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  1. Emergency broadcast KX-end-of-the-world scenario in progress Valucrean containment foundation This message will now be repeated. . . This is OS-01 of the Valucrean Containment Foundation. We... I, have unleashed pandora's box. I hope one day, whatever gods are out there, may show mercy to my soul. The navy has lost nearly half of it's fleet, the air force fell today. There is no hope of stopping this threat. I only can give a way out for those wanting to escape. I arrived from the vortex at the center of this world. If I arrived from that vortex, there may be a chance that we can escape the same way. We have made 3 arks, to carry anyone and anything. It's our last chance at an exodus. Head to the northern tip of alterion within 78 hours, I'm not sure how long we can hold out anymore. Time is of the essence, this is our last hope of survival. Hurry, plea-... . . . This message will now be repeated. . . "-s Doctor Brett, is anyone there? This is Doctor Brett. I am a researcher from the VCF, god someone please be out there. [Large footsteps in the distance] It's already clear, we already lost, but it may not be the end of all hope. I know it's insane, but we have to get to the place where this all started. Site-800, where we opened pandora's box. There is a way to prevent this from happening, to prevent ALL of this from happening. I have this with me, CS-0078, in site-909. This entire site was to protect the existence of this disk, because this object alone may prove pivotal in changing timelines. I propose we use it now. [Large footsteps in the distance] It can't send us back. As far as I'm concerned, I and whoever is hearing this message is as good as dead, but we can prevent this timeline, this present, from ever existing. If we capture pandora's box, we can send it back in time with a warning. This is our last shot. We will cease to exist, but our past selves won't have to die in this hell. We will have a future. I only have 5 men from Beta-04, it's not enough. Site-800 is 100 kilometres away, we have to- [Large footsteps in the distance] If you hear this, I'm in Last Chance. The site 909 entrance is in the black market, pyre's stall for pyrotechnics. Find the trapdoor leading down, the code to the lock is 2309. Hide under the shade and in the walls. There is 1 titan in the town centre, 16 meters tall. You can't outrun it, so be as quiet as you can. If it sees you, pray your death will be quick. I'll have this message repeat, hurry." [Radio static]
  2. The line outside the offices of the Civil Defense Force had started out small, but grown exponentially as the opening hour approached. Fear had driven people from all strata of society to que up for one of the free inoculations being offered by the CDF. None of them seemed to question the motives for the program. Why would they? The CDF were a trusted part of daily life in the city. If they were offering shots, it must be on the up and up. No need to question it further. Right? Private Emile Gareau was set up on the roof of a building across the street from the CDF offices; viewing the scene through the scope of his rifle. The Doctor they were here to escort had left word she would be waiting at the bus stop in front of the office. Now it was just up to Robicheaux to make contact. @SweetCyanide
  3. Embers from a pipe lights up the man’s face, sitting alone in a corner of a large tent while a light patter of rain rolls across its faux leather roof. The door opens and a bald man peeks his head through. “Doc? They’re here.” The seated man raises his eyes to the window. Across the field, perhaps no more than a kilometer away stood the Mausoleum. A large, gothic styled building swathed in light stood alone in the outskirts of Last Chance, its purpose the complete opposite of its name. The hospital had once been a pioneer in bio-mechanical, bio-organic as well as thaumaturgical research. But since the fall of its native soil, and with high-profile, high paying patients inside at the time, the building’s warp gate activated and shifted the entire facility in its now current place of residence. This would explain the lack of reason behind its seemingly random appearance and placement onto the field like a fish out of water. With much of its technology and staff intact, it’s slowly become a destination for those unfortunately afflicted with severe illness and an overabundance of wealth. The Doc turns toward the bald man. “Good. Lead them in Greg.” Nodding, Greg steps outside to escort their visitors to the tent. He turns his back to the door and looks over the large table set in the center of the tent. A few notes, some inferred details, a perimeter map. All the intelligence gathering a bunch of hired goons and a few junkies could muster up over two weeks of staking the place out. They’ve been camped out at the edge of a thin forest surrounding the Mausoleum, observing the traffic along the only road that leads to it from the city of Last Chance. They’re very well-funded I’ll give them that. This needs to be precise. Like a scalpel cutting through only what was necessary to get to the diseased flesh, the mission must be sure and swift, cutting out only the parts that were infected. And he needed to sharpen his blades.
