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It's all about poetry, in the end. As the Sun begins to set, the surface of the Earth begins to redden, reminding me of a metal sword rusting away in the sunlight, lost to the sands of time. "You ever read King Arthur?" I look to my right. The blackbird that's been sitting just a few feet away watches me, its black eyes sparkling. "We could be friends, you know." It says nothing. Shrugging harmlessly, I return to gaze out at the view. My outstretched hand is motionless, so as not to frighten the creature, and yet a few seeds slip between my pale, thin fingers, tumbling past the edge over which my legs dangle. Precarious. "Of course, that's not a problem for you, is it, My Winged Traitor?" The blackbird maintains its silence. Or should I say "their" silence, thereby granting some form of personhood to the creature? I chuckle. I smile. My eyes--sometimes green, sometimes blue, sometimes grey--narrow. Blackbird can reach the city in the sky forbidden to someone like me. Up there, I wouldn't be good enough. I wouldn't be... suitable to their standards; I wouldn't be considered worthy, or good, or even lovable. That's why I'm down here, in the lower parts of Earth's atmosphere, known affectionately to the sky people as the "Wasteland." That's right. I'm living in a dump. My lip curls. "What I wouldn't give to see through your eyes." When Blackbird doesn't answer, I make my hand into a fist before thrusting the seeds to the side, sending the small grains scattering across the curved surface of the roof. The bird squawks and dives after the pebbles in a furious motion of feathers. Sighing, I shake the last few specks from my fingers before drawing my knees into my chest and lowering my head to my chest. My dark, straight hair covers my vision further, until all I can make out behind my closing lids is an array of sunlights filling the air with geometric light-shapes. But this doesn't have to be the end. "No?" I poke my head up, entertaining the small voice that urges me to shy away from the drop. It says nothing. "And why not? Why not now? Why not here?" I feel the wind tickling the hairs on my unshaved legs, the possibility existing because of my dark orange shorts. I reach out toward the Sun, attempting to grasp it. The light shines brilliantly between my fingers, although it's all a blur. The contact lenses Dad acquired for me are in the workshop, next to my bed. They were there this morning when I woke up, and they're there now; I haven't touched them all day. I planned to never do so again, actually. "Dad told me he could heal my eyes. But can he heal my mind? I don't think anyone can. What's the purpose of living, anyway? Up there, they say I have no value. I'm meaningless; my entire existence is. I don't deserve Paradise; all I deserve is this Hell." Tears well up, and I taste the salt when it reaches my dry, cracked lips. A moment later, my hand is running along my mouth, feeling the ridges of the valleys. Are my eyes sparkling now, the way my fingers were when the Sun was in-between them? Are my lips glittering with a lubricating gloss, woven from the realization of meaninglessness? If it weren't for beauty, I would never had withstood the sadness for this long. My bitter self-reflection comes to a jarring end when I become aware of something for the first time. Blinking the tears away, I turn my head cautiously to peer over at the bird with the eerie eyes, whose small body is bent as it attempts to gather seed. Except... it hasn't managed to. The bird continues to peck, in an almost metronomic fashion, the sound of metal on metal cutting through the otherwise serene silence of the twilight. A cold, electric chill permeates my body. In the fading light, I begin to notice the uncanny jerkiness of the bird's movements. My heartbeat begins to pick up as I perceive a shudder running through the bird's body every time it hits the roof's metal surface, as though absorbing an impact shock. Dread fills me as I begin to pick up on the metal echo emanating from its rich plumage. As though it were fully hollow on the inside. Trying not to make a sound, I begin to move. Wanting to take off running, despite knowing the foolishness of doing that in such dimly-lit environs, especially without my contact lenses, I begin to lift myself from my seated position. My body shakes as I maintain awareness of the blackbird, and my legs threaten to give out underneath me. But I rise anyway, attempting to get my footing. Blinded by the darkness and distracted by the newest threat, I lose my former awareness of the building's edge. My hand trembling as I lift myself, my rings clink together repeatedly. The bird stops. Swallowing forcefully, I stop breathing. The bird tilts its head, which then snaps to face me. It sounds like its neck is breaking. A motion of 180 degrees, in the blink of an eye; its body hasn't moved. Its eyes glow a pale white. My muscles are too paralyzed to scream. Driven by instinct, I stumble over my bare feet, then break into a run. Deafened by the sound of my own heartbeat in my ears, I fail to notice the unstable groaning of the metal underneath my feet. Glass cuts into my skin, but its sharpness goes unnoticed. Then the tinkling sound of crushed glass fills the air, and the next thing I know, the floor is giving way and gravity is pulling me through. A scream escapes me now. My body passes through a glass rain, which leaves my lips bloody. Innumerable cuts adorn my exposed legs, and my exposed arms. I fall freely down into the long-abandoned building, the fluttering of bird wings accompanying my rapid descent. The speed of the fall is what shocks me the most; it takes my breath away. Yet I scream the whole way down.
