the Abrams was armed with three weapons: the traditional missile launchers in either shoulder, the HAC minigun, and the peanut-shaped weapon that must be the Spider. Paul ordered another check on the Abrams to ensure it was indeed in pristine condition and, upon being confirmed, gave the command to start this new exercise.

The Abrams tore off, accelerating to the maximum speed it could as it tried to hide behind rock structures and outcroppings so the suit couldn't see it. The suit, manned this time, pointed the Spider at a planned structure and prepared to fire it directly over it when the Abrams was 100% hidden from the sight of the suit. Paul felt Cella's fingers dig into his shoulder as the pilot narrated his aiming and firing of the projectile. Their was a burst of flame from the end of the peanut and to Paul's eyes it looked like the bullet suddenly exploded over the top of the rock as it fired out a series of precise shots at the Abrams as it passed overhead.

Cella had her tablet out and was gleefully tapping away, Paul had his larger screens to look at but he imagined her personal tablet was recording as well. The Spider had located every sensory apparatus on the Abrams and had destroyed them all with a triple-round burst, each with a tracer as the second shot. The computer had perfectly analyzed the Abrams and found all the weak spots to fire on. If a human face had been in the camera it would've received a burst as well. In itself this had done nothing to the main part of the tank- but the crew couldn't see to fire the guns.

Paul looked at Cella and gave an encouraging smile. "They'd be helpless." Firepower kill.

He had spoken a moment too soon, as the HAC suit then launched the typical one-two pattern of missiles from its shoulders. Paul saw each missile squarely impact the treads of the tank- blowing each out in the entirety and stranding the vehicle completely to truly knock his statement home. Mobility kill. Cella took this moment to lean over his shoulder and whisper to him.

"Next up is the stuff they plan on using against Ripper now that he's growing that armor. Even I don't have clearance for it- it's fresh from the 1st Facility."

Paul had but a moment to gasp in surprise at this newest development before he watched in awe as the minigun activated, rolling up to speed as the HAC suit paced a couple dozen meters to properly return to the 100 meter designation against the Abrams. The sight of the gun in real-time slicing the entire tank in half lengthwise in 5.85 seconds of continuous fire brought a wide-eyed smile to his face and applause to his metal hands- war enthusiasts be-damned. Catastrophic kill.

Re: Friendly Subject Help

Post by Friendlysociopath » Sun Feb 11, 2018 4:53 am

Paul frowned, a deep look of concern marred his face as both his metallic arms remained firmly crossed across his chest, stolen technology that he would continue to reap the rewards from so long as he lived. The reluctant Oversight watched the enclosed system that currently was in use for the Subject known as Sparkles.

After her meeting with Raven, Sparkles had exhibited an alarming lack of control and a just as worrying growth in regards to her ability. Prior to her temporary disappearance, the girl could not do much more than make hot sparks. While staggering in their potential for energy- ultimately they lost power far too quickly for it to be harnessed effectively. To properly use something like heat- you needed it to last and be fairly constant.

Now? The girl had to be constantly sedated in order for her to not spontaneously melt the building around her with streams and rays of energy that stopped for nothing. Paul had immediately suggested for her to be put down and disposed of- it was only at the plea and behest of his fellow researcher that he had agreed to use Sparkles for his prototype aging machine.

Theoretically, it made sense. The Subjects were already genetically programmed to grow faster than a normal human- previously the issue when testing had been things like the aging not stopping at all or the body not growing to begin with. His new technique was basically attempting to invoke the effects of the earlier failures but to also control and minimize the side effects- typically death. To that end, it was more than just genetic tampering, he also was using the memory implanting tech in an attempt to advance the mentality of the Subject as well. Additionally, nutrients and all manner of required elements needed for a growing body would be pumped into the Subject continuously over the period of exactly 3.85 hours it was suggested the process would take for Sparkles.

If all goes well, we'll have a functional Sparkles that can be controlled and reasoned with. Paul ruminated to himself. As he understood it, the Limiter that Subjects were created with was as much for their own protection as it was the organization. It was similar to how the human body normally would restrain itself so a person wouldn't push their body far enough to do serious harm- not without adrenaline reducing their inhibitions anyways. Limiters instead kept the mysterious powers Subjects were born with in check- the better for them to be controlled. When the Limiter was suppressed or removed, it was possible for a Subject to harm themselves unless they were well practiced in pushing themselves.

Raven's blood, theoretically, advanced and accelerated the growth of a Subject's power; in spite of the Limiter. It was hoped by the staff that adored Sparkles that this new combination of technologies would result in the Limiter being improved with age- effectively allowing Sparkles to control the buffed ability Raven had given her. The organization could not increase the powers on their own nor restrict them- but it was hoped the Limiter itself was something that would be affected by this process. If nothing else, the increased mental faculties ought to assist in keeping the hellish energies under control.

Thus far, she wasn't dead and the readings insisted all was going well. Paul patiently waited in the observing room- well aware that failure meant Sparkles would likely burn a hole straight through the hundreds of feet of rock to the surface in an instant and most definitely expose this facility. The government had, obviously, noted the blast of light that had leveled over a block of cityscape; Paul knew as of yet they barely had any solid intelligence about the organization but the attention was still not something he needed to deal with in addition to his responsibilities already.

As usual, Cella and Dr. Crakton stood at his side. While Paul was ever wary of Crakton, Cella had become his closest ally, their mutual distrust of Subjects and desire to advance the human race through technology alone put them on the same path and Paul had desperately needed to create his own circle of loyal researchers. Crakton had said and done little since entering the room, a discreet glance at his dead-panned eyes would allow an observer to note Crakton was likely running simulations of some kind in his processors and not paying attention to the outside world. Cella however appeared to be thinking along similar lines to what Paul had been concentrating on.

"Surely if her control had failed it would've happened hours ago- when the drugs would've theoretically been flushed from her system?"

Paul nodded, "Theoretically, yes. It was a calculated risk- had she lost control during the first few minutes I would've ordered the entire room sterilized in an instant. But, as it stands now, we're nearly done. This is hardly going to be a routine procedure but I am indeed curious about the results."

Crakton's eyes flickered and his voice emerged from his mouth, he'd dedicated enough power to actually move the lips so his attention was fairly on-point it seemed. "Allen Trake is the man heading this scenario. His numbers all seem to add up correctly and he's run them again and again to be sure. The only hole he has is that most mysterious of all human parts- the mind."

"Subjects aren't human." Paul interjected, "But I see your point- we can't possibly predict the effect on her mentally?"

"Predict certainly." Crakton's voice took on a tint of good-natured humor, "We can predict all manner of things. However, if you mean predict correctly-" Paul rolled his eyes, "-then no. Even with our ability to implement memories, the mind evades our efforts to understand it perfectly. It's this exact reason that Subjects like King continue to frustrate you, is it not?"

Cella took over, well aware of Paul's discord with one of the most known Subjects, "Surely you have a theory then? You wouldn't be bringing this up just now if you thought it was dangerous."

"Indeed, I'll obviously want to examine her once she's released, but I suspect we'll see an alternate personality."

That snapped Paul out of his rising anger from the mention of King, "Why? All they did was make her older?"

"Indeed- but your own brain naturally progressed to that state. Even the Subjects with accelerated aging have naturally been able to 'fill in' as it were so that the growth resembles a gradual ramp. This," Crakton extended his hand to gesture through the glass at the monstrous combination of wires and cables that was plugged into a steel column with Sparkles sealed inside, "this is something else entirely. It's not a ramp- it's a jump. The changes in attitude, in knowledge and the ability to use one's body, these are likely in my opinion to form another 'self' for Sparkles. I could certainly be wrong- but we'll have an answer soon enough."

Paul grit his teeth, "And you didn't mention this before we started this escapade because?"

"Why would I? An alternate personality is not, in itself, any disadvantage or issue. If she makes a new persona to project to the world it may actually benefit us. Sparkles previously was quite obedient but lacked any significant willpower- she had no drive and possessed no ambition. Ask her to sit still and she would never move again until told."

Paul kept silent and continued counting down the time. I have no problem with Subjects that do as they're told...

Re: Friendly Subject Help

Post by Friendlysociopath » Mon Nov 27, 2017 3:44 am

Raven silently glared at the men and woman sitting around the back of the van with her. Tinted glass separated her from the outside world, she could see the dozens of cars likewise riding the highway, but they couldn't see in. Across from her sat the two men: one was an older fellow, with a dark brown beard that obscured his neck entirely, and a glare on his face that would suit a Viking berserker. The other was a younger fellow of Asian descent, his eyes were a dull black to match his cropped short hair; the same eyes were gazing just a bit too long at certain parts of Raven and darting away just when he thought she was looking at him. The woman, or perhaps 'girl' would be a better term, had neon pink hair and was babbling away about how Raven needed to come around to their way of thinking while drumming her jean-clad legs against the seat in a maddening frenzy of motion.

"You really should think of this as an opportunity. Think of all the lives you could save- or wait- all the research you could help finish. Studying Subjects has led to so many benefits: we know more about various genetic disorders, renewable energy types, fantastic materials that revolutionize armor- the potential is endless!" Raven glared at her, noting her pert little nose nestled between her eyes and the scattering of freckles across it. The babbling continued, "You got off on the wrong foot- fair enough. And we totally kidnapped you- fair enough again. But if you had the cure for cancer running away from you- you'd hunt it down and grab it too. That's what you are Miss Hofterin- you're the cure."

Raven sighed and looked at the bearded man. "Are you buying this?"

He shook his head, the beard waving from the motion. "No. You're resisting us, so you no longer get a say. It's too important that you be brought in- willing or not."

"We had a deal!" Raven scoffed, pulling at the handcuffs on her wrists in dismay. She shot a quick glance at the younger man, noting he again averted his eyes, which had been rooted rather firmly on her legs. A consistent little bastard. "We stay quiet- you leave us alone!"

The pink girl spoke up, "If it makes you feel better, we tried bringing in the others too."