  4. A lone figure stands outside the city walls of the sea port known as Last Chance. They do not know its name. They do not know that this could be the beginning of a second chance. They know it is cold and that they wish to find an opening in the impossibly tall blue wall that they walk beside. If someone were to see them wandering it would be an interesting sight. The wall gleaming eerily in the moonlight as a wandering soul dressed entirely in crimson red moves along it. The red garment shrouds them from head to foot, its length nearly brushing the ground and a hood covering their face so that only shadows can be seen beneath the fabric. They walk forward and stumble, but pick themselves up again and keep moving. Finally something new comes into view along the wall. Buildings come into view, ramshackle structures held together by what little luck the people living in them have. The wanderer doesn't think about what type of people might live there, What they might do to a stranger. Their static filled mind only allows them to think of one thing right now. Light. Fire. warmth. A child sees the stranger first. A dull eyed child with an empty belly. They are not allowed near the fire keeping others warm. Upon seeing the red cloak the child's eyes sharpen and a small knife glints in the moonlight. Who knows what such a beautiful garment could buy for them, perhaps not here outside in the slums, but in the city. If only the child can take it first. The wanderer barely sees the oncoming threat, but they do and they recognize it for what it is. They pull back, but not in time to avoid the bite of dull steal. They curse in a high feminine voice and pull back again, but he child is relentless. They fall backward onto the ground with a low coiled scream as the knife strikes again. Then the child screams. High pitched and painful. Fire courses from the stranger and through the knife, up the child's arm until they pull away ablaze. The stranger turns away from the burning child and runs. Runs in the opposite direction and does not stop. They run until their legs ache and their lungs burn. The moon has vanished behind the clouds by the time they stops. No longer next to the wall, but instead out in the rolling hills surrounding the city They were skirting a mere hour before. The collapse and a low sob escapes their throat. They do not know where they are, but now they know who they are. Her name is Lozonya. She is an elf. She has no family and no friends. No place to call home. She is a wanderer and always has been. She is cursed. Lozonya pulls the red hood away from her face. Her black hair sticks to her face and neck. She wipes away the tears streaming down her bronze skinned face and takes a deep wavering breath and as the static that filled her mind fades almost completely she begins to list what she knows about herself on her fingers. She is alone. She is homeless. She is a wanderer. She is cursed. Then her lips curl up in a version of a smile. She is clever.
  5. Character - Vito Summon - Floki Tags - @supernal Background Ambience (If you so choose) - Link Quest - A Friend in The Ouread Bounty hunting, raiding and moving into the drug business have all yielded their profits. Yet Vito found himself moving so slowly towards his goals that it was unbearable, even the patient raider had his limits. He needed something more, a way to further expand his trading. Cavecrest offered an easy way to trade amongst other raiders and criminals, but it was still far too slow. After much internal debating and pacing, he'd finally made up his mind. A partner was not just wanted, but required. He'd been a hired sword on many occasions, but never worked in business with someone else. Thankfully, he was able to call in favors from Fat n Kat. The local gossipers had many ties outside of Cavecrest, thankfully sending word out to a gangleader named Caden. They even went as to give him a private room, which they'll show his potential partner to. 'Hmm, looks like my work round here has at least payed off. Can always rely on Fat to come through, even if Kats a little more stubborn.' Vito sat waiting with a tankard of rum behind the round table, his summon lay asleep in the corner. It was pretty hard to sneak Floki into the inn, but he always finds a way. He hated being without back up, the drake had quickly grown to be part of who he was. A sudden knock at the door snapped him out of thoughts.
