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Re: Friendly Subject Help

Postby Friendlysociopath » Sun Mar 05, 2017 9:36 pm

BLOODY LEAVES CONFLICT NOTE

Spoiler
Vincent groaned, "What is it with humans and wanting to ask about my past? Shouldn't you people care about the present or future?"

Laura shook her head, fear openly showing on her face but soldiering forwards as a new round of screams emerged from the hospital room, "Not understanding Subjects and the organization is why Raven's in there now. She never would've agreed to that otherwise."

Vincent smirked, "Is that what you think or what you're telling yourself? Because I think she would. I've seen her type before- taking the world on their shoulders and all that. She brought this upon herself knowing it wouldn't be easy or painless. Otherwise you're both dumber than you look."

Time to play hardball. Laura shoved her chair away from the table and stood up. "If you're not going to be helpful-"

"Sit down and drink your goddamn tea." Vincent softly said. Laura froze at the tone, it was one that spoke of surrender, yet a force brewing under the surface. In layman's terms, Vincent was tired of her shit. She did as he asked, sipping a bit of the scalding hot liquid gingerly. It was, surprisingly, very good tea- albeit far too hot. She looked through the steaming mist at Vincent's one eye. After he determined she wasn't going to try to run- he became significantly less stern in appearance. "So what do you want to know? It appears humans all want to question me."

Laura clenched her fists tightly, digging her nails into her palms. This is it. "What can you tell me about the Alter Blade?"

Vincent groaned, "About as much as I can tell you about this." He waved at the knife he had stabbed into the table next to him, it almost looked like it quivered just from him gesturing at it, "Or a bit more I suppose. I'm old enough to have heard bits and pieces before I left but you must realize- those are probably the biggest secret the organization has."

Laura leaned forwards, tinging her voice with eagerness, "Please though- tell me about the Alter weapon!" Vincent sighed before he responded, drooping one hand over the back of his chair while the other propped up his face via placing his elbow on the table- he sounded and looked bored.

"Contrary to popular belief, the Alter Blade is not 'the' Alter weapon, but rather, part of a series of technological marvels that were brought back by Farseer when he arrived at the organization. These items all tend to alter the way our known physical laws function around them, hence the "Alter" designation. However, the weapons were deemed too powerful and difficult/complex to maintain and repair and so they have been dispersed among the 15 Facilities in order to be studied and locked away." He reached out and sipped his tea before continuing, "It is the longstanding belief that they were created using advanced technology and understanding of Subject powers that the current organization doesn't possess and cannot seem to reverse engineer. Out of these items, the Alter Blade is the most prevalent, having made the rounds of all 15 Facilities before finally ending up at Facility 03. That's why pretty much everyone knows what it does- it's been around."

Laura kept an eye on the door, listening to the frantic screams that were still coming from it as her fists clenched, "I don't understand- if the Alter weapons are so powerful- why doesn't the organization use them?"

"Because the particular thing isn't that they're powerful- it's that they're usable by humans. That's the key- Subjects are nigh-unstoppable against a normal human, particularly the combat-types. It takes a very special human to beat a Grunt even with their limiters on. They're actually gauged based on how many humans they can defeat in one go- usually it's two or three at least. There's been a lot of progress on the front of making tools for humans to match them, but most of them require extensive training, instruction, individual talent, and-" he nodded towards the door, "even medical altercations to use; which limits their effectiveness no small amount. The Alter weapons don't require the user to be augmented, and many are so powerful they don't even require any sort of training to use effectively. To their fullest potential certainly- but not to use at all."

"So they're secret because they don't want random people using them?"

"No, they're secret because it's probably the one thing the organization fears above all-else, a Subject wielding an Alter weapon. That sort of power in the hands of someone who isn't a stable human being is disquieting to put it lightly. Put another way- has Subject 000 ever truly pushed his Alter Blade as far as it can go?"

"Ummm..."

"I thought so. Luckily, his lack of a working Alter Brace limits him in his mind since anything he cannot control is dangerous. If he ever wanted to- he could wipe this city off the face of the Earth with that sword alone."

"Ummm..."

"What?" his expression hardened, "What are you 'ummm-ing' about?"

Laura meekly tapped her index fingers together, "Farseer took him to go get a working Alter Brace."

Abruptly, Vincent had blurred from sight and Laura found her chair spun around as the Vamp's face was inches from her own. "Subject 000 has a working Alter Brace?!

Laura squirmed in his grip, grimly remembering the last time he'd laid his hands on her, "Yes- or at least that was the idea! Now will you let me go and answer my questions?"

Vincent ran his hands over his face, rubbing the bottoms of his incisors with one hand as the other one dropped to hang at his side. "I guess I will. At this point more knowledge can only help you." His eyes were still wide with shock and even fear. "Fine then, you want to know more about Alter weapons?"

"Yes-" Laura whispered, "I need to know more about them. Anything you have!"

Vincent walked back to his chair, drinking his cup of tea before pouring another one. "Well, I've only come across three of them myself, four if you count the Alter Brace."

"Why wouldn't I?" Laura asked.

"Because it's not a weapon. Not that it matters- the only one I've come across has been broken for longer than I've been alive." Laura was surprised by that, Vincent chuckled, it was a humorless laugh, "Remember they started to alter our genetics from the day we're born to grow us faster. Older models didn't have the 'luxury' like we do. Subjects age five times as fast as humans unless the organization slows the process down. I'm only four-and-a-half years old in terms of actual time." Laura realized why he'd laughed with such black humor, if he'd left the organization before they'd administered the counter, his lifetime was short indeed. Vincent continued after a pause, likely as he went over the same thing, "But anyways- the three I've encountered are: the Alter Blade, my knife- which I don't know the name of, and the Alter Orb."

"Alright, what does your dagger do?"

Vincent gave a brief bark of laughter, "Knife, not dagger, daggers mainly stab and don't cut; knives can do both. But by all means- let me just tell you everything about how my weapon functions- that way you can figure out exactly how to counter it. How stupid do you think I am?"

Laura shrugged, Worth a shot, "Tell me about the Alter Orb then."

Vincent's eye rolled upwards to mock her, "Of course. I saw it during a certain simulated battle..."

"Simulated battle?"

Vincent's face gave an irritated tick, "Well, 'simulated' probably isn't the correct word. We fought to the death after all. They've got their official names for the events but I think most staff and Subjects just called it the Bloody Leaves conflict."


Fall, 2018
Red-28 (Later called Vincent) sat in a tree, glaring at the fortress being built in front of him, on either side sat a fellow Subject, a Mole and Shadowhand, both glaring at the base in turn. As the best climbers of their respective groups- they'd been elected to climb up and observe the enemy base by popular vote. Albeit among the Moles, 'best climber' wasn't an accomplishment as they were all equally horrible at it. Were it not for the Shadowhand and her tendrils- the Mole would still be on the ground and they'd be up here alone. A small part of Red-28 irrationally had hoped this was the case- though damned if he understood why- there was no tactical advantage to be gained from less eyes and brains up here. But with her tendrils able to reach the lower branches at not even her full growth- a rudimentary safety harness hauled the ground-based Subject up into the tree to help analyze the problem.

And the problem was growing every second too. Across a fairly wide river, at its widest in a straight line from them it was over 100 feet, a series of trees were felled and hauled into place to make a fortress. They'd been at it for at least a day- but already a palisade ringed the single structure inside with no gate in sight. Vincent, or Vamp Red-28 at the time, was not happy and neither were his companions, Shadowhand Violet-05 and Mole Green-48.

"Why isn't there a gate?" Violet-05 asked in confusion, "They don't want to get out?"

Red-28 growled, the sound featuring a sudden breaking of his voice that he tried to pass off as a cough, "No- they don't want us to get in. They've got Grunts, Trogs, and Skeletons- none of them have a disoder that weakens them over time. The longer it takes us to attack, the weaker we'll be. To boot- they all started out together and immediately enacted on their defensive plan. It took us an entire day to get together. Some 'fair' exercise."

"It's your fault." Green-48 pouted, "Vamps are stronger and faster than Grunts- so they gave our side a penalty. Just us against Grunts would be easy."

Red-28 scoffed, "Like Moles can take Grunts head-on and win."

"Not head-on, no." Green-48 said slyly, "But that's not how we fight. Every single one of us could be in that base within two minutes. Hit em fast, get out, rinse and repeat. What are they gonna do? Punch dirt?" The last remark was punctuated with a punching motion towards the ground, which was promptly regretted as the Mole looked down and went pale at the dirt far below.

Red-28 thought over that information, "Because you guys burrow through the ground right?" At a nod from the trembling Mole, he turned to look at Violet-05. "And you Shadowhands got a penalty too- numbers-wise." he looked back at the base. "I have an idea- but I need to know something- you're not holding anything back from us are you?"

"Yep," Violet-05 was surprisingly blunt, "they gave me something special as a favor. It's probably not factored into the scenario."

Red-28 was surprised, "What did you do to earn a favor? And what did you get?"

Blood rushed to Violet-05's cheeks, a stark counterpoint to her almost white hair, "Some of the organization staff seem to be... sexually interested in the tendrils. That's all you're getting out of me on that topic. But I have a weapon."

Red-28 was all business, in no small part to protect the part of his brain that conjured mental images of what humans wanted with tendrils, particularly with the sexual stipulation, "Just tell me this- can you get through a wall?"

"Yes." Violet-05 had no hesitation in her voice. "I can destroy a wall."

Red-28 nodded, rubbing his hand over his chin, the sparse hairs that had recently begun to grow there rubbed over his fingers as he tried to devise a plan. "So, 10 Moles, 5 Vamps, and 3 Shadowhands vs 14 Grunts, 4 Trogs, and 7 Skeletons..." He snapped his fingers, "Alright, nobody down there has a plan yet, so when we go down we need to be of one mind to ensure they respond to our leadership and the plan."

"And your plan is?" Green-48 muttered.

Red-28 smiled at him, his teeth gleaming in the setting sun, "Two minutes you said?" Green-48 nodded in response. Red-28 glanced back at the camp- pointing at the four crude towers enacted around the perimeter. "They've got the Trogs up in there. Prevents an ambush even in perfect darkness. That's your first job-"

"Take down the towers?"

"No- just the ones near the other side- the forest. They don't know where we are- that's our advantage. Cause them to fall and we'll start an attack at the same time from that direction using most of the Vamps and the other two Shadowhands. They'll look that way and pull the Trogs that way too- that's when Violet-05 and myself charge from the other side. She takes down the wall to get their attention back to us. That's when you Moles actually attack from beneath. The bedlam might give us the edge we need. They've chosen their ground to fight but they can't force us to attack how they want- that's our advantage."

Violet-05's voice was tinged with excitement, "Good, I've always wanted to see what this thing does. I agree with the plan. What about you?" She looked at Green-48, who slumped his shoulders.

"If I say no, am I going to be left up here?"

"Yes." the other two said in unison.

"Fine, I agree, might as well try your plan."



A short time later, events were set in motion. As planned, the towers farthest from the river began to sag and sink into the ground- as if the earth underneath them was being destabilized by burrowing creatures. The Trogs raised a racket, screaming and howling enough to gather the entire camp to the far side. From the forest came a series of rocks, small and precise ones thrown by Vamps, and two large ones the size of cars thrown by a Shadowhand each. The enemy forces didn't emerge from their walls of course- they hadn't made a gate. The larger rocks definitely made an impact though, the walls shook and began to crack from the hits. Red-28 and Violet-05 stood just across the river, waiting for their chance. They'd determined they would wait for the 3rd volley before starting their part.

For a few more seconds, they were alone, the thought brought a strange feeling in Red-28's gut. Violet-05 eventually looked straight at him and asked the question, "Why do you need to be here with me? We don't even have to get in there- I just have to cause a diversion. You're superfluous."

Red-28 felt blood rush to his face for whatever reason as he responded, "I just- I wanted to fight with you..."