Raven brought her face in close to the girl and spoke through clenched teeth, "Go- to- hell." She glared at the men (the quiet one again quickly looked away) and included them, "That goes for you too."

The bearded man's face grew red, "The only place we're going is back to the Facility. For someone trying to keep quiet, you've caused a lot of disorder."

"You guys lost a dragon! And Ripper! And God knows what else! How is that my fault?"

"Prior to you joining our ranks, rarely did any Subject escape, let alone wreak havoc on the surrounding areas!"

"Oh that is such bullshit!" Raven leaned forwards, aware that the young man's eyes were back on her, and her chest. "You let the Vamp go- and the Subject he was chasing. I know King and Cutter slipped out whenever they feel like it- and you want to tell me I'm the problem?"

His face now resembled a ripe tomato, "Because of you now we have to deal with-" his eyes widened, "what the?"

Raven acted instantly, looking at the younger man, who averted his eyes again. She took this opportunity to drive her elbow right into the pink-haired girl's cute little nose- slamming her head into the van window with a resounding THWACK. And I thought it would sound hollow. She then lunged forwards to catch the young man's returning face with a headbutt- bringing the top of her skull directly into the side of his head with a snapping motion. The old man, neglecting all rules of chivalry, brought his fist back and slugged Raven in the temple; knocking her back onto her seat before he half-stood to reach her with his hands. Raven kicked out at him, her legs landed two good strikes right between the legs- doubling him over and back into the seat.

With a screech of anger the girl lunged at Raven, clawing at her face with hooked fingers. Raven threw herself backwards; in such tight spaces she couldn't get much distance but she used what she had. She braced her legs against the door and kicked off it as hard as she could, bringing her shoulder into the girl and slamming her back against the window. Her breath expelled in a burst of air as the Asian boy tackled her in the abdomen, driving the air from her lungs. With her arms stuck over his head and in cuffs- there wasn't much she could do about it. The larger man had finally recovered his wits enough to stop holding himself and returned to his half-crouch. He pushed his male accomplice to the floor and grabbed Raven by her captured arms.

Unfortunately, while he seemed a simple man, he was aware of how to keep someone down- perhaps he had law enforcement training? He spun her around and brought her onto the seat before slamming her face against the back window; followed by him bracing his arms against the back of her neck in order to keep her still. At nearly double her weight, there was no way she'd be able to push him off. She did, however, have a good view of the traffic behind them- and the cluster of various cars, trucks, and vans that were exchanging gunfire. What?

A short while ago, about 1,000 feet and 85 mph behind Raven's van...
"You're sure it's that one?" Laura asked the newly reclaimed Subject 000.

"Yes. Go faster." He hasn't changed very much. Laura pressed the pedal to the floor, hearing and feeling the decrepit SUV slowly accelerate. She glanced over at his hands and looked back to the dark road before doing a double-take. He'd drawn a different pistol than the one he'd returned with, a normal one you might find in any gun store.

"What happened to your Subject Killer?"

"The ammunition it required won't be invented for another few years. I gave it to our resident weapons-expert in hopes that he could scavenge something useful from it."

Laura kept her eyes on the road in front of her, in particular the white van he'd insisted Rave was in. "Also- we're in the middle of the highway and a ton of people- why are you loading that?"

"It's necessary."

"Huh?" Laura turned to eye Zero, "Why?"

"Because we're being attacked." Laura didn't have time to process that fully before a dingy brown pickup truck pulled alongside them. The window was open and a man was holding a pistol out of it and pointing at the two of them.

The weapon fired and Zero acted, reaching out an arm across Laura's chest and pushing her back into her seat as the bullet whizzed through the cab, piercing through both side windows before exiting the opposite side of the vehicle. Zero savagely flung open his door, catching the man's arm just above the wrist and cracking it with an audible snapping noise before the Subject mutely closed his door. It took Laura a moment to realize he had seized the man's wrist in his other hand as well and was holding him outside of the SUV as they continued to accelerate. Laura had thought Zero was about to question him, but the theory was tossed out the window as Zero released his prisoner without a word- after he'd cleared his truck. And then the man was gone- his car slowly swerved off the road without the driver and Laura could only assume the man was severely injured or dead after being dropped onto the highway at such high speeds. Zero reached into the bag he'd placed in the backseat and withdrew a pistol.

"Zero," Laura yelled, alternating keeping her eyes basically everywhere: on the Subject, on the van Rave was in, on the road, on the surrounding cars, "what's the matter with you?!"

The Subject didn't respond, instead reaching forwards to pull Laura down as a semi-automatic weapon fired out several times from the driver-side, leaving holes in the doorframe where Laura had previously been positioned. Zero returned fire in an instant, emptying the newly acquired pistol as quickly as he'd gained it. Laura heard a cry of pain as at least one shot found a mark.

The civilians around them had definitely noted the gunfire by now. There were two responses to that: slowing and turning off the road, or hammering on the pedal to go faster and try getting away. Unfortunately, almost nobody seemed to be doing the former as every car in sight roared as everyone, friend or foe, hit the gas to try and gain speed. Laura's eyes darted around frantically as she tried to figure out if any of the nearby cars were going to pull a gun and fire at her.

Zero eyed Laura's side mirror before drawing a grenade from his pocket. Laura had the briefest moment to identify it as a stunner before Zero lightly tossed it out the window and moved to clap his hands over her ears before she could react. She felt her gaze forced down to the floor and, even as they rapidly pulled away from the grenade, heard and felt the blast behind them; along with the screeching of metal. She tore Zero's fingers from her head and yelled.

"You can't hurt innocents!"

"I didn't harm any innocent to my knowledge." Zero responded as he reached into the back for more guns. "The stunner only struck one vehicle and we already exchanged gunfire with them. I noted a crimson glow showing from the eyes of the driver. It appears there are Grunts chasing us alongside the humans."

"What?!" Laura suddenly felt far less secure and grabbed a smaller pistol out of his hand before inserting it into her leg-holster. It wasn't the easiest place to grab it from- but she didn't want it bouncing around in case things got rough. "How is that possible? They'll reveal themselves for sure!"

Zero continued eyeing the mirrors as he answered, "While I was away, I heard of something they can do, 'Blackout' they call it. Basically they can isolate a few square miles so that nothing can be sent or received: no radio, no cell phone, nothing."

Laura groaned, "How is that possible?"

Zero shrugged as he continued checking the weapons from his bag, Laura recognized the weapons from the SWAT van: a Remington shotgun, a pair of pistols, and what looked like a MP5 rifle, to check and load in the brief respite he'd bought them. All cars, civilian or enemy, had been taken aback by the stunner and slowed or stopped entirely. Laura saw a fleet of vehicles emerge from the deadlock, five of them in total, before they accelerated towards the junk car they'd taken. Laura's knuckles whitened as her grip intensified on the wheel.

"Zero- I really hope you have a plan for dealing with those."

The Subject cocked the final pistol and placed it back in the bag. Unlike Laura, he had no holsters. "I'll kill them- you drive faster."

Laura instinctively ducked down as she heard the ping of a bullet hitting the car. At such long range it wouldn't penetrate- but that wouldn't be the case for long. "That's your plan? Zero- if you can shoot them- they can shoot us! Find another way to slow them down before they get close!"

Zero gave her an unflinching stare, "I could shoot out the tires of the cars in front of us to form an obstacle-" His eyes widened and he clenched his skull between his hands, a high shriek emerging as the safeguards kicked in for him wanting to harm innocents. Not for the first time, Laura felt remorse for the mental conditioning her father had used on the Subject. Going against something she and Raven together ordered was painful, and she'd unintentionally led him right along the path to trigger it. He didn't have any options- either he could fight the enemy when they drew near or he could stop them from closing the gap.

"Zero- it's okay! I forgive you!"

The command words worked- stopping the mental and physical suffering he was forced to experience when going against their commands. The ragged panting that followed the shriek was perhaps worst Laura had ever seen Zero, barring the aftermath of his fight with Ripper. His eyes were bloodshot and red-tinged snot was running down his nose- she was fairly sure he'd bitten his lip or maybe even his tongue as well since twin strings of bloody saliva were hanging from the corners of his mouth.

The moment of calm was shattered as a series of gunshots worked their way through the SUV- cracking the windshield and obscuring Laura's vision. Zero leaned forwards and lashed out with either palm- breaking the window from the front of the SUV and off to the side. The hot wind of the highway streamed into the car and into Laura's face as the obstruction was abruptly no longer between her and the outside.

But heated air was the least of her worries, the organization cars were drawing close. Laura felt frustration building up in her from all the obstacles, all the enemies, all of the fucking problems that never seemed to end. Her ire escaped in the form of a screamed command, "Zero- kill them!" Her father likely would've been upset with this command, but he was dead and Laura would be too if Zero didn't work with a fatal frame of mind. The Subject's eyes gave a brief burst of red at the order.

Without a word, he drew the MP5 and did a weird sort of lunging crawl to the back of the SUV. Semiautomatic gunfire sounded off behind Laura as a flurry of bullets streamed from the MP5. She couldn't tell how many shots landed, even when looking through the side mirror, but Laura could tell that the five cars were spreading out to make sure Zero didn't take multiple vehicles out at once. It was a good move- Laura noted a crazed windshield on a small car that Zero had chosen as his target- likely for its speed. A few more barks and the vehicle lost control, the tires were shredded and it went careening off and turning on its side before flipping entirely.