  6. The Dawn Komturie, 6:45 A.M. The wee hours of the morning at Dawn Komturie were about as busy as any other time of day. Custodes went about their duties with due diligence as the aspirants arose for their early morning drills. Tenkai himself was busy as well, but perhaps not in his usual fashion. Normally he would be overseeing the Vanquishers and their aspirants going about their training, but something was keeping his attention that day. The warrior monk had sequestered himself in his chambers, poring over documents in a manner he had not done since his days investigating suspicious fighting tournament sponsors. He was looking through whatever OFM resource that was made available to him, sifting through registries and logbooks and chronicles, all for one single purpose: to find out what happened to Gloria Isabelle Ruinen. Gloria had been a fellow knight of the Order, but not at the time Tenkai had joined. No, Tenkai’s history with her and in many ways the Order in general went further back than even his first arrival on this star. He knew of Gloria even before her time with the Order, back when she was the prodigious pupil of the psion known as Tresondros Ecstuffuan. Tenkai had learned of her departure from the Order just as soon as he had learned she had joined them in the first place. The familiarity of her name and the many memories of a life that once was which sprung from the recognition hit Tenkai like a bolt in the chest. The past always seemed to have such unexpected ways of catching him unawares. Tenkai’s chambers at Dawn Komturie weren’t exactly what one would consider an “office”, but it did have a desk for dealing with missives and parchments and all other manner of paperwork whenever the need arose. Given certain affairs he had gotten involved with in the past, Tenkai was actually no stranger to paperwork and investigative research. Even so, there was only so much Tenkai could glean from the Order’s records, but he had to start somewhere. Thus far, he had only managed to learn one key piece of information. Gloria has been, as it was written, “excommunicated” from the Order following some incident that had deemed her a danger to the peace the Order was committed with keeping. Her impressive psychic power had caused much damage and mayhem, to the level that James could not have easily overlooked it. But why then was there so little else, not even some form of contact information? And surely there had to be more to these accounts than what was present, should there not? He had to keep digging deeper. Yet try as he might, there wasn’t very much to lead on. It would seem that after her excommunication, Gloria went completely off the grid. This was rather disappointing. Tenkai would have thought that James would have gone to greater efforts to keep tabs on her, given her level of psionic power and the fact that she was likely privy to a number of inner workings within the Order. Granted, it was not really part of their duty to spy on people, and if Gloria was really so dangerous as to warrant keeping a thumb on her then perhaps “excommunication” was not a wise choice. But if that was true, then what exactly was Tenkai doing here, trying to figure out where she might have gone? Would that not be essentially the same thing? It wasn’t like he was hunting her down like a fugitive. Could there have been another reason James had let her slip off their radar? Did he still think of her as a friend? Did Tenkai think of her as a friend? He cursed himself. This is probably one of the most foolish things I’ve ever done, he thought. Tenkai had already paid the price for seeing those that he had called “friends” as who he thought they were and not what they truly were. His missing eye and the artifact sitting in its place were an eternal reminder of that. Tenkai thought he had managed to bury his past deep enough that he wouldn’t find himself making the same mistakes he had made before. And yet, if recent events had taught him anything, it was that some things weren’t content to be little more than a memory. If he didn’t give the past it due diligence, it would end up repeating itself. And so he continued, poring through whatever information the Order had about Gloria’s last known whereabouts. While there was nothing conclusive about where she might have gone, he did learn enough through the Order’s files on certain key places of interest that he knew a good enough place to start. Last Chance, La Ultima Opportunidad Docks, 7:35 P.M. The port city of Last Chance had risen in notoriety as a place of interest in recent years. What was once a veritable prison city overrun with crime was now the second largest port city in Terrenus, with a bustling economy to boot. Despite this progress, however, the criminal underworld of the city managed to thrive in its own way, a dark reflection of the promise of opportunity that the city had come to embody. The attack on the city by Dredge and his Legion of Doom has certainly not helped matters. If anything, the attack had served to remind people of the divide in the city, caught between the the hope of progress and the stagnant mire of the past, where criminals were kings. It had been a while