Violet-05 laughed as she reached into a bag she'd been carrying the entire simulation. "Boys." She withdrew a sphere from the bag and held it between her hands. Red-28 stared at the orb- surprised at its sheen. It appeared to be glass- yet the contents were entirely black. But at Violet-05's touch, the darkness receded and began to show a picture of the surrounding area. Violet ran her hands over it- causing the image to shift and move wildly until it showed the wall of the fortress just across the river. After they heard the 3rd series of impacts, she tightened her grasp on the sphere. With an echoing 'plink' like water dripping into a pool- a small burst of energy shot from the weapon and struck the wall across the river. A sphere of transparent energy emerged around the point of impact, easily containing the entire palisade wall closest to the river. An explosion of sound and air reached Vincent as the contents of the energy field imploded- leaving chunks of wood flying through the air.

Blood still burning- Red-28 took a running start and then reached the river as the implosion finished occurring. Not daring to hesitate or second-guess himself, he struck the water moving as quickly as possible. First one step, then another, then another- he had to cross to succeed- and he had to be fast enough that he didn't plunge into the river. Faster and faster, he reached the other side of the river while the wooden scraps were still falling through the air- he grabbed a spear-sized shard in his hands and stabbed the first Grunt he encountered on the other side right in the back, impaling him into the ground as his blood stained the newly fallen leaves. Another two steps found him behind another Grunt- which he dispatched by striking directly at the top of his neck and the bottom of his skull- he fell without a sound. Next he found himself face-to-face with a pair of Skeletons, their bone-armor and weapons whistling through the air as they tried to jump him. These he was wary of- Skeletons had incredibly durable bones. Not only that, they were fond of securing the bones of their dead to make weapons and armor, doubling up on their protection. A swift jab to the side of one's head only hurt Red-28's hand. He quickly ducked underneath an incoming swipe and backed away from his two assailants. Across the compound he could see the other Vamps leaping over the walls, clearing the five-meter obstacle with moderate difficulty before landing among the Grunts and wreaking havoc. Several of the Skeletons were moving slowly or stabbing at the ground in a frenzy, trying to get at the Moles that were trying to pull them down.

But Red-28 had his own concerns as the blades whistled past his face again and again. True to form, Skeletons knew beheading would be the end of him with no questions asked. Red-28 gave ground- heading back to the river as both lunged towards him again. They each had a sliver of sharpened bone- forming a deadly weapon that would prove hard to break. Red-28 stepped into the water and waited for the next series of attacks. While he was wary of being struck- he was fast enough that they couldn't reliably target him. Aware of Violet-5 watching across the river, he felt compelled to demonstrate his combat mastery. The next lunge of the bone-spear was met with Red-28 grasping the weapon just underneath his opponent's hands before savagely pulling him overhead to slam him face-first into the river. The splash of water reached several feet into the air as he felt the sweet release of his foe letting go of his weapon. Spinning in place, Red-28 managed to avoid most of the following strike, taking a light blow across the shoulder rather than a direct hit to his chest. Blood stained the water but Red-28 was armed now. The bone-spear was a blur as he began whirling it about his body, his implanted combat training flashing through his mind as different forms of spear and staff-fighting revealed themselves to him. He unleashed a flurry of stabs towards the face of his opponent, aiming for the holes in his skull helmet.

Across the battlefield he could see the Vamps were experiencing problems, their lack of blood rendered them slower and the Skeletons formed a fierce resistance since they were having issues slaying them. The Troglodytes were roaming the battlefield as well, the hairless and eyeless beasts were feasting on the bodies of the fallen and attacking anyone who ventured near. Red-28 caught a glimpse of the Mole he'd planned the attack with- just as his head was split in half by a Trog's teeth- bone popping like a grape. The armed Skeleton was in full retreat, backing away as Red-28 felt a hand grasp his ankle. He swiped backwards with his stolen spear and felt the grip loosen at the CRACK of the bone striking the helmet of the Skeleton holding him. Red-28 felt a pain in his calf- the underwater Skeleton has stabbed him with some smaller bone weapon. He kept his spear jabbing and swinging about to fend off his above-water attacker but he could tell something was wrong.

They were losing. Even the Shadowhands were being overwhelmed by sheer numbers, their tendrils were being sliced apart and Troglodytes were feasting on the readily available meat. In their normal state the Vamps would've been able to take on twice their number of Grunts and win- but the advantages given to the other team forced his own side into a reckless attack since they couldn't afford to wait. Red-28 felt his underwater assailant continuing to stab at his leg with one hand while holding on with the other, limiting his mobility while the other Skeleton kept his arms busy from finishing off his partner. Red-28's eyes widened as he came to the inevitable conclusion. He was going to die. His blood was floating away in the water and the Skeleton pushed him back into the water, the submerged Skeleton rose up and assisted in the maneuver to throw him even further- reaching the halfway point of the river as he tried to stay afloat. The Skeletons stepped onto the riverbank, taking a moment to analyze the battle themselves. They were standing perhaps twenty yards away from where the wall Violet-05 had destroyed formerly stood. That was when Red-28 heard the echoing drop of water again, louder this time, and saw the bolt of energy shot over his head and reached the center of the enemy structure and halting in midair. What followed was expected, yet all the more terrifying because of it.

The sphere of energy appeared again- larger- and this time Red-28 wasn't far outside of it- but right alongside the edge. Whether intended or not- he was close enough to touch it. He didn't want to touch it- not in the slightest. Before his eyes- the water just the other side of the barrier was sucked towards the center of the perfect sphere, along with mud, dirt, trees, everything within range- including the bodies. All of the matter was compressed and then exploded outwards from the implosion. Red-28 watched in equal parts awe and shock as the battlefield was bathed in water, mud, and blood. He looked over his shoulder to see Violet-05 holding the orb again, an unreadable expression on her face. He worked up the courage to speak as he slowly waded closer.

"But, the other Shadowhands- everyone is gone now."

She looked down on him and smiled, "I know, looks like I'm left with you." She held out her hand to pull him from the water. He accepted with good grace as she hauled him onto the shore. He gazed back at the site that had formerly been a battlefield, now nothing more than a graveyard. Even the ground was gone- a perfect sphere had been torn out of the world and all that was returned were the remains. The river was diverting into the newly opened hole- filling it before moving onwards. Before long- the only evidence a battle had occurred were the floating shards of wood and the bits of bone and blood scattered across the forest in 360 degrees around the site. Red-28 looked at the weapon the lone survivor had in her hands.

"What- what is that?"

She held it up into the setting sun's light, watching how the rays couldn't penetrate the depths of the orb. "They called it the Alter Orb."


Present Day
Laura was aghast, "She killed everyone? Even her friends?"

Vincent leaned backwards, tilting his chair back as he joined his hands behind his head. "The irony is that the organization thought we'd make some sort of capture system I guess. When we were reclaimed- they were all more or less terrified. Not one Subject had even hesitated to kill another." His tone became wistful, "I never saw Violet again after that- I suppose she could be alive somewhere but it's not like the organization is above silencing Subjects they deem dangerous."

"And the orb... it creates a sphere that implodes whatever is inside it?"

Vincent shrugged, "It looked like it. I can't say what it can or can't manage to destroy like that but I can't truthfully imagine it's limited only to trees, dirt, and mud. If that was it- it wouldn't be such a secret. I'm told King was forced to look through every second of that researcher's life to make sure she hadn't let any other secret slip out to the wrong people." A noise reached the two of them, the elevator had arrived in the basement. Laura was surprised but Vincent just sighed, "Considering that's neither you or your sister, they're getting one chance to surrender."

Laura looked up as the doors opened, revealing her newly re-acquired friend, Reed Tukesti. The young man looked back and forth between Laura and Vincent and wet his lips before speaking. Beneath his scraps of a beard, he looked quite pale.

"Umm, Laura? There's something you should see. It involves the Subjects-"

Vincent, with a deliberate slowness, stood from his chair and straightened his back until he stood upright. He casually walked over to Reed, who nervously backed up to the elevator doors just as they finished closing. Vincent placed a shoulder on the doors, leaning into them as he spoke a few inches from Reed's face.

"What involves Subjects?"

Reed, admirably, kept his breathing even as he began walking from the elevator towards Laura. "According to Major Stelfast, there's other Subjects out there, he requested your help since they're difficult to take down."

Vincent meanwhile had walked back and lightly touched Reed's shoulder, "Laura is going to stay right here until Raven snaps out of it- and then both of them are coming with me. We have an agreement and she isn't going to break it." With a sudden movement, Vincent pushed Reed backwards with his two fingers, throwing the young man into the elevator several yards away. Vincent had made throwing a grown, albeit thin, man look as casual as tossing a playing card. "Do you have any questions?" Reed coughed as he placed both hands on the ground and slowly rose to his feet. Vincent took this ample time to pluck his knife from the table and point it at Reed.

Reed meanwhile shook his head, "No, no question I guess... no choice either."

Vincent cocked his head to the side at that, "Oh?"

Reed reached into his pockets, pulling out a small white orb that shone with light. Vincent smirked, "Oh please, try me, I haven't killed anyone recently."

Reed clenched his hands, shattering the orbs as the light covered his right hand and arm. "I owe it to Laura to try."

The light faded away, leaving a heavy metal gauntlet covering Reed's hand and even most of his forearm. Vincent waited until it was fully done forming before swiping his own weapon through the air to his side.

"I did say you would be given a chance to surrender. Consider this 'it'. Saying anything other than 'I give' is going to count as a declaration of ill intent." Vincent's voice held a tinge of eagerness at the last two words, "I know how to deal with ill intent."

Laura could see the panic and fear in Reed's face and body, but he raised his hands into the air, a whistling sound emerging from it that began rising in volume. "I have to try..."

Vincent sighed, "Then it seems you die." The Vamp blurred forwards as Laura screamed at the impending death.

"Stop!"

POW-CLANG

Laura's eyes widened as she saw Vincent's knife stop just shy of reaching Reed's face. The metal gauntlet he was wearing had caught the Subject's hand and halted the attack. Vincent's face held a look of astonishment at the feat.

Reed's voice had gained a bit of relief, "Now- let me give you a warning." Reed began pushing Vincent's arm backwards, until the straining Subject was holding the knife mere inches from his own throat. "I will accept you fleeing at your top speed as a surrender. Are we clear?"

Vincent abruptly blurred and was gone. Laura quickly glanced to her laptop just in time to see him blur down the drive, he had completely exited the house in the time it took her to look to her computer. She turned back to Reed in wonder as he collapsed- or started to. His arm remained exactly where it was, looking for all the world like it had been locked into place. Laura lunged forwards to grab at his torso and push him upright.

"Reed- what did you do?"

His breathing was labored as his gauntlet-covered hand unclenched and descended enough to allow him a sitting position. "Bluffed like I've never bluffed before. I'm lucky he was feeling straightforwards. I didn't even see him move."

Laura frowned, "That gauntlet- what does it do? Is it an Alter weapon?"

Reed grimaced as he lifted his fist into the air. "No, the organization made these. If they weren't so hard to use they'd probably have hundreds of them." He dropped the limb back to the ground, where it struck with a heavy THUD. "I hear they've got like twenty over in California though. I didn't know if it'd work for me or not." His voice shook, Laura felt his shoulder trembling beneath her hands. "It just barely did- I felt my arm crack- it almost tore my arm off. I can't fight with it." He looked up at her, tears in his eyes, "Please don't make me fight anymore."

Laura reassuring patted his shoulder, "I won't make you fight." she keenly felt the dividing line between her and the organization sitting between her and Reed like a wall. The organization wouldn't have any issue forcing him to battle others to further their goals, even if he didn't want to. Laura wouldn't- Laura couldn't make him do that. Especially when he spoke the truth- she could feel his arm swelling up underneath her fingers.

"Hey, can you get this thing off? You'll only hurt yourself."