The other four accelerated, Laura could see weapons emerging from the windows and hunkered down as they inevitably opened fire. Bullets pierced through the vehicle around her, but surprisingly not a single one hit her. Sparks jumped from the dashboard and she flinched away, briefly taking her hands from the wheel. One of the cars had pulled up on either side of the SUV. The one closest to Laura had rammed her vehicle and unleashed a burst of gunfire towards her. She heard the roar of a shotgun and knew Zero was returning fire- but they were screwed. It would take only a single bullet puncturing a tire to put Rave beyond Laura's grasp- maybe forever. The thought brought a rise of fury to Laura- she twisted and grabbed at her pistol, straightening in her seat to fire at the organization flunkies outside her door. Her first three shots were for the shooter, a single miss followed by two shots to the chest. The next three were for the tire, puncturing it. She never got off a seventh shot, her arm went numb as an enemy attack finally found her; leaving a neat hole in her shoulder and causing her to drop her gun. She shrank back in pain as the car briefly pulled away. Laura saw a pair of glowing red eyes and saw the Grunt emerge from the driver-side seat- he climbed onto the roof of the car and jumped towards her with his arms outstretched. His face exploded like a red water balloon as Laura was deafened by the blast of a shotgun behind her.

Zero was looking worse for wear. Laura spotted several new holes in him that hadn't been there seconds prior. The car abruptly gained a few new holes of its own as a pair of hands burst through the roof- scrabbling for a grip on Laura. While she'd been shooting- a Grunt had gained purchase on the SUV. Another set of hands broke through the back of the car- hinting at a second Grunt's entrance. Laura felt a gust of air and saw Zero holding the Alter Sword in his hands- just an instant prior they had been empty. His instruction was loud and clear, "Duck."

Laura flattened herself as a the blade accelerated, seemingly forming a solid circle of gleaming metal in the blink of an eye as the roof of the SUV was severed and hurled away- along with the Grunt riding atop it and the top half of the one coming from the back.

Re: Friendly Subject Help

Post by Friendlysociopath » Fri Nov 17, 2017 9:30 pm

More tech lists

Mythological Weapon:
Subject Series equivalent
Owner | Owner(s)

AKA Alter Hammer. Mechanical hammer that induces a powerful negative charge onto someone when it hits them- which makes lightning strike them.

Claymore that causes cell death on contact- eventually resulting in full-body cellular death. The process is two steps, the cells in contact spread the affliction and then the cells die.
Subject 000 - Re: Zero | Subject 277 - Vincent

Gae Bulg:
Spear that contains nanomachines- upon contact with blood they will flood the body and form spikes to pierce all manner of arteries and veins.

Miracle-fabric that resists any and all heat and forms a skintight suit.
Subject 007 - Meltdown

Damocles Rods:
Rods that tap into the magnetic field of the Earth to hold themselves in place when activated- otherwise they're weightless.

Anti-matter cannon- never live-fired but tests indicate it could blow through a mountain.

Re: Friendly Subject Help

Post by Friendlysociopath » Tue Nov 14, 2017 12:28 am

Raven held the tape in her hand, marveling at it. By physical appearances it was nothing more than a VHS tape- something that hadn't been relevant for decades now. But it was so much more. It was unhackable and virtually untraceable message from her step-father, Richard Hofterin. She looked over the top of the cassette at Laura, who solemnly met her eyes steadily.

"Come on Raven, what did he have to say?"

Raven crept towards the old television sitting on the desk, Laura and herself each took a seat in front of the small screen so they could receive what might very well be the last words Richard Hofterin had ever planned to tell them. Static filled the screen for several seconds before Richard's face filled the screen as he was apparently tampering with the camera. After making a satisfied noise, he took a few steps back until he was more firmly in-frame. The background of the office they were currently sitting in was just behind him, the camera had stood only a few feet behind where they were sitting. He clasped his hands behind his back and straightened up as he cleared his throat.

"Hello girls. I hope you bear me no ill will for the secrecy but, as you may have found out by now, the paranoia isn't unjustified. I left this tape for you two in order to tell you about my work and how it affected, and will likely continue to affect, your lives; for which I can only say- I'm sorry."

Raven felt Laura's fingers sneak over her own and grasp her hand tightly. Raven herself squeezed in return to try to stifle her nerves. Finally, some answers! After months of living in fear and confusion, they were finally going to learn more about what was going on instead of scrambling around like blind people.

Richard cleared his throat again before continuing, "As you're no doubt aware by now, my research started out of a desire to help Raven's mother and her genetic condition. Since you're both well familiar with that I won't dwell on it overmuch. Unmonitored time like this is precious so I'll try to be brief. First of all, the organization I work for. There are 13 Facilities scattered throughout the United States at the time of this recording. They're divided into sets of three, East, North, West, South, Central, and what I can only assume is the headquarters- which I have never located nor been told about beyond it existing. Each facility has a Facility Head, that's my job. Think of us as managers to keep all the various elements in a facility working together. Each of the five regions has an Oversight, someone who travels between the facilities and communicates with other Oversights and occasionally the heads behind the organization. Laura's mother, Andrea, is the Eastern Oversight." He paused, a shadow crossing his face as he looked downwards for a moment, "Laura, it may be hard to hear this, but she still loves you; she talks about you all the time- how she wishes you were with her."

"No..." Laura suddenly interrupted, her eyes growing wide. Raven looked at her as Richard kept speaking in the video.

"The two of you were so happy together when you were younger- I can only hope she'll prove a valuable ally to you in the coming times."

"No no no no!" Laura screamed, leaping up and violently shaking.

"Laura?" Raven was concerned, Laura's reaction was somewhat unexpected.

Laura meanwhile had her head in her hands, her fingers trembling from how hard she was pushing on her skull. "No. No. No. Nonononononono-"

"Laura!" Raven yelled, grabbing her step-sister and shaking her. "Stop it! Tell me what's wrong!" Laura went limp, causing Raven to grunt in effort as she maneuvered the taller woman back onto the couch. She looked into Laura's eyes and didn't see tears or anything to indicate stress or dismay- they eyes looked glazed though- like Laura couldn't focus. "Sis," Raven softly called, "what's going on?"

At the mention of 'sis' Laura shook her head slightly back and forth before responding. "I... I don't remember being happy with her- ever. I'm trying- I really am." she shuddered. "But it's no good, I have no memories of being happy with her, all I remember is hate." Raven was silent for a moment as she realized the possibility of Laura's loss, which the elder Hofterin seemed to conclude slightly later. "It's King- isn't it?"

Raven solemnly nodded, not trusting herself to speak, though from rage or sadness she couldn't say. Laura had told her about Andrea's zeal to harm and kill her but Raven hadn't known their relationship well enough to say whether that was unexpected or not. Clearly it was. Richard claimed the two had been happy together and Andrea still wished Laura well- a glaring opposite from the Andrea Laura had told Raven about. Either Andrea had radically changed since Richard had recorded the video or, worse, she'd been made to change since then; and Raven knew of only one Subject that could alter someone's mind so easily.

Laura seemed to have recovered, finding the steel will that she kept hidden deep inside of her and clenching her fists to stop the shaking. "Start the video back up Rave."

Raven did so, hoping the rest of the recording wouldn't be worse to hear. Richard's voice emerged from the speakers again as the Hofterin sisters resumed their seats and rewound the video.

"I could spend weeks telling you about all the different Subjects and inventions that we've worked on in here- let alone every other facility in the organization. However, the one I have to tell you about the most is Subject 000." Raven and Laura shared a look before returning their gazes back to the screen. "He's not conscious yet, and may never be, but all signs of life indicate he's still functioning perfectly fine so who knows what the future holds? If he does wake- there are things you need to know- things I may not be around to tell you."

A brief silence followed as Richard blinked a few times and his voice grew hoarse, "It's... hard, you know, to record these words and think, 'I may never see you after you see this'. All of the things a father should be able to tell his children- and here I am talking about my work." He wiped at his eyes before continuing, "The first thing that both of you must remember is this: Subject 000 is, by almost every standard, a monster."

Now it was Raven's turn to clench her fists to stop the trembling. He said it- Laura's father actually said it- Zero is a monster. She didn't want to believe it- she was sure Laura didn't want to believe it either- but what else did they have? He was still willingly massacring anyone who crossed his path even when he knew he shouldn't. The footage from the boat off the West Coast and what Subject Zero had accomplished there only solidified this in her mind.

Richard hadn't stopped talking about Zero's flaw. "This inclination to kill- it goes beyond personality, beyond memory or even instinct, it's in his very genes." His voice grew briefly louder as a scorned fury tinged his speech, "They genetically tampered with my work- all so they could have a better weapon." He drew a deep breath and tugged at his beard, much less grey than it had been when Raven saw him last. "Again, he hasn't actually been fully born, for all intents and purposes, and I admit that makes this much more based on speculation than I would like; but I've been a pretty constant factor for other Subjects and I'm basing his assessment on that plus building a worst-case scenario for you to take care with. It is possible that he will build up a barrier against this compulsion- a mental state that allows him to function more akin to a human. Raven, your DNA might accelerate this process and make him substantially more calm; if my theories are correct anyways. But, and I can not stress this enough, his willingness, his desire to kill, it will manifest itself. If, for any reason, his mental state were to regress- say in a fit of rage or if your acceleration was somehow undone- he would not know restraint like you or I. As such I implore you- if he wakes- if he finds you- if he begins to function as a normal human- do not forget this; beneath his human appearance, a dangerous monster with the ability and knowledge to kill without remorse, pity, or hesitation lies dormant."

Re: Friendly Subject Help

Post by Friendlysociopath » Wed Sep 20, 2017 7:11 pm

KREAGER (Takes place prior to Ripper's second escape and Subject 000's departure)

Kreager kept his eyes focused, not wanting to miss a second of the action in front of him. It wasn't often security forces were allowed to spectate HAC suit training and above all else- it was entertaining. It was also fast.

At 100 meters away with a view from above- he found himself impressed with the arena. In older days, the organization had been pressed for space, resulting in a fair number of accidents with greater casualty numbers than should have been. But now? He glanced upwards to see a suit leap off a spire of stone that speared over 60 feet in the air, descending to the ground and slamming into the rock base with enough power that Kreager felt the impact even at this distance. Then, in the blink of an eye, it was on the move, a bur of dark metal racing across the deserted landscape. A second later, a set of linked missiles slammed into the location it had formerly occupied, spreading a large burst of bright blue liquid around the area that would theoretically signal a hit. Incredible.