since Tenkai had walked the streets of Last Chance, though this was perhaps the first time he had ever walked them during a time of relative peace. That being said, it would seem he had chosen the absolute worst part of Last Chance to start his search. “La Ultima Opportunidad” was the last bastion of the old guard in the city, where the worst of the worst who refused to change their ways or leave the city stakes their claim of a rogue underworld empire. Moreover, there was also the not-so-insignificant fact that Tenkai was one of the heroes of the battle for Last Chance. Gone were the days where he fought in relative obscurity, plagued only by whatever infamy he held amongst the vampires and demons of Gaia. Now he was Tenkai Matsumoto, Knight of the Order of Force Majeure. Though his actions had aided in the defense of the city the criminal underworld called its home, they likely wouldn’t take too kindly to anyone associated with the Terrenus military, especially not when many among Dredge’s legion had been part of Last Chance’s criminal element to begin with. So why in the pluperfect hell did Tenkai think this a good place to start? For one, the city reminded him in some small ways to familiar places from his past, namely Sigil and Durem. Economy driven port city with a seedy underworld? It was like a trip down memory lane, so what better place to locate someone from his past? Gloria no doubt thrived in places like these, free from the reach of law, where your only safety was how well you could defend yourself. Having been through enough seedy taverns and inns back on Gaia that ran by the same rules, such a place would be like a taste of home. There was also the matter of criminal underworlds being useful places to find information, find work off the books, or simply find ways to disappear if you didn’t want to be found. If Gloria went off the grid, this would be a great place to be, and a psyker of her level of prowess would not have any problem dealing with any thug that made up the city’s unscrupulous ecosystem. There was always the chance that word of the OFM’s involvement with the defense of Last Chance could have given her pause in setting foot there, but if there was any chance she had been there, there would likely be someone with information. So Tenkai made his descent into Last Chance’s “La Ultima Opportunidad” district, dressed in his monk’s robes such so that he would not be so immediately recognized by those who knew him more famously in his battle garb. Of course, if Gloria did see him, she would recognize him immediately, even with his eyepatch. This didn’t bother Tenkai. After all, trying to get the drop on her would be impossible, most likely, and doing so would just be detrimental to his cause. It was better to be upfront where he could. About a half hour of wandering through the more lawless half of the city, Tenkai arrived at the docks, where he changed upon a rather peculiar site. A large, extravagant boat decked out with flashing colored lights and neon signs was moored at the docks like some sort of floating casino. Indeed, it was exactly that, as he would soon find the aptly-named “Full Horizon” to be. A glittering jewel by the boardwalk amidst the salty shadowed pier. Truth be told, Tenkai could have kicked himself for not expecting to find a place like this among these disreputable docks. After all, this part of the city was full of cuthroats and rogues, not paupers and beggars. Casinos and other gambling establishments cared little for the class of their clientele, as long as they had the coin to spend and, invariably, lose. The criminals in this town would be the wealthiest of all, like as not. Tenkai wouldn't be surprised if a few of the socialites from other parts of the city would find themselves here by nature of discretion. This cozy little slice of night life was probably the best possible place for Tenkai to start. Even if Gloria wasn't here, there was always a chance she had visited in the past. If not at this port, then perhaps at another. Without any room left for doubt, Tenkai crossed the pier ramp and passed through the doorway into the casino interior, and onto whatever he may end up finding there. @The Usual Suspect @Aleksei
  7. Confidential Incident report #567: Fatal shooting of local police undercover officer [REDACTED] and several individuals with ties to organized crime in Last Chance in what is suspected is a exchange of illegal substances or materials gone wrong. While the specifics still hasn’t been uncovered and confirmed, the probable cause of the incident has been theorized as the uncovering of the true identity of the undercover officer [REDACTED]. Information regarding the pending investigation of the organized criminal organization known as the “Fuller Family” is been difficult to attain and the corporation from the local police regarding has been reserved to put it mildly. The decision was made to observe the development before a decision regarding possible intervention from FIST would be determined. However with reports of rising tension from within the Last Chance local police department and intercepted transcripts from our own communications suggesting potential retaliation