Reed gave a hopeless bit of laughter, "What else is new? Everything I've ever done for the past month has done nothing but hurt me."
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Friendlysociopath
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Re: Friendly Subject Help

Postby Friendlysociopath » Tue Mar 21, 2017 2:39 pm

TIME 2 NOTE

Spoiler
I hang from the side of the building, one arm holding onto the ledge while the other continues powering up the Alter Sword. Without pausing, I bring my legs up underneath the ledge and push off with maximum force, hurling myself straight downwards at this new foe- bringing the Alter Sword down and over my head to strike at the last possible moment.

BOOM

A shockwave spreads from the impact, kicking up a cloud of dust. As it fades, I see my opponent clearly for the first time. His red eyes open wide as his equally scarlet hair whips around in the frenzy of wind the strike had created. He gives a small smile as I make the connection. How is this possible? It's me.

"I'm glad to see you- Zero."

Before my feet can touch the ground, he hurls me skywards at twice the speed my plunge, I clear the top of the ledge with room to spare- though I manage to dig the Alter Sword into the roof to halt my progress before I pass over the building entirely. As I wrench the blade free, a shadow blurs over me as my newfound alter ego lands in the center of the roof. I bare the Alter Sword at him as I call out.

"I know you- what do you want?" I may know him, but that doesn't mean I understand why or how he's here. I've been to the future, I killed myself then- Farseer had been too young to time travel and I'd ceased to live past that point in time. There was no possible way a fixed future could produce another me- was there?

Oblivious to the turmoil his appearance is causing me, he grins as he responds, his teeth almost glowing in the light of the moon overhead. "Raven Hofterin and the blood flowing through her veins. Her DNA possess such qualities with potential you cannot even imagine- changing and evolving beyond your wildest dreams." He sweeps his own, larger blade, to the side- gazing at the weapon before flicking his eyes upwards to look at me through his bangs, the rest of his hair is stirring in the breeze to flow out from behind his waist. "What I want, Zero, is for her to give me a chance at immortality and power untapped at my disposal, to surpass my limits again as I did long ago." As he speaks, the clouds finish overtaking the moon, causing the area to be eclipsed in near total darkness except for the city lights below us.

I enter a battle stance, both hands held firmly on the Alter Sword and activating the weight function, causing it to gain power as I look at my new foe, previously it had been at what I used as a 'normal threat' multiplier just under 10x- I'm going to need it higher. "What about my Raven?" I feel blood pumping through my veins but, what's more, I feel a strong pressure in my chest. The emotions are surging through my system again, but this time, I let them through- I need to know them to control them. The heat of anger, the cold of fear, these I am familiar with, but there is some other sensation as well, it involves Raven- of him taking her away- a desire to keep her with me. The thought of losing her causes me physical pain? Is this part of my genetic programming or is it natural? The unknown emotion briefly absorbs my attention before his movement snaps me back to reality.

His grins widens as he lifts his weapon, the sleek black blade offering a perfect mirror for the world around him. "Well, that's up to you then, Zero." Lightning flashes overhead and across the perfect mirrored sword as we both race towards one another at top speeds.

He's on the offensive almost immediately, a flurry of blows ripple outwards, over a dozen individual cuts and parries from each of us are traded so quickly that a human would miss the exchange ten times over if they blinked. It takes all of my strength and speed to fend the attacks off- he doesn't even look like he's trying even against the Alter Sword. My opposite brings his own weapon downwards, smashing my own out of the way before stepping forwards and kicking my chest to send me hurtling through the air. Even as I'm flying I hear a 'hmph' of amusement before the pommel of his weapon strikes my back. The blow sends me hurtling straight downwards, crashing through the roof of the office-space and landing in the midst of cubicles where humans would normally be at work. But in the dead of night and with a massive thunderstorm to boot- it's as deserted as it could be. Lightning cracks again as rain begins to pour through the hole my entrance had made. I dash to the side as I predict the follow-up attack, the new version of myself flips through the hole and cuts straight through the cubicle walls where I had previously been standing.

I step forwards, bringing my Alter Sword across in a blow meant to cut cleanly through his spine. He spins around faster than I believe possible- parrying my sword to the side with little better than a flick of the wrist. I stagger backwards from the force of the attack before bringing my weapon around again for another strike. He laughs as he jumps above the metal blade, kicking off of the cubicle walls to land behind me. I spin around and catch his assault with my Alter Sword. Our clash causes the papers and computers scattered about on the desks to lift into the air and maniacally whirl around to form a visual obstacle. One such paper oh so briefly comes between us.

The pressure from my weapon is gone- my opponent isn't there anymore. I spot him on the far side of the floor- walking behind a cubicle wall. I spin around to run in the opposite direction only to find a blur of movement in front of me. I frantically leap backwards with all available effort- just barely evading his attack that caves through the floor where I'd been standing. I get a glimpse of his weapon in action as this occurs- it cuts through the floor smoothly like it encounters no real resistance. Despite my own Alter Sword measuring well over 300x at this point, he still acts as though it's not difficult to withstand it, and what's worse is I'm putting all of my weight and power behind my blows and using both hands- he isn't even breathing hard and is holding me off virtually with one hand behind his back. The expression that I'd been taught by Raven had never been so relevant as it was now- never so frustrating either.

The massive hole left in the floor by his attack compromises the ground, causing the cubicles to start sliding towards the opening. I catch a brief smile as he jumps into the air over the hole- heading directly at me. With only a handful of milliseconds left to act before he reaches me- I draw the Subject Killer and fire it towards him. A flash of movement and the sound of metal hitting metal is repeated four times as he sweeps the bullets aside with his dark blade. He strikes downwards with one arm, I'm forced to reply the same way since my right hand is holding the Subject Killer. Our weapons clash, causing the floor to buckle and start to collapse even more, it takes everything I have to hold my sword in place as he continues flying past to land near the wall; the impact briefly numbed my arm from the tips of my fingers to the shoulder. His laughter reaches my ears as the roof and floor both cave farther in, the battle causing the entire building to tremble and shake, doubtlessly the force we're outputting is something it wasn't designed to withstand at this angle.

"So weak..." his words reach my ears amidst his cold chuckling.

I carefully hold my ground, minding the holes expanding behind me. "How can you be here? I killed my future self- the only way you can be here-"

"Is if I'm not him, nor you." he stops chuckling and walks forwards, holding his sword with the point down, leaving a line in the ground as he slowly stalks towards me. "Farseer at this point in time doesn't truly know how his power functions- does he? Would you like to know how it works?"

He's talking, not attacking, I stall for time as I keep my Alter Sword turned just enough so that he can't see the numbers- I'll only have one chance. "If it's not too much trouble- are you saying you know what it does?"

"Not at all. In fact I am probably more confused about the matter than you are right now. As I understand it- Farseer actually creates and alters spacetime. This is how he stops time so to speak- he doesn't halt time so much as introduce more of it. If time were a line and a point on it was to have a value of two, it would then logically move on to three as the next point in the line. Farseer instead creates additional points on the line with the exact same value of two- effectively making more time just for himself... and those he brings with him."

The Alter Sword has reached well over 700x higher than normal, the ring is entirely ablaze with light but it hasn't yet demonstrated the lightning it had when battling its twin back in Moscow. I could strike now but I can't take the chance. I play along to keep him talking, although what he said doesn't make much sense to me, "What does this have to do with you or I?"

"Everything- and nothing at all." The completely worthless answer suddenly causes me to remember my early days with Laura and Raven, they were right, it is very annoying. "How does Farseer move through time? The answer is simple- he doesn't. He moves time around him- he sets the time value to a different number." I still don't understand, which he seems to acknowledge as he sighs, "He believes there is only one timeline, he's just able to move along it separately from standard rate, something nobody else can do. He hopes he can change the future with this power."

I keep still, the slowly opening hole behind me inching closer and closer one one side while he approaches from the other, apparently this me likes to talk, "But then how can you be here? I die in the future- don't tell me cutting off my head doesn't do the trick?"

"Oh it surely will, without a doubt, you can't send signals to the rest of your body without your brain." He taps his forehead with one gloved hand. "Complete control is useless without a medium. But", his hand moves away from his face, just in time for me to see his eyes don't have quite the same shape as mine- the pupil is slit like that of a cat, "as you're no doubt aware- the brain doesn't die the moment decapitation occurs? We cannot stave off brain death forever, but we can certainly hold out much longer than a human. Beyond that- most brain injuries occur when the brain is fixed- the restorative process if you will. They're known as reperfusion injuries. Humans can only barely control or comprehend the process and how to fix it- you and I do not share this problem." He gestured at his body. "Our control is not limited to the body, but also the mind, which is why King cannot remove our memories or change what we're thinking. All that remains after that point is obtaining a new body, something made better than the standard fare, something made to be more than the human base you're stuck with. I have ascended to a new level far beyond what you can achieve."

He points at me with his free hand, "Even using your full power- you're no match for me."

I point the Alter Sword at him in return, "I've faced stronger and faster things than you- and I'm still here." At this point, he's only just far enough away that if we both fully extended our arms and swords- the tips of the blades would touch.

He sighs, flipping his sword around between two fingers like a baton, "We've faced stronger and faster things. I am you. You are me." He stops his twirling abruptly- the black sword's business end towards me. "Except I'm not like the previous version you encountered. He'd just slaughtered most of Moscow- hardly in the best state for a battle. I'm in perfect form- not to mention made from a new body." He smirks as lightning flares outside again, the downpour intensifying. "Besides-" I fire the Subject Killer as rapidly as I can, 16 rounds traveling at over 900 meters per second, aiming right for his center mass; I dash forwards behind them- lunging forwards with an impaling strike to gut him. With four swipes of his weapon he deflects each set, the ringing of metal sounding from each bullet, before blocking my attack cold by using both hands. The building shakes from the locked blades. From far below, I hear a series of cracks to signal significant structural damage. From right in front of me, I hear him continue without even pausing for breath, "Do you know how outclassed you are? How pathetic you are in comparison to my predecessor? Let alone myself?"

I snarl in frustration, my compounded worries about the future and this opponent reach a pinnacle of fear and hate. "You don't know the future! You don't know how it ends!" My Alter Sword continues to gain weight and he continues not to give.

"You know, you're right." With a smirk, he braces himself against the floor and pushes against me, hurling me through the window and out into the rain. I quickly reload the Subject Killer as the cascading rain strikes my rapidly moving body- why are my battles always taking place in the storms? Clearly the universe hates me- I'm so damn tired of every fight leaving me soaking wet and cold. I crash through the windows of the next building and come to a rolling halt amidst the shattered glass. I manage to look up in time to see my opponent leaping from the previous building, coat unfurling in the winds generated by his jump. "Let's see what the future holds!" I have no options left, I push my body, sending hormones and all manner of chemicals through my body to bypass whatever limitations it has. The Alter Sword is over 1,000x heavier than its base weight- surely he can't withstand that?

He can- though the combined effect of my enhanced strength and the empowered weapon have finally allows me to fully halt an attack of his. The skyscraper trembles and the furniture in the room around us rocks in place from the impact. With my muscles screaming and the lights of the Alter Sword whirling, I can finally block his strikes. He smiles as I find the weapon slowly being pushed back towards me, his dark blade looks like it's shimmering in the dimly lit room. I stress my arms and feel myself actually sink into the floor slightly as I put all of my strength into stopping the sword from touching me. The shimmer along the weapon suddenly vanishes and I push him away- breaking the lock.

"Tch," he remarks as he hefts the blade reminiscent of a large claymore into the air; a dull black cartridge is ejected from near the crossguard of his weapon. "It appears you're still fond of the Alter Sword." We continue clashing as I begin to feel something new- hope. If I can match him now, the Alter Sword will only grow stronger with time, enabling me to eventually overpower him. This occurs to him as well as I note a crimson glow emerge from his slit eyes. He's bypassed his own natural limits. Uh oh.