The rookie across the arena definitely had the right idea, firing at moments when the suit had to accelerate instead of already at speed since it was a better chance to hit, but he lacked a key quality the veterans had; the ability to predict those moments in advance. HAC suits were too fast to fire as the opportunity came- at least with the missiles. The minigun was fast enough to tag him and leave a few bright green splotches on the formerly dropping suit before it took off.

He could see the rookie trying to take cover behind a stand of rock, peeking out to fire at his opponent whenever he got the chance. Mistake. Sure enough, the other HAC suit took the stand at a dead sprint- hurtling straight through several tons of stone and barely pausing before it impacted the hidden suit. Kreager winced as the rookie was slammed into the ground, the other suits minigun whirling and unleashing a barrage of liquid rounds across the front of the other. Cameras around the arena and sensors in the suits themselves were keeping track of the number, location, and severity of all the hits- at the end a winner would be decided.

Right now, it didn't look like it was needed. The downed HAC suit was liberally coated in yellow from the point-blank minigun that was being emptied into it. The rookie's arms flailed, leaving craters in the rock beneath the hammering fist as it tried to fight off the massive weight on its chest. But the rookie had guts- Kreager frowned for a moment as both shoulder-hatches opened and then found a wide grin on his face as the fallen mech unleashed the full load of missiles into the face of the other suit at point-blank range. Both machines were eclipsed in the multiple blasts of blue liquid. The rookie might not have a fine grasp of using the suit- but he knew one goal very well. If you can't win- then make sure the enemy doesn't either.

The buzzer sounded loud and clear and the female watcher announced her verdict over the system- an easy call. "No winner."

Kreager groaned and stood back up, rising from his perch on the walkway and grabbing up his helmet and rifle in-passing. After giving both a cursory once-over; he returned to pacing the hallways.

The division between normal guards and what were fast being dubbed, 'Elite' guards was more than the training- it was the toys. Instead of whatever pieced-together ensemble of guns and equipment someone could scrounge up- the Elites were given special uniforms and weapons that were identical. Kreager personally imagined that the end-goal would be to eventually outfit all security forces in this way but, thus far, it was limited to a small percentage. The new Oversight seemed to harbor a great dislike over reliance on Subjects, and so any guard who caught his eye was pulled from regular duties and given an intense training course- putting them through two months of hell to whip them into shape and making soldiers out of them.

Kreager placed his helmet upon his head, the visor brightening and showing the world around him in more detail. At his glance a shadow was removed by potent technology, at another he zoomed in 100x in order to note a discarded cigarette 50 yards down the hall, one more had him note the thermal readings that indicated the cigarette was long cold- not recently lit. As always, it took a moment to orient himself to such startling power before he reached up and tapped at the left side of his headgear, triggering the communication device to get a hold of the supervisor.

"Siddison," what a stupid name, "the HAC suits training exercise is done. Do you have anything important right now? Otherwise I'm headed back along the normal routine."

"Actually yes, now that you mention it..." Kreager could practically see the thin little man sitting at his computer monitor, biting at his pinkie finger as he deliberately drew out the call to make it seem like had more important things to do. "There's a patrol that hasn't reported in since passing near the Dragon enclosure- make sure they're not doing something stupid please."

"On it." Kreager ended the call before Siddison could continue. Security was being tightened more and more after the recent attacks and escapes- a patrol missing their check-in wasn't abnormal but was frowned upon and stricter consequences were announced every time it happened. Kreager, in theory, approved; it frankly amazed him how careless some personnel were-given some of the weapons and Subjects that were around. He supposed the Subjects looked fairly human most of the time- which didn't help the problem. But the Dragons... Kreager broke into a run as a cold sweat broke out. I've got a bad feeling about this. Dragons weren't human in the slightest, and they were very, very dangerous- far more so than many would suspect just by looking at them- and they looked like an extreme threat to begin with.

Kreager toggled the channels on his communicator furiously, searching for the local channel the patrols used. He ran through the list of patrols that were in the area, "All local forces near the Dragon enclosures- respond now." Silence was his only answer, along with a couple of questions from other scattered patrols- but not the one he wanted. He picked up the pace, his boots thumping in silence as he sprinted up a set of stairs two at a time. After rounding a corner he slid to a stop, taking a moment to catch his breath before peeking around the corner. The doors were open- and a Dragon was out.

The organization made wide and tall tunnels mainly for the HAC suits- but conversely this worked just as well for the Dragon. Kreager would be thankful there was only one- but even one could become a issue at an alarming rate. It wasn't the scaled hide that was almost as good as an inche of steel, it wasn't the massive body that could smash a man to paste with a swipe of the tail or the jaws that would bite him in half with a snap, it was the fire.

A Dragon's fire was not normal fire, rarely was anything in the organization 'normal' but the Dragons exceptionally so. They did not exhale literal flame- but a pale green-yellow liquid. Kreager had heard the eggheads compare it to chlorine triflouride on crack- but that particular description meant little to him. The physical results, however, spoke for themselves. Everything touched burst into flame and unleashed deadly gasses from the combustion. Kreager personally knew of nothing that could withstand it- he'd been present when a glass window had caught on fire and firmly decided he wanted nothing to do with that sort of thing. Kreager held his breath as the Dragon scooped up a body in its maw, chewing and swallowing what had previously been a human being. He slowly reached up to his helmet but it was a wasted gesture- Siddison had already noted the visual judging by the labored breathing coming through the headgear.

"Kreager, listen very carefully," Like there's another way to listen when death is sitting just down the hall. "Can you see the locking mechanism for the doors?" Kreager carefully inched out a bit farther, eyeing the combination keypad, palm-scanner, and a half-dozen other shenanigans required for the more dangerous exhibits. The entire ensemble was almost three feet tall and stuck out from the wall a good six inches at its longest. Siddison's voice continued echoing through the helmet, "Okay, it's not damaged by the looks of it- that's good. You need to close the doors."

"And how," Kreager barely breathed, keeping his voice a whisper in case a Dragon had superior hearing, you couldn't take chances with Subjects, "do you suggest I do that with a Dragon right there?" Dragon's were a 50/50 shot at whether they were violent or calm at the best of times- Kreager didn't like those odds- especially not when it was feeding.

Fortunately, Siddison had good advice, "Try to keep a low profile, walk up, and smack the big red button; it's a failsafe." Kreager began slowly creeping forwards, carefully placing one boot in front of the other as quietly as possible as Siddison kept up his explanation, "Any damage to the console or triggering of the failsafe will cause the ward to automatically seal up on maximum lock-down. So long as you stay slow and don't draw attention to yourself- the Dragon might not attack."

"And if it does?" Kreager was not happy with this plan, it amounted to barely more than hoping a hostile animal might not kill him, but he had no choice. With another set of careful steps- he was within a dozen feet of the console, and the Dragon. He'd forgotten how large the things grew- its body was almost the length of a fire-truck and the tail snaked out behind it to make it even longer, along with the lizard-like neck and skull poking out from the front. While they were dubbed after the mythological creature on account of the breath-attack, the Dragons possessed no wings, for which many organization members had expressed various levels of thanks to a variety of divine beings.

"If it does- stand really close and hope it kills you without the fire. We need the HAC suits to get that escapee back into- STOP!"

Kreager's heart actually did get a brief skip at the scream, and he saw why with clarity thanks to the helmet visor. At the other end of the hall, one of the patrols that had heard his questions had investigated on their own. Any other time, Kreager would be ecstatic at the follow-up; this was not one of those times. He needed calm, steady nerves from himself and anyone else who happened to be nearby.

What he got, was mayhem: the guards, predictably, panicked at the Dragon being free; a few yelped or screamed in fear, another drew his pistol and fired, and one man looked like he soiled himself. The combined effect attracted the Dragon's attention, and thus, its ire; and a Dragon's ire was fearsome indeed. The pistol bullets had no sooner bounced off of the snout with no damage than the Dragon roared and turned to face this new annoyance. This brought several feet of scaled tail swiping towards Kreager. He managed to duck the limb as he heard a sound that made his heart sink like a stone- the Dragon exhaling.

From behind, Kreager could see the liquid splashing the other guards, the walls, the floor, the ceiling- and he watched it all erupted into flame on contact. Alarms went off and started the normal countermeasures to fire- spraying water. The fires burst into even greater conflagrations- feeding off of the water and spreading with explosive speed. Kreager quickly calculated how long it would take the HAC suits to arrive and determined it would take too long. The nearest suits only had practice-weapons, anything else was perhaps three minutes away. A short time in theory, but the Dragon breath would consume a substantial amount of the facility during that time. Kreager had only one option- he needed it back in the ward- now.

The rifle the Elites were given was a short and stubby affair, but they could accelerate the normally sized rounds to much higher velocities than a normal rifle; granting them a greater punch at the cost of accuracy. But with a target this size- Kreager could hardly miss. A scattering of bullets struck the Dragon's hind-end, causing the monstrous Subject to turn around to look at this new irritation. Kreager knew the shots would do no harm- but they'd at least be felt and attract attention. He sprinted behind the best until he reached the halfway point. He saw the horned skull complete with razor-sharp teeth and splattered with blood arcing around towards him and leaped to the side without pausing, feeling the jaws snap shut inches from his feet as he cleared the opening to the Dragon ward. He landed in a roll, tumbling over his shoulders and popping up with his rifle spitting out hot lead yet again- this time at the head of the monstrous Subject. As before, the rounds did no damage, but he had its attention now. Kreager was sweating profusely from the nearby flames as the Dragon turned and stomped back towards the ward, glaring at him. Two more steps...

The Dragon snapped forwards again, attempting to bite his head off as Kreager dove to the side. His helmet was dealt a severe cut as the teeth scraped alongside the headgear- had he been just a split second slower- his head would no longer be attached to his body. The device fell apart from the damage, no longer able to keep its secure grip on his head. Kreager unloaded the last shots from his rifle at point-blank range, the bullets only traveling a few feet from the barrel before reaching the Dragon. It roared in rage before taking another stride forwards, a claw swiping out at him from the same movement. This Kreager did not manage to dodge, it struck him and hurled him backwards several yards. He groaned and placed either palm on the ground, pushing himself upright to face the incoming threat. One more step...