from the Fuller Family, captain Alexander Hawk has advised intervention from FIST in order to prevent further incidents. Intervention from FIST has been authorized. Assignment: Investigate the circumstances surrounding the incident, uncover and if possible detain the responsible parties involved. Investigate and root out possible vulnerabilities of confidentiality within the Last Change police department. Due to the risk of a possible leak within the local police department, sensitive details regarding the investigation is to be handled with a strict confidential manner and is not to be shared outside of encrypted FIST communication. End of report. Confidential Location: Market District, Last Chance Date: 16 February, 29 AO Today is a windy day walking the streets of the walled city, I can’t wait to be done with this place. However if nothing else, I have to admit that the walls are impressive. They’re tall enough to keep to keep the inhabitants sheltered from the outside world. However what will you do if the evil comes from within? When I look at these people, living in their bubbles, completely unaware of the wolves walking quietly alongside them. Sometimes I envy their blissful ignorance. The ironic part is that the masses lack the constitution to handle the real truth. Indoctrinated from birth by mega corporations into a society with this kind of compulsive obsessive need for excessive consumerism. They become nothing more than sheep, cattle for the grand corporate machine. Beep, beep!! It takes a few moments until Marcus notices the vibration from the telecommunications device in his pocket. Before answering, he flicks his cigarette and then stomps on it, brushing the tobacco long the concrete ground. Reaching into his pocket, he then proceeds to flip open the device to then place it against his left ear. Call started. "Go for Marcus." "Hi Marcus, it’s Sam. Just checking in." "Hi Sam, how are you doing?" "I’m doing well." "That’s good to hear." "Yeah." [...] "I did some research regarding the unidentified victims from the shootings." "Got anything to go on?" "Actually I did, the Intel suggest that they were working under a guy called Roger Fuller, aka “Little Raj”." "I hope that isn’t one of those ironic names that actually mean the opposite." "I’d suggest you start there, Marcus. Just be careful." "Roger that." "Oh, I almost forgot." [...] "I just got word that an asset from the operations division has been assigned to assist with the investigation." [...] "You are to rendezvous at the Civic Safety & Defense Academy." "Heading there now." "I’ll check in later. Don’t do anything reckless." "Wouldn’t dream of it." Call ended. @danzilla3 @Unicorgi
  8. NOTICE Map of Last Chance City of Last Chance Cast of Characters ______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ Episode 1: Opportunity Prologue "It isn't a sickness, a virus or a disease that plagues the peoples of Valucre. One blight pops up in the land and is squashed back down. An epidemic sweeps the city, and maybe it destroys that city, but the nation and the state remain. The four walls of this world cannot be breached by the pathogens of the microscopic realms. No, the peoples of Valucre are suffering from an infection far worse than anything that they can combat with vaccines or potions or pills. They are suffering from themselves." —Dr. Razien del Lombra, 'The Science of Philosophy' La Ultima Opportunidad Music The Drunkard The walk was long and lethargic, loose and lazy, just like it had been when he had stumbled out of the Mad Hornet with a bottle in his hand every night prior to this one. Tonight was different. He had barely lasted an hour on his stool, never mind the number of hours that come after three or four on a normal night. He just wasn’t feeling it, he had told Jamos, everyone’s favorite bartender—and Arlito’s only because he was the only bartender who could still stomach him. Even Jamos had been taken aback. “Not feeling it!?” The words rattled in Arlito’s skull beside a headache that was pounding at it. Not feeling it. No, he hadn’t. He wasn’t. He was feeling something then, feeling something now, but whatever it was it was not the desire to drink. If anything, it was the need to reverse the drink up his throat and out of his mouth. As Arlito’s hand slapped the cold stone of the underpass, he retched another pint upon the ground that did little to taint the filth already coated upon the cobblestones. Whatever had just emptied itself from his belly like some black parasite, it was neither a creature nor a Negromaestro. He hadn’t gotten past the first beer in order to even lick the liquor, though that was no pint of lager that had spewed from his throat just then. It was some kind of foul bile. As he stood sweating and panting, his body on the verge of collapsing into a bag of trash to join the other piles of waste, Arlito could only wonder. Was it something from the night before? I was fine this morning..? Something I drank? Something I ate? What did I eat? He wiped his lips with a sleeve, but when he removed his hand he noticed a red smear on the cuff. Against his better judgment, though after reminding himself of how often he plugged two