A blow exponentially greater than mine catches the Alter Sword, hurling it and myself through multiple walls and then another window to fly back out into the rain, streams of blood trailing me from the cuts I gain along the journey. I crash through another set of windows in the adjacent building and can barely stop rolling before he's upon me again, dealing a follow-up blow to repeat the process and send me hurtling through the dividing apartments once more. Such a rapid escalation and output of raw power is unmanageable. Despite the incredible mass my sword holds, he's hurling me about as though I weigh nothing. No. I bring the Alter Sword upwards and attack him directly, our blades clash and the building shakes from the blow. That's not quite the case. The Alter Sword and Alter Brace together allow me to cheat physics, but only when I'm moving the sword is this ability used to its maximum potential, offense is more useful than defense. I stop myself from being thrown through another building with another clash, striking at his attack rather than merely trying to block it, the building continues to shake and the sound of screaming metal implying supports are giving away. His eyes narrow as his smile likewise thins. The power gap between us is shrinking with every strike- he won't be able to keep up forever, at least, not in raw strength.

But his speed is still far above mine, and I have no way to cheat that. A web of whatever metal his weapon is made of springs into existence from his raw speed, slicing into my arms and legs as I manage to repel only the strikes aimed at my vitals. Despite my newfound knowledge and confidence- I can't win against him- not yet.

I change the angle of the Alter Sword and allow him to strike it dead-on. Without resisting, the blow pushes it back into my chest, the flat of the sword shatters my rib-cage and hurls me through the building, and into the next. As before, he follows along, his large sword lunging forwards to stab at me.

This allows me my chance. Since he'd struck so hard- I no longer need to keep a hand on the Alter Sword to keep it near me. With one hand I point the Subject Killer towards him, squeezing the trigger so rapidly that the highest shot of each would hit the same drop of rain as each burst flies towards him. As before, he parries every bullet, not just the ones that would hit him; it buys me the slightest bit of time for my other hand- which has one of Samuel's grenades. At the speed I'm moving- I simply release my grip and he encounters it. An explosion of smoke ruptures the air in a bubble. My opponent disappears into this smog ever so briefly- which is why I then release another surprise before I strike the next building, this one a 2-pack of Stunners. The explosion is much more sizable this time and includes a massive release of light and sound- and it encounters him just as he emerges from the smoke cloud. Even prepared for the blast- I find myself briefly blinded and deafened through closed eyes and shielded ears.

I reach out and clasp the Alter Sword in my hand, holstering the Subject Killer as I dig the sword into the top of the building I'm thrown into. Hemorrhaging blood as I am- and outclassed to boot- I can't maintain this battle. I've bought myself not even a few seconds to act and I need everyone one. I've never tried this before but I'm out of options. I turn and hurl the Alter Sword towards the west while turning the Alter Brace counterclockwise to negate my weight. I then reach out and grab the weapon before it escapes my reach entirely. With no gravity affecting me- I'm pulled away as fast as the weapon was traveling- minus air resistance. My shoulder suffers extreme pain as its almost wrenched from its socket at the sudden acceleration but it's the only way I'll escape him. As I fly away I finish repairing my eyes and turn to look back.

He's standing atop the building I vacated, holding one hand upwards in a farewell gesture. He then jumps off, headed straight for the ground. I grimace at the pain tearing through my system- the irony is thick. I killed myself in the future and the result is an even stronger version of myself journeying to the present to kill me in return just to prove the future isn't fixed. I should be careful what I wish for.



300 meters below...
I idly walk away from the impact cracks I've left on the sidewalk. The landing had broken my legs, but I repair the bones within a few seconds of touchdown. My younger self may have escaped but there's still enemies present. I briefly lament that, despite my resurrection and new form, I don't recall the exact details of the battle from when I stood in his place. Memories from before are hard to call back- no doubt a byproduct of the insanity that had plagued my previous form's mind. Still, my caution was unwarranted, if the younger me had fought the Destroyer of Moscow at full strength, he'd have lost judging by his strength and speed; which means he doesn't have a chance against me. I am above him at an exponential level- he can't hope to compete.

I'm brought to the present by a series of lights shining from all directions, several Vamps in organization security uniforms have surrounded me. I count three, which means a fourth is likely waiting somewhere, hidden. Vamps favored that particular strategy back in the day- when they were the top combat-types. The Vamps have those shock sticks the organization used to love in either hand, all six of them sparking as they think to accost me. Behind them I can see the handlers, two of them, both standing well back from the battle, at least a hundred paces from me. Not far enough- not nearly far enough.

The closet one calls out, "Subject 000- we're bringing you in."

So many things amuse me now. So much is irrelevant, and inconsequential- beneath my notice., pathetic, funny. A grin reaches my face and I laugh. I don't even bother with words- they're not worth it. I dash from my position to just in front of the handlers. I watch as comprehension doesn't even begin to reach their eyes. I wait- I've learned much about patience over the years. Finally, after what seems a very unfairly long time, both humans gasp in unison as they realize I've closed in on them- comprehension just barely reaching their eyes from the movement they couldn't follow. That's all I want- the look of abject terror on their faces before I cut both of them down in a single blow. My blade is so swift that there's not a drop of blood on it as I turn to point it at the Vamps- particularly the one who spoke to me.

The three of them jump towards me, of course. Their training isn't the sort of thing to vanish just because a handler dies. But it's no contest. I cut through the sticks of the closest one in a single fluid motion- the same motion takes off the arm of the Vamp on his left. If my weapon wasn't on cooldown from the previous battle- he'd drop within a second or two. The now weaponless Vamp comes to an immediate halt as his wounded ally recoils from the wound. The additional Vamp feints towards my head with one stick while lunging forwards with the other. I turn just enough for the lunge to miss before grabbing the falling Vamp arm with its still sparking shock stick. I ram the arm, and by extension the taser, into his throat- causing him to jerk upright as his muscles spasm with all of that power surging through him. I leave him there as I give a small hop ahead, skipping forwards and hitting the one-armed Vamp with a palm strike. While Subject hearts beat too quickly for a proper heart-stopping strike and combat-types can fix the rhythm disruption- enough strength makes the precision needless. His chest explodes outwards in a flurry of gore from the power of my strike. I twist to avoid the inevitable attack from the disarmed Vamp and bring my weapon straight upwards- cleaving him in two from the groin to the top of his skull. The shocked remaining Vamp is crawling away but I have one more thing to deal with. I turn to the shadows just as the inevitable hidden Vamp leaps outwards- jabbing both of his shock sticks towards my torso. I allow him to land both hits in exchange for landing my own- impaling him cleanly through the chest. Despite enough electricity arcing through me to kill a grown man in less than a heartbeat- I force my body to obey with ease. I push him off of my weapon and leave him lying there. The Vamp I previously shocked is still trying to crawl to his feet but it's futile. One focused kick shatters the top of his skull, his jaw, his neck, and a large portion of his torso. The last Vamp is lying in a pool of his own blood and unable to walk ever again since I cleanly cut through his spine. He'll probably survive if I leave him be- Vamps are tough. This one I'll talk to.

"It appears I need a different weapon for my next encounter, so, tell me;" I reach down and lift him into the air by his throat, holding him still as I look directly into his eyes, "where is the Alter Gunblade?"

Gasping and struggling, the Vamp tries to speak, "The renegade Vamp, he's got it." Memories of this time flash through my mind- jumpstarted by this information: a battle here, a clash there, enemies, humans, buildings, Subjects, weapons- and a missing eye. I smile as I recall what I need. I bring my sword around and activate the hidden mechanism- the surface of the large sword appears to vibrate as I leave a small nick on a flailing hand of his. I drop him to the ground as he stares at his palm, horror appearing on his face- he's experiencing the effects right now. I walk away and begin counting as he starts screaming, a name on my lips for my next target.

"Vincent... it's been a long time since I heard that name." The cries behind me die off quickly, as I expected, the greater someone's physical prowess- the faster they'll suffer. I raise the black blade into the air to gaze at its perfectly mirrored surface as I contemplate its effect. When activated, the blade will cause cells it touches to die, those cells pass on the effect to adjacent living cells before dying; resulting in cellular death across the entire body. Cutting into the bloodstream only enhances the effect, reducing the process that normally can take up to a few minutes to only a few seconds. Next time- Zero will taste the effect himself- and we'll see how set the future really is.
Last edited by Friendlysociopath on Mon Oct 09, 2017 9:53 am, edited 21 times in total.
Reason: Note- Alter SWORD not Alter BLADE
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Friendlysociopath
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Re: Friendly Subject Help

Postby Friendlysociopath » Tue Apr 11, 2017 11:49 pm

CUTTER ESCAPE NOTE
Spoiler
King trumped through the halls, lamenting the newfound Oversight's paranoia about his intentions- Paul had never trusted him again after he'd found out his memories had been stolen. It was hardly surprising, but still inconvenient all the same. Paul didn't dare move against him openly, of course, King was far too important to the organization for Paul to try that. However, he had impounded King's jeep due to "Complaints about his reckless driving" which forced him to walk everywhere. The slight was infuriating. In such a young body, walking any distance took twice as long as an adult, which cost King precious time having to walk from one room to another. He'd not made that jeep for the fun of it. The labs and residential areas were on the complete opposite sides of the Facility.

What was worse was Paul actually had taken the correct steps to counter King's ability to read minds. Most information was now dispersed by email or paper memo and meetings that had important information were in locked rooms and there were no visual recordings of it. The latter in particular was annoying as King could read minds through cameras as well- such as he had when conversing with the former Oversight. King found this a disproportionate response to what he'd done- he'd barely done anything! He could've wiped out Paul's entire childhood- or the brain's natural memory of how to breath and walk- yet a few bits about the Hofterin girls and the man lost his mind. King chuckled at his unintentional pun.

He rounded another corner, the familiar white walls of the organization facilities shining brightly from the overhead lights. It had been a few weeks since their last confrontation and security had finally gone back to their normal routines. King encountered a few errant researchers and a squad of human guards as he continued his slow trek back to his room- but no HAC suits or packs of Grunts running about. Despite their technical age, Oracle and himself had live-in 'parents' to supervise them and help them around the place. King held few ill feelings towards the man and woman dedicated to the task- the woman genuinely seemed to care about the two subjects and the man was just doing his job. King appreciated the first sentiment and certainly understood the latter enough not to hold a grudge.

What he did not understand was how he managed to come across Cutter as he rounded a corner. Not for the first time, King resented how Cutter had an adult body but an juvenile mind in comparison to himself. Granted, her body wasn't exactly one most researchers considered 'adult', particularly her secondary sex organs; but the simple luxury of a single pace being 30 inches in length compared to King's paces that were maybe half that was a luxury he didn't have.

Her paces in this instance were that of someone in a hurry- she nearly knocked King over as she rounded the corner. She came to a quick halt and tried to brush past him. She knew better and so did King, he wasn't going to ignore the star of the latest fiasco when she delivered herself right into his lap. Besides- he had plans for Cutter.

"Cutter?" She froze in place, reluctance visibly traveling over her body, not that King needed such outside visuals with his ability. "Come back- let's have a chat."

Her shoulders slumped as she turned to look down at King. Her normal glasses covered her eyes but she wasn't dressed in her security fatigues- instead adopting a casual dress code of a red leather jacket, over a long shirt that dropped well past her waist before encountering a pair of jeans and leather boots. King read her mind quickly, his mouth lifting into a grin as the information easily came to him. He'd had minor doubts after his encounter with Subject 000 but all evidence since then pointed to him being an exception rather than a failing on King's part. Subjects had more complex brains with higher reactions, there was simply more data to sift through compared to a human, but King still could read their minds and remove memories- it was just slower and harder compared to the simple minds of humans.

"Are you actually going to chat with me or just sit there rooting around?" Cutter snapped at King, his face was reflected perfectly in her mirrored sunglasses. King realized Cutter herself was thinking about her shades quite a bit and wondered why.

"That depends," King began, "are you going to tell me why you're worried so much about your glorified glasses or do I have to drag it out of you?"

As always, Cutter's mindset somewhat instinctively went to violent solutions, but King detected a hesitation in it that wasn't present before. Resignation was the next response as she slowly reached up and removed the glasses. King's breath actually caught in his throat at the reveal.