If a Dragon could smile, Kreager would've sworn it did. Its jaw opened wide and he could sense the incoming blast that would end his life. With no more bullets in the rifle- he hurled the useless gun at the open maw. Like a piece of thrown popcorn, it disappeared down the gullet. The result was the Dragon briefly choking and retching at the obstruction. It also took another step forwards.

Kreager ran, not away, but directly at the beast. He jumped upwards, landing on its bucking skull and neck and sprinting along the spine. He jumped from the hindquarters of the beast and emerged into the hallway, the reaction at the far end was still burning strong. The tail of the Dragon lashed out as he sailed through the air- catching him in the back and slamming him into the ground. Kreager groaned from the impact and the bone-deep pain it brought. He stretched out his hand, desperately reaching for the large red button.

He couldn't reach, not pinned to the ground as he was. Out of the corner of his eye- he could see the Dragon turning around- jaws slavering with spittle as it looked at him. In the distance he could see other Dragons beginning to emerge, noting the commotion and the open door. Kreager's eyes widened and panic began to set in. He was pinned, the ward was still open, the Dragons were coming, and he couldn't close the door- he needed to close the door- he needed to close the door- he needed to close the-

Like a bolt of inspiration, Kreager's belt dug into his hip, reminding him of his newest weapon. He was aware of blood coating his fingers and arm and he knew that meant he was cut open somewhere- but he remained focused on his goal- even with death closing in. Wriggling as quickly as possible, he reached down and pulled at his belt, removing the cylinder and pointing it at the control panel. He pressed the button and felt his arm jerk backwards as a sword blade formed around the hilt- shooting forwards and stabbing into the security console. With a flash of sparks and the smell of burning metal- the doors slammed shut- all three sets. The Dragon's tail was crushed by the first set, causing the owner to roar and pull away, ripping it free for the next two sets to close without issue. Kreager found his vision darkening as he heard a new noise alongside the alarms and crackling flames, it sounded like shouts of, "Doctor!" He fell into darkness, unable to stay conscious after the beating he took, unable to stay awake as the blood spread from his still and broken body. Just another day on the job...

Re: Friendly Subject Help

Post by Friendlysociopath » Sun Aug 06, 2017 11:45 pm

At least 50 miles off the coast of San Francisco...

"Alright, sorry kids, this is where we stop." The pilot of the small helicopter calls out to me and my reluctant allies. I glance his way, noting the quickening of both breath and heartbeat that frequently accompanies humans meeting my red eyes. Despite his fear, the man's voice is calm, "I've followed this boat long enough, wherever they're going, I'm stopping here."

"You've enough fuel to fly another 400 miles at least." I point out, "Why is this your stopping point?" In mute answer, he extends one finger towards the dashboard, and the small clock with a cartoon mouse on it; the white gloves signalling it's almost 10:00 PM.

"What, you have a bedtime?" Ghost's incredulous voice reaches me as he's finishing the preparations on Subject 008's parachute.

"No." the pilot replies, "I have a son who's home alone and a wife who's going to be getting off of work soon- and if I'm not there- I'm couch-bound for a week. So, no more illegal night-flying over secret boats tonight. Get out or stay in- I'm turning around."

"We can just kill you and take your helicopter." Cutter helpfully points out. "We need it for the return journey anyways."

Faster the heart beats in his chest, but the man keeps his calm. "Can any of you actually fly a helicopter?"

"Yes." 008, Cutter, and Ghost all say simultaneously. I'm sure my own implanted knowledge possesses such information but I refuse to search through it- resenting the implication that I'm only doing as others planned.

I glare at Cutter, dispensing the anger as I look into her newly blue eyes. "He's leaving, we're going, knock it off."

She shrugs, "You're calling the shots."

I waste no more words, leaping from the helicopter to begin my plummeting descent towards the boat. The wind screams past my face and the boat grows with speed that would alarm a human. As I fall, I note the various sentries walking about the sections of the cargo vessel. It's a remarkably large vessel, even without tapping into my implanted knowledge I can tell that. It has several floors similar to a pleasure cruiser, but an open and flat area similar to a normal cargo ship. Clearly they transport a variety of things with it.

I pull the chord of my parachute, feeling the pull as it opens up and digs into my shoulders. A human would almost never risk such a height, only a hundred feet above the top of the ship, but I'm hardly human. The impact is jarring, but survivable. I quickly slice the straps from my body as I note the other three had indeed followed me. I wait with baited breath to see if any had noticed our move. The reason we'd waited so long to pull the chutes was to minimize the amount of time we would be airborne and likely to be spotted. Judging by the lack of alarm, we may have succeeded.

The others creep towards me, each clutching their own Ka-Bar, the standard combat knife used by United States soldiers. 008 was an exception, clutching a silenced pistol. While she had the pieces to assemble her special rifle in a bag, it had no silencer and as such, was a detriment to our current mission. I had wondered how she planned to smuggle it past the detectors at the airport but Ghost had provided a simple solution, he'd simply teleported past most of the security with the bag and then awaited us inside. He puts the same teleportation to use now, flitting about the back end of the ship so fast that he barely appears before he's gone again. A human might catch the briefest glimpse if they were prepared and knew exactly where to look. After a short time he returns, a question on his lips.

"I heard you weren't into killing, are we playing safe?"

I think over the humans aboard the ship, the Subjects probably dwelling closer to the cargo, the possibility and even likelihood that mercy would only cause trouble.

"No." I answer, "We're not. But," I raise a cautionary hand to them, "that doesn't mean we go looking for kills. This will be easier without the entire boat alerted to our presence."

Cutter taps my on the shoulder with a single finger, "Watch and learn." She stands upright and gestures outwards with her fingers. I note every guard within a good 20 meters suddenly bend in half, she'd broken their spines. I also note that eight guards beyond this range had noticed and began to turn. That was stupid, Cutter!

"Go!" I hiss, hoping it's not too late.

I bring the knife up and sprint across the ship, hurling it as fast as I can, even breaking my limits to enhance its speed. It completes one rotation before hammering home into the forehead of the man turning to see what happened- the hilt sticks from his skull as he drops without a sound. Ghost teleports to the left, striking twice with his fists and once with a knife, downing one man, then another and another in the blink of the human eye. 008 levels her pistol and picks off three towards the right, a clean headshot dropping them without a sound. But despite her inhuman skill, a pistol is only so accurate at longer ranges, particularly on a pitching boat with the humans all jerking instinctively to avoid whatever was occurring behind them. The third target she hits takes the bullet in the side of the mouth, a debilitating injury but not one that prevents sound, or the squeezing of the trigger of his own, unsilenced, weapon. The rounds bark out into the night and I know we've failed to keep quiet.

Cutter meanwhile is clenching her fists to her skull, glaring at the pitching floor of the ship. "My limiter... it's back..."

I have no time for her issues. I can hear calls from below us and towards the front of the ship- our element of surprise is lost.

Raven's breath caught as Reed appeared in the door, his armored arms holding a silent Laura in one and an immobile Subject 008 in the other. He gently deposited Laura in the corner before carrying the Subject over to the operating table, laying her down so Raven and Samuel could better observe the victim of the organization's latest attack. It looked bad to Raven, and judging by Samuel's grim face, it looked bad to him too. Raven waited with baited breath as he carefully poked and prodded at Subject 008, once enlisting Reed to lift her up so he could look at her back. Modesty was gone, Samuel had stripped the shirt off without a second thought. In the dark room with only a single light shining overhead- the mood was tense indeed. Raven eventually worked up the courage to speak.

"Is she going to be okay?"

Samuel sighed, his gloved hands were covered in blood but he didn't seem frantic like his patient was careening towards death. He took a step back before responding, "No. I'm gonna give it to you straight, she won't walk again."

Raven was stunned, a Subject being so severely wounded was still a strange concept for her, "Never?"

"She's alive though," Reed spoke up, "that's better than the alternative isn't it?"

Always the optimist. Raven kept an eye on Laura, noting the heavy wheezing coming from her. She looked at Samuel and his arm, gleaming in the light from overhead. "Can't you fix her? You're a doctor-" hope suddenly bloomed in her chest, "and you make artificial limbs- you can help her walk again right?!"

Samuel, for once, looked uncertain. He gave a small shake of the head, "It's possible but I don't have the materials or the tools for doing it in the right amount of time-"

"Or," Reed cut in, "you can't do it at all." Samuel's eyes gained a hard glint as he looked at Reed.

"And where," the former organization engineer's voice had gone quiet, "did you hear something silly like that?"

Reed's voice remained calm, but he locked gazes with Samuel and wouldn't look away, "The organization woman who gunned down her down. It's funny- the rest of what she said was dead-on- so why would the bit about you be wrong?"

Samuel shoved Subject 008's cart out of the way, his artificial arm raising to strike Reed. Raven caught at the runaway table, halting its progress as Reed likewise raised his arm.


Samuel had strike directly at Reed- who caught the blow- his armored hand grabbing Samuel's fake one and holding it steady. Despite his straining, Samuel couldn't budge the limb. Reed's gaze hadn't changed.

"Explain Samuel- I brought them here because I thought you were the best bet. If I chose wrong based on you exaggerating your prowess I deserve to know- everyone deserves to know."

Samuel's face contorted in frustration, "Nobody cares what you or anyone else deserves- only what you can reach for and take." Despite his apparent lack of success, he wasn't giving up on pushing against Reed's arm.

"Why?" Raven broke in, glancing down at Subject 008 in concern before back up at the two men, both with their metal-clad arms locked. She's so pale... "What do you mean? You said you were a doctor!"