Ultraviolence (Noun): Cruel and Unjustified Violence; Violence for the Sake of Violence INFORMATION: TO THE LISTENER; I AM POLYPHEMUS. MY DESIGNATION IS: ONE. THE CONTENT YOU ARE ABOUT TO VIEW IS RESTRICTED TO CLANDESTINE PERSONNEL WITH APPROPRIATE CLEARANCE. KNOWING THIS, UNDERSTAND THAT YOU WILL SEE IT ANYWAY. IT HAS BEEN DECIDED FOR YOU. Locks Disengaged Program UV.exe resumed Blood Flow: Resumed UV Targetting: Engaged Chemical Receptors: Depleting The first thing the UV Mutants become aware of is their pen. Massive, cubular constructs of concrete, plated with ceramic, designed to contain the dormant Mutants for as long as possible. The locks within the walls are disengaged, and the UV Programming has been reengaged early, far too early. Not that it matters, now. Here and now, there's only one way things can go. The fourth wall of the pen is a door, that spans the entirety of the wall. It was designed to be soundproof, and it is. But it's not enough. "Information: Lock Failure in UV Pen. Maintenance please respond." A feminine, mechanical voice announces over the intercom. Beyond the doors, one can already see them. There's several dozen of them already, moving around, reacting to the news. Some move away from the doors, and others point weapons at the doors. Indistinct radio chatter can be heard, but not deciphered. The door hisses audibly. Then, the doors begin to grind against the walls as they slowly begin to lift. "Information: Unexpected access in UV Pens. Security Teams, please respond." The voice announces. She is cold and unfazed. Nobody else shares her enthusiasm.
The explosion that rocked the waste management district last evening has left the Yggdrasil recycling plant inoperable. Heralded as techno-organic wonder that married science in nature to eliminate all waste and address growing resource scarcity; its destruction ushers in a new slue of new rationing policies. The cause of yesterday's explosion is still unknown, however private investors, as well as, City and District government agencies are all investigate. Due to the possibility of this being yet another domestic terrorism incident, a strict 9 pm curfew is being enforced city wide by corporate security and local agencies. Diss’ attention turns from the news as he looks down at a half-eaten waffle. He briefly jabs at it with his fork, not feeling particularly hungry anymore. “What’s wrong with people?” He asks, as he glances toward his left. “I unno man.” The answer is offered up between bites of food. “People are scared, and they are worried about theirs and their own. Can’t blame them.” Lauren finishes off her food before turning her fork toward Diss’ plate. “You gonna finish that?” “Have at it.” He says, while sliding his leftovers toward her. Setting his fork down, he reaches into the backpack next to him and pulls out an autoinjector. Giving it a quick shake to ascertain its charge, he swaps out the canister on the back of it. Pressing the end against his exposed risk, he pulls the trigger. The machine hisses as the pressurized contents are dispersed through tendons and muscles. “HEY! You can’t be shooting up in here shithead!” “Chill, it’s prescription immunosuppressant. Got recent aug work done.” Diss offers up his wrist, which the waiter taps, causing a display to cast across the counter. Along with blood type and other basic emergency medical information, a list of augmentation, dates, and prescriptions is included. “Fine, whatever, but next time do it outside or in the bathroom. Perception is reality and you look like a junky.” “Jee thanks.” “Don’t let him get under your skin. Anyway, we should get going. It’s supposed to rain today, and they are forecasting low PH levels, like lower than 5, because of yesterday’s explosion.” Lauren remarks as she pulls out her paypass and swipes it over the sensor. “You can get an aug for that. Then you wouldn’t have to carry anything.” A series of confirmations flash across Diss’ eyes as initiates initiates a funds transfer. Lauren collects her stuff, hops off the barstool, and then waits for Diss by the door. “Sure, I could. But my parents would also kill me.” Diss catches up to her and then crosses the threshold into the outside. He lingers for a moment, just off to the side, until Lauren’s joined him, and then they both begin to walk. “How many more augs do you think you’ll get?” “Might go all the way. Dunno what’s so great about flesh and bone.” “But are you even you then?” “This some ship of theseus bullshit? There isn’t a single cell in your body from when you were born. You’ve been entirely replaced at least twice. Are you even you?” “Fuck if I know. But that's different. The cells are still mine. Those titanium frames aren't yours.” "Agree to disagree then." Lauren laughs, not because it's humorous but because it is predictable. They've had this conversation so many times before, and every time it ends with agreeing to disagree. Turn to the left, she pauses and waves. "See you tomorrow?" Diss nods, "Absolutely." and then turns to the opposite direction, the two parting ways. With hands tucked firmly into his pockets, and his gaze fixed firmly to the ground, he wanders through the evening streets. Something between fog and smog blankets the city in an noxious haze that makes him wish he'd opted for a way to disengage his olfactory senses. Although, he has been hesitant to get any work done to his face. Rounding a corner he catches sight of a couple men standing over a cowering body. Without so much as a word he speeds past the scene, knowing full well it isn't his problem or responsibility.