fingers down the back of his throat, he put just one in as far as the back of his mouth before removing it. It wasn’t coated in red; just his own saliva. Not bleeding. Then what the hell..? “H-Hey there, friend! You okay?” It took a moment before Arlito realized that someone was talking to him. He had ignored the few passersby within the underpass as much as they had ignored him. He didn’t care about them and the feeling had been mutual. Coughing into a fist, he swallowed what saliva remained in his parched mouth but didn’t bother to look up. “I…I’m fine...just...just need a minute…” There was a sharp pang in his stomach, like a knife had just twisted within it, and it was all he could do to keep from growling as his fist pushed against his abdomen. Not again. I...don’t want to do it again...not now... “You sure don’t look fine, man… Let me take you home…” It was when footsteps came a little too close that Arlito realized what was going on. He snapped himself upright before snapping the wrist of the fool who had just tried to grab him. Arlito might have been a puking mess amid the pile of shit that was this half of the city, but he was no fool himself. His next limb was sent kicking into the stalker’s knee so that it was his turn to squeal in agony. That was that, and Arlito stumbled out of the underpass as quickly as he could. He hadn’t been followed. By the time that he reached his own home, a rundown apartment suffering from the same decay as everywhere else, he felt less like a man and more like a maggot; writhing and squirming, at the mercy of the flies to feed it. His hands looked pale and clammy and his face was pouring sweat. He had tried several more times to vomit but his insides were spent. His back ached, his shoulders ached, his knees were wobbly and his elbows were flimsy. His headache had mutated into a marching drum at morning, and his eyes were starting to sting. For so long now, for as long as he could remember, Arlito only came home for the same reason that he went to the bar. Alcohol had a way of washing the memories away. Tonight, though, he was at his pad to sleep the night away and forget that whatever illness had taken him would leave him alone come morning. So, he staggered like some zombie past the living room void of furniture and into the bathroom. Bed could wait. I have to see. I have to see how ugly I look even more than usual. His hands guided his feet, barely keeping himself standing now as he lurched forward and caught himself by gripping the sink. So much sweat, but his vision was hazy and he didn’t care to clean himself. Then he did. Arlito wiped at his face with his hands, but when he removed his hands and looked at them they were drenched in red. He realized that his eyes were stinging because they were seeing red. Then, all at once, the horror hit him like a lightning train, as soon as he gazed upon himself in the mirror. He was sweating, but that wasn’t sweat that he saw. Running before his eyes, trickling down his nose, seeping out his ears and leaking from his mouth were rivulets of blood. My...my god! What...What...What… “What is...happening...to me!? WHAT IS—” He couldn’t finish his speech. His eyes blinked, then they blinked again faster than they ever had before. His body began convulsing all over from head to toe, his fingers curling into fists but stopping short till they became like the talons of a crow. His head was pounding. His face was bleeding. Then, after what could only have been mere seconds, Arlito fell forward, but he knew that he was dead before his skull even hit the sink, and he knew that he would drink no more. Opening Credits Civil Defense Force Complex (CDFC) The Immediate Room Lieutenant Hayden "Black Hawk" Jansuela Music The Soldier There were seven people that filled the chairs in a room with a number of empty ones. The “Immediate Room” was as accurate a name as it was something of a misnomer. Designed for small- to medium-sized conferences within the upper levels of the Main Building of the CDFC, the room was purposed to be utilized at the quick-and-ready as much as scheduled for in advance. The irony was that anyone who already had it booked meant that anyone else who wanted to immediately use it could not immediately use it at all. Then again, with all of the other conference rooms and conference halls across the complex, the Immediate Room was generally reserved by and for the higher officials of the CDF. The last time that occupants had frequented the chamber more than usual was before and after the Raid on Last Chance by the Legion of Doom. That attack, still an unsettled wound in the people’s hearts, felt to Lieutenant Hayden Jansuela like it had happened only yesterday as much as a long time ago. In reality, months had passed and a new year had followed. That temporal irony was also not lost on Hayden as he sat on one side of the long table within the meeting room. Over the years, the city of Last Chance had suffered more than its fair share of troubles and tragedies, those brought on internally and externally, to the point that the steel blue wall which surrounded it seemed to serve both ways. The same could be said for the Immediate Room. At the headquarters