"I also said I was an engineer, lying really gets easier with time." Samuel's tone had returned to its patronizing and sardonic tone, "Well- it's not entirely a lie. I was learning to be a doctor and I'd learned the basics of being an engineer but- making artificial limbs like what I have now?" His arm glinted in the light as their battle altered slightly, both limbs twisted downwards slightly and the two men drew closer to one another. "It was beyond me when I was so much younger- when I needed it most- when my mother died and all that was going to keep me alive was a breakthrough of some kind." Samuel looked over their clenched fists at Raven, "You see- the organization keeps what it makes. Your father knew that. That's why he kept you and Laura away- he brought Andrea in and after that- no escape. It's like Reed's arm here- unyielding- no give whatsoever."

But Reed's arm was giving, Samuel had manipulated it even lower. A sweat had sprung into being on Reed's face as his arm kept descending. "I thought you said these things couldn't be moved?"

Samuel waved a finger of his living hand back and forth in Reed's face, "Patience, I'm explaining, remember? You all know the story of me taking on the Shadowhand- the only dishonest part of that was insisting I made the arm. I didn't- Dr. Crakton did. The best lies keep a bit of truth buried in them. I had the best teacher imaginable to learning engineering from- a man who created an entirely new body. You see- my mother kept her maiden name when they married. Crakton isn't only my mentor- he's my father." Reed's arm was almost pointing straight down at this point, despite his Pow Gauntlet, Samuel took his free hand and punched him in the skull causing him to lose concentration. In that lapse- Samuel twisted him around and pushed him away towards the wall. Reed caught himself and whirled around, his face a mask of confusion. Samuel pointed at him, "You should know better- those things have to charge up before they can tap into their true power. The charge will only last a short time- they're not always on. For all of the organization's efforts, most of the technology they have can't be sustained indefinitely. And take care of yourself a bit more-" Samuel wiped at his metal arm with his sleeve, the labcoat coming away soaked with blood, "or would you like me to tend to you? Repairing a spine is a bit out of my league but broken skin should be doable. Stop trying to block with those arms- the dampeners can only help so much and you still have normal limbs under them."

Re: Friendly Subject Help

Post by Friendlysociopath » Tue Aug 01, 2017 2:26 pm

ZERO VS CELLA (Takes place after he leaves and returns)
Reed maintained his stunned watch on the two combatants, Zero looked visibly livid, he was trembling with fury while his opponent maintained her composure, calmly taunting him and the rest of the group as she floated three stories up in her exo-armor. The sensation of being trapped was only increased by the abandoned strip malls surrounding them, one on each side to form a square of cheery SALE signs and empty glass windows while others stretched off around them like a cage- some with bridges linking the upper levels. What was worse was the woman, Cella, didn't even sound like she was trying to upset Zero; she was just calling it as she saw it.

"Face the facts. You're a group of useless thieves, failures, and nobodies- none of you is worth our concern. Samuel's a failed doctor who built his only success off the stolen work of others, Laura's a broken little girl who misses her father, Reed's a pathetic factory monkey who doesn't even have the stomach to fight, Subject 008's only use can easily be replicated by computers- all that's left of value is Raven. You might've been worth bringing back just so we can check out your DNA in more detail but, frankly, it's a win-win. Either we kill you and you're no longer a problem, or we beat you and get to study you while alive."

Reed could see Laura crying, tears dripping down her face as she knelt next to Subject 008. The elder Hofterin girl was frantically trying to stabilize the Subject. Reed's attention was focused on Zero's hand. It was the picture of a relaxed limb- despite the visible trembling. Reed worried for Laura and Subject 008, that bullet had hit the Subject right in the chest and Reed was certain she was dead or dying; and Laura didn't look like she was taking the sacrificial bodyguard well either. Reed gave a slight sigh in relief as Zero's voice remained even and calm despite his apparent rage.

"Don't judge what you can't know."

Cella shook her head, "I know enough- especially regarding you. You're no different than the rest. You're a test-vial soldier- your genes and memories force you to act and you can't even choose your own actions." Reed noted Zero's hands weren't relaxed anymore, they were now curled into fists and maintaining the shape. "Oh yes, we've heard about the Hofterin girls not being able to control you properly- if we reclaimed you then we could probably fix the bugs."

Zero didn't like that, his fists unclenched into clawed shapes as he responded, "I'm in control- I'm not some computer that does whatever is asked of it."

"No, you're worse." Cella's composure never strained, her voice never changed pitch as she gave her indictment "You're a monster that takes deliberate personal effort and repeated moral lessons to stay in line. Beneath those clothes, that snark, your little illusion of humanity- you're still the same exact thing you were before- a puppet trying to grab a hold of its own strings."

"I'm not a puppet!" Zero screamed, his eyes flashing red with fury. Reed suspected the Renegade Subject was going to attack Cella.

His suspicion was confirmed as Zero took a step towards Cella's armored form. Reed wasn't the best judge of character, and he was hardly a martial artist that could detect changes in fighting styles, but even an idiot could see that Zero wasn't moving the same he had just minutes before. Instead of his previous stance where he'd stood a bit sideways, with his legs evenly spaced out about the width of his shoulder and his hands raised in front of himself, he now was the picture of calm. His arms hung limply at his sides and he stood straight up and facing forwards, like a soldier awaiting orders. But his eyes were glowing red so fiercely that Reed could see it reflecting from nearby windows. Zero began to slowly start walking towards Cella, not making a sound but for the almost silent tapping of his shoes.

Cella shrugged, the barrels mounted on either shoulder spat out a single round, the high velocity bullets shooting straight through Zero and leaving twin splatters of blood in a pair of arcing sprays behind him. Zero took a single step back, rocking back on his heels from the shots for a brief moment. And then he was off and running.

Zero was a blur, racing forwards so quickly he almost vanished from the human eye. But a human eye was not his quarry. Already the shoulder-mounted turrets were turning to spray a hailstorm of bullets at him- but they couldn't hit him. Shattered asphalt followed the Subject as he blurred forwards- just ahead of the rounds hammering into the parking lot. Reed suddenly realized the extent of what he'd been told by the renegade Subject a few days prior, 'I don't need to outrun a bullet, just the gun.' Zero had closed the horizontal gap between them in an instant, leaping upwards to grab at Cella's legs. The woman screamed in shock as his bandaged arms latched onto her left thigh. Even from this distance Reed could see the metal covering that had withstood automatic gunfire without a scratch bend and crack in Zero's palms. He could also see the heavy punch Cella sent his way, a mighty blow from her exo-armored arm smashed into Zero's back with a loud CRACK of stressed bones. But Zero held tight, his fingers were now either drawing blood from her, bleeding from physically tearing into the metal, or some combination of the two. All Reed could tell was that Cella was in pain and lost her cool- spinning around and flying directly downwards to slam Zero into the sidewalk. Dust and stone erupted into the air as she shrieked in panic. Reed recalled that Cella was an engineer, not a combat operative, this was likely the first time she'd ever been in a real fight.

"Get off me!"

Zero relented his grip, Cella soared back into the air and let fire with her shoulder cannons again, sending a stream of hot lead straight downwards while ascending rapidly. Zero was a blur of pale skin and crimson eyes, leaping from his small crater and running off underneath a second-story bridge between two buildings. Cella flew off in pursuit- giving Reed a chance to sprint to Laura's side. His breath caught in his throat as he noted the spreading pool of blood from beneath Subject 008- and the hole in the back of her shirt. He couldn't be sure but, if the white stuff was bone fragments, he was pretty that meant the shot had damaged her spine. That's bad...

Cella was in trouble. Laura and Reed were no threat- but Subject 000 looked like he was going to give her a run for her money. Her leg already throbbed with pain, he hadn't broken the bone but he'd pulverized the metal around it, sharp metal shards had cut open her leg and she left a series of blood droplets behind her as she flew. While not a problem when equipped with a flying armor like this one- it would be a serious detriment when she had to walk again. She kept her eyes open as she kept close behind him- not willing to even blink for fear of losing track of the renegade. To see a Subject in action was still something that she marveled at. It was one thing to be so empowered with technology- but Subject 000 could accomplish it all on his own. In less than a handful of seconds he'd covered far more than 100 meters, a speed that would've left any normal human in the dust.

But Cella was no normal human. The armor and associated chip decreased her reaction time to rival that of Subjects and the automated limbs were stronger and more durable than any human version. Even at the speeds he was accelerating past, she was gaining on him easily. It was only after she flew under a hallway bridge connecting two buildings that she realized her tactical error. Subject 000 jumped upwards, coming to a virtual standstill in the air compared to the breakneck speeds Cella was operating on. Her eyes opened wide in shock as the expressionless face of the Subject neared her own. He brought both hands down and dug his fingers into the armor protecting her chest, the bloodied digits crushing and pulling at the metal. Thinking quickly, Cella dived into the ground, putting her arms in front of her face to protect her from the worst as she scraped Subject 000 off of her front, along with a portion of her armor. Sparks of metal and shards of concrete and asphalt flew through the air as she plowed down into the surface of the road- causing the Subject to lose his grip and be sent tumbling.

Recovering quickly, she twisted to flip forwards and opened fire with her auto-cannons as her shoulders reached a decent angle, over thirty 30mm rounds firing off per second at Subject 000- or rather- where he'd been. The rounds blasted into the street and the gouge torn in it by her recent scrape- but the Subject was nowhere to be seen. Not a second later she felt an impact on her back and the same fingers tearing at her beautiful armor again. Furious, she rose straight up, crashing through the floor of the bridge and then the ceiling before ascending up into the sky. The contact and stabbing pain had vanished after breaking through the ceiling, leaving her with a moment to try and think of a new plan. Judging by the pain, now her back surely matched her leg. Subject 000 was definitely taking damage but how much was uncertain- he could regenerate after all. It would slow down as his energy reserves dwindled and more severe injuries would take more energy- but she just hadn't come prepared for this fight. She'd lost all interest in fighting him in close quarters and wasn't going to return to ground-level again if she could help it; she could fly, the opposition couldn't, so why play on a level field?