Operation "Unseen Vigil" Operator ID: [INFORMATION SCRUBBED] OPDate: 4/17/3024 Location: The Cell, [INFORMATION SCRUBBED} The Cell is busy at all times of the day, which makes it difficult to be ignored upon your approach. Descending the stairs, you pass by men and women in scrubs and biohazardous suits, each with their head low and their hands by their sides saying nothing. Many of them are armed, with the same carbon-printed rifles hanging off their shoulders as they travel. They do not speak much, and instead the only sounds are their hammering footsteps against the steel hollow stairs and the dull humming of close by refridgeration units. The beeping of distant monitors, and the hiss of pressure being released from overhead hoses intermingles with the gentle droning of the voice over the intercom. Whatever they're saying, you do not hear it. Down the steps, and through the hall. Men in armor are patrolling here, clad in the distinct white ceramic combat armor, sporting firearms at the ready. Their faces are hidden from you, though if you could see them, you doubt they'd be recognizably human. You ignore them, and them you, as you begin counting doors. Your instructions were simple: down the stairs, to the floor with the blue stripe on the walls, count the doors on your right, one, two, three, four... The door is unlocked when touched, and opens to a vacant office, mostly empty save for a large vending machine. The vending machine is simply too large to have fit through the door, and the walls behind it tell tales of being moved once already, stripping the thin paint from the walls. Pushing it aside takes some effort, but once it is moved, it is revealed that the vending machine hid a small room behind it. It seems too large to be a supply closet, and lacks any shelves. In fact, it's just large enough for two pieces of furniture; a small, cheaply-made desk, and a chair. This is the place it seems. Setting up is simple and to the point. Inside the package sent to the Operator's office was a letter, detailing his instructions, a slick grey laptop and a black thumb drive. Setting them down on the desk, and turning the laptop on, it boots up quickly, before the Welcome screen is scrambled, and replaced by a brilliant blue eye. It's unmistakably robotic; the blue emanates from the edges of the iris, and as it moves around, looking everywhere, streams of text in all manner of languages spin around inside. Most uncomfortably, it looks as if it is tracking the Operator reliably, watching him through the monitor. Then, a voice. It's feminine and ethereal; if it were attached to a body, it would likely be hard not to find her attractive. "You are...the Operator?" She asks. It's more of a statement. After being given the affirmative, she introduces herself. "I am Overwatch," She says. "I am The Cell's Artificial Intelligence, and as a consequence, my primary goal is to oversee this facility. I have received instruction on how I am to handle your task, and to this end, I am committed to your goals." The screen reverts back to the desktop. The laptop has been stripped bare of all programs, save for a small fistful, that being an executable file that allows the laptop to watch security footage, and a wireless backdoor into The Cell's remote systems. The few remaining programs are straightforward and boring: a service for capturing audio and video from the screen, an email service, and an executable designed to scrub the laptop of all data. "Please, direct your attention to the security footage, first." She instructs. "From there, I will present your instructions." @Sanonymous
A groan escaped Samuel a he became aware. Opening his eyes, he could see a peron on the floor, speckled with the green and yellow light that filtered through the trees above. Sitting up, he nearly blacked out at the pain that flooded his temples. Where an I he thought How did I get- A faint memory whisked in front of his mind and he reached out, only grasping the edges before it was whisked away in a flurry of pain. Obviously his mind didn't have the capacity to think about that right now. Standing up, slowly as to not irritate his brain further, he walked and grasp the trunk of a tree. It's rough, lichen laden bark was unfamiliar to him; being from a large city hadn't given him the privileges of nature; but the earthy smell emanating from it comforted him, reminding him that he was alive and indeed in the real world. Sliding down, he wriggled over the roots, trying to find a comfortable seat among them. He was surprised to see how dirty he was; his peach jacket and black pants hadn't held up too well to whatever handling that had brought him to this place; however he didn't mind, at least whoever had brought him here hadn't killed him. Upon habit, he slid his hands into his pockets, the warmth of his thighs heating his hands. It was colder than he like, 65 degrees at the most, and the heat was welcome. Flipping his hands over to warm the other side, he felt a paper in his right pocket, and upon pulling it out, blackout again. It all came back to him when he read the slip: Phase One Initiated: The Camp Subject: Telekinetic @AngryCacti