of Last Chance’s other bulwark that came in the form of flesh and bone, and the boots and brawn to back both up, the city’s first line of defense was the Civil Defense Force itself. It needed its conference halls and its briefing rooms in order to strategize that defense and, sometimes if not often, it needed them immediately. That morning, the need had been fulfilled by Willem Acosta, a four-star general within the Terrenus Military who served at permanence as the Director of Intelligence of the CDF. Apart from the covert wrap that his own CO had given Hayden and his team, the head of the Department of Intelligence heading this meeting felt a tad unusual. Hayden hadn’t been with the CDF, or for that matter in Last Chance, all that long, but as a military man at twenty-five years old he knew enough about hierarchy to know that the head of his department was not the Director of Intelligence. Hayden, his team and their commanding officer served directly under the Department of Operations and, in turn, its own director. So why are we here, a pack of well to do grunts in the eyes of polished brass, sitting around waiting for the DOI? The answer, of course, wasn’t all that alien. Intelligence meant clandestine knowledge, until that knowledge was shared with someone else, who in turn was trusted to keep that knowledge clandestine. Hayden and his fireteam of three others had been pulled from their platoon and their squad to sit in on this meeting, whatever it was about. As the former platoon leader turned squad leader with a retained rank that was its own misnomer and stab of irony, he looked from his team’s side of the table to the two individuals sitting opposite, staring only long enough to size either woman up. Though I’ll lay my bets that these two ladies know a little more as to why we’re here, if not much more, but who knows? They, unlike him and the rest of his outfit, were certainly not sporting the same outfits as the former. Hayden and his three subordinates were dressed in their standard CDF patrol uniform, including the peaked cap—a trademark ‘police’ feel of the CDF that every Watchman wanted for their own. His brown leather jacket sat as snug as his ass in the black leather seat beneath. To his left, down the line, sat Sergeant Bartolome Barnett, Corporal Drake Fliskin and Corporal Deante Lyles—three of his finest and closest, which was no coincidence. They looked as at wonder as he did, if no less reserved. To Hayden’s right, past the immediate table’s corner, sat Major Kerrin Nalgiers, his company’s commanding officer. Uniform as crisp as ever. Just as it was before my last chance in Last Chance. Unlike them, the Major knew exactly why everyone was here. There was no doubting it. Though the man clearly felt eyes on his person, his own were at the television on the other end of the table opposite his seat, though all it showed was the still image of a blue sky. He seemed at peace. The CDF soldiers and their lieutenant-turned-fireteam-leader knew too well to say nothing and ask nothing—the Major would reveal nothing. They had only to wait. Still, waiting was waiting, even for the patient. Hayden checked his wristwatch. 0900 is coming up. One minute had become three minutes that was turning into five minutes, and there was only so much waiting that a man could do in a room graced by two women. The Major wouldn’t mind. He didn’t. “First time in Last Chance?” Hayden questioned mildly, looking from one woman to the other. Smalltalk was smalltalk, and right now that’s all they had.
  9. NOTICE Music Image The Man in the Black Mantle Last Chance. A riot for the fans. In the darkness of the night, hands wear the black gloves of madness. Laughter in the slaughter after injuring the daughter. Blade to the tits, spade into bits. Kill the bitch. Scratch an itch and tickle the twitch. Stop squirming like a fish! Soak your nose in coke from my coat. So stoned, you come to know my joke. I am one sick bloke. Squeezing a throat, a pleasing choke. Cough!-Cough!-Cough! goes the ho. Hahahahahahaaa! Close your eyes and try and picture a modern day Jack the Ripper. Scouring the streets with an undone zipper. A half moon is tonight’s yin-yang in the sky, one bright side that illuminates an alley of escape for Blueberry as she runs, one dark side scoffing at the noise of her heels as they invite fun. Fun. Blueberry is running from fun. “Waaaahhhh!!!” Wah!-Wah!-Wah! This is a loud one. Why does she run from fun? Fun? Fun. One. One being. One entity. Me. I am Fun. Click-clack goes the composed footsteps of polished boots, black like the paws of a hellhound as it paces toward its prey. Arms are concealed within the dark depths of a mantle, though with limbs that just might shoot out to snatch a handful. As the figure walks and stalks, the flaps of its coat slightly spread to reveal red on the inside of the cloak. Top hat sits atop a head, the figure’s eyes like a ghoul’s gaze of dead butterflies; irises black, the night’s darkness swimming in them for a heart attack. Facial expression as pallid as the moon’s pale complexion. The woman calls out with a shout, limbs dangling in her girly jog through the fog, hopping like a frog to escape the