The reason for why became quickly apparent, she had no idea where he was. She had a bird's eye view of abandoned and empty buildings- with not a Subject in sight. Where is he?! Tense moments continued to pass as he made seemingly no effort to reveal himself- a stalemate. Up here, he couldn't touch her, but she likewise had no idea where he was. Down there, she'd be within reach but he'd have to engage her in close quarters. Indecision gripped her, not helped at all by the pain still coursing through her leg and back. What should she do? Her armor only had the two auto-cannons for ranged attacks and even with spatial compression reserves for the ammo- it wasn't unlimited. Between the two cannons she had exactly a thousand rounds- once those were empty all she could do was fly and physically hit things. A twinge in her leg reminded her that she might not even be capable of the former if he managed to get his hands on flight-portion of her armor- he was ripping apart and crushing the metal at an alarming rate.

There was another factor as well, time and possible interference. At last count there were at least three other Subjects that had escaped and were assisting him to some degree- all of which would have a less difficulty defeating her than he would: Cutter possessed telekinesis and Ghost could teleport- both abilities that would nullify her main advantages of flight and reach with ease. Subject 008 was down but her long-ranged rifle was still a threat if it was nearby. The renegade Vamp had resurfaced as well- if Subject 000 was an issue for her- the Vamp would be far worse. Cella grit her teeth as she came to the inevitable conclusion- she had to fight him now as she would not get a better chance. Or...

She spun around, a single flap of her grav-wings saw her propelling herself back the way she came as a new solution presented itself. Subject 000 was not the only target she could deal with. If he wanted to surrender the initiative then she'd take it.

Reed staggered a bit, cantering crazily to the left before he caught himself. He and Laura had quickly fled in the opposite direction to Cella and Zero- Laura was still holding her rifle and he had grudgingly hauled Subject 008 onto his back. The warmth he felt on his back made him feel more than a little ill- he'd never carried a girl like this before and certainly never dreamed she'd be bleeding all over him. The blood wasn't truly what worried him though- he worried about it stopping and the body growing cool. Laura glanced at him as he came to a halt, panting from exertion.

"Reed, honey, why not use the gauntlets?

Reed shook his head, "I can't, what if she gets even more hurt? I can't take the chance-"

"Reed!" Laura scolded him in an exasperated tone, "Don't be such a bitch!" Reed's breath caught at that, the words had cut deep, especially because they were her words. Laura's expression softened at the evident shame on his face. "I understand you don't want to fight, to hurt people, Raven was the same way. But if you never use them- what's the point of having them?" The sounds of combat continued to echo from the other direction as Laura formed a fist with her free hand. "It's scary, learning you have a power over someone else, or something else, it's scary that you know a mistake could cause someone to live or die; I get it. Raven and I both learned that when we were being taught self-defense. Raven got an even better dose of it when she almost killed a man by kicking him. But you can't be afraid of that. 'Fearing the act' soon becomes 'fear to act', there's going to come a time when you have to-" Laura's eyes suddenly darted upwards and she raised her rifle, "shit!"

Reed instinctively hit the ground as a dark shape hurtled past in a blur, the wind of Cella's passing raised a cloud of dust behind her and obscuring their vision. Reed heard Laura's rifle popping off three-round bursts. He called out to her, "Why are you doing that? You know it's not going to hurt her! Eight already tried that!"

Laura glared at him, genuine anger lighting her features, "I owe it to her to try. Sound familiar? She's a goner otherwise and so are we!"

Cella's form materialized from the dust cloud, with a single kick she knocked Laura to the ground and sent her rolling for almost ten feet. Her victorious cry was cut short as Zero emerged from behind her, striking at her suit as she whirled away, dispersing the cloud and enabling Reed to follow the combat to a degree, though precise movements were impossible to follow.

Zero was a blur, no matter how Cella knocked him away, the frenzied Subject made a way to get back to her. He climbed straight up a building, his fingers digging into the brickwork and allowing him to ascend rapidly before leaping off several stories from the ground to slam into her side and rip away at whatever he could reach. Cella pried him off- striking with both of her enhanced arms to dislodge him and send him crashing down below. Before Reed could blink, Zero was up and running as Cella tried gunning him down again. The Subject reached a curved wall and ran up it at an angle, closing in on Cella as she aborted firing and tried to fly away. She appeared to have a slower acceleration than the Subject, he reached the back of her suit and savagely tore at it- wrenching one of the gun barrels from its housing and smashing it into her armored skull. Cella careened forwards and smashed through first one, then another brick wall to force Zero to let go. The Subject came to a rolling halt as Cella's remaining gun opened fire on him- the high-velocity rounds painting the shattered wall with Zero's blood as several bullets landed.

Laura's words echoed in his mind, 'I owe it to her to try.' Once those had been his words... he looked at Laura's almost unconscious form and Subject 008's still body with her makeshift bandages; Subject 000 owed less to either of them than Reed did- but he was giving it his all to protect them...

Cella's confidence had returned. Despite her initial fear at Subject 000's return and the panic that had flooded her when he tore off a gun- she was winning. Subject 000 was slowing down, the blood-loss taking a toll on him more than the shattered walls. He was still quite energetic though- Cella altered the angle of her grav-wings, propelling herself backwards as a stop sign went hurtling past like a javelin before embedding itself halfway through a brick wall, it had only narrowly avoided her throat. Her remaining auto-cannon let fly with more automatic gunfire- decimating the wall behind the Subject as he sprinted off to the side. Cella grinned, despite not being a field operative, she was getting the hang of combat.

Her belief in her capabilities took a severe plummet as another series of bullets sparked from the back of her armor. She twisted to look down at the most surprising sight of the night- Reed Tuetsi holding a rifle and firing at her. She'd frankly been willing to overlook his transgressions due to his relative lack of importance and threat- but no longer. Subject 000 would take longer to wear down- Reed could be dealt with swiftly. The remaining auto-cannon clicked several times- empty. Cella quickly pulled her grav-wings in close and dove towards him. As she descended, she made sure to cover her face with her arms in order to prevent a lucky round from finding its way into her relatively unprotected face. Despite her speed and his impending doom- Reed lowered the rifle with his left hand while raising his right over his face in a mirror to what Cella had done- perhaps thinking his thin arm would stop her exo-armor. Cella mentally sighed. Poor factory monkey. She'd smash him into the ground and then rise back up into the air to deal with Subject 000 in a moment. The distance between the two shortened at a terrifying rate as Cella braced her arms for the inevitable impact and subsequent shattering of Reed's body- wrrrrrrPOWWHAM!

Cella screamed in shock as she came to a complete and utter halt. Reed's arm had previously been bare, but now a metal bracer of some kind covered his arm from the tips of his fingers all the way up to his elbow. She recognized the item but couldn't entirely believe what she was seeing- a factory worker couldn't use a MFA Gauntlet! It was impossible- they were precise devices that would cripple the user if not handled correctly. She'd seen firsthand the accidents that could occur- such as a man's arm tearing itself off to punch a target across a room. Despite all that- there was no mistaking the noise the Gauntlet made when activating. The "Pow Gloves" as they'd been nicknamed were named thus because of the sound they made when fully activated and charged.

Reed has simply caught her attack with these metal tools- grasping her arms and holding her in place. If she hadn't lost her auto-cannons, it would've been a perfect opportunity to shoot him dead. A sheen of sweat caked his face but before Cella could observe more- an impact drove into her spine. Subject 000 was tearing at her back and, this time, he got what he wanted. Cella slumped to the ground as her grav-wings gave out. His job done- the Subject's assault suddenly ceased. Cella looked up in surprise to see him sprinting off at high speeds- without the girls and Reed- or killing her. Interesting- a division between them? Reed meanwhile had gathered up Subject 008 in his arm, moving slowly no doubt to try to keep from hurting her. Laura seemed to have recovered sufficiently enough to stand. Cella grit her teeth but called out to him.

"Reed?" He glanced her way, "Are you sure you chose the right side?"

His eyes were dark as he answered before turning away, "I wasn't given a choice- your Oversight saw to that."

Cella panted and fought against closing her eyes, her vision darkening as the various injuries continued taking their toll. Against her better judgement- she felt like she owed them something. Despite all the chance and reason in the world- they were going to let her live. "Reed!" He had begun moving away but looked back at her call, "You know how to use those gauntlets?"

"No." Reed replied. Working up the last of her strength, she spoke again.

"Underneath those gauntlets are human arms and if you try to block more than you can withstand- it will hurt you. Don't forget that."

A wry grin was her answer as he carefully extended an arm to show it to her more clearly. Cella's vision was growing dim but she noted blood was dripping down the limb, as if something had broken beneath the metal glove. "I haven't."

Re: Friendly Subject Help

Post by Friendlysociopath » Thu Jun 08, 2017 6:12 pm

This takes place after the boat battle, which takes place after Zero vs Dragon. The Dragon alone is King's trick and what the HAC suits are sent out for.

I'll admit, the mall exploding is not something I had expected. Ripper's thunderous footfalls had pursued me into the central court of the mall, a wide-open circle that exposed a skylight some 40 feet above us while three halls lined with shops shot off from the entrance. What few humans that remained in the mall are thrown through the air, burning and splattering as the bombs go off- the building shudders and many of the shops collapse into burning ruins on both the first and second floor. The wounded humans cry and scream while some lie still- dead.

The flames unleash a torrent of dark smoke- choking at the lungs and obscuring my vision of every hall. I understand the tactics that are being used. The smoke and screams of the wounded make using my superior senses harder and tire me faster. It's a good trap- damn them. The only way to assure my life is to abandon the people- which I was expressly forbidden from doing by both Raven and Laura. I sigh. Trapped indeed. Trapped not only physically- but genetically bound to mentally follow those commands. When Raven and Laura both order something- to not obey causes my body intense pain and restricts me.