Her eyes, the eyes of a Subject, were no longer red; but a vivid azure blue. King marveled at the change and the implications involved. Clearly, Raven had to be behind this, no Subject had ever been born without red eyes- exempting the ones that weren't born with eyes at all. Out of all the ones with eyes, only Doppelgangers could change the color.

"I don't know what it means- I just woke up like this." King could detect the worry behind her words and agreed with it. Considering her open assault on Paul, the fact that she hadn't been disposed of was rather unusual However, he could see in his mind's eye Cutter's coin, slowly flipping as it headed towards the ground. King decided it needed a slight adjustment.

"I'll tell you what it means- it means you're in trouble. Think about it," King injected concern into his voice, "you assaulted the Oversight and now you're showing abnormal symptoms. The only question is how long until they turn on you." Mental stirrings assured him that he was on the right track, he pressed his point without giving her time to think. "You were being held up by a HAC suit that hadn't even been altered to resist Subject powers- a poor showing. And Subject 000 was doing quite well against you too- for being a prototype that is." King could sense Cutter' beginning to build up a defense for her failures and hit her with a bit of sorrow to keep her off balance. "For better or worse, Richard Hofterin is dead." Instant success, Cutter's sadness of his passing matched that of Raven and Laura, she just had far less experience dealing with the emotion compared to the Hofterin sisters so it came across as more raw; in this case- all thoughts of defending herself dropped for a moment. King restrained himself from outwardly grinning, it was just too easy. "Without him to protect you- how much longer do you think you'll be around? You're outdated and showing serious breaks in obedience- you know what that means. Disposal." A frightening word for Subjects. They weren't killed or murdered or retired- they were disposed of like a knickknack a human no longer felt prudent keeping around. Trash. Refuse.

In a stroke of luck, the squad of guards had turned about and started heading towards King and Cutter, he could see them walking forwards- pointing at the two and muttering among themselves. They were actually just startled to see Cutter talking with King- but that's not what Cutter would think.

King whispered to his fellow Subject, "Look- they're coming for you now. There's too many guns for you without your discs!" That was actually something King had known before this little mental invasion. Cutter's telekinetic threads had a harder time the smaller and faster an object was- while she could react to bullet perfectly fine- she couldn't grab them out of the air. "There's only one thing you can do- strike first!"

He'd won. Cutter turned and raised her hands towards the guards, her eyes glowing with a blue light in contrast to the normal red glow. King found that fascinating but it wasn't prudent to keep her here for observations right now. He took a moment to distance himself from her as the guards, predictably, took offense at the action.

"Subject 003- hands in the air!" the four humans had all raised their weapons in unison- pointing right at her. The native fear of Subjects plus Cutter's own reputation as a killer, followed by her recent notoriety of attacking Paul, all but sealed the impression the guards had of a dangerous Subject in front of them. King couldn't see her telekinetic threads of course, but he could read her mind and follow the process in an indirect fashion. She actually did as asked, slowly raising her clenched fists into the air. King noted the progress of her threads as her arms moved- they were moving through the concrete floor without disturbing it- one thread lining up directly underneath each guard. King knew the next action was coming, but the suddenness of the attack still impressed him.

With her fists clenched in the air, Cutter extended her middle and pointer fingers straight upwards. The resulting movement of her threads was exactly what King had expected, brutal, sudden, and lethal. Each thread pulled the concrete ground around them and shot upwards- creating four spikes that pierced straight through the pelvis, torso, and skull of all the guards. The attack was over so quickly that King hadn't even received thoughts of the nerves reacting to the contact before the concrete destroyed their brains. As one, the group's limbs slumped downwards, not a bullet had been fired.

It was then that King was truly surprised, a HAC suit stomped around the corner behind Cutter, its arm cannon whirling as it lifted to fire at Cutter. There was no other suitable response- King immediately focused his mind as quickly as possible.

Unit 1- Shield!

From just above his shoulder a small cylindrical metal device appeared from nowhere. It lit up with a small blinking green light to signal its activation as the hailstorm of bullets began firing at over 3,000 miles per hour from the metal titan. Approximately three feet in front of King and Cutter, they impacted a transparent green barrier. The noise outside the sphere would be deafening, both from the high-caliber rounds being fired so rapidly and the subsequent shattering on the barrier, but inside the noise was dulled to a much more bearable level. Round after round sped forwards and shattered on the shield- metal fragments filled the hallway. King kept careful count in his head, marking each second as it went past. HAC suits on guard-duty only carried enough rounds for ten seconds of continuous fire, mostly with the reasoning that if that many bullets didn't stop the problem, more wouldn't help. At ten seconds precisely, the minigun fell silent and King looked at Cutter.

"Run!" he sensed her hesitation and irritably added another line, "Richard would want you to live!" That did it, she turned and fled, her only possessions the clothing on her back and that knife she'd been carrying longer than King had been alive. He quickly issued more mental commands.

Unit 2- Shield!

Following his thought process, a second unit revealed itself and drifted backwards to fill the hallway between Cutter and King with another green shield. The HAC suit responded by filling the corridor with missile fire- the rockets unleashing their devastating payload. However- it wasn't aiming at the retreating Cutter- but at King! The first shield still held but the impacts were beginning to have an effect- causing it to ripple and distort from the explosions. King hurriedly ran some calculations in his head- going over the firepower absorbed and how long the unit had been active in Shield mode. Deciding it better to be safe than sorry- he activated unit 3 and gave it the same command while commanding the first unit to deactivate.

Before one shield faded, another began, the bubble appearing just inside the previous one. King ordered the second unit to deactivate the shield function as well and return to him- his interest was piqued by this assault. Could Paul truly be so reckless to order a HAC suit to attack him? There was only one way to find out. He waited until even the missiles were spent before issuing his next order.

Unit 4- Cut.

The area was, of course, devastated by the firepower that had been unleashed- the reinforced walls had been cratered for a hundred yards, the floor looked like an earthquake had passed through to rip it apart, and there was not a single surviving light beyond the grim glow of the HAC sensors and the blinking lights of King's technology. Metal dust was floating through the corridor- likely making the air impossible to breath. The same dust suddenly was melted in a line as a laser fired from another unit- carving through the debris before cutting deeply into the ceiling above it- causing the floor above to fall onto the HAC suit's 'head'. King stepped forwards as the HAC suit staggered from the sudden attack. A human pilot then- remote-control wouldn't stagger in the slightest since it would realize the suit would take no damage from even two floors falling on it.

Unit 2- Cloak.

King and unit 2 faded from sight. The HAC suit swept its head back and forth, using all of four of its sensors in an attempt to locate King. King grinned, pleased that the cloak function worked even against HAC suits, he hadn't had a chance to test his SPYDER system against them before. He walked up to the metal behemoth and commanded unit 1 again.

Unit 1- String.

The unit fired out a series of glowing strands, the lines crawling around the suit and attaching themselves to the walls around it, forming a shining web of taut energy wires. King ordered unit 4 to fire as well, and unit 3 too. Within a second, the HAC suit was so restricted from movements that it could only barely pull forwards. Deciding better safe than sorry, King ordered unit 2 to use the string function as well, leaving over a hundred thin streaks of light linked the suit to its surroundings- it couldn't move at all. King took a moment to walk directly in front of it and fold his arms.

"Alright, if you want out, eject so we can have a little talk- otherwise I'm destroying that suit with you in it." An almost entirely empty threat, King's lasers couldn't melt through HAC suit armor without having several of them and an extended amount of time and focused fire, he might be able to cut open the back; the weakest part- but destroying the suit in any manner actually relevant to the word wasn't feasible.

After a moment, the escape hatch on the back began to whine, like it was attempting to open. King instructed the relevant unit to release the specific strings and waited to see who had attacked him. While the panels unfolded, he deliberated what his response would be for this little attack from Paul- if it had been him. His grin widened as he realized they were near the heavy security enclosures. Alright Paul, let's see how you deal with escaped Subjects...



PAUL RESPONSE NOTE
Spoiler
Paul sat in his comfortable black leather chair, turning in place to look at each head researcher as they reported on their various sections. Paul was doing his best to keep up- though he'd been assured by several of them that the Oversights had never been familiar with every given field in their facility. Instead, his job was to listen, record, and maintain peace between the factions when at meetings like this. The current topic was of a certain weapon-system being developed.

"The Spider shot is a new generation of munition," the head researcher of weapons development proclaimed. The woman was entirely bald, an unusual choice for a female, but Paul had to admit it complemented her face, accenting her sharp cheekbones rather well. He quickly chided himself to stop thinking like that and pay attention to the actual report. "While we've currently only made it serviceable for HACs due to the size of the round, it performs exactly as desired." she manipulated her personal tablet, causing images to jump about on the main screens in the center of the black table. A human-sized figure could be seen crouching behind a wall, firing over it occasionally with a rifle. The figure was crudely rendered as little more than a blue, man-shaped polygon. A streak of red emerged from the side- firing past the cover before exploding outwards in a series of lines. Several lines struck the figure- piercing it and shattering the model. "The basic concept is to create a bullet that can fire additional bullets itself- similar to a shrapnel grenade. However, the increased range both of the initial round and the spread will make this a potent method for enemies hiding behind cover."

Paul carefully typed into his tablet, eventually coming across the name of the researcher, 'Cella Deratuth'. Oddly, the phonetic description insisted it was pronounced, 'Kell- ah'. He raised his voice to get her attention. "Excuse me, Cella? So, you've spent weeks of research and thousands of organization dollars on making a long-ranged grenade?"

She nodded, "Not only would it have superior range, but with the correct adjustments it will be capable of a fantastic firing rate as well. Mere walls and cover will not save enemy forces- you will require complete insulation or nothing. Even then- we've had success with the spreading rounds piercing 15 millimeters of steel-"

The doors of the room abruptly were shoved ajar. Paul spun around and stood up in fury as the guards walked into the room, followed by King. The small child waved happily at Paul as he drew closer.

"I thought you should know- Cutter killed a squad of guards and escaped. The battle seemed to have disturbed several of the wards- at least two Subjects escaped with her since their wards were damaged."

Paul was stunned. He'd been planning on censuring Cutter but had never thought she'd actually turn on the organization itself- she'd already been placed under house arrest and was restricted to her room- or at least she had been! The traditional safeguards of muscle-relaxing gas must've been circumvented somehow. He quickly sent out an alert with his tablet, asking for damage control and figuring out what was gone. King wasn't done though, he beckoned Paul to bring his head closer so King could speak quietly. Paul reluctantly did so, bending down to listen to the diminutive Subject.

"And if you ever send a HAC suit after me again, you will spend the rest of your days with no memory of how to walk, talk, or even bathe yourself- you pathetic little man."

King took his leave then, with the guard apologetically closing the doors behind him. Paul turned to look at the various researchers, all of whom looked uncertain of how to proceed. Paul felt his determination rise- he slammed his replaced hand into the table, the force of the blow sending cracks across the entire length of it, starting all 20 head researchers in the room. He cleared his throat before speaking.

"I want obedience tests on all of our current single-type Subjects. Every single one. Starting with the oldest ones and working our way down. Any Subject under our jurisdiction suspected of making their own agenda is to be terminated at the earliest opportunity. Any Subject suspected of acting independently or not following clear orders is to be tested immediately and terminated if they do not properly show respect to the chain of command. I want a Screamer and Painter duo tested ASAP and used for information gathering in DC- after Sparkle's reveal I want to know what the government knows." He lifted his clenched fist from the table, noting the dent he'd made, his hand had buried itself two inches deep into the ceramic top of the table. "After we figure out what Subjects have left- we will spare no expense or effort in hunting them down. King and the PCs will ensure secrecy is maintained."

Cella spoke up, glancing at the doors King had just left through. "King's allegiance is to the Northern Oversight, and he's made it clear he doesn't like or respect you, how will you convince him to help?"

Paul felt the cold fury rise within him- a fury that he had possessed when he'd ordered Laura thrown into the Grunt-training ward to be consumed- a fury that made any course of action seem possible and even reasonable. Raven was been willing to do anything for her sister... Suddenly his frown shifted into a grin that could only be described as 'sadistic'.