hunt. Stupid cunt! “Waaaahhhh!!! No, sir! Don’t come any closer!” “Can you cry any slower?” I smile with glee. Yes, I admit it. My grin is pretty fucking twisted. Like my mind in this fine moment as I own it. Right hand is withdrawn from black cloth, brandishing the hilt of a gleaming khanjar beneath a twinkling red star. The Blueberry bitch with an itch turns her head of oceanic blue hair and snaps her head back for a frightened stare. She gasps at the sight of the blade that bears her name, and he licks the tip with a too-long tongue of be-tasting-you begging her for just a drip. The woman’s stalker need only walk to her, knowing she was heading nowhere besides a dead end with an absent prayer. The alley moaned and groaned with graveyard doom as it offered a shovel to this woman with her gloom, laughing like an old man in a rocking chair with a beer can. Here, so you can dig your own grave and twitch, you blue-eyed bitch! Doom. Now she was doomed. Tripping over one of her blue shoes, the woman tumbles forward, falling on her belly, nose busting on the concrete and turning into jelly. She screams. Against her tears, a cackle clasps the atmosphere; the musings of a malevolent mind with no time for mercy in this game of cutthroat controversy. Black boots walk the red rug of blood, knife held out, fingers coiled around hilt with no doubt. The creeper creeps closer, as graceful as a symphony's composer. Blueberry begins to crawl away, sobbing uncontrollably, hoping to live to the next day. Pleas of rescue going unheard in this dark and dank alleyway. Go on and squeak, little bird. Cry for your dad. There in the hell fair of La Ultima Opportunidad. In an instant, a hand seizes a fistful of blue hair, producing a shrill cry of pain in vain like a beaten mare. Soft, feminine hands clutch the man’s black hand. But he didn't want to dance. He straddlers her like a lover, knees dig into her ribs. She kicks and flails wildly, head craned up stylishly, hair pulled toward the sky that night. “Now, go ahead and scream, lovely. Scream like the whore you are. Scream for me.” The command was deific as the woman's tears stained her youthful visage. Kneeling just above this harlot’s swaying body, the man in the top hat just wasn't feeling that kind of naughty. He wasn't here to play cupid. He had no drive for white fluid. What he wanted was a little more red. He just wanted this squirming bitch dead. “P-Please, mister! D-Don’t kill me! Don’t…DON’T DO—“ Skluch. Razor sharp blade slit the bitch’s throat, blood spewing out like she were just some stuck pig or goat. Smiling, the Man in the Mantle keeps his victim’s head held up against her upchuck of blood. The knife falls to the ground with a clinging sound. His fingers grasp his top hat and remove it. There in the moonlit air there is no hair at all. This man was bald. A black cat creeps forward, green eyes like emeralds as they serve as haunting heralds. As a feline tongue laps at the puddle of blood, the Man in the Mantle accepts this cat’s invitation like he was on vacation. In a flash of thirst, he jerks his opened mouth to the dying woman’s neck, his former friend. The cat watches, it blinks, and the man drinks. The end.
  10. @danzilla3 Miss Blonde. A Crime Lord. A spy. A Businesswoman. A mother. A wife. Titles make us who we are, they are a sense of identity and order in what is an inherently a chaotic and at times hectic existence. Yet in the grand scheme of things, these titles, our identities, these fleeting feelings of trying to conform mean little when stripped away. Even the name Miss Blonde was just another title. Patrica Susan Garter was her name, her full and honest name, and she was a builder of miracles. She was the sun to the planets. The singularity to the galaxy adrift around her, and she had created works of art and life that were far greater than the sum of their parts. And that’s what brought her here today. In another universe from a galaxy far far away, she was to build and create. Yet for the first time in a very long time, she was not alone. She had met a man. A man who did not have wickedness plastered upon his soul and did not wish to conquer worlds and destroy their enemies under an iron boot. But by no means was he a simple man. While not the leader of a death cult, head of a galactic empire, nor galaxy renown assassin. Jack was a patchwork of fury, pain, and confidence. A man worth loving, and a man worth staying by through thick and thin. But he had more value than simply his charm and ability to woo her without trying. He had power. Power that perhaps even he didn’t know was there. But she sensed it, lurking and pulsing beneath his skin. So she invited him to her bar once more. Not just to spend time with the man, but to accomplish something that was beyond the two of them. The invitation was sent out to his device and whenever he arrived he’d be greeted by a half nude Patrica. This was not a forging process that needed to be done with fire and steel, but one with hearts and minds. So she would simply wait for the man and gauge his reaction when he arrived at the closed for the day bar in the back alley of Last Chance.
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