Ripper slowly emerges from a wall of flames and smoke, the injuries Laura inflicted on him had healed long ago- leaving only his grinning jaw full of fangs and tusks along with a set of glowing crimson eyes higher on his face to stare me down. I heft the Alter Sword and take a quick look at the screen. 1000x. I need more- and I don't have enough time for it.

His patience ended, Ripper charges. I manage to escape his first claw with it just inches from my face, sprinting to the side and slashing at the following claw to cut at his hand and keep him from catching me. My momentum is halted as he grabs the sword, allowing it to burst through the back of his hand in exchange for keeping me still. Desperate- I pull out the Subject Killer and fire it at his eyes. For all his growth- it still works. The bullets hammer into his face- the ones that hit his skin do nothing but his eye bursts in a satisfying pulse of blood. But Ripper's not going to stop just because of a little pain- not anymore. His grip doesn't slacken as he throws me into the air. I accelerate upwards towards the skylight and quickly note the panes of glass might be my only chance of salvation from the inevitable fate that awaits me. I fire the Subject Killer the four remaining times it still has ammo for- each time hitting a key section of glass so that the entire thing breaks apart and falls past me as I reach the pinnacle of my flight. At the same time, I briefly let go of the gun and hurl a Stunner back down at Ripper before snatching the pistol back out of the air.

The combination of the falling glass and burst of both light and sound has the desired effect, Ripper flails wildly at the incoming cascade instead of a precise shot that would've been the end of me. I however get exactly what I want- a clean opportunity for a direct strike on his spine. Lets see what his regeneration is capable of. As I drop down I thrust the Alter Sword forwards with all of my might- and succeed. Piercing through flesh, muscle, and bone- the blade sinks to the hilt into Ripper's spine and his torso. He shudders at the blow and squeals before both arms blur upwards to grab at me. I dodge one but am dashed aside by the other- the impact causing spinal fractures and sending me hurtling to the opposite side of the central mall area as Ripper pounds at the ground with frustration, causing some of the second-story walkway to crumble and fall to the ground. It didn't work- he can still move and fight. I'm in trouble now. I've been pushing my limits since our first clash, and the healing in addition to it is wearing down my reserves. No choice left. I holster the Subject Killer and reach for the two blades I found on the boat when rescuing Oracle.

They're deceptively heavy when not moving but lighten up as they're used. The first swing is off-balanced badly, I nick the side of Ripper's wrist and leave an almost invisible trace of a ripple behind the attack- just like before. The second blow is defensive- a swift strike aimed at his eyes. The reach of the weapons is too short and instead a ripple is left floating in front of his face. Ripper lunges forward and then recoils- a slash appearing on his face from where it had encountered the ripple. The shifting weight would take a human some time to gauge and understand- I'm not human. The third attack is where I begin to get the hang of the weapons- heavy when still or stopping- lighter when in motion. I block one of Ripper's strikes- my arm cracks from the strain and straining muscles tear- but I deflect the claw to the ground. The following swipe I duck under, stabbing at his foot to leave a shallow cut. He regenerates- the same as me. If I can just keep hitting him, keep hurting him, he will eventually run out and slow down; I hope.

But for now- he's still too fast. His claws gouge chunks out of the floor as I dive between his legs- tile and cement flying through the air as I bring both blades together by accident. When the pommels touch I hear an unexpectedly clear chime and the ripples are gone. I note some cuts farther out- beyond Ripper's immediate reach and my own. Possibilities whirl through my mind as I drive both blades up- into what would be the groin of a normal creature. For a man being stabbed in the groin is something that isn't recovered from quickly, if ever.

Ripper isn't normal and doesn't have a groin to stab. He leaps up onto the second floor, drawing himself from the blades as he crashes through it and back to ground level. His screeches have changed- uncertainty has crept into them. I'm a bit confused myself- he's slowing down already? How? I've dealt far worse damage to him before without an issue- he can't be tired already. Even supposing his growth had slowed him down some- this wasn't even matching his earlier speeds. What could be causing it?

The lights give the answer. The Alter Sword still whirls behind his back. Standing so far away prevents me from reading the numbers- but there's no mistaking the lights are faster and brighter than before. It's still growing, still gaining mass, and that weight is squarely on Ripper's back. That's why he's slowing, no matter how much he can lift, he has to be carting around at least three metric tons just by when it was at 1000x. If it's been charging this whole time- surely the weight has doubled easily. And the longer we fight- the heavier it will become until either it's removed or it breaks through Ripper entirely. I might actually have a chance.

He jumps back into the fray, his blows would leave nothing more than a smear if they hit a normal human. I weave a pattern with my new weapons- the ripples forming a wall that Ripper's claw reaches into- and comes away bloodied as the ripples vanish one after another when he touches them. It's like the swords- no- the strikes I make hang in the air. The harder I swing- the deeper they cut. Ripper's confusion is evident, but his solution to such a state is unfortunate. He leaps into a nearby store that I hear screams from- disappearing in the haze of fire and smoke as I hear the cries abruptly end. He breaks back out and lunges into another- silencing the humans within as well. He's feeding- for more strength- more energy. I can't let him do this.

"Ripper!" I scream, "Get your ass out here and face me!"

I don't know if he understands the words, but I'm fairly sure the tone he makes as he returns is a sound that I can only describe as 'mocking'. He strides through the smoke again, flames licking at his skin but finding no purchase and seemingly little pain. His mouth and claws are bloodied. The Alter Sword is still in his back- I briefly wonder how he walks since I know I hit his spine- but he's upon me in a frightening blur that I struggle to resist.

It's not exactly his speed that's so terrible, nor his strength or even how hard it is to hurt him. His speed is slow enough thanks to the Alter Sword that I can match him when pushing myself past my limits, for now, his strength forces me to deflect his attacks instead of blocking them because otherwise I'll be broken by the force; and while he's hard to hurt- it's not impossible. What's difficult is the lack of care. Humans, one and all, will seldom deliberately harm themselves in the course of a fight. Dodging, blocking, deflecting, mitigating damage- these are human measures. Ripper has no such thing. He attacks- endlessly- any injury he sustains is healed up before the drawn blood hits the ground. The most he gives is when surprised or moving to use a new attack method- he doesn't care how much he's hurt. But me- I care. Ripper's regeneration is so different from my own that any comparison between the two abilities is almost flawed in principle- he can regenerate an entire arm within minutes and it will seemingly not tire him. I'm unsure if I can regain a limb lost like that at all- let alone in such a short timeframe and with so little effort.

I dodge another strike, Ripper's fist sends cracks across the entire area, a blow that would've obliterated me had it landed. A glancing claw catches me, shattering three ribs and cracking every bone from my left wrist to the accompanying shoulder as I'm hurled through the air. I dig the weapons into the ground to halt my journey- bringing myself to a stop before landing in a storefront engulfed in flames. Too close- I'm not immune to heat. Meltdown had proven that extremely effectively. Even now the heat and smoke is making it harder and harder to breath- like the fire is in my lungs as well as outside of me. My body is getting heavier, my movements more sluggish. We've only been battling for minutes but it feels like hours have passed. Ripper swipes at me again and again, his limbs are starting to blur as I lose the ability to focus on them- I'm running out of stamina. Already my arms are growing heavier by the moment. I'm going to lose.

It isn't a pessimistic stance, just a factual one. From the beginning I knew it was a lost cause to try to fight Ripper, again. At best the Alter Sword slowing him down had been an unexpected way to nullify one of his advantages- but physically he still held all of the others. Each subsequent time we clash- I feel my body falling just a bit further apart, the healing taking just a bit longer and more effort. Hundreds of blows have been thrown between the both of us, yet I tire and he doesn't. The Alter Sword is slowing him down, I can tell, but I'm slowing down faster; I don't get to restore myself by eating people while fighting- what I have only is refilled by sleep, lots of food and... Raven. None of those things are as available as... human flesh. I glance upwards at a couple hiding on the second floor, the young boy and girl trembling with fright at the battle raging below them. Counting them and the screaming mother and equally vocal babe across the central circle, along with the elderly man and what I assume is his daughter, that weren't quite dead under the rubble, there are six humans left near me. Laura and Raven's command echoes through my mind, "Always fight to save innocent lives- no matter the cost."

I don't believe they even realize their power over me as of yet. They may have thought it was only a simple observation, an errant discussion of values, but for me it's as binding as chains. So long as Ripper threatens innocents, I have to fight him. So long as I fight him- I'll lose. The tips of my new weapons are level with my knees after our latest exchange- and the cracks in my bones are beginning to slow. I'm getting weaker, and he fights as freshly as if we'd started only seconds ago, even with what must now be at least 10 tons stuck into his spine. How am I going to get out of this one?

I'm told humans pray to 'the heavens' when they're in dire need of aid. Ironic then, that my salvation comes from above all the same. A HAC suit, in all of its 12 feet of dark-metal glory, breaks through the roof and drops down between the two of us. Ripper, displaying caution I never would've imagined he possessed, backs away with a snarl; perhaps predicting that more were on the way. If so his prediction is correct as four additional HACs enter, one from each of the halls and another striding through the back wall like it didn't exist. All five, in unison, rev up their chainguns and unload on Ripper.

The result was a generous degree of overkill. Ripper managed to dodge two of the streams and reduced a third to only a few hits, but the other two rapidly ripped apart his legs in an explosion of bone and blood. I recall that some HAC suit are specialized in taking down certain Subjects- these may well be the ones designated for Ripper. Certainly there was no hesitation as they converged on the creature and continued firing. Ripper's legs and arms were continuously assaulted by the HACs as the 5th member's arm rotated outwards and a bright while light formed over it to create a new contraption- looking like several hoses all twisted around one another. I get only a brief look at it before the new weapon is rammed down Ripper's throat. The pressure behind the thing unleashes chemicals with some force- I see jets of rainbow-colored liquids and gasses blast from holes in Ripper's torso as the Subject grows very still.

I want to run- but I need the Alter Sword back. It fell from Ripper's spine during the assault and embedded itself into the floor. The suits are ignoring me for now- I dash forwards and heft up the weapon.