"Actually, the first obedience test will be Oracle, she will fail and be shipped to Facility 01; she's overdue to see if they can squeeze some more power from her as it is. Regardless of his clout in the north or how little he wants to work with me on in the east- King can't break her out of there. He can stay here and help or his twin can be forever beyond his reach."
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Re: Friendly Subject Help

Postby Friendlysociopath » Sun Apr 16, 2017 7:51 pm

SUBJECT ZERO DEPARTS NOTE
Spoiler
I walk into the basement, the 'Lair' as Laura calls it. There is a new arrival- a young man with a scraggly beard and a ponytail. He reeks of hot metal and blood, and his outfit resembles a one-piece jumpsuit with baggy arms and legs, unquestionably the HAC pilot that had attacked me earlier. I don't speak, I simply draw the Alter Sword and step forwards to end his life; he is three paces from my reach. He recoils in fear. He holds his empty hands in the air to show how unarmed he is.

"Wait, I can help you!"

"I don't care." I take another step forwards and raise the deadly weapon over my head- it still has its 100x multiplier running. Raven calls out to me.

"Zero, please, don't kill him!" I turn to look at her, seeing the truth in her eyes, she's afraid of taking a life; that fear forces her to make poor decisions. "Don't you understand mercy?"

"Mercy?" I remember sparing Paul and how he'd been responsible for Raven's imprisonment and torture to extract her DNA. "Mercy?" I repeat, recalling how I pulled Agent Pleasant into Laura's room but didn't kill him, resulting in Vincent's attack and causing Sparkle to unleash her power on the city- a tragedy that in itself would've been avoided had I not saved her. "Mercy..." I lower the sword back to my waist as a final memory intrudes, Queen's reveal of this same group plotting to kill me if I was deemed too dangerous. I feel the emotion now the same as I had back in the room consulting with Queen. The heat of blood beating quickly through my body. The tensing of my muscles and the increase of breathing. Anger, rage, fury- I understand them, I know them, and I understand 'mercy'.

"I understand mercy." I respond, taking another step closer, he's within striking range now. "And I'm not giving it- you shouldn't either."

"Zero- no!" Laura lunges forwards, grabbing at my arm to prevent the attack. With a quick snap of my wrist I strike her chest, feeling a heavier impact than I thought I would, along with a sound like breaking glass. Blood coats my fingers but I stop my swing as a new noise reaches me.

"LAURA!" Raven is screaming, on her knees next to Laura. Laura herself is lying on the ground, coughing up blood, her face is very pale. Samuel is on her other side, touching at Laura's chest and quickly opening the nearby first-aid kit. Time seems to slow as Raven looks at me, fear and hatred in her eyes. Somehow, it had never caused me pain to see such a thing before, but now my chest hurts- as though I had struck myself instead of Laura. Raven screams at me now, "Leave! Go away- stay away from us- you monster!"

I look down at my hands. One is clean and grips my weapon with a firm grasp, the other is shaking and has blood on it, Laura's blood. The agony in my chest and the fire inside my body are merging together, making thoughts difficult, the young man is slowly crawling away from me; I take another step forwards and stab downwards in almost a blind state.

BOOM...

A cloud of dust and debris filled the room. When it faded enough for visibility to return to the humans- the results spoke for themselves. The quivering Alter Sword had been driven several feet into the concrete floor. The edge of the blade was just inches from the newest arrival's face. Of Subject Zero there was no sign- he'd vanished.



GHOST/SUBJECT 008 ENCOUNTER NOTE
Spoiler
I walk aimlessly through the streets, the endless rain drenching me to the bone. Raven doesn't want me to stay. But what am I to do now? When she told me to leave before, I had resisted the impulse to obey. This time I'd been compelled to do so beyond any hope of recovery. I walk into an alley, hoping I can find something to keep myself dry. The hood and jeans are soaked and heavy, water streams from my body to form a small puddle were I too stand still. Or rather, if I stood somewhere still that wasn't already flooded.

The alley is occupied. Three men look over from their positions around a young girl close to what I would judge as my own age. She has long brown hair and is dressed in what I recognize as an organization security uniform. Interesting. 'Men' may have been incorrect, the three males are younger than myself, each sporting a similar set of dark hair, wide jaws, and small brown eyes. Brothers perhaps? The closest one has a baseball bat and motions towards me.

"One warning, shithead."

I slowly turn to stare at the downpour behind me, the edges of the alley sheltering me from the worst of it, before turning back. "Do you have anything dry around here?"

He doesn't bother with further words. He winds up and tries to bludgeon me in the side of the head. This is a poor decision on his part. If he could put his entire weight behind a thrusting motion, he'd do more damage since the bat will weigh the same no matter how he attacks with it. However, a thrust would be a shorter motion and thus, faster; and it would have less area to hit me to focus the force as well. Not that it matters- he has no control. I bend my knees slightly and the bat whistles past my head. I reach forwards and touch two of my fingers to the back of his elbow- still extended from his overzealous swing. With a slight push- he overextends even farther and spins completely around in place. He looks confused and calls back to his friends or brothers.

"Come on stupid shits- get the shittin' stickers!"

The two others pull out knives. Unfortunate. In an earlier time I might've spared them any serious harm, but I recognize this 'anger' emotion is racing through me again- and I'm not resisting this time. I reach my hand out and wrap it around the top of the baseball-bat. With a clench of my fist, the wooden weapon is shattered into tiny splinters, he's holding only the grip and a few inches of broken maple judging by the effort that had required. I grab him by the throat and slam him into the wall. He coughs blood out of his mouth from the hit. Not good enough. I tear the battered weapon from his hand and thrust the broken weapon into his thigh. Non-fatal injury, painful and possibly damaging the limb, but not a fatal impact. I feel an impact myself- one of his allies had plunged his small knife into my shoulder. I let his partner fall and glance his way- the pain is nothing compared to my other injuries and I can repair it easily. He seems surprised and frightened, backing away like my lack of response unnerves him; good. I decide to elaborate on this in a way he may understand.

"This shit didn't hurt me and can't kill me, but I swear I will punish you severely for it."

They look towards their wounded friend and hold out their hands, backing away. The one who didn't stab me speaks first. His voice trembles in fear and he refuses to meet my eyes.

"Can we take Justin? He looks hurt. We didn't want to fight no-one..."

Faster than they can probably see, I stretch my palm out to hit the one who'd stabbed me in the nose. I make no effort to make it a killing blow, though shoving the cartilage into his brain would end his life, I just want him to feel some pain. I reach down and grab at this Justin's arm, pulling him to his feet before hurling him through the air towards them. They manage to catch him, which surprises me, as does the speed they exit the alley with. Neither made a sound beyond the brief scream when I cleanly broke the one's nose. I scowl and pull the knife from my back before looking to the girl- which presents another surprise. She's pointing a gun at me- my inbound information informs me what it is. A Smith and Wesson 9mm pistol, no serial numbers on the side, but clean and well cared for; a criminal weapon?

"Stay back." Her voice is quite calm. She's experienced with these situations it seems. I toss the knife aside but otherwise make no movement. "Back." she repeats. I oblige by taking one step backwards- though its more for interest in her than self-preservation. No pistol is going to hit me. Before my very eyes, another person is suddenly standing next to her, knife in hand. I blink in yet a third surprise as he disappears again.


Subject 008
Subject 008 held her pistol steady as Ghost attacked the new arrival. His first attack was his opening gambit, teleporting behind the person to stab at their back. But this new Subject seemed to expect it- he twisted aside and kicked backwards at Ghost just as he appeared. Ghost wasn't kicked out of the alleyway entirely, but he did go skidding backwards before he grounded himself. How had he done that?

Ghost himself had similar sentiments, though he was much less calm about it, "How did you do that?!"

"It was the likely option." the new Subject said. "If you can attack from any direction, the back is the hardest to defend."

Ghost didn't bother replying, warping again to strike from the Subject's left. The Subject evaded the strike again, grappling Ghost's arm and wrenching at the knife, only for Ghost to disappear and reappear on the other side to kick at the enemy's spine. This time the blow landed- the Subject staggered forwards and tucked into a roll to gain distance. Subject 008 remembered Ghost's strategy but still wasn't fond of it. He'd instructed her to hang back and not engage any Subjects in battle- her training had dealt almost entirely with firearms and in CQC she was a liability. She tried to think of what this new opponent could be in the meantime- unable to risk a shot with how fast the two were moving around.

He clearly wasn't a Grunt, those were made uniformly of the same template to ensure minimum individuality, and he clearly wasn't a Vamp judging by his speed and strength being so close to Ghost's. She wondered if he was something old or something new. His clothing was not organization-made, it was a standard hood and jeans you could find anywhere, amazingly nondescript in their blandness. He didn't have a shock stick or any other odd weapon- but he was clearly a Subject. His eyes had the red tint and his reflexes were superb, equal to that of Ghost and maybe above her own judging by how well he was holding up against Ghost. He was teleporting around the enemy and attacking from all angles but the Subject seemed to be able to predict the movements. Several times he managed to anticipate Ghost's attack enough to preemptively strike where he would appear. How can he do that? Subject 008 was curious- she hadn't been able to deal with Ghost's teleportation at all.

The two didn't bother exchanging anymore words, they just kept fighting. Perhaps he was noting the smallest of tells Ghost might have? A twitch of the eye to signal where he would go? A tightening of a muscle to show what limb would attack? A small alteration to his stance to detect the direction he would strike? It was the only method Subject 008 could think of for predicting Ghost's movements- the alternative was that the enemy was obscenely lucky or could see into the future- neither of which she was willing to claim were impossible- but were much less likely than the alternative. It was certainly a first either way- even Vamps couldn't actually move faster than Ghost could teleport. Aside from the noises made by the city and the cascading rain, plus the grunts of effort from the two Subjects, all was quiet in the world. The battle quickly became somewhat tedious to watch- the two were evenly matched and trading hits on an equal basis. At most one of them could manage three consecutive blows on the other before the reverse occurred. Despite Ghost's clear superiority in technique, the basics implemented by his opponent were working well in stopping Ghost from truly dealing a fatal blow.

After another ten minutes of non-stop combat, the two stopped hitting one another and stood in place, panting with the expended effort. Ghost looked haggard and so did his opponent. Both had no shortage of bruises and cuts on their faces and likely everywhere else on their bodies as well.

"You... are... so lucky..." Ghost gasped, clutching at his chest. His opponent spat out a bit of blood before replying.

"You... are... a cheater..." the opponent straightened up, his breathing easing at an alarming rate. "But- how long can you go on?" Ghost glowered at him but made no answer. "Good, now that you're done- who are you?"

"You don't know?" Subject 008 interjected, "You're not hunting us down?"

"No." before her eyes, various wounds were healing, already he looked almost fully recovered. "Considering that question, I assume you're not hunting me either."

"Hey, runaways!" All three Subjects wheeled around to see Subject 003, Cutter, standing in the entrance of the alley; she was holding an umbrella along with a small disc Subject 008 recognized as a hologram unit. "Wanna go inside and check this out?" The tension was thick in the alley as she took another step forwards, her eyes hidden by her sunglasses. "I know you can't trust me- especially you Zero. But I... I don't have anyone else to turn to. Besides-" she took off her glasses, showing them all the pale blue hue her eyes now had, "I've already proven I can thrash any of you. So let's go inside, get dry, and look at the message King just delivered to me. or we can throw down and I can kill you all."

Well, Subject 008 reflected, when put like that- the choice was easy.




KING's OFFER NOTE
Spoiler
I stand next to the other three Subjects, despite two of them formerly attempting to kill me, I find myself at-ease for some reason. Perhaps it's Cutter's new blue eyes, or the way that Ghost seems to always be maneuvering to move himself between Subject 008 and myself, maybe I'm just more trusting than I used to be? That trust certainly hadn't been around when I had arrived in the Lair. In any case- none of us are at one another's throats as the message from King plays out. The little disc spins in place as the hologram stands still and speaks.

"Oracle is on a plane headed west, to Facility 01, off the coast of California; she'll get on a boat in San Francisco which will depart to the facility. If she reaches that- she's gone forever. You are the only option I have at my disposal. Find her, save her, and keep her out of the facilities; be careful though- the organization has no small amount of security on the vessel. If you succeed- you've no doubt realized that I'll be putting forth considerable effort to keep Oracle safe and off the organization's radar? Keeping her with you extends that benefit to you as well- and I tell you with certainty- that will be no small thing. Beyond all else- I need my sister." It's difficult to tell with the message being a hologram, but I think I spy tears on King's face. "I've already made contact with a personal plane that leaves at 8PM, you need to get to it and catch up to them, they've got a head start so be swift."

It is already 7:30, the plane will leave in 30 minutes and we're 10 miles from the airport, we'll have to move quickly once this message is over. Hopefully King is almost finished.

"I recommend waiting until they get on the boat before making your move, the airports are closely watched and-" the figure suddenly turned and looked to the right. "shit." without a further word, the disc stopped spinning and we were left alone in the hotel room again.

I look up at my newfound allies, they all seem to be waiting for something. I suddenly realize what they want- they want someone to command them- to lead them. Regardless of their newfound independence, they'd spent their entire lives being given orders. They'll no doubt shake this off in time, Ghost and 008 are already well on the way and Cutter had been fairly independent to begin with, but as of now they need someone else to make the decision for them. I nod towards the distant airport- hoping our current alliance holds out long enough. If Raven won't let me fight with her- I'll fight the organization on my own with what allies I can get.

"Let's go."

We sprint of into the night. A series of shadows flitting from rooftop to rooftop. Even Ghost is running alongside us, for whatever reason choosing not to teleport like he had earlier. Cutter surprises me in that she's moving herself on foot as well, but she's falling behind with every second. Perhaps noting my gaze, she glares at me before guessing and answering the question.

"I can't move myself with my threads- okay? I'm used to getting around by using my discs; the discs you destroyed! I'm-" she struggles to make a forty foot leap between two rooftops that the rest of us clear with ease, "not used to moving my body like this."

"That's fine," I wait for her to reach me before finishing, "but you're slowing us down."

With a swift movement, I grab her up into my arms and push my body slightly past its limits. Not enough to severely damage it- but enough that the extra burden doesn't slow me down much. Her startled scream does much to improve my night as I surge ahead of the other two. Perhaps I'll drop her along the way- she'd stabbed me after all- it would only be fair. What wasn't fair was her wrenching at my hair mid-flight.

"Stop ripping out my hair!"

"I'll yank out all of it if you don't put me down!"

"I'll drop you into the side of a building if you keep it up."

Perhaps realizing that I would certainly do so- she relented and settled for hunching into a ball as we continued to race to the airfield. We had a flight that we couldn't afford to miss.
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Re: Friendly Subject Help

Postby Friendlysociopath » Thu May 25, 2017 1:34 pm

RIPPER'S 2ND RAMPAGE NOTE
Spoiler
Private Eddy Geridge sighed as he walked back and forth across the road. Despite 250 plus tons of an armored Abrams platoon sitting on the road alongside his company, he had a horrible feeling that something bad was going to happen to them all. Originally there had been two companies and two tank platoons- but half of the team had split off to deal with the "dragon" that had been the topic of interest. The Reaper Drones had been sent with that half as well- his particular team was strictly for watching to make sure the dragon didn't head their way. The solution had been simple, split up, strike from both sides; eliminate the target. As usual- no plan had survived contact with the enemy. The dragon had engaged the other half of the team as soon as they'd drawn close, but had been brought down by "unexpected personnel at the combat zone". It was surely only a matter of time before they packed up then- job done. So why did he have such a deep sense of unease?

Maybe it was the fact that communications with the outside world had been completely cut off. Cell, radio, everything was gone- Major Stelfast was with the other group and currently Eddy's half of the team was in a holding pattern until communications returned. Even beyond the communication issue- the city around them was too quiet. Additional National Guard forces had evacuated the populace for two kilometers in every direction and it left the air eerily still despite being in the suburbs, it left the feeling of being in a ghost town. Eddy didn't believe in ghosts, but then again, he'd not believed in dragons this morning either. Eddy's ruminations were put out of his mind by the sudden appearance of a car flipping around the corner of the block- like it had just taken a heavy hit.

"Hostile in friendly territory- 200 meters!" Eddy called out, putting his lungs into it in order to make sure his voice carried along, the loss of radios made the volume necessary. His next words died in his throat as the 'contact' crawled around the corner of the building to stare down the military contingent in the road. Eddy had never seen such a thing before.

It crawled about on all fours, each stride involving a humanoid arm reaching forwards and digging into the ground before the other arm likewise stretched outwards to pull the body along, it was keeping low to the ground (for it, at least) like an animal. 'Stalking' was the word that emerged into Eddy's panicking mind. Why panicking? Because even with its chest almost touching the ground, the monster was clearly a titan in terms of height. It was hard to estimate but he was more than certain it stood well over ten feet tall when erect. It wasn't only the size that spooked him- it was the skin that was tinted a dark green and the snarling face at the front- complete with a thick mane of dark hair, a pair of tusks jutting out from its mouth, and the glowing red eyes that were sitting just above it.

The stretch of road was perfectly silent for a moment but for the idling of the various engines and the crunching of the monster's claws digging into the concrete. Without a word, the creature straightened up into a more upright walking posture, similar to that of a gorilla. Eddy visibly paled as he realized ten feet had been woefully inadequate for a measurement- twenty was much more accurate. Eddy wished his initial guess had been right- oh god how he wished it had been right. He was aware how tight his grip on his M4 was but couldn't do much about it, his fingers refused to listen to reason. The monster slowly turned its head back and forth- Eddy thought he could hear a snuffling noise from it. A few feet to his left, just within his peripheral vision, Eddy could see a fellow National Guard soldier raising his rifle. Horror reached Eddy's face as he frantically, but quietly, tried to get the fellow's attention.

"No." he whispered, his throat hoarse from unexpected fear, "No- hold your fire." The man wasn't listening, or perhaps he was too afraid for the words to reach whatever part of the human brain reigned over conscious thought. Whatever the case, he raised the M4 to his shoulder and let fly with a three-round burst. To his credit- it was a textbook shot- all three bullets somehow managed to tag the monster in the skull as far as Eddy could tell. He might've been impressed under most other scenarios.

This scenario, however, was unique; which was probably why every other soldier in the group opened fire as well- a wall of bullets sped down the road to hit the creature. Almost 80 trained soldiers were reduced to little better than trigger-happy gunmen at the mere sight of the monster. Some failed discipline entirely and were leaping onto cars to get a better angle. The tank crews had more restraint, most likely feeling safer inside their armored vehicle, no artillery rounds sped down the street to hit the monster- Eddy couldn't decide if that was good for them or not.

He firmly decided on 'not' as the monster roared upon being struck by the fusillade of bullets. Even this far away, Eddy could feel the pavement tremble. What in all the hell is it?! Whatever it was- the bullets hadn't left it much worse for wear. Eddy couldn't even see blood at this distance- he'd have preferred the thing drop dead on the spot with a crimson pool filling the road around it. But the only red he could see was the eyes- they were not happy eyes. The titan slammed both fists into the ground and let fly a squealing roar, an adjacent car jumped almost three feet into the air from the impact as twin craters were left in the road. Eddy abruptly found his voice and vocalized his thoughts.

"FIRE- FIRE THE FUCKING TANKS!"

With a blast that deafened all nearby soldiers, the lead Abrams let fly its deadly payload. The monster was eclipsed in an explosion as the shell struck it- an echoing roar caused Eddy's eyeballs to rattle in their sockets as his heart sank. Dead animals didn't roar. The smoke cleared and the monster was revealed, minus an arm, it had tried blocking the shell; the gory remains ended just below where the elbow would've been. A large shard of bone was sticking out and- before Eddy's eyes- it looked like it was growing. A heartbeat later he was sure- it was regenerating. Already a skeletal hand was forming- and muscle began to crawl over the newly created bones as well, the titan stared at the changes and tilted the new limb back and forth. Eddy couldn't quite put his finger on it, but, he thought the creature looked confused. He'd have felt sorry for it if he wasn't piss-scared beyond belief. With a shudder, the monster straightened to a greater height- standing fully erect like a man. It clearly was not a normal posture for it, the beast tilted back and forth, swaying through the air as the hand gained enough muscle to clench into a fist.

That was when the other three tanks fired, three simultaneous claps of thunder were heard as shells were sent hurtling towards the titan. In an instant the creature learned and adapted, reaching down and clawing into the road before ripping up a great hunk of concrete to serve as a barrier. The shells struck it and exploded in a gout of flame and debris. Eddy's vision cleared and he noted the defense had been decimated- but the beast was nowhere to be seen. Eddy's head snapped back and forth in worry, he strained his entire body to try to see or hear where it had gone. Silence stretched across the street. Every single member of his unit, front to back, likewise put every fiber of their being into trying to locate this new and dangerous threat.

It didn't take long. Eddy didn't hear or see the creature coming- he felt it as the groun . The monster ripped through a storefront in the middle of the company- leaping into the center of the street and laying about with claw, tail, leg, teeth- anything and everything it had. Eddy was blinded by the spray of blood and bone. He sank to the ground in shock as a whirlwind of violence decimated the company. Eddy recalled a childhood film about predators and vision being based on movement; if ever there was a time he'd hoped Hollywood was accidentally right- this was it.

Eddy couldn't follow the frenzied actions that this threat was unleashing. As quickly as it had appeared it vanished, tearing through a house on the opposite side of the street to escape the Abrams that were attempting to line up their shots. The cries of the wounded had only just begun to emerge before the monster broke through another home farther down the street, repeating its assault on the National Guard forces before vanishing through another building. Thinking quickly, the tank crews separated, two broke off and attempted to follow through the newly-made paths while the other two attempted to form a wall for the few surviving guard members to shelter in. Seconds passed and shots were heard in the distance- along with the screech of bending metal. The monster broke through another storefront and repeated its previous tactic, leaping clean over an Abram to rip and tear at the soldiers before jumping clear of the massacre site. The Abrams, giving into temptation, each loosed a round at his departure.

That was a mistake. The clap of the artillery had barely begun to echo before it returned- with a plan. It jumped atop one tank, slashing and ripping at the top until it got at the soldier inside. A plume of gore erupted in the air before it jumped to the next Abram to do the same. The onslaught was so ferocious and sudden that the tanks couldn't possibly reload before they were rent asunder. With the incapacitation of the armored units- all that were left were the soldiers, some dead, some wounded, and some dying. The monster liked that.

Every single man, every single soldier, was caught and slain; they were chased down- clawed- bitten- smashed- pulped- eaten- the fiend seemed to take a delight in being inventive towards the end- cutting a man across the legs and watching him try to crawl away. Some tried to fight, of course, but they couldn't win. A few reloaded their magazines and emptied entire clips into its face. Eddy experienced a brief surge of hope every time a bullet seemed to find something vital and the creature recoiled in pain- but it only made the men's fate worse as the monster proceeded to bash them against the ground until they were pools of bones and flesh. One fellow was a hero, or tried to be, revealing a set of grenades and arming them all as the monster swallowed him whole. The explosion caused the greatest bellow yet, and the most disgusting result, for the beast vomited up a mess of meat, blood, and bone; along with what looked like a beating heart of the right size for it. But it straightened up and hummed before selecting another human to devour. It seemed to have a greater interest in the five female members of Eddy's company- saving them for last before carefully prodding and poking at them with its clawed hands. The acts it committed to them were heinous- the sharp digits seemed to dance in the fading light as it carefully cut apart their weapons, then their clothing, then their bodies, and when it finally killed them- then the screams stopped. At last, Eddy and Eddy alone was left with it.

Slowly, the great head turned and looked directly at him, red eyes ablaze with blood staining its entire head from the various depravities. Eddy could see himself reflected in the eyes as it shook its head back and forth. 'No'. It doesn't want me? Why? Eddy was dumbfounded, for several seconds straight his brain refused to accept the possibility that he would live. His brain remained locked up as it carefully reached outwards to pick him up in the palm of its hand, setting him down in the road before crawling off. It was only later, after a great deal of medical testing and recovering, was he shown what it has done. The carnage made a circle and it had left him exactly in the center- surrounded by the bodies of what had less than ten minutes prior been his friends, family, and countrymen.




At the Crisis Room of Facility 09...
Paul laced his fingers together, careful to avoid overexerting his artificial one and breaking his opposite flesh-and-blood limb. The exercise in control was one he'd invented himself after he'd gone over much of Samuel's notes. Originally he'd come close to breaking his hand by accident, but practice had made the movement smooth and soon it wouldn't require concentration at all. Slowly, but surely, Paul would master this new limb. And then perhaps just as slowly and surely, he would find a way to harness the technology to surpass even the Subjects in the quest for the ultimate goal- immortality. If his human body was going to be so weak- then he'd replace it.

Hand exercises aside, the room was full of clamor as researchers and security personnel alike watched the video of Ripper's rampage. Dr. Crakton and Ms. Cella Deratuth were closest to his seat and they shared one of the monitors. Paul appreciated the duality of the two. Crakton appeared his normal placid self, his artificial body could produce facial motions that would equal feelings but he considered them a waste of energy. Cella by contrast was a riot of movement in her face, her eyes darting back and forth and her mouth making silent words as she processed what she saw. Paul looked to the doctor first and spoke with the proper reverent tone- Crakton could easily file to take Paul's new job and would just as easily be given it likely within the hour. It would not do to upset the man who had created a living machine after all.

"Well Dr. Crakton, you've the most experience with Ripper, what do you make of it?"

The lips remained immobile as Crakton's voice echoed out, signalling how seriously he was looking into the situation if he wasn't even devoting the small bit of processing power for lip movement, "The most unnerving bit is his dissection of the female soldiers- clearly he is aware of Raven's unique role in the changes and he's curious about it. The rest is simple role reversal- he's replicating what he experienced during testing. Whenever he was put into a combat scenario, a treat would be left in the center of the testing area once it was concluded. He's now reversed the paradigm and left us a treat instead; marvelous indeed. The acceleration has truly evolved him to a new level of intelligence."

Paul frowned, "So he's mocking us?"

"Not necessarily," Crakton replied, "it's possible he doesn't understand the significance of his actions. We don't have enough data to make conclusive arguments about his current mental state other than to say it's evolved- which we already knew- and that he's now granting females a different approach than males. The willingness to dodge the tank shells and hide from them is significant as well- Ripper has never backed down from anything in his life. To recognize and avoid threats is unprecedented."

Paul nodded once and looked to Cella, "Well, did you get anything useful from the videos?"

She thoughtfully tapped her lips with a single slender figure before she answered, "I'll need more time to study it of course but yes- I've learned quite a bit. For starts," she reached forwards to grab the mouse, hauling the time frame back to when Ripper was fired on by the entire platoon, "it's hardly the best quality of video but I can't see any wounds caused by the bullets. They might pierce the upper layers of skin but they don't manage to even draw blood by the looks of it. The tank rounds weren't as effective as we would hope either- he was actually able to block that shot only by sacrificing a bit of his arm. The HACs remain our only option to subdue him..." she glanced at Paul out of the corner of her eyes, "unless we were to use Subjects-"

"No." Paul's voice was cold and sure, "Using Subjects to control Subjects is a flawed approach. While an amusing idiom, only an imbecile tries to fight fire with fire when his house is burning down around him. I want technology that can stop them."

Cella looked confused now, "We already have the HACs? No Subject can stop a HAC suit specifically designed for them. Even the general suits perform with a very high success rate-"

"No," Paul raised his metal fist into the air, "but HAC suits are used for containment, retrieval even, they're a defensive measure. I want something offensive. I want a weapon that can take any Subject on at any range and any time."

"Even if such a weapon were made," Crakton interjected, "it would not be ready now. Ripper is running rampant and we've already lost the Dragon entirely. The PCs will only be able to keep the area under an effective electronic blanket for so long and the odds of someone having a manual camera that it won't affect rises every second he's free and rampaging. I already ordered Ripper's personal HACs to be sent out to get him."

"Send my newest addition as well." Paul quickly demanded, "We can't take any chances and the HACs have never fought Ripper in this accelerated state."

"New addition?" Crakton's voice was altered to put a questioning inflection into it. "What is that?"

Paul smiled, "Now what, who, and he's to be first in the line of fire." Paul grinned as he contemplated the possible outcomes of his decision, "Such is a traitor's reward."







RIPPER VS SUBJECT ZERO ROUND 2
Spoiler
Subject 000
It's over. Ripper stands in front of me, smarter and stronger than the last time I'd fought him- a fight I had literally been unable to walk away from. And now here I am, about to gamble my body and life a second time against that thing. I've definitely wised up since our previous encounter- and now I have weapons of my own- but will they be able to bridge the gap? I heft the Alter Sword and hope it makes up the difference.

The menace prepares to charge, digging his claws into the street to gain more purchase. I can't allow him to pin me against the building- I need room to move. I make a short charge of my own, sticking the Alter Sword underneath the front of a nearby semi-trailer with a tanker on the back that reads 'flammable' on it. I put my back into it and use both arms to send the vehicle hurtling down the road to slam into Ripper's face. He grabs the still flying vehicle out of the air and returns it to me- spinning around like a tornado had picked it up. I crouch low and plant the Alter Sword in the ground and turn it so the broadest side faces him- an instant before what had formerly been working transportation hits me.


Laura
Laura covered her face as the explosion lit up the streets, the gasoline tanker creating an inferno that swept along the road from where it had struck Zero. Ripper roared and pounded at the ground in delighted squeals at the destruction. Laura was markedly less happy.

"Zero!"

A dark shape leaped from the flames in a blur, his clothing and hair burning as he closed on Ripper with blinding speed. The titan lunged forwards as well, breaking into the loping stride Laura had heard about so many times from Raven but never seen. Ripper and Zero were both rocketing towards one another for only a moment before they clashed in a blurred mess of whirling limbs, flashing metal, and spurts of blood. Zero was sent hurtling back while Ripper recoiled with a scream- a line of blood on either arm and minus his right hand. Before her eyes she could see the grasping fingers being reborn- and Laura was spurred to action.

She hefted the HONEYDEW into her arms with some difficulty. The weapon was massive, it had to weigh at least 20 pounds. For a normal rifle this would've been a massive impediment but the lack of recoil made up for it. She sighted down the barrel and needed to compensate for nothing she would've required for a rifle at this distance- not the wind, not the drop, not even the motion of the target. Fast as Ripper was- her mother's last gift was faster. A beam of light lanced outwards- instantly connecting with the side of Ripper's skull before riding down his neck and arm. Almost as quickly as it had appeared, the laser vanished, the entire attack being over in a fraction of a second. Laura could feel the incredible heat even through the thick gloves she had- HONEYDEW grew painfully hot extremely rapidly. Were she not wearing the safety gloves her skin would probably be stuck fast to the weapon- assuming it didn't just fall off her hands.

But despite the incredible power it held- Ripper wasn't defeated. The side of his face and arm, even the bone, was melted into slag and on fire- but Laura could see it reforming as her heart sank. She prepared to fire again, to hell with the consequences, before Zero ran up to Ripper and savagely cut the back of his legs, hamstringing him for only a moment before being slapped with the tail to go sliding backwards. Laura was sighting down the weapon again before a voice behind her called out.

"Do not fire that again." Laura spun about to see Paul standing behind her along with two Subjects that Laura was horrified to note were Vamps. Zero's recap of his battle with an aged and weakened Vamp filled her mind and she stiffened- aware that they could easily jump her before she even began turning the HONEYDEW on them. Without moving, Laura spoke over her shoulder.

"I thought we had agreed to no more hostility?"

"We have." Paul responded, his living hand straightened his glasses while his other one remained hidden underneath a sort of cloak. "But Ripper is our property and he broke lose- Subject 000 also belongs to us-"

"He's not yours!" Laura interjected, "My father-"

"If," Paul coolly continued, "he is not our property then this would be a violation of our agreement and we would have to act against him- and whoever allies with him." Laura's teeth clenched as Paul smiled. "Don't look at me like that. If you want you can watch through out monitors." He waved to a station that was being brought from a van by human technicians. "The entire area has been set up with surveillance equipment. "After all- this is likely to be the last time we ever see one of these two in action."

Laura worriedly looked at Zero as he took in the situation, making a break for a nearby mall as Ripper screeched and pursued him. Paul clucked in concern and looked at one of the techs. Who nodded and brought out a tablet and began tapping away at it. The mall, an impressive two-story structure, began having explosion after explosion rip through the roof and sides as Laura watched in horror. The screams and panicked voices that had been sounding from the center had abruptly been silenced save for Ripper's mutated cries.

"WHY?! There were still people in there!"

Paul shrugged, "What? It was like that when we arrived."

Laura hadn't thought she could hate the man anymore than she already did, she was wrong.
Last edited by Friendlysociopath on Mon Nov 06, 2017 5:48 pm, edited 8 times in total.
Reason: Underlined words are to be italicized.
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Re: Friendly Subject Help

Postby Friendlysociopath » Thu Jun 08, 2017 6:12 pm

Note
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.

RIPPER VS SUBJECT ZERO ROUND 2.5
Spoiler
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 the heat will fatigue 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. Perhaps it's a reverse limiter? I can access my full abilities normally- but breaking commands sets me to only human?

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.

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 makes it through as the returning sound is one that I can only describe as 'mocking'. He strides through the smoke again, flames licking at his skin but finding no purchase. 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 obliterated instead of just damaged; 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 broken 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 glancing hit, 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
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Re: Friendly Subject Help

Postby Friendlysociopath » Tue Aug 01, 2017 2:26 pm

ZERO VS CELLA (Takes place after he leaves and returns)
Spoiler
Reed
Reed maintained his stunned watch on the two combatants, Zero looked visibly livid, his hands were clenching and unclenching into clawed shapes 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- some with bridges linking the upper levels. What was worse was the woman, Cella, didn't even sound like she was trying to upset them; 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 her right in the chest and Reed was certain the Subject 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 fist was shaking 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, with his head tilted slightly to the side in what Reed would call an interested angle. 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 before he screamed. There were no words- it was a exclamation of a hate that transcended language- a cry that could only be silenced with the blood of a fallen enemy. And Reed knew that, unlike the last time he'd seen Zero like this, this time there was only one person to focus all of that killing instinct on.

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 brickwork 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.

"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
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 stopped and 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.

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 brick walkway 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 to fight him. 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 was 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 advantage 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
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 pound 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
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 tossed the rifle aside and raised both hands to his chest as if to catch a thrown basketball. 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 arms had previously been bare, but now they had metal bracers of some kind covering his arms from the tips of his fingers all the way up to his shoulder. She recognized the items but couldn't entirely believe what she was seeing- a factory worker couldn't use the MFA Gauntlets! 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 Gauntlets 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- each one grasping one of 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 a girl in either arm, moving slowly no doubt to try to keep from hurting them. Cella grit her teeth but called out against her better judgement.

"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- none of us were."

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 both arms, despite Subject 008's bleeding body only being held in one. "I haven't."
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Re: Friendly Subject Help

Postby Friendlysociopath » Sun Aug 06, 2017 11:45 pm

ORACLE ASSAULT NOTE
Spoiler
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.




SUBJECT 008 CANNOT BE HELPED NOTE
Spoiler
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.

CLANG

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."
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Re: Friendly Subject Help

Postby Friendlysociopath » Wed Sep 20, 2017 7:11 pm

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

Spoiler
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 yards 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...
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Re: Friendly Subject Help

Postby Friendlysociopath » Tue Nov 14, 2017 12:28 am

RICHARD HOFTERIN'S NOTES... NOTE
Spoiler
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."
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